~Should I choose an oil by its base?~

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Jan 18, 2003
How important is the additive package compared to the base oil? On some of the UOA I see good reports from German Castrol 0w 30, Rotella T 5w 40. Yet, looking at some of the additives on these they don't look that great to me. Do I need to turn my head different when reading these? [freaknout]
Well I used to think Amsoil was big on additives but it turns out they use basic additive package and are more concerned with the PAO base oil so to answer your question, I don't know. [Big Grin]
That is not a tough question. The additive package has everything to do with the lubricant's performance except at the extreme ends of the temperature scale and service life. The obsession with base oils is just that and very little to do with an engine oil's performance in 2003 when very likely 99% of the product out there on the shelves is group II or better. All this talk of PAO, and the ensuing group III bashing is more often started by you know who and what they sell.
The problem here is what looks like a very report for one oil may not be as good for another oil. I think it may be possible that a given engine may require a stronger or at least a more suitabole additive or even a more suitable basse package. What I am saying is that I don't think the question you asked as a broad answer-only a specific answer for a specific application. Hmmm... I'm not sure if what I said makes any sense [I dont know] [Eek!]
Sorry Bob, I've been testing the boundries of this board for the last coulple of days. Your membership has almost doubled in the last month which proves that some boundries are necessary. But can't we have a little fun and kick some sand around??? Hey! Thats my pail and shovel Robert... OK OK you busted me.
Gee I always thought an oil was a sum of all of it's parts. One part falls down the whole formula suffers. Don't get me wrong - If you have a lousy base oil, the oil will not hold up.
Well I think that the oil is the sum of all of it's parts. SOme additives are not organic metalic adds. Esters are being added wich can perform some of the functions. So you will not always see the adds show up on spectro sheet. As for group III vashing that is another story. I do not think that it is the fact that G III oils are bad. I think it is the fact that they are sold for the same price as much more expensive group IV and V oils!!! SO their is no way that they can compare well to PAO, and Ester synthetics. I would equate it to chargeing the same price for cut class as you would charge for a diamond!
Gee I did not mean AMSoil guys, I always thought that Mobil I was over represented during various discussions. Lets rev this discussion up a little. Its a way over due, and I'm getting bored. Everytime the synthetic question comes up it seems to be Mobil I this, Delvac and German Mobil that, and all about their aleged "superior PAO" Hoopla. I thought that there were around 400 Mobil salesmen lurking here. I can only count about maybe 4 Amsoil reps. Even AMSoil with their initial hate for group III base stocks has adapted them in a relativly new product. If they have the additive chemistry right, good for them and their customers. People are still buying into the notion that base stock number is the be-all and end-all when it comes to evaluating any type of lubricant. Here is my list of priorities: 1. Flow 2. additive chemistry 3. price 4. availability Now if anyone wants to discuss flow shear, how a "synthetic" molacule differs from a mineral molacule, that is down at the bottom of the page under question of the day. Hint: It has something to do with branches. All tangled up. Just like the ones in a thorn bush. Smoke and mirrrors? Light weights are cheaper for the oil companies to produce than heavy engine oils. For them to blend a cheaper oil lighter or not, and reduce wear at the same time, the FM and AW additives have to be monkey'd with. Jacking up the wrong additives is a result of guess work and not science, but the high additive numbers impresses most. Robust additive package, is a catch phrase. My favorite question has always been; what do you need all that TBN for in a gasoline engine for? High ZDDP for one is an additive that is talked about al the time, and its roll assumed of utmost important. ZDDP is on its way out if you look at the API's new requirements. What does that additive do exactly when the engine oil is over say 230*F? Superior film strength of synthetics? Huh? I mean eh? Can somebody explain what film strength is? Cut glass is good enough for the oldies that I go out with. [ August 26, 2003, 08:44 AM: Message edited by: userfriendly ]
Guys,you are awesome I don't think I will ever be able to figure out which is better whether its the base oil or the additive package or the brand, but if 10 is good 27 should be better!!!
