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Lubrication News January-April 2005

Reprinted from The Direct Line & The Action News

January-April 2005

Past issues of Auto Technology & Lubrication News


Performance & MPG News
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Apr. 15, 2005
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Briefly

Chrysler MDS Requires 5W-20

According to Chrysler, it is essential to use the correct motor oil viscosity when changing the oil on a 2005 Magnum or 300 model with the 5.7L Hemi V8 engine. The engine makes use of a multiple displacement system (MDS) that is designed to cut out cylinders during cruise conditions, improving fuel economy and lowering emissions, while firing on all eight cylinders under heavy load conditions, including wide-open throttle operation. The valvetrain of this system is extra sensitive to oil thickness and flow rate and can exhibit problems if the wrong oil viscosity is installed. Only 5W-20 motor oil should be used when performing an oil change on any 5.7L-equipped Magnum or 300. AMSOIL offers XL 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLM) for these applications.

Contamination Control Critical in Fluid Systems

According to the book "Fluid Contamination Control," fluid systems are subjected to contamination when the first elements are cast and machined, during assembly, when the system or machine comes off the assembly line and when the system is broken-in, serviced, maintained, repaired and overhauled. According to the book, "the conditions under which the internally wetted surfaces of a fluid system are opened to the environment are as critical to the prognosis of a machine as sterility and cleanliness are in the case of exploratory surgery on a human. Injected contaminant is a critical factor with regard to fluid system service life and reliability."

Superior Protection for 7500 Miles and Beyond

AMSOIL XL Motor Oils are ideal for vehicles equipped with oil life monitors.

Recent years have seen vehicle manufacturers increasingly moving away from oil change intervals based on mileage. Many European vehicles feature oil life monitors on their dashboards that light up when they determine the oil is nearing the end of its life. These systems typically analyze engine operational data, including temperature, revolutions and speed, to determine oil life. The Mercedes-Benz Flexible Service System, for example, has been standard on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in the United States since model year 1998 and typically allows 10,000 to 20,000-mile oil change intervals with synthetic motor oil.

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils save time and money by outperforming and lasting longer than conventional petroleum motor oils

Oil life systems are gaining a foothold in American-made vehicles as well. First introduced in 1987, the General Motors Oil Life System (OLS) is now factory-installed in 95 percent of new GM vehicles. It often allows extended drain intervals beyond 10,000 miles, even with conventional oil, and as is well documented, synthetic oils can go even further.

The premium quality of AMSOIL XL-7500 Synthetic Motor Oils allows them to be used for intervals beyond 7500 miles when longer drain intervals are specified by the manufacturer and in vehicles equipped with oil monitoring systems. For this reason, XL-7500 Motor Oils have been re-named Extended Life (XL) Synthetic Motor Oils. XL Motor Oils are recommended for 7500 mile/six month oil change intervals, at a minimum. When using AMSOIL XL Motor Oil with an oil monitoring system, and the oil change light comes on before 7500 miles, simply reset the light and continue driving until hitting the 7500 mile or six month mark (whichever comes first). If the light hasn't come on by the 7500 mile or six month mark, continue driving with full confidence until the light comes on.

Available in 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10W-40 formulations, AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils exceed the current performance requirements for gasoline engines, including API SM and ILSAC GF-4, and deliver exceptional performance by controlling wear and maximizing fuel economy.

Offering both cost effectiveness and the convenience of an extended drain interval, AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils save time and money by outperforming and lasting longer than conventional petroleum motor oils. While the initial fill of AMSOIL XL may be more expensive than conventional oil, AMSOIL saves customers money mile for mile. Motorists who travel 15,000 miles per year need only change AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils twice, rather than five times for conventional 3,000 mile oil change intervals.

Improve Fuel Economy

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils are formulated to reduce energy loss from friction. Their uniform molecular structures ease oil flow and reduce friction between metal surfaces while friction modifier additives further reduce energy loss for optimum fuel efficiency.

Maintain Low Emissions

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils are formulated to maintain low exhaust emissions and protect catalytic converters against deposits for long service life.

Protect Engines In All Temperatures

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils are mulit-viscosity formulations that provide optimum engine protection in both hot and cold temperature extremes. They effectively resist thermal breakdown from heat, while allowing easy engine turnover and rapid lubrication in cold temperatures.

Keep Engines Clean

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils offer greater resistance to deposits than conventional oils and are heavily fortified with detergent/ dispersant additives. XL Oils effectively protect against sludge, carbon and varnish formation that can clog oil passages (causing lubricant starvation) and stick piston rings (increasing blow-by and oil consumption). AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils promote clean engine operation for longer lasting, better running engines.

Lower Fleet Maintenance Costs

Cost conscious business owners and fleet managers benefit from the extended drain intervals and wear protection offered by premium quality AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils. While frequent oil changes are expensive, time consuming and inconvenient, longer drain intervals reduce costs (labor, used oil disposal, facility demands) and keep the environment clean.

Bid Appropriate

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils fulfill the requirements of most public and private purchasing bids. XL Oils are cost effective and ideal where synthetic motor oil is specified.

Service Life

In gasoline-fueled vehicles, AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils are recommended for 7500-mile/six month oil change intervals or longer where stated by vehicle manufacturers or indicated by electronic oil life monitoring systems. Change aftermarket OEM or AMSOIL oil filters at every oil change.

For best results, AMSOIL recommends the use of high efficiency AMSOIL full-flow oil filters. AMSOIL full-flow oil filters are engineered to last longer and reduce engine wear by capturing smaller particles, holding more dirt and flowing more oil than conventional filters.

