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Twenty Years ago or so, the Maestro tested several Motor Oils in the long-suffering Super-90 Engine in his 1958 356A Cabriolet.
He compared ARCO Graphite (remember Arco Graphite? No? Good!), the early Mobil 1 Synthetic (which was a straight 5 weight at the time), and Amsoil Synthetic against 20W-50 Pennzoil, at the time the Maestro's favorite oil.
Back then, Mobil 1 lost Big Time because it had too LOW oil pressure when Hot (being a straight 5 weight, that's not surprising. In fact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) once held a News Conference to tell drivers NOT to use Mobil 1 in either NEW or OLD cars. Why that was, the FTC didn't say, exactly.
Of all the oils tested back then, the ONE that did have the same oil pressure as Good Old 20W-50 Pennzoil AND seemed to run about a temperature gauge needle's thickness cooler was Amsoil.
But at $7/quart in 1980 California dollars, the benefits of using Amsoil didn't come cheap.
As the years went by, the Maestro noticed that Long-Term use (more than 160,000 miles) of conventional oils- even his beloved Pennzoil 20W-50- eventually created Sludge, and Horror of Horrors- Dingleberries on the Valve Springs of both The Truck (with its 356 cubic inch Chevy V-8), and the 1980 528i BMW.
Finally, NEW Synthetics came out- most notably Castrol 5W-50 Syntec and the new Mobil 1 15W-50, that were vastly improved over the stuff from the Early Days.
The Maestro tried both the new Mobil 1 and Castrol Syntec in The Truck and the BMW. Both cleaned up the engines remarkably well. (In fact, the first Oil Change in the 1980 BMW 528i after using Syntec found a quarter inch of crud in the bottom of the Oil Filter Can, where NO crud had been before! It was Crud from 15 years and 160,000 miles of using conventional oil, even WITH 2500-3000 miles Oil & Filter Changes!) The quarter-inch of crud in the bottom of the BMW's Filter Can was Unmistakable Proof that the Synthetic oil was cleaning the engine.
Now on a diet of pure Syntec, the Valve Train on both the Truck and the BMW are VERY clean (no Dingleberries), and the oil change intervals doubled, halving the cost, so everybody's happy. (Castrol Syntec costs $23.95 a 6-pack at Costco. That's four bucks a Quart. But if you can DOUBLE the oil change interval like you can on most every car EXCEPT a 356/912 Porsche, it halves the Cost, bringing it down to near-parity with "conventional" oils. And Synthetic is better oil! Such a Deal.)
And that's the way it was in the Year 2000- Castrol Syntec 5W-50 or Mobil 1 15w-50.
But one day, came an e-mail to the Maestro from an Amsoil Dealer who made the Maestro a deal he couldn't refuse. "Try out our Amsoil again. For Free. Test it." "OK," said the Maestro. "And I've got just the Car for the Job!"
It's not "Just" a Car.
It's the Magnificent Creation - the 1965 356SC Speedster.
From the Front, The Magnificent Creation looks like a "Boxter" or a 911 Speedster.
From the Rear it looks like a 911 Turbo with the Wild Fender Flares but without the Whale Tail.
Above the Beltline it has a REAL Speedster Windshield and Frame and Speedster Top, so it looks like a '58 Speedster, from which came the parts.
Below the Beltline, the Front & Rear Wheelwells had been ah,... broadly "flared". The Front with 911 RSR Flares. The Rear with 911 Turbo Flares. The Flared Fenders allow 7" Fuchs Mag Wheels with HUGE 225-50 X 15 Pirelli P-7's (non- Firestone) underneath. (Well, you gotta fill those Great Big Wheelwells with SOMETHING. Stock 165 X 15 Tires on steel wheels would look really strange.)
But there in the Middle of the Rear of the Blue Beast is the Original 356SC Dual Grill Deck Lid! Intact!
The curves to blend all this in together smoothly were both Complex and Strangely Compelling.
