The easiest way to safely fix a glazed or carboned up engine:
Assuming your engine is in sound condition, but has glazed (or even carboned up) due to poor tune, light work, short runs, excessive idling, over-extended oil service, etc, it can be completely restored to clean condition using a unique product called FTC Catalytic Decarbonizer. FTC is merely added to the fuel and the engine operated as normal. The action is a gentle and safe one, which actually burns off all carbon and glaze without any abrasive, or corrosive action. Even the hardest of carbon will, with time, burn away…carbon so hard you’d have to chip it away with a chisel!
Diesel engines are prone to glazing (ie covering the cylinder cross hatch with hard polished carbon), if driven under light load, run cool, or idled too much. This cylinder cross hatch was originally machined into the bore, to provide sufficient surface roughness to hold a film of oil. The oil then is able to complete the seal between the piston ring and the bore. Without it, compression loss and oil control would become a problem. This often results in excessive sump pressure, which can cause “blow-by” out the breather pipe, oil leakage from the engine, smoke, oil consumption, hard starting and power loss. FTC Catalytic Decarbonizer can completely rectify this problem, so long as the engine is sound. The chemistry used in this product is quite remarkable and is discussed in more detail on the product page.
Everyone knows that oil filters remove contaminants from your oil, but unless you cut your filters open and inspect them, you’ll never know how much contamination you have, or if you have a serious wear problem.
We prefer to have an oil sample analysed in the lab for a wide range of metals, TBN and many other aspects .. oil analysis is much more precise and a whole lot less messy than cutting a filter open.
But if you wish to inspect your filter, do this:
This is a very messy job, so be prepared for a FILTHY BLACK SPILL and clean-up!
First allow the removed used oil filter to drain for a couple of hours by supporting it on a simple frame over a container, so that the filter does not dip into the oil.
After the drips stop, use a hacksaw to cut off the open end, holding the oil filter vertically in a vice, with the open end facing down .. use a cloth to catch the inevitable black drips. In this way, metal from the hacksaw will not contaminant the oil filter paper to any great extent. There are also oil filter cutting tools available, for those who need to do this more regularly. These are handy, since they cut cleanly, with no metal debris being created.
Next is where your tight fitting “surgical gloves” are handy. Remove the element from its housing and brush off the bulk of the metal left from the hacksaw. Carefully cut and unravel the paper element, avoiding scattering any filings left. Ideally, the filter paper should look clean, but a little stained. You don’t want to see any little specks of metal or heavy oil sludge. If you see metal (and it’s not from the hacksaw), get a small magnet to test whether it’s ferrous or non-ferrous. This may give a clue as to what part of the engine is wearing.
GEARBOXES, differentials, transfer cases, final drives, etc
Excessive loads, inadequate lubrication, dust and water entry can all promote wear in transmissions. Neglecting them can be costly.
Here’s what to do to extend their life.
1. Check the oil regularly. It should look “as new”. If not, replace it. An exception is in some differentials where grease entry from a wheel hub, or swivel pin housing has mixed with the grease. This will not have any adverse effects, but the faulty seal should be replaced. A goldy sparkling colour in the oil indicates wear to bronze parts, eg synchromesh rings.
2. Check that any breather is free, clean and operating properly.
3. A good idea is to fit magnetic plugs to the oil fill holes. Then any wear metal from gears, shafts, bearings, etc will be obvious and not lying on the bottom of the housing.
4. How hot does it get? Some transmission type units will get hotter than others, eg because of transferred heat from engines, basic design, high duty cycles, etc. However, your goal should be to reduce operating temperature to the minimum. You should be able to touch most units at least briefly without much discomfort. If you want to get more serious about it, there are magnetic thermometers available, that you can attach to the outside of transmissions, hydraulics, etc. however this won’t work with alloy housings. Fitting permanent temperature gauges to such components can certainly be justified for hard working expensive machinery.
Apart from outside heat sources, transmission heat is generated from 2 sources. Firstly, frictional heat when the oil film ruptures and allows metal to metal contact. In this case, a higher viscosity oil may be required. Alternatively, superior lubricants and anti-wear chemicals can also reduce this. The second cause is fluid friction, caused by the constant shearing of the oil during operation. Selection of the best viscosity will minimize this. In some cases, it is a balancing act of selecting an oil of sufficient viscosity, but not so high, as to cause fluid frictional heat.
In some cases, where temperature is extreme, special purpose lubricants (including synthetic oils) may be required. Oil coolers are another alternative, but remember, extra oil coolers mean extra maintenance as well. It is best to keep things as simple as possible, whenever you can.
As a general rule, an oil with a slightly higher viscosity will be of advantage for higher ambient temperatures, heavier duty applications, sustained elevated duty cycles (eg country driving, towing). These types of conditions lead to higher sustained temperatures, which decrease the oil film strength, resulting in more metal to metal contact and wear.
(Editor’s note: NEPTUNE Products have a special anti-friction oil and hydraulic fluid additive SupaSLIP to reduce wear, heat and noise.)
Dust and other abrasive matter entering with the inlet air is blamed for a considerable amount of total engine wear. The amount of air used by an engine is staggering. A 3.0 litre engine can consume ¾ million litres of air per hour! That’s more air than contained in an average house! Even a small leak in an air filter can cause an engine to wear out prematurely! All connections on the air induction system must be secure and sealing effectively. You need to check them regularly. Ensure the filter element is fitted correctly and sealing against the housing. There will be a seal on the filter element, or alternatively, on the filter housing. A little petroleum jelly (Vaseline) smeared on the seal face will help ensure a perfect seal. All air should enter through the filter media. Where leaks occur, there will usually be evidence of dust. Wipe your finger over the suspect area, and you’ll be able to detect it. Working methodically from the air cleaner to the inlet manifold will reveal exactly where the leak has occurred. Unless a routine laboratory oil analysis detects it, dust entry is rarely detected before serious damage has occurred. Several years ago, I had an Isuzu diesel engine fitted to my Range Rover. As this was a second hand engine, I wanted to find out a bit about its condition, so I sent an oil sample to the lab for analysis. It detected an elevated Silicon (dust) level. Working as described above, I discovered that the fitter who installed the engine, used a dirty cross over pipe on the induction side. I cleaned it out properly and the next oil analysis confirmed that the problem was solved. Money well spent!
I recommend periodic laboratory analysis of used engine oil as a good means of looking after engines .. especially expensive ones, which may warrant it on each oil change.
If you suspect dust entry into an engine, here’s what to do:
1. Check all sources of possible leakage, including breathers, as well as the induction system. Make sure the filter element is sealing fully along the full perimeter of the seal face.
2. Check for cracks, loose clamps and joints, including air compressor connections (where fitted), and ether cold start fittings.
3. Inspect the filter element for damage. A good method of doing this is to place a light bulb on one side and view from the other. Even a small pin hole will show up as a tiny star of light.
4. Ensure all gaskets, washers, etc are correctly installed and sealing effectively.
5. Ensure the air intake does not draw air from a high dust concentration area. Ideally, it should draw cool air, rather than high temperature under bonnet air. This can make a significant difference to diesel engines, since they require a certain amount of excess air, to perform efficiently with low smoke levels.
If your engine’s out of tune, it’s wearing out faster, too.
An out of tune engine is not capable of burning its fuel efficiently and cleanly. Combustion bi-products are detrimental to an engine and some will cause accelerated wear. This subject will be discussed in greater detail in several of our articles under “ENGINES”. Suffice to say that all engines should be kept in good tune for optimum life, as well as efficiency.