Applications

AMSOIL XL Synthetic Motor Oils are excellent for use in all types of gasoline-fueled vehicles and are recommended for all domestic and foreign vehicles requiring any of the listed performance specifications:

XL 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLM)
  • API SM/CF, SL, SJ...
  • ILSAC GF-4, GF-3...
  • ACEA A1/B1
  • JASO VTW
  • GM 6094M
  • Ford WSS-M2C930-A
  • Daimler Chrysler MS-6396N
XL 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLF)
  • API SM/CF, SL, SJ...
  • ILSAC GF-4, GF-3
  • ACEA A1, B1
  • JASO VTW
  • GM 6094M
  • Ford WSS-M2C929-A
  • Daimler Chrysler MS-6395N
XL 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLT)
  • API SM/CF, SL, SJ...
  • ILSAC GF-4, GF-3...
  • ACEA A1/B1
  • JASO VTW
  • GM 6094M
  • Ford WSS M2C205-A
  • Daimler Chrysler MS-6395N
XL 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLO)
  • API SM/CF, SL, SJ...
  • ACEA A1/B1
  • JASO VTW
xlm_qt_300pxh (7K)xlt_qt_300pxh (7K) xlf_qt_300pxh (7K)xlo_qt_300pxh (7K)
Apr. 01, 2005
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Snocross Wrapup

Following two rounds of strong racing in Buffalo, Team AMSOIL snocross star D.J. Eckstrom entered the final rounds of the WSA snocross season third in the overall Pro Open points standings and second in the overall Pro Stock points standings. At the U.S. Air Force Park X Snocross in Hill City, Minn., Eckstrom earned his eighth podium finish of the season, finishing third in the Pro Stock class. He finished a strong fourth in the Pro Open class. The final race of the 2004-2005 season was held in Lake Geneva, Wis. on the weekend of March 18-20. Eckstrom again ran a solid race in the Pro Stock class, earning a third place podium finish and finishing the season second in the overall Pro Stock points standings. With a 13th place finish in the Pro Open class, Eckstrom finishes the year third in the overall Pro Open standings.

Hybrid Technology Grabs Hold of the Bus Market

Optima Bus Corporation recently announced plans for a fuel efficient, low emission hybrid-electric powered version of its popular Opus low floor bus. Expected to yield fuel savings of up to 50 percent over traditionally powered buses, Optima predicts hybrid sales will comprise 40 percent of the company's total sales volume by 2009. When the first prototype of the new bus is unveiled in May, Optima plans to tour trade shows and perform demonstrations for transit organizations around the country.

The Ultimate Motorcycle Lubricants

New AMSOIL Motorcycle Oils offer superior transmission and rust protection.

AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils have been re-formulated with new high performance additive technology that provides even greater multi-functional benefits for the special requirements of motorcycle applications. These independent and exclusive new AMSOIL formulations provide second-to-none viscosity protection for hot-running American and foreign motorcycle engines, transmissions and primary chaincases.

AMSOIL 20W-50 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil (MCV) is recommended for Harley-Davidson, Buell, Victory, Ducati, BMW, Aprilla and Triumph motorcycles calling for a 15W-50 or 20W-50 viscosity, providing superior protection in engines, transmissions and primary chaincases.

AMSOIL 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil (MCF) is recommended for Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, BMW, Husqvarna and KTM motorcycles calling for a 10W-40 or 20W-40 viscosity, providing superior protection in engines and transmission.

Improved Transmission Protection

AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils not only provide superior protection for motorcycle engines, they also provide superior gear protection, meeting API GL-1 gear lube requirements. Synthetic 10W-40 Motorcycle Oil meets SAE 80W-90 gear lube viscosity requirements, while Synthetic 20W-50 Motorcycle Oil meets SAE 90 gear lube viscosity requirements.

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Viscosity is the most important characteristic of a lubricant. Motorcycle gears create a shearing effect that causes permanent oil viscosity loss. This thinning effect reduces the oil's ability to prevent metal-to-metal contact and wear. The stability and natural operating temperature ranges of the premium synthetic base stocks used to formulate AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils eliminate shear and reduce wear. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils exhibit absolute shear stability as measured by the Kurt Orbon shear stability test.

The high temperatures and tight tolerances common to motorcycle applications also affect viscosity. The High Temperature /High Shear (HTHS) Test (ASTM D-4683) measures a lubricant's viscosity under severe high temperature and shear conditions. The more resistant an oil is to high temperature viscosity loss, the better it protects, and even a HTHS difference of 0.1 cP makes a significant difference.

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AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils exhibit higher HTHS viscosities than competing conventional and synthetic motorcycle oils. As seen in the graph, AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oil displayed the highest High Temperature/High Shear viscosity in the test group, providing motorcycle engines and transmissions operating in the harshest conditions with superior protection against wear and viscosity loss and eliminating the need for separate gear case oils as recommended by some competitors. Synthetic 10W-40 may also be used in two-cycle transmissions.

Excellent Wet Clutch Performance

Many motorcycles utilize a clutch that is immersed in the transmission or motor oil. The friction modifiers present in many automotive motor oils and the extreme pressure additives present in EP gear lubricants produce a low coefficient of friction between the clutch discs and plates, resulting in clutch slippage and glazing. Slippage leads to increased operating temperatures and reduced clutch life. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils are formulated without friction modifiers, providing positive clutch engagement, longer equipment life and reduced temperatures. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils meet the clutch compatibility requirements mandated by JASO MA

Excellent Corrosion Protection

Most motorcycles spend the majority of their lives either parked or in storage, but most motorcycle oils fail to address corrosion problems. Corrosion protection during storage and in humid conditions is essential to extending equipment life. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils are formulated with specialized additive technology that not only protect against corrosion and acids during operation, but also provide exceptional protection during storage.

Outstanding Heat Resistance

Motorcycles operate in demanding, high heat conditions that require robust high temperature deposit control additives. While many conventional oils break down and oxidize when faced with high temperatures, causing formation of carbon and sludge deposits, AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils effectively withstand oil breakdown and oxidation, keeping equipment running cooler and minimizing oil consumption, thickening and emissions. Air-cooled engines get especially hot while idling in traffic, often reaching temperatures up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The extra margin of protection provided by AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils is especially important for hot running air cooled motorcycle engines.

