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Thread: Oil Advice And Recommendations Here

  1. #81
    MPG is the new BHP SM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman
    Let me know in advance how much so that I can ensure we have enough on the shelf.
    Probably about 14 10w50 & 6 5w40 .....

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    Lubricating a Subaru

    This is probably the longest post on this Forum but certainly one of the most interesting and relevant to all Subaru or High Powered Car Owners.

    It is the "FULL" unedited transcript of the article written by John Rowland (Chief R&D Chemist for Silkolene) with 40 years experience.

    It is great educational reading as it is written by a Chemist, not a Salesman so totally based in facts - If you do one thing, read this, it's worth it!

    I do not work for Silkolene, I'm a car enthusiast who owns an Oil Company that sells their products amongst others. I have Johns express permission to post this article to clear up as he says "the mis-information" on the internet.

    Lubricating the Subaru.

    Basically

    Basically, to use that irritating in-word, engine lubrication is simple, and consequently boring. So I intend to treat the subject “complicatedly”, which may not be an in-word, but makes life far more interesting!

    So, to take a quick look at the simple picture; the oil keeps moving parts apart, reducing friction and carrying away heat. Where there is metal-to-metal contact there are chemicals in the oil to reduce damage. Because the internal combustion process is always less than perfect, some soot is produced and this must be washed off the pistons and rings by the oil, so it has a cleaning or detergent function as well.

    The trouble is, all this is just as true for Henry Ford’s original Model T engine as it is for the Subaru or any other high output motor. So where is the difference? The Model T, with 10bhp/litre at 2,000rpm and a single underhead camshaft, was filled with a thick, greenish liquid from somewhere near the bottom of the distillation colums on the Pennsylvania oilfields. It did a vague tour of the internals by guesswork (there was no oil pump) at a temperature around 50 degC, and lasted for 1,000 miles. On the plus side, some of the impurities acted as anti-wear and detergent chemicals. They didn’t work very well, but it was better than nothing. The engine wore out in around 20,000 miles, but even ordinary people, not just amateur rally drivers, were happy to put up with this.

    The difference begins with the first turn of the key. The modern high-pressure pump would cavitate on the old heavy monogrades, starving the bearings for a vital couple of seconds, even in warm weather. Likewise, cam lobes would suffer as the sluggish oil found its way along narrow oil ways to the valve gear. The turbo bearing (if fitted as the handbooks say) already spinning fast, would also starve, and when it got going, how long would it be before the heat soak-back fried the primitive oil into a lump of carbon? (This was the problem with “modern” oils only 15 years ago).

    So, a good oil must be quite low in viscosity even in the cold, so that it gets around the engine in a fraction of a second on start-up. On the other hand, it must protect engine components (piston rings for example) at temperatures up to 300 degC without evaporating or carbonising, and maintain oil pressure.

    Unmodified thin oils simply can’t manage this balancing act. The answer is to use a mixture of thin oil and temperature-sensitive polymer, so as the thin oil gets even thinner with increasing temperatures as the engine warms up, the polymer expands and fights back, keeping the viscosity at a reasonable level to hold oil pressure and film thickness on the bearings. This is called a multigrade.

    But, this is all too basic! What I have just written was and is relevant to a 1958 Morris Minor.

    The questions that Subaru owners need to ask are: “Will this thin oil evaporate and be drawn into the intake manifold (via the closed circuit crankcase ventilation), leading to combustion chamber deposits and de-activated catalysts?” and “Will the polymer shear down at high engine revolutions and high temperatures, causing low oil pressure and component wear?” and “Will it carbonise on the turbo bearing?” These are 21st century questions which cannot be answered by a basic 1990’s approach.

    BUT! Before we head into more complications, some figures………

    The SAE Business (American Society of Automotive Engineers)

    Viscosity is the force required to shear the oil at a certain speed and temperature. Oils work because they have viscosity; the drag of a rotating part pulls oil from a low-pressure area into a high pressure area and “floats” the surfaces apart. This is called “hydrodynamic lubrication”, and crank bearings depend on it. In fact a plain bearing running properly shows literally no metal-to-metal contact. Experimental set-ups have shown that electrical current will not flow from a crank main bearing to the shells. Also, the energy loss due to friction (the co-efficient of friction) is incredibly low, around 0.001. So for every kilogram pulling one way, friction fights back with one gram. This is very much better than any “dry” situation. For example, the much over-rated plastic PTFE has a co-efficient of friction on steel of 0.1, 100 times worse than oil.

