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  #1  
Old 05-05-2003, 05:46 AM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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Good Article on Synthetic Oils

My Father-in-Law has a 1969 Beetle and always gets VWTrends. Knowing how I am about my BMW, he passed along the April2003 Issue so I could read an article about Synthetic Oils. Granted, a bit of it is slanted at Air Cooled Engines, but for the most part I though it was pretty informative. They also provide a nice graphical breakdown of multiple brands at multiple weights.

Any way, I found the article on the VWTrends website and thought I would share.

Here is the link. Please let me know what you think.
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  #2  
Old 05-05-2003, 06:16 AM
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J. Kidd J. Kidd is offline
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Cool Good read. Thank you.



Its nice to see someone credible debunking some of the common myths.

I remember one time picking up some Mobil 1 at WalMart - some guy was picking up some oil too. He just looked at me and said "You really think that synthetic stuff is worth it?". I replied "I do. For my cars, it is.". He just shrugged his shoulders and probably thought I was foolish for spending more than twice as much for motor oil. He wasn't even worth my time to explain the benefits of synthetics. And you know what...he'll probably be fine running regular oil and changing it every 3000 miles. So I guess to each his own - but I'll take the condition of my motor at 200,000 miles as opposed to his at 100,000 after years of maximum performance driving!!!
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  #3  
Old 05-05-2003, 07:32 AM
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I trust you posted the link correctly, but the page appears to have been pulled from the website.

Does anyone who viewed the page before it came down still have it cached and would be able to cut and paste the text here?

I am interested in reading it. Thanks.
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  #4  
Old 05-05-2003, 07:35 AM
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J. Kidd J. Kidd is offline
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Tabs might be screwed up....

Black Gold, Texas Tea
Synthetic Oils and What You Need to Know

By Ryan Price

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil01_s.jpg>
It is easy to say that oil is the life's blood of any aircooled Volkswagen, as it is the only liquid that keeps your engine from becoming a melted-together block of magnesium. There are basically two types of oil on the market today, and for the benefit of this article, we'll call them conventional and synthetic oils. Conventional oils, or yesterday's dinosaurs (if you believe that), are pumped from the ground from millions-of-years-old deposits deep in the Earth. In general, the composition of a conventional motor oil is about 80 percent base stock (crude oil) and 20 percent additives. Crude oils have, as their principle components, three basic types of hydrocarbon molecules: paraffinic (such as paraffin oil), naphthenic (for solvents) and aromatic. Refining plants separate the light and heavy compounds while removing useless materials. It is then transformed into oil, fuel, plastics and a thousand other products on the market today. After further refining to remove waxes, nitrogen, sulfur and metal compounds, a wide variety of chemical additives are introduced and the whole batch is sold to the public as motor oil.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil02_s.jpg>
On the other hand, synthetic oils are derived from a process that combines a variety of chemicals impossible to find together in nature. They are fuel-efficient, extended-life lubricants manufactured in a laboratory from select synthetic base stocks and special-purpose additives to create a custom-designed ideal lubricant. The end result is a molecular uniformity that has three basic key features: 1) Because they are produced from pure chemicals in a controlled environment, there can be no contaminants. Their fundamental purity protects them from defects and degradation brought on by contaminants; 2) Their smoother molecular structure and uniformity effectively reduce friction and provides a better level of protection over a wider operating temperature; and 3) Scientists can have customized lubricants to fulfill almost every lubricating need, even in the most demanding of conditions.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil03_s.jpg>
All oil must, at a minimum, protect all moving parts, reduce friction, prevent scuffing and scoring, prevent fuel from washing back down the cylinder walls, break down foaming and aeration, cool and clean the engine and disperse contaminants. Some oils do that better than others.

