Sometimes you hear that one of the main problems in Russia is the lack of modern technology. To what extent does this relate to the lubricants market, is there enough of modern products on it?
The lubricant market must meet the requirements of the fleet. Say, you can demand a ban on the production of mineral oils, so that only synthetic ones remain. But who will buy them and, most importantly, why? Another thing is that market requirements must be formed. To rely on the fact that everything will be regulated by itself is a deep delusion. This has already happened once - the country has survived to default.
What we are really lagging behind today is the training of highly qualified personnel for the next decade. I had to visit Lubrizol, the world leader in the production of additives for oils and fuels. I was not surprised at the fact that a whole academic town with a ramified infrastructure works there. But when a person saw sixty specialists in the age of 25 to 40 years old, and even with a prestigious education, I realized that we were left behind for a very long time.
We do not check oils for compliance with international requirements, and marking according to SAE and API put on cans. How is this possible?
The situation is complicated. On all the documentation that passes through us, we write: "type oil …", in other words, that it conditionally corresponds to one or another class. So far we have to work this way - to compare Russian and imported oils, tested by our methods. But now we are already talking about creating a world-class Russian testing center so that its tests are recognized by European authorities.
Well, what about the quality of finished products, how far do we lag behind the West here? Or, perhaps, ahead of?
For some indicators, for example, the viscosity index, we still do not reach the “abroad”. We have about a hundred, they have 120–140. However, our manufacturers do not stand still. They learned to produce modern synthetic components in Angarsk and Nizhnekamsk. Volgograd makes isoparaffin oil with a viscosity of 4 cSt as an alternative to PAO (polyalphaolefins - ed.). It is slightly inferior to it, but surpasses ethers that are aggressive to rubber, and, importantly, attractively priced.
Can SAE 75W140 viscosity oil be used in domestic cars, for example, in the rear axle?
Can. At the same time, noise is reduced and it is possible - the service life will be slightly increased. But these oils are still expensive and it is impractical to use them in the operation of our machines, with the possible exception of, for example, Niva. And then: if the oils recommended by the manufacturer provide a resource, why buy something several times more expensive?
Do we have our packages of additives for gear oils in Russia?
We mainly use foreign packages and can be counted on the fingers: several from the Lubrizol and Ethil firms, one each from Infineum and Oronight.
To develop a balanced additive package for gear oils is a complex and time-consuming task. It includes many components: anti-seize, anti-wear, anti-oxidative, anti-corrosion, anti-rust, anti-foam, etc. It takes 10-12 years to create such a package. One new one has recently appeared on the Russian market - this is a domestic multifunctional package, which is released in St. Petersburg. It is used in the manufacture of several brands of gear oils that have been approved.
What is the difference between tolerance and certificate?
If the gear oil is approved for production and use, this means that it has successfully passed tests both in the Complex of Qualification Assessment Methods, and bench-and-road, at the automobile plant, and in some cases operational. To obtain a certificate, only physico-chemical indicators are checked for compliance with TU standards.
Some manufacturers add solid additives to their oils: molybdenum disulfide, graphite, etc.
Yes, at one time we were addicted to such additives. What did they give? In the best case, the friction coefficient decreased, while the remaining properties of the oil remained unchanged. But the most important thing is that these additives "do not stick" in oil. From a scientific point of view, this is a long-known fact, so today the use of such additives is worth considering from a different point of view - marketing, for example.
And what can you say about additives in jars promising to reduce friction and wear, to increase the life of the car?
I am skeptical of most of these supplements. We develop and allow the use of oils with good anti-wear characteristics, and they do not need any modification, as they ensure reliable operation of the vehicle’s transmission units for the entire period until the oil is replaced. What other reduction in friction and wear is required? We work very closely with AvtoVAZ; more than once we checked products of this kind in the Scientific and Technical Center. Results … Well, if the supplement does not at least harm the quality of the oil.
What is better for gearboxes "nine" and "ten" - SAE 80W85 or SAE 80W90? Can I use engine oil for them?
For a while at AvtoVAZ, engine oils were used at the first refueling of gearboxes. But this was only due to the fact that until 1996 there were no special transmission oils of the TM-4 group (API type GL-4) in our market. Motor oils, as experience has shown, do not provide the required service life of synchronizers and differentials of front-wheel drive cars.
Most of the oils approved for these gearboxes are in viscosity grade SAE 80W85. Avtovaz chose them for the first refueling on the conveyor. I think, however, that SAE 80W90 viscosity grade is preferable for real-world use - it covers a wider temperature range. The main thing that a consumer should know: for front-wheel drive vehicles, oils of the TM-4 group (type GL-4) are needed. And then we have other sellers in stores who confuse them with hypoid oils of the TM-5 group.
And one more warning. You can not blindly focus on the indication "all-weather". Oil can be multigrade for a specific climate zone. For example, in Yakutia this will be SAE 70W90 (up to minus 55 ° С), for Sochi - SAE 85W90 (up to minus 12 ° С). In the middle climatic zone, SAE 80W90 or SAE 80W85 (up to minus 26 ° С) can be considered as all-weather, and in Moscow and to the north - SAE 75W90 (up to minus 40 ° С). The wider the viscosity grade of the oil, the greater the temperature range it can be used. So, SAE 70W90 will be all-weather for Yakutia, and for Moscow, and for Sochi.
Do they make oils today according to GOST?
Not. The state standard concerned only oil for passenger cars - TAD-17I (TM-5, SAE 85W90). Now, under this brand, oil should not be legally released. Manufacturers work according to technical conditions, but, unfortunately, some of them have requirements lower than the old ones. True, many self-respecting companies produce oils at the level of TAD-17I and better.
Is the manufacturer obliged to enter in TU the indicators that are really necessary for certain cars?