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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 01-29-2011, 11:24 PM   #21
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know I need 10W60 oil...but only Castrol? - yes

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Old 01-29-2011, 11:32 PM   #22
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Castrol is the only oil that will ever enter my ///M. It was specifically made for our engines, no other oil can say it was developed for our engines. So guess I'll pay the premium price for the peace of mind that gives me, especially because I rock my whip hard Yo....haha.

Originally Posted by RAFF112 View Post
The only oil I'd use other than OEM is liqui moly.
I never herd of that oil before...and I laughed because I saw you sig DJ thing,thinking you were joking, saying you put Molly in your car. If u don't get it, the club scene calls ecstasy Molly haha.

Last edited by bmxpert86; 01-29-2011 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:50 AM   #23
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[QUOTE=bmxpert86;12748274]Castrol is the only oil that will ever enter my ///M. It was specifically made for our engines, no other oil can say it was developed for our engines. So guess I'll pay the premium price for the peace of mind that gives me, especially because I rock my whip hard Yo....haha.

Well here is my take on that. When BMW did the bearing recall on the M3 they changed the required oil to 10W60 and had Castrol make it. They said if Castrol 10W60 wasn't used it would void your warranty. Sounds to me like there became some type of cash deal between Castrol and BMW. When only one company makes 10W60 and you have to go to the dealership to buy it and can't get it at Walmart, sounds like cornering the market and charging whatever you want for it. Was Castrol the first company to make 10W60 synthetic? I'm not sure. Maybe they did but now other companies have decided to make the same product. No more cornering the market. Now we have choices and prices can vary. So does that mean that ONLY Castrol is the safest oil to use? I doubt it. Are some brands better than others ? Maybe. I'm sure if Redline and Lubro Moly wanted a piece of the pie there R&D team would come up with a product that is just as good and safe as Castrol to run in an M3.
That's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Last edited by emtae; 01-30-2011 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:54 PM   #24
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Wow. So surprised that no one paid any attention to what I said. There is another oil that is listed as BMW M Approved, made by Total Lubrications. Total Lubrications is the parent company to Elf (the F1 oil sponsor). They dropped the name in the US, as sales were not the greatest and offer an M approved oil for our cars, and the new M3/M5/M6...

But, keep arguing about other companies and "will it work" and LL-01 specs... This stuff is made for our cars, and is $6.99 a quart...

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Old 01-30-2011, 03:58 PM   #25
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I have used both the GT1 Lubromoly and Elf and have had no issues whatsoever. I would highly recommend the LubroMoly...I've noticed the temps runs cooler as compared to the TWS.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:55 PM   #26
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nobody disputes the fact that the TWS works well, but paying north of $12/ltr seems absurd. Sure you've got to pay to play, but just because I'm in the game it doesn't mean that I'm going to blindly pay for one oil when a comprable one is available for considerably less money.

I'm running the Lubro Moly and will be changing it on 5k-7k intervals for a little while. Trying to get to the "clean" pics in the post that viper7180 linked to- My car obviously had been maintained only by the dealer, and when I pulled the VC after buying it the top end looked a bit grungy.

Seems like a lot of people are willing to change wheels, brake pads, intakes, exhausts, shocks, springs, cams and all kinds of other things, but by god don't consider using non-OEM oil!

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Old 01-31-2011, 12:28 AM   #27
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Everyone seems to forget that BMW switched to 10w60 after the rod bearing problems. It used to be Mobile 1. Use whatever you want.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:47 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by WillC310 View Post
Everyone seems to forget that BMW switched to 10w60 after the rod bearing problems. It used to be Mobile 1. Use whatever you want.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:40 PM   #29
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Old 01-31-2011, 06:44 PM   #30
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Last time I talked to a Castrol rep about TWS he told told me that it been superseded (SM vs SJ) by 'edge sport 10w - 60', and that it just wasn't worth castrol's money to go through the BMW approval process again for this oil. Of course he could get TWS if I really wanted, but there was no reason to have it over the edge sport, so it's what i use.

