Anyone have some information on the new Mobil 1 Super-syn?

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Jun 3, 2002
I've used Mobil 1 Tri-syn in my Trans Am since I bought it.

Anyone have some info on how the older Tri-Syn compares to the new Super-Syn? Their website doesn't discuss the changes in any detail.
One thing we do know is that the new formula uses less zinc and less phosphorus (probably to get a jump on meeting GF-4 regulations) and the 10w30's flash point went from 470 down to 455. The pour point of 5w30 used to be -65F now it's -54F. So I suspect the base oil formulation probably changed a bit too. It's still a fully synthetic base though, no group 3 hydrocracked oil like all the other store bought synths.

So since M1 got rid of zinc and phosphorus, two antiwear additives, it has now come up with it's own additive. Not 100% on the quality of this though, but I do plan on running oil analysis on my wife's oil after 5k, which is currently tri-synth, then I will switch to the supersyn and run it for 5k and compare the results.
yeah, sounds like a plan I guess. I've got Mobil 1 10W30 I change out every 4000 or 5000 miles in my '97 Trans Am.

The thing is, I don't know how "bad" less zinc could be. It comes down to 2 things I guess:
1) How often do you go under loads high enough to breakdown the lubrication film?
2) How often do you change your oil?

Personally I never go past 3 months or 5000 miles, and although I drive her hard at the track and occationally rev her out for fun on the street/highway... I put 400miles a week in commute highway driving (at ~1500RPM). I don't know if I even use a majority of the zinc I currently have.

Hopefully the new EPA-friendly anti-wear agent is better, like Mobil 1 claims.

Hmmm... anyone know where I can get some cheap RedLine oil? I wonder if you can buy barrels or cases of the stuff at discount. Hmmm... (best I've seen around here is $5.50/qt with 10% off for a case)

The other thing to consider, which almost NO ONE has mentioned in the posts I've read on the "horrible Mobil 1 zinc-decrease", is the damage that higher-zinc levels do to your O2 sensors. It'd be fine for carb'd cars, but us EFI guys run lower zinc oils for a reason. This is why motorcycle oils are only now starting to use other anti-wear agents and are starting to drop their zinc levels (because they're starting to switch over to EFI and some are using O2's to run in closed loop operation). This alone makes we think Amsoil can take there oil and go away, I value my 4 O2 sensors (how much? oh about ~$300 to $600 MSRP
$5.50 for Redline is a great price! Most places in the US charge $8 a quart, and up here in Canada it's $17 a quart! (even converted to US dollars it works out to $11US)

I'm not so sure zinc is all that bad for the 02 sensors though. There are a lot of cars on the road that I know of with well over 125k on them and are still on the original O2 sensors. My mom's 94 Probe GT has 130+k on it, and has used nothing but Mobil 1, and she's still got the original sensors.

Do you have this new M1 in your car right now Steve? If so, run it for 5k and get Terry to analyze it. I'm dying to see an analysis with the new M1 over 3-5k (there was one on here but the oil was only in the car for 600mi)
I think the jury is still out and exactly what will and won’t foul an O2 sensor. Earlier this year, my Civic Coupe developed some knocking and pinging. It was light but annoying nonetheless. Seeing as how the car had 115,000 miles on it, I figured the O2 sensor might be giving up the ghost. I ordered a replacement (not OEM but NGK/NTK … i.e., a good one) and installed it. So far, I notice no change.

During most of the car’s life (starting in ’95) it had Mobil 1 in the crankcase, mostly their pre-Tri-Synthetic formula. Towards the 100,000 mile mark, I tried Valvoline Synpower which was supposedly 100% PAO (but it’s not) with more zinc (1.5% - 1500ppm?).

Amsoil claims that oils high in zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) will not harm catalytic converters if their volatility is very low (I forget the percentage they cite – 5%?). I guess low-volatility oils tend to stay in the crankcase and less of them make their way pass the rings and into the exhaust. Sounds reasonable to me.

Of course, they claim their oils fall into this category.
If they are a PAO-based formula, I suppose that is also reasonable.