In the rear, about where the 356 bumper would go, written in Red Plastic from a mid-70's Carrera was the word "PORSCHE" that stretttttched all the way across the rear of the Car! It actually looked kinda neat- once you got over the initial shock. And the Maestro thinks it's a whole lot better than ANY of the "Third Brake Light" systems he's seen. Hit the Brakes on this puppy and the whole rear end lights up like Rockefeller Center's Christmas Tree. Even idiots on car phones can't miss it.
Inside the Magnificent Creation, the Dash is unmistakable a 356SC, with the gauges arranged in-line rather than the Speedster-like pod. Oh, and ALL the gauges work. And it only has 69,356 miles on it!
Yep, it's a "356SC Speedster" all right!
And it ran HOT too- thanks to the previous owner who picked a 356A Fan Shroud with the small, screened inlet instead of the Late Style Larger, Rounded "Volute" Style Fan Shroud he shoulda used (and of which he had TWO of!)
On 90+ degree days, at 80+ mph, the Magnificent Creation's engine got almost to the Red Zone.
The Maestro figured he'd better treat it like a New Engine, and added some 2-Stroke Oil to the gas. SYNTHETIC 2-Stroke that is- something else new. But which is still designed to burn clean and maybe not foul the plugs. So far it hasn't.
After a Thousand miles of the Maestro's Break-In Procedure and a diet of Castrol Syntec 5W-50, the Maestro got the Temperature gauge down to about 3/4 on Hot Days at Highway Speed (80+mph). Around town the gauge ran just about Vertical, a little hotter than it should. (The engine in the Magnificent Creation was rebuilt by the son of a fine German Mechanic. Unfortunately, the son wasn't nearly as good as his dad. And so is the engine.)
The Oil Pressure of the Magnificent Creation's engine, around 50 psi when cold, drops to 45 psi when Hot (at >3000 rpm) and 40 psi when REALLY Hot!
Oil Pressure at Hot Idle is around 25 psi. Again, livable but not great. Fortunately, it only has to last until the Winter of '01 when the Maestro will build an ah, "Replacement Engine" for it. Gold Plated of course. Heh, heh.
After 1000 miles on Syntec, and the engine stabilized and predictable, the Maestro decided that now was the time to try the Amsoil, for the Very Next day was September 17th! And THAT was The Year 2000 "Drive Your Porsche Day", Dr. Porsche's Birthday.
It's a National Holiday where everyone in the U S of A drives their 356!
The Maestro was gonna take his place in this year's parade by joining the 356 Caravan from Palo Alto to the Pacific.
And he was a-gonna take Mrs. Maestro too, for it might be FUN!
Since he was taking Mrs Maestro, he wanted to be sure that everything was PERFECT for her! For, should the car (any car) break down with Mrs Maestro inside, there is Hell to pay. And the Maestro has to pay it.
It was time to ask the Porsche gods for help in the Battle with the Demons of Murphy. But They said: "we help those who help themselves."
So, the Maestro cleaned the Magnificent Creation from one end to the other. Top to Bottom. Front to Back. Washed it. Waxed it. Cleaned the Windshield. The Seats. The floor mat. Everything.
And, at the Shop, he changed the oil over to Amsoil 20W-50 Racing Oil. (SJ rated).
On the way home, on an 80 degree day, things were fine- the temperature gauge climbing slowly out of the green. The oil Pressure a tad low at 40 psi.
And then he hit the Freeway.
Quickly the Oil Temperature Gauge went up to 3/4 hot- and beyond! Hotter than it ever got with Castrol Syntec.
As he pressed on down 280 at 80mph, the Temperature Gauge pressed up ever the higher- getting dangerously close to the Red Zone.
Wow, thought the Maestro it's running a lot HOTTER than with Castrol Syntec. That's Interesting.
At the same time, the Oil pressure dropped to 35 psi. Again, LOWER than the 40 psi Castrol Syntec usually generated.
At Hot Idle just off the Freeway, the Oil Pressure dropped to 20 psi. Lower by 5 pounds than with Castrol Syntec.
