Gumout Q & A

Gumout question and answers.

Find below a comprehensive Q & A about all things Gumout


It is my understanding that the products listed as “Fuel System Cleaners” contain the ingredient PEA, but do the lower tier cleaners such as the “Fuel Injector Cleaners” and “Fuel Additives” also contain some PEA?

Also did the formulation become less potent with the “All in one” cleaner sometime between 2010-2012. I saw an older stock bottle and it looked much darker and smelled more potent.

Gumout All in One Comparison

Is there any reason to choose the lower tier products such as “regane or regane high mileage” over the “all in one” other than cost?

(901Memphis)

 

Fuel additives without PEA often contain a different ingredient called PIBA that clean carburetors and indirect port injectors. At high concentrations it can clean intake valves, but it does not clean combustion chambers. You need PEA to clean all three areas, fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion chambers.

All-in-One color variations were due to variation in some raw materials used in certain batches. The color change did not affect product performance, but we adjusted our production specifications to use only materials of the same consistent color so that the product color does not change. However, there still may be some older product on the shelf that is darker than others – feel confident in using the product regardless of the color difference because the potency is the same.

Gumout All-in-One can be used in any gasoline engine at the recommended treat rate, or even somewhat more concentrated. Regane and Regane High Mileage are designed to treat smaller fuel tank sizes – 21 gallons vs. 35 for All in One. However, High Mileage Regane has a friction modifier to help restore lost MPG and reduce upper cylinder wear. All in one has a larger dose of this friction modifier as well as more PEA. All three products can be used at up to double the recommended treat rate for even stronger cleaning.


I am a Techron user, how does Gum Out All in One compare? Does it contain PEA in equal or higher concentration in comparison to Techron?

(gregk24)

 

Chevron doesn’t share their formulation information but independent testing that we conducted does confirm presence of PEA in their fuel system cleaners (FSCs). The PEA levels in our formulations are proprietary information as well, but a good way to compare is to look at how many gallons each product treats. All in One 10 oz bottle treats 35 gallons which is supported by industry recognized ASTM testing; Techron FSC 20 oz treats 20 gallons, their 16 oz treats 16 gallons.

Chevron doesn’t publically state how they determine their treat rates, but one would assume they have conducted legitimate testing.
In addition All-in-One has a friction modifier to reduce internal engine friction for better fuel economy. This is an advantage that Techron does not have.


Direct injection is reality. We have heard that some cleaning agents can “survive” the combustion process and clean through PCV or other means. This doesn’t necessarily make sense given HC regulations and the effect it would have on catalytic converters, however given the parallel reality of deposits in DI engines, cleanliness and additives to support engine cleanliness are essential. Can you describe the chemistry, mechanism, and tests/validation used to develop DI-suitable additives? Which of your products is most suited for maintaining valve, intake and injector cleanliness in direct injection gasoline engines, and why? (JHZR2)

 

We recommend PEA to clean direct fuel injectors. In a GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine the injector tip is in the high-pressure high-temperature environment of the combustion chamber. Carburetor and indirect port injector detergents are generally not made to survive the combustion process adequately to clean in this environment. However, PEA will. Since the tip of the injector is in the same environment as the rest of the combustion chamber the deposit characteristics are similar. They tend to be harder and more carbonaceous than the softer (and easier to clean) varnish and deposits found in cooler areas of the engine.

These deposits reduce fuel economy, reduce power, cause rough idling, cause hesitation and/or surging and cause hard starts. They interfere with air and fuel flow within the engine. Combustion chamber deposits cause knock and ping or even carbon rap that may cause severe engine damage. Modern computers may compensate for these deposits to some extent, but the trade-off is a lack of power and performance.

PEA is a polymeric molecule that contains portions that are more polar (the heads) that attach to the deposit particles along with a fuel soluble hydrocarbon tail. The molecule can then pull the deposit particle from the surface into the bulk fuel droplet where it is further combusted and/or blown out with the exhaust.

PEA is good at cleaning intake valve deposits (IVD) in port fuel injected engines because the treated fuel is sprayed directly onto the intake valve. However, direct injectors spray directly into the combustion chamber missing the valves. In some engines there is enough misting onto the valves when they are open to provide some cleaning, but in many engines the spray never reaches the IVD. In general we recommend an induction cleaning to take care of these deposits. Induction cleaning can also remove deposits formed in the intake manifold area that result from the crankcase ventilation system or other fugitive emissions.

Product performance is supported through a series of industry recognized ASTM laboratory bench and engine tests such as D6201 Engine Test, D665B Rust Prevention Test, D525 fuel stability test, just to name a few.

Engines are run and disassembled and the deposits are actually measured before and after clean-up using the PEA detergent. The appearance is viewed and rated and deposits are weighed in some areas of the engine or thickness is measure in other areas. Engine test stands, chassis dynamometers and vehicle fleets are all used to evaluate performance.

There is a substantial amount of testing and validation behind all Gumout Products. For more information about our fuel additive line of products visit Gumout.com.


The ‘All in One’ 10 oz bottle claims to be good for “up to 35 gallon gas tanks”.
If I used half a bottle in each of my cars (14 and 15 gallon gas tanks) would it be fully effective?

What is the PPM of PEA in this product?…in regular Regane?…. in High Mileage Regane?

Would it be more effective to add Regane before a long highway trip where the entire tank of gas is used or when the car will be used for several shorter trips where the PEA gets to ‘soak’ into the valves etc…?

(pbm)

 

Splitting a bottle of All-in-One as you suggest will be effective since you are close to the recommended treat rate. You can also use the entire bottle for increased efficacy.
The exact formula is a proprietary trade secret, please see our answer found above in the previous question. All three products do have PEA at a level that can clean the complete fuel system in one tank of gasoline.

Regane will show benefits whether it is added before a long trip (30+ miles at 60 MPH) or for shorter local trips. However, longer times are better because the vehicle runs at full operating temperature where the detergents are most effective.. On very short trips, the engine is not hot enough to support optimal combustion and allow the product to work its best. Overall we would favor a long highway trip at freeway speeds


Do any of your fuel additives contain anything to clean sulfur deposits from gas gauge sensors?

(TurboLuver)

 

The damage to gas gauge sensors was the result of sulfur compounds causing silver corrosion. Silver corrosion was damaging fuel sending units and became a problem due to local refinery issues several years ago. The refinery issue was resolved and silver corrosion is not known to be an ongoing problem any longer. Unfortunately, once the corrosion has occurred, the only option is to replace the unit.

Gumout additives contain inhibitors that prevent corrosion on critical engine parts. However silver requires a separate inhibitor that is not part of our formulations since the refinery issue has been resolved and therefore not needed in our fuel additives.


I too would like to know which method of engine running would be more effective at cleaning everything. Steady highway rpm or city type driving.
It’s been debated here more than once and I can see benefits to both methods but I’m guessing the city type driving would be more beneficial because of the varying cylinder pressures and volume of airflow changing rather than just a steady rpm, unless those rpm are high enough that it creates velocity.

And please not some bull form answer that both will clean effectively blah blah blah.

(Clevy)

 

See previous answer to this question above.


Could you just list the concentrations of PEA in your products?

(Bandito440)

 

See detailed answer in previous question. We don’t share this info as it is proprietary just as Chevron doesn’t share their formulation details.


Does gumout use anything that would be considered better than PEA in their products for cleaning?

(badtlc)

 

We continually investigate detergent chemistry to ensure we are using the most up to date and effective additives. Currently PEA is the safest and most effective technology available for cleaning the entire fuel system.


Please list the amount PEA contained in the entire bottle rather than percentage. The concentration alone is not the correct way to measure what gets eventually added to my tank. When I dump a bottle of your FSC or a competitor’s all I want to know what is the final PEA amount in my tank and it does not matter if you had double the concentration but half the bottle size.

Tell us how much gm/ml/oz of PEA each of your bottle has.

(Vikas)

 

See previous answer to this question. We don’t share this info as it is proprietary just as Chevron doesn’t share their formulation details.


Your top 3 fuel system cleaners, (Regane, Regane high mileage, and All on one).

Do these 3 products contain the same percentage of PEA?

Why isn’t the All in one product available in Canada?

(richport29)

 

All three of these products contain the proper amount of PEA to clean a full tank of fuel as listed on the package label. The larger bottle of All-in-One does contain more PEA than Regane of High Mileage Regane; see previous answer for more details or visit Gumout.com for further information.

Retailers in Canada may have chosen not to stock All-in-One. It is available through Amazon.com or other internet retailers.


Pennzoil Q & A

Pennzoil question and answers.

Find below a comprehensive Q&A about all things Pennzoil


Product Specific / Technical

1. What are the differences between Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil is a very high performing full synthetic motor oil. However, Pennzoil wanted to test the boundaries of technology even further so we introduced Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil, a product providing best the cleanliness and protection in the Pennzoil line-up of motor oils.


2. What differences in performance characteristics will there be between Pennzoil Ultra and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum?

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is formulated to contain additional cleansing technology and additional friction modifier to maintain lower friction between moving parts.


3. How will your 0W-30 or 40 compare in cold weather starts and cold weather protection?

Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology provides excellent performance in low temperatures thanks to the superior low temperature pumpability of PurePlus Base Oils. Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology SAE 0W-30 and 0W-40 will still pump in temperatures as low as -40°F!


4. Is Ultra Platinum considered to be a direct replacement for Ultra?

Yes, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology will phase out Pennzoil Ultra over time.


5. As a user of Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40, where does that product fit in the new Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology offering?

Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40 is an ACEA A3/B4 type oil and is suitable for vehicles where the motor oil type is required as an SAE 5W-40 grade. The new, comparable product is named Pennzoil Platinum® Euro Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology 5W-40.


6. Is Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40 being discontinued? Will there be a product called Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 5w40 Euro with PurePlus?

Yes, Pennzoil Ultra Euro 5W-40 will be discontinued. The new product is named Pennzoil Platinum® Euro Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology 5W-40.


7. When can we expect updated Technical Data Sheets?

The Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology TDS sheets will be available in April 2014.


8. How is the new “with PurePlus” formula different from the older Platinum that is currently on sale?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology is a first-of-its kind synthetic motor oil blended with a pure, crystal-clear base oil made from natural gas. PurePlus base oil has fewer of the impurities found in crude oil, the start for many other traditional and synthetic motor oils. The difference is in the base oil, which makes up 75%-90% of a typical motor oil formulation. Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic products use 100% PurePlus Base Oils.


9. How much cleaner will this new base oil keep my pistons compared to the old formula? / Will the Ultra version keep my pistons cleaner compared to Pennzoil Platinum?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology keeps pistons up to 40% cleaner than the toughest industry standards (Based on ILSAC GF-5, Sequence IIIG piston deposit test using SAE 5W-30; and does not apply to Pennzoil Platinum Euro products), meanwhile Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology keeps pistons up to 65% cleaner than the toughest industry standards. (Based on ILSAC GF-5, Sequence IIIG piston deposit test using SAE 5W-30; and Does not apply to Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0W-40)


10. How will using Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus benefit newer engine designs with direct injection?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology provide engines Complete Protection without compromise. Complete Protection is defined as coverage on five key areas consumers deemed as most critical for motor oil performance: 1) engine cleanliness, 2) fuel economy, 3) conservation of horsepower, 4) wear protection, and 5) performance in extreme temperatures. These benefits make Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology an excellent choice for advanced engines, including direct injection engines.


11. Will the additive package in your respective products be diminished or bolstered with the re-formulation?

The benefits specific to piston cleanliness, fuel economy and wear protection are derived from the synergistic combination of Pennzoil high performance additive chemistry and PurePlus Base Oil. This means that PurePlus™ Technology in effect helps additive technology work better providing consumers a harder working motor oil.


12. What is the difference in the additive package that makes Pennzoil’s new full synthetics better than the competition?

The specific high-performance additive formulation used in the new Pennzoil Platinum® line-up is proprietary and cannot be shared, and we cannot comment on the specific differences versus our competitors.


13. Are there newer organic additives in use that will not show up on a VOA?

Yes, there are many high performance proprietary additives in the Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ with PurePlus™ Technology formulations that may not necessarily appear on a VOA. We cannot comment on those additives as many are proprietary.


14. Will the additive package of the new motor oils deplete over time?

All additive packages deplete with use. As the additives act to perform their function they will be consumed, for example in neutralizing acids. This depletion is good reason why checking oil level and topping up is a great practice. In recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of work put towards developing additive technology that lasts longer throughout the oil drain, and Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology products have been designed to stay fresh for longer during the oil drain.


15. Will additive package contents settle in the carrier GTL oil over time, requiring the bottle to be shaken to reblend the contents? By extension, do you recommend giving a bottle a shake to reblend the contents?

Pennzoil products have a shelf life of 4 years, and it is not necessary to shake the motor oil bottle before dispensing. Our formulations are carefully balanced to ensure that additives stay suspended within the motor oil. You can contact the Pennzoil helpline if you wish to identify the born-on-date of your purchase.


16. Will these new oils already exceed the GF-6 standards coming?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology meet and exceed key industry standards and OEM specs, including API SN AND ILSAC GF-5 for passenger car engine oils and ACEA European oil sequence for service-fill oils. PurePlus Base Oils have been designed with the future in mind, and they deliver a strong platform to meet the future oil requirements for upcoming GF-6 standards.


17. Is it Pennzoil Platinum for normal 10k miles OCI and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum for extended OCI up to 15k miles?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology are extremely robust formulations, but lubricant marketers do not set oil drain intervals. Drain interval recommendations belong to the engine manufacturers.


18. Do both Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum use the regular form of molybdenum or do they use Infinium’s tri-nuclear moly? Does this depend based on weight of oil?

The specific high-performance additive formulation used in the new Pennzoil Platinum® line of products is proprietary and that information cannot be shared.


19. Do any of these oils use the tri-nuc moly?

The specific high-performance additive formulation used in the new Pennzoil Platinum® line of products is proprietary and that information cannot be shared.


20. Would additional moly added to your new oils have any benefits? Can you explain in technical terms why/why not.

Motor oil formulations are a delicate synergistic balance of base oils and additives. When you add in one, you must adjust the amount of another. If an additive was added to specifically increase one area of performance, another area of performance might suffer. The Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology offer Complete Protection. We are confident in the overall balance of our formulation and would not change it to incorporate additional moly.


21. Will we be losing any Moly or Zinc?

The specific high-performance additive formulation used in the new Pennzoil Platinum® line-up is proprietary and that information cannot be shared


22. What is the VI of these new oils?

The VI ranges from 150 to 170 for 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30. For wide viscosity grades e.g. 0W-40, 5W-50, the VI is close to 190.


23. What is the VI and viscosity (at 40 and 100 degrees C) is for Pennzoil Ultra Platinum PurePlus 0W-20?

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ with PurePlus™ Technology 0W-20 has KV40 46.4cst, KV100 8.8cst and VI 172.


24. Does Pennzoil believe there would be an advantage to using a oil with an EVEN higher VI and hence lower cold viscosity (compared to what Pennzoil Ultra/Pennzoil Platinum and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum/Pennzoil Platinum have) in 0W-20 weight?

New grades are being suggested for some emerging applications. Within the industry SAE grades such as 0W-16 are regularly discussed. These are highly specific grades necessary for highly specific applications. PurePlus Base Oil is a great platform from which we can fully formulate ultra-low viscosity oils like a 0W-16 and meet industry and manufacturer requirements.


25. Have you ever investigated the effects of MoS2 added to your new oils?

No Pennzoil does not add MoS2 (a solid) to our motor oils.


26. Are your new formulations low-SAPS?

Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology have low phosphorus and sulphur levels within the levels specified for API SN. They also meet the low sulphated ash levels required for the various OEM specifications the products meet. In the Pennzoil Euro portfolio we do have products that meet particular low SAPS levels required by some European OEM specifications, please check the Pennzoil website for more details about these products.


27. I am curious about the purity levels, stability and overall viscosity performance of PurePlus base oils. Do you expect that they will perform better than / equal to other Group III/III+ Base Oils available from other suppliers?

PurePlus™ base oils exceed the minimum standards for API Group III base oils. (There is no API Group III+ category.) PurePlus Base Oil enable formulations with lower volatility, better low temperature performance, better oxidation stability, and better piston cleanliness compared to traditional API Group III base oils refined from crude oil.


28. What is the shelf life (in years) of the new Pennzoil motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology can have a shelf-life of up to four years if stored properly.


Visc Grades

1. What is the complete list of grades that will be offered in this new Pennzoil?

a. Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30, 5W-50, and 10W-30.
b. Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in 0W-20, 0W-40, 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30.
c. Pennzoil Platinum® Euro Full Synthetic motor oil? with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in 0W-40, 5W-30, and 5W-40.
d. Pennzoil Platinum® Racing with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in 10W-60.


2. Will you offer 0W-30, 15W-50 and 20W-50?

Pennzoil is not offering 0W-30, 15W-50 or 20W-50 at this time.


3. Will the 5W-40 also continue as an Ultra Platinum offering?

Pennzoil Platinum® Euro Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in 5W-40.


4. Will both the 0W-40 and 5W-40 be available in several retail outlets instead of only one or two?

Both the 0W-40 and 5W-40 will be available at multiple retailers.


Can you comment on how your approach in formulating your new 5W-30 products makes them superior to your competitor’s 5W-30 offerings, with respect to extreme low temperature performance?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology provide excellent performance in low temperatures thanks to the excellent low temperature pumpability of PurePlus Base Oils.


Will there be any availability of xw-50 oils in either line for high performance applications?

Yes, Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in a 5W-50 viscosity grade.


7. Will Platinum and Ultra Platinum be available in high-performance application grades?

Pennzoil Platinum® Racing Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology is available as an SAE 10W-60 and is suitable for many high-performance applications. Also, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology 0W-40 is recommended by SRT for their engines and Pennzoil Platinum Euro Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus Technology 5W-40 is recommended by Ferrari and Maserati for their engines. Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus Technology 5W-50 will also be suitable for many high performance applications.


8. Is there any plan to market either of these as a high mile OCI oil?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology are extremely robust formulations, but lubricant marketers do not set oil drain intervals. Drain interval recommendations belong to the engine manufacturers. A potential advantage of using a high quality synthetic is to take better care of your engine and reduce deposit formation, which may reduce power, performance, and fuel economy, rather than extending the drain interval.


9. Will there be any products suitable for extended drain in excess of manufacturer recommendation once outside of warranty e.g. 15000 mile performance guaranteed like one of your competitors?

Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology are extremely robust formulations, but lubricant marketers do not set oil drain intervals – these recommendations belong to the engine manufacturers. So, if your engine manufacturer recommends 15,000 mile ODI, then we stand behind the 15,000 mile ODI. A potential advantage of using a high quality synthetic is to take better care of your engine and reduce deposit formation, which may reduce power, performance, and fuel economy –rather than extending the drain interval.


Licenses / Approvals

1. Which of these new products will have a Dexos license?

Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology will carry dexos approval for SAE 0W-20, 5W-20, and 5W-30.


2. What OEM certifications will be focused on?

Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology meet and exceed industry standards in addition to many OEM specifications, including BMW, Mercedes, Fiat, Porsche, Renault, VW, Ferrari, Maserati, GM, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler Brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram). confirm


3. Will any of these new oils carry VW certification 507 for Common Rail TDI engines?

Our Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology L 5W-30 and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology L AV 5W-30 will meet VW507.00 specifications.


GTL / Testing

1. It’s been assumed that we’ve been getting the GTL base stock in the current issue of Ultra, and maybe Platinum. Is that a fact?

We began switching production facilities to use PurePlus™ Technology in our Pennzoil Platinum® motor oils—bulk, packaged and Eco-box—in 2013. Beginning February 1, 2014, Pennzoil Platinum packaging will indicate the use of this technology was 100%, and all production locations have switched.


2. It has been suggested the Pennzoil 5W-40 Ultra Euro has been manufactured with GTL (PurePlus) for some time now…is that true? If so, now long?

We began switching production facilities to use PurePlus™ Technology in our Pennzoil Platinum® motor oils—bulk, packaged and Eco-box—in 2013. Beginning February 1, 2014, Pennzoil Platinum packaging will indicate the use of this technology was 100%, and all production locations have switched.


3. Date-wise, when did SOPUS begin producing Platinum and Ultra using GTL technology?

We began switching production facilities to use PurePlus™ Technology in our Pennzoil Platinum® motor oils—bulk, packaged and Eco-box—in 2013. Beginning February 1, 2014, Pennzoil Platinum packaging will indicate the use of this technology was 100%, and all production locations have switched.

4. How does Pennzoil (or SOPUS overall) classify the GTL base stock? Do they consider it to be Group III+, or Group IV, or some other group altogether?

PurePlus™ Base Oil is classified as an API Group III product. It is important to note there is no such category as an API Group III+ base oil, interested readers can download and check out a copy of API 1509 for the current official base oil definitions. PurePlus Base Oil is classified as API Group III base oil based on its molecular structure, but it exceeds the minimum requirements for API Group III base oil.


5. What characteristics of motor oils are important when considering them for use in modern direct injection turbocharged gasoline engines, and how do the new GTL oils meet them?

