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Jump to Range Rover 4.6 or Buell 1125R oil analysis.


Motor Oil Analysis from Range Rover 4.6 Engines

This investigation was sparked by three primary things: I discovered varnish or sludge on our Rovers' dip sticks; a coworker swears by AMSOIL and Mobil 1 synthetic oils; and a friend thought that Royal Purple was the best and that AMSOIL was a "snake oil" pyramid scheme. So, I aim to find out which of these full synthetic oils is the best for our vehicles and if the full synthetic oils are actually better than the low-cost conventional Walmart and AutoZone oils that I have been using.

Erin bought her 2000 Land Rover Range Rover 4.6 HSE in March of 2007 on Saint Patrick's Day with 55000 miles on it. I bought my 2000 Land Rover Range Rover 4.6 Rhino on July 4th of 2007 with 55000 miles on it. I have been using Walmart or AutoZone 10W-40 conventional oil and STP oil filters from 55000-85000 miles on the HSE and from 55000-80000 on the Rhino. I changed the oil immediately after purchase and I have been changing the oil every 5000 miles even though the manual allows for a longer interval. Both vehicles have a black and brown coating of varnish or sludge on the dip sticks that seems to be getting worse over time.



I converted the HSE to AMSOIL on October 6 of 2009 at 85000 miles. I drained the old oil, took an oil sample, replaced the filter with another STP filter, and filled it with new AutoZone 10W-40 oil again. I added AMSOIL engine flush to the oil and ran the car between 1500rpm and 2000rpm for 20 minutes in neutral to clean out some of the crap built up in the engine. Then I drained the flush oil and replaced the STP filter with an AMSOIL oil filter. Then I filled it with AMSOIL 10W-40 and put a new air filter on. Finally, I put two 16-ounce cans of Sea Foam in the fuel tank and filled it with gasoline. It is running noticeably smoother now. I was really surprised, but I noticed a difference right away. Erin commented on it the next day when she drove it. Apparently you can use Sea Foam as an engine flush also, but I did not discover that until after I bought the AMSOIL engine flush.

I converted the Rhino to Royal Purple on November 25 of 2009 at 80000 miles. I drained the old oil, took an oil sample, replaced the filter with another STP filter, and filled it with new AutoZone 10W-40 oil again. I added AMSOIL engine flush to the oil and ran the car between 1500rpm and 2000rpm for 20 minutes in neutral to clean out some of the crap built up in the engine. Then I drained the flush oil and replaced the STP filter with an AMSOIL oil filter. Then I filled it with Royal Purple 10W-40 and put a new air filter on. Finally, I put two 16-ounce cans of Sea Foam in the fuel tank and filled it with gasoline. It is running noticeably smoother just like the HSE.

I used different oils in subsequent oil changes to gather more data.
Oil Analyzers Inc. performed all of the oil analysis for me. I bought the prepaid postage oil test kits through AMSOIL's website at the same time I bought AMSOIL oil and filters, which was very convenient. All of my samples listed the grade of oil, date, mileage, and unit, but not the lube manufacturer to guarantee unbiased test results.

The first thing to notice is the similarity between sample #1 for both engines. This first sample period used the same AutoZone lube for the same mileage to establish a meaningful baseline. Both samples show a 100C viscosity of 10.1, which indicates that the SAE 40 has degraded to an SAE 30. An SAE 40 oil should have viscosity between 12.5 and 16.3. In fact, all of the values are very close except for silicon contamination in the 4.6. The samples indicate that the engines are in very similar condition and performing in a similar manner. I should be able to compare oil samples from each vehicle with the exception of silicon contamination.

My conclusions are listed after the oil analysis results table.

