Cleaning ability: OTC premium synthetics vs HDEOs

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Sorry if this has been discussed before but I am interested in finding out what type of oil is BEST at cleaning a dirty gasoline engine and keeping it clean. Lets say we are not interested at all in a long drain interval...just something conservative say 5,000 miles... Would one be better off using a premium OTC synthetic such as M1/PP or would one see just as good or better results using a HDEO such as Rotella T or Delo? I have always had the understanding that synthetics offer advantages under extreme hot/cold conditions and extended drain intervals but for the most part clean just the same as a modern conventional like PYB. With that said, I have been told over the years that HDEOs have superior cleaning abilities compared to even the name brand synthetics. Can anyone offer some first-hand experience on this topic?
 
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I found that PP cleans really well. My first oil change with PP had my oil go dark in about 1000 miles. I ran it 3000 miles and changed it again using PP. Ever since my oil stays looking clean for all 5000miles of my OCI.
 
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My brother-in-law put M1HM in one of his work trucks to do exactly what you are describing. It was a late 90s model Chevy Work Truck with the 5.7L engine. It had not been maintained the best over the years (used in construction), but it was mechanically sound. I believe it had about 125k miles on it. He was going to run it about 5k miles and then change it out, but he said that the oil was absolutely filthy at 3k .... so he changed it early. He is on the 2nd or 3rd OCI now and the oil is staying cleaner much longer. I didn't take off the valve cover to look inside before/after ... but there is no doubt that the M1 HM was doing some serious scrubbing inside that engine.
 
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Originally Posted By: Troy_Built
Don't judge an oil by its color.
I keep hearing this, but I don't believe it. When my oil is clear/opaque at 1k miles and dark brown/black at 6k, I'm changing it.
 
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Originally Posted By: BovineScapegoat
I found that PP cleans really well. My first oil change with PP had my oil go dark in about 1000 miles. I ran it 3000 miles and changed it again using PP. Ever since my oil stays looking clean for all 5000miles of my OCI.
Ditto. Before 1000 even for me, PP had my oil black. I ran it 2,700 mi and put in GC and now it stays clean for a lot longer!!
 

JAG

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Originally Posted By: hate2work
Originally Posted By: Troy_Built
Don't judge an oil by its color.
I keep hearing this, but I don't believe it.
Same here. The original statement is based on some truth but gets over-applied and/or over-generalized. For example, it's true that different oils' color should not be compared. But color variations of a given oil formulation do tell that chemical aging has occurred and/or colored deposits or particulates are suspended. I have heard people and companies say such and such synthetic cleaned engines but I've never heard that said convincingly about dino passenger car oils or dino heavy duty engine oils. Cleaning is done by dispersants, detergents, polar base oils, and solvents, primarily. Dino passenger car oils don't have much going for them due to their low-polarity base oils and their typically lower concentrations of dispersants and detergents than their synthetic counterparts.
 

ps49556n

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Originally Posted By: JAG
I have heard people and companies say such and such synthetic cleaned engines but I've never heard that said convincingly about dino passenger car oils or dino heavy duty engine oils. Cleaning is done by dispersants, detergents, polar base oils, and solvents, primarily. Dino passenger car oils don't have much going for them due to their low-polarity base oils and their typically lower concentrations of dispersants and detergents than their synthetic counterparts.
That is really what I am after with this topic...I haven't seen many discussions regarding cleaning ability of a syn vs a dino vs a HDEO I am well aware that PP, M1, ultra, etc... all excel in terms of cleansing an engine but are they really any better than Rotella or Delvac??
 
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As I understand it, part of the reason for the "Don't judge an oil by its color" is that some additives will darken from use. This does not mean they are used up, or not doing what they're intended, just that they can cause the oil to darken. So one oil might use different additives, and after 2k miles its still golden, but after 6k miles it's dark (though it may still have a strong TBN). Another oil might use different additives that darken quickly so after 1-2k miles the oil is already much darker than the previous oil would be at 2k miles, but that doesn't mean this oil is cleaning any better b/c that's just how the additives work in it. I want to stress, that I'm not saying all dark oil isn't dirty, I'm simply saying that as I understand it there are some additives which may darken and cause someone to believe it's cleaning more, or maybe believe the oil is breaking down and almost used up when in fact that is not the case
 
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I remember when I switched to M1 on my motorcycles. 20w50 got dark in under 1000 miles. At first (before finding this site) I thought, holy ****! But now I'm convinced it's that way because it IS working.
 

ps49556n

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Color is meaningless for the most part...in fact many of the HDEOs used in diesels are designed to intentionally DARKEN when the additives are working properly. So...still no answers to the questions regarding cleansing ability of synthetics vs HDEOs...someone MUST have some real-world insight on this!
 
