Trend Analysis - No Smoke Without Fire

Overview of their situation before they came to My Oil Doctor

The car had not been used for many years after its original engine failed and it was Geoff’s intention to use and enjoy his pride and joy more often, covering greater distances with added peace of mind in the car’s reliability in a modern transport environment.

When Geoff approached us in November 2019 through his classic car club, having heard about the Oil Sampling service we offer. Geoff had fitted a replacement engine in his Wolseley 16/60 and wanted confirmation of its condition from the sample. The first test came in on the 22/11/2019 and was graded a B.

The Problems Faced.

The main issues for Geoff’s car were on the test of November 2019 was graded a B, when in the 2nd test of October 2020, the lab graded the sample an A. Geoff decided to change the oil from Penrite Classic Light 20w60 to a well know 20w40 “smoke free version” to see if those improved results and increased performance on the motorway travelling to and from classic car shows around the UK.

What Was Causing The Problem?

The car was being used for long distance travelling to shows using motorways predominantly and the change to smoke free oil was to ensure that viscosity was not compromised at high engine operating temperatures that could potentially lead to premature engine wear.

Geoff decided to test the oil and a third sample in July 2021 was sent into the lab for analysis. This is an analysis of the condition of the oil – is the oil still doing its job - (is it still oil?). In this case, the Sulphation was high. The Sulphur comes from the fuel, excessive Sulphur combined with moisture generates acid which starts to eat the engine.

The results came back as a C grade, with Immediate action noted by the Lab team.

The Impact the C Grade had on the Car

With the classification of a C grade, Geoff was worried that his classic car might have catastrophic engine failure that could result in £000’s to replace the engine together with the inconvenience of being without the car for a considerable period.

The Chromium, Copper, Sulphation had increased along with the Iron readings. The viscosity is the measure of the runniness of the oil defined as a resistance to flow. The higher the number the thicker the oil. The category ‘C’ report states that the oil was very thick and this led to excessive friction on the moving parts.

The Impact on the Car

From the outset, Geoff had sought reassurance that the replacement engine in his Wolseley was in good running condition. After the third test; Chromium test showed high levels, which would indicate excessive wear of the piston rings Copper again showed High levels, which indicated excessive wear of bearings, bushes, thrust washers. Copper can also come from the cooling system. Iron is a big constituent of an older petrol engine and diesel engine. The main wear areas are- cylinder liners and crankshaft. The Iron in the sample, clearly showed that the current oil being used was not lubricating and keeping the surfaces apart. In this report, it clearly showed that the current oil being used was not lubricating and keeping the surfaces apart.

The Successful Outcome

After the impact of the C grade, we recommended that Geoff test for a fourth time after he had drained the oil from the Wolseley and added Penrite Classic Light 20w/60. He ran the car for a few miles and tested and sent the sample in. The lab report was eagerly awaited and came back an A, meaning no action needed.

The best results were obtained when Geoff used Penrite Classic Light 20w/60 and Comma X Flow Engine Flush. The plan with the oil sample service is that it is not just a one trick pony used as a management tool in the service and upkeep on any classic car. Geoff now has a trend of what the engine has done since the first sample date to the current point, with this trend giving data now at every stage of future sample cycles.

We recommended that regular oil testing at set intervals will keep the trend of the engine visible and allow for any interventions early before expensive refits are needed. The changes in fuel types is another potential black hole that will impact on the engine over time. With E5 already being excessively priced, you might be tempted to use E10 to save on running costs, without knowing what the damage is being done to your engine.

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