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Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing Discussions on mechanical maintenance and servicing of your Camaro

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Old 01-06-2010, 11:44 AM   #1
T_MECO
 
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ON STAR OIL Life %

So how is this number calculated? Based on their numbers I wouldn't have to get an oil change until 8000 mile range. How are they coming up with the calculation and should I ignore it and change it every 3-4000 miles?
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:46 AM   #2
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Wow! SO Many threads on this one Someone has that answer on here, and I do believe the owners manual also indicates how they calculate it. Basically, it's up to you: follow the DIC - which can go past 8000 miles!! - or, do what you're comfortable with. Me? I did mine at 1500 and will be doing it again, very soon, at 5K

You WILL get LOTS of different answers here...

EDIT: From the owner's manual:

Engine Oil Life System
When to Change Engine Oil
This vehicle has a computer system
that indicates when to change the
engine oil and filter. This is based
on engine revolutions and engine
temperature, and not on mileage.
Based on driving conditions, the
mileage at which an oil change is
indicated can vary considerably.
For the oil life system to work
properly, the system must be reset
every time the oil is changed.
When the system has calculated
that oil life has been diminished,
it indicates that an oil change is
necessary. A CHANGE ENGINE
OIL SOON message comes on.
See Engine Oil Messages on
page 4-32. Change the oil as soon
as possible within the next 1 000 km
(600 miles). It is possible that, if
driving under the best conditions,
the oil life system might not indicate
that an oil change is necessary for
over a year. However, the engine oil
and filter must be changed at least
once a year and at this time the
system must be reset. Your dealer/
retailer has trained service people
who will perform this work using
genuine parts and reset the system.
It is also important to check the oil
regularly and keep it at the proper
level.
If the system is ever reset
accidentally, the oil must be changed
at 5 000 km (3,000 miles) since the
last oil change. Remember to reset
the oil life system whenever the oil is
changed.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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It's based on all kinds of things,
number of startups, engine rpm, temperature...
It's pretty in-depth but I've never been able to let mine get under 20% because I'm paranoid
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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I figured that I'd get allot of answers on how comfortable a person feels about oil changing. I guess I should of checked the manual first but it still kind of vague. The engineer in me wants to see formulas

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Old 01-06-2010, 12:42 PM   #5
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I like to go to 20% once break in is over. For synthetic, 10k mile oil changes seem reasonable if the OLS allows.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:45 PM   #6
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Do your first change at 500-1500 to get out all the shavings from break in, fill it with synthetic and follow the oil life monitor. From what I understand people have done matching used oil analysis and the olm has been spot on for when to change the oil.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:48 PM   #7
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I changed it at the ~650 mark and I'm gonna wait til ~7000 to see what the Oil life says- right now coming up on 4000miles
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Old 01-06-2010, 01:44 PM   #8
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on Stars says at current rate I won't need oil change till 11,700 miles. Thats alot. Untill this the highest I have heard a car could go was 6,000 miles between oil change. Does it take into account if you rev high alot (racing)?
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GQ4Life View Post
on Stars says at current rate I won't need oil change till 11,700 miles. Thats alot. Untill this the highest I have heard a car could go was 6,000 miles between oil change. Does it take into account if you rev high alot (racing)?
Yes, it does....

"This vehicle has a computer system
that indicates when to change the
engine oil and filter. This is based
on engine revolutions
and engine
temperature, and not on mileage."

I changed my oil at 1500mi and will be following the OLS indicator. You can bet that GM did their research and has plenty of testing to validate this oil life calculation - they wouldn't risk putting their reputation for engine reliability on the line.

My job deals with Preventive Maintenance optimization and using condition-based maintenance is the most efficient method and I'm sure there's still some safety factor built in to that calc.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wh0rsep0wer View Post
Yes, it does....

"This vehicle has a computer system
that indicates when to change the
engine oil and filter. This is based
on engine revolutions
and engine
temperature, and not on mileage."

I changed my oil at 1500mi and will be following the OLS indicator. You can bet that GM did their research and has plenty of testing to validate this oil life calculation - they wouldn't risk putting their reputation for engine reliability on the line.

