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Discussion Starter · #141 ·
Thats nutz!

I'm now sorry that I even brought up another analysis company, Tom. :(

On the FB posting, Don Smith suggested that OAI (Are they the same company as Polaris Laboratories?) was less expensive than BSL. I didn't see that to be an accurate statement.
It doesn't matter if they are the same or not, or if one is less expensive than the other, with all THAT 'runa' round'!
 
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...On the FB posting, Don Smith suggested that OAI (Are they the same company as Polaris Laboratories?) was less expensive than BSL. ...
OAI is one of the 'Retail Partners' where you send your oil sample to a third party and they forward it to Polaris Labs. All the Retail Partners are merely fronts for Polaris Labs.

OAI just happens to be the front run by, wait for it...

AMSOIL.

He did mention that, right?

Here's a list of the Retail Partners:

MTU Fluid Analysis Program by MTU America
DEUTZ Fluid Analysis Program by DEUTZ Corporation
Doggett Heavy Machinery Fluid Analysis Program by Doggett Machinery Services
JG Lubricant Services Fluid Analysis Program by JG Lubricant Services, LLC
MONITOR Fluid Analysis Program by Fleetguard
Oil Analyzers Fluid Analysis Program by AMSOIL Inc.
PACCAR Fluid Analysis Program by PACCAR Inc.
Quick Care by Mack and Volvo
Seakits Fluid Analysis Program by WheelHouse Technologies
Systemgard Fluid Analysis Program by Case Construction and Case IH
Yacht Samples Fluid Analysis Program by Yacht Samples LLC
 
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Now, all y'all know where this is going, right?

Anywhoo, I got another e-mail from the customer service rep along the lines of "Tom, In order for me to set you up correctly, I would need some information from you.What kind of equipment your going to be testing and how often?" and I provided said information.

I decided to go with a high-side estimate of my activity and responded " I have two motorcycles and one car. I would be sending samples in three to six times a year."

What could go wrong?

Now, a word about why I don't want to go through the third party thing. It's simple; they are all obviously set up to serve a narrow market and I am a general-purpose customer. It doesn't seem fitting to send my wee sample of motorcycle oil to Case or International Harvestor or Doggett or Mack or Volvo. A yacht company wouldn't want it. I'm not in a fleet of vehicles. OAI is clearly set up for testing their own products; they wouldn't appreciate interlopers with Kawasaki mineral oil. There simply doesn't appear to be a front that serves the common shade tree mechanic with one or two vehicles. I see nothing like Kragen or Auto-Zone Oil Analysis Service.

Therefore they must run all of that sort of thing direct to Polaris Labs where me and lappy can order kits form the comfort of our own home.
 

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Here's a list of the Retail Partners:

MTU Fluid Analysis Program by MTU America
DEUTZ Fluid Analysis Program by DEUTZ Corporation
Doggett Heavy Machinery Fluid Analysis Program by Doggett Machinery Services
JG Lubricant Services Fluid Analysis Program by JG Lubricant Services, LLC
MONITOR Fluid Analysis Program by Fleetguard
Oil Analyzers Fluid Analysis Program by AMSOIL Inc.
PACCAR Fluid Analysis Program by PACCAR Inc.
Quick Care by Mack and Volvo
Seakits Fluid Analysis Program by WheelHouse Technologies
Systemgard Fluid Analysis Program by Case Construction and Case IH
Yacht Samples Fluid Analysis Program by Yacht Samples LLC
Soon to be added:

Tom Schmitz Scientific Lubricant Analyses

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
Anyways, I don't see a Universal Averages for our specific engine group in the Oil Analyzers Inc report, to be able to compare the performance of various samples of different brands of oils against in Don Smiths oil report. So one really does not know how well his oil performed compared to any others, in our engines.

