Oil 101


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themainviking
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Oil 101

Postby themainviking » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:09 pm



virgilmobile wrote:
I'll add only personal comment and I may be off base here..but.
I believe that there are 2 TYPES of oil..alkaloid base and paraffin base.
Each one is built to the label specs,eg.10w40 , 30w ,application , etc.
I have used a paraffin base oil in cast iron engines only and alkaloid base in aluminum engines only.
The reason is , a paraffin base oil reacts with hot aluminum and leaves a yellow film on everything.It acts like a insulator.
the alkaloid base oil keeps the inside squeaky clean.



Yep, mostly off base, sorry. Alkaloid refers to oil based (usually paint) but is not a refining process, nor a type of oil; as it actually just means oil. Paraffin is present in all crude and needs to be refined out to get good oil properties. The simplest way to refine oil is to process it with a clay, a material a lot like kitty litter. The clay will soak up much of the aromatics and sulphur and nitrogen compounds. Then, you dilute the oil with solvent like Methyl-Ethyl-Keytone and/or Toluene (that's the stuff in model airplane glue that's so popular with teenagers), and freeze the oil. The good stuff will mostly stay liquid, and the waxes will solidify and can then be filtered out. This clay-solvent refining process has been around since about 1930.

Oils refined with the clay-solvent process contain a fair amount of paraffin and wax. These molecules cause several problems in an engine: they sometimes fall out of solution, leading to buildups in your engine that must be cleaned out somehow. Also, as these molecules get hot they thin out quite a bit, much more than mineral oil, so they make the oil's high temperature performance rather poor. Finally, at low temperatures the waxes and paraffins thicken the oil so much that you really couldn't call it a lubricant. If you're curious about this, buy a cheap quart of straight 30 weight oil and put it in your refrigerator or freezer over night. You'll be amazed at how thick it becomes. More than half the motor oil sold in N.America as late as 2004 was made from base oils refined with the clay- solvent process, but I don't think this is the type of oil you want to put into an engine you love. These oils are roughly 85% good stuff (oil) and 15% bad stuff (paraffin and wax). To put this in perspective, think of taking a gallon of really excellent oil, and melting a 12" dinner candle into it.

In 1959, Chevron developed a new method of refining base oils called Hydrocracking, where you process the raw oil at high temperatures and pressures with hydrogen and various catalysts. In Hydrocracking, many of the paraffin and wax molecules are broken up into mineral oil molecules, which increases the performance of the base oil dramatically. Also, far more of the aromatics and sulphur and nitrogen compounds are removed from the oil.

Since 1990, Chevron's process has been improved. In 1993, Chevron invented the Hydro-Isomerization process, where wax and paraffin molecules are reshaped into useful lubricants instead of simply being broken up into smaller molecules. By increasing the severity of the hydrocracking process, increasing the temperature and pressure and processing time to process more and more of the unwanted wax and paraffin molecules, the oil's low and high temperature performance and resistance to oxidation can be improved to the point where the distinction between mineral oils and synthetics becomes blurred. Chevron now licenses this process, called Iso- DeWaxing. This process of oil refining is becoming more and more popular, and from about 2004 to the present has accounted for almost half of all base oils. Iso- DeWaxing not only produces much higher-performance oil, but also allows you to start with lower quality crude oil, making us less dependent on the few countries that happen to produce the purest crude oils. This process resulted in what was known as Super Slippery Oils, which were meant to compete directly with Synthetics. It does have the problem tho of having non conforming molecular structure in which the molecules are not uniform in size, and so in high temperature heavily pressured use, this causes the molecules to actually break each other down like large and small rollers in the same bearing would do. This was the reason for formulating synthetics.

Synthetics such as Mobil 1 and Amsoil to name two are formulated from Esters, which are synthesized base oils having uniform molecular structure. Then they are added to with the intent of structuring each seperate type of oil product to work best in a specific application. Esters start life as fatty acids in plants and animals, which are then chemically combined into esters, diesters, and polyesters. Your vegetarian girlfriend should love that. Group V base stocks are the most expensive of all to produce. However, the esters are polar molecules and have very significant solvent properties - an ester base oil all by itself will do a very decent job of keeping your engine clean. So, people who are serious about making a superior oil will usually mix some Group V oils into their base stock.

And finally, the second method of formulating Synthetic lubricant base oils is to start with a chemical called an olefin, and make new molecules by attaching them to each other in long chains, hence "poly." The primary advantage of Poly-Alpha-Olefin "PAO" base oil is that all the molecules in the base oil are pretty much identical, so it's easy to get the base oil to behave exactly as you like. PAOs are called Group IV base oils.

