Comparing Dino to Synthetics

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47
Location
South Carolina
I found this on the web comparing dino to synthetics: These are the most comprehensive and recent ones I could find. They date to March 2003 and May 2003. I will post the numbers, add a comment or two, and answer any questions you may care to pose. These tests were commisioned by Amsoil, but since they use standardized ASTM protocols, they could easily be verified, and any deception challenged. Based on my experiences with the products from all these companies, and the results of similar but less comprehensive tests posted elsewhere, these do not look doctored or suspect. But as I did not oversee them, I cannot and will not be accountable for any discrepancies, real or imagined. This was a lot of work to type, and I strived to get them right. 1. All the oils were 10w30 viscosity 2. The oils tested were: Amsoil (syn) Castrol GTX Drive Hard (mineral) Valvoline Synpower (syn) Mobil Drive Clean (min) - isn't this the rebadged Honda oil? Pennzoil Purebase (min) Quaker State (Syn) Quaker State Peak Perf (min) Castrol Syntec (syn) Valvoline (min) Pennzoil Synthetic (syn) Mobil1 SuperSyn (syn) The following ASTM tests were run: Thin-film Oxygen Uptake ( D-4742) High Temp/High Shear ( D-4683) NOACK Volatility ( D-5900) Pout Point (D-97) Total Base Number (D-2896) Cold Cranking Simulator D-5293) 4-Ball Wear (D-4172) ************************************************** ******* Test 1: Thin Film Oxygen Uptake: Measures the oxidation stability of an oil. The induction time (break point) in minutes is measured. The test uses standard amounts of fuel dilution, soluble metals, and water to offer a real-world applicability. Results for this test(all units in minutes): Amsoil: 500+ (no break) Mobil1: 397 Pennzoil Purebase: 242 Castrol Syntec: 221 Valvoline: 219 Vavoline SynPower: 211 Mobil Drive Clean: 209 Quaker State Peak Performance: 192 Pennzoil Synthetic: 159 Quaker State Synthetic: 159 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 132 Test 2: High Temperature/High Shear (HT/HS) Measures a lube's performance under severe heat and shear (mechanical stress) as would be found in the journal bearings under heavy load. The units displayed are viscosity based, using the centipose unit (cP). The minimum spec for a 30w is 2.9 cP. Results for this test (all units in cP): Amsoil: 3.51 Quaker State Peak Performance: 3.37 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 3.35 Vavoline SynPower: 3.30 Mobil1: 3.30 Valvoline: 3.30 Mobil Drive Clean: 3.28 Pennzoil Purebase: 3.16 Quaker State Synthetic: 3.15 Pennzoil Synthetic: 3.14 Castrol Syntec: 3.13 Test 3: NOACK Volatility. Measures the evaporative loss of lubricants in high temperature conditions. The higher the number, the thicker the lubricant will become. API SL and GF-3 specs allow for a 15% evaporation limit. In this test, obviously, lower is better. Syns almost always have an advantage due to their monomolecularity. Results for this test (% weight loss): Amsoil: 4.86 Vavoline SynPower: 7.03 Castrol Syntec: 7.77 Quaker State Synthetic: 7.80 Pennzoil Synthetic: 8.15 Mobil1: 8.92 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 8.93 Quaker State Peak Performance: 10.63 Mobil Drive Clean: 10.83 Pennzoil Purebase: 10.93 Valvoline: 12.18 Test 4: Pour Point This test reveals the lowest temperature at which a lubricant will flow when cooled under test conditions. The lower, the better the product will perform in getting from the oil pan to the upper oil galleys, and in providing oil pressure quickly. Synoils generally are the best, because they are free of wax crystals, but today's mineral oils are better refined to remove wax impurities, and use advanced pour point depressant additives to help offset the synoils' intrinsically better properties. Results for this test (all units in degrees Centigrade): Amsoil: -48 Mobil1: -46 Vavoline SynPower: -46 Castrol Syntec: -43 Pennzoil Synthetic: -40 Quaker State Synthetic: -40 Pennzoil Purebase: -37 Valvoline: -37 Mobil Drive Clean: -37 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: -37 Quaker State Peak Performance: -34 Test 5: Total Base Number (TBN) TBN displays the lubricant's reserve alkalinity, and is, of course, the opposite of TAN (total acid number). A high TBN will help resist the formation of acids from sulfur and other sources. It is also a good indicator of reserve resistance to oxidation. The