Bore Polishing in Diesel Engines Oil OilChat#33

Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W40, our new top tier heavy duty diesel engine oil, is designed to protect engines against bore polishing. You may well ask how engine oil can possibly do this. To answer this question one needs to understand what bore polishing is and how it is brought about.

When modern engines are manufactured, the cylinder bores are honed (machined) to produce a “crosshatch” appearance with fine grooves from both directions at about 22 degrees from the horizontal (Photo 1). The crosshatch pattern is required to retain oil to ensure proper lubrication and to form a seal between the piston rings and cylinder bores. Bore polishing is characterized by a clearly defined area of bright mirror-like finish on the cylinder bore where the crosshatch pattern is worn away (Photo 2).


4Bore polishing is brought about by a build-up of carbon deposits in the piston top ring land area, i.e. the part of the piston above the top ring (Photo 3). Poor combustion of diesel fuel leads to these hard carbon deposits, which are highly abrasive and scrape away the honing grooves on the cylinder bores. Bore polishing leads to increased oil consumption (blue exhaust smoke) and loss of combustion pressure. This is because the oil film trapped in the honing grooves that maintains the piston ring seal and combustion pressure, is no longer there. Unburned fuel and combustion gases then leak past the piston rings and contaminate the lubricating oil.


The problem is aggravated by the formation of acids in the engine oil resulting from the reaction of these combustion by-products and condensed water. The acidic build-up in the oil causes corrosive wear of engine components. This cycle of degradation results in the engine becoming irreversibly damaged.  The advanced detergent additive system in Q8 Formula Truck 15W-40 protects diesel engines against bore polishing by effectively removing carbon deposits from piston top ring land areas.

A number of engine tests have been developed to evaluate the bore polishing tendency of diesel engine oils. One such test is the CEC L-101-08 procedure using a Mercedes Benz OM501LA engine. In addition to bore polishing, the test also evaluates piston cleanliness, oil consumption, and engine sludge.  Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 exceeds the requirement of the CEC L-101-08 test protocol by far.

To find out more about what Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 can do for your engines, please visit https://www.facebook.com/BlueChipLubricants/

Total Base Number of Engine Oil OilChat#32

Total Base Number (TBN), sometimes referred to as Base Number (BN), is an important property of engine oil. TBN is a measurement of the alkalinity of the oil expressed in terms of the equivalent number of milligrams of potassium hydroxide (an alkali) per gram of oil (mg KOH/g). Unfortunately this tells us little about what TBN does in engine oil, or how much we need for effective oil performance and engine protection.


The prime functions of motor oil are to lubricate, clean, protect and cool the engine. Various additives are added to the oil to enhance these functions. Detergent additives in engine oil have two basic functions:

  • Control deposits that accumulate in the engine.
  • Neutralize acidic products that contaminate the oil.

To do this the oil needs to be alkaline. TBN is a measure of the alkalinity additives in the oil.  Generally speaking, the higher the alkalinity (TBN) of the oil, the better is its ability to neutralize contaminants such as combustion by-products and acidic materials. Higher TBN oils are believed to be capable of neutralizing greater amounts of acidic materials. This results in improved protection against corrosive reactions and longer oil life. TBN levels are optimized for the intended application. For example, petrol engine oils typically have lower TBN values, while diesel oils must manage higher contaminant-loading from soot and sulfur, and therefore normally have a higher TBN. Modern high performance diesel engine oils typically have a TBN of 8 or more. Traditionally oils formulated specifically for extended drain intervals, displayed higher TBN levels to ensure proper corrosion protection for the duration of the extended interval.

TBN levels decrease as the oil neutralizes acidic contaminants in service. When the level reaches a point where it can no longer protect against corrosion effectively, the oil must be changed. Engine manufacturers’ maintenance philosophies vary as to when TBN should trigger a lube change. Some manufacturers recommend that when the TBN reaches 50% of the initial TBN, the oil should be drained, e.g. new oil TBN 10, drain at 5. Other manufacturers specify minimum TBN warning limits. Cummins for instance, stipulates the base number should not be allowed to drop below 2.5 mg KOH/g.
There is great controversy over when oil should be drained in mixed fleet applications. General advice is that this is not a real problem when engine oil with appropriate TBN is used for the fuel sulphur level.  Engine oil base number is not generally a reason to change oil in applications where fuel sulphur levels are low, e.g. on highway truck engines operated on low sulphur diesel. However the TBN should never ever be allowed to drop below 2 mg KOH/g.
Nowadays the main driving force for the development of new diesel engine oils is concern over the environmental impact of diesel engine emissions. New generation engine oils must provide optimum exhaust gas emission control system durability, while still offering peak engine protection. To protect emission control after-treatment devices, modern engine oils must contain lower Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur (SAPS) levels.  Although SAPS can poison exhaust gas after-treatment devices, it contributes significantly to oil alkalinity as well as oil performance. The reduction in oil SAPS limits has resulted in a shift from traditional engine oil technology to alternative additive chemistries.

