Amsoil Motorcycle Fuel Economy Challenge

Amsoil Motorcycle Fuel Challenge

Amsoil synthetic lubricants figured prominently in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge held May 13 in northern California, where a diesel-powered motorcycle using AMSOIL products won by achieving 128.24 mpg. Many of the other bikes also relied on AMSOIL products to help achieve results nearly as impressive.

Winning driver Fred Hayes of Hayes Diversified Technologies (Hayes-DT) completed the challenge riding the company’s MD670 F2 diesel-powered motorcycle (pictured above). Hayes bested the next closest competitor by over 18 mpg using biodiesel fuel, a lightweight motorcycle design (370 pounds dry) and AMSOIL synthetic lubricants throughout:

  • Engine and Transmission (Series 3000) 5W-30 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel Oil
  • Cooling System – Antifreeze and Engine Coolant; Dominator® Coolant Boost
  • Chassis – Series 2000 Synthetic Racing Grease
  • Chain MP Heavy Duty Metal Protector
  • Forks – Shock Therapy® Suspension Fluid #10 Medium
  • Fuel – Diesel Concentrate

Competitors completed a 133.5-mile course designed to provide real-world, challenging conditions. The trip, beginning and ending in Carmel, Calif., included mountainous terrain cresting a 2,500-foot pass, while the return ride along the famous El Camino Real subjected riders to 30 mph headwinds that tested the limits of each motorcycle’s fuel efficiency held at various places throughout the country, the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge dates to 1980 and aims to encourage development of motorcycle technologies that improve fuel economy while remaining viable for everyday drivers.

Hayes-DT Military Bike
The Hayes-DT Street Fighter
acheived 90.82 mpg running biodiesel
and Amsoil Lubricants through out.

The winner must consume the least amount of fuel measured in dollars and cents while meeting all prescribed conditions. Hayes used $4.53 in biodiesel, essentially one gallon, to travel the entire 133.5 miles in challenging conditions, highlighting the bike’s impressive technology and the effectiveness of AMSOIL products. Hayes said his bike showed measurable improvements running Series 3000 5W-30 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel Oil and Diesel Concentrate, including easier shifting from the transmission. Competitors had to remain ahead of a trailing official at all times to prevent them from padding fuel economy statistics by driving slowly. Two bikes were disqualified for doing so.

AMSOIL-sponsored Hayes-DT focuses on developing the world’s most cuttingedge, heavy-fuel-powered, light tactical vehicles and small engines for military use. In fact, key Hayes-DT corporate personnel have served in modern military conflicts deployed on Hayes-DT military motorcycles. The bikes receive the most use from the Combat Military Police for route recognizance and convoy control.

A second Hayes-DT bike, the Street Fighter, was disqualified after a battery problem caused it to miss the official start. Following repairs, driver Josh Chen rallied to complete the course anyway, achieving 90.82 mpg, which would have been good enough for third place. The Street Fighter used the same lineup of AMSOIL products as the MD670 F2. Although neither motorcycle is available to the general public yet, Hayes-DT is currently working on EPA and EU emissions certification. Until then, competitions like the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge allow Hayes- DT to showcase the advanced technologies of their bikes and the performance benefits of Amsoil synthetic lubricants and additives.

Engineering a transmission Fluid for multiple applications is no easy task.

Amsoil Technical Director Dan Peterson
Dan Peterson

With no unifying specification system, ATF specs vary widely and have unique demands.

Transmission fluids are complex lubricants responsible for a number of different functions, including dissipating heat, protecting against wear, protecting against corrosion and ensuring shift quality. In addition, automatic transmission fluids are not governed by a sanctioning body the way engine oils are governed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) or the International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC), so there is no universal specification that meets the needs of several applications. Instead, ATF specifications are set individually by each vehicle/transmission original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and each OEM specification has unique requirements. In some cases, a manufacturer may reference an existing ATF specification for use in its equipment. A few common examples of OEM specifications include General Motors DEXRON VI®, Ford MERCON V® and Chrysler ATF+4®. Each has evolved over time to accommodate new transmission and lubricant technology.

Amsoil Transmission Specifications

Manufacturers designate specific requirements for the fluid to ensure transmissions perform as advertised for the designated warranty period. Fluids designed to meet an OEM specification must first pass specific minimum criteria. Test parameters include seal performance, wear protection, cold-temperature performance, deposit resistance and longevity/clutch performance. Additionally, friction durability is extremely important for automatic transmission fluids; strong frictional properties ensure proper clutch operation.

In order to be used in an application, a transmission fluid must meet the minimum requirements outlined in the OEM’s fluid specification. OEMs develop their specifications to ensure any transmission fluid used in their applications is designed to provide acceptable performance and wear protection over the transmission/ drivetrain warranty period.

