Good information...I was hoping that someone from the oil sector would give info...I always use a major brand..I can't get myself to put that $.39 oil in a 70k$ rig..guess I am old fashioned...anyway thanks for the information and you all have a good Holiday.
Dabooo. you wanted the opinion of an oil guy.....
I worked most of my adult life for a major oil company (Gulf Oil, not to name it) and I've been involved in lubricant development, testing, analysis, sale and marketing of all type of lubicants, including synthetics.
I could write a 150 pages long comment on it but i'll try to stick to the point.
For engines, systhetic oils have no advantages over mineral oil in normal application. (except in Artic(very cold) and desert (very hot) conditions in HD equipment. As the gentleman said, engine oil need to replaced because it gets contaminted, not because it has lost it's lubricity. As a matter of fact, used motor oils would make a perfect lubricant if it could be cleaned by a centrifugical/filtering system. To my knowledge, no engine manufacturer banned or preclude the use of synthetic engine oil, but none recommend or dictate it's use. If synthetic oils were so vastly superior to regular oil in reducing breakdowns and increase engine life, all of them would recommend/force the use of synthetics to reduce the number of warranty claims and increase the life of their engine.
When a manufacturer recommends an oil change every 6 months or 5000mi, you can be assured it is the upper limit of what they consider safe.
In my (informed) opinion,regular oil change (somewhat sooner than the recommended interval) with the right API classification will assure any engine a long life.
Viscosity: Most manufacturer these days, especially for gasoline engine, recommend lighter oils (say 5 W 30 instead of 10W30 or 20W 40)
This is mostly to reduce emission (especially while engine is still cold)and increase fuel economy.
In a word, save you $$$, use regular mineral oil from a reputable marketer and replace it slightly sooner than the recommended interval, and your engine will love you for a long time.
In my engines: (MotorHome 454 Vortec, Mercedez, Honda CR-V, Corvette and MGB) I use regular mineral oils, all replace at 3000mi intervals (with filters).
In all my automatic transmission, I use synthetics
Manual transmission, mineral
Differentials: Motorhome is on synthetic, all others are regular mineral ois.
This is a good topic and is always interesting to see all the varying opinions. My name is Dan Watson and my background is Navy Nuclear Engineering and I have been a Lube Consultant for the past 10 years. My company is Advanced Lubricating Techniques and we specialize in synthetics specifically Amsoil products. I always want people to know that I have a particular company (Amsoil) that I recommend so they know up front where I am coming from.
I try my best to answer these types of questions from a generic point of view but sometimes a particular aspect of Amsoil will come in because it is unique.
First, petroleum or conventional (mineral) oils are not all the same. The base stocks vary by where they are brought out of the ground. Some are primarily paraffinic and some are asphaltic. These differences do make a difference in how well the oil performs at certain temperatures. Paraffinic oils tend to wax up at low temps and asphaltic oils tend to vaporize at high temps.
The refining process is the most significant difference in how well these basestocks will turn out. Oils are divided into categories of performance for basestocks and go from Cat I through Cat IV. Within each of these categories there is a wide range of quality. Most brands of petroleum oils fall into Cat II basestocks. Oil from the ground is loaded with all types of impurities and these impurities will react at engine temps to form a variety of acids and compounds that cause the oil to deplete. Recently several oil companies have been hyping the new pure stock or other such names that indicate they are finally trying to get more of the contaminates out of the oil in the refining process. One article by Pennzoil stated that the original oils were about 25% contaminated and the new pure stocks were greater than 90% pure lubricating molecules.
So even if a company got the crude oil from the same well, the finished product could vary tremendously depending on the quality of the refining process used to make the basestock.
As stated in other posts the additive package is tremendously important. If a cheap poorly refined basestock is used then the additives used must not only take into consideration the byproducts of combustion and the other duties in the engine but they must also counter the impurities in the basestock.
Additives must do several things in an internal combustion engine. There are anti-wear, anti-oxidants, detergents, dispersants, acid neutralizers, anti-foaming agents, viscosity improvers and pour depressants to name a few. The quality of these additives and the types used can vary greatly across the industry. In all cases the money spent to both refine the basestock and buy the additives will determine the quality of the finished product.
