Optimizing Oil Change Intervals
For All Diesel Engines Except On-Highway Truck Engines

However. these intervals cannot take into account your specific operating conditions and other factors that may necessitate a different oil change schedule. Getting the Most from Your Oil and Your Engine Maintaining your engine oil is a very important factor in maximizing the productive life of your Cat® engines. Cat 2 engines have recommended oil change Maximize Engine Life intervals determined through extensive testing and historical data. . Our S·O·SSM fluid analysis program helps you understand the factors affecting your engine oil. And it continues as you work with us to optimize the effective life of the oil. It begins when you demand the higher standard of protection available from Cat engine oil and filters. so you can better manage the life cycles of your engines and reduce costs.

Initially. Cooling System Maintenance Cooling system problems contribute to more than 50% of all premature engine failures and problems. Over-heating or over-cooling fuel consumption. Application The same load should be applied (relatively the same amount of fuel consumed per hour) in the same operating and climatic conditions. Excessive lugging. or label. and they should all be changed at the same interval. or other parameters. it is important to determine how well your oil will hold up under specific conditions.e. the total higher hours have different wear and oil hours/units on the oil. air/fuel ratio control start of the evaluation. use Cat air filters to assure the highest quality and longest life. clean externally and internally. Check irreversible oil-related problems at the assure the cooling systems on all test units boost. extended oil change intervals. To do this. it is essential to idling and full throttle on/off will all affect hours and those never having grossly include the total hours (or odometer sooting and oxidation of oil. no external contaminants are introduced fill out the S·O·S sample bottle card with new oil. all factors affecting oil condition must be controlled and stabilized during evalua- tion. Proper engines can lead to malfunctions or coolant and conditioner levels should be adversely affect operating temperatures. are optimal. Poorly tuned ring sticking and carbon build-up. Use S·O·S Level 1 External Contamination Take a baseline Coolant Analysis at each oil change to oil sample from each engine in the test S·O·S information make sure your cooling system and group at every oil change to make sure Be sure to correctly and completely coolant are up to par. can increase oil oxidation and/or sulfur Provide complete product formation. oil change intervals or that have used . fuel settings. submit coolant samples Optimally Tuned Engines Keep engines lower quality oils may already have for Level 2 S·O·S Coolant Analysis to running according to specifications. Use Cat filters to guarantee the highest quality filter available. Air Filters Change only as required by the air restriction indicator. lacquering. Everything that could have an impact on oil condition must be held constant during the evaluation period so you can monitor the effects of application and load on the oil. Oil Filters The same filters (preferably Cat filters) should be used for all engines in the test group. Assure that radiators are and transmission shift points. This information is critical Operating Practices Operating techniques to assure accurate data from the lab impact how an oil responds and holds up to Selection of Test Engines Include tests and the interpretation of the an application. Engines with units) on the engine.Consider these factors when evaluating your oil performance To optimize oil change intervals. excessive engines with relatively low total operating data. and the consumption rates than newer engines. quantity of make-up oil added Engines that have had grossly extended since the last oil change. maintained. i. In particular. Again.

** Nitration is seldom a problem for diesel engines. . * TBN and Viscosity are optional tests within the S·O·S oil analysis program. etc.) Dirt Silicon/Aluminum Sacrificial Surfaces (Bearings) Oil Transfer from Another Compartment *Viscosity Assembly Fit/Torque Break-in Wear (New/Rebuild) Metallic Element(s) Manufacturing Debris (New/Rebuild) CONTAMINANTS Mating Surfaces Fit/Finish Parts Defects 4 ENGINE LIFE CYCLE AFFECTED Competitive Parts Use Monitor Engine Wear OIL CONDITION APPLICATION Metallic Element(s) Increase Climate/Terrain MAINTENANCE Severe/Improper Operation *Viscosity Wrong Oil Used * TBN Excessive Idling/Lugging Plugged Air Filter Soot High Altitude Improper Fuel Setting Extended Oil Change Oxidation High Operating Temps. Understanding the Causes of Engine Wear S•O•S OIL ANALYSIS TEST RESULTS EXTERNAL CONTAMINATION Water (Coolant/Other) Positive Water Glycol (Coolant) Positive Glycol INTERNAL CONTAMINATION Fuel Fuel Dilution Normal Wear (Rings/Liners. Poor Cooling System Maintenance **Nitration High Humidity Fuel Quality Sulfation Cold Operating Temps. but can be significant for natural gas engines.

A factors which might lead to a problem. Perhaps the biggest potential oil condition degradation. improperly torqued bolts and nuts or defective parts. ENGINE OIL CHANGE HOURS REWARDS RISKS Decreased Oil and Filter Costs Decreased Engine Life Decreased Maintenance/Labor Costs Increased Repair Downtime Decreased Disposal Increased Repair Costs Increased Availability and Productivity Decreased Availability and Productivity At some oil change interval. The items results will be affected. increased engine wear. all the oil analysis generation for diesel engines. repair downtime. intervals without a carefully planned and executed program is gambling with 4. Maintenance Errors and omissions in The oil change interval routine preventive maintenance practices balance will affect oil condition. Correct or alleviate the There are a number of factors that causes if possible. establishing an engine oil change 2. But this 3. The rate and amount of wear occurring in an engine depends on four categories of causes (see Monitor oil consumption chart. resulting in As with most business decisions. give consideration to each possible cause. External Contamination Fuel. there is a reasonable balance. . reward is increased availability due to less maintenance downtime. facing page). Internal Contamination The causes of the life of your engines — and your excessive internal contamination are usually cost of production. water. general indication of how well a lubricant Doing this will help control and stabilize is performing during an oil change interval all the factors impacting oil conditions is the amount of wear metals generated during the evaluation period. Be alert for changes operators and maintenance engineers can in any of the Maintenance or Application control to affect engine wear and costs. This chart provides a Not shown on the chart (previous page) very simplified explanation of the causes is the addition of make-up oil. the quantity of oil added. Internal contamination becomes a grinding agent which adds to internal debris produced by parts wearing together. Application Environmental and interval beyond the manufacturer’s operational factors that contribute recommendation has both risks and directly to increased wear and/or rewards.Variable factors affecting If S·O·S oil analysis indicates a problem in lubrication and wear any of its tests. It is very shown in the ”S·O·S Oil Analysis Test important to keep accurate records Results“ column are those for which and report on each oil sample label Caterpillar engineers have selected tests. misalignment of mating parts. Extending oil change accelerating wear. during that time period. If make- of oil degradation and wear metal up oil is added. 1. increase can be quickly eroded if reduced glycol or anything else getting into the engine life causes premature wear and engine lubricating system from the outside.

