ONCE AND FOR ALL, THE BEST OIL

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With so many 'BEST' threads, so much arguement that sometimes get out of hand, I decided to settle this once and for all. You never need read another 'BEST" thread. Back in July of 2008, I started a research of UOA's on BITOG. I soon expanded to searching Google and Yahoo for other UOA information. At first, I limited my research to only 30 grade synthetic oils. I also limited to Castrol Syntec, Mobil 1, Valvoline Synpower, Quaker State, and Pennzoil Platinum. I later added Amsoil because of its greater use than some of the others. Idropped Quaker State because of limited use, as least limited UOA's. I went back to the beginning of the SM certification. As the research became more intense, I started to research applications. How long was the OCI, what kind of engine was it, how was the vehicle used, what was the normal/expected RPM range of that engine in that use, what was the geography where the engine was used, what was the topography, temperature swing of the geography where the engine was used, was it a push-rod, OHC, DOHC, supercharged, turbocharged. I looked at the wear area of the engine. What was the circumference and width of the journal, bearing, cam lobes? What was the wear area in square inches of the cylinder walls? What was the piston speed in feet per minute, much more important than RPM? I got a friend, who is a chemistry professor, to help me with the results. I got some chemistry students to assist, and a couple engineering students to assist. I have well over 600 hours and my assistants have well over 900 combined hours. I was also able to have limited communication with a tribologist from one of the oil companies and more communication with a chemist at one of the blending facilities of one of the oil companies. I also know someone that has access to gas chromatography, liquid solvent chromatology, and atomic spectrograph(???). I know that there are other, very few, folk on BITOG that know to the molecular level what is in the oil that they use, but they know as I know that you can get into serious trouble, lose everything you have by giving out specifics. That is the main reason I rarely am seen on topic about what percent of what GP is in which oil, only very generally reporting what is available from PDS and MDS specks. You cannot look at a couple dozen UOA's of a given oil and learn much. There are way to many variables. One oil showing a FE level of 10 may be much worse than another showing a FE level of 15. TBN may show how much detergent/dispersant is left in the oil but it doesn't say if the anti wear is depleted, FM, and even the true condition of the base oil. Very little to be learned there. You can and should look for trends, BASED UPON EQUAL ENGINE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT OF THE OIL, wear areas, piston speed in FPM, RPM, heat, geography, topography, and the many other things that have to be taken into consideration. The question, "what is the best oil," has to be qualified also. Some folk have an idea of what they want from an oil, some don't. For example, I do not want a really high detergent package for many reasons. I know an oil that meets that spec. I want an oil that stays in grade, and close to its starting 100C cSt. I know an oil that meets that speck. I want an oil with a minimum X HTHS to begin and end with. I know an oil that meets that speck. Sadly, they are not the same oil, so, I look for a compromise and I actually use a compromise because that is the oil that gives me 200,000+ and 300,000+ mile on my engines with no problems, leaks, seeps, or consumption. This oil also give us an average of 180,000+ miles before trade in. I know an oil that stays in grade better than the oil I use, but I don't use it. I know an oil that has a better detergent to anti wear ratio than the oil I use, but I don't use it. I know an oil that has a better HTHS than the oil I use but I don't use it. I use the oil that has the best combination of the three. I have not finished my study and I have not got all my ducks in a row, as of now. Hopefully I soon will or I may decide to add another variable. One of the things I am doing now is comparing GP II/+ to GP III to GP IV. If I get to release that, it is really impressive, at least to me. Advertisement and mass assertion have extremely high applications. An example, one of the most popular BITOG oils has the worse shear rate of any oil I have encountered in research. What is the best oil? That depends upon individual requirements, expectations, and standards (let me abbreviate RES). I start out looking for the best oil with the expectation that at 200,000 miles, the engine will be running within factory specks and at 300,000 miles it will be a daily use vehicle I can depend upon for whatever use. If you live in upper Michigan, or Canada, and drive 4 miles a day one way, you have different RES. If you trade at 3 years, 45,000 miles, you have different RES. If you run a turbo, Twin DOHC, V6 hard and furious, and expect to have to overhaul frequently, you have different RES. You get the idea here. I have found trends. There is one brand and grade that stays in grade better than any other. There is one brand and grade that has the best detergent/anti wear ratio (I didn't even know this existed before I started this research) than any other. There is one brand and grade that has a better 100C cSt/HTHS ratio than any other. I don't use any of these oils. FOR ME, my geography, my topography, my climate, my engines, my use, my RES, the best oil, by a good margin, is Mobil 1 15W-50. If you live in upper Michigan or Canada, drive 4 miles, one way, daily, it may be useless for you. What is the best oil? That is an easy on: it is the oil that meets your TRUE Requirements, Expectations, and Standards. \:\!
 
