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Old 10-31-2003, 01:59 PM   #15
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My "sources" that make those statements are the certifying agencies for our lubricants in the USA. Not my "sources," as in online anecdotal information, but the folks who make the marks on every can, bottle, jug or drum of lubricants, sold in the USA. But those marks are only after they extensively test them to be up to whatever standard they are seeking to meet. Be that diesel and the special tappet lubrication abilty that Cummins demands, or the gas engine applications for two-stroke weed whips. And whose leadership is acknowledged worldwide. Your warranty is void if you use lubricants that don't meet their standards.

Don't read that as angry, or adversarial, but let's name API and SAE, and the FTC, the EPA who are responsible for accurate reporting of MSDS information, instead of calling them my sources, as if they were selective minority sources to prove a point.

If you would like to ask the API, SAE, EPA, etc. those questions, please do.

But don't feel alone. I have more questions than answers at this point too!

But many of the original ones have already been answered by those sources.

I already did ask, by going to their websites, and finding the information that they printed there.

Let us also remember that none of those agencies approved petroleum oil base stock, hydrocracked or otherwise, to be sold as synthetic. A civil court decided that particular issue and it was market driven, pure and simple. I sure would like to see the FTC tackle that one. And will be writing to them about it.

I did talk to one manufacturer's rep since my last post at Redline and asked them if their product was group III, IV, or V, base stock, and he told me that they used no group III petroleum base stock in their formulation, and that their primary base stock was group V.

I asked him if their formulation was group IV and V or just group V, which are the best lubricants in the world and he would not answer that. I asked him if group V base stock was the only base stock and he repeated the company line, Group V is our primary base stock. I asked him if there was any group IV base stock in their formulation and he gave me the same answer about primary.

But I was happy to find they were real synthetic.

I also asked him if the synthetics had any shear problems and he said that they were minimal to non-existent.

He said that the base stock was as good as it was when it was new.

So I asked him why I don't see any recycling of the synthetics? The technology is there, and the ability to remove the contaminants is valid today according to the main agencies.

He said he did not know. But he did make a good point. He said that they would first have to find a way to separate the synthetics from the petroleum oils. Well, that isn't all that hard, when you change the oil you get a rebate for recycling them, or at the least the question is asked, and the PAO and group V oils can then be separated at the collection point.

I asked him why, since the base stock he claimed was as good as new, and the base stock costs so much more than petroleum base stock, they didn't want to save money with recycled synthetic base stock? He had no answer. boy:

But the conversation did raise another issue. Since today, all of the synthetics are compatible with petroleum oils, and since they don't separate true synthetic from petroleum based oils when used oil is collected, and since the claims of no molecular shear, or other deterioration takes place in those base stocks, and since we know that the re refiners have the technology to remove all of the contaminents to virgin oil levels, then consider this just for fun.

Advertisement: Folks, why spend good money on synthetic blends, or synthetics, when our 100% re refined oil includes all of the synthetic oils that are still perfect according to the synthetic industry, who won't re cycle their supposedly perfect used oil base stock?

Buying re cycled oil includes all of their old oil in our product, for the best of both worlds, synthetic and petroleum, giving your engine better protection than either alone, and for less than your old regular oil.
End of hypothetical ad.

Again, I am not proposing we all use recycled oil. Heck, they may remove the synthetics as a contaminant!!

But I am still having trouble with the fact that most synthetic oil manufacturers seem to hide their MSDS', and provide no independent test results except their own.

If you try to find a Red line MSDS online you only get the Australian one which references the American MSDS??

Instead of publishing them on their websites they make you request them. Not so with regular oils and most other products. The synthetic oil MDSD' are available by snail mail, not online where they sell the product.

If I were one of them, and my product performed as advertised, which I neither doubt, nor accept as of now, I would be doing full disclosure, making all of our MSDS', engineering results from the certifying agencies, and independent test results a part of my website.

I am a very good researcher. Only in trying to find information beyond the claims of the manufacturers of synthetics, have I run into so many dead ends, right where the answers should be!!!

If they have nothing to hide, then I could understand a few of the manufacturers making mistakes and thinking us consumers would not read them. But all of them?

I can understand the ones that market petroleum hydrocracked as synthetic having that attitude. But why the rest?

Rusty, some folks won't even read these posts, let alone go to the links. I sure don't have all the answers, nor profess to have the lab or expertise to re invent the wheel. There are folks like my sources that do.

But the manufacturers are not being as up front as I would think they would be.

In fact, I am beginning to suspect that some of the independent brands are buying a generic product already refined, finished, and ready to sell from the majors! Like the electronics industry does with rebranding! There may be no difference between many of the brands except for a dye. Maybe that is why the dead ends and lack of disclosure on their part.

No, I don't do conspiracy theories. But we have already established that many off the shelf brands marketed as full synthetics aren't. Greed is proven, as they buy cheap UCBOs that are petroleum, and sell it for the same price as the real synthetics.

We get ripped off.