These results. Extend Oil Change Intervals SAMPLE PERIODS FOR ESTABLISHING OPTIMAL OIL CHANGE INTERVALS (after two or three oil changes at the standard interval) For engines with 250-hour recommended oil change intervals: NEW OIL SAMPLE BASELINE SAMPLE Proceed with caution 75 HOURS (samples at shortened intervals) 150 HOURS We suggest that engines with a 500- hour recommended oil change interval 250 HOURS (recommended change interval) should not be extended beyond that 300 HOURS (first extended interval) point. Samples of New Oil line for wear accumulation and any tests at each oil change thereafter during A sample of the new oil is needed as external contamination entry. will hour recommended period to 300 hours. . This determines wear metal accumulation. It also reveals if any be evaluated to establish the optimal oil Stay with a 300-hour period for several external contaminants were introduced change interval for your engine. along with 250 interval. Then. on the chart below. run Test results from the samples taken at the period cautiously in incremental steps of the engine until it reaches operating time of each oil change will indicate the 50 hours. determine that wear rates temperature (about 15 minutes) and take final levels of oil degradation and wear and oil condition are satisfactory at the a sample. Engine coolant samples Four types of oil samples 3. carryover from any oil left in the pan from the shortened interval sample results. During the optimal interval has been established. coolant mended oil change interval is essential involved in evaluating an oil change samples should also be submitted. Baseline Samples 4. Once the changes and closely monitor the S·O·S through the oil fill process. a evaluation (see chart). schedule. Samples at Shortened Intervals Because many engine problems are Taking samples at less than the recom- There are four categories of oil samples influenced by the cooling system. Samples at Oil Change manufacturer’s recommended oil change After changing the oil and filter. a test reference to the used oil. Level 2 to monitoring the oil degradation process. extend from the 250. 6 sample of that oil must be submitted as the reference. In some applications. First. You the project. Any time before you begin an extended interval a new shipment of oil is received. results with samples taken as shown evaluation period. interval: Coolant Analysis should be performed at This will allow you to determine a trend the beginning of the project and Level 1 1. sample after every oil change. take a baseline submit a sample at each oil change. The new must establish these rates for the oil sample must be the exact same oil recommended oil change interval as the used oil being tested. the previous interval. Determining Optimal Oil Change Intervals We suggest you proceed beyond the 2. it has been necessary to reduce the interval 350 HOURS (second extended interval) from 500 hours to a more frequent ETC.

Oil is viewed by some as a commodity. Cat filters are designed to do the job beyond the published oil change periods. To ensure you get the best oil for your money use Cat oil in your engines. you must protect your engine with high-quality products. but as a rule. But even with those API categories there can be wide variations in performance (which is reflected by the range of prices for CG-4 and CH-4 oil). This extra protection assures you can maintain the same filter change periods as your newly established oil change periods. Once new intervals are establish- ed. Diesel engine oils that meet API specifications CG-4 and CH-4 contain the best additive package and base oil stock to help you achieve longer oil use and maximum engine life. This premium-priced lubricant is designed to achieve longer oil change intervals. Although there may be a small difference in price. And Use Cat Diesel Engine Oil If not Cat DEO. you get what you pay for — a higher quality add pack and base stock costs more than lower quality alternatives. Use Cat Filters If you want to evaluate the possibility of oil change intervals other than those published by Caterpillar® for your engines. that the process of determining new oil change intervals is not simple. use a premium quality API CG-4 or CH-4 oil. . it is well worth it to guarantee that your engines are protected. Keep in mind. however. It requires that you work closely with our staff over a period of several months.* *Caterpillar now offers a full synthetic diesel engine oil.Work with our experts We will work with you to optimize the oil change periods for your Cat engines. it will be more important than ever to carefully monitor oil performance and engine wear — using S·O·S analysis for both oil and coolant — to make sure there aren’t any problems.

Maintenance Control System (MCS) for scheduling and record keeping and Preventive Maintenance Planner (PMP) for comprehensive maintenance checklists.A. Maintenance Software: Trend Analysis Module (TAM) for S·O·S results. S·O·S Analysis: The ultimate approach for assuring maximum productivity and achieving full design life for your equipment. see us today Printed in U. Cat Fluids: Formulated to provide higher standards in performance and life. PEDP7035 For more information.S. Extend equipment life with quality Cat maintenance products. Cat Fluid Filters: System engineered for optimal performance and protection. or visit our Web site at © 1998 Caterpillar .CAT.