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The Latest Cave Drawings

From Andy Weber on 5 July 2004:

Hi,

I just recently discovered your website and the Oil Life Study. I think you guys are
doing an awesome job and Iíll be continuing to watch with much interest. I would
love to help financially, but Iím on a very tight budget right now.

I had used dino oil for a long time simply because I didnít know there was much
difference with synth. But a friend introduced me to Amsoil and I have been using
Amsoil engine oil and gear lube for the past year (I did notice an increase in fuel
economy (2000 Mazda Protťgť LX, 4 cylinder, 1.6L, manual trans., up to 40 MPG
interstate with Amsoil), and Iíll be switching soon to Amsoil 0W-30, which is
supposed to be specially formulated for even greater fuel economy.)

I was really intrigued by your oil lab comparison sidebar. I think itís very
significant. After researching Amsoil quite a bit, I was convinced of their quality
by their own "independent" test data, testimonials, personal word of mouth, their
own engine warranty, and lack of negative experiences (I have never run across
anyone - even on the web - who claims they destroyed their engine with Amsoil, even
those using Amsoilís maximum advertised drain intervals). But I have always had
lingering questions about their reportedly "independent" test results, and
especially about their seemingly very close connection with Oil Analyzers Inc. I
really started to wonder when I realized that Amsoil actually sells test kits for
Oil Analyzers, which means that Amsoil is doing O.A.I. a huge favor by giving them
tons of business. It made me wonder if O.A.I. was somehow "returning" the favor with
less than objective test results whenever they receive an Amsoil sample.

But I think your lab comparison sidebar is significant because it shows that even
when Oil Analyzers was unknowingly subjected to a careful comparison test with three
other labs, their results were very much in agreement with the others. They didnít
cut Amsoil any slack simply because they felt a need to make Amsoil look good. In
fact, their results showed a HIGER count of wear metals for chromium, iron and
copper than Blackstoneís results. They also didnít cut Amsoil any slack with
viscosity, and their TBN was in line with the others. That at least gives me some
confidence in the test results of O.A.I. I canít imagine an oil lab knowingly giving
false results and leading consumers to damage their engines by using oil that is
worn out or loaded with wear metals, but Iím glad that I now have at least some
objective basis for trusting O.A.I. Iíll be sending them a sample of my oil (Amsoil
10W-30) in about a month and a half when I drain it and refill with Amsoil Series
2000 0W-30. The
 10W-30 will have about 9 months use and about 7,500 miles. My car has an oil
capacity of only 3.0 quarts and it doesnít burn a drop of oil (the only makeup oil
is from when I changed my filter, which doesnít hold much oil anyway). Iím very
curious to see the results (especially TBN) - Iíll pass them on to you.

A second item I want to comment on is your own test results which have been
indicating that Amsoil has a lower level of wear metals. I understand that this may
be a result of engine break-in. But I also wonder if this just might validate
Amsoilís reportedly independent four-ball wear test results. Amsoilís Nov. 2002
"Action News" contains a number of test results comparing Amsoil 5W-30 to Mobil 1
SuperSyn 5W-30. They report Amsoilís four-ball wear as 0.40mm and Mobil 1 as 0.60mm.
A later test (in 2003) comparing Amsoil Series 2000 0W-30 to other oils reports
Mobil 1 5W-30 as having an average wear scar of 0.66mm, a slight increase from the
2002 test (donít know if this was just a margin of error or if Mobil 1 SuperSyn had
been reformulated with worse wear protection).

The 2003 test results for Amsoil Series 2000 0W-30 are very intriguing (see
www.amsoil.com/products/tso.html). They compare Amsoil 0W-30 to other brands,
(mostly of higher viscosity! - thatís why Mobil 1 5W-30 is included in that test).
They report Amsoil 0W-30 having an average wear scar of only 0.374mm, while the
other brands of higher viscosity have a wear scar around twice that size or larger.
They report that Mobil 1 SuperSyn 0W-30 has a wear scar of 1.842mm, which is almost
5 times the size of Amsoil 0W-30ís scar! If thatís true, Iíll make sure to steer
clear of Mobil 1 0W-30! That difference seemed so astounding to me that I emailed
Amsoilís technical service department and asked about it. My email eventually found
its way to a senior tech analyst at Amsoil, and he said he called the lab that did
the tests to check it out. He said the lab reported that they were also very
surprised, so much so that that they repeated the test several times, but kept
arriving at the same
 numbers.

Having said all of this, I want everyone to know that I am definitely not "sold out"
to Amsoil. If I find objective data that conclusively shows another oil to offer
better protection (or nearly the same protection at a cheaper price), Iíll gladly
switch. But I am having a verydifficult time finding ASTM/API test results for Mobil
1 or other oils (other than Amsoilís "independent" tests). Does anyone know where I
can find ASTM/API or ANY laboratory test results for Mobil 1 published by Mobil???
It would seem to me that if Mobil really is confident that "Nothing Outperforms
Mobil 1," they would publish their test data so consumers could have the same
confidence they do. But so far Amsoil is the only company I have found that actually
PUBLISHES objective test data about their products (and they even have the guts to
compare it directly to others). If Mobil truly believes that Amsoil is
misrepresenting Mobil 1, they owe it to us to publish their test results to set the
record straight.
 Thatís the very least they could do. (I would also think that if they were so sure
they were being misrepresented, they would sue Amsoil and/or file complaints with
the Federal Trade Commission, which they have not.) For some of us, marketing hype
and slogans will never cut it.

Thanks for putting your time in this very helpful project!
The trouble I struggle with on Amsoil's four-ball wear test is that they always test fresh virgin oil. In a real engine the oil won't stay that way for long! The long-term results in the synthetic oil life study seems to suggest that, in the long haul anyway, wear reduces as oil ages; indeed, Amsoil's edge in this area is almost entirely dependent on which portions of the test data you use for comparison purposes. I find all this quite interesting and look forward to seeing how Amsoil fares once it's past the 12k mark (where Mobil 1 required a filter change).

From Rob Thomas on 2 July 2004:

Hi there, 

I became interested in your site due to the oil study. Thanks for doing
it and it has made me feel quite comfortable with my choice of Mobil1 as
my oil (for my car- for the bike I use the cheap stuff).

I was just reading through some of your feedback and noticed the helmet
study and got to the part where you said "But wearing a helmet isn't as
effective for motorcyclists: only 47% are bare-headed"

That made me think a bit since I ride a motorcycle and this is what I
came up with: that statistic is only valid if 50% of riders wear helmets
and 50% do not. If 99% of riders wear helmets (which is much higher than
the actual percentage- I have no idea what it is) then helmets sure are
effective! That means 99 out of 100 fatalities should be helmeted riders
if helmets do nothing, but if only 53 out of 100 fatalities are helmeted
riders then unhelmeted riders (or stupid people as I like to call them)
account for a disproportionate amount of fatalities. To make any of that
data valid you have to know what your sample size (which would be
everyone) is doing or at least take a sample of a whole lot of the
population instead of just people in fatalistic accidents.

I hope I'm being clear here and I hope I'm interpreting the data
correctly.

Let me know what you think
Thanks for the feedback. I use Amsoil in my Shadow. Honda calls for 8,000-mile oil changes, and it just makes me feel better to have synthetic in there. I'd use Mobil 1 motorcycle oil if it were readily available, but it's not. Funny you should mention the helmet page. I'm actually preparing to do a study to see how much abuse different types of armored clothing can take. I'm hoping enough oil study readers will take interest in this new venture that it might cover the costs of buying (and destroying) various armored pants. But, back to the problem at hand... Helmet usage is about 58% nationally. Mandatory-helmet states are considerably higher, though my experience (living in a mandatory-helmet state) is that those who won't wear a helmet if there is no law, just put on a near-useless brain bucket to barely comply when there is one. They, in my entirely unscientific opinion, probably skew the numbers for helmeted fatalities, as those half-shells provide no real protection in the majority of get-offs. So, now that you know it's 58%, how do you feel?

From Latrenda Marhsall on 1 July 2004:

97 Grand am GT 3.1

I am trying to number one find a complete (cheap) service manual for my
car.  One that details a/c, tranny, engine, ect.  Would you have any
suggestion on where I could look?

Also, would please tell me where the heater core is located in my
vehicle?  I have scoured the web and have not been able to find this
info anywhere.

Thank so much in advance for your help.
Well, for cheap, you'll want to get a Haynes or a Chilton's manual. Better, though, would be to find a factory service manual on eBay. The factory service manual is the most detailed by far. The heater core is located inside the dashboard, usually on the passenger side.

From Chad Campbell on 30 June 2004:

I just got through reading your study on synthetic
oils. I found it extremely interesting. I think I
found it more interesting considering I manage a small
Mobil lube shop. All the studies I've had access to
were from the ExxonMobil corporation. And while I do
not find any reason to doubt them, yours is obviously
more complete. It's hard trusting the guys that make a
product, they'll never say their product failed.
However, when I found this study, it made me very
happy. I have intense loyalty towards Mobil and Mobil
One. And, with your permission of course, I'd like to
be able to use your website to refer to customers. I
just want people to be able to see results themselves.
I don't want people to think I'm lying to them. Or
using some biased opinions. My customers come first
and foremost, without them I'd be without a job, and I
want to prove to people Mobil does what it says it's
supposed to do.
Sure, you can print it out and hand it to customers, so long as you retain the proper credits that go with it.

From Victor Arroyo on 29 June 2004:

hello first of all great site.  well i have a 1994 firebird with a 96 v6 engine in
it.  well my problem is that when I sometimes step on the brakes the car turns off. 
this only happens when the car is on idle.
Sounds like a short circuit somewhere.

From Jeremy Harvison on 29 June 2004:

I love your study.  I have two questions.

1)  Do you plan to perform the experiment with Royal Purple Oil?

2)  After you finish the Amsoil study, do you think you will find any 
indicators that would lead to identifying the best brand of oil?  Or is this 
going to be impossible?
Yes, I hope to test Royal Purple after the Red Line phase is done. As far as what is the best oil, like most things, it will depend on what the requirements are. Someone who wants the ultimate wear protection might see a different winner than someone who wants the ultimate change interval. But, we'll discuss all these things as Amsoil wraps up.

From Hieu Ho on 25 June 2004:

Hi guys,
 
Fascinating study.  I have an idea about these wear rates that you may have already
considered.  If viscosity increases over time, that is the oil gets thicker over
time, perhaps Mobil 1 wear rates decreased as the oil thickened.  Although they're
both 5W/30 oils, Cst at 100 degrees for Amsoil and Mobil 1 are 12 and 10,
respectively.  Just a thought.
You are correct, the thickening of the oil seems to help with engine wear.

From Chad Johnson on 22 June 2004:

Regarding the AMSOIL testing, you seem to be focusing on the TBN and viscosity
without regard for the (what appears to be) significant drop in wear metals compared
to the Mobil-1.
I've been following and absorbing information on synthetics for years but I guess I
never found myself in a paired-comparison question like this, "if you had to choose
between wear metals and TBN, which would you choose and to what degree?"  TBN over
Wear metals 5:1? 2:1?
The focus on viscosity and TBN is probably because it's so surprising. I really expected better from Amsoil than a TBN that depletes so quickly. Amsoil's rate of accumulation is clearly superior to Mobil 1 in most cases. From 6,000 miles to 9,000 miles, M1 went +12ppm Iron, +19ppm Copper, +5ppm Lead. Over the same interval Amsoil went +4/+4/+5. Both oils are doing about the same for lead, but clearly Amsoil is doing far better in iron and copper. However, some might argue that we need to make allowances for M1 contending with an engine still breaking in, so if we measure (ferinstance) the 13,000 to 16,000 interval for M1, we get +3/+2/+6. So, *is* Amsoil really doing so much better? I remain unconvinced. We shall see if Amsoil's TBN allows us to see Amsoil's behavior at 13,000 miles as well.

From Jon Simpson on 22 June 2004:

Hello my name is Jon Simpson, and I need any information that you may be
able to provide me on a motor swap.  I have an 81 Trans Am that I want
to put a 96 LT-1 out of an Impalla.  I was wondering if there was an
alternate site that had info on where I could find a book or a list of
items needed to be able to perfume this task, as well as info on how to
do it.   Any help given would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you for
your time.
There may well be a book on it, because it's a popular swap. Alternatively, there are almost certainly magazine articles on it, and ColtraNET can help you find them.

From Christopher Skipp on 21 June 2004:

hi.  i have a 96 bonneville, regular engine not supercharged.  yesterday, it started
to overheat.  turns out, it had no engine coolant.  filled up the radiator, drove
about ten miles with no problem.  went to start up the engine and it would not
start, although it tried to start.  decided to check the radiator coolant again.  it
was all gone, like before.  so, its clear that there is a leak.  i can't seem to see
anyplace where its leaking.  what should i do?  also, what do you think the starting
problem is?  thanks for any advice.  

p.s. i've heard about some crappy plastic parts on the bonneville, something to do
with intake, etc., that wears out and causes some problem like the one i describe
above.  what can i do to see that it gets fixed properly.  thank you for your help.
If you can't see the leak, it's probably going out through the combustion chambers. The main culprit for this is a blown head gasket.

From Joel Epstein on 18 June 2004:

Thanks for the great work.

I also drive a 2002 Z28.  I currently have 35K miles on it and plan to add 
34K/year.

I recently switched from dino juice to Kendall synthetic but I plan to 
switch to Amsoil in both of my cars soon.

Looking forward to the next update.
Good to hear from you. If you ever notice anything wonky in your results, please let me know.

From Jon Wolfe on 17 June 2004:

I enjoy reading your articles.

I was curious...........what city and state are you located in.

I am in Dallas, TX.
Paradise Garage is in Morgantown, West By God Virginia.

From Durango Trucker on 17 June 2004:

I was wondering if I could put wheels on my 99 durango 4wd off of a 2wd 
durango
Check with someplace that would know the interchange. A tire store perhaps, or a Dodge dealer?

From Jay at Home on 16 June 2004:

Nice work- it looks like you're doing a good, impartial job.
Ths was my first visit- I'll drop in again.
Why, thankaverramuuuch.

From Peter Hesketh on 14 June 2004:

Hi,  I just linked to your site from "The Temple of Vtec". 

It reminded me of an article that I read in Popular Science in 1967 or 68, 
shortly after Mobil 1 was introduced.

It seems that an engineer at Ford was a little leery of the claims that 
Mobil made for it's new oil.  He decided to put the oil to a test.

To be on the safe side he changed the filter at the recommended oil change 
intervals.  At these intervals he tested the oil for impurities and 
breakdown and had his staff tear the engine apart and measure for wear. He 
ran the oil, with additions to replace what was left in the filter and 
consumption, for 100,000 miles with no perceivable wear in the Lincoln 
engine.

>From what I remember 40 years later, his conclusion was, that the 
synthetic oil carried impurities and the filter could pull them out, while 
the organic oil absorbed and combined with many of the impurities and the 
filter wasn't able to remove them.

I was so impressed that I have used Mobil 1 since.

Keep up the good work.
Hey that's a pretty cool anecdote. I'd love to be able to verify the story.

From Brad Dilts on 13 June 2004:

Hey, I was reading through your oil life study "Infrequently asked 
questions", and I saw where you mentioned you actually were using NAPA Gold 
filters instead of Wix.  Just to let you know, NAPA Gold filters are made 
by WIX, just painted differently and with the first two digits of the 5 
digit filter number changed.  I'm going from memory here, but for example, 
I believe the WIX number for oil filters starts with a 52 and the NAPA 
number starts with a 92, but not positive on that.  So really, you didn't 
alter your test equipment!

Thanks for the good work and how is the Amsoil test going?
Some people claim the NAPA Gold filters differ from the ones boxed as Wix, so just in case there's any truth to it, we're being as specific as possible here.

From Doug Corbett on 13 June 2004:

hey ive heard alot about syn motor oil .i just bought my 87 mustang gt that i always
wanted,its got 76,000 on it and the previous owner was using mobile 1 so continue to
use it.i always heard it will get past your seals on older cars and it does on
mine.my buddy told me to try a syn blend.what is the diff between them besides price
Synthetic blend is dino oil with some synthetic mixed in. If you ask me, it's rather pointless -- like mixing a small amount of pure Vermont maple syrup with your Log Cabin. Either get the good stuff, or save money and buy the cheap stuff... sort-of saving money and sort-of getting good oil seems silly.

From Rick Covell on 11 June 2004:

Why did you not use a M 1 oil filter and a Amsoil oil and air filter during 
the tests?  Also are you using the right Amsoil to try and run it that long?  
Series 3000 5W-30 diesel (yes I said diesel oil for a gas engine) try it you 
will be impressed or use Series 2000 0W-30.  I ran similar tests at a power 
plant that I run, Amsoil beat M1 in every test on a Caterpillar 3516 Generator 
(1150 hp). Electrical motor bearings and air compressors.  I ran M1 for years 
until I tested Amsoil.
Rick, I'm using constant filters so as to eliminate any variables from different filtering technology in the performance of the oil. I selected Amsoil "ASL" 5W30 as it seemed the one most likely to be cross-shopped by Mobil 1 users.

From Jock Bojo on 10 June 2004:

I own a toyota prius I, my 2nd one, both were bought used.
the prius has a hybrid engine/THS. when driving at speeds not exceeding 40 mph per
hour, quite often the combustion engine does not run and cools down. this results in
very low average operating temps.. during our winter season with its rather moderate
temps, the TEMP. OF THE ENGINE COOLANT will >60įC, measured with the miniscanner 2.
the cooling system thermosstat opens at 80įC, and will be open fully at 90įC.
I had 3 oil analysis done by wear check, in 1/2003, 1/2004 and 6/2004,
respectively.fuel in fuel was 5.8, 3.7 and 1.8%, respectively.
I think, that the prius engine is running too cool.
any comments/suggestions?
That's quite a bit of fuel in the oil, but I suppose not entirely unexpected from an engine that spends a good deal of time under light load. I suspect it's probably normal for this engine, though I wouldn't mind hearing from other Prius owners.

From Brian Lohmeyer on 8 June 2004:

Have you seen any of the "quick-drain" type oil pan plugs on the market?  I have not
personally used one yet, but it would seem you could benefit from the claimed
convenience of just turning the valve to drain out enough oil for a sample.  I have
only sampled oil during an oil change, and allow some to drain out first (per the
lab's instructions) before catching a bottleful of the dark stuff.
At least it would be worth looking into for use while testing all these oils.  I
have been following your study.  Keep up the good work.
Yep, I've seen those. I have to say, though, it's really no trouble just loosening the drain bolt a bit. That's hardly the most inconvenient part of the process.

From Scott Leake on 8 June 2004:

Ran across your study/test of different synthetic oils (Mobil, Amsoil, Red
Line...). Great stuff. I wanted to check and see if you are still doing
this. How is it going?  Are you still looking for donations to help defray
the costs? Please send me the paypal info as I think I would like to help.

Keep up the great work!
Hi Scott! Yep, the synthetic oil life study is still chugging along. If you'd like to help with the costs, you can send a donation to the contact e-mail address on this page. Thank you!

From David McDonald on 8 June 2004:

MB
SINCE WE MAY BE NEAR THE END OF THE AMSOIL TEST, IS THERE ANOTHER TEST IN 
THE WINGS? I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN THE SERIES 2000 AMSOIL OR THE SYNLUBE 
PRODUCTS.
THANKS
YES STOP RED LINE IS NEXT STOP MIRO KEFURT'S SYNLUBE ISN'T GETTING ANYWHERE NEAR MY CAR STOP HE'S A LOON STOP

From Jean-Guy LeBlanc on 7 June 2004:

I am rebuilding my 76 Dart Sport. It had a slant 6 which will be replaced with a
79/360. Now I am looking for an oil pan that will fit (centre sump) and will not
cost me an arm and a leg.
Check out Moparts.

From Adam Houchen on 7 June 2004:

Ok I am in the process of putting a 2000 Grand am dash into a pontiac Fiero. It
looks great so far, just a lot of trimming here and there, but I need help in one
area. Do you know a way to get the original grand am gage cluster
(fuel,tach,speedo,and such) to work with the current fiero setup. The fiero is a 5
speed and the schematic shows the speed sensor wire going from the sensor to the
dash and then from the dash to the computer. It sends the signal at 4000
pulses/mile. The tach gets its signal from a tach filter. I am going to install a
3800 at a much later date that will give me a 99ish ECM.
but for now is there any hope to rig this up to the current stock setup?
Any help will be greatly appreciated
You do realize you're crazy? I think you're going to need an electrical engineer to help you fine tune the pulses. It's a bit out of my league.

From Ricky Desq on 6 June 2004:

When you built the air induction system for the Mustang you never said anythin about
the wires that went to the original one.
They still worked.

From Sally Kris on 4 June 2004:

    Had mustang stolen.  Even the owner/operator manual is gone.  Where can I get a
replacement?
Used car dealer.

From Lee Bussy on 3 June 2004:

Hi Neptune,

First, I see you need a sponsor for the 32K test on Amsoil (if it
makes it).  I'd be glad to help defray the costs of your testing if
you let me know how.

Second, I would positively LOVE to see some unbiased testing on a V-2
motor. I belong to several Harley mailing lists and I could see where
folks there would me most interested and help with the testing costs.
I mean oil threads there are as heated as anyone else plus we have the
H-D drivel/hype they feed us about "their" oil being better.

Keep up the great work, we're watching!
All right, well, I'm starting to see more interest in the V-twin idea. What would you guys think if it weren't a Milwaukee engine? All the bikes available for testing around here are metric...

From David Cooley on 2 June 2004:

I would love to see an Oil comparison on a V-Twin...
I see a lot of complaints about Harley's "SYN3" oil making engines overheat
etc, and the Valvoline VR1 20W50 I used was ok, but have now decided to try
Royal Purple...  What a difference!
When hot, the VR1 20W50 would go to practically 0 Pressure in my 92
Harley...  at cruise it would stabilize about 1800-2000 RPM at 16 PSI...
With no other mods, the royal purple 20W50 idles HOT at 12PSI and has never
dropped lower, even in higher ambient temps, and at cruise it stays at 20
PSI...
Hmm, thanks for the information, and I'm still considering the V-twin test.

From Clinton Headtrick on 2 June 2004:

One of the most interesting revelations from your website is the one concerning
decreasing rate of engine wear as mileage increases.  While neither a lubrication or
engine expert, my experience with maintaining auto engines for over 1,000,000 miles
and reading the non-professional literature on oil and engines for almost 50 years
has given me some small reason to find the answer.  By no means is what is offered
considered to be the real reason for the reduced wear.
 
1.  Could the additive package that controls TBN not be fully mixed and/or balanced
and controlling the acid until several thousand miles after the change of oil?  It
seems possible that although the TBN is established at manufacture, the mixture is
not fully capable of immediately neutralizing.  Acid wear is chemical in nature and
would be minimally affected by the filter.
 
2.  Could the filter over the first few thousand miles actually become signficantly
more efficient and thereby remove more abrasive particles reducing particulates of
all sizes in the oil?  Fewer abrasives circulating mean less frictional wear.  The
filter would become more efficient because hole size would be reduced as the holes
would fill with particles.  Obviously, there is a point at which the filter plugs
and the element is bypassed, rendering the filter of no value.
 
3.  Similarly, could virgin oil contain more impurities than the manufacturer would
have us believe and over time the improving filter would remove the wear particles? 
This idea came about after examining the bottom of empty oil containers whose oil
had just been removed.  Some of these containers had a black grit on the inside
bottom.
 
4.  What about the possibility that the oil actually improves in lubricity over
time?  This would be contrary to my understanding of the long chains of molecules
that eventually shear down to small chains, reducing the film strength and
therefore, the oil is less slick.   Also, the buildup of acid over time should and
would normally increase acidic wear.
 
At any rate, it is good that your talent is being directed toward answers for the
rest of us in the increasingly costly and complex issue of auto maintenance.  
 
