Does conventional oil protect better?

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436
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There are some that are expensive and some that are cheap Get the cheaper ones Olive oil will have advantages in race cars as it dont break down but Corn oil starts off with a higher TBN So your choice :P
 
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998
Location
CO
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
I few years back Buster posted commentary from Mobil regarding UOAs with them saying outright that metals in UOA were indicative of engine wear. This was presented by him at that time regarding the higher FE levels in M1 UOAs.
I believe this was the other way around. Mobil stated that engine wear could not be gleaned from a UOA. I also believe buster posted about an F1 team that used UOA's with their custom blended lubricant, but again, this was on a specialized piece of machinery with highly controlled conditions and materials as well as massive trending in place. Definitely not relatable to firing off a UOA to Blackstone.
See post 1557975 in the "What is the iron issue with Mobil 1" thread. In lieu of the warm fuzzy speculation going on here this plus the Blackstone comments seem to provide concise evidence in favor of conventional oil. Of course resources and time permitting a tear down or other high $ observations may refute or support these conclusions, but for us average users UOAs are the best method for determining oil use including wear mitigation.
 
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42,887
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Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
I few years back Buster posted commentary from Mobil regarding UOAs with them saying outright that metals in UOA were indicative of engine wear. This was presented by him at that time regarding the higher FE levels in M1 UOAs.
I believe this was the other way around. Mobil stated that engine wear could not be gleaned from a UOA. I also believe buster posted about an F1 team that used UOA's with their custom blended lubricant, but again, this was on a specialized piece of machinery with highly controlled conditions and materials as well as massive trending in place. Definitely not relatable to firing off a UOA to Blackstone.
See post 1557975 in the "What is the iron issue with Mobil 1" thread. In lieu of the warm fuzzy speculation going on here this plus the Blackstone comments seem to provide concise evidence in favor of conventional oil. Of course resources and time permitting a tear down or other high $ observations may refute or support these conclusions, but for us average users UOAs are the best method for determining oil use including wear mitigation.
I prefer the quote from Redline in that thread that buster posted: Post from Redline on UOA's
Originally Posted By: Roy from Redline
Unfortunately, oil analysis is not very good at distinguishing wear between different formulations. Emission spectroscopy has a particle size limit of 3 to 5 microns, which means that particles larger will not be detected. Unfortunately, most serious wear issues generate wear particles in the range of 5 - 15 microns. Oil analysis only measures about 15-20% of the particles in the oil, and changing form one formulation to another is likely to change the particle size profile. Usually formulations with more antiwear additive will more aggressively react with the metal surface and when rubbing occurs will produce smaller particles. Generally, more antiwear additives will give greater iron spectrochemical numbers, even though the total iron can be lower. There are other techniques such as ferrography, which looks at the wear particles under a microscope, but now we are talking about analysis many times more expensive than spectrochemical analysis. The oils with the better spectrochemical numbers will be much less chemically active on the metal surface, so they will be less able to handle more severe loads. There is always a trade-off between chemical wear and adhesive wear. Chemical wear is the very small particles and soluble metals which is identified in the spectrochemical