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Discussion Starter #1
First you may recall these threads:

Maintenance – Round 1

Maintenance – Round 2

This Used Oil Analysis(UOA) report posted below is the first one done on this van after purchasing it one year ago.

Here are a few things to note:

  • The current brand of oil was run two consecutive times before it was sampled to reduce cross contamination from prior oil brands used.
  • The oil filter was retained for two oil changes or 1-year of use.
  • Wear metals are all single digit Parts Per Million(PPM).
  • Oil viscosity maintained and had no negligible thickening or thinning.
  • NO negligible water contamination.
  • NO negligible fuel dilution.
  • Acid neutralizing alkaline reserve (TBN) is at acceptable level.
  • POLARIS Laboratories has the highest level of accreditation attainable by a testing laboratory, see also: ISO 17025 A2LA
Vehicle Information
Vehicle----------2002 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport
Engine-----------3.3L R-Code, 6 cyl
Trans------------Automatic
OIL--------------5.5 qt Amsoil OEF Full Synthetic 5W-30 (Sampled at end of second run)
Oil additive-----None
Make-up oil----None
Oil filter---------Donaldson Synteq P/N #P169071
Air filter---------Amsoil Absolute Efficiency Air Filter P/N #EAA170
Miles on oil------2,665 miles
Time on oil-------6-months (Oct to April)
Miles on oil Filter-----5553 miles
Time on oil filter-----12-months (April to April)
Annual Oil Cost-----$62.44
Annual Oil Filter Cost-----$14.54
Annual Oil and Oil Filter Cost-----$76.98
Annual Oil and Oil Filter Cost Per Mile-----$0.014
Miles on vehicle—---112,515 (owned since 106,900-miles)

UOA done by POLARIS Laboratories - under Private Label Program , Oil Analyzers Inc:

WEAR METALS (PPM)
iron-------------------7
chromium-------------0
nickel------------------0
aluminum-------------1
copper----------------1
lead-------------------0
tin---------------------0
cadmium--------------0
silver------------------0
vanadium-------------0

Contaminant Metals (PPM)
silicon-----------------15
sodium----------------4
potassium-------------2

Multi-Source Metals (PPM)
titanium-----------------0
molybdenum-------------74
antimony-----------------0
manganese--------------0
lithium-------------------0
boron---------------------134

Additive Metals (PPM)
magnesium----------7
calcium-------------1891
barium-----------------0
phosphorus--------659
zinc-----------------734

Contaminants
fuel Dilution-----------------<1%
water----------------<.1%
soot/solids----------<.1%

Fluid Properties
Viscosity @ 40---------------n/a
Viscosity @ 100--------------10.1 (started at 10.8)
oxidation-----------------11
nitration-----------------10
TBN------------------2.59 (started at 7.90)

ISO Particle Count (particles/mL)

Test Method - Pore Blockage

>4 microns------1214
>6 microns------661
>10 microns-----246
>14 microns-----112
>21 microns-----38
>38 microns-----5
>70 microns-----0
>100 microns----0

ISO cleanliness code----- 17/17/14
 

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Such a short change interval for such a good oil, you can safely go much much longer than that! That said, good numbers :)

I ran 12,400km on Castrol Syntec 5W30 and got the following results:

Tin 0
Lead 1
Copper 0.2
Aluminum 1
Silicon 45

Iron 12
Chromium 1
Silver 0
Zinc 800
Magnesium 950

Nickel 0.7
Barium 0
Sodium 111
Calcium 1150
Vanadium 0

Phosphorus 615
Molybdenum 60
Boron 16
Manganese 0.9

PHYSICAL PROPERTIES

Viscosity (D445) @ 100ºC 10.02
Water (D4007) (% v/v) 0
Solids (D4007) (% v/v) <0.1
Glycol No
Fuel Dilution No


Previous fill had been Shell Rotella T6 5W40, though I had done some major engine work and had a chance to really drain it well (oil pan had been removed for ~10 hours). Fresh RTV elevated the silicon count and the sodium count is apparently high as a result of an additive Castrol is using (not antifreeze contamination).

I am working on a 16,000km change interval right now and also expect it to come back good (I'll pay for TBN this time to make sure) and will probably settle at 22,000-24,000km change intervals.

My van currently has 128,300km on it, the interval for the above results was for 114,080km-126,410km, or approximately 12,400km. My driving style would be classified as quite aggressive, I am a firm believer of the Italian tune-up and wind my van right up to the rev limiter daily.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Such a short change interval for such a good oil, you can safely go much much longer than that! That said, good numbers :)
You're probably thinking of the Amsoil Signature Series oil?

