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!"
I don't want to be the one to say that word...the 'winter' word, particularly when its going to be a series of plus 20 degree weather days this week, but its coming. In this post I wanted to delve into our storage and why this is a busy time for us.
Generally around this time, on top of our regular day to day, we have two things on the go - people asking for snow tire installs or storage for the off season (see - I avoided the winter word). I often hear the heavy sigh lately as a customer enters the store and says 'its that time...isn't it. The reality is, if its not today at the latest its a few weeks away, but its no reason to be concerned, think of it as an early start on next season.
Here are a few reasons to think about winter storage with us:
For many of our clients the issue is as simple as that, a need for more space. For some people a get away spot is at the cottage or on vacation, but for many of our clients the vehicle is the get away and they use it through the season. Particularly in these times of pandemic and limited travel many people have a summer car that gives them exactly that. When the season is over they are often looking at a place to store it that's out of the way and secure. We can fill that niche for you and store your investment in a place free of any off season contaminants, which is a nice way of saying snow and salt.
Protecting your investment.
The air filter on the left was from a customer car would have benefitted from our storage facility. It was obviously stored in a place that allowed mice and insects to get access to the all areas of the car. The air filter is not from the Audi by the way, its another of our clients cars showing off its summer looks. Our facilities are modern, state of the art with dust free climate control and trickle chargers on each vehicle. We've recently epoxy coated our entire storage area floor and we challenge anyone to find a more spotless facility.
We also have zero tolerance for anything touching your vehicle other than our technicians or detailer.
Getting modifications or repairs done
For us, the off season is a perfect time to tackle those issues that crept up on you over the summer. While your car is in storage we can work on it to address any issues, improve horsepower, rebuild an engine, or modify the car to anything you always wanted to have done but didn't have the time to do it in. In the 'off season' we can spend the time making your dreams for next season a reality. Its also the perfect time to have your car detailed or ceramic coated.
Peace of mind and security
In some cases our clients have invested a significant amount of time, money, thought, or all of the above, into their vehicles and want to be able to enjoy the 'off season' without any worries about their investment. As mentioned above we have fully climate controlled heating and cooling systems, robust security with cameras and now we have added an additional layer by installing electronically controlled barrier gates on each side of our facility. We can store any make and model and although our storage is by the month, many of our customers book us ahead of time for the entire 'off season'.
We have space for about 40 cars - but its filling up fast, give us a call and set up your storage up today.
Yesterday we had a classic 1983 Ferrari in - a 308 GTS Quattrovalvole in for a performance test on the dyno. We often get requests to see how owners classics are doing on power and what the actual horsepower is after losses, particularly after almost 40 years. Before the video of the power test I wanted to take a bit of a retrospective into the history of that era of Ferrari.
In this day and age where everything from Hyundai to Honda's range between 180 to 250 horsepower out of four cylinders (with similar torque values) and a modern 'entry level Ferrari' (Ferrari's words not mine) like the Portofino have 600 HP its often difficult to think that most of the 80's sports cars had significantly less than that. As was the case with many sports cars of the time the 308 was naturally aspirated. In an effort to increase power, Ferrari modified the heads to 4 valves per cylinder - thus the Quattrovalvole badge. The engine is transversely mounted with a 5 speed gated transmission tucked behind and just below the oil sump. Fuel was controlled via a Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection system and spark controlled by a Marelli electronic ignition system. The European version of the car did not have as many emission regulations and Ferrari stated (somewhat optimistically) that version came in with 240 Horsepower at around 7000 rpm with a top speed of 255 km/hr (about 160 mph). and somewhat less for the North American version.
In that era many of the sports cars had surprisingly less power than you might think. For comparison The iconic Lamborghini Countach of the same year came in at an impressive 350 horsepower and a naturally aspirated Porsche 911 was about 172. I mentioned modern Hondas and Hyundai's earlier and I think for fairness and context a 1983 Honda Civic had a 'blistering' 67 Horsepower and a Hyundai Stellar had 10 more than that. For those that are thinking I left out similar era American cars...a 5 litre V8 Mustang had 176 horsepower and a base model C4 Corvette had around 205 HP.
It was the 80's and it was as much about looks, style and exclusivity as it was about speed and handling. In the case of the 308 it was raised to iconic status in part through a mustachioed private detective on Oahu - Magnum PI. It probably did more for advertising in that era than all of Ferraris ad campaigns combined.
Lets be honest though - it would not be the same TV show if Tom Selleck drove a Hyundai Stellar, particularly since it had a hand operated, manual choke, but I digress.