Thanks for the replies. Userfriendly hit on something about additives over 230 F. Is it true that some A/W additives don't start working till they warm up a little. Or is it more like 1 works when the oil is cold and another takes over when the oils warms up some? [I dont know]
Steve; That is what some oil companies want you to believe and its not true. If designing an additive package was as simple as pouring in excessive amounts of everything, then everyone could do just that. For example there are engine oils with TBN levels of 70. There are gear lubricants with 10 times the ZDDP levels of the highest engine oil and so on. The base stock comes last and has to do with extending the service life of the lubricant. Synthetic industrial lubricants and fluids sometimes have a 10,000 hour service life, or just over one year of continous operation often at elevated temperatures. Other applications such as in generating plants, hydraulic turbine fluids are in service for years on end. Those industrial applications are where synthetics including group IIIs really out-shine their mineral counterparts. The bennifits from the application of synthetics for the use in surface transportation vehicles is marginal at best. The technical departments at large oil companies cannot agree if there is any bennifit at all from the the application of synthetic base lubes to private vehicles. How can we hope to resolve anything discussing the subject with a consumer's level of knowledge? Molakule has been trying to pound in to our heads the difference between frictional losses from the oil film, which is different from engine frictional losses that causes wear. The synthetics may have a lower oil friction or drag on the engine during operation than mineral oils that have no FM additives. FM, or friction modified engine oils have additives that reduce the drag on the engine that oil shearing creates. When you cut a block of butter you are shearing it. If you heat the butter or the knife, the shear drag is reduced, and you can cut the butter easier and spend less energy cutting it. Friction modified oil improves fuel efficiency by reducing the drag the oil film has on engine parts such as on cylinder walls. It took me a long time to grasp this, but the friction from the oil has no effect on wear, just the level of parasitic viscous drag on the engine. AW, anti Wear additives, sometimes called boundry lubricant additives, come into play when metal to metal contact is present. Different additives may come into play at different engine temperatures and force. So jacking up one additive or the other is not going to help your lubricant prevent wear on your engine parts. Now I hope someone that knows what they are talking about will jump in and correct my mistakes. [ August 26, 2003, 07:52 PM: Message edited by: userfriendly ]
Originally posted by Steve S: Guys,you are awesome I don't think I will ever be able to figure out which is better whether its the base oil or the additive package or the brand, but if 10 is good 27 should be better!!!
It's all the above! Hey the Base quality oil is So very important, and you would not believe, but without the proper balance of additives it means nothing whatsoever! Simple. hugh! Let me tell you a little story. Company Z calls Company A because there was an emergency and all company Z's stock was needed and there was not enough time to make more because only a handfull of MFG in the country, so they get Company A to re-label their existing batch (which was better Base oil) and make the run because Company A had to work 24-7 to fill the demand. Well over 10 and 15 years later, those people that bought that product from Company Z with Company A's base oil (at first their total package then after the batch ran out, their oil + company Z's additive package), well those customers property lasted longer, protected better, in fact the base oil helped them...True Story BTW. Oil is different from well to well, and some wells have better oil, period! The better oil from the better wells, will last longer, and perform better and stay cleaner, and accept more additives, etc. If Company A were to make the SAME exact formula, spec etc for Brand "123" oil with a bad oil, and a good oil, and a superior oil, they would in effect have three "123" products even though they appear the same on the surface. Oil is not the appearance on it's face, it is the whole ownership including the strawman, all complete; fiction, natural man, I am. Maybe Base oil is like the position on the starting line to a race-car race, pole position is not everything but it sure does count. Additives may be like the race car and it's parts, they have a lot do do with the race. What counts probably most is the loose nut behind the wheel, cause he gets you from point A-B. Without him and his team (oil and samples) there's no best position or the best car, none can finish first, it all falls on "the driver"! btw - I liked the movie! Yes, base oil is important, but unless you know and can track it exactly, you're searching for the Holy Grail.
