Best run-in oil - comments?

Best run-in oil - comments?

I will be running in my engine soon - should have had it back a month ago & just been told it will be ready in 2 weeks. Walter told me that he uses regular oil rather than mineral oil for the run-in. I never did understand what mineral oil was supposed to do. Now I came across this discussion in another group:

First Poster
Lycoming still recommends mineral oil during the break in period and the
  first 50 hours of flight. See Plane & Pilot, April 2005, page 72. Is
  this because mineral oil does a better job of reducing friction or is it
  some other reason?

Second Poster
It is because straight mineral oil is a somewhat poor lubricant and this enables the various working pieces of the engine to "wear in". Among other things, this benefits the rings as they fit to the cylinder. If they can be worn to fit before the cylinders develop a coat of varnish, they will seal better for the life of the cylinder.

Do people really use mineral oil to run-in because it is a poor lubricant?
Thanks for any opinions.

Tony
C-GICE

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

I always thought it has something to do with its ability to burn without fouling, since the rings would not be seated and oil consumpton would be high shortly after overhaul. I would go with what the factory advises, but what do I know.

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Yeah, go with what the factory says.  I think most will say to use mineral oil for the first 25-50 hours.  I think Continental says for the first 50, but to change it at the first 25 hours.  I have heard exactly what poster #2 said.  Mineral oil will allow the components in engine (mainly cylinders) to wear slightly.  Thus, it would stand to reason that it is not as good of a lubricant.  Get those cylinders worn in properly and you will not spend as much time cleaning the belly of your aircraft.  Once the glaze has formed inside the cylinder, it is too late.

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

ECi recommends Phillips X/C SAE 20W-50 for break-in. It is 100% mineral oil.

The following is quoted directly from ECi's run-in and break-in instructions:

The lubrication demands imposed upon your engine during run-in and break-in period are different from its operational needs.

During run-in and break-in your lubricant should:
1. Provide immediate oil flow and pressure for start-up protection.
2. Provide protection against extreme temperature changes.
3. Eliminate oil related by-product deposits.
4. Suspend contaminants.
5. Enhance the engine's break-in processes.

Phillips SAE20W-50 multiviscosity oil provides quick lubrication for improved start-up with the SAE20W low temperature viscosity. All multi grade oils lubricate three times faster than straight weight, yet its full bodied SAE 50 viscosity will completely protect the engine at high temperatures and operational loads. The ashless dispersant (AD) in this oil keeps your engine's lubrication system free from oil related contaminants. The dispersant additive further enhances the system by suspending contaminants and operational wear metals in solution rather than allowing them to settle to the bottom of your crankcase forming harmful engine sludge. Finally this 100% mineral product will
enhance the mating of all the parts involved in systems requiring operational wear-in.

I personally prefer to use Aeroshell W100 Plus SAE 50 single weight oil with the anti-wear additive, but ECi specifically cautions against using the additive during break-in. I'm replacing all six cylinders with new ECi Titans rightnow, and will use Phillips X/C SAE 20W-50 for the first 50 hours, then switch to Aeroshell W100 Plus.

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Always follow the MFG's recommendations. Mineral oil is always used for the break in. Walter needs to reconsider what he is doing.

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Passer by:

In the last few years, we have broken in over 100 engines as I have delineated.  Not one of them has taken more than 5 hours to be completely finished with the breakin procedure. We have not used mineral oil in a single one of them.  We have used the oil the owner wishes to use for the TBO run.  This has become the procedure for at least five of the premier engine shops I have spoken with concerning this subject.

1) Mineral oil breaks down at a lower temperature than AD oil.  This is the quality of oil you wish to use when high temperatures are a problem??  Not me.

2) Mineral oil does not keep the wear particles in suspension.  When you drain the oil, don't you want the particles to drain out with the oil?  I do.

The use  of mineral oil goes back to the pre-WWII days when there were no really good AD or multi-weight oils.  There is no longer any scientific reason to use mineral oil, but the OWT will no die.