To achieve fuel economy requirements and improve vehicle performance vehicle manufacturers have moved toward smaller turbocharged engines with direct injection. These smaller engines are worked harder to achieve these objectives, increasing both the pressure and the temperature in the combustion chambers. These engines provide a demanding environment for the engine oil. Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology keep critical engine parts clean and protected, and they has high resistance to oil degradation and low volatility which helps them to maintain the protection over the oil drain interval also resulting in less need for oil top-up.


6. How do the GTL base stocks compare with PAO base stocks in the various measures of performance?

While PurePlus™ Base Oil and PAO base oil differ in regard to viscosity, volatility and chemical composition, PurePlus Base Oil and PAO are similar in their ability to enable top-of-the-line engine oils to perform at a very high level. The key difference between Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology and competitive PAO formulations rests with the additive chemistry that is paired with the PurePlus Base Oils. The synergy of PurePlus Base Oils and our best additive chemistry, in the Pennzoil line up of products, results in a fully synthetic motor


7. Are there different grades of GTL base stocks?

Yes there are different grades of GTL base stocks. GTL base stocks come in 3 grades, denoted 3, 4 and 8. The 3, 4 and 8 base oil grades are produced at the Pearl plant in Qatar.


8. What type(s) of testing have you done with regard specifically to your products’ interaction with and ability to combat intake valve deposit formations in modern Direct Injection technology series of engines? And were improvements noted?

Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology have undergone many stringent lab tests, industry tests, and OEM tests in addition to millions of miles of field trials. The complete protection benefits of the line of Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology products make them an excellent choice for advanced engines, especially direct injection engines, because the motor oils help prevent deposits and perform extremely well at high temperatures. No other leading motor oil helps keep engines cleaner than Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology.


9. It is widely known on BITOG that the use of GTL or ‘PurePlus’ base oils can result in lubricant formulations with exceptionally low NOACK volatility. What are the benefits of low NOACK volatility with respect to motor oil?

Lower volatility means less oil consumption inside your engine. Low volatility is also a key factor in enabling an oil to stay fresher for longer throughout the oil drain. Oil loss through volatilization of light ends can cause contaminants, for example from blow-by gases, to concentrate in the oil. These contaminants can accelerate oil ageing and additive depletion. Low volatility helps to maintain viscosity control and is also helpful from protecting the oil from degradation caused by the very high temperatures that can be encountered in turbocharger bearings. Such degradation can cause the build-up of significant deposits in turbochargers.


10. If Pennzoil Platinum pureplus and Pennzoil Ultra pureplus both use GTL, why does Ultra have such lower NOACK values?

Both Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ with PurePlus™ Technology far exceed the industry requirements for NOACK. In order to address your NOACK values question, we would need more information from your testing. The use of PurePlus™ Base Oil enables Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology with NOACK volatilties of 10% or lower.


11. The recent voas of Quaker State and Pennzoil conventional 5W-20s show extremely low NOACK. Are these oils getting GTL basestocks as well?

At the moment PurePlus™ Base Oil will primarily be used in our Pennzoil Platinum® line of products. However, in the future other engine oils in our portfolio may contain a percentage of PurePlus Base Oil, if required for a specific formulation. Products in the remainder of the Pennzoil portfolio will broadly continue to use conventional base oils as their primary base oil type.


Location

1. Will you market Pennzoil Ultra Platinum with PurePlus in Canada?

Yes, Pennzoil Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oils with PurePlus™ Technology will be available in Canada.


2. Will many places that phased out shelf space on Ultra over the past few months, will they likely be getting them?

We hope to make our Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ Full Synthetic motor oil with PurePlus™ Technology available to all the retailers. Please check with your local retailer for availability.


3. Because not all locations are equal when it comes to Walmart, will you have any way of ensuring that all the Walmarts will stock the new Pennzoil?

We will make all grades available to all the retailers including Wal-Mart. Please check with your local stores for availability.


Other Shell Products

1. Have GTL basestocks been blended into SOPUS products across the line?

PurePlus™ base oil will primarily be used in our Pennzoil Platinum® line of products. However, in the future other engine oils in our portfolio may contain a percentage of PurePlus base oil, if required for a specific formulation. Products in the remainder of the Pennzoil portfolio will broadly continue to use conventional base oils as their primary base oil type.


2. Will PurePlus base oils also be used in Pennzoil Gold and Synthetic Blend? If so, at what percentages (regarding ratio of conventional to synthetic)?

Pennzoil Platinum®, Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ and Pennzoil Platinum Racing Full Synthetic are the only motor oils blended exclusively with PurePlus™ Base Oil at this time. Other products in our PCMO and HDEO portfolios are produced using some PurePlus base oil. In the future, we may elect to blend other premium products exclusively with these base oils, and would announce such changes at the appropriate time.


3. Will the PurePlus versions keep my pistons cleaner compared to PYB?

Yes. No other leading motor oil keeps pistons cleaner than Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology.


4. Will Quaker State move towards GTL as well?

We are excited about the opportunities that PurePlus™ Technology may provide us in differentiating our technology to motorists in markets across the world. We are investigating all of the opportunities that PurePlus base oils may provide for our leading brands going forward and that includes Quaker State.


5. Will there be a re-formulation of some of your other offerings, such as Quaker State Ultimate Durability to fall in-line with the change in your Pennzoil line of products?

In 2014 there are no planned changes to the Quaker State line-up of products.


6. Any plans to make any changes and or improvements to the Rotella line of oils?

We are excited about the opportunities that PurePlus™ Technology may provide us in differentiating our technology for transport and industrial customers in markets across the world. We are investigating all of the opportunities that PurePlus™ Base Oils may provide for our leading brands including Shell Rotella and Shell Rimula.


7. Is Pennzoil considering releasing a lineup of fully synthetic high mileage oils?

There are currently no plans in place to alter the Pennzoil High Mileage Engine Oil formulation to a full synthetic or syn-blend product.


8. Should users with higher mileage (or just older) vehicles have a shorter OCI the first time using this new oil, due to its better cleaning capabilities (considering possible release of built up sludge that may not have been cleansed with previous oils)?

Typically, this is not necessary. However, this response is based on how clean the engine is. If the engine is dirty, we do recommend shortening the OCI to drain out the build up that was in the engine.


9. Does Pennzoil have any plans to produce a product for flat tappet high valve spring load application? i.e., Muscle Cars / Hot Rods…

There are not currently any plans to make a Pennzoil product for this application. We recommend using Quaker State Defy High Mileage motor oil 10W-40 instead.


10. Have you considered making a high VI oil? If so or not do you think this is an important parameter to design an oil and why?

This is difficult to answer without context. By conventional standards Pennzoil Platinum® and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ have a high VI (viscosity index) already.


11. Will Shell Motorcycle oils be converted to a GTL base and will they ever become available in the United States particularly for Ducati?

We are excited about the opportunities that PurePlus™ Base Oil may provide us in differentiating our technology to various markets including motor cycle, transport and industrial customers in markets across the world. We are investigating all of the opportunities that GTL may provide for our leading brands.


12. Will the SOPUS, European and Latin American made Helix oils use PurePlus base oil as well?

a. Twenty or so Helix Ultra formulations contain GTL base oils. That is our core Helix Ultra portfolio. (Some others have been formulated without GTL base oils for specific purposes for dedicated OEM grades).


13. If I’m not mistaken Shell produces branded oils for car manufacturers (i.e. Toyota in Spain?), will these use PurePlus (GTL) as base-stocks as well?

As the number one lubricants supplier for the seventh year in a row, according to Kline, Shell supplies many of the world’s car manufacturers however the nature of these supply relationships is often confidential.


14. How will this affect the future of your dino oils?

a. Pennzoil is only using PurePlus™ Base Oil in our premium, Pennzoil Platinum® line of motor oils. Conventional base oils will remain in other existing formulations that leverage this base.


15. With more and more cars requiring either a syn blend or a full syn, might these two just become the new ‘syn blends’? (Though there would be no more need for the dexos/gold blend…)

Currently, we offer our Pennzoil Gold Synthetic Blend motor oil. However, the new Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology, and Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ with PurePlus™ Technology are both full synthetic products.


16. Are there any plans to market diesel motor oils with GTL base stocks?

We are considering options for using PurePlus™ Technology in our premium transport and industrial products.


17. Does the current Shell Rotella T6 contain any GTL?

At the moment, PurePlus™ base oil is not being used in Shell Rotella T6. However, we are considering the use of PurePlus base oil in our Heavy Duty engine oil line.


18. Will your HDEO (fleet/diesel) oils such as T6 be reformulated with GTL?

We are considering options for using PurePlus™ Technology in our premium transport and industrial products.


19. Will T6 0w-40 become widely available in the US market?

Yes, Shell Rotella T6 0W-40 is available in North America. However, you will need to contact your local retailer for availability.


20. Will Rotella T6 be converted to GTL and will it continue to be JASO MA rated?

We are currently considering options for using PurePlus™ Technology in our premium transport and industrial products. Shell Rotella T6 is currently rated at JASO MA2.


Marketing / Pricing

1. How will this affect the pricing structure of all of your products?

PurePlus™ Base Oil is a Group III product and our finished lubricant products using PurePlus base oil will be competitively priced.


2. How does the PurePlus Technology impact production costs?

We cannot comment on specifics related to production, but it is comparable to traditional methods.


3. Is it your goal to provide a superior product at a competitive price?

Our goal is to offer a high quality synthetic motor oil at a competitive price. Pennzoil Platinum® with PurePlus™ Technology uses high quality PurePlu™s Base Oil and high performance additives, offering complete protection for your engine, without compromise.


4. In regards to your marketing strategy, I respect and appreciate your desire to give your consumers many options – however, I fear that the two-tiered approach with Platinum and Ultra Platinum will force mass-market retailers, due to limited shelf space, to choose only Platinum – making your top-tier Ultra Platinum more difficult and expensive to obtain. As a discriminating consumer who wants the ‘best’ for his vehicles, I would like to know; what are you doing to encourage retailers to offer Ultra Platinum?

Pennzoil Ultra Platinum® Full Synthetic motor oil provides the best cleansing and performance in the Pennzoil family of motor oils and allows us to push the boundaries of our technology. Pennzoil Ultra Platinum is distributed to a variety of retailers and installers across the country and if you are having difficulty finding the motor oil in your area, we encourage you to call us at 1-800-BEST-OIL or search a variety of online retailers. Thank you for your feedback!


5. Will Shell be marketing the PurePlus Base Oil to independent blenders? (is it possible we will see this base show up in products blended by other manufacturers)

Shell has exclusive marketing rights to Pearl GTL base oil, and we are primarily focused on using GTL base oils within our finished lubricants business. There are no plans to offer Shell GTL base oils for spot trading.


6. Why do your products typically cost 30% more at auto parts stores than walmart?

a. We do not set the final pricing of our products in the marketplace, we leave that to the retailers and installers to decide.


7. Are the SOPUS products sold at walmart exactly the same as the ones sold at AutoZone, O’Reilly, Advance Auto etc..?

Yes, all Pennzoil products from the same line of Pennzoil motor oils, packaged or bulk, are formulated exactly the same, in the same plants with the same performance benefits regardless of where it is sold.


8. Is the bulk stuff the same high quality stuff available in retail stores as quick oil change shops?

Yes, all packaged or bulk Pennzoil products are formulated exactly the same, in the same plants with the same performance benefits regardless of where it is sold. If you are interested in more information, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have new guidelines that require oil change locations to provide information consumers need to make informed decisions on motor oil. The new guidelines and API’s recently published standard provide consumers the information they need to know: a bulk motor oil’s brand, viscosity, and performance level.


9. Will there be any promotions/specials/coupons offered during the official launch of the PurePlus products?

Yes, you can save $1.00/gallon on Shell Fuel with a 5 quart retail purchase of Pennzoil Platinum® or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ motor oil with the Fuel Rewards Network™ program from March 1, 2014 – June 30, 2014. Or, if prefer to get your oil changed at an outlet, you can save $1.00/gallon off Shell Fuel with the Fuel Rewards Network™ with a Pennzoil Platinum® or Pennzoil Ultra Platinum™ oil change at participating locations from April 1 – June 30, 2014. Visit www.pennzoil.com/fuel rewards to start saving or for complete Fuel Rewards Network™ program details and terms and conditions.


10. Will 5W-50, 15W-50 and 20W-50 be available in Walmart’s competitively priced 5 quart jugs?

At this time, we are planning for Pennzoil conventional 20W-50 to be available in 5 quart jugs. If you have additional inquiries, please contact 1-800-BEST-OIL to check on specific package/viscosity grade availability. Thank you for your question as customer feedback is a key driver in package/viscosity grade configurations.


11. Will Pennzoil Ultra Platinum 0W-20 be available in 5 qt. jugs?

We are not currently producing this product in this viscosity grade in 5 qt. jugs, but please continue to reach out to 1-800-BEST-OIL for any updates.

Friction Reducers and AW Additives

Oil Soluble Friction Reducers (FM’s) and Anti-Wear Additives (AW’s)
(with an emphasis on Friction Modifiers)
by MoleKule*

Oil soluble friction modifiers – once called friction reducers – have been used many years by the lubricant industry. Many products made use of friction reducers:
- Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATF’s or those designed for smooth clutch engagement)
- Limited Slip Gear Oils for limited slip differentials and transaxles
- Multipurpose tractor fluids for wet brakes
- engine oils

There are also many other, lesser-known products, also containing friction modifiers in the form of animal fats, vegetable oils, sulpherized olefin coplymers, and esters.

Such products made use of friction modifiers as a way to meet performance requirements calling for smooth transitions from static to dynamic conditions and vice versa, as well as for reduced squawk, chatter, noise, frictional heat and start-up torque.

In the seventies, some gear oil additives were found to reduce frictional heat and gear operating temperatures under extreme load conditions while eliminating chatter in limited slip differentials. It was thought these same additives might be used in engine oils to accomplish the same function.

The ability to reduce friction and sometimes wear, over and above that provided by the base lubricant’s viscosity, has been called “oiliness” or “lubricity.” However, both of the latter terms are now considered obsolete. Early experimenters found that the ability of animal or vegetable fats and acids strengthened the tenacity of the oil films when incorporated in lubricating oils. These experimenters later found that the esters of vegetable or animal esters could be synthesized and produced from alcohols and acids of basic chemical compounds; what we call today as “Group V” lubricants. Their effectiveness was often rated in terms of “film strength,” an expression that still remains in use.

Much confusion has abounded in the relationship between Anti-Wear (AW) or Extreme Pressure properties, and Friction Modifiers (FM). Both friction modifiers and Anti-Wear compounds both operate in the Boundary lubrication regime. AW additives are among the type of compounds that provide good boundary lubrication. Such materials as ZDDP, sulfurized fats and esters, organometallic compounds (such as Molybdenum dithiophosphates, Molybdenum dithiocarbamates, Antimony dithiocarbamates) have shown their ability to build and maintain strong boundary lubrication films under severe load conditions and heat. However, with the exception of second-generation gear oils, the older first-generation AW additives had little FM capabilities.

The critical difference between AW/EP additive films and FM films is in their mechanical properties. AW/EP films are semiplastic deposits which are hard to shear off. Thus, under shearing conditions, their coefficient of friction is moderately to high. The exceptions are the organometallic compounds listed above. Friction modification films consist of orderly, close-packed arrays of multimolecular “whiskers,” loosely adhering to each other. The outer layers are sheared-off easily, allowing for low coefficient of friction. The phenomena can be described as a deck of plastic coated playing cards lying on the table and sliding off the top card easily.

Conversely, AW/EP films work by protecting the mating metal surfaces from asperities physically gouging the opposite surface. When a hydrodynamic film of oil is ruptured, this layer of AW/EP material protects the mating surfaces from catastrophic failure.

For some sense of scale, here are some further analogies:
1. The Coefficient of Friction (CF) of unlubricated surfaces is 0.5 and higher. In physical simulation, the process resembles the resistance of dragging an irregular rock over irregular rocky ground.
2. The CF for of friction of W/EP films is about 0.1 to 0.2. In simulation, it would resemble dragging a more or less flat stone over a flat rock.
3. The CF for a friction-modified film is about 0.01 to 0.02, compared to ice skating.
4. The CF of fully fluid films in hydrodynamic lubrication is about 0.001 to 0.006 or less. It can be compared to hydroplaning.

The preferred film is of course the hydrodynamic film. This is to followed by the friction-modified mode of operation, followed by an AW/EP regime. When high speeds or low loads are present, it is easy to maintain the hydrodynamic regime. When the speed falls, however, or the load rises above a critical point, the hydrodynamic regime breaks down and then it would be very desirable to be able to glide smoothly into a friction modification mode of operation. If no friction modification has been provided, the system defaults to a AW/EP regime. So friction modification and AW/EP is a logical method to widen the range of effectiveness of the lubricating film. Friction Modification depends much on the mechanism of contact (geometry) and molecular construction of the FM.

FM’s may be produced from a number of chemicals:
- long-chain carboxylic acids and their derivatives including salts,
- long-chain phosphoric or phosphonic acids and their derivatives
- long-chain amides, imides, and derivative
- specially prepared esters and esters of base oils.

Some of the acids used to make the salts or esters may be phenylstearic, stearic, oleic, heptanoic, benzoic, and sebacic.

The configuration of the molecule (molecular structure) of FM’s determines how many molecules are adsorbed on the surface. The slimmer molecules make stronger films because they allow closer packing. The base oil chain length also affects the strength of the adsorbed molecule. Different FM’s are required for different base oils, and the interaction of FM’s with other additives have to be investigated as well. The “concentration” of FM’s is important as well. But only so much concentration will prove effective. A concentration above a certain point may show no improvement, so cost/concentration/effectiveness has to be evaluated during tests.

Fuel economy formulations involving FM’s have to be selected on the following basis:
- FM properties
- dosage or treatment levels
- chemistry (chlorine, phosphorous, nitrogen, boron, ester type, etc)
- toxicity
- safety in handling
- oil solubility
- effect on metals, seals, and other engine materials
- possibility of synergism or antagonism
- acidity or alkalinity
- compatibility with other additives
- raw material availability and costs
- ease and cost of manufacturing
- patent coverage.

FM’s can be employed in different forms in an additive package for a specific formulation. It can be added by itself without any other function, or may be part of molecule in a detergent (such as a sulfonate) or as part of a Viscosity Improver or antioxidant.

Example of an FM/Detergent additive may be a long-chain calcium, magnesium, or sodium sulfonate, preferably one long chain of the benzene ring.

Since FM’s are surface-active materials, and as such, compete with other useful additives, care must be taken in their selection and concentration in any fully formulated lubricant.

Click for forum discussion

*Adapted from a paper by Papay, of the Ethyl Corporation, St. Louis, Missouri.

Used Oil Analysis: How to decide what is normal

Reviewing UOA Data

Used oil analyses (UOAs) are tools.  And like most tools, they can either be properly used or misused, depending upon the application, the user, the surrounding conditions, etc.=

There are already many good articles and publications in existence that tell us how to interpret the information we see in a UOA report; they speak to what elements and physical properties are indicative of certain components and conditions.  It is not the intent of this article to discuss or contradict that type of information.  Rather, it is the intent of this information to supplement those other articles.  Most of those articles fail to address one very important topic: statistical normalcy.  What is “normal” in a data set represents the typical average values and expected variation within that group.  In short, it’s a matter of how to view a series of UOAs and see how results can shape our view of a healthy or ailing piece of equipment and the viability of continued lube service.

Without going deep into statistical analysis theory and education, I’ll just present what is important and helpful in understanding the data we get from UOA resources, so that reasonable decisions can be made and erroneous conclusions can be avoided.  Many people have heard of the “Six-Sigma” approach using statistics, and other similar concepts.  These are applicable to the world of lubricants as much as any other topic.   I’ll apply these concepts to the interpretation of several series of UOAs, using real world examples to illustrate.

First, understand that statistical analysis can be applied in both small and large view-point formats.  Typically these are referred to as micro-analysis and macro-analysis.  I’ll differentiate the two concepts, with specific intent to address how these tools are useful in interpreting UOAs.  In either case, and with rare exception, protocol dictates that one needs 30 or more samples of data to establish reasonably reliable results; it can be done with slightly less, but the data is not nearly as reliable and mathematical problems arise.  Further, you cannot meld one methodology into the other for the sake of accumulating enough data; the quantities must be self-supporting.  You certainly might have one or more sub-sets of full micro-data in large macro-data populations, but you should not blend the two to achieve a minimum set.  In short, you cannot accumulate enough data simply by adding it from differing methodologies or duplicating it, to satisfy the minimum set requirement.

Micro analysis looks at one specific entity, and lets data develop as inputs affect it.  An example of this would be doing a series of UOAs on one engine, using a consistent brand/grade of lube, with reasonably consistent usage patterns.  As much as practical, all inputs (lube, fuel, filtration, UOA sample cycle, etc) are held constant (or with minimal change), so that we can see the natural development of information.  We do this to establish ranges and allow for any trends to develop.  Over time, this methodology can be used to decide which product or process excels over another for any single specific application.  It is very important to note that even when experiencing extremely consistent conditional and resource inputs, there is variation, even when the process is in control.   We need a great deal of data from this single source to well define what is average and normal; it takes much time, money and patience to get there.

