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HomeTech Articles >Pelican Technical Bulletin: All About Motor Oil

Pelican Technical Bulletin:

More Than You Ever Wanted to
Know About Motor Oil

by Ed Hackett (edh@maxey.unr.edu)


This was originally placed a usenet newsgroup.  Original
author is unconfirmed, and missing in action...

Choosing the best motor oil is a topic that comes up frequently in 
discussions between motoheads, whether they are talking about motorcycles
or cars. The following article is intended to help you make a choice based
on more than the advertising hype.


Oil companies provide data on their oils most often referred to as
"typical inspection data". This is an average of the actual physical and a
few common chemical properties of their oils. This information is
available to the public through their distributors or by writing or
calling the company directly. I have compiled a list of the most popular,
premium oils so that a ready comparison can be made. If your favorite oil
is not on the list get the data from the distributor and use what I have
as a data base.


This article is going to look at six of the most important properties of a
motor oil readily available to the public: viscosity, viscosity index
(VI), flash point, pour point, % sulfated ash, and % zinc.


Viscosity is a measure of the "flowability" of an oil. More specifically,
it is the property of an oil to develop and maintain a certain amount of
shearing stress dependent on flow, and then to offer continued resistance
to flow. Thicker oils generally have a higher viscosity, and thinner oils
a lower viscosity. This is the most important property for an engine. An
oil with too low a viscosity can shear and loose film strength at high
temperatures. An oil with too high a viscosity may not pump to the proper
parts at low temperatures and the film may tear at high rpm.


The weights given on oils are arbitrary numbers assigned by the S.A.E.
(Society of Automotive Engineers). These numbers correspond to "real"
viscosity, as measured by several accepted techniques. These measurements
are taken at specific temperatures. Oils that fall into a certain range
are designated 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 by the S.A.E. The W means the oil
meets specifications for viscosity at 0 F and is therefore suitable for
Winter use.


The following chart shows the relationship of "real" viscosity to their
S.A.E. assigned numbers. The relationship of gear oils to engine oils is
also shown.


_______________________________________________________________
| |
| SAE Gear Viscosity Number |
| ________________________________________________________ |
| |75W |80W |85W| 90 | 140 | |
| |____|_____|___|______________|________________________| |
| |
| SAE Crank Case Viscosity Number |
| ____________________________ |
| |10| 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | |
| |__|_____|____|_____|______| |
______________________________________________________________
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42
viscosity cSt @ 100 degrees C


Multi viscosity oils work like this: Polymers are added to a light base
(5W, 10W, 20W), which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it warms
up. At cold temperatures the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to
flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up the polymers begin
to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as
it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C the oil has thinned
only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of
looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that
will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot.


Multi viscosity oils are one of the great improvements in oils, but they
should be chosen wisely. Always use a multi grade with the narrowest span
of viscosity that is appropriate for the temperatures you are going to
encounter. In the winter base your decision on the lowest temperature you
will encounter, in the summer, the highest temperature you expect. The
polymers can shear and burn forming deposits that can cause ring sticking
and other problems. 10W-40 and 5W-30 require a lot of polymers (synthetics
excluded) to achieve that range. This has caused problems in diesel
engines, but fewer polymers are better for all engines. The wide viscosity
range oils, in general, are more prone to viscosity and thermal breakdown
due to the high polymer content. It is the oil that lubricates, not the
additives. Oils that can do their job with the fewest additives are the
best.


Very few manufactures recommend 10W-40 any more, and some threaten to void
warranties if it is used. It was not included in this article for that
reason. 20W-50 is the same 30 point spread, but because it starts with a
heavier base it requires less viscosity index improvers (polymers) to do
the job. AMSOIL can formulate their 10W-30 and 15W-40 with no viscosity
index improvers but uses some in the 10W-40 and 5W-30. Mobil 1 uses no
viscosity improvers in their 5W-30, and I assume the new 10W-30. Follow
your manufacturer's recommendations as to which weights are appropriate
for your vehicle.


