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  #1  
Old 08-10-1999, 09:39 AM
Guss
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I was trying to recall something I have read previously concerning oil evaluations. I am about to run synthetic oil and would like to be able to do simple and cost effective oil evaluations along the way to baseline the oil breakdown. I may be crazy, but I have heard that you can put a drop of oil on a paper towel and if the outside ring left by the drop is some odd color or another, that means that the oil is beginning to break down.

Are there any oil evaluation techniques that are relatively simply and cost effective, out there that anyone knows about?

Thanks in advance for any and all assistance!

Guss out
  #2  
Old 08-10-1999, 10:55 AM
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There are companies out on the Web that will do a chemical analysis of your oil for about $20.00. Usual turn around is 10 days for a full written chemical analysis. If you are interested in that let me know and I'll find out the name of the company.

The trick with the paper towel is used by a friend of mine that also uses a trick with newspaper on setting bearing clearances. While I lean more towards measuring with a micrometer It's hard to argue with NHRA national records that he has.

I have an article that was in R&T a long time ago concerning testing various oils on the market at the time. I think 14 or 15 diffrent brands were tested, but what I do remember was at that time it was Mobil1 far and away better than the dino based oils.
Next closest was Amoils (?) which was/is synthetic.

I personally use Mobil1 in both my cars, and have had great expirence with it. One caveat being if you've got a leak or burns oil don't bother, It can get expensive.



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Mike Mullins
71 250 Coupe
92 400E Sedan
90 944/S2 Cabriolet
  #3  
Old 08-10-1999, 10:19 PM
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I run synthetic in both of my cars; have run Mobil 1 up until now, but as I understand Mobil has cheapened the manufacturing process with their "Tri-synthetic formula" so I'm going to Redline Synthetic henceforth.

I think synthetic fluids work great...had an '88 Honda Accord LXi that I put 270 k on, and even up until when I sold it it ran as new. Changed out the oilpan at around 250k (it was rusting on the exterior) and the motor looked new inside. I changed the oil every 8-12k miles, and it would burn maybe a half quart between changes up until it moved on. My brother has it now, and it runs exactly the same, and the motor's never been open.

However, beware of putting it in older motors not accustomed to how well synthetic flows. When I purchased my '88 300TE in '95 (with 67k miles), I switched over and was treated to a leaking rear main seal...not a cheap fix, but I won't have to do it again for probably 200k miles! However, nothing else has leaked so it was worth it to me, and I'd do it again. And when I recently converted the 500E it didn't leak at all. Factor in the easier cold starts, the smoother shifts (I also run synthetic tranny fluid), and the less frequent change intervals and I think you may agree it's not a bad deal. Good luck!

Michael
'92 500E
'88 300TE

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  #4  
Old 08-11-1999, 01:06 PM
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Michael wrote:

"I run synthetic in both of my cars; have run Mobil 1 up until now, but as I understand Mobil has cheapened the manufacturing process with their "Tri-synthetic formula" so I'm going to Redline Synthetic henceforth."

Is this based on hearsay, or from Redline, Castrol or etc.

The reason I ask is, if Mobil cheapened the process I would applaud their action as almost almost all manufacturing companies look to reduce their manufacturing costs, while improving their products. In Mobil's case if they did lower the cost, why did they raise the price 25 30 cents per quart?

We know it's not cause of the rise in crude oil prices.

Soapbox time: Hey Sunoco, what the heck is up with raising the price of Ultra 94 12-15 cent's overnight, not enought profit this quarter?
Off Soapbox:

Also he wrote:

"However, beware of putting it in older motors not accustomed to how well synthetic flows. When I purchased my '88 300TE in '95 (with 67k miles), I switched over and was treated to a leaking rear main seal...not a cheap fix, "

What problably happened here was that the previous owner used dino oil, and it allowed sludged and other contaminents to build up around the seal. When you switched to M1 it cleaned it out from in front of the seal. I've seen this on many a valve cover or cam cover gasket and seals.

It didn't affect the seals molecular structure, it just clean out the "dam" the sludged had created.

Rear main seals leaking in both the inline Sixes and some V-8's, I've inspected, showed signs of leaking or leak in as low as 55K miles with use of straight Quaker or other dino type oils. Sometimes they never leak. There is a tremendous amount of heat in this area.