On FaceBook, Don Smith has previously chastised my chosen brand of engine oil for its viscosity break-down and I've told him to ignore the viscosity break-down in unit construction motorcycle engines & simply look at the amount, or lack thereof, of wear metals. As long as it is thick enough/good enough to keep the metals from wearing, it really doesn't matter as long as it doesn't thin down too Far. (How far is too far? My wear metals are consistently very low on a ppm per 1k traveled.)

On FaceBook, Don claimed that OAI calls for a higher range of numbers for 10W40 graded oils than does BSLs. Yet I can't find those numbers on his report to compare his oil to.

Yet OAI had flagged his Amsoil viscosity of 9.8 in 1850 miles, as Highly Abnormal (light brown #3 in the upper RH corner)! And four items flagged as #2's (Abnormal).
Yes, his 3.2% fuel dilution is part of what has thinned his Amsoil viscosity down to that 9.8 mark.

I wonder why the engine oil additive metal 'Magnesium' with a ppm count of 167 was flagged as Abnormal? My most recent BSL report shows a UA of 212ppm based upon 52 samples of various oils from KLR engines.

BSLs has never given my chosen engine oil, which was used in my engine, any cautionary flags in 5 samplings.

I truly look forward to more Amsoil samplings from Don Smiths engine.
 

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Success! After only one more e-mail I now have an account with Polaris.

Fine and dandy, me and the lappy are off to the store.

A basic oil test is $24.29 and seems fairly comparable and competitive with what I am used to, so that's what I ordered.

Upon checkout, I find that the shipping from Indianapolis, IN is $31.85. That is the least expensive option.

That dog won't hunt. Ain't even a nice dog. Wretched, mean, spiteful, straight-razor totin' dog. Sorta like Polk Salad Annie's mom.

Now, being a stubborn cuss, I can't just give up yet. There is one more option, and that is to try and go with JG Lubricant Services. This is one of their retail partners and seems to be for the common man, a partner I conveniently overlooked in my zest for mirth, satire, and a general rant.

The basic kit is $23.49 and shipping is $14.97. Let's call it $38.50 all-in.

Blackstone Labs is $28, all-in.

I'm going to do this, once, just once, so we can have a side-by-side of the same oil, same sample, two different labs. This fulfills my obligation to provide amusement and useless knowledge for the first quarter of 2020.
 

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The samples have finally been sent off in the 2020 Great American Oil Analysis Face-Off!

Most of the delay has been to my generally gimpy state of late, which is also responsible for the lack of mileage on the KLR this year. The BMW got its usual share, but the KLR has been sadly neglected.

No worries, though, as two samples were pulled. I'd tried to do this some time ago but discovered a serious drawback to doing the 100% filtration mod. You can't simply run a bit of tubing down the main oil gallery to the oil pump and draw a sample out. Things had to wait until I was once again capable of getting down on the ground to remove the drain plug and taking a sample and, more importantly, being able to get up again.

It was also necessary to grapple with the byzantine HORIZON website that Polaris has so that I could a) set up an asset and b) enter the sample data. This should have taken 10 minutes but wound up taking a lot longer. It may be old-school but, for us shade-tree-mechanic-losers and clapped-out KLR riders, it is a lot easier to fill out a piece of paper and wrap it around the bottle and send it in. If you are a fleet manager and use that HORIZON site every day it would make sense and you'd get good at it right quick, I'm sure.

We can also do a bit of a cost comparison. Blackstone sends you a half-dozen sample kits that are return-postage-paid just for the asking. The analysis costs $28US. Ya axe for a kit, ya put oil in it, ya fill out the slip, ya send it in, and it costs $28US all-in. Nuff said.

Polaris (well, going through JG Lubricants) costs $23.49US plus $14.97US shipping for the kit, but they don't include return shipping, which cost me $3.90US (to Salt Lake City, the closest lab) for a total of $42.96US. I thought they were supposed to include return shipping, but, well, no.

My best reaction to the cost difference is 'holy ****ing shit'.

I am on pins and needles with anticipation as I await the results of these analyses so that I can compare and contrast to discover the vast benefits form spending an additional $15US (or, put another way, 24 12oz Budweisers).
 
