HP Gain - Synthetic Products - HP TV - Dyno Test

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Feb 11, 2003
Episode of Horse Power TV on Sat. 7/5/2003.

Dynoed a 2000 Chevy Camaro on dino oils and swapped in Royal Purple Syn. for the engine,manual trans and rear differencial. Base HP was 302 hp and after the swap was 310 hp.
Just a FYI for some "oil" TV.
I guess the question is was it sponsored by RP. To me HP gains equal mostly viscosity variations. The right viscosity coupled to the operating parameters of the bearings and rings in a specific engine. I am a big synthetic oil freak. But I am also suspicious of some of these claims But that's just me.

I am curious as to why RP was picked-very suspicious.
OK, they got a 2.5% hp gain at peak. So what?

If they're racing and the driver has the skill to avoid mistakes on the track and use the 8 big hp he gained with that oil to win by a nose, great.

For the rest of us, was there any power gain or corresponding fuel economy gain at the rpms we actually drive? Likely very small, and certainly not enough to pay for that oil just for these reasons.

I have seen many tests such as that, and true synthetics always make more power. I read a test in car craft using mobil 1 and the power gains were virtually the same as the royal purple in the above mentioned test.
I know with a Turbo Volvo (2.3 liter) they say you gain about 2 HP by using synthetic oil. Of course that is at peak HP. Maybe add 1 HP more if the tranny and diff have synthetic in them. I would be more interested in the gas and maintance cost saving. Anyone know what the average mileage gains (percentage) over dino is with say Mobil 1.
The gains in power come probably mostly from the tranny fluid and rear end fluid change. Most engines that are switched over from dino to synthetic only gain maybe one or two horsepower at best.
What is the margin of error for a dyno test? Seems like a couple of percentage points could be within that margin of error.

The other thing I wondered about was comparing used fluids to brand new lubricants. I was hoping they would change to brand new manufacturer fluids, dyno the car, then put the "sponsor's" fluids in and dyno again.

Heck, on Saturday, I had my car dyno'ed before they started on the Turbo install. They asked if I wanted to "drive" and I said no, let's get the same guy who's done a few hundred dyno runs do the before and after. Makes for fewer variables...


Results are propable.

In January of 2000 GM High Tech Perfomanc3e magazine did a Dyno run of Royal Purple on some 350 test mule.

I think the net TQ/HP gain was around 08% throughtout the rpm band.

**And the other thing....as much as i hate to raise this point. Yes, RP seems to shear a bit...before we right of this oil we need many more UOA for RP. That will give us a more subjective basis for any other criticisms or praise.
In statistics, there is a term called "statistically signficant." Generally, this is considered to be greater than 3% (depending on normal variation, this maybe be slightly greater or smaller). There is also a statistical term called "sample size" (greater number of samples, or tests, equal more reliable results). I wonder if they dynoed the car 10 times with, ahem, dyno, what the variation would be. Likewise, dyno the car 10 times on RP. Then we might get an accurate picture of whether the difference is consistent, let alone statistically significant. We're dealing with a sample size of ONE, with a difference of 2.6%. In most statistical camps, this would be considered a wash.
I had my 98 Formula dynoed on two different occasions. The first time I dynoed it I had three runs done, and the results varied from 288rwhp to 277 rwhp with no changes. The next time I had it done I had more modifications, and only made two pulls, but both were very close, one was 320rwhp the other 319rwhp. I got to drive the car on the second set of dyno numbers, it was fun! I have a video on my hardrive of one of those runs too, I ran the exhaust open on those runs, the LS1 sounded sweet at 6200rpm wide open! I miss that car.
I don't know how good Royal Purple may be on a race track, but in VOAs and UOAs so far at this site, it has not looked as good as Mobil 1, Amsoil, and Redline. And Royal Purple costs about the same.

I think if I had a race car, there would probably be Mobil 1, Amsoil, Redline, or Schaeffer's synthetic in it.
Just a small change in barametric pressure from the weather or if the temps dropped a few degrees between the dyno runs(3 hours according to them) could give you an 8hp difference. I also saw the show and it appeared he just pulled it off the dyno changed the fluid and pull right back on for the next run. It was hard to convice me that "that" test was controlled enough for him to state that the synthetic fluid was the sole reason of the 8hp gain, but he did. Great advertising for Royal Purple! Yes, this was sponsered by Royal Purple, he said in the beginning of the segment that Royal Purple put his to the challange to prove the fluid would gain hp. If there was no hp gain and he said is wasn't worth the money do you think RP would still be paying for an advertising spot? ... NO.
It was an honest fair comparison.
The car was found by the producers of Horsepower TV in the local area and had no connection with RP. In fact, the owner was already running a leading synthetic in the engine as well as a leading independent synthetic in the diff. It still had the GM Synchromesh in the 6 speed trans.
The viscosity of the engine oil, diff oil, and tranny fluid was the same, ie a 5W30 for a 5W30. A 75W90 for a 75W90.

