Extreme cars have extreme demands. Our Project Elantra has been roughly estimated to pump out almost treble the manufacturer’s declared horsepower rating. What’s more amazing (or troubling, depending on one’s descriptor for a 50%-filled glass), the internals are all OEM Hyundai parts and the engine was not re-assembled in a special or meaningful way.
An engine’s lifeblood is its motor oil. Them liquid hydrocarbons lubricate the engine’s innards in all kinds of climatic conditions and in all sorts of engine revs and loads. Motor oil also helps the cooling system control temperatures, trap impurities and particles, inhibits rust and corrosion, and resists being cooked and causing sludge, waxing, or coking to happen. The life of a motor oil is hard. Thankfully, you change it regularly as part of normal vehicle maintenance. Or don’t you?
What is the right oil for you? We have advised in the past to simply check the owner’s manual for the quality and viscosity that your car manufacturer requires for your engine. For us, however, we have more discerning needs. Though the Hyundai Beta G4GF is known to be as sturdy as an ox, our beast of burden is aspirating quite unnaturally, in the level of one and a half atmospheres extra. Any motor oil that would somehow stop the raging horses from discombobulating the powerplant, or at least impend the inevitable, would surely be very much appreciated.
Enter the perfect motor oil for us, the CAM2 Blue Blood 20W-50 Racing Motor Oil.
Never heard of the brand? Developed in the skunkworks of General Motors, Sunoco, and the world-renowned Penske Racing Team, the oil under the project name “CAM2” was the first multi-viscosity lubricant to win the Indy 500. With various semi- and fully-synthetic offerings, the USA-made CAM2 product line up caters to the needs of the discerning motorist that desires adequate protection of his prized powerplant.
One product that intrigues us is their full-synthetic Multi-Vehicle ATF. This automatic transmission fluid is the only one in the market that we know of that is rated to be accepted in almost all types of self-selecting gearboxes (except for CVTs and dual-clutch autos). If you are not aware, manufacturers have differing standards as to what ATF their transmissions require. Many are familiar with the DEXRON certification by General Motors, typically DEXRON III or the most modern DEXRON VI. But for, say, Mitsubishi and Hyundai transaxles, there is a different standard required called SP, the latest being SP IV. Ford has its own MERCON rating. Some new Fords were specified to exclusively use the MERCON LV standard which is not directly compatible with ATFs that are rated for DEXRON. If MERCON LV is not used during an ATF change in these vehicles, it may result in premature transmission failure.
We were given to understand that the proper MERCON LV ATF from Ford dealerships will set you back a hell of a lot of moolah per quart. The CAM2 Multi-Vehicle ATF is a mere fraction of the cost. Perfect for Expedition owners reeling from their humongous gas bills.
Of course, we were most impressed with the Blue Blood racing motor oil after learning more about it. First of all, don’t let the semi-synthetic tag disappoint you. Blue Blood was specially blended to combine the best attributes of both mineral and synthetic base oil stock.
Motor oil is basically made up of two components, the base oil and the additives package added to the base oil. Base oil makes up more or less 80% of the motor oil, and the remainder consists of the additives that enhances the abilities of the oil. Base oil is grouped into five types, depending on how they were made and from what feed stock they were made from. Groups I and II are considered mineral oils, while Groups III, IV, and V are the known synthetic base oils.
The reason that Blue Blood 20W-50 is a semi-synthetic motor oil is because CAM2 wanted to maximize specific characteristics of motor oil, namely its polarity, change in viscosity given pressure, and its elasto-hydrodynamicity.
“Oil polarity is the ‘stickyness’ of oil to the metal,” says George Aranzaso of CAM2 Philippines. “Higher polarity means that the oil sticks to metal more, less polarity means that oil flows off the metal easier.” A mix blend made mostly of Group II mineral and Group V synthetic base stock provides maximum oil polarity to Blue Blood, “even at the expense of sounding bad marketing-wise,” he adds.
