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Old 15-02-2008, 19:40   #1
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http://www.enginecheckup.com/

I read about this product in Sail magazine and decided to give it a try... Basically, you run your engine until warm, pull the dipstick, and let a drop of oil land on a test card. You then wait for the oil to be absorbed and for indicator bands to form. These bands are supposed to indicate the level of sediment, water, coolant, diesel and oxidation in the oil.

My oil is about a month old and has few hours on it. I found interpreting the data confusing. The instructions given say not to try to match your results to the example. Well, what else can you possibly do with a sample of 1. It seems to me that the test kit should come with dozens of sample test results rather than 1. I followed the instructions but I'm not sure I know anything more now than I did before the test. I'm sure someone that has done this same test many times with different engines in different conditions might be able to interpret what they see. I can't. Maybe over time, I might be able to use the 5 remaining tests to see any trends but I'm not very optimistic. I don't think I would purchase this product again but if I change my mind, I'll be sure to report back...
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Old 15-02-2008, 20:18   #2
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Hi Darrell, Always good to see another Newport owner--hope you like yours as well as I like mine. I am naturally skeptical if it sounds too good to be true; after going to the website and seeing the statements made I'm with you, I don't think I'd buy it. If the sample has a high degree of fuel present as well as particulants and whatever else, how can the oil be in generally good condition? It also looks difficult to compare a sample with whatever the comparison tool might be. It'll never replace a chemical assay. Good sailing!
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Old 15-02-2008, 22:48   #3
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It'll never replace a chemical assay.
100% right there. There have always ben theses "tricks" to the trade, but in reality, if the oil has gotten to the point of giving easily readable results, then it is likely that you see the issues in the way your engine is running poorly.
The great thing about a Diesel is, is they are basic. If it starts and runs, it is usually OK. If it is hard to start and it smokes when it does, it needs attention. The best thing you can do for your Diesel engine is to give it regular oil/filter changes and run it on good quality oil and good quality filters. Look after the oil, fuel and water, and the thing will last for many many years.
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Old 18-02-2008, 10:45   #4
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The best way to know what your oil is doing is to send a sample to a lab, most labs are not very expensive $ 19.95. Cat, Amsoil and many others.
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Old 03-03-2008, 14:43   #5
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Response to EngineCheckUp comments

Hello drh1965, joheri1, Alan Wheeler and Inlet Marine Services. EngineCheckUp is not a competitor of sending an oil sample to a laboratory. Such a service gives a much more detailed analysis of engine oil and engine condition than EngineCheckUp, though it is more expensive and not immediate. Our users are mechanics, surveyors, boat owners and brokers who understand the limitations and benefits of a quick engine analysis for their specific purpose.

Often consumers that use EngineCheckUp are made aware of problems that then require a more detailed analysis - in effect, EngineCheckUp creates sales of such. Or, using EngineCheckUp may delay such a detailed analysis.

One problem that we do see, though rarely, is that consumers don't refer to the brochure panel titled, "How to interpret your test results". Such instructions indicate that the oil sample forms concentric circles on the test medium, and each circle refers to a particular test result. The inner circle notes sediment, the next is quality of oil, then water / glycol and the outer circle is petrol / gasoline or diesel content. It is possible for the oil to be in good condition, as johner1 commented, yet there is a high degree of gasoline (for example only). Having just changed your oil would show that the oil is in good condition, though having a worn ring ("blowby") would show a high degree of fuel. The results are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Alan Wheeler noted correctly that the best thing you can do for your diesel is to change the oil and filter regularly and run good quality oil. However, using EngineCheckUp can increase the times between changes (suggesting that waiting for smoke to indicate your time might not be the best indicator). Other contaminants not necessarily revealed by an oil change (glycol, water, fuel) could have long term negative effects on your engine - assuming that the contaminants are a result of a mechanical issue that you would not know about otherwise. These contaminants are easily noted with one test. (Even at full retail, one test for all of the contaminants and oil condition is less than $5)

Thanks drh1965 and the rest for your comments. EngineCheckup is a good product if it is understood what it can do, and cannot do, if the instructions are read and adhered to. If any of you would care to try a complimentary six-pack for your marine or auto applications (drh1965 I would be happy to send a refund or send you another six pack) please email me at allen@enginecheckup.com and I will be happy to forward such on to you...and comments from you, after use, would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Allen Uhler
Owner
EngineCheckUp
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Old 04-03-2008, 14:02   #6
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Allen, I'm not looking for a handout or a refund... I want your product to be useful to me. Having used a couple of the tests now, I still can't say for sure I'm interpreting the results properly.