The styling of the car itself followed a series of lines that were as recognizable as the giant shoulder pads in womens dresses (think Dallas or Dynasty) to the 'popped' collars sported by a significant portion of the nation. This particular Targa Top variant era of the model made its debut in 1982 at the Paris Salon. It carried forward a bit of the wedge design that was so in vogue in the decade preceding it and was rendered by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti. Over the course of its production run around 4000 of them were produced.
The interior as well takes its cue from the era in all of its analog glory with all of the main cluster of gauges in a single binnacle in front of the driver. RPM and Speedometer take their place on the right and left respectively and the cluster is rounded out by oil pressure and temperature, plus a fuel level gauge.
This particular example we had for a power pull was very impressive. The car starts slow and winds up to its full RPM with its distinctive Ferrari V8 snarl. In this case, the car is smooth and power gains through the RPM band rise steadily. After almost 40 years the car has lost less than 10% of its output and is an excellent example of how a well maintained classic can be.
After the power run and the fans were shut down the room was filled with the smell of a 1980's sports car. Hydrocarbons and octane would be an apt way to describe it and once you have smelled it, its addictive, particularly since I was filming as it hit the top of its RPM range while standing near the exhaust. Although the top of the charts was, "Every breath you take by the Police" for 1983, I cant imagine a better sound track than the high revving Ferrari engine itself. Enjoy.
The Tesla happens to be mine and I since we just launched doing ceramic coatings I wanted to see how it would do on a new car and what was the process from start to finish with brand new paint. For context, in the title, someone asked me in a parking lot recently, "...if your car is electric can it still be washed without you getting electrocuted?" Don't laugh, I've also been asked if I carry a giant extension cord or if its true that you can sleep while the car drives itself. Often it comes from people who haven't seen one and since they are so different to an internal combustion engine they have a lot of questions. For the purists that are out there pointing and chanting 'shame!" that I have an electric car don't fret, I love the sound and the smells and the feeling of an internal combustion engine. I have an air cooled Porsche and a few other ICE vehicles and I love everything about them. Our business is about cars after all, from the classic to the exotic to the electric and all things in between.
By the way - neither Chino or I were electrocuted so I think I can answer a definitive 'no' to the title.
I expected that putting the ceramic coating on the Tesla paint would be fairly straightforward, after all its brand new and hasn't even had wax applied to it yet. I thought that it would be a simple process of washing it and applying the coating...then I spent some time with Chino our detailer. As always he knows his stuff and Chino reminded me that Tesla have great cars - but they don't have great quality control when it comes to paint. He's not wrong and there have been quite a few issues of fit and finish with some models like the 3 and the Y. If there is enough interest I may do a video review of the Y and its technology, idiosyncrasies and features.
Chino laid out the plan for the next two days and it starts with a deep wash to get rid of any contaminants and then drying it thoroughly and completely spot free. He is one of those detail guys that covers any part of the car that won't be getting the coating (like plastic trim parts) with tape to make sure there is no overlap. The prep work and the cleanliness is key as the ceramic application is the easiest part. I did a few time-lapse videos and attached them to give you some idea of a few days compressed down to a few minutes.
Some people say its like watching paint dry but the time-lapse of soapy water coming off the car is mesmerizing to me. Step one in the process was washing the car - next came the long and laborious job of cutting and buffing the paintwork to make the surface flawless. It really is all about the prep work on something like applying a coating, its got to be dust free and the paint stripped of any wax or contaminants before the coating can be applied.
After all the buffing and cutting and polishing applying the coating is almost a let down, as its a very simple process. The coating is wiped on, allowed to come to a haze and then buffed off. After that the surface has to be kept dry for at least 24 hours to let the coating cure and harden.
From a visual perspective the car has a deeper and darker color after the ceramic coating. The paint imperfections are gone, buffed away to a perfectly uniform finish. Beyond that, water beads endlessly and dirt doesn't seem to stick to the surface. The dirt washes off easily and the coating should be good for many years. Take a look at a previous post on paints and paint protection for more on what the coating does. Better still - have your car done here, winter is coming.
I do get a tingling feeling when I touch the paint - but that could just be me.
I'm going to be posting to our YouTube channel over the next few weeks with the content you are looking for and one that gives you a much better insight into what we do here. Lets take that spirit of ingenuity and create something different. I'm looking forward to your comments and showing you yet another side of RSP Motorsports.
In earlier blog posts I talked about some of the changes that are being made to the exterior of the property and the epoxy floor that we are putting into the shop and storage area. The pictures speak for themselves.
The exterior parking lot has been completed and helps display our commitment to the local business community and the community we are located in.
