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Old 04-16-2001, 11:05 PM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

I know in advance I could be opening a big can of worms, but I'm curious to everyones opinions on brands of outboard oil.

Here is my situation. I have a new Yamaha saltwater series efi 250 outboard. It's pretty well broken in now and I've been using Yamalube. Those of you that are Yamaha owners and run Yamalube know the premium price of the oil versus other high quality 2 stroke lubricants (not Wal-mart brand). My question is: should I only run the Yamalube or are the other high quality lubricants, ie., Exxon superflo (TC-W3) and others acceptable. The Yamlube is anywhere from $15 + or - a gallon versus the superflo at about $6. Thats quite a savings and Oh by the way, doesn't Yamaha have to buy the oil from one of the oil companies anyway.

I'm going to get my owners manual out and see what it says. I'll update later. Ok, everyone fire away. I have other thoughts on this, but interested in others views. Thanks in advance, Matt H
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Old 04-17-2001, 05:55 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

We run (2) 225 Yamaha's and (2) 200 Yamaha's. Our experience is that Exxon superflo will make the engines smoke more and run dirtier, requiring decarbing. We use Yamalube and ringfree. Much less smoking and no need to decarb. Matt, you paid too much for that engine to feed it crap oil just to save a few bucks. Look to see if a Yamaha dealer sells the oil in bulk in your area. If you can, you probably can get it for around $11-12 per gallon.
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Old 04-17-2001, 07:28 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

Yes this is a can of worms and people opinions will be all over the place. Here is mine. I paid alot of money for my twin 250 yammies. I demand a lot from them including getting me back to the dock. While all oil is made by a few companies, remarketers such as Yamaha and other can and do specify additional additives for their oils. I can smell, see and feel differences between different brands of oil. Given the fact that I want to keep my engines in tip top shape (and for a long time) I run Yamalube. It costs more (I buy in bulk for around $12/gallon) but given my investment, I find it to be cheap insurance plus I sleep better at night. I also use ringfree.

Kirk



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Old 04-17-2001, 07:56 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

I have used outboards for over 30 years and run any rated oil that I can find. Not one oil related problem in over 6000 hours of operation. I also decarb on a regular basis.
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Old 04-17-2001, 08:19 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

Frank - I'm curious how often you decarb and what you use to decarb?
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Old 04-17-2001, 08:52 AM
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I am really still divided on this issue. On one hand, I have talked with Yamaha reps that say that their Yamalube is better that all other products on the market. I even had one to go so far in saying that if your not running Yamalube in your Yamahas, you might encounter hassles if you ever have an oil related problem, such as Yamaha not wanting to cover something under warranty if your not running their oil. I have a real hard time believing that because the owners manual says to "run Yamalube or any TCW3 equivilant". I am currently running Exxon Superflow TCW3. ALthough I have been doing this to save a substantial amount, the cost of the Superflow just went up from 6.00 a gallon to 8.00 a gallon. I do however run the ring free every fill up.

Dorado
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Old 04-17-2001, 09:02 AM
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I am on my second Yamaha. The first one I put about 200 hours on her before I sold w/ boat. Put all kinds of oil in her, everything but Yamalube. (They do not carry it at my marina) (Merc Dealer)

Second motor the same, currently 121 hrs. and no Yamalube. Good quality oil is the key, not some crap off-brand. I usually put the Merc or Exxon oil in because that is what they carry. QUALITY is the key.

This question has been asked many times before on this forum. It comes down to what you are comfortable doing. If you use others than Yamalube just decide that thats what you are doing and not worry about it. Otherwise try to buy in bulk and save a few $$$.