My suggestion to you would be to place many, many actual test samples on your website, with interpretations of each.

I'm sure the instructions that come with the tests make perfect sense to you but you've also probably looked at 1000s of samples with known oil conditions so that those results could then be correlated.
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Old 29-03-2008, 05:30   #7
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Further EngineCheckUp Review

To drh1965 - Glad that you have at least had the opportunity to review the product first hand. At this point in time I feel as though putting dozens or hundreds of pictured results on the web, or in a brochure, would add more confusion to prospective users. I envision the customer eying each picture and comparing it to that in his / her hand, each comparison taking what..10 seconds? 5 seconds? And the reality is that there are almost an infinite number of possibilities when you consider that there are 5 tests with very result degrees of each and then add the petrol vs diesel.....and by that time the prospect has missed the point of easy application. In fact, our new brochure has LESS pictures but more descriptive analysis as to reading and interpreting. As we expand our product line into the automotive field, we have had no such confusion or problems with result interpretation either in the US or internationally (we are now in Australia, South Africa, Germany, Netherlands and Russia). With over 40 magazines in the US published editorials (the most recent was Trailer Boats. Maybe not a sailors magazine though from my un-boat-trained eye you can pull a sailboat on a trailer) we have had little in the way of translation or interpretation problems. I revert to my previous note about "Interpreting Your Test Results" and in fact our studies have shown that this simple guide (without actual pictures) is all that is required to get full results.
Thanks for taking the time to write about the product.
Kind Regards,

Allen Uhler
Owner
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Old 29-03-2008, 06:46   #8
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I'm going to aggravate a few people with this comment.

One time engine oil analysis is useless.

Now, I'll back this up.
To do a one time analysis will give you the current condition. Can you determine if this is an ongoing problem? normal? or impending failure? No. If you have been collecting engine oil analysis for the life of the engine then. And in my opinion only then, is it useful information.
You are much better served buy cutting open your freshly changed oil filter and examining the media for debris. If debris is found this is a sign of impending doom. Where minor changes in an oil sample may be normal. But when misinterpreted by the untrained to be signs of impending doom. All engines have moisture in them, all engines "make metal" in the oil, all diesels have a normal level of by products of combustion. Learn the signs of an engine thats injured.
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Old 29-03-2008, 09:26   #9
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You are much better served buy cutting open your freshly changed oil filter and examining the media for debris.
Many levels of analysis can often find similar or hidden problems. Things done regualrly always pay off better than just doing it unscheduled. The discussion of the alternatives is not about the only way or even the best way. Opening up fuel and oil filters is clearly an idication of what kind of crap you have been catching. Filters may do a great job and not show any engine problems but if you checked them owith each change you could see new patterns.
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Old 29-03-2008, 10:23   #10
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As Never Monday said, a one-time analysis, and particularly these colormetric type tests, are essentially useless. The only reproducable and valid analysis of engine condition comes from repeated, periodic testing using sound analytical methods, to observe a trend.

This is one of those you-get-what-you-pay-for things and since an engine is expensive and good lab testing is relatively cheap, if you want to monitor your engine, do it right and have the oil tested by a laboratory capable of interpreting the tests for you.