It will take legions of talented individuals such as yourselves to keep us mobile on
into the future when you realize that the age of petroleum will come to an end when
you are my age.  It seems only yesterday that I was driving through West Texas in
the 1960's and saw hundreds of miles of producing oil fields.  On a recent trip,
first in many years, the absence of these oil pumps was striking, just a few here
and there and mostly stripper wells.
Clint, I don't have any hard and fast answers to your queries -- just suppositions and guesses same as anybody else's. But, as the oil study continues, we might be able to better identify the more likely answers.

From Stacey Olstad on 1 June 2004:

Hi
My name is Stacey. My husband and I have a 1968 dodge charger, that has recently had
the body restored.  The car is in the process of being painted and he would like to
have the original bumblebee stripe on the back.  The problem is that we do not know
any of the dimentions, can you help?  We know we could purchase a decal if
necessary.

Thanks
I don't know the dimensions right off, but a parts supplier that sells the bumblebee stripes ought to be able to provide them, if they're feeling nice about it.

From Leonardo Pereia on 31 May 2004:

Hi there, my name is Leo and i have been looking
lately all ove the internet unbiased lab tests on
synthetic oil for a while, and as you may know i have
not had any luck. 
Everyone says amsoil is the best, but i need proof and
evidence. It will be the oil i will be using in my
cars and motorcycle (and i do know about energy
conserving oils) 
Your articles struck me as very objective and in
search of "the thruth". I do not know if you guys stop
the research, and if you did, can you possibly point
me in the right direction?
Thank you very much, eo
Not at all. The synthetic oil life study is still in progress.

From Dennis Kane on 29 May 2004:

have a 2000 dodge intrepid 3.2, i use it mainly as a weekend car. has 27,065 mi.,
will sit sometimes 2-3 weeks with out moving. manual says 3months-3000miles, have
been changing every 3months, good bad or indifferent- what are your thoughts- thanks
much
Waste of time. Change at 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on your comfort level.

From Paul Nuke on 26 May 2004:

Hi Neptune folks,

My experience, for what it's worth:  Stock 1986 Mazda RX-7 GXL, which 
I purchased as a partially repaired wreck in 1987, and completed the 
repairs.  I've always used Castrol Syntec in it, simply because it 
seems to be the most readily available synthetic on local retail 
shelves.  Maintenance, very roughly estimated from memory:

First seven years and 50K miles, I changed the oil and filter perhaps 
two or three times.

After that, I rationalized that there was no real need because the 
engine squirts a bit of oil into the combustion chambers, so the oil 
is very slowly consumed, and thus the occasional added quart dilutes 
contaminants and sufficiently maintains the quality of the oil.  The 
truth is, even though I love the car, I've had constant pressures 
that made it's maintenance seem entirely secondary - I just couldn't 
afford to take time to care for it.

But I never once failed to calculate the precise gas mileage at every 
fuel fill-up.  My feeling was that that's a key indicator of overall 
performance - if fuel efficiency is flat, then systems are not 
breaking down.  And, except when a connection in the fuel system came 
loose, fuel efficiency was consistent at about 18 MPG right to the 
end.  That end occurred last month, at 18 years of age and 115K 
miles, when, due to cooling system failures, I overheated the engine 
and evidently toasted the O-rings that isolate the combustion chamber 
from the cooling system.  Now it won't retain coolant, so it's a 
planter.  (It's too bad, because I still like the car a lot.)

But that failure wasn't related to lubrication, so my anecdotal 
experience is that oil maintenance with Syntec in this rotary powered 
vehicle was unnecessary.  It would have been nice, but failing to 
attend to it didn't seem to cause any degradation that I could see.

Regards
Cool, thanks for the input!

From Howard Bentley on 26 May 2004:

I just saw a guy walking out of the office with a jug of Rotella 
synthetic.  I asked him later if he had a tractor out in the parking 
lot.  He told me he puts it in his Honda VFR 750.  He also claims that 
the bike runs cooler and shifts smoother.  Ever hear of this?  At ~$12 
a gallon, it's quite a bargain.  I'm gonna try it out in my turbo car 
after I break in the engine.  How about that sister study with the 
V-Twin?  :)
Rotella has quite a following. I lack any personal experience. So far the response to the V-twin test has been, well, "cool".

From Howard Bentley on 26 May 2004:

I live in Calgary Canada where winter temperatures sometimes makes the oil
feel like treacle you are turning over.
I would really like to change to synthetic but have heard it makes seals
leak more often. I'm not sure whether this information means the swell and
leak or dry out and leak.
Do you have any experience with this information?
Please keep the website and articles coming. I have only just found the site
but will certainly be a reader from now on.
Very best regards
Yup. We've switched several cars with more than 100,000 miles on them, and they've never leaked any more or less after the swap than they did before.

From Eric from Texas on 26 May 2004:

Hey I have a 1993 1500 Chevy pu and I bought a 97 vortec 350. I was wondering do
they make a conversion kit to go from multiport to the factory throttle body. Any
info would be greatly appreciated.
A kit? Probably not. But, the conversion should be manageable if you really want to. Port injection is the better system though.

From Paul Nuke on 25 May 2004:

I own a 95 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited. Recently my Jeep has started
vibrating and any random moment, usually between the speeds of 40mph and
55mph, and if Im not quick enough to hit the brakes and slow it down, it
blows a 20 amp fuse under the hood and shuts the entire Jeep down. 

Ive turned wrenchs in my own garage for awhile now, but this utterly stumps
me. Ive checked just about everything I can think of and as big as the
internet is, I can find no answer. Im tired of buying Walmarts entire supply
of 20 amp fuses, If you can help me out, please do. I appreciate it.
Nope, you've got me beat on this one, I don't have a clue.

From Lou Vassallo on 24 May 2004:

Hello!
      I just wanted to send you a note thanking you for all the information 
on your site.  I have a 95 Mustang GT AOD with 183,000 miles on it (yes I 
bought it new).  I haven;t changed much aside from an aftermarket high flow 
catalytic converter, flowmaster mufflers and pipes, and a K&N filter, unless 
you include the three times I had the tranny rebuilt,  (lol).
     Anyway I have had a list of small problems over the last year including 
stumbling and surging idle, loss of power, ac doors not working, failed 
emmisions, and just a general feeling that the car was not running well... 
and no one seems to be able to diagnose it properly.  After a lot fo 
research (especially at YOUR site since you guys have my car :)  I wound up 
doing the following:
    Replacing the O2 sensors.  They were never replaced.  EVER.  I actually 
had a failed cat 2 years ack and had to buy an aftermarket one form Catgo 
because the OEM one was like 12 hundred bucks.. I had asked the mechanin of 
the O2 sensors should be replaced as well and he indicated that "O2 sensors 
never fail.  If they do there will be a specific code."  Yeah right.  I 
replaced the sensors and the EGR valve (and gasket.. we will come to the 
gasket thing later lol).
     After doing this, other problems seemed more pronounced.  The idle suge 
and stumble seemed to get a little worse.  INitially I thought.. HELL!  I 
have bad parts... BUT I went to your site and noticed you guys kept 
diagnosing the same problem as a vacuum leak right away.  And then I 
remebered that some time back the AC doors wihich control my air to the 
vents were acting up on and off.  The problem went away almost by itself 
some time ago.  THEY were run by vacuum....  SO I had an idea.  Reaplace all 
the vacuum lines.  Which I did.. Except for the two that run under the air 
intake plenum (My next project).
     The surging and stumbling got MUCH better.... SO I also decided to take 
apart the Mass Air and clean the sensor inside.  I took apart the Idle Air 
bypass as well (you really CAN take the thing apart and put it back together 
if you pry the metal retainers back) and its was DISGUSTINGLY filthy.  
Cleaned that too.  I got a little happy with my cleanig and took apart the 
Throttle body an cleaner that filthy sucker out too.
     Sidebar:  When I took apart the throttle I had to remove the EGR and I 
tried to re-use the gasket like your.. um friend... did in that article and 
I had perfomrance issues probably from vaccum loss.  Getting the part from 
anyone was a major pain so I bought some gasket material and cut it 
myself... BOING!  Instant performance improver lol.
     After all this I had to adjust the timing AND the idle.  It looks like 
some mechanic way back adjust them due to my car performance at the time.  
So now that everything was nice and clean and new I had to set them back.  
My current state:  VERY minor stumble,  VERY minor surge when I first turn 
on my AC.  It looks like the coltage drops a little so maybe its the 
Alternator I had replaced about a year and a half back by a local chain 
(they probably gave me a POS alternator).
     My next thing:  Replacing those two annoying vaccum lines under the air 
itake plenum.  I am going tot ake the whole damn thing apart, clean it out 
and replace the lines and gasket.  NOW that I KNOW therre are two bolts 
under the For 5.0 plate.. LOL>  Thanks for that.  Its true that no manual 
tells that to you  HAnes sure as hell didn't.  Anyway I am BETTING that 
after that my engine will run like buttter.....
     One question:  There is a thin pipe that runs from tht cat back into 
the engine.  I notices some rattingling awhile back and noticed that the 
hangers under the car and inside the engine bay on the passenger side were 
broen.  I am not sure what this pipe does except that is seems to provide a 
way back fro unused oygen and/or aother gases into the engine for emissions. 
  I created some hangars for this pipe (the original in the engine bay 
attached to one of the bolts on the header) so that there is no longer a 
rattling noise, and its more or less snug on the cat now....  Should I deal 
the connection to the cat with some pipe sealing compaound (did this with 
the cat pipe when it came loose)?  Does it matter if its airtight?  That is 
assuming form my generic description you can tel me what it is.......
Sorry for the book I wrote here.. I am a computer consutlant by trade and 
work mostly with hardware, so I am reasonable troubleshooter and can 
understand tech talk is you speak slowly enough ..lol.  Thanks again for all 
the info on your site and if you can asnwer the little question regarding 
that pipe off of the catalytic converter it would be nice...
Quite an e-mail there! Thanks for relating your adventures -- good reading! But next time that slushbox needs a rebuild, go with a 5-spd instead. Regarding the catalytic converter tube, it's just the AIR tube. I forget right off what AIR stands for, but it's not particularly pressurized or anything. When we installed an H-pipe on our Mustang, the AIR tube was cut wrong, so we had to modify it and connect them with some plastic tubing held on with hose clamps. It worked fine and never gave us any troubles.

From Jake Wyler on 24 May 2004:

Hi, I read your article about horsepower and I have a question my car (1993 acura
vigor) is advertised at 176 HP yet owners claim dyno tests closer to 202HP. Have you
heard of any reports about this and if not how can I find out. Thanks
Not specifically to that car, though I don't follow Honda automobiles that closely. It's certainly possible, as manufacturers have a long record of "massaging" horsepower numbers for their own gain.

From David McDonald on 24 May 2004:

MB
JUST SWITCHED TO MOBIL 1, WONDERING IF THERE ARE ANY RELIABLE DEGREES OF 
DARKNESS WITH SYN OIL TO TELL YOU THE END IS NEAR.
THANKS
CAMRY GUY
NO STOP THE MOBIL 1 OIL TURNED BLACK LONG BEFORE IT WAS USED UP STOP

From Mike Nunb on 21 May 2004:

Hello,
    Just discovered your web site from a link on, of all places, a Toyota 
Prius hybrid message board.   Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do.   
Which translates to hours of late nite reading.   I'm going to pass on your site 
link to another "gear head" with a big reader base.
     I'm watching your synth oil test with great anticipation since I have 
been a Mobil 1 fan since the stuff hit the market and another member of my 
Chapter is an even bigger Amsoil promoter.   Your last comment on that page teased 
of a V-twin test.   YES!!!   Bring it on!   
     Thanks,   Mike   (Among others, 1995 Toyota Supra TT and a few Harleys)
So far the response to the V-twin tease has been, well, lukewarm at best, but perhaps people are just sitting with bated breath for the next installment of the LS1 test.

From Martin Eble on 21 May 2004:

The lower wear on the Amsoil is no surprise - note the
higher phosphorous and zinc levels. When everyone else
dropped their levels of zinc phosphate to meet the API
SL requirements, Amsoil balked. As a result, some of
their products are not API certified (not unlike Red
Line, which is not an API licensee).

If you want low wear, try the Mobil 1 Racing Oil. It
also lacks API certification:

                Mobil 1    Mobil 1
                Racing     5W-30     Amsoil

Boron           178        120       82
Phosphorus      1399       737       965
Zinc            1536       819       1113
Calcium         3024       2649      2321

The Mobil 1 10W-40 Motorcycle oil also has higher
levels of Phosphorous and Zinc.
Cool. Thanks for the info.

From George Sardelis on 21 May 2004:

I have the same problem that Alexandru Tutu (july 1, 2003) was having with
his 97 GTP.  It misfires, runs good, then misfires again. It also stalls
sporadically when I come to a complete stop.  It has been doing this for the
past week.  I have checked everything.no engine codes.  Does anyone know
what may be causing it.
Thrown out here for general comment.

From David Burgess on 18 May 2004:

I only have one problem with your site - I cannot log off!  Too interesting!

That is not to say I agree with everything you say.  I do like your practical
approach and you get to a plausible and entertaining conclusion in almost every case.
Yes - everyone should learn to drive a manual for the direct feeling and fuel
economy.  We recently bought a Focus ZTW 2.3 PZEV, one of the last of this breed, but
it came as an auto.  There were no manuals on the East Coast!  Of course, Ford likes
auto's - they get about $800 more for them. Does it cost more to make an auto? 
Possibly, but not more than 50 bucks, I think.  After it is built, it costs no more
to transport, service, clean etc., and only a smidgeon more to finance the stock and
recompense the dealer, so most of the $800 goes directly into Henry's pocket.
Halliburton and Exxon etc. like auto's too - they sell more fuel.

Talking of fuel, I do not agree with your essay on trucks and fuel prices.  I copied
your data (great job of getting it together - thanks) into Excel and massaged it a
little. First of all, we agree that fleet fuel economy changes slowly, so why not
"smooth" the price data? I did this with an "infinite impulse response" filter from
signal processing - it is equivalent to an R-C filter in physical circuits.  (Or a
dashpot (ideal) and a mass in mechanical systems.  Very much like going over a bump
in a car.)  All you do is to add a fraction of the new data to the old data less the
same fraction.  The smaller the fraction the greater the smoothing, and the greater
the delay.  (Very similar to your fleet fuel economy figures.)  I used 1/3 and 1/5 as
trial fractions, 1/3 smooths the data nicely, and introduces a delay of only 1-2
yrs., so I ignored the delay.  Now look at what we get!  The chart in the attached
Excel file is normalised to the first data point (1989) and then expressed as
differences by subtracting 1. The only effect is to show the data more clearly.  (See
attached file: Fuel comparison.xls)

We could do all sorts of fancy analysis to get a correlation coefficient, probability
that the correlation is by chance etc.  The graphical result is very impressive to an
unsophisticated viewer, so let us stick with that.  It would be interesting to get
2001-2003 data, I suspect the apparent drop in price over the years would disappear.

Soooooo - not only does fuel economy affect fuel prices, but we can take a swag at
the ratio (correlation coefficient) - roughly an 8% improvement in fleet fuel economy
reduces prices by 5%.  Actually, we do not know that it is not the reverse: fuel
price affects fuel economy.  I suspect it does in the long run, and certainly will
when the oil runs out.

Pace, lies damn lies and statistics!  But you do say that increased driving may
affect the results - and the oilco does not care if you fill up a Focus and drive 300
miles or a Suburban and drive 120 miles, it still sells 10 gallons.  On this slightly
shaky basis, we might expect that if we (all) drove 8% less, fuel prices would drop
5%.  That makes the "I'll just go down to the grocery to get a...." very expensive!

Hope you are still enjoying your Impreza.  Many years ago, my experience was from a
UK Ford Escort (when it was RWD) to a Morris 1100, so I learned that FWD was very
much better than RWD. Newer RWD's are, I am sure, much better, but, I submit, at a
higher price (Merc's, Jags and Bimmers etc. - RWD GM's and Crown Victorias are still
HOJ's IMHO).  Here in NC, a good FWD will cover all but the odd day or so per year
(no changing tyres), so I do not need 4WD. If I really did need 4WD, the Impreza
would probably be my choice too.

Sorry to yadder on so much.  Thanks for the practical stuff - synthetic oil,
additives etc.  A great public service.  Long live Paradise Garage.
Now that gas is $2.25/gal, I've gone a step further, I ride a motorcycle. My first bike cost me $650 and got 70 mpg, but it proved a bit underpowered for the mountains so my current bike cost $4000 and gets 50 mpg. I've lost some of my efficiency, but the mountains are no longer a struggle, I can park anywhere I want, move through traffic easier, virtually zero maintenance, and when I go to areas that have HOV lanes I can use 'em. And I still get double the fuel economy of the Subaru. A lot of people disagree with the Trucks Don't Raise Gas Prices article, but you're probably the first to present a rational case for it. Most folk just cuss me out. (Turns out environmentalists are kinda mean.) Your data certainly is compelling. I may have to revisit that essay at some point. I originally wrote it in 2001, before the war, and much has changed. Though, I have to say, I am still inclined to believe that there are forces much greater than fleet fuel economy at play. The recent 25% price hike cannot be attributed to a sudden surge in truck sales.

I will have to respectfully disagree on the matter of FWD vs. RWD. I much prefer the handling characteristics of RWD cars. No doubt you have seen the Our Cars article so you know the basis of my opinion. It is no trouble at all to switch to snow tires in the winter, and since you only use one set of tires at a time, in the long run there is no extra cost (the life of the tires are extended by the amount of time they are in storage). Last winter, my Z28 with snow tires handled *better* than the Impreza with somewhat aged all-seasons. After going in circles with the FWD/RWD argument on many occasions, I have come to the conclusion that it is largely a personal impression: some people are more comfortable with the handling characteristics of FWD cars, and some prefer RWD. Put me solidly in the latter camp. This does not make one inherently better than the other, but just better for that individual driver. The Subaru's AWD is handy in rain and snow, but like ABS or traction control, essentially a luxury item to compensate for lazy driving.

It was a pleasure to hear from someone with something to say besides "what is the firing order on my 1986 Oldsmobile Firenza?"

From Efrain Siller on 18 May 2004:

Hi, I just find your webpage, I'm really interested in the oil study, I
have always used dino oil (castrol GTX) and since I believed that having
new oil was better I changed oil and filter every 2000 miles, Thanks to
you I am doing that no more, now I want to change to synthetic oil, what
do you think about castrol syntec( I already bought 5 quarts of that
oil), the next time I guess I will use mobil1.  What do you think about
K&N high flow filters or mobil 1 filters, are they good?
Thanks, and keep the good work with the oil study
Lotsa questions. I'll try to answer. Castrol Syntec is a good oil, but really more of a premium dino oil than a true synthetic -- it's not a PAO. The premium oil filters, they probably do work well -- with a regular $6 NAPA Gold lasting 12,000 miles, I wonder how good you really need, but whatever works for you.

From John Potocki on 15 May 2004:

I am becoming more and more convinced that a customer's wealth and wisdom 
are inversely proportional.  Some who are damn rich are just damn dumb 
too.  If you could bet on this in Vegas you would always win.  Win big too.

We make four products, soon to be five; two we advertise on our web site 
and two are made exclusively for professional drag race teams, strictly 
nitromethane teams. The products we make that are drag race related are 
either just ordered and paid for promptly; granted the nitro teams 
have  money, still it is expensive stuff.  The other drag racing stuff 
available to everyone is met with either "ship them" or "don't ship 
them."  What could be easier?

I love dealing with these people.  It is either 'yea' or 'nea' - no in 
between.  No BS.  They usually do their homework before calling.

Then there is our main product which is aimed at high end, to very high 
end, performance/sports cars.  I will just say it protects the tires.  The 
majority of these people act like you are killing them with the cost of the 
product which is less than one rear tire and guaranteed for life!  Typical 
scenario: " Hi, I have a Ferrari/Porsche turbo/Viper and I am interested in 
your product.  Does it work? Yes.  How does it work?  Well, we now know 
they didn't go into the web site so we explain for 15 to 30 minutes how the 
product works and the fact that patents are not issued for ideas anymore 
etc.  You MUST prove efficacy and economic need to get a patent these 
days.  All is fine so far.  How much?  This is when they die, have strokes, 
go ballistic or just hang up.  They cost $344 delivered.

$344.  What!!!!!!  You're killing me!  I can get a house for that or a 
garage. yada-yada.  We tell them to price one rear tire for their 
Porsche/Ferrari. Viper etc. and they will see they are not really that 
expensive considering the life time warranty.  I must tell you the more 
expensive the car, the worst these guys act - really.  Then their is the 
kid with the Z-28 or Bullet Mustang and they say," Hey that's cool. Ship 
them."  Go figure.

Advertising - we won't even go there; spread most of these guys with 
Preparation H and they would vanish!

Finally there is complete stupidity.  (Customer calls) "I spilled some gas 
in the driveway and some got on your product as some went into the garage 
and when I dropped my cigarette it burned the blacktop and one of the 
pads.  It's guaranteed for life so will you send me one 
pad?"  No.  "&%#$%*(^#@^&%# you said they were life time warranted."  They 
are but not against setting them on fire with gas.  By the way how did you 
do that?

"Hell, I was filling the John Deere and I sort of wasn't paying too much 
attention and it started to run everywhere so I pushed it out of the way 
and dropped my cigarette in the process.  The SOB caught fire and your damn 
pad burned like hell,"  Really? Sorry but we don't warranty against fire.

I am on 89 car web sites and I will tell then you guys are thievin' sons of 
bitches, I will have you put out of business, I will call my lawyer, my 
mother - - yada-yada,"

And to think I retired from a medical profession to deal with this from the 
"creme de la creme" of the automotive world.  What in hell was I thinking?

Then again, perhaps I will either sell the patent or assign it and they can 
deal with the automotive elite.
Haha, this is great stuff. Keep it coming!

From Patrick Gallaher on 13 May 2004:

I purchased a 71 Barracuda that came with a 440 in it. The problem is that the 440
came out of a GTX and did not have all of the brackets and pulleys with it. What is
there I do not know is correct or will work. This is a whopper of a puzzle for me.
The water pump pully only has one groove and the altenator has two grooves, while
the Crank pully has 5 grooves. The lower radiator hose hits the oil filter when
routed to the radiator and the power steering pump will not fit with the water hose
AC compressor and oil filter in the way. Does anyone know where I can find a picture
gallary or diagram of the pully and belt system for a 71 Cuda 440 with Air. 

Thanks
Pat, the E-body and B-body are very similar in design. I would expect your problems arise more from one engine being out of an A/C car and the other not, rather than the body it came from. Some quality time with a restoration parts supplier like Year One might provide the solutions you need.

From Skip Aldrich on 13 May 2004:

Hey Brian,
            First I would like to commend you on a very well run testing procedure
with no hype and just the facts. I'd like to offer a couple of  ideas to
consider.
            The first being when everything is normal, the results should be boring.
            The attachment is the official Amsoil specification sheet for the test oil.
            Where one oil shines over another is when everything is not normal, such
as when a hose blows and overheating results, during cold weather
startup, while towing. The most dramatic advantage to synthetic is the
way it performs during a crisis. Note the spec sheet for these items.
            The next item is filter quality.  I understand you must use the same
filter for both tests but I call your attention to the spec sheet below
for Amsoil SDF oil filters. The graph at the bottom is very informative.
The Napa Gold filter is the worst for capacity of those tested and 3rd
from the worst for efficiency. If either an Amsoil filter or a Mobil 1
filter were used in the test, both oils would test better and last
longer. Note the Amsoil recommendation for change interval is 12,000
miles under normal use. Yes I am an Amsoil dealer and have been using
their products since 1973.  I hope this all makes it to you.
            If something looks missing let me know.

            Super Duty Oil Filters
              Offer all-around better filtration and protection than conventional
filters. Full flow design for extended drain intervals and severe
service. Contains a high-tech blended filtration media composed of
cellulose, synthetic and glass fibers. The media sets the Super Duty
apart from conventional filters in capacity, efficiency and service
life. Delivers superior filtration and protection. Product Code: SDF
           
            PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
            The AMSOIL Super Duty Oil Filter (SDF) is designed to provide maximum
filtration while meeting the high flow demands of modern automobiles.
The AMSOIL SDF contains a special cellulose, synthetic and glass blend
media that offers the best possible balance of long life, high capacity
and overall efficiency.

