[BiturboS4] Anyone have Abt chip?

California Fields cfields72 at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 14 13:47:20 EST 2003

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Is anyone running the Abt chip in their S4?  If so, how do you like it and
have you compared it to the GIAC or MTM?

Thanks, Carter.
Carter Fields, San Francisco
2001.5, GIAC-X, Miltek 3" cat-back, Strat. shifter, Strat. DVs, A-pillar bo=
>From: "S Stiles"
>To: ian at codrus.com, biturbos4 at audifans.com
>Subject: [BiturboS4] More on "synthetic" & why most are no longer full syn=
>Date: Thu, 09 Jan 2003 12:55:37 -0800
>More on "synthetic". Long, but good reading.
>Is Your Synthetic Motor Oil Really Synthetic?
>There is a disturbing trend in the oil industry that is misleading
>consumers. That trend is the playing of word games with the use of
>word =93synthetic=94 on motor oil labels.
>The following article is a reprint from the August 2000 issue of
>=93Lubricants World=94, an oil industry trade magazine. This information
>usually not available to most consumers.
>Subject: Article in Lubricants World August 2000 by Katherine Bui
>Marketers Take Advantage of =93Synthetic=94 Ruling
>Last year, Castrol (Swingdon, U.K.) and Mobil (Fairfax, VA) brought
>debate over what is =93synthetic=94 into view, as Mobil challenged
>replacement of polyalphaolephins (PAOs) with hydroisomerized waxes
>their synthetic formulations. Exactly one year after the National
>Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business
>ruling in April 1999, upholding Castrol=92s position that wax
>could be called synthetic, Petro-Canada (Toronto) advertised it
>would be
>referring to its very high viscosity index (VHVI) basestocks as a
>synthetic in the North American market. These products fall into the
>same API group (Group III) as wax isomerates, but could vary
>significantly in quality from wax isomerates. This market roar by
>Petro-Canada has carried a quiet undertone of moves from PAO to VHVI
>technology by several engine oil marketers.
>The definition of synthetics aside, cost factors and performance
>continue to drive marketers to carefully asses the use of PAOs and
>III stocks (VHVIs). In the past year, several marketers have made
>jump from PAOs to VHVI-based =93synthetics.=94 VHVIs cost approximately
>what PAOs do and, according to VHVI producers, perform at a level
>comparable to PAOs in formulated oils. Yet, Mobil 1, which has the
>strongest hold on the synthetic market (estimated by one analyst at
>60.4%) and factory-fill contracts with Corvette and Porsche,
>to dominate the overall synthetic market with its PAO technology. On
>other hand, Castrol, whose market share of Syntec synthetic oil was
>virtually nonexistent 6 years ago, now has more than 20% of the
>Even ExxonMobil could not resist the appeal of competitive pricing.
>released a new synthetic blend that combines PAO technology with a
>=93high-quality conventional oil=94 in February.
>If the market projections are any indicator, simply using the word
>=93synthetic=94 in any shape or fashion may guarantee a piece of the
>Synthetics and semi-synthetics make up only a niche 3%-6% of the
>automotive oil market (June LW, p.30). ExxonMobil holds the largest
>share in the market, followed by Castrol, Pennzoil-Quaker State, and
>Demand, however is expected to grow 5.7% per year, to 115 million
>gallons in 2003, because of increased desire for high-performance
>products, longer drain intervals, and lower emission formulations,
>according to estimates from The Freedonia Group (Cleveland).
>However, at
>least on market analysis says the consumer=92s lack of knowledge about
>synthetics and the higher cost of the finished product compared with
>conventional oil are not conductive to growth. The overall
>motor oil market is projected to remain flat.