I know the engine in my Honda Civic Coupe is amazingly tight. The car used no noticeable oil (almost exclusively 5W30) for the first 100,000 miles. At around that time I switched to Valvoline Synpower and began to notice a small amount of consumption – ½ quart in 5,000 miles.

Switching to Red Line not quite a year ago, the consumption disappeared after 10,000 miles. I suspect the seal swelling action of the ester base oil reversed the trend started by the Valvoline but I really don’t know for sure.

So, Red Line has a fair amount of zinc and a LOT of soluble moly (they won’t specify disulfide or disulphate but no visible trace remains at the bottom of the new containers when it is poured out). I will be monitoring my mileage and for other signs that my new O2 sensor is getting fouled but I don’t anticipate it happening anytime soon.

Back to the topic of the new SuperSyn and its patented anti-wear technology, I’m highly skeptical. Using older formulations of Mobil 1, my Civic developed an annoying “piston slap” sound at around 70-80,000 miles. This is wear of the piston skirts and is considered normal wear for this engine. However I didn’t use a normal oil, I used the much-hyped Mobil 1 which supposedly ran in a car for a million miles with virtually no wear to parts of its engine. As a result, I was not impressed with M1 Tri-Syn (and its ultra-low 0.075% ZDDP level) after that and I am reluctant to try another one of their mega-hyped synthetic oils.
Let someone else be their real-world guinea pigs.

SteveinSeattle, where did you find Red Line for $5.50 per quart?
Bror Jace - On the honda that developed piston slap, did you change brands of oil and did the change help the piston slap problem. Also, what weight of Mobil 1 were you using?

From my read you are now using Redline. What is your opinion of AMSOIL vs Redline. Thanks!
Robert, The piston slapped occured when over 80% of the miles on my car were with Mobil 1, almost exclusively 5W30 (it burned ZERO so I did not consider using a heavier weight.

When I switched to Red Line, the noise went away. Conventional wisdom says it was the molybdenum which did the trick.

Red Line and Amsoil are very different formulas and I don't think they are very comparable. Red Line is mostly polyol ester with perhaps some PAO in it. Amsoil is (I believe) PAO with a little ester in it for seal conditioning which is the standard type of synthetic oil. Red Line uses molybdenum while Amsoil and healtheir dose of zinc.
Bror, I think I'll swap my 5 qrts Redline 5W-30 for 10W-30. -10c the coldest this vehicle will ever see and it seems a little more protection for maybe higher fuel consumption is worthwhile. I still learn something every day here!
Sprintman, check out my results in the oil analysis section. I just posted the results that came in the mail today.

Red Line 5W30 seemed to do fine, although the temperatures during that time were fairly low (avg 30-50F).

My car, on the other hand, may have other problems ...

Originally posted by Bror Jace:
I think the jury is still out and exactly what will and won't foul an O2 sensor. Amsoil claims that oils high in zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) will not harm catalytic converters if their volatility is very low (I forget the percentage they cite – 5%?). I guess low-volatility oils tend to stay in the crankcase and less of them make their way pass the rings and into the exhaust. Sounds reasonable to me.

This is wear of the piston skirts and is considered normal wear for this engine.

SteveinSeattle, where did you find Red Line for $5.50 per quart?

B&B Autoparts in Redmond, WA (just down the street from Microsoft and Nintendo headquarters). Not sure if you have them in NY, but that price only applies if you buy a whole case (like I'd buy anything less

As for your piston slap, does it go away when the engine warms up? If so don't sweat it. I know that hypereuretic pistons like those in my LT1 Trans Am, and GM's newer LS1/LS6 engines are designed with tolerances that run a bit loose when cold, but once the engine is up to normal operating temperature (and the piston slugs have expanded to their heated size) the piston-cylinder tolerance is much tighter and the slap dissapears. It's most noticeable in LT1/LS1/LS6's on cold days. If you think this is strange, just remember that piston-slap was even worse when manufacturers used regular cast pistons and the swelling was more pronounced (and hence the tolerances had to be even greater so a cold engine was LOUD).

As for the zinc ruining cats/O2's I was suprised to hear it (although seeing how heavy metals can ruin a cat fairly quickly, it isn't much or a stretch to see the same happen with a zinc-aromatic). I think I first read about it in Cycle World magazine (or a similar bike rag). They were discussing the new BMW cats and O2 sensors used for emmisions and EFI.

