Monthly Archives: November 2013

Black gold – the lifeblood of your truck


Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) Customer,

For many, oil is just oil, and as long as it says 15W40 on the can it’s OK. Or is it? In this post I will also teach you about correct oil filtration, storage and how you can be forewarned of potential engine failure through a simple oil analysis.


The 15W40 on a can of oil is simply a way of showing the viscosity or thickness of the oil at specific temperatures. What is more important are the letters following that: API C. The API stands for the American Petroleum Institute and the letters after that indicates if the oil is for petrol or diesel engines, and, which quality level it meets.

In 1998, we got the first emission regulations for diesel engines and that changed the requirements for the oil. In order to reduce emissions, the fuel pressure is up, temperature is up and a large portion of all the bad stuff that used to go out through the exhaust now stays in the oil.

The first oil type to be launched was the CH-4. And if your engine was made in 1998 or later, this is the absolute minimum level you should use.

One of the biggest differences with the older oils is that this quality can keep soot in soluble condition instead of clogging up lubrication galleries.

The oil is also made to do so much more than just lubricate. It should cool components, it should ensure it doesn’t foam, it should be thick enough to stay on the lubricated surfaces and yet be thin enough to enter where it should.

In addition, it needs to handle acidity brought in through the fuel. For this we have two important indicators, TAN (total acid number) and TBN (total base number). TAN is an indication on how much acid you have in the oil and TBN measures how much resistance to fight against acidity the oil still has left.

Once these two lines cross, the oil should be changed. In general it is safe to say that the higher the oil quality (CI, CJ, etc.) the better the oil should be in handling acidity.

Oil filtration

Whenever you run an engine, there is always some degree of mechanical wear. During running-in of an engine, it is normally higher, and then goes down and, towards the end of the mechanical life, the wear goes up again. How fast this happens is something that can be controlled up to a certain point by:

  • What oil quality you have?
  • What fuel quality is used?
  • What type of filter is used?
  • How you manage your air filtration?

Some studies indicate that each grain of wear-metal that ends up in the oil can generate up to seven new grains unless they are filtered away.

Genuine engine oil filters are required if you want to get the maximum out of your engine. Cutting costs on filters will lead to higher costs further down the road.

Oil storage

Oil is not a product that can be stored forever, but with some simple tips you can extend its shelf life.

  • Always store oil drums under shade and not in direct sunlight.
  • Oil drums should be stored horizontally.
  • In order to avoid condensation inside the oil, position the two caps of the drum in “quarter to three” position. (In other words they should be aligned horizontally).
  • The area around the caps and the filling area on the vehicle should be kept clean.

Be aware that it is easy to contaminate the oil even before it enters the engine, which could have catastrophic effects on your engine life and vehicle uptime.

Oil analysis

Proper oil analysis is like a blood test that gives vital information about the status of the engine. Samples should be taken on a regular basis and correct information, such as mileage or hours the oil has been in use, should be given to the lab to get the right reading.

Such tests can show if you have a lot of dust in the engine, if the main bearings are worn or if you have a coolant leakage, as well as other problems.

Oil sampling is one of the corner-stones in reducing cost per failure and increasing uptime of your vehicle.

We are experts at doing oil analysis – call us to book an appointment.


Learn more from these studies on oil filtration and its impacts

  1. Oil filtration and the bottom line (PDF 569 kb)
  2. Oil filter advice (PDF 59 kb)
  3. The real story on filters (PDF 18 kb)
  4. Clean up your act (PDF 64 kb)
  5. Why cheap filters cost more (PDF 56 kb)
  6. Why maintain oil cleanliness (PDF 45 kb)


Next Week

I will show you how to get the most out of your tyres and tell you about the importance of wheel and axle alignment.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales

Is the desert dust choking your truck?



Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) Customer,

Welcome to my next step towards getting the most from your vehicles. This week, I’ll show you how good air filtration protects your trucks engines.

There are some myths about air filters and I would like to wipe them out here and now.

  1. Clean air filters are better than dirty. Wrong. I spoke to the air filter designers at a leading truck manufacturer recently and they said that their filters were designed to hold around 1kg of dust. They reached full filtration once the dust level on the outside of the filter had reached 200g.
  2. Air filters should be cleaned every day. Wrong. Air filters will get damaged if they are sprayed with compressed air and will then let more dirt into your engine.Every time an air filter box is opened it is estimated that around one gram of dirt enters the inlet system. Done daily, around 300g extra of dirt will get into the filter per year.
  3. It’s OK to use non-genuine filters. Wrong. A genuine filter is designed to filter 99.99 per cent of dirt during its lifetime.If the filter is designed for 1kg of dust, this means one gram went through. A decent non-genuine filter may deliver 99.9 per cent filtration. Not a big difference, but it means 10g of dust or 10 times more abrasion on your engine. It will have consequences on compression, fuel economy and engine life.