analysis, while adhesive wear is many orders of magnitude greater than the chemical wear, but much is not identified in spectrochemical analysis. But if you were using spectrochemical analysis as a maintenance tool and started seeing a deviation over the baseline, then you would know something was wrong. It is very difficult for an individual to be able to look at numbers which will conclusively determine the best formulation, you simply have to rely on the reputation of the marketer and whether you trust the marketer's technical expertise. With most of our formulations, we rely on major additive manufacturers to do the basic API sequence testing to determine criteria such as antiwear, dispersancy, cleanliness, etc. All the oil companies rely on the additive manufacturers to do the engine test work. We will take their basic package and add additional antiwear, friction modifiers, oxidation inhibitors or whatever can be safely modified to provide superior performance. Some of the bench tests such as 4-Ball can be useful, but a blind adherance to optimize with one single test will result a less-than-optimum performing lubricant. There are always trade-offs in engine oils, and we try to enhance antiwear and friction reduction at higher temperatures and loads, while trying to maintain performance at lower and normal loads and temperatures. Regards, Roy
Which sums up the issues with attempting to use UOA's to compare oils and wear quite aptly. In contrast, the post you are referencing: buster's quote states:
Quote:
ExxonMobil's mobile laboratory will be present at track tests and samples of engine oil will be taken and analysed after each run using a spark emission spectrometer. This measures 19 seperate elements in parts per million, with abnormal readings indicating possible potential problems. For example an abnormally high iron reading may indicate an increase in wear or stress on components in relation to the previous oils tested.
1. This is the race car quote I was talking about. 2. They specifically state ABNORMAL readings yielding POTENTIAL problems. We are not talking about 10ppm difference here and we are talking about using the same lubricant. This is the difference between samples of the same lubricant, in the same service in the same equipment with an established trend of normalized figures and then focusing on ABNORMAL readings; deviations, from those trends. This in no way resembles the use of $20 UOA's on BITOG under widely varying operating conditions using a myriad of lubricants and trying to divine out some holy grail of engine wear by using a tool that was never designed to be used as such. I participated quite actively in that thread and remember the discussion well. Ultimately you actually need to tear down the equipment if you want to measure wear. People believe all kinds of spectacular malarky, but that belief doesn't make any of it true. Look at what Roy wrote. Think about what he's saying and the variables in play and then consider how that works to bring in countless unknowns and questions about what is being sampled and the makeup of the products themselves when one attempts to use UOA's to contrast wear rates between different lubricants. Significant deviations from established trends can bring to light questions about the health of a piece of equipment. These abnormalities are exactly what the quote from XOM's mobile lab is referencing in terms of analyzing lubricants from these race cars. This is the same way the tool is used when sampling genset sumps, OTR trucks, earthmoving equipment, hydraulic equipment....etc. The lubricant is the same and there is an established trend for the equipment. This can save a company tons of money by allowing not only the extended use of the lubricant but also a snapshot into the health of the equipment and the chance that an issue can be mitigated while it is still small and subsequently the prevention of total failure. For example, the sign of coolant in the lubricant pointing to an EGR cooler failure on a truck versus having that engine fail. For an automotive example, a TDI Jetting with a sudden and massive uptick in iron indicating an impending camshaft and/or bucket failure.
 
