Factory vs. Synthetic OIL!
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This is a discussion on Factory vs. Synthetic OIL! within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I hope this thread gets many responces... as its a question I have heard floating around for many years now! ...

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    Exclamation Factory vs. Synthetic OIL!

    I hope this thread gets many responces... as its a question I have heard floating around for many years now!
    -Most people will argue that a fully Synthetic oil is the best bet for any application in the automotive industry... but the never ending question that I have heard is that once you decide to go the synthetic route... you can't switch back, as the solvents and chemical compounds are different and won't coexist... why can't you switch back? ANY THOUGHTS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCFabrications
    I hope this thread gets many responces... as its a question I have heard floating around for many years now!
    -Most people will argue that a fully Synthetic oil is the best bet for any application in the automotive industry... but the never ending question that I have heard is that once you decide to go the synthetic route... you can't switch back, as the solvents and chemical compounds are different and won't coexist... why can't you switch back? ANY THOUGHTS?
    From what I understand, synthetic and conventional oils have no problem mixing. How else would they sell 50/50 blends? In your other thread we were discussing gear oil for the trans. That is a different story because of the diffs, and the synchros.

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    so is the switch just a myth that you can't go back?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCFabrications
    so is the switch just a myth that you can't go back?
    I think it's a myth, but I don't have scientific data to back it up. I'll PM someone who should know about this.

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    This being a myth sounds good to me... but now what about the performance between the two oils? Setting the cost of the two aside... don't synthetics last longer and withstand higher temps. within the engine? And now back in the issue of cost... synthetics can cost more that two times the cost of regular... is the added cost worth it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCFabrications
    This being a myth sounds good to me... but now what about the performance between the two oils? Setting the cost of the two aside... don't synthetics last longer and withstand higher temps. within the engine? And now back in the issue of cost... synthetics can cost more that two times the cost of regular... is the added cost worth it?
    With our race engines, we've seen nothing but good results with certain synthetic oils. Our engine builder also highly recommends them. The best so far we've experienced is Mobil 1. Amsoil, redline, and royal purple all came out burnt after two races. With the mobil 1 we've seen very little wear after 1200 pounding laps. I guess when it comes to a street car, it's up to the owner. If it's a car that you will only keep for 40,000 miles, it's pointless to pay the extra money. If you plan on keeping the car until the body rots off of it, I would say it's worth it.

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    Caution: Long-winded! Only read if you've got time to burn...

    Whether it's worth it is up to you. I've used a synth in my WRX and change oil every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, and I end up wasting perfectly good oil (I could go much longer on it according to the used oil analysis data I got). I've also seen data from a 2.5L STi motor run over 7,000 miles with a conventional motor oil, and that looked just fine too. Look at your use pattern and your budget, and see if you can find a product that's widely available, affordable to you, and competent.

    Now, the original question: This thread raises a number of interesting questions. For the sake of this discussion, let’s at least try to agree on what some words mean. In the US, the term “synthetic” when applied to motor oils has a strict chemical meaning (that is almost universally ignored!) and a legal/marketing meaning (thanks, Castrol…). The API classifies oils according to “Groups” and for us the interesting groups are Gr III, IV, and V. Gr III oils are “synthetic” only in the USA; in the EU, for example, these cannot be sold as fully synthetic motor oils. They are typically hydrocracked, and whether one views this as a semantic issue, a chemical issue, a legal issue, or an American provincialism issue, we have to play the cards we’re dealt.

    Examples of Gr III “kinda” synthetic oils:
    Castrol Syntech (EXCEPT the 0W-30 imported variety and maybe the 5W-40 imported variety; these are “legit”).
    Amsoil XL7500 (Ouch! Tu quoque Brute filii mihi?)

    Fully synthetic motor oils contain poly-alpha olefin and/or ester base stocks; these are Gr IV and V. Actually, they typically contain both, as one tends to swell seals and the other counteracts that effect. Recall the early fiascos with leaking motors when the first synthetics hit the market, and the warning notices on certain products up until the mid 90s that stated “don’t even think of it if your motor is earlier than a 78.”