Macro analysis looks at not one entity, but all those in a desired grouping, and models not the individual effects, but rather details or predicts the behavior (results) of the mass population reaction to changing conditions (multiple inputs).  Here, we can look at a large group of UOAs that represent a piece of equipment (engine, gearbox, differential, transmission, etc.) from different points of origin, and seek out what is “normal” across a broad base of applications.  This approach is frequently used; it is predominant in the development of many products, from medical trials, to common electronics, to appliances, to automobiles, to consumable items like toothpaste and drinking water.  The list is nearly endless as to how macro analysis can be applied.  And as long as the precepts and limitations are understood, proper conclusions can be made.  Macro analysis comes much quicker because multiple sources are accepted.  Caution must be given, however, to make sure that illogical conclusions are not drawn, based upon false presumptions, or in confusing correlation with causation.

Please note that for the sake of consistency, expediency, and readability, I often round values up or down to make them presentable for quick consumption.  Data can lose its human value at times when the minutia of numbers overwhelms the message the data is trying to convey.

All that in mind, now we’re on to the fun stuff …

Where the data comes from …

I have been collecting UOAs for many years from various sources on all kinds of equipment. I have also received a great amount of UOA data from Blackstone Laboratories. They were generous enough to cooperate in this endeavor, and Ryan Stark was particularly helpful in getting information needed to make several key examples. Do not worry; not one customer profile was compromised. I was only given raw data, and not any confidential personal information. Blackstone is very good at protecting client privacy, and this endeavor is no different. Additionally, I am able to add in some UOA data from other sources as well.

Let’s look at some examples of popular engines. I’ll use these to show how data is developed, and how care must be taken to not let data run amok. I’ll show how “universal averages” (the mean) should be used, and how “variance” (the standard deviation) affects the unrealized story. I’ll indicate what conclusions are fair, and which are illogical.

I am only going to discuss wear metals, as those are results and not inputs. We could apply these same principles of analysis to elemental inputs (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron, etc) or physical properties (flash point, viscosity, etc) but those are purposely manipulated by the lube makers. In fact, the very nature of macro analysis methodology takes into account the vast variability of these inputs. So, we’ll focus on the wear metals, because they are the “tellers of tales”; they let us know how much wear has occurred, and can allow us to have reasonable understanding of how much more might occur, should an OCI be extended. In short, manipulated physical fluid properties and additive-package criteria are inputs, whereas wear-data results are outputs.

Other things to note: my discussion and analysis here is predicated upon the presumption that lubricants represented in the data are not vastly or grotesquely different from the OEM specified parameters. While it is reasonable to expect that someone will utilize a different lube grade other than what is specified, the data presented does not likely represent wholly inappropriate lube selections such as using hypoid gear oil in the engine crankcase, or very old “CD” rated oil in a modern diesel, etc. Succinctly put, most UOAs represent lubes that are at (or near) proper fluid selection for the applications.

A quick key to show the terms used:

  • Avg = average numerical magnitude
  • HDEO = heavy duty engine oil (commonly accepted to be diesel rated lubricant)
  • MAX = largest magnitude seen in the data stream for that element
  • Normal = within acceptable or desirable statistical standard deviations
  • OCI = oil change interval
  • OLM = oil life monitor
  • Per 1k mile = ppm count averaged over a 1,000 mile exposure duration
  • PPM = parts per million
  • Std Dev = standard deviation; a sigma node; (Greek letter symbol “∑”)
  • UL = upper limit, using 3 times the sigma
  • UOA = used oil analysis

The wear elements are listed as seen in the periodic table of elements:

  • Al = aluminum
  • Cr = chromium
  • Cu = copper
  • Fe = iron
  • Pb = lead

(note:  all wear metal data is reported in ppm)

Micro-Analysis Example

I’m going to lay out one example of a micro-analysis engine UOA series. OCIs were done religiously (the goal was 5000 miles +/- 100 miles). This UOA series is the epitome of consistent inputs; the owner was very dedicated to the protocol of the testing parameters. This vehicle saw very common and typical use in its lifecycle and environment including weather, driving cycles, etc. This type series is, frankly, very rare. Very few people drive so far annually, and have the dedication and desire to stay the course, spend the money, and accept the monotony of such limited confines.

Ford 3.0L OHV gasoline V-6

One of Ford’s more prolific engines; it has been in production a very long time with minimal updates other than emissions related components.
(Notes: this is the “Vulcan” engine. UOAs were by a local company and not Blackstone. We must acknowledge there were moves in API service specifications during this series from SJ to SN.)

Oil Miles Vehicle Miles Al Cr Fe Cu Pb
5002 49997 3 1 14 4 3
4976 54973 4 1 13 7 4
4998 59971 3 2 18 6 2
5012 64983 3 1 11 3 6
5003 69986 4 1 15 4 5
5101 75087 5 1 15 3 2
4968 80055 2 1 16 2 6
4899 84954 3 2 18 8 8
5060 90014 4 1 17 5 6
4937 94951 5 1 13 6 3
5014 99965 3 1 15 6 5
5028 104993 3 1 11 3 3
4949 109942 5 1 18 6 7
4993 114935 3 1 15 2 2
5093 120028 4 2 15 5 5
4953 124981 2 2 16 5 4
5001 129982 4 1 14 6 3
5009 134991 3 1 15 2 5
5029 140020 6 1 12 4 2
4920 144940 4 1 17 5 4
4936 149876 3 1 13 4 2
5065 154941 2 3 14 5 6
4956 159897 6 1 13 6 3
4952 164849 3 1 12 8 2
4993 169842 5 1 12 2 5
4927 174769 2 2 14 7 5
5086 179855 4 2 13 5 5
5023 184878 4 1 15 2 3
5001 189879 3 1 18 5 4
5058 194937 3 1 13 3 2
5027 199964 3 2 15 4 4
5019 204983 5 1 13 3 4
4987 209970 6 3 12 4 3
5003 214973 2 1 16 3 5
4989 219962 6 1 15 5 3
4901 224863 5 1 18 2 2
4896 229759 3 1 12 5 6
5023 234782 2 2 18 2 4
4919 239701 4 1 13 4 2
5102 244803 3 2 14 3 3
5014 249817 5 1 11 6 4
5019 254836 2 3 12 2 4
5027 259863 6 2 13 3 5
4966 264829 2 1 14 3 4
4976 269805 5 1 12 3 7
5020 274825 2 1 18 4 3
5030 279855 6 1 15 2 5
4960 284815 3 2 13 6 4
Oil Miles Veh. Miles Al Cr Fe Cu Pb
4996 n/a Avg 3.7 1.4 14.4 4.2 4.0
52 n/a Std Dev 1.3 0.6 2.1 1.7 1.5
5151 n/a UL 7.6 3.2 20.7 9.3 8.6
5102 284815 Max 6.0 3.0 18.0 8.0 8.0
Ppm/1K 0.7 0.3 2.9 0.8 0.8

This is a good example of micro-analysis. The data created is consistent and can be used to make a solid lube decision for the stated operating conditions; there are no abnormalities revealed. The standard deviations are all well less than the means; this is as expected and desired in a controlled micro-data set.

This vehicle went from a steady diet of one popular brand-name synthetic oil with a premium filter to quality conventional oil using a typical shelf brand name filter. Can you find the data range shift indicating synthetics and high-end filtration were “better” in this application? Are you able to discover the mileage point where the change occurred and resulted in statistically significant wear-trend shifts? What the data shows is that the average wear metals shifted less than a point after that change. I’ll give you a hint: after the change, Al and Cr were both up while Fe, Cu and Pb were all down. However, all shifts were well within one standard deviation for each distinct metal. In short, the normal variability of lifecycle usage greatly overshadows the very small shift in wear. And, when two metals go slightly up and three come down, it could fairly be called a moot change; it was statistically insignificant in all criteria.

What we can surmise is that for this maintenance plan and operational pattern, there was no tangible benefit to using the high-end products. The high-end products did not offer a tangible advantage; conversely, the typical quality base-line products presented no additional risk of accelerated wear. We cannot conclude that this result would be true of all potential circumstances; only that it is true when applied to a 5k mile OCI with the given operating conditions. Significantly longer OCIs likely may have shown a statistical difference between the two lube/filter choices, but that was not part of the test protocol.

Macro-Analysis Examples

I’m going to lay out several examples of macro-analysis to illustrate how mass-market data can be used. Here we can see how large groups combine to make bulk data useable. I’ll do a detailed analysis on the first two examples, and then present summarizations for the following examples. The key concept to glean is how macro-analysis, when the data is properly managed, defines “normal” results. These UOA series were all from Blackstone.

Ford 4.6L “modular” gasoline V-8

These samples range over 5 years of UOAs, from August 2007 to August 2012. There are almost 550 UOAs here; plenty of data to find what is “normal” and not. The first data box exhibits all samples, where subsequent data boxes exhibit individual years by process date.

4.6L Ford Time Oil Time on Equipment Al Cr Fe Cu Pb Pb’
5 Years & 548 Samples 5516 94078 Average 3.3 0.9 14.6 4.8 2.8 1.2
5159 62211 Standard
Deviation
2.4 0.6 9.7 4.7 27.4 2.8
20992 280710 UL 10.4 2.7 43.6 19.0 85.0 9.7
85372 487625 Max 42.0 4.0 88.0 46.0 602.0 34.0
Per 1k Miles .6 0.2 2.6 0.9 0.5 0.2
2007: 38 Samples 4492 79906 Average 2.7 0.6 10.2 4.9 0.4 0.4
2602 62244 Standard
Deviation
1.0 0.6 5.9 5.6 0.7 0.7
12297 266637 UL 5.6 2.5 27.9 21.7 2.4 2.4
12926 300362 Max 5.0 2.0 27.0 27.0 3.0 3.0
Per 1k Miles 0.6 0.1 2.3 1.1 0.1 0.1
2008: 100 Samples 4687 89521 Average 2.9 0.8 14.0 4.3 9.5 1.5
2980 62861 Standard
Deviation
1.1 0.6 10.3 4.9 63.3 4.3
13626 278103 UL 6.1 2.5 44.8 19.0 199.5 14.3
20000 452602 Max 6.0 4.0 68.0 40.0 602.0 28.0
Per 1k Miles 0.6 0.2 3.0 0.9 2.0 0.3
2009: 94 Samples 4931 87685 Average 2.8 0.7 12.7 4.1 1.3 1.3
3893 64726 Standard
Deviation
1.3 0.6 8.5 3.6 2.4 2.4
16610 281861 UL 6.7 2.4 38.2 14.8 8.6 8.6
22541 487625 Max 9.0 2.0 65.0 21.0 17.0 17.0
Per 1k Miles 0.6 0.1 2.6 0.8 0.2 0.3
2010: 123 Samples 5320 96641 Average 3.4 0.9 14.6 5.4 1.5 1.1
3078 61329 Standard
Deviation
3.8 0.7 8.8 6.0 3.4 1.6
14555 280628 UL 14.7 3.0 41.0 23.3 11.9 5.8
18186 280817 Max 42.0 4.0 49.0 46.0 34.0 9.0
Per 1k Miles 0.6 0.2 2.7 1.0 0.3 0.2
2011: 125 Samples 5720 96805 Average 3.9 0.9 15.9 5.0 1.5 1.5
3409 57271 Standard
Deviation
2.4 0.6 10.4 3.7 3.4 3.4
15948 268620 UL 11.2 2.6 47.1 16.1 11.9 11.9
16400 359000 Max 23.0 3.0 88.0 31.0 34.0 34.0
Per 1k Miles 0.7 0.2 2.8 0.9 0.3 0.3
2012: 68 Samples 8157 109594 Average 3.7 1.0 18.1 5.1 1.6 0.6
11520 66474 Standard
Deviation
1.8 0.7 10.6 4.5 8.3 1.4
42718 309017 UL 9.1 3.1 50.0 18.7 26.5 4.7
85372 351645 Max 12.0 4.0 57.0 31.0 68.0 9.0
Per 1k Miles 0.5 0.1 2.2 0.6 0.2 0.1

Note that there are two columns for Pb; one is the raw data and the other is the same data stream with just three data points taken out.  Why take out data?  It is because those three points were grossly skewing the data stream development.  Most of the Pb counts in all other samples were well below 35 ppm, but three samples had magnitude of 68 ppm, 204 ppm and 602 ppm.  When I reviewed the individual UOA details, those three suspect reports had no indication of reasonable explanation as to why the Pb was so very high; the OCI was not long, the other wear metals were not skewed high, etc.

While I can suspect that perhaps a bearing was damaged, or leaded fuel (or leaded fuel supplement) was used, I cannot know the root cause for sure.   Regardless, those three data points were affecting the “normalcy” of data.  So I created a “lead prime” (Pb’) column with those three data points taken out.  Since there are 548 total sample UOAs, and only three were removed (representing only one-half of one percent total population), there certainly is plenty of data left to use.  And look how greatly those three data points were skewing the results:

Avg Pb Std Dev
Full data set: 2.8 27.4
Revised data set: 1.2 2.8

See how the average Pb dropped more than 57%, and the standard deviation decreased by nearly a factor of ten!  Only 3 samples of 548 were responsible for such an overt act of skewing this data.  This is where math and common sense come together to make a reasonable conclusion that some intervention of the data is warranted and desirable.  By removing only 0.5% of the Pb data population, we shifted the range very significantly.  This indicates that those three samples were not “normal”, and the remaining 99.5% are so.  In macro data, when the standard deviation is some large magnitude of multiple larger than the mean, there is cause to believe there are abnormalities imbedded in the data stream.  When the deviation is smaller (perhaps around 150% larger or less) it indicates that the mass-market population is representing the variability of inputs as desired, and not being affected by spoilers.  There is no hard and fast rule; training and experience and knowledge of the data subject matter help define and delineate when and where to intervene.

To continue, I broke out the years (defined by UOA processing date) to discover if there were any significant changes over time; clearly there are not.  For example, look at Fe.  The average Fe wear rate, viewed on a “ppm / 1k mile” basis, is reasonably consistent, and varies by less than 1 ppm over 5 years of data.

But, let’s now look at the topic of Fe wear in detail; a great storyline exists here.  How is it affected by UOA duration in mass population total?  Run the oil longer, the Fe goes up, and very predictably.  In 2007, the overall population average UOA sample was taken at 4.5k miles, and the Fe average was 10.2 ppm.  Five years later, the average population UOA sample was taken at 8.1k miles, and the Fe average was at 18.1 ppm.  An 80% increase in mileage duration was mirrored in a resultant 80% increase in Fe.  That is a very predictable response curve; the wear is consistent.  But the data can be analyzed even further and deeper.

Here is where Fe wear gets really interesting.  What happens if we break down the data from mass population, and get into directed duration sub-groups?  I pulled out samples within the UOAs and found the average Fe wear was thus:

UOA avg. Duration 3K 5K 7K 10K
Fe ppm / 1k miles 3.2 2.5 2.5 2.3

It is in fact true to say that when you change oil frequently the UOA will exhibit a higher Fe wear metal count.  There are two reasonable explanations to this phenomenon of elevated wear metals shortly after an OCI; residual oil and tribo-chemical interaction.  When you change oil, no matter how much you “drip-drip-drip” the oil into the catch basin, there is always a moderate amount left in the engine.  Ryan Stark of Blackstone estimates up to 20% of the old oil remains, more or less, depending upon the unique traits of each piece of equipment.  So, when you begin your new OCI, you really are not starting at zero ppm.  Additionally, there is indication that wear is elevated after each OCI because of chemical reactions of fresh additive packages.  This claim is supported via an SAE study done by Ford and Conoco (ref #1) that surmised this very phenomenon, and additionally refers to a former study of the same conclusion predating it.

So, the reality is that we are seeing a combination of two phenomenon; one being the residual oil contribution and the other the chemical reactions.  The elevated readings towards the beginning of an OCI are typically (for most engines) less than one point, representing tenths of change.  I cannot deduce from this macro-data set what portion of wear is due to residual oil and what portion is due to chemical action, but to be honest it really does not matter, because it’s impossible to separate the two phenomena in real life, and they act together to produce a single result.  Wear metals are factually elevated after an OCI due to chemistry and artificially inflated by residual metals; we cannot elude this truth.

While the wear rate is not greatly escalated at the front end of the OCI, it certainly is not relieved (lessened) by the frequent OCI, either.  In short, changing your oil early does not reduce the wear rates, presuming you did not allow the sump load to become compromised in the previous load.  It’s a subtle but very important distinction.  When you have reasonably healthy oil, the wear rate slope is generally negatively flat (muted is a better term, as there is always some variance).  Only after the oil becomes compromised (overwhelmed) in some manner would you see a statistical shift in wear rates.  Hence, higher wear at the front of an OCI is plausible, but the claim of lesser wear with fresh oil is most certainly false.  The wear rate for Fe is reasonably constant, if all other things are in decent operational shape.  Those who change oil frequently at 3k miles are not helping their engine.  Those who leave it in for longer periods are not hurting the engine.  At this point, I will note an acknowledgment to the concerns outside of wear metals.  Oxidation, soot, coolant, fuel, etc can cause a need to OCI.  But, those things are also reasonably tracked in a UOA.  So, if your fluid health is good, and your wear metals are on track, there is no reason to OCI until something changes in a statistically significant manner.

As for the “UL” listing, that is the other part of the story.  The “UL” represents what would be deemed as the 3rd ∑ upper limit of normal distribution.  Looking at the typical variance of a wear metal, we can establish a standard multi-sigma node series limit that defines the “normalcy” for the broad market response.   Any time your results are within the 3rd Sigma, you can consider them “normal” (after abnormalities are negated).  This allows us to include all manner of variables such as brand and grade of oil, use factors, environmental factors, service factors, etc.  If your results are near one sigma or less, you are well within a normal response set.

These samples represent the group of the Ford 4.6L engine UOAs Blackstone received during that five-year time frame.  There are some repeat customers that submit samples from the same vehicle, but those are no more or less valid than singular UOAs from separate sources.  The samples represent not just grandma’s grocery-getter, but also many Triton truck engines, and some Police Interceptor engines, taxi service engines, high-performance Mustang engines, high-mileage traveling salesman engines, trailer towing engines, etc.  There is a large, vast world of inputs to this 4.6L engine data; people who run thin 5w-20 and those who run thick 5w-40.  People who use conventional lubes and those who use synthetics are included.   Those who live in the heat of the desert southwest and those in the cold of Canada are all in here.  Those who top-off sumps and those who do not are included.  Why mention all of this?  When the inputs are so greatly varied the data already includes the diversity of mass population contribution.  Or, more simply put, the wide range of inputs is already accounted for in the “normal” variance of the data results.  This is one benefit of macro-analysis.  Only if we saw a large variation in wear rates between sub-groups or massive ∑ magnitudes could we conclude that inputs had a large affect on the results.  With the 4.6L engine, this simply isn’t the case; wear is generally unaffected by operational conditions and OCI.   As much as practical, I took that mass population data and broke it into directed sub-groups for vehicle mileage, lube exposure, year of service, projected severity factor, etc. I purposely tried to find statistically significant delineation where some factor might distinguish itself as unique; I could not find one.  Hence, the conclusion to come to is that lube brand and grade, filtration selection, as well as various service factors and OCI durations, really don’t matter greatly in this example; the 4.6L engine really does not care what you use or how you drive it.

GM-Isuzu 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8

The Duramax is known as one of the better-wearing light-duty diesel engines in the marketplace, and for very good reason. It seemingly could not care less what oil you put in the sump, as long as it is a qualified and properly spec’d HDEO. GM does not publish metal condemnation limits for this engine that I am aware of. Here is how the data plays out:

Oil Miles Veh. Miles Al Cr Fe Cu Cu Prime Pb
7261.2 100398.8 Avg 2.7 0.3 16.3 16.0 3.4 2.1
4006.1 76147.9 Std Dev 1.2 0.5 10.5 53.0 4.3 2.5
19279.6 328842.6 UL 6.4 1.8 47.9 175.1 16.2 9.6
28417 843817 Max 8 1 75 484 34 29
Ppm / 1k miles 0.4 0.0 2.2 2.2 0.5 0.3

Of these 527 total samples, all were from analysis in 2012.  The samples also represented some fairly high-mileage vehicles.  There were 179 samples of the 527 that were over 100k miles in vehicle use; many were vehicles with over 250k miles.   Because of its lineage and typical light-duty truck market use, these engines are in service for a long time.

Again, we can see the need to manipulate data to remove abnormalities.  There were 41 samples with ultra-high Cu counts; many of them on a multiple magnitude of 100 or more.  There were many Cu readings over 200pm and 300ppm, and one as high as 484ppm.  So, I again created a separate column (Cu’ = copper prime) to root out the high-flyers.  While some would decry the removal of data, you can clearly see how these spikes can adversely affect what is deemed “normal”.  And, while 41 samples seem like a large amount of data to remove, they represent only 7.7% of the total population, and yet their removal resulted in almost a 79% drop in the “average” Cu magnitude.  It was the right thing to do.  It is important to note that this condition of spiked Cu has speculative causation; I’ll not get into that here.  It is also important to acknowledge that very often, these Cu spikes self-correct after a few OCI flushes.  After removing the high Cu samples, look at how the Cu average dropped from 16.0 ppm to 3.4 ppm (nearly an 80% downward shift) and the standard deviation for Cu reduced by more than a factor of 10x!

