Over the counter synthetics - Group III vs PAO

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Indiana
It seems that there's been some debate recently about the merits of Group III vs PAO oils. While there is no doubt that PAO is superior, ALL ELSE BEING EQUAL, is it possible that for over the counter oils (read Mobil 1) where cost needs to be controlled, the additive packages of OTC Group III's will be superior, on average? Not trying to start a flame war here. Just trying to understand the economics. PAO's cost more to produce so I'm wondering if Mobil tries to save on additives (to keep consumer prices manageable). On the other hand, since Castrol, Valvoline, Schaeffers, etc., don't bear the same costs as Mobil for the base oil, they can ramp up the additives. Is this sound thinking? I ask this because it seems many OTC Group III's perform as well as Mobil 1, as far as wear rates go. Having said that, I can imagine that non-OTC oils like Redline, Amsoil, etc. will be suprior than Group III's across the board since they are less constrained in their pricing.
 
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The thing is, if M-1 was "the bomb", then we'd all be using it and the other companies would be packing in the "group III" idea....unless it was sold at half price. Don't think it's been established whether group III's have a "better" addative package...but, if M-1 is the only one available OTC PAO oil and PAO's are the "best"...then I don't see it in my car...(user results vary). Time will tel...
 
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But Dr. T we must remember that if Mobil one was the bomb the only ones who would know it and switch would be people that take an interest in UOA and places like this board. The rest of the public would still buy what they "thought" was the best and keep the group III a pumpin.
 

Patman

Staff member
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I was talking with my father about oil last night. He has used Mobil 1 for over ten years now, and refuses to use anything else. I told him that it's a good oil, but not the best, but he still believes it to be "close enough" to the best. He never keeps his vehicles much beyond 70 or 80k anyways, so honestly he doesn't even need an oil as good as Mobil 1 (other than the fact that he does like to push his intervals to the 6-8k range just for convenience, so he is better off with Mobil 1 than the Infiniti dealer's bulk oil)
 
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I agree...it's better than the conventional oils out there...but, as far as synthetics...I really think they're all closely matched...PAO base oil is superior, but that's not all there is to it.
 
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Remember, most people buying retail oil are doing so based on marketing and, maybe, personal experience, not high level technical analysis. People buying "synth" are doing so because: A). They buy into the advertising hype; B). They've heard from media sources that, in a generic sense, synthetic oil is better, but don't know, or care too much about, the details; C). They've used it before and, for either valid reasons or not, they like it. I think the vast majority of the people buying synth have no idea about the group III vs group IV thing. The oil companies know this, and since they can get away with calling group III synthetic, it does perform better than group II, and it is likely to satisfy nearly all the needs of someone buying retail non-exotic synthetic oil, they use the cost difference between group III and IV to capture profit. However, I've never heard anyone claim that group III superior to group IV in any application. Also FWIW, one of the advantages of synthetic is that it can be engineered so that it can have less additives and still have superior properties. I doubt group III can do this as well as group IV. Actually, I wouldn't mind if group III oils were packaged and marketed as a separate product priced between conventional group II and high end group IV, replacing some of the 'synthetic blend' products, maybe priced in the $2-3 a quart range. I would use this in a lot of applications.
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: The thing is, if M-1 was "the bomb", then we'd all be using it and the other companies would be packing in the "group III" idea....unless it was sold at half price. Don't think it's been established whether group III's have a "better" addative package...but, if M-1 is the only one available OTC PAO oil and PAO's are the "best"...then I don't see it in my car...(user results vary). Time will tel...
[ June 23, 2003, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: MikeW ]
 
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There are a couple of OTC Group III synthetics that are priced substantially lower than M1, Havoline and Shell Rotella Synth. There is one area where a Group III may have a performance edge over PAO, solvency. PAO needs a higher level of detergents/dispersants in order to trap and hold dirt/soot particles.
 
