Gasoline - It is made to explode. . .
Octane - Which is right for your car?
Octane - Be smart, save money!
Octane - What are the ratings for?
Catalytic Converters & what they do.
Oil - Some scary facts!
Oil - How Multi-viscosity works
Oil - Drain Intervals & Additives
Oil - Quality Designations
Oil - Development of Synthetic
Oil - Development from Soybean
Transmission Fluid - Oxidation Information
Transmission Fluid Changes - Why a simple pan drain and replace is worthless.
Antifreeze - What is it?
Winshield Wiper Fluid - I can use water!
Brake Fluid - What is it, simply
GASOLINE IS MADE TO EXPLODE!
Gasoline was formulated for only one function: to fuel an engine. Any other use of gasoline is dangerous and may result in serious burns, or injury, even death. Thousands of people are injured each year when they misuse gasoline, and other flammable liquids. One high-risk situation occurs when a flammable liquid is used within the home, especially in the basement.
The pilot light or flame in a gas water heater or other appliance can easily ignite the invisible flammable vapors. Children under the age of three have suffered more than half of the burns associated with such fires. To understand why gasoline is so dangerous, look at the flash point of various flammable/combustible liquids. The flash point is the temperature at which the substance produces a vapor that can ignite.
SUBSTANCE FLASH POINT INTENDED USE
|Gasoline||-45 degrees F.||Fueling an engine ONLY|
|Acetone||0 degrees F.||Nail polish remover, solvent|
|Turpentine||95 degrees F.||Paint thinner, brush cleaner|
|Mineral spirits||160 degrees F.||Starter fluid for grills|
|Some mineral-oil||160 degrees F||Multi-purpose remover/solvent products|
NOTE: The lower the flash point, the greater the risk of vapors being
produced, which increases the risk the flammable substance will ignite.
First, make sure your car is in good running order. Have it tuned up
by a competent mechanic.
Now fill your tank up with the gas you usually buy, the grade specified in the owner's manual. Warm the engine up by driving a few miles and come to a complete stop. Now accelerate hard.
If you hear the engine knocking (pistons) or pinging (valves, or valve chatter), this gasoline is not the right kind for your car. Use up the tank and the next time you fill up, buy the next higher grade. Repeat the acceleration test. If the engine doesn't ping this time, this is the octane you need. If it still pings, you should see your mechanic.
If on your first acceleration test, your engine did not knock or ping, you can fill your car up the next time with the next lower grade of octane. Repeat the acceleration test. If the engine begins knocking or pinging, this gas is inadequate for your car's needs; go back to the octane specified in the owner's manual. But if the engine doesn't knock, you're safe to use the lower grade octane.
Now you're sure you are using the right grade of octane for your car. You can expect top-notch performance from your car and more years of service. It is good to remember that sometimes as a car ages, octane requirements may change. Check that you are using the right octane every once in a while. Carrying heavy loads and driving in extremely cold conditions may also affect your required octane rating.
Another test is an uphill climb. Some engines will have valve
chatter while climbing the hill. However, the higher volume of valve
chatter can be a direct result of low octane ratings. At this point
in time, I have a 1987 Plymouth Sundance, and with low octane (87), the
valves make a lot of noise while climbing a hill or even small grade.
When I use a higher octane (89+), the noise is no longer apparent, and
the knocking also subsides. This is also true with my '94 Geo Tracker.
Although there is no knocking, I do get valve chatter with lower octane
rated gasoline when going uphill.
The only time you might need to switch to a higher-octane level is if your car engine knocks or pings, or you hear excessive valve chatter while climbing hills, or small grades, when you use the recommended fuel. This happens to a small percentage of cars, mostly early to mid 80s, especially any early Chrysler product.
Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher-octane gasoline is a waste of money. Premium gas costs 15 to 20 cents per gallon more than regular. That can add up to $100 or more a year in extra costs. Studies indicate that altogether, drivers may be spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for higher-octane gas than they need.
