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© 2003 Brian F. Schreurs
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Erl! Oool! Oool! Erl! Erl!
The synthetic oil life study has been generating a fair bit of feedback, and instead of burying it in with the rest of the knucklebangers, we figured it'd be helpful to compile an archive of oil-related commentary. Of course, the latest comments are in the main Cave Drawings page, but ultimately they'll all end up here.

If you'd like to make a Cave Drawing of your own, please report to the Main Cave.

From Jon Luskin on 28 October 2003:

Hey you should include gas mileage (MPG) and horsepower/torque figures with each
measurement interval.
I probably should do fuel economy, but I'm a lazy bugger. Dyno testing the car every three to four weeks -- aside from being rather expensive -- would probably throw the numbers a bit.

From Skip Aldrich on 25 October 2003:

Your page describing syn oil testing is probably one
of the most objective I have seen. The one area
you may want to consider is the quality and 
capacity of the oil filter you are using. This relates
to the solids that can accumulate in the oil and how
many miles before the filter should be changed. 
There is a huge difference between filters both in 
capacity and the size of particle reduction. 
A reasonable spin on filter should remove particles 
down to 15 microns and have the capacity of 
12,000 miles with normal driving. 

Another important specification is viscosity index
in multi weight oils and should be part of the oil
analyzing. The first thing to go in cheap oils
is the ability to retain the stated viscosity range
at various temperatures.

I invite you to check out the following link for a
tough test. This rig costs a lot more that $5000.

Regarding whether an engine will ever use all the
benefits of synthetic oil can be answered by thinking
of it as insurance. If you ever have a coolant hose
blow and over heat the engine, you will have a 
much better chance of no damage with synthetic
oil as a good oil will protect up to 450+ degrees.
If you live in a cold climate, the low flow temperature
of synthetic will always provide faster starting and
quicker full oil pressure through out the engine.

I'll keep watching for your Amsoil tests. I am
biased having used Amsoil since 1973  in
personal cars boats motor cycles lawn mowers
as well as Satellite trucks news cruisers and
building uses such as motors & satellite dish gear
boxes and more.

I will also try to find filter test results and forward
to you.
Hi Skip, thanks for the feedback. I can't get a test done that isn't offered, so there won't be any VI testing unless Blackstone expands their test suite. As for the filter, I'm not worried; the NAPA Gold that I use is made by Wix, and consistently ranks as one of the best out there, while also readily available.

From Todd Capiola on 23 October 2003:

2000 LS1
37,500 miles
2500 on the oil
Castrol GTX 5-30W Dino

Copper Level - 25

I bought this car used with 34K and by it's condition at purchase it had it rough.  
At 42,000 when GM replaced the #2 piston rings and oil rings, I was burning almost 1
quart every 1,000 miles.  So in retrospect, this car had been abused hard yet the
copper levels where considerably lower than your 2002.

I am down to 1/2 quart oil burn every 2500 miles after Mr. Goodwrench did his
magic...(WoW, they actually did something right this time).

If you have any questions, feel free to reply
Thanks for the data point. I finally got confirmation from GM that the high copper in the LS1 is due to cam bearing break-in.

From Clark Robbins on 23 October 2003:

Great Job so far on the Oil Analysis project. A lot of us have wondered about this.
Also good choice with Blackstone Labs, they are very nice and knowledgeable people
and went to extra lengths to help me resolve whether I had an engine problem
Hey thanks for the kind words. Amsoil's next!

From Jon Harborne on 14 October 2003:

What a fantastic article on synthetic oil life!

Have you ever considered doing a similar test on regular oil?

I for one would sponsor you for one of your oil analysis tests.
Thanks Jon. I may do a test on Castrol GTX if I can still stand it after doing the synthetics for so long.

From Derek Rehm on 2 October 2003:

Hello, I am an independent Amsoil dealer from Wi.
I have read your tests so far, and I appreciate your
determination and attention to detail.
I would like to offer a suggestion.
From what I can decipher, you used 5w-30 Mobil 1, and
plan to use Amsoil 5w-30.
Is this correct?
I strongly urge you to use Amsoil 0w-30, Amsoil's best
and longest lasting oil.
Amsoil 5w-30 is rated for 25,000 miles or one year, and
the 0w-30 is rated for 35,000 miles or one year, with a
filter change at 12 and 24,000 miles.
Using Mobil's best oil,  against Amsoil's second best
oil would give the test unfavorable scrutiny, among us
in the Amsoil business.
I will volunteer to ship you eighteen quarts of oil,
and three Amsoil oil filters if you use 0-30.
One more thing that can be tested, with the miles you
drive, is fuel mileage, even though Amsoil will be used
in the winter where poorer mpg is usually realized.
I am also wondering how you plan to calculate in the
idle factor: letting the car warm up in the winter
relies on excessive idling, and more contaminants in
the oil.
Are using a valve on the oil pan, or are you taking the
drain plug out for each sample?
If you aren't using a valve, they are available at your
local parts store, and make sampling much more
efficient and cleaner.
Thanks very much for the feedback, and the very generous offer to provide 18 quarts of Amsoil. I've already purchased the 5W30 so I'll be using that. I'm using 5W30 because I wish to use the recommended grade, to avoid claims of bias. I can't control Amsoil's product mix; I can only take what is available to me. Regarding fuel economy, the Mobil 1 made it through all four seasons and I expect to see similar results from Amsoil. There will be no warm-up factor as I allow oil pressure to reach normal and then drive. I do not care for washing my cylinders in unburned gasoline during a warm-up period; better to just drive. Even though it seems like I'm coming down pretty hard here, I do appreciate you giving me a chance to consider these issues.

From Mike Cebula on 1 October 2003:

Just some additional reading in case you weren't aware of  the bypass 
filter controversies going on at present. Most of it centers around 
diesel engines and extending the oil changes simply because of the large 
amount of oil replaced and the down time for the oil service. It can be 
significant $ to trucking fleets from both aspects along with a lot of 
waste oil to be recycled. I started looking into this as a possible 
addition to the Cummins diesel in my motorhome. I decided to try it for 
the simple reason that it almost sounds like running with the closest 
thing to fresh oil without actually changing it for very long intervals, 
just replenishment as filters are replaced.