You can see why this is reputed to be a very good engine; it wears very well.  Interestingly, the standard deviation for UOA duration in these reports is 4k miles and the average is 7k miles.  If you run out an OCI to 11k miles, you’re “normal” within one standard deviation.  That is where the OLM often takes the owners in their maintenance journey.  The OLM in this vehicle is a “smart” OLM that monitors engine operational conditions, rather than being a “dumb” mile counter.  It is not uncommon to see the OLM indicate an OCI between 9-11k miles on this engine in many cases.  Clearly, the OLM is reasonably accurate and trustworthy.  Essentially, folks tend to OCI this engine too frequently, but enough of them push out the OCI to make the first ∑ right around where the OLM typically indicates an OCI is due.

And again, I wanted to know how oil lifecycle affected wear rates, so I looked at three sub-groups; 3.5k miles, 7.5k miles, 11.5k miles.  And, again, higher Fe wear rates are revealed towards the front of an OCI …

UOA average duration: 3.5K 7.5K 11.5K
Fe ppm / 1k Miles 3.0 2.3 2.0

In no way does that mean that an engine is grossly being harmed, but it directly contradicts the mantra that “more is better” (“more” indicating OCI frequency and “better” being less wear). What we are seeing is the reiteration of that “sweet spot” (similar to the Ford 4.6L example). Somewhere, the Fe wear rate will begin an ascent and probably become parabolic, but that point is way further down the road than most people think. However, because the samples become sparse at much longer UOA durations, there is insufficient data to determine where the Fe wear rate might begin to escalate. The wear rate is still coming down even approaching 12k miles, although at that small magnitude the variance is in play. What is clear is this; you can change your oil early, but it will not reduce your wear rate. You can put off your OCI for a long time (at least to 12k miles) and it still will not really affect your wear rate.

Next, allow me to illustrate how macro-analysis can be used to determine what is “normal” for separate entities. Consider the following …
Two Duramax equipped 2006 trucks, used in very similar circumstances for the same UOA duration. Both trucks were basically stock, both pulled heavy RVs into the mountains for roughly 6.5k miles, both see heat and cold patterns that are similar to each other and represent full seasonal swings. Essentially they are about as similar as one could expect for two vehicles that are not operated by the same person. There is one significant difference; one vehicle was run on premium synthetic 15w-40 oil HDEO and utilized bypass filtration, the other truck used conventional 10w-30 HDEO with a normal filter. Here are the exact results in regard to wear, along with the Universal Average and Standard Deviation from the data above:

Al Cr Fe Cu Pb
Truck A 2 1 15 4 1 Synthetic oil and bypass (ref 2)
Truck B 2 0 14 3 5 Conventional oil and filter (ref 3)
UA 2.7 .5 16.3 3.4 2.1
Std Dev 1.2 .5 10.5 4.3 2.5
UL (3 sigma) 6.4 1.8 47.9 16.2 9.6

Can we say that either truck did “better” than the other? No – not without true micro-analysis could we make such determination. But we can say that neither truck did better than the other, because they both were easily within 3-sigma deviation of “normal”. Iron is the greatest indicator of cumulative wear, and these samples were right at “average” levels, despite the towing. At face value, one might claim the synthetic did “better” because the Pb was lower in truck A and higher in truck “B”, but they are both well within the typical variance. Ironically, the Cr, Fe and Cu were actually higher in truck A with synthetic and bypass, but again, they were well within normal variation. It is completely expected to see wear metal counts “bounce” up and down from UOA to UOA. It is “normal” for metals to vary in mass populations and it is “normal” for metals to vary in individual units. But when you can see a single sample well within mass-population “normalcy”, you can deduce that it’s performing no better or worse than any other unit using any other fluid/filter combination.

What little variation occurred was the expected normal variation due any engine in this family. Two vastly different inputs (lubes and filters) did not result in any significant difference, under nearly identical operational conditions at the same duration exposure.
And so, we can fairly say this of these two examples: in these very similar operational circumstances and conditional limitations, there was no tangible benefit whatsoever to using the high-end products. The high-end products did not distinguish themselves by manifesting into statistically significant results.

Toyota 3.4L gasoline V-6

Here is some good data on the famous engine that’s been around a very long time. This data came from ten years and nearly 400 samples; there were no standout years to mention as they were all reasonably similar.

Here is the data:

Oil Miles Vehicle Miles Al Cr Fe Cu Pb
5818 106612 Average 2.2 0.1 6.4 4.5 3.0
2813 56776 Std Dev 1.0 0.2 3.6 4.5 3.9
14258 276940 UL 5.3 0.8 17.3 18.1 14.7
16000 310254 Ppm / 1K 0.4 0.0 1.1 0.8 0.5

The numbers speak to what a great engine this is.

Again, when broken into sub-groups based upon exposure duration:

UOA Average duration 2.0K 3.5K 7.0K 10K
Fe Ppm / 1K miles 2.6 1.3 1.1 .9

The “sweet spot” occurs a bit earlier on this engine than the other two engine examples, but it does indeed exist. Yet again, the residual oil and chemical reaction is affecting the wear rate up front. Once it settles, the “sweet spot” does reach out further than most would realize. I cannot state where the wear would begin to escalate; there are too few samples to get good analysis data resolution. At 10k miles, it’s still experiencing extremely low wear rates. To say this is a fantastic-wearing engine would be a gross understatement.

GM 5.7L OHV gasoline V-8

The good ol’ Chevy 350 reviewed here. All samples analyzed in 2012; more than 500 of them.

Oil Miles Vehicle Miles Al Cr Fe Fe’ Cu Cu’ Pb Pb’
3357 115790 Avg 4.1 1.1 22.8 16.0 8.8 4.6 9.1 5.1
2419 84193 Std Dev 2.7 1.1 24.1 11.5 18.2 4.7 11.7 4.2
10613 368368 UL 12.1 4.4 95.0 50.6 63.3 18.6 44.1 17.7
31000 550000 Max 32.0 12.0 314.0 49.0 177.0 24.0 200.0 15.0
Ppm / 1K 1.2 0.3 6.8 4.8 2.6 1.4 2.7 1.5
Samples removed 46 93 77
>50ppm >25ppm >15ppm

UOA at 3k miles ~ wear rate Fe at 6.8 ppm / 1k miles

UOA at 5k miles ~ wear rate Fe at 4.9 ppm / 1k miles

UOA at 7k miles or greater ~ (insufficient data)

To be blunt, this engine really does not wear as well as some other engines.  Of the 513 total samples, there were 216 of them that had wear-numbers high enough to skew data with high Fe, Cu and/or Pb.   Considering the low average UOA of 3.3k miles and std dev UOA of 2.5k miles, these engines do not exhibit impressive wear performance.  Of the 216 engines, only 12 of them had multiple wear-metal issues (as defined as two or three cautionary metal counts in the same UOA).  The rest were unique UOAs showing a single cautionary reading.  When 42% of the samples have high wear, it’s hard to say these are abnormalities; they are in fact, such a large portion of the population that we cannot discard them.  I processed the info to show you how the numbers skew the data, but it is not fair to remove 42% of a population; they belong in there.  This engine simply does not wear well.  Even after creating a “prime” revision column for Fe, Cu and Pb, see how high the average metals are per 1k miles.  Fe, in particular, is nearly 7 ppm / 1k miles!  Ironically, however, that does not keep this engine from running strong; it just wears heavily while doing so.  Again, we must return to the concept of “normal”; the data is telling us that it is expected of this engine family to shed metals at higher wear rates and with great variation.  Lube condemnation points definitely will come sooner with this engine.  It is a very well respected engine that has great power potential and a strong following; that cannot be denied.  But don’t let mythology belie the facts; these engines wear heavily.  One might be able to point to simple age and design factors.  The GM-350 is a very old engine design; if someone says “they don’t make ‘em like they used to …” you might want to stop and consider what that really means.  We can acknowledge that residual oil may be contributing to the wear rate at 3k miles, but it’s on a much larger scale than the other examples in this article for sure, and the wear stays higher throughout the data stream, compared to other engines.  In short, higher wear will leave more residual concentration, but when combined with yet more escalated wear, it just does not go away easily.  It’s a vicious circle of self-fulfilling prophesy.

Detroit Diesel 12.7L Series 60 diesel I-6

A stalwart of the on-highway heavy trucking and motor-coach industries, this Series 60 engine has been around since the late 1980s, and served in many various applications with various displacements. It is well respected for a very good reason; it lasts a long time with good power production. Here is the data from more than 511 UOAs from 2009 to 2012, a three year sampling:

Oil Miles Vehicle Miles Al Cr Fe Cu Pb
15812 601058 Average 3.0 1.5 26.5 2.2 5.3
9088 443782 Std Dev 2.7 0.9 14.0 6.1 8.9
43075 1932403 UL 11.1 4.1 68.6 20.5 32.0
82000 6465000 Max 29.0 5.0 108.0 128.0 173.0
Ppm / 1K 0.2 0.1 1.7 0.1 0.3

Instead of speaking to wear rates, I’m going to focus on condemnation limits. Detroit Diesel does indeed publish condemnation levels for the wear metal content of the UOAs (ref #4). They have no limit for Al and Cr, but they do limit Fe at 150 ppm, Cu at 30 ppm and Pb at 30 ppm. It is interesting to note that of 511 total samples, none were over the 150 ppm Fe limit. There were two samples of Cu over 30 ppm; one at 33 ppm and one at 128 ppm. There were four samples of Pb over 30 ppm. Two were only 31ppm but technically over the limit. One Pb was at 43 ppm and one at 173 ppm. There were only 6 unique samples of 511 that were over the established condemnation limits, and yet look how low the averages and rates are. Even at 16k mile OCIs, people change the oil in this engine far too often.

Additionally, one cannot exclude the contribution of sump capacity and how it affects the metal concentrations. Part of the reason the Series 60 does very well is because of a good lube system design with a large crankcase pan. That holds down the contamination per unit of measurement. That in turn allows for longer OCI durations; a goal of the over-the-road applications in order to maximize drive-time and reduce routine maintenance down-time.

Reasonable Conclusions

We can use mathematical resolution to view any type of data, to find normal performance, and root out statistical anomalies.

What we cannot conclude

Macro-analysis does not allow for any conclusion to be drawn as to what product(s) might be “better” or “worse” than any other in the grouping, as we can do with micro-analysis. It is so very common to see this happen, and yet it is so very wrong to do so. When any one sample is within one or two standard deviations of average, thereby defining itself as “normal”, we can only conclude that the events and products that lead to that unique data stream were also “normal”. Any variance is not due to one particular product or condition, but the natural variation of macro-inputs. Therefore, we cannot say that brand X was “better” than brand Y or brand Z because typical variation is in play.

What we can conclude

Only with micro-analysis, using long, well-detailed controlled studies, can we make specific determinations as to what might be “better” or “best” for an application.

However, using macro-analysis, we can state that if two separate samples are both within standard deviation, the separate conditions and products did not manifest into uniquely different results. When viewed within an engine family, if engine A is compared and contrasted to engine B, and those two engines used different lubes but resulted in similar wear metal counts and rates, then we can conclude that neither oil was “better” than the other. And when the results are within one standard deviation, the proof is conclusive that neither product had an advantage over the other. Essentially under these conditions, we cannot say that either choice is “better”, but we can say neither is “better”.

Knowing one’s Limitations

Standard deviation data is large or small, for all kinds of different equipment, depending upon your own definition of the words “large” and “small”. In some manner for frame of reference, when the standard deviation is more than 50% of the average magnitude, many consider this to be “large”; I would not disagree. But that does not preclude it from being “normal”, as defined by this concept: happening with great regularity and having no adverse successive effects. Ryan Stark of Blackstone will tell us that the greatest variable that affects wear is usage factor; the data here may well support that conclusion in some circumstances. But what is also clear, at least in all these examples, is that the variation of that usage factor is still “normal” and the standard deviations are large enough that most of us are “normal” in our use of equipment. And OCI durations (too short or long) can also affect wear rates as greatly as usage factors.

Unfortunately, you’ll never know how many abnormalities are present, nor if they have been pre-screened for you, because most UOA services do not perform this extra mathematical filtering. What you can take solace in is the fact that if your UOAs is near, or less than, “universal average” you’re probably in very good shape; you are, in essence, “normal”.

What is applicable to most of us…

I’ll throw out some generalizations here that are a result of the data I’ve collected from many thousands of UOAs from all kinds of equipment, from many different sources:

1)    The large diversity of use, environment, lube grade, etc is already accounted for in macro-analysis data sets

2)    The dedication needed for correct micro-analysis methodology is rare and goes unheeded by most people

3)    There is always a “best” combination of equipment, lube and filter, but it goes undiscovered by most people because they do not apply the correct methodology

4)    That “best” combination is only applicable to unique individual equipment and given set of limited operational circumstances

5)    There is a “sweet spot” where the equipment and lube perform better together

6)    That start of that “sweet spot” is unique to each piece of equipment, and lasts much longer than many people would suspect

7)    Wear rates will generally shrink as the oil is used, contrary to popular belief

8)    Changing oil frequently does not reduce wear in healthy engines with healthy oil

9)    Changing oil too soon is a waste of product, regardless of what brand/grade/base stock of lube you choose to utilize

10)  Condemnation of the lubricant should be based upon a multitude of criteria, and not with any one criteria taken out of context

11)  Condemnation is much further out than many would suspect; only if you were to over-run the “sweet spot” greatly would wear begin to escalate

12)  Condemnation levels are generally misunderstood, if acknowledged at all

13)  To realize the claimed benefit of any premium product, one must operate in a conditional set of circumstances that manifests into statistically distinguishable differences; the benefit must be tangible, otherwise the benefit does not exist

Summarization

UOAs are great tools, but you must know how to properly manipulate the data and interpret the results. You must know not just the averages, but also if there are any abnormalities embedded in those averages and how large the standard deviation is. With all that in mind, you can then use the UOA as a tool in either micro or macro analysis, to see how well your equipment performs with respect to itself, and to others like it.

I hope this enables you to view your UOA data under a new light, allowing the ability to determine what is “normal” and what is “better” in proper context.

Acknowledgements and References

This article is the sole property of David E. Newton as published on “BITOG” with contribution from Ryan Stark of Blackstone.  All rights apply.

 

 

1)    SAE study; http://papers.sae.org/2007-01-4133/

2)    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2379331&page=1

3)    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2323660&page=1

4)    CIWMB; engine oil filter study, 2008, page 11 http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Publications/Documents/UsedOil/2008020.pdf

Castrol EDGE Q&A

Castrol EDGE question and answers.


Syntec technology is?
Also is 0W-30 which we affectionately refer to as GC a completely different formulation from the other Edge w/Syntec oils? Difference from “green” GC?

 
As you are aware, SYNTEC was our first synthetic brand name. We then launched a second synthetic brand called Castrol EDGE. With the most recent oil industry upgrade (GF-5 and SN), it was decided to align our synthetic brands under the name Castrol EDGE. However, we wanted to maintain the name SYNTEC for our loyal customers of this product. Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology is the product that is similar to the previous SYNTEC product. This product has been upgraded to meet API SN and ILSAC GF-5 (where applicable), but the synthetic fluids and performance additives are similar to what was used in SYNTEC – which is the reason for the “Syntec technology” term.

EDGE 0W-30 is a unique formulation to the other formulas in the EDGE family. The 0W-30 grade has a growing interest and we wanted to make sure we had a quality product in the market that properly represented the EDGE brand name.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Details on our formulations are of course proprietary to Castrol. However in moving to GF-5 we used high quality synthetic base oils as in GF-4. Changes were made in the additives where detergent balances and our exclusive dispersant technology were employed along with state of the art friction modifiers to achieve new levels of fuel economy and superior sludge control performance.



I use the old Castrol EDGE in my Corvette with great results. How does the new Castrol EDGE with Syntec Power Technology compare to the old Edge?

Is the old Edge closer to the new Edge with Titanium?

 
Before the most recent industry upgrade (ILSAC GF-5/API SN), the Castrol Americas motor oil brand had two synthetic brand names – SYNTEC and EDGE. When our products upgraded to the new GF-5/SN specification, a decision was made to reduce customer confusion about the two different brand names. As the new formulations were completed, the name of Syntec was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology (black bottle) and Castrol EDGE was changed to Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology (gold bold). So the old brand name SYNTEC is closer to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology; but the current product has been upgraded to meet the new, improved industry specifications.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Details on our formulations are of course proprietary to Castrol. However in moving to GF-5 we used high quality synthetic base oils as in GF-4. Changes were made in the additives where detergent balances and our exclusive dispersant technology were employed along with state of the art friction modifiers to achieve new levels of fuel economy and superior sludge control performance.



I have been using Castrol Syntec 5w50 oil in my 440 cubic inch Dodge motorhome. Will this grade continue to be offered?

 

There is currently no plan to stop producing Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology 5W-50.


A friend has a new GT500 and is wondering if the 5w-50, if it is continued to be offered, will be certified with the appropriate Ford specification.

 

The plan is to continue to offer Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology as a 5W-50. This product does not meet the Ford 5W-50 specification.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Castrol EDGE with SPT 5W-50 certainly meets the engine protection and performance requirements of the Ford spec for the GT 500. The one part of the specification that is not met is the maximum requirement for phosphorus in the motor oil. This is to address long term catalyst and emission system control protection. Castrol EDGE SPT 5W-50 is boosted with antiwear additive to ensure protection in older flat cam and tappet design engines. Raising the antiwear also raises the phosphorus in the formulation.



What is the actual HTHS viscosity of Edge with SPT 0w-30?

 
Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology 0W-30 meets the industry specification for a 30 weight oil, which is 2.9 minimum.

Castrol EDGE SPT 0W-30 is engineered to meet European specifications which require a higher minimum HTHS viscosity. The HTHS viscosity of this product is 3.5 cp

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012The one reason not to publish the HTHS viscosity is that this value can lead to consumer misinterpretation. A higher HTHS may be important in delivering performance and protection. However a lower HTHS viscosity can deliver fuel economy improvement. The important item is that the level of HTHS meets the vehicle manufacturers’ requirements for both fuel economy and protection. This is controlled through their recommendation of viscosity grade ( eg 5W-30 ) and specification ( eg API SN/ILSAC GF-5).



Please clarify the differentiation between the Edge Syntec v. Edge w/Titanium. If Titanium is as marketed as ‘better than’ Syntec, why are A3/B3 oil grades 0w-30 & 5w-40, which meet Daimler 229.5 & 229.3, etc. not offered here in the U.S. as a Edge Titanium? Syntec meets a higher-(more difficult) spec but Titanium in marketing is referred to as ….’most advanced oil’, but it does not meet the most advanced spec’s?

For brand clarification-change the Syntec v. Titanium to ‘Black Label & Gold Label’. Real simple and easy to remember. Not sure how much intangible value there is to the Syntec name.

 
Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology and Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology are both high quality synthetic oils. The Titanium FST Technology product is referred to as the “most advanced oil” in part because it contains a new, advanced additive developed by the Castrol Technical group that contains Titanium. This additive has been found to give improved engine test performance, in particular in power testing.

Good point that you made about the brand clarification. The reason for the “Syntec vs. Titanium” names that you mentioned is that many of our customers liked the SYNTEC brand name. When both products recently got upgraded to meet the new ILSAC GF-5 and API SN industry specifications, it was decided that our synthetic oils should all be under the EDGE brand name. However, to differentiate the products under the EDGE name, the product that was previously called SYNTEC was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology for our loyal SYNTEC customers.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Actual engine test results are considered proprietary and confidential. Such results are communicated to our customers in the form of specifications and claims. Keeping these confidential is a common practice in the industry. We appreciate your interest in more information on Castrol EDGE and we are always reviewing opportunities to provide more performance details. We certainly are reviewing these opportunities with EDGE and all Castrol motor oil products.



Castrol my question is although GM 4718M is a obsolete specification would Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology perform well enough to surpass this specification?

 

Although it is no longer a current specification, Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC would meet the obsolete GM 4718 specification.


About the new formulas…Is it the same formula used in the European Edge?

If so, then how about the origin of the base-stock? Which ones of your blends is still a majority of PAO based formula?

 

The Castrol EDGE formulas are not the same as the formulas used in the European versions of EDGE. All of our synthetic oils are blended with highly refined synthetic base oils to give the improved performance of a synthetic motor oil.


I visited the US this past week and bought a Castrol product and filled up at a BP for the first time since “the disaster”. Went to AAP this past weekend and purchased 5 qts of 0W20 Syntec w/titanium. I know the opinions have been largely mixed on this board but feel it is at least worth giving it a shot. It gets quite cold up here so my only concern with this oil would be its pour point.

 
Thanks for using our Castrol product! Our products are formulated to meet or exceed industry specifications, which are designed to be extreme in nature. Our 0W-20 have been tested and pours below -36° C.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012The MRV value for EDGE w/titanium 0W-20 is around 17,000 cp at -40 C



Would it be possible to provide actual HTHS viscosity data on the PDS Sheets? Many folks would appreciate the information. As an owner of a Jetta 1.8t, suitable oil choices are more limited than most other vehicles. How do the current suitable 0w-30 formulations differ from the Green colored 0w-30 formulation of the early 2000s?

 

Sorry to hear that you were not able to see the HTHS data on the PDS sheet. All Castrol EDGE oils are strong in HTHS performance and meet all industry specifications (for the XW-30 grade, the minimum HTHS is 2.9).