Messages
998
Location
CO
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
I few years back Buster posted commentary from Mobil regarding UOAs with them saying outright that metals in UOA were indicative of engine wear. This was presented by him at that time regarding the higher FE levels in M1 UOAs.
I believe this was the other way around. Mobil stated that engine wear could not be gleaned from a UOA. I also believe buster posted about an F1 team that used UOA's with their custom blended lubricant, but again, this was on a specialized piece of machinery with highly controlled conditions and materials as well as massive trending in place. Definitely not relatable to firing off a UOA to Blackstone.
See post 1557975 in the "What is the iron issue with Mobil 1" thread. In lieu of the warm fuzzy speculation going on here this plus the Blackstone comments seem to provide concise evidence in favor of conventional oil. Of course resources and time permitting a tear down or other high $ observations may refute or support these conclusions, but for us average users UOAs are the best method for determining oil use including wear mitigation.
I prefer the quote from Redline in that thread that buster posted: Post from Redline on UOA's
Originally Posted By: Roy from Redline
Unfortunately, oil analysis is not very good at distinguishing wear between different formulations. Emission spectroscopy has a particle size limit of 3 to 5 microns, which means that particles larger will not be detected. Unfortunately, most serious wear issues generate wear particles in the range of 5 - 15 microns. Oil analysis only measures about 15-20% of the particles in the oil, and changing form one formulation to another is likely to change the particle size profile. Usually formulations with more antiwear additive will more aggressively react with the metal surface and when rubbing occurs will produce smaller particles. Generally, more antiwear additives will give greater iron spectrochemical numbers, even though the total iron can be lower. There are other techniques such as ferrography, which looks at the wear particles under a microscope, but now we are talking about analysis many times more expensive than spectrochemical analysis. The oils with the better spectrochemical numbers will be much less chemically active on the metal surface, so they will be less able to handle more severe loads. There is always a trade-off between chemical wear and adhesive wear. Chemical wear is the very small particles and soluble metals which is identified in the spectrochemical analysis, while adhesive wear is many orders of magnitude greater than the chemical wear, but much is not identified in spectrochemical analysis. But if you were using spectrochemical analysis as a maintenance tool and started seeing a deviation over the baseline, then you would know something was wrong. It is very difficult for an individual to be able to look at numbers which will conclusively determine the best formulation, you simply have to rely on the reputation of the marketer and whether you trust the marketer's technical expertise. With most of our formulations, we rely on major additive manufacturers to do the basic API sequence testing to determine criteria such as antiwear, dispersancy, cleanliness, etc. All the oil companies rely on the additive manufacturers to do the engine test work. We will take their basic package and add additional antiwear, friction modifiers, oxidation inhibitors or whatever can be safely modified to provide superior performance. Some of the bench tests such as 4-Ball can be useful, but a blind adherance to optimize with one single test will result a less-than-optimum performing lubricant. There are always trade-offs in engine oils, and we try to enhance antiwear and friction reduction at higher temperatures and loads, while trying to maintain performance at lower and normal loads and temperatures. Regards, Roy
Which sums up the issues with attempting to use UOA's to compare oils and wear quite aptly. In contrast, the post you are referencing: buster's quote states:
Quote:
ExxonMobil's mobile laboratory will be present at track tests and samples of engine oil will be taken and analysed after each run using a spark emission spectrometer. This measures 19 seperate elements in parts per million, with abnormal readings indicating possible potential problems. For example an abnormally high iron reading may indicate an increase in wear or stress on components in relation to the previous oils tested.
1. This is the race car quote I was talking about. 2. They specifically state ABNORMAL readings yielding POTENTIAL problems. We are not talking about 10ppm difference here and we are talking about using the same lubricant. This is the difference between samples of the same lubricant, in the same service in the same equipment with an established trend of normalized figures and then focusing on ABNORMAL readings; deviations, from those trends. This in no way resembles the use of $20 UOA's on BITOG under widely varying operating conditions using a myriad of lubricants and trying to divine out some holy grail of engine wear by using a tool that was never designed to be used as such. I participated quite actively in that thread and remember the discussion well. Ultimately you actually need to tear down the equipment if you want to measure wear. People believe all kinds of spectacular malarky, but that belief doesn't make any of it true. Look at what Roy wrote. Think about what he's saying and the variables in play and then consider how that works to bring in countless unknowns and questions about what is being sampled and the makeup of the products themselves when one attempts to use UOA's to contrast wear rates between different lubricants. Significant deviations from established trends can bring to light questions about the health of a piece of equipment. These abnormalities are exactly what the quote from XOM's mobile lab is referencing in terms of analyzing lubricants from these race cars. This is the same way the tool is used when sampling genset sumps, OTR trucks, earthmoving equipment, hydraulic equipment....etc. The lubricant is the same and there is an established trend for the equipment. This can save a company tons of money by allowing not only the extended use of the lubricant but also a snapshot into the health of the equipment and the chance that an issue can be mitigated while it is still small and subsequently the prevention of total failure. For example, the sign of coolant in the lubricant pointing to an EGR cooler failure on a truck versus having that engine fail. For an automotive example, a TDI Jetting with a sudden and massive uptick in iron indicating an impending camshaft and/or bucket failure.
Still doesn't change the fact that UOA is the best tool available to the masses and that tool's results lean in favor of conventional. Not saying I'd choose conventional personally just that for the average user it appears to make the most sense given the support for it and lack of widely available evidence to refute its supremacy in the context of the OP.
 
