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    oil information

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:09 pm

    These guides are courtesy of Guy from opie oils, purveyors of the finest oils etc available

    visit www.opieoils.co.uk for all your oil needs

    I have locked the thread to keep it tidy.

    any questins please starta new thread to make searching easier in the future.
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    oil advice for modifiers

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:10 pm

    If you are "modding" your car and adding BHP then consider your oil choice carefully as the stock manufacturers recommended oil will not give you the protection that your engine requires.

    A standard oil will not be thermally stable enough to cope with higher temperatures without "shearing" meaning that the oil will not give the same protection after a couple of thousand miles as it it when it was new.

    Let’s start with the fundamentals. An engine is a device for converting fuel into motive power. Car enthusiasts get so deep into the details they lose sight of this!

    To get more power, an engine must be modified such that it converts more fuel per minute into power than it did in standard form. To produce 6.6 million foot-pounds per minute of power (ie 200 BHP) a modern engine will burn about 0.5 litres of fuel per minute.(Equivalent to 18mpg at 120mph). So, to increase this output to 300BHP or 9.9 million foot-pounds per minute it must be modified to burn (in theory) 0.75 litres.

    However, fuel efficiency often goes out of the window when power is the only consideration, so the true fuel burn will be rather more than 0.75 litres/min.

    That’s the fundamental point, here’s the fundamental problem:

    Less than 30% of the fuel (assuming it’s petrol) is converted to all those foot-pounds. The rest is thrown away as waste heat. True, most of it goes down the exhaust, but over 10% has to be eliminated from the engine internals, and the first line of defence is the oil.

    More power means a bigger heat elimination problem. Every component runs hotter; For instance, piston crowns and rings will be running at 280-300C instead of a more normal 240-260C, so it is essential that the oil films on cylinder walls provide an efficient heat path to the block casting, and finally to the coolant.

    Any breakdown or carbonisation of the oil will restrict the heat transfer area, leading to serious overheating.

    A modern synthetic lubricant based on true temperature-resistant synthetics is essential for long-term reliability. At 250C+, a mineral or hydrocracked mineral oil, particularly a 5W/X or 10W/X grade, is surprisingly volatile, and an oil film around this temperature will be severely depleted by evaporation loss.

    Back in the 1970s the solution was to use a thick oil, typically 20W/50; in the late 1980s even 10W/60 grades were used. But in modern very high RPM engines with efficient high-delivery oil pumps thick oils waste power, and impede heat transfer in some situations.

    A light viscosity good synthetic formulated for severe competition use is the logical and intelligent choice for the 21st century.
    You must seriously consider a "true" synthetic for "shear stability" and the right level of protection.

    Petroleum oils tend to have low resistance to “shearing” because petroleum oils are made with light weight basestocks to begin with, they tend to burn off easily in high temperature conditions which causes deposit formation and oil consumption.
    As a result of excessive oil burning and susceptibility to shearing (as well as other factors) petroleum oils must be changed more frequently than synthetics.
    True synthetic oils (PAO’s and Esters) contain basically no waxy contamination to cause crystallization and oil thickening at cold temperatures. In addition, synthetic basestocks do not thin out very much as temperatures increase. So, pour point depressants are unnecessary and higher viscosity basestock fluids can be used which will still meet the "W" requirements for pumpability.

    Hence, little or no VI improver additive would need to be used to meet the sae 30, 40 or 50 classification while still meeting 0W or 5W requirements.

    The end result is that very little shearing occurs within true synthetic oils because they are not "propped up" with viscosity index improvers. There simply is no place to shear back to. In fact, this is easy to prove by just comparing synthetic and petroleum oils of the same grade.

    Of course, the obvious result is that your oil remains "in grade" for a much longer period of time for better engine protection and longer oil life.
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    synthetic vs mineral

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:11 pm

    The basic benefits are as follows:

    Extended oil drain periods
    Better wear protection and therefore extended engine life
    Most synthetics give better MPG
    They flow better when cold and are more thermally stable when hot
    Esters are surface-active meaning a thin layer of oil on the surfaces at all times

    If you want to know the reasons why then please read on but, warning - Long Post!

    Stable Basestocks

    Synthetic oils are designed from pure, uniform synthetic basestocks, they contain no contaminants or unstable molecules which are prone to thermal and oxidative break down.
    Because of their uniform molecular structure, synthetic lubricants operate with less internal and external friction than petroleum oils which have a non-uniform molecular structure.
    The result is better heat control, and less heat means less stress to the lubricant.

    Higher Percentage of Basestock

    Synthetic oils contain a higher percentage of lubricant basestock than petroleum oils do.
    This is because multi-viscosity oils need a great deal of pour point depressant and viscosity improvers to operate as a multigrade.
    The basestocks actually do most of the lubricating. More basestocks mean a longer oil life.

    Additives Used Up More Slowly

    Petroleum basestocks are much more prone to oxidation than synthetic oils. Oxidation inhibitors are needed in greater quantities in petroleum oils as they are used up more quickly.
    Synthetic oils do oxidize, but at a much slower rate therefore, oxidation inhibiting additives are used up more slowly.

    Synthetic oils provide for better ring seal than petroleum oils do. This minimizes blow-by and reduces contamination by combustion by-products. As a result, corrosion inhibiting additives have less work to do and will last much longer in a synthetic oil.

    Excellent Heat Tolerance

    Synthetics are simply more tolerant to extreme heat than petroleum oils are. When heat builds up within an engine, petroleum oils quickly begin to burn off. They are more volatile. The lighter molecules within petroleum oils turn to gas and what's left are the large molecules that are harder to pump.

    Synthetics have far more resistance as they are more thermally stable to begin with and can take higher temperatures for longer periods without losing viscosity.

    Heat Reduction

    One of the major factors affecting engine life is component wear and/or failure, which is often the result of high temperature operation. The uniformly smooth molecular structure of synthetic oils gives them a much lower coefficient friction (they slip more easily over one another causing less friction) than petroleum oils.
    Less friction means less heat and heat is a major contributor to engine component wear and failure, synthetic oils significantly reduce these two detrimental effects.
    Since each molecule in a synthetic oil is of uniform size, each is equally likely to touch a component surface at any given time, thus moving a certain amount of heat into the oil stream and away from the component. This makes synthetic oils far superior heat transfer agents than conventional petroleum oils.

    Greater Film Strength

    Petroleum motor oils have very low film strength in comparison to synthetics. The film strength of a lubricant refers to it's ability to maintain a film of lubricant between two objects when extreme pressure and heat are applied.
    Synthetic oils will typically have a film strength of 5 to 10 times higher than petroleum oils of comparable viscosity.
    Even though heavier weight oils typically have higher film strength than lighter weight oils, an sae 30 or 40 synthetic will typically have a higher film strength than an sae 50 or sae 60 petroleum oil.

    A lighter grade synthetic can still maintain proper lubricity and reduce the chance of metal to metal contact. This means that you can use oils that provide far better fuel efficiency and cold weather protection without sacrificing engine protection under high temperature, high load conditions. Obviously, this is a big plus, because you can greatly reduce both cold temperature start-up wear and high temperature/high load engine wear using a low viscosity oil.

