Mostly Mechanical

Auto & Truck Oils, Lubes & Filters – Separating Technology from Hype

Yes Lubrication Has a Silver Bullet – the Gold Standard

Will the real lubrication expert please stand up? I often find that I’m a bit of an “odd duck out” in engineering because I have a different philosophy, perhaps an expert’s philosophy of excellence. Most engineers seem to find respect in being “vendor neutral” generalists who are content when things are working — the classic “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. They say essentially “a lot of companies make good products, and you just need one that works for you”. To me, that’s a lazy cop-out that often carries “vendor neutrality” nearly to the point of customer/consumer abuse. Because there often ARE products of superior performance by exceptional design. If you understand and use superior products effectively, they can deliver BIG performance advantages, and synthetic lubricants are one of those areas.

Yes, learning to evaluate and compare design and performance takes a lot of work. You have to learn your field well, you have to analyze constantly, and you have to suspect everything. And yes, being an advocate for one or two products can make an engineering expert sound like a biased salesman. But I think a genuine expert has his greatest value in researching and identifying the “benchmark” performance standards, and recommending and applying them properly for the greatest customer benefit. I think it’s an engineer’s job to deliver the highest performance/value possible. I’ve done that repeatedly in multiple industries and processes, and have always been able to deliver a strong competitive advantage – usually at least an 80% improvement over what “experts” say is possible.

One paperclip is usually as good as another, and when they aren’t it doesn’t matter. But the more complex the field, the more likely that there is a world technology leader that brings stunning performance and great value to the table. In lubrication fluid and filtration performance, AMSOIL is that leader. We’ve seen it “up close and personal” in our own vehicles, it reflects what the test data and oil analysis reveal, and we know that when you understand the benefits of AMSOIL synthetic lube and filter technologies, you’ll see big benefits for your vehicles and equipment.

Marketing is worthless. AMSOIL is about performance… about data… about being least expensive to use and providing the greatest protection at the same time. That’s real value. I became an AMSOIL dealer because I recognized the best synthetic oils and the cost savings they bring. Amsoil has 25,000 and 35,000 mile oils that when you finally change them are still outperforming most oils when they’re first poured out of their bottles. Hey, show me a better or more cost-effective engine oil than AMSOIL, and I’ll recommend it. Show me a better filter than nanofiber technology, and I’ll recommend it. But my experience says you’ll waste a lot of time looking. Other companies could technically do what Amsoil does, but they won’t — because giving their customers the best value and highest performance possible is the Golden Rule, which takes too much talented dedication and is a violation of their corporate business strategy.

I recently got this e-mail from Tom, an engineer:
Brian, I’m thinking that you’ll have such a field day with the following article (Mark Barnes, “Is There a Lubrication Silver Bullet?” Machinery Lubrication Magazine. January 2006), that I was bound and determined to send it to you . . .can you let me know what you think of it?

My response:

Tom –
Yeh, that’s an interesting article alright. I’d say that if they are going to take “Noria’s strict vendor neutral policy” seriously, Mr. Barnes and a couple of cohorts ought to sign up as Amsoil Dealers and go to Amsoil U. They seem to try hard to be objective, but wow – when you’re smack dab in the middle of billions of dollars of international oil company influence, backed by years of anti-synthetic propaganda, I don’t see how neutral they can be if they don’t get the inside perspective of the one company who has most defined synthetics and has battled big-oil agendas for decades.

At the same time, I’ve seen this scenario before from people considered true experts in their field. Perhaps I’m reading too much into his comments, but it sure sounds familiar. Try this on for size:
About 2-3 years ago I took a new seminar on Global Process Control from one of the most recognized international engineering consultants in the field. 25+ yrs experience, client list history probably as long as your leg, on at least three continents. Yet I saw some serious inaccuracies in his perspectives for one particular high-visibility process – he was taking the entire range of the most expensive high-volume equipment in the industry, and saying it was all a waste of money and low-balling it’s value and performance as a whole. “Throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Over dinner that night, I asked him if all his bad equipment experiences hadn’t been with the two specific widely-advertised household-name brands, and he said yes. I told him that’s the reason why I’ve tested but never selected their equipment – they’re mostly marketing hype jobs with a lot of problems, limitations and quirks, as he had basically pointed out. Then I asked him if he had ever worked with two other lower-profile and lower volume brands which were my top two standards for benchmark performance levels. He looked at me quizzically and said “no”.

