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Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Printable Version

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Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Rawze - 03-01-2016

Someone asked me recently why I do NOT use Lucas in my engine. Here was my response...

Why not Lucas?,...

In my opinion, based on research and personal experience, Lucas seems to have zero additives towards friction reduction and provides no benefits towards this. The only use I can even think of for putting Lucas in an ISX is to possibly slow down oil consumption problems as a stop-gap measure at best. Even if this is the case though, I still Disagree and here is why,...

From my own research, I have gathered that Lucas is to oil, as Stop-leak is to coolant. Lucas is an ultra-purified non-synthetic 110 straight grade oil combined with 20-30% 'Olefin copolymers', and nothing more. It itself has no real engine protecting 'Additive Package' to protect your engine and Olefin copolymers only serve to restrict oil flow (like the sawdust seen in radiator stop leak products). At 20+% its quite good at it, and can easily 'Gum Things Up'. That might be great for an old worn out N14, or some other old clunky diesel to slow down its consumption, but for every gallon you put in your engine you are also thinning the other oil's additive package. Because it has no addatives on its own, you are essentially diluting your other oils additives by roughly 12% on a typical highway truck. This means you could easily be increasing the wear rating of you oil by as much as 1.7% to some components.

So what does this translate to in an ISX?,...

The ISX seems to be a high-flow, low pressure lubricated engine. Restricting the flow will increase pressure (as seen on the oil gauge) and change slightly, the wear-rate of everything in the engine. The Oil sampling I have done to my own engine was not as good with Lucas, and I found out that the bottom half of the LF9080 oil filter will gum up with the polymers, shortening its effective lifespan. This is what I saw on my own truck, but others may have different results.

So why not use it to slow down oil consumption?,...

It will definitely slow down how fast your engine burns oil, but it is almost always cheaper just to burn the oil. Most oil change places charge upwards of $34-36 bucks for a single gallon Lucas, where it MIGHT make your engine burn 1-1.5 gallon less oil. HMMM,... 1 gal oil = $12-13 vs $34-36 for 1 gal Lucas. 1 gal lucas = roughly the cost of 3 galons of oil. Just burn the oil. That's the energy of one less gallon of fuel you had to buy to move your truck as well, so the oil is only costing you $12 - $3.80 or $8.20/gallon for the 2 or 3 gallons you had to use. If your engine consumes more oil than that every 25k miles, then get your engine rebuilt. The DPF on your truck will build up with ash at a higher rate if your burning oil as well, but all of the modern oils are now CJ-4 compliant, reducing this effect greatly. So instead of ashing at 700k, maybe you get ashing at 450-500k miles if all else is healthy with the engine.

Another way I look at this.. In a million miles, with 18,000 mile oil changes, that is roughly 56 bottles of lucas. Thats roughly $1900 bucks. I would have had to see a measurable minimum of 8-10% less wear metals in my oil samples just to break even in maintenance costs over that same million miles...Still doesn't add up if you ask me.

Thicker oil in the ISX, does however provide some benefits to certain components as the engine wears and clearances become larger. Thicker oil is well known to also lower turbo shaft temps, as well as reduce gear and cam wear, especially in hot weather. Is Lucas the solution to this?,...Not really, because there are many types of other oils that can be used for 'Thickening' purposes that actually DO have protective additives in them. A half gallon to gallon of good 75/90 non-synthetic gear lube is one of them. Just choose one that has a low ash rating if your engine burns oil also.

ISX engines like Zinc,...Lots of it,...

Rotella-T. and Dello, has lots of it. It is not a bad choice for an ISX. It is also what I use in my own engine, and have since the truck was brand new. The overhead cams like to wear out prematurely on the ISX, its well known, but every oil-related case that I have seen so far where this has happened, the engine had severe soot issues, and the oil was not changed often enough, or they were run on Synthetic and/or Delvac + lucas and/or lots of lucas was used for long periods.

Actually, the next biggest cause of excessive wear to the overhead cam(s) is letting crank case fume pressure build up in the engine and it starving the top end of oil.
ref: http://rawze.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=141&pid=783#pid783

I know there are lots of people that swear by Lucas, and for those people, perhaps it works for them, but my own truck didn't like it at all. The iron and other wear metal content of my oil was slightly higher with Lucas than without. Combine this with the gumming up of the bottom half of my oil filters, and I can tell you that the stuff is not worth its high cost for me.