Last edited:
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28,129
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
I believe this was the other way around. Mobil stated that engine wear could not be gleaned from a UOA. I also believe buster posted about an F1 team that used UOA's with their custom blended lubricant, but again, this was on a specialized piece of machinery with highly controlled conditions and materials as well as massive trending in place. Definitely not relatable to firing off a UOA to Blackstone.
I'm pretty sure they all do; Ferrari and McLaren most definitely do, with Shell and Mobil/Esso respectively, with them taking lab equipment to each race. But, as you point out, this is specialized equipment, with tear downs being done and a pile of engineers on scene all the time.
 
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42,887
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Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Still doesn't change the fact that UOA is the best tool available to the masses and that tool's results lean in favor of conventional.
Do they? Read the quote from Redline again. Understanding that is fundamental in understanding why simply drawing that conclusion based on wear metals, while convenient, really has no foundation upon which to stand. If an individual doesn't understand the science and the background then sure, that conclusion is easy to come to: Lower numbers = "better", that's a basic correlation even the simplest of minds can understand. Unfortunately, the very fact that the premise here revolves around trying to compare the results from different lubricants negates the comparison. Because the chemistry is different and that, as per that quote, can have a significant impact on what the UOA "sees". It is like using a hammer to put in screws. Sure, it might be the only tool I have, but it doesn't make it appropriate for the task. Subsequently, just because I try to use it for that purpose doesn't excuse the results because they were derived from me only having that tool at my disposal. Bad results are bad results, an excuse doesn't change that.
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
and Not saying I'd choose conventional personally just that for the average user it appears to make the most sense given the support for it and lack of widely available evidence to refute its supremacy in the context of the OP.
As per Porsche, any approved lubricant for the application will provide what amounts to an identical level of performance. It really is that simple. In an application that calls for a given approval, running a lubricant that has that approval at a sane interval will be more than sufficient. I don't recall the last time I heard of an individual wearing an engine out by changing their oil, be it conventional or synthetic, regularly with a quality filter at sane intervals, can you? Now, neglected engines burning copious amounts of oil because they have stuck rings and the like? I'm sure we've all heard or witnessed that. Don't get me wrong, I understand the allure. I was part of the same crowd when I first joined. Then I discovered it wasn't quite so simple and further reading and conversations led me to come to the conclusion expressed in the text I've already shared. I now do UOA's to check for abnormalities and track lubricant and equipment health, as per their intended purpose. That is all. The biggest obstacle is the draw to the idea of having this miraculous and inexpensive tool at one's disposal that allows you to finely tune your oil selection based on wear numbers. So once invested in that idea with both the time and effort and then somebody comes along and tells you all that amazing data you've collected and all the subsequent contrasting you've done based on that data is completely useless, well, it doesn't go over so well. I get that.
 
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28,129
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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
And it's been mentioned time and time again by people who are experts here in analysing UOA results that one cannot be jumping from chemistry to chemistry, brand to brand, viscosity to viscosity, and hope to get anything useful to quantify "wear metals." There's a very big difference in a single data point versus a lot of trended data. If Regina sets an October 1 overnight low record, that's not indicative we're running into an ice age. You're absolutely right. Just because the tool happens to be most convenient or most readily available to the masses doesn't mean squat. Misused data is still misused data.
 
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12,648
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Kendall, FL
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Still doesn't change the fact that UOA is the best tool available to the masses and that tool's results lean in favor of conventional.
Do they? Read the quote from Redline again. Understanding that is fundamental in understanding why simply drawing that conclusion based on wear metals, while convenient, really has no foundation upon which to stand. If an individual doesn't understand the science and the background then sure, that conclusion is easy to come to: Lower numbers = "better", that's a basic correlation even the simplest of minds can understand. Unfortunately, the very fact that the premise here revolves around trying to compare the results from different lubricants negates the comparison. Because the chemistry is different and that, as per that quote, can have a significant impact on what the UOA "sees". It is like using a hammer to put in screws. Sure, it might be the only tool I have, but it doesn't make it appropriate for the task. Subsequently, just because I try to use it for that purpose doesn't excuse the results because they were derived from me only having that tool at my disposal. Bad results are bad results, an excuse doesn't change that.
Not weighing into the the science here... But to be fair, what else would Redline (synthetic oil mfcr) say? Anything else would be counterproductive to their bottom line. I do agree with your second statement, following the Porsche paraphrase.
 