There are only four reasons why you should ever open the filter box and they are as follows:

  1. The filter indicator is red. (You should however test the indicator from time to time to ensure it works properly).
  2. There is excessive black smoke during acceleration. (Normally an indication of too little air in relationship to fuel.)
  3. The driver senses lack of power during acceleration.
  4. The air filter has been fitted for more than 18 months. (In our environment that would almost never happen.)


Air filter field tests in Dubai

Scania’s Research and Development department ran some field tests on air filters in Dubai, testing different types of filters and installations to see what gave the best result.

Some of the filters were fitted on 6×4 rigid tippers that work on very dusty off-road sites. One type was a double filter system which was left untouched for 167,000km.

In the air box we found six kilograms of dust, but the gauge had not yet gone to red. There was no visible wear and tear or any sign of dust in the inlet system which confirms the points made above.

We strongly recommend that you work with your maintenance team to stop this misconception about cleaning the air filter on a daily basis. It will save you time, money, fuel and engine life giving you more time on the road.

Also, keep in mind that with proper air filtration you protect some of the main parts in your engine, such as the crankshaft and the turbo charger.


One day only
At ASE, we can do an in-line engine overhaul (pistons, liners, bearings, cylinder heads, etc. with block in the truck and crankshaft in the block) in one working day (terms and conditions apply). That’s another way for you to maximise your uptime and get more time on the road.


Next Week

I will let you in on some inside information about engine oil filtration and oil storage.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales


Why is cheap fuel so expensive?


Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) Customer,

Welcome to the second of my nine steps to greater vehicle profitability.

This week, I’ll show you how to save money when buying, using and storing fuel and how this will affect your vehicle profitability.


Diesel prices have gone through the roof with current prices in the region of AED 3.7 per litre in Dubai, so a look at how to save on fuel consumption is well worth the effort.

During the boom there were fuel shortages in the region for two reasons: Several refineries were down for maintenance and the demand for fuel was huge.

Some less serious fuel “suppliers” saw a chance to earn extra money by offering cut-price fuel. They did this by mixing diesel with tank farm wash-out, kerosene, jet fuel and other bad additives. Clearly this would seriously harm any diesel engine that got even got a whiff of it.

With today’s engines, using proper fuel is a must and this fuel can only be found at the national oil companies and other reputable companies they supply.


In Europe a wide range of additives are added to fuel before it reaches the pump to ensure best possible performance, longer fuel pump and injector life and more miles per gallon. Since our fuel companies are already incurring huge losses, we don’t get those additives at the pumps here in Dubai.

However, one of the leading suppliers of these additives to the European fuel suppliers, Innospec, is available in Dubai and is selling this through distributors to the end user.

By using these additives fuel savings of around 3-5 per cent are not uncommon and engine and injector life improves as well.

The saving/cost ratio is about 20:1 so for every Dirham you spend, the saving will be around AED20. Not bad.

Please contact us today to see what the additives can do for you.


StorageIn this part of the world, dust and humidity cause major problems for fuel. Humidity causes corrosion on the very sensitive fuel pump and injector parts and dust clogs the holes or wears them out. Many customers complain about dirty fuel causing disruption to their operation.Before investing in expensive fuel fill filtration systems, you could try out a simple trick I heard about from a site in Vietnam. They stored the fuel in two tanks, the first was filled up by the fuel supplier and the second was used to fill the vehicles.Tank one was tilted slightly backwards to ensure that sludge and water would sink to the bottom at the lowest point. This was then drained out of the tank and the fuel was the pumped over to the second tank.sysd_t
(click here to see a system drawing)In addition I recommend that you keep the area around the fuel fill cap clean. Always use the correct fuel cap and clean your tanks on regular basis. I would also recommend that you fill your fuel tanks before they are stopped for the night. This will reduce the risk of condensation inside the tank.



In order to improve fuel efficiency, Scania and others are increasing the pressure in their fuel systems. In some cases the pressure is up to 2,400bar. To make this happen, each part of the fuel system is machined to absolute perfection.

Dirt in the fuel can either clog these microscopic holes or wear them out prematurely. This will affect the engine performance and increase fuel consumption.

In short, what happens is this: More fuel is unburned, causing liner wear and fuel dilution of oil and the engine will have to be overhauled earlier and your fuel bill goes through the roof.

To avoid this, we strongly recommend you use genuine fuel filters that are designed by the people who designed the engine. By buying cheap filters you end up paying way more for fuel, down-time and unnecessary wear and tear.


ASE can help you turn things around

As mentioned earlier, we have an expert who can teach drivers to drive in a safer and more economical way. In the end, your trucks will consume less fuel, spend more time on the road and be less prone to accidents. Clearly this will positively impact your business.We also have experts on hand to run a performance analysis of each truck to help you find other areas for improvements and cost savings.

