Specs that oil companies don't list...

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Oct 20, 2005
Just had a conversation with a tech guy at... a major oil brand. Long story short, the way he answered one of my questions strongly suggested that batch-to-batch variation was one possible reason they didn't list a sulfated ash number for one particular engine oil. Anyone had a similar conversation, or know anything that corroborates this idea? I.e., that one possible reason for not listing a spec for an oil is that it varies too much from batch to batch?
I'm not buying this. Many engine/industry specs require a certain level of SA, so SA can't vary too much from batch to batch, IMO, or else they'd be non compliant with the various approvals that they may be claiming on the label. Now, if an oil does not meet any specs that have an SA component, then I guess that's possible.
You'll see SA listed for almost every HDEO, being that it's part of some of the specifications, as Quattro Pete indicated. Sometimes, it's not on a sheet, but they're almost always 1.0 or 0.9 or 0.99 on sheets I've seen.
The guy I spoke with seemeed to suggest that the variation was well within spec for the approvals this product had. FWIW.
Also, why does the SA vary a lot? To me that would indicate that the add pack amounts/composition varies a lot. If that's that case, I'm not sure I'd be interested in using such an oil that may offer inconsistent performance.
Certain oil companies like SOPUS and Exxon Mobil and Chevron to name a few control their supplies all in house from the oil they pump out of the ground to the base oil refined from that crude, and also the additives which are developed by subsidiary companies like Infineum for example. This would give these companies tighter control over specs compared to companies that purchase base stocks and additives from suppliers like Valvoline for example. This does not imply that those companies that purchase the components are inferior in any way, only that control is easier when everything is in house.
By some of your recent posts, and the fact that you were inquiring about SA, I presume that SA is very important for the spec that you were discussing (e.g. ACEA C3)? When you say major oil brand, is this the same as an oil major? From Wikipedia:
Big Oil is a name used to describe the world's seven or eight largest publicly owned oil and gas companies, also known as supermajors. The supermajors are considered to be BP plc, Chevron Corporation, ExxonMobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Total SA and Eni SpA, with Phillips 66 Company also sometimes described in the past as forming part of the group. In the maritime industry, a group of six companies that control the chartering of the majority of oil tankers worldwide are together referred to as "Oil Majors". These are: Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, Total Fina Elf and ConocoPhillips. Charter parties such as "Shelltime 4" frequently mention the phrase "oil major".
Never mind. I think I figured it out already and it's not an "oil major" but a major oil brand known worldwide. Edit: Never mind +1. Probably not the one I was thinking of since SA is listed on theirs. grin2 popcorn
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If the number is in spec, but not all that great, that would be one reason not to publish it. It makes it harder for competitors to do comparisons. It also stops customers from being scared away by numbers that might result in very little difference in the grand scheme of things.
A recent oil spec sheet I read recently said something like: Typical values given, batch variation possible. Or something like that in small print at the bottom. The most a annoying spec sheets are the ones that don't list a real values, but rather the J300 minimum value that the oil meets or exceeds. These are standing right beside real values in a spec sheet and so can be most confusing.
Originally Posted By: bluesubie
By some of your recent posts, and the fact that you were inquiring about SA, I presume that SA is very important for the spec that you were discussing (e.g. ACEA C3)?
It seems to be important for the combustion chamber lube in a rotary engine, largely to prevent apex seal sticking. I've read that in a few SAE papers and book excerpts, and in the descriptions of certain rotary-specific/rotary-compatible engine oils.
If you are after low SAPS (SA%) the Euro A3 oils are high SAPS often about 1.2 %. The Euro C3 (high HTHS) and C2 (Low HTHS) are mid-SAPS at about 0.8% or a bit less, which is about the same level as Dexos1 oils. The Euro C1 (low HTHS) and C4 (high HTHS) oils are low-SAPS at below 0.5 % SA. The VW 504/507 or Porsche C30 oils are low-SAPS oils. If you can handle a full synthetic (most likely PAO) then track down a VW 504 / 507 low-SAPS oil.
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