DGH
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Old 04-17-2001, 09:45 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

I use AMSOIL 100/1, no smoke and no problems
Synthetic, and the first company to make it.
Don't have oil injection but I'am sure there technical department would recomend something. Little hard to find, unless you become a dealer or find one in your area, but good oil, I use it in everthing of value.
Power Stroke to generators to transmissions.
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Old 04-17-2001, 10:14 AM
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Every single drop of oil I have used in a 2-stroke during the last 10 years has come from Wal Mart and I've never had a single problem associated with oil or lubrication - and and among the several types of oil that Wal Mart carries I always buy the absolutly cheapest they carry. I did my first decarb two years ago and followed it up with a decarb a year later - I never saw the slightest bit of difference before or after. One of the nice things about having a dual plug engine is that when you remove both plugs you can light up the cylinder through one plug hole while looking through the other. Because of that I can tell you that my piston tops are clean to this day. I have absolutly no reason to think that the appatitie of my Suzuki 200 is any different from that of your Yamaha 250 along these lines. I once did the simple math to figure out how much money I had saved by using the less expensive oils. I did this back when I was using the boat a lot more than I do now days. The savings was in the thousands of dollars - - - this ain't chicken feed.

About a week ago a fellow posted a very long article on this subject over on the WMI board. The article was apparently written for some magazine or another and quoted a number of folks from various engine manufacturers and oil producers. It looked to be a great source of information at first read but when you really looked at it hard you would have noticed that it was the same old hype that we see all the time. There seems to be some sort of concensus that says that the manufacturers dictate what goes in their branded oils, or that the same stuff goes in only more of it, and one and on. In truth I've never seen a single word posted that gave unbiased information on the subject and even the oten cited "Engine Oil Study" that's still out there on the net somewhere doens't give anything other than opnion on the subject. Tell me this - why does everyone thing tha there's "more" corrosion inhibitors or someother magic chemicals in the manufacturer's branded oils? Maybe the stuff looks, feels, and smells different because there's less. Mabye this is the one last place where the manufacturer's get to squeeze the last dime out of you - anyone ever think of it that way? I'm also amused when I see folks say " the manufacturer's are in the business of making mone selling you multi thousand dollar engines, they aren't trying to get rich selling you oil". That is utter nonsense - those companys are out there trying to make money off of every single aspect of their operation and if they can find a way to cut the cost of an oil they have their brand name posted on and then convince you that its the ticket to longevity in your engine or intimidate you into buying it some other way (the old - "might void your warranty if you use someother oil" crap) it just means more money in their corporate pocket.

And there I go ranting again. I shouldn't do that but it really gets to me to see folks getting what I consider to be a royal screwing by paying twice the price they should be for these branded oils that have never proven themselves to be one single bit better than their less expensive sisters. Tons of speculation but not a bit of proof - other than those of us who have used the cheap suff for years without problems.

Oh, as one final note - there is a guy who has posted the same story on various boards over the years - it goes something like this: I used noting but X-Lube in my X-Engine for three years, absolutly nothing else. One day last year at my local lake I was going to fish in a bass tournament but the marine didn't have any X-Lube. So I bought a quart of El-CheepO-Matic and topped off my tank. My engine blew 15 minutes later. So take it from me, never use the cheap stuff in your engine. It goes something like that - - I don't even laugh at it anymore, its to sad to believe that anyone could be stupid enough to believe the story.

Thom
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Old 04-17-2001, 10:55 AM
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GC, read e-mail.
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Old 04-17-2001, 11:14 AM
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Default 2 stroke outboard oil

My Yamaha mechanic (5-star certified, FWIW) told me to use either YamahaLube or Merc Quicksilver, so I do. He could care less about Yamaha's profits, or whether I buy it from my dealer (where he works) -- he just thinks (I didn't drill him for the 'whys') those are better oils, so I use YamahaLube. The price difference (compared to the cost of everything else -- most of all, my time) is inconsequential to me, so I use what's recommended.

Why should I even give it any more thought than to ask my mechanic, assuming I trust him to know more about this stuff than me? I'm sure if he asked me about computers or networking, he wouldn't make me justify all my answers with "proof". Anyway, the fact that I don't have to even think about it (the possibility that there's a difference) is worth the extra money to me.

my $.02


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[This message has been edited by Ed P (edited 04-17-2001).]
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Old 04-17-2001, 12:24 PM
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Well said Ed...absolutly!!!
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Old 04-17-2001, 12:28 PM
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I think I've posted this here before, but here goes:

Lubrication Lowdown
Story and Photos By Bill Grannis
Boating enthusiasts are an opinionated group. No boat related subject, though, brings out religious fervor and flaring tempers as much as a discussion about outboard oil. Each lubrication opinion is sacred and is not easily changed. During a heated discussion, you may have heard folks say, "Show me a Yamaha refinery," or "I've never seen an Evinrude oil well" or "Oils are all the same, they just have different prices and containers." Opinions vary from recommending the cheapest TC-W3 available to only using the motor manufacturer's oil.
Multi-tasking Outboard oil does not just lubricate. In fact, almost anything from olive oil to baby oil will reduce friction. Today you do not see "blown" motors from poor lubrication quality, but from carbon stuck rings, rust, lean mixtures, and detonation. Fewer deposit formations, the reduction of engine wear, and corrosion resistance are just some of the other "jobs" required of a TC-W3 lubricant. An outboard motor, like an aircraft engine, runs at a relatively constant speed where the average piston temperature stays high. This duty cycle makes outboards more prone to carbon buildup as well as pre-ignition and detonation damage. As a result, special additives are required for cleaning deposits and reducing wear.
Direct fuel injected (DFI) engines, such as FICHT, Optimax, and HPDI, need a very high quality oil because of their unique operating characteristics. With only air passing through the engine block, DFI motors operate with elevated crankcase temperatures and recirculated hot oil. This lubricant still has to function over time, even after the evaporation of its thinner and more volatile components. In contrast, oil in a regular two-stroke only lubricates and cleans for 1/100 of a second at 6000 rpm,. Traditional motors also benefit from an internal cooling effect as the fuel mixture travels through the crankcase. The throttle venturi area runs so cold that occasionally condensation forms on a muggy day. As of publication, only OMC has a product formulated for DFI motors, FICHT Ram Oil. It is a partial-synthetic blend containing additives to prevent deposits and to protect parts from the high temperatures generated in a DFI outboard. Other oil and motor companies had no comment when asked if they were developing a DFI oil.
Certification
The National Marine Manufacturer's Association (NMMA) sets the lubrication standards and routinely checks oils for consistent quality. Certifying a new oil costs around $150,000 per formula for all the engine tests conducted by independent labs along with a $2000 registration and a $925 annual fee. Testing conducted in these independent laboratories uses several specific engines as well as reference fuels and oils for comparison. Lubricity, compatibility, corrosion resistance and detergency are some of the characteristics evaluated. The tests are pass-fail only. Some of the severe ring sticking tests (at a 100:1 ratio) allow for 15 percent scuffing (not metal scoring) of the piston, so an oil scuffing only 14 percent can advertise it exceeds the TC-W3 specifications. None of the outboard manufactures with whom we spoke allow any scuffing at all with their oils, and the oil companies contacted would not comment.
Each TC-W3 certified formula has a registration number printed on the container starting with "R-" , followed by 5 digits. Sometimes you will see one brand with several different numbers all on the same shelf. Presently, around 650 different formulas are certified TC-W3. Numerous companies use more than one certified formula for less dependency on chemical availability and price fluctuations. Some manufacturers sell their oils in several grades, each containing different compositions and priced accordingly. Others package and sell a TC-W3 oil under more than one name, usually as private brands, store brands, and for anyone wanting their name on a bottle. According to some accounts, even a few "big name" oil companies do not even make their own TC-W3 oil but put their label on a another's brand. For them it is more efficient to sell in such a small market compared to the enormous automotive, commercial, and industrial market.
Chemistry 101
A TC- W3 lubricant is made up of many parts: base oils, solvents and multiple additives. High-viscosity neutral stock and thick bright stock make up the heavy weight base oils. These are commodities, sold like peanut oil, propane or corn syrup. Some blenders may specify a particular base oil brand, giving birth to the erroneous statement that "X" oil company make "Y's" outboard oil. Varying the amounts of each stock determines the costs, lubrication benefits, smoke output, and high-temp lubricity. Bright stock is a heavy weight oil with good high temperature lubricating properties and carries the additive package to the combustion chamber. Having lower flash points for easier combustion, neutral stocks are lighter to provide instant lubrication on startup. Synthetic compounds like Polyisobutylene (PIB) reduce smoke and provide high temperature lubrication, but are very expensive. Only Yamaha and OMC state they use PIB, the rest would not comment. Solvents dilute the thick base oils to facilitate mixing with gasoline and flowing through injection systems. Additives are like medicines; thousands from which to chose and millions of combinations, each varying in price and effectiveness. Most are nitrogen-based, verses metallic- based used in air-cooled motors, and do not show up on the analysis chart. Lubrizol, Oronite and Infinium are the largest producers of two-stroke additives.