>Making the Move from PAO to VHVI
>Current market trends, cost, and the =93open-door=94 policy established
>the NAD ruling have attracted a number of marketers this past year
>the VHVI technology and use of the term =93synthetic.=94
>Castrol=92s substitution of wax isomerates for PAO after December 1997
>the basis of the contoversal ruling by the NAD regarding the
>use of the word =93synthetics.=94 But with its buyout by BP Amoco,
>may have to re-evaluate the components of its formulation relative
>the value of supply chain. BP has been one of the larger refiners
>producers of PAO. LW was unable to obtain comments from Castrol at
>However, BP Amoco Chemicals=92 Joe Svoboda, PAO market manager, says,
>=93Castrol has basically been set up as a stand alone business unit
>BP. Its position on Group III vs. Group IV will be based on what is
>for its business.=94 He notes that =93Castrol is a leading global
>of high-performance lubricants. Its position on PAO likely differs
>region to region =96 particularly in Europe, where stringent lubricant
>performance requirements often mandate the use of PAO.=94
>Brent Lok, production manager for base oils at Chevron Products Co.
>Ramon, CA), says, =93We struggle with a similar situation in that we
>produce both PAOs and VHVIs. However, I think that the marketplace
>dictates the operations, and the companies often have very little
>in the matter.=94
>Valvoline (Lexington, KY), which declines to detail the type of base
>technology it uses, continues to advertise its VR1 Racing Synthetic
>Motor Oil as a =93blend of thermally stable base oils.=94
>VHVI refiners such as Chevron Products, which holds the licensing
>to the hydroisomerization technology (Isodewaxing), says they have
>an increase in sales of Group IIIs based on =93cost/performance
>=93We have seen a huge upswing in the sales activity of our Group III
>oils that could be measured in folds,=94 says Lok. =93Even with
>sales activity, many in the industry are still in a gestation
>where additive companies along with researchers are tinkering with
>packages and formulations to address this switch.=94 He says the big
>driver for change is the cost/value tradeoff in all synthetic
>segments. Specifically in the passenger car motor oil (PCMO)
>GF-3 offers a window of opportunity for formulators to reevaluate
>basestock choices because reformulation will be necessary to meet
>new performance specifications, he says.
>Pennzoil-Quaker State (Houston) Product Manager James Newson told LW
>during an interview 2 months ago that the company is currently using
>PAOs to formulate its full synthetic. =93Since the beginning of this
>issue, we have looked at every option at a very detailed level.=94 He
>says. =93And we have found some of the nonconventional synthetics very
>76 Lubricants (Costa Mesa, CA), a marketer of synthetics both in the
>PCMO and industrial oil segments of the industry, currently produces
>=93limited slate of synthetics=94 formulated with PAOs. However the
>admits, research into the use of VHVI in ongoing. =93We will likely be
>offering such products in the near future,=94 says Steve Tarbox, 76
>Lubricants=92 product manager for engine oils and automatic
>fluids (ATFs). =93Moving some existing product formulations from PAO
>Group III basestocks always requires additional testing to both
>with any product licensing requirements (engine oils and ATFs for
>example) and also to provide existing customers the assurance and
>documentation that familiar products still provide the full range of
>performance benefits they have come to know and expect from their
>synthetic lubricant.=94 Tarbox says adherence to American Petroleum
>Institute (API; Washington) and ATF licensing practices also
>76 Lubricants from making changes in certain product families
>assuming significant test costs.
>Petro-Canada, which initiated the recent public marketing of VHVI
>synthetics, announced on June 8 that it had completed the testing
>its specialty base fluid in a 5W-40 grade engine oil. The test was
>conducted on a formulation designed to meet the VW 502/505
>specification, with 30% VHVI in place of PAO basestock.
>=93With this new certification, we offer blenders an alternative
>base fluid that provides increased performance at a less expensive
>price,=94 says Henry Fuchs, marketing manager for specialty base
>and automotive lubricants at Petro-Canada. Fuchs says the company
>continue to develop products that will meet specifications in
>As part of its claims, Petro-Canada says the company uses =93the
>patented HT Severe Hydrocracking, Hydroisomerization and
>process to produce the clear, colorless base fluid that is 99.9%
>and highly isoparaffinic.=94 The company also says the =93high-quality=94
>oil minimizes the effects of aromatics, sulfur, and nitrogen
>removed, and balances a high viscosity index with low temperature
>fluidity and oxidative and thermal stability. At press time, LW had
>unable to obtain a comment from Petro-Canada about marketing
>for its new product.
