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    2 MOTOR OIL AND FILTRATION GUIDE

    Motor oil is the primary determinantin the durability of an engine. It con-tains two basic components: basestocks and additives.

    Base Stocks

    The base stock is the bulk of the oil.The base stock lubricates internalmoving parts, removes heat andseals piston rings.

    Motor oil base stocks can bemade from: 1) petroleum, 2) chem-ically synthesized materials, 3) acombination of synthetics and petro-leum (called para-synthetic, semi-synthetic or synthetic blend.)

    A petroleum base stock consistsof many different oil fractions thatform the final product. Generally,

    molecules of a petroleum base stockare long carbon chains that can besensitive to the stress of heat andboil off at relatively low tempera-tures. Engine temperatures breakdown these molecular chains,changing the physical properties(such as viscosity) of the motor oil.

    The difference with synthetic basestocks is that molecules are uni-formly shaped, which makes themmore resistant to the stress of heat.Because AMSOIL synthetic motor

    oils possess these uniformly-shapedmolecules, they have a low boil offrate. Thus, their physical properties(such as viscosity) do not change.

    Additives

    The various chemicals that comprisethe additive system in motor oilsfunction to provide anti-wear, anti-foam, corrosion protection, acid neu-tralization, maintenance of viscosity,detergency and dispersancy. Theseare the chemicals that help modernmotor oils meet the increasing

    demands of todays high-techengines. Their quality varies widelythroughout the lubrication industry,ranging from a bare minimum insome oils (to comply with certainrequirements) to exceptionally highquality, as in all AMSOIL motor oils.

    What a Motor Oil Must Do

    Modern motor oil is a highly special-ized product carefully developed byengineers and chemists to perform

    many essential functions. A motoroil must:

    Permit easy starting Lubricate engine parts and

    prevent wear

    Reduce friction Protect against rust and

    corrosion Keep engine parts clean

    Minimize combustionchamber deposits

    Cool engine parts Seal combustion pressures

    Be nonfoaming

    Aid fuel economy.

    Improvements in Oil

    The quality of motor oil has changeddramatically in the past 30 years,and new demands on lubricants inmodern engine design call for oilsthat meet stringent requirements.Variations in an oils ability to meetthe requirements determine whichservice classification rating andviscosity grade it receives.

    Service classifications are deter-mined by the American PetroleumInstitute. Viscosity grades of oils aredetermined by the Society of Auto-motive Engineers. These two organ-

    izations have set industry standardsfor motor oils for more than 75 years.

    Viscosity

    Viscosity, the most important prop-erty of an oil, refers to the oils resist-ance to flow. The viscosity of oilvaries with changes in temperature thinner when hot, thicker whencold. An oil must be able to flow atcold temperatures to lubricate inter-nal moving parts upon starting theengine. It must also remain viscous

    or thick enough to protect anengine at high operating tempera-tures. When an oil is used at avariety of temperatures, as it is inmost engines, the change of vis-cosity with temperature variationshould be as small as possible.

    The measure of an oils viscositychange is called theViscosity Indexnumber (VI); the higher the number,the smaller the viscosity changewhich means the better the oil pro-

    tects the engine. The number doesnot indicate the actual viscosity inhigh and low temperature extremesof the oil. It represents the rate of vis-cosity change with temperaturechange.

    Viscosity improvers are viscouschemical compounds called poly-mers or polymeric compounds thatdecrease the rate at which oils

    change viscosity with temperature.These viscosity modifiers extend amotor oils operating temperaturerange and make multi-grade or all-season oils possible. However, low-quality viscosity improvers lendthemselves to shearing.

    The VI is measured by comparingthe viscosity of the oil at 40C(104F) with its viscosity at 100C(212F). VI can provide insight intoan oils ability to perform at high andlow temperatures.

    Petroleum-based motor oils requirethe use of viscosity improvers tomeet the low-temperature require-ments of SAE 0W, 5W or 10W andthe high-temperature requirementsof SAE 30 or heavier oil.

    Synthetic-based motor oils havea naturally-high viscosity index andrequire less viscosity improver addi-tive than petroleum oils.

    What Is a Motor Oil?

