PAO vs Polyolester Basestocks

Jay

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quote:
Q.Red Line Oil claims to have 100 percent polyolester base stocks. Are these different or better than the base stocks used in Mobil 1 with SuperSyn™? A.We are very familiar with polyolesters. In fact, we manufacture them and use them in our aviation jet engine oils such as Mobil Jet Oil II® and Mobil Jet Oil 254® and in our refrigeration compressor lubricants, where the polyolesters are utilized for their compatibility with new HFC refrigerants. Polyolesters are indeed excellent at high-temperature oxidation stability and low volatility. However, our work on automobile engines and jet engine designs has shown that polyalphaolefins (PAOs) offer the best all-around performance for gasoline engines due to their:
  • Being completely compatible with conventional oils and gasoline engine seals.
  • Providing both low- and high-temperature performance.
  • Providing a stable oil in the presence of water and moisture.
  • Having anti-rust capabilities.

I found this FAQ on Mobil 1's website. Obviously RedLine and Mobil 1 have differing philosophies on overall synthetic basestock performance in gasoline engines. Anyone care to comment?
 

MolaKule

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"However, our work on automobile engines and jet engine designs has shown that polyalphaolefins (PAOs) offer the best all-around performance for gasoline engines due to their:...." What they did was deflect the question and threw your attention to PAO's, and here is the reason: They couldn't sell the M1 oils at their current shelf prices if their base oils were predominantely esters. Mobil is attempting to sell the only full synthetic (M1) on the OTC market and keep costs reasonable. I can tell you from the papers their chemists have written, that their oils do contain esters. Also, withith PAO's by themselves, there would be some seal hardening. But the ester levels are just enough to have additive mixibility and slight seal swell. Also, their PAO's are advanced and are second and third generation PAO's. As I have stated before, oil formulation is a balancing act between individual oil components and economics, for OTC oils. Redline can afford to have more ester components because their customers are willing to pay for it.
 
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Thanks, 'Kule for setting the record straight. Do you know for sure if the ester in Mobil 1 is a polyol ... or a dibasic ester? I always thought the latter ... and believe the same for Amsoil's formula. Anyway, it seems Mobil wants to have it both ways ... and I'm not sure they can even be honest with themselves. They want to say that their Mobil 1 is the best high-performance oils available anywhere on the planet ... period. And this is just silly. They have to put their oil on the shelves along with a handful of other brands of mass-market synthetic oil ... and most of them are cheaply-produced hydrocracked mineral stocks. They can’t afford for this formula to be the absolute best. It would approach $10 per quart and would not be price competitive in the mass market at all. So, they’ve come up with a careful compromise. I just wish they would be more forthright about this ... and their tie-ins with racing. In most cases, these are NOT the same formula. [Roll Eyes] Why doesn't Mobil come out with a "high performance" synthetic oil and a more expensive, specialty "ultra performance” formula for the real zealots (like us) out there? One which rivals Red Line Oil, Synergen, NEO, etc ... ? Because they don’t want to bother with two formulas. People might think that their less expensive formula isn’t good enough to justify the $4-5 per quart price and their ultra formula might cost double that ... and most Wal-Mart shoppers wouldn’t dream of paying $8 or more for a single quart of motor oil. [Eek!] If you give people who look at thinking as something onerous, too many will simply choose another brand that’s easier to figure out. Maybe Castrol or Valvoline ... even if they are fairly indifferent formulas not worth their retail price. They would rather come out with one compromise (if generally competent) formula and make up the difference with a lot of slick hype. Even with the latest modern synthesizing technology, bull$#i+ is cheaper than polyol. And, when someone comes along and knows enough to as an intelligent question on the issue, they change the subject. [Roll Eyes] --- Bror Jace
 

MolaKule

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Bror, You are right as always (well, most of the time, hehe [Big Grin] ). BS is cheaper than the highest quality. "Why doesn't Mobil come out with a "high performance" synthetic oil and a more expensive, performance” formula for the real zealots (like us) out there? One which rivals Red Line Oil, Synergen, NEO, etc ... ? Because they don’t want to bother with two formulas. People might think that their less expensive formula isn’t good enough to justify the $4-5 per quart price and their ultra formula might cost double that ... and most Wal-Mart shoppers wouldn’t dream of paying $8 or more for a single quart of motor oil. If you give people who look at thinking as something onerous, too many will simply choose another brand that’s easier to figure out. Maybe Castrol or Valvoline ... even if they are fairly indifferent formulas not worth their retail price." I have often wondered that myself; here is a first-rate company with probably the best and largest staff of chemists in the world. Hey, they produced Delvac 1, why not give us zealots (as you stated) a super high performance product as well. Surely we have to rate up there with the truckers? (or do we?). Anyway, this gives our capital system a chance to spur such companies as RP, Redline, Amsoil, NEO, Dyson Oil, and others to carve a niche in the specialty synthetics and blends markets.
 

