A deep minus for at least half of motorists in Russia is an eternal problem and cause for concern. In addition to the banal “will it start or not?” there are other questions. How do low temperatures affect the life of the motor? Is high-quality oil able to protect the engine even under starting conditions at extremely low temperatures, reduce their negative impact and extend the life of the engine?
For answers, we went to the Celsius-Prof scientific and technical center in Bronnitsy near Moscow. The equipment of the center allows simulating heat, hoarfrost, dew, salt fog, various atmospheric pressure. But we are interested in deep freezing, so welcome to a thermal chamber that can change temperatures in the range from +90 to -65 ºС.
As a test subject in our experiment, a Volkswagen Crafter with a 140-horsepower 2.0 TDI diesel engine that meets Euro-6 environmental standards is participating. This modern unit is distinguished by increased efficiency: the motor is 10% more economical than analogues of the Euro-5 standard. In Russia, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is one of the first to convert models to engines that meet the new standards.
During the experiment, we will take oil samples and give them to an independent laboratory LLC “International Testing Center for Fuels and Lubricants” (MIC). It has everything you need to analyze the physical and chemical state of the oil. Based on the composition and concentration of wear products, the content of metals and chemical elements, we will evaluate the degree of engine wear and the effectiveness of high-quality engine oil.
It is diesels that are considered potentially problematic in terms of frosty start-up and operation. First, by design, compression ignition engines require a stable and confident crankshaft speed to provide the pressure at the end of the compression stroke necessary to ignite the mixture. We eliminated this factor by using a starting starter.
The second nuance is fuel. As is known, diesel fuel is divided into summer and winter fuels with different cloud point temperatures at which paraffins crystallize. This process leads to the fact that the fuel thickens, fluidity and flammability deteriorate. According to accepted standards, winter fuel does not become cloudy down to -28 °C, but we decided to exclude the effect of fuel on the experiment and poured arctic diesel fuel with a cloud point of -50 °C.
The specificity of diesel engines also determines the frequent use of pre-start and post-start heaters, the task of which is to facilitate starting and / or speed up engine warm-up and reaching operating temperature. Volkswagen Crafter can be equipped with both a starting preheater and a full-fledged heater that functions as a preheater and auxiliary heater both in the parking lot and on the move. Obviously, a full-fledged heater has a positive effect on the life of the motor, since it provides warming up even before the start. Our Volkswagen Crafter is equipped with an afterheater. Let’s see how it affects the heating rate of auxiliary systems, as well as oil aging and engine life.
Naturally, we also carefully selected the oil for the experiment and settled on synthetic oil for gasoline and diesel engines of passenger cars, including those equipped with turbocharging, exhaust aftertreatment devices (catalytic converters and particulate filters LUKOIL GENESIS ARMORTECH GC 5W30 with Volkswagen approvals 504 00 and 507 00.
The manufacturer declares the thickener’s resistance to degradation and stable viscosity throughout the entire service life, low ash content and reduction in the formation of inorganic deposits in particulate filters and catalytic converters.
And, of course, easy start-up due to the pour point according to GOST 20287 at -41°C. Due to the polyalphaolefins included in the composition, the oil has excellent low-temperature properties and low volatility.
At the start
The motor and oil are frozen to minus twenty-five degrees. Ahead is a series of launches and the most unfavorable mode, simulating city trips. After each start, we will not warm up the engine to operating temperature, but will turn it off when the oil reaches a temperature of 40 ° C. Next – again freezing until the temperature of the oil drops to the initial -25 ° C. It is very important that it is oil that goes into a deep minus! In real life, for such a freeze, it is not enough to leave the car for the night at the house, even at -35. In the natural environment, the engine cools down more slowly even in bitter cold – the block keeps heat for quite a long time.
How to check if the engine is at the right temperature? No objective control. To control all the processes taking place in the motor and chamber, Celsius engineers install several sensors. Thermocouples are located instead of the oil dipstick (oil temperature), in the fuel tank (diesel oil temperature) and at the inlet (air temperature). The specialist at the control panel monitors the crankshaft speed at all stages from start-up to warm-up, evaluates and records the operation of the starter, the voltage at the battery terminals, the temperature of the coolant and oil in real time.
In the climatic chamber, before each experiment, the air temperature is set to minus 25 ° C, then the exposure takes place until the temperature stabilizes at the control points, and only then start-up.
Turn the key and the engine starts easily after three seconds of starter operation. After starting the engine, the crankshaft speed was set at around 1100 rpm and, as the engine warmed up, decreased to 850 rpm. It took 60 minutes to warm up the oil to the desired temperature in this mode, after which we measured the air temperature at the outlet of the central deflector of the interior heating system. The temperature value was 17.1°C.
After several days of round-the-clock work and dozens of cycles, we took oil and repeated the experiment with the engine heater, it turns on automatically when the temperature overboard reaches below +5°C. You just need to go to the head multimedia settings menu and tick the desired sub-item.
In the dry matter
As we found out during laboratory studies at the Celsius-Prof Research and Development Center, when using an engine heater, the heating of engine oil and coolant is significantly accelerated. An hour after the start with the heater turned off, the temperature rose only to 30-40 degrees, while with the heater the temperature of the oil and antifreeze reached almost 70 degrees, which means that the passenger compartment quickly warms up and the windows thaw. We were convinced of this by re-measuring the air temperature at the outlet of the central deflector – it rose to 26.7 ° C. Quite another matter!
Obviously, for a confident start, the car must not only be in excellent technical condition. It is very important to use lubricants suitable for climatic conditions. In our case, LUKOIL GENESIS ARMORTECH GC 5W30 oil allowed the engine to start even in the most adverse conditions.
How about engine wear? We will answer after deciphering the samples by specialists of an independent laboratory.
Even more materials on the special project page: https://www.kolesa.ru/lukoil-volkswagen