The program will evaluate CamGuard in engines overhauled or repaired by Continental Motor Services at the former Mattituck facility in Fairhope, Ala.
While CamGuard has been on the market for quite a while, Continental officials said it was time to “demonstrate the merits of pairing the latest lubricant technology with current engine technology, resulting in less maintenance, lower overall operating cost and greater longevity.”
“We believe the program could potentially benefit current and future customers by demonstrating and documenting the attributes of the CamGuard additive product,” stated Bill Ross, Director of Product Support and Continental Motors Services. “In general, lubricant technology in aviation has not kept pace with other transportation industries. If this program can demonstrate conclusively the positive benefits of oil additive technology found in CamGuard, it could change the way engine manufacturers deal with oil product specifications.”
The folks at Continental are very familiar with CamGuard, according to Randall Harris, general manager at Aircraft Specialities Services in Tulsa, Okla., ASL’s parent company.
“We’ve actually had a long-standing relationship with Continental,” he said. “There are a number of people who work for Continental who have been using CamGuard, plus Continental is a CamGuard dealer.”
He notes that the Continental service center also fields a lot of questions from aircraft owners about whether it’s OK to use CamGuard. While the additive is approved by the FAA, it is not yet on Continental’s list of approved additives.
The evaluation program will run concurrently with the 18-month warranty period offered on overhauled or repaired engines. The standard warranty remains in effect during the evaluation, according to Continental officials.
Aircraft owners who decide to participate in the evaluation will receive CamGuard, as well as oil analysis kits. They will be asked to follow a specific break-in and maintenance schedule. Participants will provide an oil sample at each oil change for analysis, with a copy of the analysis going to both the aircraft owner and Continental.
Continental officials will track the wear metals, as well as the health of the engine, during the evaluation period, according to Harris.
Continental officials will then identify a few customers who will be asked to have their engines undergo “enhanced” inspections, including borescope inspections, during routine service. These enhanced inspections will be at no additional cost to the aircraft owner.
Collecting the data and performing the enhanced inspections is all part of Continental’s “due diligence” in documenting the benefits of CamGuard, according to Harris.
A concentrated combination of 11 high-performance additives created by petrochemist Edward Kollin, who is ASL’s technical director, CamGuard is touted as improving performance in four key areas: Rust and corrosion protection; wear protection; deposit control; and seal conditioning.
It’s best known, though, for its rust and corrosion protection, according to Harris.
“People are not flying as much,” he said. “Now it’s pretty common for people to fly 30 to 50 hours a year, while 10 years ago it was 100 hours a year.”
All that time sitting on the ramp or in a hangar is “what does the damage,” he said.
Corrosion is an idle airplane’s worst enemy, according to ASL officials. Rust acts like sandpaper on engine parts, creating pits that can lead to cam and lifter failures. Idle engines also tend to get “sticky” — piston rings stop moving and valves stick.
CamGuard not only keeps things lubricated, it can free up sticky components and allow your oil to do what it is supposed to do, ASL officials explain.
Officials at Aircraft Specialities Services, which operates one of the largest engine component machine shops in the world, see the damage corrosion creates on a daily basis. Aircraft owners who need to replace crankshafts often find themselves hit with an unexpected bill between $6,000 to $18,000. Those who use CamGuard, on the other hand, may only need to have crankshafts remachined, which costs around $600-$700, according to Harris.
Using CamGuard, he said, “is like buying insurance. You can save thousands of dollars.”
Even with all that information, there is still a bit of hesitation among some aircraft owners about using the additive. For many, it’s because Continental hasn’t put it on its approved additives list. “That’s exactly why Continental is doing this evaluation program,” Harris noted.
He conceded that some hesitation may also be in that aircraft owners don’t really understand how CamGuard works. The formulation is “very sophisticated,” he noted. “We’ve been struggling to figure out how to explain it to someone who is not a chemist.”
The company recently put two videos on its website, complete with computer-generated graphics, to explain how CamGuard works.