    20W-50

    15W-40

    10W-30

    5W-30

    -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

    Fahrenheit

    0W-30

    SAE Viscosity Grade andOutdoor Temperature

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    MOTOR OIL AND FILTRATION GUIDE 3

    Cold-Temperature Protection

    Motor oil must begin to circulateas soon as the engine is started. Ifoil gets cold enough and beginsto solidify, it fails to flow through

    the oil screen to the pump at enginestart and causes bearings andother critical parts to fail almostimmediately.

    Pour point is an indicator of theability of an oil to flow at cold operat-ing temperatures. It is the lowest tem-perature at which the fluid will flow.

    Modern refining techniques removemost of the wax from petroleum oil,but some wax-like molecules remain.These wax-like molecules are solubleat ambient temperatures above freez-ing, but crystallize into a honeycomb-like structure at lower temperaturesand cause oil circulation problems.

    Pour point depressants keepwax crystals in the oil microscopi-cally small and prevent them fromjoining together to form the honey-comb-like structure. They lower thetemperature at which oil will pour orflow and are found in most motoroils designed for cold-weather use. Assynthetic motor oils do not containthose wax crystals, they do not requirepour point depressant additives.

    Wear Protection

    Since one of an oils main functions isto prevent friction and wear,anti-wearadditives are part of the chemicalcomposition of an oil. These additivesprotect engines by bonding to metalsurfaces and forming a protective filmlayer between moving parts that arevulnerable to friction and wear whenan engine is first started and before theoil begins to circulate completely. Whilethis protective film doesnt entirely elim-inate metal-to-metal contact of moving

    parts at start-up, it minimizes theeffects of contact.

    Oxidation

    Because excessive engine heatcauses chemical breakdown of oil,which in turn results in permanentthickening of the oil, oxidationinhibitors work to limit the impactof oxidation. Oil oxidation producesacidic gases and sludge in thecrankcase. These gases combine with

    water in the crankcase to corrodeand rust the engine. Corrosionprevention is especially critical indiesel engines.

    TBN

    An oils ability to neutralize acids isexpressed by its Total BaseNumber (TBN). The greater thenumber, the greater the amount ofacidic by-products the oil can neu-tralize. A high TBN is particularlyimportant in extended drain intervaloils, such as AMSOIL motor oils,because they neutralize acids, andmore of them, for a longer period oftime.

    Most oils for diesel engines inNorth America have a TBN between

    8 and 12. AMSOIL manufacturesseveral diesel oils with a TBN of 12.

    Detergents

    In the same way that some chemicalcompounds are used to preventengine rust and corrosion, other chem-icals are added to motor oil to helpprevent combustion by-products fromforming harmful sludge or varnishdeposits. Detergents are added tomotor oil because combustion causescarbon build-up and deposit forma-

    tion on the pistons, rings, valves andcylinder walls. Carbon and depositsaffect engine temperature, oil circula-tion, engine performance and fuel effi-ciency. Detergent additives clean theseby-products from the oil. Some com-bustion by-products slip past the pistonrings and end up in the motor oil, whichcan clog the engines oil channels.

    Dispersants

    While detergents help minimize theamount of combustion by-products,dispersant additives keep those by-

    products suspended in a form sofine they minimize deposits. Theykeep the oil in the engine clean whilethey prevent the build-up of carbonor deposits from burned andunburned fuel and even from the oilitself. Eventually, these suspendedparticles are removed by the oil filter.

    Anti-Foam

    The addition of silicone or other com-pounds in very small amounts makes

    most oils adequately foam-resistant.Its important to minimize foaming inmotor oil because tiny air bubbles arewhipped into motor oil by the action ofmany rapidly moving parts, resulting

    in a mass of oily froth that has very littleability to lubricate or aid in the coolingof the engine. These compoundsweaken the air bubbles, causing themto collapse almost immediately uponforming, allowing the oil to continue toprotect the engine.

    Seal Swell

    All motor oils must be compatiblewith the various seal materials usedin engines. Oil must not cause sealsto shrink, crack, degrade or dis-solve. Ideally, oils should cause

    seals to expand or swell slightly toensure continued proper sealing.

    Heat Dispersal

    Another function of motor oil is tocool the engine. The radiator/anti-freeze system is responsible forabout 60 percent of the engine cool-ing that takes place. This cools onlythe upper portion of the engine,including the cylinder heads, cylin-der walls and valves.

    The other 40 percent is cooledby the oil. The oil is directed ontohot surfaces, such as the crankshaft,main and connecting rod bearings,the camshaft and its b

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