Our engines are not magic or made of crocodile dust, any GOOD quality synthetic 10w60 oil will do the job, I'd assume that there are some people out there who use the full service interval in their M cars, sufferring some oil degradation, without trouble.
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:31 PM   #31
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OMG! Castrol 10W60 only gospel.... there are plenty of people who race on oils other than TWS. At least on this forum, you dont get a thread shutdown.

And it is LubriMoly. Ive also used their 10w60GT1 in the street car. Ive seen people use TWS, GT1, Motul300V in racecars...
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:40 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by bmxpert86 View Post
Castrol is the only oil that will ever enter my ///M. It was specifically made for our engines, no other oil can say it was developed for our engines. So guess I'll pay the premium price for the peace of mind that gives me, especially because I rock my whip hard Yo....haha.

I never herd of that oil before...and I laughed because I saw you sig DJ thing,thinking you were joking, saying you put Molly in your car. If u don't get it, the club scene calls ecstasy Molly haha.
No Im not joking. Its the only other oil proven to with stand abuse like TWS and it completely eliminated my cold start problems.

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Old 01-31-2011, 09:48 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by magnetic1 View Post
OMG! Castrol 10W60 only gospel.... there are plenty of people who race on oils other than TWS. At least on this forum, you dont get a thread shutdown.

And it is LubriMoly. Ive also used their 10w60GT1 in the street car. Ive seen people use TWS, GT1, Motul300V in racecars...
Liquimoly is the company, Lubromoly is the product.


Sometimes branded as LiquiMoly, which I think is more common in the oils labeled for the European market.


...but I've not seen Lubrimoly anywhere- I did some reading on this a while back to see if one was a knockoff of the other, but it's all the same stuff. The pour spouts on the containers are enough to get anyone hooked. It's a brilliant design.

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Old 02-01-2011, 12:04 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by dcf View Post
Ahhhh, another oil thread.

The biggest question is this: why wouldn't you use the Castrol TWS (10W60)? The other "alternatives, really are not much cheaper, if at all. Call a dealer or 2 in your area, I bought 7 litres of TWS for my car (yes, 1 spare) for roughly $10 a bottle. You want to risk another brand to save 5-6 bucks? Why? 8,200 RPM redline--what do you think makes that possible, "the force?"

This was a premiere, top of the line luxury sports car when new, now that they are 10 years old and cheaper to buy, people think they can treat 'em like a Civic. The reason they are cheap to buy now....THEY COST $$$ TO MAINTAIN. You want to play BMW, you got to pay BMW.

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Old 02-01-2011, 04:44 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by E46MBM View Post
Well its time for an oil change in my ///M3, I know the car requires 5.8 quarts of synthetic 10W60 oil and BMW calls for Castrol brand, however, are other brand up to par with Castrol? I am searching online to get the best deal on oil and see Redline brand 10W60 oil is quite a bit cheaper than Castrol (about $10/q vs $14/q). I am also seeing brands such as GT1 and Greddy GR-1 oil...however those I have not heard much about or seen so I may stay away from those, however Redline is a pretty common brand so I would trust their product more.

Also, does anyone have any leads to getting oil at an even cheaper rate? I am on Ebay now searching and so far about $10/q seems to be cheapest.

Last question, what type of filter do I need? Is it brand specific or can I use any generic one aslong as it claims for E46 BMW M3?

Thank you guys!!
Stick with Castrol TWS 10W60. It amazes me how people spend $1.5-2k/year to maintain their cars and then want to save 2 to 4 bucks a quart to use a different oil. This is not a Castrol/BMW conspiracy. This oil was developed by Castrol & BMW specifically for M cars after the disastrous rod bearing failure issues.

