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Lubricity Additive Study Results

Old 02-28-2008, 03:57 PM
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Lubricity Additive Study Results

A friend of mine just sent me the below. Looks like the members over at paid for the tests.

The following are the preliminary results of a research study on diesel fuel Lubricity Additives. There is likely to be further commentary and explanation added at a future time.


The purpose of this research was to determine the ability of multiple diesel fuel additives to replace the vital lubricity component in ULSD (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel) fuel.


ULSD fuel is the fuel currently mandated for use in all on road diesel engines. This fuel burns cleaner and is less polluting than it’s predecessor, called Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel. Low sulfur fuel contained less than 500 ppm of sulfur. ULSD contains 15 ppm or less.
As diesel fuel is further refined to remove the polluting sulfur, it is inadvertently stripped of its lubricating properties. This vital lubrication is a necessary component of the diesel fuel as it prevents wear in the fuel delivery system. Specifically, it lubricates pumps, high pressure pumps and injectors. Traditional Low sulfur diesel fuel typically contained enough lubricating ability to suffice the needs of these vital components. ULSD fuel, on the other hand, is considered to be very “dry” and incapable of lubricating vital fuel delivery components. As a result, these components are at risk of premature and even catastrophic failure when ULSD fuel is introduced to the system. As a result, all oil companies producing ULSD fuel must replace the lost lubricity with additives. All ULSD fuel purchased at retail fuel stations SHOULD be adequately treated with additives to replace this lost lubricity. The potential result of using inadequately treated fuel, as indicated above, can be catastrophic. There have been many documented cases of randomly tested samples of diesel fuel. These tests prove that often times the fuel we purchase is not adequately treated and may therefore contribute to accelerated wear of our fuel delivery systems. For this reason it may be prudent to use an after market diesel fuel additive to ENSURE adequate lubrication of the fuel delivery system. Additionally, many additives can offer added benefits such as cetane improver, and water separators or emulsifiers.


In this study we will test multiple diesel fuel additives designed to replace lost lubricity. The primary component of this study is a side-by-side laboratory analysis of each additive’s ability to replace this vital lubricity. Additionally, claims of improving cetane, water separation or emulsification, bio-diesel compatibility and alcohol content will be noted. These notes were derived from information that was readily available to consumers (via the label and internet information) and none of this information has been evaluated for validity and/or performance. Cetane information has only been noted if the word “cetane” was used in the advertising information. The words “improves power” has not been translated to mean “improves cetane” in this evaluation. Information on alcohol content is provided by indicating “contains no alcohol”. Omission of the words “contains no alcohol” does not imply that it does contain alcohol. This information was simply missing in the information available to a consumer. However, the possibility of a form of alcohol in these products is possible. Additionally, information on dosages and cost per tankful are included for comparison purposes.

How Diesel Fuel Is Evaluated For Lubricating Ability:

Diesel fuel and other fluids are tested for lubricating ability using a device called a “High Frequency Reciprocating Rig” or HFRR. The HFRR is currently the Internationally accepted, standardized method to evaluate fluids for lubricating ability. It uses a ball bearing that reciprocates or moves back and forth on a metal surface at a very high frequency for a duration of 90 minutes. The machine does this while the ball bearing and metal surface are immersed in the test fluid (in this case, treated diesel fuel). At the end of the test the ball bearing is examined under a microscope and the “wear scar” on the ball bearing is measured in microns. The larger the wear scar, the poorer the lubricating ability of the fluid. Southwest Research runs every sample twice and averages the size of the wear scar.
The U.S. standard for diesel fuel says a commercially available diesel fuel should produce a wear scar of no greater than 520 microns. The Engine Manufacturers Association had requested a standard of a wear scar no greater than 460 microns, typical of the pre-ULSD fuels. Most experts agree that a 520 micron standard is adequate, but also that the lower the wear scar the better.


