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Old 09-26-2006, 11:02 AM
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cgoodwin cgoodwin is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Default Monitoring Lubricating Oil

Monitoring Lubricating Oil

Between each oil change a blotting paper test for dispersancy or Blotter Spot Check should be carried out.

Plant oils used as fuel can contaminate the engines lubricating oil raising its viscosity and plugging oil passages leading to catastrophic engine damage (Stivi, 1981). All fuels can contaminate engine oil and cause it to breakdown and the test outlined here is a common test of engine oil used in industry.

Motor oils contain a dispersancy additive, this additive is what causes the oil to turn black after a short period of use as it keeps particles of soot in the solution rather than allowing them to conglomerate into larger particles which would damage the engine and form deposits on the internal parts of the engine. As the oil is stressed by use, oxidizes or is contaminated the dispersancy additive fails and the particulate matter begins to agglomerate.

Field test:

A drop of oil from the dipstick is deposited on a piece of blotting paper (or business card) held level and not resting on a surface. The oil will wick out across the paper, if the dispersancy additive is functioning it will carry the small particles with the oil and forum a spot with uniform darkness and a slightly darker outer edge.

A ring of light debris on the outer circumference of the circular spot indicates that the oil has retained its dispersancy properties.

A black central spot indicates sludge and the loss of dispersancy as the particles have settled in the center and the oil has wicked outward.

A brown or yellow stain on the blotter spot indicates oxidation.

A “Tree Ring” effect indicates contamination by diesel fuel.

If anything other than the uniform dark spot with a darker outer edge is found, drain and replace the oil immediately.

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