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That emblem on the bottle, ya know, the one that says Dexos1 Gen2, tells you its not just Full Synthetic but that it's additive package falls between the maximum AND minimum set by GM and those two numbers are pretty close together. For all intent and purpose they are the same. The MINIMUM requirement for the GM license is a pretty high mark. Higher than SAE or ILSAC.


The only thing that isn't on the bottle that should be is the cleanliness numbers. Tis the only real difference anymore among licensed Full Synthetics. It's a big difference but one whose field is leveled by a really good filter. 


Without even seeing a barnyard test I bought several cases of Kirkland for the wife's Terrain. 

Edited by Grumpy Bear
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TBN / Antioxidant levels


Any regulars visit BITOG? I watch the VOA test maybe once a month. A also watch a few videos a month from guys like Project Farm and have noticed a scary trend. Two actually. The first being that there is a pretty large difference in TBN results depending on which lab does the testing. As much as there is between the two ASTM methods. 


It is expected that the ASTM D-2896 test done by manufacturing to be about 2 numbers higher than the results of ASTM D-4739. But there should not be that much difference between labs. That difference between VOA methods is also growing. That is the D-4739 result is now hovering 3 points lower that the vendors published Data Sheet values. 


The second one concerns me more. The gradual decline in virgin TBN in general. Oils are moving to the bottom of the 'normal' range. I've noticed this in the more popular oils that are tested a few times a year...this slow drift downward. 


Antioxidant levels likewise. They use to crowd the upper limit for the class and now seem to just make the minimum requirement. The newest diesel oil whose requirements have been lowered in the last SAE classification are almost the same as gas oils. They say in consideration of the particulate filter operation. Much like the lower levels when CATS were put on cars. 


Boiling the frog slowly 50 ppm at a time. 


From WIKI:  Potentiometric titration for used oils (Test method TBN ASTM D4739): a sample is dissolved in a solvent mixture of Toluene/ Propan-2-ol /Chloroform with 0.5% deionised water and then titrated with standardised alcoholic hydrochloric acid. The detection system is equivalent to the fresh oil method. The used oil method uses a less polar solvent and weaker titrant, which will not dissolve the wear metals produced during operation, hence it is more suitable to analyse used oils.[4]


The above bold really caught my eye. Especially the underlined portion. Let that turn over in the 'common sense' part of your gray matter. 


Under what 'normal' operating conditions would acid levels in running motor be strong enough to dissolve wear metals? NEVER! SO.....those extra two or three points of so called acid reserve are not really available are they? Meaning??? When the UOA TBN number is low 4....she's done. 


If you haven't notice the upper end of the oil food chain just a few years ago had a VOA TBN of 12 or more and now those same outfits are testing 8  and mid pack oils that were 8 or 9 and now 6. 


Couple that with lower antioxidant levels and????


Once again SHORTER OCI'S


In the most recent Project Farm he test COSTCO Kirkland and obtains both VOA and UOA.





Virgin acid number was like 1.6 and he runs TBN down to 1?

TAN will be 3 ish by the time the TBN is 3 ish.  

Edited by Grumpy Bear
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There is a big push to increase OCI lengths to at least 7,500 miles. I won't get into the reasons. There is an equally hard push to lower both detergent, specifically calcium, and phosphorus levels. To recap we are pushing to increase OCI while at the same time removing the chemicals that permit extended OCI's? Sad but true. And it looks like we are going to lie, deceive and manipulate to get what we want.....again..... We don't have allot of tools to works with here as those that want what they want also happen to be in charge of the 'facts'. Don't confuse that with having the truth. 


What does that leave us? Common sense and history! 




When you read this link study the chart. Study how this charts data was obtained. 




After you review this second link take particular note of this quote from that article: 


But what about the longer-term impact?

The issue is that these other weak base components can be used up in practice. For example, anti-oxidant reacts with oxygen and is consumed; as a result, the TBN decreases. To prevent this TBN drop, some lube oil companies remove these components from the lubricant formulation. The perception is extended drain performance, which is confirmed by laboratory routine analysis testing, but the long-term effect is dirty engines, more oil deposits, increased downtime and higher maintenance costs. (end quote)


Last piece of the puzzle: 






There it is. The link between TBN/TAN and Wear and the beginning of enough information to use common some sense.