I chose the Gulf Coast Filters O-1 to try and currently have it mounted, 
but not yet connected. Waiting for my local Cummins dealer to finish the 
connections for me.

The web site at http://www.gulfcoastfilters.com/ describes their 
particular versions but there are other manufacturers too, this is just 
the one I chose.

It is interesting that major filter manufacturers such as Fleetguard are 
now incorporating bypass filtration paths within their newer model 
filters that do additional filtering down near the 5 micron range. (This 
is NOT the same bypass path that allows flow when the pressure is 
extremely high or the filter is almost "blocked".) My 1995 diesel had a 
change interval of 6000 miles. Current engine models are above 25K 
intervals and even higher. What's more, these are diesel engine 
manufacturer recommendations but are also tied in with on-board 
monitoring devices and an ability to inject some of the old oil directly 
from the oil circulation system into the burning process to get rid of 
it while replenishing the oil from an on-board reserve tank - slick way 
to replenish the additives in the process. This can be a complex subject 
and simply requires a great deal of research, but there is much 
interesting info to read on the net.

I got tied into this bypass concept when I came across a series of 
articles by a guy (Captain Wil) that owned a trawler with diesels on it 
and his attempt to do something very similar to your oil project. 
http://www.trawlerworld.com/qu_2000_12_4.htm is the site for one of his 
latest writeups. The site at http://www.fuelpolishing.com/ is another 
interesting site and contains a PDF document that is a chronicle of ALL 
of Captain Wil's oil analysis articles - 
http://www.fuelpolishing.com/library/cptwil.pdf - watch out, it is 872K 
in size.

Naturally, I have no personal results yet, but have decided to try it 
anyway since my oil changes at 6K miles involve nearly 30 quarts of oil 
and, using a synthetic, that can add up quickly. The oil analysis 
program will be a part of what I intend to do, but I am also very 
interested in the Portable Oil Analyzer equipment that can be used more 
frequently. These POA devices are expensive at the moment (over $1K) and 
are meant for fleet use, but I would expect some competition to develop 
and the price to come down to where us mere mortals can use them to 
monitor more frequently than the analysis costs allow.  It can be a 
little late when a lab analysis says half your oil sample is water. Of 
course, you probably already knew that.
Bypass filtration is an intriguing concept, because with synthetic oil the longevity is determined by contaminants more than anything. Improved filtration could substantially increase the life of the oil. It's something I hope to investigate in more detail someday, but for now I think it's a neat idea without having tested it myself.

From Ed Snow on 24 September 2003:

I like very much your ongoing research on the Mobil 1 equipt Camaro.  

I want to make a couple of comments on that subject, but before I do, I also wanted 
to point out that  http://www.babymall.com.au/tefba/  has a strikingly similar
article on the Tefba filter as yours.  Photos etc...

Looks like someone flattered someone.

On to Mobil 1 - I never get into the oil wars, I belong to a couple of car groups on 
Yahoo and a few motorcycle groups also.  Oil wars are the pits, everyone is an 
expert.  I just wanted to thank you for your study, it is refreshing to see someone 
actually test and show results instead of "It's running much better, now that I have 
switched to Brand-X"


Back on Mobil 1 - In 1978 I worked in a Mobil Service station, you remember those 
right? full service AND self service, oil changes, tire repairs, etc...  Anyway, we
had a brochure from Mobil touting the benefits of the "new" synthetic oil.  They
claimed that you only needed to change the oil every 15,000 miles but you should
change the filter at 5,000. That was 24 years ago.

Funny that your tests are showing that ,so far, to be nearly true. I will admit that
I always wondered if they were blowing smoke.

Thanks again for your website
Hi Ed, thanks for the heads-up on my big fan in Oz. I spoke with him and he took measures to correct the situation. Seems like a good guy overall. I think definitely with a new quality oil filter every 5,000 miles you could go a very long time on synthetic oil (remember, I didn't do my first filter change until 12,000 miles!).

From Rick Murray on 18 September 2003:

I've been following oil claims and results since the '60s and tend 
to believe that in real world engines, all the major brands which 
are API rated are pretty equally up to the job.

I have reason to believe that synthetics are able to support very 
much extended drain intervals, and here is my experience.

One of my vehicles is a '90 Nissan Sentra which now has over 
265,000 miles on it, never having had the head off.  Still runs 
fine.  I got it with 15,000 miles on it in '92.

Since it had 45,000 miles on it, I have used Castrol synthetic in 
it and changed it about once a year.  Filters were changed 2 or 3 
times a year at first and more recently, only with the oil change.

Each filter is opened up and inspected for sludge and particles - 
no chemical analysis.  Never have I found anything to be concerned 
about.  Maybe twice I have pulled off the cam cover and inspected 
for wear on the cam lobes and followers.  None detected so far.

I know I am pushing the chemical life of the oil beyond a 
reasonable limit, but the engine doesn't seem to be suffering from 
it.  Inside the cam cover is getting a bit coked up, but the 
moving parts are doing fine.  Oil consumption is very moderate.  I 
add a half quart about 3 times a year.  So the rings don't seem to 
be sticking.

When I lived in southern Ca. I commuted 45 miles each way.  The 
miles added up pretty fast.  Here in central Ore. I drive it about 
12,000 miles a year.

I'm currently running Mobil 1 in our Suburban and will probably 
change it twice a year, but no more often.

I remember reading about Amzoil (with a "z" back then) in Popular 
Science or a similar magazine in the mid '70s and how it would 
probably last indefinitely if a deep media bypass filter (toilet 
paper) were used also to keep the particulates to a bare minimum.

I'm not surprised at all by the results you are getting from your 
test on the Camaro.

