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Ask AMSOIL: Should I Use Racing Oil in my Daily Driver?

I Drive Aggressive: Is Racing Oil a better choice for my Daily Driver?

Motorists who are passionate about engine protection and performance can easily succumb to the following line of reasoning:

1) Racing engines are more severe than my engine.

2) Racing engines use racing oil.

3) Therefore, I should use racing oil in my vehicle for best protection.

It’s true that the average racing engine creates operating conditions more severe than the average passenger car engine. However, that’s not to say that modern engines aren’t tough on oil, too.

Increased heat and stress

The turbocharged, direct-injection engines in modern vehicles generate increased heat and contaminants compared to their predecessors. Motor oil bears the brunt of the added stress. That’s why industry motor-oil specifications keep growing tougher and automakers are increasingly recommending synthetic oils to meet these strict performance specs.

Racing creates tougher operating conditions

Racing, however, is a whole different animal. The powerful, modified engines in racing vehicles produce extreme heat and pressures beyond the capabilities of the average car or truck. A 900-hp Pro 4×4 off-road racing truck can produce engine temperatures of more than 300ºF (149ºC). Engine temperatures in a typical passenger car/light truck fall somewhere between 195ºF and 220ºF (90ºC – 104ºC). The difference is even more striking when you consider that the rate of motor oil oxidation (chemical breakdown) doubles for every 18ºF (10ºC) increase in oil temperature.

The tremendous shearing forces the oil bears as it’s squeezed between the interfaces of the pistons/rings and cam lobes/lifters pose another problem. The pressure can tear apart the molecular structure of the oil, reducing its viscosity and film strength.

Racing oil must be formulated differently to protect these demanding engines. Even so, it doesn’t mean you should order a case of AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic Racing Oil for your car.

Racing oils are changed more frequently

Why? For starters, racing oils are changed frequently. Most professionals change oil every couple races, if not more frequently. For that reason, racing oils are formulated with a lower total base number (TBN) than passenger car motor oils. TBN is a measure of the oil’s detergency properties and its ability to neutralize acidic byproducts. Oils with longer drain intervals have higher TBNs. AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil features a TBN of 12.5 to enable its 25,000-mile/one-year drain interval. In contrast, DOMINATOR Synthetic Racing Oil has a TBN of 8 since it should be changed more frequently. As great as it performs on the track, DOMINATOR is not what you want in your engine when you’re driving thousands of miles and several months between oil changes.

Second, you want to use an oil in your daily driver that excels in several performance areas:

  • Wear protection
  • Long oil life
  • Maximum fuel economy
  • Engine cleanliness
  • Corrosion protection
  • Oxidation resistance
  • Easy cold-temp starts

Motor oil additives produce many of these benefits. For example, anti-oxidant additives fight high heat and extend oil service life. Anti-wear additives interact with the metal surfaces of engine parts and guard against metal-to-metal contact. Many additives form layers on metal surfaces. That being the case, they compete for space, so to speak.

Racing oils use different additives

Racing oils are often formulated with a heavy dose of friction modifiers to add lubricity for maximum horsepower and torque. The boosted level of additives meant to increase protection and performance during a race doesn’t leave room in the formulation for additives found in passenger car motor oils that help maximize fuel economy, fight corrosion or improve cold-weather protection.

Achieving the tasks of a passenger car motor oil requires a finely balanced formulation. Too much or too little performance in one area can negatively affect other areas – and the oil’s overall protection and performance. The list of tasks required of a racing oil, however, is much shorter.

The right tool for the right job is an axiom with which most are familiar. The same holds for motor oil. It’s best to leave racing oil to competition engines and use a properly formulated passenger car motor oil for your daily vehicle.

To find the right oil for your vehicle, use the AMSOIL Product Guide.

Small engine won’t start? Identifying the Cause.

Small engine won’t start?

Bad gas is the number-one reason, and here’s how to prevent it.

Len Groom | TECHNICAL PRODUCT MANAGER, POWERSPORTS

In northern Minnesota, where I live, the temperature occasionally breaks 80ºF (27ºC) in the summer. When it does, it’s time to fire up my Jet-Skis* and hit the lake. The last thing I want to do on a sunny summer day is mess around with equipment that refuses to start or run properly.

Bad gasoline is the number-one reason seasonal equipment starts hard or runs rough. Over time, gasoline changes, leaving behind gums, varnish and other solids that foul the fuel system and prevent gas from flowing into the combustion chamber. In severe cases, gasoline can change so dramatically that it no longer ignites.

