Changing direction...Rotella and Frantz

Messages
1,339
Location
SE, PA
Well, after picking up some additional Shaeffers S9000 tonight, I doubt I will be buying any in the future. Its just too expensive to justify potential benefits, benefits that I have not seen in UOA. As I indicated to the sales rep, I have had every bit as good UOAs with Rotella as I have with Schaffers. I have more/less decided to go back to 15w40 Rotella, shorter 10k OCIs, and a Frantz bypass...this will drop my oil requirements back to about 13 quarts from 16 quarts and a less expensive oil that had reasonable UOAs. The Frantz should be easier to maintain...I actually have one that only needs an orifice. I may by another lid for hastening element changes. But for now, that's the plan...
 

dnewton3

Staff member
Messages
8,459
Location
Indianapolis, IN
deter - I think you're realizing the dirty little secret that many don't recognize, or at least are not willing to admit. Most often, the "best" cost effective approach to engine lubes is conventional dino oil with bypass filtration; if you keep the dino fluid cleared of contaminants, and top off frequently (as is necessary with TP BP filters), then the life cycle of the fluid is nearly boundless. There is little "benefit" to a synthetic fluid if you keep the dino ultra clean. The synthetic benefit certainly exists when comparing conventionally-filtered engines, past a certain OCI duration. For example, running a synthetic oil and a dino oil, both with conventional filtration, yields little benefit of the synthetic over the dino for say up to a 7.5k mile OCI. But put that at 15k miles, and the dino would likely be well past it's prime, where the synthethic might still be servicable. The question becomes: if the synthetic costs 2x the money (or more), do you get 2x the serive life to make it viable? But with dino oils and bypass filtration, the tables are turned. If the insolubles, the wear metals, and the add-pack are all kept at optimum with bypass filtration, then where is the advantage of synthetic? It does not matter how many miles you put on the oil, because the BP filter keeps it all in "like new" condition. And the TP filters necessitate about a quart of top-off at filter change time (every 3k miles or so), so you're getting a huge boost to the add pack quite often, regardless of which fluid base stock you choose. Given your situation, you might consider the following: dino fluids, TP bypass, and UOA every 10k miles. Do not OCI until the UOA indicates. The cost of a UOA is about $25 (or less, depending upon service used), but an OCI would cost more than that for three gallons of Rotella (perhaps $11/gallon x 3), and you'd presumably be changing the FF filter, for even more cost? I say, stick with the 3k mile bypass filter change, top off as needed, UOA every 10k miles, and oil OCI when needed. I think you'll find huge and pleasantly suprising results from such a plan. You see, in small sump systems, the cost of the UOA is greater than a simple OCI with a conventional fitler. However, larger sump systems with bypass filtration, with longer drain intervals, will always make fiscal sense, because the UOA is cheaper than the OCI. The cost of UOA is fixed, but the cost of oil fill is variable based upon sump size. You are at the point where a UOA is less money than an OCI, so why OCI until you absolutely must do so? The cost of the TP is negligible; the top off quart is only $3 or less, every 3k miles. Why OCI for (at least) $33, when you can UOA for $25 (or less), and likely still use the oil that is in there??? Bypass filters paired with dino fluids are, without a doubt, the most cost effective method of extending the drain intervals. \:\!
 
Last edited:

deeter16317

Thread starter
Messages
1,339
Location
SE, PA
 Originally Posted By: pickled
Your new position doesn't sound unreasonable to me. How many miles are you doing in a year?
Truck is an 04, with almost 190k...
 

deeter16317

Thread starter
Messages
1,339
Location
SE, PA
Up until last year and around 150k, I had solely used Rotella and have UOA of the Rotella. Bypass was installed around 60k. Because I had what I thought to be oil thickening due to boil off, I changed up to Schaeffers 5w40 S9k. Note, the Rotella never indicated poor performance other than increased viscosity. I have actually seen higher lead numbers from the Schaeffers than I ever did with Rotella. I had excellent results with Rotella, as noted, short of it thickening due to heat. There is "only" about $7 difference between conventional Rotella and S9k Schaeffers, but it adds up at $110/case of gallons every 20k (4.5 gallons for sump, 1.5 gallons for each bypass change). Just running things out loud...
 
Messages
39,806
Location
Pottstown, PA
With that annual mileage you're out of the range of 3k tp changes being sensible, imo. You appear to be doing 40k/year+/- That's a sump every year in adds and 13+ service intervals (assuming 3k/tp roll). With that big a sump, it won't be mature for a very long time. Each evolution is only 7.7% of the sump ..of which .77% of the added oil is also removed. It takes a very long time for the added quart to be equal to or greater than the residual from the original sump. I'm sure someone could construct a sensible plug and play table to calculate the point that you're actually in free fall. Now if you're just using dino ..and doing the tp thing ..and changing it out annually, I'd say it will probably work out. If synthetics were used, you do need to break the cost barrier in sump swaps. You can't practically get 2X the life out of the tp roll since the particle production is the same ..so the costs are double.
 

deeter16317

Thread starter
Messages
1,339
Location
SE, PA
I'm really not trying to make it less expensive than typical oil changes. If that was the case, I would go back to 5k intervals without a bypass or UOAs. I am trying to minimizing the operating cost WITH the bypass filter in use (bypass and synthetics versus bypass and conventional). If a bypass with conventional will produce the same results as bypass and synthetics, then why spend the extra $$ on synthetics? If that makes sense...
 
Messages
39,806
Location
Pottstown, PA
Just as long as the mileage comparisons are the same ..then there is no comparison. Doug Hillary used synthetics in his OTR rigs. His customers and competition used conventional. Doug had centrifuges and got up to 5X the service length. The overhaul rates were about the same ..not enough anyway to attribute anything to the oil selection. This makes total sense when one uses the same standards for sump condemnation. Synthetics only make sense if you either have some severity in duty or some length in service that cannot be attained/maintained with a conventional. You would need to get about 2X-3X the mileage out of a sump to make a synthetic pay. UOA would be a must to figure out the condemnation levels. Good luck with your Frantz and conventional. I'm sure it will serve you just fine.
 
Messages
4,563
Location
NW Ohio
I'm beginning to come the conclusion that filtration may be as important as the oil itself. Wear metals and insolubles are one of the primary causes of oxidation. Remove them from the picture and the oil additive package holds up longer. Wear metals beget wear metals too, so that's another reason to get them outta there.
 

deeter16317

Thread starter
Messages
1,339
Location
SE, PA
I believe bypass filtration does work, and work well...although it isn't suitable for every application. The CJ-4 series of oil was thought to be horrible with its low initial TBN. There are thread upon thread about it on the diesel forums. I have more or less shown that even with a lower starting TBN, I could extend Rotella well past 40k with only bypass filter changes and the associated makeup oil. For my situation, synthetics don't seem to really provide better oil analysis numbers than conventional with a bypass. In fact, the Schaeffers was slightly "worse" than even my worst Rotella numbers (collected from even worse operating conditions). Synthetic with a bypass versus conventional with a bypass, it was an even playing field (as even as it can get). I have this 6 gallons of Schaeffer's that I may reserve for the car, and go buy (this time) a change of Rotella for the truck. Unfortunately, I have nearly 15-gallons of Rotella 15w40 at my parents, but won't be heading that way anytime in the near future.
 
Top