Alternatives to Lucas ...

There is no question that, as an ISX engine gets older, it needs a bit of help to slow down accelerated wear. The overall best solution without taking things apart, is to increase the hydraulic pressure rating (viscosity) of the oil by a bit, or to increase the pressure at the oil pump. This takes up the extra "gap" from wear and also quiets down the engine a bit. Either will help, but the easiest way to achieve this, is simply to use a gallon of higher viscosity oil as an additive.

Unfortunately, the EPA keeps forcing the oil makers to strip more and more out of engine oils these days, making the oils we already use, less and less effective in protection your engine too. This is because they claim the additives eat away at emissions components and cause problems, but in reality,.. It is all the excess soot that does the most damage to them... the Oil, being the least of it.

Also,... just about the only oils left, that are allowed to have really good additives in them,.. are gear oils. They are not as heavily regulated, so most of them,.. even the cheap brands,.. are full of goodies that engines like, such as high amounts of Zinc and Molly.

This is why I use gear-lube as an alternative to Lucas,.. because they are full of goodies that our engines actually like. The viscosity of Lucas is 110,... so a good 80/90, 85/90, or even an 85/140 gear lube will be close in viscosity.

Using up to one gallon of gear lube in your ISX should be fine as alternative to the more over-priced option that they try to push off onto you at Speedco. ... It is rather funny though,.. When they look at you like you live on mars, and tell you that your destroying your engine, if you hand them a gallon of gear lube, and tell them to put that in instead.

Depending on how old your engine is, and how much wear it has,.. is how "thick" of a gear lube you should likely be using. Here is some good rules to follow...

* If your engine is "new", less than 300k miles on it,... you should likely only use half a gallon of some decent 80/90 or 85/90 gear lube at each oil change.

* If your engine is "worn slightly", less than 300k - 500k,... you should likely use a full gallon of some decent 80/90 or 85/90 gear lube at each oil change.

* If your engine is heavily worn,.. 500k miles or more,.. then you should likely use a 3/4 to a full gallon (depending on how worn out) of some decent 85/140 gear lube at each oil change, but only put in a half gallon in in the winter, so that it does not making starting the engine more difficult when it is very cold.

* If your engine has 800k, or perhaps a million miles plus,... you should be using a a full gallon of some decent 85/140 gear lube at each oil change, no matter the weather conditions.

Here are a couple of examples of gear lube...

This is an 85/140 gear lube,.. it is cheap, and easily available...

The cheaper wal-mart oil is good to use instead of nothing at all (or Pukas),.. but the more expensive Sta-Lube has better additives in it, so that is what I use.


I have also used Mobil Synthetic gear lube in the past with good luck too,.. so the choice really comes down to what your engine needs and picking something that is of decent quality. Just about all gearbox oils have lots of Zinc and other goodies to keep things lubed and protected quite well. I see no reason they cannot be used as an additive to help these modern oils that are limited in their protective ingredients these days.

this is just my own 0.02c about it -- Maybe this helps others towards their own discoveries -- Rawze

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - dodges1515 - 03-15-2016

So what is your take on some gl-5 rated gear oils that have additives that have negative affects on yellow metals? Is there validity to this,should I be concerned which gear lube specifically to add to an engine? Please shine more light on this.

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Rawze - 03-15-2016

(03-15-2016 )dodges1515 Wrote:  So what is your take on some gl-5 rated gear oils that have additives that have negative affects on yellow metals? Is there validity to this,should I be concerned which gear lube specifically to add to an engine? Please shine more light on this.

You have a very good point, and I was concerned about the same thing a long time ago when I first looked into alternatives. i found pictures like these..


I read the same thing a long time ago, but have since found these things to contradict this..
* that picture was of a component that was already very, very old.
* The engine oil itself has those missing protections.
* The maximum of about a 12% mixture (1 gallon) to the normal engine oil is not likely to cause these types of problems even it it were the older GL-5 (no longer made).
* The newer GL-5 oils have been modified to significantly reduce this.
* Also, you can see above that I recommend the sta-lube GL-4, but that the cheaper GL-5 oils will work better than having nothing at all in a worn out engine to help reduce play and internal vibration in the engine components.