We mentioned earlier that in traditional terms, higher TBN values are viewed as having the ability to neutralize more acidic contaminants than lower TBN products. This lead to the assumption that higher TBN products always allowed extended drain intervals. This, however, does not take into account TBN Retention of engine oil. The majority of motor oils currently on the market use a detergent package based on calcium, magnesium or a mixture of the two additives as their detergent package. It has now been proven that all detergent packages do not have the same ability to neutralize acidic contaminants in the long term. This has been proven in various laboratory tests and field trials. The significance of TBN Retention was once again demonstrated by a recent laboratory simulation, using sulfuric acid (H₂SO₄) to replicate acid build up during a drain interval from oil contaminants. The simulated test evaluated two oils with the following formulations:


  • Oil 1: Traditional chemistry with initial TBN 11
  • Oil 2: Modern technology with starting TBN 10


The graphs below show a visual representation of the test results:

TBN (mg HOH/g)

Asset 1

On completion of the 20,000 mile service simulation Oil 1 (traditional chemistry) dropped considerably more in TBN than Oil 2 (new technology). After about 5,000 miles the TBN of Oil 1 plunged lower than that of Oil 2. At 15,000 miles the TBN of Oil 1 tumbled below the 2 mg KOH/g warning limit. The TBN of Oil 2 never reached this threshold during the test. This laboratory simulation once again demonstrates the positive attributes of new developments in oil chemistry.

Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W40, our new top tier heavy duty diesel engine oil, is formulated using such technology, making it particularly suitable for extended drain intervals as recommended by 

engine manufacturers. To find out more about this exciting new product, please visit and like our Facebook Page


Engineering News: High-performance diesel engine oil launched

Earlier this month, lubricant and grease manufacturer Blue Chip Lubricants launched a super high-performance diesel engine oil called Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40.

With heavy-duty diesel engines representing a major capital investment, leading to operators always being on the lookout for technologies to extend the life of these engines, the Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 will target this market.

The Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 multi fleet motor oil is suitable for a variety of North American, European and Japanese heavy-duty diesel engines, while exceeding the demanding requirements of the most severe industry and engine manufacturer specifications, including the latest American Petroleum Institute CK-4 and European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association E9-2016 requirements.

Blue Chip Lubricants lubricant support engineer Johan le Roux says it is aimed at a range of commercial and industrial applications, including transport, mining, construction, quarrying, and agriculture.

“With the current influx of diesel engines into the South African market requiring this type of technology, it is the ideal time to introduce the Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40. “The launch supports our expansion strategy, since the diversification allows us access to all diesel-engine operators.”

Benefits for customers include enhanced protection against wear, corrosion, bore polishing, and camshaft wear. It also prevents engine fouling, owing to combustion soot, and offers excellent biofuel compatibility for optimised cold-starting properties.

Additionally, it protects exhaust gas after-treatment systems, and allows for extended oil-drain intervals to reduce maintenance costs.

“The latest launch means that Blue Chip Lubricants is at the forefront of the latest developments in the industry. “We are now able to offer the latest top-tier heavy-duty engine oil technology that offers several improvements in terms of engine performance and protection,” notes Le Roux.

Operators may now use one motor oil for all their diesel engines, since Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 is also suitable for older model engines.

The new product will be blended at Blue Chip Lubricants’ blending plant, based on the same formulation, base oils, and additives used by Q8Oils – subsidiary of oil producer Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) – globally. Blue Chip Lubricants secured an agreement to blend and distribute lubricants from Q8Oils in 2015.

Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 was developed at the Q8 Research & Technology facilities in the Netherlands, the largest research and development facility of its kind in Europe. “With the substantial resources of KPC on tap, we have the people, products, and proficiency to keep the wheels of industry turning,” Le Roux highlights.

Blue Chip Lubricants was established in 1983, buying and selling grease as its core business. It soon established its own blending site, and began manufacturing grease and oil for mines all across South Africa.

As the company grew, so did its target market. Blue Chip Lubricants supplies various industries, with its biggest clients in the automotive, mining, engineering, agricultural, industrial, and commercial markets.

“With more than 30 years’ industry experience and technical expertise, Blue Chip Lubricants is among the best in its field. “We are a trusted South African partner, manufacturer and distributor to some of the world’s greatest oil brands,” enthuses Le Roux.

With the company having its own manufacturing plant and testing laboratory, it can cater for all lubricant-related needs customers may have, including blending, repackaging and distribution, for both the large corporation and the individual end-consumer.