On the back of every can of oil there is a seal that gives you three pieces of information vital to the oil inside: the API service rating, the viscosity grade and the "energy conserving indicator." The API (American Petroleum Institute) service rating is a two-to-four-letter rating that tells you the type of engine the oil is meant for and the quality level. If the API rating (SL-CF) starts with an "S" it means the oil is rated for a gasoline engine. SA, SB, SC, SD ratings are obsolete. The only current ratings are SG, SH and SJ with SG being the lowest rating and SL being the highest. The API rating may have a dash, then a CA, CB, CC, CD or a CF rating which gives the oil a diesel engine rating. Again, CA is the lowest rating, CF is the highest. The viscosity grade (for example, 5W-30) tells you the oil's thickness, and the standard unit to measure viscosity is centistokes (cSt). An oil with too low a viscosity can lose strength at high temperatures, while an oil with too high a viscosity may not pump to the proper parts at low temperatures and the "tension" may tear at high rpms.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil05_s.jpg>
This is the reason for a multi-viscosity, an oil that flows freely at low temperatures but delivers protection at high temperatures. They work like this: Viscosity Index Improvers called polymers are added to a light base oil (like a 5W, 10W or 20W), which prevents the oil from thinning as it warms up. At cold temperature, these polymers are coiled up, allowing the oil to freely flow, and as the oil warms up, the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would without the polymers. The result is that at 100 degrees Celsius, the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. For example, a 20W-50 is a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight oil would when hot. Against popular belief, the "W" doesn't stand for weight, but for Winter.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil06_s.jpg>
As a general rule, always use a multi-grade oil that has the narrowest span of viscosity appropriate for your temperature zone (see chart). In the winter, base your decision on the lowest temperature you will encounter, and in the summer, the highest temperature you expect. Remember that oil with the fewest additives are the best, which is why synthetic oils perform better at a wider range of temperatures. 10W-40 and 5W-30 conventional oils require a lot of polymers to function properly at such a wide range of temperatures, leaving these two oils prone to thermal breakdown. You'll see very few experts recommending these two viscosities anymore, and even though 20W-50 has the same viscosity spread (30), it starts with a thicker base (20W) and requires less viscosity index improvers (polymers) to do the job. The synthetic oils on the market today offer superior high temperature oxidation resistance, high film strength, very low tendency to form deposits, stable viscosity base and low temperature flow characteristics. All of the conventional oils are good enough for most engines, but synthetics are superior lubricants to traditional petroleum oils. Synthetics can be run for two or three times the mileage of petroleum-based conventional oils, and they do not react to combustion and combustion by-products to the same level as conventional oils do.

There are many benefits of synthetic oils that most people do not understand, and because of their higher price, are unlikely to buy. Below are a few examples of such benefits:

Friction Reduction: This is all oils' main purposes to exist. It means a reduction in engine wear, which helps them last longer and require fewer repairs.

It also helps improve fuel economy.

Operate Cooler: Because they reduce friction, and friction equals heat, cars run cooler with synthetic oil. Cooler engines resist stress and wear, therefore lasting longer and performing better.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil07_s.jpg>
Thermal and Oxidative Stability: Because of their chemical composition, synthetics are inherently more stable. They offer a greater resistance to the formation of sludge, varnish, deposits and other by-products of lubricant degradation. This means engines stay cleaner, which helps them last longer and perform better.

Low Pour Point: Instead of hooking your car up to an engine heater for the night, synthetic oils offer a lower pour point, meaning that the low is less viscous, not as thick, and cold starting is much easier. For example, there are oils on the market that flow easily even at 50 below zero. This provides better protection against wear during startups because the oil can reach critical moving parts much quicker.

Wider Temperature Band: Synthetics have been produced to apply to a broad temperature range. There is better engine protection for both high and low temperatures.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil08_s.jpg>
Extended Life: Because most synthetic oils last longer than conventional oils, more frequent oil changes aren't as urgent as they use to be. However, any aircooled engine that has seen its share of miles should be checked frequently no matter what kind of oil you use.

Like most things involving internal combustion theory, there are people who disagree with the positive points of synthetic oil, and there are a several misconceptions still floating around the aircooled community. The following are several letters from VWT readers who have the wrong idea about synthetic oil:

Jim Nichols, of Riverside, Calif., writes: "...and the seals are shot, but I blame my oil for that. It's synthetic and I heard they wear away seals." Jim, this can't possibly be the problem. What oil manufacturer would create an product that isn't compatible with seals? However, the composition of seals are a problem that conventional oils as well as synthetic oils must overcome, as they are made from elastomers (basically a polyvinyl) and is difficult to standardize.

