Carbon-cleaning Valvoline Premium Restore

JAG

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I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the little cup of Valvoline PBR with the deposits in it was outside inside a zip-lock bag and the wind blew it off the table. The other bad news is that yesterday I added a drop of acetone and a drop of Amsoil Engine flush, without first taking a photo of the cup. That’s a problem because when I picked up the cup today, I saw the part of the hard, adhered carbon was significantly cleaned, and I don’t know how much I can attribute it to the Valvoline oil, the acetone, and the Amsoil Engine Flush. I was a sloppy tester this time. The good news is that something cleaned the carbon that I did not think would get cleaned at all. See photo below and compare it to the one in one of my above posts. The loose varnish deposit had swollen up considerably by the time I picked up the cup today. I’ve learned from past tests that that is what happens when varnish has been acted on by a solvent that is having an effect on it. It’s like how a dry sponge responds to water. Valvoline swelled it slightly and apparently the acetone and/or Amsoil Engine Flush swelled it up considerably more. It swelled to around twice its original size.
 

JAG

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I did a test that lasted about a month, in which I had Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10A-30 (abbreviated as V, below) and Amsoil Signature Series 10W-30 (abbreviated as A) soaking on highly hardened varnish. The varnish came from heating two small puddles of Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin oil on a thick steel plate. Oils V and A saturated separate q-tips. Each oil had its own varnish deposit to be dedicated to and the oils did not mix with or touch each other. I rubbed the oil-soaked q-tips on the deposits, using equal pressure and speed. I rubbed on the same part of each q-tip to keep any dissolved, dark deposit in the same spot on the q-tip. Then I let it soak for a few days, rub again, wait days, and so on and so on. One time, I heated the plate up to around 225 F, then rubbed it. What I observed was that the V oil was able to dissolve the varnish at a slightly faster rate than the A oil. Neither of them were able to significantly dissolve the varnish. They could do it only very slowly. The varnish is harder than ideal for this type of test but I had it, so I used it. Then I didn't do anything with this for a few weeks. The light brown spots that I carefully got onto the q-tips had seemingly disappeared. Apparently the oil that was in the q-tips dispersed the dissolved brown spots. So today I did some more rubbing with new q-tips for about 30 seconds. I then photographed them after rubbing for around 30 seconds. Like I saw the first time, the V oil dissolved the varnish slightly faster than the A oil did. See the photograph below. The sticky note says which oil was on each q-tip. Sorry about the picture being rotated...this site's software did that.

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JAG

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Do you mean can Seafoam do the same thing as Valvoline Restore's intended purpose for Cummins engines that have excess carbon in their ring packs? If so, I have no idea. I was just intrigued by the product so I bought it to use once and do some tests to compare its ability to dissolve various types of deposits to Amsoil Signature Series's ability. Amsoil SS has proven in other tests to have some ability to dissolve tough deposits, so it is a good reference oil to compare to.
 
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I'd imagine Seafoam would really compromise lubricity, whereas Valvoline Premium Blue Restore would not.
 

JAG

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I conducted another test. In this test, I put a few drops of Valvoline PBR 10W-30 and Amsoil SS 10W-30 on a 1/4" thick steel plate and heated it from below with a blow torch for around 5 minutes. While heating, Amsoil proved to be somewhat more volatile than Valvoline. The difference was easily noticeable but not hugely different. While heating, both oils evaporated while at the same time oxidizing and forming high molecular weight molecules that amount to varnish. I stopped the heating when I did because Amsoil got to the point where it was no longer a liquid and had become like a tacky layer of glue. Valvoline was less affected and had a consistency of a greasy-like film. The pictures that follow have labels for the oil and additional details of consistency. Both oils oxidized and formed varnish but Valvoline was less volatile, so it was able to remain a liquid while Amsoil was a tacky solid. Note that Amsoil SS 10W-30 has a very low volatility according to Amsoil themselves. It is remarkable that Valvoline was even less volatile, but is not too surprising since it has higher viscosity base oil mixture and has a large ester content which tend to have very low volatility, even compared to PAO. The pictures never capture the details that human eyes can. I took the best pictures that I could. If they are rotated, this site's software did it. More to come in another post.