Article Available at http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/topic/blue-chip-lubricants-company.

For More Info Contact 011 462 1829 or email info@bcl.co.za/internalsales@bcl.co.za

Q8Oils Introduces a New Super High Performance Diesel Engine Oil

We are excited to announce the launch of our new top tier heavy duty diesel engine oil

Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40

Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 exceeds the demanding requirements of the most severe Industry and Engine Manufacturers specifications for SHPD (Super High-Performance Diesel) engine oils. It is a universal motor oil that is suitable for a wide variety of North-American, European and Japanese diesel engines.


Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 puts us in the forefront of new developments in Heavy Duty Motor Oil (HDMO) technology which offers improvements in terms of:

  • Engine protection
  • Shear stability
  • Wear control
  • Piston cleanliness
  • Oxidation resistance
  • Soot handling
  • Aeration control


Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 is suitable for a wide variety of applications including:

North-American high speed, four-stroke diesel engines designed to meet the latest on-highway and off-road exhaust emission standards, as well as older model diesel engines.

Euro I, II, III, IV, V and VI diesel engines equipped with diesel particulate filters or catalytic after-treatment systems (such as selective catalytic reduction) operating under severe heavy duty conditions.

Japanese four-stroke automotive diesel engines fitted with exhaust gas after-treatment devices (including diesel particulate filters), and older model diesel engines.

Extended Oil Drain Intervals according to the engine manufacturer’s recommendations i.e. Volvo VDS-4.5, Renault RLD-4, Mack EOS-4.5.


  • Provides enhanced protection against wear and corrosion.
  • Protects against bore polishing and cam wear.
  • Prevents engine fouling due to combustion soot.
  • Excellent bio-fuel compatibility for optimized cold starting properties.
  • Protects exhaust gas after-treatment systems.
  • Allows prolonged oil drain intervals and reduces maintenance costs.



Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 meets and exceeds the following challenging Industry and Engine Manufacturers specifications:

·         API CK-4 / CJ-4 / CI-4 Plus / CI-4 ·         ACEA E9
·         JASO DH-2 ·         Mercedes-Benz 228.31
·         Volvo VDS-4.5 ·         Caterpillar ECF-3, ECF-2
·         Cummins CES 20086 ·         Renault RLD-4
·         Mack EO-S 4.5 ·         Detroit Diesel DFS93K222
·         Deutz DQC III-10 LA ·         MTU Type 2.1



If you want to find out more about Q8 Formula Truck 7000 15W-40 mail us at info@bcl.co.za 

Hydraulic Oil Selection OilChat#30

The two primary considerations when selecting a hydraulic fluid are the viscosity grade and the hydraulic oil type. These are typically determined by the design of the hydraulic pump employed in the system and the operating temperatures and pressures. Further items for consideration are overall lubricant quality, performance requirements and base oil type. The three common varieties of hydraulic fluids found on the market today are oil-based, water-based and synthetics.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) established the ISO 6743-4 and ISO 11158 classifications of hydraulic fluids. These classification systems do not include automotive brake fluids or aircraft hydraulic fluids and generally apply to the following three primary classes of hydraulic fluids:


  • Mineral Hydraulic Fluids
  • Biodegradable Hydraulic Fluids
  • Fire Resistant Hydraulic Fluids


Discussions in this publication will be restricted to Mineral Hydraulic Fluids and we will endeavour to provide a summary of the ISO classifications that you will find useful in understanding the most common hydraulic fluid categories. We operate in a global marketplace with equipment that is manufactured in countries from all over the world and it is very likely you may see hydraulic fluid specifications other than the ISO designations. For example, while the classifications of hydraulic fluid are set out in ISO with the designations HL, HM, HV, etc. in Germany the designations HL, HLP, HVLP are standard and frequently used in accordance with DIN 51524.

ISO and DIN are the most commonly used industry classification systems and their correlation is shown in the table below:

Mineral oil without additives HH H
Type HH/H + oxidation and corrosion-inhibiting HL HL
Type HL + wear-inhibiting HM HLP
Type HM/HLP + detergent (self-cleaning) HLPD
Type HM/HLP + viscosity-improving HV HVLP
Type HM/HLP + anti-stick-slip HG

Following is a short discussion of the different hydraulic oil types covered by the above classifications:

 Uninhibited Hydraulic Oil

These fluids are refined mineral oils with no active ingredients (additives). They are the most basic hydraulic oils and have a relatively short service life as they are not oxidation-stable and have very limited use. Uninhibited products are in accordance with ISO HH and DIN H.

