You are on page 1of 7

How To Sample Used Oil

Poor or inconsistent sample methods cause a used oil report to be of low benefit to the user.

Sampling Locations
Sampling the fluid at the proper point in the machine is very important. In Figure 1 the correct
location is shown to monitor how the machine is running. If samples are taken at the other
points (marked off) then erroneous results may occur.

FIGURE 1

1
Diesel Engines
Diesel engines have two primary locations to sample from during actual operation as shown in Figure
2. Drain samples may give different results.

FIGURE 2

2
Gearbox Sampling
Gearboxes present a special sampling problem in that they are not usually circulating
systems. Debris goes to the bottom of the gearbox, and sampling the debris gives erroneous
results. One of several possible methods is shown in Figure 3 that will give a representative
sample of the oil.

FIGURE 3

Sampling Methods
The ideal sampling interval is based on the point in time that the component is generating
particles at approximately the same rate that particles are being removed. This is called the
point of dynamic equilibrium.

There are many types of equipment that may be used. Below are five common options that
are utilized. Below is a discussion of each type and how samples should be taken.

 Option 1--VACUUM GUN AND TUBE ASSEMBLY


 Option 2--PERMANENT INSTALLATION PUSH BUTTON VALVES
 Option 3--PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE
 Option 4--DRAIN SAMPLES
 Option 5--COMPOSITE SAMPLES

3
Option 1--VACUUM GUN AND TUBE ASSEMBLY
A vacuum gun and tube assembly allows withdrawal of a liquid that is not under pressure.
The apparatus should be cleaned between samples to prevent contamination. It is used for
sampling gearboxes, transmission fluids and engine oils.

 When using sample pump gun make sure that oil is warm (within 1 hour of shutdown)
 Usually sampled through a dipstick. Tubes should be cut at length equal to the
dipstick plus 2cm ( never re-use tubing for sampling other compartments) .
 Vacuum pumps are available from SGS-OGC

Option 2--PERMANENT INSTALLATION OF A PETCOCK OR PUSH BUTTON VALVE


This is a permanent assembly into a pressurized system. A cap is used on the assembly to
keep the sample from becoming contaminated by airborne dust. A push button valve is useful
in low-pressure systems. (see Figures)

 Installation should be in a line that represents full flow of the fluid, prior to the filter.
 Pump discharge.
FIGURE 6 FIGURE 7

4
Option 3--PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE (QUICK-DRAW SYSTEM)
A pressure relief valve sampling system is appropriate for higher-pressure systems. A
sampling valve shown in Figure 8 is permanently installed in the circulating system. The
valve is opened and sampled using a syringe-bottle system as shown in Figures 9 and 10.

Syringe bottle systems can be enclosed in a sealable plastic bag to keep the sampling
procedure as clean as possible in a very dirty environment, or where particle counting is
needed for a sample.

FIGURE 8 FIGURE 9 FIGURE 10

 Ideal position is the inlet to the filter. If a quick connect/disconnect system is


installed in the filter for the purpose of taking pressure readings, the valve can be
installed at this point.
 A minimum of 4 psi pressure is required to use this method. The valve is tested
to 3000 psi but you would be unable to take a sample with this much pressure.
A general range is 4-100 psi. Check with the component manufacturer if you are
in doubt as to where to fit the installation.
 QuickDraw has a cap/needle assembly that is attached to the sample jar to take
the sample through the valve. The cap/needle assembly is disposable. They
should not be re-used.

5
Option 4--DRAIN SAMPLES
Drain samples are off of the bottom, or near bottom, of a dispenser (storage tank) or a sump.
For dispensers it can be useful to look at what is actually being dispensed and whether or not
a storage tank is contaminated by rust, water, etc.

However if a used oil sample is taken by the drain method, a sample may not be typical of the
bulk oil unless adequate oil passes through to clean out the initial debris or water. Hence for
used oil sampling for a representative sample, allow approximately a half to one litre to pass
through the drain before taking the sample. The recommended procedure is shown in
Figures 11 and 12. Note: Oil drain sampling should only be used as a last resort.

FIGURE 11 FIGURE 12

6
Option 5--COMPOSITE SAMPLES
For large steam turbines or paper machines, you may need to take an internal sample from
the middle of the stream of oil returning from each one of the bearings, use part of each to
make a composite sample and save the remainder until a normal report is received! If an
abnormal report is received then send the original 3 samples to be processed in order to pin
point the source.

What Causes A Report Of Low Benefit?


1. Poor or inconsistent sample methods!
2. Wrong or no equipment information supplied to the Lab.
3. Mislabelling the sample.
4. Replacing or changing units/components without updating the equipment
information at the laboratory.