Elisha Miller, of West Ossipee, N.H., in a letter about high temperature problems with his '76 Transporter, states: "All of the synthetic oils seem too thin to stay in my engine, as I can't get the engine's temperature normal and it leaks more now than ever." Elisha, in order for any oil to be classified in any SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) grade (10W-30, 10W-40, etc.) it has to be within certain guidelines in regards to viscosity. It makes no difference whether it's 10W-40 conventional or 10W-40 synthetic, at minus-25 degrees and 100-degrees Celsius, the oil has to maintain a certain viscosity or it can't be rated a 10W-40. You should get that leak fixed regardless of what kind of oil you use, but at lower temps, synthetic oil is thinner and prone to leak.

Jose Rodriguez, of Las Cruces, N.M., writes, "...and I've been tempted to switch back to petroleum oil because it burns through a quart of synthetic in about two weeks." One of the active ingredients of synthetic oil are molecules that lower the coefficient of friction. Basically, it is what makes oil slippery. If your engine leaked (and what VW doesn't?), it is possible that it would leak a little more because of this chemical. However, if you engine is sound, oil consumption will actually be reduced because of a synthetic's lower volatility and because of the better sealing characteristics between pistons rings and cylinder walls. As well, synthetics have antioxidants, small suicidal martyrs that are consumed by oxygen at high temperatures instead of the oil.

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil10_s.jpg>
Jim Richards, of Hollendale Beach, Fla., who normally uses synthetic oils in both his Manx-style buggy as well as his '73 Super Beetle, asks: "My engine was down a quart, and all I had was some regular oil. I'm worried that I may have damaged my engine by mixing synthetic oil with regular oil. Is there a rebuild in my future?" No Jim, your engine's fine. Maybe years ago you would have been in trouble, when synthetics were new and companies used untested ingredients that were not compatible with other oils, but those days are long behind us. According to the experts at Mobil, synthesized hydrocarbons, polyalphaolefins, diesters and other materials that form the base stock of name-brand synthetics are fully compatible with conventional oils. However, a note of caution: Whether using conventional or synthetic oils, you should use the same brand and rating oil to top off your fluids that are currently in your car. The functions and additives blended for specific characteristics can be offset when oils with different additive mixtures are put together. Though it may not be especially damaging to your engine or its parts, it certainly doesn't help things.

Francis "Frosty" Jones, of Punxsutawney, Penn., shares about a routine oil change. "When I dropped the mesh filter, it was clogged with sludge like molasses. I had four quarts of synthetic next to me, but I heard that it would be worse." In fact, "Frosty,"synthetics are more sludge resistant than conventional oils, resisting the effects of combining high temperatures and oxygen. When engine temperature reaches it maximum, two things happen: First, the lighter ingredients which give an oil its fluidity (viscosity) boil off, making the oil thicker. Second, many of the complex chemicals found naturally in petroleum-based oil, plus manufacturer-produced additives, begin to react with each other, forming sludge, varnishes and gums. The result is a loss of viscosity at lower temperatures, which is essential to get the oil to vital parts when first starting the engine. Other negative effects of thickening oil include the restriction of oil flow into critical areas, greater wear on moving parts and loss of fuel economy. Because of their higher flash points and their ability to withstand evaporation and oxidation, synthetics are much more resistant to sludge development. (Another cause of sludge is the introduction of dirt into the fuel system, but this is more of a problem with the air filter than the oil).

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil11_s.jpg>
Oil Additives--Do or Do Not?

Synthetic oil companies have gone to great lengths to develop an oil package that meets most vehicle requirements for a wide variety of temperatures and climates, and a lot of these oils have chemicals in them that are synergistic, meaning that they work better together than separate. If you add anything to these oils, you may upset the balance and prevent the oil from performing its job. To fight a wide variety of engine problems, turn to fixing the engine rather than fixing the oil.

What Oil is Best for You, a Comparison

<http://www.vwtrendsweb.com/tech/0304vwt_oil12_s.jpg>
The commercial shows oil being boiled in a saucepan over incredible heat and it still flows smoother than the "leading brand." Another one drains the oil out of an engine to show how protecting it is even when it isn't there. It's hype, like most mass-media advertising. They get your attention and then they sell you the product. You don't get to hear about viscosity indexes, flash and pour points, sulfated ash or zinc content, the six most important properties all motor oils available to the public. These properties are collectively referred to as "typical inspection data." The chart below compares, by weight, a variety of oils on the market today

·Viscosity Index: This is an empirical number indicating the rate of change in viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) assigns certain numbers to certain ratings based on a variety of testing procedures. Higher numbers indicate a low change, while lower numbers indicate a large change. The higher the number the better, as you bearings will be happy, but this is not an indication of how well the oil resists thermal breakdown.