Rust and Oxidation Inhibited Hydraulic Oil

Formulated with active ingredients to increase corrosion protection and resistance to oxidation which helps the system to be protected from chemical attack and water contamination. They are used in low-pressure hydraulic systems (with no specific anti-wear requirements) in which temperatures of around 50°C are to be expected. These oils conform to ISO HL and DIN HL.

Anti-Wear Hydraulic Oil

Fluids in this category contain additives to inhibit oxidation and corrosion, as well as additives that reduce wear and/or improve the high-pressure properties of the oil. This is the most widely used type of hydraulic oil. Zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) is largely employed as anti-wear additive. The presence of ZDDP, however, is not always seen as a positive, since it can attack certain metals found in some hydraulic pumps, such as silver. Furthermore, ZDDP can break down in the presence of moisture, heat and mechanical stress to form deposits. Some severe duty hydraulic pumps and other sensitive hydraulic system components (such as close clearance servo-valves and high accuracy numerically controlled machine tools) are intolerant to these deposits.  Zinc-free (ashless) anti-wear hydraulic oils are recommended for sensitive hydraulic systems. Modern ashless hydraulic oils offer excellent wear protection and exhibit outstanding oxidation and thermal stability to extend oil and filter life. They also provide effective corrosion protection for copper alloys and silver pump components. Anti-wear hydraulic oils are in accordance with ISO HM and DIN HLP.

Detergent Hydraulic Oil

These fluids contain detergent additives (cleansing agents) in addition to the additives in anti-wear oils. The use of detergent hydraulic oils is approved by several hydraulic component manufacturers. They can be advantageous in many applications, such as mobile equipment, to prevent a build-up of sludge and varnish deposits, which can lead to valve sticking and other reliability problems. The main caution with these fluids is that they have water emulsifying ability, which means that water is not separated out of the fluid. Emulsified water not only reduces lubricity and filterability, but can also cause corrosion and cavitation, and reduce the life of the oil. These problems can be avoided by maintaining water content below 0.1% – which is not a low water content target for any high-performance hydraulic system. A hydraulic fluid that has the ability to emulsify small amounts of water can be beneficial in mobile equipment applications. Caterpillar, for instance, maintain that separated water drawn through the hydraulic system can damage pumps and other components. If this water freezes, it can also cause serious damage to hydraulic systems. Detergent hydraulic oils are in accordance with DIN HLPD


High Viscosity Index Hydraulic Oil

Oils which, in addition to additives that inhibit oxidation, corrosion, and wear, also contain additives that improve viscosity index (VI). These oils have a VI of higher than 140 and therefore have good viscosity/temperature characteristics. Other hydraulic oils generally have a viscosity index of around 100. The high viscosity index is achieved through the addition of VI improvers and/or by using oils with a naturally high VI. Base oil with a naturally high VI is preferable because this avoids shear-losses. If a VI improving additive is used, it is important that it has a high mechanical stability to prevent shear-losses, which would lead to a decrease in viscosity. Shear stability is a measure of the ability of the oil to withstand viscosity drop due to the breaking down of the VI improver. These oils also contain a pour point depressant to improve low-temperature performance. High VI oils are used in extreme temperature conditions (e.g. mobile hydraulics and critical systems such as CNC machine tools). High viscosity index hydraulic oils conform to ISO HV and DIN HVLP.

Anti-Stick-Slip Hydraulic Oil

Fluids falling in this category have additives to improve their stick-slip properties. Such additives prevent jerky movements, which can arise in the event of very low sliding speeds and high loads. Stick-slip resisting hydraulic oils are in accordance with ISO HG and are for example used in hydraulic elevators and cranes.


Other oil requirements you may find on a hydraulic system or in the service manual may well include one of the following specifications:






       Bosch Rexroth

Cincinnati Milacron

Parker (Denison)

Vickers (Eaton)

To ensure optimum system performance, it is very important to follow hydraulic equipment manufacturers’ oil recommendations. Simply compare the manufacturer’s requirements with the specifications on the hydraulic oil label or product data sheet. If you are still in doubt our experts are at your disposal and ready to provide you with advice and answer any questions you may have. For more information please call 011 462 1829 or email lethabo@p05.4d8.myftpupload.com

Borderline Pumping Temperature OilChat#29

The topic of this newsletter was triggered by a noteworthy question that was asked by a visitor to our stand at the recent Automechanika Expo at Nasrec, Johannesburg.  The question was about Borderline Pumping Temperature (BPT) of engine oil.

The viscosity of lubricating oil becomes progressively higher as the temperature of the oil is lowered until it becomes too thick or viscous to flow. The Pour Point of lubricating oil is the lowest temperature at which the lubricant will flow under specified laboratory conditions. It is often believed that Pour Point is the lowest ambient temperature at which oil can be used in a lubricating system, but this is a misconception.