I told him something like this: Ed, you and I are great engineers who come from completely different worlds. But for three years, I walked in your shoes a little as the miracle worker they asked to come in ASAP. You need to understand that as a high-performance consultant, you’re never urgently called in to see how great someone’s processes are working. You’re never called in to optimize a process that’s already working real well, but they are curious if it’s possible to improve the performance by another 80%, or if 2% is all they can hope for. These other guys have great performing equipment that’s capable of high performance advantages if you know how to use it, but you never see any of it in your customers – they all call you because they bought crap that doesn’t work and they need you to perform a 15 minute miracle because they’re losing thousands or millions of dollars an hour. The companies I’ve worked for will never call you because their processes run rings around their competitors, far better than anything they’ve ever done before, and they’re optimized to be very profitable and stable. And I gave him an example from one of my automotive launches for Ford, so stunning that he found it hard to believe my numbers: 20% faster than possible, at a defect rate at least 70% below what the suppliers thought was possible. As a favor, I called a plant engineer and verified my memory.

Well, he took that to heart. And the next day he said, you know, what you’ve accomplished for companies is very impressive. But you need to realize that none of the customers I work with have an engineer trained in these processes – much less a good one. They don’t need to buy fancy equipment that makes it easier for them to screw up more things, because they’ll never get the potential out of it.

Several months later I found that on his website he had changed his tune and was applauding a company whose equipment actually performed well.
Can you see what I’m getting at?

In the article, Mr. Barnes says “What about synthetics? What about fuel economy and extended oil drains – it is assumed that I have a preference. Again, my response is the same: I own a newer model car, so I don’t need to be concerned with high-mileage issues. I am fortunate to live in a temperate climate where I am not forced to start my car when it’s -40°F. Most of my driving is on highway (mostly to and from the airport, given how much traveling I do!), and I do not own a boat or trailer to tow uphill on weekends. Therefore, I’m content to change my oil every 5,000 miles as my owners manual recommends. And lastly, I do not race my car in the passing lane (I guess I’m getting old!).

Based on these factors, I choose a brandname, 5W30 mineral oil, which again meets the API and SAE requirements for my vehicle. [Oops – by the API’s own admission, those requirements are minimums only.] That is not to say that you should not use any other oil type, or that synthetics or high-mileage formulations are gimmicks – they’re not. If you live in a colder climate, wish to extend oil drains, have an older car, have a high RPM motorcycle or have particularly severe duty, you may choose to spend the money to upgrade. For me, this doesn’t make sense. By ensuring I maintain my vehicle properly (tire pressure, timing etc.), I can achieve better fuel economy than I can by switching from one oil brand to another.”

Yes, but that distracts from the fact that a 5-10% fuel economy bump when using AMSOIL synthetic oils is an extra boost, in addition to normal proper maintenance. It also ignores the savings of money, and savings of 80% in time and natural resources that you get with 25,000 mile oil changes instead of 5,000 miles. And it ignores the benefits of minimum 70% wear rate reductions which triple the remaining life of an engine.

Look at the last three sentences that conclude his article:
“If you know an application is having lubrication issues, instead of opening the Yellow Pages to look for the next lubricant supplier to invite through the revolving purchasing door, look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Is my lubrication program – areas that I can control such as correct application, cleanliness and storage – up to par?” Is looking for a silver bullet really the answer?”

Here’s a guy (Mark Barnes) that is clearly a seasoned expert but is not focused on high performance cost-savings, because with every customer he’s dealing with the high costs of basic ignorance, or poor practices that create mistakes waiting to happen, or maybe the aftermath of incompetent lube sales guys. I can almost guarantee he’s been in companies whose new maintenance lube guy pumped the wrong grease into 10 different $3,000 motor bearings and they all failed within a day. (That’s why the equipment manufacturers use the grease they do in their bearings: it’s not the best choice, but it IS the one that will sell more motors or rebuild parts when standard greases chemically interact with theirs and pour out of the bearings.) It’s those customers with serious problems that bring him in, because they’re desperate and they heard this guy can help.