Foam Control

High engine speeds and transmission gears in motorcycles churn the oil, suspending air and causing foam. When this oil and air mixture is drawn into a loaded area, the air compresses and decreases the thickness of the oil film, compromising wear protection. In addition, suspended air promotes oil oxidation, reducing its service life. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils greatly reduce foaming to provide long term lubricating protection in high speed, high RPM conditions.

Robust Additive Levels
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Recent automotive motor oil regulations have limited certain additive levels, including the anti-wear, anti-oxidant additive, and reducing its level results in compromised wear control and shortened service life. Because motorcycle applications require robust additive systems to control wear and oxidation, use of an automotive motor oil or an automotive motor oil re-labeled as a motorcycle oil compromises protection and performance. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils are overtreated with robust additive packages, including high levels of calcium, phosphorus, zinc and additional oxidation inhibitors, to extend oil life expectancy, provide unmatched engine cleanliness and greatly reduce wear.

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AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils are recommended for twice the manufacturer's recommended drain interval for on-road motorcycles.

The Four Ball Wear Test (ASTM D-4172) determines the wear protection properties of a lubricant. The smaller the average wear scar, the better the wear protection provided by the lubricant. AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils produce significantly smaller wear scars than competing motorcycle oils, providing unsurpassed protection against engine wear, reducing maintenance costs and extending equipment life.

Cost Effective

AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils provide excellent cost effectiveness and are cost competitive with competing high end motorcycle oils. The unmatched protection and performance provided by AMSOIL Synthetic Motorcycle Oils is excellent insurance for today's expensive motorcycles and custom bikes.

Mar. 15, 2005
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Owner-Operators comprise One-Third of Carrier Fleet

According to data from the Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, there are more owner-operator truckers than previously estimated. "Using ratios discovered by our membership profile survey and this new data, we can estimate that owner-operators comprise about one-third of the total for-hire carrier fleet, which is estimated by the survey as 1.1 million large trucks," says John Siebert, project manager for the OOIDA Foundation. The survey shows 390,000 total owner-operator trucks, with each owner-operator owning an average of 1.4 trucks.

Gear Reducer Tip

According to Hack Hensley, Predictive Maintenance, Mitsubishi Polyester Film, LLC, water-cooled gear reducers used in industrial equipment could exhibit problems if the water temperature is too cold, causing condensation that allows water to enter the oil. "If you notice water on the floor, or on the cooling water lines going into the gear reducer or the gear reducer sweating, you probably have water in the gear reducer," says Hensley. "I have encountered this problem twice. Both reducers were critical equipment. When you find this problem, first increase the temperature until the water lines quit sweating. Second, perform oil analysis on the reducer and check for water. If this issue isn't corrected, it could be catastrophic."

Demand for Engine Repair on the Rise

Increased demand for engine work brings increased demand for aftermarket products.

Passenger cars and light trucks have come a long way over the years. Today's vehicles require less maintenance and typically last in upwards of 200,000 miles under normal service conditions. By the time a major repair is required, a vehicle is often too old too make the repair worthwhile. In addition, low interest rates offered by new car dealers make new car purchases more attractive than repairing older vehicles.

A recent survey of Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA) members indicated that demand for small four-cylinder diesel engines doubled in a year's time.

However, the decline in engine work and parts sales appears to be slowing down. Customers are finding it difficult to sell or trade their vehicles when they require major repair work, and demand for engine parts and repairs appears to be leveling off and may even start increasing.

While the number of machine shops, custom engine rebuilders and production engine remanufacturers has been declining through the years, the market looks to have stabilized. A recent survey of Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA) members indicated that demand for small four-cylinder diesel engines doubled in a year's time. The average number of rebuilds per month increased from 0.82 in 2002 to 1.6 in 2003. The survey also indicated that demand for four, six and eight cylinder gasoline engines remained steady, but the percentage of import engines being rebuilt jumped from 24.3 percent to 27.4 percent.

Demand for performance engine parts is on the rise. Approximately 80 percent of shops do performance work, and the survey shows that businesses are doing more performance work than ever, representing 18 percent of output.

Increased demand for engine work is good news for the aftermarket, creating increased sales of parts such as rings, bearings, pistons, camshafts, timing sets, upper valvetrain components and oil pumps and gaskets, as well as spark plugs, oil and air filters, thermostats, motor oil, antifreeze and oxygen sensors.

High quality motor oil keeps bearing, ring and cylinder wear to a minimum, but high mileage engines often suffer from valve guide and seat wear, increasing oil consumption. As oil consumption increases, spark plugs can foul and lead to misfire, increased emissions and reduced fuel economy.

AMSOIL synthetic motor oils and diesel oils offer unsurpassed protection and performance for both new and rebuilt engines, keeping friction, heat and wear to an absolute minimum for increased equipment life.

Bosch Platinum+4 Spark Plugs

Bosch Platinum+4 spark plugs are the most powerful spark plugs on the market, featuring a unique four-ground electrode design and revolutionary firing technology that provide longer, more powerful sparks, longer service life and more efficient combustion than conventional single electrode spark plugs. Their pure platinum heat-fused center electrodes deliver smoother acceleration, improved fuel efficiency, maximum power and extended performance life.

Consult the Online Application Guide link in the Menu at the top of this page to determine the appropriate Bosch plugs and wires for your application.

Diesel Demand on the Rise

According to the Diesel Technology Forum, the new generation of diesel vehicles are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than comparable gasoline vehicles, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts increasing demand for these fuel efficient diesel cars, trucks and SUVs.

Today's diesel vehicles are clean, quiet, and fun to drive; and evidence suggests that 2004 is just the beginning of a new era of diesel options for the American consumer

In its energy forecast for the next 20 years, the EIA foresees increased demand and fluctuating prices for petroleum, and it stresses the importance of energy efficiency in the transportation market.