29In a system where the pump is positioned higher than the oil sump, such as an automotive engine, this will present a serious problem. We will endeavour to explain this using honey as an example. At normal room temperature honey will be above its Pour Point. When you open a jar of honey and turn it upside down, the honey will flow out under the force of gravity. Yet at the same temperature, it will be impossible to suck the honey out of the jar with a straw although the honey is still above its Pour Point. Now compare this with the engine oil circulating system on the right.

The heart of the lubrication system of an engine is the oil pump. Its function is to suck oil up from the sump (via the oil screen and oil pickup tube), and push it through the filter and into the engine to lubricate moving components. Oil pressure is created by a fluid flow restriction (orifice) in the outlet line of the pump. If for any reason, the oil pump can’t deliver its normal dose of oil, it is bad news for the engine. An oil pump failing to deliver oil to the engine is just as bad as cardiac arrest since the results are often fatal. Loss of oil pressure means loss of the protective oil film between moving engine components. With no oil to keep the surfaces apart, the engine will fail. It is therefore vital that even at very low startup temperatures, the oil must remain sufficiently fluid to enable the oil pump to suck it up and deliver it to the engine. It is crucial that adequate oil must flow from the sump through the oil screen and pickup tube to the oil pump.

When oil is cooled down, the viscosity of the oil increases exponentially with decreasing temperature. This may well result in the oil pump not being able to suck oil in from the sump, even before the Pour Point of the oil is reached. For this reason other test methods are also used to evaluate the cold temperature behaviour of engine oil, particularly lower viscosity oils that are formulated for low temperature applications. One such procedure is the ASTM D3829 Borderline Pumping Temperature of Engine Oil – a measure of the lowest temperature at which an engine oil can be supplied to the oil pump inlet of an automotive engine. BPT is normally measured using a mini-rotary viscometer (MRV).


However, actual operational tests in Cummins diesel engines suggest that values derived by this test method may be quite misleading. First, there is a considerable difference between the actual pumpability of two oils that are identical in every way except in the nature of the viscosity index improver (VII) additive. This BPT difference may be as much as 10°C. Secondly, the values obtained using the MRV showed virtually no difference between these oils and gave values over 20°C lower than the actual BPT in the operational tests. In addition, individual engines

differ widely in the design of their oil distribution systems, which strongly affects their low-temperature performance. For example, in one system with a restriction orifice, the size of the orifice strongly influenced the time it took for the oil to reach the bearings. At -25°C this took 90 seconds with a 1.5mm orifice (and one test engine seized during the test), while it took less than 40 seconds with a 2.0mm orifice. Other influential factors are the oil screen design as well as the diameter and length of the oil pickup tube. Oil with pumping characteristics that are satisfactory in one engine may therefore not be suitable for another at very low temperatures.

With all this in mind, we suggested in OilChat # 23 (where we discussed the Pour Point of lubricating oil in more detail) a good rule of thumb is that the Pour Point of the oil should be at least 10°C below the lowest anticipated ambient temperature. This will ensure dependable lubrication and better reliability in low-temperature applications.

Automatic Transmission Fluid OilChat#28

Modern Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATF’s) are formulated with the most complex chemistry of all lubricating fluids. During the late 1930’s General Motors developed the first truly automatic transmission that used hydraulic fluid to change gears. It was introduced as the Hydra-Matic transmission in their 1940 Oldsmobile range. Take a trip down memory lane and experience the introduction of the Hydra-Matic auto box by visiting www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vv400bysiM

Today’s automatic transmissions are worlds apart from the original designs with only two forward gears which were used during the roaring forties of the previous century when all cars would run quite well using the same ATF. The first major change came about in the 1950’s when ATF became available in two variants: ATF Types A and F. General Motors specified Type A whilst Type F was developed for Ford ATF’s. These specifications have been revised and improved repeatedly since then to bring about the current General Motors DEXRON and Ford MERCON transmission fluids. In addition, most other manufacturers have also developed their own proprietary ATF specifications.

Automatic transmissions used in present-day vehicles are nothing short of mechanical marvels. Many vehicle manufacturers are using six- and seven-speed automatic transmissions to improve fuel efficiency, performance, Automatic Transmission Fluids South Africaand drivability. Various top of the range luxury cars are now available with eight-, nine- and even ten-speed auto boxes. These transmissions are incredibly sophisticated with many of them requiring their own specific fluid formulations, such as the Mercedes-Benz 9G-Tronic transmission on the right.

