Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Alltrack is a lifted (1.4 inch) SportWagen with full time AWD - 4MOTION. With the same 1.8 liter 4-cylinder as the SportWagen, it's a fast, fun wagon available with a manual (!) or auto transmission.
Matt
Site Admin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:52 pm
Has thanked: 3 times

Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Post by Matt » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:45 pm

My Alltrack's engine oil is done, kaput, after just 6 months, as I've detailed in 2017 Golf Alltrack 1.8 – Tracking Engine Oil Color in Photos. Perhaps that title isn't as strong as it should be. Whatever the case, take a look:

Image

I'm going to check the air filter today or tomorrow.

I should send in an oil sample for analysis. :ugeek:

Matt
Site Admin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:52 pm
Has thanked: 3 times

Re: Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Post by Matt » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:59 am

I ordered and received a oil testing kit from Blackstone Labs. I'll send it in on Friday or Saturday.
1 (1).jpg
1 (1).jpg (532.65 KiB) Viewed 95 times

From FCP's site:
Blackstone Labs Oil Analysis
by Tim Wong
Normally, if you suspect your engine is having some serious issues, the easiest way to figure out what is wrong is to take your car in to the local indie mechanic, exchange some cash, and walk out with either a fixed car, or at least knowledge of what’s wrong with your car. Most of the time, this will take a few hours out of your day, and not to mention a few hours of labour. After a few of these trips, you must figure that there has to be an easier way to examine the condition of your engine without requiring a mechanic with thousands of dollars of specialized tools like scopes, compression testers, and whatnot.

Fortunately, this exists. My trusty 1991 Volvo 940 GLE just turned over 416,000 kms, and still has not left me stranded. I’ll admit, there was a day or two that I didn’t know if I would make it to work, but time and again, once she was running, there was no stopping. Upon some odd symptoms of poor idling, a loud exhaust, puffs of white smoke, and other odd occurrences, I decided to get my oil examined by Blackstone Laboratories. What Blackstone is able to do, is take a sample of your engine oil, and tell you things about your engine that you may not even have thought of.

It’s a simple process. All you need to do is fill up a small container of oil when performing an oil change, send it in, and you’ll get a full report answering most questions that you may have. To prevent contamination, its best to grab oil mid-stream as it is coming out of the oil pan. My main questions that I wanted answered were:

1. Does my engine have a head gasket issue (I had been having a case of disappearing coolant)
2. Are the piston rings on my engine wearing badly? (Potential cause of rough idling/general poor running)
I sent in my bottle of used 5W30 oil (regular, non-synthetic) and got a report within the week. The results were as follows:

Blackstone Labs Results

There’s a few things to take note from my results:

1. If you compare the values measured for my car after a 13,000 km oil change interval, you’ll see that most metallic measured elements are very close to the universal averages, which are averaged from a 7200 km oil change. Even copper and lead are lower than average. Looking at Iron and chrome wear (the B234F has an iron block) it is only slightly above average. If you consider my oil change was approximately twice the average distance this, in combination with the low readings of other metals indicates that all my rotating components are wearing very nicely.
2. With fuel levels low, this indicates minimal blow-by gases are entering the crankcase, which means my piston rings are probably okay. That’s good news!
3. For the bad news, as stated in the comments, my high potassium and sodium levels indicate a coolant leak in my engine which only means one thing: a head gasket issue.
4. Lastly, my oil change interval of 13,000 kms was not considered excessive by any stretch. Yes, Blackstone labs is recommending shorter oil change intervals due to my coolant leak, but apart from that, my oil is doing pretty good. The one positive to the headgasket problem that the reduced viscosity doesn’t hurt anything.

Although I am not too happy to know that I will need a new headgasket in the near future, the process to figure it out was simple, and at least I don’t need to do any more guessing. Besides, a new head gasket is better than new piston rings. If you’ve got any further input into what my analysis is telling me, feel free to let me know in my comments below.

Matt
Site Admin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:52 pm
Has thanked: 3 times

Re: Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Post by Matt » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:54 am

Ooops, a little late on getting that out the door, but better late than never.

I took it to a USPS yesterday to send it to Blackstone, and the clerk was a little hesitant because the cap you can just unscrew... obviously not the best solution by Blackstone to sending things to them.

Their notes -- I took along with me in case a USPS clerk had a problem with sending this through the mail -- say that if there's trouble with USPS, "put it in a box".

Then why use the black containers in the first place? Send a small box to customers for mailing the sample back, instead of the black plastic jar. I don't get that.

Matt
Site Admin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:52 pm
Has thanked: 3 times

Re: Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Post by Matt » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:56 am

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 1.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 1.jpg (295.53 KiB) Viewed 63 times
So my siphon was dirty. Ok. Clean with water. Ok. But then since I wanted to use it right away, wouldn't the residual drops in it introduce a "contaminant" in testing? Uh oh. So I blew out the drops with canned air.

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 2.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 2.jpg (240.78 KiB) Viewed 63 times
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 3.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 3.jpg (291.7 KiB) Viewed 63 times
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 4.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 4.jpg (309.58 KiB) Viewed 63 times
One big problem - the engine was hot. This is supposed to be the right way, when the oil mixes itself when hot, as opposed to cold where given time, it'll separate into components somewhat. Getting the siphon to work here was difficult, so I sucked the oil out of the bottom of the engine. Ugh. Yes, I tasted it.

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 6.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 6.jpg (290.43 KiB) Viewed 63 times
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 7.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 7.jpg (195.57 KiB) Viewed 63 times
This is VERY IMPORTANT if you are pulling oil from the top, as opposed to getting a sample during an oil change. The diameter of the dipstick tube is exactly the diameter of this siphon's tube, plus a billionth of an inch. So, if you're going to use a siphon, get one that is smaller diameter than 1/4 inch, or if that's impossible, a 1/4 inch like mine will work in the VW 1.8 gasoline engine dipstick tube if you have patience.

1/4 inch is very difficult to feed into the top, where it narrows. It took minutes both times I went in for a pull. If the engine is hot, you'll get some mild burns trying to feed it down.

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 8.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 8.jpg (191.34 KiB) Viewed 63 times
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 5.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 5.jpg (182.24 KiB) Viewed 63 times
Ok, got enough, I think.

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 9.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 9.jpg (246.87 KiB) Viewed 63 times
All set to put it together to mail out.

getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 10.jpg
getting-oil-sample-from-engine-blackstone - 10.jpg (157.68 KiB) Viewed 63 times
All packaged up.

Matt
Site Admin
Posts: 66
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:52 pm
Has thanked: 3 times

Re: Engine oil very dirty after 6 months and 5200 miles

Post by Matt » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:57 am

Blackstone sent me an email this morning that they got it. I was a little concerned... there's no place to write a return address, so if it got rejected somewhere along the line by a USPS clerk because of [whatever reason*], I'd never hear from Blackstone.

When you put something in the mail at a USPS post office, they ask if the contents of the package are "liquid, flammable, perishable..."

* overzealous clerk

Post Reply Previous topicNext topic