Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 19:12:28 -0800
From: Justin VanAbrahams <jvanabranopsam.com>
Subject: Re: 5W50 synthetic oil grade


P.T. Goodman wrote: > > Justin: > > As near as I can tell most cars with some miles on them leak--some badly. > In my home parking lot with reserved parking, many of the parking spots > have a lot (and I do mean a lot) of leaked oil on the pavement. I have > none yet with 46k miles on my Saab. If mine leaked I'd fix if only for > environmental reasons. > > Pete The reason most cars leak is because most people don't care enough to fix them. Leaking is not something designed into the car or something the car was ever meant to have. Seals and gaskets wear out with age, and so long as it doesn't get annoying for the owner, most people are content to just add a quart every once in a while. I've got three high-mileage Saabs right now - an '88 9000T with closing in on 230,000 miles; an '85 900T with 190,000 miles; and an '87 SPG with 160,000 miles on them. None of them leak any oil - although the SPG *does* leak power steering fluid from the rack, which I don't have the money to replace at this moment. For the record, my '90 SPG has 54,000 on it and doesn't leak either. Don't think they were always this way - when I first got the two SPGs both leaked from the valve cover gasket; the '85 leaked from the crank seal and the rear seal. When I buy a car I replace all the gaskets and seals I can, because a) oil leaves nasty marks on the street and b) where oil can get out, dirt can get in. It's not, exactly, like I'm neurotic about it, it's just something I consider to be part of routine maintenance. Something leaks, I fix it. (except for power steering racks, apparently :) It's the same reason I use synthetic oil. Using it doesn't mean your car will suddenly run better or anything, but from all the scientific tests that companies and groups have run, it *is* proven that synthetics are less likely to suffer from thermal viscosity breakdown and that their lubrication is more uniform due to a close-to-perfect molecular structure. These properties tell me that synthetic certainly has the potential to do a better job, so I use it. It's added protection I consider worthwhile. I'd jump on the Amsoil bandwagon, but so far I've seen no data whatsoever indicating the Amsoil is better than any other synthetic for any reason, and its availability (or lack thereof) is certainly a downer for me. Same goes for Slick 50 and Prolong and Militec-1 and whathaveyou... All these snake oil companies promise all sorts of great things, but there is no data whatsoever showing any improvement in anything when you use them. Quite the contrary, in fact - Slick 50 has been sued, Prolong has been questioned, and I'll bet that if more people had heard of Militec 1 and it was more popular, they'd get sued or questioned too. Besides, I've taken apart enough Saab engines over the past few years to know that wear is not a problem. I recently watched as my mechanic replaced a head gasket on an '86 9000T with 307,000 miles on it. The engine was SPOTLESS - no visible wear, and all in-cylinder tolerances were within ORIGINAL specifications. This wasn't exactly a shining example of an old Saab, either - it was pretty beat up. My point is that I don't see how an oil additive could improve upon this... I've had the heads of my '85 900T and my '87 SPG and neither showed any signs of wear - so I'm not worried about anything that bonds to metal or decreases friction, because from what I've seen it isn't a problem to begin with! -Justin

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