Engine oil specifications have upgraded since the early 2000’s. Depending how early in the 2000’s you are referring to, there have been at least two engine oil specification upgrades. The engine oils of that time were targeting specifications of API SL and GF-3. As time has gone on, the industry has called for upgrades to the engine oil to match the advancements made in engine technology. So the 0W-30 you used back in the early 2000’s has gone through a number of changes to become the product you see today.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012We appreciate the interest in the exact HTHS value of our oils. The reason that we quote a range ( or a specification) is this is how we formulate. When any Castrol product is developed we begin by understanding that certain grades and specifications will call for a certain minimum ( and in some case maximum) HTHS viscosity value. Once this is achieved all other tests are ensured. Depending upon the formulation the HTHS may deviate slightly to ensure other performance requirements for engine protection and fuel economy are met. Thus we do not list an exact number since this number can vary within specification depending upon the formulation.



What is the difference between the old “Syntec” name, and “Syntec Power Technology”. It used to be that “Syntec” was a branding, and now it’s apparently a “technology”. But the product web page indicates that it’s the same oil with a different name.

 

With the most recent industry upgrade to ILSAC GF-5 and API SN, our SYNTEC and EDGE products were reformulated and re-tested to confirm we met the new industry specifications. At the same time, the name of Castrol SYNTEC was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology. The reason for this name change was to have all our synthetic products under the Castrol EDGE brand. However, we did not want to confuse customers that liked the SYNTEC name. So the old product SYNTEC, which met ILSAC GF-4 and API SM was reformulated to meet GF-5 and SN and the name was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology.


Without giving away any details of proprietary nature, could you provide any real world figures and benefits of “Syntec Power Technology” over regular synthetic technology? I see that product web page indicates better performance, superior protection, and increased power over other brands. However, I cannot find any details that explain these claims.

 
It is difficult to go into real world data without Marketing and Legal approval. From a Technical perspective, Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology has been proven in real engine dyno testing to show stronger performance on power testing than other oils available in the market. Also, the new formulation of Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology performs better in the same testing than the previous SYNTEC formulation.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Actual engine test results are considered proprietary and confidential. Such results are communicated to our customers in the form of specifications and claims. Keeping these confidential is a common practice in the industry. We appreciate your interest in more information on Castrol EDGE and we are always reviewing opportunities to provide more performance details. We certainly are reviewing these opportunities with EDGE and all Castrol motor oil products.



Could you explain the performance benefits of titanium on your Castrol EDGE With Titanium. A few research documents indicate that the titanium bonds to engine parts and forms iron titanate. The research doesn’t yet indicate that it is better at reducing wear, but indicates that it may be a suitable alternative to ZDDP, which in high amounts can damage catalytic converters due to the phosphorus.

 
Testing we have done has proven that our Titanium additive technology provides performance benefits in many areas critical to engine protection – in particular in the areas of wear, sludge prevention and power performance.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012At this time we are not prepared to release additional details or data but are reviewing opportunities to do so.



Do your EDGE products support extended drain intervals (beyond 3,000 miles), per the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications or oil life monitor? Or do you recommend that all of your oils are changed within a strict 3,000 mile interval? Do you support even longer drain intervals with your oils (e.g. 10k miles), provided it is within the engine manufacturer’s specifications?

 
Our EDGE products have shown outstanding engine performance in all the testing that we have done with them. However, all cars are different and the type of driving that each person does (normal, stop and go, severe) is different. Because of these differences in cars and driving conditions, Castrol recommends that you follow the recommendations of your car owner’s manual for the type of driving (normal or severe) that the vehicle is being operated.


Is German Castrol being sold in the US? Some say they have seen it, but it’s made in the US. Is there a different name for it now? Is it just Castrol Syntec 0w30? Thanks for your time!

 

German formulations of Castrol oil are not being sold in the US, with the exception of 0W-30


The Elixion 5W30 looks to be a great diesel oil but it’s almost impossible to find. Might that change in the near future? Also, could you highlight the difference in formulation between the GTX diesel and the Tection Extra?

 
Thank you for your interest in Castrol Elixion. The availability of Castrol Elixion will hopefully change in the future, especially as heavy duty diesel truck owners and operators begin to recognize the premium
performance of the product and that Elixion helps to save fuel. As far as finding Elixion 5W-30, please refer to our web page (www.castrol.com) or contact our Customer Service line at 1-800-462-0835.

Both GTX Diesel and Elixion are API CJ-4 performing engine oils. However, GTX Diesel is a conventional mineral oil formulation whereas Elixion is a full synthetic motor oil. Elixion is also a 5W-30 grade compared to GTX Diesel, which is currently available as a 15W-40. The 5W-30 grade, which should be used where SAE 30 grade oils are recommended, provides better low temperature start up performance and greater fuel economy potential.


Is either Edge grade (w/Syntec or w/Titanium) appropriate for extended drains, such as 12,000 miles or more?

 
Our EDGE products have shown outstanding engine performance in all the testing that we have done with them. However, all cars are different and the type of driving that each person does (normal, stop and go, severe) is different. Because of these differences in cars and driving conditions, Castrol recommends that you follow the recommendations of your car owner’s manual for the type of driving (normal or severe) that the vehicle is being operated.


I used Edge SM 5W-30 for about 6300 in one of our Hondas. It seemed to be a very smooth and quiet oil in use, and consumption was maybe half a quart over the interval that I ran.

Is Edge SN comparable?

Also, why isn’t Syntec 0W-30, made in Germany, in wider distribution?

Why doesn’t Wal-Mart stock this really good oil? They stock Castrol products, and they stock M1 0W-40.

 

Glad to hear that you enjoy our EDGE product! Our EDGE products were upgraded to meet the new API SN industry category. So the EDGE SM 5W-30 that you previously used is comparable to EDGE with Titanium FST Technology 5W-30 API SN product. However, the SN product has shown improved performance over the EDGE SM 5W-30 that you used in the past.


Firstly, I agree with other posters that HTHS is increasingly becoming a metric that oil users understand, and it would be great to have that on PDS.

Secondly, moving the 0W-40 to Non DPF safe must have been a conscious decision. What was it in the new formulations that made it worthy of dropping DPFs ?

Thirdly, at least in Australia, I’ve only ever seen the 0W-20 in 20 litres drums at the dealer, and not on retail shelves. Is this going to change ?

 
I need some clarification on the product that you are discussing. The question refers to a 0W-40 Non DPF safe, but doesn’t mention the Castrol product. In the US, there isn’t an HD 0W-40 brand offering so I want to make sure what product the question is discussing.


I don’t have any questions, but I like that your quart bottles have a large opening/mouth. It makes pouring the oil into a funnel a lot easier.

 

Thank you for using our product! Glad to hear you are happy with it and our unique bottle design.


Do you have any TBN data of the new formulation on Edge Syntec and Edge w/ Titanium? What is the main difference between them?

 
The main difference between Castrol EDGE with Syntec Power Technology and Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology is Titanium FST Technology contains a unique additive developed by Castrol chemists that contains Titanium and has been proven in industry engine tests to provide improved wear and help control sludge formation. We do not typically measure the TBN of our passenger car motor oil products, but both products would be in the range of 8.0 – 12.0


What is the major difference between the old and new formula? Is it mainly the additive? or is the base oil changed significantly too?

 
The major difference between Castrol Syntec and Castrol EDGE (both with Syntec Power Technology and Titanium) is Castrol EDGE meets the latest API SN and ILSAC GF-5 performance categories whereas Castrol Syntec met the previous API SM /ILSAC GF-4. In addition Castrol EDGE 5W-30 meets the performance requirements of GM dexos 1. This along with the addition of our titanium additive in EDGE with TiFST are the main differences.


Can we assume that if we could run the old Syntec for 10k miles, we can run 42% longer at 14.2k miles because it has that much better ability to fight deposit? What’s the recommendation on using it as extended drain?

 
Based on our industry testing, Castrol EDGE performed better than Castrol Syntec. However, drain intervals are difficult to specify due to the fact that every driver has different operating conditions (age and type of vehicle, area and weather conditions for driving, driving conditions, stop and go, severe driving, etc). Based on comparison of engine test data, EDGE would be expected to perform better than Syntec; however, Castrol always recommends you follow your car owner’s manual for the proper recommended drain intervals.


Why is 5W-50 Edge labeled as 5W, when it’s 40C viscosity is the same as the 40C viscosity of your 15W-40 Tection Extra diesel oil

 
The 40C viscosity is not what dictates the “W grade” of a motor oil. The W grade is defined by two primary tests run at low temperature. One measures the ability of the oil the enable the crankshaft to turn over (know as a cold cranking viscosity). The second test measures the ability of the oil to be pumped. For a 5W grade the cold cranking viscosity is measured at -30C and the pumping at -35C. For a 15W grade the cold cranking is measure at -20C and the pumping at -25C. So a 5W multigrade oil can be used at lower temperatures than a 15w multigrade.


How much more effective is Titanium than moly for engine wear?

 
Both Moly and the unique Titanium additive used in Castrol EDGE with FST Titanium have been found to have excellent wear protection properties. However, Castrol has not done a direct comparison of exact formulations to say how much better our Titanium additive is compared to Moly, so an exact number is not available. The Titanium additive does provide excellent wear protection, and also has proven to help reduce sludge formation.


Does the Castrol EDGE Titanium formula retain the same properties for the oil to cling like advertised for the Magnatec formula.

 
Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST contains a significantly different base oil mixture and additive package than Magnatec. Castrol EDGE with FST is our top premium full synthetic motor oil formulation with specific additives that not only has passed US standards but also the tougher European ACEA specifications for engine protection. Castrol Magnatec is a strong performing partial synthetic formulation that has been specifically designed for outstanding wear protection. Both Edge with Titanium FST and Magnatec have proven to give excellent wear protection based on industry testing.


Is the Castrol EDGE SPT in 5w-40 suitable for use in small turbo diesels like the Jeep Liberty CRD since it has a CF rating?

 
The Castrol product that would be recommended for small turbo diesels like the Jeep Liberty CRD would depend on the engine and OEM. For example, the Grand Cherokee V6 3.0 Diesel Turbo (2007-2008) calls for Chrysler Spec MS-11106 or MB 229.51 and ACEA C3. The Castrol product recommended for this engine is Castrol EDGE Professional OE 5W-30. For the 2005-2006 Liberty CRD, the oil must meet API SL/CF and Chrysler MS 10725. Due to limited US application, Castrol does not have an oil that meets MS 10725.

Castrol EDGE Professional OE 5W-30 (also seen in the market as Castrol SLX Professional OE 5W-30) can be purchased at Amazon.com and VW’s dealerships.



I think most of us at BITOG would love to see a more comprehensive PDS for all Edge/SPT and Edge / FST.

 
Thank you for your comment about the Product Data Sheets for our Castrol EDGE products. At Castrol, we try to provide the best information for our customers. Although we cannot not provide all the data on our products, we will take the comments you and other of our loyal customers into account and look to put out more information on our PDS in the near future.
Castrol EDGE question and answers.


Syntec technology is?
Also is 0W-30 which we affectionately refer to as GC a completely different formulation from the other Edge w/Syntec oils? Difference from “green” GC?

 
As you are aware, SYNTEC was our first synthetic brand name. We then launched a second synthetic brand called Castrol EDGE. With the most recent oil industry upgrade (GF-5 and SN), it was decided to align our synthetic brands under the name Castrol EDGE. However, we wanted to maintain the name SYNTEC for our loyal customers of this product. Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology is the product that is similar to the previous SYNTEC product. This product has been upgraded to meet API SN and ILSAC GF-5 (where applicable), but the synthetic fluids and performance additives are similar to what was used in SYNTEC – which is the reason for the “Syntec technology” term.

EDGE 0W-30 is a unique formulation to the other formulas in the EDGE family. The 0W-30 grade has a growing interest and we wanted to make sure we had a quality product in the market that properly represented the EDGE brand name.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Details on our formulations are of course proprietary to Castrol. However in moving to GF-5 we used high quality synthetic base oils as in GF-4. Changes were made in the additives where detergent balances and our exclusive dispersant technology were employed along with state of the art friction modifiers to achieve new levels of fuel economy and superior sludge control performance.



I use the old Castrol EDGE in my Corvette with great results. How does the new Castrol EDGE with Syntec Power Technology compare to the old Edge?

Is the old Edge closer to the new Edge with Titanium?

 
Before the most recent industry upgrade (ILSAC GF-5/API SN), the Castrol Americas motor oil brand had two synthetic brand names – SYNTEC and EDGE. When our products upgraded to the new GF-5/SN specification, a decision was made to reduce customer confusion about the two different brand names. As the new formulations were completed, the name of Syntec was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology (black bottle) and Castrol EDGE was changed to Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology (gold bold). So the old brand name SYNTEC is closer to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology; but the current product has been upgraded to meet the new, improved industry specifications.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Details on our formulations are of course proprietary to Castrol. However in moving to GF-5 we used high quality synthetic base oils as in GF-4. Changes were made in the additives where detergent balances and our exclusive dispersant technology were employed along with state of the art friction modifiers to achieve new levels of fuel economy and superior sludge control performance.



I have been using Castrol Syntec 5w50 oil in my 440 cubic inch Dodge motorhome. Will this grade continue to be offered?

 

There is currently no plan to stop producing Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology 5W-50.


A friend has a new GT500 and is wondering if the 5w-50, if it is continued to be offered, will be certified with the appropriate Ford specification.

 

The plan is to continue to offer Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology as a 5W-50. This product does not meet the Ford 5W-50 specification.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Castrol EDGE with SPT 5W-50 certainly meets the engine protection and performance requirements of the Ford spec for the GT 500. The one part of the specification that is not met is the maximum requirement for phosphorus in the motor oil. This is to address long term catalyst and emission system control protection. Castrol EDGE SPT 5W-50 is boosted with antiwear additive to ensure protection in older flat cam and tappet design engines. Raising the antiwear also raises the phosphorus in the formulation.



What is the actual HTHS viscosity of Edge with SPT 0w-30?

 
Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology 0W-30 meets the industry specification for a 30 weight oil, which is 2.9 minimum.

Castrol EDGE SPT 0W-30 is engineered to meet European specifications which require a higher minimum HTHS viscosity. The HTHS viscosity of this product is 3.5 cp

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012The one reason not to publish the HTHS viscosity is that this value can lead to consumer misinterpretation. A higher HTHS may be important in delivering performance and protection. However a lower HTHS viscosity can deliver fuel economy improvement. The important item is that the level of HTHS meets the vehicle manufacturers’ requirements for both fuel economy and protection. This is controlled through their recommendation of viscosity grade ( eg 5W-30 ) and specification ( eg API SN/ILSAC GF-5).



Please clarify the differentiation between the Edge Syntec v. Edge w/Titanium. If Titanium is as marketed as ‘better than’ Syntec, why are A3/B3 oil grades 0w-30 & 5w-40, which meet Daimler 229.5 & 229.3, etc. not offered here in the U.S. as a Edge Titanium? Syntec meets a higher-(more difficult) spec but Titanium in marketing is referred to as ….’most advanced oil’, but it does not meet the most advanced spec’s?

For brand clarification-change the Syntec v. Titanium to ‘Black Label & Gold Label’. Real simple and easy to remember. Not sure how much intangible value there is to the Syntec name.

 
Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology and Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology are both high quality synthetic oils. The Titanium FST Technology product is referred to as the “most advanced oil” in part because it contains a new, advanced additive developed by the Castrol Technical group that contains Titanium. This additive has been found to give improved engine test performance, in particular in power testing.

Good point that you made about the brand clarification. The reason for the “Syntec vs. Titanium” names that you mentioned is that many of our customers liked the SYNTEC brand name. When both products recently got upgraded to meet the new ILSAC GF-5 and API SN industry specifications, it was decided that our synthetic oils should all be under the EDGE brand name. However, to differentiate the products under the EDGE name, the product that was previously called SYNTEC was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology for our loyal SYNTEC customers.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Actual engine test results are considered proprietary and confidential. Such results are communicated to our customers in the form of specifications and claims. Keeping these confidential is a common practice in the industry. We appreciate your interest in more information on Castrol EDGE and we are always reviewing opportunities to provide more performance details. We certainly are reviewing these opportunities with EDGE and all Castrol motor oil products.



Castrol my question is although GM 4718M is a obsolete specification would Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology perform well enough to surpass this specification?

 

Although it is no longer a current specification, Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC would meet the obsolete GM 4718 specification.


About the new formulas…Is it the same formula used in the European Edge?

If so, then how about the origin of the base-stock? Which ones of your blends is still a majority of PAO based formula?

 

The Castrol EDGE formulas are not the same as the formulas used in the European versions of EDGE. All of our synthetic oils are blended with highly refined synthetic base oils to give the improved performance of a synthetic motor oil.


I visited the US this past week and bought a Castrol product and filled up at a BP for the first time since “the disaster”. Went to AAP this past weekend and purchased 5 qts of 0W20 Syntec w/titanium. I know the opinions have been largely mixed on this board but feel it is at least worth giving it a shot. It gets quite cold up here so my only concern with this oil would be its pour point.

 
Thanks for using our Castrol product! Our products are formulated to meet or exceed industry specifications, which are designed to be extreme in nature. Our 0W-20 have been tested and pours below -36° C.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012The MRV value for EDGE w/titanium 0W-20 is around 17,000 cp at -40 C



Would it be possible to provide actual HTHS viscosity data on the PDS Sheets? Many folks would appreciate the information. As an owner of a Jetta 1.8t, suitable oil choices are more limited than most other vehicles. How do the current suitable 0w-30 formulations differ from the Green colored 0w-30 formulation of the early 2000s?

 

Sorry to hear that you were not able to see the HTHS data on the PDS sheet. All Castrol EDGE oils are strong in HTHS performance and meet all industry specifications (for the XW-30 grade, the minimum HTHS is 2.9).

Engine oil specifications have upgraded since the early 2000’s. Depending how early in the 2000’s you are referring to, there have been at least two engine oil specification upgrades. The engine oils of that time were targeting specifications of API SL and GF-3. As time has gone on, the industry has called for upgrades to the engine oil to match the advancements made in engine technology. So the 0W-30 you used back in the early 2000’s has gone through a number of changes to become the product you see today.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012We appreciate the interest in the exact HTHS value of our oils. The reason that we quote a range ( or a specification) is this is how we formulate. When any Castrol product is developed we begin by understanding that certain grades and specifications will call for a certain minimum ( and in some case maximum) HTHS viscosity value. Once this is achieved all other tests are ensured. Depending upon the formulation the HTHS may deviate slightly to ensure other performance requirements for engine protection and fuel economy are met. Thus we do not list an exact number since this number can vary within specification depending upon the formulation.



What is the difference between the old “Syntec” name, and “Syntec Power Technology”. It used to be that “Syntec” was a branding, and now it’s apparently a “technology”. But the product web page indicates that it’s the same oil with a different name.

 

With the most recent industry upgrade to ILSAC GF-5 and API SN, our SYNTEC and EDGE products were reformulated and re-tested to confirm we met the new industry specifications. At the same time, the name of Castrol SYNTEC was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology. The reason for this name change was to have all our synthetic products under the Castrol EDGE brand. However, we did not want to confuse customers that liked the SYNTEC name. So the old product SYNTEC, which met ILSAC GF-4 and API SM was reformulated to meet GF-5 and SN and the name was changed to Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology.


Without giving away any details of proprietary nature, could you provide any real world figures and benefits of “Syntec Power Technology” over regular synthetic technology? I see that product web page indicates better performance, superior protection, and increased power over other brands. However, I cannot find any details that explain these claims.

 
It is difficult to go into real world data without Marketing and Legal approval. From a Technical perspective, Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology has been proven in real engine dyno testing to show stronger performance on power testing than other oils available in the market. Also, the new formulation of Castrol EDGE with SYNTEC Power Technology performs better in the same testing than the previous SYNTEC formulation.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012Actual engine test results are considered proprietary and confidential. Such results are communicated to our customers in the form of specifications and claims. Keeping these confidential is a common practice in the industry. We appreciate your interest in more information on Castrol EDGE and we are always reviewing opportunities to provide more performance details. We certainly are reviewing these opportunities with EDGE and all Castrol motor oil products.



Could you explain the performance benefits of titanium on your Castrol EDGE With Titanium. A few research documents indicate that the titanium bonds to engine parts and forms iron titanate. The research doesn’t yet indicate that it is better at reducing wear, but indicates that it may be a suitable alternative to ZDDP, which in high amounts can damage catalytic converters due to the phosphorus.

 
Testing we have done has proven that our Titanium additive technology provides performance benefits in many areas critical to engine protection – in particular in the areas of wear, sludge prevention and power performance.

Follow-up info — Sep 21, 2012At this time we are not prepared to release additional details or data but are reviewing opportunities to do so.



Do your EDGE products support extended drain intervals (beyond 3,000 miles), per the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications or oil life monitor? Or do you recommend that all of your oils are changed within a strict 3,000 mile interval? Do you support even longer drain intervals with your oils (e.g. 10k miles), provided it is within the engine manufacturer’s specifications?

 
Our EDGE products have shown outstanding engine performance in all the testing that we have done with them. However, all cars are different and the type of driving that each person does (normal, stop and go, severe) is different. Because of these differences in cars and driving conditions, Castrol recommends that you follow the recommendations of your car owner’s manual for the type of driving (normal or severe) that the vehicle is being operated.