    Engine Deposit Reduction

    Petroleum oils tend to leave sludge, varnish and deposits behind after thermal and oxidative break down. They're better than they used to be, but it still occurs.
    Deposit build-up leads to a significant reduction in engine performance and engine life as well as increasing the chance of costly repairs.
    Synthetic oils have far superior thermal and oxidative stability and they leave engines virtually varnish, deposit and sludge-free.

    Better Cold Temperature Fluidity

    Synthetic oils do not contain the paraffins or other waxes which dramatically thicken petroleum oils during cold weather. As a result, they tend to flow much better during cold temperature starts and begin lubricating an engine almost immediately. This leads to significant engine wear reduction, and, therefore, longer engine life.

    Improved Fuel Economy

    Because of their uniform molecular structure, synthetic oils are tremendous friction reducers. Less friction leads to increased fuel economy and improved engine performance.
    This means that more energy released from the combustion process can be transferred directly to the wheels due to the lower friction. Acceleration is more responsive and more powerful, using less fuel in the process.

    In a petroleum oil, lighter molecules tend to boil off easily, leaving behind much heavier molecules which are difficult to pump. The engine loses more energy pumping these heavy molecules than if it were pumping lighter ones.

    Since synthetic oils have more uniform molecules, fewer of these molecules tend to boil off and when they do, the molecules which are left are of the same size and pumpability is not affected.

    Synthetics are better and in many ways, they are basically better by design as they are created by chemists in laboratories for a specific purpose.
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    why do oils lose viscosity with use

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:13 pm

    Why do oils lose viscosity with use?

    Viscosity Index Improvers.

    An oils viscosity will decrease as the engine temperature rises. Viscosity Index Improvers are added to reduce this thinning. They are a key addative in the production of multigrade oils.

    VI Improvers are heat sensitive long chain, high molecular weight polymers that minimise the viscosity loss of the oil at high temperatures. They work like springs, coiled at low temperatures and uncoiling at high temperatures. This makes the molecules larger (at high temps) which increases internal resistance within the thinning oil. They in effect "fight back" against the viscosity loss in the oil.

    "Shearing"

    The long chain molecules in VI Improvers are prone to "shearing" with use which reduces their ability to prevent the oil from losing viscosity. This "shearing" occurs when shear stress ruptures the long chain molecules and converts them to shorter, lower weight molecules. The shorter, lower weight molecules offer less resistance to flow and their ability to maintain viscosity is reduced.

    This shearing not only reduces the viscosity of the oil but can cause piston ring sticking (due to deposits), increased oil consumption and increased engine wear.

    Like basestock quality, VI Improvers also vary in quality. As with many items the more you pay, the better the finished article and more expensive, usually synthetic oils are likely to incorporate better VI improvers. All other things being equal the less VI improver an oil contains, the better it will stay in grade by resisting viscosity loss.

    Which oils require more VI Improvers?

    There are two scenarios where large amounts of these polymers are required as a rule.

    Firstly in "wide viscosity span" multigrades. By this I mean that the difference between the lower "W" number and the higher number is large for example 5w-50 (diff 45) and 10w-60 (diff 50) are what is termed as "wide viscosity span" oils.

    Narrow viscosity oils like 0w-30 (diff 30) or 5w-40 (diff 35) require far less VI Improvers and therefore are less prone to "shearing".

    Secondly, mineral and hydrocracked (petroleum synthetic oils) require
    more VI Improvers than proper PAO/Ester (Group IV or V) synthetic oils
    as they have a higher inherent VI to begin with, this is due to
    differences in the molecular straucture of the synthetic base oils
    compared to mineral oils

    It is a fact that many synthetics require significantly less VI Improver to work as a multigrade and are therefore less prone to viscosty loss by shearing.
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    basestocks catergories and descriptions

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:14 pm

    Basestock categories and descriptions

    All oils are comprised of basestocks and additives. Basestocks make up the majority of the finished product and represent between 75-95%.

    Not all basestocks are derived from petroleum, in fact the better quality ones are synthetics made in laboratories by chemists specifically designed for the application for which they are intended.

    Basestocks are classified in 5 Groups as follows:

    Group I

    These are derived from petroleum and are the least refined. These are used in a small amount of automotive oils where the applications are not demanding.

    Group II

    These are derived from petroleum and are mainly used in mineral automotive oils. Their performance is acceptable with regards to wear, thermal stability and oxidation stability but not so good at lower temperatures.

    Group III

    These are derived from petroleum but are the most refined of the mineral oil basestocks. They are not chemically engineered like synthetics but offer the highest level of performance of all the petroleum basestocks. They are also known as “hydrocracked” or “molecularly modified” basestocks.
    They are usually labelled/marketed as synthetic or semi-synthetic oils and make up a very high percentage of the oils retailed today.

    Group IV

    These are polyalphaolefins known as PAO and are chemically manufactured rather than being dug out of the ground. These basestocks have excellent stability in both hot and cold temperatures and give superior protection due to their uniform molecules.

    Group V

    These special basestocks are also chemically engineered but are not PAO.
    The main types used in automotive oils are diesters and polyolesters. Like the group IV basestocks they have uniform molecules and give superior performance and protection over petroleum basestocks. These special stocks are used in all aviation engines due to their stability and durability. Esters are also polar (electro statically attracted to metal surfaces) which has great benefits. They are usually blended with Group IV stocks rather than being used exclusively.

    It is common practice for oil companies to blend different basestocks to achieve a certain specification, performance or cost. The blending of group IV and V produces lubricants with the best overall performance which cannot be matched by any of the petroleum basestock groups.
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    lubricating a modded or track car, some advice

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:15 pm

    Lubricating a modded or track car, some advice!


    If you are "modding" your car and adding BHP or using it on track, consider your oil choice carefully as the stock manufacturers recommended oil will not give you the protection that your engine requires.

    A standard oil will not be thermally stable enough to cope with higher temperatures without "shearing" meaning that the oil will not give the same protection after a couple of thousand miles as it it when it was new.

    Let’s start with the fundamentals. An engine is a device for converting fuel into motive power. Car enthusiasts get so deep into the details they lose sight of this!

    To get more power, an engine must be modified such that it converts more fuel per minute into power than it did in standard form. To produce 6.6 million foot-pounds per minute of power (ie 200 BHP) a modern engine will burn about 0.5 litres of fuel per minute.(Equivalent to 18mpg at 120mph). So, to increase this output to 300BHP or 9.9 million foot-pounds per minute it must be modified to burn (in theory) 0.75 litres.
    However, fuel efficiency often goes out of the window when power is the only consideration, so the true fuel burn will be rather more than 0.75 litres/min.

    That’s the fundamental point, here’s the fundamental problem:

    Less than 30% of the fuel (assuming it’s petrol) is converted to all those foot-pounds. The rest is thrown away as waste heat. True, most of it goes down the exhaust, but over 10% has to be eliminated from the engine internals, and the first line of defence is the oil.

    More power means a bigger heat elimination problem. Every component runs hotter; For instance, piston crowns and rings will be running at 280-300C instead of a more normal 240-260C, so it is essential that the oil films on cylinder walls provide an efficient heat path to the block casting, and finally to the coolant.

    Any breakdown or carbonisation of the oil will restrict the heat transfer area, leading to serious overheating.

    A modern synthetic lubricant based on true temperature-resistant synthetics is essential for long-term reliability. At 250C+, a mineral or hydrocracked mineral oil, particularly a 5W/X or 10W/X grade, is surprisingly volatile, and an oil film around this temperature will be severely depleted by evaporation loss.