    Examples of fully synthetic motor oils:
    Mobil1 (try the 5W-40 “Truck & SUV” formula in your 2.0L turbo Subaru, I love it in mine!)
    Delvac1 (A 5W-40 heavy duty product from the same company… Gee I wonder if it’s the same as the cheaper M1 5W-40…)
    Motul 5W-40 “Motorsport” V (these guys love esters)
    Amsoil (EXCEPT the XL7500 that prompted me to quote ol’ Julius…)
    Imported Castrol 0W-30
    Fuchs (hard to find in the US, I use it in Europe sometimes and I always love spelling it!).

    Most manufacturers also sell blends. These can contain GrII and GrIV base stocks, for example. Some blends are terrific.

    Can we use synthetics in our motors? Well, according to SOA, they neither endorse nor exclude any oil that is API certified SL or later and meets their viscosity requirements. Here’s a thread with the email from a user that asked them directly:

    Synthetic not recommended?

    The odd thing is, even SOA repeat the statement we’re trying to figure out: “Don’t switch back after going synthetic.” I don’t know why! I don’t even know what “synthetic” means in their context. SOA is an American company, so “synthetic” to them and their customers could be a GrIII oil. So, I can use Castrol GTX 5W-30 and then switch to Syntech 5W-30, but I can’t go back to GTX? Huh? But neither of these is truly a synthetic anyway?! Or I can go from Mobil Drive Clean to Mobil1 but then never use Drive Clean again? And what about blends? Castrol sells a blend too, and so does Mobil! What do I do then? Using the “don’t switch back” argument, can I go from a blend to a conventional oil? Why the $#%! not? Can I go from a synth to a blend?…

    I’m only guessing, but I think the bottom line is that this all started when people were still worried about three things: seals, deposits, and additive clash. The issues with seal leaks are now mostly solved; the most typical way one gets a leak using a synthetic nowadays is by using a conventional oil until the seals are shot but gummed up with rubbish, and then switching to a synth later in the game. The synth cleans out the gunk and exposes the faults in the seals, and there goes to the clean driveway. Not the synth’s fault. The issue with deposits and additive clash I can kinda see: by switching back and forth, you’re almost making your own blend inside the motor. You never drain all the old oil out, and different formulations have different additive packages. They should almost universally be compatible, so you won’t get old-school clash, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the best possible performance out the new oil until at least the second oil change you use it. That’s why doing oil analysis after only one oil change on a new oil type won’t give accurate data. Another possible issue would be that you might see increased consumption during the first few drain intervals when the oil type is changed, but this could be true going either way – from synth to conventional or from conventional to synth.

    Still, none of this is the end of the world. This is the 21st century and I ought to be able to buy any oil rated whatever the motor maker specifies and run it with no problems at all. So basically, I took all this time when I could have said “beats me!”
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    He's the one I PM'd ^^^

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    SD_GR,
    You have some very interesting facts... and you have expressed your own creativity in answering this question! I do appreciate you taking the time to inform all of us on the types of oils within the industy and giving your own insights to the situation, it is very well written! After reading, I now have a question, either for you, or for anyone else that may be getting involved with this thread. Among these "synthetics" (as us Americans have come to classify them), which have you found to be the most worthy? Castrol Syntec, Mobil 1, or Motul? I have chosen these three because I have found they come to be among the most common of the younger generation of car enthusiasts! And to anyone... can anyone offer any pro's and con's to the oil company Lucas oils, and there products? Thank you!

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    Hmm... Well, I have not tried Lucas stuff. The Motul may not be API certified; I'd check that for warranty purposes. It's also hard to find. From the other products you mention, I'd pick Mobil1 because I've had great results with it and also -- very important for me -- it's widely available anywhere at a reasonable price.

    See this thread for my results with 5W-40 "Truck/SUV/rebadged Delvac1 flagship superoil:" Synthetic oil data: Mobil 1 used in 2.0L stock motor

    See this thread for even more impressive results with "merely" 5W-30 for more miles and with a bigger turbo on the 2.0L motor:
    got my oil analysis

    I know Trainrex is pleased with Mobil too; he's stated it before and repeats it in this thread.