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Well, my wife's Cav seems to like M1 5w30 best. I've tried a few oils, but it is just happy with the M1. I haven't really got the chance to play with the two other cars yet. Cav #2 just went from Mobil 5000 to Napa Full Syn, and it really likes that stuff. I've planning to play with the Cobalt, as it had QS, and I switched it to M1, then it is going to go to PP. Where it goes from there will be decided by how well it runs to PP....
 
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Excellent! Make this post a sticky and make it mandatory for every newbie to read it and pass a quiz on it before he/she is allowed to post here.
 
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How about each new member has to make a financial contribution of $60 to BITOG for the first year. In return they will get a jug of M1 and a FRAM oil filter coupon redeemable at their local Walmart and a FREE UOA from Blackstone after a 10K Mile run. They have to post the UOA in order to gain the "Posting" ability. This will dispell a lot of myths! ??? P.s. In a way it is an indirect financial gain for BITOG as it will keep posts off the server and cut down on unnecessary traffic. Plus it will help weed out people that just want to stir up $!#@ on the board!
 
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 Originally Posted By: StevieC
P.s. In a way it is an indirect financial gain for BITOG as it will keep posts off the server and cut down on unnecessary traffic. Plus it will help weed out people that just want to stir up $!#@ on the board!
well where's the fun in that? haha very curious as to what those 3 different oils are... also interested in more details about your RES and what weight your car calls for since using 15w-30. I expect to be the only driver of my car about 11k a year and hope to easily surpass 300k. I want to do an oil change once a year in the spring so it needs to last 10-12k. My winters get a little below 0 and may including a daily 7 minute drive. otherwise I baby it trying to get every MPG I can. Though I do redline seldom on the highway once warm. I wish you would have included Shaeffers in the study :)
 
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Great job, FrankN4. I just put 15-50 Mobil 1 in a 496 cid Mercruiser sterndrive last week for the first time. Please keep us "posted" with more of your study.
 
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Good research effort and good write-up by FrankN4 !
 Originally Posted By: NismoMax80
I wish you would have included Shaeffers in the study :)
True, if he didn't factor in Schaeffer 9000 5w40, then he may have reached the wrong conclusion w/ his M1 15w50. :)
 
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I agree that YOUR application defines the best oil for your car. I have high powered cars that get severe fuel dilution. I demand that the oil tolerates this with minimal thinning. As I run thinner oils to begin with a stable viscosity is imperative. I end up changing oil based on time not mileage so I do not like a lot of unneeded detergents and TBN chemicals taking up space in the oil. Some of these additives as well as thicker oils in general result in increasing amounts of oil aeration. This can only result in less lubrication potential. I like to keep evaporation to a minimum and look for higher flash points in my oils. I also look for a less thick oil at my average start up temperature of 75 F. Getting into high RPM (6 - 8,000) well before the oil is fully warmed up is a daily occurrence. I feel safer revving them up if the oil is not so thick. aehaas
 
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So this post was a teaser, with no specific oils mentioned for their respective strengths? It's like going to see the first 'Lord of the Rings' movie and finding out at the end that you had to come back in 9 months to get the next part.
 