    Back in the 1970s the solution was to use a thick oil, typically 20W/50; in the late 1980s even 10W/60 grades were used. But in modern very high RPM engines with efficient high-delivery oil pumps thick oils waste power, and impede heat transfer in some situations.

    A light viscosity good synthetic formulated for severe competition use is the logical and intelligent choice for the 21st century.
    Consider a "true" synthetic for "shear stability" and the right level of protection.

    Petroleum oils tend to have low resistance to “shearing” because petroleum oils are made with light weight basestocks to begin with, they tend to burn off easily in high temperature conditions which causes deposit formation and oil consumption.

    As a result of excessive oil burning and susceptibility to shearing (as well as other factors) petroleum oils must be changed more frequently than synthetics.
    True synthetic oils (PAO’s and Esters) contain basically no waxy contamination to cause crystallization and oil thickening at cold temperatures. In addition, synthetic basestocks do not thin out very much as temperatures increase. So, pour point depressants are unnecessary and higher viscosity basestock fluids can be used which will still meet the "W" requirements for pumpability.

    Hence, little or no VI improver additive would need to be used to meet the sae 30, 40 or 50 classification while still meeting 0W or 5W requirements.

    The end result is that very little shearing occurs within true synthetic oils because they are not "propped up" with viscosity index improvers. There simply is no place to shear back to. In fact, this is easy to prove by just comparing synthetic and petroleum oils of the same grade.

    Of course, the obvious result is that your oil remains "in grade" for a much longer period of time for better engine protection and longer oil life.
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    a word of advice, you get what you pay for

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:16 pm

    A word of caution – You get what you pay for!


    Below is an article written by John Rowland, Silkolene/Fuchs Chief R & D Chemist for 40 years.

    Quote:

    Costs of synthetics vary considerably. The most expensive are the “Ester” types originally only used in jet engines. These cost 6 to 10 times more than high quality mineral oils. The cheapest synthetics are not really synthetic at all, from a chemists point of view. These are in fact specially refined light viscosity mineral oils known as “hydrocracked”. These have some advantages over equivalent mineral oils, particularly in lower viscosity motor oils such as 5w-30 or other oils with a low “W” rating such as 5w-50 etc and they cost about 1.5 times more than good quality mineral fractions.

    We use several different grades of this base oil, where appropriate. This is the “synthetic” which is always used in cheap oils that are labelled “synthetic”.

    Yes it’s a cruel world, you get what you pay for!

    Now, you may ask, why are these special mineral oils called “synthetic”?

    Well, it was all sorted in a legal battle that took place in the USA about ten years ago. Sound reasons (including evidence from a Nobel Prize winning chemist) were disregarded and the final ruling was that certain mineral bases that had undergone extra chemical treatments could be called “synthetic”.

    Needless to say, the marketing executives wet their knickers with pure delight!
    They realised that this meant, and still does, that the critical buzz-word “synthetic” could be printed on a can of cheap oil provided that the contents included a few percent of “hydrocracked” mineral oil, at a cost of quite literally a few pence.

    So, the chemistry of “synthetics” is complex and so is the politics!

    The economics are very simple. If you like the look of a smart well-marketed can with “synthetic” printed on it, fair enough, it will not cost you a lot; and now you know why this is the case.

    But, if you drive a high performance car, and you intend to keep it for several years, and maybe do the odd “track day”, then you need a genuine Ester/PAO (Poly Alpha Olefin) synthetic oil.

    This oil costs more money to buy, because it costs us a lot of money to make, very simply, you always get what you pay for!

    Unquote:

    This article is something that all car owners should read and understand before buying oil and I’ve posted this with Johns permission.
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    oil - cold weather selection

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:17 pm

    Oil - Cold weather selection


    In this cold weather, it is beneficial to use an oil that has good cold start flow properties as it will get to the parts of the engine that need it far more quickly.

    The "w" number which means winter is the key here and the lower the better.

    It may seem odd but a 15w or 20w will struggle to get around the engine in very cold temps and I would strongly recommend a 10w or better still a 5w for better cold start performance.

    90% of all engine wear occurs on cold start because the oil get thicker the colder it is which causes engine wear.

    These numbers explain what I mean and bear in mind that the oil will be the following thickness at 100degC (sae 40 = 14cst, sae 50 = 18cst and sae 60 = 24cst)

    At 0degC these are the numbers (thick!)

    Grade.................At 0C.........At 10C...........At 100C

    0W/20.............328.6cSt......180.8cSt..........9cS t

    5W/40.............811.4cSt......421.4cSt..........14c St

    10W/50............1039cSt.......538.9cSt..........18cS t

    15W/50.............1376cSt.......674.7cSt.........18cS t

    20W/50.............2305cSt.......1015cSt..........18cS t

    If you are using anything more than a 10w oil, always warm the car properly before driving it as the oil needs time to circulate.

    Just a word of warning really.
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    10w-60 my reasoning, an explanation

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:18 pm

    10w-60 My reasoning, an explanation


    I get asked all the time "why do you advise against the use of 10w-60?".

    Let's get one thing clear, I supply 10w-60 and recommend it where it is appropriate for the engine or the application but conversly I caution against it's misuse!

    I have debated this many times on many car forums and I know there are some that do not agree with me however I have never had a reasonable technical explanation why 10w-60 is in fact suitable, it's certainly not mentioned in the handbooks of many modern highly tuned performance cars, with the exception of some Alfa Romeos for "spirited driving" whatever that is meant supposed mean.

    Explaining this is diffucult so there may be questions but I'll try my best to explain it in plain English!

    Lets look at what oil specs actually mean and particularly the higher number which is in fact the oils SAE number (the "w" number is in fact the cold crank viscosity and measured in a different way) The SAE number is measured by the oils viscosity at 100degC.

    Your cars require according to the manufacturers specs, sae 30, 40 and in some cases sae 50.

    To attain the relevent sae number the oil has to be at 100degC (no thinner than)

    SAE 30 11cst approx
    SAE 40 14cst approx
    SAE 50 18cst approx

    Centistokes (cst) is the measure of a fluid's resistance to flow (viscosity). It is calculated in terms of the time required for a standard quantity of fluid at a certain temperature to flow through a standard orifice. The higher the value, the more viscous the fluid.

    As viscosity varies with temperature, the value is meaningless unless accompanied by the temperature at which it is measured. In the case of oils, viscosity is generally reported in centistokes (cst) and usually measured at 40degC and 100degC.

    SAE 60 is in fact 24cst viscosity at 100degC!

    This is 33% thicker than an sae 50, 70% thicker than an sae 40 and over 100% thicker than an sae 30!

    So, what's the problem with this thickness?

    Well, this is measured at 100degC and at lower temps (70-90degC) all oils are thicker than at 100degC so the problem is compounded to some extent.

    The downsides of such a thick oil (when not specified) are as follows:

    Additional friction, heat and wear.
    A reduction of BHP at the wheels
    Lower fuel consumption

    The thicker the oil is the more friction and drag and the more power the engine needs to move it around the engine which inevitably translates to less at the wheels.

    So, when do we spec a thicker oil?

    Well, you will probably have seen us on occassions recommending a 10w-50 but only in these circumstances.

    1. If the car is heavily modded and heat/oil temperatures are excessive.
    2. If the car is used on track and heat/oil temperatures are excessive.
    3. If it's required by the handbook.