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Old 02-01-2011, 04:55 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by tcoz View Post
Stick with Castrol TWS 10W60. It amazes me how people spend $1.5-2k/year to maintain their cars and then want to save 2 to 4 bucks a quart to use a different oil. This is not a Castrol/BMW conspiracy. This oil was developed by Castrol & BMW specifically for M cars after the disastrous rod bearing failure issues.
Actually using Motul300V costs more....

some argue it protects even better.
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Last edited by magnetic1; 02-01-2011 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 04:57 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by tcoz View Post
Stick with Castrol TWS 10W60. It amazes me how people spend $1.5-2k/year to maintain their cars and then want to save 2 to 4 bucks a quart to use a different oil. This is not a Castrol/BMW conspiracy. This oil was developed by Castrol & BMW specifically for M cars after the disastrous rod bearing failure issues.
Not true. The bearing fauilure was a mfg defect. It had nothing to do with the oil. I haven't come across any members complaining of bearing failure as long as they used the correct viscosity oil. I've know people who have run even 10-40 for almost 45k+ miles and the engine doesn't sound or perform any different from the ones using TWS oil. If I get a better product for a better price then I don't see a point why you shouldn't use it. Keep in mind every $ counts no matter how rich you are.

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Old 02-04-2011, 06:49 AM   #38
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At least you don't have to pay the prices we pay from the BMW dealers in South Africa..... $23.50 per litre for TWS 10W60.....
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:22 AM   #39
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Personally I don't see a reason to switch from the BMW recommended TWS motorsport just to save a couple bucks. What most people in this thread don't understand is that the TWS is a very special oil derived from a Castrol racing oil just for M engines. Why would you not want to use an oil that is made purposly for the S54?

Here is a ton of info on the TWS that was put together by forum member Obioban....

Originally Posted by Obioban

First some history on 10W-60 TWS. This is a quote (with his permission) from a PM discussion last week with Doug Hillary on BITOG. He worked for Castrol at the time and he's written at least one book on automotive lubricants:

"This lubricant started off in the late 1970s as Castrol R Synthetic 15W-50 - it was castor oil based, red in colour and with that lovely exhaust odour. I worked with Castrol in refining the lubricant until the mid 1980s. It was used by me in a variety of high utilisation engines, diesel, petrol, flat, inline, vee, aircooled - almost the lot! I used it in some gearboexs etc too

It changed from a castor base around 1980-81


The lubricant as "Formula R Synthetic" had a long history with race teams around the World in the 1980s and 1990s. It won at LeMans a number of times commencing in the 1980s with the likes of Sauber Mercedes and was used by Porsche and BMW. It was marketed by Castrol as a Race oil and recommended for a wide range of "sporting" applications including Porsche. It became a "quck fix" for high temp applications and where fuel dilution was common

So very early on it had serious development by a series of Race Team engineers from the major Euro Manufacturers. These people are on site of course and experimentation with formulations is widespread and very thorough

As Castrol and BMW have a very serious Technical liaison now that goes back many years I believe that BP-Castrol created a special formulation version of the 10W-60. This was to solve some "issues" for BMW and to ensure a unique FF lubricant. I can't confirm the details but IIRC this occurred about the time of the BP takeover of Castrol when all Contracts were up for grabs

This type of thing is not uncommon. It happens with FF lubricants were extra chemical dosing is needed for specific reasons which include the metallurgy in a certain engine family - and even in gearboxes and etc as you will be very aware of"
In case you're missing the timing here, the BP take over of Castrol and then subsequent making a custom formulation of 10W-60 for BMW was in 1999-2000. The e46 M3 came out in late 2000 as a 2001 model year. Making the connection?

From Castrol's web site:
Castrol is committed to working together with BMW, using lubricants technology to improve the performance of new models. This brings benefits to BMW drivers worldwide.

More technical info from BITOG:

a friend from BITOG sent me this info. Thought you guys would appreciate the insights.

1 - ALPINA worked on its formulation with Castrol/BMW
2 - It suits DI engines due to its viscosity namely HTHS @ 5.4cP
3 - It has an excellent Pour Point (-42C) which is much better than some lighter viscosity lubricants
4 - It was progressively developed from 1997 as a low chlorine/minimised phosphorous lubricant

Its part ester/part PAO base has been constructed over a period of 30 years on an excellent development path

In its early life is was used by Sauber-Mercedes winning at LeMans and in Formula 1 engines (Ford-Cosworth). It was used at one point by Porsche in some race engines. It was also used here in the V8Supercars ZF six speed gearboxes with great success

It is a bit like a heavy weight version of M1 0W-40 or Delvac 1 5W-40 in its formulation.

