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#1 fezzasus

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:46 PM

Background

There are four engine oil additive companies in the world; Afton, Infineum, Lubrizol and Oronite. They supply around 90 % of the additives used in engine oil in the entire world and 100 %of the additive packages used in oils with official claims. The other oils simply carry a manufacturing quality claim, in other words state that the oil is made to correct manufacturing specification, but does not have any tested performance in an engine.

The four additive companies not only supply individual additives, but design and test oils containing specific packages to meet engine oil claims. These additive packages and specific oil mixes are then sold to oil marketers where it is sold under commonly [and less commonly] known oil brands.

To state this more explicitly, the additive companies are responsible for taking an oil brief to a final oil that may be sold under a brand name, sometimes the larger oil marketers run their own programs internally, however the additive companies must still manufacture and supply the additives in order for this to happen.

I work for one of the four additive companies, and am writing this purely to provide factually accurate and unbiased information on engine oils; due to the number of oil marketers we supply, it is impossible to try to push or sell a single product through this article.

Oil technology

There are different grades of base stock that are used in an engine oil, they can be broken down as follows;



Group 1; oil sourced from crude oil with fairly low processing, high in sulfur and aromatic content. Viscosity changes greatly with temperature

Group 2; as group 1 with slightly more refining, resulting in less sulfur and less aromatic content.

Group 3. Highly processed crude oil, resulting in less temperature change in viscosity with temperature and low sulfur.

Group 4. Oil assembled synthetically, resulting in very controlled structure giving very low sulfur, very good viscosity control and low aromatic content

Group 5; everything else, typically very expensive and with specialist applications.



Small changes in viscosity with temperature means that the performance of the oil becomes very predictable at a range of temperatures, allowing it to maintain good lubrication and protection of engine parts.

Sulfur may form acidic species in the oil, which in turn reacts with and corrodes metal parts in the engine.

Aromatic content may be chemically attacked leading to viscosity growth of the oil and poor lubrication during the life of the oil, they could also lead to low temperature pumpability problems by forming gel structures, causing oil starvation.

There is disagreement as to whether group 3 oils are synthetic, they have a great degree of processing applied to them in comparison to group 1 and 2, in turn producing a much more controlled and higher performing base stock, however are sourced from crude oil and therefore not truly synthetic. Some countries allow the oil to be labeled as synthetic, others semi-synthetic, some not at all. As you will find out, it doesn’t make much of a difference.



Additive technology.

The base stock alone cannot adequately protect an engine, this can be seen in this report here: http://www.ilma.org/...qualityoils.pdf which compares an API SA oil [minimal performance claims, just base stock] with SL [a much later claims set requiring more in the oil than just base stock]

In order to add performance to the oil, the following chemicals are added:

Detergents

Added to remove varnish and deposits produced during the combustion process, most deposits and lacquer form in the cylinder and on the piston, at the hottest points as it’s typically formed from partially combusted fuel and engine oil.

Detergents also neutralise acids produced in the engine by the combustion process [fuels contain nitrogen and sulfur which form nitric and sulfuric acid in the engine], which prevents acidic corrosion of parts in the engine.

Anti-wear agents

Anti-wear agents decompose and form ‘sacrificial surfaces’ between rubbing contacts to protect the metal from wear. This is typically through the use of ZnDDP or ZDDP, the first commercial additive which demonstrated a clear benefit in the engine, and in use for around 80 years.

Dispersants

Incompletely combusted fuel, and insoluble particles will agglomerate and form highly structured networks in oil which causes viscosity to increase. Dispersants suspend these species in the oil and separate them, preventing viscosity increase.

Anti-oxidants

High temperature causes chemicals to split and turn into reactive species, metal in the engine acts as catalysts and increases the rate this happens. The reactive species attack anything available; oil, fuel and additives which causes degradation of the oil and viscosity increase. Anti-oxidants trap these attacking species to protect the oil

Viscosity modifiers

While high quality base stocks maintain some viscosity control with increasing temperature, it’s not sufficient to avoid very viscous oil at cold and very thin oil at high temperature. This leads to oil starvation and inadequate protection of the surfaces respectively. Viscosity modifiers collapse at low temperature but unfurl at high temperature, interacting with the base stock and creating an ordered structure in the oil, which increases viscosity. This allows an oil to be used all year around and provide engine protection over a wide range of temperatures

Pour point depressors

Poor quality base stocks or used oils form large gel structures at low temperature, when the engine is started the pump sucks up oil from the sump, if there are gel structures the oil will not flow and will cause oil starvation, pour point depressors break up the gel structures to ensure the oil flows.

