Will not use High Mileage fluids

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1,088
Location
Baltimore, MD
I like the extra strength features of the high mileage motor oils, ATFs, etc. But the one thing I do not like is the "seal conditioners". And I'm refusing to use them just because of that. My understanding is that the seal conditioners soften the seals to make them prevent leaks better. Well, that is great if you have a leak, but I don't. Anything that "softens the seals" sounds like it is chemically attacking them in some way. And I can't help wondering if this will eventually degrade the seals to the point that they will leak... especially if I wanted to return to a standard fluid rather than a high-mileage one. Am I completely guessing wrong on how these seal conditioners actually operate?
 
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6,425
Location
New Braunfels
HMM... I must be stupid .. I have been running maxlife synthetic in a new vehicle For nearly a year now. I don't think it is any different than using an oil with a high ester content for the seals. Or running AutoRX maintenance?? I think seal conditioning is good at any age (this is "conditioning" not "swelling") I will soon turn in an analysis and put the 3rd crankcase full into this vehicle. I see the oils as a good value wher the formulaters can take a few extra liberties.
 
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4,872
Location
MN
I was turned off by those as well. I've heard that seal swellers can be a problem after you switch away from them. I would guess that they are NOT like Auto-RX. In fact I believe Frank had a comment once on these components, in one major brand.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,945
Location
The Motor City
If seal conditioning is good at any age, then why aren't all oils including factory fill spec'ed with seal conditioners? They way I look at it, if you have... say 70K left on a seal (perhaps a valve stem seal) before it becomes a problem, the seal conditioners will allow extra wear and you may get only 35K on that seal.
 
Messages
6,425
Location
New Braunfels
quote:
Originally posted by Kestas: If seal conditioning is good at any age, then why aren't all oils including factory fill spec'ed with seal conditioners? Who says some do not have them in differnt proprotions but not under that terminology? What do esters contribute to in heavily PAO synthetics? Perhaps if we knew the material that comprises the seal conditioner label that scares people we could be more at ease with its use. But then that's TMI on the specific formulations.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,945
Location
The Motor City
So, you're suggesting that seal conditioners may have been formulated in the oil all along. This would infer that all this "MaxLife" hype is just hollow marketing. I do agree that we need more concrete information. Hopefully, somebody may be able to take a peek behind the proprietary curtain.
 
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6,425
Location
New Braunfels
Just as a reassurance I agree. The seal conditioners may just be in a higher concentration than in the standard PCMO. Only time will tell if I am being foolish with the use of Max syn in a newish engine.. but I highly doubt that I will seee any negative results. It is good that people have reservations as it brings into question details about the products that we only have marketing answers to and no hard evfidence. The Marketing does suggest that they are safe for new cars and are warranty compliant. I do hope more information becomes available.
 
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13,228
Location
1/2 hr N.E. of Detroit
Seal conditioners are not in all oils because that would drive the oil jug prices upwards. High mileage oils are "improved" regular oils. Where are these added wear UOAs comparing the regular to high mileage?
 
Messages
550
Location
Wisconsin
Group 1 base oils have their own built in "seal conditioners" . . . reactive compounds that attack the seals, soften them, and swell them a little. One of the reasons that the early synthetics caused seal problems is that they were so inert. The seals were no longer attacked and shrunk back. Unfortunately they wore-in while swollen, and didn't fit tightly when they returned to normal. The less reactive the oil, the less it swells the seals. So . . . all oils with group II or higher basestocks probably have some additive to swell the seals like a group 1. The higher mileage oils definitely have more, in an attempt to tighten up old worn seals. I would not run a higher mileage oil in a new engine. The seals are going to get biger and softer and wear-in that way. It sounds like a pretty good recipe for seal problems later, especially if one ever tries to go back to a regular oil. I was considering Supertech Synthetic for my new car once, but noticed all of it near where I live was marked "Higher Mileage" and had seal "conditioner" (attacker) listed in the writing on the back of the bottle. No way do I want to shorten the life of my new seals with that stuff . . . maybe in my '93 beater Nissan, if it actually leaked.
 