Each may do as they please.  Use mineral oil if you want to.  It's your engine and it's your money.  I treat my engines in accordance with the known good science and not someone's 70 year old, unsupported, outdated opinion.

OTOH, if you want to use mineral oil, that's OK with me.  And, if you wish to use an inferior oil in your airplane for the first 50 hours, that's OK with me too.  Your choice.

So far, not one reason to use mineral oil has been offered that is backed by any scientific data. Each may make their own decisions. That said, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference either way.

If you feel compelled to use mineral oil, change it and the filter at 5 hours and go ahead and start using the regular oil.

It might be worth noting that when Lycoming is telling you to use mineral oil for the first 50 hours it is the same company whose VP in charge of engineering recently said, in court, under oath, that they considered it acceptable to have six crankshaft failures per year.  Consider the source of the information upon which you rely.

Walter Atkinson
Advanced Pilot Seminars

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

>Always follow the MFG's recommendations. Mineral oil is always used for the break >in. Walter needs to reconsider what he is doing.

Actually, in fairness to Walter I asked him what he uses and he told me. He also said that if my A & E preferred to use mineral oil, then that was OK. He wasn't trying to influence me in any direction - just answering my question. I just wanted to clarify that. Thanks to all for their responses.

Tony
C-GICE

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

I’m confused and that’s easy because, I do not know a lot about lubrication.  From the previous posts, I asked myself What is mineral oil anyway?  How does it differ from the standard AD oils typically used in our engines?

(Sorry about the long post I put a lot of info into it.)

So I did some reading, the excerpts are at the end of the post for those interested: The key points for me are given below.  For those more knowledgeable, maybe you can correct my preliminary conclusions.  In addition, I concluded that there is scientific or perhaps I should say technical support for what Walter is saying.  At the same time, following the manufacturers recommendations wouldn’t hurt either.  The key point seems to be to use a good, quality, approved, oil for your engine and you should be fine, as long as the quality of the work in rebuilding the engine, is good.  Maybe all this stuff about the best break-in oil is just diverting attention from the more important aspect of the overall quality of the rebuild job performed. Here goes:

“Liquid lubricant consists of (1) a mixture of selected base oils and additives, (2) blended to a specific viscosity, with (3) the blend designed to meet the performance needs of a particular type of service.”

The service discussed here is engine break-in, which I previously learned primarily involves setting of the piston rings before varnish is formed.  The goal achieve good compression throughout the life of the engine.  The other major aspect is to eliminate the initial burst of wear-in debris of metallic particles.

“Petroleum Oils: Lubricants made with petroleum base oils are widely used because of their general suitability to much of existing equipment and availability at moderate cost. Most petroleum base oils, often called mineral oils, are prepared by conventional refining processes from naturally occurring hydrocarbons in crude oils.”

So Mineral Oil is jargon!  It is a non-specific type of petroleum base oil.  I’m sure the oil approved for use in airplanes has specifications, but there doesn’t seem to be any magic in the term Mineral Oil. 

“In discussing physical and chemical tests there is this excerpt on Ash:  “Although it is unlikely that well-refined oils that do not contain metallic additives will yield {in tests} any appreciable ash from impurities or contaminants’

From this brief excerpt, Ashless Dispersants (AD) additives are analogous to Unleaded gas, in which lead is NOT added (it is not removed as the term Unleaded implies).  So there is no special processing, you get it (Ashless) by not adding it.   I guess then, you can have Mineral Oil with Ashless Dispersant.  This is supported by Stan’s post regarding Phillips X/C SAE 20W-50.

I would think dispersants are good for break-in.  By keeping contaminants and operational wear metal particles suspended in the oil, these unwanted products can more readily be removed from the engine by the oil filter and by immediately changing the oil while the engine is still hot, say after the first 5 hours or nearly continuous use (as suggested by Walter in a previous thread).

So now what?  I then found an article from consumers report entitled “The surprising Truth about motor oils”  <http://oil.articles.mbz.org/cu/>

The findings are based on independent Tests performed with a fleet of NY City taxicabs.  The thrust of the article is to debunk the wild claims by oil manufactures and common engine treatments.