·Flash Point: In degrees Fahrenheit, the flash point is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited by a flame. The lower the flash point, the greater tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. Flash point indicates quality of oil, and the higher the better.

·Pour point: Also measured in degrees Fahrenheit, the pour point is five degrees F above the point at which a chilled oil shows no movement at the surface for five seconds when inclined. This is especially important for oils used in winter climates, and the lower the better. In addition to a pour point, a borderline pumping temperature is given by some manufactures, which is a temperature at which the oil will still pump and maintain adequate pressure. This is roughly 20 degrees above the pour point.

·Sulfated Ash Content: The percent of sulfated ash is how much solid material is left over after the oil burns. A high ash content will form more deposits and sludge in the engine, while a low ash content promotes longer valve life.

·Zinc Content: Zinc is used in oils as an anti-wear additive, and will only be present in oils that are used when there is actual metal-to-metal contact in the engine. The zinc compounds react with the metal to prevent scuffing and wear. Under normal use, a level of 0.11 percent is sufficient enough to protect an engine for the entire oil-drain interval. Higher zinc content doesn't give you more or better protection, it gives you longer protection, but the downside is that a high zinc percentage can lead to deposit formations and plug fouling.

Side-By-Side Comarison
Brand V.I. Flash Pour %ash %zinc
20W-50
AMSOIL 136 482 -38 0.5 n/a
Castrol GTX 122 440 -15 0.85 0.12
Exxon High Performance 119 419 -13 0.70 0.11
Havoline Formula 3 125 465 -30 1.0 n/a
Kendall GT-1 129 390 -25 1.0 0.16
Pennzoil GT Perf. 120 460 -10 0.9 n/a
Quaker State Dlx. 155 430 -25 0.9 n/a
Red Line 150 503 -49 n/a n/a
Shell Truck Guard 130 450 -15 1.0 0.15
Spectro Golden 4 174 440 -35 n/a 0.15
Spectro Golden M.G. 174 440 -35 n/a 0.13
Unocal 121 432 -11 0.74 0.12
Valvoline All Climate 125 430 -10 1.0 0.11
Valvoline Turbo 140 440 -10 0.99 0.13
Valvoline Race 140 425 -10 1.2 0.20
Valvoline Synthetic 146 465 -40 1.5 0.12
20W-40
Castrol Multi-Grade 110 440 -15 0.85 0.12
Quaker State 121 415 -15 0.9 n/a
15W-50
Chevron 204 415 -18 0.96 0.11
Mobil 1 170 470 -55 n/a n/a
Mystic JT8 144 420 -20 1.7 0.15
Red Line 152 503 -49 n/a n/a
5W-40
Havoline 170 450 -40 1.4 n/a
15W-40
AMSOIL 135 460 -38 <0.5 n/a
Castrol 134 415 -15 1.3 0.14
Chevron Delo 400 136 421 -27 1.0 n/a
Exxon XD3 n/a 417 -11 0.9 0.14
Exxon XD3 Extra 135 399 -11 0.95 0.13
Kendall GT-1 135 410 -25 1.0 0.16
Mystic JT8 142 440 -20 1.7 0.15
Red Line 149 495 -40 n/a n/a
Shell Rotella w/XLA 146 410 -25 1.0 0.13
Valvoline All Fleet 140 n/a -10 1.0 0.15
Valvoline Turbo 140 420 -10 0.99 0.13
Brand V.I. Flash Pour %ash %zinc
10W-30
AMSOIL 142 480 -70 0.5 n/a
Castrol GTX 140 415 -33 0.85 0.12
Chevron Supreme 150 401 -26 0.96 0.11
Exxon Superflo Hi Perf 135 392 -22 0.70 0.11
Exxon Superflo Supreme 133 400 -31 0.85 0.13
Havoline Formula 3 139 430 -30 1.0 n/a
Kendall GT-1 139 390 -25 1.0 0.16
Mobil 1 160 450 -65 n/a n/a
Pennzoil PLZ Turbo 140 410 -27 1.0 n/a
Quaker State 156 410 -30 0.9 n/a
Red Line 139 475 -40 n/a n/a
Shell Fire and Ice 155 410 -35 0.9 0.12
Shell Super 2000 155 410 -35 1.0 0.13
Shell Truck Guard 155 405 -35 1.0 0.15
Spectro Golden M.G. 175 405 -40 n/a n/a
Unocal Super 153 428 -33 0.92 0.12
Valvoline All Climate 130 410 -26 1.0 0.11
Valvoline Turbo 135 410 -26 0.99 0.13
Valvoline Race 130 410 -26 1.2 0.20
Valvoline Synthetic 140 450 -40 1.5 0.12
5W-30
AMSOIL 168 480 -76 0.5 n/a
Castrol GTX 156 400 -35 0.80 0.12
Chevron Supreme 202 354 -46 0.96 0.11
Chevron Supreme Synt. 165 446 -72 1.1 0.12
Exxon Superflow HP 148 392 -22 0.70 0.11
Havoline Formula 3 158 420 -40 1.0 n/a
Mobil 1 165 445 -65 n/a n/a
Mystic JT8 161 390 -25 0.95 0.1
Quaker State 165 405 -35 0.9 n/a
Red Line 151 455 -49 n/a n/a
Shell Fire and Ice 167 405 -35 0.9 0.12
Unocal 151 414 -33 0.81 0.12
Valvoline All Climate 135 405 -40 1.0 0.11
Valvoline Turbo 158 405 -40 0.99 0.13
Valvoline Synthetic 160 435 -40 <1.5 0.12
5W-50
Castrol Syntec 180 437 -45 1.2 0.10
Quaker State Synquest 173 457 -76 n/a n/a
Pennzoil Performax 176 n/a -69 n/a n/a

