Four Ball test not relevant?

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Aug 27, 2005
NW Indiana
I've been pouring over the Amsoil test and the various threads it has generated. It has been said that the four ball test should be disregarded as not pertaining to the modern engine. Amsoil says it simulates conditions of sliding motion. With piston travel and valve's, how does this not apply? I am concerned and wondering about my large Havoline stock and Pennzoil 5w30 and 5w20 I have. If these oils are so drastically different, would we not see a lot of oil burners out there that have used these oils? I don't want to trash my Civic or my Caravan, but it's got me thinking..... [I dont know]
Try to take advertised test's with a grain of salt. The oils you have mentioned have been around for a while, have been certified to meet certain specifications by those who abuse engines in ways that just about any motorist wouldn't likely dish out. Look at the UOA's on all the different types of oils, weights and engines, as well as service conditions and total miles. Perhaps some metal particulates from cylinder and ring wear does leave via exhaust discharge rather than getting mixed in with the engine oil. [I dont know] Some around here are experimenting with adding products like MMO, bio-diesel or some 2-cycle oil to the fuel for upper cylinder lubrication, though added polution may result even with possible trade-offs from improved MPG potential, along with concerns over emissions equipment lifespan. [I dont know] A lot of the graphs referencing advertised products seem a bit skewed in how they are presented, saying their x,y and/or z axies are not of equal increment value, but rather start at 0, and then jump to a large value, and then rise in a much smaller set value the rest of the way. This can make small differences appear big to the quick observer. It's unfortunate that marketing and advertising presents such data in ways that are strictly meant to "catch the attention" of observers, to the extent of misrepresentation and applied charactor meaning that using a product may thus make one officially a part of...or not. I feel it's best to use a product because it suits one's needs, though I too have found myself ensnarled and concerned. How realistic are one's expectations? - this is another marketed target. I digress.
Thanks, I never occured to me that the scale is not linear, or is it? I have no proof either way, but it would explain the drastic jump with Pennzoil and Havoline/Chevron. Many people here have been using Havoline with 5K OCI and swear by it. I know Pennzoil has been aroud a long time and I've used it in my Caravan without complaint. The intersting thing is how DIFFERENT Havoline compared to Chevron, and Trop Arctic is to Motorcraft (I wonder how Kendall compares). Maybe I'll call Pennzoil and Chevron for comment! [Cheers!]
1bioguy, please do not be fooled by the 4-ball wear test Amsoil uses. It is not relevant at all to engine oil, IMO. Lot of discussion on here about this test. Ignore it and use any of the SM rated oils. Pennzoil is a fine oil and so is Havoline.
buster, it's that particular spot in the engine where you have 4 balls pressed hard against each other, with a rotation between know the spot don't you ?
If you don't believe in the relevance of 4-ball wear testing of engine oil, then you might like this: Hard working oil Are they trying to say that the mentioned oil brand protects the engine best when it is not in the engine? [Cool] I don't know if this oil works for long drain intervals, but it is good for long drained intervals, or so...kidding [Razz]
There is more to it than just the 4 baller. There are heat, viscosity, and shear tests too (as well as others I many not be familiar with) that weigh in as a total sum of all tests. It seems that Amsoil does quite well in the four ball test and they are proud to let everyone know about it too, many times over, on a lot of internet sites. They are not the only show in town though. If their results are 100% true, then they are certainly one of the best around but Mobil 1 is really running a close second and ease of purchase as well as Wally World prices may Mobil a better choice IMHO>
There are a lot of wear tests oil manufactures can run ( probably in the 100s). A manufacture could keep running a different wear test until they find one that demonstrates any positive difference in their favor. Then you pick or manufacture a graph to put your data in the best light and presto we have a winner. JMP ed
As others here have mentioned (sorta) the 4-ball test only tests one aspect of the oil's performance in one condition. It's valid ... but there are a LOT of things oil needs to do and prevent wear in metal-to-metal situations is merely one. Amsoil is a quality oil that works pretty well and deserves to be represnted better ... rather than relying on imperfect gimmicks. --- Bror Jace
It's that particular spot in the engine where you have 4 balls pressed hard against each other, with a rotation between know the spot don't you ?
A spot in the engine that most resembles the 4 ball test would be a flat tappet cam follower, where you have two ferrous parts sliding against each other under high load. I think the test might have some relevance there. (It is not done under an unrealistic load like the Timken cross axis test that the Bitron guys like to use.) The test is a recoginized procedure not unique to Amsoil, but they are the ones who tout it. I believe it was originally developed by Shell. That said, let me add that I don't sell or use Amsoil myself. My engines seem to last forever with on-sale conventional oil anyway.
The Four-ball test is just a laboratory test which simply does not correlate with any of the existing engine sequence tests that are used to define the satisfactory performance of engine lubricants. The only laboratory test thus far to have achieved the "correlation status" with a multicylinder engine sequence test has been the recently adopted Ball Rust Test (ASTM D6557) and that efffectively replace the Sequence IID Engine Rust Test. IMO if a laboratory test is to be considered as being relevant, it should have demonsrtated some degree of correlation with an engine test.
Noria Lube-Tips Q & A Engine Oil Performance Testing Q - "I have seen a number of lubricant manufacturers refer to the 4-ball wear scar test as an indicator of how well the oil will protect an engine. Other larger companies tend to brush off the results of this test indicating that it isn't representative of actual engine conditions adding that because it is cheap to run, the results aren't worth much. What are your thoughts on this?" A - The 4-ball test (ASTM D4172) is often used as a screening test for many different lubricant types that contain antiwear additives or similar base oil properties. Other tribo-mechanical bench tests are often used as well, including the Timken Test (ASTM D2782) and the Pin and V-Block (ASTM D2670). Because engines have different contact geometry, loads, metallurgy and speeds, numerous bench tests and test protocols are needed. It is not uncommon for several oils to be tested using two such methods and to find that the performance rankings between the oils to reverse (no correlation). This is why, among other reasons, Passenger Car Motor Oils and Heavy Duty Oils (diesel crankcase) are tested in actual engines using controlled methods such as ASTM D5533 Sequence IIIE and D5302 Sequence VE. Jim Fitch, Noria Corporation Reference: Noria Lube-Tips BackIssues 2002
That 4 ball test means nothing! Just look at all of the real world UOA done with Pennzoil and Havoline. We don't see 4 times the wear in the UOA using these oils. Some of these oils are putting up better numbers then Amsoil.
. We don't see 4 times the wear in the UOA using these oils. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Lots of great responses that resore my confidence in Pennzoil and Havoline. I'm ready to get some Formula Shell as well based on it's performance. [Patriot] [Patriot]
The 4-ball test is relevent, IF you run you car at high loads with the oil near 300dF. These conditions occur on race tracks in real racing and in high performance driving situations. The 4-ball test is not very relevent if you are operating your vehicle in an adult manner within reasonable shot of legal speed limits.
Just look at all of the real world UOA's on this site. Most name brand oils dino or synthetic are all putting up very good wear numbers. I dont't think anybody can say any one brand is going to be that much better then the others. When we see a bad UOA with a oil like Amsoil,GC,or Mobil 1 everyone defends the oil but if it is a cheap dino the oil gets bashed.
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