higher the number, the superior ability to suspend contaminants and the greater the ability to provide long-drain intervals Results for this test (all units in mg KOH/g): Amsoil: 12.34 Vavoline SynPower: 11.38 Castrol Syntec: 10.39 Pennzoil Synthetic: 9.73 Mobil1: 8.57 Valvoline: 7.88 Quaker State Synthetic: 7.82 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 7.74 Mobil Drive Clean: 7.71 Quaker State Peak Performance: 7.55 Pennzoil Purebase: 7.40 RR's comments: I was very impressed with all the oils, as the mineral oils have significantly improved, consistent with previous comments about how mineral oils are closing in, and that the GF-3 spec has resulted in very good performing products. Mobil1's showing is the best i have seen for that product, which usually was in the 5-6 range previously. It certainly also supports my previous comments that the 3K oil change "necessity" is out of place with current technology. Like an enema for a dead man, while it may not help to do a 3K change, it wouldn't hurt I guess. Test 6: Cold Crank Sumulator This one determines the apparent viscosity of the oils at low temperatures and high shear rates, simulating the dreaded cold start. It has direct applicability to engine cranking, the lower the number the better in terms of stress on the battery, starter, etc. A 10w is tested at -25degF and must show a vis less than 7000 cP to pass. Results for this test (all units cP at -25degC): Pennzoil Synthetic: 3538 Amsoil: 3590 Mobil1: 3967 Quaker State Synthetic: 4142 Vavoline SynPower: 4541 Quaker State Peak Performance: 4620 Castrol Syntec: 4783 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 5804 Pennzoil Purebase: 5936 Mobil Drive Clean: 6448 Valvoline: 6458 RR Comments: If you live and drive your car in very cold climates, the advantage of the synoils is obvious. Keep in mind that the NOACK performance figures here as well, as this tests hows the performance of fresh oil - after a few thousand miles, the oils with higher volatility will likely have thickened, unless there has been high dilution from fuel, such as can occur if excessive startup idling warmups are employed. Test 7: Four Ball Wear This one is a good indicator of the wear protection of a lubricant, although in the real-world it is should be factored in with the TBN of the oil. Three metal balls are clamped together, and a rotating 4th one is pressed against them in sliding contact. A scar is produced, since at some point the film strength (resistance to being squeezed out) of the oil will be exceeded. The scar is then measured, and the smaller the average wear scar, the better. This test is affected by both the base stock of the oil, and its additive package. Results for this test (all units in inches): Amsoil: 0.40 Castrol Syntec: 0.45 Vavoline SynPower: 0.55 Quaker State Synthetic: 0.55 Mobil Drive Clean: 0.55 Pennzoil Synthetic: 0.60 Mobil1: 0.60 Valvoline: 0.60 Castrol GTX Drive Hard: 0.60 Quaker State Peak Performance: 0.60 Pennzoil Purebase: 0.65 RR Comments: Amsoil and Castrol Syntec are the clear frontrunners, indicating excellent chemistry and use of anti-wear additives. Once again, the high performance of the mineral oils against the 2nd tier synoils is notable, although one cannot dismiss the superiroity of the synoils across the board. ************************************************** ************ Final comments: I think that except for one of the lubes, there was a wide discrepancy of performance for the others - one might be good here, not so good there. As in life, consistency of performance is what sets apart the great from the good. As Voltaire said, "The best is the enemy of the good". Perfectly good performance can be found in any of these products, and a thinking owner would factor his/her driving styles, operating conditions (environmental), maintenance schedule (intervals between changes), cost constraints, buy vs lease, and expected length of ownership into making a choice. Now, what about the other top synoils? Well, they were not tested here, but certainly the industry giants were. Based on tests I have run or seen from sources I trust in the industry, Red Line, NEO, Motul, and others would likely score in the top quartile of these tests. The tests anmd UOA's I have seen for Royal Purple have never shown it to be other than mid-tier, competitive with the synoil or GIII mineral oils from the major companies. Are these comparisons worth consideration when choosing an oil?
 