>=93I don=92t expect we will see the lubricant marketers advertising
>components of the synthetic as we see here,=94 says Lok. =93Marketers
>more interested in marketing the performance and their brand.=94
>Mobil 1, whose PAO technology was one of the many trade secrets that
>changed hands during the merger between Exxon and Mobil, remains
>to PAOs. However, even ExxonMobil could not resist the appeal of
>competitive pricing. It released a new synthetic blend that combines
>PAO technology with a =93high-quality conventional oil=94 in February of
>this year.
>=93Since Mobil has the most experience with the PAO technology, their
>ability to manufacture a blended, semi-synthetic product would
>offer them some advantage in the automotive market,=94 says Jerry
>president of Lubrication Consultant and Lubrecon (Houston). LW was
>unable to obtain comment from ExxonMobil about its PAO technology by
>press time.
>Mark Pernik, global business manager for Chevron Chemical Company
>says his company has not seen PAOs displaced out of PCMO
>though he admits Chevron Chemical is not a big player in the PCMO
>market. =93Still, the VWT4 standard in Europe has demonstrated that
>sales have not skewed and have in fact increased in position,=94 says
>In addition, BP Amoco Chemicals=92 Svoboda says, =93We have seen some
>tempering of growth for PAO in North America. We attribute this to
>increasing availability of Group IIIs. However, on an international
>level, PAO demand continues to grow at a rapid pace. PAO in Europe
>more than double that of North America. Europe continues to be a
>growth engine for PAO. This is based on the European OEM (original
>equipment manufacturer) drive for higher performance and by
>environmental considerations, such as emission reduction and
>drain intervals.=94 He agrees with Pernik that the PAO market remains
>strong in Europe and that eventually the rest of the world will
>the higher performance requirements established there.
>The primary downside to the NAD ruling and any resulting replacement
>PAOs with VHVIs, says Svoboda, =93is that North American PCMO
>will not be getting the higher quality performance level offered by
>PAO. Despite claims of equivalent performance, PAO continues to
>its superior performance over Group IIIs under extreme operating
>conditions, particularly with regard to low-temperature performance
>high-temperature oxidative stability.=94
>Yet, when LW asked several industry experts about the NAD ruling,
>feelings regarding market effects were mixed (LW, Oct. 1999, p. 30;
>1999, p. 35). A Castrol representative then stated the VHVIs would
>competitive with PAOs and that the consumer would benefit from that
>A PAO expert disagreed, saying the NAD decision would have minimal
>impact on the formulation of synthetics. =93The quality of Group III
>products in inconsistent, and their physical properties are
>from one manufacturer to the next,=94 he says. If the industry heads
>the direction of replacing PAO with VHVI, he says, =93consumers will
>misled and the high margin niche that has been developed by
>synthetics will erode.=94
>Barrett Cupples, a consulting scientist who worked with PAOs at
>Chemical for 20 years, cautions marketers against directly switching
>from PAOs to VHVIs without adequate testing. =93According to API base
>guide lines, Group III stocks may not simply be substituted for PAOs
>motor oil formulation,=94 he says. =93Any switch will require extensive
>testing to ensure that the final product fully meets the
>requirements of
>that lubricant.=94
>Further downstream, the players in the synthetic PCMO market =96
>Pannzoil-Quaker State, and Valvoline =96 have each released
>and new blends in the past several months. The reason for this
>according to one industry market analysis, is the competitive nature
>the market, the projection for market growth, and the re-awakening
>cost savings in blends.
>=93Though synthetics will exhibit strong growth through the end of the
>20th century,=94 says The Freedonia Group, =93higher prices in
>comparison to
>traditional petroleum-based products, as well as competition from
>lubricants formed from hydrocracking processing, will limit their
>however, the introduction of synthetic blends will help offset the
>disadvantage of synthetics as blends offer higher performance than
>conventional lubricants at a lower cost than full synthetics.=94
>Retail shelf prices have remained constant despite changes in
>formulation. Mass merchandise shelf prices for synthetic PCMOs
>between $3 and $4 per quart. In the first quarter, the price for a
>of Mobil 1 synthetic was approximately $4.09. The cost of Valvoline
>SynPower was slightly higher, at $4.22.