    Other people have had great results with other products; M1 is simply what I've settled on because it's acceptable to SOA for warranty purposes, I can actually find the stuff and don't have to mail order or join a multi-level marketing scheme to get it, and it's no more expensive than any other synthetic on the store shelf. Also, with the 5W-40 my motor uses less oil than I can measure every 5,000 miles, whereas with 5W-30 I'd use a bit (nothing worrisome, just an observation).

    YMMV as always.
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    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    I am yet to find anyone who has tried Lucas oils... there everywhere, yet it seems like no matter who I ask, they prefer either Castrol, or Mobil. When I first got the car I was using Mobil 1, and then a friend of mine that works at with the race team "Super Auto Bacs" suggested either Castrol or Royal Purple. I personally don't like Royal Purple, so I went with the Castrol... but with your knowlege, and advice, it looks to me that this next fluid change will be more than just fluids, but companies as well, as I will once again try the Mobil 1. As far as the Motul goes. There is a SOA near my house which is an authorized dealer, this of course makes it readily available to me... but also makes me only assume that it would be warranted as they claim to be an authorized dealer. My next subject of choice oil wise would be moving on to the transmission. I have the STi RA gearset that has been hardened, then re-hardened, polished, then micro fine polish finishing. The hardening should prevent breakage, and the polishing helps with smoother shifts and less power loss from transmission drag. In that, the best that I have found is the Motul 75/90 synthetic. Would you suggest otherwise?

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    Re: the motor oil. If you are using Castrol and like the stuff and can find the stuff and it's priced OK, party on. No need to change if it works out for you. If you do change, you might see increased consumption initially and may not be able to get a decent idea of how it's doing until after the first oil drain interval on the new stuff, whatever that may be.

    One indication of an oil's quality when shopping is the rating. Not API; that's almost a given. Look for ACEA ratings. A3 is very tough; A5 is quite tough, and A1 is decent for gas motors. Also look at individual manufacturer approvals; the Germans are really picky and good to go by. BMW "Long-life" (I think L1 is their term or something) specifies over 10,000 miles per drain (I think), and Mercedes use their 229.x series that starts off with an ACEA A3 oil and then specifies more silly stuff, like "run forever with no wear" etc. You get the idea. Still, some very good oils won't give this info (M1 15W-50 states ACEA A3, but 5W-40 doesn't even though it's probably among the best stuff Mobil sells). I know at least one Castrol synthetic, even though it's a GrIII "synth" meets ACEA A3 also, implying it's a good oil regardless of how it's made and how it's marketed.

    For the gearbox, I've stuck with Subaru-supplied conventional GL5 in my stock 5MT gearbox. For motorsport use, people love the Motul gear oil as you say. I've also heard people hate the Mobil1 synthetic gear lube in our boxes (not enough friction, too clangy as a result). Other than that, I've no other info I'm afraid.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    I have heard of the Castrol shortage problem, as some places find not stocking it means something... I don't know, but with my own sources, I have been able to come up on 5 quarts every time! As for the Gearbox Motul sythetic, I am truely a customer for life, untill some one convinces me other wise. I was yet to hear anyone talk about the Mobil gear oil until just now. I hadn't heard good or bad, but as I said, Motul hasn't yet let me down, there fore I guess I will just stick with it!

    BTW, is your WRX just a daily driver?... or do you actually use the car?

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    My WRX is stock, as it's the "family hauler" for us and it's still under warranty anyway, so I keep a meticulous service record and use all the right parts at least for the time being.

    Once in a while when time permits I do take it to empty roads and act a little bit goofy, but that's off the record... I don't have the time to autox/rallyx or the cash for lap events at this point, as fun as either would be.

    Maybe soon though!
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    woah. Knowledge hath been dispensed.

    you got any fun links for us to review and absorb some oil technology information and such?
    I hate my WRX's stock horn....

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