Friction modifiers

Designed to reduce the energy losses created between rubbing metal surfaces, they are used more in America and Japan as the energy, and thus fuel saving is minor and therefore driven by legislation rather than a consumer saving.

Anti-foam

Prevents foaming in oil filters which can cause oil blockages.

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Why less is more

The problem with all these additives is they interact when they are combined, each group of additives have a wide range of chemicals that act at different temperatures, under different pressures or work on different part of chemical cycles. There are countless implications to consider when combining the additives, some examples:

More ZDDP should mean better anti-wear, however high ZDDP introduces more phosphorus, which can be burnt off and enter the catalytic converter, phosphorus poisons catalytic converters by blocking binding sites, resulting in a very expensive service by MOT time.

More dispersant means better viscosity control, but reacts with seals causing swelling, cracking and energy loss. Eventually this leads to an engine rebuild to replace all the failed parts.

More detergent means better deposit control, but the detergent is surface active and competes on metal surfaces with ZDDP, too much detergent and wear protection gets compromised.

What to look out for

All the attributes such as wear protection, viscosity control and deposit control are tested for, and indicated by the specification on the back of an oil. Oil sold in Europe will carry ACEA specification; the concept being with ACEA specification is a minimum standard for all oil, where any additional claims by engine manufacturers are added on top to boost performance. The ACEA claims are broken down as follows;

A/B mean suitable for petrol and diesel engines, C is suitable for engines with after treatment devices [such as diesel particulate filters and 3 way catalytic converters]. There is a number that follows the letter, where:

A1/B1 = good fuel economy with average engine performance

A3/B3 = normal fuel economy with average engine performance

A3/B4 = normal fuel economy with good engine performance

A5/B5 = good fuel economy with good engine performance

The date provided with the ACEA recommendations made for your car will be related to the date of manufacture, if you go for a newer year [eg. You are recommended ACEA ’04 and go for ACEA’10], you will have a better quality oil as the requirements improve each year.

A1/B1 and A5/B5 have reduced detergent inorder to allow for additional engine compatability, avoid them if your manual recommends A3/B3 or A3/B4. Always go for A3/B4 or A5/B5 compared to A3/B3 or A1/B1 respectively if given the choice, they offer tighter cam, tappet and piston wear limits than the former.

Proof

The oils with ACEA claims have undergone multiple engine tests designed to test the extreme point of operation of the engine, the current ACEA specification use the following tests:

TU5 high temperature deposit, ring sticking and oil thickening test [72 hour test]

Sequence VG low temperature sludge test[216 hour test]

TU3 Valve train wear test [100 hour test]

M271 sludge test

M111 fuel economy test

DV4 dispersancy test

OM646LA cam and tappet wear test [268hours]

VW TDI diesel piston cleanliness test [58hours]

Engine manufacturers have additional tests, some use bench tests to look at turbo charger deposits, others have much more stringent wear tests; the VW 504/507 specification requires a 650 hour weartest.

All these tests operate on the edge of what is considered normal operation, and typically much harsher than normal conditions. Any oil carrying the correct ACEA claims will be able to provide more than adequate protection for an engine, for additional protection I would recommend looking for an oil with a larger claim set, specifically one with VW claims as they typically have harsher limits.

There is no need to look for specialist engine oil; if it doesn’t have ACEA claims there’s no protection or proof that it is capable of protecting your engine. They are strict tests, and with a typical cost of around £70,000 a test, really do show confidence in the product.

#2 JG

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:53 PM

Excellent post Fezz, confirmed what i already knew but nice to see it all in one place. thumbsup I've just switched to Silkolene/Fuchs Race Pro S from my favourite royal purple which i tested in tribology labs around 6-7 years ago (and which showed excellent results). I'm fairly sure i'm still being strung along by the marketing men :rolleyes:

#3 elwill

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 07:50 AM


A1/B1 = good fuel economy with average engine performance

A3/B3 = normal fuel economy with average engine performance

A3/B4 = normal fuel economy with good engine performance

A5/B5 = good fuel economy with good engine performance


Really interesting article, lot of stuff I didn't know, so thanks for taking the time to write and post it.

I am a bit confused about the scale above, this could be a typo, but I am confused how A1/B1 and A5/B5 can both mean good fuel economy?

Also does A relate to fuel economy and B to engine performance, or is it a simple 5 number scale and A/B simply means suitable for petrol diesel engines?

And (finally) to be a bit more VX centric, as someone who clearly knows a lot about the topic, what do you look for to put in your VX?