And he’s going to buy a new vehicle when his current one has 80,000 or 120,000 miles on it, and he sees no advantage to synthetics because as he admits early in the article, he’s never taken as hard a look at it as his customers assume he has. None of them understands that he doesn’t know his subject matter when he’s talking about synthetic engine oils, or that while his advice works it is FAR from optimal in either cost or performance.

– Brian

A big challenge for both experts and students is data. What data exists, where do you find it, and is it valid? Most lubrication “experts” have never learned to sift through these questions, and data can be hard to come by unless you generate it yourself – which takes lots of time, and requires additional experience and skills. I occasionally see the claim in online forums that Amsoil has no performance data, which is pathetically hilarious because Amsoil has been the King of published data for decades – publishing not only their performance but also the performance of their competition who won’t tell their customers their ASTM test results. Either people can’t find AMSOIL data because they don’t look very hard, or they just listen to others who say there is no data. Mr. Barnes’ expertise is evidently grease, but if he downloaded the Gear Lube White Paper comparison of gear lubes, he might find a clue as to how Amsoil’s greases perform in comparison to conventional petroleum embarrassments.

Another claim is that Amsoil data can’t be trusted because they are the ones who publish it. Several funny problems with that claim: first, they are publishing ASTM test results from certified labs that are used by many oil companies, so if their data isn’t good then neither is any API or SAE data; second, AMSOIL is the only one who publishes test data (even when Exxon-Mobil was asked point-blank for ASTM test data on Mobil 1 vs AMSOIL, they provided nothing but marketing sleight-of-hand); third, although published data claims are legally wide open to false advertising lawsuits, and AMSOIL has huge competitors with deep petro pockets, AMSOIL has never been the subject of even one accusation of false advertising – even though they often publish test results right on their packaging, naming competitive oils. So the decades of legal inaction from AMSOIL’s competition is actual proof that AMSOIL’s test data is accurate.

What Mr. Barnes and Noria seem to miss, steeped in the decades of mediocre petroleum products and synthetic dis-information campaigns, is that the petro companies have a barely-get-by-for-the-specific-application approach, in order to maximize profits. That is reflected in many areas, including the clever API Licensing restrictions which don’t allow high-performance synthetics, and the engine sequence tests. (Fortunately, owners manuals and warranties are based on meeting API/SAE Service Grades, not on being Licensed to display a trademark.)

See, Amsoil’s approach, to engineer the highest possible performance, is the odd duck out. When AMSOIL ran one of their synthetic engine oils through a API Sequence IIIF and had them extend it to triple length, and it flatlined 40% below the failure threshold, the lab boys were stunned – the history of the engine stand had never seen anything like it. To me that makes it rather obvious why Amsoil isn’t going to waste time whining about the API locking them out of Licensing unless they dumb down their product content and performance to the mediocre levels of high petroleum profits.

The ironic thing about Mr. Barnes’ article title is that Amsoil strives to be that Lubrication Silver Bullet — that seems to be their endless mission, and they do it well. To hear Saab experts tell it, AMSOIL is the best Silver Bullet there is to combat fatal sludge formation in sludge-prone engines that cannot stomach API licensed petroleum products, which matches his definition of a Silver Bullet as “a magical weapon, especially one that instantly solves a long-standing problem”.

So from one lubrication expert to another, I’d say that yes, there is a Lubrication Silver Bullet that can stop wear in its’ tracks, lower operating temperatures, lower maintenance costs, use less energy to operate, not allow sludge and varnish buildup, maintain turbochargers in like-new condition, and double or triple equipment life with maximum-performance synthetic lubrication and nanofiber filtration technology. AMSOIL does seem a lot like a Silver Bullet. But in the world of lubrication engineering, you find many who call AMSOIL the Gold Standard.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Amsoil, Fuel Economy, Lubrication Oils & Fluids, Synthetic Oil, Vehicle Maintenance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Authoritative Global-Warming Conclusions: Wake up EPA !