Viscosity Index is an empirical number indicating the rate of change in
viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. Higher numbers
indicate a low change, lower numbers indicate a relatively large change.
The higher the number the better. This is one major property of an oil
that keeps your bearings happy. These numbers can only be compared within
a viscosity range. It is not an indication of how well the oil resists
thermal breakdown.


Flash point is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can
be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the
greater tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high
temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. The flash
point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock used. The
higher the flash point the better. 400 F is the minimum to prevent
possible high consumption. Flash point is in degrees F.


Pour point is 5 degrees F above the point at which a chilled oil shows no
movement at the surface for 5 seconds when inclined. This measurement is
especially important for oils used in the winter. A borderline pumping
temperature is given by some manufacturers. This is the temperature at
which the oil will pump and maintain adequate oil pressure. This was not
given by a lot of the manufacturers, but seems to be about 20 degrees F
above the pour point. The lower the pour point the better. Pour point is
in degrees F.


% sulfated ash is how much solid material is left when the oil burns. A
high ash content will tend to form more sludge and deposits in the engine.
Low ash content also seems to promote long valve life. Look for oils with
a low ash content.


% zinc is the amount of zinc used as an extreme pressure, anti- wear
additive. The zinc is only used when there is actual metal to metal
contact in the engine. Hopefully the oil will do its job and this will
rarely occur, but if it does, the zinc compounds react with the metal to
prevent scuffing and wear. A level of .11% is enough to protect an
automobile engine for the extended oil drain interval, under normal use.
Those of you with high revving, air cooled motorcycles or turbo charged
cars or bikes might want to look at the oils with the higher zinc content.
More doesn't give you better protection, it gives you longer protection if
the rate of metal to metal contact is abnormally high. High zinc content
can lead to deposit formation and plug fouling.

The Data:


Listed alphabetically --- indicates the data was not available


Brand VI Flash Pour %ash %zinc
20W-50
AMSOIL 136 482 -38 <.5 ---
Castrol GTX 122 440 -15 .85 .12
Exxon High Performance 119 419 -13 .70 .11
Havoline Formula 3 125 465 -30 1.0 ---
Kendall GT-1 129 390 -25 1.0 .16
Pennzoil GT Perf. 120 460 -10 .9 ---
Quaker State Dlx. 155 430 -25 .9 ---
Red Line 150 503 -49 --- ---
Shell Truck Guard 130 450 -15 1.0 .15
Spectro Golden 4 174 440 -35 --- .15
Spectro Golden M.G. 174 440 -35 --- .13
Unocal 121 432 -11 .74 .12
Valvoline All Climate 125 430 -10 1.0 .11
Valvoline Turbo 140 440 -10 .99 .13
Valvoline Race 140 425 -10 1.2 .20
Valvoline Synthetic 146 465 -40 <1.5 .12
20W-40
Castrol Multi-Grade 110 440 -15 .85 .12
Quaker State 121 415 -15 .9 ---
15W-50
Chevron 204 415 -18 .96 .11
Mobil 1 170 470 -55 --- ---
Mystic JT8 144 420 -20 1.7 .15
Red Line 152 503 -49 --- ---
5W-50
Castrol Syntec 180 437 -45 1.2 .10 .095 % Phosphor
Quaker State Synquest 173 457 -76 --- ---
Pennzoil Performax 176 --- -69 --- ---
5W-40
Havoline 170 450 -40 1.4 ---
15W-40
AMSOIL 135 460 -38 <.5 ---
Castrol 134 415 -15 1.3 .14
Chevron Delo 400 136 421 -27 1.0 ---
Exxon XD3 --- 417 -11 .9 .14
Exxon XD3 Extra 135 399 -11 .95 .13
Kendall GT-1 135 410 -25 1.0 .16
Mystic JT8 142 440 -20 1.7 .15
Red Line 149 495 -40 --- ---
Shell Rotella w/XLA 146 410 -25 1.0 .13
Valvoline All Fleet 140 --- -10 1.0 .15
Valvoline Turbo 140 420 -10 .99 .13
10W-30
AMSOIL 142 480 -70 <.5 ---
Castrol GTX 140 415 -33 .85 .12
Chevron Supreme 150 401 -26 .96 .11
Exxon Superflo Hi Perf 135 392 -22 .70 .11
Exxon Superflo Supreme 133 400 -31 .85 .13
Havoline Formula 3 139 430 -30 1.0 ---
Kendall GT-1 139 390 -25 1.0 .16
Mobil 1 160 450 -65 --- ---
Pennzoil PLZ Turbo 140 410 -27 1.0 ---
Quaker State 156 410 -30 .9 ---
Red Line 139 475 -40 --- ---
Shell Fire and Ice 155 410 -35 .9 .12
Shell Super 2000 155 410 -35 1.0 .13
Shell Truck Guard 155 405 -35 1.0 .15
Spectro Golden M.G. 175 405 -40 --- ---
Unocal Super 153 428 -33 .92 .12
Valvoline All Climate 130 410 -26 1.0 .11
Valvoline Turbo 135 410 -26 .99 .13
Valvoline Race 130 410 -26 1.2 .20
Valvoline Synthetic 140 450 -40 <1.5 .12
5W-30
AMSOIL 168 480 -76 <.5 ---
Castrol GTX 156 400 -35 .80 .12
Chevron Supreme 202? 354 -46 .96 .11
Chevron Supreme Synt. 165 446 -72 1.1 .12
Exxon Superflow HP 148 392 -22 .70 .11
Havoline Formula 3 158 420 -40 1.0 ---
Mobil 1 165 445 -65 --- ---
Mystic JT8 161 390 -25 .95 .1
Quaker State 165 405 -35 .9 ---
Red Line 151 455 -49 --- ---
Shell Fire and Ice 167 405 -35 .9 .12
Unocal 151 414 -33 .81 .12
Valvoline All Climate 135 405 -40 1.0 .11
Valvoline Turbo 158 405 -40 .99 .13
Valvoline Synthetic 160 435 -40 <1.5 .12