            Traps Dirt Throughout Media Thickness
            The AMSOIL SDF has a lofted fiber depth-type media that traps dirt
throughout its entire thickness for exceptional filtering efficiency. It
keeps oil clean and free of wear-causing contaminants. The AMSOIL SDF
Oil Filter provides up to 100 percent more capacity and up to 20 percent
greater efficiency than other filters provide. It is ideal for use with
extended oil drain intervals.

            Built for Rugged Performance
            The AMSOIL SDF has a heavy-duty case of drawn steel. The case is
double-crimped at the base with rolled-under seaming to withstand
extreme pressure surges and road shocks.

            Assures Oil Flow with Relief Valve
            On most filters a relief valve is provided to assure ample oil flow. It
prevents oil starvation in the engine in the event the media becomes
saturated.

            Prevents Oil Drainage During Engine Shutdown
            On filter installations where the mounting is sideways or upright, dirty
oil could drain out of the filter when the engine is shut off. The
AMSOIL SDF has an anti-drainback valve that keeps trapped contaminants
in the filter when the engine is not running.

            APPLICATION
            AMSOIL INC. recommends changing the AMSOIL SDF according to the
following guidelines.

            In gasoline-fueled engines using any AMSOIL motor oil except AMSOIL
XL-7500 Synthetic Motor Oil, change the filter at 12,500-mile or
six-month intervals. In gasoline-fueled engines using AMSOIL XL-7500
Synthetic Motor Oil, change the filter at 7,500-mile or six-month
intervals. If a Hastings or other filter is used, filter should be
changed at manufacturer recommendations.

            In diesel-fueled large truck engines, change the filter(s) at the engine
manufacturer's recommended oil change interval. In diesel-fueled light
trucks, including pickups and vans, change the filter at 7,000-mile or
six-month intervals.

            When using an AMSOIL Oil Filter with conventional motor oils, refer to
the owner's manual for the recommended oil filter change interval.
Thanks for the information about the Amsoil filters. You're right though that I plan to use the same filter across all oils. I've seen Amsoil's study on oil filters, and I've also seen others that have been kinder to the NAPA line -- I suspect it depends on the model tested. In any case, the results in the synthetic oil life study don't seem to suggest that the NAPA Gold is falling asleep on the job, so I'm quite comfortable with my choice.

From Calvin Kim on 12 May 2004:

Good or Bad?
While they are purported to have absolute filtration capacity down to 35
microns, I wonder if that's too big for a standard
auto/motorcycle/insert_machine_here engine?
Here is some information (from a press release) about them:

SCOTT'S STAINLESS STEEL OIL FILTERS FOR ROAD AND OFF-ROAD BIKES

The last oil filter you should every have to buy
It's reusable!  You only need one for the life of your bike.

Superior Filtration:
Made from laser-cut, medical grade, 304-type stainless steel micronic filter
cloth, to provide unmatched protection against oil contamination and
resultant engine damage.   Rated filtration at 35 microns "absolute" which
is many times better than most "good" paper and brass filters.  A white
blood cell is approximately 25 microns. The stainless steel cloth filters
out particles below the limit of human visibility.  Unlike paper filters,
this is an absolute filtration spec, meaning nothing larger should pass
through the filter (paper elements are rated on an average or percent of
efficiency, meaning they CAN and DO pass much larger particles through the
filtering element.

Cleanable and reusable:
Simply remove the filter, rinse it in clean solvent and replace it, you're
done.
The filter can be cleaned with solvent, kerosene, aerosol carburetor
cleaner, or any other degreasing agent, even common dish soap.  Blow air
through the filter from the inside out to remove any small particles or
cleaning agent from the screen.  You can even claim your doing your part for
the environment by not sending used filters to the landfills.
 
Consistent flow under all conditions:
Stainless steel will stand up to the stress of heat, high pressure and
physical handling much better than paper or brass.   This filter maintains
consistent flow under all conditions including cold start up and under
extreme heat.  This filter flows 7-8 times more oil than most filters.  A
one inch square of this micron filter material will flow 1.9 gallons of 90
weight oil per minute at only 1 psi pump pressure (70 degrees F).  Our
standard filter size is 30 sq. inches which equals the flow of 57 gallons
per minute!  Standard paper filters do not flow well when the oil is cold,
which can cause the bypass valve to open, allowing unfiltered, dirty oil to
enter the engine!! 

Construction quality: We use only the highest quality materials in this
product.  We use aircraft quality aluminum for the end caps. Our pleat seams
are welded, not glued, like paper filters.  Some other mesh type filters use
epoxy on the pleat seams which is a risky way to secure the pleat.

Unaffected by Water, Heat and Pressure:
This filter is capable of withstanding extremely high pressure and flow
rates. It is also unaffected by Water, Heat and Pressure, unlike standard
paper filter material which swells in the presence of water, closing off
filter pores and reducing flow.  This is especially important because
engines occasionally get condensation inside the crankcase.

Early Detection:
By allowing you to inspect the debris that is in the filter you can monitor
your engines condition, avoiding minor and even worse, catastrophic failures
before they happen.

What is a Micron?  A micron is one thousandth of a millimeter.  That's about
.00003937 inches.  A white blood cell is about 25 microns.  Our filter
catches some pretty darned small stuff that wants to hurt your motor and
would be flying around in there if your using anything else.

So who uses this type of filtration?
This high tech filter technology is widely used in all types of auto racing
including Nascar, Cart, Formula 1 and the Aerospace industry where
filtration is of the utmost importance.

What does it fit:
We have filters for just about every 4-stroke Road Bike, ATV, Off-road Bike,
Snowmobile and Jet Ski made.

Things to think about:
Next time you are fanning your clutch think about all that tiny debris that
is created from the clutch and gears meshing together, spinning around in
your motor's vital parts. If you really care about the life of your motor
and consider the cost of loss of time associated with a current day 4-stroke
motor, then you need one of these filters. It's even transferable in some
cases to you next bike. I used the same filter in my last three bikes, and
it's still like brand new.  There's simply nothing to wear out.

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask.
You can visit our website at www.scottsonline.com for more pictures and
information.
To order your new filter, you can call us at 818 248-6747 or order on-line
on our website.
Why would you want to clean and reuse an oil filter when new ones cost like six bucks?

From George Mertz on 5 May 2004:

I will sponsor the Oil Analyzers for your testing. Please let me know 
how to get the money to you. I will send either a check (if that's OK)
or money order. Just let me know how much, who to make it out to and 
where to send it.

Love your website. Found it by reading the forum at LosAngelesGasPrices.com
Thanks for the offer! Right now I'm not looking to do a cross-lab comparison but I sure do appreciate the generosity.

From Akom on 5 May 2004:

I'd like to help with the oil study,

Where do I send paypal money, and is there a set amount that is customary to
send?

I've been thinking of doing this very study (perhaps not this elaborate) for
some time, but now that I've found the site, I'd rather sponsor you guys since
you're doing a better job and are further along.

My oil experiences:

I've actually been using Amsoil 5w-30 for years in 3 cars and one bike, for a
total of at least 120K miles, without analysis and I've kept it in for 20K
miles at a time.  One car (87 Pulsar) eventually was consuming a quart per 100
miles (by 150K miles - but I rebuilt the head and not the engine so I should
have expected this) and was donated, but the others seem to be doing fine - 95
Integra GSR w/105K and a 95 Corolla w/120K.

The bike (79 CX-500 with 10K on it) actually had the oil in it for 3 years and
6K before I just got worried and changed it, and the oil didn't even look
black.   Perhaps I (read: you) should do a study on synthetics left in low-use
engines for a long time.  I'd love to change the oil in the bike once a decade.

PS: Any reason why nobody has mentioned Castrol Syntec?  Did someone prove it to
be such crap that it isn't worth mentioning? :)

Hi! Thanks for the offer of support. $18.50 covers one sample (except for TBN) and if you like you can PayPal it to the website's contact e-mail address. I wish I could help with the low-use engines, but I don't have any to offer -- all my vehicles are runners. German Castrol Syntec is regarded as high quality synthetic but the American version is just a Group V dino.

From Paul Kay on 4 May 2004:

I'm currently rebuilding an 84 s10 2.8 liter v6 and I've encountered some trouble. I
own a haynes manual and a chiltons manual but i cant figure out were the hoses on
top of the motor go. i had help tearing it down so i dont know where they go. there
are no online diagrams of the hoses and im stuck. i needed the truck running last
month but im in a huge jam. please help.
I'm guessing the hoses on top of the motor are vacuum lines. You'll need a vacuum diagram to get them sorted out -- and even then it won't be a lot of fun. If Haynes and Chilton are leaving you in the dark, you may have to spring for a factory service manual.

From Ed Barnett on 3 May 2004:

I'd be please to help you folks with your oil analysis and also to
contribute $20.00 to the effort. I just transferred some money to my paypal
account which money will be available in 3-4 days.

In the mean time I have a number of vehicles, all on synthy, anyone of which
could be used for study. Vehicles are:
Porsche 911-2.7 liter
Ford F-350 Powerstroke
2003 Subaru 3.0 liter

Let me know how I can help.
Ed, you're welcome to send the donation via PayPal to the contact e-mail address for this website. Thank you! If you want to add to the study, our methodology is laid out pretty well on the website, so you're certainly welcome to test and report results for your own vehicles.

From Kay Pendergast on 3 May 2004:

Neptune,
Your synthetic oil test is great, I was also wondering about a couple
other synthetics that claim extended intervals.
I ran across a website (www.motrlube.com) that claims 40,000 mile
intervals, have you heard anything about them?
They are a pure 100% synthetic with PAO's, not a blend with dino or
ethers like most synthetics.
Perhaps they could be your challenge for the gentleman that wanted to
see Royal Purple compariso
Well, perhaps. There are far more oils on the market than we will ever successfully test, but we'll get to as many as possible.

From Lord Garnit on 30 April 2004:

Hi Great site..I just sold my recen't car which was a 91 FB V-6, And have since
picked up an 83 T/A 305 4bbl that had sat for 8yrs, I did all the major tune up
stuff smog/electric. The car runs and drives....But it has a weird vacumish noise,
and when i press on the gas peddle while driving it loose's power and feels like
it's going to die?. i know nothing of Carburators or vacume diagrams..Could you give
me some pointers on what it might be? Thank You.
Well! Welcome to the world of carburetors -- and worse, smog-era carbs! Engine trouble when adding fuel suggests to me that you've got fuel issues. Maybe you need to rebuild that carb, or at least lean it out a whole lot.

From Doug Wilson on 29 April 2004:

hi my name is doug,
I own a 1954 chevy Bel-Air, and we just started hearing a knock in the 
engine, so we went to our friend, and we bought a chevy small block 400 or a 
  350, we are not sure, but anyways, we are going to put the V8 into the 
Bel-Air, and take out the strait 6, but there are no moter mounts for the 
V8, where can i get a conversion kit for the 54, so that the engine will 
fit??
Any info will be greatly appreaciated

  thanks
Check the ads in the various hot rodding and street rodding magazines. Someone's bound to sell a kit. The swap used to be quite popular.

From Bill Winney on 29 April 2004:

Gents,
 
I have a 2001 Mustang with the 4.6 L dual overhead cam engine.
Purchased new with 3 miles on it.
 
At 8 miles (yest just the ride home from the dealer) I changed the
filter and put in Mobil One 5W-30.  Then changed Mobil One & filter at
322, & 1822 miles.
 
At 796 miles I installed an oil cooler and two filter oil manifold.  
 
At 1822 miles I installed an electric Prelube oil pump.  System volume
is now 8 qts vice the OEM 5 qts.
 
At 4007 miles I installed an Oil Guard Bypass flow oil filter and
commenced sampling oil.
 
I have since accumulated a total of 98,400 miles on this car & engine
with samples about every 3,000 miles.
 
After I commenced taking samples I drew the conclusion that I could
extend the change interval from every 3000 miles by sampling every 3000
miles and changing the oil when the results indicated a need to.
 
I gradually increased the change interval from 3 to 6 to 9 to 12 to 15
to 18 to 24 thousand miles.  On the recommendation of the analysis lab I
have now shifted to changing the filter at about 24 thousand miles and
topping up the oil.  I am now at about 30 thousand miles since last
total change.  I did change the filters at 24 thousand and topped up 3
qts added for the oil lost from the filters.  I suppose you could call
that a partial change.
 
I have tracked the oil results and they indicate little wear.  (yes I
have recorded all of them in a spreadsheet and plotted key results to
follow trends)
 
Mobil One 5W-30 and 0W-30 have been used exclusively since 8 miles.  I
prefer the 0W-30 since it gets to the bearings faster at start up.
 
I believe the bypass filter with its 1 micron filtration capability to
be a real contributor to the good wear performance of this engine.  A
point you did not address in your article was the particle size
capability of filters.  About the best you see in full flow filters is
25 micron size.  The connecting rod to crankshaft bearings in my engine
are 8 microns.  From this I concluded that the oil life could be
reliably extended and did so as mentioned above.
 
I concluded that I need more than a really good full flow filter and
decided that the Oil Guard unit was the best choice for me.  This bypass
filter in combination with the prelube oil pump gives a real good
combination in reducing engine wear.
Very good info, Bill; thanks for sharing it!

From Larry Turner on 29 April 2004:

Howdy -
I run a Oil Analysis business and have been posting the results of the
tests for over a year.  Last Oct I began to get behind entering the data
from my customers but I hope to get caught up soon.

Actually I sell the Oil Test Kits and use a lab near Chicago to do the
tests - they've been in the testing business since the early 60s.  Feel
free to look at my data and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

For oil test info - http://members.rennlist.com/oil/
The above page is a index to Oil Test Results, a page telling how to
evaluate the info and some other informational stuff.

Let me know if I can help in anyway.  BTW, have you tested relatively
new cars?  We've found cars with less than 6000 miles on the engine have
high levels of metal contamination.  I believe it comes from the
assembly and manufacturing process and I believe the car manufacturers
are doing the public a dis-service when the *DON'T* recommend a oil
change early in the life of a engine.

If I buy another new car I'll definately change all the lube oils at
3000 miles.

Take care
Cool, thanks for the extra data points. We found that even the 10,000-mile-old Z28 still showed high levels of copper, as you'll see in the data. If you look at our LS1 Copper article, you'll see that cars even newer than 10k show quite ridiculous amounts of penny fodder.

From Abdul Hassan on 27 April 2004:

Hi.  "send in comments, or more often, beg for help" oh yeah, you bet on
this one!  so I was wondering why you guys were a lil' bit lazy to mention
what color exactly is the oxygen sensor wire required to hook up to the
air/fuel ratio gauge and where inside the Mustang is it located?  I don't
think it's worth buying a 94 Ford Mustang EVTM just to check for one little
wire, when there are good people like you willing to help desperates like
me!  Your help is highly appreciated.  Thanks!
There's a very good reason for that omission. We have no idea. Sorry, but we neglected to write it down, and it is lost to history. Sometimes we're idiots too.

From Matt Bickhard on 27 April 2004:

I noticed that the data show a decrease for 3000mi in the viscosity of Amsoil but
the graph shows an increase.  Am I missing something?

Toodles
Yes. Your glasses.

From Candis Hagler on 26 April 2004:

My fiance has a Mustang Coupe (I belive a 68) that he is wishing to do a convertible
conversion to.  The problem is that we have been unable to find anyone who does
Mustang conversions.  Can you help?
Probably because it's very difficult to cleanly convert a coupe into a ragtop. Difficult = expensive, and with a zillion early Mustang convertibles on the market, you'd do a lot better just buying one.

From Bruce McCaskey on 25 April 2004:

Hey.

http://www.wefilterit.com/

and 

http://www.bypassfilter.com/index.htm

both have toilet paper oil filters. I've seen in
several places on the web people talking about never
having changed their oil for the (long) life of their
vehicle. Is this on the level? What does it mean, if
true, for the oil comparison study?

I wasted a huge amount of time on your site today
quite enjoyably. BTW THurber had a great story about
Scotties called "The Dog Who Bit People".
Bypass oil filtration, in principle, is on the level. I dunno about toilet paper filters though. Seems like not the best filtration material for an engine. I'll have to look up the Thurber story. Thanks!

From Carol Evans on 25 April 2004:

i need a breakdown diagram of the anti-theft system on a 1991 camaro. HELP Thanks,
Try a service manual.

From Travis Schneider on 23 April 2004:

I am looking to build a 318 for my 1983 Dodge D250.  It currently has a 318
but I want to build another one.  I have found a 318 block from a 1968 auto.
I know they are both LA blocks.  Will I have any trouble bolting it up?
Nope. Should be easy.

From Ronn Lickwar on 22 April 2004:

Good morning!

I really enjoy following your synthetic oil life study.  If you would be 
wiling to test the NAPA Fully Synthetic Oil I would be willing to pick up at least 
half of the cost for oil and testing.  Would you please contact me if you are 
interested?
Thanks for the offer. We've got a long way to go before we're soliciting more types of oil. Red Line, Royal Purple, and perhaps Castrol GTX are all on tap already. But, in three or four years, sure, maybe so.

From Robert Alexander on 22 April 2004:

Hi, Brian:

Have you received any results yet on the last AMSOIL sample?  One of the reasons I
was interested in the Tribomaxx oils was their claim that their high TBN sustains
over time.  I haven't been impressed with either Mobil 1 or AMSOIL with respect to
TBN resiliency.  If I remember correctly, your AMSOIL sample is already down to 3.3
on the TBN scale.  By the look of it, AMSOIL may not make it to the 18,000 mile
benchmark that Mobil 1 set. 

Are you burning more AMSOIL than Mobil 1?  If so, that might help it get to the
18,000 mile mark (by having to add new oil along the way).

Are you using AMSOIL's SDF filter?  Did you use Mobil's filter when you tested Mobil
1? 

I've considered analyzing Delo 400 (for my Power Stroke F-250), but using an AMSOIL
SDF filter for the testing instead of Ford's.  The key to this issue may be more a
matter of filtration than it is the make-up of the oils.  I'm sure that it's more
than just filtration; but, if I could get 7,000 miles (or 6 months) out of Delo by
using a high end filter or filtration system, I'd be happy.

I can buy a gallon of Delo for $7.00.  That's about 1/4 the wholesale cost for
AMSOIL's Series 3000 5W-30, which is one of their diesel oils I've considered using
during winter.  Money is a consideration.  It adds up in a hurry when changing out
14 qts. at each change interval.  :-(

Actually, I might do this test over the next 6 months -- for comparison with your
synthetic results.  I'd start May 1.  I'd do either a 3000 mile analysis or one at 3
months on August 1 (which ever comes first); then, pending those results, do either
a 4500 mile test or one at 4.5 months.  If I get past that point, then I'd shoot for
either 6000 miles or 6 months.  AMSOIL suggests changing filters at 6 months anyway.
 If I were to get to 6000 miles with some promise of going farther, I would shoot
for 7000, regardless of whether I exceed the 6 month mark or not.

A lot of conditions in this process, but I would need to focus on them.  I don't
want to screw up my rig just to see how long I can go without an oil change.  The
Power Strokes tend to run sooty, so I would need to heed the testing results and be
diligent about the testing cycles.  

This wouldn't be like comparing apples to apples with respect to your study, but it
might be an interesting cost comparison.

Other oils to study?   There's always Royal Purple and Redline, which I'm sure you
and other interested parties have considered.

By the way, I'm still going to call a guy who has some Tribomaxx inventory left and
ask him about his experiences with the oil and the company.  Just for the fun of it.
Okay, please keep me posted if you go through with it. I'm using a NAPA Gold filter.

From Robert Alexander on 22 April 2004:

Well, Brian, this is becoming the continuing Tribomaxx saga.

I called the manufacturing plant (AMPTRON Corp.) and talked with a technician whose
name is Deo.  He may also be the designer/owner of the patent and plant.  I don't
know.  But he put my mind at ease with respect to the additive concern I had shared
earlier this morning.  In short, he is interested in having Tribomaxx be a
participant in your study.  He only asks that his sample be the last one studied
because he was concerned that the lubrication film his oil creates would advantage a
competitor who might follow his test.   

I told him I would have you call him if you are interested.  His number is (402) 391
0602, and they're on Central time.   

They've been selling Tribomaxx for 9 years here, in Europe and in Asia.  They may
have a super product (or not), but if so, I think their marketing system is limping
along here in the States.  I think they've probably tried to do the AMSOIL marketing
model (pyramid sales program), but haven't gotten it well established. I'm guessing,
though.   

AMPTRON has disassociated itself from the Phillipines distributor, DMX Technology
Corp., because of "a matter of integrity".  They have connected with another
distributor there.  Deo is getting me a couple of U.S. distributors' phone numbers
so I can talk to them more about the marketing and technical materials that are
available. One is in Colorado and the other in Phoenix.  Interestingly enough, the
distributor in Phoenix uses a 0W oil all year 'round because it gives him great
mileage.  The lubricating film of that oil would have to be awfully good for that to
be successful.  Chriminey!  That's 120 degrees down there in the summer.

Incidentally, with the exception of some custom made products like the one he makes
for the Phoenix distributor, their oils are single grade only (typically 20 weight).
 That made me a bit nervous because I'm looking for an oil for my Power Stroke
diesel.  He explained that all other oil companies base their lubrication on the
viscosity of the base oil, i.e., the heavier the oil, the greater the lubrication
effect.  With Tribomaxx oils the base oil is a secondary lubricant.  The primary
lubricants are the EP additives which create a lubricating film on the engine parts.
 Their base oil is a carrier of the primary lubricants rather than a lubricant
itself.

Don't be alarmed.  They don't use PTFE or chlorine or other clogging or acid forming
additives.  The profile of this stuff seems too good to be true.   

I think it's worth talking to this guy.  Among other things he said AMPTRON
guarantees their oils.  He said he knows of no other oil manufacturer who will
guarantee their products.  If you do call him, you can ask him about their guarantee
and the various advantages of their oils.   

He was not forthcoming with the technical data.  Maybe he was wary because I called
him out of the blue and started asking him all kinds questions about his product. 
Maybe he thought I was looking to sue his corporation or something.  He didn't act
that way, though.  At any rate, I told him about your study, that yours was the test
car, and that you weren't likely to put anything in your engine that didn't have
some technical back up material which guarantees you that your car won't be damaged
by his product.  He told me again about their guarantee.

For what it's worth.   

I think Tribomaxx might be a good candidate for your study.  It's different enough
from all the synthetics to pique my interest.    . . . But then it's not my car.   

The cost of the oil is $15 per gallon.  Not bad as synthetics go.  He mentioned that
they have a purchase program they work out of their manufacturing plant which is
based on the purchase of a Premo-lube by-pass filter system ($165 for cars).  The
consumer buys the system and they provide the oil free.  Obviously, they are
distributing for Premo-lube systems.   

I asked him if they sell their oil without that system, and he said sure.  If you
decide to include Tribomaxx in your study, I suggest you use the AMSOIL filter so
that you are testing the same circumstances in all cases.  Do you already have a
by-pass filter system?  That would make it easy

I read your exchanges with the Synlube guy.  I don't think Tribomaxx will be a
repeat of that scenario, but I'll have to admit, this saga does get more and more
interesting.

You're probably wondering, "who is this guy who has all this time to putz around on
the computer all day"?  (meaning me)  I'm just a guy who is home from work with a
nasty respiratory flu (second time this year), and I'm bored out of my skull.  Plus,
I'm really interested in synthetic oils.  Don't ask me why.  I don't know.  I do
know that I like the prospects of Tribomaxx being environmental friendly.  That
warms my heart -- as long as it does a good job of lubricating my vehicles.  I think
this environmental side to Tribomaxx might warm your heart too, given your comments
about the O Pine tree.  
Well, this certainly has all been very interesting so far.

From Robert Alexander on 21 April 2004:

Forget my suggestion about Tribomaxx oil.  1.  They appear to have folded their
tents in the States -- or if not, they are on the verge of doing so;  2.  I've just
received some technical information about EP additives which indicates that their
additive approach may be harmful to non-ferrous metal parts in our engines.