    Our criteria for this is based on oil temps as an sae 40 semi-synthetic can handle around 110degC for limited periods whereas a proper synthetic sae 40 can hande 120-130degC for prolonged periods due to its thermal stability.

    Once you see more than say 120degC for prolonged periods an sae 50 is adviseable as it is 18cst at 100degC and still 11cst at 130degC! This is in fact the same as an sae 30 at 100degC.

    More importantly at 90degC an sae 40 is 15cst, an sae 50 is 20cst and an sae 60 is 30cst!

    In a worst case scenario with thick oils (when not required) is that you will experience air entrainment and cavitation inside the bearings at high RPM. Not clever stuff!

    I know this is technical stuff but oil is a combination of science and engineering and few people know enough about it to make an informed choice. Just because your mates use it and have had no problems is not a good enough reason to use it, your engine would prefer and benefit from the correct oil.
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    synthetic myths

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:19 pm

    Synthetic Myths


    I read so much stuff on the internet about Synthetic Oils that is simply not true so I felt it was time to tell the truth rather than accept the myth.

    So in future when you see someone state any of these, please do me a favour and point them at this thread!

    Synthetic motor oils damage seals:

    Complete Nonsense! Any oil seals made after 1975 or thereabouts will be entirely compatible with any type of synthetic engine oil. (The same goes for synthetic gear oils and transmission oil seals.) It must be understood that everything associated with lubrication is thoroughly tested. The major oil manufacturers do not make oils that attack seals; seal manufacturers ensure that their products function correctly with modern lubricants.

    Synthetic oils are too thin:

    It is true that the best synthetic blends can be low viscosity (0w-20 for example), but they do not have to be! It is also true that the latest engines are designed to run on thin oil, which improves power output and fuel consumption. Even so, thicker synthetic based grades (10w-50, 15w-50, 20w-50etc) are available for air-cooled motors, older engines, or severe high temperature conditions. These grades can also benefit rebuilt classic engines dating back to the 1940s.

    Synthetics mean higher oil usage:

    The complete opposite of the truth. Oil consumption in well-maintained modern engines is mainly down to the oil evaporating at high temperatures. Synthetic base oils (specially the PAO and ester types) are very resistant to evaporation loss even in low viscosity blends, so oil consumption is minimised. Obviously, engines with worn valve guides, defective seals and worn piston rings will use oil regardless, so there is no point in using expensive synthetics as an ‘old banger lube’.

    Synthetic oils are not compatible with other oils:

    All engine oils intended for normal road use in recent 4-stroke engines are compatible with one another, regardless of the base make-up. (mineral, PAO/ester/hydrocracked synthetic, and semi-synthetic.) There is no need to flush or strip down an engine when changing from one type to another. (…but be careful with the exception: castor oil based racing oils.)

    Synthetic oils produce sludge:

    Well honestly, this is just totally daft. All synthetic bases are more resistant to oxidation than mineral oil, and sludge is largely due to oxidation. In any case, all motor oils intended for road use meet the higher API specs such as SH, SJ, SL and diesel equivalents. One of the main reasons for introducing the API specs back in the 1950s was to deal with oil sludge problems. All high-spec oils run very clean, especially synthetics.

    Synthetic oils cannot be used with catalytic converters:

    ‘Cats’ will perform more efficiently and last longer if synthetic based engine oil is used. Their lower volatility (see 3 above) means that less oil reaches the combustion chambers via crankcase ventilation, so there are less harmful ash residues from burnt oil to de-activate the catalyst matrix.

    Synthetic oils can void warranties:

    People who make statements such as this never define the type of synthetic, thus revealing their ignorance. Provided that an oil meets or exceeds the API and viscosity ranges specified in the handbook, the warranty will not be affected. (By law, OEMs cannot insist that a particular brand of oil must be used to maintain warranty.)

    Synthetic oils will last forever:

    The better synthetic blends will certainly last longer*, especially in high performance or high annual mileage situations, but ‘forever’ is not on, simply because contaminants such as soot, and acid gasses from traces of sulphur in the fuel degrade the oil.
    (*Provided that a very shear resistant VI improver polymer is used in the oil formulation to keep the viscosity up to spec. This point is often forgotten.

    Synthetic oils are too expensive:

    True, for older vehicles that use a lot of oil or are almost ready for the scrap yard. For cars that are worth maintaining, the right types of synthetic oil are a cost-effective way of retaining ‘as new’ performance, low fuel consumption, and reducing maintenance costs. (See 6 above, for example. ‘Cats’ aren’t cheap!)
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    its all very well using a cheap oil but............

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:21 pm

    It's all very well using a cheap oil but......



    Cheaper oils are in the long run a false economy, In the first mile the higher volatility, inferior anti-wear performance and poor temperature resistance of a cheap grade of oil will start to show. Obviously, there will be no immediate effects. The whole point of top quality oil is long-term performance retention, which is particularly valuable to people who actually own the car they drive. The ‘performance’ enthusiast will want to retain the new-spec BHP figures, and the cost-conscious will want to see good fuel economy with 100,000 on the clock.

    Cheap oil, (particularly 10W/40 or thinner) evaporates quickly, and the vapour is drawn into the combustion chambers via the crankcase ventilation system. This means calcium and zinc oxide deposits (from oil additives) which will cause pre-ignition, so the knock sensor retards the ignition, giving less power and poor fuel economy. The deposits also contaminate the exhaust catalyst, leading to high emissions and MOT failure. How much does an average catalyst box cost these days?!

    In most cases synthetic oils (proper ones that is) are the way to go if you intend to keep the car or the car is somewhat special or used hard.
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    oil labeling explained

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:23 pm

    Oil labelling explained


    What’s written on your oil bottle and what does it mean.

    This post may seem like going back to basics but I am constantly surprised by the amount of people who do not know or understand what is written on a bottle of oil and therefore no idea of what they are buying/using.

    To be blunt about the subject, if a bottle of oil does not contain the following basic information then DO NOT buy it look for something that does!

    1) The purpose for which it is intended (i.e. Motor oil, Gear oil etc)

    2) The viscosity (i.e. 10w-40, 5w-30 etc for Motor oils and 80w-90, 75w-90 etc for Gear oils)

    3) The specifications that it meets (should contain both API and ACEA ratings)

    4) The OEM Approvals that it carries and the codes (i.e. MB229.3, VW503.00, BMW LL01 etc)

    Ignore the marketing blurb on the label it is in many cases meaningless and I will explain later what statements you should treat this with some scepticism

    So, what does the above information mean and why is it important?

    THE BASICS

    All oils are intended for an application and in general are not interchangeable. You would not for example put an Automatic Transmission Oil or a Gear Oil in your engine! It is important to know what the oils intended purpose is.

    VISCOSITY

    Most oils on the shelves today are “Multigrades”, which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 10w-40 etc)

    Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the old routine of using a thinner oil in winter and a thicker oil in summer.

    In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter, not weight or watt or anything else for that matter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature. The lower the “W” number the better the oils cold temperature/cold start performance.

    The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100 degC. This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits. Once again the lower the number the thinner the oil, a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100 degC etc. Your handbook will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 etc is required.

    SPECIFICATIONS

    Specifications are important as these indicate the performance of the oil and whether they have met or passed the latest tests or whether the formulation is effectively obsolete or out of date.
    There are two specifications that you should look for on any oil bottle and these are API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d’Automobiles) all good oils should contain both of these and an understanding of what they mean is important.