It appears that scientists are continuing to learn a lot more about what actually causes climactic variations. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where perhaps a majority of scientists are outright calling Global Warming and Greenhouse gases a “scam”. Why are these types of positions being taken, even while others are still calling global warming “unequivocal” and treating it as a sky-is-falling fact of tragic proportion?

It appears that those still promoting global warming aren’t keeping up with the data. Two of the best recent examples cover the logic, the issues, and the scientific mechanisms that are driving the most up-to-date scientific opinions:

A recent article in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society is detailed here:

http://www.newsmax.com/insidecover/global_warming/2007/12/10/55974.html

This one – “Global Warming not Affected by Man” covers more detail:
http://www.newsmax.com/brennan/Global_Warming/2007/09/25/35562.html

“The late New Zealand professor Augie Auer explained that three-quarters of the planet is ocean, and 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is governed by water vapour.

“Of that remaining 5 percent, only about 3.6 percent is governed by CO2 and when you break it down even further, studies have shown that the anthropogenic (man-made) contribution to CO2 versus the natural is about 3.2 percent.”

“So if you multiply the total contribution 3.6 by the man-made portion of it, 3.2, you find out that the anthropogenic contribution of CO2 to the the global greenhouse effect is 0.115 percent … that’s like .12 cents in $100. It’s minuscule … it’s nothing. “”

I like to point out a couple of common sense things that seem to escape many people. First, that naturally-caused forest fires generate huge amounts of oxide emissions, and mankind already does a great deal to prevent and extinquish such fires – that alone does a lot to reduce our “carbon footprint”. And second, mankind’s worldwide activities can’t hold a candle to the output from a volcanic eruption.

Finally, the scientific research is getting to the point where it can effectively explain common sense. So back to diesels: Mr. EPA, how about rolling back the greenhouse gas emissions requirements set in place for 2007 vehicles, and unleashing modern diesels to get a 10% fuel economy improvement? Isn’t saving 10% in fuel economy more environmentally responsible than reducing gas emissions that have no measurable environmental impact?

February 23, 2008 Posted by | Diesel, Environment, Environmental Issues, Fraud Alert, Fuel Economy, Global Warming | , , , , | 2 Comments

Better Fuel Economy – Made Easy

OK.  You want to get more MPG, but you don’t want to waste time and money.  And with all the marketing hype and “snake-oil” sales, you just don’t know where to start or who you can REALLY trust.  Yeh… been there. But I’ve got an advantage, and I can help you.

See, being trained as a Mechanical Engineer, I know how to put in the work to research, sort out the baloney, and verify and measure my conclusions with testing.  I’ve learned quite a bit in the last few years, and the good news is that I don’t charge you a dime for this info.  I’ve got a fully detailed article online that has over 30 ways to improve your gas mileage, located at http://www.ultimatesyntheticoil.com/Improve_Fuel_Economy/Increase_Fuel_Economy.htm 

Here are some of the best & biggest ways I’ve found to improve fuel economy:

  1. Use optimal tire pressure: it’s higher than the “normal” cushy 28-33 psi pressures often recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – typically you need 38-40 psi because that’s how the TIRE manufacturer designed them.  This will give you better and safer handling in all weather conditions, increase your tire life by 20-60%, and typically add 3-6% to your fuel economy.  Hint: DON’T use a typical cheap “stick” tire gauge, because they produce underinflated tires.
  2. Switch to premium long-life synthetic lubricants in your engine, transmission, differential, and grease fittings.  You want the ones that are designed – and warranted – for 25,000 or 35,000 mile oil change intervals, because they are cheapest to use and they deliver a typical 5-12% fuel economy improvement.  Didn’t know those existed?  We’re not surprised.  (Another secret: combine those with military nanofiber filtration technology for your oil and air filters.  Together, they deliver 1 year/25,000 mile maintenance intervals.)
  3. Upgrade your engine air intake system.  A nanofiber air filter can help mileage in some cases, but it’s a small benefit that’s dependent on the air intake design.  Aftermarket air-intake systems are available for most vehicles.  Two of the best are Airaid http://www.airaid.com/ and AFE https://www.AFEfilters.com/.  Once you have the air intake system upgrade (ranging $150-$400), you can add a nanofiber air filter to maximize flow and engine protection: http://www.ultimatesyntheticoil.com/Filters/Ea_Nanofiber_Air_induction_filters.htm
  4. Upgrade your exhaust system.  Basically, anytime you improve your engine’s ability to pull air in or exhaust the combustion gases, you are improving your vehicle’s efficiency.  That translates to better fuel economy (unless your right foot gets more active).