If all of the manufacturers/distributors of synthetics posted their MSDS', answered questions about the composition stating what group base stocks they used and in what percentages, that would not give away any secret formulas! There are more than 300 ingredients in oils counting the additives.

Just a good research and discussion thread, with information that was to most of us unkown before.


[This message was edited by RV Roadie on Fri October 31 2003 at 07:12 PM.]

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Old 10-31-2003, 02:10 PM   #16
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Never breaks down?

First of all, many thanks to RV Roadie for his excellent research on this hot topic.

However, I too have to take exception to RV Roadie's conclusion that "oil never breaks down". The fact that it can be successfully recycled does not prove that there has been no breakdown in the used oil. If we had evidence that 100% of the used oil came out the end of the recycle process as fully usable oil, I would be inclined to accept that argument, but I do not believe that is the case. "Broken" oil molecules form sludge and other "dirty oil" by products. During the recycling process, these broken oil molecules are filtered out and various depleted additives are replaced to make the oil 100% functional again. Yes, most of what's wrong with old oil is contaminants, but I think it is to some extent "worn out" as well.

Still, it seems probable that with extra filtration (e.g. a bypass filter) and regular replacement of the in-line filter, top quality fossil oils could indeed be used for lengthy periods. Changing filters (especially the big bypass filters) involves the loss and replacement of substantial amounts of oil, enough in many cases to replenish depleted additives and any broken oil moelcules. Furthermore, the oil change intervals are a two size (severe and regular) fits all specification that assumes worse case conditions. In a large percentage of cases, the used oil we throw out is still quite usable and testing would show that. But testing costs more than new oil and filter in most cases, so few of us bother.

Personally, however, I'm in the camp that says change the oil regularly and don't worry about trying to extend intervals. I do, however, use synthetic in my transmissions and rear axle and am very disappointed to learn that my very expensive Transynd may not be much better than regular tranny fluids it replaced.

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Old 10-31-2003, 03:07 PM   #17
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Here is an interesting "study" done on Mobil 1. They plan to test Amsoil next:


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Old 10-31-2003, 03:13 PM   #18
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Thanks for the kind words. Yer welcome.

It sounds like we are in the same camp, same conclusions.

Oil not breaking down wasn't my conclusion, it was the statement of the API, and the SAE. I agree that there must be some changes even molecularly. But what they do is test it to the same standards as virgin oil, and if it meets them, then it is essentially as good as new.

Let me say why I have no problem with that.

No natural product will have identical molecular structure. Take light water for an example. Isotopes of atoms?

It is an erroneous assumption that there is a model that all molecules adhere to. Crude alone comes from the ground in almost opposite constituents and thicknesses, from almost sweet refined oil, to tar.

The same thing happens in manufacturing. From RVs to molecules, even PAO or esters, nothing manufactured is 100% identical.

Meeting the shear, viscosity, flow temp, etc. standards 100% is the only thing that counts.

My feeling on their statement of oil not breaking down is that they are essentially correct in that a majority of molecules are solid. Most folks do change their oils at regular intervals.

Most folks do not only change their oil when the engine melts to slag.

Again, most state agencies, and the main national and international certifying agencies that are not selling us anything made that statement.

But it was just as hard for me to accept, as I stated it would be hard for all of us to accept.

Just as hard as it was to the adherents of Slick-50 to accept, as well as the Duralube and the STP adherents.

I prefer the lab to the anecdote.

Then proving the lab in the field.

No work-arounds on the fly to assuage extra costs.

I only report the facts I find, from the best sources, including the manufacturers.

By the way TranSynd is better than regular tranny fluids, when used with the extra quality filtration they suggest. "Hint" TranSynd is however petroleum based.

One other point. Rear end and tranny fluids do not ever become exposed to, nor have added, any combustion contaminents. The only contaminents they are exposed to are metal and other wear contaminents.

I agree with normal intervals, and using the best we can find to use to protect our investments. Or full testing and never missing a test datapoint.

Some interesting questions and answers have come to light. Now I feel that I can recognize a true synthetic from a petroleum product.

I know that oil doesn't necessarily break down, it gets dirty, with some shear damage over time, which is of no consequence if it is changed accordingly. The intervals are determined by the manufacturers, from tests, and with full knowledge of their own close tolerances, that may or may not cause shearing.

Safe travels!

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Old 10-31-2003, 03:29 PM   #19
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Thanks! I bookmarked that link and actually read it. OK, the controls with so many different cars aren't tight as they should be, but with oil analysis and the number of data points may be more valuable than an isolated engine under full control of variables. I'll be following it.

One reason this research is so important is that we in the RV world run our engines at max capacity, almost like the race cars.

It is important. If we all provide links like that, the info becomes more tangible. Like RV dealers, oil dealers want o get our dollars. Sometimes it is hard to figure out which are telling the truth.

In this subject we are getting closer. Much reading here, much more to add to it, Let's keep it going.