Higher octane also increases the temperature inside the cylinders.
It's been said that using higher octane all the time can damage pistons,
or burn valves. I have not seen a specific case where higher octane
has damaged either component. I have seen pitted valves and piston
heads, which was said to be because of using higher octane gasoline all
What’s the right octane level for your car?
Check your owner’s manual to determine the right octane level for your car. Regular octane is recommended for most cars. However, some cars with high compression engines, like sports cars and certain luxury cars, need mid-grade or premium gasoline to prevent knock.
How can you tell if you’re using the right octane level?
Listen to your car’s engine. If it doesn’t knock when you use the recommended octane, you’re using the right grade of gasoline.
Will higher octane gasoline clean your engine better?
As a rule, high-octane gasoline does not outperform regular octane in preventing engine deposits from forming, in removing them, or in cleaning your car’s engine. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that all octane grades of all brands of gasoline contain engine cleaning detergent additives to protect against the build-up of harmful levels of engine deposits during the expected life of your car.
Should you ever switch to a higher octane gasoline?
A few car engines may knock or ping — even if you use the recommended octane. If this happens, try switching to the next highest octane grade. In many cases, switching to the mid-grade or premium-grade gasoline will eliminate the knock. If the knocking or pinging continues after one or two fill-ups, you may need a tune-up or some other repair. After that work is done, go back to the lowest octane grade at which your engine runs without knocking.
Is knocking harmful?
Occasional light knocking or pinging won’t harm your engine, and doesn’t indicate a need for higher octane. But don’t ignore severe knocking. A heavy or persistent knock can lead to engine damage.
Also, be careful not to confuse Knocking and Pinging with noisy valves, and rocker arms. That '87 Plymouth in-line 4cyl I have sounds like a Diesel, especially when I first start it. However, I have to use 89 octane to prevent the knock, and valve chatter when driving.
Is all "premium" or "regular" gasoline the same?
The octane rating of gasoline marked "premium" or "regular" is not consistent across the country. One state may require a minimum octane rating of 92 for all premium gasoline, while another may allow 90 octane to be called premium. To make sure you know what you’re buying, check the octane rating on the yellow sticker on the gas pump instead of relying on the name "premium" or "regular."
A catalytic converter is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into less harmless compounds. We can't say completely harmless, because that's simply not true.
The three harmful compounds are:
1. Hydrocarbons (in the form of unburned gasoline, gasoline vapors)
2. Carbon monoxide (formed by the combustion of gasoline)
3. Nitrogen oxides (created when the heat in the engine forces nitrogen in the air to combine with oxygen).
Carbon monoxide is a poison for any air-breathing animal. Nitrogen oxides lead to smog and acid rain, and hydrocarbons produce smog.
In a catalytic converter, the catalyst (in the form of platinum and
palladium) is coated onto a ceramic honeycomb or ceramic beads that are
housed in a muffler-like package attached to the exhaust pipe. The catalyst
helps to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. It converts the hydrocarbons
into carbon dioxide and water. It also converts the nitrogen oxides back
into nitrogen and oxygen.
Carbon Dioxide, though harmful to the atmosphere (causing global warming), is what all plants breath in, and exhales oxygen, basic biology! If major companies would stop knocking down trees, and destroying the rain forests, or dumping toxins into the oceans, this wouldn't be a problem! Emissions laws are getting tougher because; rather than stop the dumping, or destroying; laws are easier to make, and deal with. And, We the people are easier to punish for not obeying them.
Kill all the plants, and any other oxygen producing vessel, and we die
no matter what emissions laws are passed.
Hydrocarbons can be directly dealt with by adding a second measure of burning the unburned gasoline, and fumes. Some foreign cars (BMW, NISSAN, VOLVO) have a second set of spark plugs on the exhaust side of the engine. These plugs ignite to burn the excessive gasoline products on the way out, even further reducing hydrocarbon emissions. I have yet to see one American made car to take these steps to reduce emissions to the bare minimum!
