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Discussion Starter #1
I've been considering having my engine oil analyzed. Found two companies: Motor Check and Blackstone Labs. Each will provide a free collection kit; the cost is $27 at MC and $30 at BL for similar analyses.

Has anyone tried this service? I did a search in this forum but didn't get any relevant results.

My reason is: my 87 Camino has 360K miles on it. Its not my daily driver so I start it every other week and take it for a short ride every other month so I only put a couple hundred miles on it in a year. I've been changing the oil every 3 years and am wondering if either I'm waiting too long and harming the engine, or if there is actually more life left in the oil (been doing this 10 years now). The engine doesn't smoke or use oil (I don't add any between changes). The car passed AZ emissions testing before I got collector car insurance 5 years ago (no longer need to be tested).

While I'm at it, when I change the oil I grease the front end. Is this overkill; greasing about every 500 miles?

I would like to hear your feedback on both questions.
 

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Jmo but you should change it more often to avoid moisture in the oil. Also when you start it run it up to temp for a while. Unless you are seeing shiny or milkshake oil I wouldn't bother with the analysis.
 

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Also you don't want to over grease. It will blow out the boots and let moisture in.
 

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the engine oil analyzer is mostly for fleets that have a lot of vehicles, So they can keep an eye on them before something goes bad, they can see the increase in substance (different metals like bearings & other internal metals) Like Sean said change the oil to avoid moisture, The test is cheap, You could do it one time & see if it shows any abnormal metals in it ? & do it again next year & see if there is any difference ? They did oil testing at a company I used to work at & can't remember everything that showed up on the results but it was a full page of info !
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Sean. I do let it run about 20 minutes to get it up to temp and put some charge back into the battery. When I check the oil it's not milky.
I know its cheap insurance to change more often than less but my thought is if it doesn't need to be changed I'm wasting it. This is where the analysis comes in. the TBN (total base number) gives an indication of the life left in the oil.
 

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Just change oil once a year due to moisture. Like what was said, make sure when you run it you bring it up to operating temp for a couple of minutes. I wouldn't bother doing an oil analysis. What would you expect with 360K miles?
Also if the car has A/C run that too. And turn the heater on once in a while too.
 

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It can't hurt . It would tell you if the three year old is still good or becoming corrosive . If you are in a part of Arizone where the Humidity stays low year round you are most likely ok Check out Project Farm on Youtube watch one of his oil tests he explains what all those numbers mean
 

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I used to use an analysis company on my aircraft oil and it was absolutely worth the money. I doubt seriously that spending the 30 bucks on your car is worth the effort, just spend the 20-25 bucks and be assured each year.
 

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I used to use an analysis company on my aircraft oil and it was absolutely worth the money. I doubt seriously that spending the 30 bucks on your car is worth the effort, just spend the 20-25 bucks and be assured each year.
Analyzing the oil is essential for aircraft, knowing potential problems long before they get ugly is a lot different at 5000 feet up than driving on a weekend cruise in a 350k ElCo. Personally, I would skip the testing, almost any car, even with the newest tech at that kind of mileage would be better off putting the money toward the re-build or new motor. Just my opinion. Mine only had 130k when I pulled it and it did still ran pretty good.

Joe
 

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I've tested auto oil at Empire Fluids Lab in Phoenix, AZ. Was recommended by a large company that had their equipment test there. It is best to start out with as fresh a motor and oil as possible to establish a baseline.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys. I was hoping to hear from members with similar limited use cars, what their maintenance practice is.
The consensus seems to be annual oil changes; I'm going to change it this month maybe I'll have a sample tested and I'll share the results with you. I'm most interested in the TBN, but with the mileage on the engine wear metal and combustion contaminants will be interesting!
 

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Also you don't want to over grease. It will blow out the boots and let moisture in.
If you are in a part of Arizone where the Humidity stays low year round you are most likely ok
if the address is correct, looks like Tony lives in NE Scottsdale near Loop 101. with low miles you're driving, the constant elevation of 1000', and the climate, I'd agree not to worry about the oil analysis. I'd be more concerned about the grease boots
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I changed the oil a couple weeks ago and decided to have it tested; see attached.

You know the old saying, if you won't like the answer, don't ask the question???. Well it applies here!

If you look on the bottom row you will see that the TBN is 7.8 which means even though the oil is 3 years old, it still has life left in it, which was the original question I wanted answered. The 'standard' is anything above 3 is still good.

However, you will also see that the lab highlighted the Glycol field in yellow as 'abnormal'. This is, of course, because there shouldn't be any coolant in the engine oil. I called the lab and they told me that the test they did detected glycol, but not enough to measure, so they mark it for the reason I mentioned.

Indicators of coolant are Sodium and Potassium. On the top row you can see they highlighted Sodium in red as high (599 ppm); Potassium is not highlighted at 22 ppm, although 'that is higher than you would like to see'. So there is probably some coolant in the oil.

Copper and Lead are also high and these are usually associated with bearing wear. "However", this engine is 33 years old, the oil pan has never been removed and it has 360K miles on it so there is most likely a layer of sludge on the bottom. I collected the sample while the oil was draining, so some of that sludge could have been collected. Note that the drain plug is at the low point of the pan!

So, what is the conclusion? ANNUAL OIL CHANGES!

And it could probably do with a rebuild...

But I want to revisit the front end grease question. When the car was my daily driver I religiously changed the oil every 3K miles and greased it every other oil change per the manual. In the 3 years since the last oil change I only put 180 miles on it. Assuming 200 miles for a round number, my next grease job won't be for 30 years!

Should I continue to grease at every other oil change or maybe every 5 years?

Note the ball joints and tie rods are original to the car. I had the idler arm replaced when I had the upper and lower A arm bushings changed (approx. 250K miles).
 

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"Should I continue to grease at every other oil change or maybe every 5 years?"

every year, absolutely! you ever see grease dry up? don't forget the new grease pushes the used/contaminated old stuff out or replaces what was lost. the corner oil change place is great for a once a year complete oil change, fluid topoff, and grease job
 

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I have 180k on my ‘85. At 100k it needed valve stem seals (and A/C compressor) and at about 150k it needed a water pump and carb rebuild. Alternator, radiator, tune ups, but not opened up yet. Trans went at 170k. So far so good! My question for Tony is ‘ what have you done up to my 180k (half way!) mark and then past it to 360? Timing chain? Anything else internal?
Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi pbr! To answer your question - no - haven't done anything to the inside of the engine. As a matter of fact, the carburetor had never been off until had it rebuilt as part of the troubleshooting for this 'stalling' problem.

I have had to replace accessories as you have, but even the transmission is original. I have replaced the fluid and filter at intervals along the way but that's it.

I bought the car in Jan 1992 with 50K miles and it was my daily driver until Oct 2010 when I bought a new Challenger. The reason I retired it was I couldn't keep the A/C working (a must in AZ). The compressor was fine (3rd one I think) but I think the entire system needs to be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
cyberray - that's kind of my line of thinking. I'd rather be able to push grease into the fittings as evidenced by the old stuff coming out, than try x years down the road and find out they wouldn't take grease.
 

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cyberray - that's kind of my line of thinking. I'd rather be able to push grease into the fittings as evidenced by the old stuff coming out, than try x years down the road and find out they wouldn't take grease.
(y)

some interesting reading

 
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