"This report reaffirms what experts are increasingly predicting to be a viable market for light-duty diesel vehicles in the United States," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. "Diesels are an attractive alternative because of their superior fuel efficiency, ability to decrease dependence on foreign oil, and lower emissions of carbon dioxide."

The Department of Energy (DOE) predicts four to seven percent growth in the light-duty diesel market by 2012, while previous studies reveal that a 20 percent market share by diesel vehicles by 2020 would save the country 350,000 barrels of oil a day. "Since light-duty diesels currently account for only about 0.2 percent of the market today, this growth prediction is substantial," says Schaeffer.

While diesel vehicles represent 50 percent of new vehicle purchases in Europe, Americans are beginning to have more diesel choices than ever. Modern diesel technology is available in four key market segments: economy cars, family station wagons, luxury sedans and SUVs.

"Today's diesel vehicles are clean, quiet, and fun to drive; and evidence suggests that 2004 is just the beginning of a new era of diesel options for the American consumer," says Schaeffer.

The Changing Vehicle Market

According to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, light trucks are continually gaining market share at the expense of cars. The change is being spearheaded by the replacement of cars with SUVs. While cars accounted for 71.2 percent of the market in 1975, they accounted for 47.9 percent in 2004. SUVs accounted for a mere 1.8 percent of the market in 1975, increasing to 26.1 percent in 2004.

If the SUV is the new family car, then a case could be made that the market shares for pickups, people movers (vans and wagons) and family cars have not changed much over time

Pickup trucks accounted for 13.1 percent of the market in 1975, climbing to 15.2 percent in 2004. Wagons accounted for 9.4 percent of the market in 1975, falling to 3.7 percent in 2004.

"If the SUV is the new family car, then a case could be made that the market shares for pickups, people movers (vans and wagons) and family cars have not changed much over time," write the authors of the report.

Model year 2004 vehicles are the most powerful and fastest in 30 years of EPA reports, and they are 13.1 percent more fuel efficient than model year 1975 vehicles. The EPA credits the advances in performance to engines with more valves and advanced fuel injection systems and transmissions with lock-up torque converters and extra gears.

According to the EPA's report, 69.1 percent of 2004 cars and 44.3 percent of trucks have four-valve engines, 99.8 percent of cars and 100 percent of trucks have port fuel injection, 80.2 percent of cars and 18.5 percent of trucks are front wheel drive, five percent of cars and 49.6 percent of trucks are four wheel drive and 13 percent of cars and 4.1 percent of trucks have manual transmissions.

A separate report released by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) indicates that Americans drove 2.88 trillion miles in 2003, and the number is expected to top three trillion miles in 2006.

"Vehicle usage is at the root of most aftermarket demand and vehicle replacement demand," says AASA director of market research Frank Hampshire. "Long-term trends bode well for continued growth in the automotive aftermarket and the entire automotive industry."

Mar. 01, 2005
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Vehicles Often Neglected

A vehicle inspection campaign performed by the Car Care Council last spring revealed an 87 percent failure rate among inspected vehicles. In the lubricant and fluid category, 34 percent of inspected vehicles had low, overfull or dirty motor oil, while 23 percent had low or dirty power steering fluid, 26 percent required a coolant flush and 27 percent had low coolant. In addition, 14 percent of vehicles had front windshield failures, 24 percent needed new air filters and 17 percent required new PCV filters.

Winning Female Customers

It is important to put forth extra effort in order to earn loyal female customers, especially when selling automotive products or services. "We take the time to explain the procedures of the repair," says Amy Wade, vice president of Wayne's Cool Air in Fort Worth, Texas. "Female customers always worry that they are going to be taken advantage of, therefore, they need added attention. You can always make the sale when people understand the situation." Wade also advises telling the truth in order to win respect and keeping shops clean and organized. "Appearance is everything to your female customers," says Wade. "Women like to see things clean and organized. The thing they appreciate most is our clean and decorated bathroom. We also have a nice waiting area with women's magazines and a TV. It makes the wait go faster when the kids can watch cartoons. Our flower beds always have blooming flowers in them and the grass is always mowed."

Turbo-charger Demand on the Rise

Offering benefits such as increased fuel economy and power and reduced powertrain weight and emissions, turbo-charger demand has been rising sharply over the past few years, most noticeably in European countries where direct injection diesel engines are popular. While normally aspirated diesel engine production continues to decline, production of turbo-charged diesel light vehicles more than doubled between 1998 and 2003, rising from 3.6 million to 7.7 million vehicles.

The demand for super-chargers has also increased, but not at the same rate as turbo-chargers. Advances in the super-charger field have allowed vehicle manufacturers to produce smaller engines that combine the performance and horsepower benefits of a large engine with the fuel economy benefits of a small engine.

AMSOIL synthetic motor oils provide superior protection and performance, keeping turbo-charged and super-charged engines running cool and efficient.

Consider Truck Resale Value

According to Kenworth's Chris Braun, truck buyers should take resale value into consideration in order to minimize life cycle costs. Attempts to eliminate as much up-front cost as possible from a new class 8 truck purchase seem reasonable, but the purchase of certain components can pay off when it comes time for trade-in, decreasing the cost of ownership.

Truck make, drivetrain, transmission, engine brake, sleeper, air ride suspension and interior trim can all affect resale value and should be considered when purchasing a new truck. Premium brands, popular components and higher horsepower engines all bring higher resale prices.

Braun advises truck buyers to spec an engine brake because it can add approximately $2,500 in resale value, while also decreasing brake wear. "And be sure to spec an air ride suspension if you want to get a better price for your used truck in the future," says Braun. "Air is virtually standard now. you would only spec a mechanical suspension for very special application."

Although truck interior may seem relatively unimportant, it is one of the first things a used truck buyer notices. A nice, clean interior gives a positive first impression and can help hasten a sale.

Extended transferable warranties, complete service records and following a preventive maintenance schedule also add resale value.