Conclusions:    [[[[  No brand performed best!  ]]]]] 

“…But thorough statistical analysis of our data showed no brand-not even the expensive synthetics- to be meaningfully better or worse in our tests.

After each engine ran about 60,000 miles ( and through 10 months of seasonal changes), we disassembled it and measured the wear on the camshaft, valve lifters, and connecting-rod bearings.  We used a tool precise to within 0.00001 inch to measure wear on the key surface of the camshaft, and a tool precise to within 0.0001 inch on the valve lifters.  The combined wear for both parts averaged only 0.0026 inch, about the thickness of this magazine page.  Generally, we noted as much variation between engines using the same oil as between those using different oils.  Even the engines with the most wear didn’t reach a level where we could detect operational problems.”

Conclusion:

So this testing would provide support for Walter Atkinsons position that you might as well use the high quality oil you always use in your airplane.  It’s probably at least as good as those using as a base oil “Mineral oil” or it might be “Mineral oil”!   At the same time it wouldn’t hurt to go by engine manufacturer recommendations especially if a warrantee is at stake and it really won’t make any difference anyway!

Varnish is caused more by high operating temperatures and not by the type of oil.

No conclusion could be made regarding sludge because of the frequent and continuous use of the engines tested.  Sludge is formed during cold starts and short trips (use).


Excerpts from 1996 Marks’ Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers’ page 6-177 through page 6-180.

“Liquid lubricant consists of (1) a mixture of selected base oils and additives, (2) blended to a specific viscosity, with (3) the blend designed to meet the performance needs of a particular type of service. …”

“Petroleum Oils Lubricants made with petroleum base oils are widely used because of their general suitability to much of existing equipment and availability at moderate cost. Most petroleum base oils, often called mineral oils, are prepared by conventional refining processes from naturally occurring hydrocarbons in crude oils.  …  A few new types of petroleum base oils have become available, produced my more severe processing.  These oils (hydrocracked oils and hydroisomerized wax oils) cost more, and availability is rather limited, but they have many improved properties, approaching those of more expensive synthetic oils.  The improvements include better oxidation and thermal stability, lower volatility, higher viscosity index, and lower levels of sulfur, aromatics, and nitrogen compounds.  Use of these oils is destined to grow as the trend toward higher-performance lubricants continues.”

What are the other types of oils?

“Synthetic oils are artificially made, as opposed to naturally occurring petroleum fluids.”

“Lubricants blended with both petroleum and synthetic base oils are called semisynthetic lubricants.”

“Vegetable oils have very limited use as base stocks for lubricants, but are use din special applications.”

“Fatty oils, extracted from vegetable, animal, and fish sources, have excellent lubricity ….”

“Additives are chemical compounds added to base oils to modify or enhance certain lubricant performance characteristics.  Types of additives include antioxidants, antiwear agents, extreme-pressure agents, viscosity index improvers, dispersants, detergents, pour point depressants, friction modifiers, corrosion inhibitors, rust inhibitors, metal deactivators, tackiness agents, antifoamants air-release agents, demulsifiers, emulsifiers, odor control agents, and biocides.”

In discussing physical and chemical tests there is this excerpt on Ash:  “Although it is unlikely that well-refined oils that do not contain metallic additives will yield any appreciable ash from impurities or contaminants….”

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Hi Barry
Thanks vey much for your research - I really appreciate it and I learned lots.

>I concluded that there is scientific or perhaps I should say technical support for >what Walter is saying . . .

Imagine the least technical/mechanical person you ever met - that's me.
So I am the original pain in the butt. I question every mechanic/a&e/whatever about everything - because quite honestly I don't understand a lot of this stuff.

Show me any broken machine and I have a real talent for isolating why it is broken and I can show you why it is broken - but I don't have the skills to fix it - that's just me.

So I am always asking questions. And I have been doing that for years.

