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Why use synthetic oil

24086 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  K1W1
I have heard all the arguements for an against. I have used Mobil 1 exclusively since 1986 in everything. Cars, bikes, tractor, ATV.

Well, I drive mega miles for work. I also buy Toyota trucks. Most have made it well past 200,000 miles with minimal work unless I wreck them. I run a 12,000 mile oil change interval and use OEM filters.

My latest, a 1995 Tacoma (I purchased used from my brother who also ran synthetic since it was new), was at 299,000 and barfed the headgasket. I told my mechanic buddy, if the valves are still at spec and in good shape lets fix her. He called me last night and said it was the first Tacoma he had worked on at this mileage that the valves were still in spec. He sees hundreds of these trucks as he is a lead tech at the local dealership. He asked when I adjusted the valves last....... I never have done it. I checked them at 200,000 when I dropped new valve cover gaskets in it, they were good then.

He went on to say the engine was extremely clean inside. The cam lobes were beautiful and he said he would not even bother to hone the cylinders...they measeured fine and looked like mirrors. This truck burns no oil.

The last ione went 425,000. this one I am shooting for 500,000.
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Isn't there a problem using Mobil 1 for motorcycles? Do they have a specific (non-energy conserving) oil for bikes? I thought you couldn't use those with anything that used engine oil in the clutch/gearbox.

FWIW, I have run synthetic in every car I've owned... oil is cheap enough that it seems silly to save money on that. Also, at this point, my car, my motorcycle, and my lawnmower all use the same grade of rotella, which makes my life a lot easier.
 

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a problem using Mobil 1 for motorcycles?
There are seventeen different Mobil 1 oils, including eight 40 & 50 wt. oils. They have motorcycle specific 10W-40 and 20W-50 oils. Among their other oils, I do not see a any place where these eight are "not recommended" for motorcycle or other wet clutch uses. (In the past the 15W-50 was "not recommended" for motorcycles with wet clutches, but that has been changed on the current product data sheet). And, if I missed anything on the Mobil data, it ain't the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The lower viscosity Mobil 1 oils for cars are energy conserving with friction modifiers and should not go in a wet clutch.

I use "4T" 10w40 (moto specific oil) in the Strom because Autozone now carries it. Look at the API label. It should NOT say energy conserving and should say JASO rated.

As for personal choice...the scientific FACTS are out there for all to find and review. This is a better product to use.....period. I will not bore anybody with why its better but it goes beyond reduced engine wear reasons.

All synthetics are not true synthetics either. In the US highly refined dino oil can be marketed as "synthetic". This is not the case in Europe. So if it is marketed in Europe as well as the US it should be a true synthetic.

The Rotella oils are not true synthetics....from what I have been informed, however, I have not bothered to verify because I love Mobil 1.
 

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I overheard the service manager at my local dealership say that synthetic oil causes clutch plates in wet clutches like the Strom to break down a lot faster than with traditional oil. This doesn't make sense to me. How can an oil provide [arguably] better lubrication for engine components but make clutch plates wear faster?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your service manager has his facts a little screwed up. If you use synthetic...or even dino oil, that has friction modifiers in the additive package, it may cause the clutch plates to slip under high load. My Honda dirt bike suffered this before I realized my misstake.

The plates do not "break down" but can glaze over and the clutch will slip. This will require you to replace the fiber plates, the steel intermediate plates will be fine.

My Strom has been drinking synthetic oil since 1,000 miles. It has 54,000 on it now and the clutch plates are engaging and holding under load very well. I expected to have to put fiber plates in by now but so far....clutch is working very well.
 

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Synthetic and dino oil are both organic oil. The long chain molecule additives, for extra shear protection, put into synthetics is the only difference. Oil is oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No sir...oil is not oil.

True synthetics are completely made up of long chain molecules all of a specific size. This is where highly refined oils marketed as "synthetics" differ though. These oils are highly refined to try to get all one size molecule and are dam near as good as the real thing.

The main thing similar between synthetic and any old oil is they are both slippery. When I was in the mechanical engineering department (before switching to civil), we tried the old Mobil 1 expirament. You can try it too.

Take a frying pan and cook dino oil...watch what happend as it gets above 275f. Try it with synthetic...it is still oil and not turning into tar.

Harley recommends synthetic in their bikes because they are air cooled and run hotter than your strom.

As I said, the info is out there for all to read. Argue if you please...thats cool. But, if you value long change intervals, great cold start lubrication, the safety of knowing if your true love over heats it will not cook the oil, and for me...that the engine will last longer.....


Then oil is not oil.
 

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Harley recommends synthetic in their bikes because they are air cooled and run hotter than your strom.
For years, Harley publications, service bulletins, and factory representatives all railed against the use of synthetic oils. If you asked about it in a HD service department, you'd hear horror stories of slipped bearings, rings that never seated, leaks, etc. And multigrade? Jesus, you'd have thought you were proposing putting baby seal otter oil in your crankcase.

Oddly, that all stopped when they started selling their own brand of multigrade synthetic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes HD did. For years a lot of myths surrounded syn oils and all vehicle makers (cars included) poo pooed it.

Harley's new engines are worlds different than the older ones. The older ones ran straight grade due to heat issues and loose tolerances...the newer ones have tolerances closer to foriegn builders and now use multi-grades.

It is not in any company's interest to make your engine last forever, they want to sell new ones to you and only are concerned that their engine make it past warranty stage.

Many high perfomance vehicles come from the factory with syn. The screaming eagle high performance HDs are factory filled with syn oil now.
 

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First, shame on you for not keeping this in the one and only oil thread. The mods are going to punish you! ;)

On my last oil change, I splurged and used 4T 10W-40 motorcycle specific oil: $9.99/qt!

