High Copper levels in my Oil Analysis

I've been getting higher than normal levels of copper in my oil analysis on my 172, Lycoming O-320E2D. I use Blackstone Lab for my analysis.

The possible explanations for this, from Blackstone and from Lycoming support is that it could be coming from bushings or possibly gears, which are copper plated. It's not an alarmingly high number, 18ppm, but it has increased. I'm using Aeroshell W100 Plus.

Now, after reading excerpts from Paul New's Cessna maintenance webinar, I find out that the additive used in W100 Plus,LW16702, can be corrosive to copper and could cause high copper in the oil analysis.

After reading that,I was ready to just stop using W100 Plus and go to just plain Aeroshell W100 and add Camguard at my oil changes, but then I learned that LW16702 is a Lycoming additive and recommended by Lycoming for all their engines.

To cause me further confusion, I found this on the Aviation Oil Outlet website: LW 16702 contains a Metal Passivator that reacts with copper and forms a protective barrier.

So, I'm at a loss for which way to go. I'd like to see the copper levels decrease or at least stabilize, but it seem like Aeroshell W100 Plus with the LW16702 is the best product to be using for my engine.

Right now I'm open to any ideas of suggestions.

Comments

  • We'll get some feedback here soon. thanks for taking the time to post such a great detailed question.

    Digital Product Manager
    Cessna Owner Organization

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Here's a response from our A&P Erich Rempert:

    Run W100+ with Camguard and continue to monitor levels.

    Oil Analysis is a TREND MONITORING practice; you need to take multiple samples over time to build the trend to begin with. Then watch for sudden pronounced changes.

    If one parameter is slightly high (or low) it’s not cause for alarm. If it were aluminum or iron the advice would be the same; fly it some more and monitor the trend-

    This engine may settle in with high copper and always be that way with this oil and additive package. 

    If your engine is subject to AD 80-04-03 R2 you must run LW-16586 in your oil. If it’s causing high levels you’ll have to live with that.

    ~Erich Rempert, IA Consultant 

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I asked Blackstone Labs about the high copper content. Here's a response from their analyst:


    "I do think the Aeroshell W100 Plus could be responsible for the elevated copper levels in your samples. We've been starting to suspect W100 Plus causes elevated copper readings in Lycoming engines for a little while, but we haven't seen enough evidence to be completely convinced. (I'm certainly going to share this slide with our other analysts.)

    We do know Aeroshell 15W/50 will cause elevated copper readings in an engine, and we've found it's harmless to the engine in the long run.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens to copper once you switch to regular Aeroshell W100. If copper drops, that'll be confirmation W100 Plus was behind it. Assuming the engine is running strong and oil filter is clean, we'll just monitor copper in the meantime." 

    Based on this, and Erich's comments, I think I will switch to Aeroshell W100 and start adding Camguard.

  • Scott ShererScott Sherer COO Forum Moderator

    Good work!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Cessna Owners Organization Forum Moderator and Cessna Owners Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

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