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Chunks = Not Good - Supertech Synthetic Oil


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#1 fishexpo101

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:52 AM

Well - changed the oil on the Corolla last weekend, been running SuperTech synthetic motor oil as a test for the past several months, w/OEM or Puralotor filter. Previously was running Mobil 1 - but since the price was so attractive ($12 for 5 quart jug of the WallyWorld synthetic 5w-30 juice vs $26 for Mobil 1 5w-30). I decided to switch - heard good things about it, UOAs looked good for the initial on and one a change ago, didn't mind dropping the change interval (was 7500-10000 miles on the Mobil 1 oil)

Oil had almost 5K on it - a hair more than what I wanted to go with this oil (was sticking to between 3K-4K), but since all the UOA came back OK at 3K and 4K, I felt OK running a bit longer than usual. Not the best synthetic out there - but should be better than you garden variety conventional motor oil, right? Well, this would be the fourth drain of this oil and my last, from the looks of it.

Engine was pretty warm, driven just 15 minutes before, all morning. Usually routine: Car on ramps, slid myself and drain pan under there - wrench in hand, undo drain plug and watch oil pour out. Well - it didn't really pour out - more like chunky like than a smooth stream, also took longer than usual to get the old oil out. Filtered the oil through a paint strainer - chunks galore. Nothing metallic, but something was definitely clumped together. Drain plug had black goo stuck to the end. Took pictures, but unfortunantly they didn't really turned out (hard to see). Right now I have some leftover Castrol GTX + one bottle of Rislone (old school stuff - additive pack with a low viscosity base ~5w-20) in there as a quick flush oil for a little bit (just used the last of the Mobil 1 jugs on the Matrix - changed its oil the same day). OEM filter from the Corolla seemed significantly heavier than usual (compared it to the Matrix - both using the "long" OEM filter) - little electronic scale said it weights about 150g heavier than the other. Since I did not weight them before, I do not know how much weight difference was in the filter itself.

Needless to say - I will be back to Mobil 1 right after this flush and an immediate UOA sent off to Blackstone. Hopefully, no damage was done, and hopefully limited to crappy batch of oil and not due to a blown headgasket or something else.

Did the transmission drain and replace also - still gots lots of little chunks there too (normal in this case) and qutie a bit of metal on those little magnets. Filter was still OK, so I just threw it into the parts washer, dried it and replaced. I'll order a valvecover gasket and some other o-rings to check the various parts for any damage. Mileage on the car was exactly 132,150.1 miles.

Will let you know what I find out - that's what you get for trying to save a few bucks.

#2 Bitter

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 12:26 PM

good to know for us, but possibly bad for you.

when i 1st got my car i changed the oil out to penzoil regular, then next change i did valvoline blend, then i went full syn with mobil1, and right now i have mobil blend 7.5K mile oil. the oil looks and smells just fine and feels like new between my fingers. i'll change it when....i get around to it, its due in a month or 2 i beleive, i lost the peice of paper i had the last change noted on :(

#3 fishexpo101

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:21 PM

Yeah, hopefully not too bad. Well, gives me a good reason to rebuild it and see how it looks on the inside. Possible play around with it a bit - lots of good stuff for the 1ZZ-FE coming out, maybe build it for boost, stroke it out, or maybe build a monster N/A engine. If the bottom end is too bad - might even entertain a 2ZZ-GE swap. Since they are going to kill off the Corolla/Matrix XRS (at least the 2ZZ-GE engine variants) means more engines to go around.

#4 Bitter

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 01:27 PM

well good luck with whatever goes on.

speaking of NA monsters, ive been contemplating picking up a MK1 MR-2 at some point in the next few years and doing a 7A-GE for it and keeping it NA. boost is nice, but its something i wont be ready to play with within the next few years.

#5 WyleECoyote

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 04:20 PM

Fish, repeat after me...OWAH....TAHFOO....LYAM...now say that faster combining all of the syllables. That out of the way...

Intriguing but not totally unexpected...I'm very curious to see the UOA results. The weight difference in the filters is also important I think. Have you disected the filter yet ? If so, any smoking guns [or perhaps aluminum, or dare I say...babbit] ? Perhaps include a sample of the filter crud in with your UOA ?

