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wierdscience
04-26-2017, 01:53 AM
Got a small problem,I have some mystery oil at work that I am trying to pin down what exactly it is.

We bought several years ago a lot at an auction that consisted to six 55 gallon drums of new oil and antifreeze.There were two drums of Texaco SultexD sulfur thread cutting oil,two drums of antifreeze and two sealed drums of mystery oil,meaning the ID stickers had washed and faded off unreadable on those two.

It's a light amber/honey color with a faint bluish tint and about 30WT.The drums are painted blue and orange,other than that I have no clue.All this came out of a large machine and fabrication shop,so that explains the Sultex,but they also had a fairly large selection of rolling stock and maintenance which explains the antifreeze.So it's a crap shoot I figure,this could be hydraulic oil,or motor oil or spindle lube??????

Is there anyway at a reasonable cost to get this stuff tested to find out exactly what it is?We came out smelling like a rose on the Sultex and Antifreeze and I could sell this other to the waste oil plant for $.25/gallon,but if I can identify it with some reasonable accuracy I figure 110 gallons of useable oil might be worth a keeping.

Willy
04-26-2017, 02:18 AM
Good question and one I have never had the chance to actually deal with. If it were me my first call would be to a lab that specializes in lube oil analysis. The level of additive depletion and contamination detection is amazing these days in the field of oil sample spectrometry. Some labs are more inclusive in their results than others so check with some of the local equipment service outlets or industrial lube suppliers to get a good idea as to who is better.

If nothing else these are the folks that would be most in the loop insofar as oil ID that I can think of and may help steer you in the right direction.

Mike Hunter
04-26-2017, 09:44 AM
If the other two barrels have the shipping label, or you can determine where they were purchased, I would call them. They could possibly determine by the description of the container what the contents were, or even better they might have a copy of the original invoice.

Guido
04-26-2017, 11:31 AM
Your local fire department or environmental office would be most happy to help. It's their business.

Frank K
04-26-2017, 12:17 PM
Your local fire department or environmental office would be most happy to help. It's their business.

That could open a very expensive can of worms!

I use Titan Labs in Denver CO for engine oil analysis. They can at least give you a physical and chemical analysis of the oil. Then you could try to match it up to the spec's of known oils.

lakeside53
04-26-2017, 12:18 PM
Try it in your bosses truck.

dave_r
04-26-2017, 01:40 PM
Your local fire department or environmental office would be most happy to help. It's their business.

fire dept./environmental office will tell you where you can get rid of it, but won't be able to tell you what it is.

Guido
04-26-2017, 02:03 PM
fire dept./environmental office will tell you where you can get rid of it, but won't be able to tell you what it is.

Around these parts, fire/rescue people will isolate obviously unwanted, unknown material until identified and removed/disposed by licensed haz-mat handlers.

vincemulhollon
04-26-2017, 05:12 PM
They can at least give you a physical and chemical analysis of the oil.

That will also let you know if its contaminated from sitting around for years with water, grit and dust from grinders, rust, well meaning gasoline "sta-bil", who knows what got in there over the years.

Analysis is really cheap compared to just one replacement bearing... If you sell it you'll make a huge profit off something analyzed vs advertising it as "we think its oil"

gzig5
04-26-2017, 06:21 PM
That will also let you know if its contaminated from sitting around for years with water, grit and dust from grinders, rust, well meaning gasoline "sta-bil", who knows what got in there over the years.

Analysis is really cheap compared to just one replacement bearing... If you sell it you'll make a huge profit off something analyzed vs advertising it as "we think its oil"

" and two sealed drums of mystery oil"

Contamination shouldn't be a problem.

Blackstone Labs is a well respected oil analysis house that I've used in the past.

Arcane
04-26-2017, 07:57 PM
All you need is a sticker and the oil becomes anything you want it to be... :D

Seriously though, an oil analysis is the only way to go. It's a selling point in that you can wave it in front of the buyer's eyes as proof of what's in the barrel. It might have started out a a particular oil, but additive packages have been know to settle out of oil with time and an oil analysis will catch that.

Willy
04-26-2017, 08:03 PM
" and two sealed drums of mystery oil"

Contamination shouldn't be a problem.

Blackstone Labs is a well respected oil analysis house that I've used in the past.


For the most part this is correct. However if the drums have been stored outside incorrectly water could still be a very real source of contamination.
If they have not been placed on their sides or if standing upright, not placed at an angle with the bung holes properly located so that any rain water does not collect near them, water will have likely have entered the drum. Drums placed outside so that rain water collects inside the rim during storage will undergo positive internal pressure when warm and a vacuum when cold. These cyclic pressure changes almost always draw moisture inside past the seals on the bungs given enough time. In all likelihood it won't be an emulsion but it's possible presence must taken into account.

