Maxlife's base oil

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Jun 8, 2002
How would one even do an oil analysis? Are there places that do it for free? I'm in Chicago BTW. I have a 96 camaro with about 100K on it. I used all kinds of oils. I'm thinking of switching to Maxlife also. I would be happy to do an analysis of it, if there is a place near me that does it. I'm on Mobil blend 10W30 right now. Thinking of getting AutoRx, then using Maxlife from then on. Car has no leaks whatsoever. Runs great. I've been beating on it good, but always changed the oil every 3-4K.
Patman, I got my Max-lIfe info from various people on boards, many of them talked to the Valvoline Techs. I never heard any contradiction to the idea that they are Group III base stocks ... although I considered that they may be a Group III and II blend. Still, according to someone here they also use some esters (about 10% or so as seal swellers) but they'll also help with the extreme heat and cold your engine may have to deal with. I have no new/recent info on their formulation. I have always thought Max-Life was an exceptional value ... especially when compared to Castrol Syntech which I believe to be something of a rip-off. [Mad] I still wouldn't extend this oil's drain interval too long, however. Bob has some concernes about corrosion over 4,000 miles. Supposedly, this is not the better form of moly used by Schaeffer and (probably) Red Line. As for the whole package, your post seems to indicate that detergents = TBN. I don't believe this is correct but I'll leave it to others to contrast the two properly. I think TBN is a rating given to the oil's total package's ability to ward off corrosion while the detergent is merely one component of that package, and it's main job is to remove sludge build up, not necessarily to fight corrosion. I'm something of a neophyte when it comes to oil analysis. I have had my TBN checked once to make sure it was not too low (4.5 after 7,200 miles and 5 months seems passing to me) and after that I check wear metals and anything flagged by the lab ... like traces of anti-freeze. [Eek!] I use Blackstone Labs: They came well recommended and I'm pleased with their service but I'm sure there are other competent labs around the nation. It costs about $20-30 per analysis depending on what parameters they test.
Patman: I am about to make another statement about MaxLife. Now, before anyone has a stroke, I am not slamming this product. I think it is a fine product, and I am not trying to sell anything else. One of my best friends was one of the chemist that designed MaxLife. (I will not disclose his name because I do not want him to get fired, and I do not want to lose a good friend and fishing buddy) This is what he told me about MaxLife: It is made from a Group II basestock just as the regular Valvoline oil is. It has basically the same additive package as the regular Valvoline except for the small amount of Moly Disulfide added to it. It also has around 9% ester base added to it for it's seal conditioning factors. He explained to me (his words) that when you look at the MaxLife spec sheet and see where it says 12%-22%, it is refering to the entire additive package, including the esters. He also told me that in Europe, they sell MaxLife as a blend. It is a blend of Group II and esters, with the esters being around 17%, and it also has the Moly Disulfide in it. Now, he did not put this in writing to me, nor would I ask him to. There are all kinds of opinions of what this product is, but I will take his word for it, since he helped to design it. IT IS A GOOD PRODUCT. [ June 09, 2002, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: Johnny ]
Well my take is that Maxlife must at least have a base oil that is as good as their DuraBlend synthetic blend product, because the pour points and flash points are nearly identical. We already know that Maxlife has moly in it, which should make it better than the durablend at protecting against engien wear. In my eyes an exceptional value especially considering most places charge around $2.50 for durablend and only about $1.85 for maxlife. Also Johnny if Maxlife's base oil is nearly identical too the all climate conventional then why is the pour point nearly 15 Degrees lower and Flash point almost 20 degrees higher, both Celsius figures? It seems to me that Maxlife is most likely hydrocracked or at least a blend of dino and hydrocracked oils.