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Old 11-03-2003, 02:54 PM   #20
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Lou Schneider a regular contributor here, raised another item that may contribute to engine longevity, on another forum. It prompted me to go and find what was available on the market for prelube products. His example was a person that had 300k miles on an engine that was prelubed, bypass filtered, and used synthetic. I did not doubt it, as Lou is one of the most credible people that post on RV issues I have ever had the pleasure to deal with. If not the most credible.

So I looked up prelube systems and immediately came upon a similar story of a 300k mile car with a prelube system. It belonged to one of the manufacturers of prelube and fast oil change kits.

I called him and asked if he used synthetic or regular oil. He used regular Castrol group II conventional petroleum oil. Here is the post back to Lou, with some ideas that ocurred to me in my phone and email conversations, with John, the prelube kit manufacturer, and some conclusions I drew from them.

here is the post:
Thanks for the prelube comments! I have been checking on them and their applications in not only our gas and diesel engines, but in the aircraft industry, and manufacturing machinery.

It appears that I'll have to add prelube as a significant contributor of extending engine life beyond the mean time between overhauls, or the expected service life of the engines we use.

Before I go on I have to say that I am in no way affiliated with John or his company. I have no financial interest in it, nor expect any compensation. I have neither used, nor know anyone personally who has used his products. I am making no endorsement, nor recommending his products.

I am grateful for his generous sharing of his time, his expertise, and his sense of humor. Like Lou prompted my looking into prelubes, which led me to make some more discoveries I was previously unaware of, one of John's emails to me prompted some ideas that may have merit for RVrs, especially motorhomers and class 8 drivers who have tremendous expenses for every oil change.

When I first looked at John's products, and saw the oil change hose and dispenser on the website, I totally discounted it as being kind of funky looking, (sorry John) and not important to this line of research into prelube as an adjunct to real extension of an engines expected service life.


So I focused on the one that had the prelube capability, and even though it had the oil change hose on it, continued to pick John's brain on the subject. Then he sent me this email that he gave me permission to quote.

"What I really didn't stress, and it can't be stressed enough, is no matter what you have in the crankcase, it becomes contaminated with carbon, water, acids, and other products of combustion. Typically, engine oils contain as much as 20% additives designed to neutralize acids, keep contaminates in suspension, extend viscosity, etc. As time goes by, these additives become less and less effective as they are depleted . Changing engine oil before additive break-down occurs can dramatically extend engine life. Good mineral based motor oil such as Castrol is dirt cheap compared to the cost replacing an engine...and with the addition of a pump system do-it-yourself oil changes are a snap. Most motorists would probably change oil a lot more often if it was as easy as flipping a switch and pumping their used oil into a suitable container....and with the pre\post lube option, the benefit of 'no dry starts' can farther extend engine life. And post lube can also add years of life to turbochargers by circulating cooling oil through the system to prevent hot turbo bearings from 'coking up' and failing prematurely."

Something about that paragraph gnawed at me. It was the repeated mention of the obvious about oil changes being a snap, which I kept discounting as irrelevant to RVrs, the prelube was the thing.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My premise was that we can't do oil changes at most RV parks so who cared?

Wait a minute!

Why would any of us be interested in extended oil change intervals? Usually because we have much larger amounts of oil to change, and the cost of labor especially for motorhomers is a constant for many. Disposing of 30 quarts of oil, or even my 12 quarts, makes a real mess to take it from point A, the oil change site, to point B, the disposal site. Since we can't usually change our oil in the parks, we all pay labor, and extended intervals become attractive as for the big boys, that can be more than the cost of the oil! I am not because I can pay 8 bucks labor and another 21 bucks give or take a buck, and have mine done at Wal Mart! Motohomes have a lot more and can't have it changed at Wal Marts.

Then it hit me.

Equipped with a system like John manufacturers and sells, a motorhome could very easily pull up next to a Wal Mart automotive bay, out of the way. Then go and purchase the amount of oil needed, synthetic or petroleum. Wal Mart will allow you to dispose of your old oil free I think, when you buy the new oil there.

The owner of the motorhome, MDT, or class 8, then pulls out the hose and spigot, and fills a one gallon container of oil with old oil. They keep that one, one-gallon container in the basement to be able to start off. Then they proceed to pump all of the oil out a gallon at a time, and dump it in the waste oil sump in the bay. Now they just change their filter/s with the spares they carry, and dump the new oil into their engine in the usual way. Then drive off.

For those that don't even want to change their filters then you can go to the place you normally go to, buy and dump the oil yourself (you have to go to the pics on the website, with the way they are installed there is no mess at all, no getting under or dealing with drain plugs, you just pull and pump it all out) Then pay them only the labor to change the filters.

Even the mechanically less capable could do that right?

Now here's where I need some feedback. For the larger engines wouldn't the labor savings justify more frequent oil changes, perhaps even with petroleum oils? Or if you want to use synthetics make them usable with no sampling or extended intervals.

Granting Bill's comment that our cold starts are less than with passenger vehicles, aren't they more than a commercial airliner for example?