    API

    This is the more basic as it is split (for passenger cars) into two catagories. S = Petrol and C = Diesel, most oils carry both petrol (S) and diesel (C) specifications.

    The following table shows how up to date the specifications the oil are:

    PETROL

    SG - Introduced 1989 has much more active dispersant to combat black sludge.

    SH - Introduced 1993 has same engine tests as SG, but includes phosphorus limit 0.12%, together with control of foam, volatility and shear stability.

    SJ - Introduced 1996 has the same engine tests as SG/SH, but phosphorus limit 0.10% together with variation on volatility limits

    SL - Introduced 2001, all new engine tests reflective of modern engine designs meeting current emissions standards

    SM - Introduced November 2004, improved oxidation resistance, deposit protection and wear protection, also better low temperature performance over the life of the oil compared to previous categories.

    Note:

    All specifications prior to SL are now obsolete and although suitable for some older vehicles are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date SL and SM specifications.

    DIESEL

    CD - Introduced 1955, international standard for turbo diesel engine oils for many years, uses single cylinder test engine only

    CE - Introduced 1984, improved control of oil consumption, oil thickening, piston deposits and wear, uses additional multi cylinder test engines

    CF4 - Introduced 1990, further improvements in control of oil consumption and piston deposits, uses low emission test engine

    CF - Introduced 1994, modernised version of CD, reverts to single cylinder low emission test engine. Intended for certain indirect injection engines

    CF2 - Introduced 1994, defines effective control of cylinder deposits and ring face scuffing, intended for 2 stroke diesel engines

    CG4 - Introduced 1994, development of CF4 giving improved control of piston deposits, wear, oxidation stability and soot entrainment. Uses low sulphur diesel fuel in engine tests

    CH4 - Introduced 1998, development of CG4, giving further improvements in control of soot related wear and piston deposits, uses more comprehensive engine test program to include low and high sulphur fuels

    CI4 Introduced 2002, developed to meet 2004 emission standards, may be used where EGR ( exhaust gas recirculation ) systems are fitted and with fuel containing up to 0.5 % sulphur. May be used where API CD, CE, CF4, CG4 and CH4 oils are specified.

    Note:

    All specifications prior to CH4 are now obsolete and although suitable for some older vehicles are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date CH4 & CI4 specifications.

    If you want a better more up to date oil specification then look for SL, SM, CH4, CI4

    ACEA

    This is the European equivalent of API (US) and is more specific in what the performance of the oil actually is. A = Petrol, B = Diesel and C = Catalyst compatible or low SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur).

    Unlike API the ACEA specs are split into performance/application catagories as follows:

    A1 Fuel economy petrol
    A2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)
    A3 High performance and/or extended drain
    A4 Reserved for future use in certain direct injection engines
    A5 Combines A1 fuel economy with A3 performance

    B1 Fuel economy diesel
    B2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)
    B3 High performance and/or extended drain
    B4 For direct injection car diesel engines
    B5 Combines B1 fuel economy with B3/B4 performance

    C1-04 Petrol and Light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 low SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
    C2-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
    C3-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible, Higher performance levels due to higher HTHS.

    Note: SAPS = Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulphur.

    Put simply, A3/B3, A5/B5 and C3 oils are the better quality, stay in grade performance oils.

    APPROVALS

    Many oils mention various OEM’s on the bottle, the most common in the UK being VW, MB or BMW but do not be misled into thinking that you are buying a top oil because of this.

    Oil Companies send their oils to OEM’s for approval however some older specs are easily achieved and can be done so with the cheapest of mineral oils. Newer specifications are always more up to date and better quality/performance than the older ones.

    Some of the older OEM specifications are listed here and depending on the performance level of your car are best ignored if you are looking for a quality high performance oil:

    VW – 500.00, 501.00 and 505.00

    Later specs like 503, 504, 506 and 507 are better performing more up to date oils

    MB – 229.1

    Later specs like 229.3 and 229.5 are better performing more up to date oils.

    BMW – LL98

    Later specs like LL01 and LL04 are better performing more up to date oils.


    FINALLY

    Above is the most accurate guidance I can give without going into too much depth however there is one final piece of advice regarding the labelling.

    Certain statements are made that are meaningless and just marketing blurb, here are a few to avoid!

    Recommended for use where……………
    May be used where the following specifications apply……………
    Approved by………………………..(but with no qualification)
    Recommended/Approved by (some famous person, these endorsements are paid for)
    Racing/Track formula (but with no supporting evidence)

    Also be wary of statements like “synthetic blend” if you are looking for a fully synthetic oil as this will merely be a semi-synthetic.

    Like everything in life, you get what you pay for and the cheaper the oil the cheaper the ingredients and lower the performance levels.
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    nanolub solid lubricant - a miracle

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:24 pm

    Nanolub Solid Lubricant - A Miracle?

    We are asked all the time about the use of magic addatives / miracle cures.

    This one is certainly no exception in its claims.

    Having read about it, I asked Silkolene was this a miracle addative and were the claims possible or more importantly technically possible?

    If you're interested in this sort of stuff, please read on as it's an eye-opener!

    Quote: John Rowland (Silkolene's Chemist)

    The mode of action of the ‘NanoLub’ particles is based upon a fallacy, i.e., that very small spheres can reduce friction and carry high loads by rolling between two moving surfaces, by analogy with ball bearings. (Their ‘Technical Note’ states: ‘NanoLub………….is extremely strong and rolls along surfaces to provide excellent lubrication. In fact, this simply does not happen due to effects that are not important at ‘macro’ scale, but significant at ‘micro’, and very important at ‘nano’ scales.

    If an average size ball made of hard material rests on (for example) a toughened steel surface, it will make a small indentation. (Nothing is perfectly rigid, not even diamond.) If a force is applied to the ball, the depth of the indentation will increase, but so will its area; with a large ball, the area will be large relative to the depth. Provided that the elastic limit of the steel (Young’s Modulus) is not exceeded, the indentation will be restored to its original size when the force is removed. Thanks to this effect, precision ball and roller bearings have been successfully used for about 120 years. However, if a I micron (1000 nano-metres) diameter sphere is pressed into contact with a steel surface, the maximum possible area of the indentation will of course be equal to the maximum cross-sectional area of a 1 micron sphere, which is 7.9 x 10 to -13 square metres! In other words, a very light pressure will easily exceed the elastic limit of the steel and embed the sphere in its surface. Even 1mm hard steel balls, only used in very lightly-loaded ball bearings, have a cross-sectional area 1 million times greater. (The NanoLub particles are said to be 80 – 220 nanometres, or 0.08 to 0.22 microns in diameter.)

    The embedding of hard particles into bearing surfaces is well known to bearing manufacturers, and its effects have been well understood for many years: by initiating micro-cracks and grain boundary dislocations, the fatigue life of rolling-element bearing surfaces is severely curtailed. All manufacturers insist that long bearing life depends upon clean oil or grease. There have been numerous studies published showing that particulates reduce bearing life, so NanoLub must not be used in any application where this type of bearing is used. (Similar effects occur between gear teeth.)

