Synthetic oil question

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lcvaldetaro
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Synthetic oil question

Post by lcvaldetaro » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:35 am

Hi ,

I have been using regular oil on my engine. I would like to change it to full synthetic oil.

What procedure do you guys recommend for the switch?

I was thinking about the following:
1)Replace filter/gaskets and replace oil with full synthetic
2)Run ending mildly for 30 min or so
3)Replace filter/gaskets and replace synthetic oil

Am I too conservative?

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watersracing
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by watersracing » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:57 am

I would just do a typical oil change and throw on some new valve cover gaskets after I adjusted the valves.. Then drive it until the next oil change in 5k miles...

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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by E_bug » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:12 pm

Just change it :D
Do you have it full flowed with an external oil filter.?
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juki48
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by juki48 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:05 pm

you're being ridiculous. you just change the oil like normal. there are these crazy rumors that you can't mix synthetic oil and conventional oil. guess what I run in my VW.... a synthetic blend. it is synthetic oil and conventional oil blended together. I think every oil manufacturer offers one. I run Brad Penn because it is green. :mrgreen:
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Bobs68VW
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Bobs68VW » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:27 pm

This info is from:

http://www.kalgard.com/

Advantages of Synthetic Base Stocks
First off synthetic oils are just that, synthetic, or in simple terms man made. One of the major advantages of being man made is that the oil molecules are much more uniform in their makeup. No matter how many times crude oil is refined; the finished mineral base oil can never obtain the molecular consistency of synthetic oils.
How does this consistency help an engine’s performance?
1) Synthetics slow Thermal degradation allowing you to extend the drain intervals of the oil. Over time the heat an engine produces break down or degrades oil. The longer an oil is used the more viscosity is lost. If you use 10w40, over time it will degrade to a 10w30. Since synthetics use little or no VI improvers (one of the first additives to wear out in oil) they will last longer without radical changes in viscosity.
2) Synthetics have much lower pour points, which mean the oil flow better in cold weather to more quickly deliver protection to critical engine components. Because of the speed of which oil is delivered to these engine parts, wear from cold starting will be minimized.
3) Synthetics have higher film strength or in other terms they “carry the load” better. What does that mean? At high operating temperatures, and during full throttle accelerations, there is more load placed on your motor. For example, Esters are polar and can actually adhere to metal, decreasing the likelihood of metal to metal contact. Modified motors with higher compression ratios and modified cams benefit greatly from this enhanced protection. An addition benefit of higher film strength is that oil will stay in place longer, better coating the engine parts it is there to protect.
4) Synthetics provide better oxidation resistance. Because they are completely saturated, i.e. that is to say there are no double or triple bonds. Double and triple bonds are the weak spots or first bonds to break, which allow oxidation to occur.
5) Synthetics provide better temperature resistance. Due to the molecular uniformity of synthetics, they resist thinning at high temperatures and thickening at low temperatures. Because synthetics retain thickness at high temperatures they are better suited for air cooled engines and warmer climates. Mineral oils will begin to fail at 250 -300 * F. Synthetics can handle closer to 400*F and can even be pushed to over 600* F before failure.

VW&MGman
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by VW&MGman » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:46 pm

...but how is synthetic oil on lifters and cams? Do they contain the correct levels of ZDDP?

Thanks

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Piledriver
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Piledriver » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:18 pm

VW&MGman wrote:...but how is synthetic oil on lifters and cams? Do they contain the correct levels of ZDDP?

Thanks
Some do. Some don't. One must research these things as you are doing.

Also note there are various flavors of synthetics, G3 is basically a highly refined dino oil.
G4 and G5 are the traditional synthetics (think AMSOIL vs. Mobil 1 or Delvac 1)

This is not to say in any way G3 oils cannot be good: I run Rotella T 5W40 (AKA T6) in ~everything.

Valvoline VR-1 oils come in synthetic and "dino" flavors: all have plenty of zddp.

