Pretreatment of Small Four-Stroke Engine Components for No-Oil Hot Tests

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Virginia Tech

"Hot-tests" form a vital facet towards the end of the production line of modern automotive plants, where the condition of the engine is checked by running it for a short period of time, to ensure its performance under standard operating conditions. The duration of hot-tests for small engines varies from 20-75 seconds.

In the conventional procedure, about 10-30 grams of lubricant (for pre-coating) is used with about 650ml of standard oil for engine testing. However, about 1-3 oz. of oil is lost per engine, as it cannot be sucked out of the crankcase after the hot tests. The loss of 1-3 oz. of oil leads to a significant loss in revenue, over the large number of engines manufactured. It also causes a potential safety and environmental hazard due to leakage of lubricant during shipping or upon first use in a particular application. The goal of this project is to conduct "no-oil" hot tests using less than 10 grams of specially formulated lubricants for pretreatment. Implementation of this procedure for conducting the hot tests in the manufacturing facility would save revenue and eliminate potential hazards mentioned above in addition to cutting down on manpower and/or machinery used for handling the engine oil.

An experimental study of pre-treatment of interacting interfaces of engine components, with specially formulated lubricants, for no-oil hot tests is presented. This study includes sixteen tests performed on the production line of Tecumseh's small engine manufacturing plant. The formulated lubricants were made up of tribopolymer formers, i.e., monomers, which were used in previous tribopolymerization studies. Tribopolymerization is defined as the planned or intentional formation of protective polymeric films directly and continuously on rubbing surfaces to reduce damage and wear by the use of minor concentrations of selected compounds capable of forming polymeric films in situ.

This study entailed the investigation of the anti-wear properties of the formulated lubricants on a high temperature pin-on-disk machine and subsequent selection of lubricants exhibiting superior performance for use in the engine tests. The no-oil hot-tests performed at Virginia Tech and on the assembly line exhibited the superior anti-scuffing/anti-wear properties of the specially formulated lubricants, to warrant their use on the production line in the near future.

engine lubrication, running in, lubrication, bench test, internal combustion, friction, tribology