Oil analysis aids engine rebuilding and preventive maintenance at Brockwell

GARETH REEVES, managing director of Brockwell Engineering in Eshowe,
is a firm believer in the value of oil analysis, both for the company's
engine rebuilding and preventive maintenance divisions. The company
has been responsible for preventive maintenance for over 300 units
of heavy construction plant used for road maintenance in Zululand
over the past six years, and has been rebuilding engines in Kwazulu-Natal
since 1983.

Engine Rebuilding

'If a specific problem arises on a rebuilt engine which could result
in the client putting in a warranty claim to a third party, the
first thing we do is send an oil sample to Wearcheck for a second
opinion,' says Gareth, 'In this type of situation we can rely on
Wearcheck to give us priority, so that any problems can be resolved
as quickly as possible,' Brockwell also makes use of oil analysis
for all major engines they rebuild. 'For our own peace of mind,
we take a sample 50 hours after we have completed the fitment check
on site.' says Gareth.

Plant Maintenance

Brockwell started using oil analysis from day one when the company
opened its preventive maintenance division in 1990, servicing a
range of equipment from graders and bulldozers to tractors and excavators.
'Because the equipment we are responsible for is spread over a vast
area - from the Mozambique border to the outskirts of Durban and
inland to Vryheid - we have a strict programme of servicing on-site
every 250 hours using fully-equipped mobile workshops. Oil samples
are taken from oil-wetted compartments before every service to alert
us to any potential problems.'

'Our clients cannot afford surprises with the distances involved
and the logistics and expense of replacing failed equipment,' says
Gareth, 'The equipment represents a huge capital investiment and
our job is to keep it operating cost- effectively for as long as
pos sible.' Brockwell has found that they experience three major
problems with equipment because of the dusty rural environment in
which most units operate - fuel dilution, dust in the engine and
water leaks in radiators.

Budge Saving

The early detection of fuel dilution - caused by contaminated diesel
damaging the injectors and injector pumps - is the main source of
budget saving for Brockwell's clients, 'This problem does not necessarily
manifest itself at a ser- vices' says Gareth. 'It is usually oil
analysis that first alerts us.' Immediate action is taken if Wearcheck
phones or faxes regarding a critical problem. 'We radio our man
on site to ensure that the machine is stopped at once and advise
the client to action the necessary repairs. Repair costs would amount
to around R 3 000 if the problem were detected early through oil
analysis. If not, this amount could increase up to tenfold depend-
ing on the extent of the damage.'

Dust Ingression

'Dust in the engine is the second major problem we find in the rural
areas and we rely on oil analysis to pick this up and help us find
the point of entry,' says Gareth, 'We find that by following the
Wearcheck troubleshoot- ing checklist and investigating the parts
they suggests we are usually able to find the root oi the problem
fairly quickly. Oil analysis is a great time- saver because it narrows
down the possibilities.' 'Again, early remedial action could save
on the cost of an engine overhaul - between R9 000 and R25 000.'


Brockwell Engineering's preventive maintenance programme centres
around the Wearcheck programme and oil analysis reports are consulted
on a daily basis. Being linked to the laboratory through Infocheck
ensures that they have all the information they need at their fingertips
and are able to send valuable feedback to the laboratory via computer
modem in seconds. 'Wearcheck offers a first- class, cost-effective
service,' says Gareth. 'I constantly recommend Wearcheck to my clients
and that is probably the best endorsment I can give.'