While Mobil (Exxon)does have a tremendous advertising budget, Independent documented tests back all their claims.

I know a lot of AutoX'ers and SCCA guys that run the Redline products with equal satisfaction. They do have a good contingency program for SCCA racers.

It's availability is just not the same as the Mobil products.





------------------
Mike Mullins
71 250 Coupe
92 400E Sedan
90 944/S2 Cabriolet
  #5  
Old 08-11-1999, 10:19 PM
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The basis for my comment about the Mobil 1 came from comments a chemical engineer friend of mine made; he knows an engineer that works for Mobil (also a Chem Engr)and that's what he said. Quite frankly it could have been heresay, but I regard my source highly enough to pony up an extra $2.00 per quart for the RedLine oil. What was further bantered about is that Mobil 1 will now quite probably come down in price a bit in order to compete with the dino/synthetic blends being brought to market. In my area Mobil 1 has not varied in price, so I can't explain MikeM's experience there.

Now, as regards the sludge barrier that gets broken through, I don't know if I buy that, MikeM. The service records for my '88 300TE showed a very good oil change history, about every 3k miles. I've never read a word about such a phenomenon, and I've read everything I could get my eyes on about synthetics for a good twenty years. All of the articles seem to have concluded is that the oil leaks begin simply because of synthetic's superior flow characteristics. With an older car, my understanding was that the decreased flexiblity of the seals prevented the seals from compensating for the better-flowing synthetic. However, you sound like someone who knows what they're talking about, and indeed what you've said sounds quite plausible, so I guess I'll have to consider this possibility.

Lastly, Red Line recommends extending the oil change interval to 15k miles, with a filter at 7,500. Sounds like they've got quite a bit of confidence in their product, but that sounds like a bit long to me, no?

Hope this helps, and thanks MikeM for the insights/feedback.

Michael
'92 500E
'88 300TE




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  #6  
Old 08-12-1999, 01:23 AM
TommyMB
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Please note, Mercedes now list both synthetic and regular oil of the same weight to have the same service temperature. This means Mercedes believes the new petro based oil is as strong (pressure shear strength) as synthetic. Also no independent testings have been able to show reduced wear with synthetic if oils are changed at recommended intervals. Since most enthusiasts like us change our oil at 2000 to 3500 miles, the benefits of synthetic oil is questionable. I used regular oil on my 500SEL and the internal looks new at 165K.
  #7  
Old 08-12-1999, 09:57 AM
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I hate discussing oil, Everyone has their personal favorites, I was always a Quaker State user for 20+ years, swore by the stuff, Now I am a M1 fan. All of the premium oils are better than ever and with regular scheduled changes a car engine will last for quite a while.


Michael Wrote:
"Red Line recommends extending the oil change interval to 15k miles, with a filter at 7,500. Sounds like they've got quite a bit of confidence in their product, but that sounds like a bit long to me, no?"

Michael, I'm in the camp of oil and filter change at 7,500 miles, My driving habits are
50 miles minimum each day on the Hiway to and from work. Very little around town.

Mobil use to advertise that M1 was good for 25K miles between changes, With that thought, you don't sell a lot of oil. Now they recommend following your manufacter's recommendations. 1. to be politically correct with the builders, i.e. Porsche recommends 15k for normal changes, 11+ quarts in Dry Sump 911 air cooled tank I think, My wet sump in the 944S2 holds almost 9qts.

2. Won't invalidate warranty from manufacter.

As far as not being worthwhile to use Synthetic, not if people are actually changing their oil at 2-3.5K miles. It would be hard to justify the additional expense.


If people are diligently changing oil at these intervals, are they doing it themselves or are they having it done at a quick change franchise? It would be expensive at that point. (Normal around Cincinnati is 20-25 dollars for this service)

Myself, I do my own, Use factory filters, (Don't get me started on my old favorite FRAM (SCAM now)and turn the oil in to a friend of mine who has a furnace that burns used oil along with conventional fuel oil.

Besides it gives me a chance to check out the underneath of the cars.





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Mike Mullins
71 250 Coupe
92 400E Sedan
90 944/S2 Cabriolet
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