An independent research firm in Texas was hired to do the laboratory work. The cost of the research was paid for voluntarily by the participating additive manufacturers. Declining to participate and pay for the research were the following companies: Amsoil and Power Service. Because these are popular products it was determined that they needed to be included in the study. These products were tested using funds collected by diesel enthusiasts at “”. Additionally, unconventional additives such as 2-cycle oil and used motor oil were tested for their abilities to aid in diesel fuel lubricity. These were also paid for by members of “”.
The study was conducted in the following manner:
-The Research firm obtained a quantity of “untreated” ULSD fuel from a supplier. This fuel was basic ULSD fuel intended for use in diesel engines. However, this sample was acquired PRIOR to any attempt to additize the fuel for the purpose of replacing lost lubricity. In other words, it was a “worst case scenario, very dry diesel fuel” that would likely cause damage to any fuel delivery system. This fuel was tested using the HFRR at the Southwest Research Laboratory. This fuel was determined to have a very high HFRR score of 636 microns, typical of an untreated ULSD fuel. It was determined that this batch of fuel would be utilized as the baseline fuel for testing all of the additives. The baseline fuel HFRR score of 636 would be used as the control sample. All additives tested would be evaluated on their ability to replace lost lubricity to the fuel by comparing their scores to the control sample. Any score under 636 shows improvement to the fuels ability to lubricate the fuel delivery system of a diesel engine.


In order to ensure a completely unbiased approach to the study, the following steps were taken:
Each additive tested was obtained independently via internet or over the counter purchases. The only exceptions were Opti-Lube XPD and the bio-diesel sample. The reason for this is because Opti-Lube XPD additive was considered “experimental” at the time of test enrollment and was not yet on the market. It was sent directly from Opti-Lube company. The bio-diesel sample was sponsored by Renewable Energy Group. One of their suppliers, E.H. Wolf and Sons in Slinger, Wisconsin supplied us with a sample of 100% soybean based bio-diesel. This sample was used to blend with the baseline fuel to create a 2% bio-diesel for testing.
Each additive was bottled separately in identical glass containers. The bottles were labeled only with a number. This number corresponded to the additive contained in the bottle. The order of numbering was done randomly by drawing names out of a hat. Only Spicer Research held the key to the additives in each bottle.
The additive samples were then sent in a box to An independent research firm. The only information given them was the ratio of fuel to be added to each additive sample. For example, bottle “A” needs to be mixed at a ratio of “480-1”. The ratio used for each additive was the “prescribed dosage” found on the bottle label for that product. Used motor oil and 2-cycle oil were tested at a rationally chosen ratio of 200:1.
The Research Laboratory mixed the proper ratio of each “bottled fluid” into a separate container containing the baseline fuel. The data, therefore, is meaningful because every additive is tested in the same way using the same fuel. A side-by-side comparison of the effectiveness of each additive is now obtainable.


These results are listed in the order of performance in the HFRR test. The baseline fuel used in every test started at an HFRR score of 636. The score shown is the tested HFRR score of the baseline fuel/additive blend.
Also included is the wear scar improvement provided by the additive as well as other claimed benefits of the additive. Each additive is also categorized as a Multi-purpose additive, Multi-purpose + anti-gel, Lubricity only, non-conventional, or as an additive capable of treating both gasoline and diesel fuel.
As a convenience to the reader there is also information on price per treated tank of diesel fuel (using a 26 gallon tank), and dosage per 26 gallon tank provided as “ounces of additive per 26 gallon tank”.

In Order Of Performance:

1) 2% REG SoyPower biodiesel
HFRR 221, 415 micron improvement.
50:1 ratio of baseline fuel to 100% biodiesel
66.56 oz. of 100% biodiesel per 26 gallons of diesel fuel
Price: market value

2)Opti-Lube XPD
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
cetane improver, demulsifier
HFRR 317, 319 micron improvement.
256:1 ratio
13 oz/tank

3)FPPF RV, Bus, SUV Diesel/Gas fuel treatment
Gas and Diesel
cetane improver, emulsifier
HFRR 439, 197 micron improvement
640:1 ratio
5.2 oz/tank

4)Opti-Lube Summer Blend
HFRR 447, 189 micron improvement
3000:1 ratio
1.11 oz/tank

5)Opti-Lube Winter Blend
Muti-purpose + anti-gel
cetane improver
HFRR 461, 175 micron improvement
512:1 ratio
6.5 oz/tank

6)Schaeffer Diesel Treat 2000
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
cetane improver, emulsifier, bio-diesel compatible
HFRR 470, 166 micron improvement
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

7)Super Tech Outboard 2-cycle TC-W3 engine oil
Unconventional (Not ULSD compliant, may damage 2007 or newer systems)
HFRR 474, 162 micron improvement
200:1 ratio
16.64 oz/tank