Brad Penn: ~Same levels of zddp.

Mobil 1 Turbo Diesel Truck (AKA Delvac 1) had good levels of zddp last I checked, and at least used to be a G4 or G5 oil base IIRC.
(I buy this when on sale when needed and use interchangeably with the Rotella T6)

BITOG (bobistheoilguy.com) is a good source of info on oils and a place to post and read UOAs and such.

I imagine Castrol makes a suitible oil, but I refuse to use any Castrol product after they dropped the zddp to 800ppm in the GTX line without telling anyone and ruined many engines.

Castrol GTX was 1K oil anyway.
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Fiatdude
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Fiatdude » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:43 pm

I was being stupid for a while and running Mobil 1 for V twins at $8 per quart -- oh wait I'm still running it LOL

Very high zddp

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Piledriver
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Piledriver » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:49 pm

Fiatdude wrote:I was being stupid for a while and running Mobil 1 for V twins at $8 per quart -- oh wait I'm still running it LOL

Very high zddp
The only issue I have wit the V-Twin oil is that it's usually 20W50, which is fine for a HD motor, worn out motor or racing engine set up for 20W50

For 95% of ACVW folks, 20W50 is far too thick, even in summer.
( even if they have been running it for 40 years)
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Fiatdude
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Fiatdude » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:33 am

they've got 10w30 too

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Marc
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Marc » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:28 am

Piledriver wrote:...For 95% of ACVW folks, 20W50 is far too thick, even in summer.
( even if they have been running it for 40 years)
Oilspecs_zps1446b119.JPG
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Last edited by Marc on Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:04 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Piledriver
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Piledriver » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:46 am

Good one, Marc, but IIRC good modern multigrades hold up ~as well to heat vs. viscosity as single grades, that would shift the upper end of the multigrade scale significantly higher. It would be interesting to update that chart with actual current data.

...Of course GTX 20W-50 tested out more like 20W-25 after a thousand miles or so in an ACVW in the tests Charles and Jake did, so if it ever really fell into the "good" camp is arguable, likely just great (and utterly misleading) marketing.

For example, I got better hot idle pressure with 5W40 Shell T6 or even with 10W-30 VR-1 in 100+ degree weather than I ever did with fresh 20W50 Castrol GTX (back when I used it religiously) on the same motor/car etc.

How much of that is due to oil cooling system vs. pressure effects is a valid question.
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volksbugly
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by volksbugly » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:45 am

Ive been running redline full synthetic for a while, but I am about to stick a new motor in and I am going to run
http://www.drivenracingoil.com/dro/dt50 ... 5w-50html/

:)

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Marc
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by Marc » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:04 am

That VW viscosity-recommendation chart above dates from the late `70s, when "SE" oil was state-of-the-art. Earlier VW owner's manuals didn't even recognize the existence of multi-vis oils, which has led to the widespread misconception that you can't use them in an ACVW. As standards evolved, viscosity stability improved over a wider temperature range; formulation was altered to be more tolerant of increased ethanol content in fuel, and to reduce fouling of catalytic converters by reducing ZDDP content - modern OHC and roller-lifter pushrod motors don't need as much to survive as our antiques do. `70s oils were quite adequate for what's basically a `30s design, and the "improvements" in modern oils aren't all that welcome - particularly the reduced ZDDP. ACVWs determine how much oil to send through the cooler based upon pressure, not temperature, so a multi-vis oil that's TOO good at maintaining viscosity over a wide temp range is not really desirable, unless modifications are made to regulate cooler flow by temperature instead. There are still a few oils available with sufficient ZDDP to be safe in a flat-tappet motor; VR-1 is one (in any of its "flavors" - but the basic non-synthetic street-legal version is reasonably priced by today's standards.) I've been a fan of Kendall GT since the `70s (not available nowadays, but Brad Penn is comparable) ...IMO the best non-synthetic for an ACVW, and 20W-50 is just FINE from a bit below freezing on up - I'm one of those in the "used it for 40 years" camp, these motors typically have looser clearances and lower pressures than current designs. Yes, it's thick on cold startup but with a functional thermostat system the engine warms up enough within a few minutes that it's not a problem - one shouldn't romp on an engine that isn't up to N.O.T. regardless of what's in the sump.