What I'm currently using is the Amsoil SAE 5W-30 Original Equipment(OE) Synthetic Motor Oil

SERVICE LIFE
In gasoline-fueled vehicles, AMSOIL OE Synthetic Motor Oil is recommended for the intervals stated by the vehicle manufacturer or indicated by the oil life monitoring system. Change oil filter at every oil change.
So according to Chrysler, I'm easily in the Schedule “B” category of the owners manual.

That is, going by the Amsoil and Chrysler recommendation, I should be changing my oil AND filter every 3000-miles, so I'm not too far off from the actual recommendation.
 

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As far as that oil goes, you can easily run that all year long with only driving 6,000 miles total in a 12 month time period. As far as that Donaldson Synteq oil filter, one full year also, easy.

Do what makes you happy though :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As far as that oil goes, you can easily run that all year long with only driving 6,000 miles total in a 12 month time period. As far as that Donaldson Synteq oil filter, one full year also, easy.

Do what makes you happy though :thumb:
Yeah, the only thing I'd be concerned about with taking that oil one full year is Polaris labs is telling me the "Base Number is SIGNIFICANTLY LOW" at 2.59, which I've heard they have a different philosophy on TBN than some other labs. But really, in six months time, I've already burnt through 5.31 of the 7.90 starting TBN. Also the van doesn't use or leak oil so I wouldn't be sweetening the pot as far as TBN is concerned.

I've figured by going to the top tier Signature Series line where the TBN starts off at a healthy 12.6, it'll be a 1-year oil & filter change no sweat. Plus I'll actually end up saving $10 extra bucks as well versus the two oil changes with OE. So, better oil, less money, a win-win.
 

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TBN depletion is not linear, and if you add any make-up oil restoring the TBN is also not linear. I generally would change the oil when the TBN hits 1.5. You probably know this but oils deplete their TBN very quickly at first, then slowly later. Some people will do partial drains to refresh the additive packages and bump up the TBN on really long change intervals.

I knew it was the OE series oil which is only a group III synthetic, but still I would expect to be able to go far beyond 3000 miles. The TBN is a little worrying given it was run for such a short distance and time, but a single result does not make a pattern ;) I'd try a 4000 mile interval next time and see what the TBN has done. I think Polaris is being a little conservative flagging the TBN at 2.59.

I use Castrol Syntec which is also a group III oil and like I said above, I ran 12,400km on it with good results and am going to take the current interval further. I will be switching to a group IV/V oil with high TBN for my desired (20,000km+) change interval, the first UOA was more to establish wear metal baseline rates and oil consumption than TBN depletion since I feel pretty certain that I am well within the limits there.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
TBN depletion is not linear, and if you add any make-up oil restoring the TBN is also not linear. I generally would change the oil when the TBN hits 1.5. You probably know this but oils deplete their TBN very quickly at first, then slowly later. Some people will do partial drains to refresh the additive packages and bump up the TBN on really long change intervals.

I knew it was the OE series oil which is only a group III synthetic, but still I would expect to be able to go far beyond 3000 miles. The TBN is a little worrying given it was run for such a short distance and time, but a single result does not make a pattern ;) I'd try a 4000 mile interval next time and see what the TBN has done. I think Polaris is being a little conservative flagging the TBN at 2.59.

I use Castrol Syntec which is also a group III oil and like I said above, I ran 12,400km on it with good results and am going to take the current interval further. I will be switching to a group IV/V oil with high TBN for my desired (20,000km+) change interval, the first UOA was more to establish wear metal baseline rates and oil consumption than TBN depletion since I feel pretty certain that I am well within the limits there.
Oh I agree with you. Looking at many other UOAs, it's been pretty well established so far that the OE line can do consistent 5,000-mile/6-month drain intervals without fail; even longer in some cases. It's a pretty good value oil in that way I think. But with the severe driving we do, I don't feel like pushing the oil much past the 6-month mark irregardless of the mileage we do.

And like you, utilizing the entry level cost effective Group III Full Synthetic was to establish a preliminary base line to see how this engine does when operated under our specific driving conditions. Since this engine appears to be mechanically sound and easy on the oil, a 1-year change interval should be no problem at all especially for a top tier PAO/Ester formulation that's designed for that type of use.
 

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if you are only doing 3000 miles in 6 months then 1 year would only be 6000 miles and I don't see any need to go to a PAO/ester base synthetic to obtain change intervals in that range. I think what you should be looking for is a high TBN oil with a good additive pack as opposed to a PAO/ester base oil. If you are worried about cold weather performance check the pour point and low temperature viscosity of a few oils until you find one that you like.