How do you know what your actual fuel economy improvement really is?  You have to record your mileage and your gallons every time you fill up.  If you do that for at least 10 tanks before the improvements, and 10 tanks afterward, you can calculate the actual MPG improvement.  Anything less than 10 fillups before/after tends to make the MPG calculations less accurate because it doesn’t evenly include all your driving conditions. 

Again, there’s a lot more useful and FREE info on saving fuel: http://www.ultimatesyntheticoil.com/Improve_Fuel_Economy/Increase_Fuel_Economy.htm
Highflow Nanofiber Filters for air intake kits by Green, AFE, Airaid, Trueflow & others.

July 28, 2006 Posted by | Fuel Economy | Leave a comment

Hello world!

One of the greatest benefits of the modern world are mechanical devices.  Cars & trucks are great examples: we can’t hardly live without them, but might wonder if we can afford them.  What vehicle we drive is determined by a very individual combination of what we can afford, what we need, what is cool, what we found on the lot, what our job & hobby activities are, and what someone talked us into buying.  Much of our vehicle money depends on the fuel, the maintenance, and the mileage life of the vehicle.  A huge number of people and companies are trying to separate our vehicle-related money from our pockets.  How are we suckers supposed to tell fact from fiction, tests from slogans, and endorsement from advertising contracts? 

Well, here I go.  Trying to rescue people from the endless drivel of marketing slogans, false product claims, and media hype.  Forget 40 year old technology with 3,000 mile oil changes.  Think REAL synthetics.  Think military nanofiber filtration technology.  Think standardized ASTM test data.  Is that a bit much?  I’ll help you through it, in plain language, so you can learn how to NOT be taken advantage of.

A word about integrity and purpose:  Whether here or on my website at www.UltimateSyntheticOil.com I will mention various lubrication or filtration products.  I may bash them, question them, applaud them, or heartily endorse those who are worthy.  One particular product line – AMSOIL – happens to stand much taller than the rest of the field.  And it may seem, to the majority of the uninformed public, that my comments or AMSOIL’s claims are just marketing baloney.  Not so.  These aren’t crazy infomercial claims – they’re simply the measured and recorded performance results of more than 30 years of engineered excellence, from the world leader in both lubrication & filtration technology. 

No-one else offers 25,000 or 35,000 mile engine oils, no-one else offers the modern breakthrough of nanofiber filtration technology, and no-one else guarantees their product performance.  In the simplest terms, that’s why I firmly believe that there are no better products in existence.  As a mechanical engineer with 10 years of experience in the automotive industry, I stand by the performance of Amsoil products.  I recommend these products based on hundreds of hours of personal research and years of personal use in my own vehicles, so I’m confident the products will perform as claimed (or better) – to produce great benefits to you.  

In fact, I became an Amsoil dealer in order to help YOU, and I tell you about Preferred Customer membership (giving up “my” retail profit), specifically so that you know I’m not being deceptive and trying to get your money. 

Beyond that, I have a personal dislike for deception, fraud, and dishonesty.  Our society is suffering much because of moral retardation, and censorship of inconvenient facts.  Or perhaps we could say that those who pay get their voice heard, while the truth is stored in the basement.  Gay lifestyle, evolution, environmental activism, these and many more areas are dominated by deception and strong social pressure to adhere to the liberal party line.  Not going to happen here.  It’s time for Americans to find their backbone again and stand for truth, no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

July 21, 2006 Posted by | Filtration Technologies, Fuel Economy, Lubrication Oils & Fluids, Uncategorized | Leave a comment