We take pride in how we represent ourselves and always want to ensure that we give back in some way. Although challenging during the times of the pandemic, we are doing our part to keep small businesses alive. One of the main points included in that is giving back to our customers. We want you to be secure that the pride we put into our workplace is the same care and respect that we put into your vehicles.
Accessible parking at the front entrance - as a side note we will be featuring the Tesla in an upcoming ceramic coating article
Our front entrance. many of the shrubs and plants have been removed to make the office space brighter and give a better view of our logo.
A wider shot of the front entrance and customer parking area
The picture above is the rear of our building where we have additional parking for customer vehicles. In the far view of the picture you can see the post for the electronic security gate. We are installing two of those on the premises to add additional safety and security to our building access for customer vehicles and our fleet of courtesy vehicles. We are also having a key drop off being built at the front for those customers that want to drop off their car after hours.
The interior of shop floor is being prepped for the epoxy flooring. We have completed the storage area and we are thrilled with the results. Renato has been looking for a floor that passes the 'white sock test' and the this is it. We are also having an RSP Logo embedded into the floor - another example of the pride we have in what we do.
The uncompleted section is in the foreground and you can see the difference that the floor makes to the overall look. The surface has a light non slip pebbling added to it.
Epoxy floor coating in the storage area - just in time for the fall storage season
A final picture in front of a room that most of the public hasn't seen. We have a series of exciting projects that will be coming out of this custom built workspace that will be highlighted later this year. What I can say is that what we will be working on displays that spirit of ingenuity that this blog post is about
Recently, Chino our detailer, completed a certification course in the use and application of ceramic paint protection. Its a service new to us that we now offer to our customers. I wanted to take a bit of time on this blog post to talk about what it is and what it does. Before I do that its not a bad idea to have a quick overview of paints and protective coatings. For those that feel that reading that is like watching paint dry (sorry) skip to the bottom for what ceramic coating can do for you and your car.
A brief look at the evolution of automotive paint
The original paints of the days of the first production cars was not actually automotive paint, it used linseed oil resin as a binder and caused a long time to cure and dry. With the advent of more cars going into production all over the world DuPont developed a paint that was specifically made for the automotive industry that dried in under two hours. Plus it had the added benefit of the revolutionary idea of paint colors other than black. In the 1950's car paint advanced with synthetic formulations and primer was used prior to painting to help stop corrosion and rust.
Through the 1950's to the 1970's paint protection appeared in the form of an acrylic lacquer coating applied to as the final coat on cars. These top coats lasted about two years before they started to degrade and required consistent wax applications to keep the paint looking 'fresh'.
In the 1980's auto manufacturers were looking for something better - and coupled with the environmental standards of reducing VOC's (volatile organic compounds) a basecoat and topcoat solution was created. In part, this was also driven by consumer desire to have paints last longer as they were keeping their vehicles longer.
Clearcoats continued to evolve over the next 20 years through 2000, largely driven by the need to reduce environmental footprints and save time in the manufacturing process. The latest iteration that involves solvent based primer, basecoat and clear coat are all applied successively and then allowed to 'bake'
Waxes and other car protection products
In the 1800's the first coating to help protect the lacquer on horse carriages was developed in Germany and made from animal fat. As mentioned above in paint development there was an evolving need for paint protection to keep pace with the changes - not to mention animal fat was probably not going to catch on. Paint polishing compounds have actually been around since 1900 as a method of keeping a shine on paint. Its origins can be traced to Frank Meguiar (yes, that Meguiars wax you can find today) as an offshoot of the furniture polish he had developed. This development continued with George Simons who created a cleaner wax for cars that contained carnuaba wax (often called Brazil wax as it comes from palm trees native to that area) and the term 'Simonize' was coined. Partway through the second world war the first liquid car wax (Turtle wax) was developed followed by DuPonts development of polymer sealants in the late 1960's
With clear coats arriving in the 1970's advancement in protection products continued and products like detailing clay began to emerge in to 1990's. By the 2000's companies like PPG were developing products to help reduce the effects of ultraviolet light and acid rain. By 2007 companies were advancing ceramic coatings or nano-coatings. Nano meaning billionth of a meter as it dealt with filling in paint in areas as small as that size and protects paint from all kinds of issues including bird droppings, UV light (sun damage) etc. If you want an idea of how small a nanometer is its about the length your fingernails grow in one second.
Why have us Ceramic coat your paint?
Ceramic coatings are the next step in paint protection, and way better than animal fat if you read the top of this post. They do need prep work and they do need a clean surface free of contaminants though to work properly and provide maximum protection. Its not just a claim of protection though - we warranty it for 3, 5 or 7 years depending on the package you select.