Oil Analysis Results For The HSE

Lubricant Analysis Report
877-458-3315
Overall report severity based on comments.
Account Information
Account Number: OILANA-7500-5910
Company Name: GREG HILDSTROM
Contact:
Address: 16611 SNELL MDWS
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78247 US
Phone Number: 210-413-6082
Component Information
Component ID: RANGE ROVER 4.6 HSE E
Secondary ID: HSE
Component Type: UNLEADED GASOLINE ENGINE
Manufacturer: LANDROVER
Model: V8 4.6L DISCOVER
Application: TRANSPORTATION
Sump Capacity: 2 gal
Sample Information
Tracking Number: 10175W00218
Lab Number: I-Z27379
Lab Location: Indianapolis
Data Analyst: JXG
Sampled: 29-Apr-2011
Received: 04-May-2011
Completed: 06-May-2011
Filter Information
Filter Type: FULLFLOW
Micron Rating: 15
Miscellaneous Information
Product Information
Product Manufacturer: UNKNOWN
Product Name:
Viscosity Grade: SAE 10W40
Comments Infrared results indicate that NITRATION is at a SIGNIFICANT LEVEL; Infrared results indicate OXIDATION is MODERATELY HIGH; In order to PROPERLY EVALUATE OXIDATION for synthetic oils, please provide the LUBRICANT MANUFACTURER, PRODUCT NAME, and VISCOSITY GRADE. Abrasives (silicon/dirt) are at a MODERATE LEVEL; Tin is at a MINOR LEVEL; TIN may be coming from Piston Flashing, Bearing Overlay, Bronze Alloy (usually in combination with Copper), or from a Babbitt material along with Copper and Lead. Lube mixing possible due to change in additive levels; Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;
Wear Metals (ppm) Contaminant Metals (ppm) Multi-Source Metals (ppm) Additive Metals (ppm)
Sample #
Iron Chromium Nickel Aluminum Copper Lead Tin Cadmium Silver Vanadium Silicon Sodium Potassium Titanium Molybdenum Antimony Manganese Lithium Boron Magnesium Calcium Barium Phosphorous Zinc
1 13 0 0 8 11 4 6 0 0 0 28 2 2 0 25 0 0 0 2 8 2013 0 714 813
2 20 1 0 6 10 1 4 0 0 0 30 6 3 0 8 0 0 0 0 11 3190 0 1008 1151
3 25 2 1 12 7 4 8 0 0 0 36 26 14 0 4 1 0 0 10 571 1352 0 880 1061
Sample Information Contaminants Fluid Properties
Sample #
Date Sampled
Date Received
Lube Time mi
Unit Time mi
Lube Change
Lube Added gal
Filter Change
Soot % Vol
Water % Vol
Acid Number mg KOH/g
Base Number mg KOH/g
Oxidation abs/cm
Nitration abs/cm
1 06-Oct-2009 13-Nov-2009 5000 85000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 10.1 1.60 14 21
2 19-May-2010 28-May-2010 5000 90000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 12.7 6.57 46 22
3 29-Apr-2011 04-May-2011 5000 95000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 <.1 - FTIR 13.7 2.71 23 29
Particle Count (particles/mL) Additional Testing
Sample #
Based On 4/6/14
> 4 µm
> 6 µm
> 10 µm
> 14 µm
> 21 µm
> 38 µm
> 70 µm
> 100 µm
Test Method
1 // AutoZone, 10W-40, SL-SJ
2 // AMSOIL AMO, 10W-40, SL-SG CI-4+
3 // Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck, 5W-40, SM-SJ CJ-4
Comments are advisory only and are based on the assumption that the sample and data submitted are valid. Missing fluid or component information limits the evaluation. No warranty is expressed or implied.
Historical Comments
1 Base number is below acceptable minimum; Abrasives (silicon/dirt) are at a MINOR LEVEL; Tin is at a MINOR LEVEL; Infrared results indicate that NITRATION is at a MINOR LEVEL; Lubricant and filter change acknowledged; Please provide COMPONENT MODEL number to compare data to the correct standards for this component. Please provide missing lubricant information. Manufacturer, product name, and viscosity grade are needed to properly evaluate data.
2 Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. Abrasives (silicon/dirt) are at a MODERATE LEVEL; Note increase in viscosity. FLAGGED ADDITIVE levels indicate slight LUBE MIXING; In order to properly compare data to the correct standards, please provide COMPONENT MANUFACTURER and MODEL, and the FLUID MANUFACTURER, PRODUCT NAME, and VISCOSITY GRADE. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged; Oil is suitable for continued use. Re-sample in 3,500 miles or 65 hours.