Looking at the contents of an oil filter might allow one to observe large chunks but I suspect you'd know if a problem that large already existed. I would be dubious of anything short of a microscopic examination of the filter contents along with the chemistry or atomic absorption analysis for metals.
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Old 29-03-2008, 12:13   #11
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Regardiing Oil Analysis

EngineCheckUp is clearly NOT a substitute for laboratory oil analysis. I have stated such many times. In fact, the results of testing with EngineCheckUp may indicate that further analysis (laboratory) should be undertaken. Conversely, the results may indicate further analysis is not suggested. Cutting open your freshly changed oil filter and examining is helpful, though you note that you would do such after an oil change. EngineCheckUp does not require an oil change and would reveal IF an oil change is necessary. Before we launched the product, I completed about 190 tests on marine engines (walking around several marina's in New Jersey). I would ask people if I could do a quick engine analysis by using one drop of oil placed on a specially treated paper. Invariably people would say that their oil was long overdue for a change, and they would hesitate to have me test (and confirm their statement). Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, probably 80% of the people that said their oil was overdue for a change actually had good / non degraded oil. That in itself is worth a few bucks. The largest users of EngineCheckUp today? Marine mechanics. The largest single user of the product? Long Island marine mechanic has purchased over 1,200 tests in 3 months. The problems revealed by EngineCheckUp has kept him and his team busy all winter. He has the option of sending oil away to a laboratory, though he has found that EngineCheckUp works well for him.

I'm not arguing your points. I don't believe we are on "two sides of the fence". Just that there is room for all in the sandbox and we all have our own way of thinking.

Regards,

Allen Uhler
EngineCheckUp
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Old 29-03-2008, 12:32   #12
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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Looking at the contents of an oil filter might allow one to observe large chunks but I suspect you'd know if a problem that large already existed. I would be dubious of anything short of a microscopic examination of the filter contents along with the chemistry or atomic absorption analysis for metals.
Quite often you can find small visible bits in an oil filter and have no outward signs or symptoms of damage.
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Old 29-03-2008, 17:43   #13
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The problems revealed by EngineCheckUp has kept him and his team busy all winter.
This sounds scary. I can only assume the guy is honest and not a landshark. But it reminds me of a situation I was involved with many years ago by a couple of unscrupulous characters. I was working for an additive company as a sales/technical rep. I was doing a special promo on an additive for Petrol(Gas) cars for cleaning injectors and cleaning water from the fuel. I would train forecourt attendants at how to sell the product. When they removed the fuel cap, looking at the inside of the cap would often reveal condensation(it was winter) and so it was a good tool for suggesting they add this product to aid in the event that water may also be in their tank. I supplied a wall chart and had little stars on the top of each bottle cap. As a Forecourt person sold a bottle, they could stick the star after their name on the chart. I would then pay them each $1.00 for each start, in cash. Well one service station sold huge quantities of the product and it was between two forecourt personal. They were each earning several hundred dollars a week. I asked them how on earth they had been so succesful. Well the reply was, "when a car comes into the Forecourt, I remove the cap, dunk it in the container of windscreen washing water and then show it to the driver. They always buy a bottle of additive. I was shocked and horrified. The promo came to an end rather sharply after that.
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Old 29-03-2008, 18:17   #14
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EngineCheckUp has been tested by TUV, THE leading European agency (independent) recognized globally - offices throughout the world and in the US. Further, EngineCheckUp has been tested by more than 20 marine technical journalists who have gone out of their way to write their specific results in various trade magazines. We are an information source only - we neither sell nor endorse any product that would fix a problem revealed. I see no relationship between EngineCheckUp and the product you referenced, or the individuals administering the test, in your quaint anecdote
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Old 29-03-2008, 18:47   #15
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Allen,
I'm not doubting the efficacy of your product. As I stated a moment in time test is inconclusive by nature.
The best analogy I can come up with is an EKG. You get an EKG that's determined to be good. Then you walk out of the doctors office and have spontaneous heart attack.
Granted this is an extreme example. It's still the same moment in time analysis. Now, If you get an owner "hooked" on testing out of their own fears. Then they are building a data base to research trends.
Engines as produced are designed to run for a minimum standard of time. The EPA mandates this in the emissions guarantees and manufacturers statements. I have no reason to believe anyone on this board will out live a normally cared for 2008 production diesel auxiliary engine. By normally cared for I mean regular oil and fuel filter changes and no catastrophic events like a reversion or submersion.
I conclusion, I feel there is no need for any oil analysis other than to build a personal data base or ally personal fears.

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