    Oil viscosities are accurately measured in units called “Centistokes” at exactly 100 degC. These fall into five high temperature SAE catagories:-

    SAE No. 20 30 40 50 60
    Viscosity Range 5.6 - <9.3 9.3 - <12.5 12.5 - <16.3 16.3 - <21.9 21.9 - <26

    A decent quality oil usually has a viscosity that falls in the middle of the spec, so a SAE 40 will be about 14 Centistoke units, but SAE ratings are quite wide, so it’s possible for one 40 oil to be noticeably thicker or thinner than another.

    When the polymer modified multigrades appeared, a low temperature range of tests were brought in, called “W” for winter (it doesn’t mean weight). These simulate cold starta at different non-ferrous monkey endangering temperatures from –15 degC for the 20w test to a desperate –35 degC for 0w. So, for example, an SAE 5w-40 oil is one that has a viscosity of less than 6600 units at –30 degC, and a viscosity of about 14 units at 100 degC.

    Now, those of you who have been paying attention will say “Just a minute! I thought you said these multigrade polymers stopped the oil thinning down, but 6600 to 14 looks like a lot of thinning to me!”. Good point, but the oil does flow enough to allow a marginal start at –30 degC, and 14 is plenty of viscosity when the engine is running normally. (A lot more could damage the engine. Nobody uses the 24 viscosity SAE 60 oils any more.) The vital point is, a monograde 40 would be just like candle wax at –30 degC, and not much better at –10 degC. It would even give the starter motor a fairly difficult time at 0 degC. (At 0 degC, a 5w-40 has a viscosity of 800 but the monograde 40 is up at 3200!)

    Another basic point about wide ranging multigrades such as 5w-40 or 0w-40 is that they save fuel at cruising speeds, and release more power at full throttle. But complications arise……..

    Building a good oil

    A cave may not be the best place to live, but it’s ready-made and cheap. This is the estate agent’s equivalent of an old style monograde oil. Or you could get Hengist Pod to fit a window and a door; this is moving up to a cheap and cheerful mineral 20w-50. But an architect-designed “machine for living in”, built up brick by brick, is an allegory of a high performance synthetic oil.

    It is impossible to make a good 5w-40, or even 10w-40, using only mineral oil. The base oil is so thin, it just evaporates away at the high temperatures found in a powerful engine that is being used seriously. Although there are chemical compounds in there to prevent oil breakdown by oxygen in the atmosphere (oxidation) they cannot adequately protect vulnerable mineral oil at the 130 degC plus sump temperatures found in hard worked turbocharged or re-mapped engines.

    Synthetics are the answer. They are built up from simple chemical units, brick by brick so as to speak; to make an architect-designed oil with properties to suit the modern engine.

    But sometimes, if you look behind the façade, there is a nurky old cave at the back! This is because the marketing men have been meddling!

    The Synthetic Myth

    What do we mean by the word “synthetic”? Once, it meant the “brick by brick” chemical building of a designer oil, but the waters have been muddied by a court case that took place in the USA a few years ago, where the right to call heavily-modified mineral oil “synthetic”, was won. This was the answer to the ad-man’s dream; the chance to use that sexy word “synthetic” on the can….without spending much extra on the contents! Most lower cost “synthetic” or “semi-synthetic” oils use these hydrocracked mineral oils. They do have some advantages, particularly in commercial diesel lubricants, but their value in performance engines is marginal.

    TRUE synthetics are expensive (about 6 times more than top quality mineral oils). Looked at non-basically there are three broad catagories, each containing dozens of types and viscosity grades:-

    PIB’s (Polyisobutanes)

    These are occasionally used as thickeners in motor oils and gear oils, but their main application is to suppress smoke in 2-strokes.

    The two important ones are:

    Esters

    All jet engines are lubricated with synthetic esters, and have been for 50 years, but these expensive fluids only started to appear in petrol engine oils about 20 years ago. Thanks to their aviation origins, the types suitable for lubricants (esters also appear in perfumes; they are different!) work well from –50 degC to 200 degC, and they have a useful extra trick.

    Due to their structure, ester molecules are “polar”; they stick to metal surfaces using electrostatic forces. This means that a protective layer is there at all times, even during that crucial start-up period. This helps to protect cams, gears, piston rings and valve train components, where lubrication is “boundary” rather than “hydrodynamic”, i.e. a very thin non-pressure fed film has to hold the surface apart. Even crank bearings benefit at starts, stops or when extreme shock loads upset the “hydrodynamic” film. (Are you listening, all you rally drivers and off road fanatics?)