So much for that.   

Sorry to have taken your time.
Righto.

From Robert Alexander on 21 April 2004:

I just found a source for Tribomaxx in case you are interested in testing this oil. 
I don't know how much it is yet, but I'll find out tomorrow.
Yeah but... hey...

From Robert Alexander on 21 April 2004:

I've been lurking on your site for about a week, having become interested in your
synthetic oil life study project.  I've recently been reading about AMSOIL and
actually took the plunge and installed some AMSOIL ATF in my ZF 5-speed manual
transmission (for Power Stroke Ford F-250), with very positive results.  In case you
were surprised by my using the ATF for a manual transmission, that transmission is
spec.'ed for ATF.

Because of my brief experience with AMSOIL ATF, I have become very interested in
their products, but also in synthetic oils in general.   

That said, I found a website that presents information about a synthetic oil brand
formulated and manufactured in the Phillipines.  It's called Tribomaxx.  The
Phillipine company which produces this product is called DMX Technology Corporation.
 Their website is   www.dmxtechcorp.com .   

I mention this for several reasons:   

Their technology is purportedly different than any other presently used in the
industry.   

Secondly, they claim to have achieved a TBN of 16 and that it sustains over time.   

Third, they also claim that their product is environmental friendly in that they
don't use additives which are caustic and poisonous to the environment as are those
used by the industry.   

Fourth, they claim -- surprise, surprise -- that their product(s) will outperform
the synthetic oils presently marketed by the major oil corporations, such as Mobil
1. (Don't know if their claim includes the AMSOILS, the Royal Purples and the
Redlines of the world).  Specifically, they mention heat resistance and TBN
resiliency as two areas in which they excel. There are more.

Finally, it might be really interesting to obtain some of their product(s) and
include Tribomaxx in your study, given their claims.  Personally, I'm interested in
their claims that Tribomaxx oils are chemically environmental friendly, and that
their oils are particularly light weight for heavy duty applications.  While this
latter point is not too unusual in that products like AMSOIL's Series 3000 5W-30 are
also light weight for, say, commercial diesel use, the Tribomaxx chemistry is
unusual by comparison, at least by claim.

The difficult part might be obtaining the oil.  DMXTech does state on their website
that select Honda, Toyota and KIA dealerships have the Tribomaxx products, although
I don't know which dealerships -- or even if these dealerships are in this country. 
But DMXTech says they have developed a partnership with ConnocoPhillips, so CP might
be a source.    

Check out their website.  If you are still interested after having done so, contact
me, and I would be happy to do some research on how to obtain their 5W-30 and/or
their 5W-40 oils for study.  I would pony up the bucks to do one of the sample
analyses at least.  :-)

Just a thought . . .
Yeah but...

From Alex Kimmey on 20 April 2004:

I was noticing in your garage sale section you said you blew up your AODE
Transmission How did you do that? I have a 1995 Ford Mustang Gt with an AODE
transmission too, anything could warn me about would be greatly appreciated
Sure. Stay away from superchargers.

From David McDonald on 20 April 2004:

HEY M B
HERE IN TEXAS MANY FOLKS ARE USING MOBIL 1 10W30 INSTEAD OF 5W. OUR WINTER 
LOWS ARE 35 WITH A FEW 25s AND OUR HIGHS FOR HALF THE YEAR RUN ABOVE 90. ANY 
RESERVATIONS ON 10W FOR THE CAMRY V6 ?
THANKS
CAMRY GUY
NO NOT REALLY STOP SHOULD BE FINE STOP

From Spike Lee on 19 April 2004:

Hey Neptune people,
I had fun reading your synthetic oil study results.  You have interesting content on
your site.  My main problem with is that I think cars are too big & boring.  I'm
looking for synthetic oil change intervals for my water cooled BMW motorcycle (K75).
 I'll soon be riding from West to East coast (USA) --again & I wonder how long the
20-50W Castrol (R4-superbike) full syntho oil will give me good protection??  I've
learned from your article that there is a Total Base Number and that measuring
certain aspects of the oil is the way to know when it should be changed.  Perhaps if
I asked a dealer or a Castrol representative,,,,I might get some specific change
interval recommendations???  Nah, why bother, I can find many conflicting opinions
on the Internet!  Anyway, your site gave me the best ballpark guesses so far for my
question.
Thanks,
Spike
I agree, bikes are cool. I've been toying with testing the V-twin in my Shadow Spirit, but haven't picked up the gauntlet on that yet. In any case, it should be cake for your K75 to make it across the country on a casseful of synth -- after all, Honda recommends 8,000-mile change intervals already.

From Peter Hetherington on 17 April 2004:

hi

 I'm looking to install a 2.4 celica and 5 speed box into a triumph spitfire Mk 3
can you suggest mild mannered performance engine mods.  It must have good idol and
good street drivability all this to be done on a shoe string budget.

I look forward to reading any information you can supply.

Thank you
Hahahahaha!

From Greg Allard on 16 April 2004:

How exactly do you take your oil samples?  Do you suction it out of the
dipstick or open the drainplug quickly?  Please let me know.  Thanks!
We loosen the drain plug and take it out the bottom.

From Angie on 15 April 2004:

First a big THANK YOU on your great job of mechanical web-advice! 

Q: 

My 1989 Chevy Silverado C3500 w/a 454 engine overheats even during cool outside
temps. I am the original owner, have not abused the vehicle, seldom drive past 60mph
when hauling a 4-H gooseneck cross country. 

Replaced: Radiator, Hoses, belts, wires, plugs, heatshields; temperature gage,
sensors, thermostat (195F reg, changed to 180F). Also checked for possible clogs in
exhaust manifold area as the engine temps readings are higher on the left side of
the block than the right. The pipe to the exhaust system glows (R). I took the truck
to GMC experts for diagnostics, checked out fine - they have no explanation either.
Performance is top notch - smooth, no unusual engine noises etc. 

As long as the truck is running, it indicates a normal temp; however, if I turn it
off, even after letting the engine idle for a few minutes and reducing the heat
accumulation under the hood by turning on the heater full blast, it will heat up
over 210F once shut down. Then I have trouble getting the truck started again.
Current temps here in CA are only 85F so far.........Thank you for your advice. 

Chevy Truck Lover
Ahhh you make me feel bad for taking so long to answer your question! Your exhaust manifold shouldn't glow. Something is wrong with the engine's fuel system. Check oxygen sensors, fuel injectors; if those are okay, go through the entire fuel system till you find it.

From DJ Riehm on 13 April 2004:

Im a 14 year old kid from iowa...stumbled acrossed your site researching 
mustangs from 94-95. I like the newer looking body but still has that great 
5.0.  Whats a reasonable price to buy a gt coupe like Joshs?  Im really 
impressed with your site!

Kindest Regards,

The Iowa Kid
Hey Kid, check out the online price guides, and good luck with your car once you find one.

From Robert Anderson on 13 April 2004:

Hello,

I am an owner of a 75 Dodge Truck.  I had little automotive knowledge 
when I purchased the truck.  After many frustrations and a motor 
rebuild, I have it running fairly well.  It has a 440 with and Edelbrock 
750 cfm carb and the Edelbrock performer 0-4500 rpm intake.  My major 
irritation with this truck is the wiring.  Being someone's garage 
special the wiring is a mess.  I have replaced the alternator, the 
voltage regulator, the electronic control module and yet it continues to 
overcharge batteries and cause me problems.  I am trying to get it 
totally rewired but have been unable to find a replacement wiring 
harness for it.  The closest I have come is a Universal Truck 12 circuit 
harness from painless performance.  Does anyone know where I might find 
a harness specifically for Dodge?  Or should I just stick with the 
Universal harness? 

Thank you kindly
I doubt anyone has reproduction wiring harnesses for old Dodge trucks, but if you're lucky you might find an original in a salvage yard. It probably won't be any good to actually use but it could serve as a template for modifying the universal one you have.

From Mike Chris on 12 April 2004:

Have you done any evaluation of Lubeguard ATF additives?

Thanks
Nope.

From Phil Twentyninevee on 12 April 2004:

I have a 87 Bonneville that has been hard to start lately. Was occasionally 
getting a code 34 for a while, which resulted in bad hesitation and little 
acceleration. Mechanic changed the fuel pump & filter. I changed plugs & wires, 
air filter, mass air flow sensor and oil. I don't get any codes but, I still 
have trouble starting it. It takes 10 to 12 seconds to start, sometimes I turn 
key off and the second try it starts faster. It will start right up if left for 
only a couple of minutes, but when left longer, still cranks a while before 
starting. Than
Start simple. Try a different brand and type of spark plugs. I've found some engines to be quite finicky.

From David McDonald on 12 April 2004:

THANKS FOR THE GREAT INFO. NOW I WANT TO ASK ABOUT STARTING A V6 TOYOTA ON 
SYNTH AFTER USING DINO FOR 65K MILES. ANYTHING EXTRA TO DO MAKING THE 
SWITCH?
THANKS
CAMRY GUY
JUST POUR IT IN STOP WE HAVE SWITCHED CARS OVER 100K MILES WITH NO PROBLEMS STOP MIGHT CONSIDER KEEPING THE FIRST INTERVAL SHORT TO FLUSH OUT THE OLD OIL STOP

From Dana Lodico on 7 April 2004:

Just curious, I have an oil only cooled turbo car, so my oil temps are far
higher than an N/A car (or so I'm told).   How will this effect things?
I'd be interested in seeing that study.
It'll cause the oil to wear out faster. All the more reason to use synthetic. We'd test on a turbo car if we had one.

From Christina-Marie Johnson on 6 April 2004:

Can you help?  My friend has a problem with his top and needs to find the
manual override.  I drive a Saab convertible and have used by manual release
before, which is located at the very front of the trunk.  Where is the
release for the 2000 Mustang top?  I appreciate any help you would be able
to give!
What makes you think there is such a thing for a cheap American car? Check the owner's manual -- if it's not in there, it probably doesn't have one.

From Brett Schulte on 6 April 2004:

Been following the oil study.  Do you have any initial impressions?  The
metals look lower, but then again the engine is moe broken in so I'm not
sure that means anything?

Any measureable difference in mileage?  Lower temps from the reduced
friction?  Are you gonna dyno it for horespwer gains?  Is it true you can
even use it on pancakes?   ;)
There's quite a substantial reduction in metals and the gap keeps growing. Additional engine break-in is definitely a factor, but not the entire story. Pick any point in Mobil 1's curve -- even when the car had, say, 27,000 miles on it -- and Amsoil's numbers are reduced by a third or more when you calculate wear metals per thousand miles. This is quite possibly because Amsoil is so much thicker. While Mobil 1 was nearly a 5W20, Amsoil is nearly a 5W40. This doesn't come entirely without cost though, as the engine ran smoother on M1 and (I suspect but can't prove) got marginally better fuel economy. While Amsoil has proven itself so far to be good, I wouldn't say that it has proven itself to be worth the extra cost and hassle. At this point it is doing better than M1 but it is not any sort of miracle juice. We'll see how it looks at 12,000 miles. One thing we've learned is that Amsoil tries to improve its wear numbers by running on the thick side whereas M1 tries to help its main customers -- the OEMs that use it as factory fill -- squeak a little extra mpg from their CAFE numbers by running thin. I don't have any plans to do more dyno testing because of the cost. But I've found Amsoil goes well with Belgian waffles and sausage.

From Jed Robinson on 6 April 2004:

I was reading your article about ozzys newest cd down to earth. I thought that you
were very hard and that you seem not a real ozzy fan. Zack Wilde is one of the best
metal guitar players around. I've heard him live. The drums and bass are awesome.
And you said the weren't good enough to be around. the drummer is still there and
bass player is now playing for METALICA. Next time you analyze something think about
what you are saying.
So you think I wrote all that without even thinking about it? Lemmetellya sonnyboy, I've listened to metal since before you were listening to the 'Wheels on the Bus' song. I know predictable formulaic crap when I hear it. Try diversifying your tastes so that you can recognize it too.

From Mike Burdick on 3 April 2004:

Are you going to be testing the Royal Purple as well?

Every test that we have seen the Royal Purple far out performed EVERY oil it
went up against.

If you can not find it in your area we can find the closest location for
you. And you never know, if you contact them they might even help with
supplying some oil for the testing since they know it will do so much more
that the others. Then again, that might be something you wouldn't want to do
so that there would not be anyone saying anything about being supplied the
oil of the one that tested the best.

But we would like to see your real world testing done with the Royal Purple. 

Thank you
The current plan is to test Royal Purple, but we'll see whether there's enough interest by the time we reach that point.

From Jim Afaganis on 1 April 2004:

Re: Synthetic Oil Survey & Napa Gold Filters

I read with interest your synthetic oil survey.  I hope I have reached the right
contact person for this email.  If I am mistaken, please disregard this email.

In your faq I found the following exchange:

"So you're using NAPA Gold filters? Any particular reason? And didn't your site used
to say you're using Wix filters? 
Hey, that's three questions! We are using NAPA Gold filters. Our choice is one of
convenience, though the test results we've seen show this filter to be decent for an
off-the-shelf filter. We're not ashamed of it. The site used to say we were using
Wix filters, but we changed it when we looked under the car and found out that we
were actually using NAPA Gold filters. All oil has been and will be tested using
this type of filter.

Well, that's an embarrassing mistake. You probably feel pretty stupid. 
Yep."

According to my Napa outlet, you shouldn't feel stupid at all.  They tell me that
Napa Gold oil filters are made by Wix.  That is why I buy them.

Thank you for the great research work.  The information you've provided is much
appreciated.
It says so on the box, too. But just in case there's a difference between the Wix box and the NAPA Gold box, we're playing it safe and making sure all ours come in NAPA Gold boxes.

From Gary Stein on 1 April 2004:

I love the site! I have 70 and 72 Roadrunners. 
I have a steering column that came from a 71 Satellite, and I was wondering how I
could tell if the car was power steering or manual. I heard that one had a longer
steering column. The car is gone, so I need a way to measure the column or find out
by some other method.
It's quite possible that they're different, but alas, I've no idea how to tell them apart. Perhaps an interchange manual would give a clue.

From Laurent Delfosse on 31 March 2004:

Hi,
            Your website is very informative, thanks for the reviews so
far.  I was doing research on oil testing on Google, and I've already
purchased some kits from http://www.oillab.com 
I noticed they aren't included in your Lab test page
https://www.brianschreurs.org/neptune.spacebears.com/cars/stories/labtest.html   Maybe you want
to add them, or is there something about them I need to know?
 
Thanks
Nah, no worries, we've got no dirt on them. The lab comparison test was provided by a friendly reader and his choices were based on availability at the time. Excluding a lab from the test is no indicator that it is unworthy. We'd like to run a much larger comparison test, but so far readers haven't expressed much interest.

From Richard Morris on 29 March 2004:

I enjoyed your syn-oil article.
I am curious who is cozy with the oil manufacturers just a little too much.
You mentioned Oil Analyzers being closely tied to Amsoil but they seem to be on the
up and up.
Just curious.
Thank you.
I don't really want to go there, but if you do Google searches on some of the labs, you'll find certain types of oil keep coming up associated with them.

From John Potocki on 28 March 2004:

This is apt to be a bit long - sorry.  Mobil 1 has been used in all of my 
vehicles since 1986 and I have a lot of them; however, there is some 
pertinent history that should be told about Mobil 1.

Once they got the additive package straightened out, we assume you know the 
initial problems, it became a great oil.  In 1996 the gov't, in their 
meddling wisdom, mandated that phosphorus be dropped from approx. 1600ppm 
to 800ppm for all *energy conserving oils* - not good. They did this 
because next to lead, phosphorus is the most harmful thing to catalytic 
converters and the goal is for a 150,000 mile converter. Phosphorus is the 
single largest lubricant of valve trains and getting valve train life 
without it is not very easy. NOTE :( 15w-50 has always had and will always 
have 1600ppm of phosphorus because it is not an *energy conserving* oil.) 
To help with this potential problem they went to the Tri-Synthetic which I 
will not comment on at all.  Yeah,  I just did.

With the advent of SuperSyn they have a good handle on the problem but 
there are two variables that none seem to discuss: viscosity at 212 degrees 
and viscosities for different blends.  Their 15w-50 has the highest 
viscosity of all of their products; next is the 0w-40 "European Spec" Mobil 
1. This oil is also*energy conserving*.  It's viscosity is significantly 
higher than any of the 30w oils and it has a phosphorus level over 1100ppm 
to boot; hmm, best of both worlds??

We use Mobil 1 in six different applications: to Lincoln V8LS's, one 388" 
Lingenfelter Vette, a Reher-Morrison 522" drag/street motor and a Ford 
F-250 diesel.  Now the interesting part.  The cars get the 0w-40 until out 
of warranty and then they get the 15w-50 and we have had no problems here 
in Pennsylvania - ever.  The drag car uses the 0w-40 and we run it cold as 
per Reher's recommendations and we shift at 7300rpm; again, no 
problems.  Yeah, this makes you cringe -cold oil and 7300rpm- but no 
problems.  Now as to our trannies . . .

Prior to this we have used it in about ten vehicles and one, a 93 Town Car, 
has had NOTHING but the 15w50 since the first change and it has about 195K 
on the clock now - no problems to the engine at all; well, an alternator.

In the diesel that holds 15 qts. we leave it in for 10,000 miles with a 
filter change and oil touch up at 5,000 miles.

Anyone using a polyol acid ester or a dibasic acid ester synthetic is 
poorly informed: most polyalphaolefins are decent and right now, from 18 
years of experience we thing the Mobil1 is the best.  Oh, on the "car tips" 
page of our web site at www.tirecradle.com we talk about how the four major 
types of synthetics are synthesized.  Do you really want an acid and an 
alcohol reacted oil in your car?

Finally, Reher-Morrison did an oil test of their own and found that Royal 
Purple made the most power but it fell apart above 180 degrees.  It may 
have been their race only formula, I do not know.  Mobil 1 lubricated well 
at " 160 or 320, it still was a great oil with no problems".  Reher motors 
are not cheap either.  They recommend Mobil 1 unless it is drag 
only.  Sound wisdom
Cool, thanks for the info!

From Mike Austin on 28 March 2004:

Hey there!
   I just bought a 2004 Intrepid SE.  Current stereo is fine,  All new Pioneer
speakers throughout.  But, I want to add an amp and cant find the power
antenna/switch lead so I can power up.  Everything else is done.  Thanks in
advance!!!  Great site !!!!
I'll tell you only if you promise to never bring your boomin' bass thumper into my neighborhood.

From Tom Tad on 26 March 2004:

Hey, i love your site, very helpful. I was curious, i picked up a 5.0L 
firebird formula with tbi. What is the easiest way to switch this into a tpi. Im 
only 16 but my neighbor is a mechanic so he can help with the switching of parts. 
I have searched up and down the net and no one had a tbi to tpi conversion 
page. Also, one more thing, do they make stroker kits for 305's? I havent seen 
any and was hoping i wouldnt have to drop a new engine in.
Thanks a bunch and good luck with your site
It shouldn't be too hard of a swap, really. You'd just need the entire intake system and engine management system. There may also be a few minor differences in emissions controls that you'll have to contend with, but it is after all basically the same engine. As far as a stroker kit, you might try Performance Automotive Warehouse, but frankly, the usual method of improving 305 power is to replace it with a 350.

From Bob Tackett on 26 March 2004:

Hey Brian,
I was wondering where you got your stats at.  A friend of mine told me that,
per hour of activity, people are 40 times more likely to die while horseback
riding as motorcycling.  I'd like to find the stats on powered paragliding,
and compare that to per hour mbiking or hbacking.  Age breakdown would be
excellent also.

Thanks for any help,
Bob Tackett
Mississippi Forest Products Lab
MSU, MS  39762
Most of the information in the helmet article came from the CDC and the NHTSA. The government has its faults, but it's pretty good at collecting information on how its citizens are injured and killed. A few of the more obscure numbers came from specialized nonprofit and special interest groups. Though I haven't seen any per-hour figures, it'd be easy enough to extrapolate if you had per-mile figures and were willing to assume average speeds for each activity.

From Jimmy Mac on 24 March 2004:

Hi, I read the article on the Power Brake Booster for the Dodge Truck. I have 
a question for you. I have a 82 Truck with Disc brakes. I want to upgrade 
with a Power Brake Booster W/Master cylinder. ( truck does not have) Am I going 
to run into any problems, like maybe the brake arm will be to short to work 
with the power booster. I am replacing all the hard lines, and all brake cables. 
Thanks!
You shouldn't have any trouble converting. You'll need to route the vacuum line to wherever the factory would have put it, but I suspect otherwise it's a bolt-in if you're replacing the lines anyway.

From Robert von Stockhausen on 23 March 2004:

I found your on line site you seem to offer great advice, and I am in desperate need
of just that. I am new to learning about cars so my knowledge is limited, I seek you
opinion on a difficult situation with a recent acquisition.

I just got screwed on a 1976 Pontiac Firebird Formula, I got on line. Seller said it
had a 400 engine and 400 auto transmission, it did originally, but that was not what
is in it now; now it appears to have an later model olds 305 or 308 v-8 which runs
but poorly and the transmission is all but shot, the job was poorly done engine does
not fit properly , has vacuum hoses which are just plugged or hanging and the
electrical system is a mess. Ideally I would like to have a 350 chevy small block
and a 350 manual trans mission put in. I hear they are reliable, fairly easy to work
on, and have plentiful as well as inexpensive parts both custom and stock, but I
hear this would take extensive and expensive conversions, even if I went with a less
desired auto trans. In the long run would this still be the best option?

I want/ need to get it up and running quick but I spent all my $ on purchasing the
thing, so I Ďll have to go with the most economical approach. I suppose that would
be the 400 which it was originally set up for? but I Ďm not sure , and being this
will be a daily driver I would like more emphasis on the fuel economy. I hear they
also installed 350 Pontiac engines in the 76ís but would that have the same mounts
as the 400? 

I need some serious help and I would value your opinion in the matter highly.
You ought to be able to find engine mounts to put a Chevy 350 in that thing with no problems. I kinda wonder why you'd buy a 1976 anything, and especially a musclecar, if fuel economy is a concern, but I'm not one to judge. Get a good crate 350 from someplace like Summit Racing or Performance Automotive Warehouse, and a Borg-Warner T-5 out of a junked third-gen, and be happy.

From John Russell on 23 March 2004:

Hello,

Great study!  I read the Mobil 1 test and the start of the Amsoil test tonight.  I'm
about to replace the motor on my Honda Civic and plan to immediately start using
synthetic oil.

A couple of questions:

1.  I guess this should be obvious to me, but how do you change the oil filter
without changing the oil?  Do you drain the oil, then change the filter, then pour
the old oil back into the crankcase?  If so, I assume you don't drain the oil from
the filter into the drain pan.

2.  It seems I read somewhere that a new engine should run petroleum-based oil for a
certain number of miles so the engine gets a chance to break in correctly.  Do you
have an opinion on that?  I want to treat this next engine I buy the right way by
using a synthetic oil as soon as possible, but maybe it would be a mistake to start
using it too early.

3.  I see there are magnetic devices for sale that clamp on the oil filter in order
to trap the smallest metallic particles to help reduce engine wear.  Maybe a little
off-topic...  Do you think these would be worthwhile?

Thanks, I'll be checking your web site for updates on the oil study!
Thanks for the kind words. 1) the oil filter is usually mounted above the level of the oil in the pan, so changing the filter only removes the oil actually in the filter and pooled immediately above it, figure half a quart normally. 2) Many premium cars come with synthetic oil as factory fill so file that under "old wives' tale". 3) Not sure about those; the magnetic drain plugs seem to catch some particles, so who knows, might work.

