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Filters are another topic I'm somewhat well versed on. LEVE has it.

It basically works out to some sensible service interval. Short interval ..absolutely no sense in buying a fine filter. You're refreshing the sump often enough to prevent too many larger (missed) particles from becoming too numerous.

If you're into longer service intervals, then you can take advantage of upper tier filters. There the oil is left in service longer, the sump matures longer, therefore you can make a difference.

Loading: This is mostly a product of warm up miles to non-fuel enrichment miles. If your 3k miles is shorter trips, you've got a high ratio of loading miles. This is why some OEM recommendations state every other oil change for the filter change interval. That driver is filling the odometer with "hollow" filter miles.

This is not to say that filters don't filter out random metal particle ejecta from the engine. Some will be bigger (30um-100um) and will be caught by the filter in most cases, it's just that metal trappings aren't the biggest fatigue factor on the filter.

Finer filters do a better job, but the scale of impact is hard to quantify. For most, it will make the difference of a 300k engine going to the junkyard in good condition vs. a 375k engine going to the junkyard in good condition.

The standard "orange can" Fram is junk. It works fine ..but typically costs more than the cheapest offerings of other filter manufacturers. They all use metal endcaps ..Fram uses cardboard. Again, they work, but I don't reward the cheapest offering with any premium in price. They just aren't worth it. Puro Classic (formerly Puro Premium), ST (the Ecore design is great) and other Champ Lab offerings in the $2.xx-$3.xx are great. MotorCraft (Purolator) are a great deal at WM for $3.47 and are 100% assured to meet the OEM AFTERMARKET requirements of any Ford product (there's a difference between assembly line filters and OEM aftermarket filters - one is built to a price point in the cost of the car - the other has more revenue to work with= ROI).

The upper offerings from Fram are well constructed ..even to overkill ..but they extract a premium over the already too expensive "orange can". If you can get the Extended Guard (iirc) on sale, it's a very solid filter.

WIX are a great filter. Top notch in construction. Silicon ADBV's ..etc..etc. Filtration appears to conform more toward OEM spec's as opposed to Puro/M1/Champ where they appear to offer a more generic level of filtration (either high or common).

There is only ONE Wix offering. It's the same as NapaGold and CarQuest Blue. Wix makes many other filters for NAPA and others, but they are not WIX filters. They are NAPA (or whomever's) built by WIX to the vendor's specifications.

Champ Labs makes just about all OEM ASSEMBLY LINE filters. They make (currently) AC Delco AFTERMARKET filters. Mobil1 filters are Champ are Royal Purple's filter.

Essentially, with the exception of the orange can of doom -due to cost, buy a filter based on how long you're going to use it in service. If the service requires the oil to be changed on a time weighted basis, then go cheap. If the service requires the oil to be changed on a mileage basis (we're talking OEM recommendations) ..then the filter can be changed every other time. This would economically support a more expensive filter.

Keep in mind that all that is termed severe service is not so. Taxi service isn't hard on engines or oil at all. There are few warm up cycles. Very little fuel dilution. What you're seeing is the mismatch between an odometer and the fuel processed through the engine. A taxi getting 9-12mpg would probably get 22-24 in normal usage. That makes their 3k-4k oil and filter changes more akin to 7k-8k.

A GM Oil Life Monitor works well for this type of service. It automatically factors the severity of service in a sensible manner. I've seen up to 13k and it's set for conventional oil and the minimum OEM spec'd filter.

· Registered
2,062 Posts
1) All the data is not quantitive or qualitative enough for me.
Most of the valid testing on filters by SAE publications are done on diesels. There everything naturally routes to the most sensible conclusion in terms of economics. There measured wear was statistically altered by filtering below 10um. That's not to say that 10um filtration will lower your wear in a gasoline engine. Much wear in a diesel is due to soot agglomerating into larger particles ..and causing abrasive wear. That's why they have bypass filters.

In those "the wear is what the wear is".

2) There is insufficient data, at least that I can find, that conclusively determines the *amount* of engine wear directly attributed to particle or chemical contaminents in the oil
As far as particulate? Agreed. At least not to the point where we can make much sense if it in terms of the typical engine's life.

Paraphrased, doe it really matter if your heart was that of an 18 year old ..if your kidneys and liver are failing you at 85+ years of age?? It may to the transplant recipient to speak. That is, the chassis retirement is what ends the useful life of most engines.