One oil change doesn't seem like quite enough data but IMHO, it reeks of chemical compatiblity and/or quality. In terms of quality, the fact is [someone please correct me if I'm wrong] that there is no publicly available SuperTech datasheet showing classifications, approvals, properties etc, let alone anyone to confirm any of it. That said, why even bother let alone change your test parameters knowing that you purchased an unproven, untested, undocumented and ok, sub-standard product. In terms of chemical compatibility, just because it says synthetic doesn't mean it's inert or compatible. This being a lesson I learned over the years with a plethora of vacuum pump and marine lubricants, cooling fluids, and oils...synthetic and dino alike.

I thought of doing exactly what you had done a few years back but then heard somewhere that SuperTech was made by QS. QS being where they are located [East Coast] makes their oil largely paraffinic based ... or basically wax. This may prove to be a valid data point when the UOA comes back. And, who's to say what the people QS/WM [or whoever] define as "synthetic". Last I checked they [QS] only had "blends" of synthetic and dino oil, only recently adding a "fully synthetic" to their resume. M1 has a proven history, tech support, datasheets, etc. I'm not touting M1 although it's all I've used for the last 25 years [back then it was called Delvac-1 avail in 55g drums only], but the fact is it has worked for me and by the sounds of it, it has worked for you as well...so..."if it ain't broke...".

Sorry, I'll get off my soap box in a minute...ok, I'm done...no need to go any further...I think I either made my point or I'll be chanting the first line while eating some h-pie if I've shot too far off on a tangent [or generally pissed you off]. If I've done the latter, please excuse me as I didn't intend to.

Hope your patient makes a full recovery...looking forward,

Alan

#6 fishexpo101

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:46 PM

Yup - I hear you on that. What was I thinking!!

I did do some research on SuperTech Syn - from what others have found via VOA and UOA - the SuperTech Synthetic looks very promising.

Granted too early to say it is an oil issue - since I only have a total of 4 crankcases full of this oil. But given I've used plain Castrol GTX and Valvoline All-Climate before for years as well as Castrol Syntech (Group III synthetic), Amsoil and Mobil 1 (Group IV PAOs), and Redline and Royal Purple - never had the "chunky oil" experience.

Like they say - you get what you pay for. Just a few weeks and I'll see what comes back for a UOA and how the engine looks (take the valvecover off).

#7 NILLINOIS

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 12:46 AM

There's always a heated thread or two over at BITOG ( www.bobistheoilguy.com ). Some claim the ST-Synth is just a Group III blend, but since it's undergone such heavy refining, it can legally be called 'synthetic'. Most of those oil fanatics just use Castrol or Havoline Synth-Blend, since it's about the same price at Wally World.

I personally still use straight dino because I change out everything at 3K anyway. :) I've stockpiled about 40 quarts (8 5-qt jugs ) to build my own national oil reserve. Besides, the price keeps going up anyway. i figure i've made at least 15% on my money already :D

http://theoildrop.se...t=015420#000001

Here's the MSDS on ST-Syn 5-30

http://msds.walmarts...che/36155_1.pdf

#8 friendly_jacek

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 08:51 AM

There's always a heated thread or two over at BITOG ( www.bobistheoilguy.com ). Some claim the ST-Synth is just a Group III blend, but since it's undergone such heavy refining, it can legally be called 'synthetic'. Most of those oil fanatics just use Castrol or Havoline Synth-Blend, since it's about the same price at Wally World.

I personally still use straight dino because I change out everything at 3K anyway. :) I've stockpiled about 40 quarts (8 5-qt jugs ) to build my own national oil reserve. Besides, the price keeps going up anyway. i figure i've made at least 15% on my money already :D

http://theoildrop.se...t=015420#000001

Here's the MSDS on ST-Syn 5-30

http://msds.walmarts...che/36155_1.pdf


Well, in a way it is a group III blend as group III is the base oil and additives are always blended in mineral oil.

Nevertheless, it's supposed to be a decent oil, and the 10W30 has even ACEA:A3 certification, rare in XW30 oils.

Something went terribly wrong here, either with car (headgasket problem, fuel in oil, overheating, etc) or oil (defective batch). Please, please publish those UOA numbers.

And for the record, I do 5000 mile oil changes with cheap dino oils that the dealership uses. No problems.

