Author Topic: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?  (Read 461 times)

Mike Shumack

  • Guest
I have a 2004 (engine year) C13.

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 notes said not to worry. I changed the oil then. It's 40 quarts of Rotella T6 15W-40, and a new Cat filter.

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 dropping, but still over the average. I changed the oil again after sending out that sample.

Now it's 2021. I sent in my latest oil sample a couple of weeks ago (Nov 2021) and the copper came back at 318 ppm. Everything else is in the normal range. I plan to change the oil again this weekend. Rotella T6 15W-40.

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?
Perhaps wait another year (another 5,000 miles or so) then retest the oil.

Mike Shumack

  • Guest
Re: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2021, 07:53:26 PM »
Here's the lab report (my personal info redacted). I think I will send another oil sample out for testing - this time to CAT (a different lab) to see if the results come back the same.



Frank Bergamo

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 210
  • Thanked: 51 times
Re: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2021, 09:52:38 PM »
Mike,

Here is a good read related to copper in oil analysis. You might be on to something with oil cooler copper contamination. This article might ease your mind a bit. https://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/646/copper-diesel-engine-oil Hope this helps.
Frank & Paulette Bergamo
2019-       : 2007 Marquis Topaz IV  C-15 600 HP Allison 4000
2014-2019: 2002 Marquis Emerald C-12 505 HP Allison 4000
2004-2014: 1986 Executive Diplomat 3208 250 HP Allison MT-643
Grand Junction, CO.

Mike Shumack

  • Guest
Re: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2021, 11:10:00 PM »
Thanks for that link Frank. That does put me at ease. Although I have also been researching this and found several articles that state anything over 60 ppm is a concern.
I hope "your guy" is the one who is right.  ::)

Dave Atherton

  • BAC Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1013
  • Thanked: 857 times
Re: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2021, 01:54:18 PM »
Mike, yes high copper is nothing to worry about and most cases coming from engine oil cooler.
Would suggest running and take another oil sample at 3,000 miles. There is a suction that
BlackStone sells and the plastic tube to put down your dip stick tube that oil sample bottle connect
Into suction gun. Just remember when using suction gun and plastic tubing to measure your dip
Stick and make the plastic tube about 4 inches longer than dip stick ( this will prevent from pulling
warm oil from bottom of oil pan.) Dave Atherton Retired Cat Mechanic

Mike Shumack

  • Guest
Re: Dave - I have high copper levels in my engine oil. What should I do?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2021, 04:33:51 PM »
Thanks Dave.
Glad to hear your prognosis. I'm changing the oil this weekend, then I retest next year after putting a couple of thousand more miles on her.
Happy Holidays.