My questions then become:

Would the smart money then be on
1. Having a pre lube system
2. Having a permanent oil change system
3. Using a by pass filter
4. Changing the oil at recommended intervals? Regardless of the oil type?

Are extended intervals based on saving money to justify the expense of synthetic?

Is the main goal to extend the expected service life of the engine?

Since most manufacturers base their oil change intervals on their own known tolerances, taking into account any close enough to cause shearing of petroleum molecules, and basing their intervals on petroleum lubricants, doesn't that indicate that shearing is not an issue in ato and truck engines, and the tolerances are acceptable?

If oil will not burn, boil, or flash at temperatures beyond the temperatures that the parts it protects begin to warp, melt, or burn, is it sound to pay for protection above those temperatures? The parts already burned up on the way to those higher temps right?

Those aren't statements, those are questions and I welcome any comments, corrections, tag-ons etc.

Back to prelube. John also used to offer a kit to make an automatic preluber only, but no longer offers them as they don't have the oil change capability he now markets with prelube capability. He no longer has the kits, but can supply a few of the parts for it. He does, for the do it yourselfers out there provide a complete parts list, and instructions, to build your own here:

Whaddya think?

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Old 11-11-2003, 08:08 AM   #21
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Here's a very good article pointed out to me on another forum. It validates everything I have been saying on this thread.

Especially on the advantages of synthetics not being as important in a diesel because the fuel itself is a lubricant. And that any MPG increases can be easily obtained by changing from 15W-40 to 5W-40 oil even with gasoline engines.

The link to the full article is at the end, and there you will find the rest of the conclusive facts from the SAE and the industry itself.

Great article!
Same conclusions too! Thanks!

I think an imporatant issue that was brought out by the article is when they make the distinction between diesel and gasoline engines from a mileage gain perspective. Their pointing out that diesel is 97% "hydrodynamically lubricated" is simply saying that the diesel fuel itself is a lubricant. As opposed to gasoline which acts more like a solvent. And for diesels the slipperiness of the synthetics is no a factor thus no real gain in MPG or extended service life for diesels from synthetics.

Here's that paragraph excerpted:

"According to Ross Iwamoto, product development scientist for 76 Lubricants, fuel economy gains from using synthetics throughout the powertrain are potentially available. But, he says, there's a much bigger gain as far as engine lubes are concerned to be had from switching to a different viscosity grade. Iwamoto points out that diesel engines, because of their very robust construction, are about 97% hydrodynamically lubricated, quite different from a spark-ignition engine. So while the oil itself has to be pumped, and at low temperatures synthetics have a distinct advantage, the 'slipperiness' of the lube base is not really a factor in fuel consumption."

I agree with their conclusions too!

"It remains a fact that synthetic base stocks are much more expensive than Group I or even the hydrotreated Group II and III oils. According to Citgo's Betner, there are alternatives that deliver almost all of the synthetic benefits but at a lower price, citing his company's Para-Syn which is a blend of Group IV, Group II and Group I base stocks. He says that this product delivers 95% of a synthetic's performance at around half the price."

In the above they conclude that part synthetic gives 95% of the performance for half the price? From our lesser use perspective, as we aren't trucking thousands of miles weekly like the fleet owners trucks must do, where are the savings in reality, especially for a diesel?

They go on to say:

"In a more recently released report, Chevron researchers differ. They say the fuel economy difference between a 5W-40 PAO synthetic and Group II 15W-40 mineral oil is too small to measure. The widely respected Jim McGeehan, manager of engine oil technology, co-authored this SAE paper (2001-01-1968) that disputes the ExxonMobil findings. It was presented to a lubricants meeting just two months ago, the Chevron researchers reporting that their tests could find no statistically measurable difference between a well formulated Group II mineral-based lube and one based on a PAO synthetic."

But the real statement was when they compared the most recent tests using post 1999 diesels and found that:

"This study demonstrates that premium additive packages using API Group II base stocks at >99% saturate levels can equal synthetic oils in fuel economy and extended oil drain capability."

And then at the end:

"He concludes, though, that a fleet is best served by deciding what its objectives are and then crafting an oil-change program around those objectives. Synthetics can save and can save the right operation big time, it would appear. But so can premium non-synthetics and semi-synthetics."

Which is the main question that comes up, and the objectives of a trucker or fleet owner is to reduce maintenance and get rid of the truck, trading at, or just below, the limits of their warranties. Longevity isn't the goal, use em and lose them with no maintanance that can be avoided is the goal.

Their goal is to save on filters and truck downtime, which for an RVr, especially a fulltimer, isn't the same equation. Our warranties are shorter, and many might just want extended life beyond the warranty.

But earlier they pointed out that the mineral oil base stock products are gaining in having an upcoming approval for 500k mile change intervals for mineral oil in some applications with no combustion products

The actual link to the article is here, with some additional charts:


One additional note:

It appears that some folks based on emails and other forums that referenced this thread here misunderstood my point in discussing re refined mineral used oil base stock.

I was not, nor am now, nor did I imply, nor recommend, using re-refined used oil.