Did you take note that Machinery Lubrication made a POINT of WHICH TBN test to use? That Q8 Oil acknowledges the truth that deposit formation WILL result as antioxidants deplete and that this is reflected in a rise in TAN. Finally that wear accelerates rapidly AFTER the TAN and TBN cross. But pay closer attention to the graphs. Much closer attention. This is the data. 


Wear begins to rise IMMEDIATELY upon the beginning of the decline in TBN and rise of TAN. IMMEDIATELY!!. 


Well we can't be changing our oil after every trip to the grocery store now can we. But we can take notice that shortly after the TBN and TAN cross the rate of wear gets out of control and it's exact point after the crossing line is fairly  unpredictable. 


But we are looking at a bit more that straight up wear. We are also looking at cleanliness and as Q8 pointed out: The perception is extended drain performance, which is confirmed by laboratory routine analysis testing, but the long-term effect is dirty engines, more oil deposits, increased downtime and higher maintenance costs.


The result of some TBN games being played with metal deactivators and Q8 makes note at the end of the article this cute little bit of information: It is time to say goodbye to the 50% TBN urban legend. Performance of the engine oil should be the leading consideration and the SGEO should be replenished at the right limit value; this will likely mean specific limits for some oils instead of generic limits for all oils.


So..."Trust me as I lie to you"? That sentence says we will play with the chemistry but not with them all and we will tell you when when the use that little word SOME


That SOME word is a word used to intentionally confuse. Happy for us they leave us bread crumbs. The graph...the data. 


The Machinery Lubrication article and Q8 articles, if you did not catch it, use different test for TBN and it is the use of the stronger acid test used in the Q8 article that is the basis for creating the confusion. The results of the stronger acid test will be affected by the additional chemicals used to boost TBN artificially. Not because they interfere but because the strong acid CONSUMES the metals the deactivators work on. THUS the reason Machinery Lubrication (Polaris Labs) tells us to use the weaker acid test so that we are testing ONLY the OVERBASED DETERGENT LEVELS. 


Machinery Lubrication also make this significant note: Historical test data shows the relationship between TBN and TAN to be quite consistent.......The two will meet at around 3.15 to 3.5. 


Again consult the graph in the Machinery Lubrication article. It is consistent and it is indefinite. AROUND is a big word and the graph displays that nicely. 


You draw your own conclusions but in my world this means I change oil on a TBN of 4 as the floor and how long the oil last in hours, miles or TBN units will depend on the VOA TBN done by the weaker method. 



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A long but good read and if your patient enough you will find out how much of what you've heard about esters is pure garbage. 




Here's an example from the article: 


"Some say esters compete so vigorously for the metal surfaces that they crowd out necessary additives. However, many additives are active enough to displace an ester from a surface. Expertise and experience are important here, as some additives do not work well with synthetic esters".


Some say turns into THEY WILL in a forum setting. 


Your trust your blender or you don't.



I trust mine. 

Edited by Grumpy Bear
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Unusable at what TBN?





Unrelated to TBN but I just saw a Blackstone UOA Report where the 100 C viscosity was well under the lower limit and Blackstone telling this guy not to worry...push it further...Oh...and not reported TBN. 


Yea, look at the last line of their comments!



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9.4 Forensic oil identification: a case study

Lubricating oil (or simply lube oil) is largely used in automobiles, marine engines, and other machinery. Used or waste lube oil is hazardous material, containing contaminants such as metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) produced by the engine during combustion processes.


PAH analysis. Figure 9.16B graphically depicts PAH distribution in the oil sample. It was noted that relative to other small 2- and 3-ring PAHs, 4- to 6-ring PAHs are very prominent in this oil sample in comparison with typical lube oil. Commercial high quality lube oils generally contain very little of aromatic hydrocarbons since most of these compounds in the base oil are purposely removed during the production of lube oils.