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SC
quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo: There is one area where a Group III may have a performance edge over PAO, solvency. PAO needs a higher level of detergents/dispersants in order to trap and hold dirt/soot particles.
All non-Group III synthetics are based on a blend of PAO and esters, some with more esters than PAO. This takes care of the solvency issue. Also, the solvency of VHVI Group IIIs is actually just as poor as PAO. Why? Because most of the aromatic compounds have been removed.
 
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NJ
quote:
I agree...it's better than the conventional oils out there...but, as far as synthetics...I really think they're all closely matched
Thats exactly right. I myself should refrain from using the word "best" bc the reality is all of the top oils are great. If I were to pick the absolute best oils out there I'd say Amsoil S3k, Redline, Delvac 1, ...and maybe some Castrol R. Dont' know too much about it. They are all good. Dr. T, the reason people go with M1 is for availability and the fact it's consistant if you read the UOA section. Not many people go that far and mail order oil. And if your complaining about the consumption problems with your cars using M1, I think you should blame the engine. Mobil 1 is thin, and might burn in some engines, but many on here have ZERO issues with Mobil 1 in terms of consumption. There is no disputing though that PAO is more stable then a group III oil. It's a combination of the base oil and addtive package that makes an oil good. So a Schaeffer's oil with a better additive package then Mobil 1 lets say, might be better, even though Mobil is using a PAO base. We've seen this before. Delvac 1, Redline and Amsoil's S3k is a good example of having both components at the highest quality from what I've read. We're all nuts....we are talking about oil!!! Geezz... [Roll Eyes] [ June 23, 2003, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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"While esters are blended into M1., esters are off topic. What about Delvac One, which ExxonMobil told me is100% PAO based? That is probably the only OTC PAO synthetic on the US market today. My information about solvency comes from published ChevronTeaco reports. Group III is inferior to I and II in this area, but not that close to PAO. Randomness of molecular shapes play a role in Group III, while PAO molecules are all shaped the same. " Just a clarification. The PAO molecules are not all shaped the same. There are simply narrow spectrum molecular "types" involved, such as dimers, trimers, tetramers, etc. What ExxonMobil is saying is that their fluids are predominately PAO-based, which means the starting fluid is PAO and occupies a significant volume of the fluid. Advanced esters comprise the rest of the base oil. [ June 24, 2003, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Jimbo: While esters are blended into M1., esters are off topic. What about Delvac One, which ExxonMobil told me is 100% PAO based? That is probably the only OTC PAO synthetic on the US market today.
If you got this info from the Mobil 1 tech line, then take it with a grain of salt the size of Texas. My experience, and that of several others on here, confirms that the Mobil 1 tech line is staffed by a bunch of boobs who are able to handle questions like "Why is the color of the cap on Mobil 1 10w30 green, but it's blue on the 5w30?" Get more technical than that, and they can't handle it. Example: I called the line twice in one day. The first tech told me that every grade of Mobil 1 has VI improvers. The next person I spoke with said that NO grade of Mobil 1 has VI improvers. [Roll Eyes]
 
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California, USA
While esters are blended into M1., esters are off topic. What about Delvac One, which ExxonMobil told me is 100% PAO based? That is probably the only OTC PAO synthetic on the US market today. My information about solvency comes from published ChevronTeaco reports. Group III is inferior to I and II in this area, but not that close to PAO. Randomness of molecular shapes play a role in Group III, while PAO molecules are all shaped the same.
 

Al

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19,277
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Elizabethtown, Pa
quote:
Originally posted by VeeDubb: I'm wondering if Mobil tries to save on additives (to keep consumer prices manageable). On the other hand, since Castrol, Valvoline, Schaeffers, etc., don't bear the same costs as Mobil for the base oil, they can ramp up the additives. Is this sound thinking?
I really don't agree.. Every manufacturer strives to maximize profits (Mobil, Amsoil, Redline, et. all ). Group III manufactures have already shown that they are after large profits by calling their product synthetic-when everyone except courts and lawyers know better. So if they skimp on GroupIII instead of Group IV there are just as likely to skimp on additives.
 
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