Oil Analysis Results For The Rhino

Lubricant Analysis Report
877-458-3315
Overall report severity based on comments.
Account Information
Account Number: OILANA-7500-5910
Company Name: GREG HILDSTROM
Contact:
Address: 16611 SNELL MDWS
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78247 US
Phone Number: 210-413-6082
Component Information
Component ID: RHINO RANGE ROVER E
Secondary ID: RHINO
Component Type: UNLEADED GASOLINE ENGINE
Manufacturer: LANDROVER
Model: V8 4.6L DISCOVER
Application: TRANSPORTATION
Sump Capacity: 2 gal
Sample Information
Tracking Number: 10175W00796
Lab Number: I-A34512
Lab Location: Indianapolis
Data Analyst: KM
Sampled: 05-Jul-2011
Received: 14-Jul-2011
Completed: 18-Jul-2011
Filter Information
Filter Type: FULLFLOW
Micron Rating: 15
Miscellaneous Information
Product Information
Product Manufacturer: UNKNOWN
Product Name:
Viscosity Grade: SAE 10W40
Comments Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. Lube mixing possible due to change in additive levels; Please provide missing LUBRICANT MANUFACTURER to compare data to the correct standards. Please provide missing FLUID PRODUCT NAME to compare data to the correct standards. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;
Wear Metals (ppm) Contaminant Metals (ppm) Multi-Source Metals (ppm) Additive Metals (ppm)
Sample #
Iron Chromium Nickel Aluminum Copper Lead Tin Cadmium Silver Vanadium Silicon Sodium Potassium Titanium Molybdenum Antimony Manganese Lithium Boron Magnesium Calcium Barium Phosphorous Zinc
1 24 0 0 5 14 4 6 0 0 0 5 5 6 0 47 1 0 0 1 7 1663 0 698 849
2 12 1 0 3 5 2 1 0 0 0 12 7 3 0 77 0 0 0 0 7 2151 0 767 899
3 15 1 0 4 6 14 4 0 0 0 19 9 4 0 97 1 0 0 11 13 2797 1 709 849
4 14 0 0 4 5 16 3 1 0 0 21 9 2 0 90 1 0 0 92 15 3079 0 783 900
5 23 3 1 4 3 16 4 0 0 0 9 19 6 0 63 0 0 0 16 694 1083 0 878 1000
Sample Information Contaminants Fluid Properties
Sample #
Date Sampled
Date Received
Lube Time mi
Unit Time mi
Lube Change
Lube Added gal
Filter Change
Soot % Vol
Water % Vol
Acid Number mg KOH/g
Base Number mg KOH/g
Oxidation abs/cm
Nitration abs/cm
1 25-Nov-2009 08-Jan-2010 5000 80000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 10.1 1.27 13 22
2 30-Jan-2010 22-Feb-2010 5000 85000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 11.3 4.15 15 22
3 28-Jul-2010 10-Aug-2010 5000 9000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 12.6 2.41 16 20
4 11-Oct-2010 20-Oct-2010 5000 95000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 14.1 4.44 24 31
5 05-Jul-2011 14-Jul-2011 5000 100000 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 <.1 - FTIR 14.5 2.73 20 30
Particle Count (particles/mL) Additional Testing
Sample #
Based On 4/6/14
> 4 µm
> 6 µm
> 10 µm
> 14 µm
> 21 µm
> 38 µm
> 70 µm
> 100 µm
Test Method
1 // AutoZone, 10W-40, SL-SJ
2 // Royal Purple, 10W-40, SL CI-4
3 // Castrol Syntec, 10W-40, SM-SH CF
4 // Mobil 1 High Mileage, 10W-40, SL-SJ CF
5 // Shell Rotella T6 Synthetic, 5W-40, SM-SH CJ-4 JASO MA/DH2
Comments are advisory only and are based on the assumption that the sample and data submitted are valid. Missing fluid or component information limits the evaluation. No warranty is expressed or implied.
Historical Comments
1 Viscosity is SIGNIFICANTLY LOW; Is the FLUID VISCOSITY GRADE correctly identified? Base number is below acceptable minimum; Please provide missing lubricant information. Manufacturer, product name, and viscosity grade are needed to properly evaluate data. Please provide COMPONENT MODEL number to compare data to the correct standards for this component. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;
2 Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. Viscosity is MODERATELY LOW; Infrared results indicate that NITRATION is at a MINOR LEVEL; Lubricant change acknowledged; Please provide COMPONENT MODEL number to compare data to the correct standards for this component. Please provide missing lubricant information. Manufacturer, product name, and viscosity grade are needed to properly evaluate data.
3 Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. LEAD is at a MINOR LEVEL and may be OVERLAY METAL from MAIN/ROD BEARINGS; Infrared results indicate that NITRATION is at a MINOR LEVEL; Please provide missing lubricant information. Manufacturer, product name, and viscosity grade are needed to properly evaluate data. Please provide COMPONENT MODEL number to compare data to the correct standards for this component. Unit hours/miles/kilometers conflicts with time from previous sample; Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;
4 Infrared results indicate that NITRATION is at a SEVERE LEVEL; Infrared results indicate OXIDATION is MODERATELY HIGH; Abrasives (silicon/dirt) are at a MINOR LEVEL; Boron is slightly high for this lubricant. Please provide missing lubricant information. Manufacturer, product name, and viscosity grade are needed to properly evaluate data. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;