- At a maximum or 12% mixture (1 gallon) to the normal engine oil, I would think there would be little or no concern even if someone did use a gallon if the the cheapest modern GL-5 for say, 500k miles. I shall soon find out as I am about to inframe my own engine that now has more then 950k miles on it and I will have a chance to take a good look inside at all the brass/copper exposed components like the rods (brass wrist pin bearings) and other bearings that are likely showing copper by now for corrosion on edges and surfaces. I have actually been using the cheapest 85/140 wal-mart GL-5 to test this as a "worse case scenario" this last couple months. I am doing this just to see the effects when I pull the engine apart.

I will also be looking for evidence of anodizing from the waterless coolant I use to run, and the effects to the outside of the liners from running a zero pressure coolant system. I have been running zero pressure in my radiator for a very long time now so it should be interesting. I am running the truck with regular red extended life coolant again and have been for a couple months just to maximize what those zero-pressure effects might be.

If I find something bad, I will be the first to post it, believe me. I also know what everything should look like with that many miles on it, so all this will be interesting to say the least.

I am going to inframe the engine because I have a worn out valve guide/seat in the head (#4 cylinder) and I am only getting about 0.029" clearance form the exhaust valves to the engine brake detent on only that cylinder. Cylinder #5 is about 0.031" as well. I also noticed that the clearance is slowly but progressively getting smaller. This is a sign of a future unpredicted failure that my wife and son do not need out on the road. With the head that old, it clearly needs replacing, and with that many miles on the rest of the engine, it is time to do the whole thing while I am in there.

It is also simply easier to inframe an engine that is still running well, than it is to inframe one that has had a failure. this also shows that of all the things I have done to extend the engines life internally, like run a bit of gear oil in its older age range, custom tuning, cleaner oil, bypass filter, etc. did not stop the wear of components that are not lubricated, like the valve seats themselves. I would suspect that the #4 valve guide is wearing out and causing this, but at this point it is too late, and the head is simply too old for me to consider repairing it. It is replacement time, and i well am prepared for it, and have saved up my money for just this occasion. That is what good business planning is all about. We started saving up the money just for this a long time ago. At this point, to me, it is nothing more than an expected scheduled maintenance falling right into the time-line that it was planned for.

04-28-2016 -- UPDATE:
Here are my own actual results of running several hundred thousand miles with GL-5 gear lube in my engine...


RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Texasdude74 - 03-15-2016

It's hard to complain about getting 950k out of any engine. You did well.
I'm of the opinion that engine hours are a better measure of life expectancy. Class 8 engines seem to wear out between 25-30k hours no matter what the mileage may be and regardless of what brand of oil or additives were used. I've seen oilfield trucks that only had 300k miles at 25k hours and team freight haulers with 1.3M miles at 25k hours; both equally worn out.
The best thing you can do to maximize the life of your engine is to turn it off when it's not moving freight down the road!
A good APU is better than a tanker full of Lucas!
Or you can be like my lazy ass and stay at a hotel every night.

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Rawze - 04-09-2016

I have run BOTH GL-4 AND GL-5 for extended periods just to see what happened, and have always used a gallon of gear lube in my engine since new. Here of late (past several months) I have purposefully used the Wal-Mart Supertech 85/140 gear lube in my engine. Here is what I found...

The debate to the theory of sulphides in gear lube being harmful to brass and copper components in your engine is over as far as I am concerned. I took my engine apart after 955,000 miles of it running with a gallon of gear lube in it at every oil change, and ALL the copper and brass components still look SHINY AND LIKE NEW!. there is absolutely no sign of damage, excess wear, discoloration, pitting, or anything else whatsoever!.

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - in2trux - 04-11-2016

I've been running 1 gallon of 85/90 for the last year 1/2 instead because of cold weather running. I'm anxious to see the results.

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - joesherrie12 - 04-12-2016

I have a little over 750k on my isx should I start putting gear oil in it? Or is it to late?

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - in2trux - 04-12-2016

(04-12-2016 )joesherrie12 Wrote:  I have a little over 750k on my isx should I start putting gear oil in it? Or is it to late?

It's not too late. It will help, wont hurt anything. Think about what it does for your rears and wheel bearings.
I'll take rawze advice, besides the the fact that he' s a hydrolic engineer, lucas is over priced snake oil.

RE: Why I do NOT Use Lucas (Opinion)... - Rawze - 04-13-2016

Not hydraulic engineer, but worked with it extensively in the past as an Automation/motion control systems engineer.