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Originally Posted By: wemay
Not weighing into the the science here... But to be fair, what else would Redline (synthetic oil mfcr) say? Anything else would be counterproductive to their bottom line. I do agree with your second statement, following the Porsche paraphrase.
They would tell you the truth.
 
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537
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California
Is it not significant that there are no racing groups still using conventional dino oils? In an industry where engine tear downs are part of the routine, EVERYBODY has switched to synthetics based on actual observations of wear in the field. My point is that when we look at engines that wear out pretty quickly, synthetics are the obvious choice. There really is no eason to assume that the same thing does not apply to engines that live 200,000+ miles except that it takes so much time to run the experiment. People in the forum have been comparing wear metal results in UOA's and this is simply the wrong tool for the job. Even though race engines may not represent the same duty cycle as street engines, it is a better indicator of oil characteristics than UOA wear metal comparisons.
 
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Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Doublehaul
it appears conventional oils produce less wear metals etc.
Based on what? A single $30 UOA is not a good indicator of engine wear.
Exactly... Especially since UOA's are used in industrial applications for EVERY lubricant change or only to determine pending catastrophic engine failure due to things such as head-gasket failures. UOA's are interesting but tell you little in the way of engine based on a couple of them in the life of a passenger car..
 
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6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Still doesn't change the fact that UOA is the best tool available to the masses and that tool's results lean in favor of conventional. Not saying I'd choose conventional personally just that for the average user it appears to make the most sense given the support for it and lack of widely available evidence to refute its supremacy in the context of the OP.
It's not really much of a "tool" at all. There have been several cases of engines grenading on this forum after a "good UOA". You can also "pour over" UOA's and find a scatter shot of inconsistent readings on TBN for the same oil in the same car with higher TBN's at a 10,000 mile OCI over a 5,000 OCI. I just don't know who works at these labs and how rigorous their noncommercial UOA's are. Some labs look more legit than others, but I'm not going to get into that...
 
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Both those articles are about comparing wear metal levels from the same machine, and I believe the same oil, and doing trend analysis to determine if there is abnormal wear. They are not talking about changing machines and changing oils and then using wear metal particle counts to determine if one lubricant is better than another.
 
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6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
More discussion on the merits of UOA as a reliable wear assessment tool. http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/653/wear-oil-analysis http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/1357/oil-analysis-metrics Reads like lower metal content supports less wear and thereby supportive of the assertion that conventional oils do produce less wear.
No. The titles alone support the assertion that UOA's are better serving commercial/industrial applications rather than private passenger automotive ones. The UOA's I've heard of regarding industrial or construction heavy equipment are a lot more than $30, IIRC. I do think UOA's have their place, however. But mainly for tertiary problems like excessive antifreeze/coolant or fuel in motor oil. As far as 'how much you can stretch an OCI?' I think that's a bit silly IMO. You're just paying $30 to save $30 or less...
 
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47,415
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Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Originally Posted By: Nederlander75
Reads like lower metal content supports less wear and thereby supportive of the assertion that conventional oils do produce less wear.
You are doing science logic incorrectly.
 
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537
Location
California
There is enough information in this thread to finally answer the OP’s question. Does conventional oil protect better than synthetic? The answer is no. In every instance I can easily find, the only evidence people present to show that dino oil protects as good or better than synthetic is UOA metal wear numbers. I think we have established that UOA metal wear numbers are the wrong tool for the job. Unless somebody can show me evidence that a real world passenger car or fleet car test was conducted where dino oil proved it was superior to synthetic oil I think the case is closed. There are real world passenger and fleet car tests showing that synthetic oil is superior to dino oil. The other argument people have made is that dino oils are cheaper and it just isn’t worth using synthetics. That is not really the question.
 
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