Conclusions for 10W-40

The Auto Zone conventional oil degraded and performs like an SAE 30 instead of an SAE 40 after 5000 miles, which means that protection is seriously reduced. The TBN is extremely low, which means that this oil is not capable of neutralizing much more acid and degradation would likely accelerate soon. The Royal Purple oil also degraded to below an SAE 40 viscosity, but not as bad as the conventional oil. Most of the wear metals are reduced compared to the conventional oil and the total wear metal count is about half, but the engine experienced more highway miles than normal during this period because of a 3200 mile cross country trip. The AMSOIL degraded to just below an SAE 40. The TBN and additive metals were high and the "High Zinc Formula" they claim seems to be accurate. Unfortunately, the wear metals increased, but I think this is a result of the increased silicon contamination and far fewer highway miles for this period. The AMSOIL definitely had the most severe service of all 10W-40 oils tested given my knowledge of how the vehicle was operated. The viscosity of the Castrol held up well and was still within SAE 40 range. Mobil 1 High Mileage experienced 1700 highway miles with a 4000lb trailer and an additional 800 or so with no trailer. The viscosity held up well in the SAE 40 range.

Picking a winner out of these oils is much more difficult than I originally anticipated. There was a lot a variability in the service life of each oil tested even though they all received almost exactly 5000 miles. The miles/day on each oil and the number of highway or trailer miles varied considerably. I will definitely not use cheap conventional oil again because of the sludge, varnish, and measurable inferior performance. I would be hesitant to use Royal Purple because it had the greatest viscosity reduction of the synthetics while also having the least severe service life. I would have no problem using AMSOIL, Castrol Syntec, or Mobil 1 in the future.

Conclusions for 5W-40

I decided to test two different 5W-40 oils for the winter because of our move to Syracuse, NY. I tested Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck and Shell Rotella T6 in our two Rovers. Both Rovers experienced similar driving conditions during a similar time frame. Both of these 5W-40 oils are excellent. They both held up better, in terms of final viscosity, than many of the full-synthetic 10W-40 oils I tested, which is very surprising given the greater difference between cold and hot viscosity ratings. Both oils had a final viscosity well within the range of an SAE 40 and both had a TBN high enough to indicate they had some life left in them. I would have no problem using either oil in the future, but Shell Rotella T6 is clearly the best oil I tested. Its viscosity held up better than every 10W-40 oil I tested and better than Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck 5W-40 despite lots of short trips and winter idling while clearing snow and ice. Better still, Shell Rotella T6 is available in gallon jugs for cheaper than most of the other oils I tested. It is usually between $20 and $24 per gallon, which works out to between $5 and $6 per quart. I will be using Shell Rotella T6 from now on.



Motor Oil Analysis from a Buell 1125 Engine

I really got curious about motorcycle oils after I started testing oils in the Rovers. I found some excellent background information on motorcycle oils:
Sport Rider August 2003 Oils Well That Ends Well, Part 1, Sport Rider October 2003 Oils Well That Ends Well, Part 2, and AMSOIL June 2009 A Study of Motorcycle Oils Second Edition. Many of the oil test results match up between the two studies despite the 6 year difference. Also, AMSOIL does not win every one of the test categories in their study. Therefore, I think these two observations lend a lot of validity to the AMSOIL study and I am inclined to believe the published results about all of the oils tested in both studies. However, I want to independently test at least 2-3 oils that appear in the AMSOIL study to see how my real-world results compare.

I found another great article called All About Motor Oil. It covers many motor oil topics in great detail and the author strongly advocates using synthetic commercial-certified (Diesel) oils or conventional commercial-certified (Diesel) oils in motorcycles because of the additive packages and cost. The newest API standard (SM) oils are not necessarily good for high-performance motorcycle engines or older engine designs because of a shift in the additives allowed. I would argue that many of the motorcycle-specific motor oils are excellent and that a "Diesel" oil is not required. The author's goal seems to be finding the most cost effective protection and not necessarily finding the best protection that money can buy.

I broke the bike in according to the guidance in the owner's manual. It was torture, but I actually stayed under the RPM limits for the mileages specified. I was very happy after I did the first service and I could really unload on it. An SAE 50 oil should have viscosity between 16.3 and 21.9. My conclusions are after the oil analysis results table.