Johnny, thanks for posting that information and being so specific. Your buddy's name does not concern me. I see no reason for you to be lying (yes, I remember you work for Pennzoil) and getting someone fired for telling the truth serves no purpose. What really bothers me is that this is the second bit of misinformation I have gotten from Valvoline. 2 different people I know have called their number 1-800-team-val and been told that Max-Life was a Group III base oil. [Roll Eyes] Also, I and others have called about their Synpower and been told it was 100% PAO when it is actually Group III. [No no] If it wasn't such a cheap and easy way to get moly in the crankcase I'd have my buddy who uses Max-Life in all of his Hondas switch to something else. As it is right now, his cars (Hondas, like me) are high mileage and the moly has quieted down the engines (mostly the piston slap). He even complained when he put Mobil 1 in his daily driver and the engine began making an awful racket. He couldn't wait to drain it out. [Wink] So, why does Valvoline, who has one of the best reputations in the lubricants industry feel they have to lie so shamelessly to their customers? [Mad] Could this be merely a miscommunication? [Confused] Possibly, but I don't think so. [Frown] Right now, I use Red Line in my Honda 16V four banger and have stocked up on Chevron Delo and Supreme for conventional oils used in Dad's Mercury Grand Marquis as well as all the lawn & garden power equipment we have. If I were to switch synthetics or mineral oils I might go with Synergen or Schaeffer. Oh, and I used Pennzoil 10W30 just over a year ago to clean out my car's motor. Left it in for 21 days and it did a pretty good job. [Wink] [ June 09, 2002, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: Bror Jace ]
Nailz: I agree, it is a very good value for the money. They get the lower pour point with their additive package and a higher flash point by using a higher VI basestock. The Group II oils are hydrocracked. We did the same thing with our High Mileage oil, except we use a different form of moly. I believe it is disulfate. (Probably not the correct spelling). Bror Jace: I do not believe anyone at Valvoline would intentionaly lie to anyone. They are a very reputable company with very high standards. They like every other major oil company are run by marketing departments and they control the way things are communicated. I would choose to use the word misunderstanding. Here is marketing for you. If you go to, lets say Wal-Mart, and find some older MaxLife on the shelf, or the Pennzoil High Mileage, you will not see the API donut on the back of them. Why, marketing said it was not worth paying the licenseing fees to the API for an oil that was designed for older cars. Boy were they wrong. When Castol came out with theirs, it had the donut, and now the new labels on MaxLife and soon to be on the Pennzoil and Quaker State products have the donut. Why? Because people like the one's on this chat site realized what good products they were and wanted to use them in their newer vehicles. When MaxLife first came out you could only get it in 10W30 and 10W40. Now they also have a 5W30. I believe we will have ours in 5W30 before the summer is over. Castrol even has a 20W50. I HOPE NO ONE MAKES IT IN 5w20. Although it would probably be a good way to protect the engines with thin oil. MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING. [Frown] I like you, am in marketing, but I certainly do not always agree with what marketing departments do.
<b>Nailz:</b> One more thing. DuraBlend like most major oil blends is made up of hydrocracked Group II base stocks and the synthetic is a PAO. All oil companies have different percentages of the PAO, but they all generally run between 13% and 17%. In my opinion, and it is just an opinion, all of the high mileage oils are better than the "synthetic/blends".
Well Johnny, I said my background was in marketing ... but I no longer am. I traded in the fast lane world of empty hype and sleazy dealings for a more stable job as a civil servant living off of everyone elses' taxes. [Wink] Decent pay, job security, regular hours and a mountain of time off. What more could anyone want? [Big Grin] I am surprised that people are paying so much attention to the API doughnut. I know I never did and the more I know about the API, the more I see them as bureaucrats of questionable worth willing to sacrifice motor oil's protection level for short-sighted eco reasons (catalyst life and CAFE). But, when it comes to "misunderstandings" I prefer more direct language even if it may be a little harsh at times. I really hate being lied to and that is exactly how I feel. Maybe there is a "misunderstanding" between the R&D and Production or between R&D and Marketing, but people I've talked to for the past two years have consistently gotten erroneous information from "Team Val". Of course, they are not the only ones. Mobil used to have two different formulations of Mobil 1 5W30. The regular one and the "GM" formulation. They had two different MSDS sheets on their website. Calling their customer service line, they insisted there were not two different formulas and they had never heard of such. I guess their service reps never surfed their own site. [Roll Eyes] And if you think that is bad, I knew someone who called Castrol's customer service line only a year ago and they told him that their synthetic Syntec was PAO-based! Nothing like adding insult to injury. [Eek!] So, call these "misunderstandings" if you must, but these people are either dishonest or incompetent and either way, I'm not dealing with any of them anymore. [Mad] Just for the record, Johnny can you get the exact form of moly used in Pennzoil's high-mileage oil ... disulfide or disulfate? My buddy who uses Max-Life may be ready to re-stock his shelves. [Wink]
I was just reading the old messages on the Edmunds board and saw a post on there from you Bror, where you mentioned Maxlife uses a combination of group 3 and group 4 for it's base oil. Is this still true with the SL formulation, or was this only with the original formula? If they still make it with these same base oils, this oil is an even bigger bargain than I thought! It's just as "synthetic" as the oils on the shelf right beside it at twice it's price! I just hope Valvoline doesn't decide to jack up the price of this oil, especially since the addition of moly must make it a bit more costly for them to manufacture! So now that we know that the SL version has more detergents (triple that of the SJ) wouldn't this mean that Maxlife should easily be able to handle 5-6k oil change intervals? I think once I get past this coming winter, I'm going to stop with the 3k oil change intervals and forego the rest of my annoying aftermarket powertrain warranty. I'm getting sick of paying someone to change my oil anyways, I want to get back to doing my own oil changes on my terms once again, plus I'll be able to really push this Maxlife and see if it can do the extended intervals. If my inital oil analysis results look good, what I can do is extend the interval a little bit at a time. One change I'll do it at 6000km (3700mi) then the next one 7000km (4300mi) and so on, until I find the point where the oil looks like it might not be able to go much longer. Speaking of which, what are the main things you look for on an oil analysis to determine whether or not an oil is suitable for continued use? Is it mainly the TBN, the nitration % and the oxidation %?