I also stated that I would certainly not use it.

I brought those links into the thread simply because they show that mineral oil from the ground does not burn up or break down as many, including me before researching the posts, thought, and persist in thinking.

Which is a major claim of the synthetic crowd as reason to use them.

I showed clearly, from the sources that test, accept. reject, rate and research all lubricants in our country, Both SAE, and API, that oil can be re-refined simply because it doesn't wear out or burn up, or is all sheared beyond usability.

No better way to point out that whether anybody chooses to believe the facts, or just the advertising and anecdotal information, about mineral oil out of the ground breaking down, that it simply doesn't.

It can be reused because it does not break down. It only, and exactly, like the synthetic manufacturers claim for their products, gradually suffers from additive depletion, and becomes contaminated with combustion by products.

Just like synthetics.

Put simply, you can choose to continue to buy whatever oil you want. You of course will select it based on the SAE and the API testing and stamps of viscosity and ratings.

For some of us, it is a startling, and hard to swallow fact, that mineral out of the ground oil can be reused, and is not a sheared, burnt, worn out mess. That it's base oils are relatively intact, and when re-refined will meet the same standards.

Which only proves that mineral oil doesn't wear out, any more than the base stocks of synthetics.

So if you were on of the ones that thought I was proposing using re-refined used oil, you missed my whole point.

My proposal was, and still is, that the same additive and lubricating protection can be had with the same filters and possibly pre lube systems that are claimed by the synthetic manufacturers, with mineral oils that are virgin, and much cheaper.

If the facts fly in the face of long held beliefs, some will ignore the new facts, some will examine them and use them.

Like everything else, technology changes old facts into new myths faster than ever before in history.


[This message was edited by RV Roadie on Tue November 11 2003 at 05:16 PM.]
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Old 11-11-2003, 12:57 PM   #22
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Have been enjoying your articles and just thought I would add something about reclaimed oil. Back in the '60's I worked for Automotive Enginering (a large engine rebuilding business) which had around 15 shops in Northen California at the time. We sold our used oil to a rerefining business, and bought the rerefined oil from them to use in our rebuilt engines. We also added one cup of additives to each oil change, don't have any idea what this was, it just came in 55 gallon drums as the oil did. Seemed to work just fine, as the engines had a 50,000 mile warranty on them, and we rarely had a warranty claim.
Just a little bit of info for you.

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Old 11-11-2003, 03:14 PM   #23
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Thanks Loren.
The more data points the better!

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Old 11-11-2003, 06:11 PM   #24
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Regarding comments stating to wait several thousand miles before using synthetic. Chevy Corvette has been shipping their vehicles from the Bowling Green factory with Mobil 1. Based on that fact, I would begin using Mobil 1 ASAP in an engine (at 1st oil change).
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Old 11-12-2003, 05:53 AM   #25
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In a brand new engine design that may be a good choice. In a newly rebuilt pre-1999 engine that may be a bad choice.

The Corvette synthetic oil standard is indeed required by the much closer tolerances and high temps. The requirement standard for the Corvette is also met by the Group II/III mineral synthetics. (When I say mineral oils, I mean the petroleum Group II/III base oils, not the PAO I refer to as true synthetics) Which says that the mineral/petroleum base oils also meet the new GM standards for their Corvettes. Just do a search in Google on these two oil requirement standards, which are the Corvette standards:
GM 9986137
GM 4718M

See what I mean? All of the non-PAO mineral oils are ALSO approved by Chevrolet, and the SAE/API to meet or exceed the requirements of the Corvette. The fact that they use Mobil 1 is purely advertising and companies inside agreements. As seen by the below advertising from Mobil, Corvettes aren't the only vehicles that are being filled with Mobil 1 when new.

So how come we were always told that we could never use synthetics for break-in, and now suddenly see that they do just fine? That is an important question to answer, as mistaking that it works in today's engines, then using it on a rebuild of an older engine could result in real problems.

Mobil answered the question and their letter was published online, here is an excerpt:

"Today's engines do not require these break-in periods. In fact, Mobil 1 has shown excellent control of oil consumption in the industry standard ASTM Sequence III E test, which uses a completely rebuilt engine for each new test run. This includes freshly honed cylinders, new pistons, and new rings (compression and oil control). The engine is exposed to only the test oil after rebuild. The outstanding oil consumption control of Mobil 1 in this test demonstrates that the old "seating" issue is not of concern in well machined engines. And don't forget that Mobil 1 is used as initial fill on Corvette and Porsche engines. However, if the engine rebuilder is using older machining equipment or lower quality components, it can leave you with an engine containing swarf or abrasive material inside the engine. In this situation, you would be best served by using a short drain interval on your initial oil fill. Mobil 1 will still work in this situation, but it would be less expensive to use a conventional oil for this first, short duration fill."

That Mobil answer, and another letter on the subject can be found in their entirety here:

They added that Mobil 1 would "still work" which is contradicting the previous sentence, and is only advertising. If that were true why even mention using conventional oil for a rebuilt engine at all????