Each blender of TC-W3 oils has a different agenda in the formulation and marketing of its product. Some aim for the price-motivated consumer, making a passing grade lubricant as inexpensively as possible. Others cater to the educated boater who wants the additional protection of a quality oil and is willing to pay for it. Many sell on brand name recognition or automotive oil reputation. Motor manufacturers design the engines and do the most testing because of the sheer number of outboards they run every year. Oil corporations know the lubrication business and have the facilities for analysis, bottling, and marketing, but TC-W3 oil is only a minute part of sales. Additive companies invent, test and make the compounds used in outboard oils. Some sell complete packages for mixing with base oils as well as individual components for specific applications. The ideal situation is when all three entities combine resources.
The Analysis
We analyzed 12 popular OEM and aftermarket oils to determine any differences in chemistry. Only regular "off- the-shelf" outboard oils were chosen and obtained from dealers, WalMart, K-Mart and West Marine. No racing oils, pure synthetics, or biodegradable lubricants were included.
After researching oil laboratories, it became clear that a thorough examination would cost over $1000 per sample and still not find every element. Commercial labs specializing in engine oil analysis test for the most common elements at a reasonable price and are set up for quick turnaround. Of these, we chose CTC Analytical Services for their reputation and nationwide network of laboratories. Ted Bernhard, manager, was eager to help in our quest and, through many phone calls, gave us a crash course in chemistry and oil analysis. He also helped interpret the results and explained why many organic compounds and proprietary formulas did not show up in reports.
The emission spectrometer, used for analysis, contains a special chamber for holding a small amount of oil and burning it in an electrical arc emanating from two graphite electrodes. As an element ignites, it gives off a distinct lightwave frequency. Positioned around the chamber are 21 sensors, each calibrated to a specific element's wavelength. The intensity of the lightwave indicates the concentration of the element and a computer converts this data into parts per million. Accuracy is within 1/2 PPM and results below 2 parts per million (PPM) are considered insignificant.
Oil viscosity is also reported to show different ratios of solvents, neutral stocks, and the highly-refined bright stocks of the various brands. Viscosity is the "thickness" of a liquid; honey has a high viscosity while automatic transmission fluid has a low viscosity. The TC-W3 lubricants have to be "thin" enough to flow through snowmobile oil injectors at -40 degrees centigrade and mix easily with fuel. At high internal temperatures, the oil has to be "heavy" enough to provide lubrication and to contain the additives. Too much solvent dilutes the lubrication properties and not enough makes the "thick" oil resistant to passing through filter screens.
The analysis chart shows differences in ALL the oils except for Walmart's and Exxon's, whose certification numbers are not alike, but the viscosity, elements, and concentrations are. This project is not about proving whose oil is best, but showing there are different chemistries among popular brands, contrary to some opinions.
We also performed our own tests. Equal amounts of the oils were mixed together and observed over several weeks for "gelling'. TC-W3 procedures only mix one sample with a reference oil. No incompatibilities resulted. No gel formed, either, after introducing a small amount of water to simulate condensation buildup. A larger quantity of water quickly settled to the bottom of the jar, displaying a distinct emulsion layer.
Manufacturer's Recommendations
Citing the highly competitive marketplace, most of the companies were reluctant to talk about their ingredients or substantiate claims for their products. They mentioned proprietary formulas and trade secrets as the reasons and stated their oils exceeded TC-W3 specifications. The motor factories were very supportive and generous with information in response to our inquiries.
Pennzoil has since introduced Premium Plus Oil, a partial synthetic blend. They would not give out any data on it but said that is better than their lower priced Premium brand and an advertising campaign is forthcoming.
Several years ago, Yamaha changed its Yamalube 2 oil formula to an improved outboard lubricant called Yamalube 2M and came out with Yamalube 2W, formulated for high- revving PWCs. Only the 2M is TC-W3 approved and 2W should never be used in an outboard or mixed with outboard oil. It is ironic Yamaha warns in its owner's manuals not to use any silicon, phosphorous or lead in motors with Oxygen sensors, yet its oil is the only one containing phosphorous. "It is only part of an anti-wear compound," says Claude vonPlato, manager of Yamaha Parts & Accessories, "and the very small amount of phosphate doesn't affect the sensor... Yamaha is in the business of selling engines. Therefore the performance of the oil formula is the primary concern, not the cost. I recommend that people stick with one of the motor manufacturer's top- of-the-line oils, no matter what motor they are running. All the motor manufacturers have the same agenda when it comes to oil development."