A Quick Reference Guide to Oil Choices
Engine Oil Outside Temperature (*F)
SAE Viscosity -20 0 20 40 60 80 100
20W-20 no no yes yes yes yes yes
20W-40 no no yes yes yes yes yes
20W-50 no no yes yes yes yes yes
10W-30 no yes yes yes yes yes yes
10W-40 no yes yes yes yes yes yes
10W no yes yes yes yes no no
5W-30 yes yes yes yes yes no no
5W-20 yes yes no no no no no

A Quick Reference Guide to Oil Choices
Engine Oil Outside Temperature (*F)
SAE Viscosity -20 0 20 40 60 80 100
20W-20 no no yes yes yes yes yes
20W-40 no no yes yes yes yes yes
20W-50 no no yes yes yes yes yes
10W-30 no yes yes yes yes yes yes
10W-40 no yes yes yes yes yes yes
10W no yes yes yes yes no no
5W-30 yes yes yes yes yes no no
5W-20 yes yes no no no no no
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2003, 08:03 AM
vm vm is offline
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One point that wasn't mentioned is that there are some synthetics now that are not truly synthetics and Castrol is among them. Check this link: http://www.pecuniary.com/newsletters...csdefined.html to read about that. There was also a column by Pat Bedard of Car and Driver on that topic.
Having said that, I heard that even BMW Synthetic is Castrol, so it might be that this "hydroisomerized" base stocks are equivalent in properties to true synthetics but my main problem with this is that the "non synthetic synthetics" are less costly to make and they do not pass this savings to me. So for me I use either Mobil 1 or a German synthetic in my car.
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:12 AM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by vm
One point that wasn't mentioned is that there are some synthetics now that are not truly synthetics and Castrol is among them. Check this link: http://www.pecuniary.com/newsletters...csdefined.html to read about that. There was also a column by Pat Bedard of Car and Driver on that topic.
Having said that, I heard that even BMW Synthetic is Castrol, so it might be that this "hydroisomerized" base stocks are equivalent in properties to true synthetics but my main problem with this is that the "non synthetic synthetics" are less costly to make and they do not pass this savings to me. So for me I use either Mobil 1 or a German synthetic in my car.
My understanding has always been that the BMW Factory Fill oil is Castrol, but it is not Castrol Syntec. It is specifically manufactured for BMW Engines and it is a true Synthetic. Though I have no idea if it is a Type III or a PAO.

