S•O•S - Oil Sampling
The oil in your engine's crankcase works incredibly hard in its lifetime. It withstands high temperatures, carries away contaminants that corrode engine components and lubricates parts precision-ground to .001 inch. That same oil can do one more remarkable thing before it's drained and dumped into the recycling drum: It can tell you about the health of your engine. The actual sampling process is easy and quick. Engine, transmission, differential and final drive train oils are drawn from the oil level checkpoint or from the dipstick tube. Some compartments on newer Cat models are equipped with conveniently located sampling valves.
147 Labs Worldwide
Caterpillar's oil analysis SOS program is one of the most sophisticated and accurate in the industry. Introduced in 1971, the SOS program is the world's leading oil analysis program for earthmoving equipment and diesel engines. Since its inception, the SOS program has grown into the largest oil analysis program in the world, with 147 labs worldwide processing nearly six million samples annually.
Oil Change Intervals
Evaluation of engine oil change intervals from SOS samples indicates that about 20 percent of the oil changes are performed with less than 125 hours on the oil. This wastes a considerable amount of money by discarding oil, which still has useful life. Another 20 percent of the oil changes occur after 250 hours of use on the oil. These customers may be taking a risk of damaging their engines if they are not using sampling to carefully evaluate oil condition and engine wear. The remaining 60 percent of the oil changes are done between 125 and 250 hours.
Cat now urges you to take samples from engines, hydraulics, transmissions, final drives and other systems every 250 hours.
Caterpillar's SOS program can help you catch needed repairs before breakdowns, which helps lower repair costs and reduce downtime. Your sample's test results are recorded, then compared against at least the past three SOS reports for that engine. The data is also compared against Caterpillar's huge SOS database to identify any unusual readings for other engines with the same number of hours. If your sample does show abnormal contaminants for an engine of its age and condition, you are called. We are ready not only to alert you to the problem, but offer a solution, such as minor engine adjustments or repair options that should be scheduled.
Let Us Help You
We can help you prepare a plan uniquely suited to your operation. We consider the type of equipment you operate, the kind of work you do and your current machine practices. For maximum protection, the ideal maintenance plan calls for complete SOS test samplings of every major component in each piece of equipment.