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Originally Posted By: ps49556n
So...still no answers to the questions regarding cleansing ability of synthetics vs HDEOs...someone MUST have some real-world insight on this!
Run both and see for your self...
 

dnewton3

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This is not so much an "apples to oranges" comparison, as an "oranges to tangerines" issue. Both HDEOs and synthetics are designed and manufactured to go longer distances than conventional PCMOs. To that degree, they both excel. Your question is which might be "better" between synthetic and HDEO. The true answer is (as always): it depends ... Each brand uses differing levels of additives in varing amounts. It's much more a concept of two roads converging at the same destination. This same topic of "cleaning" applies as well to "wear reduction". If Ca is up, your Mg might be down. If Ph is up, something else is down. Every OEM lubricant manfacturer has design ideas and criteria. The same can be asked of: What is the best truck Who makes the best piston What are the best audio speakers Who makes the best toothpaste There are too many variables to say one is fully "best". Certainly, what you can derive is that products destined for long OCI durations are going to have the "better" additive packages. Hence, because synthetics and HDEOs are intended for long service, they will have more robust add-packs. One example (but by no means the "best") is the comparison of Mobil's product line. They offer Bulk oil Clean 5k Clean 7.5k Mobil 1 Mobil 1 EP As the product target market goes up, so does the expectations, so goes the add-pack, and the price. The EP is assured 15k miles of adequate performance; it's reasonable to think that it has more cleaning agents than the lower products. That does NOT mean the other products are unworthy; it means they are targeted to another use. Another topic you've not directly addressed is the anti-agglomerates, which keep the soot/insolubles from co-joining. These are every bit as important as detergents (moreso, IMO) because I'd rather stop junk from falling out of suspension and/or getting larger, rather than having to clean it up afterwards! You can safely choose any HDEO or synthetic (or HDEO synthetic) and know that you'll get a good all-around additive package. There is no "best" cleaning oil; sorry if that's not the answer you're looking for; it's reality.
 
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ps49556n

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dnewton3- You make some great points...especially regarding the anti-agglomerates I first started thinking about this because I was interested in finding out whether a higher zinc content or a better cleaning package would be MORE beneficial to a modern flat tappet chrysler 4.0 engine...I have read a few VOAs of the major brands in these two categories (syns and HDEO) and there appears to be a direct correlation between HDEOs and higher zinc levels (1100+ppm) while syns seem to always have much lower zinc levels (800-900ppm). In this comparison, would a HDEO be trading higher zinc for a lower concentration of another additive and vice-versa for synthetics?
 
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dnewton3

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Well, as I stated, almost everything is a trade off, but the short answer is "yes". I guess we'll have to get into the basics of oil constuction. And rest assured, there are others here to know better than I. All lubricants are manipulated before going to market. We don't use anything as mass-market consumers that isn't modified in some way. The reason I point this is two-fold. One - to state the obvious so that they who would nit-pick are going to have to accept I don't have enough time/space to cover everything. Two - so that you understand each product is made to a specific target market, typically based upon price point. OK - that out of the way, let's consider: Things oil does by innate characteristics: Oil lubricates. Oil cools. Just by being present, it does those things. Even with no additives, it will do these things. It can do them BETTER with some additives. Things oil does only with the assistance of additives: Oil can clean. Oil can disperse and control. Things some oils do well, and others need help with: Oil reacts differently to temperature depending upon base stock. Ah, yes, the ever present topic of synthetics. Group III - highly refined base stocks (severly hydrocracked). Group IV - PAOs Group V - Esters, etc and GTL, etc Many of the additives have multi-duty functions. Many can not only fight corrosion (base chem's) but also help with lubricity. Others can help with cleaning. The list goes on and on. To answer your direct question: "In this comparison, would a HDEO be trading higher zinc for a lower concentration of another additive and vice-versa for synthetics?" all things have to be considered as a whole, and not individually. Zn is only one example of the individual disparity of additives, even though the whole package performs well. But my answer is "yes" because all things are a balance between targeted performance, and cost. Dino HDEOs have more VIIs because they need them, where PAOs don't need near as much. But, PAOs cannot hold detergents and dispersents in suspension very well, so you'll always have some amount of group II, II+ or III mixed in with a IV. To be honest, as I said, I'm not a tribologist, but I am smart enough to know what I don't know. I accpet that the true chemisty escapes me at times, but the concept does not get lost on me. Will there be more of one product in a dino HDEO and less in a syn? Certainly. But again, it all goes back to the target market. And all they need do to make up for some (perceived) lack of characteristic "F" via a lower content of item "A", is to bolster item "Q" which nets a similar or same result. (FAQ - get it? LOL) I guess what I'm trying to get you to understand is that I doubt you'll ever see much difference in a dino HDEO versus a syn as far as cleaning goes. They both will perform very well. If those are not enough for you, then you might consider a product such as ARX, which I have had great personal experience with. It is an extrodinary, soft-touch approach, cleaner.
 
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Just my 2 cents based on my personal observations. I have seen many engines over the years with varying degrees of sludge problems,all of them were using dino oils. If we take mechanical problems out of the equation, out of tune engines, or even poorly engineered designs, I have found one common denominator. Poor maintenance. Although dino base oils have detergents and dispersants in them it is the impurities in the base oil itself that often does turn into sludge. This is why synthetic oils definitely offer better engine cleanliness. This does not mean all synthetics are created equal. Group III oils though highly refined are not as "pure" as a group IV. While group V base oils have extremely high natural detergency properties. An oil like redline, wich is a group V based oil, will not only offer great engine cleanliness but will actually remove old sludge. Just read the main ingredient in Auto-rx cleaner. It is ester, a group v oil. My personal experience has been this. I have switched many cars with varying degrees of sludge to synthetic oil, and removed most if not all the sludge. I have used Mobil 1, Amsoil and Redline oils. All have worked well in this area. However, IMHO, redline was superior in this area. Hope this helps
 
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