Some thoughts by one of the M engineers:

I was fortunate to attend a BMW sponsored track day a few years ago and they had a factory engineer/advanced driver from Germany in attendance.
I and others were able to pick his brain through out the day and the 10W-60 spec oil of course came up. The real concern of most was the use of that oil in our Canadian winters.
He justified it's use in M engines when specified, for track days like the one we were currently enjoying and high speed driving when oil temps can easily exceed 150C.
He was asked to define high speed driving and he said sustained speeds in the 250 kmh range. When asked, what if you don't track your M3 and never exceed 150 kmh? He honestly found the question puzzling and answered "why would you buy an M3 if you didn't plan on driving it fast; there are other less powerful but more suitable 3 series choices available"? I told him my dentist who had an M3 was typical of most M3 owners in N/A. He likes the performance looks of the car, the status of it but he's never driven it faster than 140 kmh and typically cruises in the 120 kmh range. He found this 'poser mentality' very strange but agreed an M3 driven in such a manner would never see higher oil temps than a regular 3 series BMW and consiquently the regular BMW spec' oil would be more appropriate.
So, per BMW M engineers, If you're a poser you can run other oils. If not, stick with the TWS.

Recently posted by YemThwee on why BMW's recommendations have changed, for those of you who claim this was not designed for the engine as it wasn't originally speced:
Originally Posted by YemThwee View Post
Source: http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...bject-oil.html

After countless oil threads, endless arguments, and much entertainment, I was still none the wiser about WHY, in March 2000, BMW changed their S62 oil recommendation from 10W60 TWS / Edge to the 5W30 that they recommend for all their other models.

Bored of this endless cycle, and being the curious sort, I decided to call BMW and get an answer straight from the horses mouth. I explained the endless debate on the m5board, and the guy I dealt with got quite interested himself, as he is a huge E39 M5 fan. Over the last couple of weeks, on our behalf, he has contacted Customer Services in Germany, the engineering dept at Bracknell (BMW UK HQ) and he even ended up talking to the design team in Munich. Quite a few calls went back and forth between us. In the end we pieced together what we could from all the emails and conversations he had had, and came to a very simple conclusion.....

BMW engineers were adamant that the S62 was developed along side TWS and no other oil should be used. (year was not an issue as far as they were concerned - it is 10W60 or nothing, whether it is pre, or post March 2000.

However, as is far too often the case these days, the BMW marketing team had different ideas to their engineers. The problem was, that back in '98 & '99, there were a growing number of complaints from customers, who were finding they needed to top up the oil rather more often than they had expected. This in itself was not a huge issue - the problem was that they could not just grab a bottle of oil when they filled up with fuel. They had to keep making special trips to the dealer, and this may be many miles away. This was bothering people a lot.

BMW did 2 things in response to these complaints:

The engineers tried changing the piston rings. BMW will not provide any documentation regarding the ring change or why it was done - this is just from conversation. Assuming it was an attempt to reduce oil consumption, then from what I can gather from the board, they only had limited success.

The marketing team however, ignored the engineers and simply changed the oil recommendation to match the rest of their products. This meant you could now pick up a bottle of oil at the motorway service station and feel good that you were using the "recommended oil" and you hadn't had to stockpile it at home, or go out of your way to a dealer on your way to the in-laws for thew weekend.

We could not extract anything in writing from ANYONE at BMW in the UK or in Germany regarding the reasons why all this had happened. People at BMW were even quite reluctant to talk about it to the customer service guy, and were keen to know why he was digging all this up. All I did manage to get in writing was this -

Dear Mr MacDonald

Thank you for contacting BMW Customer Information.

I have contacted BMW Munich on your behalf and they confirmed to me that Castrol developed this special oil with BMW "M" specifically for these engines. The running characteristics and performance are reliant on this oil being used.
Normally engine changes (piston rings) denote new engine model numbers, however this has not happened in this case. Therefore the recommendation would be to continue to use the TWS oil only as instructed. BMW UK also confirmed to me that in March 2000, more oils were tested for the vehicle but they did not have any information on piston rings affecting the oil type required.