MolaKule

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Bror, Regarding ester bases. Mobil and Amsoil use one or more polyol esters such as PE and TMP with PAO's. Amsoil's reciprocating compressor fluids are still di-ester, because of their low pour point, natural lubricity, and clean operation. Redline uses mostly PE and DPE polyol esters in large percentages. NEO uses mostly di-esters. RP and Dyson, who knows, but I suspect TMP polyol esters and PAO's.
 

MolaKule

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TooSlick, "From the standpoint of formulation chemistry, it is very hard to make an API licensed extended drain oil, at least in the popular xw-20 and xw-30 grades where the level of ZDDP is restricted." Actually it is not difficult, chemistry speaking, just more expensive. I heartily agree with your assessment of the API situation.
 
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Molakule, thanks for the additional specifics. I’ll have to update my mental files ... and hope they stay updated. Actually, I am perfectly fine with Mobil 1 being the level of quality it currently is, I just wish Mobil wouldn’t act like it is actually superior to the ultra premium "boutique" oils out there ... which is what they are suggesting in the Q&A which was posted at the top of this thread. More on this in a bit ... Oh, and when you say "Dyson Oil" are you talking "Synergen?" Are they one in the same? I haven’t seen the brand "Dyson" in a couple years. [Confused] TooSlick, again, I’m not saying a specialty Mobil 1+ formula would terribly successful (commercially), but all of us here can probably agree that they already whip up special batches of oil for racing teams. Why not make that same stuff available through specialty shops (a-la Red Line Oil) to racers? I’m talking independent drag racers, circle track dirt dudes, SCCA guys, etc ... It would be the honest thing to do ... and it just might reduce the cost of their existing racing program by raising their volume of product (lowering per quart/gallon cost) and bringing in a little revenue to boot! [Big Grin] And I’m not sure makers of super-premium (and super-expensive) synthetic oils have to stress hyper-extended drain intervals. Sure, Amsoil does this (to an extreme with 25K mile claims which make some roll their eyes) but Red Line doesn’t. They say that you could go a lot longer (up to 12,000-18,000 miles) between changes using their oil but they don’t stress it like Amsoil does. I doubt most of their customers who use their oils ever exceed 10,000 miles between changes. They tend to care about their rolling stock too much. Red Line’s primary angle is that you better have a specialty oil like their’s in the sump if you’re gonna play tag with your motor’s redline often. [Big Grin] That’s clearly the message from the many pages of text on their website and their other promotional materials. As for problems with the API, that’s another multi-page thread around here somewhere. [Wink] I guess it’s Mobil’s attitude which really rubs me the wrong way. Look at the way they answered the use of polyol question above. They actually say that PAO is superior! They could have said (fairly accurately) that PAO is more cost-effective but instead they went over the top, essentially misleading the individual. Couldn’t they say the Red Line was a narrow niche oil and most engines will never know the difference despite the oil being double the price? Nope, they chose a more deceptive path instead. Ken2, I was pretty careful about the words I chose and "inadequate" was not one of them. I even said existing Mobil 1 (their newest formula) was "competent." The stuff is not however, the best in the world ... which is their official line. [Razz] Having said that, I still believe that Tri-Synthetic (their previous formula) allowed a lot more wear to occur than it should have in certain cars which were prone to certain wear patterns (aka: piston slap). It certainly wasn’t as good as hyped ("virtually no wear") and this goes back to the issue of Mobil 1’s marketing being over-the-top. Lastly, I had a couple of booboos above in my first post in this thread and didn’t edit them in time. The sentences should have read: "If you give people who look at thinking as something onerous, too many options, a great number of them will simply choose another brand which is easier to figure out." And that last sentence should be: "ASK an intelligent question." [I dont know] --- Bror Jace
 

Jay

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quote:
Originally posted by Bror Jace: I guess it’s Mobil’s attitude which really rubs me the wrong way. Look at the way they answered the use of polyol question above. They actually say that PAO is superior! They could have said (fairly accurately) that PAO is more cost-effective but instead they went over the top, essentially misleading the individual. Couldn’t they say the Red Line was a narrow niche oil and most engines will never know the difference despite the oil being double the price? Nope, they chose a more deceptive path instead. --- Bror Jace [/QB]
I don't see any deception in Mobil's answer. They said quite plainly that PAO's are superior and gave 4 reasons why. So far nobody has spoken to the bulleted items.
 

