From Trackpedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Proper lubrication is one of the most critical parts of our track toy maintenance. We've gone to the experts to get answers on some of the most frequently asked questions on lubrication, and what we need to keep our cars and motorcycles running smoothly.

Q&A with Royal Purple

Some of our friends at Royal Purple took some time to answer some questions from our Trackpedia members. Patrick Burris and Jared Martin work in the race engineering department over at Royal Purple, and shared with us some of their input. If you'd like to discuss these Qs and As, hit the "discussion" tab, up above. We'll collect new questions, and send them a new one each month!

Trackpedia: My track car is also my daily driver/pleasure car. I put lots of miles on it between track days. I've always followed the OEM Recommendations, should I consider different options if the car will spend time on the track?

Royal Purple: As long as the engine is not consuming oil the OEM recommend viscosity should be fine. Because of their inherent greater resistance to heat, higher viscosity indices and shear resistance, the use of a high quality synthetic oil is recommended to provide ample protection during the week and for the spirited driving during weekend track days.

Trackpedia: What is the typical operating temperature for engine oil, and when do I need to consider running an oil cooler?

Royal Purple: Typical oil operating temperatures in a naturally-aspirated, liquid-cooled vehicle is 220F. For competition vehicles with oil operating temperatures regularly above 220, or for turbo applications not so equipped from the factory, I would recommend running a oil cooler. For every 20 degrees of oil temperature you see beyond 220F, you reduce the life of the oil by half, regardless of brand or base oil type.

Trackpedia: For my manual transmission, what options do I have with respect to the fluid that I run, and how can it affect the performance of the gearbox?

Royal Purple: Quality manual transmission specific fluids should provide smother shifting as compared to the typical ATF that most manual transmissions use today. We do not recommend straying from the manufacturers specified type of lubricant (i.e. if a gear oil is recommend stick with an appropriate GL-rated fluid).

Trackpedia: What are the signs your oil is breaking down?

Royal Purple: The only real way to find out if the oil is breaking down is to have the oil analyzed. Used oil analysis will not only let you know if it is time to change the oil it can also give you a good indication how the engine is operating. Used oil analysis can show you if you have fuel dilution a internal coolant leak or excessive bearing wear.

Trackpedia: What is the most important thing to do for your oil before taking the car on the track?

Royal Purple: Checking the oil level to insure it is full and checking to see if it is time for a oil change. If it is time to change the oil or past time to change the oil go ahead and change it before hitting the track. Be sure to check your coolant levels as well, as indicated previously, excessive temperatures will reduce oil life.

Trackpedia: What are the most common mistakes racers/drivers make regarding oil?

Royal Purple: Using a heaver oil than necessary thinking more viscosity equates to better protection. Just because you are taking the car to the track does not mean that you need to use a 20w50 oil. If the engine have been running 5w30 then that's what you need to run at the track. Viscosity is simply resistance to flow; it does not directly correlate to the film thickness of a given oil. Using an oil which is too viscous can actually increase engine oil temperature due to fluid friction. As well, even though the gauge may indicate increased oil pressure, this does not mean increased wear protection. In most cases it means the opposite as the too-viscous oil may be starving components with tight clearences (cam bearings, rod/ main bearings, etc.). If you strongly feel you need added protection for track days, it's time to change your oil brand, not the vis.

New Question of the Month for April:

Trackpedia: I have heard various differing opinions on the difference between 5w30 and 5w50 oils. I was under the impression that if I wanted good startup flow and high RPM protection I would want to expand the range between the first number and the second number. Is this true?

Royal Purple: It's somewhat of a double-edged sword. Depending on engine clearances, a 50W at operating temp may give you added protection, but in our opinion the cons of wide span multi-vis oils outweigh the pros for most applications. To turn a 5W at 40C to a 50W at 100C takes quite a bit of VI improvers (polymer) which tend to decrease the oil's shear stability. Additionally, as we discussed last month, unless and engine has been specifically built loose to accommodate a 50W, engine oils temps may increase and shear stability decrease even further both of which will reduce oil life due to a ramped rate of oxidation and viscosity loss. Additionally, the higher operating temp viscosity will rob horsepower and/or fuel economy in tighter engines.

Oil Starvation