Light Vehicle Population to Increase

Strong sales predicted for light trucks

According to a recent R.L. Polk & Co. report, light vehicle population in the United States will increase by 16 million vehicles over the next few years, for a total of 234.4 million vehicles on the road by July 1, 2008. The light truck market, including pickups, mini-vans and sport utility vehicles, is expected to see significant growth, while passenger car sales are expected to decline.

Dave Goebel foresees passenger car population slowly declining over the next several years as many people replace their older cars with new light trucks.

"Understanding the past and current VIO (vehicles in operation) snapshots is important for the auto industry, but to understand what will happen in the future has become increasingly important," says Marty Miller, product manager with Polk's product strategy team. "During the next five years, we expect light truck VIO to grow by over 13 percent and passenger car VIO to fall by nearly 9 percent. This development will certainly have implications for automotive part product life cycles and the aftermarket."

Passenger cars represented 60 percent of total vehicles in 2003, while light trucks represented 40 percent. By 2008, Polk projects the numbers will change to 54.7 percent for cars and 45.3 percent for light trucks.

Polk analytic consultant and model builder Dave Goebel foresees passenger car population slowly declining over the next several years as many people replace their older cars with new light trucks. "There are several other dynamics at play here," says Goebel. "Light truck sales have recently outnumbered passenger car sales. We also know from our research that light trucks last longer than cars, and that more recently produced model years outlast older model years. Our modeling techniques are based on these known differences in durability across vehicle segments and model years."

Feb. 15, 2005
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Public Transportation Demand on the Rise

Reflecting an increased demand for transportation choices, 24 of 31 transit-related measures across the nation passed during November's election. The initiatives are worth over $40 billion. "The message is loud and clear," says William W. Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association. "People want more public transportation. These initiatives prove that people are willing to invest in quality transit services that will pay dividends for years to come." Eighteen of 22 transit-related initiatives also passed earlier in 2004, putting the success rate at 80 percent. "This year has also shown that it's not just big metro areas that are clamoring for transit," says Stephanie Vance, program manager for the Center for Transportation Excellence. "Medium and smaller communities like Parkersburg, WV, El Paso County, CO, and Kalamazoo, MI, also see its benefits."

Grease Storage Tip

According to the "Lubricating Grease Guide," it is important to tightly seal grease containers during prolonged storage to avoid contamination that leads to grease deterioration. The most common source of contamination is moisture, which can enter apparently sealed grease containers and change the product or rust the container. Appearance changes can occur if oxidation causes the surface to darken, if air slowly escapes or if water causes the grease to become hazy.

ExxonMobil Follows AMSOIL into Extended Drain Market

What does the introduction of ExxonMobil Long Drain Motor Oils Mean for AMSOIL?
A press release from ExxonMobil announced a new line of motor oils recommended for extended drain intervals.

It was only a matter of time before another company followed the path forged by AMSOIL over 30 years ago. Some Dealers may recall that Mobil also followed AMSOIL into the synthetic motor oil business, introducing its synthetic motor oil two years after AMSOIL. The technology for extended oil drains is obviously available, but until now, the major oil companies have had other agendas. Marc Graham, who is president of Pennzoil-Quaker State-owned Jiffy Lube International, was quoted in a 2001 Lubricants World interview as saying, "At [PQS] we use a number internally that if we [shortened the drain interval] by 100 miles [for each car serviced], it would mean an additional $20 million in revenue for the company." He also explained that "if we could move our customers to get one more oil change per year, it's worth $294 million for the oil change alone and $441 million in revenue, when you include the ancillary products and services customers typically buy along with the oil change."

The technology for extended oil drains is obviously available, but until now, the major oil companies have had other agendas.

Mobil backed off 25,000 mile oil change intervals in 1974

Mobil briefly recommended 25,000 mile oil drains in the 1970's. It's not difficult to figure out who they were trying to compete with. AMSOIL was the only other company offering synthetic motor oils and recommended 25,000 mile drain intervals. However, it may be that because vehicle manufacturers weren't yet comfortable with extended drain intervals, Mobil retracted its extended drain recommendations and simply recommended motorists follow the intervals specified in their vehicle's owners manual. Of course, traditional oil change recommendations also allow Mobil and other motor oil companies to sell a lot more oil. Everyone wins but the customer.

AMSOIL stands apart from the competition.

AMSOIL has always formulated its products to be the absolute best, continually researching ways to make its already outstanding products even better. Other oil companies, however, are beholden to shareholders, and one could speculate that their incentive is to maximize profit. They formulate oils down to a price, rather than formulating them to be the best they can be. Then, they price their products to maximize profits. In addition, AMSOIL has 33 years of experience blending premium extended drain synthetic oils. That's 33 years worth of proven performance in the field.

A closer look at ExxonMobil's new long drain motor oil line reveals that two are petroleum based, one is a synthetic blend and only one, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, is a full synthetic. The petroleum based products are recommended for 5,000 mile drains, the synthetic blend for 7,500 mile drains and Extended Performance for 15,000 mile drains. However, a look at the fine print reveals that ExxonMobil is still recommending drivers follow the oil drain recommendations listed in their owners manuals during the warranty period. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are recommended for 25,000 mile or one year drain intervals in both new and older vehicles. The AMSOIL warranty stands behind this recommendation.

AMSOIL has recommended extended drain intervals since 1972.

AMSOIL delivers the highest quality lubricants on the market. It's the AMSOIL identity, and it's what customers expect. Al Amatuzio coined the phrase "extended drain interval," and from the beginning, AMSOIL synthetic motor oils have been formulated for extended drain intervals.

Vehicle manufacturers are pushing for extended oil drain intervals.

