Oil consumption has been identified as a contributor to diesel particulate exhaust emissions. The strict requirements for reduced diesel exhaust particulates in 1991 and in 1994 call for a much greater understanding of the level of oil consumption during transient as well as steady-state operations. A system has been assembled to continuously measure diesel engine oil consumption through on-line detection using sulfur as a tracer. The system requires a sulfur-free fuel, a high-sulfur diesel engine oil, an exhaust sampling system, and a sensitive detector.
A series of engine tests were conducted using the sulfur-trace oil consumption measurement system. Variations in oil consumption at steady state and during transient operations have been measured. Quantitative measurement of oil consumption rates were confirmed by two separate calibration checks. By monitoring oil consumption rates on-line, the effect of engine modifications to reduce oil consumption and its contribution to particulate formation in the exhaust can be quickly assessed. The relationship between transient operation and oil consumption levels may also be observed with the on-line measurement system.