Gasoline-Engine Camshaft Wear: The Culprit is Blow-By 892112

We were able to identify engine blow-by as a primary factor affecting camshaft wear in gasoline engines. Using a 2.3-liter overhead-camshaft engine, we isolated the valve-train oil from the crankcase oil and its blow-by using a separated oil sump. We find that:
  • with engine blow-by, the camshaft wear was high.
  • without blow-by, the camshaft wear was low.
  • with blow-by piped into the isolated camshaft sump, the wear was high again.
Later studies identified nitric acid as a primary cause of camshaft wear. It is derived from nitrogen oxides reacting with water in the blow-by. But even in the presence of blow-by, camshaft wear can be controlled by the proper selection of zinc dithiophosphates (ZnDTP) and detergent type.


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