I'll keep watching your test.
Hey, thanks for the interesting feedback and the kind words.

From Bifby Ferguson on 13 September 2003:

Dear Sir,

I have a question regarding oil change intervals on cars that do not get driven.  My
uncle has a 85 Corvette, 92 Trans Am, and a 2000 Corvette that are only driven about
500 to a 1000 miles a year.  At this time he is using 10w30 oil and changing the oil
once a year. If he were to start using Mobil 1 or some type of synetic oil, should he
still change the oil once a year ?
He does start the cars on  a regular basis.  The other question being is it ok to
change the older cars over at this time to synthetic oil ?  The 85 Corvette has less
than 5000 miles on it and the 92 Trans Am has about 12,000 miles on it.  Of course if
it were me, I would be driving the cars more!!!   
The wisdom from the oil manufacturers is to change it annually regardless of miles. I've never had any trouble switching older cars to synthetic, and that includes a 1985 Jaguar and a 1984 Porsche.

From Jeff Adams on 8 September 2003:

I was searching for info about the EN-Valve and
discovered your response to Richard Fewkes on 27
February 2003.

Let me start off by saying I am in no way trying to
defend the EN-Valve as I have never tried it and in
fact am somewhat skeptical as well due to some of the
same things you mentioned (no pictures, no tests
against new standard PCV valve, etc).  However there
were some things you said that are not entirely
accurate.  Your comments in quotes:

"the theory is somewhat flawed. An engine already has
a slight vacuum in its crankcase from the PCV system.
They propose to add a vacuum to a system that already
has one; the best they can realistically achieve is to
add to that vacuum."

In fact, the crankcase normally does not have vacuum,
or at least not a significant amount.  The PCV system
sucks on it, but there is a fresh air inlet.  The PCV
pulls fresh air through the crankcase, and eliminates
any crankcase PRESSURE.  But it doesn't really build
much vacuum.

"the fundamental claim is inaccurate. They do not
propose to eliminate blow-by, but merely to suck out
the gases after blow-by has already occurred. They
should understand the difference if their product
works as well as they say."

Well, yes and no.  Actually, some guys run vacuum
PUMPS on the crankcase (mechanical, electrical, some
guys take the smog pump and use it), because rings are
actually sealed by the pressure differential between
the contents of the cylinder (very high pressure,
especially during combustion) and the crankcase
(normally about atmospheric pressure).  Pulling a
vacuum on the crankcase helps the rings seal better...
meaning less blowby and oil burning, etc (and "more
horsepower" although I would want to see dyno slips
before I'd believe any number).  A friend of mine
commented that many of the claims on the EN-Valve web
site (less blowby, less oil contamination, longer
engine life, more HP) are the same as those he's heard
from people running vacuum pumps on the crankcase. 
This also answers your question "... then how do
emissions improve?"  However, the site also talks
about it leaning out the mixture which does not
entirely make sense to me...  I could probably come up
with a plausible explaination for it, but it doesn't
immediately jump out at me.  I also question whether
the engine could pull ENOUGH vacuum on the crankcase
to matter, particularly at WOT.  On the other hand,
many factory emissions systems do not function at WOT
for the plain and simple fact that 99.999% of your
driving is NOT at full throttle.

However, the site does not TALK about the details
here.  It makes me wonder if the guy actually knows
what is going on.  It almost seems like maybe he built
a product that works (well, IF it works), without
understanding WHY it works.

"the statistics are of questionable worth. There are
no reference links to primary sources, no scans of
emissions reports, no copies of government studies. If
all of this information will support the product, then
why is it not readily available? Also, many of the
statistsics and test results on the website are
irrelevant to the question of emissions testing."

There are now (although they may have been added since
you looked at the site) emissions test reports.  On
the "Independent tests" page.  However all the
information is self-contained on the site, not links
to third party sites.  So it is still questionable.

I guess I will continue my search for information.  I
did find one other site where the guy claimed to have
had good luck with a EN-Valve, but he also now resells
them... so his testimony is somewhat suspect.  I may
go ahead and gamble my $45 and order one.  The site
claims you can get a full refund for any reason, so
what the heck...

My truck would be a real test for it :-).  With a
FUNCTIONING factory PCV valve, I get blowby coming out
the breather (yeah, the rings are slightly shot).  So
this thing would have to work significantly better
than factory in order to eliminate blowby on this engine.
Okay. I accept your technical clarifications, as I write these responses quickly and do not delve into great detail. You keep looking for something to prove the worth of the EN-Valve, and I'll keep looking for leprechauns. If you find anything, please let me know, and if I catch one of the buggers I'll give you a hand.

From Aaron Drabbit on 31 August 2003:


Great synthetic oil life study! However, there may be some criticism of the
fact that the car will be older etc. when you do the next brand and the
next. I suppose for a true scientific study there would have to be a
"control" as well. But as a "real-life" extended drain study, I think it
still has some merit.

Also, the air filter type and changes should be documented as part of the
study. Alot of the crud that ends up in the oil actually gets in through the
air filter, or is a by product of what came in with the air!

I'm curious if you're going to continue with the same oil filters, or if you
are going to use the Amsoil SDF filters in the Amsoil test?
Yeah, no matter what kind of study you have, there will always be some sort of fault with it. The goal is to identify those faults and minimize the effect they have on the results. Realistically I can't provide a fleet of cars, and I doubt any independent tester could. But, realizing that this is a single data point should only encourage owners to get their own oil analyzed to see how their car's oil compares to mine. This comparison should provide the owner with meaningful insight into the longevity of his oil for his application. In this study, I'll change the air filter at the same time as the oil. They'll be NAPA Gold filters. The oil filters will continue to be NAPA Gold filters, regardless of the brand of oil.