From Matt Bickhard on 22 March 2004:

Brian:

I believe there are just two ways I can think of to isolate the oil brand from the
natural wear of the engine:

        1) following the Amsoil run, repeat the test with Mobil 1.  If the wear
		responses
are higher than the initial Amsoil results, then oil would likely be the causal
factor.  If they stayed the same, then I think the decrease in wear responses would
be attributable to the natural engine wear and one could probably conclude that
Mobil 1 and Amsoil were equivalent in the wear responses (I'm assuming that by now,
you would consider the engine broken in).  
        If you were to not return to Mobil 1, and say went to Red Line, then these
		would be
the possible outcomes and conclusions:  if the wear responses were higher, one
might conclude that the Amsoil did reduce wear (but not a definite) and that Red
Line is not as good as Amsoil in that category (this would seem conclusive) with no
conclusion about Mobil1 unless the Red Line were actually higher than the Mobil1
results; if the wear responses were unchanged, then one might conclude that Red
Line was probably equivalent to Amsoil in that regard, but no conclusion could be
made regarding Mobil1; if the wear response got even better, then I think you're
back to your original question (although again, the engine should be broken in so
one might be tempted to give the edge to Red Line over Amsoil).

        2) run the study on a duplicate engine with the oils in reverse order.

~ Matt

P.S.  I just thought of a third possibility (although it is too late now).  At the
end of the Mobil1 run, you could have changed oil and filter but put in brand new
Mobil1, run it for a few thousand miles (with testing), then switched to Amsoil. 
That way you would be comparing the fresh oil effect on wear when the engine is in
essentially the same state.
Hey thanks for the helpful suggestions!

From Aka Wills on 21 March 2004:

hey i got an 86 full size blazer. it had a 305 engine but when i bought
it the entire front of the block behind the timing chain cover was
cracked. i swapped the 305 for a strong 72, 350 4 bolts main. i cant
seem to get the 700 R$ tranny to shift unless i beat the balls of the
motor and get to extreme rpms. the tranny fluid and filter have been
changed,suposedly the tranny was rebuilt 2 months b4 i bought the
vehicle. how much affect does the tv cable (kick down) have for
upshifting. any suggestions would be great. thanks awesome site 
It doesn't affect it at all. Might oughta check the governor.

From Linda Umoh on 21 March 2004:

Are you aware of any class action lawsuits against GM for their piece of crap
Catera??
Um, no, but I'm having an easy time imagining that I'll hear about one soon...

From Blot Wow on 21 March 2004:

I did a search on "piston slap" on GM vehicles.  There are numerous web sites 
dealing with it.  It seems to be a problem on a number of newer GM engines 
which also causes high oil consumption which I see the test vehicle has.  This 
was a pretty good site but there are more.  There are actually class action 
lawsuits about piston slap and high oil consumtion (and GM's Dexcool antifreeze).

http://www.idavette.net/hib/02ls6/page5.htm
Thanks for the tip, but if you subtract the oil extracted for the samples, you'll find the LS1 in our test car is well within spec.

From Sam Williams on 20 March 2004:

You say:
"Engine wear actually decreases as oil ages. This has also been
substantiated in testing conducted by Ford Motor Co. and ConocoPhillips, and
reported in SAE Technical Paper 2003-01-3119."

My question is, do you, or Ford, or ConocoPhillips, have an explanation
*why* this is the case?  If they knew why, wouldn't they formulate new oil
to contain the beneficial attributes of old oil, and we'd all experience
decreased wear from the get go?

A corollary question is, why change oil at all?  It appears from your charts
that changing the filter is all that is really necessary.

Thank You, and thanks for the study
No explanation, as neither we nor ConocoPhillips were testing for this phenomenon. They're planning on studying it more thoroughly. We're planning on just seeing if it shows up again. We weren't going to even mention it originally, but the confirmation from ConocoPhillips emboldened us to withstand the onslaught of hate mail and naysayers.

From Chad Johnson on 15 March 2004:

Do you think you could post the Mobil-1 and Amsoil results in an Excel format that
we could download?
I'd like to try some other graphing of the data but when I attempt to download your
tables the HTML formatting gets in the way.  I'd like to play with the data but not
at the expense of an hour or two to reformat all the data.

Oncle again - excellent work.
Chad -- sorry, I don't keep the data in Excel format, so I've got nothing to offer you. What kind of analysis and graphing were you going to attempt?

From Randy Redus on 18 March 2004:

Hi,
 
I'm told that if you have been running regular motor oil (non-synthetic), that you
do not want to change over to full synthetic.
 
This is b/c the seals in the engine are conditioned now with the additives in the
reg. motor oil, and these additives are not in full synthetic.  The additives break
down, which is the reason you have to change the reg. motor oil every 3k miles (as
you mention on your site).
 
If you go to a full synthetic after running regular oil, your seals will start to
break down b/c they no longer are conditioned by the additives they are used to and
need.
 
I was also told that you could go to a synthetic blend in this case, b/c the
additives in a reg motor oil are in the blend.  Oil changes still have to occur
around 3k miles, though.
 
Is this the case?
 
Also, I was told that using fully synthetic tranny oils and gear oils go by the same
rules.
 
Thx, Randy
You have been told wrong by numbskulls who will parrot any fool thing so long as it came from an unnamed "reliable source". You can switch to synthetic, you can switch to regular, you can switch to 50/50, you can switch brands, you can switch viscosities, heck you can mix them all into a giant soup of Frankenoil and no harm will come to your engine.

From Dawn Baldwin on 13 March 2004:

My husband is trying to change motors in a 97 Pontiac and he is having trouble with
all of the wiring.  Can anyone tell me if there is a web site that I can go to and
download a wiring diagram for the car?
 
thanks
Service manuals have wiring diagrams.

From Matt Bickhard on 11 March 2004:

Dear Brian:

I apologize for the length of this letter but I think you may find it interesting. 
It is inspired by my communication with a Syn-Lube representative.  First, I'd like
to give you some background on how I came to be viewing your website in the first
place.

I am a statistical engineer.  Hopefully, my writing will not fall into the category
you "O'Pined" (although I found it quite amusing).  I design and analyze
experiments.  Although I understand the repeated suggestion that you use an Amsoil
filter with the Amsoil oil, once you have defined your objective (as you have), then
you are entirely correct in holding constant the oil filter factor.  Your protocol
appears to me to be well thought out.

I have used synthetic oil for roughly 15yrs.  Mobil 1 oil and filter have been the
choices up to now.  I am somewhat driven to always try to determine what is 'best'. 
Although I am no expert, I will declare a couple of oil related things to be fact. 
Synthetic is always better than non-synthetic.  This is due to the logic of physics;
one reason of many is that synthetic simply flows better at startup, especially in
extreme cold.  So if protecting your engine is the goal, then synthetic must be the
choice.  Of the petroleum oils, Quaker State and Pennzoil should be avoided at all
cost.  These are paraffin-based oils and will gum up an engine over time (however,
they may have enough additive in them nowadays to mitigate this problem).

I try to make things last as long as possible (and not just cars).  I have a 91
Chevy Lumina 3.1L V6 with 260000mi and just recently bought a 00 Buick LeSabre
Limited 3.8L V6 with 71000mi (I finally sold an 81 Chevy Malibu wagon that had been
mechanically rebuilt as a street rod with a 350 in it).  The guy I had originally
bought the Malibu from was a synthetic guy too.  When I happened to talk to him
again recently, he mentioned that he had switched to Schaeffer oil.  Some rep had
done a bearing test in front of him and it beat his Mobil 1.  Thus I started
researching.

After an exhausting amount of research, I came to the conclusion that Amsoil oil and
the Amsoil filter would be the better choice.  The oil appears to have better
numbers than anything else, particularly the TBN which would appear to be key to
extended drain intervals.  Plus the filter has the highest capacity for trapping
contaminants which again is key to extended drain intervals (as well as one of the
lowest micron levels).

I  run about 10-12000mi per oil change (both the Lumina and the Malibu get about
5500mi/qt) then change the oil and filter (although sometimes I get lazy and stretch
it to 15000mi).  The Amsoil combo seems to be even more ideal for this sort of
usage.  Furthermore, I stumbled across an Amsoil dealer who doesn't require me to
mess with the "preferred customer" application and fee.  To top it off, there is an
Amsoil warehouse just 8mi from my work.  Life was good.

Subsequently, I've come to find out that Amsoil may have a cozy relationship with
the testing lab that may be supplying a lot of their test data.  And I've since read
that Amsoil may have higher numbers to start, but once in use, its advantage does
not last.  This revelation is made by a Red Line rep (maybe should be your third
choice following Amsoil?).  Finally, despite the great numbers of their filters,
their walls are apparently rather thin (compared to Mobil 1).  But until I see new
evidence, they still seem to be the choice for the moment.

Meanwhile, during all this research, I stumbled across a reference or two to
something called Syn-Lube and 50000mi oil change intervals.  After buying the Amsoil
for both my cars (I'll convert the LeSabre after flushing...I'm feeling good about
the engine because although the previous owner used a petroleum based oil, he had it
changed every 3000mi.), I started pursuing this Syn-Lube lead.

I saw that you had dismissed an inquiry about Syn-Lube in your study because of the
viscosity (5W-50) issue and the PTFE issue.  Given the preponderance of anecdotal
evidence that the www.SynLube.com website had, I figured they had to have an
explanation as to why they weren't a concern with their product.  So I wrote to the
contact.  Note that I had not yet discovered your Syn-Lube webpage when I wrote to
this guy.  You used the term "snarky"; I'm afraid I am not so diplomatic.


I stumbled onto your website while researching Amsoil oil and filters.  I've pretty
much read through the whole site and note that you have virtually no quantitative
evidence to substantiate your claims (which doesn't necessarily mean I don't believe
them).

I have found two things that distinguish SynLube from Amsoil or even Mobil 1:  the
colloidal claim and the claim that you have exclusive additives which eliminate the
acidic buildup in the oil.  Surely you have pour point (or is that the -50degF
value?  Amsoil's is -54), NOACK volatility, TBN and other measures to quantify
SynLube.  So why don't you publish them?

And I must admit, putting a 5W50 oil in my engine (instead of 10W30) is definitely
of concern.  Why is there not oil starvation issues or hot spots in the bearings
issues like there would be with any other oil?

I noted you have PTFE in the oil.  I suspect this is one of, or the, colloidal
particle to avoid the pitfalls of typical PTFE additives?  What evidence do you have
to verify that this renders the PTFE concern a nonconcern?

What is the filter efficiency (SAE HS806) and filter capacity (SAE HS806) equivalent
to a Fram PH-8A of your oil filter?

Also, what about your coolant product in systems that are supposed to use DEXCOOL?

Finally, it seems to be irrelevant since you don't list any filters for the common
GM 3.1L V6 and GM 3.8L V6.  I have a 1991 Chevrolet Lumina and a 2000 Buick LeSabre.
 The Lumina has 260000mi.  Bought it with 110000mi; I figured since they were a
salesman's highway miles and regularly serviced, it was a good risk.  I immediately
switched to Mobil 1 synthetic oil and filter.  I change them every ~10000mi.  A
rebuilt tranny now has 90000mi on it (am thinking of getting synthetic in it to coax
it past 4-5 more years).  I am currently switching to Amsoil oil and oil filters.  
Everything I can find substantiates their superiority to Mobil 1 and every other oil
and filter.  The 2000 LeSabre has 71000mi and is a recent purchase.  It was serviced
every ~4000mi with conventional oil and I'll be switching it to Amsoil in another
couple of months.

Knowing what I know about oil and filters, it's a little tough for me to adopt a
50000mi oil change philosophy without some hard facts (kind of like when I try to
convince people they don't have to change their oil as often if they would just
switch to synthetics).   I'm an engineer, give me the data!  How about some of the
NASA tests they had to have done with our tax money?

Thanks,

Matt

Here is Mr. Miro Kefurt's reply:

If you work for Boeing I am sure you can find someone who knows all about SynLube,
after all the lunar rover built by your company has it in. And may engineers that
work at Dryden have it in their vehicles.

I could go on for days to try to convince you, but I really think that if you are
talking about 10 + year old vehicle and 200,000 + miles, when current cars are
tested and certified for 7 year life and 70,000 miles, is not really what or who we
care to have as a customer. (Which means that the Buick is PAST its design life)

We are not in business keeping junkyard dogs on the road, the main advantage of
SynLube is elimination of oil changes and 10 year 150,000 mile service life ON A NEW
CAR.

Most people in the USA do not keep any vehicle past 130,000 miles or 12 years.

Well I know that space shuttle has been flown for far more years than designed, but
you are not rebiulding the entire car between drives, so this is entirely different
issue.

Honestly if you have steady job, why would you not buy a new car in days of $4,000
rebates and 0% and 0% financing is beyond my comprehension, to me that would
indicate that you can not afford a car for what ever reason (as USED cars ALWAYS
cost more per mile to drive than NEW CARS - proven and docummented fact for over 15
years !!!)

And if you can NOT afford a new car, I doubt that you coudl afford $20.00 oil filter
and $32.00 per Liter motor oil to put into engine that probalby by now both BURNS
and LEAKS oil, simply NOT COST EFFECTIVE (period).

Things like TBN, etc. ect. is not why people change oil, in real life you will not
ever find a single person or even a fleet manager that will go to quick oil change
and tell the personnel that he/she is worried about TBN in the engine oil.

18,000 customers in USA have SynLube in their vehicles, 2,000 have had the oil
withough change for OVER 150,000 miles and 1,275 for MORE than 20 years - all with
NO PROBLEMS.

Since all API, ILSAC and other tests seldom test any oil for more than 128 hours,
oil that lasts over 4,000 hours has no industry tests or specifications, since our
product is only one of this kind in the World.

94% of car owners in USA use petroleum oil and the entire oil change industy cater
to them.

Car manufacturers measure their succes by 10 day sales figures, the worst nightmare
is person like you that has car that sould NOT be on the road !!!

Not necesarily my opinion (I got 15 cars that are more than 20 years old) but well
documented in speaches and press from people like Bill Ford (FORD) and Rick Wagoner
(GM) and Rick Suzuki (Suzuki).

Unfortunately our lubricant makes engines last 3 to 10 times longer, reduces
emissions by 50% (AAA tests) and improves fuel economy by 5% to 15% - in real life
therese are ALL negatives as it transltes to no oil changes, less fuel sold, fewer
new cars sold and no trip to a mechanic - economically that is really bad.

However if you are an environmentalist and want to drive a NEW car (once you will be
able to afford one) for almost forever, then consider SynLube Lube-4-Life.

Do not bother to use it in your obsolete fleet, after all why would you want to put
$$$ in fluids into a car that is not even worth the price of our lubricants ?

Syn-cerely

Miro Kefurt
SynLube, inc.

http://www.synlube.com/ 

TBN is less than 10
VI less than 200
And once you read the "viscosity" item on our web (or buy SAE viscosity standards)
you just might understand that 10W-30 oil is inferrior to 5W-50, and it is
impossible to make ANY motor oil as 10W-30 if you are using PURE synthetic fluids,
the WORST possible is 5W-40 - you have to add lot of Group II petroleum (Mobil 1
uses about 30% by volume) to drop from 5W-40 to 10W-30.

If you are an engineer than you certainly do not understand the SAE viscosity
ratings, read them and you will know what all that means.

As far as filters are concerned IF YOU HAVE NO WEAR, you really DO NOT need a
filter, it is not the FILTER than prolongs engine life, but the lubricant that does
not sludge up or causes wear that determines engine life - we have over 5,000
customers (mostly in Europe) with FIAT and VW  and TATRA air cooled engines that DO
NOT USE OIL FILTERS and none had ANY problems with SynLube. The NORMAL operating
temperature on TATRA V-8 for example is 320 F (engine oil temp). Conventional
Petroleum oil in such engine turns to gell or sludge in as few as 2 hours of racing
use !!! ( Oil with no additives). With SynLube we typically get 500,000 km between
overhauls with NO OIL CHANGES, while people who use petroleum oil with 6,000 km oil
changes get at most 300,000 km between overhauls (and that engine costs $14,500 to
overhaul)

I was simply astounded that a human would respond in this manner.  And frankly I was
extremely pissed.  This is my reply.

Thank you for the reply Mr. Kefurt.  Arrogant and illogical tend to immediately pop
to mind after reading your email.  I guess you know less about cars and science than
I would have thought.  Your reluctance to offer any quantitative data is telling.
 
First, are you really deluded enough to think that I should know everyone and
everything about a global company that employs over 100000 people in multiple
geographic locations?
 
Second, anecdotal evidence is not what I asked for.  You have plenty of that on your
website.  And as I stated, I'm perfectly willing to believe that it does everything
claimed.  I simply would like some comparison numbers to validate my research.  
 
You apparently have no concept of automobile construction if you think a 4yr old car
with 71000mi is past its design life.  Maybe you should check the number of
10yr-100000mi warranties that are out there.  Any truly knowledgeable person knows
that, if taken care of properly, 200000+ miles is a given for most cars (the ones
with reliable engines to start with...such as GM's 3.8L V6 or the old Chrysler slant
6).
 
"...the main advantage of SynLube is elimination of oil changes..." which applies to
ANY car, "junkyard dog" or not.  I can see why you are numerically illiterate when
you can't understand that using your oil in any car for at least a few years isn't
economically or environmentally advantageous (and no, my cars are not oil burners).
 
I don't care what "most people in the USA" do; most people are idiots.  One must be
a financial dolt to pay for a new car which is one of the silliest financial
purchases possible (again you'd have to understand the numerical reality).  Your
statement that a used car costs more per mile than a new car is utter
ignorance-documented my foot!  I'll put my cost per mile up against any brand new
car you'd like (I've actually done the calculations).  I can see now why you don't
deal in numbers. 
 
Again your illogicality is manifest.  It's irrelevant that no one else worries about
TBN.  I do, because that is what enables the extended oil changes without the oil
getting too acidic.  With a TBN less than 10, SynLube must get around that some
other way.  All I asked was if you could explain how you are able to circumvent
that.  Instead I get a load of crap from you.
 
I read your info and I didn't see anything like what you mentioned in your reply
about viscosity of 5W-50.  Apparently if you would do a better job of explaining
things, everyone else on the internet would understand it (in fact, a guy who is
doing an experiment right now on engine oils won't include SynLube because of the
viscosity question).  All I asked about was the concern that a lot of other people
have about your oil.  Unlike all those other people, I'm perfectly willing to
believe there is a good reason why you can get away with it.  I just wanted to know
how.
 
That was some interesting info you deigned to give me about the air-cooled engines
and the need for an oil filter.
 
Your impugning of my occupation or my financial capabilities is the height of
arrogance.  You telling me what is cost effective in my vehicles is laughable. And
by what possible stretch of arrogance are you or anyone else to decide whether my
car belongs on the road?  You are simply unbelievable.  An "obsolete fleet"?  What
an ass!  I take pride in the fact that I keep my autos in reliable condition well
past the norm.  I take pride in the fact that I don't waste my money like you and
other fools do on new cars.  I spend it instead on education or traveling the
country (in those obsolete cars).  I do that because I'm always looking for the
best.  The best engine oil is one reason I can get that kind of life out of a car. 
That is why I've been using Mobil 1 for years, am switching to what appears to be
even better in Amsoil, and why I was investigating something that looks even better:
 SynLube.
 
Why you refuse to answer my questions is beyond me.  I happen to understand the
colloidal concept and asked what in your product is actually in a colloidal state. 
I asked a lot of legitimate questions to evaluate the product.  I found a multitude
of skepticism on the internet concerning SynLube.  All you would have to do is
answer and explain my questions and those people wouldn't have a leg to stand on. 
Anecdotal accounts don't explain anything.
 
I think the concept of Lube4Life is fascinating.  Too bad its representative is so
rude, off-putting and innumerate.
 
~ Matt 

He of course did not respond.  I happened to revisit your website and found the
exchange you had with him.  I guess when you have a nice car in his eyes, his level
of civility rises ever so slightly.

I note that in his exchange with you he writes, "Unfortunately single vehicle test
is not considered validating anything, that is not an "attack" just a critique, but
both a government and industry stand."  Yet he fails to acknowledge that his many
single anecdotes with no testing is not a government or industry standard either.

The most revealing part may have been that 5W50 is what pure synthetic oil is
naturally  yet doesn't cause the viscosity problem we are concerned about.  I wish
someone who really knows what they are talking about could explain this adequately.

Thank you for conducting and publishing your oil life study.  By the way, we are of
like mind when it comes to comic strips:  Bloom County, Calvin & Hobbes, Get Fuzzy,
For Better or For Worse, Sherman's Lagoon and Dilbert...what a lineup!

Thanks,

Matt
Matt, this is the best e-mail I've received in quite a long time. My favorite part is when Miro talks about your fleet of clunkers. Classic! Thanks for forwarding all this along.

From Greg Kunde on 10 March 2004:

Your oil life study is incredible.  When my cashflow situation improves I'll Paypal
some help.  We do some oil analysis at work on hydraulic systems using Castrol's
company.  I'm going to check in the morning to see who they use.  
Have you seen this-
http://www.practicingoilanalysis.com/current.asp

Lots of good info here.

Thanks
Don Dalrymple (AKA 74DartSport on various Mopar message boards)

BTW, here's my Dad's webpage- http://www.geocities.com/starviewscotties/frames.html
Hey thanks for the props and the links!

From Greg Kunde on 10 March 2004:

A Walk in the Woods, in my opinion, was an excellent book. If you haven't read it, I
think you'd enjoy it.
Been reading our capsule book reviews, eh? Thanks for the recommendation!

From Rel Morgan on 9 March 2004:

Would you please tell me how to get a copy (preferably online) of the paper, SAE
Technical Paper 2003-01-3119, that you mentioned.  Thanks.
You can order any SAE paper from their website at www.sae.org.

From Elizabeth Payne on 6 March 2004:

I have an 88 mustang gt convertable that i want to put a carburated 347, or maybe a
408 crate motor in. My questions are, will the 190lph in tank fuel pump & stock
ignition/distributor still work right? What fuel regulator should I use?  Is there
anything else that I should change such as the throttle cable or hood for clearance.
The reason I want to convert to a 4bbl is I don't want to spend the money on
upgrading the stock fuel injection system.  Any help would be greatly appriciated.
Ohhh, don't switch to carbs. You've been listening to those crazy old-timers who think carburetors are better, haven't you? If carburetors are really better, then why is it that you haven't been able to buy a new carbureted car in this country in 15 years? It's because carburetors suck, that's why. But, if you won't listen to me, then plan on re-plumbing the fuel system, because fuel injected engines run at 50 psi but carbureted engines run at 8 psi.

From Bob Jones on 5 March 2004:

If you need any Amsoil products to complete your test I might be willing to discuss
supplying them for you, if you will allow mention of my URL and whatever
contributions we agree to.

Bob Jones
www.1stSynthetic.us 
log on for a free catalog
Thanks Bob. Hopefully I have enough to make it through.

From Larry Smith on 3 March 2004:

Interesting results so far.  I will consider contributing to this.
 
One question: Lots of company propaganda refers to the extreme damage
done by the very small particles which develop in oil, and which,
supposedly, are
not removed by standard filters.
 
I have not seen nor have I been able to find any documentation on this
phenomenon.  Seems that, if it were important, a particle size count and
distribution would
have been an interesting part of your study.  Any thoughts on this?
 
Larry Smith 
M-I Production Chemicals 
5950 North Course 
Houston, Texas USA 
77072 
I'm pretty well limited to the testing that Blackstone provides, but such a count would be interesting if it were available. In any case, "extreme" damage would show up as extreme wear metal readings, which we haven't seen in our results thus far.

From Peter Childers on 1 March 2004:

Another thanks for the oil study. Looks so far like the Mobil 1 is a real bargain in
quality synthetic oil protection. Have a question about PPM of wear metals. If the
wear metals accumulate over time and the new adds are measured with the existing
accumulated then why doesn't the PPM look like that's what's happening? Ist UOA 1,
2nd 1+1=2, 3rd 1+1+2=4 and so on. The wear metals seem about the same from UOA to
UOA??
Regards
Well, part of it is that the wear isn't linear -- we've already established that more wear occurs in the early part of the oil's lifecycle, the first 3,000 miles. On top of that, the oil mixture in the engine isn't perfectly evenly distributed -- there will be pockets of more or less contaminants. So, some of it is the change in wear rate, and some of it is the luck of the draw. This is why we sample every 1,000 miles, despite the constant needling from some quarters: it allows us to identify and disregard clearly false samples.

