IntelliStick’s Weblog
Oil Condition Monitoring

Apr
14

At IntelliStick, we try to show people the folly of sticking to the old business-as-usual, interval-based, change-you-oil-every-3,000-mile mindset. We know the dangers — that you’re changing your oil too soon (and wasting oil/not being eco-friendly) or that you’re changing your oil too late (and risking big-time repairs). But people inherently resist change (here’s 10 reasons why).

Change your Lubrication Culture

Change your Lubrication Culture

So even after you’ve found a brilliant new way to manage your engine’s maintenance, you might find resistance in getting everyone onboard. We found an article that we liked in Machinery Lubrication that talks about the 4-step shift to change your “Lubrication Culture”. We think it is helpful to acknowledge that making a change is a process and that it will take time for everyone to make the shift.

Apr
07
Garmin Nuvi 465T

Garmin Nuvi 465T

Another item of interest to come out of the MATS was the Garmin nüvi 465T — a navigation system designed for truckers, RVers and other long-haul drivers. After inputting the specs for your truck/RV/tractor it dials up specific restrictions for height, width, length, weight and hazardous materials.  Plus it’s plugged in to the NTTS directory.

We’d be interested to hear feedback from anyone who already has one or is thinking about getting one.

Apr
03
High-speed Train

High-speed Train

Today we came across a story about choosing the right lubricant and how it affected the development of high-speed trains in China. We thought it was an interesting story (so we tolerated the PR push by Royal Purple near the end).

We are excited about the prospect of a high-speed train from San Diego to San Francisco. If done properly, we think it could be a huge asset for the state of California. We just hope the bureaucrats can stop bickering, settle on a plan and get to work.

While reading about grease, we also saw this article called “How Grease Kills” from Machinery Lubrication Magazine which gives a breakdown on some of the common mistakes made while regreasing. — We particularly liked the thought near the end that said there may be more than one right way to do things, but there are hundreds of wrongs ways. —

Apr
01
Keep tires properly inflated

Keep tires properly inflated

We are being extra cautious and taking everything we read this morning with a grain of salt (see the date — yes, we have been fooled in the past). But this one is legitimate: California passed legislation that will require auto shops to check the tire pressure of every car that comes in. This seems like a simple thing to us. In fact, what kind of a shop wouldn’t do this? Simply making sure you’re at the right pressure can boost fuel economy by as much as 3.3%! See other easy ways to increase your mpg.

But we know that more than half of the cars on the road have incorrect tire pressure, and since April is National Car Care Month it seems like a good time to raise awareness about it.

A recent study of cars by the Car Care Council found…
54% had low tire pressure
38% had low or dirty engine oil
28% had inadequate cooling protection
19% needed new belts
16% had dirty air filters
10% had low or contaminated brake fluid

Mar
30

cake1We support the use of colorful analogies, but we even stopped and stratched our heads when we read this one: engine oil is like cake mix. The mental picture of an oily cake just doesn’t sit well. Neither does the idea of cake mix clogging up our engine — what a mess that would be. Nonetheless, that’s the idea put forth in an article in this month’s Engine Builder Magazine.

“Engine oil has sometimes been compared to a cake mix. The base oil is like the flour and the additives are the spices. How much is used of each varies by the type of cake and its intended use. Birthday cakes don’t really work for weddings. Engine builders have also been compared to gourmet chefs, so naturally, you like your cake a little more than the average cake connoisseur. A good cake is hard to beat, but a bad one will leave you feeling empty, looking for a jug of milk to wash away the taste.

Like a good cake, good oil is more than one layer. For racing and performance applications, conventional oils just won’t cut it. There are many reasons to use a racing oil over a standard API-SM rated oil, but not all oils are the same, and depending on your application, an additive may be used along with API oils for added protection and performance.” Click here for the rest of the article.

When we read this article we wanted to know just how much of an impact a high-quality racing oil could have. So if any of the IntelliStick users out there have their curves that compare different racing oils, please pass them along.

