My apologies for the length of this, but I wanted to be thorough in my explanations. And hopefully some of it is helpful.
Firstly, for the OP, as well as anyone interested in having these tests done, & what they may or may not determine:
- Talk to Blackstone Labs (plus a few others) yourself => on the phone
, Not via email
. So that the info which you get from them is 1st hand. And is communicated to you live, in a 2-way conversation, so that there's MUCH less room for misunderstandings. And also, that during such an interaction, there will absolutely
be things which come up, that spark new questions which you'll want to ask them about, right then. While you have them on the phone
Plus, you can get a feel for what they do, if they're a good outfit to work with, or if for them, you're just a small time client from whom to take some coin, & to for them to pacify with as little work as possible. OR, whether they really take some time with you, & give you premium quality
information. Which will definitely be of use to you, & have you doing business with them in the future, plus referring new clients to them as well.
- Also, do some research
into these kinds of tests for yourself, online, and by talking to mechanics, & other relevant fields. And take some notes while you're doing it. Ditto on when you talk to Blackstone & other, similar labs. So that you have all of your reference info in one place.
And too, it'll help you to compile & prioritize a list of questions, both to; research
on your own, & to ask the various labs & mechanics, etc. When you consult with them.
, bottom line
, you're doing a
-$50K research project
, in terms of learning
how best to use this Tool, in order to protect your large investment in these engines. And if you goof/do poor research, it could cost you the price
of a new car or more.
So be diligent enough so that you won’t have any reasons to second guess yourself 6 months from now.
My experience(s) with Blackstone were this
4 ½ years ago, I was shopping
for a used truck. And before heading out to look at vehicles, I called Blackstone Labs. And I asked them what they could do with some relatively fresh oil samples. Having planned on sending in fluid samples of vehicle X, or Y, which I was intending to buy. And I was told that any machinery which uses a lubricant, has innumerable moving parts
. Almost all of them made of differing alloys, which comprise their makeup. And that even in a fresh sample of fluids, like I was talking about, they could determine the amounts & types of the alloys, present in said oil.
The important bit being that they could quantify how much of each different types were present. And then compare what they found in the sample, to a “normal” engine
of that type (& age). So, based on that comparison, they could tell you things like whether the engine was about to crap a bearing in system X, or that the special hardening on say, the cam shaft, was wearing abnormally.
So that pretty much, they could paint
a metallurgical picture of what was going on in the engine. Not 100%, especially not just from one sample. But enough to know what was going on inside of it, in order to give you something of an idea as to what its lifespan might turn out be like. And also cues as to things like whether it was soon due for a top end rebuild
, or new gaskets, etc. Plus what specific areas to pay attention to on it.
Also, IIRC, they said that the testing could similarly measure what levels of fuel
were present in the oil, & how much of it was raw, & if some of it was partially combusted. One telling you about the “health or sickness” of the valves, & the other telling the same about the piston rings.
Plus, of course, they could determine how much, if any, coolant
was present in the samples, too. Which would tell you if there were problems with the heads, it’s gaskets, & the internal cooling
There’s more which they told me, but right now I can't recall
what, exactly. Though I do remember that much of it was regarding transmission health
So, given that their shop is 2 hours from where I live, I drove my (new to me) truck there, & let them draw the samples. So that there wouldn’t be any contamination issues; a big concern of mine. Plus I could take a tour of the place, & play 101 questions with them, live.
My impressions are that they seemed to be genuinely nice guys, concerned not just with things technical, but with customer care too.
And they walked me through all of the various shop & lab areas. Even ones which were normally off limits to non-employees. Explaining much, along the way, about what each setup or machine was for, & the various steps involved in testing each sample. Plus I got to see them work their magic, right then & there.
For me, it was definitely worth the trip. And 2 days later, I got my truck’s health
report. Which, happily, was very good. With only one thing to bear watching. And upon re-checking things 18 months later, all was virtually unchanged (thankfully). Even with a lot more miles on the truck.
I haven’t talked to them in 2 years. But hopefully, they’re still the same nice, Midwestern guys, who genuinely want to do a good job for the customer. And as with most places, I think that me making several personal connections there, made a difference in what kind of service