Vehicle manufacturers in Europe have been recommending extended oil drains for years. In fact, the average drain interval in Europe is 10,000 miles. Vehicle manufacturers in the United States are definitely coming around to extended oil drains as well. Most owners manuals from recent model vehicles recommend 5,000 to 7,500 mile oil drain intervals. In addition, oil life monitors have become increasingly common on today's vehicles, allowing and encouraging motorists to increase drain intervals up to 12,000 miles, even when using conventional oil. Vehicles equipped with an oil life monitor no longer recommend oil changes based solely on mileage. The system measures engine operational data such as temperature, revolutions and speed to determine when the oil is nearing the end of its life.

The motor oil industry is faced with the extended oil drain interval issue

The success of oil life monitors has posed a threat to motor oil companies who insist oil must be changed every 3,000 miles. It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain this position when vehicle manufacturers are recommending significantly longer intervals with the use of their oil monitoring systems. This is no doubt one of the reasons ExxonMobil finally introduced a line of long drain motor oils.

AMSOIL Dealers will benefit from ExxonMobil's entry into the extended drain market

AMSOIL Dealers should expect increased sales and increased interest in the Preferred Customer program and the Dealer opportunity. When Mobil first entered the synthetic motor oil market in 1974, many Dealers were concerned about their sales. However, rather than suffering, sales numbers actually skyrocketed. While AMSOIL was once the lone voice promoting the benefits of synthetic motor oil, it was then suddenly joined by the largest motor oil company in the world. The Mobil campaign helped educate consumers about the benefits of synthetic motor oil, and AMSOIL Dealers were able to take advantage. As other motor oil companies joined the ranks and offered synthetics, the message became more mainstream and demand for synthetic motor oil continued to rise.

With ExxonMobil introducing a line of long drain oils, it's the same situation. While AMSOIL has certainly proven that extended drain intervals provide valuable benefits, the fact that ExxonMobil is finally saying the same thing brings the message to even more people. AMSOIL Dealers can take advantage of that. People who were previously dubious about extending oil drain intervals will be more inclined to do it, and AMSOIL Preferred Customers and Dealers will pay significantly less for an oil that lasts longer than ExxonMobil. However, unlike ExxonMobil or anyone else, AMSOIL offers 33 years worth of tried and true performance.

AMSOIL beats ExxonMobil on price.

The suggested retail price of the top oil in ExxonMobil's new line, Mobil 1 Extended Performance, is $5.79 to $5.99 a quart. That's right in line with AMSOIL 5W-30 and 10W-30, which retail for $5.95 a quart. By registering as an AMSOIL Preferred Customer, customers pay only $4.65 a quart, and even less when purchasing by the case.

Armed with the facts, AMSOIL Dealers are positioned to capture even more extended oil drain interval customers. It is up to Dealers to spread the word. By offering customers AMSOIL synthetic motor oils, Dealers are offering a better oil, a longer drain interval, a better price and 33 years worth of proven performance.

Feb. 01, 2005
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Dodge Jumps Back into Car Market

With trucks accounting for 78 percent of its sales in 2004, Dodge has become known primarily as a truck manufacturer. Now it is looking to reestablish itself in the car market with the introduction of the 2006 Charger sedan. "Our biggest challenge for 2005 is getting into the car business on a volume basis," says Jon Myers, chairman of the Dodge National Dealer Council. "It is an arena we haven't been in for a long time." Known for producing cars with limited runs, including the Viper and SRT-R Neon, Dodge plans to target a high volume, mainstream car segment with the Charger. Fuel efficiency will play an important role in the vehicle's marketing. A displacement system on the Charger's optional Hemi V-8 engine improves fuel economy by up to 20 percent by deactivating four cylinders when full power is not needed.

Hydraulic System Tip

John Sosnowski, district maintenance manager at Martin Marietta Materials, advises scanning the entire machine for the source of hydraulic system overheating on mobile equipment. "One of our machines was gradually building heat in the hydraulic system," he says. "It started at 130 deg F operating temperature and grew to 160 deg F operating temperature. After the thermography scan was complete, it became clear what the problem was. The auxiliary pump to the main pump was failing. This resulted in the oil reservoir maintaining a 200+ deg temperature. The reason the operators saw only a 160 deg F temp was due to a faulty gauge."

API SA Oils Fail Engine Sequence Tests

Although API category SA oils have been obsolete since the 1940's, they can still be purchased in many discount and convenience stores. Marketers argue the oils offer simple, inexpensive lubrication, but auto manufacturers want consumers to be aware of the risks of using obsolete oils, citing new evidence that SA oils are "likely to cause serious damage" if used in engines built since the 1940's.

"Further, the extreme scuffing indicated on five camshaft lobes in the SA test indicate that the life of this engine would be short, regardless of the oil change interval."

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers recently released a report entitled "Impact of Low Quality Oils on Engine Wear and Sludge Deposits; A Comparison of API SA and API SL (ILSAC GF-3) Engine Oils." It reviews the results of two engine sequence tests run on both an API SA motor oil and an API SL motor oil. According to the report, the SA oil failed miserably in the areas of wear, sludge and deposits.

According to Robert Stockwell of General Motors, the API SA oil failed in many areas and caused filter clogging. "When the pick-up tube plugs, oil starvation will occur on startup and the engine will be destroyed," he said. "Further, the extreme scuffing indicated on five camshaft lobes in the SA test indicate that the life of this engine would be short, regardless of the oil change interval."

The ASTM Sequence VG test measures sludge and deposits. Although the standard test time is 216 hours, the test for the SA oil was cut short at 168 hours because it had already clearly failed. Sludge deposits were evident on the valve decks, rocker arm covers and camshaft baffles at 144 hours, and kinematic viscosity had increased at 168 hours

Citing the industry tests as proof that SA oils are harmful to modern engines, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wants the lubricants industry to begin spreading the word to consumers. "The Alliance has asked API, the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association, Automotive Oil Change Association, NADA and other organizations whose members sell motor oil or interface with the public on lubricant quality issues, to help publicize this story," says Alliance staffer Ellen Shapiro. "In addition, the Alliance plans to post the study on its web site and discuss the issue with state regulatory officials."

The Alliance suggests states can take action through new prohibitions, increased enforcement, new labeling requirements and notices posted on store shelves.