Gasoline is predominantly a mixture of carbon and hydrogen atoms bonded together into energy-dense hydrocarbons. Like conventional base oils, it’s derived from crude oil via a distillation process that uses heat, pressure and other catalysts to create different fractions. Gasoline is comprised of hydrocarbons that are lighter than those found in, for example, diesel fuel or conventional base oils. Refiners add ethanol to the formulation, typically 10 percent, but as high as 85 percent.

Time Takes Its Toll – You Must Treat Gasoline

Time, however, takes its toll on gasoline. Exposure to heat, humidity, atmospheric pressure, oxygen and other variables degrade fuel.

In addition to gums and varnish becoming more concentrated and less soluble as lighter hydrocarbons evaporate, gas is continually oxidizing, which further contributes to varnish and other gunk. Gasoline oxidizes more quickly than motor oil and its negative effects are more immediately noticeable. That’s why it’s important to use high quality gas and store it in approved containers where air infiltration is limited, like inside a ventilated garage or shed, and not in the back of your truck or under the deck.

Meanwhile, ethanol added to gasoline at the refinery can absorb water from the atmosphere, which can lead to phase separation, which occurs when ethanol and gas separate, much like oil and water. Ethanol that has absorbed enough moisture and has sat long enough can foul the fuel system and prevent the engine from starting.

AMSOIL Fights Corrosion

AMSOIL provides corrosion protection Sea Foam® Motor Treatment can’t match, helping maintain power and performance and keeping metal looking like new even when subjected to salt water.  ?

? Based upon independent testing of AMSOIL Gasoline
Stabilizer obtained Nov. 8, 2018 and Sea Foam Motor
Treatment purchased Oct. 25, 2018 in a modified NACE
TM0172 using synthetic sea water per ASTM D665 part B.

This all sounds dire, but it’s nothing treating your gasoline with AMSOIL Gasoline Stabilizer (AST) can’t solve. Gasoline Stabilizer keeps fuel fresh up to 12 months. AMSOIL Quickshot® (AQS) stabilizes gasoline during short-term storage up to six months, in addition to providing potent cleaning benefits and protection against ethanol issues.

What does stabilizer do?

That explanation may suit some people, but this is Tech Talk, so let’s look at the chemistry behind gasoline stabilizers.

You’ve probably heard terms like “free radicals” and “antioxidants” in relation to your health. A free radical is an unpaired electron, and most are unstable and highly reactive. They can either donate an electron to, or accept an electron from, other molecules. This starts a chain reaction that can lead to oxidative stress and cell damage. Left unchecked, free radicals can lead to health problems, like cardiovascular disease and cancer. To help fight free radicals, we should eat plenty of foods rich in antioxidants, which lessen their effects. Antioxidants can “donate” an electron to free radicals or trap them, effectively reducing their instability without becoming unstable themselves. Antioxidants aren’t silver bullets, but they go a long way toward improving our health.

By analogy, gasoline stabilizer is an antioxidant for your gasoline. It disrupts the free-radical-induced chain reaction that causes gas to oxidize and form varnish and gums. Some stabilizer products, like Quickshot, also contain chemistry that increases solvency and breaks down existing varnish, helping clean a dirty carburetor and restore performance. As shown, Gasoline Stabilizer also fights corrosion better than Sea Foam Motor Treatment.

Neglecting to stabilize your gas can lead to all sorts of headaches when it’s time to remove your lawnmower, generator, string trimmer or Jet-Ski from storage. For best results, stabilize your gasoline all year long. That’ll ensure your equipment is ready to roll when you are.

How to Prevent Diesel Fuel From Gelling

Preventing Diesel Fuel Gelling – Off Season Update

Take advantage of the off season pricing here in the Sioux Falls store!! Here’s one product you will need in winter. Save even more buying now. (Products: Diesel All in One and the Diesel Cold Flow)

We diesel burners get a little more uptight in the winter over what comes out of the green-handle pump at the fuel station. Diesel owners know that winter can mean diesel fuel gelling. That’s when diesel fuel freezes, rendering our trucks useless and, in some situations, costing us a boatload of money in repairs.

In this post, I’m going to explain why diesel fuel can gel or become frozen and what you can do to prevent it and keep your truck rolling all winter.

What causes diesel fuel gelling?

Diesel contains naturally occurring wax that solidifies in cold temperatures. Normally the wax is a liquid in fuel and is important, so we definitely want it in the fuel.

When temperatures drop, however, wax crystals form and cling to one another.