    Synthetic Hydrocarbons or POA’s (Poly Alpha Olefins)

    These are, in effect, very precisely made equivalents to the most desirable mineral oil molecules. As with esters, they work very well at low temperatures, and equally well when the heat is on, if protected by anti-oxidants. The difference is, they are inert, and not polar. In fact, on their own they are hopeless “boundary” lubricants, with LESS load carrying ability than a mineral oil. They depend entirely on the correct chemical enhancements.

    PAO’s work best in combination with esters. The esters assist load carrying, reduce friction, and cut down seal drag and wear, whilst the PAO’s act as solvents for the multigrade polymers and a large assortment of special compounds that act as dispersants, detergents, anti-wear and oxidant agents, and foam suppressants. Both are very good at resisting high-temperature evaporation, and the esters in particular will never carbonise in turbo bearings even when provoked by anti-lag systems.

    Must Have MORE Power!

    Motorcars are bought for all sorts of reasons, but enthusiasts like lots of power. To get more power, a lot of fuel must be burnt, and more than half of it, sadly, gets thrown away as waste heat. For every litre of fuel burnt, 60% of the energy goes as waste heat into the exhaust and cooling system. A turbocharger can extract a few percent as useful energy and convert it into pressure on the intake side, but only 40-45% is left, and only 25% actually shows up as BHP at the flywheel. 6% goes in pumping air into the engine, 6% as oil drag losses and 2-3% as engine friction. The oil deals with 97% of the friction; so reducing the remaining few percent is not easy. If you doubt that even ordinary oil has a massive effect, take a clean, dry 200 bhp engine, connect it to a dyno and start it up. It will only make 1 bhp for a few seconds. Now that’s real friction for you!

    Oddly enough, people get starry-eyed about reducing friction, especially those half-wits who peddle silly “magic additives”, which have not the smallest effect on friction but rapidly corrode bearings and wallet contents. In fact, even a virtually impossible 50% reduction in the remaining engine friction would be no big deal, perhaps one or two bhp or a couple of extra miles per gallon.

    Even More Power!

    The place to look for extra power is in that 6% lost as oil drag. In a well-designed modern motor, the oil doesn’t have to cover up for wide clearances, poor oil pump capacity or flexy crankshafts, so it can be quite thin. How thin? Well take a look at these dyno results.

    A while ago now, we ran three Silkolene performance oils in a Honda Blackbird motorcycle. this fearsome device is fitted with a light, compact, naturally aspirated 1100cc engine which turns out 120+ bhp at the back wheel. The normal fill for this one-year-old engine was 15w-50, so the first reading was taken using a fresh sump-fill of this grade. (The dyno was set up for EEC horsepower, i.e. Pessimistic)

    15w-50

    Max Power 127.9 bhp @ 9750 rpm
    Torque 75.8 ft-lbs @ 7300 rpm

    After a flush-out and fill up with 5w-40 the readings were;

    5w-40

    Max Power 131.6 bhp @ 9750 rpm
    Torque 77.7 ft-lbs @ 7400 rpm

    Then we tried an experimental grade, 0w-20 yes, 0w-20! This wasn’t as risky as you may think, because this grade had already done a season’s racing with the Kawasaki World Superbike Team, giving them some useful extra power with no reliability problems. (But it must be said, they were only interested in 200 frantic miles before the engines went back to Japan)

    0w-20

    Max Power 134.4 bhp @ 9750 rpm
    Torque 78.9 ft-lbs @ 7400 rpm

    In other words, 3.7 bhp / 2.9% increase from 15w-50 to 5w-40, a 2.8 bhp / 2.1% increase from 5w-40 to 0w-20 or a 6.5 bhp / 5% overall. Not bad, just for changing the oil! More to the point, a keen bike owner would have paid at least £1000 to see less improvement than this using the conventional approach of exhaust/intake mods, ignition re-mapping etc.

    Am I recommending that you use 0w-20 in your Subaru’s? Well, perhaps not! The 5w-40, which is a “proper” PAO/Ester shear-stable synthetic, will look after a powerful engine better than a heavier viscosity “cave at the back” conventional oil, and provide a useful extra few BHP.