What they also do not tell you is that a catalytic converter produces
some harmful toxins of its own, namely sulfur.
Then you have Diesel engines, which are cleaner burning for the air, but not for the environment. The black film they leave behind is no better than the oil spills that pollute the oceans every year. Slowly but surely, you can see the devastation along major interstates and roadways. The plants are all dying of suffocation - coated leaves and branches, sucking the life out of them.
Why has the government delayed the introduction of the electric powered
vehicle? It would destroy the oil industry, and we can't do that
now, can we? The laws keep them in business, while preventing us,
the victims from taking action. It's a cycle of horror we have to
live with every day.
Since 1000 AD, world population has tripled, while fossil fuel use has grown tenfold.
In 1989, almost 60% of the nation's automotive oil was changed by consumers themselves.
Americans throw away enough used motor oil every year to fill 120 supertankers.
Used oil from a single oil change (approx. one gallon) can ruin a million gallons of fresh water - a year's supply for 50 people.
Used oil is insoluble, persistent, slow to degrade, sticks to everything from beach sand to bird feathers, and can contain toxic chemicals and heavy metals that pose a health threat to humans, plants, and animals.
An estimated 200 million gallons of used motor oil is improperly disposed of each year in the U.S. by being dumped on the ground, tossed in the trash (ending up in landfills), and poured down storm sewers and drains.
Recycling used oil would save the U.S. 1.3 million barrels of oil per day.
The world's largest waste oil processing plant is located in East Chicago, Indiana. The facility is to recycle 75 million gallons per year of crankcase and industrial oil and 20 million gallons per year of oily wastewater.
One gallon of used oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of high quality
lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude oil.
The polymers can shear and burn forming deposits that can cause ring sticking and other problems. 10W-40 and 5W-30 require a lot of polymers (synthetics excluded) to achieve that range. This has caused problems in diesel engines, but fewer polymers are better for all engines. The wide viscosity range oils, in general, are more prone to viscosity and thermal breakdown due to the high polymer content. It is the oil that lubricates, not the additives. Oils that can do their job with the fewest additives are the best. Very few manufactures recommend 10W-40 any more, and some threaten to void warranties if it is used. It was not included in this article for that reason. 20W-50 is the same 30 point spread, but because it starts with a heavier base it requires less viscosity index improvers (polymers) to do the job.
AMSOIL can formulate their 10W-30 and 15W-40 with no viscosity index improvers but uses some in the 10W-40 and 5W-30. Mobil 1 uses no viscosity improvers in their 5W-30, and I assume the new 10W-30. Follow your manufacturer's recommendations as to which weights are appropriate for your vehicle. Viscosity Index (VI) is an empirical number indicating the rate of change in viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. Higher numbers indicate a low change, lower numbers indicate a relatively large change. The higher the number, the better. This is one major property of an oil that keeps your bearings happy. These numbers can only be compared within a viscosity range. It is not an indication of how well the oil resists thermal breakdown.
Flash point is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the greater tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. The flash point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock used. The higher the flash point the better. 400 F is the minimum to prevent possible high consumption. Flash point is in degrees F. Pour point is 5 degrees F above the point at which a chilled oil shows no movement at the surface for 5 seconds when inclined. This measurement is especially important for oils used in the winter. A borderline pumping temperature is given by some manufacturers. This is the temperature at which the oil will pump and maintain adequate oil pressure. This was not given by a lot of the manufacturers, but seems to be about 20 degrees F above the pour point. The lower the pour point the better. Pour point is in degrees F. % sulfated ash is how much solid material is left when the oil burns. A high ash content will tend to form more sludge and deposits in the engine. Low ash content also seems to promote long valve life.