The 12-page "Impact of Low Quality Oils on Engine Wear and Sludge Deposits; A Comparison of API SA and API SL (ILSAC GF-3) Engine Oils" study can be viewed in PDF format on the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association's website:
http://www.ilma.org/resources/impact_lowqualityoils.pdf (Opens New Window)

Personal Comment:

If you haven't read the couple of paragraphs in your Auto's Owner's Manual dealing with maintenance and warranty requirements dealing with the manufacturer"s requirements for the Service rating of the lubricants required for you Vehicle, you should. This is not difficult to understand and it is important. No matter what brand you prefer to use in Motor Oils, whether mineral based or synthetic, you really need to use the correct service rated oil. Engines today run hotter and are designed to produce more power on less fuel. If you have any doubts, ask someone who can advise you. Remember, you can use updated motor oils in an older car (the newer service rated oils are retroactive), but you cannot use outdated, obsolete spec oils in newer cars).

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor oils have always been ahead of the ratings game and there is no such thing as outdated motor oil. The reason AMSOIL has so many different motor oils is to give us "picky" people choices. The Diesel and Marine Synthetic Motor Oil has the TBN additives for Heavy Duty Diesel applications and rust preventive additives for use in high humidity locations and long periods of inactivity to prevent rust such as in Shrimp boat engines. The Series 2000 20W-50 Synthetic Racing Oil has tremendous film strength for high performance/high horsepower applications. Sure there also is the SAE 60 Synthetic Heavy Weight Racing Oil. And there are the SAE 30 Synthetic Diesel Oil and 15W-40 Semi-Synthetic Diesel Oil. Just one of any of these products my not be perfect for everyone. But having all of these motor oil makes it easier for the "picky" people to get the exact product they need. Whether you need a 5W-20 Viscosity Synthetic, 10W-40 High Performance Synthetic Motorcycle Oil, to the Synthetic SAE 40 Natural Gas Engine Oil, AMSOIL has you covered. For a list the Synthetic Motor oils available from AMSOIL, CLICK HERE.

Jan. 15, 2005
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Women Prefer Luxury Vehicles

According to WomanMotorist.com, luxury vehicles are becoming a hot commodity with female drivers. "Luxury vehicles are among the most requested products by women," says editor-in-chief Sandra Kinsler. "Clearly women are interested in entry-level luxury products as well as some of the highest-priced production vehicles on the market. And this should come as no surprise. The data clearly depicts an increased interest among women for very high priced vehicles, such as the Maybach and Aston Martin." The study also indicates increased female demand for pickup trucks.

Bearing Lubricant Life

According to the "Rolling Bearings Handbook and Troubleshooting Guide," high temperatures are the primary cause of shortened bearing lubricant life. Lubricant temperatures vary depending on bearing speed, bearing load and ambient temperature, and as temperatures increase, lubricant life decreases. AMSOIL synthetic greases contribute to lower operating temperatures, extending lubricant life.

Mineral Oil Failure in High Temperature Service

According to Noria Corporation, conventional oils offer limited protection in high temperature applications: "The main factor that limits the use of mineral oils in high temperature applications is their oxidation stability, rather than the viscosity thinning or thermal stability. In the presence of air, it is generally not advisable to use mineral oils in any application at temperatures above 200 degrees F (93 degrees C)."

Cooling System Failure

Preventive maintenance and high quality antifreeze keep cooling systems running efficiently.

Preventive maintenance is crucial to maintaining a healthy vehicle fleet and maximizing profits. Premature engine failure can cost a fleet thousands of dollars in repairs, maintenance and downtime. Just as a high quality motor oil and routine maintenance help avoid engine breakdown, antifreeze also plays a critical role in keeping an engine running smoothly.

Just as a high quality motor oil and routine maintenance help avoid engine breakdown, antifreeze also plays a critical role in keeping an engine running smoothly.

A vehicle's cooling system controls excessive engine heat by transferring and dissipating the heat created during the combustion process. "Coolant, circulated through hoses and passages in the cylinder block and head, absorbs heat and carries it to the radiator, where it is dissipated," says Charlie Yates, field engineering manager at Castrol. "A poorly maintained cooling system can lead to overheating, which results in boil-over or blown gaskets, cracked parts, a reduction in critical clearances, lowered oil viscosity and increased wear. The formation of rust and corrosion pitted cylinder liners and corroded water-pump impellers also stem from cooling system neglect.

"Over time, these conditions can result in catastrophic engine failure, making a huge impact on a company's bottom line," says Yates. "The good news is that with a few preventive maintenance measures, a cooling system will function properly and pose little threat to an engine."

Typically, antifreeze is mixed with water at a 50/50 ratio. This ratio effectively prevents freezing during cold temperatures and boil-off in high temperatures. Because hard tap water contains excessive calcium and magnesium that cause scaling and inadequate heat transfer, antifreeze should be mixed with soft or deionized water without salts or chlorides. Some heavy duty antifreeze products also require the addition of a supplemental coolant additive in order to prevent problems such as scaling, pitting and buildup of acid, rust and foam.

Checking coolant levels should be part of a fleet's daily or weekly pre-operation inspection, and a belt-tension gauge should be used to check cooling system belts.

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Radiator cleaning is also important. Blow cleaning air at around 50 psi in the opposite direction as normal cooling flow. For suction fans, remove the guards and blow air outward. For blower fans, remove the radiator guard and blow air toward the fan. To ensure the radiator is thoroughly cleaned, shine a light behind the fan. If light shows, the radiator is clean.

AMSOIL Antifreeze & Coolant provides maximum protection and extended service life in both gasoline and diesel vehicles without the need for supplemental coolant additives. It provides maximum protection in temperature extremes, and it may be used for seven years or 250,000 miles in passenger cars, light trucks, vans and recreational vehicles and seven years or 750,000 miles in over-the-road diesel trucks. AMSOIL Antifreeze & Coolant is also non-toxic, making it safer for children, pets and wildlife.