J Tiers
04-26-2017, 09:14 PM
The oil analysis sound like a great idea, BUT that is not what those folks really do. They analyze oil from engines and gearboxes, to see what contaminates are in it, and answer "is this oil any good, is there a lot of wear on the machine?".

It is not as if they put it through and say "it's Mobil XYZ oil with x amount of bearing metal contamination". The metal, sure, the Mobil XYX, not so much. So it may not be that very useful to get the analysis, it does not answer what you want to know.

MattiJ
04-26-2017, 09:49 PM
The oil analysis sound like a great idea, BUT that is not what those folks really do. They analyze oil from engines and gearboxes, to see what contaminates are in it, and answer "is this oil any good, is there a lot of wear on the machine?".

It is not as if they put it through and say "it's Mobil XYZ oil with x amount of bearing metal contamination". The metal, sure, the Mobil XYX, not so much. So it may not be that very useful to get the analysis, it does not answer what you want to know.

That what I was also thinking. You get viscosity and Maybe you can fiqure out if its more likely engine oil or hydraulic oil from amount of zinc and phosphorous additives.

Way oil you might be able to identify just by dipping your finger in there and rubbing them together. Start with couple of known samples. Or place a drop of each oil on vertical steel/glass surface and see how the oil sticks to it on the next day.

Willy
04-26-2017, 09:54 PM
The oil analysis sound like a great idea, BUT that is not what those folks really do. They analyze oil from engines and gearboxes, to see what contaminates are in it, and answer "is this oil any good, is there a lot of wear on the machine?".

It is not as if they put it through and say "it's Mobil XYZ oil with x amount of bearing metal contamination". The metal, sure, the Mobil XYX, not so much. So it may not be that very useful to get the analysis, it does not answer what you want to know.

This is true up to a point.
When sending in samples of an oil to be analyzed labs require as much information as possible. They want to know exactly what type, and brand of oil they are dealing with as each one has a somewhat unique fingerprint insofar as additive package, base oil, etc. This combined with the number of hours in service, makeup oil added, and the exact component or engine the oil was used in all help to give the lab a more precise and detailed equipment health report.

They will not be able to pin point with certainty exactly what the oil is exactly, however they should be able to narrow down the possible range considerably by not only viscosity but also type. As I mentioned in a previous post, oil analysis labs in my experience vary considerably in the depth of their reports. So as usual it pays to shop around.

If the lab told me the sample was a 15w40 diesel engine oil, would I use it in a $40,000 engine? No, but at least it would open up some options.

softtail
04-26-2017, 10:03 PM
Blue n orange could be Gulf

Arcane
04-26-2017, 11:02 PM
I use Texas Refinery Corp oil in my vehicles and their grease too. A used oil analysis is included in the price of an oil change (C$35 otherwise last I heard) and it seems to be pretty detailed. In Canada they use WearCheck (I believe) in Mississauga and in the states I believe they use WearCheck USA. Here's a pic of one of their UOA reports just so you can see everything they check for.

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j263/mikes4x4/UOA3.jpg

J Tiers
04-26-2017, 11:55 PM
If you can find a service that also does "forensic"work..... they might be good.

Such a place, if it exists, would be one that can take a sample of oil and determine what is in it, in cases where a substantial loss that has occurred is believed to be due to using the wrong oil. Part of the results from such an investigation would presumably be giving an idea of what WAS used, to show that it was NOT what was supposed to be used.

That sort of service may not come cheap.

wierdscience
04-27-2017, 02:37 AM
Blue n orange could be Gulf

That's what I was thinking,seems like a familiar color combo for them.

wierdscience
04-27-2017, 02:44 AM
It boggles the mind why with all the masses of regulations we have on chemicals that there isn't some reg regarding permanent means of content ID on the container.These drums were all brand new and sealed on a pallet.

The Texaco and Antifreeze drums had nice vinyl thermal labels glued on.The oil drums had simple,cheap peel and stick paper labels.The night before the auction was damp,not raining,just a heavy fog morning.That was all it took to wipe out the paper labels.

J Tiers
04-27-2017, 02:57 AM
Sounds like what you have now is Hazmat.

Don't think so? Can you prove it is not full of dioxin? If not, don't let any officialdom know about it, or the moon suits may show up.

