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Old 07-16-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
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Oil Analysis Laboratory Recommendation

Can any one recommend an oil analysis laboratory? We're looking at a long term relationship.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-16-2013, 01:41 PM   #2
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Blackstone labs.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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+1 to Blackstone Labs. Their reports are very thorough and easily analyzed.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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Your local Cat dealer.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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Go to blackstone-labs.com and fill out your information and they will send you an oil sample bottle and a container to ship it to them in. You put your name and address on the enclosed label and your credit card info and your oil sample and mail it to them- USPS will take it as is. In a week or two they will send you the analysis by mail or email.

The only problem I have found is their antifreeze value. It is derived from sodium values (which are an additive in antifreeze) and generally don't mean anything for a boat in saltwater with saltwater cooling. I wish that they wouldn't report an antifreeze value at all if that is how they are going to measure it.

But with that caveat, they are a good oil lab.

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Old 07-16-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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They also will take a transmission sample If requested.
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Old 07-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
Can any one recommend an oil analysis laboratory? We're looking at a long term relationship.

Thanks in advance.
First, your best bet is the local dealer for your particular engine. With that said, when I took a sample into our local Detroit Diesel dealer, he sent the sample off to Cat :-)

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Old 07-16-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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Your local Cat dealer.
^^THIS!

Mine did it for way cheaper and in a matter of hours.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:21 AM   #9
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Blackstone Labs I think are first rate.
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Old 07-17-2013, 08:38 AM   #10
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^^THIS!

Mine did it for way cheaper and in a matter of hours.
Black stone cost 100.00 for my motor sample. Online access.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:42 AM   #11
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Black stone cost 100.00 for my motor sample. Online access.
Cat SOS is 17 bucks out the door. Bottle , label, 4 ft tube, analysis. 2 motors, 2 trans, genset. $85. Results emailed 24 to 48 hours.
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Old 07-17-2013, 12:31 PM   #12
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unless you are going to do it every time you change the oil I wouldn't even bother.

A one time oil sample is pretty much useless.you need too establish a pattern or history.
Unless you have an issue with the engine then it is useful to determine the cause of the problem.

Other wise I think it is just one more expense.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #13
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There is one thing that a one time oil analysis will show- salt water in the engine. High sodium and potassium in a ratio of about 30:1 (the ratio in seawater) is a sure indication of salt water intrusion.

I learned this the hard way (well fortunately it wasn't too hard on me) when I pulled an oil sample on a boat I had just bought. The problem (low riser height) was corrected and I don't expect any further problems. But without that one oil analysis, I never would have known it until it became a real hard (expensive) problem.

Other than that one issue, I too don't believe routine oil analysis are worthwhile for a recreational marine diesel. There are much better indicators of engine health.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:05 PM   #14
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The reason to get oil analysis is to establish a baseline. Problems can be spotted before they become big issues by levels of metals, contaminants and fluids. An increase each subsequent sample can alert the boat owner of impending issues.
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Old 07-17-2013, 01:26 PM   #15
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I stand corrected for the most part.

Still hard to get any good info with out a base line established.

A one time oil sample won't tell you much without that base line unless there is an issue you are trying to account for. As djmarchand said .
He suspected a problem and the sample helped to solve it.

It is a diagnostic tool.
I just don't think a one time oil analysis can be counted on to tell you that much about the health of the engine.

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Old 07-17-2013, 01:27 PM   #16
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Caterpillar and their SOS program looks good but it's not easy to talk to someone about your results. From what I can figure out, Caterpillar, does not own any laboratories. They use different laboratories depending on where you are in the country. In Central and Southern California region, Cat uses Quinn's Fluids Analysis Laboratory. Here in Florida, the big Cat dealer, Ring Power, owns it's own lab in Tampa. Cat dealer, Cashman Equipment in Nevada just bought Bently Tribology Services so they could bring their testing in house.

Our engine has ~8000 hours and at this point I want to deal with one lab/point of contact long term. I know I could go with any of the individual labs but there are not small businesses which we like to support.

I contacted Balckstone labs. Their standard oil analysis, is $25. You can prepay a 6 sample bulk package and it's $19/sample. It looks like a good fit for us.

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #17
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Caterpillar and their SOS program looks good but it's not easy to talk to someone about your results. From what I can figure out, Caterpillar, does not own any laboratories. They use different laboratories depending on where you are in the country. In Central and Southern California region, Cat uses Quinn's Fluids Analysis Laboratory. Here in Florida, the big Cat dealer, Ring Power, owns it's own lab in Tampa. Cat dealer, Cashman Equipment in Nevada just bought Bently Tribology Services so they could bring their testing in house.

Our engine has ~8000 hours and at this point I want to deal with one lab/point of contact long term. I know I could go with any of the individual labs but there are not small businesses which we like to support.

I contacted Balckstone labs. Their standard oil analysis, is $25. You can prepay a 6 sample bulk package and it's $19/sample. It looks like a good fit for us.

Thanks for the responses.
Larry, you won't be disappointed. Like I said, I got all 4 samples for 100.00 and they answered my follow up. The results are available on line and it was pretty easy to do and quick turnaround.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:55 PM   #18
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Same here. As soon as I got the results, I called and talked for 20 minutes with someone that was very into helping me understand the results.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:37 PM   #19
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Here's just the narrative from the lab on the last round of oil samples. I'm not use to the cheerleading but like the results. This is the first time we've used Blackstone.

Ford Lehman SP135, 7,929 hours


Metals look great -- so great, in fact, that this oil could *almost* pass as virgin oil. Universal averages show that this is a nicely wearing engine across the board. Those averages are based on about 180 hours on the oil, and with all metals reading in the single-digits, this has to be one of the all-around best wearing marine engines we've seen. No contamination was found in the oil, and even insolubles (oxidized solids caused by heat, use, and blow-by) read nice and low. This oil can see more use. Probably 30-50 hours or so. Nice!

Borg Warner Velvet Drive, 7,929 hours

This sample looks great next to universal averages. They show typical wear for a Velvet Drive transmission after about 130 hours on the oil. Your sample was in use longer and wear metals were very low by comparison. Still, they were in good balance by comparison, so we don't see any obvious problems at work here. The viscosity was on target for Chevron MD-3 ATF and no moisture or insolubles were found. This oil is still serviceable, so we suggest keeping this fill in place. You could easily run up to 200 hours on this oil, so try that and check back to build trends.

Northern Lights 8Kw Generator, 3,332 hours. (oil 207 hrs)

Metals are a bit higher than averages, which are based on about 60
hours for this type of Northern Lights generator. This oil run was quite a bit longer than average, though, so the fact that iron is higher than average isn't a serious concern. The longer you run the oil, the more iron you can expect to see. So on a longer run like this, it's not a problem. No contamination like fuel, water, or coolant was found. This oil can stay

in use for now too. Another 30-40 hours should be no problem at all.
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