Delphi Unveils Diesel Oil Sensor

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Delphi Corp. is promoting a new diesel engine oil condition sensor for commercial vehicles that will alert the operator when oil quality falls outside specified parameters. Mounted in the oil pan or in a custom-designed engine location, the sensor detects soot and fuel dilution, measures viscosity and can be configured to measure oil levels.

Unlike the oil life monitors now common on General Motors passenger cars, which rely on algorithms to estimate remaining oil life, the Delphi sensor physically monitors engine oil.

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Delphis sensor operates by measuring AC conductivity at frequencies between 2 to 5 MHz. It also measures dielectric constant and viscosity (in stationary oil only), and can detect fuel dilution, the company reports. Soot, which adsorbs oil additives and contributes to engine wear, is measured at zero to 5 percent, with plus-or-minus 0.5 percent accuracy. Viscosity is measured at 15 to 55 centiStokes, with plus-or-minus 3 cSt accuracy.

The sensor is intended for use in diesel engine applications ranging from light-duty passenger vehicles to commercial vehicles and off-highway equipment. Currently under development, the sensor will be marketed worldwide.

Benefits of the on-engine oil sensor, says the Troy, Mich.-based Delphi, include maximizing oil and filter life, enabling longer oil drain intervals, promoting proper oil level, protecting engines and reducing warranty issues.

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