From Brendon Jetblack on 1 March 2004:

I was poking around on Amsoil the other day and came across something
relatively new: A thorough test of Amsoil & 10 other competing oils that was
conducted around the middle of last year.

Don't know if you guys have seen it yet or not. there's a good chance that
you probably have. If not, these results will be of some interest :-)

http://amsoil.com/performancetests/g1971/index.html

Mobil 1 & Valvoline SynPower seem to take second place. my evaluation is
that SynPower is on top of Mobil 1 (NOACK & TBN are considerably better than
Mobil 1, and those two factors will be the most important when it comes to
extended oil drain intervals. Also, the Valvoline is a 100% synthetic and
even beats Mobil 1 in the 4-ball wear test.)

So after the Royal Purple, might be worth while to see how SynPower fairs. I
wouldn't doubt it'll prove to be better than Mobil 1. and this would
definitely create quite a stir in the automobile enthusiast community! 

Just my 2 cents :-)

Thanks for the Oil Comparison; what an interesting and informative study!

Take Care
Just once I'd like to see Amsoil actually cite their sources or provide the full text of the research. Valvoline is a possibility, but we'll have to see how things go after the first round of oil. By then people might not care anymore.

From Shalako Lee on 27 February 2004:

Just take my name off your site man, why be an [meanie] about it....... cust
cause you cat take critisizm......
Okay, the first time I hear from you, you cuss me out for asking people to buy a service manual before pestering me for FREE advice. The second time I hear from you, you threaten to attack my system. When you send me an e-mail that starts off with "I'm sorry for being a dumbass..." then we'll be able to talk.

From Brian Pakplus on 27 February 2004:

My name is Brian and I just finished reading most of your messages and 
responses about the synthetic oil testing that you are testing in your 
engine.  I have been an Amsoil user in three vehicles and am about to 
start using it in a fourth.
    I was particularly fascinated by your back and forth conversations 
with the gentleman from Synlube.  I had been in contact with him for 
about a month because I was seriously considering using their product in 
my new vehicle, which by the way is a 2004 Honda CR-V.  He seems to be a 
pretty well knowledged oil and lubrication specialist.  Now you had been 
asking him for tests on his product, and you also searched, yet couldn't 
find anything.  I have had the same results.  I really wanted to find 
some hard proof that Synlube was vastly superior to even Amsoil's 
products before I could justify spending the four times the cost of 
Amsoil in my engine.
    First obstacle was the rating 5w-50.  My Honda is one of those poor 
things where a 5w-20 is recommended.  Now knowing what I found out and 
researched on my own about that particular weight of oil, I don't have 
the reservations of running a 5w-50, and of course taking that 
information "to the grave" to quote your one response, from the Honda 
technicians.
    Second was the super complex warranty that can be agonizingly read 
on the website.  Amsoil's latest 0w-30 claims 35,000 miles with the 
appropriate filter changes, or one year.  Reading the warranty carefully 
on the Synlube site states 50,000 miles or 5 years, but the mileage can 
be extended through oil analysis and definitely keep up with the filter 
changes, even though they themselves are a lot longer than any other 
filters' mileage claims. 
    Now, regarding this second point, makes me wonder if I really would 
spend $32.00 per liter of oil vs. $9.00 maximum for the Amsoil quality 
product.  I have NEVER left a synthetic oil in the crankcase more than 
15,000 miles, and have changed the filter on a regular basis.  I do use 
the corresponding Amsoil Super Duty filters, but always change them at 
no more than 10,000 miles, with 5,000 to 7,500 being the mileage that I 
change them most of the time.  So this makes justifying the difference 
rather hard.
    And last point is the lack of actual pertinent information other 
than the "Synners" and vehicles posted on the website.  Yes, it does 
provide email addresses if you wish to contact the owners of the 
vehicles, but I really don't have a vehicle listed there for 
comparison.  I want to hear from someone who has used in my particular 
vehicle, or an earlier model year of the same vehicle.  The other 
vehicles that I have used Amsoil in are and '88 Plymouth Voyager, that 
had almost 400,000 miles on it, with only a minor rebuild at about 
175,000 due to leaking valve stems.  I decided to have the rings and 
bearings done as a preventative measure, as the heads had to be removed 
from the block anyway.  The second was a '91 Saturn SL2.  This vehicle 
stills runs, has almost 300,000 miles, but due to some excessive oil 
consumption, was switched back to regular petroleum oil at 200,000 or 
so.  Still not bad for a hot running DOHC four banger!  The last is a 
'01 Dodge Ram Diesel, which has Royal Purple in the crankcase right 
now.  I switched to this oil just to see if there in fact was a 
difference in true synthetic oils and so far, no hiccups or problems, 
and the oil is drained at 10,000 intervals, with the filter at 5,000 
mile pops.  This vehicle has almost 90,000 and is barely broken in, 
since I switched to synthetic at 1,500 miles.
    Nobody at Synlube's sight has any of these particular cars/trucks.  
To conclude, maybe you could find someone willing to test Synlube's 
products, just to see if the added cost really do benefit somebody like 
me, who basically drives a vehicle to the junkyard, rather than worry 
about trade in values.

    I am very anxiously waiting your further test results about Amsoil's 
capabilities in your study.  Thanks for the information that you post on 
your site, as it really has made for educational reading and just 
further proves that today's oils and advanced technologies are NOT "your 
father's motor oil"!!!
I sorely wish I could test Synlube -- hell, I wish I could get my hands on a quart of it to send it to a lab for analysis -- but he won't sell samples, I can't afford the full package, and I'll be buggered if I'll put that stuff in MY car! If someone were to donate a vehicle and the oil I'd be happy to test it. Till that miraculous day, the stuff engenders so much skepticism it's not worth the expense -- like having foil-covered chocolate "coins" evaluated by a coin collector.

From Galen Buck on 24 February 2004:

I READ YOUR REPLACEMENT ARTICLE, MY QUESTION IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.  WITH THE MOTOR
RUNNING, IF YOU PUSH ON THE BRAKE PEDAL BRAKE FLUID MOVES THROUGH THE VACUUM LINE TO
THE MANIFOLD, MAKING LOTS OF SMOKE.  HOW DID THE FLUID GET INTO THE VACUUM LINE, ARE
THERE SEVERAL PROBLEMS AT THE SAME TIME?   THIS IS A 1975 DODGE CHASSIS MOTOR HOME. 
I DIDN'T THINK THE FLUID COULD GET TO THE VACUUM LINE.   HELP.
BAD SEAL IN BOOSTER STOP NEED REPLACEMENT BOOSTER ASAP STOP QUIT DRIVING TILL YOU FIX IT STOP

From Bill Webster on 21 February 2004:

First a little history, then a question.  Years ago, I put a 350 TPI from a
Camaro in my 76 ZJ6.  Wow!!  Big fun blowing the doors beemers and cocky
kids in their whiny civics...  But alas, I put the jag into a guardrail one
icy evening...  The Kitty might have died, but I'm hoping her healthy heart
may one day beat in an engine neglected but otherwise beautiful 1998 Blazer
I could have for $800.

Can it be done?  I seem to be able to find only transplants in the 80's
vehicles.
Sure, it can be done, but the emissions will kill you in any state that tests. Be sure to transplant the engine electronics, and if the Blazer had an electronic transmission, you'll need some kind of adapter for it to operate without the original engine computer.

From David the Chevy Guy on 19 February 2004:

HI,

   I recently had a 454 built and is pushing about 500 hp. It was a budget 
motor to begin with so we had some stock rods laying around and had them tested 
and the machine shop said to use them.Well we recently spun a bearing on it, 
we think, or a rod streched.If it was a spun bearing should i replace the 
rods?We were thinking though that if a rod was gonna spin it would have already 
done so when setting the timing and stuff and weve had it up to like 5000rpms. 

I really dont have the money to go ahead and put in new rods not the cost of 
the rods but because of the machine shop costs but i know you get what you pay 
for so if its gonna be a serious thing then id deffinetly save for it.

Thanx!!!!!!!!!!!
Sure, it can be done, but the emissions will kill you in any state that tests. Be sure to transplant the engine electronics, and if the Blazer had an electronic transmission, you'll need some kind of adapter for it to operate without the original engine computer.

From Gerhad Bartsch on 17 February 2004:

Well,

I ran AMSOIL 10w40 (AMO) for 13,000 miles in my Honda Prelude, taking a
sample at 6000 miles with a filter change.

Blackstone has done all of the analysis work on the oil, and at 6000 miles
the stuff was basically as if it were new.

The problem with the H22A4 Honda engines is that they burn a QT of oil every
3000-5000 miles, so you end up topping off.  So 1QT makeup oil at 5000 miles
is going to change your results dramatically.

The issue ended up being higher amounts of insoluables at the 13,000 miles
with a viscosity that had left the SAE 40w range.  As such, I ended up with
the same recommendation that you did: 10,000 miles for engines burning a
little oil.

The 6350 sample can be read here, since you indicated you were collecting
information:

http://elabfcsvrt.fdu.edu/Oil/BLACKSTONEREPORTfull.jpg

I've also got a ton of other oil analysis' on Mobil 1 oils from my H22A4 by
Blackstone.  If you need them, I'll send them to you.

Lastly, the folks at Maxima.org tend to compile a spreadsheet that has all
of their collective oil analysis' - Icluding mine. 

http://forums.maxima.org/showthread.php?t=100060

Thanks Dude.
Cool, thanks for the info.

From Gerhad Bartsch on 17 February 2004:

I've been collecting data on various oil filters for Honda applications for
some time and have an interesting in great work such as yours!

(http://elabfcsvrt.fdu.edu/bartsch/Prelude/HondaPreludeOilFilters/)

...at some point I may even be able to finish publishing an article on them
at www.ntpog.org

Anyway, I thought your article was well written and well thought out.  I do,
however, have a question for you:

I noticed that the wear metals went down over time as the oil was used.  I
also noticed that the engines were all had low mileage on them.

Is it possible that the engines (most of which seemed to be in the 20k
range) were new enough that wear metals would have been high initially and
then lowered as the engines broke in?

Gerhard Bartsch
Laboratory Director, Computer Science
School of Computer Sciences and Engineering
Metropolitan Campus
Fairleigh Dickinson University
Thanks for the kind words, and the interesting link. You are correct that the wear metal decline is attributable in part to the age of the engine. We started with an engine at 10,000 miles which we had thought would be sufficiently outside its break-in period. Clearly, copper is still tapering even now at 35,000 miles -- we investigated this and GM says it's the normal wear-in of the camshaft bearings. For other wear metals this is not as clear yet but will likely be evident over the course of the test. At this point Amsoil shows a slight edge over Mobil 1 but I'm waiting to see how it performs over time before trying to decide how much of it is attributable to the oil vs. the engine's normal break-in decline. I think using ppm/mile it would be possible to determine the probability of the decline being attributable to Amsoil but I haven't tested that yet.

From Doug Watson on 16 February 2004:

First off let me say I really enjoy reading the many articles on this web site! 

I have an 03 GT auto 4R70W tranny and I'm installing an Autometer 2 1/16 tranny temp
gauge and I was wondering if it's possible to use the pressure port plug on the
drivers side of the tranny to install the sensor? Really don't want to drill a hole
in the pan. Also what is the average temp reading from the tranny when the gauge is
operating? 

Regards
I've no idea whether you can use that pressure port plug; we drilled a hole in the pan. It's no big deal.

From Ted Hoefer on 16 February 2004:

  Another way to change oil, which is used in other engine use area's (boats,
genoators, semi's, some aircraft,etc.) and that's using a 'hour meter'.  Kind of a
poor man's GM oil monitor.  Years ago I read a article on how Detriot uses a 4000
hour time duration for a 100thou mile durabilty test which the article stated that
the average driver drives at 25mph(25mph by 4000hrs =100,000miles) during normal
every day driving usage.  Of cource it has also been said that the more hiway
driving equates to less wear and tear overall which would equate to more miles
vers time.  Most car companys give 2 milage lenths for oil changes, 3000/7500.
3000 div by 25mph = 120hrs, well after using a hour meter for years my overall
average is 42mph which would equal to a 5000+ mile oil change at 120hours. 
Another article I read about delivery vehicles doing stop and go drivng along with
excessive idling recommended hour meters for oil changes with it stating that Ford
recommends a 200hour interval for changes with dino oil for the trucks they sell
for commercial use (200hrs by my 42mph average = 8400 miles which I have been
using for years now for oil changes, last car is sill running with
240+thou/5700+hours on it and is still not using oil/the first 4000hours on it
took me 168thou miles-96GEO Metro).  Being syn oil has been proven to hold up so
much better than dino it should be able to go alot more hours on changes.  The big
advantage I see is in using a hour meter is that you get alot more accuarate count
on how much wear the oil is getting being miles are never counted idling at stop
lites, Mcdonalds,etc. /  very few miles but lots of time doing stop and go / along
with lots of miles in shorter times in freeway driving - It counts it all in
direct relationship to driving habits much better than odometer do.  Just a
thought. 
An hour meter would be cool, but where to get one, and how to hook it up?

From Douglas Caswell on 15 February 2004:

Hi There -
 
  Just had to drop you a comment after reading about all your past cars.
I've subscribed to the same "fleet of wrecks" mentality for over 10yrs
now and its worked out much better then keeping one or two late model
cars. I have (5) cars now, all over 10 yrs old, all but one with
200Kmiles. All enjoy low insurance rates (liability only + low mileage
discount) and changes are good that at least 1 or 2 will start!! I can
also have one car of each type (truck, sports car, station wagon,
diesel, etc). 
 
   Great to hear i'm not alone in this approach :). 
I wish I could say we were still using the "fleet of wrecks" mentality but after our experience with an eight-car simultaneous breakdown we gave up. I currently drive a 2002 Camaro Z28.

From Richard Moburg on 15 February 2004:

Hi Brian,

You might want to watch this Holy War progress. Interesting comment about 
the Amsoil being front loaded but not being a great long distance runner:
http://forums.corvetteforum.com/zeropost?cmd=reply&id=1546487051

Also, are you still sending out notices with each new analysis? I don't 
remember seeing anything since the Amsoil changeover.
Any oil discussion turns into a holy war with car enthusiasts. With the oil life study, we can focus on the actual numbers and not worry so much about what someone was told or read on a corporate website.

From Jeff on 12 February 2004:

Regarding the inline coolant filter install article:
I called Musselman Distributing and was told that they no longer carry the
inline coolant filter. I was hoping you could direct me to some other
source for this part.
You can try Carbitz.

From Justin Smith on 12 February 2004:

I found your website on the web but couldn't figure
out how to ask you guys questions so i'll just e-mail
you.......

We have a 67 charger that we fully restored except for
the electrical.  We are having problems with the
rolling headlights.  we can get them to roll where the
grill is facing out but we can't get them to roll back
in.  Also the dash lights do not come one.  We have
traced wires and cleaned connections and can not find
the problem. I know the electrical systems on this
year of charger is a mess.  Thank you for any of your
help and thanks for offering your services!
Ugh, I wish I could help you, but this is clearly a job for a circuit tester and a chiropractor.

From Thomas Kingery on 11 February 2004:

Is the Amsoil test done?
No.

From Larry Shute on 8 February 2004:

In case you're not aware of it, the Cummins Centinel oil management/replacement
system permits oil change intervals of 525k miles.
Fascinating. Thanks!

From Kenneth Thompson on 4 February 2004:

I just found your website today, and I am willing to pay for a sample to 
be tested. I have recently started using Amsoil in my Yamaha Royal Star 
Venture as well as my 2003 Ford f-150 Triton V-8. Both are pretty new 
vehicles. I have another older Ford Explorer with about 90 thousand miles 
on the clock, and I have hesitated to begin at that point with the 
synthetic. However, since it has no leaks, etc. it is hard for me not to 
justify switching it as well. I have some dino oil that I am going to use 
up in it first in any case. As you say, I have never had an engine related 
failure using dino oils, and I have clocked a lot of pretty hard service 
miles in my time, both on personal vehicles and on those I drive in the 
course of my employment. 

Please tell me how you wish me to send you the funds to pay for a sample 
test. I have a Pay Pal account or will use a credit card, whatever you 
wish. I would be particularly interested in sharing the cost for the 
Amsoil testing, since that was the choice I made when I made the switch. 
That said, if I can be convinced that any of the name brand synthetics is 
as good as any other, then the next question is which one is the 
cheapest!! I also am somewhat undecided concerning mileages for oil change 
dates. I find it very difficult to accept 12,500 miles in  the windy, 
dusty, dirty country where I live. However, 6 or maybe 9 thousand, with a 
filter change at 3000 might do. 

I have not searched your sight at this point. I am about to do so. Have 
you also tested filters? I firmly believe that we should not skimp in any 
fashion on our oil and air filters. Their performance is critical. I have 
decided that the cheap ones that I have been using all my life may in fact 
not be a good bet, especially at extended change duty. Do you have 
recommendations about filters? No sense in paying more than is necessary 
for good protection, but worse would be buying anything at any price that 
does not get the job done. 

I look forward to hearing from you. I stand ready to contribute to the 
study you are doing. I also look forward to spending some time reading 
your material. Thanks very much

I wouldn't worry about switching the Ford. I've switched cars with far more miles than that -- one at 105k and another at 120k immediately spring to mind.

I haven't tested filters, though such tests are available on the net (they're a lot easier to conduct). My off-the-shelf NAPA Gold filter lasted for 12,000 miles before oil analysis indicated it was time for a change, so I think any high-quality item is up to the job.

I had a mechanic friend once who owned an original Shelby Cobra.

"What filter do you use?" I asked.
"Oh, they're all the same," he replied, "use whatever you want."
"So what do you use on your Cobra?" I asked.
Long pause.
"Uh... I always use Wix on the Cobra," he said.

That's just one man's opinion of course, but his faith in the brand seems to have been borne out in my testing (NAPA Gold is a reboxed Wix). I imagine others such as the higher-quality Purolators, AC/Delcos, and so forth are probably also perfectly fine.

From Joe Vogelberger on 31 January 2004:

Hi! 
I was just checking out your "Mad Ponchos" page to see
if I could find an answer to my problem with my '93
Pontiac Sunbird.
She's got the 2.0l n/a MPFI/DIS  4 cylinder engine.
I needed to replace the cam/rocker/lash compensators
and timing belt when I got it (stuck compensators ate
the rocker arms). Valve timing is dead-on.
Engine ran good until I changed the spark plugs and
wires-then I
had a cold start flooding problem awhile back-after
going around and around changing sensors I managed to
get it to start OK.
I replaced: Coolant temp sensor/plugs/wires/coil
pack/O2 sensor/fuel filter/fuel pressure
regulator/tested MAP sensor/IAT sensor-all
good./Removed-flushed and test fired all injectors and
replaced them with new O-rings-none leaking-all giving
good spray patterns.

Turns out the cold starting problem was caused by
overly-wide spark plug gaps (around .060").
Regapped the plugs to .035 and the engine started
right up and idled nice after sitting in below zero
temps for two weeks.
Drove the car to the end of the street and noticed an
intermittent single misfire occasionally while sitting
at a light.
Once in a while another cylinder would misfire after
the first (thump-thump, then smooth).
 Drove several more miles and romped on it a little
from time to time.
While I was driving (float condition) everything was
fine-at the bottom of an upgrade as I started to apply
more throttle-suddenly two cylinders (later discovered
to be #'s 2 and 3)just completely cut out altogether.

Now the car starts hard cold (turns over OK and fires
right away but only on 2 cylinders and chugs on those
two until I get the revs up pretty high and then all
four fire and the idle smooths out.
Within 1/12-2 minutes idling-cyls 2 and 3 slowly
intermittently misfire-one at a time until one is not
firing and the other only every once in a while. When
I rev it some the engine misfires badly until the revs
come up high and then all plugs fire. Soon as it idles
down, my misfire is back.
I'm stumped. I've read forum after forum and I have
even joined one or two. One hasn't responded with my
registration info and on the other all I got was
sarcasm and ignored. (seems I wasn't looking for a
"mAd TyTe" body kit and a cold-air intake for my 'Bird
so nobody wanted to hear it yo?!) You get the idea...
No 17 year old kid is gonna be able to help me unless
he's really into auto repair.

I see you know your stuff where Pontys are concerned.

The car I'm talking about is a clean convertible worth
saving. I love my car and would really like to get it
running good again.

I know, I know...I read and reread the F___in' manual
til it fell apart. I still can't seem to get it
corrected.

Seems like I had an ignition related problem all along
(plug gap..seems these engines are picky about it).
I'm thinking either the fuel pump is not supplying
enough fuel now (it's kinda loud, but that may be
'cause it's a convertible and there's not a lot
between my ears and the pump.).

Either that or I possibly have another kind of
ignition problem...?

Any ideas? Can you see from what I've written what I
may have missed?

I'd really appreciate any help you could provide.

Thanks.

Go back to your spark plugs. I've seen cars that are real picky about what type of plug they have. Try a different brand, different style. Always start with the simple stuff.

From John Richardson on 30 January 2004:

Hello once again.

I just wanted to send a short note to offer up my support for your oil test. I was a
sponsor during the M-1 run and I hated very much to see you drop off from Bob's
page. I'll keep an eye here to see how it goes. BTW,,, i completely understand your
stance on Bob's page,,, it isn't the same since he's been away. 

Thanks
Hi John. I appreciate the support. BITOG has value but it's not as impartial as it might like people to think.

From Ted Hoefer on 30 January 2004:

after seeing the 2000 miles test of the Amsoil, I have rethought the suggestion I
gave and agree that you should keep doing it every 1000 mile as you are doing. Ted
Hoefer  (kind of wondering if the Amsoil can cut it?) keep up the good work!!!!!  
Hey thanks Ted. So far so good for Amsoil, but then again, any cheap 89-cent dino oil can make it this far.

From Shalako Lee on 29 January 2004:

take my email off your website, my name is shalako lee, i am asking you to 
have it removed from your site within 48 hours.  if not then i will have a 
server up and running my mass mailer on your email address...........  take 
shal187@cableone.net off your website and my name needs to come off as well
So... you're a spammer, eh? I should have known. Your proposed denial-of-service attack is a violation of Title 18, U.S. Code Sec. 1030, punishable by up to five years in prison. Please, just go away.

From Mike Cleveland on 25 January 2004:

I just got done reading your response about BITOG, and I can only give you the
"thumbs up".  I was very displeased with the moving of the "2,000 mile results"
thread.  I expressed my concerns publicly in two different forums.  Obviously, while
the cat's away, the mouse will play.  I believe that Bob would be very unhappy with
these actions if he knew.  I and many others are not at all happy with the direction
the site is going.  I believe the deletion of past results was pure censorship. 
There was a lot of good information in these threads, including some of terry's
opinions.  These threads are now gone.
 
I am also shocked that your IP address has been blocked.  This is uncalled for.  You
have done nothing to deserve this treatment.  BITOG moderators (one in general)
upset me more every day.
 
FWIW, there is talk of a similar site being started up by a BITOG member who is also
upset with the current direction of BITOG.  If this happens, I hope to see you
there.  I will also continue to post your result's in BITOG's UOA section following
his rules, with a link to this site until they boot me too.
 
Good luck, and thanks again for all of your work - past, present, and future.
Thanks. My intent was never to discredit that organization, but only to post my side of the allegations made by BITOG staff. These things are cyclical, and I have no doubt that BITOG will go back to normal in due time. Until then, I think I'll wait it out.

From a Charger rodder on 24 January 2004:

Helo, I have recently acquired a 1974 Charger and it has the 318 that came 
stock from the factory.  I was wondering if maybe you guys could tell me any 
thing to beef the performance up some. The motor is still in good running order, 
but I want to know if there is anything I 
can do to that motor to up the power without nitrous, or a supper charger, or 
turbo.
The car is really cool, I would like to make a cool cruiser but with mopower..
       Thanks a bunch for your time...... 
Heck yeah. Check out the article in the January 2004 Car Craft where they make 400 horsepower from a 318. Or just pick up a Summit catalog and buy just about anything. Start with exhuast, then carb/intake/cam, then heads... keep going till you run out of money. Consider also a swap to a 360, 383, or big-block.

