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About MotoTribology

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    Riding, spectating and lubricants.

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  1. Ok, lets start at the beginning. 1. Synthetic oils are not uniform in molecular size. PAO are fairly uniform but still have a range (for instance C12-C16). Even despite that fact, fully formulated oil is made up of many ingredients and not just a single base oil. All of those ingredients have different molecular sizes so the "uniform molecular size" theory is not accurate. With regard to film thickness, synthetic oil's film thickness is no more uniform than a conventional oil in any practical sense. 2. I'm not sure how you are proposing synthetic oil "better suspends debris and contaminants". I am not aware of any mechanism of synthetic oils that give it that ability. If anything, synthetic oils are inherently worse at this because they do not readily dissolve sludge like conventional oils do because of their solubility properties. 3. Circling back to the molecular size and molecules "breaking down"; what you are describing is molecular shearing, and it does not occur in base oils. It happens to viscosity modifying polymers, but not base oils. So their molecular size does not get reduced or damaged from hard use. If anything, they would become larger as more oxygen atoms bond to any unsaturated bonds they might have. Also ,the size of molecules and the size of asperities in metal surfaces is drastically different. The molecules do not need to be reduced in size in order to fill asperities. Thousands of molecules can fit into each asperity of a metal, so molecular size is not a limiting factor in filling asperities.
  2. No engine (aside from model T era automobiles) should be run with an oil with no additives in it. Usually "break-in" oils have higher levels of anti-wear additives in them. However, a good oil with a decent level of additives will break in an engine just fine whether it is synthetic or not. Break-in oil gets changed to quickly though that it isn't worth the extra money you'd pay for synthetic over a decent mineral oil that will get changed at the same mileage.
  3. Yes, you are correct. My mistake.
  4. That'll be just fine.
  5. If it is a JASO MA or MA2 rated engine oil then it should be fine for the transmission as well.
  6. Yes, the latest 2017 model ditched the 2-sump design and has a single sump for both engine and transmission, but the 2014 still had separate compartments.
  7. I'm not sure where you learned to calculate viscosity like that, but it does not work that way. It is not just the average viscosity by weight. You can get a rough estimate with very heavy oils that way, but for light oils and especially something as thin as gasoline the relationship between component viscosities and final viscosity is not linear. A tool like these would be useful for you going forward: Using them you can see that the blends you mentioned would equate to a 0.77 cSt blend viscosity for your 7 cSt oil and a 0.79 cSt blend viscosity for the 15 cSt oil; much smaller than you are assuming using your method for calculation.
  8. How is the final mixed viscosity a principle consideration? At a heavy mix ratio of 20:1 and making an assumption of gasoline being 0.96 cSt at 40C and 0.71 cSt at 100C, the difference from the thinnest to the thickest oil in your list is: 0.09 cSt at 40C 0.07 cSt at 100C (if you assume the gasoline has a viscosity of 0.40 cSt at 40C and 0.49 cSt at 100C the differences drop to 0.05 and 0.04 respectively) Those differences are negligible at best; pretty much a margin of error for most oil mixes. They will not indicate the quality of the oil film produced with any degree of certainty. The viscosity of the oil itself, after it is separated from the fuel and and any solvents (if part of the oil's formula) is going to give you a much better indication of the film strength.