The question on how many oil manufacturers are there is good. The term manufacturer should be clarified; most of the brand names we see on oil are really blenders not refiners. Valvoline, Castrol, Kendall, RedLine and yes Amsoil are blenders they do not make the basestocks or the additives for their oils. The largest producer of additives in North America is Lubrizol. They provide over 80% of all additives used in this continent. Texaco, Mobile, Exxon, Shell, BP, Conoco, Sunoco, Petro Canada and I'm sure many others I haven't mentioned plus independents are in the refining business.
Oil does wear out. This happens because the oil is running at high enough temps in modern engines that it oxidizes and forms varnish and sludge. The additives are expended and the acids produced by the combustion process will destroy the oil when the additive for neutralizing it is gone. Yes contamination is of great concern but, petroleum oil will be expended even without contaminants.
I will post again later on the differences in the synthetics and how they to have different quality basestocks and the advantages and disadvantages for the various synthetics. I am out of time now and will have to pick it up later.
*This Message was edited on 24-Dec-01 07:39 AM by Dan Watson*
I can give you one very good reason why I use Synthetic oil. My wife !!!
I have used conventional oils for the majority of my life and had very few problems. There was the one time that my better half called and said that my baby (Ford Bronco) would not start. Sure enough no coolant and it had seized (she was right it wouldn't start).
I use Synthetic in my motor home because it never gets a day off! Every time I turn the key it is in for a work out. I have oil coolers,additional cooling fans, tempertute gauges, ect. ,ect. My MH looks like the cockpit of a modern jet! I just like the additional heat tolerance that Synthetics retain.
Back to the wife story. Recently my wife called and said that the alternator light came on on her way to work. I asked what did the temperature gauge say ?? Which one is that, she snapped back !! Sure enough with 50k a idler pully bearing had seized ( we don't wan't to even talk about the fact that bearing had to be squealing like a hog at the slaughter house) and thrown that darn snake belt.( I can't spell that other name)resulting in no water pumping action. I'm glad I had Synthetic oil in the crank case !!!!
Seems a lot of people believe that the oil needs to be changed at 3000 miles for various reasons. Cadillac for 2002 has extended max oil life to 12,000 and Cummins is at 15,000, I believe. These manufactures would not recommend this if it was bad for their engines and increasing warranty costs. Modern engines run a lot cleaner than a few years ago plus the advances in oils and filtration. The oil companys are the biggest gainers in the 3000 mile changes.
Very interesting topic. I can't wait to read Dan Watson's follow up on synthetics.
If I may stray off the subject a might,,,,, the oil filter you use is equaly important. In my opinion, that is. A while back, I read a test of several oil filters. No, not the test often refered to on the web, where a fellow cut open about a dozen oil filters, and gave his opinion of them. This one was done in a lab, by an independant company.
They said that many filters, filtered enough oil to equal roughly 3000 miles, but would pass particals that were large enough to cause some damage to an engine.
Other filters, filtered well enough, but because of factors such as, not enough filtering media, or too much media stuffed into the shell, or too many pleats in the media, etc...., they would clog up, and start by-passing un-filtered oil in as little as 2000 miles. This was more of a problem with the smaller filters used on most newer engines, of course.
Regardless, none of the filters they tested, filtered efficiently, and still filtered efficiently, over three to four thousand miles.
I wish I could remember more, but, alas, my memory is going fast with my age.
GM recommends synthetic oils, both in the motor and in the drivetrain. Why don't they put it in at the factory?
The driveline components, as well as every other piece of the vehicle, are manufactured elsewhere, and not at the assembly plant. The manufacturers of the axles for instance, fill them with regular oils because otherwise it would increase the price of production and thus be passed on to the customer, which is GM, which in turn would pass that cost on to you, the buyer. To keep costs down (they're high enough, aren't they!) the components are filled with the most cost effective oil that meets the required specifications by GM. (The components for some vehicles specify synthetic and are therefore manufactured as such in that case). However, once you, the customer get the vehicle, it is perfectly OK by GM and Ford etc. to use synthetic lubricants and WILL NOT INVALIDATE ANY WARRANTY IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. This is a myth. Trust me, GM signs my paycheck! Hope this helped.