From Thomas Peck on 25 August 2003:

Dear sir,
              I have been looking for an Independent oil study on the web for a few
years now.  I am glad to see you guys do this i really appreciate it. 
I am Interested in the royal purple part of the study.  I have a 1995
Camaro z28 I purchased in 1997 after I got out of the army and have
used royal purple since then.  I had purchased the vehicle with 20,000
Miles on it and I have changed the oil 2 times a year and changed the
filter approximately 4 times a year using ac delco filters.  I also
use the royal purple transmission fluid which i change once a year as
well as the royal purple gear oil once a year.  I even changed the
power steering fluid with royal purple power steering fluid.  I would
like to help out in anyway I can if need be.  Needless to say I am a
royal purple fanatic.  The reason I am is because my best friend who
is (married) poor sucker has a 1992 Chevy Astro van ext with a 4.3
liter v-6. His vehicle has undergone the same service as my camaro
only his van has
 250,000 miles on it. I do not know if you all are familiar with the 4.3 but at
approximately 50,000 the valve guide seals go bad causing a puff of blue smoke at
startup.  I would like to inform you that his has just started to do that at
245,000 miles.  I am going to send a sample of my oil of royal purple to Blackstone
laboratories to see what they say. I currently have 10,000 miles on my oil at this
point.  If you would like to see what the results are let me know.  Again i really
appreciate what you guys are doing and will help if needed.  
Hi Tom! I'd definitely like to see the results of the Royal Purple analysis. Some I've seen come back not as good as you'd expect. But still, 245,000 miles is nothing to sneeze at. I'm looking forward to putting RP through the paces in my test car, but that won't be for a while yet. Amsoil is up next.

From Neil Lipson on 22 August 2003:

I can't seem to find the conclusion on which oil is best.  Am I missing 
The synthetic oil life study isn't over yet. In fact, as of this writing, Mobil 1 is still chugging along with 16,000 miles on it. I haven't even BEGUN testing the competition!

From Dano Saturn on 15 August 2003:

great site .....I  have been on the same oil with one quart added monthly for 
6 years the old dodge cadilac still runs as weak as ever and doesnt seem to 
be getting better after 177.475 .000 miles what should i do .........great 
reading on your site ......Dano
Your message is a little cryptic to me ("dodge cadilac"? 177 million miles?) but what I'm getting from this is that you've added a quart of top-up oil every month for the last six years in some car or other. Well, I doubt it's going to get any better, but as long as it doesn't get any worse, then you're refreshing that oil pretty fast. Just change the filter once in a while and carry on I suppose.

From Eric Poe on 12 August 2003:

On the FAQ page, someone pointed out that you are using NAPA Gold filters 
instead of Wix.  Wix filters makes the NAPA Gold filter, so there is truth 
to the statement that you are using Wix filters.  Same filter different 
name.  The article on oil life is very good, and I look forward to the rest 
of your study.
True enough, Eric, but the oil study didn't seem like the proper forum to explain the intricacies of the aftermarket auto parts industry. So I just issued a mea culpa for not getting it right the first time. Easier that way.

From Eric Zanette on 8 August 2003:

This is a very interesting study, and I was wondering if it would also be
interesting to also compare these results to a conventional but non-standard oil. I
have used 15w-40 (transport truck) oil in cars for years and never come close to
wearing out any engine, even after 300,000 miles. Although this oil doesn't have the
long life of synthetics, it is designed to resist high loading and it would
certainly outperform a 5w-30 in this regard. Owners of high performance cars can
push their engines harder without wear. It would be interesting to compare this oil
to the synthetic in this regard. Also I noticed that there was no carbon loading
reading in your oil analysis. Would this not also be an important factor?
Regarding the thicker oil, it's been pretty well established that running an oil substantially thicker than the engine was designed for will offer little in extra protection while taking chances with oil starvation and localized hot spots, especially in the bearing areas. This is the same reason I've balked at running SynLube (5W50) in our engine. I am, however, seriously considering running some Castrol GTX conventional oil at a later date, just to see "how much" better the synthetics really are. Carbon loading isn't available in the test kits I'm using, so I can't collect that information.

From William Blair on 22 July 2003:


  I have been following your study of the Mobil 1 in the Camaro with a great
deal of interest. In fact, I decided to have the oil in my own car analyzed
since I've been using Mobil 1 10W30 for the past 6 years.

  I am enclosing the report from AGAT Labratories in a separate e mail for
your information. The automobile concerned is a 1989 Chev Corsica  automatic
with a 2.8 V6. The car is driven daily on mostly on a highway commute of
about 25 miles each way. We live in Toronto, Ontario where temperatures have
ranged from about -5 deg. F to 85 deg. over the life of the oil. The oil is
Mobil 1 10W30 with 8100 km. or 5030 miles since it was changed about 6
months ago. I added about .5 litres at 3000 miles.

  You will see that the baseline specifications for this oil vary in some
cases considerably from your oil and so a direct comparison is not possible.
However, it does appear that the oil is holding up and I am not in a hurry
to change it. I hope you find this useful.


William Blair
Thanks for the feedback! The baseline they provide is hard to figure: there's no indication of how long ago they took it, so who's to say whether they've used the most current formulation? They tweak the formula as they go, so just because both bottles say SuperSyn on them doesn't mean they're identical. Another variable is that you're using 10W30 and I'm using 5W30, and there are more differences between blends than one might think. With all this said, though, it's good to see other cars with successful extended drains on Mobil 1. This stuff has really proven to be a surprisingly good performer.

From Brett Schulte on 11 July 2003:

Bry - the study seems to be giving more questions than answers as it
progresses... what have we learned so far?
We've learned that Mobil 1 lasts a really long time. That 3,000-mile oil change intervals is a ridiculous waste of resources. That changing the filter substantially revitalizes the oil. That TBN acts in mysterious ways and cannot be accurately predicted with a single oil analysis. That's just a few points off the top of my head. Thing will get really interesting when we start the Amsoil test!