I am sorry that I have been unable to find any further information on the subject and thank you for your patience whilst I researched this matter on your behalf. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely

BMW Group UK
Alex Amos
Customer Information Advisor
Ellesfield Avenue
Bracknell RG12 8TA

So there you go. Make of that what you will.........

A PDF from Castrol, stating that the TWS formula is specific to M engines: http://homepage.mac.com/ianlindvig/EDGE_10W-60.pdf

BMW SIB which was the official oil change over document and the official BMW reasoning: http://homepage.mac.com/ianlindvig/BMWEngineOils.pdf

Some points I'd like to add.

-As seen above, engine may have indeed been originally designed for castrol 10W-60, and marketing took it away... briefly

-oil technology has indeed changed in the last 10 years. Fun fact: the TWS spec has not remained constant-- they have been updating it

-the castrol engineers work on the TWS spec WITH BMW M engineers. M engineers have input on what goes into. Now, admittedly they're focusing most of that development effort on the newer M cars, but I'm sure they're not doing it at our expense

-IMHO, redline products ARE HORRIBLE. Their fluids feel great at first, and then quickly degenerate. Even if I did venture from TWS, Redline would be my absolute last choice in aftermarket oils. (if you're wondering, I'd probably go with Motul).

At the end of the day, I'm sticking with the TWS because there's no compelling reason to use anything else. It's plenty cheap, it provides good protection, and it works in every environment I drive the car. If I lived somewhere where it got absurdly cold I'd probably switch for the winter months, but other than that I just don't see any possible benefit to switching. What are you hoping to GAIN in exchange for the gamble you're making? (and yes, it certainly is a gamble, as it's absolutely more risk than the tested, proven, factory recommended TWS)

How many cars get to have an oil specifically designed for them? Very few! In TWS, we are getting a very high quality oil that should cost MUCH more than it does, for a very reasonable price. ANYTHING you switch to is going to be for a more generic application, regardless of it's quality.

Edit: Just found this on another site. I think people considering switching should have a good read over this and realize that was have an oil specifically tailored to our engine. That's not very common, and something I certainly want take advantage of:

What Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: AdditivesWhat Goes Into an Oil: Additives

Although the basestock of an oil will be a major determining factor in the lubrication quality of an oil, chemical additives play a major part in making sure that it does all that it is supposed to do. In fact, the chemical additive package of an oil is just as important to insuring the quality of a lubricant as is the particular basestock used.

The chemical additive package of an oil is designed to perform a number of tasks and each task is performed by a particular type of chemical. The quality of the chemicals used and the manner in which they are blended plays a large part in determining how well the additive package does its job.

As you can well imagine, as the quality of the additive chemicals increases, so does the price. In addition, proper blending takes a great deal of research. This requires much time and, again, money. Therefore, manufacturers will, of course, charge more for motor oils which contain a high quality additive package than those with lower quality additive packages. They simply can't afford not to.

As mentioned above, each chemical within an oils additive package plays a different role in boosting the beneficial properties of it's host lubricant (basestock). Each of those roles is described below along with a brief description of the types of chemicals that are used to accomplish those roles.

Additives Improve Viscosity Characteristics

Basestock lubricants have a certain temperature range over which they will flow adequately. The wider this temperature range the better. Cold temperature starting requires an oil that will flow well at low temperatures. The higher engine temperatures of todays smaller, higher revving engines requires an oil that will perform well under high temperature conditions.

Viscosity Index Improvers

As a lubricant basestock is subjected to increasing temperatures it tends to lose its viscosity. In other words, it thins out. This leads to decreased engine protection and a higher likelihood of metal to metal contact. Therefore, if this viscosity loss can be minimized, the probability of unnecessary engine wear will be reduced. This is where viscosity index (VI) improvers (sometimes called viscosity modifiers) come in.

VI improvers are polymers that expand and contract with changes in temperature. At low temperatures they are very compact and affect the viscosity of a lubricant very little. But, at high temperatures these polymers "explode" into much larger long-chain polymers which significantly increase the viscosity of their host lubricant. So, as the basestock loses viscosity with increases in temperature, VI improvers negate that viscosity drop by increasing their size.