mdv

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MA
quote:
Originally posted by Jay:
quote:
Originally posted by Bror Jace: I guess it’s Mobil’s attitude which really rubs me the wrong way. Look at the way they answered the use of polyol question above. They actually say that PAO is superior! They could have said (fairly accurately) that PAO is more cost-effective but instead they went over the top, essentially misleading the individual. Couldn’t they say the Red Line was a narrow niche oil and most engines will never know the difference despite the oil being double the price? Nope, they chose a more deceptive path instead. --- Bror Jace

I don't see any deception in Mobil's answer. They said quite plainly that PAO's are superior and gave 4 reasons why. So far nobody has spoken to the bulleted items. [/QB]
Since people are nitpicking here... The reply didn't say PAO's were superior. It said they offered the "best all-around performance." I read that as PAO's are more cost effective. The bulleted items they provided also apply to polyol esters as well, do they not?
 
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Just a thought. In a non hi-performance motor that was not ran hard why would a expensive oil with polyol ester be needed or wanted at twice the price of a PAO oil ? Please don't flame me but I cannot see the logic of putting a racing oil in a non racing car . From what I read here all the PAO's will allow 7500 miles or so of use. The owner must change the oil filter at some point before 12 months anyway . Over ten years of ownership quite a bit of money could be saved using a good PAO oil over these plus 8.00 per quart oils IMHO . If I am off base please tell me what I am missing .
 
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Bror, You can't make the "Business Case" for synthetic lubes in the $6.00-$8.00/quart range unless you start promoting the idea of extended drain intervals, or you are making a specialty product for racing. I'm not talking about running the maximum drain intervals recommended by vehicle manufacturers, but rather drain intervals of 15k-25k miles. In other words you have to go the Redline/Amsoil route and actively promote greatly extended change intervals to capture significant market share. From the standpoint of formulation chemistry, it is very hard to make an API licensed extended drain oil, at least in the popular xw-20 and xw-30 grades where the level of ZDDP is restricted. Given the legal climate in the US and the deep pockets of ExxonMobil, such a situation is ripe for annoying lawsuits. Even if these were settled in Exxons favor, their corporate image would be tarnished and it would cost lots of time and effort. Exxon is still recovering from the Exxon Valdez fiasco, so I don't think you will see them sticking their necks out and backing extended drain lubes for passenger vehicles. If the US goes to the 12,000-30,000 mile change intervals used by most new vehicles in Europe, you will see better - and more $$$ - synthetic lubes become available. However, I really doubt the API would ever promote the use of fuel efficient, extended drain synthetic oils, since this runs counter to ALL their business interests ....
 
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Bror--In what ways are Mobil 1 oil inadequate?...except possibly the perception that something costing $3.95 at WallyWorld can't be all that good? Their xW-30 oils seem to be more than adequate for almost everybody, and their 0W-40 and 15W-50 oils are even better in the right engines. TooSlick--The oil companies business interest is to make money. They'll offer anything for sale that will maximize their return on equity...short oil drain interval, extended, whatever. Ken
 
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quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: I have often wondered that myself; here is a first-rate company with probably the best and largest staff of chemists in the world. Hey, they produced Delvac 1, why not give us zealots (as you stated) a super high performance product as well. Surely we have to rate up there with the truckers?
MolaKule, Given what you said about the VOA of the Mobil System-S 5w40, I'd say they DO make a "super high performance product," they just don't sell it in the U.S. Interesting thing about that System-S, though--it's only passed the MB 229.3 spec whereas the Mobil 1 0w40 has passed the tougher 229.5. Go figure. [Confused]
 
