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Old 08-04-2003, 09:47 PM   #1
davesill
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WR Blue Pearl

Default Oil analysis: high lead

My first analysis, which was done by Blackstone:

----
Oil Use Interval: 7,183 mi
Make-Up Oil Added: 0 qts
Fuel Type: Unleaded premium gasoline (93 octane)
Equipment Type: 2.0L Turbo

Comments: Lead (bearings) read fairly high in the initial sample from your Subaru.

Mi on Unit: 34,433

Element: Mine (Avg. for engine type w/4k mi)
Al: 5 (5)
Cr: 1 (1)
Fe: 21 (10)
Cu: 6 (6)
Pb: 33 (3)
Sb: 1 (0)
Mb: 60 (50)
Ni: 0 (0)
Mn: 0 (1)
Ag: 0 (0)
Ti: 0 (0)
K: 1 (2)
B: 104 (102)
Si: 8 (9)
Na: 9 (26)
Ca: 3049 (2290)
Mg: 18 (292)
P: 765 (783)
Zn: 785 (913)
Ba: 0 (0)

Sus Visc. @ 210F: 57.8 (should be 55-62)
Flashpoint: 395F [>365]
Fuel %: <0.5 [<2.0]
Antifreeze: 0.0 [0]
Water: 0.0 [<0.05]
Insolubles: 0.5 [<0.6]
----

So, obviously, lead is high, but other bearing metals are OK. Iron and calcium are high. Sodium and magnesium are low.

Is lead really used in the bearings of modern engines like the WRX's?

Where could the lead be coming from? I've never used any additives. How common is lead-contaminated gas?

What do low magnesium and sodium mean?

Any observations, interpretations, or advice would be appreciated.

My normal change interval is 5k miles.
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Old 08-05-2003, 04:35 AM   #2
drees
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Yeah, lead looks pretty high for a Subaru.

You have any engine mods? What is your driving style? What oil/filter were you running?

Lead in Subarus usually occur when you experience detonation which will put extreme load on your rod/crank bearings.

You iron readings also look high for a Subaru engine.

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/gasol...port_expl.html
# Sodium: Antifreeze inhibitors, additive in some gasoline engine oils.
# Magnesium: Detergent/dispersant additive.

Looks like you simply ran too long with this oil. I'd bet you're running a dino oil or drive extremely hard as most people with normal driving in a Subaru and a synthetic oil will run up to 7k miles just fine. I guess you didn't have the TBN checked? I bet it was low as well.

I would run your next interval short, maybe 2500-3500 miles and have the oil analyzed again to make sure that the engine is healthy.
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:47 AM   #3
davesill
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Quote:
Originally posted by drees
Yeah, lead looks pretty high for a Subaru.

You have any engine mods? What is your driving style? What oil/filter were you running?
Sorry, I should have included this. I have a foam air filter and ScoobySport muffler. No internal mods. My driving style is probably typical WRX: fast and aggressive. Oil is Mobil 1 5W30. Filter is Subaru.

Quote:
Lead in Subarus usually occur when you experience detonation which will put extreme load on your rod/crank bearings.
So the main bearings in WRXs are lead-based? I find that hard to believe.

Quote:
I guess you didn't have the TBN checked? I bet it was low as well.
No, since I'm not going for extended drain I didn't think it was worth the $10.

Quote:
I would run your next interval short, maybe 2500-3500 miles and have the oil analyzed again to make sure that the engine is healthy.
I'll definitely get a recheck with the next change, but I think I'll aim for my usual 5k, which is pretty conservative for Mobil 1, considering it's under Subaru's recommendation for dino oil.

Thanks for responding.
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Old 08-05-2003, 01:14 PM   #4
Stanley
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Quote:
Originally posted by davesill
I'll definitely get a recheck with the next change, but I think I'll aim for my usual 5k, which is pretty conservative for Mobil 1, considering it's under Subaru's recommendation for dino oil.
I personally think that having the same recommended drain intervals for a NA engine and a turbo engine are complete crap. It is also important to point out that "typical WRX" driving style almost certainly puts you in the severe service cycle, which is a 3,750 mile oil change, on dino.

Thank you for posting this, I find it quite interesting. I change my Mobil 1 every 3 or 4 months (usually 3800-4500 miles) but have often wondered if I could safely extend my drain interval. Like you, I use OEM oil filters.
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Old 08-05-2003, 01:20 PM   #5
drees
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It's your option to run 5k, but with those lead and iron levels I would be a bit worried about the overall health of the engine.

If you take a look at squeeze's results after 7k on oil, his lead/iron numbers are low.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=389986

My results after 5k miles have even lower numbers:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...t=oil+analysis

-Dave
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Old 08-05-2003, 02:18 PM   #6
davesill
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Quote:
Originally posted by drees
It's your option to run 5k, but with those lead and iron levels I would be a bit worried about the overall health of the engine.
I'm concerned, too...at least enough to post here about it.

Say I retest after 3k or 5k miles and Pb/Fe are still elevated. What then? If I tell the dealer, will he care? If the WRX engine contains no lead bearings--and I haven't seen any confirmation that it does--what does that say about the health of the engine?
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Old 08-05-2003, 02:56 PM   #7
drees
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Quote:
Originally posted by davesill


I'm concerned, too...at least enough to post here about it.

Say I retest after 3k or 5k miles and Pb/Fe are still elevated. What then? If I tell the dealer, will he care? If the WRX engine contains no lead bearings--and I haven't seen any confirmation that it does--what does that say about the health of the engine?
Well, you're just under the 3yr/36k mile warranty period. Maybe you can show these results to the dealer and say, "look, I think my engine may problems, but I'm not quite sure yet, will you cover my engine if the next oil analysis still shows high levels of wear?" You may be able to use it as proof of engine damage before the warranty period had run out.