An ATF has various functions to fulfil. Not only does it have to reduce friction to prevent wear like all other lubricants, it also has to allow a certain level of friction to enable the transmission’s internal clutch materials to engage. Since most manufacturers use proprietary frictional materials, virtually every ATF is manufacturer specific. In some cases, they are transmission-specific. A typical example is the Mercedes-Benz oil specification MB 236.17 that was specifically developed for the Mercedes-Benz 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. This oil is not suitable for use in older Mercedes five- and seven-speed auto boxes. ATF’s must also be compatible with all transmission components, they have to transmit power and act as a hydraulic medium, operate at both low and high-temperature extremes, and maintain constant performance for extended periods of time. In addition, they must also control sludge and varnish, resist oxidation and prevent rust and corrosion. To fulfill all these complex tasks, a typically ATF formulation will contain the following additive components:

Antiwear Agents

Friction Modifiers

Viscosity Modifiers

Corrosion Inhibitors



Pour Point Depressant

Seal Swell Agents

Foam Inhibitors

Dyes are also added to ATF’s to distinguish them from other fluids such as engine oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze. Traditionally all ATF’s were dyed red, but nowadays ATF’s are available in other colours, such as blue, green and yellow, depending on what is specified by the transmission manufacturer.

One may well ask whether having an automatic transmission with so many gears is really better and, if so, what the limit is. With more gears in modern automatic transmissions, they can match the engine’s optimum torque and power curve with what is needed to propel a vehicle better under all driving conditions. Simply put, extra gears allow an engine to operate more efficiently and economically, regardless of the type of operation. The downside is that more gear ratios come with some specific disadvantages. These include transmission size and weight, complexity, possible reliability issues and, last but not least, more frictional losses. As a result, you lose the efficiency benefits of more gear ratios. It is, therefore, possible that we may have reached “ultimate” auto boxes where having more and more gears will begin to see diminishing returns. In fact, some manufacturers are now focusing on Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT’s) that can change seamlessly through an unlimited range of gear ratios.

Continuously Variable Transmissions are not a new concept. For many years motor scooters have been fitted with CVT’s, usually the rubber belt with variable pulley variety, commonly known as twist-and-go transmissions. These transmissions consist of two variable-diameter pulleys, each shaped like a pair of opposing cones, with a rubber belt running between them. One pulley is connected to the engine and the other to the rear wheel. The halves of each pulley are movable. As the pulley halves come closer together, the belt is forced to ride higher on the pulley, effectively making the diameter of the pulley larger. Changing the diameter of the pulleys varies the ratio of the transmission. Making the input pulley smaller and the output pulley larger gives a low ratio for better low-speed performance. As the scooter accelerates, the pulleys vary their diameter to lower the engine speed.

Automatic Transmission Fluids SAIn CVT’s fitted to cars the rubber belt is replaced with a metal belt or chain running between the variable-diameter pulleys. This poses a unique set of different challenges as opposed to traditional ATF’s such as requiring higher shear stability and maintaining the appropriate amount of metal-to-metal friction while having enhanced anti-shudder performance. As in the case of ATF’s, there is not one universal CVT fluid that is suitable for all Continuously Variable Transmissions.

There is, however, a downside to CVT’s as well. CVT’s generally perform well in combination with smaller displacement engines, but engines developing more horsepower and torque exceed the (current) capacity of CVT’s. For this very reason CVT’s are presently not used in larger vehicles and some major manufacturers, including Chrysler and Ford, have in fact dropped CVT’s from their line-up. Other disadvantages associated with CVT’s are driver acceptance (changes in engine speed sounds like a slipping transmission), belt noise and durability (slipping CVT belts in particular).

It is, therefore, safe to assume that conventional automatic transmissions will still be with us for quite some time while other technologies are being refined. The only question is the maximum number of gear ratios that will be engineered into conventional auto boxes. Different automakers commit to transmission technologies for any number of reasons such as cost, durability, branding, experience, and drivability. In fact, because of the different advantages and disadvantages, it is hard to say that any one technology is best.

Blue Chip Lubricants first majority black-owned facility to blend and distribute global brand

Blue Chip Lubricants has completed construction of its new blending facility in Kya Sands in

Johannesburg, South Africa, and is ready to embark on a largescale blending of lubricants from Q8Oils for the South African and Sub-Saharan African market.

The company will have a major presence at Futuroad 2017 at Nasrec, part of Automechanika South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading event for the truck and bus industry. Senior management from Q8Oils, Blue Chip Lubricants, and its new equity partners will host a media event on 28 September to announce the finalization of a major Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction that will give the company Level 1 accreditation.

Blue Chip Lubricants secured an agreement to blend and distribute lubricants from Q8Oils in 2015. Following the agreement, it secured funding from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to construct a new state-of-the-art blending facility and testing laboratory at Kya Sands in Johannesburg.