    High-speed plain bearings as used in all present-day automotive engines depend upon ‘hydrodynamic’ lubrication, which depends upon thick (100 micron or more) fluid films generated by motion and viscosity. (This was researched by the Victorian engineer Beauchamp Tower in the late 19th Century). So particles smaller than 1 micron will have little opportunity to act as a lubricant in a much thicker oil film. Even so, embedding can occur at start-up/shutdown where ‘boundary’ thin film lubrication is dominant, leading to bearing damage. As with rolling bearings, hard particles in the oil are not a good idea, hence the use of oil and air filters on all engines made since about 1950.

    The makers of NanoLub correctly point out that: ‘Common solid lubricants are layered compounds like graphite, molybdenum disulphide and tungsten disulphide. The layers slide past each other to reduce friction.’ Unfortunately, they seem to have failed to understand that layered solid lubricants act as lubricants only because they are layered. One sheet of graphitic carbon atoms for example is not a lubricant; two are! If a layered solid lubricant is treated in such a way so that its layers cannot move relative to each other, it cannot act as a lubricant, so the ‘nested sphere’ structure of NanoLub actually prevents it from acting as a lubricant.

    In practice, I strongly suspect that the ‘nano-spheres’ actually disintegrate under high pressure, so the WS2 can act as a layered solid lubricant. (All rather ironic that NanoMaterials Inc. have gone to great lengths to stop WS2 working, and the only occasion when it has some effect is when the nano-particles break down!) Although they draw comparisons with the C60 buckminsterfullerene spherical ‘nano-particle’, this is a much smaller (0.7nano-metre) sphere which is a true molecule and consequently very resistant to fracture.

    The ‘NanoLub Technical Note’ includes some wear test data, without stating the type of apparatus used. It is well known that some primitive wear testers such as the ‘Falex’ and ‘4-Ball’ generate unrealistically high pressures which do not replicate ’real-world’ conditions. (In the 1980s Shell published a table of wear test results ‘proving’ that milk and beer were superior lubricants to SAE 90 gear oil according to some types of wear test. I can send a copy I you wish.) The NanoLub tests are not very rigourous, using unspecified ‘Gear Oil 85W/140’ with and without the additive. A correct and believable procedure would involve using a mineral base oil with various levels of NanoLub, dispersed ‘conventional’ WS2, and a sulphur/phosphorus EP compound such as Anglemol 99. I confidently predict that properly controlled wear and friction tests using reputable apparatus such as the FZG Gear procedure would show NanoLub to be no more effective than conventional particle-free additives which act chemically or electrostatically, thus having no adverse effect on bearing life.

    As a general comment, I find it difficult to believe that the founders of ‘ NanoMaterials Inc’ could be so ignorant of the vast amount of research and practical experience that has gone into lubrication problems over the past 200 years. Tomas Young, who researched the elasticity of materials around 1810, would have clearly understood the fallacy of very small ball bearings, for example. Any first-year Engineering student could have pointed out the pitfalls.

    In common with many ‘magic additive’ advocates, there is also the curious belief that dry-lubricated bearings can operate at low friction. In fact, any reputable engineer avoids oil or grease-free bearings like the plague, because regardless of the coating used the friction is always ten times worse than an oil-lubricated situation, and over 100 times worse than a pressure-fed hydrodynamic bearing!

    Even so, they’ve got a unit on the ‘Weizmann Science Park’ and a (virtual?) office in New York, so presumably somebody believes in them! But of course, looking on the Internet I see that they have the support of Wall Street, where fools are soon parted from their money.

    Unquote:

    I rest my case on magic addatives!
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    buying oils, some basic advice

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:26 pm

    buying oils , some basic advice


    This post may seem like going back to basics but we are constantly surprised by the amount of people who do not know or understand what is written on a bottle of oil and therefore have no idea of what they are looking for, buying or using.

    This post should help as a basic guide, for more detailed information contact us and we will be happy to help.

    So, to be blunt about the subject, if a bottle of oil does not contain the following basic information then DO NOT buy it look for something that does!

    1) The purpose for which it is intended (i.e. Motor oil, Gear oil etc)

    2) The viscosity (i.e. 10w-40, 5w-30 etc for Motor oils and 80w-90, 75w-90 etc for Gear oils)

    3) The specifications that it meets (should contain both API and ACEA ratings)

    4) The OEM Approvals that it carries and the codes (i.e. MB229.3, VW504.00, FORD 913a/b, BMW LL04 etc)

    Ignore the marketing blurb on the label it is in many cases meaningless and we will explain later what statements you should treat with skepticism.

    So, what does the above information mean and why is it important?

    THE BASICS

    All oils are intended for an application and in general are not interchangeable. You would not for example put an Automatic Transmission Oil or a Gear Oil in your engine! It is important to know what the oils intended purpose is.

    VISCOSITY

    Most oils on the shelves today are “Multigrades”, which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades (i.e. 10w-40 etc)

    Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the old routine of using a thin oil in winter and a thicker oil in the summer.

    In a 10w-40 for example the 10w bit (W = winter, not weight or watt or anything else for that matter) simply means that the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity/flow at low temperature.

    The lower the “W” number the better the oils cold temperature/cold start performance. I.E. 5w is better than 10w etc

    The 40 in a 10w-40 simply means that the oil must fall within certain viscosity limits at 100 degC. This is a fixed limit and all oils that end in 40 must achieve these limits.

    Once again the lower the number the thinner the oil, a 30 oil is thinner than a 40 oil at 100 degC etc. Your handbook will specify whether a 30, 40 or 50 etc is required.


    SPECIFICATIONS

    Specifications are important as these indicate the performance of an oil and whether it has met or passed the latest tests or whether the formulation is effectively obsolete or out of date.

    There are two specifications that you should look for on any oil bottle and these are API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d’Automobiles) all good oils should contain both of these and an understanding of what they mean is important.

    API

    This is the more basic of the two specs as it is split (for passenger cars) into two catagories.

    S = Petrol and C = Diesel, most oils carry both petrol (S) and diesel (C) specifications.

    The following table shows how up to date the specifications the oil are:

    PETROL

    SG - Introduced 1989 has much more active dispersant to combat black sludge.

    SH - Introduced 1993 has same engine tests as SG, but includes phosphorus limit 0.12%, together with control of foam, volatility and shear stability.

    SJ - Introduced 1996 has the same engine tests as SG/SH, but phosphorus limit 0.10% together with variation on volatility limits

    SL - Introduced 2001, all new engine tests reflective of modern engine designs meeting current emissions standards

    SM - Introduced November 2004, improved oxidation resistance, deposit protection and wear protection, also better low temperature performance over the life of the oil compared to previous categories.

    Note:

    All specifications prior to SL are now obsolete and although suitable for some older vehicles are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date SL and SM specifications.

    DIESEL

    CD - Introduced 1955, international standard for turbo diesel engine oils for many years, uses single cylinder test engine only

    CE - Introduced 1984, improved control of oil consumption, oil thickening, piston deposits and wear, uses additional multi cylinder test engines

    CF4 - Introduced 1990, further improvements in control of oil consumption and piston deposits, uses low emission test engine

    CF - Introduced 1994, modernised version of CD, reverts to single cylinder low emission test engine. Intended for certain indirect injection engines

    CF2 - Introduced 1994, defines effective control of cylinder deposits and ring face scuffing, intended for 2 stroke diesel engines

    CG4 - Introduced 1994, development of CF4 giving improved control of piston deposits, wear, oxidation stability and soot entrainment. Uses low sulphur diesel fuel in engine tests

    CH4 - Introduced 1998, development of CG4, giving further improvements in control of soot related wear and piston deposits, uses more comprehensive engine test program to include low and high sulphur fuels

    CI4 Introduced 2002, developed to meet 2004 emission standards, may be used where EGR ( exhaust gas recirculation ) systems are fitted and with fuel containing up to 0.5 % sulphur. May be used where API CD, CE, CF4, CG4 and CH4 oils are specified.