To begin with we strip all of the old wax and contaminants off your car, then go through paint correction (which includes cutting and polishing) and if needed clay bar your vehicle before we start the ceramic coating. The coating is then applied in a dust free environment and allowed to cure for 24 hours. Some of the benefits include:
There is more to doing a dyno run than simply driving into the dyno cell and pushing your foot to the floor. In fact much of what happens when we do one is all about preparation. Most of our time is spent doing the prep work and making sure both the car and the area is safe.
Any vehicle we test goes through an extensive series of checks prior to being moved into the dyno Lab. This includes everything from checking the tires for age, tread depth, speed rating and pressure as well as the torque values on the lug nuts. We also put the car on the hoist and give it a thorough inspection and look for any panels that may need to be removed so we can get attachment points to secure it. Typically on sports cars like a Ferrari this could be something like a diffuser at the rear of the car.
Next is sensor connections, and depending on what the customer is looking for they can be anything from Lambda, boost, back pressure etc. We often have requests to see how well an intercooler is working and we can measure the temps of the air going into the intercooler and the temps coming out of it to get a good idea of how effective it is.
Calibrating the dyno is a critical step. The computer is given the values for the car prior to the car even running and setting the values for the starting ramp in km/hr for the car etc. The car is then started and warmed up by driving it an easy pace on the dyno, making sure all coolant, oil temps and oil pressures are good and all systems are functioning. Once this is ready the car is brought up to full speed, and then let to coast so the computer and the dyno can determine parasitic losses from the flywheel all the way through the driveline to the wheels. We usually do this a few times to get an accurate reading of the losses
The Superflow Dyno we use automatically calculates and corrects for barometric air pressure, Inside temperature and humidity. It doesn't just check this once - we do it continuously through the pull to ensure the most accurate results
Performance Pull. Only once all of the above has been done, the straps holding the vehicle down are rechecked, and the sensors checked and ready to go, do we do the final pull to see what kind of power is made. All of that is displayed in real time in the control room and on a big screen in front of Stefan, our dyno guru. Stefan has well over 30 years in Europe in Canada doing exactly this. We've often had comments that it looks like a space launch as Stefan can also have a computer with him in the vehicle to adjust fuel tables and any other a parameter. With that car at full speed and the fans pushing thousands of cubic feet of air it sounds like it.
Lets be honest - if you read this far you really want to see what that all looks and sounds like. This is not an exhaustive list of prep work or all that goes into a dyno run but we always get requests for more detail and we are happy to oblige. The video is just below but I will close on this: We do this level of prep and attention to detail for each and every car we test and tune. From motorcycles to Ferraris and all things in between. Would you really want to take your car to anywhere that does less?
In an earlier post I talked about the construction going on at RSP. As part of the fabric of the community and as part of the desire to serve our customers and drive the economy, our construction efforts continue.
We are enhancing our parking lot and the entry ways to our facilities and the progress is visible.
Its a full time effort to manage that part of the infrastructure on its own. The mountain of dirt in the front is much smaller and the curbs are now in, as are the sidewalks and the base and wiring for the LED lamp posts. So far we have added over 3500 metric tonnes of gravel (about 120 dump trucks) to the parking areas in preparation for the first coat of asphalt.
We are working on more than just curbs, but also curb appeal. We are updating the entryway to a custom glassed in enclosure to enhance the look of the building as well as the customer experience. The time and effort we put onto our facilities is a reflection of the same attention and detail we put into servicing your vehicle.
New Curbs and Sidewalks
Entryway and sidewalk, with a view of customer parking (including accessible parking)
New entry way. The existing doors in the background will go and the new entry will have a custom built glass enclosure.
Last week I added a post about a GL350 that was in for a blind spot sensor issue that turned into an engine rebuild due to a considerable lack of maintenance. That lack of maintenance was evident everywhere we looked. Below is the one of the old air filters next to a new one. It looks like more than a few years of dirt and quite an array of insects. We aren't even sure if it still flowed air.
The good news is that after some time in our engine lab the diesel is rebuilt and is back in. For those that will ask the inevitable question - yes the cabin air filter was just as bad.
Don't let simple maintenance items go into your 'blind spot'. We also do Pre Purchase Inspections (PPI) and if you are thinking of buying a luxury car or exotic give us a call and we can do a deep x-ray on it to give you some peace of mind. We've done everything from Mercedes to Ferrari's and Porsche for customers to give them a realistic understanding of what needs addressing, and the overall state of the vehicle they are thinking of purchasing.
Prepping to put the rebuilt engine back into the GL
Renato with 'Big Joe', our gantry engine hoist, in the final stages of putting the motor back in.