Chemical issues can surely be more damaging. For every gallon of gas you burn at sea level, you produce 1.4 gallons of water. That's in zero humidity air. If you have moisture in the atmosphere, it lowers its density ..and you need to gulp more air. In any event, that water production, if not vented/vaporized, will form acids. Oil have buffers to resist acid formation ..but they have their limits.

These are typically non-factors since most people change their oil way too often. Oil is "apparently" cheap here. There are only so many things you can do with the leftovers/fractions/coproducts from fuel production. You can make plastics ..which we see people carting out of Wally's by the ton ..and you can make lubricants. Just consider them a value added co-product that you can't store or just throw away either. You'll pay $30liter for M1 in Europe and it's not due to the tax structure.

f you change your oil and filter as prescribes by the maintenance manual for your vehicle, the percentage of owners that will experience engine failure directly attribute to the oil and filter, whatever brand you use, will be mostly like be non-existent.
Much more true than not.

There is no magic oil. It doesn't exist. That's why you either have to justify any added cost with longevity in service or due to the severity of the service. A top tier synthetic has to carry itself in avoided costs or added service (like being in Frostbite Falls, ND @ -40) ..or it's just a waste of money.

That is, it's only when you're outside of the prescribed envelope where anything other than standard is required.

That all said, we're creatures that require distinction in all things. We hate just lining up and conforming. We have to "do it our way" and always have a love affair with our machinery. We like the notion of building better mousetraps.

· Registered
2,062 Posts
With that said, I'd love to see valid testing comparisons performed on the daily drivers in South Dakota vs Southern California to determine if, in fact, synthetic oil produces greater longevity in engine life because of its flow charactistics in very low ambient temperatures.
You'll experience (probably) no life extension of the engine ..assuming "normal" operations.

There is no magic oil. It doesn't exist at any price.

An internet friend in Oz (Australia) was a fleet operator. He also had a OTR service center that his competitors used. He was no yahoo ..working with OEM's and Shell and XOM in testing as well over the years.

They used conventional and bypass filters ..he used synthetic and centrifuges . All oils were OEM approved and all maintenance was monitored/dictated according to UOA.

The results were no SIGNIFICANT increases in time between engine overhaul rates using synthetic over convention.

What he did experience was 1/4 the downtime of his competitors due to mandated service intervals. ( sidenote: Now in transmissions/overdrives/differentials ..there synthetics paid off in spade in avoided downtime for repair/overhaul. )

That's why I say that, all other things being equal ..the use of a more expensive lubricant has to "carry itself" in added utility in either longevity or ability to endure some severity of service ..which can mean the same thing to some people.

For example, towing in a contemporary SBC chassis doesn't spec a higher visc ..even though oil temps will be peaked. It recommends a shortening of the service interval to offset the more rapid oxidation (aging) of the oil. Trumping that with something that can endure the service better can pay off in avoided costs.

The biggest influence on wear is your air filter. Sucking in abrasive particles sand blasts your throttle body ..intake ..valves and pistons.

So, I don't think you can find an argument here ...if that's what you're looking for :D

Don't buy it if it doesn't pay. Never pay any more than you have to for something ...but make sure you check your economy of scale. Using a synthetic and still dwelling in the 3k/3m prison is usually a waste of money ..but if using a synthetic allows you to do 6k/6m (still a waste by some) then you've gotten VALUE in avoided costs in time/material.

It's simple once you step back and evaluate it in absolute terms.

· Registered
2,062 Posts
Marketing and hype are what sell most products.

Castrol: 90% of all wear occurs at startup! :shocked:

Not mentioning that "startup" is the bona fide condition for about the first 20 minutes of operation. It's accepted SAE nomenclature for "warm up" or anything other than steady state (oil temp leveling off - which takes about 20 minutes).

Thinking with your dipstick, Jimmie? :shocked:

Adaptive molecules and a paper engine going through a shredder and reforming itself? :shocked:

Sitting in a drive thru and being bathed in liquid sludge? :shocked:

Sure. Lots of hype. Now you take a product like Amsoil...and get some stooge of an idiot that actually believes (or not) the stuff he can spew from his mouth? Sure. You're going to get the same garbage that someone who uses Mobil 1 for no other reason than it has the label on it. That person "believes" that they're using magic oil ..even if they're not using it magically.

P.F. Flyers, anyone? With the "ACTION WEDGE" that makes you run faster ..and jump higher!! :D

I am an Amsoil dealer. You'll hear no hype from me. There is no such thing as magic oil.

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