Mining, construction and agricultural machinery

Liebherr – engine oils allow oil change intervals to be doubled

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Liebherr – a name that stands for quality, efficiency and precision! Customers expect reliable performance from Liebherr construction machines, and with good reason. To ensure that the machines deliver this over a long period, and thereby realise their full potential, high-quality Liebherr lubricants are recommended. 

Liebherr lubricants meet the company‘s ambitious quality standards and are tailored precisely to the functionality of the Liebherr machines. But that‘s not all: at Liebherr, efficiency is also a top priority. Reducing the types of lubricant and, in particular, the length of time they are in use are an important part of this. Currently it is possible to extend the oil change intervals for the engines produced in the Liebherr factory in Bulle, Switzerland from 500 to 1,000 operating hours (or two years) if Liebherr engine oils are used. What‘s more, an oil change interval of up to 2,000 operating hours is possible for earthmoving machines and material handlers if „Liebherr Motoroil 5W-30“ is used. In addition to oil quality and virtually sulphur-free fuel, improved engine management also contributed to this development. Numerous field tests, which were accompanied by OELCHECK lubricant analyses, provide the basis for these extended oil change intervals, which are now listed in the operating manuals as of the beginning of 2016.

Tailor-made and economical

Liebherr diesel engines have proven themselves over decades in the toughest applications and under extreme operating conditions. Liebherr Motoroil 5W-30, which makes oil change intervals of up to 2,000 operating hours (two years) possible, provides a perfect accompaniment. It is designed for use in Liebherr diesel engines, which comply with the exhaust emission standards both of EU stage IV, introduced in 2013, and Tier 4 in the US with an innovative SCR (selective catalytic reduction) system and the addition of AdBlue. With optimum tuning and operating mode, fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 8% and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 98% with the SCR system. Engine management is optimised constantly, which means that soot ingress into the engine oil is also reduced significantly. Liebherr engine oils have been formulated for long oil change intervals and high wear resistance. They reliably prevent deposits because the detergent-dispersant additives they contain offer a high level of protection against deposits. The mostly synthetic oils work very well with the urea in the AdBlue and are also ideal for use at low temperatures. One advantage in particular is their high alkaline reserve. This enables them to effectively neutralise the acidic components that are formed during the combustion process, for example from the sulphur in the fuel. This means that Liebherr engine oils not only remain in use for longer, but they are also better equipped for a completely different challenge: if fuel that contains over 10 but under 300 ppm sulphur is used, and which is therefore not compliant with European standards, this can also be neutralised more effectively by the engine oil. This means that the engine is ideally protected against the aggressive effects of sulphur. 

However, when fuel oil, which usually contains considerably over 1,000 ppm sulphur, is used as a fuel, which is permitted in some countries, there should be no unchecked extension of the oil change interval. In the case of higher sulphur concentrations, which are permitted in zero-emission engines, the operating manual must be consulted.

Inspected, tested, approved

Liebherr sets high quality standards for its products. The Group has therefore put together its own panel of experts who define and test the ideal lubricant formulation together with suppliers and design.
Each of these lubricants is monitored during and after approval using a wide range of laboratory tests. An engine oil, for example, must complete extensive test runs on the engine test beds at the Liebherr engine factory in Bulle, Switzerland.
Following the test runs, practical testing is carried out. Only once the lubricant has successfully completed all tests does it qualify for use in the machines. It is given an official Liebherr designation and is incorporated into the Liebherr product catalogue. But it doesn‘t end there: the lubricants must also fulfil the highest international specifications and must be usable worldwide. For engine oils, for example, further approvals from other internationally recognised engine manufacturers are obtained through complex procedures. Liebherr Motoroil 5W-30 thus also meets the qualifications of Deutz, MAN, MTU and Mercedes Benz. This makes it ideal for a mixed fleet because it can also be used in engines made by other machine manufacturers, as well as in HGVs. 

However, before the oil change intervals were extended, the Liebherr engine oils 10W-40 and 5W-30 had to pass very rigorous tests: large-scale field tests with regular inspection using OELCHECK lubricant analyses. Only once the field test had been completed successfully with good analysis results did the Liebherr engineers give the go-ahead for extending the service life of the oils. The effort required was enormous, but at Liebherr safety is always given utmost priority.

Oil analyses since 1992

Liebherr is not only one of the biggest manufacturers of earthmoving machines, material handlers and mining machinery in the world, it is also recognised in many other areas as a provider of technically sophisticated, practically oriented products and services. In the area of earthmoving, Liebherr produces an extensive range of hydraulic excavators, duty-cycle crawler cranes, crawler tractors and crawler loaders, wheel loaders and trucks. And the company‘s crane range is more extensive than any other. Liebherr sets high quality standards, and leading employees at Liebherr Hydraulikbagger GmbH recognised the benefits of OELCHECK lubricant analyses early on. In 1992, they were the first in the industry to recommend that the hydraulic oils in construction machinery no longer be changed after set 1,500-hour intervals, but according to the condition of the oil based on oil analyses. Liebherr hydraulic oils, which are monitored by oil analysis, now usually reach a service life of 6,000 hours. 

Analysis sets from OELCHECK are a permanent feature in Liebherr‘s spare parts range. Based on the results of lubricant analyses:


  • Liebherr customers change the oil at the optimum time.
  • they receive all of the details relating to the condition of the lubricant being analysed.
  • they can detect impending damage at an early stage.
  • less waste oil places less of a strain on the environment.

The vast OELCHECK database now includes the analysis results of hundreds of thousands of lubricant samples from Liebherr machines. These values, taken from real applications, contribute to the design and optimisation of the machines and lubricants from Liebherr.

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