8)Stanadyne Lubricity Formula
Lubricity Only
demulsifier, 5% bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 479, 157 micron improvement
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

9)Amsoil Diesel Concentrate
demulsifier, bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 488, 148 micron improvement
640:1 ratio
5.2 oz/tank

10)Power Service Diesel Kleen + Cetane Boost
Cetane improver, bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 575, 61 micron improvement
400:1 ratio
8.32 oz/tank

11)Howe’s Meaner Power Kleaner
Alcohol free
HFRR 586, 50 micron improvement
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

12)Stanadyne Performance Formula
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
cetane improver, demulsifier, 5% bio-diesel compatible, alcohol free
HFRR 603, 33 micron improvement
480:1 ratio
6.9 oz/tank

13)Used Motor Oil, Shell Rotella T 15w40, 5,000 miles used.
Unconventional (Not ULSD compliant, may damage systems)
HFRR 634, 2 micron improvement
200:1 ratio
16.64 oz/tank
price: market value

14)Lucas Upper Cylinder Lubricant
Gas or diesel
HFRR 641, 5 microns worse than baseline (statistically insignificant change)
427:1 ratio
7.8 oz/tank

15)B1000 Diesel Fuel Conditioner by Milligan Biotech
Multi-purpose, canola oil based additive
HFRR 644, 8 microns worse than baseline (statistically insignificant change)
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

16)FPPF Lubricity Plus Fuel Power
Multi-purpose + anti-gel
Emulsifier, alcohol free
HFRR 675, 39 microns worse than baseline fuel
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

17)Marvel Mystery Oil
Gas, oil and Diesel fuel additive (NOT ULSD compliant, may damage 2007 and newer systems)
HFRR 678, 42 microns worse than baseline fuel.
320:1 ratio
10.4 oz/tank

18)ValvTect Diesel Guard Heavy Duty/Marine Diesel Fuel Additive
Cetane improver, emulsifier, alcohol free
HFRR 696, 60 microns worse than baseline fuel
1000:1 ratio
3.32 oz/tank

19)Primrose Power Blend 2003
Cetane boost, bio-diesel compatible, emulsifier
HFRR 711, 75 microns worse than baseline
1066:1 ratio
3.12 oz/tank


Products 1 through 4 were able to improve the unadditized fuel to an HFRR score of 460 or better. This meets the most strict requirements requested by the Engine Manufacturers Association.
Products 1 through 9 were able to improve the unadditized fuel to an HFRR score of 520 or better, meeting the U.S. diesel fuel requirements for maximum wear scar in a commercially available diesel fuel.
Products 16 through 19 were found to cause the fuel/additive blend to perform worse than the baseline fuel. The cause for this is speculative. This is not unprecedented in HFRR testing and can be caused by alcohol or other components in the additives. Further investigation into the possibilities behind these poor results will investigated.
Any additive testing within +/- 20 microns of the baseline fuel could be considered to have no significant change. The repeatability of this test allows for a +/- 20 micron variability to be considered insignificant.


This study would not have been possible without the participation of all companies involved and A special Thank You to all of the members who generously donated toward this study and waited longer than they should have for the results. You folks are the best. Arlen Spicer, organizer.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:16 PM
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Interesting read, but I wish there was more than a single test of each product by a single lab. These results need to be validated by another testing source. In the meantime, I predict Marvel Mystery Oil sales will see a wee bit of a decline.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:10 PM
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I've seen this before and my only problem is the ratios. They should have run them all at the same ratio so the test would be even. If you just took one product and ran it at all these different ratios you would get differing results. Sort of like we can run gas up to a certain %. Alittle doesnt do much but the more you run the more things change. JM2C
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:18 PM
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They used the manufacturer's listed usage ratio in each test which would make the data more realistic than adding all at the same ratio..
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:03 PM
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very interesting! Great info.
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:29 PM
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Well it does show just how well Bio is at lubing the fuel system and if a person can buy it use it instead of 2 cycle oil. IMHO its better to support the Farmers and not the big oil company's.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:09 AM
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It's worth recirculating this Thread again...for information sake.

I just picked up some B100 fuel in drums on close out for just over $2.00 a gal. Will be mixing it at 5% for lubricity.
It's canola based B100, which has a longer shelf life than Soy B100 due to more anti-oxidants.
But is still limited to a useful life of 6 months to maybe 1 yr.
Discovered homebrew Biodiesel has a shelf life of about 15 days!