Some people should, in my opinion, clearly use a synthetic oil. You should be using a synthetic if:

you routinely start your engine in temperatures under 40°f, 5°c.

you live somewhere where it gets below -35 degrees, and you want to start your car. In this case you must use either Mobil-1 0w-30 or the Canadian 0w-40 Rotella.

you leave your vehicle sit unused for months at a time.

you are unable or unwilling to change your oil as frequently as every 3000 miles.

you have one of those new 4-stroke MX bikes. These MX bikes hold only about one quart of oil, all of them have marginal cooling systems, and if there's a more severe use of an engine than MX, I don't know what it would be.

That has been oil 101. If you are not interested, you know where the page down button is.


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Re: Oil 101

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:25 pm

Informative reading,The many things I didn't know.Thank you for the details. :geek:
I'll stick with the good stuff and keep the gunky stuff off the insides.I want a clean cool engine .

Kinda like Poppa John's.better ingredients better....something :D

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Re: Oil 101

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:31 pm

Very interesting and educational.

I can remember as a kid, long before the emergence of consumer synthetic motor oil, watching my dad build a small fire under the oil pan of his 72 Cutlass, the morning we were to go home after visiting my uncle in Sudbury, Ontario. It was -45C outside.

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Re: Oil 101

Postby maestro319 » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:18 pm

Yeah, my dad used to put a lit light bulb under the oil pan on cold winter nights here in Illinois. The car sat outside all the time, summer -winter, night or day, as we didn't have a garage. He never really had aproblem with his cars. Of course, that was back in the 50's and 60's when,perhaps, oil and gas formulas may have been different than today.

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Re: Oil 101

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:02 pm

maestro319 wrote:Yeah, my dad used to put a lit light bulb under the oil pan on cold winter nights here in Illinois. The car sat outside all the time, summer -winter, night or day, as we didn't have a garage. He never really had aproblem with his cars. Of course, that was back in the 50's and 60's when,perhaps, oil and gas formulas may have been different than today.


It's still a pretty common practice to do this on small single-engine airplanes. Reciprocating engine airplane oil is usually not multi-viscosity, and it's extremely hard on the engine to start it cold with what amounts to thick sludge for lubrication. It also causes very high oil pressure until it starts to warm up.

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Re: Oil 101

Postby themainviking » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:00 am

WingAdmin wrote:It's still a pretty common practice to do this on small single-engine airplanes. Reciprocating engine airplane oil is usually not multi-viscosity, and it's extremely hard on the engine to start it cold with what amounts to thick sludge for lubrication. It also causes very high oil pressure until it starts to warm up.


This was the original reason for synthetic oil. The US Army Air Squadrons had problems keeping rotary engines running on petroleum oils, and so had a defence contractor synthesize a base product to withstand extreme heat. That was in the mid 1950s. It turned out that it also had excellent cold flo properties, and so became the only oil in use for rotary prop and jet engines right up through Vietnam. It was in about 1971 that Imperial Oil decided that there was a market for it in commercial and public automotive use, and so, Mobil 1 came to market. Amsoil, Redline and Royal Purple followed that all within a matter of from one year (1972 - Amsoil) to five years (1976 for Redline and later for Royal Purple) All the others, such as Quaker State, Pennsoil and Castrol put their synthetics on the market in the late 1980s to mid 1990s. Some are formed from Esters and some from olefins. The Ester oils are more expensive, but have better properties. These are the Class V oils, and are at the top of the food chain, lol.

I still have a can of the old "Mil Spec Synthetic for Jet Engine use only" synthetic here in my stuff collection. I use it in a squirt can to oil just about anything that needs oiling. It is very thin, probably a -20 on the viscosity range, as it was designed for use in Sabre Jet engines. It will seep into just about anyplace that water will go and just lubricates like crazy.
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Re: Oil 101

Postby dingdong » Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:54 am

I found this kind of interesting. I'm not an expert on oil by any means but I have heard that most synthetic oil is just highly refined dino oil.(Taken from another web site.)

What is the difference between synthetic and regular motor oil?