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JAG

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After taking the photos above, I put drops of Amsoil on the Amsoil deposit and Valvoline on the Valvoline "greasy-spot". I let it sit for a day. Then I heated it to around 200 F. Then let it sit for a few days. Both oils only solubized a small percentage of the varnish. I tilted the plate sideways to let the oil drain onto a paper towel. The spots' varnish largely still remained but some of it had spread out over a larger area than it originally covered. I then added more fresh oil and let it sit for 2 weeks, then drained that off. Very little changed occurred from that. It was clear that neither oil could clean up the varnish. This does surprise me because I've had several oils be able to dissolve varnish produced by M1 0W-20 EP. Fresh M1 0W-20 EP had an especially poor ability to dissolve varnish. I want to investigate this mystery with further testing. The pictures below show each oil's spot. My eyes could see the varnish much better than the pictures show. The Amsoil varnish feels greasy and a bit gritty. The Valvoline varnish feels like thin grease. Thanks to a BITOG member who sent me some Varnasolv to test, today I covered both spots with that to see how well it can clean up the spots. It is made of polyethylene glycol ether, which is relatively polar. https://www.klsummit.com/products/lubricant/varnasolv

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JAG

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Originally Posted by OVERKILL
Thanks for the share! Do you have any Redline 5w-30 you could compare this test to?
Yes, I do! I have tested it some within the last year but I have largely ignored it because of focusing on other oils. I certainly want to repeat the heating test, using Red Line 5W-30 and Valvoline 10W-30 PBR.
 

JAG

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I mentioned Varnasolv above and provided a link describing it. I will start by saying that it is so polar that it is water soluble. That is an undesirable trait in something that is used in an internal combustion engine because water is a major component of the combustion byproducts. Amazingly, it appears to also be completely soluble in motor oil. I put M1 0W-20 EP in a cup and added 5 drops of Varnasolv which immediately "disappeared". I let it sit for a day and still saw no separation. Being both water and oil soluble is a rare trait. Its effects on seals also concerns me. Maybe it's fine but I would verify with the manufacturer first. I wanted to point these traits out as a word of caution to those who consider mixing a small amount with motor oil. I recommend talking to the manufacturer of it to get their thoughts on using it in an engine. The manufacturer said it can be used in diesel and natural gas engines. They did not mention gasoline engines. Ask them if they truly meant to exclude gasoline engines. With the cautions out of the way, now I will say how it performed when I put many drops of it on the same varnish spots that are in the pictures above. I did NOT try to remove the fresh oil that was still on the spots. There wasn't much oil there anyway. I let Varnasolv sit on the spots for a few days and then tilted the plate to let the excess drain off the plate. There was still an oily mess with globules on both spots. Then, since I knew that Varnasolv is water soluble, I rinsed the plate off with water. It didn't take much water for it to completely wash away the Varnasolv. Below is a picture from after rinsing the plate with water. What happened was that the Valvoline Premium Blue Restore (VPBR) varnish spot was completely removed. There was no sign whatsoever that it was there. As I said in previous posts, the Amsoil SS 10W-30 varnish spot was more baked on than the VPBR varnish spot. After rinsing off the Varnasolv, the Amsoil varnish spot was removed to a large extent but some remnants of it still remained. You can see it in the right light but thin enough that I cannot feel it when I rub my fingers over it. So, Varnasolv did a very impressive job of solubizing the varnish.

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JAG

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I conducted another test. In this test, I put a few drops of Valvoline PBR 10W-30 and Red Line 5W-30 on a 1/4" thick steel plate and heated it from below with a blow torch for around 7 minutes. I stop these tests when the more volatile oil becomes semi-hard and stops making visible evaporation cloud. In this test, Red Line was the more volatile oil. VPBR has proven itself to have an extremely low volatility for its viscosity. It is also very resistant to varnishing. I'm not sure if I said it above but this test is a thin-film oxidation test. Two things are simultaneously happening: evaporation and chemical degradation reactions. Evaporation removes material that if left behind would form a deposit. High evaporation can mask how prone an oil is to forming deposits, if one focuses on mass. Low evaporation can make an oil seem more prone to forming deposits, if one focuses on mass. I don't give credit to an oil that has less deposit mass/thickness. I just note it. I focus on the consistency of what's left behind, which may be a viscous oil, grease-like blob, or a solid of some hardness/tackiness. Below are the pictures, which have descriptions of the deposits. In this test, both oils are what must be considered to be solids, not liquids. VPBR was considerably closer to being a grease-like blob. It looks like liquid oil but it wasn't until I touched it that its consistency was obvious.

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JAG

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Onetor, I'm glad you like the experiments. I did not measure the surface temperature but I will next time. I have a thermocouple that I can use.
 

JAG

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I put Varnasolv on the VPBR and Red Line varnish spots that are in the above photographs. It was on there for 5 days. The first photo has some descriptions of the results. Since the VPBR deposit was much softer than Red Line's, it comes as no surprise that Varnasolv dissolved the VPBR deposit much more so than Red Line's deposit. I should note that Varnasolv is a colorless, water-clear liquid. The first photo on the left half of the plate shows the dark region at the top edge, which is the dark VPBR dissolved in Varnasolv. That is not present with Red Line. The close-up picture of VPBR has a lot more globules because of the extra dissolution that occurred with it. Varnasolv sure does dissolve varnish well.

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