As temperatures continue to decrease, formation continues until it restricts the flow of fuel through fuel filters, eventually stalling the engine. Depending on the fuel, gelling can occur at temperatures barely below 32ºF (0ºC).

Check out the video to see what happens when diesel fuel gels.

 

 


#1 and #2 diesel fuel

The fuel refineries do a pretty good job of blending winter-rated diesel fuel that avoids gelling. To produce winter-blend diesel, they often mix some percentage of #1 diesel fuel with #2 diesel fuel.

Why, you ask? Because diesel #1 contains less wax and offers cloud and pour points of typically -20ºF (-29ºC) or colder, making it preferable in cold weather.

Cold-filter-plugging point (CFPP) & other terms

So, what do “cloud point” and “pour point” mean, anyway? They’re a couple important terms people use when talking about diesel cold-weather performance.

  • Cloud point – The temperature at which wax crystals begin to form in diesel fuel. This is normally around 32ºF (0ºC) for #2 diesel fuel, but can be as high as 40ºF (4ºC).
  • Cold-filter-plugging point (CFPP) – The point at which wax crystals allowed to form in untreated diesel fuel clog the fuel filter. Most diesel owners call this “gelling.”
  • Pour point – The lowest temperature at which fuel maintains its ability to flow.

The ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) at every pump must meet certain CFPP characteristics to protect drivers.

However, refiners typically base the fuel’s cold-weather performance on temperature projections that don’t leave room for sudden and violent temperature swings. Where I live in northern Minnesota, the temperature can drop from 40ºF (4ºC) at lunch time to zero by the time I head home after work.

It’s possible the fuel at the station where I plan to fill up the next morning doesn’t yet have fuel blended for such cold temperatures.

Or, how about the trucker who starts a run in Kansas City, where it’s 50ºF (10ºC) and he filled up with #2 diesel, but ends in Duluth, Minn., where it’s -10ºF (-23ºC)? Then what?

Use cold-flow improvers to prevent diesel fuel gelling

Let’s be proactive and turn the mirror on ourselves. There is chemistry available that ensures the wax in your fuel stays liquid so your fuel system can pump fuel to the engine. We call these additives “cold-flow improvers,” and AMSOIL Diesel All-In-One is loaded with them to ensure you don’t run into these issues.

In the fuel industry there is a test called the “Cold-Filter-Plugging-Point Test.” It measures the coldest temperature at which fuel will flow without plugging a filter.

In independent testing, AMSOIL Diesel All In One provides as much as 32ºF better protection against cold-temperature diesel fuel gelling than Howes Lubricator Diesel Treat*? You know – Howes, one of the largest diesel fuel additive companies in the U.S.

Howes diesel additive is substandard in cold flow protection.

 

Diesel All-in-One ensures the fuel remains flowing and your truck keeps rolling no matter how frigid the weather.

Some might say, “That doesn’t matter…Howe’s has a free-tow guarantee that’ll cover me if I’m ever stranded.” That’s no guarantee; that’s an insurance policy, and they hope not to use it. If you want a real guarantee, use AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow to ensure you don’t have to call for a tow.

Plus, it doesn’t just give you optimum chemistry for cold weather. Oh, no sir/ma’am. It also delivers…

  • Optimum detergency to help keep the fuel injectors and combustion chamber clean
  • Lubricity to lubricate the fuel pump and injectors
  • A four-point cetane boost to provide extra help at startup and improve combustion efficiency for improved power and fuel economy

If it’s gelled, now what?

Clogged filters and frozen diesel are a huge hassle, especially for truckers or fleets that needs vehicles running to make money.

AMSOIL Diesel Recovery quickly dissolves gelled fuel to allow the operator to continue driving with minimal downtime. AMSOIL Diesel Recovery separates the molecular bonds of wax crystals that have agglomerated in diesel fuel. It thaws frozen fuel filters and reduces the need for a new filter, saving money and preventing an inconvenient trip to an auto parts store.

Buy Diesel Recovery

*Based on independent testing in July 2017 of AMSOIL Diesel All-in-One and Howes Lubricator Diesel Treat using diesel fuel representative of the U.S. marketplace and Howes’ recommended treat ratio for above 0°F.

Figuring out Engine Knock

Why Does My Engine Knock? 3 Possible Explanations.

There are a few different reasons your engine might make a knocking, ticking or pinging sound. Let’s break each down and talk about what might be happening.

Is it an engine knocking sound, tick or ping?

One driver’s knock is another driver’s tick. Or ping. Still others compare the engine knocking sound they hear to marbles rolling around inside a coffee can.

The spontaneous ignition of air/fuel inside the cylinders is a common source of engine knock.