>=93At an average price point of $3.89 per quart for full-synthetic
>these products attract a small segment of users,=94 says Larry Solomon
>Valvoline. =93Past trends indicate that the full-synthetic market is a
>small segment. There is no reason to believe that this will change
>the future.=94
>Lok points out the synthetic lubricant market is relatively price
>insensitive. =93The customers in this market are more willing to pay
>the value of the product, despite the cost,=94 he says. =93In contrast,
>PCMO suppliers are continually looking for cost efficiencies in
>production, as long as it comes with no sacrifice to product
>Industrial Synthetics Seek Extreme Operating Conditions
>Trends in demand in the industrial sector for synthetics differ from
>those in the automotive oil market because of increasing requests
>higher performance and specialty products. According to The
>Group, the bulk of the synthetic market is composed of industrial
>lubricants and demand for synthetic industrial lubricants is
>forecast to
>increase 4.8% annually, to 72 million gallons in 2003.
>This growth has Equilon (Houston) focusing its synthetic marketing
>the industrial market. Earl Blanchette told LW 2 months ago the
>saw a bigger growth in the industrial market for synthetics. The
>company, as reported, introduced several new products within the
>year, including a new compressor oil.
>Because of the drive for energy efficiency, extended drains, and
>environmental factors in this sector, marketers of industrial
>will have to pay closer attention to the performance factors in
>formulation, perhaps with more emphasis than in the automotive
>Industrial synthetic oils currently us a variety of base oils, such
>PAOs, diesters, polyalkylene glycols (PAGs), and phosphate esters,
>others. In hydraulic applications, circulating oils, and turbine
>some industrial oil producers are looking at VHVI as a replacement
>for PAO.
>Lok says, however, that increased activity in this market also shows
>that the switch from PAOs and VHVIs is happening. =93Over the last
>sales of Group III basestocks at Chevron Products have increased,
>particularly into a wide variety of industrial oil applications.=94
>Much, if any, move from PAOs to VHVIs in industrial synthetics may
>depend on the oxidation stability factor. =93If the high-VI stocks can
>obtain the oxidation stability of a PAO with a comparable
>performance, I
>think the industrial segment would really consider that type of base
>as a replacement for conventional synthetics, especially when you
>the lower cost factor,=94 says Shelby. =93However, I just don=92t see
>making as big a splash in the industrial segment as synthetics. They
>will evolve into the market but will not be marketed in the same way
>synthetics are in the automotive sector=94 He suggests consumers in
>climates will be more willing to accept the VHVI formulation if they
>have viscometrics similar to those of true synthetics.
>But industrial synthetics in general have not had the type of
>that automotive synthetics have had, according to Shelby. =93The
>synthetics would only be a factor for those applications where
>life, high temperature, and reduced downtime are big factors,=94 he
>=93They don=92t have as much of a foothold in the industrial market as
>Mobil, which formulates with PAOs, diesters, and PAGs, does have the
>larger foothold in the market, with its full line of gear oils,
>circulating oils, and hydraulic oils. Houghton International (Valley
>Forge, PA) also produces a glycol-based synthetic hydraulic fluid
>(Houghsaf) that competes with the Mobil poduct.
>Fire safety is a big issue in the hydraulic market, emphasizing
>flash point and fire point.
>Another area of focus is the environment, which Equilon is
>in its marketing of vegetable-based synthetics. Likewise, reported
>Chemical Engineering in July, American Synthol (Roswell, GA) is
>marketing its New Technology Synthetic Base (NTSB) stock by boasting
>that it is more biodegradable and thermally stable than PAO.
>to Joe Green, president of American Synthol. NTSB can be formulated
>be comparable to PAO by using improved stabilizers.
>The synthetic market in general has seen an active year of new
>new product releases, and formulation changes. It remains a market
>stricken by discrepancies in market share, cost, and growth, but the
>word =93synthetic=94 retains the image of higher performance and product
>development. Just as divided as the debate, market analysts are torn
>projections for growth and whether a big push for growth is
>given the size of the segment. There is little doubt that a trend is
>appearing in the synthetic market, but where that trend will go
>to be seen.
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