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Jay, I take it as a given that most participants on this forum know the general nature of the two primary synthetic compounds. But that’s not a fair assumption. I was really hoping someone else with a formal chemistry degree would add a helpful sentence or two, but I guess I’ll take a stab at picking apart Mobil’s "helpful" answer: 1) The seal issue is bogus. If you run a 100% PAO formula your seals will harden and your engine will leak oil. It’s just a matter of time. The reputation that synthetic oils cause leaks (especially in older cars) is due to this effect ... and it is mostly Mobil’s fault. It is true that esters have the opposite effect in that they tend to swell seals. But, I’ve yet to even hear of any seal trouble with Red Line’s polyol ester formulas ruining seals. Most synthetics (even Mobil 1) use both compounds in their formula and this is not mentioned anywhere in their answer. As for compatibility, esters are added to PAO to make it more compatible (miscible) with other compounds and additives. Verdict: Mobil’s answer is seriously misleading. 2) In terms of temperature, I believe that esters offer similar low-temp performance when compared to PAO, maybe even slightly superior. At the other end of the scale, it is no contest. Esters rule the high temp end of the temperature scale surpassing PAO’s ability to lubricate by a 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more. I’ve seen tests which show that PAOs tend to form hard deposits when pushed passed their high-temp limits. And at these temperatures (say, in a turbocarger) esters are still doing their job with little problem. This is why esters can be used in jet turbines while PAOs can’t. Verdict: Mobil’s comments are one sided and imply that esters do not compare favorably with PAO across a full temperature range (again, highly misleading). 3) Water and moisture. OK, PAO has an advantage here ... but unless we’re talking about looney-tunes length drain intervals or a car with serious moisture contamination problems, the esters tendency to attract moisture is not a problem. I’ve run Red Line for 7,200 miles and have not had a problem with oxidation or moisture contamination. My results were even skewed because of a coolant leak. [Roll Eyes] So, if you want to choose an oil to store your car in a garage, perhaps Mobil 1 is for you. If you want to drive it ... hard! Then a formula like Red Line will protect your engine better. [Big Grin] 4) As for anti-rusting capabilities, see #3 above. PAOs advantages here are merely theoretical. Look at the results in the Used Oil Analysis section. Look at the Red Line samples and look at the iron levels. If corrosion was a problem, you’d see elevated iron levels and I don’t think I’ve seen one example of this. Again, Mobil making statements the way they did suggests there is a problem with esters ... when there obviously isn’t. [Roll Eyes] A year ago I got in an argument with an Amsoil diehard about esters vs. PAO and he pointed me towards a chart which assigned values between 1 and 5 showing the strengths and weaknesses of PAOs and esters. The chart and accompanying article were biased heavily towards PAO. The problem was they weighed all the attributes equally. Compatibility with a painted surfaces was weighed as heavily as high temperature stability! [Roll Eyes] Mobil doesn’t go this far … but there answer was in the same, smarmy vein. It’s kind of like Castrol touting the benefits of Group III stocks being sold as synthetic oil. One of the important advantages was reduced cost ... but notice they didn’t reduce the retail price at all. [Roll Eyes] That kind of smarmy, crooked politician double-speak really irks me and this is the reason Mobil’s one-sided, misleading answer rubs me the wrong way. [Mad] ’Kule and some others can point out where I’ve gone astray. I’m not a chemist but I’ve been looking at the lube issue for several years now. There may be other attributes to esters I’ve overlooked (such as their polar nature and affinity for metal surfaces) which others may want to comment on. L8274, you are correct ... but we all pretty much agree here that any decent oil will do for gently/modestly driven vehicles. Even PAO or Group III are overkill. That really isn’t the point here at all, we are talking about superlatives. --- Bror Jace
 

MolaKule

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Currently, Mobil uses Trimethylol Propane (TMP) esters and smaller amounts of other esters in the PAO/ester blend, with appropriate additives. The System-S is a spin-off of their Ultron oils, in which a recently developed ester called "Trimethylol Ethane" or TME (a neopolyol ester) is used. The TME is derived from a carboxylic acid of 3,5,5-trimethyl hexanoic acid and an appropriate alcohol. This ester is extremely oxidation stable. This new ester is currently produced in a viscosity of 4.9-5.0 cSt. When blended with various viscosities of PAO, any multivis grade range is possible without VI's.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: The System-S is a spin-off of their Ultron oils, in which a recently developed ester called "Trimethylol Ethane" or TME (a neopolyol ester) is used. The TME is derived from a carboxylic acid of 3,5,5-trimethyl hexanoic acid and an appropriate alcohol. This ester is extremely oxidation stable. This new ester is currently produced in a viscosity of 4.9-5.0 cSt. When blended with various viscosities of PAO, any multivis grade range is possible without VI's.
If this is the case, why does the System-S spec sheet indicate that this oil is a synthetic blend. Is this new ester blended with conventional base oil for the System-S?
 

MolaKule

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Anything is possible, but I took the reading to mean a blend of synthetic oils, which jives with the paper which lists three esters, MPE/TME/DPE. Let me take a closer look at the German .pdf file.
 
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