The Maestro, noting that driving through town always cools off a hot Porsche engine, drove through town- from one end to the other.
The Oil temperature went down a little, but not nearly to halfway (vertical) on the gauge as it did with Castrol Syntec.
The Maestro went back home, grabbed Patrick the Pampered (std.) Poodle, stuck him in the Passenger's Seat and set off for a REAL Test Drive.
By now, it was 6:30 pm, and much cooler, around 70 degrees, a Temperature where overheating shouldn't be a problem.
The Maestro did The Thirty Mile Freeway Test by driving 10 miles down 280, 10 miles down 17 and 10 miles back up 85 to 280 again. Repeat as necessary.
But a Repeat wasn't necessary.
The Temperature got way too hot for the mild conditions- almost to the RED Zone. And this was with close to "cool" conditions outside.
The Maestro had done NOTHING else to the engine but pull the drain plug to drain out the Syntec. And add the Amsoil.
He got off the Freeway, and he and Patrick the Poodle drove around town back and forth several times to see if the engine would cool down.
It did, a little, but it never cooled down to Vertical. With Castrol Syntec under the same conditions, Vertical was no problem.
The next day- National Drive Your Porsche Day- was predicted to be HOT- with highs near 100 degrees. The Maestro had Terrible Thoughts of the Magnificent Creation Overheating and BREAKING DOWN with Mrs Maestro inside!
Now, THAT would be worse Terrible- it would be The End Of Life As We Know It. The Maestro's Life at least.
So, the Maestro knew what he had to do. And did it. He grabbed the Emergency 6-Pack of Syntec from the back of the BMW, the 19 mm socket and Breaker Bar and CHANGED THE OIL AGAIN!
Got rid of that Amsoil!
Amsoil that had less than ONE DAY on it and fewer than 60 miles! In fact, it had only been in the sump for two hours!
Yeah, the Maestro might not have given Amsoil a real chance. But when the oil obviously and clearly performs WORSE than what you had in it before, why leave it in it?
The Maestro didn't.
So, when it comes to 20W-50 Amsoil Racing Oil, the Maestro will pass.
Pass on back to Castrol Syntec.
But he'll still:
Keep the 356 Faith Maestro P.S.
And yes, National Drive Your Porsche Day was a Blast! Both the Maestro AND his Mrs. had FUN! And the Magnificent Creation never overheated- even in the nearly 100 degree day!
Was he happy he changed backto Castrol Syntec?
You BETCHA! 'Cause he: Kept the 356 Faith P.P.S.
Moments before this Story went to Press, the Maestro got a phone call from a 356 Owner in South MO, who had a recent "experience" with Amsoil too. He was trying to recessitate a 356 from a 14-year long sleep by frequent 100 mile oil changes of Pennzoil 10W-30 oil. After 5 of these changes, he decided to try Amsoil 20W-50oil- the very same stuff the Maestro tried. The guy even got the Amsoil "Engine Treatment" too- you add the flush stuff, runthe engine for 15 minutes at High Idle, drain everything and add the real Amsoil oil.
The guy did all that- fired upthe engine on "real" Amsoil and let it run for awhile. After the while had expired, he shutthe engine off and checked the oil- which to his amazement had FOAMED badly!
So he drained the new Amsoil into a clean drain pan, where the Foam was obvious! It was so obvious on the oil pick up tube too!
After a while the foam unfoamed, became quiescent. So he returned the oil back to the engine and tried again. And AGAIN the Amsoil foamed badly!
It was then that he called the Maestro and relayed the foaming info.
The Maestro told the guy about his recent unhappy experience with Amsoil and together they consoled each other.
Whether it was the "flush" stuff that caused the oil to foam, or just theAmsoil itself, isn't known for sure. But both the guy and the Maestro changed the oil from Amsoil to Something Else.
Take it for what it's worth- Just another Data Point on that Great Curve of Life
Keep the 356 Faith
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