In any event, assuming because synthetic is used in new engines, therefore can be used in any new engine during break-in may void your warranty if the manufacturer states not to use anything but conventional oil at first.

So before anybody jumps to synthetic, mineral or otherwise, for a new or rebuilt engine, check with your manufacturer for a new vehicle/engine, that is the safest way to go. Every car and engine are not Porsches and Corvettes.

For rebuilt engines, it would probably be safer to use conventional oil for break in, if approved by the manufacturer for break in originally, especially older cars.

Assuming synthetics are good for all break in periods for all engines, because they are now used in new Corvettes, would be an error. Just as much as using single weight 40, 50, or 60 racing oil like the racers use would damage a passenger car engine in cold weather.

Just because they are used and proven in racing does not mean they would work in a consumer vehicle.

"A common misconception is that oil thickens to achieve a 40-weight status. In fact, the oil simply maintains the same flow rate, film strength and shear rating as a straight 40-weight oil would offer at higher temperatures. The call for a straight 40-, 50- or 60-weight oil in a racing engine is largely due to greater bearing clearances, a high-volume/pressure oil pump and excessive stresses and load. This same oil in a modern OEM production engine would cause sever damage, such as spinning rod bearings during engine cranking in sub-zero weather."

The above quote is from here: http://www.4unique.com/lubrication/l...n_tutorial.htm

So when we see all the "race proven" brands on our favorite race car, we also have to remember that the oil of the same brand being advertised that we get for consumer use, is a different animal altogether formulation wise.

While it "seems" sensible to do what is done for a Corvette, it may indeed be the wrong thing to do, depending on what engine is being discussed.


[This message was edited by RV Roadie on Thu November 13 2003 at 01:11 AM.]
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Old 11-12-2003, 06:15 AM   #26
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RV Roadie:
I discovered that all of the off-the-shelf brands except Mobil 1, which with its new trisynthetic appears to be now mixing group III basestocks into the mix for the first time.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
In the interest of accuracy, here's a quote from a synthetic oil thread now running over at the TDR (Dodge/Cummins) forum:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I talked to the Mobil 1, the Amsoil tech, and a Royal Purple engineer and have reassuring news. I am a retired Exxon Mobil Product coordinator. Mobil1 synthetics are a full catagory PAO 4 & 5 blend stock product and API certified and Delvac 1 is as advertised. Royal Purple is a PAO catagory 4 blendstock API certified synthetic and is a great product as well. Amsoil is not fully API certified on some of their products for some undetermined reason that is well founded to those who sell oil for a living, but I don't. Their synthetic heavy duty deisel marine 15w-40w is not but has proven to be a good oil for a long time now. I know that this is a real hot spot and I do think that they probably would say that they do not have any catagory 3 oil in their blendstock for this product. I do know for sure in writing that Mobil1 and Royal Purple do not have cat 3 blend in their oils and that their additive packages are excellent.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
According to this individual, who has gone to the source (i.e., the oil companies) for his information, Mobil 1 does not use Category/Group 3 basestocks. What are we to believe?

Regarding the breakdown of base stocks, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. If base stocks don't break down or change chemically, why do we measure parameters such as oxidation, nitration and viscosity in crankcase lubricating oil analysis?


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Old 11-12-2003, 08:02 AM   #27
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Hi Rusty!
I said it "appears" intentionally, as the hype over the mineral based synthetics has created a flurry of comments about Mobil 1 being the same, that I do not consider at this time to be credible. But I stand corrected as that was poorly written, and did not say what I intended. I went to the next thought before I finished that one. You are absolutely correct.

I called and talked to the Mobil folks directly too, as well as checking their MSDS', and that is why I earlier stated that they indeed are the only true non mineral oil synthetic off the shelf. Royal Purple, Red Line, and Amsoil are not off the shelf products, but must be ordered in most cases. Yes there are some few retail outlets that handle them, but until recently that was not the norm.

Rusty, while I agree with your source who went to the source, it is still a bit different than posting the links to the source. That is why when I quote a source, I provide the link to the whole article.

Too many times I have seen a partial quote that seems to support a premise when taken alone, then turns out to have the opposite meaning when read in the context it was written in originally.

Online it seems that there are a good many folks who quote something and can't show where the quote came from. Some may be accurate, others completely in error, and even dangerous.

A long time ago I learned to double check before I used any fact in my staff work, technical writing, Grad papers, and research. Even when I thought I knew something for sure, if I had not looked at it in awhile, many times I found I needed to tighten up or even reverse my almost made statement.

Will Rogers said it best: "It ain't what a man knows that gets him in trouble, it's what he thinks he knows, but just ain't so!"

I am not accusing you of being in error either so don't read it that way.

But, since I enjoy the research, and will always double check my facts anyway, I provide the links for those that want the full skinny, and to show I am not substituting my own preferences or opinions for factual information.

Just like with any technical publication, you will find at the least a bibliography. All the cards are on the table for discussion.

