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What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? #2152848 01/27/11 05:32 PM
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BritGerCarLuvr Offline OP
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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 05:44 PM
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hate2work Offline
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popcorn


Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152864 01/27/11 06:13 PM
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chubbs1 Offline
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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
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'12 Charger SXT
Edge FST EP 5w30 OEM (Mine;)

'11 Hyundai Sonata GLS
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Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152867 01/27/11 06:17 PM
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dtt004 Offline
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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 06:19 PM.

Technical Design Engineer
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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 06:21 PM
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saaber1 Offline
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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 06:23 PM
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dtt004 Offline
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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 06:23 PM
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saaber1 Offline
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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 06:26 PM
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dtt004 Offline
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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 06:33 PM
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Steve S Offline
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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?

Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: BritGerCarLuvr] #2152949 01/27/11 07:34 PM
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m37charlie Offline
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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 10:46 PM
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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.


2008 BMW M3 Sedan 6MT
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: d00df00d] #2153288 01/28/11 06:43 AM
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wolfestone Offline
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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 06:50 AM.
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: wolfestone] #2153590 01/28/11 12:14 PM
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d00df00d Offline
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Well, it's gotta be at least 3.5.... ontome


2008 BMW M3 Sedan 6MT
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: d00df00d] #2153672 01/28/11 01:34 PM
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wolfestone Offline
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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 01:41 PM.
Re: What is better? PAO Only or Pao/Ester Oil? [Re: wolfestone] #2153723 01/28/11 02:05 PM
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d00df00d Offline
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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.


2008 BMW M3 Sedan 6MT
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