Mar
27

Last weekend the latest and greatest the trucking industry has to offer was on display

Daimler Trucks' new Innovation Truck

Daimler Trucks' new Innovation Truck

at the Mid-America Trucking Show. We are always interested in new features being debuted and the impact they’ll have on the trucking industry. It is no surprise that there were a lot of  “green” products that make trucks more environmentally friendly and improve fuel economy. One in particular that caught our eye was Daimler Trucks’ Innovation Truck. It has a slick new aerodynamic design, cameras instead of rearview mirrors and its chassis adjusts to two different height settings — a low one for the freeway and a higher one for in town. But the feature that intrigues us, not just for its current utility but for what future technologies it could spur, is the Predictive Cruise Control. It ties the GPS system to the cruise control and monitors the road profile for the two miles in front of truck and adjusts the speed accordingly. Imagine if in the future they could also factor in extra information like road conditions or traffic patterns …

There’s a YouTube video of the engineer explaining some of the main features. [note: it looks like the video was taken on the convention floor so at times the background noise is a little loud.] This video’s a little dry, but it gives you a look at the truck.

We enjoyed this video, which is an overview of the entire show. We were wondering what it would take to get an ice sculpture like that in the entryway of the IntelliStick office.

Mar
24

That sounds like something Click and Clack would take as a compliment. For those who don’t know them, Click and Clack — Tom and Ray Magliozzi — are the humorous hosts of NPR’s Saturday morning program Car Talk. It’s a great program to have on while you’re out running errands or doing chores around the house. Plus their Web site is full of helpful car information, advice and forums. www.cartalk.com They  also allow readers to write in with their car questions, and in their response the guys sometimes even answer the question. We recently came across this one…

Dear Tom and Ray:I know you don’t like old Beetles, but I own one, and I love it! I work for a federal agency where everyone drives brown and gray vehicles. When I come out to the parking lot, I smile at my little yellow flower amid all the potatoes out there, and greet her: Buttercup! Where was I? Oh yes. My question is: Why the heck don’t  carmakers offer an oil gauge that works like a gas gauge, and tells you what your oil level is? Would that be a handy thing to have? Thanks! — Vickie Visit their Web site to see their response.

We wrote to Click and Clack to tell them that IntelliStick was the answer to this reader’s dilemma. See our “What Onboard Algorithms Don’t Tell You About Your Oil” post from July 2008.  We haven’t heard back from Click and Clack yet, it must have stalled at the desk of Haywood Jabuzoff, their customer care representative.  🙂

Jan
27

We’ve all heard the saying “water and oil don’t mix”. While that statement sounds rather benign,  the resulting damage from water in oil can be devastating to all types of motors. According to Noria, water intrusion in lubricants can reduce bearing life by as much as 80%.

IntelliStick has a client which operates a packaging mill in the Midwest. Because of the nature of the mill, it is a “wet” environment and maintenance engineers expect some level of water intrusion, especially in gear boxes in close proximity to water used in the manufacturing process. But while some levels of intrusion are considered acceptable,  others are considered severe and must be identified immediately in order to minimize the damage to the bearings and avoid costly plant shut downs. The graph, below, represents the raw data from the IntelliStick which identified a serious water intrusion and alerted the customer about the problem.

Water Intrusion

Water Intrusion

Jan
15

Last month the IntelliStick engineers installed a dipstick product at a paper mill in Los Angeles, CA. When I heard it was being installed in a cogen engine I knew it would be bigger than a breadbox, but I had no idea it would be housed in a cargo container! Check it out:

Cognerator Reciprocating Engine

Cogenerator Reciprocating Engine

The 20 cylinder natural gas engine burns natural gas to make electricity, saving the plant more than 25% in energy costs. Also, its exhaust gas is used to dry the paper. The engine has accumulated 20,000 hrs in run time in 3 years, which is the equivalent of running it 18 hours per day. 

Jan
12

Big Rig Exhaust

A new exhaust emission control system from Johnson Matthey has been successfully tested in Southern California. Last month Johnson Matthey, along with Cummins Emissions Solutions, retrofitted 16 older (1998-2004) Class 8 grocery trucks with a new four-way SCRT  system that reduces particulate matter by more than 85%, NOx (nitrogen oxides – a heavy contributor to smog) by 60-80%, and carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons by more than 90%.  In one instance the NOx emissions from a four-year old truck were lower than those of a brand brand new 2008 truck.

 You can read the full article on the Fuel Advantage web site.

This technology could be one solution for trucking companies who must comply with California’s tough air quality regulations, which will only get tougher as time goes on.