The Truth About Cars » mobil 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:04:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » mobil 1 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Synthetic Oil’s Historic Race to The Bottom? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-race-bottom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/piston-slap-race-bottom/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1093025   TTAC Commentator RS writes: How much Synthetic Oil is actually in Semi-Synthetic Oil?  Why is that info so hard to find? Sajeev answers: Why?  Relevance and (by definition) minutia’s lack of importance. I personally think manufacturers should publish vehicle’s torque curves, drag coefficients, frontal area dimensions and all gear ratios on their websites. Damn near everyone […]

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Group 1, 2, 3, 4… (photo courtesy: forums.swedespeed.com)

TTAC Commentator RS writes:

How much Synthetic Oil is actually in Semi-Synthetic Oil?  Why is that info so hard to find?

Sajeev answers:

Why?  Relevance and (by definition) minutia’s lack of importance.

I personally think manufacturers should publish vehicle’s torque curves, drag coefficients, frontal area dimensions and all gear ratios on their websites. Damn near everyone else couldn’t give two shits about that.

But I digress…there are five groups/classifications of oils in the USA, and the three highest are classified as synthetic.

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(photo courtesy: patentimages.storage.googleapis.com)

Group III is the sticking point for many folks: if this thread has any credibility, here’s why Mobil 1 oil went “down” from a pure synthetic oil. And nobody wants to talk about it!

Mikey100’s quote is a brilliant assessment:

“In the late 1990s, Castrol started selling an oil made from Group III base oil and called it SynTec Full Synthetic. Mobil sued Castrol, asserting that this oil was not synthetic, but simply a highly refined petroleum oil, and therefore it was false advertising to call it synthetic. In 1999, Mobil lost their lawsuit. It was decided that the word “synthetic” was a marketing term and referred to properties, not to production methods or ingredients. Castrol continues to make SynTec out of Group III base oils, that is highly purified oil with most all of the cockroach bits removed.

Shortly after Mobil lost their lawsuit, most oil companies started reformulating their synthetic oils to use Group III base stocks instead of PAOs or diester stocks as their primary component. Most of the “synthetic oil” you can buy today is actually mostly made of this highly-distilled and purified dino-juice called Group III oil. Group III base oils cost about half as much as the synthetics. By using a blend of mostly Group III oils and a smaller amount of “true” synthetics, the oil companies can produce a product that has nearly the same properties as the “true” synthetics, and nearly the same cost as the Group III oil. In fact, Mobil-1 is now primarily made from Group III unconventional base oils, exactly the stuff Mobil was claiming was not really synthetic. The much more expensive traditional synthetics are now available in their pure forms only in more expensive and harder to obtain oils.”

See how the world (the USA, in this case) works? When someone finds the easy way out, it’s a race to the bottom.

But we shouldn’t care: Group III full synthetic oils are pretty much fantastic for the majority of engines on the road. Most cars don’t use or require it, as synthetic blends are now all the rage from the factory. And synthetic blends are not the same as a Group III full synthetic oil. 

Unless you own an M-series BMW or a Ferrari with a mandatory oil brand/weight as per owner’s manual, odds are Group III oil is the best you’ll ever need. Or want. Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Hammer Time: What’s In Your Oil? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-whats-in-your-oil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/hammer-time-whats-in-your-oil/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=812554 Two hundred thousand miles. It’s a beautiful moment for many a car owner. As for me? Well, I admit that I cheated when I saw that number flash by in my wife’s car back in March. Like many an enthusiast, I had bought it used and was planning on keeping her daily driver for the […]

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moparmuscle

Two hundred thousand miles.

It’s a beautiful moment for many a car owner.

As for me? Well, I admit that I cheated when I saw that number flash by in my wife’s car back in March. Like many an enthusiast, I had bought it used and was planning on keeping her daily driver for the long haul.

The question for me was, “How long would the long haul be?”  Since I buy, fix and sell a lot of vehicles, and have deeply imbibed the fluids of wisdom at the Bob Is The Oil Guy web site, I decided to live my life on the wild side.

I performed an oil analysis.