Q8Oils is part of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), one of the world’s largest oil companies. With 120 years of known reserves and crude oil production levels of 2.9-million barrels per day, it is ranked the seventh largest oil producer in the world. KPC’s business spans every segment of the hydrocarbon industry: on and offshore exploration, production, refining, marketing, retailing, petrochemicals and marine transportation.

“The successful conclusion of our B-BBEE transaction effectively makes us the only majority black-owned blending facility in South Africa to blend and distribute a global brand, as well as complying fully with the government’s empowerment, employment, and equity objectives,” Blue Chip Lubricants Director Kathleen Marais comments.

“With lubricants constituting the major expense for equipment-intensive industries such as mining and engineering, the fact that an international brand is now being blended locally on a large scale, in accordance with exacting international quality standards, as well as all local B-

BBEE criteria, is of immense benefit for local companies,” says Lutramart Director, Sandile Koza, who is one of the new B-BBEE partners.

“We are very excited, as we now have the opportunity to rationalize the entire value chain in the petrochemical industry, from blending and manufacture through to proactive maintenance and leveraging the lowest total cost of ownership for our customers. Not only is Blue Chip Lubricants now positioned strategically as a leading lubricant supplier, it has set a benchmark for the proactive transformation of the industry.”

With all of Q8Oils’ infrastructure concentrated in Europe, having a blending facility located strategically in South Africa effectively gives Q8Oils a gateway into the larger Sub-Saharan African market, which represents an untapped region for the oil giant’s future expansion plans.

Blue Chip Lubricants’ also aims to investigate the local manufacture of more specialized products presently imported at premium prices. It plans to engage with major OEMs represented in South Africa in order to secure the necessary approvals to become a preferred supplier to these international companies.

“This will develop our product range even further, as well as assist us in contributing actively to the government’s localization, employment, and skills development criteria in terms of its empowerment objectives,” Marais elaborates.

The B-BBEE agreement is the latest milestone in the evolution of Blue Chip Lubricants, established in 1983 as a mainly grease and oil supplier to the South African mining sector. With a plethora of smaller blenders fragmenting the total market and diluting its overall standards, the company saw an opportunity to establish its own high-quality blending facility, which allowed it to diversify successfully into other industries and markets.

“Our extensive product range includes specialized and general-purpose greases, automotive and industrial oils, cleaning and cutting fluids, and various complementary products such as grease pumps, rags, hand cleaners and degreasers,” Marais highlights. The Q8Oils lubricants range is supported by a team of technical experts.

“Here we offer products to increase operational efficiency by optimising production processes and reducing lubricant consumption. These products have all mandatory OEM approvals, and consistently meet, or exceed, the highest technical requirements and specifications of the industry,” Marais concludes

Link: http://transformsa.co.za/2017/10/bluechiplubricantsfirstmajorityblackownedfacilitytoblendanddistributeglobalbrand/

Brake Fluid OilChat #27

The brake system is possibly the most neglected component of motorcars. Most drivers check tyre pressures and change engine oil at frequent intervals, but very few motorists replace the brake fluid in their car regularly. If you don’t change your engine oil the worst that can happen, is the engine may seize and your car will come to a standstill. On the contrary, if something goes wrong with the brake system, the car will not stop – with possible catastrophic consequences!

The prime function of brake fluid is to provide a hydraulic medium with a low level of compressibility, to transmit the driver’s foot pressure on the brake pedal to the brakes. Many automotive hydraulic brake systems in use today utilize front disk brakes and drums at the rear, but four wheel disk systems are also fairly common. When braking, the kinetic energy (energy of motion) of the vehicle is converted into heat in the brakes as the vehicle slows down.  A tremendous amount of heat is generated to stop a vehicle from even a modest speed, particularly in disc brakes. The brake fluid is in close contact with the brakes and this can lead to overheated brake fluid.

Overheated brake fluid can boil in the brake lines. Boiling produces vapour (gas bubbles) within the brake fluid. Vapour is compressible and boiling brake fluid leads to a “spongy” brake pedal with long travel. In extreme cases overheated brake fluid requires that the brake pedal be “pumped’ (if you are fortunate enough to have time to do so) in order to get the brakes to respond. This necessitates a closer look at the boiling point of brake fluid.

Most brake fluids used today are glycol-ether based, but silicone type fluids are also available. Brake fluids must meet certain requirements as defined by various institutions. These include the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J1704 standard and the US Department of Transport (DOT) FMVSS 116 specifications DOT 3, DOT 4 and DOT 5.1 (glycol-ether based) and DOT 5 (silicon based). All specifications include minimum boiling points for brake fluid.

