Being a long-time customer of Schaeffer Oil, Tom Baumann, president of Security Transport Services, Inc., located in Topeka, Kansas, thought the company may be interested to learn of their engine that would soon turn over 1,000,000 miles. Baumann contacted Schaeffer’s Kansas City representative, Doug Rogers, to let him know of the impending milestone of the 5.4L engine in their 2003 Ford E150. Schaeffer sent out a crew to help document the big day and secure the engine for tear down.
Schaeffer then contacted Ranken’s High Performance Racing Technology (HPRT) instructors, Jim Gray and Jason Gann and asked them to perform the engine tear down and inspection as well as to help create a video documentary of the inspection for marketing purposes.
"We’ve had a good working relationship with Ranken over the years," said Steve Brewer, executive vice president of sales & marketing. "We have taught some lubrication classes for the HPRT program and some of their guys have visited our plant. Most importantly, Ranken is the recognized leading trainer in this industry for the Midwest and we value their opinion on all things mechanical." When the vehicle arrived at Ranken, the Automotive Maintenance Technology department removed the engine and then HPRT began the process of disassembly. "When I heard about this engine that had a million miles I was very excited to just be able to see it, much less have the opportunity to disassemble it," said Gray.
Gray and Gann, along with HPRT student Shauna Wollmershauser took the engine apart and inspected various areas to measure wear all while being filmed by a camera crew. What they found once they started completely shocked everyone; a completely clean engine. Very minimal wear could be found upon inspection. The main bearings were completely even, there was no caking in the block, no tarnishing, varnishing or discoloration could be found and there were no signs of additional heat due to oil failure.
"I was completely surprised by what we found," said Gray. "I have seen engines with only 15,000 miles that have more wear and dirt than this one did."
Since the vehicle was used to haul state and federal prisoners, the maintenance records and Department of Transportation inspections were immaculate and well documented.
"The engine is what it appears to be…. a one million mile gasoline engine with no history of major work and 8,000 mile service intervals," stated Brewer.
The engine was kept by Schaeffer to do further research and for presentation at their Saint Louis headquarters.
"I would attribute the lack of wear to the integrity of the oil," said Gray. "I have tested a lot of racing oils as well as over-the-road production oils and I was very impressed. I have used Schaeffer racing oils for about 10 years and I am still amazed at the lack of wear that was on an engine with that many miles. It far surpassed anything that I thought we would see.
To watch the video visit www.youtube.com watch?v=hDF1zcaxrNU.