My job deals with Preventive Maintenance optimization and using condition-based maintenance is the most efficient method and I'm sure there's still some safety factor built in to that calc.
Thanxs!
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GQ4Life View Post
on Stars says at current rate I won't need oil change till 11,700 miles. Thats alot. Untill this the highest I have heard a car could go was 6,000 miles between oil change. Does it take into account if you rev high alot (racing)?
That is not unusual for the miles to be over 11,000 with the oil life monitor. You can check it anytime you want in your DIC. GM did years of testing and validation with cooperation from the oil industry to set the computer calculations for oil life. The only factors it cannot account for is the driving conditions such as Dusty or dirty driving conditions, in that case you need to go by the severe use 3000 mile schedule. It does use engine loading as a factor in determining life, I have seen in pickups that do alot of towing it needing an oil change in as short as 4000 miles...
In most cases for the average user you can go by their oil life monitor, but if you are scared of using it, you can do as I do and change it when it gets to 50%.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:53 PM   #12
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Change it once a year or 35,000 miles with Amsoil 0W-30
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Old 01-08-2010, 06:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wh0rsep0wer View Post
Yes, it does....

"This vehicle has a computer system
that indicates when to change the
engine oil and filter. This is based
on engine revolutions
and engine
temperature, and not on mileage."

I changed my oil at 1500mi and will be following the OLS indicator. You can bet that GM did their research and has plenty of testing to validate this oil life calculation - they wouldn't risk putting their reputation for engine reliability on the line.

My job deals with Preventive Maintenance optimization and using condition-based maintenance is the most efficient method and I'm sure there's still some safety factor built in to that calc.
Damn, maybe I'll listen to the computer than every 5,000 miles than..... Well actually, maybe I'll just do it 5,000 miles anyway just so that in my mind, I feel like I'm doing the right thing lol.

Regardless of my situation, that's pretty sweet... Thanks for posting that up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmbarberoilman View Post
Change it once a year or 35,000 miles with Amsoil 0W-30
That sounds awful... 35,000 miles every oil change? Are you doing a engine rebuild every other oil change too? If not then you're going to have a crap load of sludge if that's what you're doing...
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:52 PM   #14
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I Use the DIC...

I'm using the DIC as my indicator for when to change the oil. Got my first oil change at 2900 miles. Used Mobil 1. Now I'm up to over 12,500 miles and the DIC just got to 20%. No "Service Engine Oil Soon" warning lights yet, so I'm sure I'm good. Planning an oil change this next weekend. Car is running great, and oil temps are where they always have been since I got the car, plus or minus about 10 degrees.

Depending on how hard you drive the car, you can get a lot of miles between oil changes. I feel comfortable going 10K between oil changes with the way I drive (70% highway, 30% city and rural).

I think I may back off to changing it when the DIC says 25% or even 30% as the car ages, just to be safe.

Hope this helps...
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmbarberoilman View Post
Change it once a year or 35,000 miles with Amsoil 0W-30
Trolling...SPAM. Go away.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:03 PM   #16
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Little more in depth about GM's OLM, in short, I'd trust it.

Quote:
Re: GM Oil Life Monitor: Do you trust it?
From bbobynski on www.bobistheoilguy.com

One thing I can touch on and clear up.....the GM oil life monitor operation and my statement that ZDP (or ZDDP as you tend to call it here...most of the API literature just sticks to ZDP so I tend to use that) depletion is the basis for oil deterioration.

My spelling is poor but ZDP stands for zinc dialkyldithiophosphate which , as it sounds, is an anti-wear compound comprised of zinc and phosphorus.

ZDP is dispersed in the oil so as to be at a potential wear site if a surface asperity happens to break thru the oil film thickness causing the dreaded metal-to-metal contact. A molecule of ZDP must be present at that moment to prevent microwelding at the contact site which will cause material transfer, scuffing, scoring, wear and catostrophic failure. The concentration of ZDP in the oil will determine if there is ZDP present to work it's magic. The greater the concentration...the more likely a molecule of ZDP will be there...and vice versa.