Oil Analysis Results For The Buell

Lubricant Analysis Report
877-458-3315
Overall report severity based on comments.
Account Information
Account Number: OILANA-7500-5910
Company Name: GREG HILDSTROM
Contact:
Address: 16611 SNELL MDWS
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78247 US
Phone Number: 210-413-6082
Component Information
Component ID: BUELL 1125R
Secondary ID: BUELL 1125R
Component Type: UNLEADED GASOLINE ENGINE
Manufacturer: BUELL
Model: 1125 R
Application: TRANSPORTATION
Sump Capacity: 3 qt
Sample Information
Tracking Number: 10175W00763
Lab Number: I-761257
Lab Location: Indianapolis
Data Analyst: KM
Sampled: 30-Nov-2013
Received: 06-Dec-2013
Completed: 10-Dec-2013
Filter Information
Filter Type: FULLFLOW
Micron Rating: 15
Miscellaneous Information
Product Information
Product Manufacturer: UNKNOWN
Product Name:
Viscosity Grade: SAE 5W40
Comments Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. FUEL DILUTION is at a MODERATE LEVEL; FUEL DILUTION has caused viscosity to decrease moderately; Please provide missing LUBRICANT MANUFACTURER to compare data to the correct standards. Please provide missing FLUID PRODUCT NAME to compare data to the correct standards. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged;
Wear Metals (ppm) Contaminant Metals (ppm) Multi-Source Metals (ppm) Additive Metals (ppm)
Sample #
Iron Chromium Nickel Aluminum Copper Lead Tin Cadmium Silver Vanadium Silicon Sodium Potassium Titanium Molybdenum Antimony Manganese Lithium Boron Magnesium Calcium Barium Phosphorous Zinc
1 24 0 1 15 16 2 0 0 0 0 51 7 4 8 36 0 1 0 18 64 2856 0 1036 1185
2 26 0 1 19 15 0 0 0 0 0 61 4 1 7 2 0 0 0 183 691 1427 0 883 1088
3 16 0 0 10 6 0 0 0 0 0 15 5 1 1 44 0 0 0 61 872 980 0 966 1135
Sample Information Contaminants Fluid Properties
Sample #
Date Sampled
Date Received
Lube Time mi
Unit Time mi
Lube Change
Lube Added qt
Filter Change
Soot % Vol
Water % Vol
Acid Number mg KOH/g
Base Number mg KOH/g
Oxidation abs/cm
Nitration abs/0.1mm
1 07-Nov-2010 27-Dec-2010 2700 3300 Yes Yes <1 - Estimate <.1 - FTIR <.1 - FTIR 15.9 6.06 37 18
2 26-Jan-2013 06-Feb-2013 3000 6300 Yes Yes 4.6 - GC <.1 <.1 - FTIR 12.7 4.59 38 9
3 30-Nov-2013 06-Dec-2013 3000 9300 Yes 0 Yes 3.2 - GC <.1 <.1 - FTIR 10.9 4.73 17 9
Particle Count (particles/mL) Additional Testing
Sample #
Based On 4/6/14
> 4 µm
> 6 µm
> 10 µm
> 14 µm
> 21 µm
> 38 µm
> 70 µm
> 100 µm
Test Method
1 // AMSOIL MCV, 20W-50, SL-SG CG-4 JASO MA/MA2
2 // Harley Davidson SYN3, 20W-50, Too Cool For Standards
3 // Shell Rotella T6 Synthetic, 5W-40, SM-SH CJ-4 JASO MA/DH2
Comments are advisory only and are based on the assumption that the sample and data submitted are valid. Missing fluid or component information limits the evaluation. No warranty is expressed or implied.
Historical Comments
1 Flagged data does not indicate an immediate need for maintenance action. Continue to observe the trend and monitor equipment and fluid conditions. Abrasives (silicon/dirt) are at a MODERATE LEVEL; Titanium is at a MINOR LEVEL; Viscosity is SLIGHTLY LOW; Lubricant and filter change acknowledged; In order to properly compare data to the correct standards, please provide COMPONENT MANUFACTURER and MODEL, and the FLUID MANUFACTURER, PRODUCT NAME, and VISCOSITY GRADE.
2 Check for source of FUEL LEAK (injectors, lines etc:). Fuel is at a SIGNIFICANT LEVEL; Check air induction system (filters, housings, air intake, etc:) for source of abrasives (dirt). Abrasives (Silicon) are at a SIGNIFICANT LEVEL; FUEL DILUTION has caused viscosity to decrease SIGNIFICANTLY; Lube oxidation may be increasing; Flagged data has been rechecked and confirmed; In order to properly compare data to the correct standards, please provide COMPONENT MANUFACTURER and MODEL, and the FLUID MANUFACTURER, PRODUCT NAME, and VISCOSITY GRADE. Lubricant and filter change acknowledged; Resample at half interval;

Conclusions