And so I have to say, that while Walter Atkinson will often go against popular opinion in his arguments, I personally find that his logic is hard to fault and looking back, he is usually proved right. I followed lots of his advice and he hasn't mislead me yet.

So going back to your statement:
>I concluded that there is scientific or perhaps I should say technical support for >what Walter is saying . . . 
That serves to reinforce my own, personal opinion - Walter knows what he is talking about - even if it is often at odds with what other people are saying.

I for one an very grateful that he continues to share his experience and wisdom with us - and I look forward to one day attending his seminars.

Thanks for your response - you put a lot into it and I appreciate that.

Tony
C-GICE




>now a lot about lubrication. From >the previous posts, I asked myself What is >mineral oil anyway? . . . . .

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Hi Barry
Thanks vey much for your research - I really appreciate it and I learned lots.

>I concluded that there is scientific or perhaps I should say technical support for >what Walter is saying . . .

Imagine the least technical/mechanical person you ever met - that's me.
So I am the original pain in the butt. I question every mechanic/a&e/whatever about everything - because quite honestly I don't understand a lot of this stuff.

Show me any broken machine and I have a real talent for isolating why it is broken and I can show you why it is broken - but I don't have the skills to fix it - that's just me.

So I am always asking questions. And I have been doing that for years.

And so I have to say, that while Walter Atkinson will often go against popular opinion in his arguments, I personally find that his logic is hard to fault and looking back, he is usually proved right. I followed lots of his advice and he hasn't mislead me yet.

So going back to your statement:
>I concluded that there is scientific or perhaps I should say technical support for >what Walter is saying . . . 
That serves to reinforce my own, personal opinion - Walter knows what he is talking about - even if it is often at odds with what other people are saying.

I for one an very grateful that he continues to share his experience and wisdom with us - and I look forward to one day attending his seminars.

Thanks for your response - you put a lot into it and I appreciate that.

Tony
C-GICE




>now a lot about lubrication. From >the previous posts, I asked myself What is >mineral oil anyway? . . . . .

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Special thanks need to be offered to Barry for taking the time to post the details upon which my recommnedations were based. I try very hard to make recommendations based on the science but unfortunately don't always have the time to give FULL explanations of all of the details that have brought me to that recommendation.

I agree 100% with what Barry has found out about oils.

You may rest assured, that if I am not offering a DATA-BASED opinion, I will not present it without saying that it is not data-based and it is only my unsupported opinion.

It is sometimes worthwhile to remember what Anatole France said:

"If fifty million people say a stupid thing, it is still a stupid thing."

That's why I occasionally find myself at odds with the fifty million.  I just don't think parroting a stupid thing is doing anybody any good.  <g>  I'm gonna report the truth as the data suggests it is.

Thanks, gang.

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

good stuff all around!  Thanks again Walter..I have never doubted anything you have said simply because it always agrees with logic and my own experience!  Lots of myths in aviation do not stand the test of data based scrutiny.  Steve VW

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Tony, Walter:

You are very welcome.  I get a lot of information and benefit from the advice and insights received from many here, not just Walter and Tony.  So let me say to all who contribute, Thanks you all very much. 

It feels good when I can contribute.  Thanks again for your feedback, sometimes we get caught up in what I think of as logic loops.  This can be blinding, if you don't consider all the "relevant" facts.  That's where the fair exchange of ideas plays an invaluable role.  There is a wealth of experience and knowledge on this site. Please continue, it adds the safety and enjoyment of flying. 

Barry Schneidman

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

I am just getting ready to brake in my O/H O-320 160hp the advice from my engine shop (the owner) was use AEROSHELL 100 and  "fly it like you stole it"  for 25 hrs .However sound Walter's logic is ,I've got to go with the guy who's going to warranty it ! needless to say I am very excited !

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

Dave:

That is really funny,  It's also good advice.  Run it HARD and run it very, very rich.

Walter

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

At the risk of beating a dead horse....