To protect the BMW's new components, only new-formulated motorcycle oils could be used that had decreased levels of zinc. Since bike oils need to protect to 12,000RPMS and such they explained that a car-oil would be a bad choice, since bike oils typically have much higher levels of zinc in them. The new formulations would lower the zinc to an acceptable level (I wanta say 3%, but it may have been 0.3% this is all from memory) and increase other anti-wear additives to compensate (moly perhaps?).

Seeing how Amsoil brags about actually having high levels of zinc, and I don't know of anyone with problems, I can only think of 2 things:

either 1) Amsoil isn't very volitile in car applications (maybe they formulate it this way, or maybe a car engine is just less of a cooker than a high-performance bike engine/cooling system)

or 2) maybe Amsoil's higher than average zinc content is just in comparison to other CAR oils, but is still lower than the emmissions-obilivious and anti-wear-demanding motorcyle oils?

hmmm... think I'll dig around for that article this weekend. I don't read many bike magazines so it may be easy to locate.
Here's some data off of the exxonmobilchemical web site. It's from an area which discusses their base stocks, not from the Mobil 1 site:

SuperSyn, a proprietary patented technology of ExxonMobil, is a high-viscosity PAO typically used at low treat rates to balance the viscometrics, shear stability and low temperature properties of a lubricant. Its viscosity ranges between 150 to 3,000 cSt at 100° C, and it mixes completely with conventional PAOs, esters and mineral oils. Used in engine oils, automatic transmission fluids, gear oil greases, hydraulic oils and other specialized applications, SuperSyn has the following features:

* A viscosity index that is 35-40 units higher compared to conventional PAOs of the same viscosity grade.
* A pour point that is 10-20° C lower than conventional PAOs of the same viscosity grade.
* An increase of Synergistic VI when blended with mineral and synthetic base stocks.
* A high viscosity with good ambient fluidity.


JTC, that’s interesting stuff, but it brings up an obvious question: If this new additive or component of their base oil has a lower pour point than standard PAO, why does Mobil 1 SuperSyn have a higher pour point than Tri-Synthetic?
Bror -- If you look at supersyn's viscosity range @ 100°c, if goes from 150 to 3000 cSt: this stuff is not thin! Now this is only a guess, but it would make sense that if they are blending in an extremely high viscosity supersyn with a low viscosity PAO there might be a rise in the pour point over previous Mobil 1 formulations.

Now they do say that supersyn has: "A pour point that is 10-20° C lower than conventional PAOs of the same viscosity grade." But a blend of supersyn & normal PAO is not to compare a PAO and supersyn of the same grade.

That's my best guess.

What intrigues me are the implications for shear stability.

I agree with Bror Jace.

For the Supersyn 10W-30 to increase pour point and decrease flash point by that much, there has to be something different in the base stock. It cannot be explained by the super low pour and super high flash of the Supersyn additive.
loubapache: well, maybe, but those same supersyns have higher pour points that the PAO basestocks, so they would tend to raise the pour point.

Go here:

PAO Charts

and click on the PAO link to be taken to an interesting chart with the data on PAOs and supersyn..


[ August 10, 2002, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: BOBISTHEOILGUY ]

Then why the pour points did not increase much in 0W-40 and 15W50? The flash actually went up in these two grades. One would think the 0W-40 needs a lot of these Supersyn.

The changes are mainly in 5W-30 and expecially in 10W-30.

15w-50 -- higher pour point PAO base stock relatively unaffected by supersyn addition

Mobil 1 w/Supersyn 15W-50 and 10W-30 have the same pour point now, at -49 deg F.

In Tri-synthetic, 10W-30 has a pour point of -65 deg F.

My answer to that one whould be that both the 0-40 and 15-50 were already robust enough to meet Euro. specs where the 5-30 and 10-30 were previously just not up to snuff...
Has anyone run a 4 ball on the new Mobil 1s? I know it's not the best benchmark, but I wonder if it does better than the Tri-Synthetics.

[ June 11, 2002, 03:44 PM: Message edited by: VaderSS ]
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