Lubrication: The Engine Lifesaver
The first filter used to keep oil clean was a bypass filter introduced in the ‘30’s. Oil flowed directly from the oil pan to the engine’s working parts, and a smaller proportion of the oil was sent through the filter via a second flow path that worked in parallel “bypassing” the first. In the late 40’s full-flow oil filters – depth then pleated paper – were introduced. Over time OEM’s moved from a combination of separate full-flow and by-pass filters to just a high-efficiency full-flow filter.
Today there are a number of by-pass filter manufacturers serving the aftermarket. Filter media used ranges from toilet paper to cotton mixed with wood wool. When evaluating the effectiveness of the by-pass filter it’s critical that the media is tightly packed and doesn’t settle or channel allowing the oil to literally “by-pass” the by-pass filter material. Ram-packed, organic, depth elements can control particulates as well as corrosive contaminants such as acids, salt compounds, gums, lacquers, and varnishes.
Benefits of a bypass filter:
1. Greater particulate filtration efficiency.
2. Removal of organic material.
3. Higher contaminant holding capacity.
4. Keeps engine oil cleaner and extends oil drain intervals.
5. Longer oil drain intervals.
6. Reduced engine wear.
7. Longer engine life.
The important difference between a full-flow filter and a bypass filter is the ability of a by-pass filter to remove much finer particulate than a full-flow filter. In other words, keeping your oil clean is better accomplished by using a full flow filter in combination with a bypass filter.
Whether you operate highway trucks and trailers, buses, construction or agricultural equipment, poor lubrication of moving components impacts on equipment operating life – and cost – more than any other maintenance procedure.
In fact, bearing failure is one of the major causes of equipment downtime, lost productivity and increased cost faced by today’s truck and equipment owner.
To properly lubricate a bearing, it’s important to first know how grease works. Grease functions in two ways:
1. It provides a barrier between the pin and bushing – or roller/ball and bearing race – which reduces friction between wear surfaces and thereby extends the life of the components and
2. Grease creates a collar that impedes the entry of wear-causing contaminants. The greasing procedure also flushes contaminants from the bearing cavity.
The governing principle of most automatic lubrication systems is that its more effective to provide grease in small amounts very frequently – and to do so while the machine is operating.
The greasing procedure also flushes contaminants from the bearing cavity.
And, no matter how diligently the maintenance technician adheres to a greasing program, it’s almost impossible to keep up with changing operating conditions and bearing needs.
Most maintenance programs call for components to be greased with a hand operated grease gun at preset intervals (once a day, week, month, etc.) and to do this when the machine is idle.
This brings up several questions: Will the grease penetrate 360 degrees and flush out all the contaminant while the bearing is “resting”?
In the case of a pin and bushing, the answer is NO! Will the greasing procedure take place when the bearing needs it the most? As mentioned, technicians tend to grease based on a preset PM interval – daily, weekly, monthly. This may not coincide with optimum operational requirements.
Example: in the case of mobile equipment the operating environment is in constant change. One day it is dry and dusty – and the next day it rains. Bearing contamination cannot be measured based on time intervals.
Will the right amount of grease be applied to each bearing?
Depending on size, each bearing requires a different amount of grease. The technician will tend to grease until the new grease is seen oozing from the bearing. Not only is this wasteful but it is not an indication that the complete bearing cavity has received grease particularly where the pin is resting on the bushing.
The governing principle of most automatic lubrication systems is that it’s more effective to provide grease in small amounts very frequently – and to do this while the machine is operating. This guarantees that the bearing will always have the optimum amount of lubricant.☚