I was getting some oil today and found Aeroshell 100 Mineral Grade oil next to the box of Aeroshell 100 AD oil.  Curious they use Mineral as a grade rather than as a base oil.  After sorting through some websites I found one that provided recommendations.  I sort of figured from this and other information that by Mineral Grade they meant no dispersants have been added to the oil.  I didn't quite follow or agree with their reasoning.  They make the point that with dispersants enhance particle removal, but don't believe that's important during breakin.  That seems to contradict the goal to remove "infant" wear debris found during the breakin period. They also recognize the best way to get rid of the debris is is to drain the oil frequently, but they wait 25 hours.

In the Phillips oil description provided in Stan Coopers post Phillips brags about having AD in their straight Mineral oil for breakin. If is no wonder there is so much confusion about this topic.


http://www.ramaircraft.com/Maintenance- … ations.htm

Quote from this wesite:

"Added some info on history that I did not spend any time validating.

Mineral Oil and Mineral Based Oils
• Break-in procedures: RAM uses Mineral Oil
• Normal operations: RAM uses Mineral Based Ashless Dispersant (AD) oils

Ashless Dispersant (AD) Oil

Ashless Dispersant Oil could be written as Ashless and Dispersant Oil. There are two distinct features to remember about AD oil. Ashless stems from a requirement to clarify that the oil does not leave behind any ashes, or burning embers as it cleans. Decades ago in aviation history, oils that cleaned involved metallic cleaning particles that left embers. Such glow ing metallic embers contributed to pre-ignition. Detergent oils have long since been removed from aviation piston engines. Aviation oils that clean are required to be Ashless.
When an oil has Dispersant qualities, the particles created and removed by cleaning are suspended (dispersed) within the oil. Being dispersed, they are collected better by the oil filter. During the initial engine break-in period, RAM believes that AD cleansing is premature.

RAM recommends a non dispersant Mineral Oil during the initial twenty-five hour break-in period of an aircraft piston engine, or replacement cylinder.

Break-in Oil
Break-in procedures should be followed whether replacing one cylinder or six, and that includes using a Multi-Viscosity Mineral Oil such as SAE 20W-50 Phillips Type-M.

The minimum break-in period should be considered the first twenty-five hours of operation. Turbocharged engines typically break-in sooner due to higher peak cylinder pressures. Therefore, the oil should be changed as soon as oil consumption stabilizes, but no later than the first twenty-five hours of operation.

At that time, oil should be changed to an Ashless Dispersant (AD) Mineral Based Oil."


Tony - how goes the breakin?

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

So this breaks down into two groups:

Group one recommends using mineral oil for the breakin and offers no data as to why; while all of the data-backed information is to the contrary of that recommendation.

Group two goes against all of these decades old recommendations based on the data and uses AD oil--OWTs be damned.

Group one thinks it takes 25-50 hours to break in an engine but doesn't have any data about why it takes that long. 

Group two sees the engines fully broken in by 5 hours according to the downloaded engine monitor data, changes the oil and filter and goes about the business of enjoying the airplane.


Ain't America great?  We can all choose which group we want to belong to.  <g>

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Re: Best run-in oil - comments?

I just replaced the cylinders in my 0-320E2D with Superior parts.  Because my AP is nervous about not using mineral oil, we started with that.  (Personally I would have used the usual 15W-50 Aeroshell I have always used, but..) I think most of the ashless/mineral oil breakin discussion is very outdated and based on engines, oils and technology that do not exist any more.
Runs great, has about 5 hours of hard running and has used no oil.  As Walter suggests, we saw a rather quick temp shift (down) at about 1 hour of running. Since then I can't tell any difference except the new jugs must be making more power...static rpm is up about 50, climb rpm is up almost 100 and I can now pull over redline in straight and level flight.  (It appears that the better volumetric efficiency of the Millenium cylinders is perhaps enhanced by the Powerflow exhaust I also have.)  I will be changing the oil to 15W-50 before 10 hours to regain the advantages of dipersion, wear additives and corrosion protection. (I guess I'll find some hard-core mineral guy and give him the other five quarts I have left over)

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