    Note:
    All specifications prior to CH4 are now obsolete and although suitable for some older vehicles are more than 10 years old and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date CH4 & CI4 specifications.

    If you want a better more up to date oil specification then look for SL, SM, CH4, CI4

    ACEA

    This is the European equivalent of API (US) and is more specific in what the performance of the oil actually is. A = Petrol, B = Diesel and C = Catalyst compatible or low SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur).

    Unlike API the ACEA specs are split into performance/application catagories as follows:

    A1 Fuel economy petrol
    A2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)
    A3 High performance and/or extended drain
    A4 Reserved for future use in certain direct injection engines
    A5 Combines A1 fuel economy with A3 performance

    B1 Fuel economy diesel
    B2 Standard performance level (now obsolete)
    B3 High performance and/or extended drain
    B4 For direct injection car diesel engines
    B5 Combines B1 fuel economy with B3/B4 performance

    C1-04 Petrol and Light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 low SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
    C2-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
    C3-04 Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible, Higher performance levels due to higher HTHS.

    Note: SAPS = Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulphur.

    Put simply, A3/B3, A5/B5 and C3 oils are the better quality, stay in grade performance oils.

    APPROVALS

    Many oils mention various Car Manufacturers on the bottle, the most common in the UK being VW, MB, BMW, Ford or Vauxhall but do not be misled into thinking that you are buying top quality oil because of this.

    Oil Companies send their oils to OEM’s for approval however some older specs are easily achieved and can be done so with the cheapest of mineral oils. Newer specifications are always more up to date and better quality/performance than the older ones.

    Some of the older OEM specifications are listed here and depending on the performance level of your car are best ignored if you are looking for a quality high performance oil:

    VW – 500.00, 501.00 and 505.00

    Later specs like 503, 504, 506 and 507 are better performing more up to date oils

    MB – 229.1

    Later specs like 229.3 and 229.5 are better performing more up to date oils.

    BMW – LL98

    Later specs like LL01 and LL04 are better performing more up to date oils.


    FINALLY

    Above is the most accurate guidance we can give without going into too much depth however there is one final piece of advice regarding labelling.

    Certain statements are made on labels that are meaningless and just marketing hype, here are a few to avoid!

    Recommended for use where……………

    May be used where the following specifications apply……………

    Approved by………………………..(but with no qualification or specification)

    Recommended/Approved by (some famous person, these endorsements are paid for)

    Racing/Track formula (but with no supporting evidence)

    Also be wary of statements like “synthetic blend” if you are looking for a fully synthetic oil as this will merely be a semi-synthetic.

    Like everything in life, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the oil the cheaper the ingredients, lower the performance levels and older the specs it meets so beware!
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    oil groups

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:27 pm

    oil groups

    All oils are comprised of basestocks and additives. Basestocks make up the majority of the finished product and represent between 75-95%.

    Not all basestocks are derived from petroleum, in fact the better quality ones are synthetics made in laboratories by chemists specifically designed for the application for which they are intended.

    Basestocks are classified in 5 Groups as follows:

    Group I

    These are derived from petroleum and are the least refined. These are used in a small amount of automotive oils where the applications are not demanding.

    Group II

    These are derived from petroleum and are mainly used in mineral automotive oils. Their performance is acceptable with regards to wear, thermal stability and oxidation stability but not so good at lower temperatures.

    Group III

    These are derived from petroleum but are the most refined of the mineral oil basestocks. They are not chemically engineered like synthetics but offer the highest level of performance of all the petroleum basestocks. They are also known as “hydrocracked” or “molecularly modified” basestocks.
    They are usually labelled/marketed as synthetic or semi-synthetic oils and make up a very high percentage of the oils retailed today.

    Group IV

    These are polyalphaolefins known as PAO and are chemically manufactured rather than being dug out of the ground. These basestocks have excellent stability in both hot and cold temperatures and give superior protection due to their uniform molecules.

    Group V

    These special basestocks are also chemically engineered but are not PAO.
    The main types used in automotive oils are diesters and polyolesters. Like the group IV basestocks they have uniform molecules and give superior performance and protection over petroleum basestocks. These special stocks are used in all aviation engines due to their stability and durability. Esters are also polar (electro statically attracted to metal surfaces) which has great benefits. They are usually blended with Group IV stocks rather than being used exclusively.

    It is common practice for oil companies to blend different basestocks to achieve a certain specification, performance or cost. The blending of group IV and V produces lubricants with the best overall performance which cannot be matched by any of the petroleum basestock groups.


    examples of oil types so you can compare your oil with those examples above

    Group III = Semi synthetics, home brand full synthetics eg halfords etc.

    Group IV = Mobil 1, Castrol Edge, Amsoil etc.

    Groiup V = Motul, Silkolene, Redline.
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    gear oil FAQ's

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:28 pm

    Gear oil FAQ's


    We are often asked why don’t you do an article on Gear Oils? Well, an article would be very complex but here are the answers to a few FAQ’s that we have had over the years.

    What does API GL mean?

    API stands for American Petroleum Industry and GL stands for Gear Lubricant, see below for their definitions:

    API GL-1 Straight mineral oil
    API GL-2 Mild EP for worm gears
    API GL-3 Mild EP for spur and spiral bevel gears in axles and transmissions
    API GL-4 Medium EP, MIL-L-2105 quality, moderate severity hypoid gears, manual transmissions
    API GL-5 High EP, MIL-L-2105D quality, all hypoid axles, some manual transmissions
    API GL-6 Extra high EP, now obsolete

    Is it important to select the right API GL rating?

    Yes. Selecting the correct gear oil performance level will provide the best protection to the components of the transmission.

    What do the SAE grades mean?

    SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers. The SAE classification system is a way of defining how thin or how thick an oil is. This is known as an oil’s viscosity. The classifications are listed here in order of increasing thickness: SAE 75W, SAE 80W, SAE 85W, SAE 90, SAE 140, SAE 250.

    What does EP mean?

    EP means extreme pressure and refers to the additive used in gear oils. This additive is designed to stop metal-to-metal contact taking place between transmission components. The EP additives are usually based on sulphur and phosphorous. These elements bond to the metal surfaces where there are points of extreme pressure and temperature, forming a sacrificial chemical layer. The sulphur gives gear oils their characteristic smell.

    Will synthetic gear oils and mineral gear oils mix together?

    Yes, but beware that there two kinds of synthetic gear available: polyalphaolefin (PAO) based and polyalkylene glycol (PAG) based. PAOs are basically a man made version of mineral oils (although with greatly improved properties) and can therefore be mixed with mineral oils. In fact, semi-synthetic products have mineral and synthetic base fluids in them, so obviously, they must be able to mix. PAGs, on the other hand, will not mix with PAOs or mineral oil. Utmost care must be taken when using this kind of product.

    What is a hypoid axle?