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Old 02-24-2010, 09:22 AM
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it gets posted so often it should be a sticky........ but I will add my usual comment. 2 stroke oil was tested, but not at the rate that many of us use it, they used half a quart in a tank( roughly) and most of us use a whole quart in a tank ( roughly) even at the half quart rate, 2 stroke oil did very well, I wish they would repeat the test at the one quart rate.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:29 AM
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Yup - I agree it should be a sticky !
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:42 AM
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Canola based bio has a much better molecular structure then soy. Nearly like a synthetic oil vs dino oil. I wonder if adding straight up Canola oil when the climate permits would do anything to the lubricity? One concern I would have is that its used up in a short period of time and not settling out and/or stagnating in the fuel tank.
I have noticed that straight Canola oil prices have fallen some up here over the past few yrs. Maybe it could be a good lubricity additive to the ULSD.

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Old 02-25-2010, 07:36 AM
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scotty, depends on what motor you are running it in, straight veg oil off the shelf can have a high water content that the cr injectors don't care for. I'd be happy to just find a place nearby that sells straight bio to run say 5 gallons per tank.
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mikmaze View Post
.. I'd be happy to just find a place nearby that sells straight bio to run say 5 gallons per tank.
Well, "Come on Down"!!
Found out the stuff we bgt in Houston was fairly fresh, so I'm less concerned about shelf life.
They were selling out inventory because they were moving company to a bigger warehouse.
Bgt a bunch for the DTR N.Tx#8 Club!
We have a Bio Plant here in town that shut down. Was part of ***** Nelsons deal to help farmers... that went belly up from poor management! Every gas station around here had B20 for about two yrs...was great. I found it cost me about 1 mpg until I mixed it with 50% #2. Got the lubricity and cleaning from Biofuel without loosing any noticable mpg!

Filled up last night with my B10 mix and noticed the difference right off. Smoother and quietier idle. And a sweeter smelling exhaust in the garage. Love this stuff!

And I agree that twice the 2-cycle would have to make a different test result.
Everyone I know using TCW-3 mixes 128:1 or 1 qt to 25 gal.

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Old 10-31-2010, 08:09 PM
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Are there any updates or new info on additives?
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:52 PM
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At several DTR Members request, I am going to STICKY this thread for

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Old 12-03-2016, 02:35 PM
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I had never read this thread until now.. Even though it is old I must make a comment. On the list of the tested oils was the 2 stroke oil from walmart...Nearly as good as stanadyne. That got me thinking...because I am heavily into jet skis and did a LOT of research on 2 stroke oils as the EPA was busy wrecking most of what was good about 2 stroke oil.
1) The standard tcw3 oil they sell now WOULD be better if they didn't have the EPA involved.
2)Sea-Doo engines were routinely damaged by folks refusing to pay the extra (like double or triple in cost) for the officially approved oil by seadoo...It didn't matter much until the motors got more demanding and higher compression/horspower...which is a bit like a cummins diesel.
3)You could run the pure synthetic from walmart..but if your motor had rav-valves in it the rav valves would have a high probably of having problems.
4)A read a long research article written by an attorney (about oils) and decided to buy lucas synthetic blend low ash (not ashless). I did this ...and it worked well... I realized that NOWHERE ON THE CONTAINER did it was it was for a jet ski or motorcyle..or anything else the epa regulates, .etc., etc., etc., I'm guessing if the container said anything like that on it...lucas would immiediatley be the target of an epa investigation The lucas definitely was more expensive than tcw3,..but much less expensive than pure synthetic or official sea doo oil.

I do expect there are a few companies making a low ash synthetic blend out there. Maybe even a lot of them.

why did they not test a synthetic blend with low ash???????? After all my reading I could find no reason at all ever to use anything else. pure synthetic has a list of problems that disappear if you mix it with regular oil...the biggest problem with synthetic is that it has very little ability to stop rust like regular oil does.

Just thought I should chime in on this one while I'm thinking about it.

Up until just recently I've been running lucas upper cylinder lubricant...which sounds like a mistake. I got a new vp44 in 2003,..and started running lucas at that time only because the cummins shop in sylmar, ca recommended it...and always had it in stock along with the fleetguard filters, etc., There was no place to get stanadyne that I could find. Now I order it online.
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