ExxonMobil Replacing Questionable Oil

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While the folks at ExxonMobil say metal particles found in Exxon Elite are nothing to worry about, the company is offering free replacement for pilots who would just as soon have metal-free oil, thanks. An AOPA member last week alerted the association when he noticed sediment -- in the form of metallic particles -- at the bottom of a bottle of Exxon Aviation Elite 20W-50 oil. AOPA claims that ExxonMobil discovered, in August, that some 1,100 cases of the oil (lot number 002933K4132050 and Fill Code P020430B) distributed in early summer had been contaminated with small amounts of fine metal particles from a wearing pump used in the manufacturing process. At that time, the company alerted its distributors and offered to accept any unsold oil. According to AOPA, ExxonMobil officials say sediment found is harmless to aircraft engines and the metal particles settle out of the oil during shipment. The particles are said to adhere to the bottom of the bottles even when the oil is poured into the airplane, and even if ingested their small size imparts no safety or maintenance risks. According to ExxonMobil, the oil is well within industry specifications ... even with the metal. Regardless, the company will replace unused quarts at no charge. ExxonMobil's Web site offers a distributor directory, or concerned parties can call ExxonMobil Lubricants at 800/44-Exxon. AOPA and ExxonMobil both indicated that they would run independent tests of the questionable oil.