Don Schultz, a Mercury lubrication engineer, echoes Von Plato's comments about OEM oils and adds, "The Mercury Premium Plus formulation has been proven to be a superior product when used in high output engines in severe conditions and this unique superior performance formulation costs more to produce." Mercury has two grades of oils and a racing oil. Premium Oil is the lower-cost brand and the label states that this oil is a value-priced product that "meets the needs of low- to mid-horsepower outboard engines". Premium Plus is Mercury's top-of-the-line oil and is recommended for high-horsepower and Optimax motors. In a November 1998 service bulletin, Premium Plus is recommended over Mercury's expensive Performance Blend racing oil for Pro Max and Super Magnum outboards.
Both motor representatives state that the molybdenum in their products is not the same "moly" particles in "miracle" car oils. This molybdenum is part of an antioxidant and antirust compound, spelled with 26 letters. As a comparison, an analysis of ordinary table salt would show a poisonous gas (chlorine) and an explosive element (sodium) combined and named sodium chloride.
OMC's Director of Product Management, Dean Devore, says each of OMC's oils has a place in the market. Nauticpro is manufactured for mass merchandisers to sell as a value- priced, approved lubricant for the cost-conscious consumer. Johnson/Evinrude oil is a better oil for all-around use, corrosion protection, and engine longevity. FICHT Ram oil is a semi-synthetic, which was developed for the high temperature DFI motors and contains a proprietary compound to remove carbon particles from engine parts in new and used outboards. Asked why OMC oil is recommended for Johnsons and Evinrudes, Dean answered, " Each year we spend over 200,000 hours testing our oil formulations in the most severe conditions. Our formulas exceed the TCW-3 requirements by as much as 35%. Just as our propellers are designed to match the power curve of our outboard, the oil we sell was engineered by OMC and it matches the needs of the engine. As we have made advancements in chemical technology, we have increased the detergency of the oil. Carbon deposits are the worst enemy of any two-stroke engine. Our oil formulas are engineered to attract carbon and remove it from the combustion chamber."
Observations
In conclusion, any approved TC-W3 oil will lubricate your outboard; however, there are chemical and performance differences between them. Each oil marketer states theirs exceeds the specifications and will not void your outboard manufacturer's warranty; yet no aftermarket mineral oil advertises they are better than an OEM. The factories would like you to use their lubricants and do have the expertise and testing facilities at their disposal. Each motor manufacturer says they work in conjunction with the additive suppliers and the oil companies to improve their lubricants and to develop new products, while no one else can use the same additive package and formulas as theirs.
To save customers money, many places sell bulk oil if you bring your own container. Sometimes you can save over 40% this way instead of purchasing individual one gallon jugs. Talk to other boaters or call dealers and marinas to find these savings. If you are a large quantity user, consider buying a drum of oil for yourself or to split with several friends.
Although OEM oils have good deposit cleansers, the manufacturers still want you to clean out carbon with one of their products. Read your owner's manual, use a high quality oil, service your motor according to the manufacturer, and utilize a carbon cleaner (spray or additive) regularly to keep your outboard in peak operating condition with a long, trouble-free life
Acknowledgements
Many people contributed to this article and without thanking them for their time and trouble, this story would not be complete. Ted Bernhard ,CTC Analytical, went over and above the call of duty in helping with this endeavor. Dean Devore, OMC; Don Schultz, Mercury; and Claude vonPlato, Yamaha, spent valuable time explaining their respective company's lubricants and answering our many questions. From NMMA, Tom Marhevco furnished testing procedures and TC-W3 guidelines as well as an education in "oilology". Pennzoil's Darci Sinclair and Infineum's Martin Meyers donated videos about TC-W3 outboard oils and their testing. The owners and employees of Bluewater Boats, Chip's Marine Service, Lucenti-Bonds Marine, and K-D Marine, from the Daytona Beach and surrounding areas, donated their time, facilities, and supplies.
Spectrometer Analysis of TC-W3 Oils
(Results in Parts per Million)
Aluminum
Silicon
Boron
Calcium
Iron
Zinc
Tin
Phosphorous
Molybdenum
Viscosity
@ 40° C cSt
Texaco
Havoline
1
1
51.3
Wal Mart
Tech 2000
1
1
53.0
Exxon
SuperFlo
1
1
53.0
Pennzoil
Premium
1
2
59.6
Lubrimatic
Ultra Premium
1
2
1
1
30.6
Valvoline
Outboard Oil
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Old 04-17-2001, 12:33 PM
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Some have far too much money to blow and others don't use enough oil to make a difference.
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Old 04-17-2001, 02:29 PM
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After having only ever using two brands of oils-Johnson/Evinrude and Mercury-I honestly can't tell the difference, except the Mercury oils is usually easier to find than the OMC (you can get it at Wal Mart). Also, the Evinrude oil, at least in my motor, simply smokes more, so there HAS to be a formulation difference. As for the what oil is better, I have to partially agree with Thom. But I can remember back when Quaker State met all the qualifications for lubricants in 4 cycle motors, and I have seen the damage that stuff would do to a motor when used for any extended period of time. I have heard their quality has improved, but I know I will never use it.

