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synthetic vs coventional

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racer490 Jerry Bryant
Palm Harbor, USA   USA
An article about the subject done by AAA. Just refreshed an engine my try Synthetic to see if it leaks more as is the claim.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/ownership/synthetic-or-conventional-oil-the-verdict-is-finally-in/ar-BBEs0Bw?li=BBnbfcL

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TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
Some major problems with their test methodology, IMO. Main problem is that they assume that "synthetic" vs "conventional" actually means something; but if you read the actual report, one of the first things it points out is that any oil that has been "hydrocracked" can legally be advertised as "synthetic". What they don't really mention is that almost all major refineries in the US today use hydrocracking to maximize production (otherwise they have to throw oil away). Therefore almost all motor oil _could_ be advertised as "synthetic" (since it was produced by hydrocracking). So today "synthetic" is purely a marketing term, legally equivalent to "improved" or "fresh frozen" (ie meaningless in a legal sense).

"Synthetic" also refers only to the base oil; it tells you nothing about the additive package. But a great deal of the performance, including how badly it leaks, is controlled mostly by the additive package. So it's a little like they compared 5 white dogs to 5 black dogs and determined that white dogs can run faster, without checking to see how many white dogs were (albino) greyhounds and how many black dogs were Chihuahuas.

Anyway, in my own personal tests, Valvoline synthetic leaks no more than, and in some cases even less than conventional; while Mobil 1 poured out (in the same engine).



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

racer490 Jerry Bryant
Palm Harbor, USA   USA
Thanks I'll stay away from the Mobil 1. Funny you would think a good gasket seal would contain all fluids. It seems like 50% of the shelf space is synthetics now.

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kirks-auto Platinum Member Robert Kirk
Davenport, Iowa, USA   USA
Randall touches the surface of what can be called synthetic. You can "cook" a percentage of dino oil to change the polymers and thus call it syn or syn blend. There was actually a law suit brought against Mobile IIRC, by Valvoline about the issue of synthetic. Which ever brought the suit got bragging rights of winning. Also true about the additive package. Think of the abuse a farm field John Deere takes only a few times a year. Working in nothing but dust clouds, 24/7 for days and parked 5 months of the year. I've learned alot about motor oil from head honcho at Cen-Pe-Co situated near my back door smack in the middle of the biggest soy and corn growing states in the Union.



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Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
Thank you Randall, an intelligent post on synthetic v Dino.

The lawsuit I belive was between Mobil and Castrol Syntec.

Regardless, for the average LBC owner the possible advantages of 'synthetic' motor oil, considering the ambient temps we use our cars, and our likely OCI's (oil change intervals), the possible differences in terms of wear and enging life are miniscule in the extreme.

But hey, get with the times. Dino v Synthetic is so pre 2k man, Today's paranoia is ZDDP! Get with it! ;-)

the elder rocker Avatar
the elder rocker Mike Burgess
Albert, Kansas, USA   USA
It's been my understanding the synthetic has better "cling", meaning that on initial start up after sitting things like cam lobes that aren't immersed in oil have better protection after sitting for a while. This thinking is what led me to use synthetic in my mowers. They sit over the winter of course.
Been doing this on a Craftsman rider with a Koehler engine since new and it has lasted for 12 years now with no hiccups. Change the oil every 3rd season of use. Is the "cling" a thing? It's working for me. I would think that the same thinking would apply to a classic car that doesn't see regular use.

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 1479239 by the elder rocker It's been my understanding the synthetic has better "cling", meaning that on initial start up after sitting things like cam lobes that aren't immersed in oil have better protection after sitting for a while. This thinking is what led me to use synthetic in my mowers. They sit over the winter of course.
Been doing this on a Craftsman rider with a Koehler engine since new and it has lasted for 12 years now with no hiccups. Change the oil every 3rd season of use. Is the "cling" a thing? It's working for me. I would think that the same thinking would apply to a classic car that doesn't see regular use.

It is never that easy.
A quote from a Tribologist :

"One is the "Macroscopic" view where we visibly see oil cling to engine parts. This clinging is done naturally by synthetics or by other oils using "clinging" additives (tackifiers such as polyisobutylenes, and by surfactants such as you see in Schaefer's #132). This is done mainly to carry additives to the metal parts and "wet" them so the oil is not slung-off by inertial forces.

On the "Microscopic" level, esters have polar affinities in that they enter the metal with their molecules to form a thin surface layer of molecules. Then there are FM's and AW additives that
actually "coat" the metal with a series of layers of harder or softer metals in order to reduce
friction and wear.

Just because the oil coats the metal with a non-running additve does not necessarily mean that the oil is protecting the surface layers of the engine from wear; that's is a false perception."

Put another way.Motor oil can work by creating hydrodynamic film that seperated the engine components. Kind of like 'surfing' However modern lubricants also have extream pressure additives that allow Boundry lubrication, a layer on the metal surface that provides protection if or when the oil film is no longer there.
These EP compounds may include types of Boron, Molybdenum, Phosphorous and the much touted Zinc.

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the elder rocker Avatar
the elder rocker Mike Burgess
Albert, Kansas, USA   USA
Soooo----is that a "yes"?confused smiley

Tonyfixit Avatar
Tonyfixit Tony M
Duncan, British Columbia, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 1479250 by the elder rocker Soooo----is that a "yes"?confused smiley

It is a 'possible maybe' and a 'depends'

Motor oil is a complex subject, simple answers only exist in product advertising, sales ckerks at Autozone and mechanics that think they know.

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TR3driver Randall Y
Confusion, Los Angeles, USA   USA
In reply to # 1479246 by Tonyfixit However modern lubricants also have extream pressure additives that allow Boundry lubrication, a layer on the metal surface that provides protection if or when the oil film is no longer there.
These EP compounds may include types of Boron, Molybdenum, Phosphorous and the much touted Zinc.
Notice the word "additive". That means it is something that is added to the base stock; so again, "conventional" vs "synthetic" (which only applies to the base stock) is no more relevant than the color of the dog.

Two other observations:

1) There used to be several retail oil additives on the market that claimed to reduce engine wear by improving lubrication at startup. AFAIK, all of them have been found to be fraudulent by the FTC and are no longer allowed to make those claims. Eg,
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/1999/09/prolong-super-lubricants-settles-ftc-charges
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/1997/07/quaker-state-subsidiaries-settle-ftc-charges-against-slick-50
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/1995/12/stp-corporation-and-its-parent-corporation-first-brands

2) Many years ago (about the time Mobil 1 was being introduced as allowing greatly increased oil change intervals), I happened to drop the oil pan on a TR3A and then leave it parked that way for about 6 months (in a shed with only 3 sides). Next spring, when I finally got around to removing the rod caps, there was still enough oil inside to drip out. Clearly, there was plenty of oil film. And no, it wasn't "synthetic" oil, just Valvoline Racing (now known as VR1).

PS, one more: I recall someone started a study of the Mobil 1 claims. The intention was to take a whole fleet of taxi cabs, fill them with Mobil 1, and show how much better it lubricated than conventional motor oil, by driving 40,000 miles without changing the oil. The test was discontinued roughly halfway through, because of excessive oil burning! Not long after that, Mobil quit claiming that their oil could be used to extend oil change intervals ...



Randall
56 TR3 TS13571L daily driver
71 Stag LE1473L awaiting engine rebuild
7? Stag awaiting gearbox rebuild

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