The higher the molecular weight of the polymers used, the better the power of "thickening" within the lubricant. Unfortunately, an increase in molecular weight also leads to an inherent instability of the polymers themselves. They become much more prone to shearing within an engine. As these polymers are sheared back to lower molecular weight molecules, their effectiveness as a VI improver decreases.

Unfortunately, because petroleum basestocks are so prone to viscosity loss at high temperatures, high molecular weight polymers must be used. Since these polymers are more prone to shearing than lower molecular weight polymers, petroleum oils tend to shear back very quickly. In other words, they lose their ability to maintain their viscosity at high temperatures.

Synthetic basestocks, on the other hand, are much less prone to viscosity loss at high temperatures. Therefore, lower molecular weight polymers may be used as VI improvers. These polymers are less prone to shearing, so they are effective for a much longer period of time than the VI improvers used in petroleum oils. In other words, synthetic oils do not quickly lose their ability to maintain viscosity at high temperatures as petroleum oils do.

In fact, some synthetic basestocks are so stable at high temperatures they need NO VI improvers at all. Obviously, these basestocks will maintain their high temperature viscosities for a very long time since there are no VI improvers to break down.

Lubricant Stability Maintained by Additives

Lubricating oils are not only prone to viscosity loss over time. They are also susceptible to breakdown due to contamination and/or oxidation which decreases the useful life of an oil. Additives are often used in order to inhibit the susceptibility of a basestock to this breakdown over time.

Detergents and Dispersants

Contamination due to sludge and varnish build-up within an oil can often be one of the limiting factors in determining the useful life of an oil. If this build-up can be minimized and contained, the life of the lubricating fluid can be increased. Detergent and dispersant additives are utilized for this purpose. There is some debate as to whether those additives considered to be detergents actually "clean" existing deposits, but at the very least they aid dispersants in keeping new deposits from forming.

Detergent and dispersant additives are attracted to sludge and varnish contaminants within a lubricant. They then contain and suspend those particles so that they do not come together to form deposits. The more contamination within the oil, the more additive that is used up. Since synthetic oils are less prone to leave sludge and varnish, these additives are used up much more slowly within a synthetic lubricant.

Some oils use ashless dispersants which are more effective at controlling sludge and varnish contamination than metallic dispersants. In addition, some ashless dispersants are actually long chain polymers that serve a dual purpose as VI improvers in multi-grade oils. Detergents are all metallic in nature.

Anti-Foaming Agents

Although necessary for engine cleanliness, detergents and dispersants can have a negative effect on the lubricating fluid within your engine as well. Sometimes, these oil additives can play a part in oil foaming. In other words, air bubbles are produced within the oil. These air bubbles, if not neutralized, will reduce the lubricating qualities of the motor oil. Anti-foaming agents such as small amounts of silicone or other compounds are used to control this phenomenon.

Oxidation Inhibitors

As you probably can guess, oxidation inhibitors are additives that manage to reduce the tendency of an oil to oxidize (chemically react with oxygen). They are also called antioxidants. There are two types:

One type of antioxidant destroys free radicals. In fact, you may have heard of antioxidants which can be found in vitamin supplements. In human beings, free radicals can cause cell damage and even cancer. Antioxidants neutralize these free radicals in the body to reduce the chance of them causing any damage. In motor oil they serve a similar function by destroying free radicals that aid in the process of oxidation.

The other type of antioxidant reacts with the peroxides in the oil. These peroxides are involved in the process of oxidation. Reaction with the antioxidant removes them from the oxidation process, thereby lessening the chance of motor oil oxidation.

Oxidation inhibitors also serve one more very important purpose. They protect against bearing corrosion. You see, bearing corrosion is caused by acids within your motor oil. These acids come from combustion by-products, but they can also be the result of oxidation. So, by inhibiting motor oil oxidation, antioxidants also protect against bearing corrosion.

Additives Improve Engine Protection

Although antioxidants prevent the acids caused by oxidation, they do nothing to neutralize the acids caused by combustion by-products. Therefore, other additives must be used in order to keep these acids in check and to protect engine components from their effects.