Now these boys got caught putting used oil in new oil to extend the volume and boost profits. But let us not loose the lessons here.


1.) PAH is removed to improve the oils characteristics. Oil in use 'reforms' these unwanted PAH's.


The higher the Group the lower the PAH content. It's what makes a Group III better than a Group II. Use increases PAH content degrading it.


2.) If you ever though that 'trade secrets' are the reason for not telling you what's in you oil to protect them from the competition......... Then you've never heard of  Oil fingerprinting analysis using gas chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight (GC–QTOF). 


Chevron knows what's in and from where Shells oil right down to the oil field the crude came from. It's important not to protect one oil company from another but the company from the wrath of the consumer's they cheat. 




Since being a liar and a cheat is legal and even protected one must now assume the worst of everyone. Tighten you sources of information. Marketing is not information. Consumer Reviews are not Information. Blogs of "Influencers" is not information. 

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But what IF?


Viscosity...resistance to motion. It's resistance to motion that gives a liquid it's thickness at any given point in time. 


Pouring Honey Stock Photo by ©12_Tribes 8905604

Honey for example. Give this enough time and it will flatten to the thickness of a single molecule. You can hasten this process with heat or anything that causes heat...like motion. Motor oil will do the same thing. ALL liquids will. When lubrication is the goal the idea is to have enough 'thickness' to prevent two surfaces from touching each other and so the question next asked is how much thickness is required to make that happen? Put on the thinking caps. 


1.) It has to be thick enough to be taller than the roughness of the surface. Surface finish plays a part. 

2.) It has to be thick enough that heat doesn't thin it to the point of allowing contact. Temperature plays a part. 

3.) It has to be thick enough that pressure does not squeeze it so thin it allows contact. Load plays a part. 

This next one is tricky.

4.) Velocity/speed increases thickness in the same way that driving to fast on a wet road causes you car to hydroplane. Lift from the roads surface. So it has to be thick enough for the expected velocities to promote 'dynamic' film formation. A fancy way to say it must cause hydroplaning. 


If you graph all of this you get two things. 1.) A Stribeck Curve




and 2.) The understanding that VISCOSITY is the single most important aspect of you oil.


Additives are what happens afterward...during...But what if?




There has been immense pressure from 'regulators' to what in the end has resulted in a loss of viscosity. That same resistance to flow that provides protection also consumes fuel. That pressure has resulted in the ever increasing reliance on 'chemicals', additives, to do what viscosity SHOULD be doing and guess what....they can't. Oh for a few decades anti-wear additives delayed the inevitable by extending the the life of the components with sacrificial layers of very hard compounds. That is until regulators decided the thing holding up the bridge was a danger to us all and regulated lower and lower amounts of those additives. Every cycle of refreshed SAE guidelines comes with an ever increasing pressure to reduce phosphorus and zinc. And now calcium is under attack as well. 


A bit of slight of hand has been going on in the marketing portion of this process downplaying the effectiveness of anti-wear concentrations coloring them in the light of..."Research has shown we don't need as much as we though we did". Ad if a mistake had been made undermining their own authority. 


They leave out the part that explains WHY. Like because modern motors use ROLLER CAMS and not FLAT TAPPET cams. And that, while being huge, is not the bottom line. Close second to this wear target is ring/bore wear that is about tapped out on how thin and how hard they can be made. A process that has lead to repeated failures to the point of lawsuits. Ever lighter and more fragile parts like timing chains. 


There is a last part of the puzzle. The consumer himself. All this regulation has lead to the same thinking helmets for motorcycles did. The idea was to make it safer for riders when they dawned a helmet. What happened was the creation of false security that lead to faster riders willing to take even larger risks.  


Regulators learned from that. And what they learned is that an informed public will circumvent regulation as fast as regulation can be whipped up. SO......it's best to keep the public ignorant of the facts and truth and let the laws of nature, physics and math teach these bad children the hard way. Funny stuff that. That as well is backfiring. 


So now ask the other BUT WHAT IF question.