Messages
556
Location
Michigan
Thats another amsoil bs comparison. I would not bother to look at this crap bc amsoil is #1 in all of these, and you can tell they are using this to market their product. Yes, tests like these would be great, but not when they come from a lab that is amsoil based.
 
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115
Location
Aldergrove, B.C.
What proof is there that these tests were engineered to favor Amsoil? Do you have any test results that disqualify Amsoil? I have used 8 different oils is my car and Amsoil has given me the lowest wear numbers by far, according to the analysis results. I know that statistically one car doesn't mean a thing. On the other hand it means a lot to me.
 
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3,683
Location
Chattanooga, TN
I also believe these are from Amsoil's marketing dept. As they use their full synthetic as the benchmark how come they never compare it only against other synthetics but what we see is a mixture. I use the oil but over 10 years I will about guarante I have seen these test results again and again and only Amsoil posts tests results like this.
 
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47,633
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Every (most) oil company runs tests and uses results for advertising. Is this a crime? At least they publish the ASTM, and test conditions. Look, the big gripe used to be that Amsoil sucked on TfOU. Now they don't. I can guarantee that Amsoil did NOT dry lab the results. They did compare against popular synthetics as well. So let the other companies run tests...or better yet someone truly independent run the tests. Who pays?
 

Smitty

Thread starter
Messages
47
Location
South Carolina
OK, if this is Amsoil advertising, are the rest of the figures (not counting Amsoil) accurate for each other oil? If they are correct, the "Red Headed Stepchild" oil (aka Mobil Drive Clean) doesn't look too shabby does it. [Eek!] It did not finish last in any category.
 
Messages
425
OK, Amsoil is a great product, but do street cars really need oil formulated like this stuff if owners are changing more than once a year regardless? This also answers some questions about syn vs dino, but how are deposits measured? Is it the inverse of the NOACK numbers where more burnoff=more deposits? No surprise to see DCO and Valvoline at the bottom there, they are very frustrating oils to use.
 
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4,478
Location
Southern California
I see no reason to assume, or even suspect, that Amsoil rigged the testing. But, I also see no reason to believe Amsoil would've <i>published</i> the results if their sponsored tests (presuming the testing lab's objectivity) hadn't ended up favoring Amsoil products' alleged superiority, either. (Duh... - begs the question how many other comparative tests have been run over the years that Amsoil made sure never saw the light of day in print?)
 
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9,448
Location
USA
I do not have a problem with AMsoil useing ASTM tests for Marketing. In fact it makes good sense. I just think it is silly of them to compare API aproved oils especialy non-synthetics costing less then a $1 in some cases against their synthetic oils. Unless you are a prefered customer Amsoil is rather expensive once you factor in shipping. They need to include other botique oils in this test to really make it mean anything. When they compare their synthetic oil against dino valvoline they might as well be compareing the performance of a Dodge Viper to a 3 cylinder Geo Metro! It does not maen anything because they arenot doing apples to apples comparison. It is clear that the competitive oils were picked to both favor Amsoil in the testing and to prevent true competition from gaining any free exposure! I have no doubt that the tests were done in strict acordence of ASTM protocals. It would not make sense to open them selfs up to litagation from poor testing policy! Until they test against Motul,Torco,Redline,Ultra Helix, Royal Purple......... then the tests to me are really just a marketing tool and not to be taken too seriously. [ January 04, 2004, 01:56 AM: Message edited by: JohnBrowning ]
 
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579
Location
Ontario Canada
I'm impressed with Castrol Syntec and Valvoline Synpower. That's why Castrol Syntec is in my BMW. Silky smooth, no consumption and no noise. Castrol Syntec and Valvoline Synpower has better numbers than Mobil 1 in the TBN,NOAK and 4 BALL WEAR tests.
 
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9,448
Location
USA
2KBMW, Are you useing Syntec 10W30? I ask because these numbers mean nothing if you are useing the 5W50. I would also point out that out of 7 tests Castrol did better on only 3 of them. I do not know that can really be called much of a victory if they only bested 3 out of 7 tests. To add insult to injury the 5W50 that most used of the line up has the worst NOAK of any so called synthetic I have ever seen. Castrol Syntec also costs $4.97 a quart versus $3.88 a quart for M1. So to recap. Inferior in 4 out of 7 ASTM tests. Not a true synthetic. Cost more then competition.
 
