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#4386275 - 04/22/17 06:56 PM GM 6.5L; Rotella T6 5w-40; bearing problems?
njsteve Offline


Registered: 10/10/16
Posts: 18
Loc: NEW JERSEY
I have owned my 1995 6.5 Diesel K2500 Suburban since new. It has 137,000 miles. I religiously changed oil every 3,000 miles for the past 22 years with Rotella 15W40. One oil change ago I tried the new T6 5W40 synthetic for better cold starts. The truck only gets about 6,000 miles a year. Only mechanical issue in its history was a blown headgasket at 121,000 miles, which occurred four years ago. (A common 6.5 diesel problem) It was caught immediately and shut off before the oil was contaminated.

The oil anaylsis report came back indicating I had over 17 times the lead amount (158 PPM versus 9), and 3 times the tin (9 PPM versus 2) and almost twice the iron (80 PPM versus 43).

Blackstone Labs opinion is that there is a serious problem brewing and were surprised that the engine is still running. It runs beautifully, with good oil pressure (55 PSI) and no knocks or other noises.

I use Optilube XPD fuel lubricant additive and regular diesel fuel.

Could it be that the change to the new synthetic 5W40 is somehow flushing out contaminants that were dormant in the engine all these years? Or is there a real problem brewing?

Just to be sure I sent them a second sample a week later from the same crankcase oil thinking maybe I contaminated it somehow by scooping the sample out of the drain bowl. But even the new sample caught mid stream was still bad: it had a similar result though the bad stuff was down by about 20% due to the addition of a new quart of oil (106 PPM lead, 6 PPM tin, and 63 PPM iron). At that point I changed all the oil to a new fill of syn 5W40 Rotella T6.

Any suggestions? I have been pricing out new 6.5 long blocks just in case...







Edited by dnewton3 (04/24/17 08:29 AM)

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#4386287 - 04/22/17 07:08 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4298
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Your iron numbers are up as well. Lead numbers were high last October and have been going up. With no noise it's surprising. Any smoke out the back ? Have you topped off any oil? PS: just saw that you did.

Hope this works out for you but it does appear ominous.


Edited by PimTac (04/22/17 07:09 PM)
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#4386306 - 04/22/17 07:27 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: PimTac]
njsteve Offline


Registered: 10/10/16
Posts: 18
Loc: NEW JERSEY
No smoke other than the standard black soot on heavy acceleration.

I've been a mechanic (I restore old musclecars) for the past 40 years or so and have rebuilt my share of interesting musclecar engines: 426 Hemis, 455HO Pontiacs etc. Sadly, the original GM 6.5 diesels aren't that "rebuildable" as the heads get cracks between the valves (a problem GM knew about and declared it as normal wear and tear in one of their infamous Technical Service Bulletins!) and the blocks were known to get cracks in the webbing. So even if you tried to rebuild one you would have to search for a new block and heads. Thankfully you can buy the brand new 6.5 Optimizer long block which are the ones made for the HUMVEES by AMG/GEP for about $6,800. AMG/GEP took the basic blueprint to the engine and made it beefier everywhere. So that is probably the way I'll go.

Though I wish there was some other non-fatal explanation for the lead/tin/iron discovery.

Here's the old gal. And yes, that is the original paint, too:



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#4386327 - 04/22/17 07:51 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
Bud_One Offline


Registered: 04/19/14
Posts: 1832
Loc: Spring,Texas
Originally Posted By: njsteve
No smoke other than the standard black soot on heavy acceleration.

I've been a mechanic (I restore old musclecars) for the past 40 years or so and have rebuilt my share of interesting musclecar engines: 426 Hemis, 455HO Pontiacs etc. Sadly, the original GM 6.5 diesels aren't that "rebuildable" as the heads get cracks between the valves (a problem GM knew about and declared it as normal wear and tear in one of their infamous Technical Service Bulletins!) and the blocks were known to get cracks in the webbing. So even if you tried to rebuild one you would have to search for a new block and heads. Thankfully you can buy the brand new 6.5 Optimizer long block which are the ones made for the HUMVEES by AMG/GEP for about $6,800. AMG/GEP took the basic blueprint to the engine and made it beefier everywhere. So that is probably the way I'll go.

Though I wish there was some other non-fatal explanation for the lead/tin/iron discovery.

Here's the old gal. And yes, that is the original paint, too:




That's a nice looking Suburban thumbsup
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97 Accord Wagon-Havoline Conv 5W-30, PH3593A

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#4386334 - 04/22/17 07:58 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
901Memphis Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 12893
Loc: Northern Kentucky
It's possible that fuel additive contains lead. I would stop using it before your next sample date to rule it out unless you're sure it doesn't contain lead. Just a guess.
_________________________
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 1.4T - 50k
2002 Buick Century 130k - Built 4T65e(Maxlife) - Edge 0w40 + Fram XG3980

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#4386336 - 04/22/17 07:58 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: Bud_One]
njsteve Offline


Registered: 10/10/16
Posts: 18
Loc: NEW JERSEY
"That's a nice looking Suburban"


Thanks. Ordered it brand new when we lived in Florida, just after my wife and I first got married. When the kids were born, they came home from the hospital in that truck...fast forward a couple decades...and one went to college in it. She graduates next month and I'll bring her home from college in that truck, too. It's a member of the family after all this time so I aim to keep her running for the next college adventure in a year or too. (fingers crossed)

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#4386337 - 04/22/17 07:59 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: 901Memphis]
njsteve Offline


Registered: 10/10/16
Posts: 18
Loc: NEW JERSEY
Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
It's possible that fuel additive contains lead. I would stop using it before your next sample date to rule it out unless you're sure it doesn't contain lead. Just a guess.