Based on a post at BOBISTHEOILGUY analysis indicates that the BMW Oil (5W-30) performed well at 15,000 Miles. Here is that Link.

Obviously, one analysis means little, but what I find most interesting is that Blackstone thought the oil was 15W-50. If the 10W-30 tests the same way, I wonder if this could cause a problem in colder climates?
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Old 05-05-2003, 02:05 PM
2b9m3w 2b9m3w is offline
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Very informative. Thanks for the post.
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  #8  
Old 05-05-2003, 03:22 PM
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Here is the quick reference oil guide posted in the article.

This seems to show that for summer temps, we need an oil that has a xxW-40 rating for most places in the US.
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Old 05-05-2003, 09:40 PM
robj213 robj213 is offline
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Just a question, if you take your car to the dealer for an oil change can you requet the grade of oil you want? Like 5W30, or 10W30... etc. ?
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Old 05-06-2003, 05:09 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Re: Good Article on Synthetic Oils

Quote:
Originally posted by GSR13
My Father-in-Law has a 1969 Beetle and always gets VWTrends. Knowing how I am about my BMW, he passed along the April2003 Issue so I could read an article about Synthetic Oils. Granted, a bit of it is slanted at Air Cooled Engines, but for the most part I though it was pretty informative. They also provide a nice graphical breakdown of multiple brands at multiple weights.

Any way, I found the article on the VWTrends website and thought I would share.

Here is the link. Please let me know what you think.
Some wrong stuff in the article. Maybe because of over simplification, maybe due to misunderstanding.

Synthetics oils are NOT something not found in nature. It is just that in that mix of conventional base stock there are some good lubricating molecules and some not so good lubricating molecules. In a synthetic oil they make (synthesize) only the "good" lubricating molecules. There are two ways to do this, either take a bunch of small molecules and hook them together, or selectively take larger molcecules and break them down to the right size and configuration.

Synthetics do not typically use viscosity improvers. A synthetic oil is naturally multi viscosity. This is also why they have such low pour points. Now some of the very wide range synthetics do use a small amount of viscosity improvers, but nothing like even the smallest range conventional oil.

From the article:

"The end result is a molecular uniformity that has three basic key features: 1) Because they are produced from pure chemicals in a controlled environment, there can be no contaminants. Their fundamental purity protects them from defects and degradation brought on by contaminants; 2) Their smoother molecular structure and uniformity effectively reduce friction and provides a better level of protection over a wider operating temperature; and 3) Scientists can have customized lubricants to fulfill almost every lubricating need, even in the most demanding of conditions"

1) They are not produced from pure chemcials, they are produced from a different fraction of the same crude oil you get conventional oils (as well as gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, etc) out of. You just hook them together to make the molecules you want. There can still be (and are) contaminents. And contaminents do not necessarily cause oil degradation. Most oil degradation comes from the vicosity imporvers being sheared into other molecules and no longer working. A typical multi-grade conventional oil will, if run long enough, turn into an oil of the lower or Winter weight. So a 10W-30 after a period of time, becomes a 10 weight oil. Not good.

2) I can almost accept this as an over simplification. With a synthetic you build the lubricating moleclues you want. And unless you are an idiot, you build the best lubricating molecules you can. So the smoother comment is close. The uniformity by itself doesn't do anything, but if there is a single best lubricating molecules, the more uniformt he synthetic base stock you produce, the more of the best molecules you have, which work better.

3) Absolutely.

The API service rating is more based on the additive package, not the base oil. You can take a pretty crummy base conventional oil and get it to SL standards.
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Old 05-06-2003, 05:16 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by vm
One point that wasn't mentioned is that there are some synthetics now that are not truly synthetics and Castrol is among them. Check this link: http://www.pecuniary.com/newsletters...csdefined.html to read about that. There was also a column by Pat Bedard of Car and Driver on that topic.
Having said that, I heard that even BMW Synthetic is Castrol, so it might be that this "hydroisomerized" base stocks are equivalent in properties to true synthetics but my main problem with this is that the "non synthetic synthetics" are less costly to make and they do not pass this savings to me. So for me I use either Mobil 1 or a German synthetic in my car.
A synthetic oil means that it is synthesized from other molecules. You can do this by hooking together small moecules (Mobil 1) or using hydro isomerization to chop bigger molecules into the proper size and configuration. Both create pretty much the same molecules in the end.

