Public apology to GeorgeCLS re Mobil 1 and esters

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Many of you may well remember my reaction to GeorgeCLS’s announcement last year that the newest formulation of Mobil 1 (SuperSyn) did not contain any esters. Given how modern synthetic oils are built, and the need for some ester in the mix for solvency and seal swell, I was completely unwilling to accept the assertion that Mobil 1 is now “ester-less” at face value. It didn’t help that George’s explanation was that Mobil had invented a PAO that could handle the solvency and seal swell issues on its own. I didn’t buy that at all, especially since my own research had revealed that the “new” ingredient in Mobil 1 SuperSyn was in fact ExxonMobil’s proprietary high viscosity, high VI SuperSyn PAO. I had always assumed that SuperSyn’s pour point was higher than the old Tri-Syn because of the addition of this much more viscous PAO, not because the base oil esters had been removed from the mix. There simply didn’t seem to be any plausible basis for believing that Mobil 1 was now being built without base oil esters. Fast forward to just a few days ago when someone posted about the article detailing XOM’s development of a PAO/AN based oil that was ester-free and my thinking suddenly began to turn around. After mulling this over, I have taken a 180 on this issue and I’m now willing to believe, no, make that DO BELIEVE that Mobil 1 SuperSyn contains no base oil esters. The answer as to how they could do this was right there all the time in the form of the third “synthetic fluid” utilized by Mobil in the making of the Tri-Synthetic formula: An alkylated aromatic. Even with the Tri-Syn Mobil 1, it’s pretty obvious Mobil1 was trying to reduce the level of ester needed by utilizing the alkylated napthelene. If the ultimate goal was to eliminate the base oil esters completely, the Tri-Syn formula was the first step. Success came when they decided to thrown the SuperSyn PAO into the mix. This extremely high VI PAO could no doubt take a higher treat rate of the alkylated aromatic. The AN coupled with an esterized additive package handles the solvency and seal swell issue without the need for base oil esters. SuperSyn’s pour point and Noack numbers are not quite as “good” as Tri-Syn’s because the base oil esters aren’t there anymore. The alkylated aromatic is naturally going to be more volatile than a good stable base oil ester. And the high viscosity SuperSyn PAO is not going to have as low a pour point as the lighter grades of PAO used in the Tri-Syn formula. (I’m not saying SuperSyn is the only PAO used, but the addition of any is going to have a negative effect on pour point.) Given that Mobil 1 SuperSyn shows superior UOA numbers to the old Tri-Syn, I’d say Mobil has pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat: They have built a version of Mobil 1 that is cheaper to produce (because of no base oil esters) and yet performs better than the product it replaced. That’s where my thinking is now on the whole issue of Mobil 1 being ester-less. I believe it is, and I believe the SuperSyn PAO and the alkylated aromatic are what enabled Mobil to do it. So while I think GeorgeCLS’s explanation of how Mobil was able to do it was way off base, I now believe he was right, and I want to publicly apologize for the not-so-kind things I had to say to and about him at the time.
 

G-MAN

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Originally posted by sbc350gearhead: Let me see if I understand this correctly......Mobil 1 base oil, is strictly PAO, but the additive package is dilluted in esters?........is this right?
If I'm right, the base oil blend is comprised of Group IV (PAOs) and Group V (the alkylated aromatic). The additive carrier is an ester, but some of the additives themselves are esters—like the boron.
 
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[Cool] Okay, but then that's only the 10w-30 M1 we're talking about right? I was concerned about the lack of esters in M1 for seals, therefore my current plan is to run ARX plus a cycle of high-mileage oil once every 30k or so since my truck and my wife's car call for 5w-30. I've been using M1 in them although the book for her car says 10w-30 is okay too.
 

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Originally posted by JohnnyO: [Cool] Okay, but then that's only the 10w-30 M1 we're talking about right? I was concerned about the lack of esters in M1 for seals, therefore my current plan is to run ARX plus a cycle of high-mileage oil once every 30k or so since my truck and my wife's car call for 5w-30. I've been using M1 in them although the book for her car says 10w-30 is okay too.
No, we're talking about all grades of Mobil 1 SuperSyn. The seal swell is handled by the esterized additive package and the alkylated aromatic (a Group V base oil). You should have no problems running nothing but Mobil 1 after you complete the Auto-Rx treatment.
 
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Given what we now think comprises M1, is this a 'better' formulation than someting like Amsoil that still uses PAO/POE? I know the M1 is more economical for them but is it a step 'back' from a PAO/POE blend like perhaps their Delvac. It appears to do well enough in the UOAs but then so do a lot of lesser oils. I realize it may all come down to what works for a particular application but, at least in theory, what do you think?
 