Yes Johnny I would be interested in knowing what type of moly is used in the new pennzoil High Mileage oil, and also how much. Isn't Valvoline using 400 ppm in Max-life? That is a lot, as I believe Shaeffers only used about 150 ppm. Anyway I have no loyalty to any brands, but I am not interested in extended drains as I have a 10 year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty I have to keep intact, so I am looking for an oil cheaper than $4 a quart that has a very good anti-wear package, and right now Max-life seems like the best bet because of the moly. If the pennzoil is better then I would switch in a heartbeat.
Man, I am starting to see that I will have to help straighten this whole thing out about moly. Moly is a great barrier additive but I have read (can't remember where though) and heard from several chemical engineer sources(one of which is CLS), that the disulphate tends to become reactive at high temperatures and can cause corrosive wear in metals. This appears to be the type of moly that MAXLIFE is using according to the MSD sheets and if johnny is correct, then penzoil is too. If you choose to use this type of oil with disulphate, I strongly suggest you run oil analysis and see how well the oxidation levels hold. This, in my opinion would be one indicator as to the disulphate causing this issue. You should prefer the disulphide not disulphate.
The moly question again. I'm pretty sure that no one so far has adequately answered exactly what kind of moly goes into motor oil. I'm no chemist, but I know enough to know that what we are talking about is probably not directly related to what goes into oil. MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide) is an oil insoluble compound (will be in a suspension if you put in in oil) Mo(S04)2 (molybdenum disulphate): I haven't found any reference to this compound being used in lubricants commercially. I haven't found any evidence that this would be oil soluble either. Taken from: "A combination of molybdate and water soluble sulphides can provide both lubrication and corrosion inhibition in cutting fluids and metal forming materials. Oil soluble molybdenum-sulphur compounds, such as thiophosphates and thiocarbamates, provide engine protection against wear, oxidation and corrosion. Several commercial manufactures supply these additives to the lubrication industry." I suspect that the compound used in schaeffers is a type of molybdenum thiocarbamate, which is oil soluble. Based on case report type of evidence, they seem to provide similar EP protection as MoS2. However, I believe direct comparisons to MoS2 is misleading, as they are completely different compounds.
Thanks Steve in SD: I was trying to find my notes I took when talking with our lab this morning so I could answer Bror Jace and Nailz question. After reading your post, I remember what they said. Nailz and Bror Jace: The Pennzoil High Mileage Oil has the Thiocarbanate in it at a rate of 145ppm. Not much, but I guess it is a buffer.