So which is the best oil for your outboard? The kind that you can mix with gas and won't foul your plugs. :-)
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Old 04-17-2001, 05:24 PM
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My Johnson mechanic says to use ONLY Johnson/Evinrude, Quicksilver, or Yamaha.
He's rebuilt many engines and has seen the damage cheap oil can do.
I buy Quicksilver from Sam's Club for $10/gal
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Old 04-17-2001, 08:21 PM
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Thanks Griz,

Great post. I feel somewhat educated now. If I could only make my mind up on choosing a brand.

Dorado
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Old 04-17-2001, 08:42 PM
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Griz,

Thank you for posting your article again. I've read it before and it is clearly impressive. I'm still trying to sort it out in my mind and I think I've finally found a way to do that. At any rate I have a question for you. Here, as in the past, I find your article hard to read because the formatting gets knocked all to hell when it is posted. Can you tell me where the article was originally published. What is of most interest to me is the table or chart that shows your cromatagraph information. I've never been able to read the table or figure out what the results really were simply becuase the number of data points isn't in line with the elements noted above. It would really help if I could see what number goes with what element.

Thom
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Old 04-18-2001, 02:04 PM
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Thom,
I'm working off of memory here, but I think the article may have come from Bass & Walleye Boats magazine some months back. I'm not an oil chemist, but I do remember reading the article and thinking..."OK, lots of interesting stuff, but nothing really that would make me buy one oil over another". The metals analysis gives you a table of numbers to look at (determinng trace metals is a relatively simple & inexpensive analysis), but what does it mean...I mean really mean to outboards, or are the metals just a way of localizing where on earth the base stock came from (does it matter?). The real nuts & bolts analysis that would show how & why one oil excels beyond another would require the "$1000/sample analysis" and likely much more when applications data is gathered. I'm pretty familar with internal & external labs...time & materials aren't cheap, toss in testing on motors and watch the money fly. It is surprising that there isn't more really useful info available on 2 cycle oils. Everything most always comes down to money..I'm guessing an 'oil war' for the motor manufacturers probably wouldn't have a profit in it (if a motor fails due to cheap oil they benefit anyway), the big aftermarkets (pennzoil, exxon, lubrimatic) possibly are not interested in an educated consumer, and the premium aftermarkets (amsoil, redline, blue marble..) may not have a sufficient return on investment to launch such a study. Follow the money & the reason is probably there.

(ps...I have no problem choosing an oil and I understand why I choose what I do, but this article wasn't a great help)
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Old 04-18-2001, 06:56 PM
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Bass & Walleye Boats Magazine, August 2000 issue.
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