    Hypoid is an abbreviation for hypocycloidal and relates to the geometry of the crown wheel and pinion arrangement usually on rear wheel drive cars. The pinion is usually highly offset to reduce propshaft intrusion into the passenger compartment.

    Do I need a special oil for limited slip differentials?

    Yes. When the power distribution between two drive shafts is no longer equal (usually due to the surface condition that the drive wheels are turning on, i.e. ice, mud), limited slip differentials are able to effectively lock the two half shafts, ensuring equal power distribution once again. When this limited slip differential mechanism ‘kicks in’ there is a high shock loading on the clutch mechanism that requires protection from wear and slippage. Use of the incorrect oil can lead to clutch degradation and vibration.

    Why should I choose non-EP straight oils for my classic car?

    Depending on the age, make and model non-EP gear oils may be required for use in gearboxes and final drives. Certain designs contained a lot of phosphor-bronze (copper containing) components that are sensitive particularly to the sulphur extreme pressure (EP) additive. The sulphur attacks the copper and destroys the integrity of the meshing gear surfaces.

    Is it alright to use ATF in a manual gearbox?

    Certain designs do specify the use of an ATF in manual gearboxes, but they should only be used where it is clearly stated by the manufacturer.

    Is there one gear oil that will meet all my requirements?

    This will depend on makes and models, but very often the answer is no. Gearboxes, final drives, transfer boxes, etc., all have their own specific lubrication requirements. The specification of the oil required will be outlined by the design engineers, who will determine which type of oil will provide the maximum protection to the transmission components. It may certainly be possible to rationalise and reduce the number of lubricants used, but the magical
    single product may not be achievable.

    What is the difference between a gear oil, an atf and an mtf and why are they sometimes interchangeable?

    There is a fair amount of common ground, all do a basically similar job, an ATF could be regarded as a low viscosity gear oil with more precisely controlled frictional properties.

    What is an MTF and why is it used instead of a gear oil?

    MTF ( manual transmission fluid ) is a term preferred by some OEMs, perhaps they think it's more descriptive than "gear oil". It doesn't call up any particular performance or viscosity. For example a Volvo MTF will not be the same as a Honda MTF.

    How do gear oil, atf and mtf viscosities relate to engine oil viscosities?

    Gear oils and engine oils are classified by 2 different viscosity grading systems. A 75W-90 gear oil, for example, is about the same viscosity as a 10W-40 engine oil. In theory ATFs and MTFs can be any viscosity as required by the OEM. In practice ATFs are approx. the same viscosity as a SAE 10 engine oil or a ISO 32 hydraulic oil. MTFs are about the same, possibly slightly thicker.

    What is a 75w gear oil as this is only a cold crank rating isn’t it?
    The target here is 4.1 cSt minimum @ 100 deg. C + the low temp target. If the gear oil in question is, for example, a 75W-80 it must meet both specs which is effectively the 75W low temp + the high temp targets of both specs.; 4.1 cSt minimum for the SAE 75W and 7.0 - 11.0 cSt for the SAE 80. You can see that the SAE 80 target " overlays" the SAE 75W target so expect the KV 100 of a 75W-80 to be about 9 cSt.

    Can one gear oil cover a number of viscosities like 75w-90, 80w-90 and 90 and why?

    Yes it can, the viscosity grades are not mutually exclusive, it is possible to blend a gear oil with multigrade characteristics such that it falls within, for example, the SAE 75W and the SAE 90 viscosity bands. A mulitgrade oil ( gear or otherwise ) is simply an oil which falls into more than one viscosity grade.

    Why do some synthetic gear oils cause poor shifting in older or high mileage boxes?

    If this really happens it can be that the generally lower viscosity of a synthetic gear oil may not suit an older or worn box.

    Can engine oils be used in gearboxes if they are the right viscosity and are there advantages to using them?

    Engine oils can be used in certain gearboxes, in the past it was the norm to do just that. Modern engine oils can be expected to attain the baseline API GL4 performance required for gear protection. Viscosity is not likely to be an issue, the viscosity of a 10W-40 engine oil, for instance, approximates to a 75W-90 in gear oil terms. The gear oil viscosity grade system uses bigger numbers than the engine oil system but that doesn't mean the oils are thicker.

    The advantages? The detergency and antiwear systems in engine oils may cope with excessive "competition" temperatures better. Engine oils are intended for a shorter service life than gear oils so one point to be aware of is the viscosity modifiers used in multigrade engine oils may not be as shear stable as true gear oil VM’s so a bigger viscosity drop in service is possible. If you are considering this, use a top quality shear stable engine oil, or talk to us first.

    Are filled for life gear oils a gimmick and are they in the long term bad for your gearbox?

    I wouldn't say they are a gimmick but they do assume "normal" service conditions. Having a modified engine putting more power through the box & competition conditions don't lend themselves to gentle gear changes so you may see higher wear rates and more wear debris in circulation. It's logical to change the oil periodically if only to flush out the wear debris.

    Of course the discerning owner may wish to change the oil occcasionally even if the service conditions are considered to be less severe.

    This may raise more questions than it answers but hopefully it is of use to some of you.
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    psbarham
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    10w-40, what does it mean?

    Post  psbarham on Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:28 pm

    10w-40, what does it mean?

    We have answered thousands of oil questions in the last 4 years but the most frequently asked one is “What do the numbers mean?”

    In short, if you see an expression such as 10W-40, the oil is a multigrade which simply means that the oil falls into 2 viscosity grades, in this case 10W and 40.

    This is made possible by the inclusion of a polymer, a component which slows down the rate of thinning as the oil warms up and slows down the rate of thickening as the oil cools down.

    Multigrades were first developed some 50 years ago to avoid the routine of using a thinner oil in winter and a thicker oil in summer.

    For a 10w-40 to attain the specification target a 10W (W = Winter please note!) the oil must have a certain maximum viscosity at low temperature. The actual viscosity and the temperature vary with the viscosity grade but in all cases the lower the number, the thinner the oil. For example a 5W oil is thinner than a 10W oil at temperatures encountered in UK winter conditions.

    This is important because a thinner oil will circulate faster on cold start, affording better engine protection and therefore lower long term wear!

    For a 10w-40 to attain the other specification target a “40” oil must fall within certain limits at 100 degC. In this case the temperature target does not vary with the viscosity grade, if there is no "W" the measuring temperature is always 100degC.
    Again the lower the number the thinner the oil, a “30” oil is thinner than a “40” oil at 100 degC, which is typical of maximum bulk oil temperatures in an operating engine.

    Engine makers are, of course, very well aware of this and specify oils according to engine design features, oil pump capacities, manufacturing tolerances, ambient temperature conditions etc. It is important to follow these guidelines, they are important and are stipulated for good reasons.

    Finally, if the engine has been modified or is used in stressed conditions, the operating conditions may well be outside the original design envelope. The stress on the oil caused by increased maximum revs, power output and temperature may require that an oil of a different type and viscosity grade would be required.

    These examples show viscosities at different temperatures:

    Grade................0degC............10degC...... .........40degC...............100degC

    0w-40...............665cst.............354cst........ ..........82cst................14cst
    5w-40...............842cst............ 430cst..................91cst................14cst
    10w-40.............874cst.............440cst .................91cst................14cst
    15w-40...........1260cst.............595cst........... ......107cst................14cst

    In a nutshell, that’s what a multigrade is all about!

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