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What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? #2152848
01/27/11 06:32 PM
01/27/11 06:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 65
Dallas, TX, USA
BritGerCarLuvr Offline OP
BritGerCarLuvr  Offline OP
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 65
Dallas, TX, USA
I always thought that PAO, far outperformed, outlasted and remained in-grade better and more reliably than the "other" synthetic (or synthetic wanna-be).

Now, I've run across both, and was wondering which was the "better" oil.

I am basically comparing 0W30 (German Castrol)which is PAO and,
Total Quartz Energy 9000, 0W30 which is the old Elf Excellium Full-Tech which is a PAO/Ester rich oil.They both meet all the same specs.

I am just trying to understand the PAO (vs) PAO/Ester (vs) Ester based oils as well as the pro's and con's of either.


John
12JAG XFv8(FST 0W20)
08MB C300 6sp(TQE 0W30)
06JAG SV8 S/C(FST 5W30)
04BMW Z4 5sp(TQE 0W30)
06VW Jetta 2.5(TQE 0W30)
04MB C240(TQE 0W30)
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152854
01/27/11 06:44 PM
01/27/11 06:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,619
Western Washington
hate2work Offline
hate2work  Offline
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 4,619
Western Washington
popcorn


Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152864
01/27/11 07:13 PM
01/27/11 07:13 PM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,574
Merritt Island FL, USA
chubbs1 Offline
chubbs1  Offline
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,574
Merritt Island FL, USA
You could write a doctoral dissertation on the properties of PAO and Esters...especially esters which have fall under such a diverse category ie Grp. V. I can say there is a lot of info at your finger tips on BITOG to find the differences. I can give a quick summary (to the best of my knowledge)

Ability to withstand heat/oxidation. PAO:Good Ester:Good-Excellent

Hydrolytic stability. ie.water absorbs into the oil. PAO:Excellent Ester:Poor

Additive solubility. PAO:Poor Ester Excellent

Seal Swell. PAO: Poor Ester: Excellent

Vis. PAO: Excellent Ester:Excellent

Film Strength, PAO: Good Ester: Good
Lubes N' Greases Oct. 2010 Pg.44-45

As you see they have their pros and cons. A mix is obviously better. Additive solubility is very important, Esters shine in this category.


'12 Charger SXT
QSUD 5w30 OEM filter

'12 Charger SXT
Edge FST EP 5w30 OEM (Mine;)

'11 Hyundai Sonata GLS
QSUD 5w20 OEM Filter

Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152867
01/27/11 07:17 PM
01/27/11 07:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
dtt004 Offline
dtt004  Offline
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
Hi.

Simply from a chemistry standpoint, PAO + Ester > PAO only. Why? Because PAO will break down/not stable at higher temperatures in comparison to ester. However, PAO maintains high compatibility with mineral oils. When you combine the high temperature stability of ester and PAO, you can possibly get a better oil. I say possibly because in science, there are no absolutes in the real world.

Most "full synthetics" are PAO only. Why? It is more affordable to produce and offers most of the advantages that people are thinking about when they think about synthetic oils. Only a handful of companies produce an ester + PAO combination. Ester only oils are not exactly a solution either because they have problems with compatibility. If someone is marketing an ester-only fully synthetic oil as being better than other types of synthetic, I would be wary. Ask for an in-depth explanation as to why it is beneficial over a PAO or PAO + ester oil. But the most significant problem is compatibility with conventional oils. This is a common situation with automobiles today, and is significant, which is why I am highlighting it. Another significant problem is that ester gets saturated with water easily and becomes unstable. Otherwise, if you don't care for compatibility then by all means an ester is a high quality choice.

PAO are simply highly refined mineral base stocks. Under the definition of synthetic, it's marketed as such because it is manipulated in the lab. Otherwise, olefins come from the ground from dead dinosaurs.

Synthetic oils are 90% this kind. Highly refined petroleum base stocks. If you want to see the similarity, compare the Viscosity Index of a SM/SN grade conventional oil and a synthetic. They are remarkably similar. Honestly, your engine won't care if the VI is 170 or 180. Ester does not come from petroleum.