While the description of the sound may differ, the circumstances under which it occurs are often the same – low-speed, high-torque conditions common when you’re accelerating.

Engine knock typically occurs during low-speed, high-torque conditions, like when you’re accelerating.

How engine knock occurs

Say the clock has struck 5:00 and you make a bee-line to your truck and take off for home. When you mash the accelerator out of the parking lot, that’s when you hear an engine knocking sound. Or ping. When you let off the gas, it goes away.

This is likely due to either pre-ignition or detonation. They’re effectively the same phenomenon, but they occur at different times.

In a properly running engine, spark-triggered ignition typically occurs a few degrees before the piston reaches top dead center (TDC). This careful timing ensures the downward force of the exploding fuel/air mixture works in tandem with downward piston momentum, resulting in optimum efficiency and power.

That’s bad timing

Pre-ignition (and its cousin, low-speed pre-ignition [LSPI]) are abnormal combustion events that throw off this precise balance. Under certain conditions, the fuel/air can spontaneously ignite too early in the combustion cycle. Sometimes low-octane fuel is to blame; sometimes it’s deposits on the piston crown.

Fuel with too low an octane rating for your engine can sporadically ignite prior to the piston reaching TDC.

Or, chunks of carbon can heat up and create a hot spot that effectively ignites the fuel/air before the plug fires. Then, when the plug does fire a fraction of a second later, the two flame fronts collide. In certain conditions, they can clash with the upward-moving piston. The resulting shock wave rattles the piston inside the cylinder, creating the knock, ping or can-of-marbles sound you hear.

Detonation has the same effect, except it occurs after the plug fires.

Computers in modern vehicles can detect engine knock and compensate by adjusting engine timing. Though it saves your engine from destroying itself, performance and fuel economy can suffer.

Tick, tick, tick

Say your engine is ticking like a time bomb, especially in the morning when it’s cold. You likely have a valve-train issue.

Your engine uses intake valves to feed clean air into the cylinders and exhaust valves to kick spent combustion gases out. The valves open and close thousands of time per minute in a choreographed whirlwind of activity.

top dead center valve timing

A finely balanced system of parts – rocker arms, valve stems, cam lobes, lifters – control their movements. The clearances between these parts, known as lash, can become loose (or sloppy, in automobile nomenclature). When that happens, all those moving parts clattering against each other can create a ticking sound.

It’s especially noticeable in the morning before the oil has had a chance to circulate throughout the upper end of the engine.

Many engines use hydraulic lifters, which use an oil-pressure-assisted plunger and spring to compensate for lash, helping ensure the system runs smoothly and quietly.

Proper oil pressure plays a big role in valve-train operation and noise. Low oil pressure can reduce the effectiveness of hydraulic lifters, increasing lash. This is most likely to occur with a low-quality conventional oil that thins at high temperatures, preventing the engine from developing good oil pressure.

If the rods are knockin’…

Rod knock is yet another possible explanation for your engine knocking sound.

Your engine is built with a designed clearance between the crankshaft journals and the connecting rods. In a properly running engine using a good oil, the motor oil fills those clearances and prevents metal-to-metal contact.

But, let’s say you’ve been using a poor-quality conventional oil.

At high temperatures, the oil thins and the fluid film weakens. The pressure between the crank journals and connecting rods squeezes the oil from the clearances. Now, metal is riding on metal, wearing the surfaces and widening the clearances. Eventually the clearances widen so much that you begin to hear the metal surfaces clattering against each other. Eventually, they’ll weld together and destroy the engine.

Quieting a noisy engine

This all sounds dire. But you can sometimes address pre-ignition by using a higher octane gas or by cleaning deposits from your engine with a fuel-system cleaner like AMSOIL P.i. Performance Improver.

Buy AMSOIL P.i.

Using a higher-quality oil that flows better in cold weather and maintains its viscosity when hot can sometimes quiet a valve-train tick.

Shop AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil

Rod knock is the worst of the three. Once the clearances between the crank journals and connecting rods have widened due to wear, it’s just a matter of time before catastrophic damage.

In any case, visit your mechanic and take care of the problem before it gets worse.

The bottom line…

The moral of the story is simply to pay a little more now to maintain your vehicle rather than spend a lot later to fix it.

Use a high-quality oil that stands up to extreme heat and maintains correct oil pressure. Periodically clean combustion chamber deposits with a fuel additive, such as AMSOIL P.i.

Doing so can help keep your vehicle running properly and quietly for years.

Lubricant specifications are here to help.

