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Old 03-02-2005   #1
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Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

I thought this enlightening and thought provoking article would be of interest.

A word of caution – You get what you pay for!

Below is an article written by John Rowland, Silkolene/Fuchs Chief R & D Chemist for 40 years.

Quote:

Costs of "synthetics" vary considerably. The most expensive are the “Ester” types originally only used in jet engines. These cost 6 to 10 times more than high quality mineral oils.

The cheapest "synthetics" are not really "synthetic" at all, from a chemists point of view. These are in fact specially refined light viscosity mineral oils known as “hydrocracked”. These have some advantages over equivalent mineral oils, particularly in lower viscosity motor oils such as 5w-30 or other oils with a low “W” rating such as 5w-50 etc and they cost about 1.5 times more than good quality mineral fractions.

We use several different grades of this base oil, where appropriate. This is the “synthetic” which is always used in cheap oils that are labelled “synthetic”. Yes it’s a cruel world, you get what you pay for!

Now, you may ask, why are these special mineral oils called “synthetic”?

Well, it was all sorted in a legal battle that took place in the USA about ten years ago. Sound reasons (including evidence from a Nobel Prize winning chemist) were disregarded and the final ruling was that certain mineral bases that had undergone extra chemical treatments could be called “synthetic”.

Needless to say, the marketing executives wet their knickers with pure delight! They realised that this meant, and still does, that the critical buzz-word “synthetic” could be printed on a can of cheap oil provided that the contents included a few percent of “hydrocracked” mineral oil, at a cost of quite literally a few pence.

So, the chemistry of “synthetics” is complex and so is the politics!

The economics are very simple. If you like the look of a smart well-marketed can with “synthetic” printed on it, fair enough, it will not cost you a lot; and now you know why this is the case.

But, if you drive a high performance car, and you intend to keep it for several years, and maybe do the odd “track day”, then you need a genuine Ester/PAO (Poly Alpha Olefin) synthetic oil.

This oil costs more money to buy, because it costs us a lot of money to make, very simply, you always get what you pay for!

Unquote:

Cheers
Guy
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Old 03-02-2005   #2
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

so what makes are real synthetic then?
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Old 03-02-2005   #3
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Any that are "fully synthetic" as opposed to just "synthetic"
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Old 03-02-2005   #4
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Quote Originally Posted by dave
so what makes are real synthetic then?
A true synthetic uses no petroleum basestock, made from pao or pao/ester.

Cheers

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Old 03-02-2005   #5
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Quote Originally Posted by JonnyBoy
Any that are "fully synthetic" as opposed to just "synthetic"
If you are after true syntheitcs then the best are, mobil, Silkolene, Motul, Fuchs, Redline to name a few.

Cheers

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Old 03-02-2005   #6
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

my oil says fully synthetic
API-SL/CF
ACEA A3/B3-98
says on the back "is a fully synthetic engine oil desinged for todays hight preformance engines providing high tempature protection.
its made by granvil oil and chemicals ltd.

its £16 for 5ltrs am i being ripped off?
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Old 03-02-2005   #7
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

You've posted this before, as I said previously I have always ran my turbo charged cars on Castrol RS 10W 60 and I know of someone who is a car enthusiast who has a 400+bhp integrale EVO which has been taken round the 'ring on many occasions, 16V integrale, Lotus Carlton, Alpina B10 Twin Turbo which has been clocked at over 300kph (187.5mph) all run on Castrol RS 10W 60 and never had an issue, he has used it in all his cars for over 10 years. I also know of someone else who has used it in competition cars both on track and rallying and has always used Castrol RS 10W-60.

As I replied the first time:

European oils use different additives because they have to meet European (ACEA) specifications that US oils do not. Any oil that meets the requirements listed in the vehicle manual is good enough. Engine failure is rarely caused by oil failure, usually due to lack of oil or dirty oil. To paraphrase a previous thread: Fresh oil is better than Dirty Oil which is better than No Oil.

