Whether you're running the Dusy Trail, the Rubicon, Moab's Hell's Revenge, or maybe just cruising a Colorado backroad over Pearl Pass, there is one thing that keeps you from walking: Oil. We all know the importance of oil. We should say, clean oil. It is the lifeblood of engines.
When The Turtle Expedition drove across Siberia for the better part of three months, we left the engine running 24 hours a day. Our Power Stroke was not really designed as a stationary engine, but in temperatures below minus 40 degrees F, we had no choice. As Spring warmed things up to a balmy 20 degrees, the engine had no idea whether it had been driven 3,000 miles or 30,000 miles. We carried several gallons of oil in our support trailer, allowing us to at least change the filter at 2,500-mile intervals. With no reliable source for quality oil, we could not drain the engine until we reached Western Europe.
In retrospect, we should have had a Hobbs Meter, which measures actual running time of an engine, typically used in boats and airplanes. A general rule of thumb is one hour equals 40 miles, so just leaving the engine running for seven days was the equivalent of 6,720 miles, and we may have only traveled 500! Four-wheeling puts a lot more miles on an engine than the odometer shows.
When we designed The Turtle V, we built in a 12-gallon oil reservoir, knowing that in many developing countries we will be traveling through on the Silk Route, making quality oil difficult to find. When the folks at Amsoil suggested that we could safely extend our oil changes up to 60,000 miles, and reduce filter changes to 25,000 miles using their remote dual-bypass oil-filter system and their full synthetic 15-40 heavy-duty diesel & marine oil, we were interested. We saw an improved way to protect the life of our engine on a long trip, and at the same time, reduce our consumption of oil and the related pollution oil changes produce.
Of course, there are other factors to consider. Extreme conditions, like four-wheeling dusty two-tracks, reduce those mileage numbers by about half. Amsoil technical department recommends changing the "full flow" primary filter every 15,000 miles for "severe duty" use, and the bypass filter at 30,000. That still sounded good to us.
Obviously, driving conditions and your desire to make your engine go the distance without major repairs will factor into these numbers. For our purposes, using the Amsoil dual-bypass filtration system, along with its full synthetic heavy-duty oil, will significantly reduce the amount of oil and filters we need to carry, and give our 7.3L Power Stroke a better chance of a long life. Whether we are driving backroads or city streets, dirt, soot, and other contaminants are entering the engine. Critical parts ride on a thin film of oil. It has been estimated that dirty oil can reduce the life of an engine by 60 to 80 percent.
Working in conjunction with the engine's full-flow oil filter, Amsoil Ea bypass filters operate by filtering oil on a "partial-flow" basis. They draw approximately 10 percent of the oil pump's capacity at any one time and trap the extremely small, wear-causing contaminants that full-flow filters can't remove. The Amsoil Ea filter typically filters all the oil in the system several times an hour, so the engine continuously receives analytically clean oil.
Another plus is that Ea oil filters also have significantly lower restriction than conventional cellulose media filters. Their small synthetic nanofibers trap smaller particles and hold more contaminants, resulting in lower restriction. During cold temperature warm-up periods, an Ea filter allows the oil to flow more easily compared to a typical cellulose filter. Lower restriction decreases engine wear.
Ea oil filters are constructed with HNBR nitrile gaskets that are fully tested to extreme distances in severe environments. The filters also feature fully tucked seams, a molded element seal, roll-formed threads, and a long-lasting premium-grade silicone anti-drain valve.
As we continue to improve and prepare The Turtle V for our three-year Trans-Eurasian Expedition from Lisbon, Portugal, to Shanghai, China, switching to a full synthetic oil and an advanced filtration system seemed like a good move.
Ken Imler Diesel Performance had installed many of the Amsoil bypass kits, so we brought The Turtle V in to take advantage of the company's experience.
Detailed instructions with excellent drawings covered every step of the assembly. The 12-foot length of high-quality -inch-diameter hose included in the kit was routed down the frame to the remote filter location. Short pieces of heater hose were slit and used for protective pads where even the slightest chance of abrasion could occur.
The Amsoil Bypass Filtration system is not just for diesels. The BMK 23 general-use dual-remote oil-bypass unit combines full-flow and bypass filtration on a single, easy-to-install mount for most vehicles. All installation parts except filter spin-on adapter are included. You must purchase the spin-on adapter that matches the filter thread on your vehicle. Amsoil also has adapter plates for engines like the 6.0L Power Stroke that use drop-in cartridge filters. Fabricating a bracket that mounts to your vehicle is the most difficult part, since the number of mounting options are wide open.
It is recommended that if extended oil changes are followed, they be accompanied by an occasional oil analysis, available thorough Amsoil. (A single sampling analysis is useful in providing information when critical failure conditions exist. However, trend analysis is a better tool for estimating the useful life or overall condition of your engine or equipment. Trend analysis samples are taken and analyzed at regularly scheduled intervals. Comparing the most recent analysis to previous reports on a given machine shows the development of trends. Monitoring these trends enables early detection of internal abnormalities. Tested values falling within acceptable limits may show a pattern of subtle variance, which could signal a developing problem. The optional BK13 petcock makes taking samples easy.) A complementary oil analysis comes with the dual-bypass filter kit.
On the highway, our oil pressure remained a stable 41 psi. No changes there. While we have every confidence that the Amsoil system will remain trouble free, we will carry one Amsoil Ea OEM replacement filter. In the event of a problem, the dual-filter adapter can be taken off and the factory style filter installed.
Bottom line: Synthetic oils are more expensive than petroleum-based lubricants. But then, if you're changing your oil every 5,000 miles, it may be false economy, and by the way, engines aren't exactly cheap. For us, it was an easy choice to move up to modern technology.