Call us toll free on 800 24702 or fill in the form alongside and we’ll call you.In this letter we showed examples that could save you up to AED225,000 per truck. In our future letters, we will touch on other areas where your bottom line can get a real boost.


icon_computerLearn More what additives are good for your engine – PDF 6.6mb



Next Week

I’ll show you how correct air filtration helps to save on maintenance costs.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales


The driver is the key to putting the brakes on your fuel costs


See details alongside

Dear Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE) Customer,

In case you missed last week, let me introduce myself: I am Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales, of ASE, and it is my mission to help you get more out of your vehicles than you may think is possible.

I’m starting with fuel consumption and the impact the driver has on your overall operating cost, because this is where the biggest potential savings are, but also where the biggest problems lie.


Whenever I ask a company owner if he would trust a driver to deliver a plastic bag filled with AED500,000 in cash to the bank, the answer is always: Never.

But isn’t that what you’re already doing?

The driver has the single biggest impact on your vehicle’s profitability and yet they have often the lowest status. Here are some eye-opening examples of why it is important to get the best drivers and treat them well so they stay.


Four key issues:

  1. The driver’s impact on repair cost and uptime.
  2. The driver’s impact on fuel consumption.
  3. How idling affects your fuel bill and engine life.
  4. What ASE can do to help you turn things around.


1. The driver’s impact on repair cost and uptime

I have examples from Dubai where the actions of the driver counts for up to 50 per cent of the difference in repair and maintenance cost.

Several years ago I had a customer that ran a repair and maintenance contract for 10 identical trucks. Over three years, all had done around 700,000km on the same routes with same speed and load. The average difference in repair cost was 25 fils/km or in this case AED175,000 between the most and the least expensive trucks. The only difference was the driver.

Add to the above, loss of income caused by unnecessary extra days in the workshop and the total bill for the owner really went through the roof.

The interesting thing is that most of these remedies are completely free; they just require a slight change of mind set.


2. The driver’s impact on fuel consumption

Studies and inputs from various truck manufacturers speak a very clear language. The driver has a major impact on the fuel consumption of the truck.

There are of course other things such as load, road conditions, vehicle specification and maintenance as well, but the really big influence comes from the driver.

Route planning, keeping the “four second rule distance” from the truck in front of you, handling the vehicle correctly before a traffic light or a roundabout are all factors that can save you a lot of money. Based on our long experience, we estimate it to be between 10-20 per cent off your current fuel bill.

At ASE we have recently hired a professional driver competence developer with extensive training and experience on how to drive safely and economically.


Drop us an email or call us so we can set up an appointment to show you what he can do for your fuel and repair bill.

Learn more
from this study by Scania (File size: 626kb) which shows in detail how you can save on your fuel costs
How idling affects your fuel bill and engine life


I recently came across some shocking facts about idling. We had downloaded data from three rigid tipper trucks which all had clocked over 15,000 running hours on the engines. The shocking news was that the idling time was around 9,000 hours or 60 per cent of total engine time.

On idle the engine consumes around two litres of fuel per hour, so in this case around 18,000 litres were wasted for each truck. For the owner that meant AED50,000 per truck went up in smoke for nothing. How much does unnecessary idling cost for your fleet every year?

In addition, idling does not just waste fuel, but it wears your engine faster, much faster. John Deere has done a study which shows that idling wears the engine twice as much as running under normal conditions.

This is mainly caused by low operating temperature during idling that reduces the combustion efficiency as it leaves a lot of unburned fuel mixing with the oil causing faster wear.

In addition excessive idling causes cylinder lining glazing. The liners are honed to have a specific cross pattern that helps the piston rings to seal better and create better combustion and fuel efficiency as well as ensure that enough lube oil remains on the inside of the liners for proper lubrication.

During excessive idling, this cross pattern becomes like a mirror surface reducing engine efficiency and increasing the wear. In the end this means you spend more on fuel and repairs. You can fix this by changing bad driving habits.


ASE can help you turn things around

As mentioned earlier, we have an expert who can coach drivers to drive in a safer and more economical way. In the end, your trucks will consume less fuel, spend more time on the road and be less prone to accidents. Clearly this will positively impact your business.We also have experts on hand to run a performance analysis of each truck to help you find other areas for improvements and cost savings.

Call us toll free on 800 24702 or fill in the form alongside and we’ll call you.In this letter we showed examples that could save you up to AED225,000 per truck. In our future letters, we will touch on other areas where your bottom line can get a real boost.


Learn more from the John Deere Study
“The Evils of Idling” (File size: 278kb).


Learn more by from this report:
Idling Myths and Facts (File size: 23kb)


Next Week

I’ll show you why substandard fuel and filters work out more expensive in the long run.

We look forward to your feedback. Let us know what you think and what areas of maintenance and repair you’d like to learn more about.

More Time on the Road
with Al Shirawi Enterprises (ASE)

Lars Möller, General Manager, After Sales