These days, in the USA, the fuel-economy data taken when the EPA tests each car model is of critical importance - even a tiny improvement in mileage could be enough to get the manufacturer's C.A.F.E. (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) rating to meet federal standards so they don't have to pay a fine to the government. The first thing manufacturers did when C.A.F.E. came along was to put lighter oil in the crankcases of the cars they presented to the EPA for testing, but it didn't take long for the feds to catch on and require that the test vehicles contain the oil specified in the owner's manual. That put pressure on the engine designers and oil refiners to come up with motors and lubricants that could survive in a high-pressure, low-viscosity regime without increasing warranty claims (from the blowed-up engines of people who actually followed the manual's recommendation) above an "acceptable" level - remember those fines, it's cheaper to have to replace a few thousand engines than to pay the fine on millions of cars because you specified a thicker oil and lost mileage on the EPA test cycle.

One should not assume that if they come across a bargain-priced oil that's rated SE through SH that it's automatically going to have a higher ZDDP content than more modern ratings - API considers anything below SJ (c1997) to be obsolete so if a refiner labels their product below that it could be merely to avoid having to meet ANY standards, it won't have been tested by API so you're relying completely on the refiner's integrity.
http://www.oilspecifications.org/api_eolcs.php

I don't have nearly enough real-world experience with synthetics to make informed judgements about them (they were illegal at all of the tracks where we raced, considered by the promoters as too hard to clean up after a wreck/spill) but my gut feeling is that it should be safe to run the lightest viscosity that still retains strong oil pressure at the maximum temperatures experienced, to minimize the confusion of the stock pressure-based temp-control system. I wouldn't expect to need 20W-50 in a synthetic except under extreme conditions - say a Bonneville land-speed run in summer. ZDDP additives are available if needed, but don't go overboard since too much can also cause cam/lifter spalling. I consider 13-1500 ppm sufficient; over ~2000 ppm is overkill; an engine with many miles on it (totally broken-in cam & lifters) and light valve springs will survive just fine at 800 (I still stock up on Castrol GT-1 when it's on sale, it's "good enough" for such a motor.) As juki48 noted, there's no big worry about flushing out every last drop when switching to synthetic oil - you may be thinking of synthetic brake fluid, which is wholly incompatible with non-synthetic.

Note that when we refer to ZDDP levels we're assuming a typical balance between the components (elemental zinc and phosphorus) so that their combined ppm gives the desired results. Rather than try to explain what I mean, I'll give a quote I found from an SAE engineer who managed to phrase it in simple terms:

"When people are concerned about the amounts of zinc and phosphorus in their motor oil, are they talking about elemental zinc/phos ppm levels or ZDDP ppm levels? My guess is that many people don’t even know there is a difference, because they often use the numbers and terms interchangeably.

Compiling recent motor oil lab test data, pointed out that the correlation between the ppm (parts per million) numbers used in reference to ZDDP levels and the ppm numbers used in reference to elemental Zinc/Phos levels from lab tests, is not what many might think. They are NOT the same thing. Here’s an example:

Royal Purple 10W30 HPS (High Performance Street) lab test results
Zinc = 1774 ppm
Phos = 1347 ppm

OK, those numbers look pretty healthy for those who want elevated levels of zinc and phos. But those are elemental levels of zinc and phos, NOT the ZDDP level. Is ZDDP ppm = zinc ppm + phos ppm? That might just naturally seem to be the case (but ZDDP contains more than just zinc and phos). If that were the case, then you would have 1774 + 1347 = a ZDDP level of 3,121 ppm, but that would be insane (not to mention incorrect).