Look for oils with a low ash content. % zinc is the amount of zinc used
as an extreme pressure, anti- wear additive. The zinc is only used when
there is actual metal to metal contact in the engine. Hopefully the oil
will do its job and this will rarely occur, but if it does, the zinc compounds
react with the metal to prevent scuffing and wear. A level of .11% is enough
to protect an automobile engine for the extended oil drain interval, under
normal use. Those of you with high revving, air cooled motorcycles or turbo
charged cars or bikes might want to look at the oils with the higher zinc
content. More doesn't give you better protection, it gives you longer protection
if the rate of metal to metal contact is abnormally high. High zinc content
can lead to deposit formation and plug fouling.
The extended oil drain intervals given by the vehicle manufacturers (typically 7500 miles) and synthetic oil companies (up to 25,000 miles) are for what is called normal service. Normal service is defined as the engine at normal operating temperature, at highway speeds, and in a dust free environment. Stop and go, city driving, trips of less than 10 miles, or extreme heat or cold puts the oil change interval into the severe service category, which is 3000 miles for most vehicles. Synthetics can be run two to three times the mileage of petroleum oils with no problems. They do not react to combustion and combustion by-products to the extent that the dead dinosaur juice does. The longer drain intervals possible help take the bite out of the higher cost of the synthetics. If your car or bike is still under warranty you will have to stick to the recommended drain intervals. These are set for petroleum oils and the manufacturers make no official allowance for the use of synthetics.
Oil additives should not be used. The oil companies have gone to great
lengths to develop an additive package that meets the vehicle's requirements.
Some of these additives are synergistic, that is the effect of two additives
together is greater than the effect of each acting separately. If you add
anything to the oil you may upset this balance and prevent the oil from
performing to specification.
f you own a new, or fairly new vehicle, to keep your warranty valid you must use an oil that meets the manufacturer's specifications. Virtually all well known motor oils exceed warranty requirements for US, European, and Japanese motorcycles. But what about the other letters and symbols you find on the bottle, such as API, SJ, SH, CF, CG-4? Or SAE 5W-30?
API stands for the American Petroleum Institute, which publish standards high quality oils must meet.
SJ was adopted in 1996 and covers oils used in gasoline engines in current and earlier passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks operated under vehicle manufacturers' recommended maintenance procedures. SJ oils may be used where SH and earlier categories have been recommended.
SH applies to gasoline engines in cars, vans and light trucks and indicates that the oil provides improved control of engine deposits, oil oxidization, and engine wear compared to earlier oils. It also provides protection against rust and corrosion.
CF was adopted in 1994 for use in indirect injected off-road diesel engines that use a broad range of fuels, including those with a high sulfur content. It offers effective control of piston deposits, wear and corrosion of the copper-coated bearings used in this type of engine.
CF-2 is formulated for use in two-stroke diesel engines requiring highly effective control over cylinder and ring-face scuffing and deposits.
CF-4 covers oils for use in high-speed, four-stroke diesel engines. They are designed for use in on-highway, heavy-duty truck applications.
CG-4 describes oils for use in high-speed, four-stroke diesel engines, and is suitable for both highway and off-road applications. They provide effective control of high temperature piston deposits, wear, corrosion, foaming, oxidation stability and soot accumulation. These oils are especially effective in engines required to meet 1994 emission standards.
SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. Motor oils have SAE grades, or numbers that indicate viscosity. In other words, the SAE numbers tell you the "thickness" of the oil. The lower the number, the "thinner" the oil.
W signifies its winter rating, showing that it will perform well in particularly cold weather.
When you buy oil, or have it changed, be sure not only to pick the right
API rating for your engine, but ask for the SAE viscosity recommended in
your owner's manual. Normally, manufacturers recommend multi-viscosity
grades, which are suitable for use over a wide temperature range.