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There are a few things that people who say that Polaris is better than Blackstone like to talk about.

First is the fuel dilution. I'm conflicted about that. I kinda sorta figure that if you have a fuel dilution problem you must be a dumbass. On my last trip, I had an inlet valve failure and was flooding the carb at anything approaching an idle. Yet I have a fuel dilution that is perfectly acceptable. To have enough fuel getting into your oil to get to 5%, don't you have to be completely oblivious to an obvious problem? Shouldn't you notice that your fuel mileage has decreased? IONO.

Second is that Blackstone doesn't correctly identify viscosity issues because they are using an incorrect table. I don't know enough about that, but I do know that I have had low viscosity issues with past tests. I always chalked it up to shearing. Shrug.

The third is that Blackstone charges an extra $10 to give you a TBN while Polaris does it for the base price. Would someone please point out the TBN in the report above?
 

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Tom, what's your comparative evaluation of the competence and usefulness of oil analysis from the two labs? A wash? One better, one not so good? Just wonderin'!
 

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As an internet trained and YouTube certified tribologist, my well-considered and unassailable opinion and evaluation is as follows.

Polaris is touted to be a better lab by the BITOG crowd and especially the AMSOIL folks, for whom Polaris is the in-house lab. The reasons for this are that Polaris provides a TBN in their price while Blackstone charges $10 extra, the fuel dilution by Polaris is by gas chromatography while Blackstone is an estimate based on volatility, and Polaris is much better at evaluation viscosity while Blackstone can't read a chart.

I did not receive a TBN in my report, the fuel dilution is a red herring because the causes of fuel dilution can be taken care of by proper maintenance and attention to detail, and Stevie Wonder can see what the viscosity is straight off the report.

The particulates are consistent for both labs. Given that Polaris is, effectively, 50% more expensive and that I have managed to dismiss the supposed benefits of Polaris, I will stick with Blackstone.

Arrogantly yours,
 
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I also don't see Universal Averages or acceptable limits in the Polaris report. I'd miss those for perspective. I like that both tests report very similar measurement results for most of the elements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #154 ·
I also dis-like that the other lab does not show a Universal Averages for our engine.

With-out a listed UA how is one to know how ones engine or chosen engine oil is comparing to the rest of the worlds engines or engine oils?

Their lay-out also doesn't seem to lend itself to easily comparing future reports.
The BSL format is very easy to compare other peoples BSL reports to our own or to others, over multiple samplings.

Both labs seemed to agree that less then 2.0% fuel dilution is apparently nothing to worry about, as the Polaris lab listed Toms 1.8% dilution as Green for Normal.
It is a little odd that being sooo close to the BSL 2.0% threshold that BSL did list it as <0.5%.

Comparing Toms previous 3000 mile run BSL viscosity (8.98) to my previous 3000 mile run BSL viscosity (8.92) with similar 'Make up oil added' his current 8.89 BSL viscosity seems to be pretty normal for the Kawasaki 10W40 engine oil considering that it had some dilution this time.
 

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For 24 years I worked as a diesel engine tech in a truck and equipment shop.
I found oil sampling a poor predictor of engine failure. Most failures were caused by metal fatigue and gave no warning.
I couldn't tell you how many times an operator or driver came to me with an engine with a noise that "wasn't there before".
The first thing I would do was remove the oil filter cut the end off and remove the paper element. I would take the filter element
and cut a big piece of pleated paper out of it and squish the oil out of it in the vice. Once I dried the oil off and released the vice the
pleated paper looked dry and you could really see the metal particles in it. I used to advise owner operators to do this every oil change
and if they were concerned with what they found to bring it and show it to me.

I do this with my motorcycles at every oil change as well. The first oil change on my 2017 KLR the oil filter was full of junk. It looked like mostly
bits of gasket and silicone and a few small metal particles. I was surprised at how much there was. Kawasaki's engine assembly plant is
obviously not the cleanest place.