Robbie; That was very good, but I did not understand one word of it. Now let us assume that you have some privledged information. You want to share it with us, but if you name names and dates ect...Your going to get in trouble. Instead we get children's stories and riddles. Lets say Castrol has a refinery fire. Shell covers their short position until the plant is up and running. Later Castrol N.A. sells their interests to QS/Penz, then Shell buys them out. Exxon and Lubrizol are still in court over a little copper in a patented additive that is now in its 3rd appeal, so Shell uses their own VII /additive package that was in the contracted Castrol stuff 3 years earlier instead of the EXXON or Lubrizol package that QS/PENZ was using before the Shell take over. BTW, I just made that all up. [ August 27, 2003, 03:58 AM: Message edited by: BOBISTHEOILGUY ]
Hirev, Most of the "experts" slamming Group III oils have never even tried them and are just repeating things they have heard.... I've run both the Petro Canada 5w-40 synthetic and the Amsoil XL-7500 oils in my vehicles and done oil analysis testing on them. I was impressed with both products and wouldn't have any issues with recommending either one. However, there are two areas where I think the Group III's don't quite measure up to the top tier, PAO based synthetics: 1) Long drain capability - the extreme properties of the group III basestocks aren't as good as PAO's, so they require a bit more "doping" with additives. With the right additive chemistry, you can stabilize a group III, gas engine oil out to perhaps 10k-12k miles under ideal driving conditions. For consistently being able to run drain intervals > 10k miles, I'd go with the PAO based oil. 2) Shear stability in the wide range multigrades - Typically the VI's of the group III basestocks are lower than for the best PAO's, so they require a higher percentage of polymeric thickener. I have noticed that some of the 5w-40 group III oils will shear significantly. For example, the batch of PC, 5w-40 I ran started out at 15.4 Cst and ended up at 12.85 Cst. I'd avoid the wide range, 0w-40/5w-40/5w-50 Group III oils as a general rule and stick with the narrow range 5w-20/5w-30/10w-30 products. It's hard to say what the future of Group III oils will be? ...since the gas engine ones are defined as synthetics, it's hard to see the prices coming down significantly. Folks would infer the product had been cheapened and tend to avoid it. I think the Group III, 5w-40 commercial engine oils that are being sold at $12.00-$15.00/gallon will gain considerable market share, particularly in cold climates where 15w-40 may be marginal to use. TS
Originally posted by Hirev: Thanks for the replies. Userfriendly hit on something about additives over 230 F. Is it true that some A/W additives don't start working till they warm up a little. Or is it more like 1 works when the oil is cold and another takes over when the oils warms up some? [I dont know]
I thought Oil was supposed to be cooler than this. Remember, that for every 18-degrees the life of the oil or is it equipment doubles... hummm maybe I need to get an oil cooler. I know Toyota Tacomas have one already there... -- I don't have the numbers or the names, but yes and no. Some additives will never be used and are never designed to be used unless under SEVERE stress... Others are designed to be there Whenever say the temp gets too high, and like Zinc there can be two different types there, one for Diesel and the other Gasoline...different operating temps, one working with the diesel the other with Gas. Some kick in gear when X - Y - Z happens, and others are the maids and engineers that are always working. But in a well balanced oil, they all work with one another. I would also assume the labs would take this in consideration too, is that correct for most labs?
Again this is not a slam of group III oils. But if someone offered to sell my 2K of New Jerseys best cut glass for the same prices as 2k diamond I would have no problem choosesing. Even if they sparkled the same under the high intensity lighting I would not buy a lesser product for the same price. It is about priceing! Why pay $4.97 for 5W50 Syntec GIII oil when I can buy 15W50,10W30,5W30 Mobil 1 for $3.78 a quart and get a PAO. It does not make good business sense at all.
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