From Tony Cimorelli on 4 July 2003:

We just sold our Plymouth Voyager that had 182,000 miles on it and the
engine was still going strong.  Unfortunately, the transmission control
module gave out.  We used Mobil 1 5w-30 and 10w-30 over the 7 years we had
the van and had Jiffy Lube change it every 3,000 miles religiously.
No motor problems.
Truck has 106,000 and uses same oil.
No smoke on either and very little oil usage.
Our new Jeep 2004 Cherokee now has Mobil 1 in it.
Maybe I'll put it in my Model T Ford - we'll see.
I'm sold.
Well, I don't know about Jiffy Lube, but the rest of it sounds pretty good! Do you take your Model T to Jiffy Lube? I'd love to see that!

From Dan Myers on 26 June 2003:

I was reading your oil study and happened to pop over
to your FAQ.  I noticed you said you where using a
Napa gold instead of a wix filter?

You will probably enjoy this page:

One thing he notes on the overview:

is that both Napa Gold and Silver are identical to
each other, and to Wix filters.  His conclusion is
they are the manufactured by wix, so you sort of ended
up having a wix filter after all.

Hi Dan! You're right, of course. It's just easier to admit that we had a different filter in there than it is to explain why it looks like a different filter but isn't really.

From Wayne Pandorf on 16 June 2003:

while this study is interesting and you are the only guys around who
have attempted something like this, it seems that at the average rate
that you are adding new oil (about 1 quart per 2,400 miles) you may
never need to change the oil out. Essentially you have done one complete
oil change/exchange since you started the M1. the study should be
qualified since the results for a non oil burning engine may be
significantly different. just my 2 cents
Well, that's not entirely true. Up until the 12,000-mile mark, we only used 3.5 quarts of oil, which is just a tick over half capacity. Of course that is skewing the results somewhat, but all oils in the study will be subject to the same bias, so comparatively they will be valid. Also, it's worth noting that only 1 to 1.5 quarts of oil is actually from engine consumption; the remainder is from the sampling. When the test is complete we will provide some calculations to get an idea of how it might have held up if we hadn't been sampling along the way.

From Richard Moburg on 5 June 2003:


I am almost positive that Corvettes now start their oil change calculation 
at 15,000 miles and degrade it from there. I believe this changed over from 
7,500 with the 2001 (or 2002) model. It will be interesting to see where 
you come up against that number. For reference my 2000 Vette  usually is 
down to 10% (indicated on the digital information center) oil life at 
approximately 6000 miles with a 7,500 mile starting point. So maybe the 
2003 Vette is asking for a change at around 12,000 miles.

Richin Chicago
You're right of course. But it is peculiar that the earlier Corvette oil life monitors were calibrated for dino oil when they called for synthetic. Chalk it up to the ambiguities of mass production.

From Jim Crowley on 24 May 2003:

Now you're up to 10000 miles and still going strong...  (yawn)...

But I am enjoying the reports...

Let me see if I can't find that SAE report for you (where DID it go???)
Boring, maybe, but apparently you're still checking in!

From Han Park on 9 May 2003:

How do you remove the oil sample in your study?  Do you go through the
dipstick and pump it out?  Thanks.
I tried that, Han, but after using four different suction devices I couldn't get an acceptable sample. Or any sample. So, I crack the drain plug slightly open, allow a bit of oil to trickle out, then capture the sample from underneath. While the engine is piping hot. No, I haven't told my health care provider about this hobby.

From Jim Price on 6 May 2003:

I just read your labratory comparison article and found it very 
interesting.  I think another very interesting idea would be to take a 
large sample, divide it up into four smaller samples and send all four 
to the same lab and see how consistent the results are. 

Keep up the good work.
You're in luck! I did something very similar to that in the Margins of Error sidebar.

From C. Philip Houck on 2 May 2003:

Thank you for your response.  I appreciate your consideration of SynLube.  I would
however like to offer so additional food for thought as to why I believe SynLube
would work just fine in your engine.

1) SynLube is a 5W50 oil but that doesn't mean your engine can't use it.  I had 18K
miles on my ZX3 during the course of 1.5 years of driving.  Though we don't have the
extremes of weather you have in West Virginia (I think that's where you are.  Am I
right?) it never failed to provides less than full protection.  Even though 18K miles
is not much distance in relation to the total life of an engine, it is probably
enough to reveal any problems with using SynLube and there were none.  As you know
Ford specifies a 5W20 weight oil for the engine.  Moreover, my understanding of
viscosity may be different than yours.  It is my belief that a 5W50 oil flows like a
5 weight oil at low temperatures and has the film strength of a 50 weight oil.  It
does not mean that the oil is actually that thick.  The viscosity index of SynLube is
200 which is higher than any other oil, dino or synthetic I am familiar with.  This
high index makes the oil less prone to viscosity change with temperature than other
oils.  I believe therefore that your engine would use SynLube without problem.  On my
Focus SVT which must idle high as soon as the engine starts to minimize emissions,
SynLube never exhibited any problems at all this winter.  I installed the oil at 668
miles.  I have had no oil consumption since that time with about 3K miles on the oil.

SynLube is recommended for all engines except Mazda rotary engines.  SynLube offers a
300K warranty for new cars maintained according to the guideslines SynLube
establishes for the car for any oil-related problems.

2) SynLube does contain PTFE but it is not a question of whether there is PTFE in the
oil that's critical.  It is its implementation in the lubricant that's important. 
PTFE comes in a number of different forms and this is extemely important as to
whether the PTFE is helpful or detrimental to the engine.  I discussed this with Miro
Kefurt of SynLube who had the following comments: 

"We do not use DuPont since they do not have Teflon in "colloidal" size, but they
have other products such as Fluon, and few others, that if you take time to go to
DuPont site you will find are specifically made for use in oil additives. 

We use Nanoflon which is 0.3 to 1.2 microns [red blood cells are 7.5 microns] and
looks like an egg under 400X magnification, both SIZE, SHAPE and surface charge make
[a] difference. 

The MAJOR reason why we use PTFE in SynLube is that engines have [a] measurable
reduction in noise (dB levels), as for wear reduction, in [an] "objective" controlled
test we would have to run 15 to 30 vehicles for 15 years to have "scientifically" and
"statistically" recognized proof. 

