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Miata Engine Oil Analysis


LuckyKid
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I recently performed an oil analysis to get better information on how the oil is performing and since I was fearful of a head gasket issue.   I used https://www.blackstone-labs.com/ and they were extremely helpful getting me information that I wanted.

 

I had analysis done on the engine, transmission and differential.

 

We no longer run a thermostat since we've had way too many issues with them, but the extremely low temps at Road Atlanta left us running low engine temps and very rich.  

 

The oil was new the we did about 3 hours of track time on the test day and about 7 hours of racing.  

 

Attached are the results.  I plan on repeating these tests after every race.  Seems like the Transmission and Diff fluid would be good to 14hrs + which is suprising since we had most of our flat floor in position.  The engine oil is in rough shape pretty quick.  I will be changing this after the test days and each day of the double races.

 

I thought I saw a metallic sheen in the transmission fluid and asked if the samples got mixed up:

 

"The physical properties and additives of the differential sample's oil
match up with what's expected for a 75W/90 gear lube, and likewise for the
transmission sample and the Red Line MTL, so it does not look like these
samples were mixed up. I also checked the sample bottles just to be
certain, and the samples were logged in as you wrote on their respective
containers.

Based on what we're seeing, then, it is the differential that indicates
brass/bronze wear in the copper and tin readings. With any luck, though,
the copper and tin in this sample are just due to temporary factors
(wear-in, for example), and will improve over the coming samples.

Let us know if the luster/metallic sheen of the transmission oil doesn't
improve. From what we can see, though, it looks quite healthy, mechanically.

Sincerely,

XXXX
Blackstone Laboratories"

 

Overall I am really happy to see this type of information, hopes are that tracking this will allow us to see an issue with the drivetrain before it fails and we can save a mechanical failure during a race.

 

We could only find 90 octane in non-ethanol, so we mixed in 10% 110 octane from the track, FYI.  We try to run no-ethanol for fuel economy.

 

 

99 MIATA-DIFF-200218.pdf 99 MIATA-TR-200218.pdf 99 MIATA-200218.pdf

Edited by LuckyKid
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We sample after every weekend with Blackstone. Great people and they keep all your old info and trend it so you can see patterns.

 

We run Redline 5-40 racing oil and have sent in oil after 20+ hours of track time and had plenty of life left. Trans we were told we could do 2 weekends, and send a sample, diff the same. 

 

We change it before each weekend and call it good.

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2 minutes ago, Gkuhn41 said:

We sample after every weekend with Blackstone. Great people and they keep all your old info and trend it so you can see patterns.

 

We run Redline 5-40 racing oil and have sent in oil after 20+ hours of track time and had plenty of life left. Trans we were told we could do 2 weekends, and send a sample, diff the same. 

 

We change it before each weekend and call it good.

Maybe I will switch from Rotella.  I was surprised that it was already bad, but maybe it was all that fuel.

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Just now, LuckyKid said:

Maybe I will switch from Rotella.  I was surprised that it was already bad, but maybe it was all that fuel.

 

From what we were told from them gas saturation is a bad deal. We see a difference in our samples off of lean VS rich.

 

I helped a friend rebuild an engine a few years back and we sent in some breakin oil for analysis as it didnt look right when we took it out. We had a pile of fuel in it and it was bad in 3 hours.

 

We sent in the second sample with it from the 3 hours of dyno time and it had cleared up significantly, same oil same everything just rings seated and it went from like 7% to 2% and oil was good to go.

 

Third sample was after 3 track days it was perfectly fine. 

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I ran 15-50 Mobile One for years and years in my 1.8 Miata.  70 races on that motor, we had to do a valve job once (burnt valve from advancing timing too much).  We changed the oil each and every race though.  I decided to use that oil in the Ecotec and was cratering motors.  With the ecotec motor its 5-30.  

Edited by Jer
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36 minutes ago, whitney said:

I'm no expert but I would suspect you're slowly destroying your cylinder walls by running no thermostat.

 

You are likely correct, but  we've had three races with T-stat issues and were running 245 engine temps.  Two of those races ended up with destroyed motors (rod cap at WGI, oil pump at VIR24).    

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57 minutes ago, LuckyKid said:

You are likely correct, but  we've had three races with T-stat issues and were running 245 engine temps.  Two of those races ended up with destroyed motors (rod cap at WGI, oil pump at VIR24).    

 

Look into billet oil pump gears. 

 

By "Billet" I mean solid steel and not powdered metal.

Edited by KoneKillah
You guys are machinists
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On 3/10/2020 at 11:23 AM, LuckyKid said:

You are likely correct, but  we've had three races with T-stat issues and were running 245 engine temps.  Two of those races ended up with destroyed motors (rod cap at WGI, oil pump at VIR24).    

 

 

Oil pump failure - what were you running for a harmonic balancer?

 

I've blown up two oil pumps in these cars, both were with an aftermarket bottom pulley that had no balancer associated with it. 

 

The 245 is that coolant or oil temp?  We always run a t-stat, never have water temps that high.  Oil temps measured at the pan will be higher than 245 unless you're running an oil cooler.

Edited by MMiskoe
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27 minutes ago, MMiskoe said:

 

 

Oil pump failure - what were you running for a harmonic balancer?

 

I've blown up two oil pumps in these cars, both were with an aftermarket bottom pulley that had no balancer associated with it. 

 

The 245 is that coolant or oil temp?  We always run a t-stat, never have water temps that high.  Oil temps measured at the pan will be higher than 245 unless you're running an oil cooler.

We run a brand new stock pulley, however the oil pressure relief valve failed.  We believe it stuck due to the over-temp.

245 are coolant temps when we were having issues.

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all good ideas to ensure water flow which you need of course. It doesn’t however do anything for temperature control. Covering the grill during cold weather is an option. Water temp needs to controlled to certain extent. During summer races I’m sure you all the cooling the system has but other times you may need to cover the grill 

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  • 6 months later...

Update - I got three reports back from post-Gingerman.  Oil was fresh for Sunday, so it had 7hrs on it.

The idea of doing the analysis was to try to get out in front of any potential failures.  Unfortunately we lost our 4th gear syncro during the Sunday race and the oil analysis is still coming back as "a good mazda 5spd."   I think I am going to stop doing the analysis on the transmission and differential since it doesn't seem helpful.  

99 MIATA-DIFF-200901.pdf 99 MIATA-TR-200901.pdf 99 MIATA-200901.pdf

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2 hours ago, turbogrill said:

Curious to why this is needed on a stockish Miata engine and driveline? Is it to know if your engine is about to blow up and then you can install a new one before the race?

That was the idea, but it didn't catch the pending transmission syncro failure, so IDK how well this "idea" will work in practice.

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In the past we sent out samples, it was more a conformation and kick in the ass to promote action, I knew the engine was in trouble(rod bearing wear, super high lead and elevated copper iron), so much lead you could see the glitter & the lab thought I had gotten a load of leaded fuel(not possible, we have never used track gas, only super unleaded @ the cheapest station nearby)

 

End of the day, its best for tracking trends:

I would up doing only rod bearings, with the engine in chassis, right before Daytona, one rod bearing was ready to spin, the mains were beat but got ignored. That engine lasted 2 more seasons before the rings gave out.

Edited by Team Infiniti
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