Thought Fuel Information, the Newsletter of Bill Terpening, Medford Fuel, an Independant Franchisee of Pacific Pride, The Commercial Fueling System.  936 South Central Ave., Medford, Oregon 97501. Phone (541) 773-7311 in Medford, (541) 476-1961 in Grants Pass.
February 2000

In this Issue...
Mobil Lubes


"Why The Correct Oil Saves You Money"
from a talk given by Bill Terpening
1910 REO

A friend of mine owns a 1910 Reo and has been purchasing Mobil 600w cylinder oil in 5 gallon pails for about 20 years. A friend of his recommended that he use normal transmission rear end oil, HD 80-90w. HD 80-90w is good for all modern cars and trucks. However, in his Reo, the sulfur and phosphorous additives in the 80-90w would pit and corrode the bronze bearings. To protect these old bearings, he naturally should continue to use the 600 w cylinder oil.

Did you know that in these earlier transmissions many years ago, we had the perfect fluid? Heat would not damage the fluid or turn the fluid to varnish in the transmission. Why did we stop using this fluid? The "perfect" transmission fluid came from the Bull sperm whale! The end of widespread whale hunting lead to the demise of this natural transmission fluid.

Cars, trucks and lubricating oils have come a long way since 1910 with new technology, new engine components, and new lubricating oil formulas, such as today's man-made "perfect" synthetic oils. I'd like to make a comparison between mineral oils and synthetics.

Regular gear oil or mineral oil , (Mobil HD 80-90 or HD 85-140w) has been used for years in cars and trucks. Using synthetic oil, oil temperatures will run 20 degrees cooler than regular mineral oil:

Oil Temperature Mineral Oil Synthetic "Mobil"
Level Highway 160 degrees 140 degrees
Mountain Passes 200 degrees 180 degrees

The heat reduction benefits of synthetic oils are even more dramatic in automatic transmissions. With automatic transmission fluid, dropping the operating temperature just 20 degrees will double the life of the transmission. That is the reason for transmission coolers. Seventy-five percent of motor home fires are caused by overheated automatic transmissions. When overheated, the fluid will shoot out over the dipstick or any loose seals and spray on the hot exhaust, causing the fire. Synthetic oils substantially cut this risk by running cooler. Today's synthetic automatic transmission fluid runs 50 degrees cooler than the standard mineral-based automatic transmission fluid more commonly used by drivers! Automatic transmission repair shops would have very little business if everyone were using synthetic automatic transmission fluid.

Besides oil temperature, Manufacturer's Warranty requirements are another indicator of the effectiveness of different lubricants:

Scheduled Oil Changes Mineral Synthetic
Warranty on Eaton Transmission
requires oil change at
50,000 miles 500,000 miles
Eaton Warranty good for 150,000 miles 750,000 miles
Cost of 1 oil change $40 $80
Total Cost of oil changes
in 750,000 miles of driving
$600 $80

You would have to change mineral oil 15 times to go 750,000 miles to match Eaton synthetic warranty! Your cost using mineral oil would then be $600 (15 times $40) versus $80 for one oil change with synthetic, plus the warranty only guarantees 150,000 miles with straight oil. Eaton will warrantee the transmission for five times as long if you use Synthetic Oil!

We recently opened up our 1992 Peterbuilt 24 wheeler rear end using Mobil Synthetic at 1,800,000 miles (that's right - One Million Eight Hundred Thousand!). The gears were like new! How many more miles will it go?

So what is the secret to the superior performance of synthetic oils versus standard mineral oils? Synthetic oils leave just a film of oil under the bearings and other moving parts in engines and transmissions, even when the vehicle is not running. This means that with synthetic oils, there is excellent lubrication with virtually no wear, even when the engine is started cold. For comparison, when you first start an engine with mineral oil in the engine, there is no film; until that oil film builds up you have 500 times the wear on your engine as when it is warmed up. The best description of Synthetic versus regular oil is that when you look at oil under a microscope, the molecules of regular oil are like a trail mix of peanuts, raisins, pretzels, wheat squares, etc. Under a microscope, the synthetic molecule is a chain of 12 Carbon molecules of uniform length and shape that are able to remain liquid and slippery under the widest range of engine conditions. Mobil selects the perfect molecule to do a specific job. There are only two companies that make synthetic oils: Mobil Oil and Emery. No matter what the brand, all other synthetics on the market are ultimately from one of these companies.

How long has Mobil had synthetic oil? In the 1930's, Socony Vacuum Company (predecessor of Mobil) developed the synthetic oils. There was Socony Vacuum of the US, Socony Vacuum of Great Britain, and Socony Vacuum of Germany, all with the synthetic formula. In World War II, because Hitler was short of oil for his fleet, he used the early Socony Vacuum synthetic oil to run his army's trucks, tanks, etc. After the war, Mobil 1 was first introduced in Europe. It was called Mobil 1 because you only changed your motor oil once a year!