  9. If you are unfamiliar with the topic, it is worthwhile for you to read my article about Base Fluid Types. Knowing the basics beforehand will help you understand this article more easily. I often see or hear the statement about how “full synthetic” oils are not really synthetic and they are actually highly refined group III (Grp III) petroleum oils instead. While it is certainly common these days for “full synthetic” oils to be made using Grp III base oils, it is not always the case. There are brands making full synthetic products utilizing group IV (PAO) base oils as implied by the “full synthetic” moniker still. I refer to these products as “true synthetics”. Group V (ester) base fluids are another type of synthetic but they are uniquely different from both Grp III and PAO oils. Grp III and PAO are extremely similar in how they are utilized in lubricating oils. They can often be directly substituted for one another without major formulation concerns. So the comparison of those two is where I am focusing this article. Most synthetic oils use some amount of esters in them regardless of whether they use Grp III or PAO as the main base oil, but I’m not going to go in too much depth about esters in this article. The Differences The big difference that most people focus on is the price and rightly so. True synthetics are just plain expensive. No matter which company makes it or how it’s made, PAO and ester base fluids can be 1.5 to 4 times more costly than Grp III oils. True synthetics just cannot compete on price with Grp III oils and even with the economies of scale, that can’t be helped. As refining technology has improved, Grp III oils are now extremely close to PAO oils in many performance categories. However, Grp III base oils can only approach the performance of PAO base oils so much because refining processes can only change the molecules so much. Since no process is perfect, there will always be some unstable molecules in the refined oils. This instability is mostly caused by unsaturated bonds in the molecules, which are openings for oxidationto occur. PAO synthetic molecules have fully saturated molecules making them less prone to oxidation. Although viscosity modifiers contribute heavily to low and high temperature viscosity performance, the natural viscometric stability of PAO is better than Grp III. So after being used for several hundred miles, the polymers may be sheared to a point that the natural viscosity characteristics of the base oil have a big effect on performance. When that is the case, PAO has an advantage over Grp III. There are two performance advantages that typical Grp III has over PAO that are not widely known. The first is most additives have better solubility in petroleum oils like Grp III so they mix more easily than they do in PAO. That is one reason why esters are so commonly used in synthetic formulations because the ester base fluids increase the overall additive compatibility. So it is rarely an issue in either type of oil, but the Grp III does have a better natural ability to keep additives from separating. The second advantage Grp III has is its sludge handling properties and it is a bit more complicated than the additive compatibility issue. Sludge is produced as an oxidation byproduct. So Grp III actually produces more sludge than PAO does. However, Grp III keeps that sludge from separating for the same reasons it keeps additives from separating. This dissolved sludge increases the viscosity of the oil but resists separating. PAO, on the other hand, does not dissolve sludge as easily. So even though PAO produces less sludge through oxidation, the sludge that does form has a higher tendency to separate from the oil. Similar to the additive solution, ester base fluids blended with the PAO can stop this from happening, but still, Grp III* has the natural advantage in this property. *As a matter of fact, it is actually the “impurities” of the Grp III base oil that help in this regard, so the less refined an oil is, the better this ability can be. A Group I or a Group II oil could actually outperform a Group III in sludge tests if the antioxidant performance is adequately high. One additional difference that true synthetics have compared to Grp III is the drain interval. Most PAO based full synthetics tout extended drain intervals that make the upfront cost more reasonable. By the time the extended interval has elapsed, it can be double the mileage in some cases; and having to buy oil (and do oil changes) half as often is a valuable consideration for many people. Which One to Choose On one hand, “close enough” is good enough for many riders, and taking that stance is unlikely to result in any problems for most people. The performance benefits of true synthetics are there, but most real world motorcycle applications rarely stress the oil enough to fully realize those benefits. Racing applications or extreme environments, like snow riding, mudders, or desert riding, will push the oil to its limits, but the average riding situation won’t be brutal enough to necessitate a true synthetic. On the other hand, some people just want the “real thing” and want to get what they pay for, which I can absolutely relate to. Since Grp III is much cheaper than PAO, that cost difference should show in the retail price. So if I were buying a Grp III oil, I would expect the price to be much less than a comparable true synthetic product. Some people simply want the very best product they can get; even if the benefits of it are hard to see or quantify. Peace of mind can be a powerful thing, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are using the best possible type of product can make it worth the added cost. A more tangible possibility is that the performance benefits of true synthetics may be the difference between an ugly failure and business as usual in a critical situation. Is a failure like that probable? No, but that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen. I’ve heard enough stories from customers and other riders about bikes running on the ragged edge, which kept going long enough to get into the shop before catastrophe struck to convince me that it does happen. So those extreme circumstance mentioned above (racing, desert riding, mudders, and snow riding) can definitely warrant the use of a true synthetic and sometimes a worn machine that is over-stressed can push the oil to its limits. It would be impossible to truly attribute the differences between Grp III and PAO base oil as the cause or demise of an engine in the case of a failure, but I would be surprised if it hasn’t been the case in more than a few engine failures and near misses. How to Tell the Difference: So how do you tell if a company uses “true” or Grp III synthetic base oils to make their product? One way is looking up the safety data sheet (SDS) for the product. SDS’s can be a bit cryptic and some companies just don’t include as much information in theirs as other do, but often you can gain some information from them. There are two areas of an SDS that can give you some clues, sections 3 and 15. Section 3 of most SDS’s is the composition section and section 15 is the regulatory section. Section 3 will often give you a clue as to the type of base oils are being used. If section 3 is too unclear, section 15 may have additional information. Here is a list of the commonly used words for the different types of base fluids in SDS documents: Petroleum (non-synthetic): Mineral oil Petroleum oils Petroleum distillates Hydrotreated Hydrocracked Naphthenic Paraffinic Naphthalene Severely refined Solvent refined Synthetic: Decene Dodecene Ester Polyalphaolefin Polyolefin Diester Polyolester Ambiguous (Maybe PAO or ester but possibly Grp III): Synthetic oils A good thing about most true synthetic base oils is that they are not often considered hazardous. That is great for our health and the environment, but it also means they are typically excluded from SDS’s since the document is meant to illustrate potential hazards. So they are not always listed on the SDS. However, petroleum base oils are rarely excluded so the lack of any base oils on the list tends to point to at least some true synthetic content. SDS’s can usually be found on either the manufacturer’s website or through a quick internet search using the name of the product and either “SDS” or “MSDS” (~product name here~ sds or ~product name here~ msds) There is another way to find out information about the composition of the products you are buying. This method should result in you knowing exactly what you are buying and answer all of your questions. Call the manufacturer! Call the technical service department for the brand you are curious about and ask them direct questions. Some companies may be guarded with their information and be reluctant to tell you anything, but I’d bet a fair share of them will be very forthright and answer your questions. The trick is to ask questions with yes or no answers or questions that require very direct answers. Questions like: Do your full synthetic products use group III base oils? Do your full synthetic products use Group IV or Group V (PAO or ester) base fluids? What types of base fluids are used in your synthetic products? If the responses you get don’t really answer your questions and you have people telling you about “synthetic performance” rather than synthetic content, you can be pretty sure that they are not using true synthetic base oils. Regardless, you will have learned something about the products and gained some knowledge, so it is worth the phone call either way. So Does it Really Matter? Grp III base oils have extremely good performance and really do compare well against PAO in a lot of performance categories. They are much more stable than their group I and II counterparts in the range of petroleum oils. They lubricate well and are very versatile for formulators to use due to better additive compatibility and lower costs compared to PAO. The performance benefits of PAO over Grp III mentioned earlier in the article are real and quantifiable in lab tests. However in a real world situation such as a motorcycle engine, those benefits are much harder to quantify and likely imperceptible to most riders. If you were hoping to have a clear and definitive answer by the end of this article, I’m sorry to disappoint you. From a technical standpoint a true synthetic is the better option. From a consumer standpoint, the added cost of true synthetics might not be worth it for the average rider. For racers and people riding in extreme conditions, I think true synthetics are the way to go. In the end, the only person who can decide what is right for you, is you; but I hope now you can make that decision with a better understanding of what you are choosing. This and more technical articles can be found at If you have questions about this or any other lubrication related topics, feel free to PM me your inquiries.
  10. As much as I hate/love to say it. It seems to have passed. Everything looks normal again. It was still acting up this morning, but right now the text field is right where it should be doing just what it should be doing. If, for whatever reason, it happens again, I'll be sure to get that code screenshot though. Thanks and I hope you didn't waste too much time trying to solve this.
  11. I checked the Javascript status like you said and it shows the blue box with "YES" in the middle. Could it be related to coolie settings? I have it set to allow cookies from thumpertalk, but I don'w know if maybe wiping them clean and starting fresh would solve anything or change things I don't want changed.
  12. It works fine on this computer (a different computer than the one I am experiencing the problem with). I'll have to check the Javascript setting tomorrow when I get back to the other computer. It works on Internet Explorer on the problem computer. Just not chrome, but it works fine on chrome on this computer. And it is not intermittent. It is on every topic and if I try to start a new one. I'm sure it is probably just a cache or strange setting on that other computer I am not aware of.
  13. My problem is very similar to this so I figured I would post it in the same thread rather than starting a new one. My situation is while using Chrome though. I have the same exact issue trying to start threads as well as when trying to reply to threads. No field to input a message. Everything appears normal if using I.E., but it is a hassle switching back and forth between I.E. and Chrome and switching to I.E. full time is not really an option.
  14. Which is why I qualified it with "it depends on your definition of a major full synthetic". Major in the world of big box stores and auto parts stores? No, small potatoes compared to Mobil, Chevron, Shell, Citgo, Castrol, Repsol, etc.... Major in the world of motorcycles and powersports? Yes, without a doubt, I would put all of them in the category of "major".
  15. Bel-Ray EXS Klotz MX4 Techniplate Maxima 530MX (Doesn't appear to use Group III, but the information isn't 100% conclusive) Redline 10W-40 motorcyle oil Spectro Platinum4 (Do not appear to use Group III, but the information isn't 100% conclusive) There are 5 US companies fitting Synlube's description of things that do not exist. Granted this is assuming that their own documents are true and they are not providing false information.