    The End

    However, as with all good things in life, we don’t live in a world of perfect motor cars and therefore we have to look at the lubrication trade-off between longevity, reliability, power and cost, relative to the vehicle in which the oil is being used (a scruffy old XR2i with 192,000 miles on the clockis a very different proposition to your spanking new Impreza). Which is why Subaru (and probably your local dealer) recommends a 10w-50 (Such as PRO S); you could look at a 5w-40 for competition and track-day use, but only the most committed competitor would want, or need, the 0w-20 for the extra 5% power.

    Cheers
    Simon
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  3. #83
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    Simon please let me know what you think to the following 2 oils based on the specification I give you. It will be used in a 1.8l Turbo 620bhp that gets the t1ts thrashed off it at every opportunity. Thanks for your time.

    Oil 1: -

    film strength: 7
    API service class: SH/CD
    SAE grade: 10W/40
    Viscosity @100.F: 475 SUS @40.C: 80 cSt
    Pour point: -30.F
    Flash point: 415.F
    RPM limit: 12,000
    Certification: API SH/CD
    also contain rust inhibitors

    Oil 2: -

    film strength: 8
    API service class: SH/CD
    SAE grade: 20W/50
    Viscosity @100.F: 900 SUS @40.C: 160 cSt
    Pour point: -30.F
    Flash point: 415.F
    RPM limit: Unlimited
    Certification: API SH/CD
    also contain rust inhibitors

  4. #84
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    LOL, Richie been nicking the MOD's Oils again

    Dave

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    Not quite Dave but all will be revealed soon m8. The Aviation oil used in the gas turbine engines that I work on are much too thin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richie
    Simon please let me know what you think to the following 2 oils based on the specification I give you. It will be used in a 1.8l Turbo 620bhp that gets the t1ts thrashed off it at every opportunity. Thanks for your time.

    Oil 1: -

    film strength: 7
    API service class: SH/CD
    SAE grade: 10W/40
    Viscosity @100.F: 475 SUS @40.C: 80 cSt
    Pour point: -30.F
    Flash point: 415.F
    RPM limit: 12,000
    Certification: API SH/CD
    also contain rust inhibitors

    Oil 2: -

    film strength: 8
    API service class: SH/CD
    SAE grade: 20W/50
    Viscosity @100.F: 900 SUS @40.C: 160 cSt
    Pour point: -30.F
    Flash point: 415.F
    RPM limit: Unlimited
    Certification: API SH/CD
    also contain rust inhibitors
    xxxx that's some car you have there!

    Is this a trick question

    My guess is that they're American, probably Royal Purple or Redline. The reason I say this is that most figures for European oils are quoted in degC. Being SH petrol spec, they are 2 behind the current API of SL.

    Prey do tell, post a link for me so I can check them out. Are they PAO's, Esters or a mix? Do you have the VI Index for both?

    On the viscosities and the selection, 20w-50 is probably too heavy all around, you really don't need a 20w.

    10w-40 is ok but with your BHP I would consider 10w-50 or possibly 15w-50.

    Sorry can't be of more help.

    Cheers
    Simon
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  7. #87
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    No trick question m8 I just thought I would use some of your knowledge and experience to see what you think of the above based on the specification. This oil is neither of the companies that you mentioned but I have e-mailed you a link. You have probably never heard of them as their products are only really used by racing teams (NASCAR, Drag etc) in the States.

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    I asked John to look at the data and here is his reply.

    Simon:
    Everything that Klotz say about their Racing Techniplate 10W/40 and 20W/50 oils could be said about any good quality European multigrade. They are obviously mineral based, possibly with a small amount of ester to justify the ‘Techniplate’ buzz-word. (See our ‘Elecrosyntec’ and Castrol’s ‘Magnatec’!) There are 3 absurdities in the specs.: 1) Film Strength 7 or 8. Meaningless without test details. 2) RPM limit 12,000. This is defined by physics, not oil! At 12,000 a kart engine is not even trying; at 6,000 a 14 litre diesel is in kit form. 3) 60% biodegradable formula. Just about anything less inert than tungsten carbide is biodegradable if you give it long enough! Meaningless without test data and a time limit.
    JR

    Cheers
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    Hi Simon

    I thought I'd read that the greater the difference between the two weight values, the poorer the oil gets in some way? Otherwise the perfect oil (for us) would surely be something like 0w50 - really thin at startup, and capable of coping with high temps.

    Or am I mistaken?