Because earlier testing by the motor oil industry has found that OVER .14% or 1,400 ppm ZDDP INCREASED long term wear, even though break-in wear was reduced. It was also found that .20% or 2,000 ppm levels of ZDDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling.

Could ZDDP be the average of zinc and phos ppm? Then that would be (1774 + 1347)/2 = 1561 ppm ZDDP, which seems more reasonable. But what about the other components that make up ZDDP? The only thing we can say with confidence is that the lab report showed that 1774 ppm of zinc, and 1347 ppm of phos “from” ZDDP was present.

So, to clear up the confusion, and determine how the two different types of ppm counts fit in with each other, I contacted the Technical Services Manager at Royal Purple for a clarification. Here’s what he had to say:

--------

Concerning ZDDP levels vs. elemental zinc/phos levels that are found in oil analysis lab tests, the direct correlation will vary depending on the exact make-up of the additive package being used. No motor oil manufacturer quotes amounts of additive compound because that is proprietary formulation information. At best, the zinc/phos elemental levels from a lab test, can be used only to get a qualitative value of anti-wear content.

But, the exact amounts that are "good" and "bad" cannot be determined from a lab report because it depends on the exact compounds being used, the quality of those compounds, and the rest of the oil formulation. It is an unfortunate fact for the consumer, that not much that is meaningful for performance comparisons between competitive oils, can be determine by simple lab tests.

------------

BOTTOM LINE:

There are many articles about ZDDP which quote ppm levels that are desirable, and how it has changed over the years. But motor oil manufacturers, the only ones who can provide that info about their products, do NOT provide it, since it is part of their proprietary additive package. So, any consumer discussion of a certain oil having a certain level of ZDDP is not possible. And no direct comparison between elemental zinc/phos and ZDDP can be made, since there are as many variations as there are oil manufacturers.

The best you could do is lab test an oil to see how much elemental zinc/phos is in it. Then try to make something of an apples to oranges comparison between oils, since zinc and phos alone do not determine an oil’s absolute wear protection capability.

An example of that would be a cheapo no name 5W30 API SN dino oil that you come across on sale at Walmart. And say that oil has 900 ppm zinc and 900 ppm phos as its only anti-wear component. Now compare that to full synthetic Royal Purple 5W30 API SN that also has 900 ppm zinc and 900 ppm phos. But that oil also has RP’s proprietary Synerlec additive that they say is their primary extreme pressure anti-wear component, and that the zinc/phos is only icing on the cake.

If you are among those who only look at zinc/phos levels to determine wear protection capability, you’d be WAY off on this comparison. Because the Royal Purple would FAR outperform the cheapo oil in a wear test, with the difference being the overall additive package, not just the zinc/phos levels alone.

All the never ending debate and concern about zinc/phos levels, is only considering part of the overall equation. Therefore, we are only left with wear testing as the REAL way to make a meaningful comparison between competitive oils. It’s the final total product that matters, not just a couple of pieces of it. Proof of that is seen with people who have run Royal Purple street oil with reduced zinc/phos levels in flat tappet motors for years without issue. If they had only looked at zinc/phos levels, they would have thought that oil could not work in flat tappet motors, but it does.

And for the record, in spite of what it sounds like, I’m not trying to promote Royal Purple. Really I’m not, I don’t care what oil other folks buy. I’m just a little more familiar with RP than some others. So, run whatever you like, but just don’t hang your hat on zinc/phos levels alone. Because it’s just not that simple."

lcvaldetaro
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Re: Synthetic oil question

Post by lcvaldetaro » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:03 am

Thanks guys , this is a lot of great information.

So, do we have a consensus that:

1-I can just replace the regular oil with synthetic and be done with it? (replace filter too)

2-A good oil to use is mobil 1 v-twin 10w30?

Thanks!

LCV

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