Mysterious drums of 'stuff" are just one paper label away from being very expensive to get rid of.... THERE is a scary thought.

softtail
04-27-2017, 09:35 AM
It boggles the mind why with all the masses of regulations we have on chemicals that there isn't some reg regarding permanent means of content ID on the container.

I agree.. a travesty. A good deal for a buyer at an auction, can easily be a really good deal for the seller.. getting paid for hazmat removal! Not to mention a probably useful and valuable commodity is turned into an expensive liability.

Willy
04-27-2017, 12:02 PM
I agree the drum colors do tend to suggest they may have originated from Gulf Oil. I assume there are no other markings stenciled or otherwise on the drum whatsoever? Very unusual to mark a drum's contents solely in a non-waterproof manner, never seen that method of product ID before on drums as they are often stored outside.
Although I have seen material data safety sheets attached to drums in this manner.

You say these drum originated from a large machine and fabrication shop, is there anyway to contact any of their former employees or personnel who may be working in a similar shops locally? They could offer some insight into what the shop normally stocked.

wierdscience
04-27-2017, 08:59 PM
I agree the drum colors do tend to suggest they may have originated from Gulf Oil. I assume there are no other markings stenciled or otherwise on the drum whatsoever? Very unusual to mark a drum's contents solely in a non-waterproof manner, never seen that method of product ID before on drums as they are often stored outside.
Although I have seen material data safety sheets attached to drums in this manner.

You say these drum originated from a large machine and fabrication shop, is there anyway to contact any of their former employees or personnel who may be working in a similar shops locally? They could offer some insight into what the shop normally stocked.

Nothing,no stenciled letters,barcode stickers nothing.The shop went belly up in 2009,the auction was late 2011 so no employees present to question.

This may end up as foundry burner fuel.I'm pretty sure it's lube oil given the look and smell,just not sure what flavor.

SteveF
04-28-2017, 09:22 AM
............................
It's a light amber/honey color with a faint bluish tint and about 30WT.The drums are painted blue and orange,.......................... So it's a crap shoot I figure,this could be hydraulic oil,or motor oil or spindle lube??????



Since I've used them before and it took a whopping 20 seconds of my time, I just called Blackstone Labs. No, they can't tell you who made it but based on viscosity and additives can tell you what kind of oil you have.

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

Steve

Willy
04-28-2017, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the confirmation Steve as this is what I've always found as well based on the hundreds of samples I've sent in over the years and the dialog that I've had with various labs. Although I admit to never having sent in a request quite like this I would have been shocked to hear otherwise. Well worth the relatively small fee charged considering the value of 110 gallons of oil involved. Obviously this won't be a standard oil analysis or fee but it beats dumping this quantity of an otherwise good product.
I have personally never used Blackstone Labs but I have heard good things about them.

michigan doug
04-28-2017, 10:50 AM
A 10 minute conversation on the phone with Blackstone or another oil lab, and they will very likely be able to tell you:

1. Motor oil, or not motor oil

2. Additive package, which they or you can use to make pretty accurate guesses as to what's in the drum.

3. Viscosity, again, more identifiers and more certainty.

I bet you can get this done for under 50 bucks and then it's reasonable to sell it or use it.

J Tiers
04-28-2017, 04:25 PM
OK, tI agree that would be enough to go with, if they can provide that info. And it is reasonable to expect. Not as nice as giving mfgr and type, but adequate.

I suppose another consideration is "used" or not "used". Motor oil can be obvious, but gearbox oil might look nearly the same used as new and unused. You'd want to know that if buying or selling.

What would a place like that report if they got a sample of way oil pulled from the apron of a lathe? Do they even deal with that?

SteveF
04-28-2017, 07:36 PM
Only way to know is to call them and ask. Very knowledgable folks. Take about two minutes of your time if you really want to know.

Steve

metalmagpie
04-29-2017, 11:55 AM
Any of these look similar? http://tinyurl.com/gulfOilDrums

metalmagpie

H380
04-29-2017, 01:28 PM
Chevron, Shell and Mobil have the same blue barrels around here. It might depend on you local bulk oil distributor and which barrels they put stuff in. Can not go by color.

wierdscience
04-29-2017, 02:22 PM
Since I've used them before and it took a whopping 20 seconds of my time, I just called Blackstone Labs. No, they can't tell you who made it but based on viscosity and additives can tell you what kind of oil you have.

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

Steve

I think I will give them a call and see what they say,never hurts to ask.

If nothing else I have a couple old beater lawnmowers I can try it in,or a lifetime supply of steady rest lube LOL ;)

michigan doug
04-30-2017, 08:44 AM
Keep us posted, I always like to know how the story ends.

finest regards,