Friction between the moving parts of an automobile engine is an inevitable occurrence. Lubricants have been designed to reduce this friction and reduce the heat production and engine wear associated with it. Traditionally lubricants have been based on petroleum-derived products. Manufacturers have developed non-petroleum-based synthetic motor oil for personal automobiles. This synthetic motor oil was designed to offer many distinct advantages over conventional oil , including increased engine protection, longer product life, and decreased harm to the environment.
Conventional motor oil, which still has widespread use, is a petroleum-derived product that is refined from crude oil. The refining process uses distillation to separate the crude oil into different viscosity grades based on their boiling points. This process, unfortunately, cannot remove all of the undesirable components found in crude oil. The distilled oil still contains to some degree: acids, paraffins, heavy metals, asphalt, benzenes, and many other compounds as contaminants, which reduce engine l ife. Moreover, the oil molecules themselves are not uniform. They vary in size, length, and shape, which can cause many different problems. This is one of the inherent disadvantages to petroleum-based motor oil. Because the molecules are not uniform, conv entional oil has a far more limited lubrication range with respect to temperature when compared to synthetic oils. Conventional oil vaporizes and breaks down in extreme heat and congeals into an almost solid mass in extreme cold. Manufacturers enhance the ir conventional oils with many different additives designed to increase thermal stability, extend product life, and serve many other purposes, but synthetic oils, in general, still deliver a far superior performance.
Synthetic oil was first researched in the 1930’s by Standard Oil of Indiana. The Germans performed more in depth research into synthetic oil during World War II. When jet engines were developed, this new synthetic oil was used because conventional oil could not stand up to the extremes in temperature and pressure. In the 1960’s, the U.S. military used synthetic oil in the Arctic and Antarctic because of the extreme cold. NASA also uses synthetic oil on all of its spacecraft, including the space shuttle . It has only been in the past two decades, however, that oil manufacturers have developed a synthetic oil for everyday automobile use.
Synthetic motor oils are designed to have low molecular weights and to be molecularly uniform. Most synthetic automotive oil uses the organic compound Polyalphaolefin (PAO) as its base stock. It is produced in a two step process. First, individual base molecules called oelfins are joined into polymer strings, which are then combined with a catalyst to produce either a high viscosity or low viscosity PAO fluid. These PAO fluids are then hydrogenated to make them less reactive. These synthetic fluids off er many advantages over conventional motor oil including: a wider lubricating range, more thermal stability, virtually no impurities that damage engine parts, lower viscosity, which improves fuel economy, and resistance to oxidation, which can leave depos its on engine parts. Some other advantages of synthetic oils include: better heat dissipation, longer product life, which benefits the environment immensely, and lower fuel octane requirements. Synthetic oils were developed to offer superior performance to conventional, petroleum-based oils, and their use continues to rise as the demand for better performance from today’s engines continues to increase.
Since leading MFGs claim their synthetic motor oil can, and does last
up to 25,000 miles before changing it, the environment doesn't have to
swallow 30 quarts of regular motor oil, by changing it every
Using the motor oil made from soybeans will give better gas mileage
through improved engine efficiency. Because soybean oil naturally
adheres to metals, has a neutral pH and contains natural antioxidants;
heavy metals are not stripped from the engine and oxidative stability is
preserved, both improving the engine's efficiency and conserving energy.
The motor oil also reduces harmful emissions and reduces the potential
for soil and water contamination from spills or illegal disposal.
In fact, independent toxicity tests show the soy-containing motor oil is
230,000 times less toxic than conventional motor oil.
The approximate life expectancy at various temperatures is as follows:
175°F 100,000 miles
195°F 50,000 miles
212°F 25,000 miles
235°F 12,000 miles
255°F 6,250 miles
275°F 3,000 miles
295°F 1,500 miles
315°F 750 miles
335°F 325 miles
355°F 160 miles
375°F 80 miles
390°F 40 miles
415°F Less than 30 minutes
This information clearly shows why transmission oil coolers and the various maintenance intervals are recommended for severe usage.