I aksed their engineer that and he said:

"Fuel additives like Optilube don't typically show up in our tests since they get burned up before reaching the oil. When tested by themselves, we still don't typically see anything that shows up in the spectral results."

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#4386385 - 04/22/17 08:43 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20457
Loc: Upstate NY
I am not sure I would install a new engine. Even though there is a lot of family history in the vehicle. It's an old vehicle.

Maybe pull the crank and work on it.
_________________________
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)


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#4386398 - 04/22/17 08:55 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2968
Loc: USA
Just wanna say it is NICE to see a vehicle so well taken care of. Can't help much regarding the oil analysis but hope it's nothing or a simple fix.

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#4386406 - 04/22/17 09:04 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: Donald]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7150
Loc: Marshfield , MA
Just keeping topic going. The iron is from rings? at 137 K, I'd be mad. That isn't much of an engine. Sudden increase in bearing material may indicate a spun bearing. Total wild guess. It is eating a wrist pin bushing. Please post a follow up TIA


Edited by JHZR2 (04/23/17 07:19 AM)
Edit Reason: censor bypass
_________________________
'16 Camry LE STP synth 0w20 and STP filter. the Fridge

1994 Ranger ,the Rat, 5w30 dino, STP filter

'16 Camry SE, Valvoline HM 0w20 and OEM filter
Thick oil is better grin2

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#4386440 - 04/22/17 09:52 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
Ramblejam Offline


Registered: 11/05/13
Posts: 3210
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: njsteve
I have been pricing out new 6.5 long blocks just in case...

Specifically, what have you been looking at? There's an Optimizer 506 (Navistar casting, far superior to GM casting) over on Ted's right now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-5-Diesel-Engin...7-/361771362445

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#4386479 - 04/22/17 10:58 PM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
JimPghPA Offline


Registered: 08/22/09
Posts: 3859
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA U.S.A.
Perhaps the question to ask on an oil web site is what oil should one use in this Diesel engine with the given miles and recent questionable used oil report? Would something thicker like Mobil 15W-50 to try to give some extra oil cushion to possible questionable bearings be the best choice, even if the 15W means some slightly harder starts in winter temperatures? Or is this engine probably on its way out regardless of any oil that is ran in it?


Edited by JimPghPA (04/22/17 11:02 PM)
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#4386496 - 04/23/17 12:26 AM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
i_hate_autofraud Offline


Registered: 05/19/16
Posts: 705
Loc: Canada


You could have a case of "lead streaking" where some iron bit is trapped in a main bearing
and is tearing out extra lead, at some point the iron gets flushed out.

Lead streaking may also lead to high iron numbers too. At the next oil change, take an oil sample,
then add 1 quart kerosene to the oil as the engine idles for 20 minutes, no load, then shut her
down and do an oil and filter change. The idea is kerosene is an engine oil flush, an older trucker trick,
you'll wash out a lot of residual crud you've never seen before, at least I did on a 1980's 318 V8!!

I started using FilterMags on the outside of the spin-on oil filter. Sizes are matched to
filter diameter. I then bought another one, now I run a pair. The iron levels dropped 40%
and the lead dropped with it too. I wish I thought of it decades ago when I used to run
really long distances every year!

Be sure there's 1/2" to 5/8" clearance all they way around your oil filter diameter
if you want to use a pair of FilterMags before buying.

Check out the results and other ideas:

" FILTERMAG vs HOMEBREW "
https://app.box.com/s/uxvu8dmscf5wcgftutdm0ejqwgn86tw7


While this does not address the actual root-cause in your case, at least it reduces it until
you do find the root cause and fix it if it's economic to do so.

In my case I can run 6 months before the oil even starts to darken a little on the dipstick
rather then jet black in 5 weeks!

Post when you find out what it was! Good Luck

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#4386501 - 04/23/17 12:53 AM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
901Memphis Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 12893
Loc: Northern Kentucky
Either way even if the engine is wearing itself faster there's no reason to replace the engine until it starts giving you oil pressure problems or dies unexpectedly.

My Buick has been spitting lead and copper in uoas for some time now and it's still going, that's with a gold plug, filter mag and Fram ultras.
_________________________
2012 Chevy Cruze LT 1.4T - 50k
2002 Buick Century 130k - Built 4T65e(Maxlife) - Edge 0w40 + Fram XG3980

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#4386571 - 04/23/17 06:34 AM Re: Report says I have a lead/tin bearing problem... [Re: njsteve]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20457
Loc: Upstate NY
I am not sure I would install a new engine. Even though there is a lot of family history in the vehicle. It's an old vehicle.

Maybe pull the crank and work on it.
_________________________
2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)


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