What I got back was a smorgasbord of technical information, and one pithy summation that went like this.

“STEVE – 200,000 miles? Please! This engine’s still a spring chicken. Metals look great here, so assuming she’s still running well and you’re not having any problems, then there is nothing about this sample that seems troublesome at all. Averages are based on about 7,600 miles on the oil. You could run your oil a bit longer, for sure. The TBN is kind of getting low (it’s down to 1.4 and 1.0 or less is low), but the TBN tends to drop more slowly the more use an oil sees, so it might hang on at this level for a while. The viscosity was fine assuming you used a 5W/20. Try 9k miles.”

I loved the spring chicken part. Boy that made my day. However that whole TBN remark threw me for a loop.

And what in the heck was a TBN in the first place? The BAD number???

Well, that’s when my quest for knowledge became a great big time suck. I went here, and later here. It was that second “here” which truly opened my eyes to what that TBN comment actually meant, and why I probably don’t want to delve any deeper into the inner workings of motor oil.

My engine was great. Case closed.  Barring any unusual events, I was good to go for many more miles. I could extend my oil interval to 9,000 miles from 6,000 miles with a synthetic blend. Or maybe I could do a full 15k with a high performance full-synthetic engineered for longevity.

Mobil 1 EP? Amsoil? Deep Purple? Sorry.

The sad fact is that my wife drives a common-as-kudzu Prius with a light foot, and enough driving distance for the engine to always warm up. The local shop charges $20 for a synthetic blend and a quality filter. My net savings would be maybe $5 if I did it myself once a year with synthetic (her car holds a little less than 4 quarts.)

I spent $25 to figure all this out. So much ado about nothing. It was time to take the thermometer out of the motor oil, and worry about one less thing in my life.

My technical results are highlighted here.  In the world where enthusiasts have to deal with the economics of keeping a car for a long time, an oil analysis can help you answer the uncertainties of a valvetrain’s health. But chances are, if your oil is regularly changed and you use products that are API-certified, there are better ways to spend your money.

If your car quits, chances are it won’t be your oil’s fault.

 

 

 

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Piston Slap: The Cavalier’s Not-So-Silent Ricochet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/piston-slap-the-cavaliers-not-so-silent-ricochet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/piston-slap-the-cavaliers-not-so-silent-ricochet/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:55:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402143 TTAC Commentator Silent Ricochet writes: Hey Sajeev, it’s been a long time since I sent my first email about my 2002 Cavalier Z24 making rattling noises at low RPM. The noise has since then gotten slightly more noticeable and I finally decided to take some action and really look into it. As a quick refresher, […]

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TTAC Commentator Silent Ricochet writes:

Hey Sajeev, it’s been a long time since I sent my first email about my 2002 Cavalier Z24 making rattling noises at low RPM. The noise has since then gotten slightly more noticeable and I finally decided to take some action and really look into it. As a quick refresher, in First and Second gear, between 1500 and 2000RPM under moderate throttle, the car will make an awful rattling noise, like that of pennies in a coffee can kind of noise.

After looking at several cavalier and J-Body forums I stumbled upon a ridiculously popular thread that contained all the information I would ever need…

The 2000+ Cavalier Z24s either shipped with a 4spd GM Automatic Transmission, or a Getrag F23 5spd Manual Transmission (which I have). This problem only exists with the 5spd cars as you may have guessed. The problem, has since been wiped out after the year 2003, so between years 2000 and 2002, there were pages and pages of complaints and GM did little about it years ago. The problem IS the transmission, not a heat shield, not my exhaust, not my clutch. People described my problem to the T, I knew they were all experiencing what I was. Turns out, there’s two problems with the transmission, both producing similar but different noises. I kid you not here is the post that revealed it all which contains mostly copy and pasted General Motors Technical Service Bulletins for this exact problem:

Document ID# 854232   Subject: Grinding/Rattle Type Noise Coming From Transmission

Condition:

Some customers may comment on a grinding or rattle type noise coming from the transmission. The noise usually occurs with the transmission in first or second gear at low RPMs and can be intermittent.