Is German Castrol being sold in the US? Some say they have seen it, but it’s made in the US. Is there a different name for it now? Is it just Castrol Syntec 0w30? Thanks for your time!

 

German formulations of Castrol oil are not being sold in the US, with the exception of 0W-30


The Elixion 5W30 looks to be a great diesel oil but it’s almost impossible to find. Might that change in the near future? Also, could you highlight the difference in formulation between the GTX diesel and the Tection Extra?

 
Thank you for your interest in Castrol Elixion. The availability of Castrol Elixion will hopefully change in the future, especially as heavy duty diesel truck owners and operators begin to recognize the premium
performance of the product and that Elixion helps to save fuel. As far as finding Elixion 5W-30, please refer to our web page (www.castrol.com) or contact our Customer Service line at 1-800-462-0835.

Both GTX Diesel and Elixion are API CJ-4 performing engine oils. However, GTX Diesel is a conventional mineral oil formulation whereas Elixion is a full synthetic motor oil. Elixion is also a 5W-30 grade compared to GTX Diesel, which is currently available as a 15W-40. The 5W-30 grade, which should be used where SAE 30 grade oils are recommended, provides better low temperature start up performance and greater fuel economy potential.


Is either Edge grade (w/Syntec or w/Titanium) appropriate for extended drains, such as 12,000 miles or more?

 
Our EDGE products have shown outstanding engine performance in all the testing that we have done with them. However, all cars are different and the type of driving that each person does (normal, stop and go, severe) is different. Because of these differences in cars and driving conditions, Castrol recommends that you follow the recommendations of your car owner’s manual for the type of driving (normal or severe) that the vehicle is being operated.


I used Edge SM 5W-30 for about 6300 in one of our Hondas. It seemed to be a very smooth and quiet oil in use, and consumption was maybe half a quart over the interval that I ran.

Is Edge SN comparable?

Also, why isn’t Syntec 0W-30, made in Germany, in wider distribution?

Why doesn’t Wal-Mart stock this really good oil? They stock Castrol products, and they stock M1 0W-40.

 

Glad to hear that you enjoy our EDGE product! Our EDGE products were upgraded to meet the new API SN industry category. So the EDGE SM 5W-30 that you previously used is comparable to EDGE with Titanium FST Technology 5W-30 API SN product. However, the SN product has shown improved performance over the EDGE SM 5W-30 that you used in the past.


Firstly, I agree with other posters that HTHS is increasingly becoming a metric that oil users understand, and it would be great to have that on PDS.

Secondly, moving the 0W-40 to Non DPF safe must have been a conscious decision. What was it in the new formulations that made it worthy of dropping DPFs ?

Thirdly, at least in Australia, I’ve only ever seen the 0W-20 in 20 litres drums at the dealer, and not on retail shelves. Is this going to change ?

 
I need some clarification on the product that you are discussing. The question refers to a 0W-40 Non DPF safe, but doesn’t mention the Castrol product. In the US, there isn’t an HD 0W-40 brand offering so I want to make sure what product the question is discussing.


I don’t have any questions, but I like that your quart bottles have a large opening/mouth. It makes pouring the oil into a funnel a lot easier.

 

Thank you for using our product! Glad to hear you are happy with it and our unique bottle design.


Do you have any TBN data of the new formulation on Edge Syntec and Edge w/ Titanium? What is the main difference between them?

 
The main difference between Castrol EDGE with Syntec Power Technology and Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST Technology is Titanium FST Technology contains a unique additive developed by Castrol chemists that contains Titanium and has been proven in industry engine tests to provide improved wear and help control sludge formation. We do not typically measure the TBN of our passenger car motor oil products, but both products would be in the range of 8.0 – 12.0


What is the major difference between the old and new formula? Is it mainly the additive? or is the base oil changed significantly too?

 
The major difference between Castrol Syntec and Castrol EDGE (both with Syntec Power Technology and Titanium) is Castrol EDGE meets the latest API SN and ILSAC GF-5 performance categories whereas Castrol Syntec met the previous API SM /ILSAC GF-4. In addition Castrol EDGE 5W-30 meets the performance requirements of GM dexos 1. This along with the addition of our titanium additive in EDGE with TiFST are the main differences.


Can we assume that if we could run the old Syntec for 10k miles, we can run 42% longer at 14.2k miles because it has that much better ability to fight deposit? What’s the recommendation on using it as extended drain?

 
Based on our industry testing, Castrol EDGE performed better than Castrol Syntec. However, drain intervals are difficult to specify due to the fact that every driver has different operating conditions (age and type of vehicle, area and weather conditions for driving, driving conditions, stop and go, severe driving, etc). Based on comparison of engine test data, EDGE would be expected to perform better than Syntec; however, Castrol always recommends you follow your car owner’s manual for the proper recommended drain intervals.


Why is 5W-50 Edge labeled as 5W, when it’s 40C viscosity is the same as the 40C viscosity of your 15W-40 Tection Extra diesel oil

 
The 40C viscosity is not what dictates the “W grade” of a motor oil. The W grade is defined by two primary tests run at low temperature. One measures the ability of the oil the enable the crankshaft to turn over (know as a cold cranking viscosity). The second test measures the ability of the oil to be pumped. For a 5W grade the cold cranking viscosity is measured at -30C and the pumping at -35C. For a 15W grade the cold cranking is measure at -20C and the pumping at -25C. So a 5W multigrade oil can be used at lower temperatures than a 15w multigrade.


How much more effective is Titanium than moly for engine wear?

 
Both Moly and the unique Titanium additive used in Castrol EDGE with FST Titanium have been found to have excellent wear protection properties. However, Castrol has not done a direct comparison of exact formulations to say how much better our Titanium additive is compared to Moly, so an exact number is not available. The Titanium additive does provide excellent wear protection, and also has proven to help reduce sludge formation.


Does the Castrol EDGE Titanium formula retain the same properties for the oil to cling like advertised for the Magnatec formula.

 
Castrol EDGE with Titanium FST contains a significantly different base oil mixture and additive package than Magnatec. Castrol EDGE with FST is our top premium full synthetic motor oil formulation with specific additives that not only has passed US standards but also the tougher European ACEA specifications for engine protection. Castrol Magnatec is a strong performing partial synthetic formulation that has been specifically designed for outstanding wear protection. Both Edge with Titanium FST and Magnatec have proven to give excellent wear protection based on industry testing.


Is the Castrol EDGE SPT in 5w-40 suitable for use in small turbo diesels like the Jeep Liberty CRD since it has a CF rating?

 
The Castrol product that would be recommended for small turbo diesels like the Jeep Liberty CRD would depend on the engine and OEM. For example, the Grand Cherokee V6 3.0 Diesel Turbo (2007-2008) calls for Chrysler Spec MS-11106 or MB 229.51 and ACEA C3. The Castrol product recommended for this engine is Castrol EDGE Professional OE 5W-30. For the 2005-2006 Liberty CRD, the oil must meet API SL/CF and Chrysler MS 10725. Due to limited US application, Castrol does not have an oil that meets MS 10725.

Castrol EDGE Professional OE 5W-30 (also seen in the market as Castrol SLX Professional OE 5W-30) can be purchased at Amazon.com and VW’s dealerships.



I think most of us at BITOG would love to see a more comprehensive PDS for all Edge/SPT and Edge / FST.

 
Thank you for your comment about the Product Data Sheets for our Castrol EDGE products. At Castrol, we try to provide the best information for our customers. Although we cannot not provide all the data on our products, we will take the comments you and other of our loyal customers into account and look to put out more information on our PDS in the near future.



Valvoline Q&A

Valvoline question and answers.

Find below a comprehensive Q&A about all things Valvoline


Is the Nextgen maxlife better than regular Maxlife? (BrownBox88)

 

Valvoline formulates both MaxLife and NextGen MaxLife to meet the demands of higher mileage engines. Both products have the same level of chemistries, including seal conditioners, detergents and dispersants, antiwear additives and so on, thus offering the same performance.


I’ve had a question since I first learned about your Nextgen products – Do you set the quality target of Nextgen products exactly same as that of premium conventional/red bottle maxlife? or do you target either higher or lower? (08sienna)

 

Valvoline formulates both NextGen and non-NextGen products with the same additive systems, so they offer the same performance when used in engines.


Will there be any plans for Nextgen oils for outdoor power equipment I.E. straight 30 weights. Any nextgen diesel oil, Motorcycle oils planned?

 

At this time, NextGen diesel engine oils (Premium Blue and All-Fleet Plus) are in production. Valvoline continues to evaluate the market demand of the other segments.


Does it cost more to reclaim the old oils and restore them to be usable again than just using virgin base stocks…and if so, how is this product expected to ever succeed selling for less-than premium prices? At what point will Valvoline/Ashland pull the plug? (NHGuy)

 

As an oil marketer, it is Valvoline’s goal to provide its customers with the highest quality oil at reasonable prices. NextGen products accomplish that goal, while also promote a sustainable future of the industry due to lower emissions associated re-refining (as compared to crude exploration, drilling and refining), less resource depletion, and a reduction in environmental footprint.


Many of us at BITOG are very passionate about using synthetic oils to extend our oil change intervals beyond 3000 miles. Is it possible/are there plans to have a synthetic variant of NextGen? (tomcat27)

 

Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing such a product. We are still evaluating the market demand for it.


Are the contents of the recycled oil made up of strictly Valvoline products or are they a mix of everyone’s? Also, since 50% of the oil is recycled is there a chance that some of the recycled oil is actually a Group 3 or higher Synthetic? (JasonC)

 

The re-refined base oils that are used in Valvoline NextGen products are sourced from our strategic suppliers, who acquire their used oils from varieties of sources. With the product upgrade in the marketplace (such as moving from ILSAC GF-4/API SM to ILSAC GF-5/API SN in the past a couple of years) and the improvement of general quality of motor oils, it is possible that some Group III or higher oils are present in the used oils.


It seems that most of members here in BITOG believe that molybdenum metal element is such a superior agent for engine protection, at the same time people hate to see lots of sodium in their oil (for some unclear reasons). Are you aware of that? Are you willing to provide any explanation about your additive formulation to convince us? (08Sienna)

 

As most of the BITOG members know, motor oil formulation is indeed a delicate balance of all the components in the fluid. At Valvoline, our scientists and engineers formulate our products to meet the targeted specifications and performance levels with the use of the best combination of base oils and additive packages, which may or may not include the use of organo-molybdenum and bi-metallic detergent systems. All of our formulations are bench studied, engine approved, field tested and race-track proven.


Is NextGen re-refined (or whatever the process is called) at one central location (refinery), or at several different locations (refineries) throughout the U.S., and then processed into the finished product at Valvoline? (Loobed)

The re-refined base oils that are used in Valvoline NextGen products are sourced from our strategic suppliers, which are processed at various locations in the U.S. These high quality re-refined base oils are blended into finished Valvoline motor oils at Valvoline owned facilities.


Where do you get the used oil to re-refine; Only from Valvoline lube shops, or as a commodity from any oil recovery service. (Loobed)

 

The re-refined base oils that are used in Valvoline NextGen products are sourced from our strategic suppliers, who acquire their used oils from varieties of sources.


Since NextGen is made from recycled oil, and since some people use synthetic oil in their vehicles which will get recycled with conventional oil, does NextGen contain a small percentage of synthetic base stock, or does the re-refining process remove the small amount of synthetic base stock in the recycled oil? (Loobed)

 

The re-refined base oils that are used in Valvoline NextGen products are sourced from our strategic suppliers, who acquire their used oils from varieties of sources. With the product upgrade in the marketplace (such as moving from ILSAC GF-4/API SM to ILSAC GF-5/API SN in the past a couple of years) and the improvement of general quality of motor oils, it is possible that some Group III or higher oils are present in the used oils.


Will you be coming out with a NextGen Diesel oil, or NextGen automatic transmission fluid (ATF) in the future? Many people use diesel oil in motorcycles. (Loobed)

 

(REPEAT) At this time, NextGen diesel engine oils (Premium Blue and All-Fleet Plus) are in production. Valvoline continues to evaluate the market demand of the other segments.


Older Maxlife was a synthetic blend. Is NextGen Maxlife also a synthetic blend? (note: I don’t think 75,000 miles is high mileage) (Loobed)

 

Yes.


Most of us here at BITOG understand and commend the recycling process that reformats the used motor oil into the 50% aspect of NextGen. What is the initial market outlook for the average consumer? Has it been accepted as a dutiful complement to Valvoline conventional that has a loyal customer base? (cancov)

 

The market outlook looks very promising and we realize that we are still in the “early adopter” phase of this product in regards to awareness and trial. NextGen Conventional offers the exact same performances as Valvoline Conventional. In a broader sense, using NextGen products promotes a sustainable future of the industry due to lower emissions associated re-refining (as compared to crude exploration, drilling and refining), less resource depletion, and a reduction in environmental footprint.


Can you tell us what process is used to re-refine the used oil? Do they use the same equipment that is used to refine crude oil, or is there a separate facility that only processes used oil and not crude oil? I would like to know if the rebate also includes MaxLife NextGen? I don’t mind paying the difference between the Maxlife and the regular NextGen. (Loobed)

 

The technology used to re-refine used oil is proprietary to the refiners, and could be unique to each individual refinery. However, in general, the processes are very similar to the modern crude oil hydro-process refining, and re-refining is done in separate refineries from crude sourced ones. In regards to the rebate offer, it’s for Conventional and MaxLife NextGen.


When will it become available (or more widely available) in Canada? (Garak)

 

We are currently selling NextGen in the Canada market.


The oil that is recycled is it just any old brand of oil or do you only use Valvoline oil that has been used? (LoganC)

 

The re-refined base oils that are used in Valvoline NextGen products are sourced from our strategic suppliers, who acquire their used oils from varieties of sources.


Recycle oil bin at auto parts stores and quick lubes may contain other fluids such as ATF, gear fluid, brake fluid, coolant … How do I know that NextGen has only oil based fluid and not other fluids ? This is the main reason I didn’t buy any NexGen oil yet, even when there were good rebates so that the cost per quart was less than $1. (HTSS TR)

 

The processes during re-refining eliminate almost all of the used and unused additives and contaminants that are present in the used oil, leaving only the good lubricating oil molecules as the output. At Valvoline, very strict quality standards are established to ensure the re-refined oils we use are of or above the desired quality.


It has been mentioned that recycled engine oil is more pure due being refined again. Is there any truth to that? (volk06)

 

While the term “pure” in this case is subjective, the processes during re-refining eliminate almost all of the used and unused additives and contaminants that are present in the used oil, leaving only the good lubricating oil molecules as the output. The quality of re-refined base oils Valvoline uses are at least equivalent to that of the oils from virgin crude.


Do you know what type,weight, brand of oil when you receive it? Since there can be numerous base oils in the used oil, how can you separate them out? How can you be certain nextgen is 100% conventional oil and not part synthetic? (volk06)

 

The distillation process used in re-refining is the same as that in crude refining, which separates oil molecules based on the molecular weights. The classification of the base oil, either conventional or synthetic, is based solely on its properties (such as viscosity index, saturates, and sulfur content), not the sources.


What is the percentage of group 3 in the nextgen maxlife? (Billbert)

 

Unfortunately, formulation information is proprietary and cannot be provided in public domain.


Can you explain the overall total energy saved if any in making NextGen vs conventional oil? (tenderloin)

 

Such information, which is based on several life-cycle analyses performed recently, can be found on Valvoline website (www.valvoline.com).


Is the additive pack very similar to your white bottle oil, or does the recycled base oil need to be hopped up with more additives? (tenderloin)

 

The additive packages used are exactly the same as the non-NextGen products.


Valvoline NextGen Conventional and MaxLife claims containing 50% recycled oil. Is 50% a maximal, minimal, or average amount of recycled oil in NextGen? (sunfire)

 

50% is the minimum amount of re-refined oil we put into each formulation.


besides being recycled, are there any other benefits to using Nextgen Maxlife compared to the normal old formula Maxlife? I use Maxlife exclusively in the Xterra, and have had trouble pulling the trigger on the Nextgen, just because I have seen no problems using the regular Maxlife. (hooligan24)

 

NextGen MaxLife offers the exact same performances as the regular MaxLife. In a broader sense, using NextGen products promotes a sustainable future of the industry due to lower emissions associated re-refining (as compared to crude exploration, drilling and refining), less resource depletion, and a reduction in environmental footprint.

I expect it has been difficult overcoming the stigma of a recycled oil. Have the sales of NextGen met the expectations of the company? (Saleen0679)

The sales outlook looks very good and we realize that we are still in the “early adopter” phase of this product launch in regards to awareness and trial. So far in year 1, we have “1 million users” of NextGen, which is a huge feat! It’s only going to continue to grow from there.


Will we be seeing other grades being released in the near future and if so what can we expect next? (Saleen0679)

 

Valvoline will continue to evaluate market conditions and fill the needs of our customers in terms of grades and product extensions.


What has Valvoline’s marketing department had to overcome to convince the consumer that it’s not just “used oil”? I’ve seen a lot of advertising that promotes it as a “green” alternative to traditional motor oil, but not much to indicate whether it is superior to conventional motor oil. Do you anticipate that there could be a possible 100% recycled version in the near future? (zeezee)

 

We are continuing to educate the market that it’s not the “dirty stuff” in the bottle In fact, for refineries, used motor oil is a better starting point than crude oil. It has less oil contaminants and more oil molecules, so it’s abetter material to build with. Only 15% of crude oil is usable for motor oil vs. 75% of used oil is usable. NextGen Conventional offers the exact same performances as Valvoline Conventional. In a broader sense, using NextGen products promotes a sustainable future of the industry due to lower emissions associated re-refining (as compared to crude exploration, drilling and refining), less resource depletion, and a reduction in environmental footprint. Technological advances have allowed for higher-quality base oils used as feedstocks. From our viewpoint, we support increased availability of base oils and re-refining capacity so that we can have a more secure supply.


When can I expect a version suitable for use in my diesel engine? I do have a gasoline powered vehicle as well to try the product in via the mail in rebate (ib516)

 

(REPEAT) At this time, NextGen diesel engine oils (Premium Blue and All-Fleet Plus) are in production.


My question is this; Is the Next Gen selling well enough to keep it in production? I have no doubt it is a very fine product. As I`m sure you would not put your name on the bottle if it was not. (lexus114)

 

(REPEAT) The sales outlook looks very good and we realize that we are still in the “early adopter” phase of this product launch in regards to awareness and trial. So far in year 1, we have “1 million users” of NextGen, which is a huge feat! It’s only going to continue to grow from there.


Is NextGen being used by any government agencies, similar to Safetyklean (Ursae Majoris)

 

NextGen is currently being used by various municipalities and interest is still growing.


Do you plan to make a synthetic version of NexGen? Will it meet Honda’s HTO-06 specification? I realize that some oils would pass the HTO-06 test, but manufacturers choose not to certify their oils. (Ursae Majoris)

 

(REPEAT) Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing such a product. We are still evaluating the market demand for it.


I have no doubt that NextGen oils are worthy of their API certifications, but wonder why their cost is the same as the PCMO and MaxLife oils. If NextGen takes less energy to produce, why not pass the savings on to consumers? (A Harman)

 

Although it takes less energy to re-refine used oils as compared to the crude oil refining, the pricing the finished re-refined base oils, which Valvoline procures from our strategic suppliers, is almost solely decided by the supply-demand relationship of the global base oil market. To Valvoline, the cost of producing a NextGen motor oil is equivalent to that of producing a non-NextGen product.


Also, does Valvoline receive any government subsidies or other incentives to manufacture NextGen? (A Harman)

 

At this time, Valvoline receives no government subsidies for producing or selling NextGen.


Are there any plans to release fully synthetic oils to the ‘NextGen’ lineup, such as SynPower NextGen or Max Life Synthetic NextGen? Is it even possible to create a ‘full syn’ through re-refining at this time? Posted by… itslimjim

 

(REPEAT) Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing such a product. We are still evaluating the market demand for it. Technically speaking, at the current time it is not financially viable for the re-refiners to produce full synthetic re-refined base oils.


Does Valvoline operate these oil refineries? So Valvoline has control over the characteristics of the base oil such as volatility, VI, solubility for additives, etc. The auto parts stores will mix ATF as well as other non motor oils into their oil drum for recycling. ATF doesn’t contain much if any paraffinic base oil used to make motor oil. Does Valvoline selectively choose where the spent oil comes from? So the refineries can produce high yield quality base oils. Is Valvoline getting into the base oil business through recycling oil? Posted by… sunfire

 

Valvoline does not own or operate any refineries or re-refineries. The processes during re-refining eliminate almost all of the used and unused additives and contaminants that are present in the used oil, leaving only the good lubricating oil molecules as the output. At Valvoline, very strict quality standards are established to ensure the re-refined oils we use are of or above the desired quality. Currently Valvoline has no intention of manufacturing or marketing re-refined base oils.


I am “green” as they say it and have used and have Nexgen in my oil stock. I am just curious as to what percentage of your oil sales are due to Nexgen. So far I am pleased with it and will continue to use it. I hope it helps other companies move in the green recycled oil direction. Hats off to Valvoline. Posted by… toneydoc

 

We really appreciate your support of this product! However, we cannot provide proprietary sales information on public domain.