Alternatively, AMSOIL designed its automatic transmission fluids with customers and businesses in mind, using a multivehicle design to reduce the complexity and cost of managing multiple fluid inventories. AMSOIL builds its fluids with a more robust design platform compared to OEM fluids, providing improved wear protection, better cold-temperature performance, superior deposit protection and greater shift performance over time.

This multi-vehicle design platform requires detailed knowledge of OEM tests and specifications and a large commitment to expensive testing. Designing a fluid to meet multiple OEM transmission fluid specifications naturally results in a more robust ATF. For example, OEM fluid 1 must meet the minimum specifications outlined in Figure 1. OEM fluid 2 must meet a different level of performance for the main parameters outlined in Figure 2. When these are laid over the top of each other, it’s clear that the two OEM fluids are designed to meet slightly different levels of performance.

AMSOIL ATFs must then meet the most stringent criteria of each specification to perform well in each application (Figure 3). Because AMSOIL ATFs must meet the most demanding levels of each OEM specification, they exceed the performance of OEM transmission fluids by design, resulting in noticeable performance and protection benefits for users.

On the surface, it seems difficult to understand how AMSOIL ATFs can meet the requirements of multiple vehicle/transmission fluid specifications. When you dig in and do your homework, it becomes clear how to attack this problem: by pushing the boundaries for each specific test to the point where the fluid meets and exceeds multiple OEM specifications. Achieving this goal has been difficult, but worthwhile. It helps all of us save money, it reduces complexity for our valued customers and it keeps our cars running longer.

Amsoil API CJ-4 Diesel Oil Outperforms in Field Study

Amsoil Diesel Oils

With the help of Duluth, Minn.-based refuse hauling company Nordic Waste, AMSOIL put its Premium API CJ-4 Synthetic 5W-40 Diesel Oil (DEO) and four competing API CJ-4 diesel oils to the test. The objective was to prove the AMSOIL product’s superior performance in Total Base Number (TBN) retention and shear stability, two characteristics that correlate to extended service life and enhanced wear protection. Results show that AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40 demonstrated excellent TBN retention and was the only oil to remain within its specified viscosity range throughout the test interval.

Field Study Parameters
The five oils were consecutively tested in the same 2006 International 7400 rear-loading refuse hauler practicing drain intervals of 300-plus hours. Oil samples for testing were drawn every 50-75 hours. The vehicle was subjected to hauling up to 22,000 pounds of refuse up and down the steep hills of Duluth 12 hours per day. It encountered frequent stops and red-lined starts and maintained extended red-line operation during the process of unloading.

Placing further strain on each oil, the truck’s 7.6L Navistar DT466 engine employs a hydraulically actuated, electronically controlled (HEUI) system that uses engine oil pressure to operate the fuel injectors. HEUI systems can raise oil pressure to as high as 3,500 psi, shearing less robust oils. Once sheared, permanent viscosity loss results, leading to increased volatility and oil consumption, deposit formation and increased engine wear.

Results – Total Base Number
Higher TBN levels well into service indicate increased levels of the additives responsible for neutralizing acids and dispersing soot. Oils that demonstrate higher TBN levels over longer periods are capable of providing increased protection throughout extended drain intervals.

As chart 1 shows, AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40 was a top-performing oil in the area of TBN retention. It is important that the slope of the TBN trend line be gradual and span the entire life of the oil. While some oils experienced sharp declines, indicating poor performance, AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40 maintained high TBN levels throughout the drain interval to provide effective engine protection.

Results – Shear Stability
AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40 Diesel Oil outperformed the competing oils in the area of shear stability (chart 2). Even after 371 hours in service, it was the only oil to remain within the intended viscosity range, measuring 12.5 centistokes (cSt). In contrast, all four of the competing oils sheared out of grade before 168 hours of operation, with the Chevron and Valvoline products shearing out of grade prior to 100 hours. AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40’s increased shear stability allows for superior wear protection and long-lasting engines.

Balanced Formulation
As the test results show, today’s stricter emissions regulations and advanced engine technologies make engineering a diesel oil that balances TBN retention with shear stability a serious challenge. For example, while Valvoline Premium Blue Extreme demonstrated TBN retention on par with AMSOIL, its viscosity after 93 hours was lower than the viscosity of AMSOIL Synthetic 5W-40 after 371 hours. Similarly, Shell Rotella T6 maintained viscosity well but was the poorest-performing oil in the area of TBN retention.

AMSOIL Premium API CJ-4 Synthetic 5W-40 Diesel Oil resists viscosity loss and provides superior TBN retention throughout drain intervals up to three times original equipment manufacturer recommendations, or longer based on oil analysis. It allows operators to realize increased engine protection throughout extended drain intervals for longerlasting engines, reduced downtime and maximum cost savings.

Amsoil TBN and Viscosity Test Charts for Diesel Oil