For a technical post, I use the technical references. Then if I misread or mis interpreted something, I can get feedback and adjust the written conclusions to fit the facts. Many adjust the facts to fit their conclusions as we both know.

You said
"Regarding the breakdown of base stocks, I suppose we'll just have to agree to disagree. If base stocks don't break down or change chemically, why do we measure parameters such as oxidation, nitration and viscosity in crankcase lubricating oil analysis?"

Rusty, at risk of seeming to promote the use of re-refined oil, I'll answer that easily. There is some minimal to moderate change in both mineral oil base stocks, and synthetic base stocks. What wears out is the ability of the additives to continue their protection. And of course there is a build up of acids and other contaminents that are molecular in nature and as small as the base stock molecules, in some cases smaller, thus are not contained in the filter if the oil can get through it. Sure the combustion produced carbon molecules can get through too so we need dispersants to keep them from clumping together and forming abrasive nodules that will immediately cause wear.

In answer to if base stocks break down at all, the synthetic manufacturers I spoke to denied any breakdown, with the exception of Red Line who stated that the synthetic base stock molecules get larger the longer they are kept in the engine.

From the mineral oil side, we know now that they can re-refine used oil, which is simply removing everything but the base stock, and be as good, and in some cases exceed the virgin oil base stock.

Now lest I be misunderstood again, that was only to show that the mineral base stock does not burn up either.

You are mixing apples and oranges here with that question. Crankcase analysis does not measure base stock breakdown, it measures properties that are mostly contributed by the additives.

When the additves are depleted the below actions cease. Put another way, if the base stock did all of these things, and syntehetic base stocks never break down, there would be no need to ever change any oil, just to filter it. While we know both mineral and synthetic base stocks remain relatively intact, or the mineral oil could not be re-refined and work after being used, let's not confuse the action and enhancements of the additives that make each formulation have certain properties.

Here is a good list of some of the different types of oil additives and what they actually do. Note: When they refer to oil, they mean both mineral and PAO/Ester synthetic base oils:

"Detergents: Similar to household detergents except that they work in oil not water. They neutralize impurities in the oil to prevent deposit formation on engine parts. Available is different strengths, they can either prevent further deposits from forming or clean up deposits that have already formed.

Dispersants: These molecules bond to contaminants in the oil to keep them from clumping together. Contaminants are then kept suspended in the oil until they can be removed by a filter or oil change.

Anti-wear/Extreme Pressure Agents: These agents bond to metal surfaces to create a strong lubricant film between moving metal parts. This film can withstand extreme heat and mechanical pressure to keep metal parts separated, protecting them from scoring and seizing.

Friction Modifiers: In effect, they make oil more slippery by reducing the friction between moving parts. This both reduces wear and improves fuel efficiency.

Lubricity Agent: Additives that reduce friction and improve lubrication.

Antioxidants: Even highly refined base oils contain some organic compounds that can decompose in the presence of heat. This destroys an oil's ability to lubricate and results in severe engine deposits. Antioxidants retard this process.

Rust/Corrosion Inhibitors: Prevents the corrosion and rusting of metal parts in contact with the lubricant by neutralizing the effects of water and acid that inevitably contaminate oil during engine operation.

Ashless Demulsifiers: Chemical agents that separate water out of a mixture and have .1% weight or less ash content.

Pour Point Depressants: Allow oil to remain more fluid at lower ambient temperatures.

Antifoam Agents: Retard the formation of foam in oil that can result from the mechanical action of the engine. Foam reduces an oil's ability to lubricate effectively.

Seal Conditioners: Swell the elastomeric engine seals to prevent fluid leakage.

Metal Deactivators: An inactive film on metal surfaces that reduces the tendency of the metal to react with the oil in ways that increase the rate of oil oxidation.

Viscosity Modifiers: Temperate affects viscosity grade, making an oil either thicker or thinner. This hurts its ability to protect engine parts at temperature extremes. Viscosity modifiers allow the oil structure to adapt to temperature changes, maintain its grade, and retain its lubricating effectiveness. "

Once more Rusty, your premise that mineral oil breaks down, as in the base stock being non-functional, does not agree or disagree with me. It does disagree with fact. Mineral oil base stock is reusable. Mineral base stock does meet all standards when reused. Therefore the used mineral oil did not burn up, or break down. Or are you saying that re refined mineral does not exist?

Let me clarify

Mineral and synthetic base stocks, both, under normal operating parameters, essentially remain intact. Whether each loses a small precentage, or what percentage that is, remains to be seen.

You are measuring with crankcase oil analysis, the saturation of contaminents, and reduction in additive actions.

Both base stocks survive, well, at least the mineral base stock as we see in its ability to be re refined to standards. 100%? Heck no! Some of both must be damaged when the additives cease to protect against oxidation. And with both I am sure there will be little left of the base stock if they are left unfiltered and with no additives left for any appraciable length f time.

It has not been proven to me that synthetics break down or not, as it has not been demonstrated to me that they can be re refined into base stock that meet standards after being used.