Synthetic vs. Mineral Oil:

Back in 1998, Mobil filed suit against Castrol for falsely advertising Syntec oil as synthetic, when in fact it contained a highly hydroprocessed mineral (Dino) oil instead of a chemically synthesized basestock. Due to the amount that the mineral oil had been chemically changed, the judge decided that Mobil lost that suit. As a result (except in Germany), any oil containing this highly hydroprocessed mineral (Dino) oil (currently called Group III basestock by the American Petroleum Institute) can market themselves as a synthetic oil. Since the original synthetic basestock (polyalphaolefin or PAO) costs approximately 3 times as much as the Group III basestock, most of the oil blenders switched to the Group III basestock, which significantly increased their profit margins (the price of synthetic oils didn't drop, as I recall, to accommodate this cheaper basestock, which makes up >70% of a bottle of oil). In Europe, blenders still need to use some PAO in order to meet the toughest ACEA specs. In the US, Mobil 1, Amsoil, Red Line and Royal Purple are the only ones I am SURE OF still using PAO. If you can get a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the oil you are interested in, look for PAO or polymer or oligomer of 1-decene as a component for a tip-off. Synthetic blends contain some amount (not defined, as far as I know) of synthetic basestock. The small amount of viscosity modifier present in most multi-grade oils probably fulfils this requirement, making synthetic blends another profit centre for the oil blenders.

Blending Oils:

PAO-based and mineral oil-based oils are compatible. There are a few synthetics that are not (these are ester-based oils, not suitable for or sold for everyday driving). Again, check the MSDS. However, there are at least 4 different companies that provide the additive packages that are blended into oils. Mixing these 4 different additive technologies can be bad (at least long-term). I am assuming that if you stay with the same brand/company's oil (Synth vs. Dino) there shouldn't be too much problem, but mixing oils is not a good practice.

Synthetic basestocks:

There are 4 major PAO producers: BP Chemical (merchant supplier), Chevron-Phillips Chemical (merchant supplier), Neste (European merchant supplier), Exxon-Mobil (mostly internal use by Mobil). Of course, most of the big oil companies (and a few others) produce the highly hydroprocessed mineral (Dino) oil synthetic.


PAO Advantages:
Extremely good low temperature viscosity (in case you want to start your bike at -40C or -40F).
Clean engine internals (downside: can also clean up crud from damaged seals in older engines, possibly allowing damaged seals to leak).
Low volatility (have to top up oil less).
More stable at extremely hot temperatures.


Group III (Dino) advantages:
Better profit margin for blenders, but can still be marketed as synthetic
Meets minimum oil specifications (as do regular oils)
Low volatility.
May be better (in some cases) to break in a new/rebuilt engine


Regular engine oils:
Meet all warranty specifications (be sure to read your manual for specifics)
Less expensive
Less protection in EXTREME use


Another good oil in Motul 300V, or Millers Competition CFS 10W 60 http://www.millersoils.net/ or for any one local (Shropshire) try this stuff rated very highly in rallying circles Morris Multilife Competition http://www.morrislubricants.co.uk

It should also be considered that synthetics were introduced to increase time between services, & there is a school of thought that says that any decent non synthetic oil changed on a regular basis will do no harm to your engine.

Aaron.
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Last edited by J333EVO; 04-02-2005 at 12:34.
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Old 03-02-2005   #8
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Wow! bet your head hurts now Aaron

(mine does )
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Old 03-02-2005   #9
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

In a nutshell what aarons post is saying is look at the cost.

£3.00 per litre not a synthetic, proper synthetics cost around £6-10 per litre however, RS 10w-60 is not a proper synthetic, it's a hydrocracked oil. We have chemical data on it.

Cheers
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Old 03-02-2005   #10
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Quote Originally Posted by oilman
In a nutshell what aarons post is saying is look at the cost.

£3.00 per litre not a synthetic, proper synthetics cost around £6-10 per litre however, RS 10w-60 is not a proper synthetic, it's a hydrocracked oil. We have chemical data on it.

Cheers
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whats my oil
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Old 03-02-2005   #11
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Re: Synthetic Oil - Not always what it seems!

Oily? (very poor I know)

I use Selenia 20K and couldn't care less if it was synthetic, natural or indeed candy floss! It has been proven in the coop for years and makes my baby purr. That's my science
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