  • Maximum protection in temperature extremes
  • Non--toxic and biodegradable
  • provides extended service life in both gasoline and diesel vehicles
  • Compatible with all ethylene glycol and propylene glycol antifreeze formulations
  • Seals hairline cracks, preventing leaks

Premium Spark Plugs Improve Engine Performance

Spark plugs are essential to the combustion process, igniting the air/fuel mixture to produce the power necessary to keep the engine running. As long as the engine is running, the spark plugs are constantly firing. In most applications, each spark plug fires once every other revolution of the crankshaft. In a four cylinder engine, each spark plug fires five times a second at idle and 25 to 30 times a second at 60 mpg.

In a four cylinder engine, each spark plug fires five times a second at idle and 25 to 30 times a second at 60 mpg.

Electrode wear eventually shortens spark plug life. As the plugs fire, metal slowly erodes from the electrodes and eventually widens the gap between electrodes, increasing the voltage required to create a spark. Once the gap becomes too wide, the plug may misfire and contribute to losses in performance and fuel economy and an increase in emissions.

NGK Spark Plug

Standard spark plugs will usually last 35,000 to 45,000 miles under normal driving conditions, while long-life spark plugs with multiple ground electrodes or center electrodes made of wear resistant metal will usually last up to 100,000 miles. Long life spark plugs are ideal for tightly-packed engines in which the plugs are hard to reach.

It is important for electrodes to reach temperatures high enough to burn off fouling deposits, but not become so hot as to cause preignition. The ideal operating temperature is controlled by both the length of the ceramic insulator around the center electrode and the electrode design. The longer the insulator nose, the slower hear is conducted away from the electrode. A longer path between the electrode and plug shell also contributes to slower cooling rates and hotter plugs. Ceramic insulator length and center electrode design determine a spark plug's heat rating, which must be matched with the engine application to avoid plug fouling or preignition problems.

If a spark plug is fouled and misfiring, a new set of plugs will improve ignition performance and starting, increase fuel economy and decrease emissions. However, engines that burn oil and engines run for frequent short trips may continue to experience plug fouling problems.

NGK Spark Plugs

New spark plugs must have the same threads, diameter and seat configuration as the originals, and the distance the electrodes reach into the combustion chamber must be compatible with the engine application. Configuration of electrodes and electrode materials can differ from the original set of spark plugs.

It is a good idea to check spark plug wires when changing spark plugs. If the insulation is damaged, the boots are loose or resistance exceeds specification, they should be replaced.

Bosch Platinum+4 spark plugs are the most powerful spark plugs on the market, featuring a unique four-ground electrode design and revolutionary firing technology that provide longer, more powerful sparks, longer service life and more efficient combustion than conventional single electrode spark plugs. Their pure platinum heat-fused center electrodes deliver smoother acceleration, improved fuel efficiency, maximum power and extended performance life.

Bosch spark plug wire sets often exceed OEM quality, effectively delivering maximum voltage to the spark plugs for hotter, more powerful and longer sparks, improving fuel economy, delivering quicker and easier starting, smoother idle and acceleration and reduced emissions.

Consult the G-1767 Bosch Plug & Wire Set Catalog or the Online Application Guide link in the Menu at the top of this page for the appropriate plugs and wires for your application. This Online Application Guide has great information on filters, lubricant specifications, capacities, etc. and is printable so you can keep it for future reference.

Jan. 01, 2005
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BMW Looks to Overtake VW in U.S. Sales

Although Volkswagen has long been the top selling European vehicle brand in the United States, BMW is quickly closing in. The numbers for 2004 show Volkswagen leading BMW in sales by only 45 vehicles through November. The 11 month totals show Volkswagen with 234,642 vehicles sold in the U.S., with BMW close behind at 234,597. The numbers for 2003 showed Volkswagen up by 65,000 vehicles through November. The only year BMW outsold Volkswagen in the U.S. was 1993, the year Volkswagen stopped production at its Puebla, Mexico plant. While Volkswagen enjoyed increased sales in 2001 due to the popular redesigned Jetta, Passat and New Beetle models, its sales have been steadily declining since 2002. Through November 2004, Volkswagen sales were down 17.6 percent for the year, while BMW sales were up 6.7 percent.

Wear Metal Trending Tip

According to Noria Corporation, it is best to avoid sampling downstream of filters when wear metal trending. This practice strips valuable data from the oil prior to drawing the sample. In addition, the common practice of drawing samples from large centralized reservoirs, including steam turbines, paper machine lubes and hydraulic system, should also be avoided because the large volumes of oil in these tanks often dilute wear metal concentrations to undetectable levels. For optimal results, it is best to sample live-zone return lines and bearing drain headers.

Petroleum Equipment Institute Offers Safe Refueling Tips

Static electricity related fires gained national attention in the mid 1990's, prompting the Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) to take steps to educate the public about the fire hazards related to the discharging of static electricity at gas pumps.

While it is tempting to re-enter a vehicle while it is refueling, especially in cold winter temperatures, it is best to stay outside.

While it is tempting to re-enter a vehicle while it is refueling, especially in cold winter temperatures, it is best to stay outside. Re-entering the vehicle, especially in cool, dry weather conditions, can cause static electricity to build up and be discharged at the nozzle, causing fire.

PEI offers the following rules for safe refueling:

1) Turn the engine off.

2) Don't smoke.

3) Avoid re-entering the vehicle.

As of September 2004, PEI received 160 reports of static electricity related fires. Many motorists became charged through friction created between clothing and a car seat, causing an electrostatic discharge to the vehicle's body, fuel cap or the fuel nozzle.

According to PEI research, static electricity is the primary cause of fires at fuel pumps. Although reports of fires related to cell phone usage have been widely circulated, none of the investigated incidents were caused by cell phones.

For more information on static electricity build-up and refueling safety, visit PEI's website at www.pei.org/static.