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Originally posted by JohnnyO: I was concerned about the lack of esters in M1 for seals, therefore my current plan is to run ARX plus a cycle of high-mileage oil once every 30k or so since my truck and my wife's car call for 5w-30.
Mobil hired a Seal Manufacturer thats prominent in the industry to test their new oil for seal compatibility before it was marketed ..... it's safe to say the Mobil 1 Supersyn is good for the go when it comes to engine seals [Smile]
 

pmt

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by nick778: [QB] Given what we now think comprises M1, is this a 'better' formulation than someting like Amsoil that still uses PAO/POE? I know the M1 is more economical for them but is it a step 'back' from a PAO/POE blend like perhaps their Delvac. OK - so all the Mobil 1 S.S. oils contain very little ester base stock. Does anyone know what percent ester base stock is in Delvac 1? Thanks.
 
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G-Mann II, great post. Delvac 1 has been said to be about 26% ester. I think M1 is a better choice for gas engines then D1 for most vehicles. I agree with G-Mann in that Amsoil's formulations/additive package do tend to be less advanced then Mobil's. M1 SS has a very nice, balanced additive package. Amsoil is comming up on a hard decision at some point when GF-4 does hit. It's always been said you can't buy a world class oil at Walmart for $5qt. I disagree. A company like EM that puts a lot $$ into R&D can deliver it at a lower cost then others could. Remember, Amsoil/Redline have to source all supplies/suppliers so markup is factored into the equation. Amsoil is a very good oil, but when you look at what Mobil is giving you for the $$, it's hard to turn down.
 
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All very interesting. You do have to give M1 credit for taking the high road. They could have simply gone the i.e., lower cost Grp III route in the blend like many other oil companies. Instead, they pushed the technology to maintain a true and arguably better synthetic while lowering their own cost of production and keeping the retail price competitive.
 
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Originally posted by buster: G It's always been said you can't buy a world class oil at Walmart for $5qt. I disagree.
I disagree as well [Razz] . The 5 quart jugs are 19.92 making for a 3.84 a quart oil [Wink] Delvac 1 has been said to be about 26% ester. I think M1 is a better choice for gas engines then D1 for most vehicles. I agree ! Amsoil is comming up on a hard decision at some point when GF-4 does hit. Looks like they are doing something now . Zinc below the 1000 ppm in the 8 buck a quart 0w-30 in the one analysis here ,the near same with two analysis's of Amsoil 10w-30's posted here .
 

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Originally posted by Tones: Wow, isn't this what others were telling you in this thread? And now you post it like it is some kind of revelation? I think you owe more than George...
[Roll Eyes] The article I mentioned above is the "proof" I was looking for. It's one thing to claim no esters, it's quite another to explain how they can pull it off. This article did that, IMO. I owed George an apology because I came dangerously close to insulting him and/or impuning his character over this issue, and for that I am sorry.
 

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Originally posted by Tones: I thought it was explained pretty well in this thread, especially the bit about alkylated aromatics and Mobil's ability to use them to reduce cost.
And I disagree with you. [Smile]
 
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And I do thank you for your kind words of apology. It was difficult (impossible, actually) for me to discuss my assertions re Mobil 1 in detail at the time but you have arrived at the very near full explanation. Let us also not forget that there is more chemical baggage associated with esters than just cost; there are a lot of positive performance issues but some negatives also... Moreover, your words are much appreciated. George Morrison, STLE CLS
 

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Originally posted by nick778: Given what we now think comprises M1, is this a 'better' formulation than someting like Amsoil that still uses PAO/POE? I know the M1 is more economical for them but is it a step 'back' from a PAO/POE blend like perhaps their Delvac. It appears to do well enough in the UOAs but then so do a lot of lesser oils. I realize it may all come down to what works for a particular application but, at least in theory, what do you think?
I don't necessarily think it's a step back. We're not just talking about the base oils. Mobil 1 SuperSyn is on the cutting edge of additive technology, too. The zinc and phos are already down to GF-4 levels, and you've got moly and boron and over base calcium. With this oil, you've essentially got a four-pronged approach to EP/AW: ZDDP, moly, boron, and calcium. The additive package used here isn't cheap by any means, and while Mobil may be saving some money by eliminating the base oil esters, I'd bet the total difference in cost to produce SuperSyn over Tri-Syn is not a lot—maybe on the order of a few cents per quart. But when you're talking about the millions of gallons of this stuff produced anually, those few cents can add up, and that's all the bean counters are interested in. Amsoil may still be using esters in the base oil blend, but the way they build their oils is still "yesterday's news," utilizing a basic two-pronged approach to EP/AW. Since they are not concerned with having to meet the API mandated reduction in phos, they can continue to build their oils with tons of ZDDP to attain acceptable EP/AW numbers. Mobil doesn't have this luxury, hence their approach to EP/AW is more "advanced" than Amsoil's. And the UOAs we are seeing seem to indicate that Mobil's formulation can hold its own against Amsoil's.
 

pmt

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by buster: [QB] G-Mann II, great post. Delvac 1 has been said to be about 26% ester. I think M1 is a better choice for gas engines then D1 for most vehicles. Do you think M1 is better than D1 for gasoline engines because of the specific M1 additive package or because the M1 5W-30 and 10W-30 flow better at low temperatures than D1? Thanks.
 
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Didn't I read here that it is the esters that cause the oil to cling to the metal parts which helps prevent wear when doing a cold start? What are the negatives of using esters?
 
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