All of the oils above meet current SG/CD ratings and all vehicle
manufacture's warranty requirements in the proper viscosity. All are "good
enough", but those with the better numbers are icing on the cake.


The synthetics offer the only truly significant differences, due to their
superior high temperature oxidation resistance, high film strength, very
low tendency to form deposits, stable viscosity base, and low temperature
flow characteristics. Synthetics are superior lubricants compared to
traditional petroleum oils. You will have to decide if their high cost is
justified in your application.


The extended oil drain intervals given by the vehicle manufacturers
(typically 7500 miles) and synthetic oil companies (up to 25,000 miles)
are for what is called normal service. Normal service is defined as the
engine at normal operating temperature, at highway speeds, and in a dust
free environment. Stop and go, city driving, trips of less than 10 miles,
or extreme heat or cold puts the oil change interval into the severe
service category, which is 3000 miles for most vehicles. Synthetics can be
run two to three times the mileage of petroleum oils with no problems.
They do not react to combustion and combustion by-products to the extent
that the dead dinosaur juice does. The longer drain intervals possible
help take the bite out of the higher cost of the synthetics. If your car
or bike is still under warranty you will have to stick to the recommended
drain intervals. These are set for petroleum oils and the manufacturers
make no official allowance for the use of synthetics.

Oil additives should not be used. The oil companies have gone to great
lengths to develop an additive package that meets the vehicle's
requirements. Some of these additives are synergistic, that is the effect
of two additives together is greater than the effect of each acting
separately. If you add anything to the oil you may upset this balance and
prevent the oil from performing to specification.

The numbers above are not, by any means, all there is to determining what
makes a top quality oil. The exact base stock used, the type, quality, and
quantity of additives used are very important. The given data combined
with the manufacturer's claims, your personal experience, and the
reputation of the oil among others who use it should help you make an
informed choice.

