intentionally tried to kill an engine with iron powder, just to or not? Those wacky guys, I tell ya…Total Seal Piston Rings
For those of you who may have
Maganflux iron powder into five quarts of premium motor oil are back, and this time around they are examining the carnage that this contaminated oil created.hefty grams of magnificently made
PVD Titanium Nitride (TiN) coated set of rings and one extreme scenario.
Monitoring The Burning Ring of Fire
As we stated previously, Total Seal Piston Rings subjected two very different engine oil filters to this same contaminated torture test. One of these was a wire mesh unit. The other was a paper filter. Each consumable product received an even hour of run time with the iron powder-infused oil inside. To make things a bit more magical, random “power runs” were implemented throughout this time span, and amazingly, the engine did not implode, explode, or crap the bed in any form or fashion.
As for the filters tested, the metal mesh filter flowed far better than the paper unit (go figure), but it also allowed a metric mess of contaminants into sensitive sections of the block and up into the head. So naturally, both power and efficiency dropped astronomically. While the paper filter did a much more decent job than its metallic opponent, even then those pesky iron particles still managed to float on through.
The result? An engine that lost 10 horsepower over the span of just one hour. Yikes. Here’s what caused that power loss.
I Don’t Need Any More Iron in My Diet
While damage to the top piston ring was visible with the naked eye (and maybe a monocle), the second ring told an even more disparaging story. As its website states, the secondary unit in this sort of Total Seal piston ring set is a ductile iron ring, which in this case, is a Napier-style ring.
It was on this secondary ring that the signature Napier “hook” was completely worn off by the iron powder. All done within the span of just one hour, leaving little more than a “step” behind. Asfine exfoliant, or sandpaper. Wearing down whatever it touches with a winning double-hook of friction and heat.
Naturally, this form of heavy contamination experimentation borders on the extreme. All for the sake of science, product testing, and nerdy curiosity. This leads us back to today’s most super-sensitive topic: Engine bearings. Lake Jr. says that while the testing of both uncoated bearings and coated bearings was completed without issue in the first experiment, internal inspections provided a grimace-inducing sight.
Listen to the Don When He’s Speaking
As expected, both the coated and raw bearings took a beating from the iron powder swirling around inside, but the coated bearings came out far less marred than the non-coated materials, and
Don surmised that because thisbeing tested was a bit on the milder/softer side, any iron particles that skipped past the oil filter’s media ended up sticking to it instead of being passed on to other areas like the crankshaft and the rest of the engine’s lower rotating assembly.
Granted, the crankshaft definitely still got its “grind on,” but go figure. There were five freakin’ grams of iron powder playing around inside that sucker. Have you ever tried to put five G’s of that stuff in your protein shake and then go for a jog? Talk about a rough way to start the day…
Now as for the engine’s cylinder walls and pistons, McAskill was fairly impressed with how everything looked at first glance. And then he popped on his proctologist gloves and broke out the profilometer.
Holy hell was there some wear to be seen inside this sucker! Sure, the internal bore was still structurally intact and salvageable, and the valleys all looked usable, but that surface finish was pretty much shined down to nothing.
Now as for the very bottom end of the block, where ring travel can be measured in full, that portion of the motor told a far more gruesome tale. Vertical surface streaking from the iron powder grinding into the cylinder walls from the piston ring’s compression and continued cycle proved that the substance was far more aggressive than previously thought.
And then there was the oil pump, which had to be fully rebuilt and thoroughly cleaned, along with the rest of the engine. While some scoring could be seen within the oil pump itself, it was the oil pump’s bypass that really saw the most abuse, and toward the end of testing was bordering on being labeled as “stuck.”
All five grams of that iron dust hit the oil pump with the force of a stampeding sumo stable before moving on to the rest of the engine. And yes, you read that correctly. It is actually called a “sumo stable.” And yes, sumo wrestlers actually live and train there. Look it up…
The Iron Man Will Return…
The solid camshaft and lifters also saw some wear from the poison pumping inside, causing “Dyno Don” to deem them completely unusable and therefore destined for the dumpster. I suppose that big red glob of iron dust found at the bottom of the solvent tank when the boys were cleaning up the engine really did leave its mark after all. No worries. There’s some good news to go with all the bad.
Remember all those many minutes ago when I said that Total Seal’s
Furthermore, this coating combo made for a better ring seal, thus creating more power, greater efficiency, and cool points for when somebody asks you what rings you’re running.