Many of us take pride in maintaining our own vehicles to ensure that things are done right, and we get every mile of reliable use we can out of our engines. We all know that good clean oil is important to the life of any diesel engine, but as we rack up thousands of road miles a year, we can really rack up the maintenance costs, too. If you figure the average oil change for a diesel truck is 6-15 quarts of oil and a new filter. That's $30-70 every 3,000-5,000 miles. You can easily be spending as much as $350 a year just on oil. And that's if you only drive 15,000 miles and you change your oil yourself.
Sure, there are oils on the market that promise longer life and added protection, but the truth is, depending on how you use your diesel car, truck, or boat, you could be overwhelming even the best oils with contamination, such as from dust, extreme use, or by over-fueling your engine and pumping a lot of soot through it, that will break the oil down and lead to accelerated engine wear.
But, if you can monitor the condition of your oil, or better yet, scrub the oil cleaner with every mile you drive-not only would the oil last longer, you'd reduce the wear on your engine, too. That's where bypass oil filtration comes in. First, understand that in a normal diesel engine the oil is sucked up out of the oil pan, pushed by the pump through the oil filter, and then sent to the vital engine components before draining back into the pan, where the cycle starts over again. The factory oil filters are designed to protect the engine to a point, but they can't filter the oil too finely or the engine would starve for oil. To provide better oil filtering, you need to add a bypass oil filter that works in parallel with the original oil filter to continuously super-clean small batches of oil while the engine runs. With a bypass filter, oil filtration becomes a two-man job. The original factory full-flow filter does all the heavy lifting and filters out the big particles in the oil. The bypass filter can then take its time and really clean the oil with a fine-tooth comb to strip out the small stuff that the full-flow filter just lets slip by.
A lot of us think that by changing the oil regularly we are doing the best thing we can for our diesel engine. The truth is that even when we drain the oil out of the crankcase there's lots of junk still left sitting in the engine. Ever change your oil, only to find that when you pulled the dipstick out the next day the oil was already black as night? Those are the small particles that are left in your engine that can cause damage. The only way to get them out is with a bypass filter.
In order to get a feel for the benefits of a bypass filter, we've added Filtration Solutions FS-2500 bypass filter to our '02 F-250 with a 7.3L Power Stroke. The truck has 50,000 miles of hard use on it, with somewhat regular oil changes, so if the FS-2500 can work on our truck, it'll work on yours.
How a Bypass Oil Filter WorksWith a bypass oil filter installed, the original engine-mounted (full-flow) filter still cleans all of your engine's oil. But, while the engine is running, a small portion of the engine's oil is diverted through the finer (bypass) filtration element to super-clean your oil of contamination, soot, and fine metal particles-basically, anything bigger than 3 microns. Studies have shown that the majority of engine wear occurs from particles that are 4-7 microns in size. By adding a bypass filter, you prevent contamination in this damaging size range from being circulated through your engine. The result is cleaner oil, less wear on your engine, and the ability to extend your engine's oil change intervals.
Oil AnalysisTo take full advantage of the benefits of bypass oil filtration, you will need to monitor the condition of your engine's oil through a process known as oil analysis, which costs around $15-20 a sample. Your new oil maintenance routine with the FS-2500 bypass filter in place will go something like this:
* Change the engine oil. Replace the factory full-flow oil filter, and send a sample of the used oil out to be analyzed. This will be your baseline. Install the FS-2500 bypass filter, plumb the lines, and check for leaks.
* At 5,000 miles, take an oil sample and send it out to be analyzed. Change the oil, full-flow filter, and the FS-2500 element. At this point, you're removing junk from the crankcase that has been in the engine since day one.
* Then, when your engine hits 10,000 miles, take an oil sample, have it analyzed, and replace your FS-2500 element only. Continue running your current engine oil and sampling it every 10,000 miles until you reach your personal oil change goal. When your oil is no longer good, it is time to change your oil, full-flow oil filter, and the FS-2500 bypass element. Depending on your vehicle use, the engine oil may be good for more than 30,000 miles-or a full year's worth of use.
For more information on oil analysis, you can contact:CTC Analytical Services, (800) 726-5400, www.ctclink.comShell Care Oil Analysis, (800) SHELL82 (743-5582), store.shell-lubricants.comTitan Oil Analysis Laboratory, (303) 893-5273, www.titanlab.com
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