Cause

This condition may be originated by the natural harmonics of the engine that leads to a vibration in the transmission.

Correction

There are two separate noises. Follow the diagnostic procedures listed below to determine which noise the vehicle has and perform the outlined repair. If you are comparing like vehicles, you must compare vehicles with the same motor and similar mileage.

Diagnosis for Noise #1

This is a very distinct noise that is usually much louder than the second noise that can be associated with this transmission. If the vehicle is not making any noise when trying to verify the condition, it can be induced by making several tight left hand circles with the vehicle at normal operating temperature. Making a sharp right hand turn will usually stop the noise. While the noise is occurring, in order to distinguish between the two noises, you can press lightly on the clutch pedal without releasing the clutch and the noise will NOT go away or change. As a second diagnostic aid, while the vehicle is making the noise, shift to third gear and the noise will stop. If the noise is determined to be this type, perform the repair for noise #1.

Repair for Noise #1

Replace the transmission fluid with Saturn Manual Transmission Lubricant, P/N 21018899. Overfill to a capacity of 2.4L (2.6 qts). A possible side effect of this repair may be a higher shift effort.

Diagnosis for Noise #2

This noise, commonly referred to as gear rattle, can be induced by lugging the engine in any gear, but is usually most noticeable in first or second gear. While the noise is occurring, if you press lightly on the clutch pedal without releasing the clutch, the noise will be reduced or eliminated.

Repair for Noise #2

Do not attempt to repair this noise. This is a characteristic of the vehicle and any vehicle equipped with a manual transmission can be made to make a similar noise. Driving at slightly higher engine RPM levels will reduce this noise.

I would classify my noise as noise #1, and after reading other topics, many have recommended OVERFILLING my transmission from the recommended 1.8L to 2.4L as stated in the bulletin. This concerns me as I can only see this as extra stress on my transmission… Why would GM suggest such a thing? Not to mention that Saturn Manual Transmission fluid is no longer available.. Since then, General Motors has released another fix for this problem, but after years of driving, Cavalier owners have discovered that the fix actually makes things worse. The Rattling noise itself isn’t damaging to the transmission, but GM’s secondary fix to the problem (which was to install a Wave Spring between 3rd and 4th gear) was. Eventually, a 3rd and 4th gear grind would develop, which is obviously harmful to the transmission.

This leaves me with a tough choice. Many people swear by the overfilling method, and that it has completely fixed their rattling issue. The recommended fluid for my transmission is GM’s Very own DEXRON III ATF, which is quite thin from what I’ve read. Many people recommend using other fluids but that also worries me. I can’t really afford to pay for a new transmission.. So All in All, I have found the fix for this irritating problem, while at the same time, the risks could potentially outweigh the advantages. Feel free to give me some insight on this, I’m bringing the Cavy to the local mechanic’s shop soon to look further into this problem. Hopefully we settle on what needs to be done once and for all.

Sajeev answers:

If my Internet sleuthing is correct, the Getrag F23 is originally spec’d to use 1.8 quarts of oil. So a jump to 2.6 quarts is a bit scary.  I honestly think you have nothing to lose if you do anything: even if you trash it, a junkyard replacement from a later model should be simple, somewhat cheap and better than buying another set of problems in another used vehicle.

With that in mind, what I recommend is a two part deal:

1.    Do a fluid service, and replace the stock Dextron stuff with an aftermarket alternative.  Either Mobil 1/Amsoil synthetic alternative Dextron or B&M Trickshift (some people swear by this stuff) or Synchromesh.  I personally have noticed a big difference when switching to GM Synchromesh in two vehicles.

I can’t find a big warning on the Internet saying Getrag gearboxes and Synchromesh are a bad pairing. So do it, and fill up to the factory level.

2.    If not satisfied, add the extra 0.8 quarts of fluid as per GM’s service bulletin.

Like I said before, if this fails, putting in a replacement gearbox isn’t the end of the world.  But the odds of that being necessary isn’t likely.  I suspect you will perform step 2 and be fairly happy with the results.

Good luck.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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