For now 22 years of research and over 45,000 cars that have our products in them are
good enough proof both for us and for [the] FTC. 

[Fifteen] years ago DuPont Teflon were chips from rod machining in 400 mesh size and
they indeed block filters and settle in oil pan they are 2,000 to 2,500 times LARGER
than the Nanoflon in SynLube - and further their surface charge is uneven so they
tend to agglomerate to much bigger globs even visible by naked eye. ..."

SynLube implementation of colloidal solids is very important because the solids do
not fall out of suspension because SynLube is a hydrophilic sol, that is the solids
are electrically attracted to the liquid lubricants at the molecular level.  The
problems that arose with products like Petrolon (Slick 50) do not apply with SynLube.

One final point: SynLube's website is a bit unfortunate.  Miro's a lubrication
specialist not a webmaster.  His means of communication is a bit idiosyncratic too. 
Still I would contend that his website is worth a second look.  He offers a wealth of
objective information about viscosity principles and other information which I
believe to be very valuable for anyone interested in knowing more about lubrication.
One could spend hours reading all this information.  When I was considering SynLube,
I had many of the same reservations you and others have expressed.  Reading the
information on his site gave me confidence that the SynLube formulation makes sense.

There now, I've said my piece.  I hope you understand that rather than trying to
browbeat people into using SynLube, my real purpose is simply to get them to know
what it really is.  After that, they can make their own decision.  Too often, I am
faced with the response: "Ah, so it contains PTFE, must be snake oil, you better get
some real oil before your engine explodes!"

Please send me a mailing address where I can send a check.  I don't have a Paypal
account.  Initially, I decided not to contribute because I was disappointed in the
choice of Mobil 1 but since you've spent so much time answering my concerns, the
least I can do is pay for an oil analysis.

If the main reason for using PTFE is to reduce engine noise, then we'd be a lot happier if they'd just leave it out. We have no data that specifically condemns SynLube; indeed, we cannot find any data on SynLube, pro or con, anywhere at all except from SynLube themselves. At this time we consider SynLube too high a risk to test. We would sure like to see some objective data to evaluate it. If SynLube would like to publicly demonstrate the abilities of their product, they can either post bond for the cost of an engine to 200,000 miles, or they can provide us with their own test car (maybe one of those little Russian Oka cars they sell) for the duration of the test.

From Brett Schulte on 26 April 2003:

I'm really enjoying your oil life study.  I'm particularly interested in a
company called Synlube which is suggesting a rather absurd interval of 25K.
>From following your tests it looks like filtration alone would make that an
impossible number even if (and that's a big if) the oil would last that

I have a lot of issues with this company from their unverifiable claims of
an association with NASA to the fact that their corporate email address is
an AOL account...all very incongruent with a successful company.

Will contributions sway which product you'll test next?
I've been asked about SynLube before, and I'm not interested in testing their oil. It includes Teflon (PTFE) which is something that really doesn't belong in an engine, regardless of whether it is blended with an additive like Slick 50 or with a motor oil like SynLube. As if that weren't enough, it's a 5W50 oil and our test car calls for a 5W30 oil. There are just too many strange things going on with SynLube to run it through our $5,000 test engine. Regarding the next test, we already purchased the oil for the Amsoil test so that's up next. After that, we're open to ideas.

From Lance Doctor on 5 April 2003:

Can you post the margin of error of each of the tests the lab conducts
for you?  Also known as the uncertainty of the test.  This would help
determine if, for example, a change of 0.1% in insolubles is really
significant or not from test to test.  I checked Blackstone's website
and this information does not seem to be published there either.  Not a
very confidence inspiring fact considering their business is testing.  A
good lab should be able to tell you both the precision and the level of
uncertainty of each test they conduct.
Actually, Lance, as it happens I am working on a "sidebar" discussing that very subject! Watch the synthetic oil life study over the next two weeks or so.

From C. Phillip Houck on 17 March 2003:

I think the study that you are going to do will be great.  I have believed that 
it is possible to extend oil drains while maintaining a higher level of engine 
protection than that which is provided by petroleum lubricants for some time.  
I also believe one can save money, time, and reduce the environmental impact of 
a car by reducing waste oil.

The trouble with the study is that it begins with Mobil 1.  This oil isn't even 
recommended by the manufacturer to be used beyond the OEM recommendation for 
changing dino oil.  The vast majority of cars out there can last 200K miles 
with regular oil changes, even if it's plain motor oil providing that the oil 
is changed in keeping with the useage, i.e. change intervals related to the 
severity of service.

The study you'll conduct will only be valuable if you can demonstrate that 
synthetics substantially extend the quality and breadth of protection so that 
the engine is totally protected for less money and less maintenance time while 
at the same time reducing the amount of waste oil produced which is difficult 
to dispose of and dangerous too because of it being a known carcinogen.

I found a company that shares my beliefs.  It is SynLube and they state their 
oil will last 150K miles, 3000 hours, or 10 years, whichever comes first.  It 
is a maintenance oil which means that you add either "Service Fill" for low oil 
consumption cars or "Add oil" for normal consumption cars.  Their oil filters 
(made by GM) last 2-5 years.  When it's time to change the oil, you can take 
the used oil and send it back to the company where they will microfilter it and 
restore the additive balance.  The end result is an oil meeting new oil specs 
and ready for the same service all over again.

Of course I use this oil.  I have not had time to build up a huge amount of 
miles but what mileage I have (about 20K miles) indicates that the oil works 
very well.  In my previous car which I traded in at 20K miles, I had 18K miles 
on the SynLube oil.  In that time, I only consumed 9.5 ounces of oil which 
works out to 62K miles per quart.  In addition, over the course of 100K miles, 
I would have saved hundreds of dollars, about 24 hours of maintenance time and 
almost 150 quarts of waste oil.

I have no connection with the company other than that of a satisfied customer.

