Monday, December 15, 2008

Lube Notes: Petroleum Oil Production and Oil vs Synthetic Motor Oil

Comparing Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil

If you read the first two installments of Lube Notes, you have probably come to realize that I am gradually equipping you to evaluate lubricating products including a comparison between synthetic oil vs conventional oil. I am convinced that understanding some basic principles of lubrication can free us from believing everything that we read or hear. In this issue, I will briefly explain how petroleum oils are refined, introduce synthetic base oils and explain motor oil’s classification system used to assign quality levels to finished base stocks.

6.5L Diesel Land Speed Racer: Beginnings

Bill Heath has visited the annual Speed Week event at Bonneville for the last 30 years. This Summer, when he steps onto the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway, he will arrive as a registered contestant and not a visitor, a distinction that makes all the difference in the world to him.
Given Bill’s dedication to the 6.2/6.5 GM diesels, you might have guessed – even if no one else has ever done it at Bonneville – that Bill will be racing something powered by a 6.5L diesel. As it turns out, that something is a full-sized Chevy pickup.

Duramax LLY Overheating: The GM Solution and Beyond

My first experience towing with my 2005 LLY Duramax was a thrill – and a disappointment. In stock form, other than some gauges and a power program that added about 100 crankshaft horsepower and roughly 180 foot-pounds of torque, there was no disappointment with the power – it was awesome! I could yank around a 27-foot fifth-wheel travel trailer and almost forget that it was there. I had all the power I needed beneath my right foot and the ability to accelerate on any hill I encountered.
The disappointment was my cooling fan: it engaged far too often for my satisfaction. It wasn’t even hot outside. The ambient temperature stood at a meager 65°F: I wasn’t towing particularly hard either, running at about 65 MPH on mostly flat ground and only a few smaller hills. A stock Duramax would pull just as well on this route and generate the same amount of heat – for the most part – I really was not into all that much extra power.