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Oil analysis report - high iron, copper, and magnesium. Should I be co


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Just got my first oil analysis report. Oil is Motul x-cess 5w-40, had ~5,000 miles on it and car has almost 50k miles. TBN=6.7 (TBN=10.9 for virgin oil)

Both iron and copper seem to be quite higher. Magnesium is ~10 times higher than normal! Never any engine work. Oil and oil filter changed every 5k-7k miles/every yr, whichever comes first.

Should I be concerned? What engine parts contain copper?

E90745-edited2.pdf

TIA

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Just got my first oil analysis report. Oil is Motul x-cess 5w-40, had ~5,000 miles on it and car has almost 50k miles. TBN=6.7 (TBN=10.9 for virgin oil)

Both iron and copper seem to be quite higher. Magnesium is ~10 times higher than normal! Never any engine work. Oil and oil filter changed every 5k-7k miles/every yr, whichever comes first.

Should I be concerned? What engine parts contain copper?

E90745-edited2.pdf

TIA

Maybe engine bearings?

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In that "other" forum you would likely be told to ignore the report and drive it like you stole it. :eek:

Didn't the lab that did your oil analysis offer an interpretation of the results? Taking your report to a mechanic may be your only option--but if they are not trained in qualitative analysis I don't know how reliable their interpretation would be. Oil reports from light aircraft that I have seen come with an interpretation. Maybe there is a Lycoming or Continental mechanic near you that could give you an opinion?

Some 996 owners are reporting oil consumption in the 500 miles per quart range. Over the span of a 5,000 mile oil change cycle that would mean 10 quarts added(!). Are you experiencing high oil consumption? I think that would need to be taken into account along with the solids and metals report.

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Yea, hard to pinpoint where the iron/copper are coming from though. Will try another oil change in 4000 miles and see what the report looks like. There are comments from the tech in my lab report (attached in my original post). Seems nothing to be too concerned yet.

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Copper/mag perhaps small rod bushes and some other components, but would I be concerned at those levels? I doubt it!

IMG_4680.JPG

Main/rod bearings are steel backed.

Iron in crank, camshafts, rods, but is it enough to worry about? Doubt it.

For the "doubt it" quantification I give above you would need a ton of UOA.

Perhaps JFP in PA will comment since I'm sure he has a significant database, but I wonder what Charles or Jake's UOA libraries look like. :P

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Copper/mag perhaps small rod bushes and some other components, but would I be concerned at those levels? I doubt it!

IMG_4680.JPG

Main/rod bearings are steel backed.

Iron in crank, camshafts, rods, but is it enough to worry about? Doubt it.

For the "doubt it" quantification I give above you would need a ton of UOA.

Perhaps JFP in PA will comment since I'm sure he has a significant database, but I wonder what Charles or Jake's UOA libraries look like. :P

Thanks, Logray. Yea, not too concerned for now. Will check the next UOA in 4k miles.

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Don't forget your oil has additives, some of those metals are from your oil.

Here's a good thread about reading UOA: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/whatisoilanalysis.htm

"

Metal Tests

Some of the metals tested for and usually included in analysis of an oil sample and their potential sources are:

  • Aluminum (Al): Thrust washers, bearings and pistons are made of this metal. High readings can be from piston skirt scuffing, excessive ring groove wear, broken thrust washers, etc.
  • Boron, Magnesium, Calcium, Barium, Phosphorous, and Zinc: These metals are normally from the lubricating oil additive package. They involve detergents, dispersants, extreme-pressure additives, etc.
  • Chromium (CR): Normally associated with piston rings. High levels can be caused by dirt coming through the air intake or broken rings.
  • Copper (CU), Tin: These metals are normally from bearings or bushings and valve guides. Oil coolers also can contribute to copper readings along with some oil additives. In a new engine these results will normally be high during break-in, but will decline in a few hundred hours.
  • Iron (Fe): This can come from many places in the engine such as liners, camshafts, crankshaft, valve train, timing gears, etc.
  • Lead (Pb): Use of regular gasoline will cause very high test results. Also associated with bearing wear, but fuel source (leaded gasoline) and sampling contamination (use of galvanized containers for sampling) are critical in interpreting this metal.
  • Silicon (Si): High readings generally indicate dirt or fine sand contamination from a leaking air intake system. This would act as an abrasive, causing excessive wear. Silicon is also used as a anti-foam agent in some oils. more on silicon
  • Sodium (Na): High readings of this metal normally are associated with a coolant leak, but can be from an oil additive package."

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Thanks again, logray. Yea, I've read that info before. My oil shows about double the amount of iron/copper compared to the avg. However, my oil had 5k miles when the avg values were based on 4k miles. The TBN of my used oil is 6.7 (10 when new) which means the oil has plenty of life in it. So it seems that the engine appear to wear at a higher rate than normal in spite of the good remaining oil life.

Although this is my first UOA, I've been using the same oil (Motul x-cess 5w-40) in the past 4 years now and I change oil about every 5-7k or every yr. I was also careful when collecting the sample. I collected only in the middle of draining (not the beginning or the end) hoping to minimize any skew of contaminants in the oil. One thing different about this sample is I took a 2k+ miles road trip which involved lots of continuous highway driving. If anything, I would expect it's good for the engine and not making it wear faster.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Latest UOA here. I was anxiously waiting.

Both copper and iron have improved. Oil had 4212 miles and 7 months on it (previous two tests were ~5k/1yr between tests). The only thing changed sinc last report were new coolant and the low temp thermostat.

So seems like shorter oil change interval and lower miles will keep it happy. Maybe the low temp thermostat helps a bit too smile.gif
2013-10-04 03 CARRERA-092113-edited.pdf

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