VOLUME 26, NO. 2 OCTOBER 2006
The Automotive Powertrain Industry Journal
D I G E S T
BW 4405, 4406, 4411 F4A51 4L60-E 5R55N/S/W NV136, 231, 233, 236, 242, 243, 246 NV4500, 3500, 1500 ZF 5-, 6-speeds
14 Transmission Digest
Im asked all the time if Iknew 20 years ago what Iwas getting myself into bytrying to synthetically reproducesperm whale oil. I always say Iwould have been crazy! jokesFrank Erickson, founder, president& CEO of International LubricantsInc. (ILI), parent of Lubegard prod-ucts. Staying in the forefront of
technical lubrication chemistry is atough business today, but whenyoure the industry leader, itsmurder!
Erickson says he didnt realize,in the beginning of 1984, thatLUBEGARD transmission productswould emerge as the only OEM-ac-credited aftermarket lubricant solu-tion recognized throughout thetop-tier formulators as the fluid tomimic. And, he says, it was allthanks to the sperm whale.
Before 1972, sperm whale oil andits derivatives were used as addi-tives in virtually all automotive lu-bricants. These oils wereinexpensive and so effective thatfluids like ATF were rarelychanged and the transmission last-ed the life of the car. Some 30 mil-lion pounds of sperm whale oil wasconsumed each year just for lubri-cants alone. To supply this de-mand, hundreds of thousands ofwhales were slaughtered, bringingthe species to the brink of extinc-tion.
Employed by Mobil Research and Development Corp. 1947-1948, Dr. Landis was awardeda company incentive fellowship. He attended Northwestern University and received aPh.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1958. His initial work with Mobil involved the synthesis ofhydrocarbon-soluble additives for fuels and lubricants at Mobils Applied ResearchLaboratories in Paulsboro, N.J. He was a group leader in petrochemicals for several yearsand transferred to Mobils Central Research Laboratories in Princeton, N.J., where he ledgroups studying catalysis of organic reactions and oxidations. He became manager of theApplied Research Group in 1970. Landiss early career was concerned with mechanisticstudies of elimination, rearrangement and pyrolysis reactions of additive preparations forfuel and lubricant applications of catalytic organic reactions (and of petrochemicals).Landis holds 72 patents and is published extensively in major technical chemistry jour-nals. After retiring from Mobil in 1984, he joined the staff at Glassboro State Collegewhere he was a Distinguished Scientist-in-Residence. In addition, he is a lubricationdesign consultant and stockholder with International Lubricants Inc. of Seattle.
Frank L Erickson, LUBEGARDfounder and CEO(The plaques in the backgroundrepresent more than 100 U.S. andforeign patents.)
Sperm whale oil, Erickson ex-plains, has a most unusual molec-ular structure. It is an ester of anunsaturated fatty acid and abranched-chain fatty alcohol. It is anatural antioxidant and heat-trans-fer agent and, through catalytic re-action, carries phosphorus andsulfur derivatives which provideanti-wear and friction modification.
A lot of people dont realizejust how important a role Dr. PhilLandis played in the developmentof the companys products. Wewouldnt be here today withouthim and millions of cars wouldntbe here, either! Phil Landischanged the automotive aftermar-ket single-handedly. I know thatsounds big, but once you realizeexactly what it is that hes accom-plished with our patented LXE(Liquid Wax Ester) Technology,you soon grasp the magnitude ofhow huge it really is.
Phil created the worlds only
October 2006 15
direct synthetic molecular replace-ment for sperm-whale oil. That, initself, is amazing. Even more amaz-ing is that the LXE molecule is ac-tually proven to outperform thesperm whale oil molecule in high-temperature applications.
It is by far the most heat stablesynthetic molecule known in lubri-cant engineering today, says PatBurrow, technical director. ButLUBEGARDs synthetic molecule ismost notable for its heat sink abili-ties. Heat sink is how well oil ab-sorbs heat generated at frictionalsurfaces (such as at a gear, or gearteeth).
The LXE technology in LUBE-GARD products contains negative-ly charged oxygen atoms thatattract the positively charged metalmolecules. Metal surfaces, like iron,copper, aluminum and lead, arepositively charged.
