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Old 12-02-2021, 12:12 PM   #1
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High Copper in the oil sample. What to do now?

When I bought my Coach in 2017 I had an engine oil analysis done. Everything was fine except the copper was a little high at 96 ppm. The analysis said not to worry. I changed the oil then. It's 40 quarts of Rotella T6.

In Sept 2019 I sent out my next sample. This time the copper came in at 65 ppm. The "universal average" is 24 ppm. At least it was droping but still over the average. I changed the oil again.

Now it's 2021. I sent in my latest oil sample (Nov 2021) and the copper came back at 318 ppm. Everything else is in the normal range.

So what should I do? The only source I can think of for this copper is the engine oil cooler. Nothing else in the engine is copper (if the crank/rod bearings were worn I'd have other metals showing high).

The oil cooler runs around $1300 - but worse, it's real hard to get to (I'm not even sure it can be replaced with the engine in the coach, as tight as the engine is in this frame area).

Should I plan on replacing it?
Does anyone have any other thoughts on this? Where else could copper be coming from?
Perhaps wait another year (5,000 miles) then retest the oil.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:04 PM   #2
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Wow, that's a tough one. I think I would change the oil and continue to monitor it.
What were the miles traveled between each oil change?
Maybe consider going to Rotella T3 and see if it likes it better.
Is there anything else in the engine that has copper?
Maybe try another lab to see if the analysis matches.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:16 PM   #3
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I don't know if you had a chance to read this CAT publication regarding high copper levels. I would agree it's probably related to your oil cooler, however, if all other levels are correct, I don't think I would do anything.

I also may suggest going back to an older dino oil vs. synthetic. Try Rotella 15w40 instead and use that for several oil changes.

Edit - In addition, I would also suggest changing your oil once per year vs. once every other year.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:20 PM   #4
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Do those who have oil samples tested get an acid number with the results? Just curious.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:39 PM   #5
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Here's the full report. With my personal info redacted. Sorry if it is a little fuzzy. I thought it would be easier for everyone to view as a jpg rather than me attaching it as a pdf.
I didn't pay for the TBN /TAN test this time, since I am planning to change the oil anyways.

Thanks for your opinion.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:43 PM   #6
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I wouldn't do anything after reading that other than changing back to dino and increasing your oil change frequency.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglee25 View Post
I wouldn't do anything after reading that other than changing back to dino and increasing your oil change frequency.
The CAT article on copper does say that "new oil formation" could result in higher copper. But I've been running the T6 (synthetic) now for three oil changes - so I don't think that is a new formulation.

On the frequency of oil changes - the past two reports (TBN) is saying the oil is still good and doesn't need to be changed.

That's one of the benefits of getting the oil analysis. It's around $400 for an oil change doing the work myself - and I don't want to waste money. I hardly put any mileage on the coach (which is not so good) and then it sat for year (COVID) with just some periodic/short runs to get the oil hot.

I already have the oil (Rotella T6) and filter, so I'm going to go ahead and change it. I'll send an oil sample to CAT (different lab) and perhaps next time I'll try a different oil brand - if that matters.
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Old 12-02-2021, 02:01 PM   #8
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I dont think the copper is going to hurt your engine to small and the filter is going to collect them if they are of any size. Where is it coming from, it could indicate something is breaking down. One of the base metals use in bronze is copper. Bronze is used in many bearings.

But bronze is normarly made with zinc, which your chart does not show much zinc? Maybe this is a high tech bronze made with a diffrent metal not shown on your chart?
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Old 12-02-2021, 02:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CountryB View Post
The CAT article on copper does say that "new oil formation" could result in higher copper. But I've been running the T6 (synthetic) now for three oil changes - so I don't think that is a new formulation.

On the frequency of oil changes - the past two reports (TBN) is saying the oil is still good and doesn't need to be changed.

That's one of the benefits of getting the oil analysis. It's around $400 for an oil change doing the work myself - and I don't want to waste money. I hardly put any mileage on the coach (which is not so good) and then it sat for year (COVID) with just some periodic/short runs to get the oil hot.

I already have the oil (Rotella T6) and filter, so I'm going to go ahead and change it. I'll send an oil sample to CAT (different lab) and perhaps next time I'll try a different oil brand - if that matters.
I agree your TBN is stating it's ok to continue use. My reason for changing it more often was due to lack of use. If for some reason the oil becomes acidic and sits in the pan or oil cooler over the winter, that could exacerbate the issue.
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Old 12-03-2021, 05:43 AM   #10
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I saw this article on "copper in diesel oil" and it is a little more encouraging (if it's correct). Snippet below

I'm going to take another oil sample (same oil) and send it to a different lab (CAT). I'll see if they get same readings and what they recommend.
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Old 12-03-2021, 08:13 AM   #11
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Interesting...
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:17 AM   #12
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What is your methods for collecting the sample? On my C7 the samples would come back not the greatest. Then I read about the correct way to do the sample and found out I was not warming the engine up to operating temperature and would take the sample immediately when removing the drain plug. So I followed the directions, warmed the engine up to full operating temperature and took samples after the oil was flowing a bit and the sample came back much better. Just saying
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:34 AM   #13
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I have the pre-paid Blackstone Labs kit. I run the engine to get oil hot, then use the plastic tube and hand pump that come on the kit to draw the oil out the dipstick tube. You set the tube length an inch or two longer the length of the dipstick so you are in the oil but not touching the bottom of the pan.
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Old 12-06-2021, 11:27 AM   #14
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Is there any chance contamination can occur with that method of oil sampling?
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