Above 300°F, the metals inside the transmission will warp and distort
in varying degrees depending on the severity of overheat. Because this
damage occurs and fluid life is so seriously impaired, rocking out of snow,
mud or sand should never exceed a very few minutes.
FAILURE - Why it Happens.
Nine out of every ten transmission failures are the result of heating and fluid contamination. Just like the oil in your car's engine, automatic transmission fluid suffers from heat, friction and degradation. This process causes the vital components in your transmission to clog with sludge and varnish deposits.
FAILURE - How to Avoid it.
All of the contaminated Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) must be drained from the system. The components of the transmission must be cleaned, and the old fluid replaced with fresh ATF.
THE PROBLEM - A Complete Drain
Unlike oil, most of the transmission fluid doesn't drain into the pan. It stays in the various components. A conventional service which simply drains the fluid, removes only 30% of the old, dirty fluid which is full of sludge and varnish. When fresh fluid is added, it is contaminated by the remaining dirty fluid.
When you simply change what's in the pan, and replace with the few quarts,
you have at least 2-3 quarts still in the Torque Converter, and other areas
inside the Transmission, and radiator (and/or cooler if present).
You never get fresh start with fluid unless you completely drain the entire
system. Basically, when you drain the transmission pan, you're only
replacing 30-40% of the fluid. The remaining BAD fluid is still present
within the system, and mixes with the new, contaminating it.
Antifreeze is a combination of a chemical called glycol (which stops the water in the cooling system from freezing) and other chemicals which help prevent the metals in the engine from corroding. Other chemicals may be present to prevent hard water scale deposits (or use distilled water with it!) and to reduce foaming. When antifreeze is diluted with water to put in the engine/radiator, the diluted product is called a coolant.
Not all antifreezes are the same and their quality can vary considerably. There are two main types - those based on monoethylene glycol or EG and those based on (mono) propylene glycol or PG which is lower in toxicity.
Ingestion of EG can lead to central nervous system depression, renal failure and coma and death. In some countries this has resulted in some severe restrictions in its use and availability to the general public. PG coolants reduce the risk to humans and wildlife of accidental poisoning.
In Switzerland, Austria and the Czech Republic, EG is classified as a poison and its sale strictly controlled. The EEC directive (91/689/EEC) for hazardous products, which includes EG, mandates that they should be handled in a specific way and disposed of under controlled conditions.
PG is generally regarded as safe and is used (in regulated quantities) in many consumer products including shampoos, confectionary, medicines, cosmetics and soft drinks.
The additives used to make an engine coolant are typically less than 5% of the concentrate and 2.5% of a coolant and, if chosen correctly, do not change the hazard classification.
To illustrate the toxicity (based on LD50 data and known cases of human poisoning) it can be calculated that just one wine glass full (100ml) of EG concentrate could be enough to kill a 70kg adult and a spoonful could kill or seriously harm a small animal.
Finnish research (Occup. Med. V45, 5 pp259-262) also showed that garage service engineers could have higher ethylene glycol content in their blood compared with a control group and concluded that EG could be absorbed through the skin.
Propylene glycol (PG) - also known as monopropylene glycol (MPG) - is a recent innovation in improved antifreeze formulations. Its key advantage over more traditional engine coolants made from ethylene glycol (EG) - also known as monoethylene glycol (MEG) - is much lower toxicity to people, domestic pets and wildlife.
PG coolants have been extensively tested in both heavy-duty and automotive service where they have given excellent performance and demonstrated the viability of PG as a base fluid.
The diagrams below show that the chemical structure of PG and EG are
similar so, not suprisingly, their properties are similar as shown in the
You can use water, but wiper fluid has solvents to clean the windshield, and a lubricant to protech the pump.
Using just water will rust the pump quicker, and won't clean your windshield as effectively.
That's about all I can say about that.
Brake Fluid is not compatible with any type of oil. Modern automotive
hydraulic brake systems designed for brake fluid will suffer damage when
filled with oil.