Six pounds of soot could be lurking in your oil

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Updated Aug 3, 2012
The cam shafts and valves on the 2007 Cummins ISX engines used in the EcoPower million-mile test.The cam shafts and valves on the 2007 Cummins ISX engines used in the EcoPower million-mile test.

As reported last week from Mooresville, N.C., at the tear down of two Cummins ISX engines that reached 1 million miles each using exclusively EcoPower recycled engine oil, the test equipment consisted of 2007-model trucks and engines, i.e., engines using heavy EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to meet 2007 emissions standards.

Pat Fetterman, heavy duty adviser for research firm Infineum, gave a two-hour presentation about the engines and their status at the million-mile mark, and one of the questions asked to him pertained to differences he would expect to see in engines using SCR (selective catalytic reduction) to meet 2010 emissions standards instead of EGR.

Obviously, he said, he would expect to see a cleaner engine, and he gave a few numbers to back that up — of the roughly 104 pounds of engine oil (13 gallons) in the Cummins ISX engines used in the test, nearly six pounds of it was soot at each of the 40-45,000 mile oil change intervals used during the near-five-year testing period.

That’s based on the early data from the fleet, Fetterman said, but with SCR emissions configurations, that number should drop to somewhere in the neighborhood of just one to two pounds per 13 gallons at the end of each oil cycle, due mostly to dialed back EGR, but also because the engines use a more advanced injection timing and have better fuel economy.

Right now, Fetterman said Infineum and EcoPower are looking for a fleet that runs Detroit Diesel DD13 and DD15 engines to do a similar test to the one conducted on the Cummins engines.

For the full story on EcoPower’s million-mile test, see last week’s write-up from the event.