FAQ r1.6

Oils

 

1. What oil should I use in the PRO-OILER?

 

The short answer is use any clean motor oil

 

Mineral, semi-synthetic, fully synthetic... it doesn't really matter - though synthetic oil's better viscosity index is a marginal advantage

 

We have carried out extensive tests with various different classes of oils, and all have their pro's and con's.

 

Motor oil's cocktail of special additives have little to do with exposed chain lubrication. However, it does have a mix of charactristics which make it the best compromise for use in the pumped PRO-OILER.

 

The PRO-OILER is a total-loss lubrication system - the old dirty oil eventually flings off as it's replaced by new oil ("self-regeneration").

 

If the chain is washed in oil (as with imprecise gravity-feed or manual systems), then the choice of oil is not so critical.

 

One of the PRO-OILER's trump cards is that it can run very lean settings. But this does mean that the small quantity of oil that does get used must do the whole job.

 

The oil has to have the following qualities

          Good coverage ("wetting power")

-           Important because the oil has to get to all parts of the chain without using excessively rich settings (eg. the outside of the side-plates for corrosion protection)

-           Good wetting power = low consumption = low fling-off

          Good lubrification qualities

-           Some oils may have a string of attractive features, but have poor lubrication... eg. silicone-based chain oils

          100% Guaranteed compatibility with NBR seals (pump's seals and chain's o-rings)

 

Motor oil

+ Great wetting power (spreads well on the chain = good hydro-capillary characteristics)

+ Self-regenerating (not sticky, so dirt and dirty oil remains do not stick to the chain)

+ Produces the lowest consumption

+ Guaranteed compatibility with NBR seals in the pump and chain's o-rings

- Relatively low adhesion means

- it flings off easily. However,

this also keeps the chain clean

you need less oil = lower consumption = less fling off than thick sticky oil

- delivery has to be turned up higher and more quickly when the roads are wet (ie. it is not as resistant to the washing action as other more adhesive oils)

 

Gearbox oil

Pro's and con's broadly similar to motor oil

+ EP (Extreme Pressure) charateristics, so theoretically better protection at the bushing-roller contact area

- Wetting power not quite as as good as motor oil, so needs a richer setting

 

Chainsaw bar oil

+ Adhesive (but see below)

+ Good performance in the wet, as it doesn't wash off as easily as motor oil. The delivery does not need to be turned up as high or as promptly as with motor oil

+ Inexpensive

- Wetting power is not as good as motor oil, so richer settings required = higher consumption = more fling off

- Picks up dirt due to adhesiveness. Self-regenerating, but only at richer settings

- Not guaranteed compatible with NBR seals and o-rings because this compatibility is not part of the design brief for a chainsaw bar oil! We have encountered oils which have attacked the seals.

- Not always easy to find the right type of oil (mineral, not bio-degradable which can rot in the lines and pump)

 

Specialized industrial chain oils

+ Great lubrication qualities

+ Self-regenerating

+ Hydro-capillary qualities (penetrates quickly)

+ Guaranteed compatible with NBR seals in the pump and chain's o-rings

- Relatively low adhesion means

- it flings off easily. However, this also keeps the chain clean

- delivery has to be turned up higher and more quickly when the roads are wet (ie. it is not as resistant to the washing action as other more adhesive oils)

- Expensive... up to Eur 30 per litre!

 

Bottom Line:

Motor oil is by happy coincidence the oil type that delivers the lowest consumption, and least fling-off.

Want proof? During initial testing and calibration, PRO-OILER used Stihl chainsaw bar oil, and the values of the tables were matched to this oil. Later, when testing motor oils, the consumption dropped by close to 20%. In fact, all the richer tables became completely redundant, and have now been dropped!

 

2. Do I need to use thinner oil in winter, like in a gravity feed system

 

No.

 

The PRO-OILER's delivery is not affected by temperature.

It's been road-tested down to -10C and performed well without even needing changed settings.

 

3. Can I use penetrating oil like WD40?

 

Unfortunately, no.

 

Those qualities that make penetrating oils like WD40 so good at their job, also mean the oil runs past the pump's seals, and leaks out of every joint in the lines!