Use Lubricant Specifications To Your Advantage

 

Amsoil Tech Guru

Matt Erickson | DIRECTOR, TECHNICAL PRODUCT MANAGEMENT

Specs can be confusing if you miss these three points.

Let’s step back in time for a minute. It’s the 1920s. You’re cruising around town in your Ford* Model A or maybe your Nash* Advanced Six Coupe. You’re off to the theater to see the latest Charlie Chaplin picture. Life is good.

But your car needs motor oil. How can you be sure of the oil’s performance? Will it provide the quality needed to keep your engine humming?

This dilemma is why we have motor oil specifications today. Back then, there was no telling what motorists were getting in each can of oil they purchased. One oil might offer good engine protection while another solidified in the cold, evaporated in the presence of heat and delivered all around poor performance. The industry quickly realized the need for a simple way to assure motorists the oil they were buying wouldn’t ruin their engines.

Setting The Most Basic Standard – The API

Eventually, the American Petroleum Institute (API) introduced its first gasoline motor oil performance specification – API SA. Motorists could look for oils recommended for the API SA specification and know that they were safe to use in vehicles built in 1930 and earlier. Soon, the API SB specification was introduced to supersede the previous specification. Fast forward several decades and now API SN PLUS is the current gasoline motor oil specification, with API SP/ILSAC GF-6 set to be introduced next May.

Side Note: There are still marketers selling SA and SB rated oils which will destroy your engine – Amalie is being sued for selling a product line through Dollar stores. So watch out!! These specifications including the latest are “LOW” minimums.

Today, the market is loaded with lubricant specifications, which is one reason many motorists don’t understand them. In addition to API, there’s ILSAC, ACEA and JASO specifications. And don’t forget the dozens of specifications published by the automakers themselves, like GM* dexos® 1 Gen 2 or Chrysler* MS-6395. Plus, we have several transmission fluid specifications, like MERCON* LV and DEXRON* III.

Clear as mud, right?

Understanding lubricant performance specifications isn’t that difficult if you identify a few key points.

1) A lubricant performance specification is a set of minimum performance standards.

Say you turn to the back of your owner’s manual and see that the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommends using a 5W-20 motor oil rated for API SN PLUS. That means you can safely use any 5W-20 motor oil recommended for API SN PLUS. To earn that designation, the oil must demonstrate a minimum level of performance in a range of motor oil bench and engine tests. These tests are designed to screen for wear protection, stability in the presence of heat, engine cleanliness and more. These standards usually set the minimum performance standard for conventional oils, which is a pretty low bar. That means two lubricants recommended for the same specification (API SN PLUS, for example) do not necessarily provide equal performance and protection. Lubricants meeting the specification requirements have only met the minimum performance requirements, leaving room for significant differences in performance.

2) Many OEMs publish their own motor oil performance specifications.

For decades, API and other industry lubricant specifications were the only game in town. Some 3rd parties called it “The lowest Common Denominator”. This kept things relatively simple. Then, General Motors* introduced its GM dexos 1 spec in 2011, further confusing things for consumers. An OEM might determine its engines require oil that offers better performance in certain areas than required by industry specifications, hence the need for its own specification. European OEMs have been doing this for years. Thus European labeled oils…

3) Specifications aren’t the same as brands.

You might hear owners of GM vehicles say that they need to use “dexos oil” in their engines. There’s no such thing as a brand of oil named “dexos.” What the driver means to say is he or she needs to use an oil that is made for the GM dexos specification. This is a key difference because they might falsely think they have to use the OEM-branded fluid to maintain their warranty when they can, in fact, use any oil recommended for the dexos spec.

Lubricant specifications are designed to help motorists, but at the end of the day they’re just recommendations. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act guarantees you the freedom to choose whichever oil you think is best for your vehicles and equipment. An OEM cannot deny warranty coverage simply based on the oil you use. For the record, AMSOIL recommends consulting your owner’s manual for the recommended viscosity and oil specifications and using an oil that lists those on its label.

Note!! This does not apply in Canada. AMSOIL is working to create a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in each providence to protect Canadians as their American counterparts enjoy.

Profits are with set minimums (Specifications) – Performance exists when they are enhanced further

This is where AMSOIL stands apart from all other products which can be sorted into two additional categories.

Lubricant specifications also simply set minimum performance requirements. We’re not satisfied with “minimum” performance here. That’s why customers who want the best protection should use AMSOIL instead of just any old oil recommended for their vehicles. For proof of how AMSOIL products exceed the toughest specifications, visit www.amsoil.com/performancetests.aspx