Category Archives: Product Questions

Under pressure: Low tension piston rings

In order to reduce frictional drag energy loss and increase fuel efficiency, gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines use thinner and lighter piston rings, called low tension piston rings.

Piston ring spring force in older port fuel injection (PFI) engines used to be as high as 30 psi. New PFI and GDI engines can have more than a 60 percent reduction in sealing pressure on the cylinder walls.

At the same time, new PFI and GDI engine compression ratios have increased from 9:1 to as high as 14:1. These higher compression ratios dramatically increase cylinder compression and the overall pressure for fuel ignition, sometimes as high as 2000 psi.

This huge increase in pressure creates more force on the low tension rings. Piston rings are supposed to prevent fuel and combustion gases from “blowing down” between the piston and cylinder wall and oil from moving up into the cylinder. But, low tension piston rings have a greater tendency to allow blow-by. Crankcase contamination compromises lubrication and promotes oil degradation.

Degraded engine oil is more susceptible to oxidation, which can cause engine oil thickening. When the engine oil thickens due to the oxidation, it provides even more resistance against the low tension piston rings. As oxidation progresses, sludge formation can occur.

So, not only do you have sludgy, contaminated oil lubricating the rings; but also, because the low tension piston rings have such low spring force, they are less capable of pushing back against deposits that may form around them. Eventually deposits will impede the rings outward expansion to seal the cylinder wall, which will allow even more fuel and combustion gases to enter the crankcase. Or, vice versa, stuck rings can promote oil consumption and intake deposit formation due to engine oil moving up into the cylinder and into the intake.

So, while new PFI and GDI engines are known for efficiency, the constant struggle between low tension piston rings and high operating pressures will eventually erode fuel efficiency and diminish horsepower.

BG EPR® and BG MOA® can handle the pressure

BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration, PN 109, is essential to keep low-tension piston rings free of deposits, which will keep them from sticking in place. Immobilized rings cause loss of power, diminished fuel economy and premature aging of engine oil. By keeping the rings clean, the compression is maximized.

And if the fuel does blow down into the crankcase, BG MOA®, PN 110, will fortify the oil to help it withstand fuel contamination and maintain its essential lubrication qualities longer under the high pressures in today’s PFI and GDI engines. Use BG EPR® and BG MOA® at every oil change to help prevent problems caused by low tension piston rings under extreme pressure.

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How much oil has your engine lost?

by David Tenpenny BG Technical Service

My first job in the automotive industry was as a full service gas station attendant. Looking back now, I think, “What a great job that was!” All of those cool cars, the proud owners who loved to talk about them and, most importantly, the care I gave each one as they drove in for gas, “Full service!” It was my job to check the engine oil level and add a quart when necessary. Today full service gas stations are the “stuff of legends,” but that early lesson has always been with me.

Advances in oil technology, filtration, PCV and engine management systems have somehow convinced everyone that frequent oil level inspection and services are unnecessary.

Well I’m here to inform everyone that just because we stopped checking doesn’t mean that oil consumption problems have been eliminated! In fact, it is one of the leading problems related to drivability concerns in automotive service centers today.

GM says consumption of up to one quart every 1,000 miles/1,600 km is acceptable. Porsche says one quart every 750 miles/1,200 km is ok and VW and Audi recently declared that oil consumption of up to one quart every 650 miles/1,000 km is normal on their cars! Are they all mad?!

I agree that some oil loss is inevitable and even acceptable, but never at these levels, and never on low mileage vehicles.

What causes oil consumption?

