[200q20v] -- Pentosin No More --

Brett Dikeman brett at cloud9.net
Fri Dec 14 19:12:42 EST 2001

The Big Baby is now officially Pentosin Free.  Let's put the term
"liquid gold" into retirement, shall we?   Read on.

I just completed a flush of the system...using something that(gasp!)
wasn't Pentosin.

Instead, following recommendations from Cobram and a few others, I
called up a local lubrication oil supplier and asked for Mobil
DTE-13M.  Swung by and picked it up.  Took note of the very new A6
sitting in an unmarked, but clearly, "owner of the place" position.
I like these folks already.

With MA sales tax(5%), I paid about $45.  Or, roughly, what 2.8
quarts of Pentosin would run you.  Here's the thing...I had bought

Total price, per quart(liter and a quart are very close in volume),
of this 5 gallon bucket of DTE-13M, which is identical in all
numbers+specs to Pentosin, at $16/liter?


Or, roughly half what people pay for a quart of Mobil 1 engine oil!

The guy in shipping and receiving pointed towards the bucket the
second I stepped inside; they had pulled it from stock while I moved
my car to the loading dock.  Excellent service.  He noticed I was
practically bursting at the seams with giddiness.

   "I'd say have a good weekend, but looks like you're already doin'
pretty good.  What's the deal?"  I explained that if the bucket I was
taking from him was full of the "required" "official" fluid for my
hydraulic system, it would be worth more than $300, and the DTE-13M
was a drop-in replacement.  He was blown away.

   "What's they do ya for on this, $20-30?"  "Little more, $45."
"Hah.  No wonder you look happy.  How much did you need...what's it
used for?"  "Power steering and brake assist, its a turbo, so they do
brake assist hydraulically.  Whole system is I think around 4-6
quarts total, very roughly."  "Well, you're set for a couple of

Upon getting it home, I popped the pour spout out and noticed, with a
pleasant surprise, that this fluid is almost completely clear.  Which
means that figuring out when it's in need of changing is a -total-
snap, among other things; if it's brown/black, its time to go.  Yep,
its still quite visible in the tank so checking levels isn't a

After FINALLY(one hour) getting the front lower hose connection off
the tank(and knocking the distributor in the process, son of a @#$%#
!) I  snuck a piece of dishwasher drain hose down under the car to a
oil pan;  a small bowl underneath the connection caught the splashes
of fluid from both the tank and the line from the pump(only a small
amount of fluid comes out of the hose, and I capped the tank fitting
with my finger but you spill some; this is certainly a glove job,
very messy), then drained the tank into the dishwasher hose.  Pumped
the brake pedal -many- times(you know you have a good bomb when your
foot's getting tired before the pedal gets hard), reconnected the
line to the pump slightly(its either a suction of return line, eithe
case, -very- low pressure) and filled up the tank to the tippy top.
Started the car, turned the wheel stop-to-stop several times after
watching the fluid get sucked into the bomb(you can watch the fluid
level jump down as the bomb charges up; raise the idle for a good 30
seconds to fully charge the bomb, this is -important-!)  If you fill
the tank almost to the tippy top, you'll end up with a perfect level
if the bomb has been emptied.

Repeated this process a few times(4 I think total) and went through 4
quarts of fluid total or less.  By the end, I had hydraulic fluid
with a very slight green tinge to it, so I had pretty well diluted
the original fluid.

 From the first flush, looks like there was some sediment etc.  The
old fluid clearly had something bouncing around in it.

Some side notes.

-only time will tell how the rack+pump like it, but other listers
report running the stuff for years; similarly, only time will tell
how this stuff cleans up, if it dries up like pentosin, etc.  While I
was under there, I was able to do a decent amount of cleanup, so in a
few months, I'll know
-I have no idea if rack+pump rebuilders will consider this fluid
acceptable. Considering Mobil and others list it as a
drop-in-replacement, they'd be hard pressed to argue...
-with the stuff this cheap, frequent flushings are possible, and
should assure clean fluid...hopefully a good long life on the seals
of the rack and the pump o-rings will result.
-I have no idea if the stuff is harmful to painted surfaces.  I doubt
it, but keep things clean around the car.
-has a flammability rating of 1, other areas in the hazard sign are 0
or not even listed, so its pretty harmless.  Still, since pretty much
all petrochemicals are hazardous long-term, wear gloves and wash your
hands etc...as you should when working with motor oil(esp used, which
contains even more nasties than fresh stuff!), don't let rags soaked
in the stuff hang around, etc.

I'm currently working on the problem of "manageability."  Until I had
used 2 quarts, even with the pour spout on the container, I ended up
making a pretty big mess transferring the stuff to a smaller
container to pour into the tank on the car.  It's also not practical
to ship a 5 gallon container, nor does everyone want/need that much
or have the luxury of storage space to tuck such a large container
somewhere.  I suspect one of the lube oil suppliers could be
convinced to have one of their guys spend an hour divvying up part of
a 55 gallon drum into, say, 1 gallon containers that can be boxed or
shipped.  They can tack on a profit for themselves and still beat
Pentosin by a landslide...

I've heard rumors of another NE tech session this spring, and I'm
planning on going to the winter driving school; as a heads up to
people that might be interested, I'd be happy to pick up several
buckets of DTE-13M and bring them with me(at most 15gal, I'd say,
maybe a little more.)  We could introduce a small per-gallon "list
funding tax" and help the list out at the same time we save money.
I'm sure a few others in various parts of the country could be
convinced to do the same when they attend big qlist shindigs.  All
you'd have to do is bring with you a nice sturdy container with a
good cap on it...and all the "distributor" would have to do is find a
good self-venting pour-spout attachment...

I shall report back more later.  If you're planning on being at
either of the above events and you're interested, drop me a line and
let me know how much you'd like.  You will be paying for a
contribution to the list and a -very- small contribution to me for my
trouble, so expect a little more than $2.25/qt.  You will need to
supply your OWN container, I'm not going to handle that part.

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
http://www.users.cloud9.net/~brett/bdikeman.asc	(PGP Public Key)

More information about the 200q20v mailing list