From Peter Childers on 24 January 2004:

Here is a link to a good oil filter examination and study. It's a Ford SHO Club but
the info here is for any vehicle.
http://www.shoclub.com/lubrication-oil/lubrication-oilpart1.htm
Regards
Always good to have more good info!

From Peter Childers on 23 January 2004:

Hey guys. Just read your little message on the trouble at BITOG. Interestingly I
just found that site about a week ago. I am still trying to figure out the
legitimacy of it. Some of the independent tests look good but you really have to
watch the forum closely to see who's positioning themselves for profit. I really
think that if it was legit it would not allow any open forum where manufacturers can
invade. Your oil study is still the best independent one I've seen. Will still send
some Amsoil money soon, just trying to get over xmas surprises.
Sure wish you would either close down the cave drawings or get rid of the Shalako
Lee message. I can't stand to see it front and center any more. Maybe a new theme
would work?? 
There are a lot of really smart people on BITOG and their contributions both to BITOG and to my study cannot be ignored. You do have to hang out for a while and figure out who the players are. As for Mr. Lee, he's been pushed down the queue where he belongs.

From Ted Hoefer on 18 January 2004:

just an idea for making the money that has been given for samples last a little bit
longer, do samples every 2000 miles for the first say 10000 miles than every 1000 as
you are doing.  You already proved the napa filter will go at least that far and I'm
sure the Amsoil is good enough also(it better be) Just a suggestion.
Thanks for the thought. I do think the highly detailed trending is valuable though. You don't normally get to see this level of detail.

From Kevin Williams on 18 January 2004:

I've just been checking in the past few days to see how the last UOA with the Amsoil
went.  I see that there has been no updates in the site so I was just wondering if
the test was still going on.  Hopefully nothing has happened to the car or anything.
 This is very interesting stuff!
Relax, relax, sometimes we're a little slow. I'll try to not take so long that you guys start worrying about me -- er, the car.

From Rob Neary on 17 January 2004:

Was Googling for stuff related to the armrest in my 2003 Outback Sport
(the plastic latch on the upper part busted off pretty early on) - and I
found your page :)  You obviously have way more car experience than I
do, but it's nice to see we have had the same pleasant experience with
this vehicle:
- 4WD (5spd manual) rocks - especially in the snow (I'm in Michigan)
- synthetic oil I'm doing 7500 mile oil changes no problem (using
Amsoil)
- car's way more fun than my last car - '92 Tercel 4spd manual ;)
 
Want to pass along a couple things I've experience with my car:
- I think the Amsoil's resulting in about 10% better mileage.  I've also
got an '03 Accord sedan running it, and both cars seem to be getting a
smidge more out of each tank.
- The road noise you're talking about has been a problem back to 2001 (I
think).  Subaru put out a TSB on it #15-104-01
- Found a kewl (looks like for dealers) bit of the Subaru web site with
all the tech/service info you'd ever want:
http://techinfo.subaru.com/html/search.jsp
 
Unfortunately it's pay-for, but you can poke around and find stuff you
might want first, then pay $20 for 72 hour access and just leech all the
files you'd want :)
 
Just my two bits - and thanks for putting up all the helpful car stuff -
screw anyone who say's otherwise! ;)
Yep, so far the Impreza has been an incredibly good car for us. We did finally -- after two long years of trying -- figure out a way to completely stuff it to capacity, but it was no easy trick (2,200 car magazines). It's a shame the newer ones lost the friendly look of the 2002-2003 cars.

From Mike Wofsey on 15 January 2004:

Hi O Pine,

I'm King of the Rulers. I support my family by
manufacturing them and selling them. They are my life.

And guess what, you are right on target about
yardsticks. The Imperial system is superior to the
Metric system. In fact, the metric system is part of a
sinister plot to make everyone on the planet a
blithering idiot.

Check out this page on my website for more info.

Viva la revolution ... Resist the metric system!

=====
MIKE WOFSEY
Galaxy Gauge
Tools for Graphic Design
1419 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
You cannot possibly imagine how happy I was to read this message. Yardsticks rule!

From Chris Bujold on 13 January 2004:

Hello!
 
As you will no doubt infer from the signature below, I have more than a
casual interest in your series of articles on oil analysis. I have just two
comments:
 
1) Your assumption that the cost of doing oil analysis outweighs the cost of
simply changing the oil is inaccurate. Oil analysis focuses on TREND
analysis rather than LIMIT analysis. Whenever you dispose of drain oil
without doing oil analysis, you are throwing away valuable history that
could prevent catastrophic failure. The "$20" you spend on an oil sample is
easily offset by the cost savings down the road. (Remember the TV
commercials for Fram oil filters..."pay me now or pay me later?")
 
2) I'm curious to know why CTC Analytical Services wasn't considered in your
comparisons. We are one of the largest fluid analysis laboratory networks in
the country. Perhaps our admitted affiliation with major oil companies makes
you uncomfortable? 

Chris Bujold 
SW Regional Sales Manager 
CTC Analytical Services, Phoenix, AZ 
Hi Chris! Please understand, I wrote that from the point of the consumer. Joe Average is going to say "why have the oil tested to see if it needs to be changed when for the same money I can just change it?" Most people place little if any value on the information in an oil analysis, primarily because most people don't keep their cars long enough for it to matter to them. I, of course, see it differently, which is why we have this oil life study. The exclusion of CTC in the comparison piece is certainly not meant as a slight against your organization. We got the information for that article from a friendly reader and had no say in the selection process.

From Ben Gore on 10 January 2004:

  I just wanted to comment on your answer to Tony White 2 Dec 2003.  You said that
manual transmissions were always better.  I think that you do not have the right
person building your transmission.  I have a 904 torqueflight built that will get
gears better than a manual.  Automatic transmissions are better because, if it is
built right, there is no slip.  There is no chance to miss a gear.  The
transmission knows the precise moment to shift.  No more, No less.  If that
transmission was built right, you would not have to worry about the transmission
breaking, you would have to worry about what the transmission breaks(rear-end,
u-joints, driveshaft, etc.).  To Tony White, if you want to know more info on
someone who can build a transmission, email me at babyocita@hotmail.com.  P.S. My
904 is in a 76 Plymouth Duster special edition, with a 70 model 360 in it.  I know
my 360 may not have the power or torque of your moter, but I am confident that
with the right person building it, it will holdup.  I would put my automatic
against any manual with the same setup. 
But... automatics are no fun. And that's why manuals are always better.

From Ken Shelton on 9 January 2004:

New oil formulations, API Service Category SM and ILSAC GF-4, will be
replacing the current API-SL and ILSAC GF-3 in the middle of this year.  The
new oils will be quite different.

For consistency, you may consider purchasing all your oil before the
formulations change.  (I know, there went the budget!)
I prepurchase the entire lot for each phase of the test -- but I can't buy all the oil I'll ever use over the course of the study. We'll just have to see what happens.

From Greg Allard on 9 January 2004:

I was reading your Mobil1/ Amsoil study and have a question about the
analysis.  The article indicates testing is about $18.50.  Does this
include the TBN test?  I had a sample done at Blackstone and they did not
do the TBN.  I called them and they informed me it is $10.00 more.  I am
just curious.  Please let me know.  Thanks!
Yep, it's true. I pay out of my own pocked about a third of each sample in the synthetic oil life study.

From Peter Childers on 8 January 2004:

Here's another follow-up to your A/R project.
http://www.autospeed.com/cms/article.html?&A=0217
Regards
Thanks!

From Neil Emery on 6 January 2004:

I was wondering if you can add our page to your list of links?
Thanks,
Neil Emery
www.SCFYB.com
South Carolina F & Y Bodies
The webpage you're writing to isn't even online anymore. But here you go.

From Peter Childers on 5 January 2004:

Read your article on installing a Fuel/Air Ratio Gauge read off the O2 sensor. I
found a good article on O2 sensors that you may find OK. From your experience sounds
like you're pretty much savvy on this stuff. Your other readers may find it useful
though as I did.
http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0BUR/4_77/64715531/p1/article.jhtml?term
Years ago I got into selling Clayton Dynamometers and learned a very little on
emissions. I seem to recall that if you measure CO at the exhaust a certain % would
equal 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio. I tried to find my info, but could not figure where I
hid it. Anyway, does the gauge you installed normally use the O2 sensor or does it
provide one of it's own?
The one we used in our gauge installation just fed off the existing oxygen sensors. Splice in an extra wire and you're good to go. The engine computer likes to know this stuff too, so the info's all there for the taking.

From Terry Warren on 5 January 2004:

I just read the "Adjusting an Edelbrock Carburetor" section on your
website... Your procedure for setting the mixture screws will save me a
bunch of time - Thanks!

Here's my question:
I have an Edelbrock Performer 1406 (600 cfm w/ electric choke) mounted on
my '89 Plymouth Gran Fury - This car is equipped with the Police package
and has a slightly modified 318... I didn't put this carb in - My
grandfather had it installed by a mechanic in Montana who didn't know
that the Quadrajet he pulled off was *supposed* to be on the car...

When you were adjusting the carb on the Paradise Garage Charger, did you
have to do anything with the metering rods/jets? Or did resetting the
mixture screws solve all the problems?

I have the manual for this carb, but most of it is Greek to me... I had
planned to experiment with different rod/jet configurations, but if
resetting the mixture screws is all I need to do then great! I'm also
considering converting this thing over to a manual choke setup as I'm not
sure the auto choke is working correctly...

Thanks for any info you could give me on this!
The car we tested on didn't need very much tweaking, so just adjusting the front screws did it for us. Certainly won't hurt you any to play with them first.

From Peter Childers on 2 January 2004:

I just read "Shalako Lee's" vent mail and must agree with you not to do the long
distant troubleshooting any more. I think you would get less backlash if you charged
for the advice, seems free just makes some people madder when they don't get the
answer they want. I wonder how good they would be at solving problems with a one
sentence description. I find the vehicle specific sites much better where each forum
member helps the other. Sometimes though it's the blind leading the blind, and yes a
$20.00 manual would help a lot of people. I personally always invest in a Helm
factory manual for each vehicle, now about $150.00. A small price when you figure on
diagnosis and repair prices. Still enjoy your site and will send some money late
January to help you defray Syn. Oil Costs for your Oil Study. Looking forward to
Amsoil results.
I'm just trying to put Mr. Lee behind me. Probably just a young guy, full of belligerence and overreacting to everything. His internet access costs money, right? And the car he's trying to fix must have cost something? Seems like a $20 service manual ought to be able to fit in this somewhere.

From William Clemens on 28 December 2003:

I am enjoying your oil life study.  The comment made at the beginning of the Amsoil
comparison that Mobil 1 showed more wear during the first test than Amsoil is
obvious.  Any oil would have had the same results.  More wear occurs during the
first few thousand miles on a new car [break in] than later, all things being equal.
My Toyota Avalon has 192,000 miles on Mobil 1 plus Pure 1 oil filters, both changed
every 5,000 miles.  Oil usage is nil, performance is excellent. Keep up the tests . 
If you're right, William, then we'll see Amsoil's wear numbers remain consistently lower than Mobil 1's. We'll see what happens.

From Ted Hoefer on 24 December 2003:

Don't have much use for amsoil and their wacko marketing $$$$$$$$$ along with all
their self proclaimed oil experts.  No matter how  well their oil does, they will be
crying fowl because of something you did that one of them didn't agree with. 
Amsoil, oil wise is fine 'I think' and this test that you are doing  will show that
along with the proof that you don't need some special filter to make it work.  A
filter that is available to everyone down at the local parts store without having to
wait for some "oil expert" too order it.   You know, like my local NAPA store that
has NAPA golds, NAPA silvers, Amsoil, Mobil1, Castrol, NAPA oil, Valvoline,etc in
stock along with 3 Amsoil oil filters on display but no stock of them, but they can
be ordered.  After cutting open umteem oil filters open over the years,
Wix-motorcraft-AC have been the best for my paticular application.  If it has the
bypass at the opposite end(like the Amsoil)  I won't even consider it, no matter
what it's micro filtering ability is.  If on a cold startup all the 'filtered dirt'
is just reinjected back though the engine, what's the purpose of  having a filter to
begin with?          I have used a Oberg oil filter (will still using it on one
vehicle once I get it back on - for well over a half a million miles from 1982 until
2002 when the last car was sold) with the tattle tail idiot lite that go on when the
filter goes on bypass. You would be surpriced how often it would be bypassing on
stone cold startups.  As years passed though, it would come  on  less and less as
oils lightened up, 5w was alot better than 10w.   And yes I had samples tested with
all passing with flying colors.  The problem I have with them now  is as I have
gotten older it has gotten to be a pain in the butt to clean having to get down on
the ground and get dirty (So much easier just to slide a pan, reach down, spin off
the old filter and let it drop! along with being able to put the new one on from the
same point).   How well does the screen filter? It's a 28 micron filter which may
sound too large to some out there, but something I realized years ago when looking
at all the wording in oil filter talk were the words  'filters DOWN too 10 micron' 
or  'DOWN to 20 micron'   "DOWN TOO"  which tells me thats the SMALLEST item it will
filter out, along with having larger holes that will let larger items through  due
to the inconsistantcy of the paper being used.  Paper is very inconsistant in it's
prosisity and I'm sure there is some that is better than others but the stainless
steel filter is very consistant in it's prosisity of hole size and 28 micron is the
rated LARGEIST size of dirt that can get through it.  It filters 'UP TOO' 28 miron
along with all the smaller items. BYU in Utah did a test of the Oberg years ago
along with regular oil filters and one of the interesting things that they found was
that oil cold, passes through the stainless steel filter much easier than it does
through paper.  The stainless steel only created about 1and ahalf lb of back
pressure with cold oil compared to the 4 to 9 lbs with all the paper oil filters
which were all kicking open their bypasses cold.  I have a copy of this test some
where and but it is from 10 to 15 years ago.      The only other problem with
Oberg's can be the plumbing.  It's not for someone who doesn't check things out once
in awhile.  Enough of my ramblings of how I feel. 
Holy cow, Ted, hit a nerve?? Just kidding bud, I appreciate the support, and this Oberg filter seems worth looking into. However, I think at least some of the Amsoil dealers will be good sports about the test. Remember, we're all human, and it's just motor oil.

From Bret Boster on 22 December 2003:

Wow, I just finished reading all the crap from the Syn-Lube guys.  What a joke. 
Funny thing though, I was asking for exactly the same results, information he
neglected you as well, and I got all the same mumbo.  One thing he didn't harp on
like he did with me is, how he sued AMSOIL dealers for using Syn-Lube as a URL, toll
free number, and so on.  Not to mention, he can't spell, nor simply reply to the
questions asked.  The response's must have been proprietary.

As an AMSOIL Dealer here in Washington state, I applaud you for your real world
testing.  This is what we need as consumers.  I have an article on my website (don't
know if I'm allowed to put in web link here because of free advertising rules, but
if just you are looking at it,
http://www.performanceoilnews.com/docs/SyntheticOilComparison.pdf) which is from a
magazine I came across.  It did much the same thing you are doing, but with a Ford
5.0 on a dyno.  They performed the analysis, viscosity tests, hp, and torque, and
especially the volatility.  

One more side note, sticking with your guns about the OEM recommendation of 5W-30 is
very admirable.  We all know there are other oil viscosities which work, and will
perform better, but using a level playing field is what this is all about, or as
close to a level playing field as you can get.  Very few use the exact same oil
brand and viscosity over the life of a vehicles engine, so your test represents one
more key element in real world usage.  

Again, sorry you had to put up with the Syn-Lube non-sense, but proof is in the
pudding, or oil in this case.  A suggestion, don't change your testing, but maybe an
air filter.  NOS would be a cool addition as well, but hey, this is oil testing....
Thanks for the sympathy, though the Syn-Lube crowd is nothing compared to the mail I get for some other things on this website (hello Dukes of Hazzard fans). I hope you find the study useful, even if the results should prove to be not what you expect.

From Dick Brewster on 22 December 2003:

Nice articles on engine and transmission oil cooler installation, but the
first step should be oil temperature gauges to determine if you need
coolers.  Then if you install them you can also determine if they are giving
you the oil temperatures you want.

If you install the gauges and end up not needing the oil coolers, you have a
couple of cool looking gauges and have learned something useful.

OTOH, if you install oil coolers and don't need them, you can end up with
your oil running too cold. But they do look cool.
Dick, I completely agree with you. At the time it hadn't occurred to us, but looking back on the oil cooler project, we probably didn't really need the thing. It certainly made oil changes a lot harder, and for little if any gain.

From Ted Hoefer on 22 December 2003:

the napa is a wix, in fact if price says anything the napa costs more than the wix
out this way (wash. state) so lodgic would say the napa is better, right?  Don't
change anything and keep things the same and even as you are doing!  Just test the
amsoil not their lousy filter.  I will never use a filter that has the bypass at the
wrong end no matter what the 'micro' filtering ability claims!  KEEP UP THE GOOD
WORK !!!!! 
Hahaha, Ted, tell us how you really feel! Whoo. Don't worry, we're sticking with NAPA Gold for consistency's sake.

From Shalako Lee on 21 December 2003:

Are you a [gosh-darn] [goofball]??? Sounds to me like you need to go buy a [doggone]
service manual. the reason people try to find this stuff out on the internet
is because they are 2 poor to buy a service manual [darn goofball].  All you do is
give an arrogant [gosh-darn] response. some of the people in the manual labor
section have valid questions, but you are showing how much of a [goofball] you
are by replying GO GET A MANUAL every time.. anyway just wanted to take the
time out of my day to tell you to [bugger] off and that you should buy a service
manual you [gosh-darn] [goofball]
All right, this is really the last straw. I get nothing from helping you people with your cars, I do it for free, I pay for the bandwidth, I put in the time, I got no sponsors or advertisers or paycheck to go with it. Five years I've been helping people out, megabytes worth of data in the archives, and yet I still get yellow-bellied peckerheads like this spewing profanity into my inbox. I'm done with the car questions; send 'em to Click & Clack and see if THEY do any better. You don't like it? Send your hate mail to Shalako Lee at shal187@cableone.net and at shal187@hotmail.com.

We'll still address issues that relate specifically to webpages posted on this site. But the general-subject open forum? Click and Clack baby. While you wait for their answer, RTFM you tightwad.

From Kris Swensson on 19 December 2003:

Since you seem to be having an issue with the oil
filter you are using, why not use the Amsoil filter?

"Insolubles once again jump immediately to 0.3%. If we
had to guess, we'd say this is the limit of the
filter's abilities, and we're not likely to ever see
better than that."

I can understand your reasoning for staying consistent
with your testing, but the Napa Gold will most likely
shorten the life of the oil due to it's inability to
capture any particulates smaller than 20-22 microns. 
The Amsoil filter will get you in the range of 7-8
microns.  It is important that you stay consistent,
and since you are changing the filters so often, the
oil should stay fairly clean.  GO AMSOIL!  If I were
to make a prediction, I would say the AMSOIL will last
2-3 times as long as the Mobil 1... time will tell. 
Keep up the good work!
The short answer is... this is an oil test, not a filter test. If I switched filters midway, readers would cry foul. I have to control as many variables as I can, and the filter is an easy one.

From John McGinty on 19 December 2003:

Are the containers of oil sold have the ratings of the oil's 'virgin
TBN' on the label?

How do you determine what the TBN is?

When working the formulas, and using your input fields, that bit of data
is needed.

I haven't seen those TBN numbers on the Valvoline, Shaeffers, or Castrol
I have used.

Just want to understand this issue better.

Thank you for interesting reading.
Our laboratory tests the TBN for us; as far as we know, the oil companies don't routinely publish this information. Even if they did, it wouldn't be entirely useful -- there are several different methodologies for determining TBN, and they produce significantly different values. In short, TBN isn't the the best tool for evaluating oil, especially when comparing TBN derived from different sources.

From Peter Childers on 15 December 2003:

I read your "Installing an Oil Cooler" article. Not sure if your cooler has a
thermostat or not. I have read that too low a temp is harmful to the oil and engine.
I have been contemplating installing a cooler on my 03 Ford Ranger. I wanted to
monitor the temps first and have been looking for a simple way other than removing
the oil pan and installing a separate NPT fitting for the sender. I have decided
that the oil pan temp would be the most accurate and reliable since the oil has
already run through a hot engine. I have been trying to find a replacement oil drain
plug with a hole drilled in the center for a sender. I would just disconnect spade
electrical fitting to remover plug. Greedy came close but their thread pitch did not
match up, not sure why. Their response attitude is poor at best. I am now
contemplating buying an aftermarket drain plug and drilling the hole myself. Not
sure at this point if I will weaken the plug too much. Greedy's plugs pictured on
their web site seem to be of extra hardness. If you have any comments that would
help that would be nice.
Regards
Ah, the oil cooler. If I could do that again... I wouldn't. A street driven car will probably never need the excess cooling capacity, and in tradeoff you have to contend with leaks, a large reserve of unchangeable oil, and the risk of over-cooling the oil. A fun idea that was probably better left on the drawing board.

From Dave Goodwin on 14 December 2003:

Devon Nissan moved eight miles west to Exton.  They creatively renamed themselves
Exton Nissan.  Still the same bunch o' weasels, though.  Sorry for bringing bad
news.
Duly forewarned. Thank you.

From Peter Childers on 14 December 2003:

I don't have paypal so the check's in the mail as they say. I am intrigued
by this "Envalve" device that your web site commented on. I have emailed the
site and gotten some feedback. Apparently it does not input any fresh air
into the crankcase, it only creates vacuum in the crankcase. The
seller/inventor has a rough edge at replies but says that he has replaced
good PCV's with his device and gotten much better and passable emissions.
Anyway, you don't know until you pays your money. If I were to contribute
toward the purchase of this valve ( $49.00 cost?) would you guys be willing
to look at it and evaluate. If you could get two or three or more people to
also contribute up front before purchase I would be in for my part. If you
don't get any other takers you could just keep my portion toward the oil
test thing.
Regards
Unfortunately I am not in an emissions-controlled state so I'd have no means of testing it.

From Peter Childers on 14 December 2003:

I just found your web site and appreciate your approach, insight and expense. Keep
the smart answers to lame questions going. I have just gotten on the Amsoil program,
initiated by the purchase of a new 03 Ford Ranger. I am using their Series 2000
0W-30 long drain oil as well as their dual filter system of which one element is a
very fine bleed off filter. This is virgin territory for me and a huge change in oil
change attitude. Anyway, to get to it. I'll contribute one oil analysis test if let
me know where, to who and how much. I look forward to the results of your tests.
Regards
Thanks for the support! I think your choices will work out just fine for you. Whatever may happen with Amsoil in this test, I'm not expecting it to fall on its face. Increased filtration is a lifesaver for the oil system, and probably even more critical than the type of oil used. Good move.

From Chad Johnson on 12 December 2003:

Top notch work with the Synthetic oil testing.  I will continue to look for the
Amsoil figures.  Only dissappointment is that you aren't using their Series 2000
formulation which uses their latest (and most expensive) additive formulation.  But
hey, the standard workhorse 5W-30 is good by me.......used it for years.

BTW, here's a decent forumn site on the subject that you might find of interest. 
For the most part, the people who seem to frequent the site appear to be quite
knowledgeable, (and more importantly UNBIASED) on the subject of oils.  Let me know
what you think.

http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php

Notice the section on "used oil analysis" and "oil filters" sections.

Again - Kudos to your work!

Regards
Hi Chad -- yep, I know those guys, and used to post my test results there. A good bunch of people, for the most part. Thanks for the kind words, and I would have used Series 2000 if it had been available in a 5W30.

From Vincent One on 9 December 2003:

Hi, where can I find all the updates for the Amsoil oil tests?  I was only able to
find an update for mile 0 for Amsoil.  By the way, have you determined which is the
better oil, Mobil or Amsoil, and why?  Thanks.
That's coz as of this writing we've only gotten that far along in the test. It's ongoing, see, and we probably won't have an answer till fall 2004.