Last edited by dtt004; 01/27/11 07:19 PM.

Technical Design Engineer
--
1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
1993 Mazda RX-7 Turbo
1996 Toyota Tacoma V6 4x4
2005 Acura NSX
2008 Lotus Elise
2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: chubbs1] #2152870
01/27/11 07:21 PM
01/27/11 07:21 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,877
Pacnw
saaber1 Offline
saaber1  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,877
Pacnw
Originally Posted By: chubbs1

Hydrolytic stability. ie.water absorbs into the oil. PAO:Excellent Ester:Poor

Esters in motor oil have zero issues with hyrdrolytic stability. This has been debunked on BITOG at least 3 times if not more:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2017391

Also fyi a great paper by Tom NJ, BITOG's expert on esters:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1252272


"when 5W30 is cold, ...the oil is 35 weight (5+30),...20 w 50 starts at 70 and warms up to 50"
- Kyle, auto mechanic & VP Speedline Motorsports, INTL
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152872
01/27/11 07:23 PM
01/27/11 07:23 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
dtt004 Offline
dtt004  Offline
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
Oh and I also have something to add.

Ester-based oils come straight from racing. Racing involves less environmental conditions than the everyday roads we drive.

So the demands are different. What may be "better" can be better under the checkered flag...but not necessarily under a stoplight.

It's all about finding the right mix to fit the conditions encountered.

Now, if any oil meets API standards and OEM specifications, it is ok for your engine. Likely to see significant differences between chemical composition? Highly unlikely to the consumer.


Technical Design Engineer
--
1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
1993 Mazda RX-7 Turbo
1996 Toyota Tacoma V6 4x4
2005 Acura NSX
2008 Lotus Elise
2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: dtt004] #2152873
01/27/11 07:23 PM
01/27/11 07:23 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,877
Pacnw
saaber1 Offline
saaber1  Offline
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,877
Pacnw
Originally Posted By: dtt004
Another significant problem is that ester gets saturated with water easily and becomes unstable.

This is incorrect when it comes to motor oil. Please see my above post or feel free to search and find the previous discussions on it.


"when 5W30 is cold, ...the oil is 35 weight (5+30),...20 w 50 starts at 70 and warms up to 50"
- Kyle, auto mechanic & VP Speedline Motorsports, INTL
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: saaber1] #2152875
01/27/11 07:26 PM
01/27/11 07:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
dtt004 Offline
dtt004  Offline
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 314
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: saaber1
Originally Posted By: chubbs1

Hydrolytic stability. ie.water absorbs into the oil. PAO:Excellent Ester:Poor

Esters in motor oil have zero issues with hyrdrolytic stability. This has been debunked on BITOG at least 3 times if not more:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2017391

Also fyi a great paper by Tom NJ, BITOG's expert on esters:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1252272


Good point. However, I think he was talking about the simple chemistry. Just because it has been debunked in the automobile, doesn't mean it's debunked in chemistry. Esters simply are hydrolytically unstable in comparison to olefins. Anyways, great point.


Technical Design Engineer
--
1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
1993 Mazda RX-7 Turbo
1996 Toyota Tacoma V6 4x4
2005 Acura NSX
2008 Lotus Elise
2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152882
01/27/11 07:33 PM
01/27/11 07:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,449
East of IGO
Steve S Offline
Steve S  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,449
East of IGO
There must have been a whole lot of dinosaurs to make all the oil that has been pumped out of the earth the last 100 or so years.
I thought ester based oil came out of aviation?


Why do people post I want the best for my car,,, When there isn't anything that is the best on the car to begin with.
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152949
01/27/11 08:34 PM
01/27/11 08:34 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,369
Alaska
m37charlie Offline
m37charlie  Offline
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,369
Alaska
I wish we'd all get past the "dinosaur" thing. Dinosaurs have nothing to do with petroleum. It comes from anaerobic breakdown of monocellular organisms like prokaryotic bacteria and eukaryotic dinoflagellates; underwater, usually if not always sea water.
Coal at least has markers of real plants in its' makeup; closer to dinosaurs but still no banana.
And obviously all the carbon atoms in PAOs and esters originally come from "mineral" sources: petroleum, gas and coal.

