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From soundingsonline.com:

4-stroke oils certified for marine use

By Michael Hauenstein – Staff Writer

The bar finally has been set for 4-stroke marine oils.

The national trade association for boatbuilders and engine manufacturers approved a new certification program, currently dubbed 4T, under which new-technology outboard and sterndrive oils will be tested to ensure they meet minimum specifications for use in the high-rpm, corrosive marine environment.

The oils will carry a "4T" designation on their labels.

The 4-stroke marine oil certification program applies standards similar to the National Marine Manufacturers Association's successful TC-W3 benchmark for 2-stroke marine oils, says Geoff Kilburn, retail products manager for Mercury Marine.

There are differences between oils designed to run in automobile engines and 4-stroke outboards. For one thing, Passenger Car Motor Oil-certified products don't contain rust inhibitors and won't pass the 4T certification, according to Claude von Plato, national manager of Yamaha's parts and accessories division.

Because the Environmental Protection Agency is mandating longer catalytic converter warranties, the automotive industry is formulating automobile oils with less zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate, an anti-wear agent particularly effective in high-load areas, such as those experienced routinely in boating, von Plato says. Yamaha's 4-stroke Yamalube, for example, contains twice the ZDP of forthcoming SM category automotive oils, he notes. Furthermore, von Plato says, NMMA's oil certification committee was concerned about the lighter oils used for improved fuel economy in cars, which don't protect as well at higher loads.

The committee also added a corrosion test, an area not covered by the PCMO standard and important for marine oils, he says.

"There will be a significant difference between a 4T oil and anything you buy at Pep Boys," says von Plato. He says the program gives boat owners a way to judge what oil they should be using.

"We think it's great," says Mercury's Kilburn, "because sometimes the consumer is unaware and can be doing harm to their engine without even knowing."

In addition to highlighting differences between automotive and marine oils, 4T certification will tell boat owners that the product they choose contains all the necessary additives to perform under marine conditions.

"If you want to make oil cheap, remove the additives," says von Plato. He says it is possible for aftermarket companies to continue removing additives until their oils just pass the tests.

Von Plato and Kilburn both recommend sticking with your engine manufacturer's branded oil. Von Plato adds that the market for 4-stroke outboard oil isn't very large, and he doesn't expect much aftermarket activity in the segment.

Kilburn recommends other 4T-certified oil as a second choice. "I fully expect competitive companies to come out with [4T] qualified oils," he says.

The oil certification committee - which includes representatives from engine, oil and additive manufacturers - meets at least twice a year, von Plato says. He says an oil company representative presented the group with the worrisome trends in PCMO products a couple years ago.

Mercury offered its proprietary rust test, and Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio fine-tuned it, von Plato says. After much work, the committee ended up with an accurate, repeatable test, he says.

"It takes a long time to get that done," von Plato says.

Kilburn says Mercury started on its new formulation, which is ready to be tested, about 18 months ago.

The TC-W3 standard for 2-strokes has also been strengthened. Von Plato says an additional lubricity test has been added to discern problems seen with some 2-stroke oils on the market. He says all TC-W3 oils will have to be recertified.

"Any of the OEMs' 2-cycle lubes are fine; they're a fine product," says von Plato, who adds that the same goes for 4-stroke oils.

Certified oils will be listed on the NMMA Web site (www.nmma.org) as they are registered, says NMMA vice president of engineering standards Tom Marhevko.

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I think the cost of a quart of newly designed, recently tested, and name branded product (marine adds about 25%), with very little demand would make the cost of Mobil1, Amsoil, and Redline look like a real bargain.

But as they say.....whatever floats your boat :D

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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But as they say.....whatever floats your boat :D

My boat don't float. <_<

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There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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I hear you.

I'm just postulating that it may be a better alternative than diesel oil which, from what I've read in various places, may not be doing us much good. I think the high detergent in the diesel oil - coupled with the removal of some of the good stuff in the new reformulations - is what scares me off. Now this is just based on my readings, and I'm certainly not an oil expert.

The marine oil apparently has the added zdp we seek and is formulated for use in engines that are run hard. Don't know how much or if we'd benefit from the added corrosion protection.

Now mind you, I'm running Castrol GTX high mileage with a dose of EOS, so I'm not embracing this - just thinking out loud.....

From the NMMA website, it looks like there are several choices:


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I agree with what you say Jack. I think this oil would be infinitely better than some brands of diesel only oil. In the final analysis, it may be better than most commonly available premium motor oils, IN SOME AREAS OF PERFORMANCE. Extended catalytic converter life may not be an area that this oil excels in. As has been pointed out here though, some brands of dual-rated oils would be much more economical, and likely do no harm to the gasoline, spark ignition engines. I think it might be the PERFECT oil for someone that has an old classic car that they store for long periods of time. For general, everyday use, I would not recommend it due to emission control concerns.

Never underestimate the amount of a persons greed.

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Just my 2 cents.

The 4T rated oil is interesting to me, as a boat owner. As an owner of several Cadillac's, and a Surburbon with a 454, I do not understand the oil fuss?

I use Pennzoil API/SM, 10-30 or 5-30 depending on the car, and all of my engines perform great. I do not baby these vehicles, but I do keep the oil and filters changed as required. In the Cadillac's that means using the OLM (approx. 7,000 in my STS's, and 10,000+ for the DTS), the Surburbon gets changed at 5,000. These vehicles all run clean, smooth, and have exhibit no oil wear symptoms.

93 STS 209k

93 STS 100k

04 DTS 37k (still a baby)

75 Suburbon 95k (custom hi-performance rebuild at 255k) Engine tear-down showed crank, bearings, cylinders, camshaft, etc., were all in very good shape.

The brand name oils for cars that are available for us, are some darn good products. They do an incredible job, compared to the oils of twenty or so years ago. While the 4T rated oil sounds like a nice improvement in a marine oil, I doubt that you would really benefit from it being used in a car. I fact it might just be a costly mistake, it could ruin your catalytic converter, and dent your wallet.


Drive'em like you own 'em. - ....................04 DTS............................


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