I will be glad to make a donation to your experiment though I have no Paypal 
account.  I'm with NetBank.  What do you suggest considering I don't want to 
open an account with Paypal just for this one transaction?
Phil, thanks for the compliments and financial support for the synthetic oil life study. I have to say that testing Mobil 1 is critical as it is the only high-quality synthetic motor oil available at retail. As Mobil 1 is an OEM supplier, I would expect that their conservative oil-change recommendations are a CYA move rather than a lack of faith in their own product. The test will show for certain. Regarding SynLube, I checked out their offerings to see whether I could include them in the test. I won't be able to test it for two reasons: 1) their oil is 5W50 and the LS1 engine calls for 5W30; and 2) their oil contains PTFE, a.k.a. Teflon, the same stuff you'll find in Slick 50, and there's no WAY I'm putting PTFE in a $5000 engine!

From Gary Wright on 14 March 2003:

I am doing the same oil testing you are with "Mobil 1" 5W-30 oil and "Mobil
1" oil filters. The only difference is I am doing it on my 2003 Subaru
Outback Wagon, LL Bean edition with the H6 engine. I ran regular oil for the
first 3 changes to 6,600 miles to break in the engine and then switched to
the synthetic oil. I started testing at 10,000 miles so the engine would be
broke in first. 
I ran into the same thing you did with the Copper in the oil and the lab
getting all excited about it saying I had an engine problem. My results have
been 22 PPM and 32 PPM so far with each test at the end of a 3,333 mile oil
and filter change interval. I was relieved to see there was another type of
engine out there that was generating Copper. I wonder if there are several
Aluminum block engines with this phenomenon.
Hi Gary! The copper issue isn't just related to aluminum-block engines; it is a common sight in most GM engine oil analyses with low miles, regardless of block type. Whatever is causing it, it's fairly benign; there's no other indicators of wear resulting from the copper even when our numbers are over 100 ppm.

From Ron Andes on 13 March 2003:

I have a 1999 F250 7.3 diesel with Amsoil 15w-40 and sent my first sample
after 15,000 miles to Oil Analyzers and my second sample after 32,000 miles
to Blackstone, both results were similar and stated the oil was good for
continued use.
Good to know, thank you!

From Gary Heidebrecht on 11 March 2003:

Very interesting study you have going.

What is the bore on the Camaro engine? What is the compression ratio?

How many quarts of oil does the engine hold?

I believe that, among other things, the rate at which you consume base 
in the oil is related to blowby. That in turn would seem to be related 
to the total circumference of all of the cylinders and the pressure in 
the cylinders and the weight of base in the oil.


Gary Heidebrecht
Orangeburg, SC
Thank you! I'm enjoying the synthetic oil life study. Mostly. The Camaro's bore is 3.90 in., stroke 3.48 in., compression 10.1:1, 6-quart capacity. Now that you have the numbers, let me know if you're able to draw any meaningful conclusions from them.

From Jerry on 2 March 2003:

Ill pay for one! please e-mail me address to send check.
Great idea,cant wait for results. I own a 2003 dakota qc 4.7 auto 
4200miles. Just put in amsoil 7500 10-30  @ 3400 miles,in May going to 
their 25000 10-30 and change every six months(i drive 28k a year)

I was pretty confident with amsoil until I saw analysis results on 
www.dodgedakotas.com (go to forums,then performance,then oil???,page 
1,2,or3)very good thread.Iron levels way to high..now what do i do!

Checked web for other results, all had normal iron levels,all said oil 
was still good regardless of milage.Only thing that suffered was 
viscosity that was still acceptable.Then I found this site,perfect!

Was looking to use RP but saw a post somewhere that said it didnt 
protect well. It has additives to smoothe out bearings and sounds to me 
it might dissolve motor a bit? RP does increase HP,so if your results 
are good I might switch.

Oil filters are another tangled web of opinions and testers! Thought I 
was all set with Baldwins then I read somewhere their drainback valves 
are crappy.Equipment operator had oil pressure drop, took out baldwin, 
put in wix, no pressure problem!,sigh.

Hope this helps
Hi Jerry! Thanks! I sure appreciate the help. This synthetic oil study is expensive!

Your extended drain plan looks okay to me, but if this is your first time doing it I'd suggest having your oil analyzed once or twice along the way to make sure everything is happy -- if so, carry on. As you know I haven't gotten to Amsoil yet so I can't evaluate their one-year claims at this time.

Very interesting thread over on DodgeDakotas.com. However, that one data point is utterly meaningless. Lots of things could cause a problem in an engine and choice of motor oil is pretty low on the list. Though I am a skeptic by nature, I haven't found any evidence that Amsoil is fundamentally flawed. I expect to see at least a good showing in the analysis, if perhaps not quite as good as they claim.

The claim on the list that Amsoil is under investigation by the FTC is, as far as I can tell, without merit. I track such things (at Wheellegal) and I haven't seen anything against Amsoil. Again, Royal Purple enjoys a pretty good reputation. Don't know yet how good they are but I haven't seen credible, statistical evidence showing a problem.

Filters are tricky. My only opinion is that I don't like Fram's cardboard end caps. I tend to use Wix, NAPA, and AC/Delco. Never noticed a difference from one to another.

From Nick Maiorino on 12 February 2003:


I had a friend who works in the chemistry lab , for ottawa U.....I live in
canada.......run some tests on mobil 1 5w-30 with super syn........

The tbn he came up with was 8.45.......on unused oil....

I have also contacted mobil directly , and am awaiting an answer.........

thought this might help.........
It is definitely interesting. I saw almost double that in my own oil study. I'd like to learn more about how labs test for TBN, and what in the testing procedure might cause different labs to reach significantly different values. I think the results must vary between labs somehow, because mine tested higher than that four times straight. That is too much consistency to throw away as error. What will be more interesting, I think, is how the numbers compare with the other brands. We'll have the answer to that probably in March.