I noticed that NextGen jugs state that it lowers emissions. Does that refer to emissions produced by the vehicle it is used in, or a reduction in the refining process? Posted by… Spartanfool

 

It refers to both. It is easy to understand that the process of re-refining produces less emission to the environment. When formulating NextGen products, Valvoline uses the same award-winning low-impact anti-wear system that are used in our conventional products, so our products (NextGen and non-NextGen) will provide better protection to vehicle’s emission control system.


To conserve resources, many products (oil, plastic, etc) are either being marketed as recycled or bio-based. Could a NextGen bio based oil ever offered, or perhaps a bio/recycled blend? Posted by… JZiggy

 

Great questions. Valvoline chemists and engineers in our R&D Lab are currently evaluating all possible raw materials, including bio-derived materials..


Has at least some reclaimed base stock been used before in other oils by any blender without attribution? Does Ashland produce its own base stock, or is it purchased from third parties? Posted by… fdcg27

 

Valvoline is the first major branded lubricant manufacturer to market an oil containing at least 50% re-refined base oils. We are unaware of any other major marketers using a re-refined oil without marketing their products in such a fashion. Ashland/Valvoline does not produce its own basestocks.


I recently joined BITOG because i’m very interested in knowing more about oil filters; how they’re constructed and how they perform. So i wonder if a nextgen type oil filter (made with recycled material) would complement your partially recycled oil product?
Have you thought about this? I would certainly purchase such a filter provided it was quality constructed like those filters in the 7-12$ range. Thanks much.

 

Great idea! This is something we can definitely look into for our installer channel of the business to compliment our current line of Valvoline automotive filters.


Question 1: What is the shelf life of Valvoline’s NextGen motor oils if stored in sealed bottles? What if the oil is stored in a garage that’s exposed to daily temperature variations?
Question 2: If I use NextGen or Maxlife NextGen oil in a car that’s driven only 4500 miles per year, how frequently should the oil be changed? Is it ok to wait until the oil was used for at least 3000 miles, or is there some kind of time expiration limit once the oil once its put into an engine? Posted by… Zako2

 

Although motor oils can be stored in seal bottles for a very long time, Valvoline establishes the shelf-life as 5 years due to the service category upgrade. With regard to storage in an area with temperature variations, it will not affect the life or performance of nay Valvoline products, including NextGen. Valvoline recommends that oil in the engine should be changed based on what is described in the owner’s manual. (For vehicles driven very low miles, it can be considered part of good maintenance to drive the vehicle for at least 30 minutes per week at highway speeds.)


1) The Valvoline advertising states 50% recycled oil. What is the remaining 50% comprised of? Refined Dino Group II, or Group III, or Synthetic based, or a blend? 2) Since the 50% Recycled basestock is made up of an unpredictable mixture of various motor oils (synthetic, dino, etc), ATF, and otehr petrochemicals, how is the consistency of Nextgen from batch to batch maintained? Posted by… tstep

 

The rest of the 50% is comprised of other base oils and the additive chemistries. While Valvoline’s formulations are a trade secret Valvoline has at its disposal, Group III, Group III+, Group IV (PAO) and various Group V base oils and we use these as appropriate to meet our high standards. Valvoline is free to choose whatever base oils and additives we desire to meet our performance goals. Many of our competitors, due to corporate affiliations may not have this freedom. The processes during re-refining eliminate almost all of the used and unused additives and contaminants that are present in the used oil, leaving only the good lubricating oil molecules as the output. At Valvoline, very strict quality standards are established to ensure the re-srefined oils we use are of or above the desired quality.


I have read that Valvoline makes or bottles AutoPride motor oils. Will Valvoline bottle NextGen in a generic bottle or under a label like AutoPride. I have an old International engine that smokes on startup from bad valve seals, and I don’t feel like fixing it. Does NextGen offer any benefits over regular Valovline to reduce smoke or deposits in the combustion chamber? Posted by… Yellow IHC

 

For an older light-duty engine with seal issues, Valvoline would recommend the use of our MaxLife or NextGen MaxLife products.


Other than simply being “green”, what benefits does NextGen have over other Valvoline products? Posted by… JGW

 

NextGen products perform at the same level as traditional Valvoline motor oils that you have trusted for years. No compromises have been made with this product.


Does Valvoline also use recycled materials in the NextGen Bottles? Posted by… Tortuga

 

Yes.


I would like to know the benefit of NextGen Conventional vs Valvoline Conventional and NextGen Maxlife vs Maxlife. Posted by… HTSS TR

 

NextGen motor oil performs at the same level as traditional Valvoline Conventional and MaxLife formulations.


What percentage of used oil/atf/etc winds up being re-refined into a usable product? IE: for every gallon of used oil collected and re-refined, how many quarts are turned into nextgen, or other usable products, and just plain unusable waste? Posted by… tstep

 

The yield of re-refined base oils from used oil is approximately 80%.


As a user of Valvoline DuraBlend are there any plans to sell a NextGen DuraBlend? Posted by… number 41

 

NextGen DuraBlend is currently available.


I am now using the VR1 in my older flat tappet engine, Will there be a NextGen VR1 in 10w30 and 20w50? Posted by… porkchop01

 

Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing such a product. We are still evaluating the market demand for it.


Glad to see Valvoline as a sponsor. Was at one point a VIOC employee and have always used Valvoline products. But after finding Bitog have experimented with allot of different brands. I maintain a fleet of 5 personal vehicles so it is easy to compare. Currently, for my own personal reasons favor Valvoline and Mobil products. One of these reasons is my perceived gas mileage, multiple vehicles get approx 40k a year and even very small mileage gains add up over time. I also tend to favor high mileage oils, as most of the vehicles are close to or over the 200k mark. These oils tend to help with minor leaks in my experience. So my question becomes is there any mileage advantage to using NextGen products compared to the standard Maxlife products? Posted by… andersd

 

We appreciate your support of Valvoline products! NextGen MaxLife motor oil performs at the same level as the traditional Valvoline MaxLife formulation.


I would also like to know the performance differences between NextGen, Maxlife and the conventional white bottle Valvoline. Using 50% recycled oil is there less refining needed compared to crude and less asphalt, sulfur, and easily oxidized components in the finished oil? Posted by… blakegeo

 

NextGen products perform at the same level as those non-NextGen counterparts. For the finished lubricants, the 50% re-refined base oils are of similar or equivalent properties of the base oils used in the non-NextGen counterparts, hence the products are of very similar or same performance.


My question is – will there be any versions of NextGen that will meet any of the Euro specs like VW 502.00 or even ACEA A3/B4? Posted by… threeputtpar

 

Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing products meeting such claims. We are evaluating the market demand for them.


Here’s my question: Now that it’s been a year or so, are there any announcements forthcoming about changes to the lineup that you can share at this time, such as adding/ending certain grades of NextGen, or adding NextGen Synpower to the lineup? Posted by… Ken W

 

(Repeat)Valvoline chemists have the capability of developing such a product. We are still evaluating the market demand for it.


Do you have to pay for used oil or are your suppliers glad to have it taken away? Back in the day working in a garage, we were instructed to tell walk-ins with used oil that “our storage tanks are full so we can’t take anymore oil.” I used to work at a ‘Lube in a Jiffy’ place. The waste oil heater ran 24 / 7 so that they wouldn’t have to pay to have the waste oil disposed. Apparently it was costly to dispose used oil back then. Is waste oil now a valuable commodity, rather than a liability? Posted by… Nayov

 

Valvoline, nor Ashland, is involved in used oil collection or re-refining business. Most used oils would be considered as a valuable commodity since crude oil is a non-renewable resource.


My questions are like the other questions like what is the other 50 percent (synthetic or not) that is not re-refined? Shelf Life? The maxlife version of nextgen, what extra is in it besides (I assume) gasket rejuvinator? Posted by… ballpark Frank

 

(REPEAT) The rest of the 50% is comprised of other base oils and the additive chemistries. While Valvoline’s formulations are a trade secret Valvoline has at its disposal, Group III, Group III+, Group IV (PAO) and various Group V base oils and we use these as appropriate to meet our high standards. Valvoline is free to choose whatever base oils and additives we desire to meet our performance goals. Many of our competitors, due to corporate affiliations may not have this freedom.
(REPEAT) Although motor oils can be stored in seal bottles for a very long time, Valvoline establishes the shelf-life as 5 years due to the service category upgrade.
Compared with NextGen Conventional, NextGen MaxLife has better dispersancy and detergency, seal conditioner (as mentioned), more synthetic base oils (as NextGen MaxLife is synthetic blend), more antioxidant, and better anti-wear chemistries.

Air Filter Future Testing

Like everything in life, this filter test wasn’t done right the first time. Nothing ever is. So, yes there will be more testing in the future. This testing will probably wait 18 months or so until I finish graduate school, move on to my new job and purchase a very mundane family oriented vehicle like a larger sedan or smaller SUV. The plan is to do the same type of testing, but with a few additions. The pressure drop testing will be done on the new vehicle with similar filters, but little about this test will change. It will verify the conclusions of the original test. The filtration testing will utilize a second catch filter again. This time the filters will be weighed before and after, both the primary filter being tested and the secondary catch filter. I will probably purchase an electronic scale that measure to 1/100th of a gram or better for this test. Objects will be weighed multiple times and an average taken. This will give a very good indication of how much dirt the filter is catching and how much is getting through and deposited on the secondary filter. This testing will take place in a different location than western WA state though as we will be moving next summer. I’m not sure where, as we’re gonna follow the best job offers. The test will also cover a higher duration mileage than the 500 miles of the first test, probably 5000 to coincide with oil changes. I’m also tempted to have used oil analysis performed showing the content of dirt in the oil.

There is one other test that will be performed as soon as a suitable air meter is located. I need a stock 5.0 MAF meter donated ’89-’93, or I need to purchase one cheap. K&N via e-mail has informed me that it is impossible to damage a MAF meter with oil. Their representative claims to have poured oil on a brand new one on their personal car, installed it and driven around. I want to see what happens for myself. I will happily douse a 5.0 MAF meter and go for a drive in my friend’s ’92 Mustang GT that I have been helping him maintain. We’ll see. I’ll be sure to scan the computer for codes before and after. Then the MAF meter will be removed, cleaned with electrical contact cleaner, and the experiment run again. According to the K&N rep, cleaning solves all the problems. Myself, I’m curious what will happen to an oil soaked MAF meter during the burn off cycle. I’m very disinclined to take their word for this based on the number of MAF TSBs at nhtsa.gov. I will however, conduct a test to verify the validity of the claim. Sounds like fun huh?

Putting the Simple Back into Viscosity

by John Sander, VP Technology, Lubrication Engineers Inc.

Abstract:

Simply stated, viscosity is defined as the internal resistance of a fluid to flow. That doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? Unfortunately, new temperature, speed and pressure demands on lubricating fluids have changed over the years, resulting in several different measurements and classifications being created to describe lubricant viscosity.

Some examples are SUS, cSt, cP, ISO, SAE engine, SAE gear and AGMA; it’s enough to make a person’s head start to spin. This paper will summarize some of the more commonly used viscosity standards, describe the tests used to measure viscosity, and eliminate some of the confusion all of these standards may create for the end user.


Introduction:

In recent years, some large lubricant marketers have run advertisements on TV that highlight the importance of viscosity breakdown. These advertisements make it seem like viscosity is a complex chemical property of the fluid, when in fact it is a measurement of a physical property. Simply stated, viscosity is a measure of a fluid’s internal resistance to flow. A good example of this was provided in one of the TV ads, which showed two oils being cooled until one continued to flow out of the bottle readily, while the second dropped out in blobs. The resistance to flow, or viscosity, of the second oil had increased dramatically with the decrease in temperature.

This ad illustrated just how important it is to consider viscosity when choosing the proper lubricant for a specific application.

The presence of viscosity information on almost all lubricant marketers’ technical literature is an indication that it also is important in the marketing of lubricants. Original equipment manufacturers often specify the lubricant to be used in their equipment by product type and viscosity. Lubricant marketers usually sell their lubricants according to specific viscosity grades, such as SAE 15W-40, ISO 46 and AGMA 3.

It is clear that – for the majority of the players in the lubricant industry – the proper viscosity of a fluid is the most important attribute in proper lubrication. There are several reasons for this, including, but not limited to:

  • Viscosity affects fluid film thickness under certain conditions of temperature and load in lubrication applications.
    • Viscosity affects heat generation and removal in bearings, cylinders and gears.
      • Viscosity determines the ease with which machines can be started in low-temperature conditions or can be kept running in high-temperature conditions.
        • Viscosity can be used to control a fluid’s sealing ability, which results in lower consumption.

        • Viscosity Defined:

          As mentioned above, viscosity is a physical measurement of a fluid’s internal resistance to flow. Assume that a lubricating fluid is compressed between two flat plates, creating a film between the plates. Force is required to make the plates move, or overcome the fluid’s film friction. This force is known as dynamic viscosity. Dynamic viscosity is a measurement of a lubricant’s internal friction and it is usually reported in units called poise (P) or centipoise (1 P = 0.01 cP). A common tool used to measure dynamic viscosity is the Brookfield viscometer, which employs a rotating spindle that experiences torque as it rotate against fluid friction. This test will be discussed in more detail later.

          A more familiar viscosity term is kinematic viscosity, which takes into account the fluid density as a quotient of the fluid’s dynamic viscosity and is usually reported in stokes (St) or centistokes (1 St = 0.01 cSt). The kinematic viscosity is determined by using a capillary viscometer in which a fixed volume of fluid is passed through a small orifice at a controlled temperature under the influence of gravity.

          Grease viscosity, traditionally called consistency, cannot be measured using the tests noted above. However, it is still relevant for selection of the correct grease for a specific application. Greases are fluid lubricants enhanced with a thickener to make them semi-solid. They usually are used in applications where a liquid lubricant would run out. Greases are sold by consistency grade, which in this case will be used synonymously to viscosity grade. Grease consistency is measured using the cone penetration test. The National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) created grade ranges for greases that have become the industry standard. These ranges characterize the flow properties of greases.


          Viscosity Considerations:

          Various conditions must be considered when specifying the proper viscosity of a lubricant for a given application. These conditions include the operating temperature, the speed at which the specific part is moving, and the load placed upon the part. One other consideration is whether or not the lubricant can be contained so that it remains present to lubricate the intended moving parts.

          Temperature
          The viscosity of a lubricant changes with temperature – in almost all cases, as the temperature increases, the viscosity decreases; and – conversely – as the temperature decreases, the viscosity increases. To select the proper lubricant for a given application, the viscosity of the fluid must be high enough that it provides an adequate lubricating film, but not so high that friction within the lubrication film is excessive. Therefore, when a piece of equipment must be started or operated at either temperature extreme – hot or cold – the proper viscosity must be considered.

          Speed
          The speed at which a piece of equipment operates must also be considered when specifying the proper lubricant viscosity. In high-speed equipment, a high-viscosity lubricant will not flow well in the contact zones and will channel out by fast-moving elements of the equipment. On the other hand, low-viscosity lubricant would have too low a viscosity to properly lubricate slow-moving equipment, because it would run right out of the contact zone.

          Load
          Equipment loads must also be considered when selecting the proper lubricant viscosity. Under a heavy load, the lubricant film is squeezed or compressed. Therefore, a higher viscosity lubricant is needed. The higher the viscosity, the more film strength the lubricant will generally possess. In addition, the load can be either a continuous or shock load. A continuous load is a steady load that is maintained while the equipment is operational, while a shock load is a pounding or non-steady load. Under shock-load conditions, a low-viscosity lubricant would not possess enough film strength to stay in place, whereas a high-viscosity lubricant could stay in place and act like a cushion in the contact area.

          Containability
          In some applications in which a fluid lubricant would leak out, a grease might be recommended. However, it is still important to consider both the base fluid viscosity and the NLGI grade when selecting the proper lubricant. If the lubricant’s viscosity or consistency is too high, it might not flow where it is needed and the lack of lubricant – a condition known as lubricant starvation – would lead to metal-to-metal contact. This would cause wear that could ultimately result in equipment failure. The same thing could happen with a lubricant with too low a viscosity or consistency, because it might not stay in the area where it is needed.


          Viscosity Classifications:

          Fortunately for the end-user, various technical societies have created classifications that are used by lubricant manufacturers when formulating the proper viscosity grade of lubricant needed for their equipment. These viscosity classification systems are commonly used to describe both industrial and automotive lubricants. These standardized viscosity ranges are used by lubricant formulators, original equipment manufacturers and lubricant consumers when labeling, marketing, specifying and using lubricants.

          Fluid Lubricant Viscosity Classification
          The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has created two viscosity standards for automotive lubricants. SAE J300 is a viscosity classification for engine oils, and SAE J306 is for axle and manual transmission lubricants. The J300 viscosity grades and their requirements are summarized in Table 1, while those for J306 are shown in Table 2. In both of these classifications, the grades denoted with the letter “W” are intended for use in applications operating in low-temperature conditions. The “W” was originally coined for lubricants that were considered “winter grade.” Today, these products are formally called multigrade lubricants, whereas the grades without a “W” are recognized as monograde, or straight grade, lubricants.

          SAE Viscosity Grade Low-Temp (°C) Cranking Viscosity, cP Max Low-Temp (°C) Pumping Viscosity, cP Max with no yield stress Kinematic Viscosity (cSt) at 100°C Max Kinematic Viscosity (cSt) at 40°C Max High Shear Viscosity (cP) at 150°C Min
          0W 3250 @ -30 60,000 @ -40 3.8 - -
          5W 3500 @ -25 60,000 @ -35 3.8 - -
          10W 3500 @ -20 60,000 @ -30 4.1 - -
          15W 3500 @ -15 60,000 @ -25 5.6 - -
          20W 4500 @ -10 60,000 @ -20 5.6 - -
          25W 6000 @ -5 60,000 @ -15 9.3 - -
          20 - - 5.6 <9.3 2.6
          30 - - 9.3 <12.5 2.9
          40 - - 12.5 <16.3 2.9*
          40 - - 12.5 <16.3 3.7**
          50 - - 16.3 <21.9 3.7
          60 - - 21.9 <26.1 3.7

          * For 0W-40, 5W-40 and 10W-40 Grades
          ** For 15W-40, 20W-40, 25W-40 and 40 Grades

          SAE Viscosity Grade Maximum Temperature for
          Viscosity of 150,000 cP °C
          Viscosity at
          100°C cSt
          Minimum
          Viscosity at
          100°C cSt
          Maximum
          70W -55 4.1 -
          75W -40 4.1 -
          80W -26 7.0 -
          85W -12 11.0 -
          80 - 7.0 <11.0
          85 - 11.0 <13.5
          90 - 13.5 <18.5
          110 - 18.5 <24.0
          140 - 24.0 <32.5
          190 - 32.5 <41.0
          250 - 41.0 -

          Industrial fluids are also specified according to various viscosity classifications. The most frequently used industrial viscosity classification was jointly developed by ASTM International and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). It was recognized as ASTM D2422. This method originally standardized 18 different viscosity grades measured at 100°F in Saybolt Universal Seconds (SUS). It was later converted to more universally accepted metric system values measured at 40°C. The system eventually received international acceptance. These viscosity ranges are denoted in Table 3 and are usually recognized as “ISO viscosity grade numbers,” often shortened to “ISO VG numbers.”

          ISO Viscosity Grade Kinematic Viscosity at 40°C, Min cSt Kinematic Viscosity at 40°C, Max cSt
          2 1.98 2.42
          3 2.88 3.52
          5 4.14 5.06
          7 6.12 7.48
          10 9.00 11.0
          15 13.5 16.5
          22 19.8 24.2
          32 28.8 35.2
          46 41.4 50.6
          68 61.2 74.8
          100 90.0 110
          150 135 165
          220 198 242
          320 288 352
          460 414 506
          680 612 748
          1000 900 1100
          1500 1350 1650

          The American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) has also created a commonly used viscosity classification system, which is partially based off the ISO VG system, noted in Table 4. The AGMA numbers let the user know the ISO viscosity grade and some basic information about the gear lubricant’s chemistry. If the product is a mineral oil that contains only rust and oxidation (R&O) additives, it will be recognized with only the AGMA number. If it is a mineral oil with extreme pressure additives, it is recognized with the AGMA number followed by the “EP” designation. AGMA numbers followed by an “S” denote synthetic gear oils. Compounded gear oils contain 3% to 10% fatty or synthetic fatty oils and are noted by the AGMA number with “Comp” after it. Some gear oils contain residual compounds called diluent solvents that are used to temporarily reduce the viscosity making it easier to apply. In this case, the AGMA number is followed by an “R,” which describes product prior to addition of diluents solvent.