Comments and Suggestions:
Chris Comments: Great article thanks. One question - does unused oil have an expiry date, or can you keep it indefinitely?
December 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not seen expiry dates listed by manfacturers. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Isra Comments: Which oil or grease should I used on a 1984 Porsche 928s differential. The car is automatic.
July 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A GL-5 oil will work:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/smart/more_info.cgi ?pn=PEL-58305&catalog_description=&Red%2520Line%2520%2537%2535W%252F%2539%2530%2520Non%252DSlip%2520GL%252D%2535%2520Gear%2520Oil%252C%2520%2531%2520Gallon%2520

Just to be sure, give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Audi Junkie Comments: Rotella 10w-30, 15w-40, 5w-40

Pennzoil or Havoline 10w-40

GTX/GTX Hi-Miles

Mobil 1 HIGH MILES 5w-30, 10w-30 thick for a 30, 10w-40

SynPower 5w-40, 20w-50

VR1 10w-30 and 20w-50, mix them if you like.

Castrol BMW 5w-30, a thick 30...excellent for cold.

German Syntec 0w-30, Porsche Approved


I'm running Delo 30 now, Havoline 10w-30 and 10w-40 mix for winter in the 2002 I just got, to clean it some.

After that, I've a bunch of Syn oils here to use for the 6 month changes that I intend. Mostly I'll mix the expensive Euro 5w-40 with a cheap 5q just of 10w-30 in summer, for winter I'll mix the 5w-40 with 5w-30.

http://www.pqiamerica.com/

http://sas-origin.onstreammedia.com/origin/lubrizol/EOACEA2009/RPTOOL2010Dep/rp/pc/index.html
September 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Raa Comments: can i use a EP 90 oil instead of an SAE 90 oil for my 1977 924 automatic, differential?
Raa
September 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fluids for your vehicle are listed here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/944M/POR_944M_TRANSM_pg5.htm #item30 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
dome Comments: I have a 1974 914 2.0 porsche which oil is best for my engine, I live in the south.
April 29, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: a 10w/30 should work:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/9144/POR_9144_ENGoil_pg4.htm #item22 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tagaguy86 Comments: Have a 1986 targa with 48,000 miles
I only drive it 500 to 750 miles per summer
Do I need to get the oil changed every spring even though I only put these low miles on the car
Currently running Mobil 1
Thanks
March 24, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest replacing the oil each spring season, at the minimum. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Saw76 Comments: Hey Wayne,
I just purchased your book 101 after buying a 2000 boxster 2.7. I think you and your staff are wonderful . Your book is a must have for any Boxster owner. And pelican parts is the best thing to happen to all Porsche owners nationwide . I was told by someone that my boxster had to be serviced by a Porsche mechanic as the car is to complicated to work on. I have rebuilt many 914's 912's and 356's in my life. I was scared to work on my boxster until I read your book. Thank you so much for everything you have done.
STM
February 23, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
shinkicker Comments: DANNYB
I HAVE A 1995 740IL WITH 168K MILES AND USE "FUCH"
motor oil two oil changesm For $175.00 US
February 17, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
pastor Comments: Is Schaeffer 5W-30WT an acceptable motor oil/viscosity for a 2006 Porsche Boxster?
February 9, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't used their oils. I would suggest something from here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/987M/POR_987M_ENGoil_pg4.htm #item19 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
State2Cab Comments: I just brought a 1990 944 S2 and the previous owner used 5W-40HP full synthetic oil. I've always heard as commented above that you should not use synthetics in older cars. I live in the south where it rarely get too cold. I was thinking of switching to 5W-30 for year round use. However, I am new to the watercooled market and would like advice on which way to go at my next oil change.
Thanks
February 9, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A synthetic should be fine if your vehicle. If you want to stick with traditional oil,s a 5w/30 or 10w/30 should be fine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
anthony Comments: Hi
I hav 101 projects boxster In Oct of 2011 I purschase my first 1998 Boxster with 47k. I haded Porsche change the oilnever again and a full brake job pads and rotorsthrough a friend..The dealer mentioned to me that it was a little wet around a few areas but no leaks that he can see he stated not to worry just drive it and have fun ..So the next day I put cardbord underneath the car and let it sit a few days came back to it to see No Spots..?
Now my question..
Should I use reg motor oil or continue to use synthetic. You did mentioned in your book that it would be better with reg oil..If that is correct which oil would you recommend..I do live in NJ