Basic fluid mechanics lessons inform us that pressure applied to a fluid has a direct relationship on it’s viscosity, or its resistance to flow. Meaning to say, the more pressure, the more viscous the fluid. But not all fluids, and not all motor oils, act the same. The reason why this is important is that the ratio of pressure over viscosity change defines the oil’s capacity to bear loads. “Oils of Group I, II and V exhibit the greatest viscosity pressure increase which is what we need for high horsepower and stress applications like racing,” George shares. Again, the latter two base oils are what mostly compose Blue Blood.
In places of the engine where clearances between metal parts are separated practically by a thin sliver of motor oil, the oil’s elasto-hydrodynamic (EHD) properties plays a supercritical role. We asked George to explain this concept plainly. “[EHD] is oils’ tendency to form a lubricating film between two pieces of metal.” A high EHD tendency will allow the oil to remain a film under conditions of high pressure and shear, conditions not foreign to the average motorist’s powerplant, and a scenario par for the course for competition engines. Group II mineral oil has the highest EHD properties.
Shockingly, Group IV synthetic base oils have the worst EHD properties. “Group IV oils are good for passenger car engines which see light usage,” he reveals. “But for racing applications, Group IV oils fall short. This is because Group IV oils have low polarity, low viscosity pressure increase and bad elasto-hydrodynamic properties. But one of the advantages of group IV oils are their extreme stability, that’s why they are good if blended with other oils.””
Beyond specially-blended base oils, Blue Blood is chock-full of the motor oil additive ZDDP. Short for zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, is one of the best anti-wear additives for motor oil. It is considered a last line of defense for engine wear. ZDDP bonds to the engine’s bits, providing a sacrificial layer of zinc in case of metal-to-metal contact. The reason that Blue Blood is superior in engine protection in extreme-stress situations is that the oil contains a whole bunch of ZDDP.
“As the stress on the engine is increased, so does the rate of depletion of ZDDP in the oil,” George says. “That is why Blue Blood has high ZDDP content, so that even under extreme applications your engine will still be fully protected.” He also tells us that synthetic oils using Group IV base stock cannot take in so much ZDDP as they are not good solvents for the additive.
If you have a classic car, the high ZDDP content will actually save your engine. Valvetrain design back then wasn’t like how it is today. Today’s valvetrain parts feature low-friction moving parts, unlike the older design of sliding lifters et.al. Wherever there is more friction, there is more wear, and all the more needed is an additive with features that ZDDP provides.
Due to regulatory pressure in developed countries, Blue Blood is strictly a racing- and extreme-duty motor oil, as the phosphorous in ZDDP is said to shorten the life of the catalyst in catalytic converters. As they have to last 150,000 miles, the level of ZDDP under the latest motor oil standards (API SN) have decreased to a maximum of 800 parts per million (source). Blue Blood has around 2100ppm of ZDDP, or close to triple the SN standard, ensuring maximum protection in high stress conditions and classic car use, even at the expense of being unrated for street usage.
Blue Blood also contains molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a motor oil additive that reduces friction even under temperatures of 350 °C. “Blue Blood also has anti-foam additives to reduce the formation of air pockets within the oil which is so common in high rpm applications. This is to ensure that only oil gets to your bearings, not foam,” George says.
Given the purposeful blending of mineral and synthetic base oils and a purposeful additives package, Blue Blood is a quality oil for the price. You may pay more for other brands, chiefly because of their marketing, but for motorsports, classic car, and severe duty use, Blue Blood is cheap insurance against engine failure. If the lack of an API rating troubles you, you can always avail the rest of the CAM2 motor oil range, such as their SuperPro MAX, SYNAVEX synthetic, or SuperHD Premium Plus diesel, among others.
kuhol.net was provided samples of CAM2 Blue Blood Racing Motor Oil for evaluation. CAM2 Philippines is a proud sponsor of the kuhol.net Automotive Racing Team. For more information, check out their Facebook page or contact them at (02) 425-8402. We would like to thank George Aranzaso for his assistance while writing this article.