Low ash and ashless additive in motor oil

Low Ash type detergent/dispersants are used in most motoroil including the 2-strokes.

These detergents are manufactured from compounds of Calcium and Magnesium (heavy metals). After these compounds (Calcium Phenate or Magnesium Phenate) do their job, they burn away, forming a heavy metal salt (ash) that is swept away during the normal combustion process. Hence, this is where the name Ash-type detergent comes from.

As antiwear agent: The added Zinc compounds (Zinc Dithiophoshate) flow in with the oil and are not much used unless the base oil breaks down. If the base oil breaks down, they form a protective barrier between the moving parts (usually piston skirts and cylinder walls).

Some manufacturers are using a combination of detergent types (Ashless and Low Ash) to provide a broader range of uses for their oil and extend oil drain.
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But what is 2-stroke engine oil?

Two-stroke motor oil, why is so different from the normal (4-stroke) motor oil?

2-stroke motor oils, like most other engine and gear lubricants, are composed of base oil plus an additive package. The additive package can be as simple (only one or two components) or as complex (multiple components), depending on the requirements of the oil.

The motor oils would not different with any of the normal motor oils. In base stocks compose from 50% to 95% of the total weight of the 2-stroke engine oil. And, they also can be synthetic and petroleum based.

BUT, in the additive part of motor oil, in addition to what usually found: dispersants, antiwear, detergent etc., they stress on low ash or ashless compound. As you might know the 2-stroke oils are burned away in the combustion process, ideally no residual must remain after each firing. The residue is undesired if remain as built-up on plug, stick on piston rings and will eventually clog exhaust port. They are added in in proportion with fuel during burning. these compounds are complex and heavily effect the price of 2-stroke oils.

The two types of detergents/dispersants most commonly used in 2-stoke oil formations are Ashless and Low Ash. Medium Ash and High Ash detergents are not used in 2-stoke oils. Ashless detergents are normally used in low temperature applications and work well in engines where an excess of cooling capacity is available and power valves are not used. The formulation was later changed to a low ash type detergent because of the higher temperatures generated by engines.

These oils are designed for air-cooled high performance engines that operate under severe load/temperature conditions. Low Ash detergents can keep the deposits to a minimum at ring land temperatures as high as 400 degF.

When 2-stroke oil is kept in its temperature limits, it provides an adequate protective film between all moving parts. When that maximum temperature is exceeded, the oil film breaks down and usually seizure occurs unless another line of defense is added to the oil mixture. These are the Antiwear agents.
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Not all oils and lubricants are the same

There are many kinds and type of lubricants. Each serves its primarily functions and has own characteristics:
  • Engine oil (car, aviation etc) for lubricating the whole engine and serve lesser in the uppper combustion chamber. Oiling the piston rings, cylinders, valve gear, bearings; cool piston; prevent deposition on metal surfaces
  • Gear oil for preventing metal contact and wear of spur gears, hypoid gears, worm gears; cool gear cases
  • Torque converter fluid for lubrication, transmit power
  • Hydraulic brake fluid for transmitting power
  • Refrigerator oils for lubricating compressor pump
  • Steam-turbine oil for lubricating reduction gearing, cool
  • Steam cylinder oil for lubrication in presence of steam at high temperatures
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I just bought a 10w-50 motor oil!

When selecting oil for automobile engine and with keeping in mind that a good engine oil grade should be able to:
a) Flow and lubricate during cold start, in the form of liquid that flows easily at low or lowest temperature
b) Withstand highest heat and stress in engine, at hottest possible temperature without thining out (when engine oil lost its lubracating capability)

In general, the synthetic multigrade oil is the chosen one. And, why motor oil for racing use is monograde or monograde?

Theoretically, supposely ideal motor oils should have the lowest 'winter number' (a) and highest upper number (b), i.e: (a)w - (b). The oil grade that extend from 0w-60 or 10w-50, compares to what usually available like 10w-30, 15w-40 or 20w-40.

But, why so people says it is better to get a 10w-30 or 20w-40 is better than 10w-50 instead?
The reason: For oils at the same par, the 'working' range for a 10w-50 is far more than a 10w-30 or 20w-40.
A 10w-50 ranges from 10 to 50, 50-10=40;
A 15w-40 ranges from 15 to 40, 40-15=25; and
A 20w-40 ranges from 20 to 40, 40-20=20.

As you might aware, to extend the capability (viscosity index) of a motor oil to behave like a funtional oil additives like VII (viscosity index improver) and pour-point enhancer are added to based-stock. These enable manipulation of its chracteristics, also means the more the range in grade the more additives are added.

One of the shortcoming is the more the content of additive the less stable the oil compares to its monograde counterpart or based-stock. Why? The additives tend to disintegrate by shear, stress and intense heat.

I am NOT saying any oil that has wider grade range is inferior, in fact they are the greatest choice as all season motor oil, a SAFE BET. To generalise, most 10w-50 oil are among the high specification oil mostly only achievable by synthetic oil and alot of high tech R&D was done to accomplished it.

But they might be a bit costly for the extra (patented aka expensive additives) and that you can get from narrow if you know what your environment temperature, also the working temperature and load or your car engine. Possibly, you only be needing 10w-30 oil for your car or may be a 20w-40.
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What is in your motor oil?

In today modern multigrade blend or typical engine oil, there are two major components:
(1) based oil stock - the petroleum or hydrocarbon (ester and/or synthesized compound for full synthetic)
(2) additives - the mostly synthetic parts

So, what are the additive and what they do?

Additive - function
Antiwear - reduce friction and wear
Extreme pressure agent - prevent stress related scoring and seizure
Corrosion inhibitor - prevent rusting
Detergent - keep surfaces free of deposits
Dispersant - keep deposits in suspension
Friction modifier - alter frictional properties
Pour point depressant - allow oil flow when cold
Seal swell agent - ensure seals do not leak
Viscousity index improver -promote viscosity stability
Antifoam - reduce foaming
Antioxidant - reduce oxidation of oil
Metal deactivator - retard catalytic oil oxidation

These components or partial of them are also found the on the shelf Engine Oil Additive
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Racing Motor Oil

The oil used for racing engine, so will it be suitable for my car?
Theoretically, yes. Since the oil can endures the abuse in racing engine, it should be the best engine oil ever!

But, there is some pros and cons to that. Motor oils used in racing have the capability to lubricate the metlting hot metal with thin oil film to minimize friction while maintaining viscosity. Viscosity Index Improver (VII) or Very High Viscosity Index (VHVI) Improver are added to achived that, somes claim with only the based stock!

One obvious component lack in racing motor oil for the engine is detergent. In high stress-heat-pressure engine, the detergent agent will get burn or detonation. In many cases, this material is avoided. Please bare in mind the F1 team change engine oil after completing each round. Without the detergent, our road legal car will not last, not if you are changing the oil every 1000km.
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