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nice post..tracking and awaiting more results.. I am in that twin turbo V6 fast an furious category(exercised only on the racetrack) you can include my UOA results in your study as well:
 
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 Originally Posted By: AEHaas
I agree that YOUR application defines the best oil for your car. I have high powered cars that get severe fuel dilution. I demand that the oil tolerates this with minimal thinning. As I run thinner oils to begin with a stable viscosity is imperative. I end up changing oil based on time not mileage so I do not like a lot of unneeded detergents and TBN chemicals taking up space in the oil. Some of these additives as well as thicker oils in general result in increasing amounts of oil aeration. This can only result in less lubrication potential. I like to keep evaporation to a minimum and look for higher flash points in my oils. I also look for a less thick oil at my average start up temperature of 75 F. Getting into high RPM (6 - 8,000) well before the oil is fully warmed up is a daily occurrence. I feel safer revving them up if the oil is not so thick. aehaas
Oh fer Pete's sake -- we're going to have to change your user name to "Dr. Tease"! So, which product(s) comes out of the end of your "analytical pipe"?
 
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 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
Once and for all, DEFINE "BEST". . .
I think he defined BEST fairly well. Did you read it?
 
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 Originally Posted By: NismoMax80
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
Once and for all, DEFINE "BEST". . .
I think he defined BEST fairly well. Did you read it?
Yes, I did. My point is simply that "best" is such a nebulous and subjective idea that it approaches worthlessness. There are so many variables involved that it is close to impossible to account for all of them, at least on the individual user end of the problem.
 

FrankN4

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 Originally Posted By: mechtech2
So this post was a teaser, with no specific oils mentioned for their respective strengths? It's like going to see the first 'Lord of the Rings' movie and finding out at the end that you had to come back in 9 months to get the next part.
Most certainly do not mean for it to be a teaser. I said all I can say until I get release from the mass communications folk that are doing the write up and my wife's uncle, our attorney. When I started this, I never dreamed it would be so difficult to tell folk what I discovered. I have done two thesis and one dissertation, and they were no where near as difficult. I have to have releases, keep a copy of every UOA, show engine specks to prove wear area of engines, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I also, just recently, discovered I have to give a disclaimer if an oil company changed their formulation and it is no longer the same as the oil used in the UOA, and it goes on and on. If GF-5 comes out before I finish, I lost it all, it becomes nothing more than something that keep me occupied and out of my wife's way.. I have to go back to RES to even try to define best. Oil, unlike young ladies where everyone knows that those with auburn hair are far more attractive, is more controversial.
 
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. . .and I'll amplify that some more. IMO, the best that a non-tribologist, not-chemical-engineer can really do is to isolate a handful of variables that said user feels are important, and go from there. But to seek a conclusory "best" designation is an impossible task. We've all been brainwashed by advertising of "Best of {you name the singer]" CDs, "we make the 'best' ice cream, "our car is 'best'" and so forth. The term "best" has been reduced to meaning nothing, nothing at all. It is the refuge of the ad copy writer, and the insecure individual who needs to feel that he or she has the "best" of everything. C'mon man -- think! Is your oil "better" than mine? Is it "The Best"? If so, how can you prove that??? Are you ready to fund the study to establish "best-ness" (probably to the tune of six- or seven-figure dollars)? I have no problem with trying to find the "best" oil for one's car and driving conditions. Such questions can be answered, to some extent, with a few UOA and a little patience. But it drives me nuts to see people on an endless quest to try to determine whether the this or that oil is "BEST". For the most part, "best-ness" is almost unknowable. All we can do is look at our own results, and the results of similarly situated users, and make well educated guesses. Long ago, I stopped worrying about whether my car maintenance choices were "the best" possible choices. I do what I can, and I've enjoyed my cars, and taking care of them, a lot more than I used to.
 
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How can you define best? As others have said most oils today are good and provide good results. In my case M1 oils have performed great for 31 years in many different cars and some with high mileage. The same for my family. By the way no one in the family has had an engine replaced. Others here on BITOG report the same thing with their oil choice as well, so I would say stick with what works well for you.
 
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