>B20? Choose premium oil...

AndyH

Registered Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
May 25, 2001
Location
San Antonio, TX
TDI
'97 Passat Wagon 410K RIP
Nov 28 2007 Lube Report (headline is link to source)

Lubes and Biodiesel: Maladroit Bedfellows?
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By George Gill

HOUSTON – Biodiesel contamination can degrade performance of crankcase lubricants, though it does appear that some of this degradation can be mitigated by engine oil formulations, an Infineum USA L.P. official told the NPRA International Lubricants & Waxes meeting earlier this month. Further complicating the issue, he said, standard tests may not show the impacts.

Glen P. (Pat) Fetterman Jr., industry liaison advisor for Infineum in Linden, N.J., said the company performed bench testing to see what happens when engine oil is contaminated with biodiesel fuels. “We looked at two different oil qualities in an array of tests,” Fetterman said. “And we tried to see if there was possibly some difference oil quality had on the impact of biodiesel.”

Top-tier oil products generally did a much better job of maintaining the viscosity control than did mid-tier when contaminated with biofuels, according to Fetterman. “There does appear to be some sort of formulation-related impact on the contamination,” he said.

In a corrosion test, top-tier oils showed less degradation. “For both copper and lead, the addition of 10 percent of No. 2 diesel had zero impact on the corrosion tendency of the oil,” he said. “But when we begin putting the biofuel in, looking at both copper and lead, we see a very dramatic increase in the corrosivity of the oil with the mid-tier product, and pretty good control with the top-tier products.”

Field tests showed biofuel contamination had less impact in other areas. “Our field tests showed relatively little impact on wear and maybe a directional increase in deposits,” Fetterman said. “The engine bearings, in spite of having dramatically elevated lead levels, are actually in very, very good condition.”

He said one of the concerns with biodiesel is its significantly higher boiling point. With conventional diesel fuel, he explained, if some fuel gets loose into the engine oil sump, the generally high operating temperatures will dry the sump temperature to the point that the fuel will vaporize and be driven out of the engine. “With the biodiesel, that doesn’t happen,” Fetterman said. “It will actually accumulate in the sump.”

Fetterman said some of the engine-related concerns about possible impacts of biodiesel contamination on crankcase lubricants include whether it will change sludge-forming characteristics, bearing corrosion, piston cleanliness and ring sticking. Concerns relating to used oil include oxidation – whether putting fuel into oil changes the oxidation characteristics of used oil – and how the buildup of a different kind of wax impacts the pumpability of the used oil. There are also concerns about general viscosity losses, and the impact of contaminants.

Standard tests may not show the impacts, he said. “If you’re going to be running tests to look at the impact of biodiesel, you need to actually look at the test positions and operating parameters and make sure they’re running environments [so] that you actually get data you’re looking for,” said Fetterman.

He said a field test still running involves River Valley Trucking, a part of Tyson Foods. Its fleet includes 11 Mack E7 427 engines and 10 Cummins 1SX 450 engines. After 14 months and about 140,000 miles on No. 2 diesel fuel, the company switched the trucks to B20 biodiesel fuels. B20 biodiesel consists of about 20 percent bio component blended with 80 percent petroleum derived fuels.

“We can look at things like soot, viscosity, base number and we can compare the baseline data,” Fetterman said. “There really is essentially no difference between the baseline data and the year-plus on B20.”

Sludge control was slightly poorer with the biodiesel, but it did a pretty good job. No copper was exposed in bearings despite higher lead levels, he added. Piston deposits showed mixed results.

Fetterman said the National Biodiesel Board has agreed to sponsor engine tests using B20 biodiesel in the Mack T-12, Cummins ISB and Caterpillar C-13 engine sequence tests. Last year, Lubes'n'Greases magazine pegged the cost of running these three tests at roughly $300,000, plus substantial fuel surcharges.

“Depending on the test conditions, you may or may not actually get any of the bio component into the used oil,” he said. “My fear is they’ll spend a bunch of money and not generate used oil that has significant biodiesel, and come to the conclusion there’s no issue here.”
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tditom

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 5, 2001
Location
san antonio & austin
TDI
formerly: 2001 Golf GL, '97 Passat (RIP) '98 NB, '05 B5 sedan
thanks for providing this, Andy. Hopefully the biodiesel folks are paying attention!
 

TornadoRed

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
TDI
2003 Golf GL 5-spd, red; 2003 Golf GLS 5-spd, indigo blue; 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, Candy White
AndyH said:
He said one of the concerns with biodiesel is its significantly higher boiling point. With conventional diesel fuel, he explained, if some fuel gets loose into the engine oil sump, the generally high operating temperatures will dry the sump temperature to the point that the fuel will vaporize and be driven out of the engine. “With the biodiesel, that doesn’t happen,” Fetterman said. “It will actually accumulate in the sump.”

Fetterman said some of the engine-related concerns about possible impacts of biodiesel contamination on crankcase lubricants include whether it will change sludge-forming characteristics, bearing corrosion, piston cleanliness and ring sticking. Concerns relating to used oil include oxidation – whether putting fuel into oil changes the oxidation characteristics of used oil – and how the buildup of a different kind of wax impacts the pumpability of the used oil. There are also concerns about general viscosity losses, and the impact of contaminants.
We advise WVO- and SVO-users to cut their oil change interval in half (typically 5k miles). What advise should be given to B99 users?
 

mrGutWrench

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
Location
Wallace, NC
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
TornadoRed said:
What advise should be given to B99 users?
__. And what advice would you give to B20 users? I'd hoped that use of B20 would be OK (MzLauraLee uses it in her waggin' -- she wants to be "green") and problems would be confined to higher percentages of B. But this study seems to indicate that they saw problems even at the B20 level. Worrying ...
 

roadhard1960

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2004
Location
Covington, Ga.
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon GLS 5 speed
I sent an oil sample off where I had run B100 most of the 10,000 miles. The report came back fine except I had some air filter leak where the silicone level was high. Every other value was fine according to the company's summary. I do want their analysis of virgin oil to see what values they have for comparison purposes.
 
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