I am not saying that synthetics do or don't. Just that until I see a re refined PAO base stock meet the standards of virgin PAO, as mineral base stocks already do daily, then it remains to be seen.

The only point of referencing re refined oil is to show that when tested by the API, SAE, and every other agency, and the users, as in my previous posts is proven, therefore, the base oil must not have burned up, or worn out.

Why don't you get a sample of group II mineral oil at oil change time and submit it for analysis?

I did not include any links in this one because they all are already posted in the previous posts.

I think the only thing we disagree on Rusty is whether mineral oil burns up or breaks down. It will if burned in a failed engine, or not used under normal operating conditions which include all severe duty applications as well. Just as synthetics will Proven in the group III synthetics and their acceptance under the new GM standard mentioned in the previous posts. All of them are mineral too.

Lets also not forget the MSDS' I provided links to earlier in the thread where we saw synthetics with lower boil and flash temps than some of the mineral oils, and vice versa. Those are still there.

Both can evaporate, both can be damaged, but it appears to a lesser extent than we previously thought, under normal operating conditions.


[This message was edited by RV Roadie on Thu November 13 2003 at 01:09 AM.]
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:28 AM   #28
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(Note: I decided to separate this next from being part of the answer to Chuckz, before I read your post Rusty, and to correct some bad sentences, one of which you found anyway.
As you saw the original post you replied to was this one, and I had already posted the revised answer to Chuckz's comment)

If anything, from the large amount of research presented here, it is obvious that I started outraged that synthetics weren't.

I discovered that all of the off-the-shelf brands except Mobil 1, which with its new trisynthetic appears to be now mixing group III base stocks into the mix for the first time, according to many anti synthetic websites, it has been confirmed by me earlier in this thread, personally by discussion with Mobil reps at their HQ, that they use all group IV and V base stocks. (Thanks Rusty)

Then discovered my long held belief that mineral oil breaks down or burns up simply was not true to the extent I thought at all, and in fact is still intact enough after re refining that it can meet or exceed the same tests and standards that virgin oil meets. Which only proved that mineral base stocks remain relatively intact, and like synthetics, only suffer from additive depletion. While I would not use recycled oil in my engines, it was a good way to show that mineral oil is much more durable than urban legend, and the synthetic manufacturers advertising hype have led us to believe.

I learned that synthetic manufacturers extended intervals for engine and transmission oils all had strong recommendations for expensive by pass filter systems, or newer design filters for the OEM system.

I learned that there is no recycling program for synthetic oils despite the claims that the base stock does not break down, and the fact that PAO Group IV base stocks cost at least twice as much as Group III mineral base stocks. Also that the longer the PAO and Ester base stocks are kept in an engine, the thicker their molecules become. Could that be the reason that the synthetic manufacturers are not even attempting to recycle their used oil as well? Even if the consumer market would avoid re used oils of any kind, there is an industrial and military customer base that would readily accept them. Provided they are still intact at oil change time. A question I am still trying to find the answer to from an authoritative source.

I have then taken a closer look at group II and III mineral base stocks and found that they have almost the same wear and longevity as the PAO group IV characteristics. But knowing that they cost less than half or more than PAO base stocks the pricing is definitely a rip off. Group II/III mineral synthetics are marketed for the same price or close to the price of 100% PAO synthetics, with the exception of Rotella Group II/III mineral synthetic, which is more reasonably priced at about 13 dollars a gallon.

I learned that group I mineral oil was the only one we had up to the mid 1990s, and that the majority of mineral oils on the shelf are now Group II mixtures. And the majority of the oils sold as full synthetic are actually group II/III mineral oil blends.

I learned that post 1999 engines are machined to tolerances that demand the protection and longevity that BOTH PAO group IV, and the mineral Group II and III base stocks provide.

That is why all through this thread I have used group II as my choice for best protection AND cost. I do not dispute the need for better protection. I do object to the price gouging that Group II/III mineral "synthetic" producers are charging when the cost to them is less than half the price of the PAOs.

My conclusions are simple. Changing oil regularly is the single most important factor to real engine protection. Additional filtration is big plus whether extended change intervals are used or not. Pre-lube systems may have significant value for protection against wear during start up as proven in every application they are used in today.

I realize that the majority will not pursue the links and long posts in this thread as they ARE tedious, and challenge some long held beliefs.

If all someone got out of it was to learn that all synthetics aren't, and are overpriced if not PAO, but are almost identical in protection, then that is step one to making selection easier.

If the fact that synthetics are being used in new engines that are manufactured for them, but may cause real problems if used in a rebuilt engine of just a few years ago, that is even better.

For some few that still find this topic fascinating as I do, then here is a really good article, from Chevron, since Mobil has gotten its time here. It's called "Global Base Oil Product Trends," and is long but gives the evolution of the base oils we have today. If you have followed all of this thus far, and understand just the terms Group I, II, II, and IV, it will be very readable, as it is not so much an engineering treatise, as a needs analysis. It is from the folks using group II/III mineral base oils:


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