Not sure if they'll go for it or not, but at least you can use it as an excuse to pick up the extended warranty.

Hopefully this is just a contaminated sample or a fluke.

Anyone else have ideas?

edit: I see you posted on bobistheoilguy those guys should have some good insight.
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Old 08-05-2003, 06:27 PM   #8
Karl
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Is this your first sampling?
I would at least get another sample before jumping to conclusion.
On my Miata, the first oil sample I took showed high lead too, but the next one got back to normal (on about 4k miles interval).
Blackstone lab attributed it to "temporary particle streak through the bearings".
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:16 PM   #9
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Just got my first UOA back from Blackstone.

'03 WRX Wagon
M1 10W30 SS - 5,427 miles on oil, 13375 miles on engine.

Lead = 3

Iron = 12

I'll post the full report later.

I seem to recall a thread on Bob's about a Taurus owner getting new head gaskets (before a major problem occurred), due to results from a UOA.

-Dennis
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:16 PM   #10
BryanH
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So I sent my oil off for a second sample and now I am more than a little worried about the results:

ALUMINUM 5 4
CHROMIUM 1 1
IRON 13 9
COPPER 5 6
LEAD 92 26
TIN 3 0
MOLYBDENUM 72 53
NICKEL 0 0
MANGANESE 0 1
SILVER 0 0
TITANIUM 0 0
POTASSIUM 2 1
BORON 143 133
SILICON 7 6
SODIUM 5 3
CALCIUM 2634 2736
MAGNESIUM 15 27

Specifically the lead.

I sent an email to Blackstone and haven't heard anything yet...
PHOSPHORUS 762 754
ZINC 837 859
BARIUM 0 0
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:28 PM   #11
drees
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Bryan,

The numbers in the left column are yours? What oil, how long did you run it for, what's your driving style and what mods do you have? I'm guessing M1? Also do you have the viscosity, fuel % and insolubles %?

Your elevated lead/tin definitely point to bearing wear.

-Dave
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:30 PM   #12
BryanH
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the first column is 17500 miles and the second is 14000 miles.

mobil 1 5w30
driving style is commute in traffic with occasional backroad fun.
No mods...not even a k&N.


EDITED>>>>

Last edited by BryanH; 04-07-2004 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:33 PM   #13
BryanH
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insolubles were 0.4
water 0.0
antifreeze 0.0
fuel <0.5
flashpoint 375
viscosity 60.0
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:34 PM   #14
drees
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Well, the good news is that the wear #s are going down, best to check again after another 3-4k. What were you using previously and for how long? Everything else looks pretty normal, just the lead and tin are elevated.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:37 PM   #15
BryanH
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always 3-4K and always mobil 1 5w30.

Crap those are backwards...the first column is 17500 and the second is 14000.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:42 PM   #16
esteve
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I wonder if that foam air filter has anything to do with it. It's possible that it could be letting too much dirt and abrasives into your motor causing wear in the bearings.

I've seen one of those Greddy foam filters literally crumble apart before.
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:47 PM   #17
BryanH
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Quote:
Originally posted by esteve
I wonder if that foam air filter has anything to do with it. It's possible that it could be letting too much dirt and abrasives into your motor causing wear in the bearings.

I've seen one of those Greddy foam filters literally crumble apart before.
what foam air filter?
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Old 04-07-2004, 11:52 PM   #18
drees
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The original poster (davesill) didn't appear to have an issue with his air filter, his silicon numbers were low. BryanH is running stock filter, and silicon is low, too. Elevated silicon is #1 indicator of dirt in oil, although elevated silicon can be gasket sealer leaching in on a new or recently repaired engine.

I've seen a couple of WRX engines with abnormally high lead. Most of them produce very low wear numbers.

Haven't figured out why some of them do, though. BryanH appears to be doing everything right, using M1, extremely short intervals, no mods... but bearing wear usually points to detonation or fuel contamination.

Might want to post on BITOG for more advice.

BTW, here's a link to my most recent analysis: 7600mi M1 5w30 WRX
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Old 04-08-2004, 12:59 AM   #19
esteve
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Quote:
Originally posted by BryanH
what foam air filter?
I was referring to davesill, but I think drees cleared it up.
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:18 AM   #20
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yeah...whoops...
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:20 AM   #21
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Will old plugs cause detonation? I still have the original plugs at 20000 miles....

teh gas is consistenly exxon or amoco 94/93 octane so I don't think that is it. I wonder about the winter additives around here? Va. I think they did away with MTBE.
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:20 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by davesill
So the main bearings in WRXs are lead-based? I find that hard to believe.
Sorry, but it's true .


Brian

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Old 04-08-2004, 02:16 AM   #23
drees
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Quote:
Originally posted by BryanH
Will old plugs cause detonation? I still have the original plugs at 20000 miles....

teh gas is consistenly exxon or amoco 94/93 octane so I don't think that is it. I wonder about the winter additives around here? Va. I think they did away with MTBE.
Given that your engine is 100% stock, I'd have a really hard time blaming detonation. I'd have to chauk it up to variances in the engines, but seeing close to 100ppm of lead where a lot of others are seeing almost none is very strange.

Do you wait until the engine is fully warmed up before driving hard?
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Old 04-08-2004, 08:52 AM   #24
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I always keep it under 4000 rpms until the engine is warm.
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by BryanH
I always keep it under 4000 rpms until the engine is warm.
Out of curiosity, how do you determine when the engine is warm? Are you going by the stock temperature guage or an aftermarket oil temperature guage?

It is important to know that the stock guage is non-linear and only measure coolant temperature.
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