By nature, ZDP is sacrifical. As ZDP is "used up" at a wear site to prevent micorwelding the concentration of ZDP decreases.... So...if you measure the ZDP concentration in engine oil in a running engine it will decrease at linear rate based on engine revolutions. Any given engine has a certain number of high potential wear areas where metal-to-metal contact could occur due to reduced film thickness and/or surface asperities....areas such as rubbing element cam followers, distributor gears, rocker arm pivots, push rod tips, etc...... The more of these areas the more ZDP depletion. The more often these features come in contact the greater the ZDP depletion. That is why, generally speaking, ZDP concentration in the oil, for any given engine, will decrease at a fairly linear rate when plotted versus cummulative engine revolutions. The more times it turns the more contact the more chance for wear the greater the depletion. This is as much of a fact as I could quote ever and is really not speculation or anything. It is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in many studies. That is why it is ONE of the basis for determining oil life remaining and why it is THE basic premis of the GM oil life algorithm. It is only ONE of the things that determines oil life...but it is the one thing that can be tied to engine operation in a linear fashion and estimated very accurately by accumulating engine revolutions via a counter.

The GM engine oil life monitor counts engine revolutions and accumulates the number for the basis of the oil life calculation. It then adds deterioration factors for operating temperature, start up temperature, soak times, ambient, coolant temperature, etc... There are a LOT of factors that "adjust" or affect the slope of the deterioration but the fundamental deterioration is traced back to the ZDP depletion that is inescapable with engine revolutions. The specific rate of ZDP depletion is readily measurable for any given engine so that is the fundamental item that is first calibrated for the oil life algorithm to tailor it specifically to that engine.

You would obviously like to get the oil out of the engine before the ZDP concentration gets so low that it is ineffective at being at the right place at the right time and preventing engine wear so that becomes the long term limit on oil life for that application.

The other things that determine oil life such a acid build up, oxidation, petane insuluables such as silicon from dust/dirt, carbon or soot build up from the EGR in blowby, water contamination, fuel contamination, etc.... are all modeled by the multipliers or deterioration factors that "adjust" the immediate slope of the line defined by the engine revolution counter as those items can be modeled in other ways and accounted for in the immediate slope of the ZDP depletion line.

The algorithm was developed over the course of many years by several lubrication experts at GM Fuels and Lubes, spearheaded by Doctor Shirley Schwartz who holds the patents (with GM) for the algorithm and the oil life montitor. I had the luck of working directly with Dr. Schwartz when the idea of the oil life monitor first progressed from the theoretical/lab stage to real world testing/development/validation. There were fleets of cars operated under all conditions that deteriorate the oil life for any and every reason and , thru oil sampling and detailed analysis of the oil condition, the algorithm was developed, fine tuned and validated to be the most accurate way invented yet to recommend an oil change interval by. As just one example, I have seen cars driven side-by-side on trips, one towing a trailer and one not, for instance, to prove the effectiveness of the oil life monitor in deteriorating the oil at a faster rate just because of the higher load, higher average RPM, higher temps, etc...and it works flawlessly.

The oil life monitor is so effective because: it is customized for that specific vehicle/engine, it takes everything into account that deteriorates the oil, it is ALWAYS working so as to take into account THAT INDIVIDUALS driving schedule, and it tailors the oil change to that schedule and predicts, on an ongoing basis, the oil life remaining so that that specific individual can plan an oil change accordingly. No other system can do this that effectively.

One thing is that I know personally from years of testing and thousands of oil analysis that the oil life algorithm works. There is simply no argument to the contrary. If you don't believe me, fine, but, trust me, it works. It is accurate because it has been calibrated for each specific engine it is installed on and there is considerable testing and validation of the oil life monitor on that specific application. NOt something that oil companies or Amsoil do. They generalize....the oil life monitor is very specific for that application.

Oil condition sensors in some BMW and Mercedes products are useful, also. They have their limitations, though, as they can be blind to some contaminates and can, themselves, be contaminated by certain markers or constituents of certain engine oils. Oil condition sensors can only react to the specific oil at that moment and they add complexity, cost and another potential item to fail. One other beauty of the GM oil life monitor is that it is all software and does not add any mechanical complexity, mass, wiring or potential failure mechanism.

There is considerable safety factor in the GM oil life monitor. Typically, I would say, there is a 2:1 safety factor in the slope of the ZDP depletion curve....in other words, zero percent oil life per the ZDP depletion is not zero ZDP but twice the concentration of ZDP considered critical for THAT engine to operate under all conditions reliably with no wear. This is always a subject of discussion as to just how low do you want the ZDP to get before the oil is "worn out" if this is the deciding factor for oil life. We would tend to be on the conservative side. If the oil life is counting down on a slope that would recommend a 10K change interval then there is probably 20K oil life before the ZDP is catostrophically depleted....not that you would want to go there...but reason why many people are successful in running those change intervals.

