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Monday, June 15, 2009

Lube Notes: Petroleum Oil vs Synthetic Oil

The ongoing march to achieve more technologically advanced engines continues and certainly the GM Duramax diesel engine exemplifies that quest. The race between GM and its would-be competition has benefited you and me: the improvement in all aspects of these diesel engines is easily quantifiable in terms of horsepower and torque as well as fuel efficiency and endurance. Recognizing how vastly improved these diesels are to their predecessors, it should not surprise anyone that advances in the lubricants for these engines have also facilitated quantum leaps in performance.
Any oil, properly rated for use in a high performance turbo-charged engine, is a remarkable lubricant regardless of the base oil used. In this article, I will compare synthetic diesel engine oil to petroleum diesel engine oil and draw some conclusions and make some recommendations. Previous Lube Notes have established fundamentals of lubrication and how oil is made, so if you haven’t read those, a review might be in order. I am writing this article assuming you have read the preceding articles.
To start, we should compare several performance criteria for petroleum oil vs synthetic oil...

Heath Diesel 6.5L Land Speed Racing Truck at Bonneville

September 2008, Bill Heath raced the Heath Diesel Team’s 6.5L GM Diesel pickup at Bonneville. maxxTORQUEfeatured the vehicle in our Summer 2008 issue before the event. Now, here is a look at the Bonneville performance and what’s inside that makes this truck – that could pass for a daily driver – fast...
Heath Diesel Power’s 6.5L GM Turbodiesel Land Speed Racing truck ran a solid 153 MPH on its first trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats – that felt pretty darn good. Knowing that she has more speed in her yet – that’s even better. Here’s a look at our experience at Bonneville and the details of the build that got us there...

LMM Duramax and Oil Bypass Filters

The LMM Duramax is certainly a step forward in its reduction of emissions into our environment. These controls, however, come at a cost. In Learning to Love the LMM Duramax Emissions System, Joel Paynton looks at what the LMM accomplishes and what it costs in terms of convenience and fuel economy. In this article, I want to take a quick look at what recycled soot does to the engine oil in the LMM and recommend bypass oil filtration as a worthwhile protection for this considerable investment.

LMM Duramax Diesel Emissions System

Some time ago, there was a love-hate relationship with the Clean Air Act and many mechanics and owners who tended to view diesel engine emissions controls as evil. That was because most carburetors and vacuum control systems were not terribly reliable: as a result, fuel economy and survivability suffered. Entering the 80’s and the era of fuel injection, emissions systems suddenly became more reliable and usually improved the overall performance of an engine; at the very least, they did not hinder it. Computer controls allowed for much more precise engine operation. Despite this, diesel engine emissions controls sometimes still have that original stigma attached to them. In the early years, people often solved their drivability problems by removing all the emissions controls, retuning the engine’s performance – and pollution output – to pre-emission levels. This was illegal then, of course, and remains illegal today even though some people still remove EGR valves and catalytic converters.