Using glycol-ether fluids is the most economical way to meet brake fluid requirements and they are almost incompressible. Glycol-ether, however, is hygroscopic which means it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. These brake fluids start to absorb moisture from the moment they are put into the hydraulic brake system or exposed to the atmosphere. The fluid attracts moisture through microscopic pores in rubber hoses, past leaking seals and exposure to air in the brake fluid reservoir. The problem is obviously worse in wet climates where humidity is high. Moisture reduces the boiling point of the fluid significantly. Minimum boiling point limits are therefore specified for new (dry) brake fluid, as well as fluid contaminated with moisture (wet brake fluid). Wet Boiling Point is defined as the temperature brake fluid will begin to boil after it has absorbed 3.7% water by volume. Silicone fluids are non-hygroscopic which means they can maintain a higher boiling point over the service life of the fluid. A disadvantage of silicone is that it is more compressible than glycol based fluids, resulting in a “soft” brake pedal with longer travel. The differences in the boiling points of the various brake fluid specifications are listed in the table below:


FMVSS 116 Dry Boiling Point Wet Boiling Point
Specification (minimum) (minimum)
DOT 3 205 °C 140 °C
DOT 4 230 °C 155 °C
DOT 5 260 °C 180 °C
DOT 5.1 260 °C 180 °C

DOT 5.1 glycol-ether based brake fluid has been developed to be identical to DOT 5 silicone based fluid in boiling points but without the ‘compressibility’ of silicon fluids. Brake fluids with different DOT ratings cannot always be mixed. It must be of the same type, and at least the same or higher rating. DOT 5.1 can, therefore, replace DOT 4

and DOT 3. Likewise, DOT 4 can replace DOT 3 but not vice versa. Never mix DOT 5 silicon based brake fluid with regular glycol based fluids. None of these should be mixed with DOT 5 as the mixing of glycol and silicone fluids may lead to brake failure.

The boiling points in the table above are minimum specifications and therefore you may well find DOT 4 brake fluids with boiling points above that of DOT 5 and DOT 5.1 specifications. Today DOT 4 is the most commonly used brake fluid and the dry boiling point of most of these fluids exceeds 260°C.  The effect of water content on boiling point over time is illustrated by the graph below. The graph (by courtesy of Shell) demonstrates the declining effect water content has on the boiling point of a typical DOT 3 (red curve) and three DOT 4 brake fluids:




The Impact of Water Content on the Boiling Point of Brake Fluid


We mentioned earlier that DOT specifies the minimum wet boiling point of brake fluid after absorbing 3.7% water. On average this occurs after two years in service. The graph illustrates that in most instances warning limits are reached within this period. It is therefore little wonder that most vehicle manufacturers recommend that brake fluid should be changed every eighteen to twenty-four months. The graph also shows that the boiling points of the various brake fluids decline even further over extended periods of time. When the DOT 3 brake fluid reaches 8% water content the boiling point is reduced almost to that of water!

Brake fluid is crucial to the safe operation of your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended brake fluid replacement schedule and brake fluid type. Remember, brake fluid is what is between your brake pedal and the brakes at the wheels. Make brake fluid part of your regular maintenance routine, and replace the brake fluid when necessary to keep you and your passengers safe.

It is also important to remember that brake fluid is toxic and combustible and can damage the paintwork of your vehicle.

Blue Chip Lubricants Gets a New Sales and Marketing Director

We are very pleased to welcome Hayley Arnesen into the Blue Chip Lubricants family as our new Sales and Marketing Director.

Hayley started off her career as an English teacher after obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Wits University. After three years in the field of education she joined the corporate world. Her career has since been on an onward surge, acquiring titles such as Senior Product Manager, Marketing Manager, Marketing Director, Exports Manager, Exports & Customer Loyalty Director and now Sales & Marketing Director for Blue Chip Lubricants.

After two years of working for Discovery Health and was part of the Corporate Relations team she joined MSA, a NYSE listed global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of predominantly, more technical personal protective equipment.  During her 15 years at MSA Hayley was promoted several times and was fortunate to have filled many diverse roles.  During her time she headed up the marketing team, led the company’s expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa, pioneered the customer loyalty program for Africa and Latin America and served on global steering teams for product development.


She always had a passion for the safety industry as a whole and was an exco member of SAPEMA (Southern African Protective Equipment Marketers Association) for 6 years, from 2011 to 2013 she served as the first female Chairman of the association.

Some of her other achievements include working with the mining community to execute the successful South African launch of the internationally renowned safety award, the ‘JT Ryan Award’.

For the last 3 years, Hayley has been part of the dynamic and entrepreneurial team at North Safety Products.  She was successful in the expansion of North Safety’s vast product and services range into Africa by developing and supporting a branch network and larger mining clients.

Hayley joined Blue Chip Lubricants in July 2017, her range of experience in both the Marketing and Sales areas will stand her in good stead for her new exciting role, and we look forward to the wonderful things she will bring to the firm.