          AGMA Number ISO Grade Equivalent Kinematic Viscosity at 40°C Min cSt Kinematic Viscosity at 40°C Max cSt Kinematic Viscosity at 100°C Min cSt Kinematic Viscosity at 100°C Max cSt
          0, 0S 32 28.8 35.2 - -
          1, 1S 46 41.4 50.6 - -
          2, 2EP, 2S 68 61.2 74.8 - -
          3, 3EP, 3S 100 90 110 - -
          4, 4EP, 4S 150 135 165 - -
          5, 5EP, 5S 220 198 242 - -
          6, 6EP, 6S 320 288 352 - -
          7, 7Comp, 7EP, 7S 460 141 506 - -
          8, 8 Comp, 8EP, 8S 680 612 748 - -
          8A Comp, 8A EP 1000 900 1100 - -
          9, 9EP, 9S 1500 1350 1650 - -
          10, 10EP, 10S - 2880 3520 - -
          11, 11EP, 11S - 1440 5060 - -
          12, 12EP, 12S - 6120 7480 - -
          13, 13EP, 13S - - - 190.0 220.0
          14R - - - 428.5 857.0
          15R - - - 857.0 1714.0

          Now do all of these viscosity grades seem easier to understand? Okay, maybe not yet, so Table 5, a viscosity equivalent chart, provides a comparative illustration of all of the grades shown in tables 1 through 4. For example, the chart indicates that an SAE 50 engine oil and an SAE 90 gear oil are the same viscosity. This might surprise you if you think that gear oil is always thicker than engine oil. However, as Table 5 shows, they are nearly equivalent.


          As with anything, viscosity classifications have changed over time. As mentioned above, viscosity used to be commonly recorded in SUS units in the U.S. As the economy has become more global, different standards organizations have worked together to standardize units of measure, including viscosity units. Some older equipment is still in operation that specifies the lubricant viscosity in the older units. The OEM might designate it with SUS units, while end users might refer to it in “seconds,” e.g. “I need a 100-second oil for this machine.” Fortunately, there are common conversions that can be used to estimate the cSt value from the SUS value.

          Grease Consistency Classifications
          In some lubricant applications, it is impossible to contain a fluid lubricant. For these applications, greases are used. A simple description of grease is a semi-solid lubricant composed of base fluid, additives and a thickener. The thickener in grease is added in most cases to help keep the lubricant in place on applications where a fluid lubricant would run off and only provide lubrication for a very short time. Because greases are not a fluid, their resistance to flow is generally called consistency instead of viscosity. The NLGI created a set of ranges that have become the standard by which most greases are produced, marketed and sold. These ranges are based upon the ASTM D217 cone penetration test after 60 strokes of shear, described in more detail later. The NLGI ranges are listed in Table 6. The #000 greases have a runny consistency similar to cooking oil, while the consistency of #6 greases is similar to a block of cheese.

          Grade Number 60-Stroke Penetration Range @ 25°C
          000 445 – 475
          00 400 – 430
          0 355 – 385
          1 310 – 340
          2 265 – 295
          3 220 – 250
          4 175 – 205
          5 130 – 160
          6 85 – 115


          Brief Descriptions of Viscosity Tests:

          ASTM D2983
          Low-Temperature Viscosity of Automotive Fluid
          Lubricants Measured by Brookfield Viscometer

          The low-temperature, low-shear-rate viscosity of gear oils, automatic transmission fluids, torque and tractor fluids, and industrial and automotive hydraulic oils is often specified as Brookfield viscosity. This test method introduces the fluid lubricant into a cooled bath for 16 hours, and then uses the Brookfield viscometer for the determination of its low-shear-rate viscosity in the temperature range from -5 to -40°C and in the viscosity range of 1,000 to 1,000,000 centipoise (cP). The result is reported in cP at a given temperature. (7)


          ASTM D445
          Kinematic Viscosity of
          Transparent and Opaque Liquids

          In this method, the time is measured for a fixed volume of liquid lubricant, either transparent or opaque, to flow under gravity through a calibrated capillary viscometer at a given temperature, usually 100°C and 40°C. ( 8 )

          The kinematic viscosity is then calculated by multiplying the measured flow time by the calibration constant for that viscometer.

          The viscosity is then reported in centistokes (cSt) at a given temperature.


          ASTM D2270
          Calculating Viscosity Index from Kinematic Viscosity at 40°C and 100°C

          The viscosity index (VI) is an arbitrary measure of the variation in the kinematic viscosity of a petroleum product due to changes in temperature between 40°C and 100°C. For example, a higher viscosity index indicates that the kinematic viscosity of the lubricant will decrease very little when the temperature is increased. The VI is simply reported as a numerical value that has no units. (9)


          ASTM D4683
          Measuring Viscosity at High Shear Rate and High Temperature by Tapered Bearing Simulator

          Viscosity at the shear rate and temperature of this test method is thought to be representative of the condition encountered in the bearings of automotive engines in severe service. In this method, the viscosity of fluid is measured using a tapered bearing simulator-viscometer. This viscometer uses a closely fitted rotor inside a matched stator to subject the fluid to a 1X106 s-1 shear rate at 150°C. The rotor exhibits a reactive torque response when it encounters resistance from oil that fills the area between the rotor and the stator. This torque is measured and compared to calibration oils with known torque values to determine the viscosity of the test oil. The resulting viscosity is then reported in units of centipoise (cP). (10)


          ASTM D4684
          Determination of Yield Stress and Apparent Viscosity of Engine Oils at Low Temperature

          When a fluid is cooled, the rate and duration of cooling may affect the oil’s yield stress and viscosity. In this test method, oil is cooled slowly through a temperature range in which wax crystallization is known to occur, followed by rapid cooling to the final test temperature. Correlations have been found between lack of pumpability in real field applications and failures in this test. These failures in the field are thought to be the result of the oil forming a gel structure that results in excessive yield stress or viscosity of the engine oil, or both. In this test, test fluid is placed in the cells of the Mini Rotary Viscometer (MRV), held at 80°C for a short time, then cooled at a programmed cooling rate over a period exceeding 45 hours to a final test temperature between -15°C and -35°C. A low torque is applied to a rotor shaft to measure the yield stress. A higher torque is then applied to determine the apparent viscosity of the sample oil. The low temperature viscosity is reported in the standard unit of millipascal-second (mPa-s) but may also be reported in units of centipoise (cP), which is numerically equal to mPa-s. (11)


          ASTM D5293
          Apparent Viscosity of Engine Oils Between -5°C and -30°C Using the Cold-Cranking Simulator

          The apparent viscosity of automotive oils at low temperatures is measured using the cold-cranking simulator (CCS). As the name would suggest, results from this test have been correlated with low-temperature engine cranking field data. In this test method, an electric motor drives a rotor that is closely fitted inside a stator. The space between the rotor and the stator is filled with oil. The test temperature, in the range of -5°C to -30°C, is measured near the stator inner wall and maintained by regulated flow of refrigerated coolant through the stator. The speed of the rotor is calibrated as a function of viscosity, and the test oil viscosity is determined from this calibration and the measured rotor speed. Shear stresses, shear rates and viscosity ranges are in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 pascals, 105 to 10-4 s-1, and 500 to 10,000 mPa-s, respectively. The resulting viscosity is reported in units of millipascal-second (mPa-s) or centipoise (cP). (12)


          ASTM D217
          Standard Test Method for Cone Penetration of Lubricating Greases

          The cone penetration test evaluates the consistency of lubricating greases over the full range of NLGI numbers from 000 to 6. Although no correlation has been developed between cone penetration results and field service, the test is widely used for specification purposes, such as in users’ material specifications and suppliers’ manufacturing specifications. In this test, consistency is determined by the penetration of a cone of specified dimensions, mass and finish into a standard amount of grease at 25°C. The penetration is measurement in tenths of a millimeter of how far gravity sinks the cone into the surface of the grease within 5 seconds. The NLGI ranges are based upon conducting this measurement after subjecting grease to 60 strokes of shear in a standardized worker and then performing the cone penetration. (13)


          Recent Trends:

          Fluid Lubricants

          Because of its large volume and importance to so many consumers, the engine oil market drives many new trends that occur within the lubricant industry. Today, articles are being written discussing the possible demise of monograde engine oils. (14) A number of years ago, straight grade engine oils, especially SAE 30 and SAE 40, were the most prevalent viscosity grades used by most consumers. SAE is considering adding either two or three new viscosity grades to the SAE J300 Viscosity Classification that was described previously. (15) The reason all of this is occurring is because much attention is being paid to improving fuel economy and energy efficiency. Governments are pushing automotive and industrial OEMs to find ways to improve the efficiencies of the vehicles and equipment they produce. It is not completely surprising that lubricants have been considered as a means to decrease fuel and energy consumption. As viscosity is a measurement of the internal resistance of a fluid to flow, if the viscosity is decreased, then so is the internal resistance. Therefore attention is now being paid to decreasing the viscosity of various lubricants to reduce their detraction from efficiency. Improved efficiency results in less energy consumed, which results in lower emissions released into the environment.

          Due to the improvement seen through the use of multigrade engine oils, studies have now been done that suggest that the same energy savings can be realized through the use of multigrade or synthetic industrial lubricants. (16) The majority of the work has been done in hydraulic fluids, which not surprisingly, is the second largest category of lubricants by volume. In fact, one additive supplier has set up a Web site specifically to describe how viscosity can affect hydraulic system efficiency. (17) This supplier has coined the term “Maximum Efficiency Hydraulic Fluids,” a concept for which it won the 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Energy Efficiency award.

          Greases

          So far, the products discussed have been fluids. What about greases? While energy efficiency studies may not be as easy to conduct and prove for greases, new viscosity-related research is occurring to better determine how greases will flow when used in an application. In fact, ASTM subcommittee D02.G has various active research projects, including some related to grease rheology. Rheology is the study of the deformation and flow of materials. Not surprisingly, this definition sounds very similar to the definition of viscosity. Much of this research is being conducted employing a tool called a rheometer. A paper has been published in which rheometer data has been compared to grease penetration data. (18) The rheometer provides a new level of sensitivity above and beyond that of the penetrometer.

          One last area of interest is the viscosity of used oils. Analyzing used oils is not new, but analyzing them under high- and low-temperature operating conditions is new. How will the effects of oxidation, contamination and shear affect the performance properties of the lubricant? A working group at ASTM has been formed, and it is planning a symposium to be held in the future to present research related to rheology (viscosity) of in-service lubricants.


          Conclusion

          Lubricant viscosity or consistency is a physical measurement of a lubricant’s internal resistance to flow. It can truly affect how the lubricant will function in a piece of equipment. Fortunately, organizations like ASTM, SAE, AGMA, ISO and others have created standards for lubricant viscosity and consistency that are to be used as guidelines when selecting the proper lubricant. If the wrong lubricant viscosity is selected for an application, the chances for equipment failure are dramatically increased. Therefore, the best rule is to always check the original equipment manufacturer’s manual for lubricant viscosity recommendations.

          If the OEM makes no recommendations, then the next step is to consider the operating speed, temperature and load of the application to be lubricated. Finally, after making a lubricating product selection, it is important to 11 © 2011 Lubrication Engineers, Inc. closely monitor the equipment to ensure the right choice was made. If possible, visually observe the moving parts to verify that a sufficient lubricant film is present to protect them. If not, listen for any unusual load grinding, chattering or squalling noises, which often are indications of metal-to-metal contact. Finally, one last technique is to contact lubricant manufacturers for recommendations. They often can provide technical support for proper fluid or grease selection.

          Very simplistically, viscosity is a measure of a lubricant’s physical resistance to flow, yet it is probably the most important property of a lubricant.


          References

          1. SAE J300 “Engine Oil Viscosity Classification,” Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, Pa., 2009.
          2. SAE J306 “Automotive Gear Lubricant Viscosity Classification,” Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale, Pa., 2005.
          3. ISO 3448:1992 “Industrial Liquid Lubricants – ISO Viscosity Classification,” International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, 1992.
          4. ANSI/AGMA 9005-E02 “Industrial Gear Lubrication,” American Gear Manufacturers Association, Alexandria, Va., 2002.
          5. “Viscosity Equivalents,” Lubrication Engineers, Inc. Wichita, Kan., 1984, revised 2011.
          6. NLGI Lubricating Grease Guide, 5th Edition, p. 34, National Lubricating Grease Institute, Kansas City, Mo., 2006.
          7. ASTM D2983 “Brookfield Viscosity,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa.
          8. ASTM D445 “Standard Test Method for Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent and Opaque Liquids,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          9. ASTM D2270 “Standard Practice for Calculating Viscosity Index from Kinematic Viscosity at 40 and 100°C,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          10. ASTM D4683 “Standard Test Method for Measuring Viscosity of New and Used Engine Oils at High Shear Rate and High Temperature Using a Tapered Bearing Simulator Viscometer at 150°C,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          11. ASTM D4684 “Standard Test Method for Determination of Yield Stress and Apparent Viscosity of Engine Oils at Low Temperature,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          12. ASTM D5293 “Standard Test Method for Apparent Viscosity of Engine Oils and Base Stocks Between -5 and -35°C Using Cold-Cranking Simulator,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          13. ASTM D217 “Standard Test Method for Cone Penetration of Lubricating Greases,” ASTM International, Conshohocken, Pa., 2010.
          14. Swedberg, S., “Who Needs Monogrades?” Lubes’n’Greases, LNG Publishing Co., Inc., January 2011.
          15. Swedberg, S., “Are you Ready for SAE 5W5?” Lubes’n’Greases, LNG Publishing Co., Inc., December 2010.
          16. Casey, B., “Hydraulic Oil Can Make a Major Difference to Power Consumption,” Machinery Lubrication, Noria Corp., Tulsa, Okla., Jan-Feb 2011.
          17. “Evonik Rohmax USA Receives AIChE Energy Initiative Award,” www.mehf.com, accessed March 11, 2011.
          18. Johnson, B. “The use of a stress Rheometer in lieu of cone penetration,” presented at an NLGI meeting.

          Used Oil Analysis

          How your Blackstone sample is processed

          by David Newton

          Used Oil Analysis – we all talk about it, and many can understand the results, but few people have had the opportunity to actually see how the process works.

          One of the more popular analysis labs is Blackstone Laboratories of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  If you want to learn more about Blackstone (location, history, available services, people …) you can visit their website at blackstone-labs.com .   Blackstone’s website is very informative, and laced with personal notes and a wee bit of humor!   BITOG is proud to have Blackstone as one of their longest-running site supporters.  On January 13th, 2012, I visited Blackstone Labs for the purpose of documenting the process that our samples go through when being tested.  My guide for the morning was Ryan Stark.  Please note that it is not the intent of this article to reveal the minute details of lab technology, but rather give an oversight as to what happens to your sample.  Stark notes that they are a “production lab” set up to serve the lubricant industry, and are not a science lab rooted in research and development.

          Blackstone processes approximately 200 samples a day.  The samples, most of which are received via US mail, are segregated upon receipt.   The fluids are tested in group lots of 36 samples.  Because Blackstone serves many industries, they take in many types of sample lubricants; automotive engine oils, gear oils, transmission fluids, differential fluids, hydraulic oils, etc.  Of note, they serve a large portion of the aviation engine oil analysis market.  Because those piston-engines still run on leaded fuel (!), those samples can have upwards of 5000ppm of Pb in their oil samples.  They are therefore run at the end of the 36 piece sample grouping, so that the very-high lead counts won’t contaminate automotive oil samples.  Most samples are run in 12-48 hours after being received, simply dependent upon oil type grouping, etc.

          Once the samples are brought in and separated, your sample is assigned a number for the purpose of tracking the various results throughout the process.  If you are an existing customer, your sample is linked to your file; if you are a new customer, a new file is created for you in addition to the sample number.   It typically takes one or two hours for a complete battery of oil testing.

          If you have used their service, you’ll recall that the little sample bottle holds about 3oz of fluid (approximately 90ml), and perhaps 2oz is needed for one specific test; more on that later.  There is enough fluid left in that last 1oz (30ml) that the rest of the testing can be done, and still have “left over” fluid for re-testing, should it be necessary. The analysts work together in the testing room, and there is a lot of coordination going on.
          The first draw of fluid is taken out for three different tests.   13ml of fluid is drawn out and dispersed into three different small test tubes; 7ml for the viscosity test, 5ml for the insoluble test, and 1ml for the spectral analysis.

          Interesting, is it not, that one of the most technological parts of the test process only needs 1ml out of your 90ml sample!
          The viscosity is measured in two separate testing machines.

          One is set up for 100 deg F, the other at 210 deg F.  The machines themselves are identical; it is the test tubes used in each machine that are calibrated for each temperature.  The tubes are very intricate, with a detailed shape which includes two bulbous bulges.

          Specifically, there is a small capillary channel between bulges in the main tube, and that capillary channel is what is calibrated for a particular temperature.  You could ask for your viscosity to be tested at 175 deg F, and they would have to either “estimate” the result, or get a tube specifically calibrated to that temperature.  For the typical oil market, 100 deg F and 210 deg F are the accepted standards, so that represents the tubes they use.  The tube is open on each end, so oil is introduced in one side and allowed to settle for heating.  The oil is heated to the full temp, and then a vacuum tube is placed on the other end so that the oil is drawn up into the higher bulge, above the marked lines.  The vacuum is then removed, and the oil flows back down through the small capillary orifice (it is conceptually similar to watching a fluid flow in an “hour glass” effect).

          The variant of time indicates the relative viscosity of the fluid.  The time for the fluid to move from one bulge to the other through the capillary is measured via stopwatches, and then manually input into a computer file for your sample.

          The spectral analysis is done in a Leeman Labs ICP machine.

          “ICP” refers to “inductively coupled plasma” and is the preferred method according to Ryan.  The machine calibration is validated twice a day, and a “check sample” of known quality is run every 9th sample, to verify consistent results.  That process speaks well of the integrity of their testing protocol.  The system is fully automated, as even the samples are drawn up with a small rotary pump from syringe stylus probes driven by computer for each sample.  The sample is not run “full strength” but is cut with another fluid; 1ml of sample oil is added to 8ml of kerosene.

          The details of the technology are too deep for the intent of this article, but essentially, radio frequency waves are used to excite the atoms of argon gas to a state of plasma at 10,000 deg F.   The sample mixture is then introduced into the plasma, and the elements burn completely with energy signatures unique to each element.  That energy is sent to an aperture plate via a series of lenses, reflection and refraction.  The end result is the ability of the test equipment to identify and quantify elements; type and magnitude are determined by the energy wave forms present.

          The spectral ICP test takes approximately two minutes; they have two machines.  Typical elements found include additives and wear metals, as well as the inference of coolant via sodium/potassium presence.  The data is collected, and sent automatically to a computer server that stores the data until needed for your report.

          Next we reviewed the 5ml of fluid for the insoluble test.

          Your 5ml of oil is mixed with 5ml of ether-based liquid, and vigorously shaken to mix well.   Then the samples are spun in a centrifuge for 10 minutes.  The heavy solids end up at the bottom of the tube.  The mixture is then poured out, and the solids stay in the bottom of the tube.  That mass is then measured against known standards for size and color, and graded as a result.   Data is manually entered into the server.

          Flashpoint and water contamination are measured in a very accurate, but somewhat “low tech” method.  Two ounces (60ml; the vast majority of your total sample) of oil are placed into a metal cup, and then slowly heated from underneath the cup.

          Barely above the cup is a small gas flame tip.  A thermocouple is placed in the oil.  As the oil heats up, it will eventually get to a temperature where is begins to evaporate, and that evaporation contains combustible gasses.   When that combustible gas ignites, it indicates the “flash point” (the point at which a “flash” of flame can be induced).    Fuel contamination such as gasoline and diesel will lower the flash point.   That FP temperature is noted, and manually entered into the computer system.  Water in the oil will “boil” well before the oil will “flash”, and so the technician can hear the sizzle and pop of water escaping the oil.  If you’ve even splashed some water into the frying pan at the stove, you know exactly what it sounds like.

          TBN/TAN tests have become very popular, especially with persons wanting to validate their fluids for continued extended service.  Many years ago, TBN was simply tested with a small “box kit” offered by Dexsil.  Now, TBN/TAN are tested on a Mettler Toledo DL53 pH balance machine; this method is quicker and more accurate.

          Two grams of oil are mixed with an alcohol titration mix, and then processed.   The test itself is totally automated.  Samples are loaded into the small containers, and the machine does the rest, including its own purge and self-check samples.   For confirmation, a known sample reference sample is run each day; typically they use 10w-30 HDEO.   Stark estimates that 75% of BITOGers get TBN tested, while perhaps only 20% of the rest of their clientele get TBN tested.  TAN is tested infrequently for BITOGers; it is more prominent in their industrial customer base for hydraulic fluids, etc.  Result data is sent to the server.

          Blackstone does offer a particle count analysis, but few BITOGers utilize that process.  PC can be done from 2um to 100um.  There are two types of PC methods; pore-blocking and laser.  With pore blocking, a calibrated micro-screen of known sized holes is used to process the lube.  With laser, the energy beam is sent into the fluid.  Ryan mentions that they prefer the pore-blocking method

          because it is not susceptible to entrained air or water, unlike the laser method.  The sample is sent through the pore-screen at 60psi, and then analyzed for the quantity of particles trapped by the screen.  The “normal” screen is 15um, but they have other sizes.

          To wrap up the process, they prepare your oil report.  After your battery of tests is completed, the analyst pulls your sample number into the report, and then reviews it for accuracy and any notable issues.  They will also compare/contrast your results to those of “universal averages”.  Those averages come from equipment just like yours; engine to engine, transmission to transmission, etc.  They take pride in personally contributing comments to your UOA; it is what sets them apart from their competitors.   If warranted, they have even been known to call you should an alarming condition arise so troubling that waiting for the report might risk significant damage.   Typically, your report is emailed to you.

          Hopefully you will now have not just the knowledge of what’s in your report, but what happened to create and process the report.

          Happy motoring!