Trying to understand oil - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-04-2013, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Trying to understand oil

I never really thought too much about the oil I used until I read a thread on the 94-98 powerstroke section which referenced a article in the Turbo Diesel Registry that preceded this one

I've been trying to understand oil a little more since the oil specs are pretty much a foreign language to me. Since I bought my truck in 2003 I have mostly used Rotella T 15w40 except for a few changes with Delo, and a couple with Motorcraft oil. I always thought Rotella was considered good oil, but according to the charts in this article, and the guy writing it, Rotella doesn't appear to be nearly as good as most other oils. But, I am figuring this article was written around 2007 when CJ-4 oils were introduced. All the oils in the ho hum section are CJ-4. All other oils considered Best, Good, and satisfactory all meet either Cl-4 or Cl-4 plus. Since all the other oils probably meet the CJ-4 spec now (in 2013), would all of them now be put into the ho-hum category?

Sorry for the long post. I give everyone credit who actually reads all this crap.
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-05-2013, 04:46 AM
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I have to fight back the urge to vomit when ever I see that TDR article. It came out in 2006-2007 right when ultra low sulfur diesel and DPFs became the new industry standard. As a part of that engine oil needed to be changed to NOT interfere with the new emissions equipment, this required that company's drop the ash levels in the oil. Consequently, TBN (total base number, which is designed to help fight acidic matter build up in the engine) and halmark anti-wear additives zinc and phosphorous had to be reduced as well.

Well people saw the reduced levels and thought the sky was falling, a few companies still made CI-4+ compliant oil but eventually nearly all manufacturers started to make it.

Now with respect to the TDR article, it is basically a collection of VOA's (virgin oil analysis). IMHO VOA are nothing more than an exercise in lab equipment, picking your motor oil based on its VOA is a bit like picking your beer based on its ingredients list... not on how it tastes. Even a very casual glance at's UOA (used oil analysis) section will show a multitude of diesel engines running CJ-4 oil with stellar wear numbers to show for it.

Why is that? Well, while CJ-4 oil have 2-3 units less TBN than CI-4+ oils, the primary source of acidic matter in our engines is from blow by. Well the sulfur levels in fuel, the primary source of low PH matter in the oil, dropped 97% from low sulfur diesel to ULSD (500 ppm to 15 ppm). So CI-4+ whopping 2-3 units of TBN advantage is a moot point unless your running 20k+ OCI's.

Secondly, while zinc levels in the oils are down slightly, calcium still remains higher in many in addition to the use of boron, molly and magnesium has been used by many companies to make up for the lower zinc levels. Again, there are numerous UOAs of CJ-4 oils with great (re: low) wear numbers in BITOG's UOA section.

Sorry about the length of the post I just think the CI-4+ vs CJ-4 hysteria is completely nonsensical. Companies (*COUGH Amsoil, Lucas COUGH*) that market CI-4+ as "designed" with pre-2007 emissions engines in mind is IMHO merely a marketing ploy.

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Last edited by rufushusky; 02-05-2013 at 12:29 PM. Reason: I speak english.... I swear!
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-05-2013, 08:32 AM
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Took the words right out of my mouth.....

Originally Posted by bjs505 View Post
Of course I'm handy under the hood, I currently own a cummins.

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