#9 fishexpo101

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:43 AM

Yep, will post up the UOAs when I get them. Something very weird has popped up - just have to wait and see what happens.

Links to previous sample UOA on the Corolla:
- UOA in 2004 - Valvoline Full Synthetic (first synthetic use before switching to Mobil 1)
http://img.photobuck...orolla_2004.jpg

- UOA in 2006 - sample right after first use of SuperTech (says Castrol - I had the forms prefilled, forgot to change them when I sent it in)
http://img.photobuck...orolla_2006.jpg

#10 WyleECoyote

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 11:08 AM

There's always a heated thread or two over at BITOG ( www.bobistheoilguy.com ). Some claim the ST-Synth is just a Group III blend, but since it's undergone such heavy refining, it can legally be called 'synthetic'. Most of those oil fanatics just use Castrol or Havoline Synth-Blend, since it's about the same price at Wally World.

I personally still use straight dino because I change out everything at 3K anyway. :) I've stockpiled about 40 quarts (8 5-qt jugs ) to build my own national oil reserve. Besides, the price keeps going up anyway. i figure i've made at least 15% on my money already :D

http://theoildrop.se...t=015420#000001

Here's the MSDS on ST-Syn 5-30

http://msds.walmarts...che/36155_1.pdf



...too funny...I just took a look at BITOG and those boys talk [and some seem serious] about "clean" & "rinse" cycles like their engine is a dishwasher with a built in centrifuge or something...

...I'm as convinced as anyone with UOA results [insofar as dictating when oil change intervals should be] but to go to that extreme [clean & rinse cycles] with so many other variables in the "equation" that could skew one's interpetation of the results...rubbish I say...not necessary...free country I suppose.

...I will indeed bookmark the link just for those days I need to laugh my arse off again...thanks NILL !!

#11 friendly_jacek

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 03:42 PM

Yep, will post up the UOAs when I get them. Something very weird has popped up - just have to wait and see what happens.

Links to previous sample UOA on the Corolla:
- UOA in 2004 - Valvoline Full Synthetic (first synthetic use before switching to Mobil 1)
http://img.photobuck...orolla_2004.jpg

- UOA in 2006 - sample right after first use of SuperTech (says Castrol - I had the forms prefilled, forgot to change them when I sent it in)
http://img.photobuck...orolla_2006.jpg


I totally agree with you, there were no warning signs whatsoever in that UOA. It looks like the antioxidant additives gave up after 5000 miles and then the "synthetic" oil base oxidized badly.
No ST synthetic for me, that's for sure!

This is a big problem with oils, base oils come in all kinds of qualities and then there is so much variation in the additive package: ZDDP in one oil may behave totally differently from another brand (since they vary in the alcohols groups).

Even the API certification process doesn't protect you from a bad batch like this. No wonder sludge happens from time to time.

As a minimum, you should complain to Walmart and Warren Oil Co.

This also confirms that what I have been hearing that 1ZZ-FE is hard on oil. Probably has to do with the fact that the engine runs rich when cold and dumps fuel in the oil and then it runs very hot on hwy stressing the oil a lot. I saw some of that when I did UAO on dino 10W30 oil at 5000 miles and the viscosity jumped to 40, probably due to oxidation.

Did you consider AutoRX? It realy works well for cleaning.

#12 Sean

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:26 PM

I was going to try Supertech full synthetic myself in our 2006 corolla LE. I have a five quart container sitting in the garage.

I think my 1995 Escort will now get the Supertech.

#13 Bikeman982

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 01:44 AM

I switched to Mobil 1 synthetic on my last oil change.
I will let you know how it does after the next change.

#14 clarkemode

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 05:32 AM

Well - changed the oil on the Corolla last weekend, been running SuperTech synthetic motor oil as a test for the past several months, w/OEM or Puralotor filter. Previously was running Mobil 1 - but since the price was so attractive ($12 for 5 quart jug of the WallyWorld synthetic 5w-30 juice vs $26 for Mobil 1 5w-30). I decided to switch - heard good things about it, UOAs looked good for the initial on and one a change ago, didn't mind dropping the change interval (was 7500-10000 miles on the Mobil 1 oil)

Oil had almost 5K on it - a hair more than what I wanted to go with this oil (was sticking to between 3K-4K), but since all the UOA came back OK at 3K and 4K, I felt OK running a bit longer than usual. Not the best synthetic out there - but should be better than you garden variety conventional motor oil, right? Well, this would be the fourth drain of this oil and my last, from the looks of it.

