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I'm curious as to what the opinions are to this test having any relevance to actual engine wear? The opinions I've received from Mobil, Redline, Castrol, Havoline and BITOG is that it's a very misleading test that has no correlation to actual engine wear. For one, it's mainly for grease. The other issue I have with it is, according to Redline, their are many additives that you could add to an oil that would produce a great wear scar, but, would do nothing for your engine. So why spend the money on these additives? That was RL's take on it. It must fool alot of people though. However, I often wonder why other companies don't go after Amsoil on this test. Mobil claims it's an inexpensive test that has no significance at all.
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Originally posted by Buster:
Must be alot of Amsoil dealers on this board. No one wants to comment on the 4-Ball wear propaganda? C'mon, it's not like we are talking about AJ's Vitamin line, that exceeds Centrum's 4-Ball stomach wear test. Big Grin

Although I don't have to hide that I'm a fan of AJ in many respects but this has me LOL because I have such a vivid imagination Big Grin

On the serious side, are there not a long list of ASTM and other criteria tests that have to be met or exceeded to pass certain categories? (Rhetorical of course)
There are many test procedures in the ASTM bag of tricks. They are all revelent to the material they were designed to test. A lot of these procedures have been superceded by new procedures. The Timken test is a prime example of a test pionered by a major company that bears no informatin that to-day can be used by the consumer of the products quoting that test spec. It is relevent but not the complete story on the anti ware qualities of the material being tested. Test your knowledge of the capibilities of various lubricants both oils and grease by looking at the original OPTIMOL SRV test equipment. This is used world wide but seldom quoted.
Lab tests lab tests lab tests. Most of these ATSM tests for API/ACEA benchmarks are simply 'bare minimum' standards (which equats to f'all really). I'd like to see the comparisons - what was the actual result in units of measurement (not a yep you've passed jobby) and how does that compare to other products?
Surely then its alot easier for consumers to decide which oils give the desired level of protection.
At least then on paper you can compare apples with apples.
A data sheet shouldn't be hard to get. I just saw a selection of them but you would like it. Comparisons charts could be interpreted as being biased depending who's it is and who's reading it.

Continuing on the "ASTM" and other tests, it should kept in mind that many tests cover many catagories and just "4-ball" is rather useless. I could give you a URL but you might use him instead of me to get it.
Motor Oil Four Ball Wear Test (ASTM-4172)is what this test is about. API, to mention only one, has a list of test areas that are used to compare subject products:
Seven American Petrolium Instutute (API) tests were run on the motor oils. The Thin-Film Oxygen Uptake Test (TFOUT) measures the oxidation stability of engine oils. The High Temperature/High Shear Test (HTHS) measures a lubricant’s viscosity under severe operating conditions. The NOACK Volatility Test measures the evaporation loss of oils in high temperature service. Pour Point indicates the lowest temperature at which a fluid will flow. Total Base Number (TBN) is the measurement of a lubricant’s reserve alkalinity for combating acids. The Cold Cranking Simulator Test (CCS) measures a lubricant’s viscosity at low temperatures and high shear rates. The Four-Ball Wear Test measures a lubricant’s wear protection properties. The impressive test results show AMSOIL Synthetic 10W-30 Motor Oil outperformed the competitors in each test."

But who am I to "educate" somone who is appearantly well educated. A quote I've seen somewhere from a reliable source would apply here, in words to the effect that "...there is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak."
What is this?

D4172-94(2004) Standard Test Method for Wear Preventive Characteristics of Lubricating Fluid (Four-Ball Method)
Developed by Subcommittee: D02.L0.11
See Related Work by this Subcommittee
Adoptions: DOD Adopted; ANSI Approved
Book of Standards Volume: 05.02

1. Scope

1.1 This test method covers a procedure for making a preliminary evaluation of the anti-wear properties of fluid lubricants in sliding contact by means of the Four-Ball Wear Test Machine. Evaluation of lubricating grease using the same machine is detailed in Test Method D2266.

1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

2. Referenced Documents

D2266 Test Method for Wear Preventive Characteristics of Lubricating Grease (Four-Ball Method)
B3.12 Specification for Metal Balls
Why is so necessary to exclusively connect Amsoil (in a bad way) with Four Ball Test. Take a look at: Mobil data and (suddenly) all of us will reveal that (even) so well known Mobil use that test. (I am still browsing and there will be more manufacturers and related facts).
So, let's (all of Mobil users) turn back to Mobil. Immediately!

All of us, in final stage (after exploring documentation, checking testimonials and discussion if it's possible) use non (far of, actually) standardized "personal" methods to evaluate products. They are mainly based on very subjective "principles" (sounds, hearing, seeing, feeling, sniffing, ...) and achieved results are determinants for accepting or rejecting. That "method" is better than any of standardized?

So what would be customer's loss of having results of one more (standardized, in contrast) test even if it is not explicitly related to that product?

Even if that test is exclusively made for greases it would be somewhat plausible. If we simplify things: grease is synthetic oil with thickener!
Last edited by djordan
Djordan, with all due respect I think your missing the point. Shell, Mobil and every other major oil blender are well aware of the 4-Ball wear test. What they are saying, and this includes Redline, is that this particular test has ZERO relevence to what goes on inside an engine. That is why no one else uses it. It's more of a grease test.

Redline's tech department told me that the test shows varied results and that you could simply add certain additives to make it perform well on this test, but they felt bc it was of zero use in a real world engine, they would spend th money elsewhere. So basically Amsoil is taking one test, which has shown over and over again to not be important at all in real world engine testing, and is using it as a marketing tactic. Shampoo, coca cola are just two things that show very low wear scars but are horrible lubricants. It's a sales tactic that when people see, are getting fooled into believing their oils will protect better when that is simply not the case.
Djordan, you listed examples where 4 ball wear test were conducted with gear oils, hydraulic fluids as well as compressor oils. None of your examples were an engine oil being tested.

Amsoil makes a good engine lube.. but the dubious and selective use of this test raises questions of integrity of the marketer that any objective informed observer can pick up on. I would not hesitate to use the product but the 4 ball wear test has little to do with that decision.

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