Charlie


05 Unimog U500/Unicat camper/Delvac 1 SHC ACEA E4/E5
09 BMW X5 35d/Delvac1 LE 5W30
88 Toyota OJ50LV OM314 motor D1 SHC
52 Dodge M37/Hercules diesel

Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2153135
01/27/11 11:46 PM
01/27/11 11:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
d00df00d Offline
d00df00d  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
Originally Posted By: BritGerCarLuvr
I always thought that PAO, far outperformed, outlasted and remained in-grade better and more reliably than the "other" synthetic (or synthetic wanna-be).

Now, I've run across both, and was wondering which was the "better" oil.

I am basically comparing 0W30 (German Castrol)which is PAO and,
Total Quartz Energy 9000, 0W30 which is the old Elf Excellium Full-Tech which is a PAO/Ester rich oil.They both meet all the same specs.

I am just trying to understand the PAO (vs) PAO/Ester (vs) Ester based oils as well as the pro's and con's of either.

First, German Castrol isn't 100% PAO. One of its most important components is an ester; it's just present in small amounts.

Second, regardless of the individual advantages and disadvantages, it's the total formulation that counts. Knowing whether an oil contains PAOs and/or esters is like knowing whether a car is supercharged or turbocharged. In the end, that fact in isolation tells you almost nothing about how the product actually performs. Modern oils are highly sophisticated mixtures that are more than the sums of their parts, and they perform differently in different applications. You could have a PAO oil that outperforms a PAO/ester blend, or you could have it the other way around; then you could take both oils to a different car and the order might switch.

Theoretically you could tell a lot about an oil's performance from its composition, but this requires vastly more details than simple PAO or ester content (which are usually proprietary) and the necessary chemical and tribological background to interpret that information.

This is one reason why it's much better to rely on approvals and specs. A PAO or ester oil might work very well in your car, or it might work very poorly. An oil that carries the correct approvals and specs is virtually guaranteed to work well.


2011 Mazda RX-8 R3
Mobil Super 5w-20
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: d00df00d] #2153288
01/28/11 07:43 AM
01/28/11 07:43 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 64
FL, USA
wolfestone Offline
wolfestone  Offline
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 64
FL, USA
Don't suppose anyone has the HTHS for the energy 9000 0w30 oil do they? I've tried to ask Total directly and have got no response at all.

Last edited by wolfestone; 01/28/11 07:50 AM.
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: wolfestone] #2153590
01/28/11 01:14 PM
01/28/11 01:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
d00df00d Offline
d00df00d  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
Well, it's gotta be at least 3.5.... ontome


2011 Mazda RX-8 R3
Mobil Super 5w-20
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: d00df00d] #2153672
01/28/11 02:34 PM
01/28/11 02:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 64
FL, USA
wolfestone Offline
wolfestone  Offline
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 64
FL, USA
Is it the ACEA A3 that tells us that? i.e. to meet ACEA A3 spec it's HTHS must be at least 3.5?

It also seems to have a low BN (tbn?) compared to other oils according to the product data sheet. I think it's around 8. Could anyone suggest why this might be, and if it could be considered a disadvantage?

Last edited by wolfestone; 01/28/11 02:41 PM.
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: wolfestone] #2153723
01/28/11 03:05 PM
01/28/11 03:05 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
d00df00d Offline
d00df00d  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,379
PA
Originally Posted By: wolfestone
Is it the ACEA A3 that tells us that? i.e. to meet ACEA A3 spec it's HTHS must be at least 3.5?

Yes. Any spec that depends on ACEA A3, like LL-01, tells the same story.


Originally Posted By: wolfestone
It also seems to have a low BN (tbn?) compared to other oils according to the product data sheet. I think it's around 8. Could anyone suggest why this might be, and if it could be considered a disadvantage?

It doesn't really mean anything on its own. Maybe the oil's TBN retention is really good, so it doesn't need a higher number. Can't really tell without a lot more info, most of it propriety or only available through experiment.


2011 Mazda RX-8 R3
Mobil Super 5w-20
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