From David Drown on 7 February 2003:

Is there a way I can get a copy of the 1997 GM 5.7 Liter LS1 V8 Engine 
970915?  I have been searching for any information that I can find on 
the LS1.  Do you know where I can find any other tech papers on this 
Yes, that's an SAE paper, which you can get for about $13 direct from SAE. I've been trying to find other documentation in support of the LS1 Engine Copper Levels study, but so far that's all I've got.

From Jim Crowley on 16 January 2003:

I will be very interested to see how the numbers progress in your long 
term study....

I've been using Mobil 1 5-30 since 1979, back when Mobil even put 
1yr/25000 miles on the can
(did they use bottles then? Can't remember!)

First vehicle was a 1979 Suzuki GS750 motorcycle. It got about 45,000 
miles use on maybe three changes of Mobil1.

When the oil came out of the bike, it would go into the 1973 Pinto 
(expired at 165,000 miles due to an incident of rearenditis).

Next was a Tempo that I had about a year, and then a 1985 Tempo which 
got 170,000 miles from
me driving around the country installing Telecom equipment. That car was 
given to a friend, and has
about 250k miles now. The engine is still tight, but it's just a "work" 
car, so all kinds of other deterioration has occurred.

I let the oil in that car go a year, or whatever miles (oil changes at 
Thanksgiving) for eight years. The longest year was 44k miles.

Currently have a '95 Maxima SE with 92k on the clock, with (only) yearly 
changes, except when
it went 18 months (oops!), but it is only seeing about 11k a year.

Now also riding a new Suzuki 1200, and it has the "new" Mobil1 four 
stroke motorcycle oil (10-40) in
it. There is controversy over motorcycle wet clutches and the current 
additive packages of auto oil that may cause clutch slippage.

I never did an oil analysis, but never noticed any problems running the 
extended drain times either.

So mine is a wholly unscientific study, but the empirical evidence is 
that extended drains work
for me and I don't even think twice about going a year on changes.


My hot tip for radiators: Use the new orange long life stuff, and get a 
few gallons of distilled water
to go with it. I drained the factory fill in the Maxima at two years, 
flushed with tap water and drained,
filled and drained with distilled water two times, then added a gallon 
of 'freeze and and topped with distilled water.

Six years later, the water and visible parts of the radiator and 
overflow bottle are spotless. No scum at all,
and the water looks like it went in yesterday, not in 1996.
This car has some kind of (scary!) internal waterpump.

I only recently found that the 'freeze manufacturers all reccommed 
mixing with "deionized" water.

Good luck on your test! And don't be afraid to run it. My original 
research into synthetics lead to an SAE
report (1978 or so) that included big rig tests that had no oil changes 
and 234k miles. If interested, I still
have that report and can forward some more info...

Cool, it's always good to hear from people who've had good luck with synthetic oil's superior performance. We use it in everything here. I would like to see that report if you don't mind sending a copy.

From David Januczkowski on 15 January 2003:

An interesting study. One recommendation that I would like to make is to
use the same fuel on a consistent basis. I am definitely no expert but
fuel quality (eg sulphur content (creates acid) can have an impact on
your study.

Keep up the good work!!!
Thanks! As it turns out, I pretty much always use the same gasoline in my oil study, but not because I plan it that way. The two gas stations closest to my house, and the two closest to my work, are all Exxon!

From Eric the Cuda racer on 8 January 2003:

cant send you 18.50, but you can,send me good oil for my 440 drag car, thanks 
I'll say this reeeeeeal sloooooow... I'm TESTING oil, not SELLING oil.

From Alex Cannara on 2 January 2003:

I'm interested in your synthetic oil testing, but to be realistic, why not
include a test using regular oil that's priced reasonably, such as a name
brand that can be gotten easily at a discount store for about $1/qt?  The
usefulness of long oil-change intervals (>5kmi) escapes me, speaking as an
engineer.  If plain old oil can come close to synthetics at the 4kmi mark,
then who cares to pay 3 times as much?  I'll pay for a test that includes
standard oil.  

Also, synthetics (just like STP) are derived from petroleum, just like plain
oils, so the term "synthetic" is really marketing.  Finally, using the term
"dino" is misleading, since petroleum is priamrily derived from fossilized
plant matter -- let's be precise now!
Hi Alex! I think most people know that "dino juice" is just a nickname for standard oils. The synthetic oil life study won't include standard oils for the simple reason that I don't care to run the stuff in my car. I doubt plain old oil will be anywhere near synthetics at the 4,000-mile mark, but we'll never know from this study -- it is purely an effort to identify the best of the synthetics, not to convince people to make the switch to the expensive stuff.

From Yvon Boucher on 4 December 2002:

Dear sir,

As per your information on your web site, your write something wrong 
about the viscosity.  Your reference for is 40C.
a.. Viscosity: This is the SUS viscosity at 210 degrees. It is the 
standard SAE viscosity measure; SUS is the unit of viscosity. This value 
should be somewhere between 55 and 62.

      Kinematic Viscosity @ 100=B0C, cSt (ASTM D-445)

I hope it's helpful
I got my information directly off the lab report; I didn't make it up.

From Yvon Boucher on 4 December 2002:

Dear sir,
I saw your test on the web with Mobil 1.
You can see a performance test on the web and compare it !

We did many oil analysis since more than 20 years and the secret to 
extend oil drain interval is the filtration (full flow and by-pass 
We have some fleet run with FF Amsoil on gas applications like Dodge 
Caravan and on basis oil analysis we recomanded to change at 40,000km or 
1 year.  Our oil analysis are in french for this account, you can see 
the result below if you pass over of some kilometers.
Actually we have a truck fleet run with Amsoil By-Pass oil filter + 
15W40 Amsoil and we have more than a million ok kilometer with any oil 
change ( on oil analysis base).

[test results omitted because they did not display properly in text e-mail]
That's all cool, and I can't wait to put Amsoil to the test in a few months, after the Mobil 1 test is complete in our syntehtic oil life study. If it's as good as all the Amsoil dealers say, then we should be in for quite a shock!