Thanks!

#4 slindborg

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:41 AM

well fcuk me, a proper set of info that isnt dressed up as 'selling sh**' :) happy days

#5 Goosenka

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 08:56 AM

I feel ignorant all of a sudden :blink: Very interesting reading..better than working!

#6 siztenboots

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 09:54 AM

Gulf Competition 10w-60 combines quality base-stocks, ester and a top-of-the-range additive package meeting the requirements of the following international specifications: ACEA A3/B4 API SL/CF Silkolene, Fuchs Titan Race Pro S 10W-50 Ester Synthetic Engine Oil API SJ, SL, CF ACEA A3, B3 "Racing oils" generally don't get these OEM tests

#7 siztenboots

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:01 AM

Excellent post Fezz, confirmed what i already knew but nice to see it all in one place. thumbsup

I've just switched to Silkolene/Fuchs Race Pro S from my favourite royal purple which i tested in tribology labs around 6-7 years ago (and which showed excellent results).

I'm fairly sure i'm still being strung along by the marketing men :rolleyes:


Just switched from Fuchs Pro S, over to Gulf competition.

#8 techieboy

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 10:59 AM

Just switched from Fuchs Pro S, over to Gulf competition.

I've just done exactly the same. Anybody need about 15 litres of Pro S?

#9 Winstar

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 11:13 AM

well fcuk me, a proper set of info that isnt dressed up as 'selling sh**' :)

happy days

:yeahthat:

Halfords (dirt cheap on a trade card) fully synthetic is ACEA A3/B4

Edited by Winstar, 19 May 2011 - 11:13 AM.


#10 Stik

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:03 PM

That's really interesting to read, thanks for posting!

#11 fezzasus

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:16 PM


Really interesting article, lot of stuff I didn't know, so thanks for taking the time to write and post it.

I am a bit confused about the scale above, this could be a typo, but I am confused how A1/B1 and A5/B5 can both mean good fuel economy?

Also does A relate to fuel economy and B to engine performance, or is it a simple 5 number scale and A/B simply means suitable for petrol diesel engines?

And (finally) to be a bit more VX centric, as someone who clearly knows a lot about the topic, what do you look for to put in your VX?

Thanks!


A and B were previously separate categories describing petrol and diesel engine oil performance. They were combined to allow for the oil to be designed for both and interchanged.

A1/B1 essentially means that you'll get good fuel economy, but may not protect the engine as well as A5/B5. With A5/B5 you get the best of both worlds, but usually at a cost as the formulations require more exotic base stocks.

As for putting an oil in your VX, i'll cover that later because different uses (track vs. daily drive vs. weekend use, NA vs turbo vs supercharged). Tonight if i have time.

#12 LY_Scott

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:24 PM

As for putting an oil in your VX, i'll cover that later because different uses (track vs. daily drive vs. weekend use, NA vs turbo vs supercharged). Tonight if i have time.


thumbsup Posted Image

#13 techieboy

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:38 PM

:yeahthat: I'm sure that will be an interesting read. Especially for us with SC'd cars, which seem to like a drop or two. thumbsup

#14 siztenboots

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:42 PM


Just switched from Fuchs Pro S, over to Gulf competition.

I've just done exactly the same. Anybody need about 15 litres of Pro S?


15L , thats about a weeks supply for you?

#15 techieboy

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 12:46 PM



Just switched from Fuchs Pro S, over to Gulf competition.

I've just done exactly the same. Anybody need about 15 litres of Pro S?


15L , thats about a weeks supply for you?

Nah, much much better these days, with this new engine and my somewhat firmer running-in. Maybe uses half a litre or so on a trackday now. Although, like you, I've just stuck some thicker Gulf Competition oil in to see whether that cuts down consumption (and my incessant level checking) further.

#16 fezzasus

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 06:43 PM

Oil for your VX


ACEA Claims


Going back to the types of ACEA claims an oil carries, they can be broken down into two groups with two tiers;

Increased fuel economy
A1/B1 = average engine protection
A5/B5 = increased engine protection

Standard fuel economy
A3/B3 = average engine protection
A3/B4 = increased engine protection

Car fuel economy is dictated by legislation, there is only around a 1 % boost in fuel saving so the governing bodies have to legislate rather than sell the concept to the end user. Engine performance is almost always compromised to reach better fuel economy - not to the point that the engine oil is bad, simply that it won't perform as well as a cheaper, non-fuel saving oil.