Common now. 


What if you use your noggin for something besides a toupee rest. Regulation has done what regulation will do and the OEM's try to enforce this with 'threats' of warranty denial if you don't smile and thank them for picking your pocket. 


What if you do what you can that prevents them from such action and enhancing your likelihood of success? 


Now I wonder what that could possibly be? 



Edited by Grumpy Bear
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Now I wonder what that could possibly be? 



A viscosity flow curve comparing Newtonian and non-Newtonian behaviour



When Viscosity Modifiers are added to a Newtonian base oil it then exhibits Non-Newtonian behaviour. It looses viscosity. Increase it's temperature and it looses MORE viscosity. Add those two together..........




There is no fuel saving below 2.7 HTHS...there is only increased wear




So your oil call out is a 0W20? Your OEM is installing a water thermostat of 207F?

You like to drive like there is a fire to go to and you are loaded to put it out?


Motor Oil Basics: Oil Viscosity Grades - Select Synthetics - AMSOIL  Authorized Dealer


*W20 oils made conventionally, that is with VM's, have a minimum HTHS viscosity of? 2.6 cP. Most will suffer some shear thinning of a permanent nature and there is an  SAE minimum spec for that as well (hard to find)  but when you are already in the bottle below the point where wear is accelerating....get the drift? 


All of this is published!!


So lets back up an minute and see what can be done. You have options. 


1.) You can ignore your OEM's 0W20 rating and use a *W30 and suffer a small fuel economy loss.

2.) Research and find a 0W20 with an HTHS viscosity well above the SAE minimum

(let us know when you find one)  




3.) You can use an oil that does not use ANY viscosity modifier!

And has an HTHS of a W30 or better!



Can you name a few that meet this specification?


You will not find one that is blending synthetic mineral oils even if blended with PAO's. 








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Million Mile Motors

The Peckish Snyapse



Last two post in the "Peckish" thread in "Off Topic" I posted several links to articles and videos on motors in the million mile club and said at the end of the first I would later post some thoughts on this collection of works. Let' R rip! Note here: I'm not talking about commercial diesel motors period so put that away. 


Let start with some basic logic.


1.) If any one oil was the Holy Grail of oils then the number of million mile motors for that oil would be as common as sand on a beach. Truth is, it's hard to find more than ONE; for any give oil you have to look deep and hard. 


2.) Everyone want's credit for those million miles you put on your vehicle. Everyone gets credit but you. That kids is marketing greed at it's best. 


3.) When companies 'test' to a million miles such as Mobil did with the BMW, they do so in anything but the real world. It's a very stacked deck. 😉 I'll come back to this point later. 


4.) Marketing likes to make big deals out of things that don't matter in a way that makes them seem like they matter. Castrol and calcium impregnation of the piston a case in point. 


5.) What you can find is a list of INDIVDUAL HUMAN BEINGS in the Million Mile club who have a very common set of operating conditions and maintenance procedures. 


So lets put some things together. Points #3 and #5 and the personal experience within my family that has produced several vehicles near or over 1 million miles. These three are not about the oil but about the people. They all know how to:


"Stack the Deck"


1.) The most common trait among long mileage motors is "Limiting the number of heat cycles". 


Running a BMW 325 on a roof top day in and day out 'varying the speeds to simulate' real world use? It never shut off except to? Change the oil...which they did on the OEM schedule. Pennzoil's taxi cab test....motor that never shut off. Motors used in 'delivery service" of which the AMSOIL Schaeffer experience and my Uncle Gary's two delivery trucks fit into. The Volvo P1800 and my fathers 66 Ford and Pepper for that matter are motors that are/were never started for trips under 100 miles AND had their oil changed OFTEN. Uncle Bobs million mile Ford Flathead. LOL.


Do the math. 3 million miles in 50 years is 60K a year. Some of the examples were guys running a million in much shorter times. These motors never shut off so they never heat cycle. 125K per year on one example. 