Engine was pretty warm, driven just 15 minutes before, all morning. Usually routine: Car on ramps, slid myself and drain pan under there - wrench in hand, undo drain plug and watch oil pour out. Well - it didn't really pour out - more like chunky like than a smooth stream, also took longer than usual to get the old oil out. Filtered the oil through a paint strainer - chunks galore. Nothing metallic, but something was definitely clumped together. Drain plug had black goo stuck to the end. Took pictures, but unfortunantly they didn't really turned out (hard to see). Right now I have some leftover Castrol GTX + one bottle of Rislone (old school stuff - additive pack with a low viscosity base ~5w-20) in there as a quick flush oil for a little bit (just used the last of the Mobil 1 jugs on the Matrix - changed its oil the same day). OEM filter from the Corolla seemed significantly heavier than usual (compared it to the Matrix - both using the "long" OEM filter) - little electronic scale said it weights about 150g heavier than the other. Since I did not weight them before, I do not know how much weight difference was in the filter itself.

Needless to say - I will be back to Mobil 1 right after this flush and an immediate UOA sent off to Blackstone. Hopefully, no damage was done, and hopefully limited to crappy batch of oil and not due to a blown headgasket or something else.

Did the transmission drain and replace also - still gots lots of little chunks there too (normal in this case) and qutie a bit of metal on those little magnets. Filter was still OK, so I just threw it into the parts washer, dried it and replaced. I'll order a valvecover gasket and some other o-rings to check the various parts for any damage. Mileage on the car was exactly 132,150.1 miles.

Will let you know what I find out - that's what you get for trying to save a few bucks.



Fish,

Thanks for letting us know your findings! I myself started using ST 5w30 in my 2006 corolla starting at 5k miles and I just put in my 3rd oil change of the stuff. (I am currently at 16,100 miles and I change my oil every 5k). I was reading posts way back when when I saw yours on how decent the ST was so I thought, "I will use that". But now, I am not so sure I want to use the cheap stuff anymore.

What do you suggest would be the next best oil for this type of engine? Anything you recommend besides Mobil 1? Would a synthetic blend work well in this engine if I religiously change the oil every 5k? SHould I do a flush at the next oil change (20k) to rid the engine of the ST?

Thanks! Larry

#15 fishexpo101

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:01 AM

Fish,

Thanks for letting us know your findings! I myself started using ST 5w30 in my 2006 corolla starting at 5k miles and I just put in my 3rd oil change of the stuff. (I am currently at 16,100 miles and I change my oil every 5k). I was reading posts way back when when I saw yours on how decent the ST was so I thought, "I will use that". But now, I am not so sure I want to use the cheap stuff anymore.

What do you suggest would be the next best oil for this type of engine? Anything you recommend besides Mobil 1? Would a synthetic blend work well in this engine if I religiously change the oil every 5k? SHould I do a flush at the next oil change (20k) to rid the engine of the ST?

Thanks! Larry

Any motor oil can be used as long as you stay on top of the maintenance. SuperTech VOAs and my UOAs looked pretty good - hard to beat the oil in this price class. The thing to look for is the API service category - make sure it is the current one SM (SM, SL, and SJ are all considered current, but the SM rating is very rigorous test for motor oil. Some of the items that need to be meet for the rating would probably give early synthetics a hard time passing - Link here for more info: http://www.burkeoil....f/oilguide.pdf)

I've used just about every kind of oil brand and type out there over the cars I've owned. Ones that I have used on just the Corolla more than once are: Mobil 1, Castrol Syntec, Castrol Syntec Blend, Valvoline Synthetic, Valvoline Blend, conventional Valvoline, Castrol GTX, and SuperTech Synthetic.

Still this shouldn't be considered a smoking gun against SuperTech - not the best synthetic oil out there - but a good oil nonetheless. I should get those results back by the weekend or early next week - and post up the most significant finds, if they are any. I'm hoping for something like heavy fuel dilution (breaks down oil fast) being the cause (lots of miles, could be a clogged injector or lazy O2 sensor). I've check the coolant levels and it hasn't moved at all - but it doesn't take much to cause problems.