Upper Cylinder Lubricants?

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Dec 17, 2012
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Hi Everyone,

Is there any empirical evidence that upper cylinder lubricants perform their intended purpose? I'm not questioning their ability to improve cleaning power, but rather their claims to improve lubrication of the upper cylinder, help valves seat better, and improve MPG.

I've tracked my MPG with Amsoil UCL, and haven't noticed my MPG go outside of it's norm. Same with Lucas UCL Fuel treatment, though I didn't track the MPG as long as I should have to be totally sure. I did try using Lucas UCL with an entire oil duration to test its effect on engine wear: https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/2006-sentra-spec-v-168k-3-8k-uoa-fuel-additive.335601/

The sample on the left is the only one with the Upper Cylinder Lubricant added to the majority of fuel tanks, and there is no significant change in wear metals. While I'd like to believe that adding a lubricant directly to the fuel lubricates the upper cylinder, thus reducing wear and/or improving MPG, I haven't seen any solid evidence of it yet. There are plenty of testimonials, but those could be due to placebo affect or involuntary bias by driving gentler than usual. I also get that their are plenty of people with high mileage who've used UCLs, but that only proves that they aren't harmful because there are plenty of high mileage cars with no fuel additive ever used. Thoughts?
 
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I would be concerned about carbon buildup and damage to the cats with using an UCL over the long term.
For passenger car use, the engine typically outlasts the rest of the car anyway, in my experience.
 

silversapphire

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Fair points carviewsonic. There is a subset of the population that run their cars long enough to necessitate engine rebuilds/new engines, I suppose that this population may practically benefit from using a UCL regularly (if they are effective).

Many UCLs claim to improve cleaning power, I wonder if carbon build up would be an issue? Cat clogging is also worrying.
 
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what exactly is a UCL supposed to lube?

and how are those parts surviving for hundreds of thousands of miles without it?

/sarcasm. Doubt it hurts much unless it contributes to deposits.
 
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None of the automotive OEMs claim that consumers should use UCL products, nor are UCL products part of any OEM engine testing regime.

I'd like to see 3rd party independent test data (ideally double blind) that demonstrates these products work. Producers of UCL products are either unable or unwilling to submit their products for testing to these criteria.

As an aside, if you have enough money for naming rights on an NFL stadium (Lucas Oil) then you certainly have enough money for robust and independent product testing.
 
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Joined
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Hi Everyone,

Is there any empirical evidence that upper cylinder lubricants perform their intended purpose? I'm not questioning their ability to improve cleaning power, but rather their claims to improve lubrication of the upper cylinder, help valves seat better, and improve MPG.

I've tracked my MPG with Amsoil UCL, and haven't noticed my MPG go outside of it's norm. Same with Lucas UCL Fuel treatment, though I didn't track the MPG as long as I should have to be totally sure. I did try using Lucas UCL with an entire oil duration to test its effect on engine wear: https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/2006-sentra-spec-v-168k-3-8k-uoa-fuel-additive.335601/

The sample on the left is the only one with the Upper Cylinder Lubricant added to the majority of fuel tanks, and there is no significant change in wear metals. While I'd like to believe that adding a lubricant directly to the fuel lubricates the upper cylinder, thus reducing wear and/or improving MPG, I haven't seen any solid evidence of it yet. There are plenty of testimonials, but those could be due to placebo affect or involuntary bias by driving gentler than usual. I also get that their are plenty of people with high mileage who've used UCLs, but that only proves that they aren't harmful because there are plenty of high mileage cars with no fuel additive ever used. Thoughts?
When was the last time you had to use a ridge cutter on a cylinder? I havent in many years, many engines still have the cross hatch all the way down the bore even at the top with a lot of miles on them.
 

4WD

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this is one of the Shell formulas with UCL chemicals (not necessarily oil) … and more recently ExxonMobils Synergy gasoline was debated here …

 
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A little mmo or 2 stoke isn't going to destroy your cats especially at a very light dosage. I prefer to run the tank on regular gas and a splash of tc-w3. No check engine lights for emissions ever have popped up on me doing that. Also I run gumout before every oil change. Full bottle to a full tank of gas.
 
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I'd think that modern Top Tier fuels go farther for overall health and cleanliness. As stated above, Exxon-Mobil and Shell contain elements to their fuel that help keep anything fuel touches free and clear. Shell particularly places their product as being a cleaner, lubricant and overall health promoter and keeping fuel system parts good. The same things an add on bottle of UCL claim.

I run Shell V-Power Nitro+ in the SS, she's really happy and smooth on that fuel. Once a year before an OCI, I'll dump a full bottle of Redline SL-1 into half a tank of fuel, run her nearly empty and then swap oil and filters. As far as I know and see, no issues with idle, run and deposits. It even cleans out the bores of my exhaust tips. (!)


For pure sh*ts and giggles, I overdosed a 4.3L Vortec V-6 on Marvel Mystery oil in hopes of clearing an EGR that was acting weird. Oh, it loosened up carbon alright, and totally plugged the EGR screen with little carbon rocks! Found out in bumper to bumper traffic when I had no vacuum assist for the brakes. :eek: 😨 She smoked like a bomb too, but always ran. No more MMO in tank. Pulled the EGR aside and then fired the engine for a minute and she blasted the EGR pipe clear. Reassembled 'er and never had to use it again. But that time when I was overdosed, she'd bump start, even cold! Seriously, reach into the cab, just touch the key to start and she would fire nearly instantly. But other than that, noticed no real benefit over fresh fuel and fluids.