I will never go back.

I have no scientific information to offer that I did not hear from somewhere else. But the performance speaks volumes to me.

The oil now has 6,000 miles on it. (I'm broke at the moment.) It performs as well as new dino oil. I do not race or anything; I am going off of how the engine sounds and how well it shifts.

Just my two cents...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yep, I realized that and I am not trying to be an anarchist about it. I figured I was discussing an oil type not brand nor viscosity. There are several quality syn oils out now. All are better than the best dino oil.

And the whole idea for this thread came from the tear down of my truck....but, I expected to get it moved or yanked.
 

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Mobil 1 isnt a true synthetic either, there are actually very few out there. Getting worked up over what oil to use is a waste of time, just use the specs that the OEM specifies and you will be fine. Go with a higher spec oil, and it for sure isnt gonna hurt anything.:fineprint: They are all of really good quality, but there is for sure good......better......and best for almost any application. Many Subaru owners use Rotella T6, I run Pennzoil Platinum in my Subie at the moment.......both of my bikes currently have T6 in them.
 

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geees, a lot of synthetic substances, fabrics/fibers, plastics are petroleum based, why can't synthetic oil start as petroleum :confused:

what is "true synthetic" what does it have to be made from ? jojoba beans ?



 

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My vee has had synthetic oil in it from the first oil change at 600 miles. Mobil 1 15w50. When I pulled my bike down to have the clutch basket done the clutch looked to be brand new. Only one friction plate was shined up, two had some shiny spots, the rest looked as new with the cross hatching still intact. All of my fiber plates measured as new as well. I have had great luck with synthetics in my motorcycles. And I never use a motor cycle specific oil. At the time of the teardown the bike was just shy of 22000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ahh Big B...we have been cruising the WWW and fact finding. I will give a little in that there is debate on whether M1 is a true pao full syn oil. I have not gotten definitive answers myself but its irrelevent to my recommendation. Even the refined "sort of synthetics" are vastly superior to dino oil.

Like I said, get the wifes frying pan and fry up your favorite dino oil...with chicken if you like.

Amsoil has spread a lot of bunk about M1. However, Amsoil is a great product and I hear better than M1. But Autozone no have Amsoil.

And I do not mean to imply that your strom will go kaboom with cheap oil. Only that it will perform better and last longer by using a better product.
 

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Ahh Big B...we have been cruising the WWW and fact finding. I will give a little in that there is debate on whether M1 is a true pao full syn oil. I have not gotten definitive answers myself but its irrelevent to my recommendation. Even the refined "sort of synthetics" are vastly superior to dino oil.

Like I said, get the wifes frying pan and fry up your favorite dino oil...with chicken if you like.

Amsoil has spread a lot of bunk about M1. However, Amsoil is a great product and I hear better than M1. But Autozone no have Amsoil.

And I do not mean to imply that your strom will go kaboom with cheap oil. Only that it will perform better and last longer by using a better product.
No WWW for me, just seems to be pretty well known IMHO. Amsoil "Scamsoil" is overpriced and over-hyped snake-oil......and is no better than other quality oils.:thumbdown: There honestly is no better oil out there that is non moto specific than Rotella, however if you want real true synthetics you must buy Motul or Maxima. Honestly......using Rotella in practically any engine is gonna be better than most choices out there.
 

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A bit about oil --

Engine oil is made up of 75 ~ 80% base oil and 20 ~ 25% additive package. The base oil can be any one of the five base oil groups as defined by both performance and composition. Ordinary multi-weight engine oil will generally use Group II base oil. An unofficial Group II+ base oil definition with a viscosity index* between 100 and 120 will be used to make higher quality multi-weight oils or those with a broader viscosity spread -- better quality 5W-30 for example. Group III base oils are high performance, high quality, highly refined petro that can be marketed in the U.S. and Canada as "synthetic" oil. Just about all mass market synthetics are Group III, except some Mobil 1 may be PAO or PAO & Gr III blends. Group IV is polyalphaolefin, and Group V are esters, polyolesters, and maybe something even weirder. The better Group III base oils give excellent performance. PAO has higher film strength and higher viscosity index. Esters have better solvency than PAO.

The additive package includes detergents, dispersents, antioxidants, antifoamants, anti-wear agents, friction modifiers, viscosity index improvers,** pour point depressants, corrosion inhibitors, dye, etc.

About friction modifiers -- the oil I use is a 5W-40 75% Group III & 25% PAO blend that contains two friction modifiers, a moly compound and a proprietary FM, and has given me excellent clutch and transmission action. This company also makes a conventional & PAO blend 20W-50 that meets API Service Category SN, Harley-Davidson specs, and JASO MA-2 (wet clutch) specs, and also contains the moly FM and the proprietary FM.

The advantage of synthetic oil --
With its higher viscosity index, syn oil thins less when hot and thickens less when cold. If PAO base oil, it has higher film strength. The higher level of saturates means that on the oil molecule 90% or more of the oxygen atoms have been replaced with hydrogen atoms (and the best syn is much higher). In service, as the oil oxidizes and oxygen is again attached to the molecule, the oil quality and its ability to protect the engine parts deteriorate. Syn oil lives longer before the deterioration is significant.


*Viscosity index is the relative change in viscosity of the oil between 40°C and 100°C.
**Viscosity index improvers are polymer bits that curl when cold and straighten when hot (or vice versa) so the oil tests like it is a higher viscosity when hot. The lower quality VIIs shear under stress and don't do their job. Higher quality (cost) VIIs last as long as the rest of the oil.
 

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Yep, I realized that and I am not trying to be an anarchist about it.....but, I expected to get it moved or yanked.
Don't worry about me, I was just giving you a little light-hearted ribbing. I really don't care.
 
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