Sometimes I start a post and realize that no matter what I say on the topic its going to be controversial. We get a lot of questions that are exactly like the title says asking us what kind of oil we use and I thought it would make a good topic for this weeks blog post.
People have strong loyalties to motor oil, and can be as attached to a specific brand as they are for a particular sports teams. Just Google 'best motor oil' or something similar and read the results. You should probably set some time aside if you do, when I googled it I ended up with about 720,000,000 results.
For us at RSP Motorsports we are about evidence. We have a state of the art dyno and over the years we have tested many different oils out and have actual results rather than anecdotal feelings. Before I delve into that though lets talk a bit about oil, and its history.
Even in the stone age there is evidence of lubricants being used that ranged from animal fats to petroleum in the form of bitumen. As far back as the 17th Century BCE, olive oil was used as a lubricant to help move large rocks and structures by the Egyptians. A few hundred years later and animal fats such as tallow were used as a lubricant for everything from building the pyramids to the wagons and chariots used by Romans, Myceneans, Sumerians and Greeks. As far back as Roman times was the development of the modern day equivalent of ball bearing sets for chariots and the beginnings of the need for better and longer lasting lubricants.
Surprisingly, nothing better really came along until the modern era. In the 15th century whale oil was the preferred method for ships rudders and anything else that needed lubrication and Leonardo Da Vinci began to study the issues of friction and how to address it, including the design of a roller bearing. With metals now starting to be used instead of wood as bearing material the need for lubricants to keep up with the new demands was being addressed and concepts like viscosity was being developed by Isaac Newton. In 1794, Philip Vaughan, an ironmaster, was granted the first patent for a bearing that was an advancement of Leonardo da Vinci’s discovery. it was around the 1800 that horse carriage axles were getting ball bearing axels fitted and the increased need for better lubricants continued.
The Industrial Revolution brought the mechanization of industry and transportation as well as textile machinery. Mineral oils from shale and coal were extracted through distillation and refined into petroleum. It wasn't until 1859 in Titusville when the first oil well was dug down to just under 70 feet and produced under a thousand gallons a day. The oil pumped out of the ground was actually considered inferior to many of the products being used and it wasn't until distillation that oil extracted from wells began to overtake every other kind of lubrication. The first synthetic hydrocarbons began to appear as early as 1890 in the ever increasing need to lubricate everything from machinery to trains.
As there was a need for more than just oil - grease was also developed to maintain a constant low friction surface between bearings. In the early 1900s Oskar Zerkowitz emigrated from Vienna to America and gave his name to a set of grease fittings still in use on almost every car until fairly recently. He changed his name after arriving to Oscar Ulysses Zerk and zerk fittings, although used far less, all remain largely unchanged from his original invention.
The process of refining petroleum and making it better and better was boosted for the product that was the ultimate reason why RSP Motorsports exists - the car. Even the Wright brothers found that they could get increased horsepower and engine longevity depending on the product they were using. For context, the newly formed SAE (society of automotive engineers) had only three grades of oil: light, medium and heavy. None of these oils had additives and they lasted about 1000 kilometers before they needed to be replaced.
By the 1930's additives were being created and blended to reduce friction, extend the life of oil and the engines. With the second world war Germany became a leader in additives such as PTFE (teflon) or molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a solid lubricant found in milk and nuts and by the 1950's the API or American Petroleum Institute was classifying oils in a system we know today. After that came multi grade oils, that added polymers, worked better across a spectrum of temperatures and had better viscosity and lubrication than anything previous.
By the 1980's and 1990's hydrocracking, synthetics and all of the modern additives began to emerge to create the modern oils, designations, grades and properties that we use today.
I know - I still didn't answer the question of what oil we use at RSP. A few paragraphs up I mentioned that Germany was a hub of development for oils in the early part of the 20th century and it still is. Liqui Moly GmbH was founded in 1957 in Ulm on the river Danube. The patent for production of molybdenum disulfide formed the basis for the company. This additive based on liquified molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) was the company's first product and gave the company its name. Molybdenum sulfide, the basic ingredient of the Liqui Moly Oil additive, was discovered in the shops of the US Army in post-war Germany. These shops sold a can under the brand name Liqui Moly that contained the liquified form of the solid lubricant molybdenum sulfide (MoS2). When added to motor oil, this substance ensured emergency running characteristics in the event of a sudden loss of oil. Fighter pilots in World War One had already exploited this property, adding MoS2 to the motor oil in the aircraft engines. This enabled pilots to still land, even if the oil tank was hit.
From this additive, an entire range was developed, with over 4,000 products including engine and gear oils, additives and vehicle care products, workshop equipment and service products. In Germany, Liqui Moly is one of the leading producers of engine oils. Germany remains the main marketplace, but international demands are increasing. Liqui Moly products are now sold in 120 countries
Like the Wright brothers we have done testing on oils, specifically LiquiMoly, and found gains both in torque and horsepower and we have measured those changes on a dyno using multiple runs in identical conditions and including spacing those tests years apart in some cases. In every case we have found it to be a superior product and we don't hesitate to recommend it.
For us (and our customers) LiquiMoly has significant benefits and we use all of their lubrication products exclusively. Now you know.
I will finish this post with a testimonial from Renato.
I have heard for years the positive reviews of LIQUI MOLY oil and additives. I was skeptical and before I recommend any product to my customers I thoroughly test them. I took a Porsche Cayenne GTS, Mercedes C320 and a Porsche 993 and tested them on a dynamometer. I then flushed all three engines using LIQUI MOLY Engine Flush. Upon completion, I added Leichtlauf High Tech 5W-40 oil, Motor Oil Saver and Cera Tec wear protection. I then re-tested all three vehicles on the dynamometer. In my 43 years as an automotive professional working with European luxury and exotic cars in both Europe and Canada, I have not come across lubricants which enhance and restore engine and components on a level comparable to LIQUI MOLY products. The results were astonishing! The three vehicles experienced an increase of up to 20hp, increased torque, and generated 25 degrees less heat!"