Following and dosing according to the label on UCL products won't harm catalysts. They're hydrocarbon products. A *teensy* bit more in the fuel stream isn't going to kill them off. But then, what benefit do they provide over decent fresh gas?
 
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3020
Hi Everyone,

Is there any empirical evidence that upper cylinder lubricants perform their intended purpose? I'm not questioning their ability to improve cleaning power, but rather their claims to improve lubrication of the upper cylinder, help valves seat better, and improve MPG.

I've tracked my MPG with Amsoil UCL, and haven't noticed my MPG go outside of it's norm. Same with Lucas UCL Fuel treatment, though I didn't track the MPG as long as I should have to be totally sure. I did try using Lucas UCL with an entire oil duration to test its effect on engine wear: https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/threads/2006-sentra-spec-v-168k-3-8k-uoa-fuel-additive.335601/

The sample on the left is the only one with the Upper Cylinder Lubricant added to the majority of fuel tanks, and there is no significant change in wear metals. While I'd like to believe that adding a lubricant directly to the fuel lubricates the upper cylinder, thus reducing wear and/or improving MPG, I haven't seen any solid evidence of it yet. There are plenty of testimonials, but those could be due to placebo affect or involuntary bias by driving gentler than usual. I also get that their are plenty of people with high mileage who've used UCLs, but that only proves that they aren't harmful because there are plenty of high mileage cars with no fuel additive ever used. Thoughts?

Oil analysis doesn't pick up changes in wear in the combustion chamber.

Reductions in vibration, temperature and emissions with an improvement in mileage and power can occur when you improve upper cylinder lubrication. However these changes can be hard to measure in an engine that is running well. It's much easier to pick these changes in engines that run too hot, vibrate too much, run dirty or are too noisy.

Changes to the combustion chamber would include the upper cylinder, compression ring, valve seats, valve guides and turbo charger (if one exists).

Thus measuring the compression on an engine might be a good test?

:)
 
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When was the last time you had to use a ridge cutter on a cylinder? I havent in many years, many engines still have the cross hatch all the way down the bore even at the top with a lot of miles on them.

Not ever since early nineties, I'm too young to have torn into 80s engines though.
 

gathermewool

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As a test I bought two cases of Amsoil‘s UCL to use off and on. I‘m 3/4 through case 1 and don’t have an concrete results to share. All appears equal, whether there’s UCL or not.
 
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I used Redline SI1 consistently for a year. When I cleaned the throttle body it was easily cleaned with a rag. Just a wipe. No scrubbing etc. No other results noticed.
 
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Been driving and maintaining my vehicles for nearly 50 years . Somehow I've managed to get along just fine without all of that stuff . Never had an engine failure or even one that burned oil . Lucky ? :geek:
 
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Not ever since early nineties, I'm too young to have torn into 80s engines though.
I started trade school in 1971 and most of the stuff we got to work on was 10-15 years old, at less than 100K the cylinders usually had a deep ridge.
The oil was not very good and this sort of excessive wear was common. This was the era where products like MoS2, STP and others may have been of some benefit.
 
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I started trade school in 1971 and most of the stuff we got to work on was 10-15 years old, at less than 100K the cylinders usually had a deep ridge.
The oil was not very good and this sort of excessive wear was common. This was the era where products like MoS2, STP and others may have been of some benefit.
I remember in 1974 my FIL donated his 1960 Rambler American to my school auto shop. I got to rebuild a flat-head 6 with about 80K miles on it. The car was well maintained, my FIL was a mechanic, a good mechanic. He bought the car used with about 40k miles on it IIRC. There had to be about 1/8" ridge at the top of the cylinders that had to be attacked with a ridge reamer to get the pistons out from the top of the engine. As you said earlier you don't see much of that any more.
 
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I started trade school in 1971 and most of the stuff we got to work on was 10-15 years old, at less than 100K the cylinders usually had a deep ridge.
The oil was not very good and this sort of excessive wear was common. This was the era where products like MoS2, STP and others may have been of some benefit.

The carburettors weren't any good either, and most of them wouldn't have been adjusted, washing the bores with fuel. And if they had good carburettors they were likely too complicated for joe public to adjust properly. A very big contributing factor imo.

the B20 I got thaught on didn't have the ridges
 
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The carburettors weren't any good either, and most of them wouldn't have been adjusted, washing the bores with fuel. And if they had good carburettors they were likely too complicated for joe public to adjust properly. A very big contributing factor imo.

the B20 I got thaught on didn't have the ridges
The carbs were terrible, the accelerator pump plungers were leather and leaked badly, auto choke bi metallic springs in the intake that rusted, hot air chokes, hot water chokes, failed heat riser valves, choke pull offs that failed etc all contributed to cylinder wash down.
The Euro and Japanese cars that commonly used a manual choke were much better if the operator used them properly. Ideally just closing it long enough to get it running and shut it down quickly, in Southern and lower Western states, it was much of the time not even needed.

Nothing about cars other than IMO some of the greatest styling ever was much good on cars from that era.
 
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