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1,412
Location
Falls Church VA
I suppose it is possible that these are AMSOIL's lab results, but in all past cases, AMSOIL sent samples out to independent labs before publishing any data. Sure, they run the tests first in their own lab-- so would I. You may not like the way Al runs the company, but he has built a fine reputation over the past 30 years. I have yet, in 25 years, to see any claim (by the company, not by some of the dealers) that wasn't backed by data.
 
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556
Location
Michigan
Amsoil is a great oil. If i had a high performance v8, id definitely get amsoil over mobil 1, but, at the same time, mobil 1 is hard to beat for 4.22 a quart at wally world. Imo, they purposely bash mobil 1 bc its the only other oil that can compete with it(besides redline, or any other group 5s). Trisynthetic wasn't the best oil, but supersyn has closed the gap on amsoil's asl line.
 
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2,768
Location
Tn
Hmm, Syntec looks good on the 4-ball, however Castrol techs have told me they do not consider it a relevant test for motor oils. This is also stated on the Mobil1 web-site.
 
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33,974
Location
Southern NJ
They never seem to get Mobil 1's TBN right, it's not 8 but more like 11 or 12. On my ASL box, I've noticed they are only comparing there oils to many if not all grp III's. Motul, Redline, Shell Helix and others are probably every bit as good or better then Amsoil. I think what Amsoil has done is found themselves a nich as the "exteded drain oil". From others have said, Amsoil used to be an all ester based oil. They simply are using a PAO now to cut costs. For performance, Motul, Redline and some others might be better choices, but for 99% of the cars on the road, Amsoil's approach makes sense, as does M1. Amsoil does formulate, IMO, to excell at some of these tests. I don't put any stock into the 4 ball wear at all, but it's a great selling point. Redline specifically has stated that they could formulate to do well in this test but chose not too. Amsoil makes excellent oils but you just have realize that is how they market themselves. [Smile]
 
Okay, so while everybody agrees that Amsoil produces a good product, we are attacking their marketing. All I can say is - WELCOME TO AMERICA! What about Castrol's Syntec commercial "outperforms leading conventional oils". All I have to say is - DUH, it's a group III compared to group II oils. Don't forget about that old Mobil 1 commercial when they put Mobil 1 and another oil into frying pans. What about Penzoil's time released protection & Quakerstate's protection past 3,000 miles. All of these are BS marketing and we attack Amsoil's marketing. Amsoil has placed themself in front, and therefore they become a target. At least Amsoil compares their oil to other synthetics (if Castrol, Penzoil, Quaker State, and Valvoline wanna call their oil synthetic, then they need to play on the same field with the group IV & V oils) I would assume that Amsoil doesn't consider the other botique oils a risk. The risk is from the cheaper, easily available oils such as those tested. Mobil 1 is an oil that has a great following and there may be some people that convert due to price & availability issues. Amsoil needs to prevent this to stay in business. Other ignorant consumers may start to use a group III oil because it says "full synthetic" and it is cheaper. THese oils are also a threat to Amsoil. Redline and RoyalPurple are more expensive than Amsoil (in most cases) and just as hard to get. And, if you were a business man - if your product was better than other's and you could prove it with black and white hard facts, would you keep it to yourself? [ January 04, 2004, 09:06 PM: Message edited by: medic ]
 
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1,342
Location
North of Dallas Texas
Amsoil could gain a commanding lead in the oil market if they would drop the MLM, (amway) type of marketing crap, and sell their products thru the same outlets that Mobil does. Since there is almost 2 dollars profit for the dealer, plus other payouts to the guys in the chain over him, on a quart of 2000 oil, they could even be priced close to the same level as Mobil1. But as long as Amsoil continues their BS vending scheme,(I have a PDF file with the scheme explained) I don't use the product or any product that is sold thru multi-layer payment schemes, I don't care how good it is. Amway makes some good stuff but I don't buy any product that is not fair market traded. There is no doubt that PAO based oil is better than group III stocks. If this test info was based on a comparison test of all the real synthetics, those with more than 90%PAO's, Amsoil,Redline,Royal Purple, etc, it would mean more, we all know that as a hydrocarbon based product, PAO's are better than unprocessed hydrocarbons. [ January 04, 2004, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: Bob Woods ]
 
Messages
425
John, at my WalMart Syntec is a little less than M1. Why are people relying on Amsoil tests when there are published specs of nearly every oil out there already. Someone should compile a comparison of the top oils, vs Amsoil...like GC M1 0w-40, PZ Euro, QS FS... ectera.
 
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