Mobil 1 Four ball wear?

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Nov 16, 2002
Amsoil's latest catalog shows Mobil 1 5w-30 wear scar at .5 or .6 and change, while the 0w-30 is 1.6 something. Why would there be such a difference?
Originally posted by buster: Amsoil's latest catalog shows Mobil 1 5w-30 wear scar at .5 or .6 and change, while the 0w-30 is 1.6 something. Why would there be such a difference?
Who knows? Is a 4 ball wear test relevant to how an oil performs in an engine? We could use a grease instead which would provide excellent 4 ball wear test results but I doubt anybody wants to put 4 quarts of grease into his engine.
Hmmm....Is wear relevant in how a motor oil performs? Hold on....let me ask my cat. OK. My cat just got back to me and said, "Meow. Yes, the ASTM D-4172 'Four Ball' test certainly does have relevance to engine wear. Meow." Gee, what a surprise. I just skimmed through about a dozen oil producers' spec sheets, and unfortunately, none of them list this spec for reasons unknown, and I don't know the answer to the variations in the Mobil weights. If one's product does not result in good test numbers, better to not even mention that test in spec sheets -- that's one possibility. As for what the Four Ball test is about, I've pasted this off two Amsoil websites: "The Four-Ball Wear Test is the industry's standard test method for measuring the wear preventive characteristics of a lubricant. Placed in a bath of the test lubricant, three fixed steel balls are put into contact with a fourth ball in rotating contact at preset test conditions. Lubricant wear protection properties are measured by comparing the average wear scars on the three fixed balls. The smaller the average wear scar, the lower the test number, and the better the protection." "This machine has one ball rotating against three stationary balls under specific conditions of pressure, temperature, revolutions per minute and duration. At completion of each test, the wear scar size is measured on the stationary balls. For an example, a four-ball wear test of Amsoil synthetic Series 3000 5W30, Mobil 1 synthetic 5W40, Shell Rotella T 15W40 and Cummins premium blue 15W40 gave these scar sizes: Amsoil, 0.391mm; Mobil, 0.41mm; Shell,0.683mm; and Cummins,0.707mm. Here's a helpful, short article on oil labs and ASTM D-4172: [ October 21, 2003, 06:00 PM: Message edited by: TC ]
TC, I'm pretty familiar with the test parameters for the ASTM D-4172, four ball test. What it basically analogs is sliding friction under boundary or "mixed mode" lubrication conditions. In terms of engine operation, it would be most applicable to the high pressure areas in the valvetrain - in particular if you have an OHC or DOHC engine where the cam lobes act directly on the valve lifters. Results from the four ball test don't correlate at all with bearing wear. This is primarily a function of using the correct viscosity to maintain optimized oil pressure, and making sure the oil is thin enough to flow on cold starts. I also don't think the four ball test will give you much insight into piston ring/cylinder wear, which partially depends on how the very thin oil film holds up to combustion by-products. The four ball test doesn't take the place of standardized engine sequence testing, but it's a useful screening tool when evaluating anti-wear additive chemistries. As a side note, when the four ball test is used to evaluate gear lubes or ATF, it's normally run @ 75C/167F. However for engine oils, it makes more sense to run it @ 150C/302F, to simulate localized heating effects in high pressure areas.
Thanks for the great feedback, TooSlick. I assume your ending comments regarding temperatures are referring to ASTM D-2266 (grease testing) versus D-4172 (oil testing). I'm certainly no expert on this matter, and your comments loosely jive with a few other comments I saw on the Web. It would make sense that the wear process involving say, bronze valve guides would differ to wear involving rotating cams or Hades-hot piston rings. But it would seem logical that the standardized results one gets from ASTM D-4172 would nonetheless provide good insight (although not be the only indicator) into what level of general wear one could expect from a lubricant, would you agree? Since you have better knowledge on this matter than many of us, I'd be very curious as to what specific ASTM tests one might find on a spec sheet would best apply to a specific type/environment of wear, such as valve guides, piston rings, cams, bearings, etc. (I've listed typical spec sheet data below). Personally, I'd find this quite useful in evaluating spec sheets. Thanks for your input [Smile] SAE Viscosity Grade API Service ILSAC Service Gravity, API Specific Gravity Flash Point Pour Point Viscosity@ 40°C,cSt, @100°C,cSt, @100F,SUS, @210F,SUS Viscosity Index Low Temperature Viscosity Borderline Pumping Temp High Temperature/High Shear Vis Volatility Corrosion Rating Sulfated Ash Content Shear Stability Total Base Number Four Ball Wear Test Noack % off @ 250C Zinc/Magnesium/Phosphorus/Calcium/Moly [ October 21, 2003, 07:06 PM: Message edited by: TC ]
Id say that high temp, high shear viscosity is critical to bearing wear and TBN is useful when assessing corrosive wear. Aside from that, it is difficult to predict performance from spec sheets. They do give you some idea of the quality of basestock used, but that's about it. Tooslick
The 4 ball test is grossly simplistic and is not a accurate indicator of how an oil will perform! Their is more to an engine then isolated static load rubbing. We have seen oils that did not do so hot on this test like M1 that showed great and consistent UOA! On that same not S2000 wich also does well on this test performs horrably!! Most Amsoil dealers will not even put the S2000 in their cars and some even push the older formula to customers! The ASTM tests bench tests are ok as a starting point but not the gold standard by any means.Standardized engine sequence testing and field trials(fleet testing) are the only true tests that matter! Seldom does valve train wear do a modern engine in. It is usualy bearings, rings and seals!
I would not say Series 2000 does horribly, I would say it's not worth the money, as Redline is not worth the money. Now as for the 4-ball wear test, it's a test. Not a be all, end all test. Amsoil publishes the numbers, if the numbers bug you, ignore them.
Not to feed the flames of any brand wars but note that Amsoil no longer publishes Redline 4 ball wear tests and that after 338 miles of use the series 2000 20w-50 tested by Redline actually did worse than Redline 20w-50 with 20,000 miles of use. Clean Amsoil series 2000 beat new Redline in the 4ball 4172. I think the article ( "Is Amsoil Series 2000 really better than Red Line? ") that "encouraged" Amsoil to pull Redline from that chart comparison, is located somewhere on this site and is quite revealing to both sides formulations. Redline race 40w beat both the 2 oils listed above by a wide margin in 4 ball test. Pabs is on to something here..... the chemistry is the key for the job not slick marketing. Redline is tough because of base oil and massive amounts of Mo. This chemistry reacts to get better protection with time. If we built a oil like that or better and called it CHeez whiz I would recommend its use to my customers that need that kind of protection ( or just want it). Amsoil is great clean and degrades under EP stress over time cause it relies on weaker base oils and no Mo. Ted has mentioned Amsoil reformulating the higher end racing oils and that is welcome from my point of view. There was a time I could depend on Amsoil to be THE innovator in lubes and I hope they pick up the torch again, dealers like Pablo, Ted, Michael, deserve that much from AL. Astm 4172 gives cf of friction, that is quite revealing too. RL 40w race blows all of the oils away. Terry
Pablo maybe my choice of words was a bit strong! The thought of someone useing soley astm bench tests to rate an oil just seemed like so crazy to me. The Amsoil series 2000 has been the most inconsistent premium oil I have seen on this site. To make it worse it is from a company that is know for it's consistency! In all of the S2000 v.s. Old Formula Amsoil the UOA for the older formula has kicked it's butt everytime! I have to add that the Series 2000 is about $2 more before shipping then Redline is.
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