From Ben Gold on 9 December 2003:

Hey there, just a quick comment:  I think the date is wrong on the AmSoil test 0. 
It's listed as 2002, not 2003, and since the Mobil one tests didn't complete until
September of 2003, I'm assuming it's a mis-print.

Cheers...
Yep. Oops. We fixed it.

From Jeron Gibson on 8 December 2003:

In your response to "From Kris Swensson on 1 December 2003:"  you ponder
the relationship between Napa Gold, Napa Silver and Wix.  Here is a link
to someone with a site similar to yours but focused on oil filter
design.  He mentions his perceived relationship in both the overview and
detail pages.

Overview:
http://minimopar.net/oilfilters.html

Details:
http://minimopar.net/oilfilterstudy.html

Thanks for your website and efforts to keep us informed.
Cool... thanks for the helpful links! According to that, we should be okay with our NAPA Gold.

From Paul Zuhlke on 2 December 2003:

Hello, Neptune

                    I would like to take this opportunity to say great work on the
site and to clarify that  Baldwin
http://www.baldwinfilters.com/  manufactures Hastings and
AMSOIL filters. Below are a few sites I have come across with
others taking it upon them selves just as yourself to expose
some real comparisons of products. Please also see attached pdf
documents on AMSOIL filters, oil and a couple other SAE papers I
found.

Oil Filter Comparison, Oil Filter Study, charts, graphs and figures
http://www.parthe.net/_oilchangeguys/00000010.htm

Engine Oil Filters Overview
http://minimopar.net/oilfilters.html

Oil Change - How Often, What Kind
http://www.78209.com/oil.html

FILTER MANUFACTURERS COUNCIL
http://www.filtercouncil.org 
Thanks for the helpful links, Paul! That's some good reading.

From Bill Lewis on 1 December 2003:

It appears the moderator really knows little about cars and people are asking
questions that deserve repectful, if not knowlegable responses.
I think the moderator may learn a bit more if he actually tried to find an answer
for these questions, rather than creating glib comebacks. But hey! what do I know,
couldn't learn anything here.
So... a bunch of people I don't know ask me questions I never wanted about things I never claimed to know, and when they don't get an encyclopedic answer in return for this "courtesy" it's ME with the attitude problem?! I answer the ones I know something about and try to at least be entertaining the rest of the time... the other option is for me to ignore you lot. So where's YOUR contribution? I see you complaining but not offering to do anything about it.

From Kris Swensson on 1 December 2003:

I really appreciate what you are doing with the
sythetic oil testing and comparison.  I cannot wait to
see the result of the AMSOIL testing, since I have
been using thier product for over ten years, mostly in
racing applications, but also in my personal vehicles.
 I currently am driving a 95 F-150 with a 351w, which
I bought new.  It has had AMSOIL in it from time I
bought it, and it now has 205,000 miles on it.  I have
consistently changed oil every 20,000-24,000 miles, as
they recommend.  I did analysis for the first few
changes until I became comfortable with the extended
intervals, and not once did the oil require a change.

In regards to your comments on the NAPA Gold oil
filter, you are correct, they are made by WIX, but
that is where the similarity ends.  They are not a
true WIX filter by design.  These filters are built to
NAPA specifications, and filter particulates to about
the range of 20-22 microns.  An AC Delco filter is in
the 18-20 range.  A "true" WIX premium filter is in
the 10-12 micron range, very similar to a Hastings
filter.  Hastings is the company who makes the AMSOIL
filters. By AMSOIL design, they filter to the 7-8
micron range, and if you use their by-pass system,
they can filter down to .10 of a micron!

These are just some things to think about.  I cannot
wait to see your AMSOIL results, good work!
This is really interesting. Can anyone verify that we're getting screwed on the NAPA Gold filters? Tests I've seen show them at parity with Wix so I remain a skeptic of the conspiracy theory. Perhaps you're thinking of NAPA Silver.

From Dick Brewster on 29 November 2003:

Feel free to use the donation I made to support your test in any way you see
fit.  Just don't associate my name with Amsoil on your web page.

I'm curious. The distribution of oil test purchase vs Amsoil purchase
donations you have received makes it look like maybe I'm not the only one
that doesn't care for Amsoil and their online sales 'droids. Any thoughts on
that?
Well, it's a false correlation -- there's only six Amsoil oil purchase slots because that's all I needed to pay for the oil. Nevertheless, your conclusion is accurate. From the feedback I've received here and through the many discussion forums that mention my study, there is a LOT of hostility toward Amsoil's marketing scheme. Many question how the oil can be any good if they have to resort to the scheme they use. I think Amsoil has a good product but they still live in a 1970s distribution network. They need to get with the times, IMO, as people will have less and less tolerance for MLM. Also, allowing every rep to put up a sales website is severly diluting the worth of their name, because many of those sites are dodgy and misleading. They're making a huge mistake by sticking with MLM and they will pay dearly for it in the marketplace I think. Not that I have an opinion or anything.

From H.H. Richardson on 21 November 2003:

When deciding how to run the tests,did you consider that Amsoil already has
established a service life of 25K / 1 yr for the ASL 5W30 oil,provided an Amsoil
filter is used and replaced at 12.5K or 6 months,whichever comes first.?
 
In real life,anyone using this oil is going to make sure that they replace the
filter at 12.5K/6 regardless of how good the oil condition appears, to make sure
there is no glitch should it be necessary to make a claim for engine damage under
the Amsoil warranty.Why not take advantage of this and do the oil and Amsoil filter
change at 0 and do another Amsoil filter only change at 12.5 K or 6 months as called
for by Amsoil ? (This fits in nicely with the filter change in the Mobil 1 test) 

I am a long,long time happy user of Mobil 1synthetics and have settled on a routine
for changes and periodic oil analysis that suits my needs. However, I think it would
make for a fairer and more accurate test of Amsoil by at least using their filter as
above . By doing so I think the test results will be more meaningful to people that
may be considering Amsoil.
My intent is to determine which oil performs better -- if either does. To do that, I need to keep the test scenario as similar as possible, and that includes changing the filter when insolubles reach a certain level. The Amsoil test certainly is contentious, and no matter what I do people will complain that I did it wrong. My methodology is to keep the variables to a minimum. Others are welcome to test how they please.

From Terri Mae on 21 November 2003:

Love those scottish terriers!.
I was once told by a veterinarian that if a Mac truck and a scottish terrier ever
got into a tussle, the Scottie would win......is this why you have them featured in
a predominently "auto" forum?
Well, that and the Scotties like sports cars, especially convertibles.

From Gavin Allan on 19 November 2003:

Where's the final analysis for Synthetic Oil Study?

(GREAT WORK!!!)
I'm running behind. Sorry.

From James Jantz on 16 November 2003:

Very interesting.  Please consider a similar test using conventional motor oils.  
If I can stand it by that point, I'll do Castrol GTX eventually.

From Derek Gore on 13 November 2003:

OK guys and or gals,
  Here is a link to my stuff on synthetics.  Real research!  But still unfinished. 
I think you might be interested in it, as I started with being a test bed to try
synthetics, came full circle, and now am back to synthetics as a good way to go.

BUT!

It appears we all are being duped.  By the pricing model.  I know you don't have
time to read a bunch of long posts, but since you are interested in a real test, add
my research to it and then get back to me.  Go here:
http://irv2.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?q=Y&a=tpc&s=8076099152&f=2636094452&m=3596097864&p=1

If you think it is valuable, just email me and let me know.  I send the link only
because I am impressed with your empirical tests.

Yeah, I know about the controversy with Castrol's Group V oil being marketed as synthetic (and now some people believe Mobil 1 is also Group V, but that's not true, it's still PAO). You gotta be careful these days. But the dupe is deeper than you realize. Recent research presented at an SAE conference indicates that used oil protects better than new oil. My own tests agree with this research. Therefore, the secret to low wear numbers is really good filtration and high quality oil -- NOT frequent oil changes! In fact, too-frequent oil changes will cause more wear than leaving it in there. Weird, but true.

From Joe Hutchinson on 10 November 2003:

Dear Neptune,
Enjoyed the Greenies article. Don't agree with all of it but hey, liked your well
stated POV. In particular, I read the SUV exhaust tests as a sample of total air
converted to pollutants. Big pistons burn the fuel better and cleaner but there's
alot more volume to convert. A 6 liter engine still pollutes more by volume ingested
to move a vehicle than a 2 liter engine. One person in a 4 ton beast getting 12 mpg
at 70 mph still results in SUV meaning Stupid Ugly Vehicle. The real test is
pollutants per mile per person transported. Automotive Darwinism should pare-down
the SUV over time to a more efficient vehicle.... called a station wagon. (Mine is a
1967 Pontiac Tempest SW. 326 V8 and 20 mpg on the hyway.)

For my money one of the greatest cars of all time is the Curved Dash Olds
(1901-1906). This cute little runabout sat in a 9x4.5 ft box, clears a 18" obstacle,
got 20-30 mpg on 50 octane-anything, did 25-30 mph on 5 hp (2-speed planetary trans
w/cone clutch) and, at 750 lbs, it could carry it's own weight in cargo/people. It
was the 2nd car ever to cross the US (starting in Los Angeles and ending in Maine,
4000+ total miles. See "Sea to Sea in 1903 in a Curved Dash Olds", great book
w/excellent pics). An update of this vehicle SHOULD be the car the Greenlanders
really drive. I'm not that big an enviro but I want one, esp after seeing one in a
museum. Modern tech would give the old runabout concept real value. If it hits 45
mph, it'd be a good commuter for my area.

I'm a syth-oil fan from the 70's and really enjoyed the oil test. I've used Mobil
One and AmsOil in the past and am a Slick 50 advocate. My current econobox, 1988
LeMans (poor dull car...), change intervals are 20k miles and filters every 5k. It
has 170k now and uses a quart every 2-3k miles. I get 30-32 mpg with a 3-speed auto.
Not too bad, eh?
Okay, I was going to prepare a rational rebuttal right up until I read that you're tooling around in a 35-year-old smog factory. A Hummer puts out less pollutants than that old rig. Not that it isn't a cool car, my friend, but watch where you're throwing those stones. You seem like a decent feller though, and I like your idea of having the greenies drive a modernized Curved Dash Olds. But even getting them to switch to motorcycles would be a huge victory for the environment. Funny how greenies' idealism stops when it becomes an inconvenience, eh?

From Mark Norstad on 5 August 2003:

I'm sure this will start a storm of E mail among concerned cyclists.

Personally, I have never been struck by lightening or won a lottery, nor 
do I know anyone who has.  However, I have fallen of my bike without a 
helmet, landed on my head and suuffered brain damage.  I also know of 
two guys locally that are permanently whacked from head injuries 
suffered while riding without a helmet.

About a month ago, I fell off my bike doing 30+ mph on dirt, did a 
superman over the bars, and got up unhurt.  It wasn't until I took a 
shower that evening and had rocks coming out of my ear that I realized I 
had landed primarily on my head.  After looking at the gouges in my 
helmet, I think I would have ended up in the hospital if I hadn't been 
wearing a helmet.

Statisticly, it's guys like me that allow others to get away with riding 
without a helmet.

Of course, all the numbers in the world don't make up for common sense 
personal regard for one's own safety.

Ride safely
Now see, this is EXACTLY what I'm talking about in my Bicycle Safety article. The individual needs to evaluate his own exposure to risk and consider how that compares to the average cited in the statistics. Anyone pushing 30 mph in dirt is exposed to a far higher level of risk than Joe Weekend toodling on down the paved rail trail at 12 mph. It's all a question of what level of risk you are comfortable riding in.

From Victor Voss on 29 July 2003:

I enjoyed the pictures of your 2 wonderful Scotties.  My sympathies on the loss of
Heather in February.  I too lost my beloved Maggie of 8 years on January 8, 2003
from a tick born disease called Erlichia.  I know how devastating it is.  But this
breed of dog is the best in the world.  I'm getting another one soon and will always
own a Scottie.  Of course there is no other breed of dog is there?
 
thanks again for the pictures, they were great.
Once a Scottie owner, it's hard to settle for anything else!

From Mary Great Mary on 2 July 2003:

Dude, don't know what you've been smoking while watching those "X-Files" 
reruns and reading "Paranoia" magazine, but I think you've already gotten a bit 
too "fuzzy." Maybe you should do like the ol' Buckster, have a nice salmon milk 
shake and retire for a nap in your closet with Smacky and a lucky red sock.
Um, yeah. The Get Fuzzy item? That's a humor piece. As in, not serious. Seriously.

From David Darvishian on 21 June 2003:

Loved  your site, where do you guys live? We have a fifteen year old scottie dog who
looks alot like Taz. I bred her  mother in North Carolina in 1988  to a Ch. Amstamm 
black. Anyway, just curious. I agree with you about scotties being the best!  
thanks  Lynne and Dave
Aww thanks. It's good to hear you enjoyed the pictures of our Scotties. We're all located in Morgantown, West Virginia, though we (the hoomans and the pupsters) all hail from all over the place!

From Christine Gossner on 16 June 2003:

Just an FYI, Devon Nissan does still exist, most of it's employees moved
with the company when it moved to Exton and became Exton Nissan. Sloane
Nissan of Devon kept a handful of service techs, and 1 sales person, and the
rest went bye-bye with Exton Nissan.
Just thought you'd like to know.
Duly noted, and thanks for the update. The wankers live!

From Kay Nisley on 10 June 2003:

Multiple thieves from OfficeMax

These were all submitted for February Rebates:
 
Verbatim CD-RW
Fellowes 32-CD Wallet
Fellowes Canned Duster
I/O Magic CDs
RCA Video tape
Labtec Mouse with light
Belkin Surge Protector
 
And now the follow-up phone number is disconnected.
Haha! That's great, they disconnected the phone! Since I've been tracking, so far Belkin and Office Max have proven the most unreliable about actually honoring rebates. Maybe they just hope we'll forget about them?

From G. Fisher on 30 May 2003:

Do you make copies of all of your submissions?  Even the company will make good when
the rebate processing companies don't get it right.  Many times there is a phone
number to call and explain to them that you have your proof.  They can be a pain but
worth it when it makes lacking school supplies go farther.  

The companies probably are hoping that most people don't actually fill out and mail
in the paper work but it sure helps in my school to take advantage of the free
goods.
Yeah well their attitude will get them spanked on my Rebate Thieves page. I'm tired of chasing them down for money THEY promised I could have. It was THEIR idea! So they can make good or they can be publicly heckled. It's their call.

From M.I. on 28 May 2003:

I got one for ya.....for those honda lovers....
 
"I've got a V-Tech engine"
Translated: My engine was manufactured by Honda, or looks very similar to a Honda engine, and who can tell the difference anyway, right?

From Bruce Shaw on 23 May 2003:

I read you Bike based opinion and found it somewhat amusing and unfortunate
even though I'm a bike rider! From a Historical or Statistical POV, your
opinion makes a strong statement against wearing helmets on a mandatory
basis. However, from a personal anecdotal POV, I'm glad to say that wearing
a helmet (even a cheapie Bell job) when I was hit by a car saved me from
being a neurological surgery patient to merely a concussed lucky biker . The
driver appeared to me looking right at me at a 4 way stop where I had halted
as well and was looking directly at him. When I started up again, it still
appeared to me that he was looking directly at me so I had proceeded across
the crosswalk zone.
Out of the corner of my eye, I realized that he had started to move when I
was directly in front of him; I did manage to speed up enough to clear my
body but he hit my rear wheel at the last instant, throwing me into the air.
When I landed (on my butt fortunately), I still had enough energy in my body
to force me over and slam my head onto the concrete gutter. I blacked out
momentarily and came to fast enough to see him pull his car over. From that
point on, the concussive effects started; initially, I felt like I was
floating on air, about 4-5 hours later, the major headache came on and
lasted through the evening. I'm sure if someone had looked at my pupils they
would've seen dissimilar lenses. In any event, I came through ok, although I
feel to some extent that the concussion did have some effect on my memory.
I now realize that the driver was talking and playing with his dog in the
back seat and was not paying much attention to much. If I were a car I
might've fit into his visual parameters for attention but as a biker (much
less a pedestrian!) I might as well as have been invisible. Ironically, when
the motorcycle cop took the accident report, he gave me a hard time saying
that I had to make sure that visual contact  was made with the opposing
driver etc. etc. The whole time he had a full-on negative vibe going which I
consider ironic as he was barely larger than me with the typical nondescript
black and white motorcycle.
As a ex-SCCA racer and Cuda owner, I like speed as much as any one with a
big motor and lots of RPM and I have quite a few friends who are into 2
wheel rice rockets or Ducatis. We always marvel at people who try to excuse
the right to not wear helmets as we've had too many friends who've suffered
accidents and gotten head injuries. From an anecdotal POV, we've found that
the problem with accident statistics is that they're simply too basic and
don't really have a pain quotient included. It's always injuries and
fatalities and sometimes head injuries. The problem with that kind of
analysis is there is no pain factor included.
For instance, if I'm on a motorbike and fall and break a leg that's an
injury. If I'm in a 1960's era ponycar and put it in sideways into a
telephone pole and break a leg, that's an injury too. BUT, for sure the
motorbike biff will also involve some roadrash and if I'm reasonable unlucky
maybe a cracked wrist or fingers. Those kinds of injuries are really rough
to come back from and take a long time to heal.  For worse a head or
internal injury could occur.
This is really an eternal debate, of couse. But whenever I see or hear
people saying they don't want to wear a helmet for xyz reasons, I think it's
hilarious. Most of these people wouldn't think much of dropping a K or 2K on
new heads or the latest header set or electronic fuel setup or bigger carb
for their wheels to go faster. But come to their own health, screw it for
$50 bucks because the brain bucket looks funny, gives 'em helmet head or is
too hot blah blah blah. My accident cost me about $125 for the EMT fees. I
didn't go to the emergency room but did go the HMO doc which still cost me
about another $75 for back X-rays. So I'm out a couple of hundred bucks and
can call myself real lucky; the ugly $45 helmet saved me from a real major
emergency room trip (at the very least). I think it's really hilarious
nowadays too because in California now that we have a mandatory kid bike
helmet law.
So I get some really great laughs when the dopey parents put the helmets on
the kids because they want to avoid the $125 fine (when do the cops ever get
the time to bust the parents anyways?) but never put on the helmets on
themselves. I figure that the parents must really be ready to risk have some
other people raise their kids up if they get hurt somehow. As a
mountainbiker, I've found that most people don't really keep up the bike
skills much and it doesn't take a hit from a car to necessarily give
yourself a lot of pain and suffering. I guess the economics don't seem to
have much impact on the decision-making process. Even if you do keep up
skills, accidents happen, why bother saving $50 for aesthetics sake or
because it's an "inherently safe" thing? The $50 is worth it JUST TO SAVE
YOURSELF THE PAIN. I GUARANTEE IT!
But the lobbyists on both sides trot out the statistics instead. And you
know how that old "saw" about statistics goes: there's lies, damn lies, and
statistics!
Dunno if you'll post this response as it's definitely too long but what the
heck, it's just my opinion (and no stats either ;>))
I'm glad your helmet saved your melon, because it would have been disappointing to miss out on this well-reasoned rebuttal of yours. You can be sure I will post it next time I update the Cave Drawings, and hopefully it will encourage some thoughtful dialogue.

I would like to say, however, that I think you may have read too much into my essay. You seem to believe I take the stand that "helmets are always stupid". In fact, the point of the essay is largely to observe that the helmet lobby's numbers are deeply flawed and it is up to each rider to determine whether his riding situation is more or less risky than the very-low-risk average across the population.

For myself, I skip the helmet when I'm riding a bicycle on a rail trail or in a park or residential neighborhood. The risk is just so impossibly low that I feel flat paranoid wearing a helmet in those situations. However, when I ride in town on the streets (we don't have bicycle lanes here), I always wear my helmet because the risk level playing in traffic is quite high.

I also wear a full face helmet on my motorcycle (as well as body armor), and back when I did grassroots motorsports I wore a motorsports-grade helmet for that as well. So I actually have a tidy collection of helmets for various uses which I wear regularly when appropriate.

There are definitely times and places for helmets, even bicycle helmets. I just grow weary of the helmet lobby's constant bleating that bicycling is so dangerous that you need a helmet ALL the time, when the evidence plainly shows that for MOST people MOST of the time a bicycle ride is no more dangerous than a walk. It's up to the individual to determine when his risk level exceeds normal.

From Sam Burns on 19 May 2003:

Hi, I saw your website when I was searching for e3works own website to
get an update on my rebate.  Have you tried the website
http://www.rebateservicecenter.com
where you can put in your name and zipcode to track your rebate status?
I bought the same $17 rebate CD spindle, and got an email in mid-April
saying the rebate was coming soon.
Hi Sam, I haven't bothered trying to track any rebate status. I take them on faith that they are going to follow through with their promises -- I'm too busy to keep track of everything myself -- and use my Rebate Thieves page as my sole recourse until I get paid.

From Steel Adler on 23 April 2003:

I discovered your scottish terrier web page several months ago and check it
every so often to see if there are any new photos. My partner and I have two
scottish terriers that are both a little over two years. Grizzle the first born
we bought from a breeder and Effie, the baby we got from a scottish terrier
rescue group.  I can't imagine having anything but a scottie now. All the books
we read about scotties said that if you want a lap dog don't get a scottie...
well nothing could be further from the truth.

Anyway, when I checked  your page tonight I was so sorry to read about the
passing of Heather. She was such a pretty baby. When our girls are five we plan
on getting a third which will be a wheaten. Anyway, glad that Taz now has a new
playmate and hope that all is well in your world.
Thank you for your kind note. Heather will never be forgotten and we still miss our imperious little Scottie. Thankfully, Taz and Ellie are getting along great, so it looks like she's a keeper.

From Michelle Drez on 18 April 2003:

I feel the same way you do about these company's -pathetic!!!

 I couldn't even find a manufacturer rebate form for the Khypermedia 50 
pack Spindle CDs $7.00 rebate, but I did find the $5 Officemax one.  Do 
you have the address for the Khypermedia one?
Glad you enjoyed the Rebate Thieves article. Unfortunately I don't have any specific contact info for any specific company.

From Steve Powell on 17 April 2003:

To whom it may concern:

Recently WVU decided to eliminate the Rifle Team from the athletic 
program.  As a former team member and two time NCAA All-Ameerican the 
very idea that the sweat and tears I poured into the team and university 
would be lost is heart wrenching.  This team has accumulated 13 NCAA 
National Championships over the past 17 years and carries with it more 
NCAA All-Americans and US Olympic Team members than all other sports in 
the school combined.  The Rifle Team has been a sport at WVU since 1952 
and brings significant national recognition to both WVU and the state of 
West Virginia.  These factors add up to a legacy which cannot be easily 
replaced, and should not be discarded lightly.

I feel that the students of WVU should be made aware that by eliminating 
this team we are cutting the one athetic team at the university that 
carries winning records paramount to the second most winning record in 
NCAA history for any sport.
I feel your pain. WVU's cost-cutting measures suck. Although all five teams that were cut deserve to be reinstated, cutting the Rifle Team seemed particularly stupid in light of its enormous success. Unfortunately I do not have an inside track to Hardesty and his lackeys.

The Ancient Archives

We've been collecting Cave Drawings since 1998, which is about one year after we originally established Neptune. As you can imagine, we have an extensive archive of old questions and feedback. We've attempted to sort this rubbish by subject.

A Certain Orange Charger
You wouldn't think a few offhand remarks about a car in a TV show that was cancelled 15 years ago would bring on bags full of hate mail, but you'd be surprised how seriously some people take their TV.
Jimi Loved Feedback
Sometimes we get correspondence so odd that even we are not sure what to do with it. This is the circular file for all of our oddballs.
Knucklebangers
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Link Searchers
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The O Pine Forum
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Spin-Cycle Nigerians
There's a pit in hell waiting for all the people who perpetuate the infamous Nigeria scam. But until they get there, we've got a pit for them right here in Cave Drawings.
Thumper's Thoughts
We established this archive for the expected volumes of e-mail about Paradise Garage's long-term test car. So far, the archive is in no danger of being overwhelmed.