Thank you for your responce

Anthony
January 28, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you want to m ove away from sythetic oils, I would suggest one from here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/986M/POR_986M_ENGoil_pg6.htm #item32 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bmw2qnj1le Comments: I like this very interesting subject. I love to maintain my car fleet myself. I have a 2000 Camry with 231,000 mi and it still drive it daily 75 mi/day. I used mixed oil brand, reg and syn. oils. So far the engine has not given any problems yet except worn out oil seal of the main crankshaft bearing at 180,000 mi. I have not replaced it yet. I have been successfully controlling the oil leak by adding oil additives Lucas, Hyperlube at 10% - 25% rate. If the car lasts long enough, I will have the main bearing seal fixed when the timing belt will be replaced at 250,000 - 260,000 mi. At 140,000 mi, I installed a transmission fluid cooler. That extends my transmission life. My transmission is still going strong. I can actually see that the red color of the transmission fluid at 50,000 mi is not much different from the brand new trans. fluid.
I change oil & filter at 3000-5000 mi spent oils are dark brown for regular oil and 10,000 - 13,000 mi. spent oil is black for Mobil 1 extended & Castrol Edge. Hint: Both Mobil 1 extended & Castrol Edge advertise for upto 15,000 mi oil change. I wish that some engineer will come up with a way to cool engine oil like the transmission cooler kit. The transmission cooler kit helps me to extend my fluid replacement from every 30,000 mi to 50,000 min. I think 60,000 mi this time as long as the current fluid still red.
January 21, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dannyb Comments: Does anyone hve. Suggestion on what kind of oil to use on a 1995 740IL v8 4.6L ?
November 15, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: a 10w/30 would work nicely.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/euro/catalog/shopcart/B089/POR_B089_ENGoil_pg4.htm #item32 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Coach Comments: Excellent work, I have worked at a major OEM for over 25 years and still am in disbelief as to the perception created by synthetic motor oils.

People have used conventional motor oils for the past 60 years and folks who have changed their oil on time never have trouble and ususally those vehicles surpass 100,000 miles.

Now we think that synthetic is some miracle cure for not changing your oil regularly, yes they can be extended but will never be in any of my cars for more than 6,000 regardless of my driving. Thank you .. I wish some one would publish this in the wall street journal or M/T, C/D or R/T.