M47 Tank M47 Tank

I remember when I was in Korea, with our M47 tanks, we had 30wt mineral oil. At 15 degrees below zero F., the oil was like tough molasses. (Remember, there is 500 times the wear on an engine until a film of oil develops). When we got the engine running, the oil got hot and thinned out like water! Today's new 5w-40 oil starts with 5w viscosity at cold temperatures, and does not thin out but instead holds the consistency of a 40 weight oil at hot temperatures. While synthetic oil gives fast lubrication, this ability for the oil to flow does have a drawback. Synthetic oil will leak out of any flaw or crack. The leaks can occur on any new or rebuilt engine. One of the biggest surprises I've had was with a 1949 Packard 327 straight 8 engine. It had been driven new off the Packard factory line in Detroit Michigan to Bend, Oregon. From the previous owners records, the car had been serviced regularly. This same original engine (not rebuilt) will go 5,000 miles before requiring an addition of a quart of oil! I have used Mobil 1 Synthetic in this original engine since 1989, with no leaks, no problems, and it still runs like new more than 50 years after it was built!

Mobil Lubes

Hydraulic hoists have always taken the lowest priced oil. When this oil started selling fast, I knew we had the cheapest price in town. Today we are selling a new oil for hoists and hydraulics. It costs three times more than our regular hydraulic oil. It is EAL, meaning Environmentally friendly, or Environmental Acceptable, or Awareness Lubricant. It has been accepted in Europe, by the EPA, and by 13 major engine builders such as Caterpillar, Vickers, etc. What is the oil made from? The base stock is...........rapeseed oil! In the past, underground hoist leaks or spills have been very expensive to clean up. If EAL oil leaks, you don't have to call in the Department of Environmental Quality! EAL oil is specifically designed to be both biodegradable and virtually nontoxic as defined by EPA.

If you have more questions concerning oils, synthetics etc., call our office, email us at or visit our website at www.MedfordFuel com.


Website Trivia!

For the first year of operation to our website www.MedfordFuel com (through January 2000):

  • Approximately 50,000 page views from 46 countries. (a page view is every time someone loads one of our pages)
  • For the month of January 2000, approximately 10,000 page views(including reloads) by 7000 visitors.


"Tightening Fuel Regulations Could Spell Supply Trouble"
from Independent Gasoline Marketing by G. Berton Latamore


The cost of meeting environmental requirements is a major economic factor in the ongoing consolidation of the refining industry, says Paul Argyropoulos of the American Petroleum Institute. Between 1990 and 1997, for instance, the number of refiners in California decreased steadily at the same time the state was imposing stringent new air quality standards on the petroleum industry. Smaller, independent refiners, are particularly vulnerable, because they often have a harder time raising the capital they need to make required changes.

So far, the U.S. refining industry does have the capacity to provide all the fuel consumed in the United States, but today, says says Jeff Hazel of the National Petroleum Refiners Association, it must run at 94 percent of capacity to keep up. Given that plants have to be shut down for maintenance and that unplanned shutdowns happen, this leaves virtually no excess capacity in the refining system. New requirements can complicate the refining process, decreasing the capacity of existing refineries while forcing the closure of some smaller or older facilities that cannot be modernized. Meanwhile, demand for fuel rises year-by-year. As a result, the danger of short-term fuel shortfalls is growing. Argyropoulos, however, says that domestic refiners are unlikely to allow shortfalls to last long, if they develop at all, before adding capacity.

This situation is exacerbated by state or municipal requirements for boutique fuels that require special treatment throughout the process from manufacture to delivery to the pump. Production of these special fuels requires that a refinery be taken off-line to make adjustments and possibly install new equipment, interrupting the production of fuel.

These efforts do not always accomplish the intended improvement in local air quality. Inevitably, these fuels cost more and are carried by fewer suppliers, and may undertake major efforts to meet local fuel regulations only to see their customers drive across the border to buy less expensive fuel elsewhere.

Some observers believe short falls in domestic production could be made up by import from foreign refiners. However, those foreign refiners would have to invest in the changes to their facilities needed to meet U.S. fuel requirements, which are more stringent than worldwide standards. Few are likely to be willing to do this as long as they have ready markets elsewhere that do not have these requirements.


"The house comes with everything except the Monitor!"

In a recent local survey by Medford Fuel, Monitor Heater owners most commonly say that they bought their Monitors for efficiency, warmth, saving lots of money, and would take their Monitor with them if they moved!

"We heard through others it was the
most efficient heat they had ever used."

The Irigoyens, Central Point Oregon
"After cutting & burning firewood for 30 years,
I found it to be the perfect alternative,
and was I right!"

Mrs. Sult, Grants Pass Oregon

Click Here to see what other Monitor Owners are saying about their Monitors, and additional results and heating cost testimonials from our survey, "I bought my Monitor because..."


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