    (I've always put 5w40 in my 200s, although I'm going to try some 10w50 for the remainder of the summer and for at Silverstone, just to see. )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tombs
    I thought I'd read that the greater the difference between the two weight values, the poorer the oil gets in some way? Otherwise the perfect oil (for us) would surely be something like 0w50 - really thin at startup, and capable of coping with high temps.

    Or am I mistaken?
    No not really, it's sort of correct.

    The most difficult oils to blend successfully are ones with a wide viscosity range (5w-50, 0w-40 etc) and this can only be achieved successfully with synthetics and a very heavy slug of VI Improver to make it "stay in grade".

    The problem is these oils can degrade or "shear" after a short space of time unless they are either ester blend or contain very "high grade" VI Improvers, it's an extremely fine balancing act, the additive package must be spot on!

    As a rule, and there are some exceptions all 0w, 5w or 10w oils are made with synthetics to give the best cold flow and thermal stability.

    Hope this helps
    Simon
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    Simon,

    I'd be interested in your recommendations for my car, probably the same as the others but figured I'd check anyway . Please can you also PM me a price list?

    91 S13
    1.8 ca18det turbo'd engine (approaching 80,000 miles)
    Mods include front-mounted intercooler, stage 1 chip, standard turbo albeit at 15psi. Probably around the 230bhp mark but I'd be looking at taking that over 250.

    No track use but (legally) fast road use .

    Currently using Castrol RS 10w60.

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    Mart,

    I would recommend that you consider the Silkolene Pro S 10w-50 over the Castrol 10w-60, the reasons for this are:

    The point about 10w-60 and 10w-50 is Heavily modified or performance engines, especially turbocharged, need a heat resistant PAO/ester/stable VI improver synthetic. (More important than the actual viscosity rating.)

    A non-ester 10w-60, after a thousand miles or so, (much less in competition use) will be thinner than an ester 10w-50.

    In other words what started life as a 10w-60 could actually be a 10w-40 within a short space of time. It's the use that sorts the oil out!

    Regarding prices you will need to e-mail me for full price list at sales@opieoils.co.uk

    Tech specs on the recomended oil here http://www.opieoils.co.uk/lubricants.htm

    Cheers

    Simon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman
    what started life as a 10w-60 could actually be a 10w-40 within a short space of time...
    ...which might be better than the 10w60 for the engine, anyway!

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    On that note, do you think 10w50 or 10w60 for that matter would be too high a viscosity or is a thicker oil better for the older S13 engines?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mart
    On that note, do you think 10w50 or 10w60 for that matter would be too high a viscosity or is a thicker oil better for the older S13 engines?
    10w-60 is too thick but 10w-50 would be fine for you.

    Cheers
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    Hi simon just a quicky Ive got ca18 109000 fmic std turbo running approx 200 bhp the prev owners have using 5w40 f. syn for about 4years in this car would I need to change as I used to use 15w50w in my old car I await with anticipation

    andypat

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    Would stick to 5w-40, 10w-40 or 10w-50.

    Hope this helps,

    Cheers
    Simon
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    Hi Simon i would like your recommendation on some oil for my motor

    S14
    Year, 95
    Engine Size, 2.0
    Engine Type, SR20DET
    Any Mods, Stage 1 chip, boost controller set at 1 bar,air filtter,exhaust with decat, walbro fuel pump
    Type of driving, i do about 10 to 20 miles a day and i don't take it easy all the time its got 138k on the engine, i've only had it 4 weeks so i want to give it a good oil change

    Thanks Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by lee75
    Hi Simon i would like your recommendation on some oil for my motor

    S14
    Year, 95
    Engine Size, 2.0
    Engine Type, SR20DET
    Any Mods, Stage 1 chip, boost controller set at 1 bar,air filtter,exhaust with decat, walbro fuel pump
    Type of driving, i do about 10 to 20 miles a day and i don't take it easy all the time its got 138k on the engine, i've only had it 4 weeks so i want to give it a good oil change

    Thanks Lee
    Lee,

    I would stick to a good quality fully synthetic 5w-40, 10w-40 or 10w-50 depending on your style of driving. We have dealt with quite a few 200SX's and the general trend is towards the ester based Silkolene Pro S 10w-50 as most of these cars are modified and driven quite hard.

    If you read through this thread you will see what the benefits of ester are.

    Any further questions just ask.

    Hope this helps.

    Guy.
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  20. #100
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    Thanks Guy, i think i've read it but i can't remember,
    Memory like a gold fish

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