For a VX220, always go for an ACEA A3/B4 oil, simply put, it's the best ACEA oil claim to have. [other cars with 3 way catalytic converters or DPFs may require reduced ash oils which do not block filters - always check the manual of the car]

As far specific applications go, there are a few key factors;

Rate of usage


Infrequent use leads to rust forming inside the engine; car manufacturers have the same problem between manufacturing and selling a car - they have specific corrosion tests that they include in the factory fill oil. Unfortunately it is very hard to source a factory fill oil, following the recommended service fill oil may provide you with the same oil type.

Type of usage


Track use compared to road use introduces very different stresses, engines used in track cars typically see hotter pistons and require greater oxidation control. Beware of 'true' race oils as the engines are expected to be rebuilt regularly so may not protect soft metal in bearings or may be too low in viscosity [lower viscosity = better energy transfer = more performance, however more stress]. Always ensure the oil has ACEA specifications too. I would suggest the best approach would be to run a normal oil and halve the change interval.

NA vs. Turbo vs. Supercharged


Honestly, there's not much difference here. Some oils are specified as turbo or supercharger compatible, this is usually for one of two reasons; marketing, or it's an oil sourced from America.

The key difference for the oil in forced induction engines is the charger bearings; they get to very high temperatures [particularly turbo chargers] and the flow of oil stops with the engine turning off, this leaves stationary oil to cook and form deposits on the bearings. With time these deposits cause the blade axis to wobble and eventually leads to the blades hitting the casing, causing catastrophic failure.

European engine oil has had to cope with turbocharged diesel engines for decades, American oil doesn't because diesel use is not widespread. This means that all ACEA oils assume the oil may have to cope with forced induction.

If you are using an uprated charger, the best oil you can get is one with VW 504/507 claims; this is one of the harshest tests for an oil and involves a 650 hour engine test, it also involves a series of four 'black box' engine tests where VW test out the next generation of engines, these inevitably include an iteration of their dual supercharged, turbocharged small capacity engine which is a severe test for charger deposit control.

Edited by fezzasus, 19 May 2011 - 06:45 PM.


#17 slindborg

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Posted 20 May 2011 - 12:16 PM


Just switched from Fuchs Pro S, over to Gulf competition.

I've just done exactly the same. Anybody need about 15 litres of Pro S?



What grade is it? :lol:

#18 ghand

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 02:48 PM

Right not to sure i understand i have a G force 10W 40 Semi synthetic which is acea A3 B3 B4 i also have Halfords 5w 40 Fully Synthetic also A3 B3 B4 but is more expensive.So which is the best oil of the two if they both have the same acea are they basicaly the same and why pay more for the fully synthetic Also will it make any differance in a daily drive rep engined motor (with an odd thrash)

#19 fezzasus

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 03:50 PM

Right not to sure i understand i have a G force 10W 40 Semi synthetic which is acea A3 B3 B4 i also have Halfords 5w 40 Fully Synthetic also A3 B3 B4 but is more expensive.So which is the best oil of the two if they both have the same acea are they basicaly the same and why pay more for the fully synthetic Also will it make any differance in a daily drive rep engined motor (with an odd thrash)


I'm not going to start recommending specific brands for a few reasons; firstly because i have some bias, secondly because brands change suppliers so often that it's almost impossible to say that brand X is better than Y.

You're correct in saying that they're basically the same. They essentially come down to different approaches to doing things; the fully synthetic uses expensive oil and few additives to get to the performance they want, the semi-synthetic uses better additives and lower quality oil. They both perform the same.

Unless one carries more claims than the other, in which case it has been demonstrated to be more robust and is likely a better oil to go for.

#20 ghand

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 05:50 PM


Right not to sure i understand i have a G force 10W 40 Semi synthetic which is acea A3 B3 B4 i also have Halfords 5w 40 Fully Synthetic also A3 B3 B4 but is more expensive.So which is the best oil of the two if they both have the same acea are they basicaly the same and why pay more for the fully synthetic Also will it make any differance in a daily drive rep engined motor (with an odd thrash)


I'm not going to start recommending specific brands for a few reasons; firstly because i have some bias, secondly because brands change suppliers so often that it's almost impossible to say that brand X is better than Y.

You're correct in saying that they're basically the same. They essentially come down to different approaches to doing things; the fully synthetic uses expensive oil and few additives to get to the performance they want, the semi-synthetic uses better additives and lower quality oil. They both perform the same.

Unless one carries more claims than the other, in which case it has been demonstrated to be more robust and is likely a better oil to go for.

Right get it now .Thanks for that.I was not after a recommendation just seemed strange semi and full had the same aeca spec




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