Messages
391
Location
Richmond, VA
Ditto! AFAIC, seal swell additives are bad news in a vehicle that doesn't leak, and really not a very good idea in those that do. IMHO, if you have a leaky seal, you replace the seal.
 
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369
Location
midwest
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't any oil condition seals if the veh is run on occassion and not left sitting for long periods? I was under the impressiong that by not letting your car go undriven for long periods and changing the oil as it is needed will help prolong seal life. And as anythingthing else, over time, they will eventually need to be replaced anyway.
 
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341
Location
Upstate, NY
Is anyone absolutely sure how 'seal conditioners' work? A seal conditioner is not necessarily a seal 'attacker'. Do we KNOW that non-high mileage labeled oils DON'T have 'seal conditioners' in them, or that the higher mileage oils have more than regular oil? Where is a reference for the damage caused by seal conditioners in modern oils? These questions need to be answered!
 
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13,132
Location
By Detroit
I have run Maxlife in my motorhome for two years now (about 15,000 miles). It didn't leak before. It does not leak now. I would run Maxlife in a new engine. Valvoline says you can. I trust they did their homework when they formulated the oil. It is seal conditioner not seal sweller. Sweller may be a component of the conditioner, but it is balanced to prevent problems. If you buy a new car would you wait until the dashboard is sun dried and cracking to treat it with Armor All, or would you rather treat it when new so it never gets sun dried and cracking. That is one way to view the seal conditioners (though if your seals are cracking, I doubt anything will help). What makes Maxlife superior (to All Climate and maybe even to Durablend) is the PAO component, the higer detergent, and seal conditioner.
 

kanling

Thread starter
Messages
1,088
Location
Baltimore, MD
quote:
A seal conditioner is not necessarily a seal 'attacker'.
But it could be. Somehow it is changing the material properties of the seal (at least temporarily) so there is obviously some chemical interaction. And I would expect that there are some lasting effects from any chemical interaction. If the seal conditioner process really made better seal properties, then wouldn't the seal manufacturer use such a treatment process at the factory? As said, we really need to know more about what these conditioners are and how they work.
 
Messages
14,013
Location
Retired | Wausau, WI
Most of the High Mileage do not have seal conditioners in them. What they do have is some ester to help condition the seals. There is nothing in the High Mileage oils that will harm the seals. If and I repeat IF you have a high mileage vehicle that the valve stem seals are starting to leak, the high mileage oils will help. If the seals are shot, then you have to replace them. This stuff was originally designed for oil burning high mileage GM's with leaky valve stem seals. Sometimes they even help front and rear main seals if they are not shot. If there is some other chemical other than esters put in the oil, I agree, I would not use it either.
 

kanling

Thread starter
Messages
1,088
Location
Baltimore, MD
quote:
Most of the High Mileage do not have seal conditioners in them. What they do have is some ester to help condition the seals.
Er, uh, please clarify that a little bit if you could. All of the HM oils I have seen mention something about seals, help slow/prevent leaks, or something to that effect. None go into any specifics. I really would like to use a non-synthetic HM oil temporarily for its extra detergent properties (but I don't want to use an HDEO because I can't easily get it in the grade I want). If an oil mfr would come out with a high mileage oil sans seal conditioner, I would buy it right now. They could call it "Extra Protection" oil instead of "high mileage". That would also remove the doubt about what happens if you use it in a newer car.
 
Messages
14,013
Location
Retired | Wausau, WI
And that's the problem, they are not specific. What they should say is they contain synthetic ester to help condition the seals and stop small leaks. You have the chemist design the oil then the stupid marketing department trys to come up with some fancy term for something simple. These oils also use a higher VI base stock to help cut down on oil consumption due to worn rings.
 

kanling

Thread starter
Messages
1,088
Location
Baltimore, MD
So Johnny, how does an ester condition the seals in a way that the seals are not permantently affected? I would feel much better knowing what is happening to my seals by using these products because right now my seals are completely happy. I don't need to upset them by accident. And does anybody know which HM oils use esters and which use "chemical-X" (if any) to screw around with my seals?
 
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