Corrosion Inhibitors

Some corrosion inhibitors are designed to protect non-ferrous metals by coating them so they cannot come in contact with acids within the oil. Other corrosion inhibitors are designed to actually neutralize the acids within the oil. The acid neutralizing capability of an oil is expressed by its Total Base Number (TBN).

Since diesel engines tend to have more acid build up within the oil, these oils generally have TBN between 9 and 14. Gasoline oil TBN levels are normally lower at 5 to 8. Generally, higher quality oils and/or those that are designed for longer drain intervals will have higher TBN numbers.

Synthetics will almost always fall at the high end of the scale for both gas and diesel oils, while petroleum oils will typically fall at the low end of the scale because they are changed frequently anyway. There is normally no need for petroleum oils to have high TBN values.

Anti-Wear Agents

Even with the best of oils there is always the possibility of metal to metal contact within an engine, however slight. Some oils (especially premium synthetics) will cling to metal surfaces better than others, but engines that are left to sit for any period of time may have very little lubricant protection at start-up. This is especially true in cold conditions when petroleum oils do not pump well. To minimize the engine component wear caused by these situations, anti-wear additives are used.

Additives such as zinc and phosphorus will actually coat metal surfaces forming a protective barrier against wear. They do not eliminate the metal to metal contact. They simply minimize the wear that occurs during those instances. Typically, zinc and phosphorus come as a package called ZDDP (zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate). They work together.

Additives Help to Alleviate Compatibility Issues

Some additives are included in an oil to deal with compatibility issues between the oil and certain engine components. For instance, as was mentioned when discussing basestocks, there are certain types of lubricant basestock that will cause seals and gaskets to swell or to shrink. These effects have to be minimized. Sometimes basestock blending will alleviate the issue, but in other cases additives might be used.

Moreover, depending upon the particular application the oil will be used for, some additives may be left out while others may be left in. For instance, in order to meet API SJ through SM fuel economy requirements, oils are now formulated with special friction modifiers (reducers). However, these friction modifiers are typically left out of motorcycle oils and higher viscosity oils that are not used for their fuel economy benefits anyway.

Seeing the Big Picture

When considered as a whole, lubricant oils are comprised mainly of basestock fluids. Only a small percentage of the oil is comprised of additive chemicals. However, as is evident from the information presented above, additives can play as important a role as the basestock fluid itself.

A high quality basestock blended with a cheap additive package is still junk oil. A high quality additive package added to a cheap basestock is no better.

Of course, a motor oil as a whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, even a high quality basestock combined with a high quality additive package isn't necessarily going to yield a premium oil. The company manufacturing the oil has to know how to correctly blend those basestocks and additives so that they perform well together.

If you want your engine to last, don't be cheap - Your vehicle wasn't. Spend the extra to get a high quality oil. If you're going to stick with a petroleum oil, don't by "John Doe's No-Name Cheapo Oil". It might meet API specifications, but that doesn't mean much.

The same goes for a synthetic oil. If you're going to spend the bucks, why purchase synthetic oil from a manufacturer that's only been blending synthetics for a few years? Wouldn't you rather purchase a synthetic oil from a company that's been doing it for a while.

As an example, if you were waiting to have triple bypass surgery, who would you want operating on you - the first year eager-beaver medical resident or the guy who's been doing it for 15 years and gets a write-up in a different medical journal every week for his expertise in the field? Do I even have to ask? There are companies out there that have been manufacturing synthetic lubricants for over 20 years.

Don't you think they probably know a little more about it than some company that just started selling synthetic oil a few years back to increase their bottom line? If you want the better oil, generally you can purchase it from the company that's been doing it the longest. Of course, that's not always true, but it is generally a good rule of thumb.
From http://members.themotoroilevaluator....dex.php?id=149

07 Z4 M Coupe AW/IR
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Old 02-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #40
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Does anyone use Motul? I use it in my Z and I love it. It's pretty expensive, but it really seems to help eliminate cold starts and I've noticed that engine temps are lower.
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10w60 oil, bmw m3, filter, oil change

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