Synthetic has changed in recent years. A little history first....
In the past, non synthetic oils were group 1 and group 2 base stocks. These are crude oils and polyphenins. Synthetic was, as it was stated, group 4 and group 5 base stocks which are PAO and POA esters (man made extreme quality esters which mimic esters once used from whale fat).
Then came the big Mobil 1 vs Castrol lawsuit. Mobil 1 contended that Castrol was using false advertising. Castrol had changed there formulation on there Full Synthetic oil. It no longer was made from group 4 synthetic base stocks but was indeed made from group 3 base stock which is a conventional crude base stock, then severely hydro cracked and refined. group 3 is much higher quality than group 2 oils. Well it made it all the way to the Supreme Court were they ruled that oils made with group 3 base stocks are indeed synthetic because of the extreme amount of refinement, it isn't anything naturally occurring anymore. So Castrol was allowed to continue marketing the oil as fully synthetic. After this lawsuit a precedence was set for the definition of synthetic oil, one by one manufacturers started reformulating their synthetic motor oils from group 4's to group 3's , since group 3 is much cheaper to use.
This brings us to today, most so called synthetics are just highly refined dino oil. Don't get me wrong the group 3 is far superior to group 2. It has much better flow characteristics in the cold and better resistance to heat. But you still are only using a conventional crude oil that is ultra refined.
Here is a list of the only Oils that are true full synthetic (groups 4 or 5).
Mobil 1, Amsoil, Royal Purple, Redline, some Schaffers, some Motul. Valvoline Synpower is a blend of goup 3 and 4, Castrol does make a full synthetic, it is 0w-30 only and has to say made in Germany on the bottle otherwise it is group 3. The bargain oil out there is Valvoline Maxlife synthetic blend which is a group 4 group 2 blend and it performs really well at a reasonable price.

Ok, now you know the difference time to decide.
Group 4 and 5 do outperform the others, but by how much ??? Oil has come an incredibly long way. No longer do we utilize crappy group 1 base stocks (at least not much). Now most conventional oils in fact are group 2 group 3 mixes to meet ever tightening lubricant requirements and tests. The pseudo full synthetics which are group 3 and really good oils. Pennzoil Platinum is actually probably the best group 3 oil on the market.
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Re: Oil 101

Postby themainviking » Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:22 pm

dingdong wrote:Ok, now you know the difference time to decide.
Group 4 and 5 do outperform the others, but by how much ??? Oil has come an incredibly long way. No longer do we utilize crappy group 1 base stocks (at least not much). Now most conventional oils in fact are group 2 group 3 mixes to meet ever tightening lubricant requirements and tests. The pseudo ?full? synthetics are group 3 and really good oils. Pennzoil Platinum is actually probably the best group 3 oil on the market.


dingdong, that was Oil 102, second semester of oil university. Very informative stuff, thank you. The synthetics that are made from Group 3 base stocks are the late comers like Quaker State, Pennsoil, Castrol and some of the off brand products, all very good products in their own right.

Now to answer the question you asked with a short explanation. I had mentioned the group 3 base stocks as being the base for "super slippery" oils, which are indeed comparable to 100% synthetic. I believe that the court also made that distinction. Castrol may market group 3 based synthetics as "Synthetic" but not as 100% Synthetic, or that was my understanding of the rulings when they came out. Anyway, the molecular structure of group 3 bases is still made up of different sized molecules, and so they break down sooner than 100% Synthetics from Esters and olefins. Other than that, they are pretty much every bit as slippery and provide excellent lubrication. The strength of 100% synthetic oils is that they are formulated to not break down under normal use, due to the uniform molecular structure, and that they have the capacity to carry much more contamination back to the oil filter for removal from the basic flow of the lubricant as their suspension characteristics are also influenced by their uniform molecular structure. As their molecular structure does not break down, and their additives are also synthetics, which ensures that they do not burn off, 100% synthetics can be run for a longer period of time all the while protecting the metal hardware better by keeping the inside of engines or other mechanical structures cleaner (differentials, transfer cases, transmissions). Auto manufacturers have even factory filled some of their newer products with 100% synthetics as with GM and the Corvette, and have included a recommendation for 10,000 mile oil changes.

I will not "judge" any motor oil, as they all do what they are supposed to do, within their own parameters. I personally use Amsoil, because I was mightily impressed with it back in the early 1970s when they came to market, and I made the jump to being a licensed dealer in 1975. It makes no sense for me not to use a product that I totally and completely believe in, so to this day, Amsoil is MY personal choice. Other products may have caught up to the big four since 1972, but I do not believe any other producer has surpassed them. Better the devil you know than the one you don't. There is a lot of good information in the previous posts, and that is the blessing of forums. We can all learn more about what matters to us from bikes to oil to oil filters to fork adjustment and the use of car tires on Goldwings. Nobody is wrong if nobody is insisting that they are the only one who is right. There are many great minds and much knowledge to be shared here. I would like to thank virgilmobile for getting me back to my references, as I had let a lot of this slip away, and to ding dong for bringing up more salient points to discuss. It almost makes me want to come out of retirement and sell some more oil to folks I like. (NOT - I like retirement too much, :lol: ) :mrgreen:


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