Advantageously, when the LXEmolecules are heated in internalcritical components, the attractionof the atoms moves the heat out-ward in a spiral centrifugal force(similar to spinning a toy top in apuddle of water) and keeps itharmlessly at bay at the outer metalcase. LXE molecules attach to themetal surfaces, are released insteadof scraping or scoring the metaland instantly reform again. Thisprocess repeats infinitely.
Its because of this unique LXEmolecule, LUBEGARD is the onlyATF protectant, to this day, ap-proved, endorsed, recommendedand used by multiple OEMs (origi-nal-equipment car manufacturers).It is the only product of its kindnamed Product of the Year by theprestigious Lubricants World publi-cation.Truth in Friction
We received yet another OEMrecommendation this year, saysErickson. This time Subaru is rec-ommending LUBEGARD HighlyFriction Modified ATF Supplement(black) to address 4WD clutch chat-ter issues. Subaru writes, shortlyafter the regularly scheduled andserviced automatic transmissionfluid change, the customer maycomplain of noise and/or chatter inthe 4WD clutchSubaru recom-mends the use of a transmissionfluid additive [Lubegard HFM]and to continue to monitor thecustomers complaint. No one cancompete with that. We are what
Combining technology with innovativesolutionsLUBEGARD Seal-E-Zee System
Seating a seal correctly withoutdamaging it has always been a problem for technicians, saysKristen Clark, director of marketing.Lubegard developed a trio of products to make working with sealsmuch easier. Step one is Seal-E-ZeeOriginal, which lubricates the sealwith LXE technology and temporarilycontracts the material to seat it quickly without damage.
For really tough applications,Step Two Seal-E-Zee Xtreme isused. Xtreme contracts seals evenfurther. Seal-E-Zee Original should always be used first to ensure thatthe seal is properly lubricated withLXE when it reshapes. As soon as the seal returns to normal tempera-ture, it expands to its original sizeand specifications.
We most recently introduced asystem of plastic cones to be used in conjunction with the Seal-E-Zeeaerosols in order to hold exacting circumferences and multiple sealareas at the same time. Shops shouldcheck out the Seal-E-Zee productdemonstration videos on www.lubegard.com.
LUBEGARD LXE Technology is a 40-42-carbon atom synthetic ester (44is sperm-whale oil) with 20-22 carbon acid atoms and 20 carbon alcoholatoms. The secret to this technology is that it makes an ester groupingright in the center of the structure that binds the molecule together,making the new synthetic ester flow at low temperatures, oxidativelystable, with very little unsaturation, thus making it much more stablethan any other synthetic molecules.
LXEs double bond in the centerof the molecule provides analmost unbreakable attachmentto the positively charged metalmolecules. This gives LUBEGARDproducts the stability, heat andoxidation advantage over anyother chemistries on the market.
16 Transmission Digest
weve been since the beginning technical and chemistry-orientedlubrication designers in the scienceof tribology. We dont rely on fancypackaging or deceptive advertis-ing. We take our profits and investthem right back into research anddevelopment, new products andtesting.
We spend millions of dollars ontesting Lubegard products. We sur-pass inexpensive small-scale benchtesting, like ABOTs, by performingvery costly analyses, just like anOEM formulator would. The GMCycling Test is the durability testrequired for qualification of an ATFfor the DEXRON III and now theDEXRON VI ATF specification.This test costs more than $36,000each time you run one!
LUBEGARD with LXE wasadded to DEXRON III referenceATF and run in the Test until fail-ure. The LUBEGARD with theDEXRON III reference oil failedat 44,300 cycles, more than twicethe 20,000-cycle duration neededfor DEXRON III approval and2,300 cycles past the 42,000 cyclesrequired for DEXRON VI ap-proval. LUBEGARD with LXE isthe only product of its kind to notonly run but pass and exceed theCycling Test requirements. Wehave yet to see any competingproduct run this cycling test. If acompany knows their productwont pass it, why pay $36,000 tofail?
Our laboratory has been up-dated with over $2 million worthof state-of-the-art equipment,everything from wear- and fric-tion-testing equipment to a high-pressure reactor system. Theanalytical capabilities of the re-search department were also up-graded through the addition of afully automated, computer-con-trolled gas chromatograph. Wemake, test and approve every for-mulation we create, setting strin-gent quality-control standards forevery batch of product produced.This guarantees consistency andquality in our products.