Terry
 

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As an internet trained and YouTube certified tribologist, my well-considered and unassailable opinion and evaluation is as follows.

Polaris is touted to be a better lab by the BITOG crowd and especially the AMSOIL folks, for whom Polaris is the in-house lab. The reasons for this are that Polaris provides a TBN in their price while Blackstone charges $10 extra, the fuel dilution by Polaris is by gas chromatography while Blackstone is an estimate based on volatility, and Polaris is much better at evaluation viscosity while Blackstone can't read a chart.

I did not receive a TBN in my report, the fuel dilution is a red herring because the causes of fuel dilution can be taken care of by proper maintenance and attention to detail, and Stevie Wonder can see what the viscosity is straight off the report.

The particulates are consistent for both labs. Given that Polaris is, effectively, 50% more expensive and that I have managed to dismiss the supposed benefits of Polaris, I will stick with Blackstone.

Arrogantly yours,

Ah, I should have checked in here earlier; I was also following the FB exchange between Paul and the Amsoil salesman. Now that I know the whole Polaris/OAI/Amsoil connection, things are making more sense....he dismisses this article https://www.blackstone-labs.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Aug-17-ENG.pdf citing that Blackstone labs basically is incompetent. I can see why he doesn't like the article - I mean, it doesn't help him sell his pricey oil, thats for sure.....but I was missing the vitriol against BSL....now I can see the additional pce of the puzzle.


OK, don't mind me; carry on!

Cheers,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
................
I do this with my motorcycles at every oil change as well. The first oil change on my 2017 KLR the oil filter was full of junk. It looked like mostly
bits of gasket and silicone and a few small metal particles. I was surprised at how much there was. Kawasaki's engine assembly plant is
obviously not the cleanest place.

Terry
Terry, I will suggest that Most of What you saw in that first oil change on your KLR was Pink, White, Blue & Silver paint pen markings from various points along the assembly line.

If you look at enough pics from internal engine parts during other peoples maintenance or rebuild threads, I think you will agree.

I don't know if you have read that I strongly urge people to temporarily plug the 6:00 oil port in the mouth of the oil filter cavity, when doing oil & filter changes.
If we / when we tilt the bikes to the RH side to drain the dreggs of oil from the filter cavity any crumbs in the bottom want to flow directly down that 6:00 hole, that feeds directly to the Bottom Rod Needle Bearing!

The swirling oil flow from my 100% oil filtration modification has basically Eliminated crumbs in the bottom of the cavity, because they are now captured in the filter media, where they belong. I've been gonna' ask Tom Schmitz if he has noticed the same?
 

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...The swirling oil flow from my 100% oil filtration modification has basically Eliminated crumbs in the bottom of the cavity, because they are now captured in the filter media, where they belong. I've been gonna' ask Tom Schmitz if he has noticed the same?
I have noticed the same, though I haven't ever been smart enough to mark the filter's 12 o'clock position and then look to see what the debris distribution around the filter is. I will try to remember to do that the next time.
 
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I found oil sampling a poor predictor of engine failure.
I agree. Oil sampling is more of an entertaining science experiment rather than a predictor of engine/component failure. However, the fuel-dilution analysis can point to a leaky fuel injector, for those engines with fuel injection systems. And a leaky fuel injector will lead to a scored cylinder bore and piston if not caught early. The problem is that the injector may have been leaking for a considerable amount of time before the analysis has been run, so the damage is already done, which speaks to your point.

The purpose of an oil analysis in my mind is two-fold: one--evaluate different oil brands in an effort to determine the optimum lubricant for your engine and two--get a better understanding of the optimum oil change interval.

Jason
 

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I run oil samples on almost everything I own. From a Peterbilt dump truck to my pickup. I would disagree with the prediction of component failure. Knowing if my oil cooler is failing or fuel dilution, wear metals, silica content are very useful. A KLR is a much simpler engine and the info may not be as telling as it is in a 15 liter diesel engine, but it's still good info.
 
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