  1. Surprisingly enough, today’s recommended extended oil change intervals top the list for causing oil consumption. While it’s no longer a short 3,000 miles, oil still has a life term. Extending service far beyond its ability to protect rapidly allows for sludge, varnish and carbon deposits to form. These three detriments decrease the integrity of the engine and cause component wear. Then, wear allows oil to be “consumed” in the combustion process! Bye-bye oil! Early telltale signs of oil consumption used to be a blue smoke haze exiting the tailpipe. But today, catalytic system removes the evidence that was once apparent years ago.
  2. Another major cause of oil consumption is lower oil viscosity blends. Today’s low viscosity oils naturally lead to greater oil volume loss than the oils our dads used. The current API category standards today allow up to 15 percent oil volume loss. Lower viscosity oils allow emissions to enter into the PCV system causing sticky deposits to form in the intake and on the valve stems and obstruct the incoming air.
  3. One new engine design innovation used today is Low Tension Piston Rings – lower elasticity in the piston rings. Reduction in piston drag allows for easier engine rotation, but is also prone to allow a large volume of cylinder compression to escape. This contributes to higher than normal crankcase pressure carrying oil droplets (again via the PCV) to the intake and on toward the combustion chamber to burn.

The process of combustion carbonizes oil deposits on piston tops and combustion chamber surfaces. The hard deposits can lead to misfire, poor fuel economy and a noticeable drop in performance.

A consequence of oil burning is that it will pass through the exhaust and deposit onto the catalytic converter. This also affects the ECM’s ability to control drivability and operational function.

Oil_LossToday, there aren’t many strapping young full service gas station attendants to check the level of your oil on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean your oil doesn’t need checking and that oil consumption doesn’t happen. Once excessive oil consumption has been determined, little can be done to effectively reverse the problem. The only way to reduce oil consumption is through routine maintenance with the BG Performance Oil Change. This service includes three of the most important BG products you could ever put in a vehicle: BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration, PN 109, BG MOA,® PN 110, and BG 44K,® PN 208.

110_208_109BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration, softens and dissolves hard-to-remove deposits from piston rings. Compression will begin to increase in as little as 10 minutes! Properly sealed combustion chambers improve compression, reducing oil dilution through blow-by and restoring lost fuel economy and power.

BG MOA,® engine oil supplement prevents engine oil thickening under even the most severe driving conditions. It fortifies all qualities of engine oil to help withstand fuel contamination, maintain essential lubrication qualities longer and resist oil loss under extreme temperatures.
BG 44K,® fuel system cleaner effectively cleans carbon-covered piston tops, fuel injectors and other crucial combustion areas. BG 44K® quickly restores engine performance and improves drivability.

Used together, these three phenomenal products have been proven to keep engines clean and prevent potential complications like “inevitable oil loss.”

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Lab Q&A: Should I leave BG EPR® in the engine?

Question: Can I leave BG EPR® in my engine until my next oil change?

Answer: No. BG EPR® Engine Performance Restoration,® PN 109, reduces oil contamination by fuel and minimizes oil evaporation into the air intake, which is a common problem in gasoline direct injection engines. This results in more miles per tank and decreased tailpipe emissions! BG EPR® is liquid gold when it comes to engine maintenance.

If BG EPR® is liquid gold, then what’s the harm in keeping it in the engine all the time? Ever-present in the engine, BG EPR® could ideally affect optimum performance all the time and hinder all deposit buildup.

Unfortunately, that is not true.

109BG EPR® is designed to remove deposits from components and suspend them in the oil to be removed during the oil change. If BG EPR® is left in the engine for more than the recommended service time, eventually it will evaporate out and re-deposit the heavier oil fractions within the engine. This is especially true if the oil is allowed to cool and the heavier debris separates out.

It’s like when you wash greasy dishes in hot water, removing the oily fats. When the water begins to cool down, the detergents therein get heavy with gunk and the sludgy grease settles to the bottom of the sink in one slimy mess.

Similarly, sludge resulting from BG EPR® evaporating can clog the filter and lay on components, causing problems that BG EPR® was initially used to avoid. In other words, leaving BG EPR® in your engine defeats the original purpose of the product and could leave your engine with a slimy mess.

For maximum deposit removal, let it run with BG EPR® for about 10 minutes. For best results, please use BG EPR,® and all BG maintenance products, as directed.

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