Molybdenum disulphide, the most common natural form of molybdenum, is extracted from ore and then purified for direct use in lubricants. This material by itself, since it has a layered structure, makes a very efficient lubricant. These layers can slide over each other at the molecular level, allowing the surfaces of steel and other metals to move fluidly, even under severe pressures, as bearing surfaces. Since molybdenum disulphide is of geothermal origin, it has the durability to withstand heat and pressure. This is particularly true if small amounts of sulphur are available to react with iron and provide a sulphide layer which is compatible with molybdenum sulphide in maintaining the lubricating film. Molybdenum disulphide is inert to many chemicals and will perform under a vacuum where graphite fails. A number of unique properties distinguish molybdenum disulphide
Let me get this straight, Steve in SD and Dave, aren’t you guys saying completely contradictory things about the different forms of moly, their solubility and use in motor oils? [Confused] I e-mailed Red Line a couple weeks ago and they told me their moly was “Red Line Oil uses a totally soluble organic moly.” This makes some sense to me as when I last changed my oil, the bottles had been sitting on the shelf for at least a month and when I poured the oil out, no visible residue was left behind. Oh, and for those of you that don’t know, the Red Line bottles are white and any visible residue would be easy to spot. Of course, this begs the question, does ANY form of insoluble moly which you might find in a motor oil leave a visible trace? For those of you more familiar with the stuff, does Red Line’s wording above tip you off in any particular direction? [Confused]
I haven't personally used Redline or any Moly as of yet. It is from the interest in moly on this board that I've done my moly research. I am quite certain that Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) in insoluble in oil. Anyone that claims to use MoS2, yet says that it is oil soluble is incorrect. There certainly are oil soluble forms of molybdenum as I've indicated above, but they are NOT MoS2. Actually, everything that Dave wrote about MoS2 is correct, but we are not in contradiction. The fact that MoS2 is used in lubricants does not mean that it is oil soluble. MoS2 can be used in susupension and as a dry film lubricant as well. Look at, where they sell a product of MoS2 which they claim remains in permanent suspension with an avg. particle size of 0.5 microns. IMO, I wouldn't want to put anything particulate in my engine (similar to the PTFE issue). I am not bashing moly at all, I'm just trying to bring some clarification to some who think that they can get a oil-soluble form of MoS2, which I believe is impossible. I am suspect that oil soluble forms of Moly can provide extra EP and wear protection, similar to MoS2, and I am seriously considering buying some Schaeffers once I run out of my current Amsoil stock.
Steve, thanks for trying to clarify your position. That's what I was talking about ... soluble vs. suspension and the different types used. We're getting conflicting info and I was just hoping all those that posted in here would double check their sources. [Smile] Bob said: "Man, I am starting to see that I will have to help straighten this whole thing out about moly." I'm anxiously awaiting your comments, Bob. [Wink] And for something really silly: This is a textbook case of how NOT to use moly. [Eek!]
Originally posted by Johnny: One of my best friends was one of the chemist that designed MaxLife. (I will not disclose his name because I do not want him to get fired, and I do not want to lose a good friend and fishing buddy) This is what he told me about MaxLife: It is made from a Group II basestock just as the regular Valvoline oil is. It has basically the same additive package as the regular Valvoline except for the small amount of Moly Disulfide added to it. It also has around 9% ester base added to it for it's seal conditioning factors.
I'm bringing this topic back to the top again because I wonder if the new SL formulation of Maxlife might just contain the group 3 base oil like the Valvoline tech rep told Bror? We've already heard that the SL Maxlife has triple the detergents as before, and we also know that a lot of the conventional oils out there have had to use a better base stock in order to meet the stricter SL standards. So Johnny's info isn't wrong, just that it applies to the older SJ formula Maxlife. That is the Maxlife I currently have in my car right now (which will be sent to Terry for analysis after this weekend) but when I'm done with the Auto-rx treatment, the next time I use Maxlife I've got 5 quarts of the SL formula ready to go in. (I've also got an extra 5 quart jug of the SJ Maxlife, not sure what I'm gonna do with that though) [Smile] [ June 19, 2002, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: Patman ]
I used to use Maxlife (sj) about 1 to 1-1/2 years ago. I called Valvoline at least 3 times for question about Maxlife. I was told all 3 times it was a group 3 oil. But it also had seal swellers in it that would swell "good" seals to the point that they would eventually want to always be swelled. Maxlife did stop my leaks (valve cover, rear main, and oil filter adapter. I eventually replaced all my seals because i did not want Maxlife to damage my good seals.
From what I understand though, the esters that are used in Maxlife as "seal swellers" are no different than some of the esters you'll find in other oils though, such as Amsoil and Mobil 1 for instance. Because PAO base oils tend to shrink seals, they need to add some esters to it to counteract this. Although if Maxlife contains no PAOs at all in it, maybe these esters on their own are a problem for good seals? [I dont know]
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