Continuing Research Dr. Wayne Everett, director of
R&D, is a specialist in organic syn-thesis and process development.Once with Great Lakes Chemical,he joined ILIs research team in2004. His technical expertise in cat-alytic reactions has led to numer-ous technical breakthroughs,including a sulfur-replacementfuel-lubricity additive (FLA) fordiesel applications from natural re-sources using ILIs materialSynergol FLA.
Diesel fuel will undergo signifi-cant changes when 2007 federal en-vironmental regulations restrict theamount of sulfur used as a fuel lu-bricant to 15 ppm. Many diesel en-gines will suffer from this. OroniteDivision of Chevron is interested inILIs Synergol FLA technology,which is made from soybean oil ina two-step catalytic reaction. TD
Dr. Wayne Everett
Lubegard products have accumulated many industry awards. Pictured are the Lubricants World Product of theYear trophy and more than 55 Top Product awards from Transmission Digest and Undercar Digest.
October 2006 17
Clark explained that Lubegard expanded its shop commitment in January of this year, launching the LoveMy Ride program. Under the direction of longtime transmission-shop owner and shop-management trainerThom Tschetter, the program helps shops attract and perform highly profitable preventive-maintenance services.
Love My Ride support materials include point-of-purchase items such as displays, posters, inspection formsand other sales aids designed to help shops sell preventive-
maintenance services fortransmission, power-steer-ing, oil, coolant and fuelsystems.
Ken Thomas, director ofsales, points out that anyshop averaging a singlemaintenance procedureeach business day in eachof the five Love My Ridecategories can generate anadditional $80,000 plus inannual gross profits.
Finally, Clark points to alarge stack of boxes and says: These are only the beginningof the returned game boards from our 5th ALL STARContest. As the contest comes to a close in January of 2007,we will process thousands in ALL STAR prizes. The ALLSTAR contests are our way of letting technicians know howmuch we appreciate their loyalty.
Burrow says he senses a great deal of frustration as hetalks with aftermarket customers facing an ever-growingarray of ATF formulations. There are well over 50 varietiesof ATFs in the market now (see photo below). Look inside aToyota. Youll find DEXRON in some units, T IV in othersand Toyota WS (World Spec) in others. Its becoming anightmare.
General Motors will make things more complicated withthe adoption of DEXRON VI as an industry standard. This isa different entity, fluid-wise, from current ATFs includingDEXRON III, MERCON, MERCON V, MOPAR ATF+4 etc.All ATFs are relatively thin fluids, but compared to DEXRONVI, the fluids weve become used to seeing are higher-vis-cosity. Manufacturers (OEs) claim that these new fluids(DEXRON VI, MERCON SP and Toyota WS) are backwardcompatible. However, there seems to be some controversy
in the industry concerning whether or not thats going toprove to be true.
Dont start screaming, The sky is falling! just yet. Theneed for DEXRON VI is several years off for service fill andwill not be readily or enthusiastically embraced by serviceproviders feeling the pain of reduced business from high fuelcosts and extended oil-change intervals. Add the cost ofhigh-dollar lubricants and the fact the aftermarket will dowhat it wants to do and it becomes obvious to the trained observer that the need for DEXRON III/MERCON-type ATFswill not go away anytime soon. As an example, look at FordType F. Introduced in 1961 and not used in a Ford vehiclesince 1979. Type F is still in production with 3.4 million gallons produced in 2005.
There are a handful of major requirements for modernATFs. Theres viscosity, frictional characteristics, torque capacity and oxidation stability. Given our performance results in the Ford ABOT and other tests, LUBEGARD ATFprotectants and supplements with LXE appear to be the onlyproducts already meeting many of the DEXRON VI bench-marks. In fact, weve been meeting those standards all along.With an electronic transmission, the last thing that youdwant is for the fluid or frictional characteristics to change.
Speculating on the future
Pat Burrow, technical director(mechanical engineer), handles tech-nical calls and supports Lubegardscustomers in the field. He wasemployed for 22 years with EG & GAutomotive Research (one of twoapproved sites for testing ATF for GMDEXRON and Ford MERCON).
Connecting With Shops
2006 ILI. All Rights Reserved.
Click here to load reader