There was 50K on the engine and the fluids had less than 3K run time 'except for the tranny which had been switched from the OE fill of Dexron atf to the Synchromesh at some time prior'.

The car was put on the dyno and run at 55 mph for 5 minutes to normalize and stabilize the operating temperatures.
The before baseline included 3 pulls with the peak being 302. The 310 number was the peak of 3 pulls with the RP fluids installed. So in both sets of runs, the 'peak' or highest number was used.

The chassis dyno repeats to within
Actual increase was closer to 3% at 2.78% increase. RP choses not to highlight that this increase was above and beyond another brand of synthetic as we believe that these numbers are representative of increases available over all other oils, regardless of whether they are synthetic or mineral, brand x or brand y.

Pick it apart - but the numbers were not tweaked to get a higher change percentage, it was real. I guess we should have been more aggressive and stated that this was above other synthetic products.

Hey, last week I tried to get a before / after on my recently purchased twin turbo but couldn't complete the dyno runs - turns out the 9 years of running on mineral oil and Why do so many on this forum have to be so pessimistic about anything positive reported about various products? Sounds like a bunch of 'naysayers' and 'yeah but's'. Or is that 'butt'?

What were the dyno numbers on the other two pulls for each configuration?

We're not naysaying, we're simply stating that a 2.6% (or even 3%) increase is below the threshold of signficance. There are too many other variables that need to be considered.

Perhaps if you controlled air temperature, standardized engine temperatures, ran multiple tests with multiple batches of oils (to account for any especially good for bad batches of oil--yes, even oil manufacturers can have variations in production), etc., and we still saw a consistent 3% improvement with RP, then the claim could be made more boldly. Even so, we're talking 3% here. I could see it being worth boasting over, say, 10%, but when one starts boasting over 2-3%, be prepared for skepticism.
I've used the RP Racing 21 oil for the past 10,000 miles, and my experience has been that it probably would do well in racing applications, but it craps out after 4-5,000 miles; I know another guy who's had the same results. I'll be posting another UOA of RP Racing 21 with 3,500 miles on it in a week or so, but I've already decided to switch to AMSOIL 5W-30.
297, 302, 302
308, 310, 310

This is an air conditioned production studio temperature controlled to 75 F.
The car was run to normalized operating temperatures 'before' the three consecutive pulls were made for each configuration. Operating temps I believe were checked with IR thermometer.

Hey, I wish we had 7 figure test budgets.

I disagree with you that 2-3% is insignificant.
If this was two different dynos or run on different days or at different temperatures then I see your point.

Hey, jokingly, if 2-3% is insignificant, how about sending me 3% of your take home pay as funding for my self funded racing effort?
How about sending me 3% of the total monthly energy bill at the plant that you manage?
How about 3% of your annual fuel bill for your vehicles?
It all adds up quickly.

The fact that there was a change and has been shown to repeat by other various sources should cause most to want to look closer.
My Z28 has about 400HP. I would love to gain 12HP (3%) for a few extra bucks during an oil change..........But then again....That is probably the biggest reason I run synthetic oil. I run RP, but I can't say that it is any better than any other synthetic in its price range. I don't have the money to pay for dyno time for a half a dozen different oils. My truck has about 300HP. I would like an extra 9hp for it as well.

[ July 09, 2003, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: sbc350gearhead ]
yeah but...... ;-)

a couple things to consider: 1) new oil over used oil will always show lower friction. was the first oil JUST put in, or was it in the car for some time? (which is suspect as that car requires the 4718M spec which pretty much specifys syn oil) and 2) RP is famous for marketing oil that is actually a lighter grade than it is shwon on the bottle, regardless of the transfer grade/effect, did they REALLY test 5-30 vs 5-30?

at any rate, I beleive it to a point. hey same calcuations using trap speed have shown that a K&N in the old EECIV mustang gt motors gave 3% more hp at the track over the stock filter. 2-3%s have a habit of adding up.
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