2.) The BMW further stacked the deck by choosing the most reliable engine TYPE possible. The inline straight six. A motor with perfect primary AND secondary balance. The fella with the Dodge pickup, Inline six Cummings diesel. Make the right choices


3.) OCI's well matched to the additive packages and listen up 25K oils. Rate of depletion of the additive package is DIRECTLY tied to???? Heat cycles. Over based detergent oils give you the CHANCE for a longer OCI but not the guarantee of one. 


4.) Fix it when it breaks and fix it with OEM parts and fix it RIGHT. 


5.) Keep it CLEAN (inside and out) and keep it COOL


6.) Drive it and maintain it  like you want a million miles from it.


7.) Choose an oil with more viscosity than you think you need or run it cooler than "they' would like. Same effect. 




Okay some closing notes. I will continue to use Red Line HP (or products like it) in my vehicles that do not use any appreciable amount of oil. PAO/POE's run cooler and stay cleaner. This I have measured for myself multiple times. Solvency of POE and it's (red line) high detergency are a match I favor. I could care less about a DEXOS license IF what I use exceeds the requirements of that license. They contain zero VM's thus shear stable and as such have a HTHS viscosity a grade higher than there SAE weight minimum. I could care less that some loss it 'temporary'. 


In the few I have that use oil I will use the cheapest, lowest phosphate oil I can buy and change it like I own the company it came from. Once heat cycles are limited then detergency and solvency come right behind viscosity in importance. Whenever another driver of a vehicle I maintain can not or will not then I use cheap and change it often and let the chips fall where they may. 


If you do point 6 then most of the bragging points of marketing become mute. 



"Stack the Deck"

or Don't




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  • 3 weeks later...



Picked this off a BITOG thread quoting an OEM Design Engineer and thought I'd toss it against the wall to see what sticks as we never seem to have enough opinions on this topic. 


Formula goes something like this:


(Oil capacity in quarts X 50) X EPA combine MPG = OCI in miles


I ran a few calculations on in house vehicles and it's pretty close to average DIC OLM values.


Two points of interest in this one are oil capacity is a variable and so is fuel consumed. That said most guys in this community don't seem to get even close on to the EPA combine number as a long term average MPG number and I would expect then that if adjusted to a guys ACTUAL long term numbers he would fine his OCI is a bit to long. 



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As I am retired and only drive mostly short trips around town, I have reduced my OCI due to all the heat cycling my engine now does and don't run under 40-50%. Marty, I have been reading all your threads for a few years and find them very educational. My truck is now 11.5 years old and I feel that rust will eat it away long before I hit 200K let alone 1M.


Keep up the educational work and maybe we will get a few converts to treating their equipment with respect.


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1 hour ago, Ianf said:

As I am retired and only drive mostly short trips around town, I have reduced my OCI due to all the heat cycling my engine now does and don't run under 40-50%. Marty, I have been reading all your threads for a few years and find them very educational. My truck is now 11.5 years old and I feel that rust will eat it away long before I hit 200K let alone 1M.


Keep up the educational work and maybe we will get a few converts to treating their equipment with respect.




What I nice thing to say Ian...thank you.



I read this from another short OCI guy:


People are always framing the length of OCI wrong. They ask,


"How long can I run my oil?".


The framing they should be using is,


"How clean can I keep my motor?" 


I've said something similar a few times but liked his wording better. 


Personally I've found formulas to be ineffective and that includes those used for OLM meters. I've also found the advise from SOME oil testers falling short that seem to follow the first adage, "How long can I run my oil".  


If perfection is one seeks then the question is;


"How long can I run my oil and keep my motor really REALLY clean?"


There isn't a test for this. There are only indicators and failures. Disassembly or ring/AFM or some other oil related failure.  Some oils do better than others. Some motors do better than others. Some drivers do better than others. Some situations lend themselves to the goal better than others. Some cars rust out faster than others. :crackup:


I know this from decades of observation. I have never seen a long OCI motor, even using the best of oils and receiving the best of care, upon disassembly, be as clean as a mineral oil motor on 1K OCI's.


The truth lays between the extremes, not at them. 



Edited by Grumpy Bear
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