Mass confusion about GC versions 1,2,3

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1,563
Location
North Carolina, USA
I confess at the onset that I am not an expert on the subject of GC but I do think I have a fair grip on the "interest" that surrounds this oil. Apparently, it is unlike it's other Syntec brethren in the fact that it is made in Germany and is supposed to have a PAO base. All others have the typical group 3 base. Also the first few years it had a green color and is rumored to smell like gummy-bears. It also seems to be getting more difficult to find becouse AZ is the only mass merchandizer in the US. Having said that let me share what I found in a AZ about 60mi from my home town. I went in becouse I had heard the 0W30 was on sale for 4.49qt which is good compared to most PAO oils. On the shelf the first 5 or so bottles were green labeled and said made in Germany on the back. The next 5 bottles were square-ish in shape and also said made in Germany on the back. The last 5 bottles were shaped like the first 5 except the label was yellow and white and said made in the US on the back. Now obviously the made in the US stuff isn't in high demand becouse apparently it is made with a predominance of group 3 base oil. Is this correct? If so,the demands can be met with a group 3 oil since it has the same specs as the "German" 0W30. Am I still correct at this point? If that is a fact how in the world can you be sure that every bottle of "German" 0W30 is actually a PAO based oil? The German bottles were just made in Germany but intended for the US market were they not? I heard that a sample was submitted to testing on this site some time ago and it seemed to be a PAO based sample. Whats to say a company that can obviously meet the specs with a group 3 oil would always use a PAO base in that oil? If the oil isn't being packaged for the German market would it matter if it wasn't PAO based? I am just asking questions becouse it's obvious Castrol can and will use a group 3 oil when they choose to do so and many follow the 0W30 relentlessly. Apart from testing every lot that comes from them, how does being made in Germany for the US market ensure the oil is PAO based? I'd say the group 3 based Syntec is a fine oil but there are alot of other oils made from the same base at mucho less money. What is written in stone that says all German bottled 0W30 has to be PAO oil? I am not being sarcastic; I just want to know what others here know that ensures them they are paying $6 a qt for real PAO oil. I apologize for the long post. Thanks for your help.
 
Messages
160
Location
Canada
My understanding - and I would gladly stand corrected - is that in Europe an oil must be Group IV PAO to be called synthetic. It wouldn't make sense for Castrol to make their 0W30 in Germany using a Group III and then export it for the US market...why not just make it in the US as with their other Syntec oils? I use GC in my BMW 740iL and in my Ford Explorer. No oil consumption in either vehicle, and the Explorer has 225,000 km on it--and I tow my boat with it. I've used various oils in the BMW (Amsoil Euro 5W-40, "BMW" 5W30, Mobil 1, and now GC) and the car runs smooth and quiet with all of them. Hard to see a difference with GC, but it has made a noticeable difference in the Explorer--it is smoother and quieter. Impossible to make a definitive assessment without UOA which I haven't bothered with...so many other good UOA reported with GC and I change oil every 10-12,000km (6 -7,500 miles) I expect both vehicles will fall apart in other areas before I have an oil-related problem.
 
Messages
11,467
Location
Florida, Cape Coral
GC "made in Germany" does not necessarly mean a Gp4 oil. Made in Germany could be made for the US market and could be a Gp 3 oil. Without a positive expensive oil analysis prove either a Gp3 or 4. Color & smell don't prove much of anything. JMO Ed
 
Messages
139
Location
So. Cal
IIRC... Just considering BMW's engine oil requirement- If an oil is ACEA A3 BMW LL01 approved (labeled) it is group IV. Now, if it is the newer ACEA A3 BMW LL04 it can be either Group III, IV, or any combination of oil(s) that meet the new European low emissions standard. Castrol Syntec (GC) 0W30 green or gold is BMW LL01, a PAO Group IV oil. Bowser
 

Mokanic

Thread starter
Messages
1,563
Location
North Carolina, USA
These are the kinds of answers I was hoping to get. Thanks so far. I have one last and simple question that hopefully someone who has experience in this erea will answer. Is it possible with todays refinement tech to build an oil comprized of primarily group 3 base oil that can duplicate the performance requirements that the PAO German Castrol meets? Yes or no and if no why? Once again let me say thanks for the responses so far. Oh,by performance I mean the specs that it meets on the bottle;not neccessarily actual pour points,ect of the oil.
 
Messages
2,689
Location
South Carolina
Yes, I believe that it is possible to do so and BMW's 5W-30, sold at dealerships is one of those group III oils. Weird thing, I recently called BMW North America to get their official list of approved oils and the guy's response was that if BMW branded oil was not available, then use only a "full synthetic 5W-30 oil from Valvoline, Mobil, or Castrol." I did not bother to ask why he was verbally recommending these oils since they do not meet BMW's specific written requirements of LL-98, LL-01 or now LL-04. Valvoline Maxlife full synthetic 5W-30 would probably be the only oil to qualify of the 3 brands he mentioned. Did I waste my time calling them, or what? Typical...
 
Messages
139
Location
So. Cal
Valvoline's Maxlife Full Synthetic 5W-30 and 10W-30 are the only readily available group III oils I would compare to Castrol GC with UOA. Here's a recent UOA on Maxlife Full Synthetic 5W-30. It appears to be great report considering the vehicle had high fuel dilution during the interval. Bowser
 
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