And according to a friend in the petroleum businees you can actually produce some better synthetics from hydro isomerizaqtion than the other method.

If you check out the Chevron web page you can find some links to very technical articles showing this to be the case.

Realise that Mobil 1 10W-30, 5W-30, and 0W-30 do NOT meet BMW requirements. BMW requires oils to meet ACEA A3/B3 specs. These are Euro specs similar (but harder to meet) to API service grades.

NO off the shelf -30 weight oil meets these specs, EXCEPT BMW 5W-30 oil.

If you want to run a higher weight oil ( -40 or higher) most top brands do meet ACEA A3/B3 specs.

And with a synthetic, you don't need the extra viscosity. The lubricating properties are fine. Many racers run even lower viscosities to reduce lubrication drag.
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Old 05-06-2003, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GSR13
Obviously, one analysis means little, but what I find most interesting is that Blackstone thought the oil was 15W-50. If the 10W-30 tests the same way, I wonder if this could cause a problem in colder climates?
Blackstone reads what you write on teh sheet that goes with the sample. And they make mistakes. And your handwriting may not be as legible to them as one would like.

Blackstone reports a single viscosity, and since synthetics are naturally multi viscosity, they will tend to test high, and not be a problem in cold weather.

Also notice that the test results are at the low end of the range given. If you saw the range given for a 5W-30 oil, you would probably see that it is within the acceptable range for it also.
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Old 05-06-2003, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WAM
Here is the quick reference oil guide posted in the article.

This seems to show that for summer temps, we need an oil that has a xxW-40 rating for most places in the US.
Strange chart, it shows that a 5W-30 has a lower top temp range than a 10W-30. And since both have the same viscosity at the range of normal oils temps, they should both work for the same high temp range, but the 5W-30 should be fine down to a lower temp range.

It also shows a 10W oil to be the same high temp range as a 5W-30, which is definately wrong. Even for a conventional oil.
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Old 05-06-2003, 05:48 PM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pinecone
Blackstone reads what you write on teh sheet that goes with the sample. And they make mistakes. And your handwriting may not be as legible to them as one would like.

Blackstone reports a single viscosity, and since synthetics are naturally multi viscosity, they will tend to test high, and not be a problem in cold weather.

Also notice that the test results are at the low end of the range given. If you saw the range given for a 5W-30 oil, you would probably see that it is within the acceptable range for it also.
The guy who sent the sample in did not specify the viscosity of the oil, because he did not know what it was. Blackstone, based on the analysis, thought the oil was 15-50. They were surprised to find out later the oil was 5-30.

I just found it interesting, that is all.

Last edited by GSR13; 05-06-2003 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 05-06-2003, 06:08 PM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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And just clarify, I know the Manual states that the BMW Oil is 5W-30 but I thought that it was 10W-30.

Am I mistaken? Is it 5-30 or 10-30?

Oh, and Pinecone, thanks for the information. I can honestly say I know little about Oil, but I would love to read more.

The biggest problem is, I want factual information that is not tainted by personal preference.

**Another question I have is where do you find the ACEA specs that the oil must meet? I cannot locate that in the manual.

Last edited by GSR13; 05-06-2003 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 05-06-2003, 07:49 PM
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Pinecone, thanks for some useful information, it was very easy to understand some facts after your explanation.

I also found that chart confusing, I don't think it's right.

There are not many oils on the market that will meet ACEA A3/B3 spec as recommended by BMW, the only one I could find is Mobil1 0W-40, not a correct weight for our E46s.
Some smaller companies don't go through the testing to meet this specification because it's too expensive but they claim that their oils would meet it, I wonder what is your take on that?