Please...NOT ALL ENGINES ARE THE SAME. The example above is an excellent practical justification of why you would want to add EOS and change the 15W40 Delvac in the muscle car at 3000 miles max and yet can run the Northstar to 12500 easily on conventional oil. You must treat each engine and situation differently and what applies to one does not retroactively apply to others. This is where Amsoil falls short in my book by proposing long change intervals in most everything if you use their oil. It just doesn't work that way. You can run the Amsoil to 12500 with no concerns whatsoever in the late model Northstar because even the oil life monitor tells you that for conventional oil off the shelf. Would I do that to the 502 in my 66 Chevelle...NO WAY. Amsoil says I can though. Wrong.


There are entire SAE papers written on the GM oil life monitor and one could write a book on it so it is hard to touch on all aspects of it in a single post. Hopefully we hit the high spots. Realize that a GREAT deal of time, work and energy went into developing the oil life monitor and it has received acclaim from engineering organizations, petroleum organizations, environmental groups all across the board. It is not some widget invented in a week and tacked onto the car.

The oil life monitor is not under the control of a summer intern at GM Powertrain per an earlier post....LOL Not that a summer intern wasn't compiling calibrations or doing a project on it but is under control of the lube group with a variety of engineers directly responsible that have immediate responsibility for the different engine families and engine groups. The idea that a summer intern was responsible for or handling the oil life monitor is ludicrous.....LOL LOL LOL
Btw, when they mention 'muscle car' at they end, they are NOT referring to a 5th or even 4th generation Camaro. There is a world of difference between a Gen IV LS3 and the old carbed SBC they were referring to. Follow the Oil Life Moniter, it is the most personalized, accurate way to determine when an oil change is due without dropping $30-$40 on a UOA.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:39 AM   #17
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It is still tough to break old habit of 3000-5000 miles
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:38 AM   #18
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I'm with you Mark. I was the same way. I've changed my oil every 3000 miles forever. Then I got two new Camaros. Couldn't believe this was possible. Oil life? Anyway, I researched the heck outta how this thing does what it does. Just have faith in it. It DOES work. My wife changed her oil when the car told her too. 8200 miles on the odo. Oil was actually still in pretty good shape even after those miles. I've got about 3000 on my 2SS right now. Changing the oil when the system tells me too. It's tough but I'm gonna do it. There are threads on here where guys are scared of the thing. It's like the snake oil and kinds of oil. Everyone has an opinion. But I figure GM knows what they're doing.
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Old 04-14-2010, 01:13 AM   #19
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The 2004 Denali in mi signature also had the oil life, but I obviously had it modded. I would change the oil as soon as the oil would stard to change color. Sometimes after 1500 miles. But I was also pushing 1000 rwhp
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Old 04-15-2010, 11:57 AM   #20
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The system has been in use for awhile and it's backed by the factory warranty. I have the same system on my 2005 Silverado.
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:19 PM   #21
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It's all about filtration. The Oil filter is the key when using synthetic oils. Personally, I used the Amsoil filter and change every 5k. It's cheap insurance and besides, when I got my first Camaro, there were no computers...DD
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Old 04-24-2010, 07:06 PM   #22
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Wow. Sacred cow. Ripping apart an engine to get 50 more hp: no problem. Dismantling ones exhaust system: Meh, weekend project. Tuning a cars computer: three times on my way to work. Changing oil over 3,000 miles: Whoa buddy, that's crazy talk.
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Old 04-24-2010, 08:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Court jester View Post
Wow. Sacred cow. Ripping apart an engine to get 50 more hp: no problem. Dismantling ones exhaust system: Meh, weekend project. Tuning a cars computer: three times on my way to work. Changing oil over 3,000 miles: Whoa buddy, that's crazy talk.
for awhile now all the manufacters have been saying oil changes every 6,000 miles.
Though my last car I did every 3,000 still but that was because I love my car and I race it alot.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:20 PM   #24
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Fair enough.
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Old 04-24-2010, 11:13 PM   #25
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I still couldnt make it to the on star oil change. it got to about 20% and I got oil change the week before I hit the drag strip. I was 8K miles.
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