My go-to oil for those needs is Shell Rotella T6, but if you have an opposition to 5W40 or live in a very cold climate I wouldn't recommend it (although I live in Calgary, AB and have run it year-round here). It's a group III diesel oil and is a good bit cheaper than Amsoil signature series (and much easier to get), and I ran it for about 4 months in my van before I finally scrounged up all the right parts to tackle the timing chain and drained it out as part of that work. We always use it in the rally-x subaru and I have run it in almost every car I've owned for a few years now, typically running 15,000km (or 1 year whichever comes first) change intervals with good UOA results. I am not using it in the van and will probably be running the 0W20 Amsoil Signature series oil for at least one OCI to see how it fares before deciding whether to go back to the T6. The only reason I am not running it right now is because I picked up a few jugs of Syntec to use on other cars in my extended family (everybody seems to bring their car to me for everything in my family...) and I started using it out of convenience, though I might just switch everybody to T6 to keep the same convenience factor ;)
 

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I've figured by going to the top tier Signature Series line where the TBN starts off at a healthy 12.6, it'll be a 1-year oil & filter change no sweat. Plus I'll actually end up saving $10 extra bucks as well versus the two oil changes with OE. So, better oil, less money, a win-win.
Good call.

If it was me, I would do the 6 month OCI with PYB/VWB 5w30 and a decent filter (NG, P1, MO-090, etc) since I like working on my cars. If you want to "set-it-and-forget" for the year, then your plan with the SS/Donaldson combo is great as well. Really it all comes down to your time, energy, $, and piece of mind. You've done alot of good work looking at your maintenance threads. Keep it up! :beerchug:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
if you are only doing 3000 miles in 6 months then 1 year would only be 6000 miles and I don't see any need to go to a PAO/ester base synthetic to obtain change intervals in that range. I think what you should be looking for is a high TBN oil with a good additive pack as opposed to a PAO/ester base oil. If you are worried about cold weather performance check the pour point and low temperature viscosity of a few oils until you find one that you like.

My go-to oil for those needs is Shell Rotella T6, but if you have an opposition to 5W40 or live in a very cold climate I wouldn't recommend it (although I live in Calgary, AB and have run it year-round here). It's a group III diesel oil and is a good bit cheaper than Amsoil signature series (and much easier to get), and I ran it for about 4 months in my van before I finally scrounged up all the right parts to tackle the timing chain and drained it out as part of that work. We always use it in the rally-x subaru and I have run it in almost every car I've owned for a few years now, typically running 15,000km (or 1 year whichever comes first) change intervals with good UOA results. I am not using it in the van and will probably be running the 0W20 Amsoil Signature series oil for at least one OCI to see how it fares before deciding whether to go back to the T6. The only reason I am not running it right now is because I picked up a few jugs of Syntec to use on other cars in my extended family (everybody seems to bring their car to me for everything in my family...) and I started using it out of convenience, though I might just switch everybody to T6 to keep the same convenience factor ;)
I'm positive I could find a happy medium with the bump in TBN from XL line for example, but I just haven't tried anything from the newer Signature Series line and want to give it a shot just for fun.

Shell Rotella is a fine oil but I’m personally not a fan of using 40-grade anything in a modern gasoline engine especially when the UOAs from a 30-grade look about as good as it gets. Actually, like you, I'm also thinking about switching to 0W-20 and not because it gets really cold here but because we live in a small city where we can generally get to where we need to go within 5-miles or less and with little or no highway time. That said, the van probably rarely gets up to normal operating temperature. In that respect, the 0W-20 should really shine in this application. Future UOAs will be most telling.

I also like the 0W-20 Signature Series because it has nearly the same exact High Temperature/High Shear (HT/HS) number as some of the leading 5W-30 conventional motor oils on the market today so it's not exactly a weak oil comparatively.

Lastly, you probably know this, but if you're thinking about trying 0W-20 Signature Series for one Oil Change Interval (OCI) and then doing a UOA on it, you may find more background noise than anything. Generally it takes two or more oil changes with a new oil before things start to settle down from the introduction of a new add pack at which point one can see a more clearer representation of what the new oil is really doing.
 

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You're right that oils do take a while to settle in, but with such long OCIs it should still yield some meaningful data when it comes to wear metal accumulation. The TBN depletion and additive consumption won't be as accurate as it could be on the first change but there is still enough meaningful data there to make it worth sampling :)

I hear you on the 40 weight argument but I feel that the added film strength of most 40 weight oils is a sufficient advantage to justify their use, especially with my driving style ;)

I look forward to seeing more UOAs and I'll try to post mine up as they come in (1-2/year so don't expect another one any time soon!)
 
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