I don't really care if BMW's oil is Group III or IV basestock, I know it's not a Syntec, it's cheap at $3.80 and I intend to use it in my car but will continue to change it every 5K miles.
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Old 05-06-2003, 08:03 PM
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So Oil was a big topic a few months ago on Bimmerforums http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ghlight=amsoil

Seems many of them have decided Amsoil 0W-30 is the optimum oil for our cars. Based upon what has been presented here I wouldn't agree.
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Old 05-06-2003, 09:28 PM
GSR13 GSR13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by in_d_haus
So Oil was a big topic a few months ago on Bimmerforums http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ghlight=amsoil

Seems many of them have decided Amsoil 0W-30 is the optimum oil for our cars. Based upon what has been presented here I wouldn't agree.
I would tend to agree with your posts in that thread. Though, honestly, I believe it is really a marketing strategy/business agreement between BMW and Castrol.

I also think the complaints about BMW Oil was people thought it was Syntec. This, apparently, is not true and has been discussed many times over.

I am honestly to the point that I believe it does not matter. Provided you keep the oil and filter changed, I believe the BMW Oil will do fine.

I plan on changing the oil after any track event or AutoX anyway, so it really should not matter.

I do plan on sending some off from my car and my wife's Z3, just for comparison.
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Old 05-06-2003, 09:38 PM
in_d_haus in_d_haus is offline
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I change my oil every 3 to 5000 with BMW oil...works for me.
Many in our local club use Mobil1.
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Old 05-07-2003, 09:05 AM
joema joema is offline
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My 2003 330i manual says "approved oils are in SAE classes 5W-40 and 5W-30. These kinds of oil may be used for driving in all ambient temperatures."

The manual suggests BMW synthetic, but the engine oil cap says "BMW recommends Castrol", and my dealer suggests Castrol Syntec.

My question: standard viscosity charts (one is above in this thread) indicate 5W-30 should only be used below 80F.

If the oil company charts say don't use 5W-30 above 80F, this conflicts with BMW's statement that it's OK for all ambient temperatures.

So is it OK or not to use 5W-30 synthetic oil above 80F? What about people who live in Yuma, AZ where it gets way over 100F?
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Old 05-07-2003, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by joema
My 2003 330i manual says "approved oils are in SAE classes 5W-40 and 5W-30. These kinds of oil may be used for driving in all ambient temperatures."

The manual suggests BMW synthetic, but the engine oil cap says "BMW recommends Castrol", and my dealer suggests Castrol Syntec.

My question: standard viscosity charts (one is above in this thread) indicate 5W-30 should only be used below 80F.

If the oil company charts say don't use 5W-30 above 80F, this conflicts with BMW's statement that it's OK for all ambient temperatures.

So is it OK or not to use 5W-30 synthetic oil above 80F? What about people who live in Yuma, AZ where it gets way over 100F?
Agreed - call me simple but I'm no chemical engineer and I'm struggling with the takeaway from all this.

What synthetic oil and weight/rating should I be using?
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Old 05-07-2003, 02:17 PM
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1) BMW synthetic oil used to be 10W-30 and reported to be a Valvoline product.

They switched to a 5W-30 product supposedly made by Castrol. No matter what BMW synthetic mets all the specs for any BMW car.

2) Every major manufacturer -40 and -50 synthetic oil I checked met ACEA A3/B3 specs. Mobil 1, Castrol Syntec, Valvoline. BTW Reline does not test to ACEA specs, but have been reported to say that their oil probably meets ACEA A3/B3 specs.

I would say that a 0W-40 would be fine in these engines (except S54s, for them ONLY Castrol TWS or RS 10W-60). Better cold weather performance and good hot weather lubrication.
Amsoil would be fine. The critical number is not to go lower on the hot temp viscosity (the higher number) as that determines how the oil performs once it is warmed up. With a conventional oil you do have to be careful of wide grade oils in that they have LOTS of viscosity imporvers, that do wear out, and then you have a very thin oil.

3) As to where the ACEA specs for BMW comes from, I don't remember off hand. But it is written somewhere. I just have to find where.

4) As to BMW and Castrol, of course it is marketing. No need to run Castrol, but as long as you are under warranty, make sure the oil you pick meets all BMW requirements.

The short answer of what oil to use, BMW 5W-30 synthetic. Hard to go wrong with it, and it tends to be the least expensive synthetic oil available.

Tis is not to say that Mobil 1, Redline, Castrol, Valvoline are not good, but the short answer is BMW oil.
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