2009 Silverado 2500HD 4X4 C/C/6.0/3.73/Pullrite Super 5th.
2004 Puma 249RBS fifth-wheel bunkhouse.USAF/GULF WAR VET.
Having taken a look at the petroleum oils now lets look at the differences in synthetic and petroleum oils. As we discussed, petroleum oil is refined from crude oils stocks. This process is designed to purify the oil as much as possible and produce a basestock that will be available for additives to make different types of lubricating products. Synthetic basestocks are man made from various forms of hydrogen and carbon compounds. The making of the synthetic basestocks by chemical process is the key to their superior strength. The chemist can create designer molecules that are specifically designed for maximum lubricating qualities. How these compare and why they are superior can best be illustrated by questions and answers. A quick review of what is in oil would be helpful to start.
Lubricating oils are made up of the basestocks, as previously mentioned, and additives depending on the lubrication application. The additives consist of anti-oxidants, anti-wear, anti-foaming, detergents, dispersants, acid neutralizers, and pour point depressants.
OK, let's try some questions and answers to get the comparison laid out.
QUESTION: How are synthetics made?
ANSWER: Synthetics are made from combining lightweight molecules to make heavy weight lubricating molecules. It is not necessary to be a chemist to understand the principle involved. It is sort of like comparing natural rubber to synthetic rubber. When is the last time you could buy natural rubber tires?
QUESTION: So are all synthetics made the same way?
ANSWER: NO! There are several synthetic basestocks available in the market place today. The ones most common in the market place are Esters, PAO (polyalphaolephins) and Hydrocracked basestocks. There are others in the industrial area such as silicones and PAG’s (PolyalcholineGlycols) these last two are not used in automotive applications. Of these three for automotive use the Hydrocracked is new to the game and only recently have they been called synthetic. Hydrocracked oil is really a super refined petroleum and in my opinion should be classed by itself. That’s another story in big money and the American Petroleum Institute caving into pressure by big oil companies. There is no doubt that H/C oils are better than conventional oil but they are not as good as classic synthetics. The driving force of course, is the simple fact that the H/C oils are much less expensive to produce that the PAO or Esters. Some major oil marketers such as Castrol and Valvoline are now using H/C oils exclusively as their synthetics. Mobile and Amsoil are still using PAO and Diester. Amsoil actually uses a blended basestock of PAO and Diester for a superior basestock.
QUESTION: What are the advantages of Synthetics over Petroleum oils?
ANSWER: Synthetics have much greater temperature ranges, are basically inert and will not react with oxygen, have much lower vaporization rates, provide better lubrication and thus less friction and wear and with proper additives can be used for longer periods of time.
QUESTION: What causes oil to go bad or wear out?
ANSWER: Oil is considered used up or not fit for continued use when:
· It thickens or thins out of the required viscosity
· The additive package is depleted
· The oil is contaminated
QUESTION: How does synthetic oil last longer than petroleum?
ANSWER: As explained in the preceding question, when oil is thickened or has thinned it should be drained. Synthetics are not susceptible to thickening, which is caused by vaporization and oxidation. Synthetics are not reactive with oxygen where petroleum oils require lots of anti-oxidation additives to remain stable. All oils evaporate over time and this is the reason for the positive crankcase ventilation system (PCV). The EPA dictated years ago that oil vapor had to be collected and burned by the engine rather than allowed to vaporize into the air. At regular operating temps is not unusual for petroleum oils to vaporize readily. This is actually the main reason for the loss of oil between oil changes not rings or valve guides. Synthetics vary in their vaporization rates with Amsoil synthetics being the very best in the industry.
Also, as mentioned above, if the additive package is depleted then the oil cannot perform its function and must be changed. Most petroleum oils have an additive package designed to go no more than 6,000miles under normal driving conditions. Additionally, most synthetics use the same additive package in their synthetics as in their petroleum oils. Amsoil synthetics are beefed up with additional amounts of additives to ensure longer life.
And last but not least is contamination. If the oil becomes contaminated with fuel it thins and if it is contaminated with glycol it will jell. Petroleum and synthetics are affected the same by these contaminanants.
In summary, there are several ASTM certified test that clearly support the superiority of synthetic oils over petroleum. The question is whether the synthetics can be used economically? The answer is yes if you take into account the savings on maintenance and improved fuel economy. Amsoil synthetics are warranted for longer oil drain intervals, which result in saving money on the cost of the oil and gaining money on the fuel savings. It is possible to get by with petroleum but that could be said for bias belted tires also.
In my next post I will try to get more into the differences in the synthetics. I'm out of time again and will be back later.