thank you
October 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chuck Comments: 5W-30 or 0W-40 in an E46? I don't drive aggressively, and live in Iowa. It's had 0W-40 synthetic all its life at 7500 intervals. Don't want to wreck a good thing but maybe better mileage on lighter oil?
October 18, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The BMW recommendation is high performance synthetic 5W-30. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
aussie944S Comments: Royal purple oils???? anyone used them. i'm thinking of using it in my 1988 944 S
September 12, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I haven't used Royal Purple, but have heard good and bad about it. I would try something like a Liqui Moly. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brett Comments: I have a 1984 911 targa 3.2L all stock, I have been using valvolive 20w50 non-synthetic engine oil, with no problems. I live in Wisconsin and only drive it in spring, summer, and fall. I Have read now In Panorama and Excellence magazine that all models from 1973 to 1998 should be using 0w40 or 5w40 synthetic motor oil. I am all confused and dont know what type of oil I should use, I was going to change it this weekend and just read the tech article in the october 2011 excellence magazine. What do you guys think I should do stick with 20w50 or switch? thanks love the site. Brett
August 14, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Porsche recommends API service SH or SJ grade engine oil. 20W-50 oil, according to the Porsche oil recommendation chart, is good for 15 - 100+F (-10 - 40+C). - Nick at Pelican Parts  
super7 Comments: i have a 2001 740IL with 108k miles and recently purchased molylubro 5-30 oil is this oil sufficient? live in the bay area california
June 28, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: BMW recommends high performance synthetic oil. 5W-30 oil is rated good from below -20 to 50F (below -30 - 10C). 15W-40 may be more appropiate for you. That is rated good for 5 - 100+F (-15 - 40+C) - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RICHARD Comments: i have two questions.#1-which oil is best for my 1988-911?
does mobile one have a good oil for california and nevada?
what weight?-#removed whale tail from engine cover.cover
has 4holes can it be welded without warping lid?i have a
1981 lid but the smog-valve and timing lable says 1981 and
i want the 1988 information to keep it original.where do i get a new sticker?it is about 4"wide and 12 inches long.
thank you for your help i have to re-paint the engine cover
January 13, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't typically like to run synthetics in older cars, as they tend to encourage leaks. Run a good non-synthetic (like Castrol), with a heavier weight in the summer, and a thinner weight in the winter months. Sure, you can reweld the lid, but you'll have to get it repainted of course. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Scott Comments: I've got a 1986 Porsche 911 with 84,000 miles on it. I don't drive the car a lot but I do drive it regularly. What oil would you recommend for this? I've been using 15-50 synthetic.
Thank you
December 7, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds about right - the air cooled engines are pretty good with oil - they don't tend to get as contaminated with gas, etc. as the newer water cooled engines. I would keep oil changes to about every 3,000 miles, and also use an oil that has a high concentration of anti-wear components inside. The newer oil formulations have less zinc in them which can cause premature cam wear. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
abo hmmra Comments: I put 350448 on nissan frontier 4x4 4cyl using valvoline product specially valvoline MAX LIFE one of the best
August 29, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Voltaire Comments: i have 1995 911993 Carrera....is it okey to use Brad Penn 20w-50 all year round?
August 2, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Probably, although I might switch to a lighter weight oil in the winter months if you drive the car in cold weather. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
mau Comments: what oil do you recomend for 944 turbo 1986 951
July 16, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I like Brad Penn or the Swepco oils. Lighter weight in the summer, heavier in the winter. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
helmut Comments: what oil is best for vw t5tdi 95kw engine many thanks
July 16, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Any VW 505.1 oil. Castrol 505.01 5w40 is good. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sly Comments: can anyone tell me what oil i should use either synthetic or regular oil, i have a 1995 bmw 740i with 245000 on her ?
June 19, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: BMW recommends high performance synthetic oil 15W-40,rated good for 5 - 100+F (-15 - 40+C - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Norm Comments: One of the very best oils I've ever used is Shell Rotella-T 14W/40. This oil was designed for heavy trucks and provides incredible cleaning and lubrication. I've used it in my 1794 911 for 22 years with absolutely no issues. When I adjust my valves, I can see that the cam lobes are in perfect condition.

Recently I've learned of another very good Shell oil; Helix 5W40. This is available in Europe and through some domestic distributors. It is apparently the factory fill for Ferrari engines and provides incredibly reduced friction levels. I know of someone who ran dyno tests using Mobil-1 and the Helix oil and came away shaking his head at the difference. I don't have the details, but it is definitely worth investigating further.
April 27, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
titbmwsite Comments: I was able to put 465000 miles on my Bimmer 1991 735il using Valvoline Oil 20-50 and be able to sell the car in good price with no engine problems.
January 20, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
titbmwsite Comments: I have used Valvoline 20-50 for over 20 years driving diferent 8 cilynders BMW models with excellent results.
January 20, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Thanks for the feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
inzone Comments: good question i was thiking the same thing .
swear by the lucas synthetic
November 29, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: truncated question - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rupicolous Comments: Great article, provided an extremely large amount of information that can be used by anyone trying to maintain an engine.

I wonder what Lucas has in their recipe, polymers ?
August 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think it's soylent green! :) - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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