Amsoil - why the difference in specs and testing procedures?

Not open for further replies.
Sep 6, 2002
Mississauga, ON
I'm really confused about this: I've used the Amsoil 5W-30 Synthetic since day 1 on my 2001 Honda Prelude and I'm very happy with it. People have been recommending the Series 2000 0W-30, but looking at the specs on Amsoil's site, the 5W-30 seems superior (higher kinematic visc.@100*C, lower Noack volatility, better 4-ball wear test, and the same TBN).

Here is my dilemma:

- Four-ball wear test
The spec for the Series 2000 0W-30 is 0.373mm at 150*C, 1800RPM, whereas the 5W-30 is 0.35mm at 75*C, 1200RPM. What gives, why do they have different testing procedures? Which is better?

- Noack volatility
The Noack volatility for the 0W-30 is 9.2@250*C, and for the 5W-30 it is 6.9@ an unspecified temperature. Do I assume it is also @250*C?

- Cold crank simulator
The 0W-30 is 2993@-30*C, whereas the 2555@-25*C. Why don't they specify the viscosity at the same temperature so one can make an informed decision.

-High Temperature/High Shear Viscosity cP
The 0W-30 is specified as 3.5@ unknown temperature, whereas the 5W-30 is 3.5@150*C. Should I assume the 0W-30 was measured at 150*C as well?

Maybe someone could shed some light on this?
Isn't the 4-ball test meaningless for crankcase oils?...just good advertising copy?

The Cold Cranking Simulator testing is done at different temperature for different viscosities...these are the SAE J3600 specs, which became effective June, 2001:
0W -35°C < 6200 cP viscosity
5W -30°C < 6600 cP
10W -25°C < 7000 cP

GM has recently announced that they want the old specs back which required a lower viscosity at these temps.

I think the NOACK test has to be 250°C in all cases. The standard HT/HS test, CEC-L-36-A-97, is at 150°C.

Save your money. Buy the Amsoil 5W-30 or Mobil 1 0W-30 or 5W-30.

As I recall, the the newer fluids were measured at higher temps, higher loads, and longer test times, so the ASL formula was tested with lower specs.

Whether or not one is better than other, only a UOA will really tell.

BTW, one reason they may be pushing for a using 0W30 is that it is about $3.00 a quart more than the ASL, unless you're a dealer; I know the prices, since my BIL is a dealer.

You can't tell how well an oil is going to hold up by looking at spec sheets. You have to run it in an actual application under the same conditions as what you were previously using. I've tested both ASL, TSO and HDD after 12,000-15,000 miles and this is how they compared:

ASL, 5w-30 ...tested after 12,000 miles

Viscosity @ 100C, 10.9 Cst ...baseline is 11.7 Cst
oxidation, 41% of allowable value
nitration, 50% of allowable value
TBN, 7.2

TSO, 0w-30, tested after 12,000 miles

Vis @ 100C, 11.2 Cst ...baseline is 11.3 Cst
oxidation, 24%
nitration, 40%
TBN, 8.4

Series 3000, 5w-30 ...tested after 15,000 miles

Viscosity @ 100C, 12.1 Cst ...baseline is 11.7 Cst
oxidation, 20%
nitration, 50%
TBN, 7.2

I also have data from a number of other vehicles, including VW diesel engines. In all cases the 0w-30 and Series 3000, 5w-30 held up better over long drain intervals then the regular 5w-30 and 10w-30. Wear rates were about the same for all these formulations.

Since you live in a cold climate, I'd go with a 0w-30 over a 5w-30 or 10w-30.

If you decide to use the S-2000 stuff, it's about fifty cents a quart less if you get it in one gallon - 3.78L - jugs as opposed to quarts ....
Thanks for that data. I'm not into extended drains since the car runs rich and I'm a bit worried about fuel dilution, plus I have extended warranty (100,000 miles) and I don't want any problems.

Since I'm changing oil every 4,000 miles, I'm trying to find out if the 0W-30 is better for me than the 5W-30 ASL.

I just got some of the Series 2000, 0w-30 in for one of my local accounts and it now lists the
following specs:

ACEA A3/B3/B4 - most stringent European specs
VW 502/505 - for VW gas/diesel engines
GM 4718-M - spec for the Corvette LT-1
JASO VTW - Japanese valve train wear

Also meets factory fill requirements of:

BMW "Longlife" Oil
Mercedes, DB 229.3 - the spec for their new engines with the flexible service schedule

In other words, this is Amsoils' best gas engine oil. I would actually use
this oil with a 6000-7000 mile change interval instead of the regular 5w-30 with a 4000 mile
change interval.

TooSlick, thanks for the info. Does that mean that Amsoil updated their Series 2000 formulation? Is the new 0W-30 better than the one available 1 year ago?

Well, I don't think they had to reformulate to meet the API, "SL" classification, if that's what you mean. Amsoil works with Lubrizol to develop most of their additive chemistries, so this change reflects the fact that this chemistry meets the current European specs. I should add that a number of the spec sheets on Amsoils website are out of date - they are very slow in updating these ....

The emphasis these days is trying to improve high temp properties, since current generation engines produce more power with fewer cubic inches. They also tend to have smaller sumps and tend to run hotter. So you see Noack Volatility being reduced and more shear stable VI modifiers being used. Mobil is taking the same approach with their Supersyn formulation, BTW.


I have found that oil consumption is lower with the 0w-30, even though the Noack Volatility is higher than for the 5w-30 and 10w-30. I ran both oils in my Tacoma for 12,000 miles and didn't use any oil with the 0w-30. I just finished running ASL and used about 1/4 of a quart - of course I'm picking nits here. The 0w-30 also looks cleaner on the dipstick after the same number of miles. I think the reason for this is that the 0w-30 degrades more slowly in terms of oxidation and this is reflected in the oil analysis numbers I've seen.

When I ran the 0w-30 in my Audi 100 it produced the lowest oil temps and the highest fuel efficiency of all the Amsoil formulations I've used. Compared to the Amsoil 10w-30, I consistently picked up about 3% with the 0w-30, in mixed city/highway driving. This is a multiple tank average using the trip computer and confirmed by my calculations. I use my personal vehicles as testbeds and run every new oil that Amsoil comes out with.
TooSlick, do you happen to have the latest specs for both the 5W-30 ASL and the Series 2000 0W-30?

Also, in your experience, is the Series 2000 0W-30 more stable at high RPMs and heat than the 5W-30 ASL? The Noack Volatility (according to the website) and the viscosity @100*C is better for the 5W-30 ASL. Does the 0W-30 have a more shear stable film at these high RPMs?

Thanks for all the info.
Not open for further replies.