Moly is short for molybdenum disulfide (MOS2.) It is a natural mineral sometimes known as molybenite and is found and mined primarily in Colorado.
Many years ago, during the Gold Rush Era, gold prospectors would stumble upon this mineral. They found it useful in lubricating the axles in wagons.
It wasn’t until the 1920s and 30s that moly was beginning to be processed and used in industry.
In this blog post, we will discuss how a motor oil with high moly content can have a positive impact on your operation by reducing downtime and ultimately saving you money!
Moly Offers Anti-Wear Capabilities
Moly is extremely slippery and has an extremely low coefficient of friction, even when exposed to high temperatures as high as 725 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has an extremely interesting ability to stick to and plate itself to metal surfaces. This becomes even more pronounced when it is allowed to burnish in and plate itself onto metal surfaces it is exposed to.
This unique characteristic of moly gives it extremely long lasting and effective lubrication in many applications.
Moly, with its useful and helpful lubricating abilities, has found a place in many industrial and commercial applications. Moly can be found to be used in farm equipment, over the road trucks, motor sports, earth moving equipment, large mining equipment, the textile industry, coal mining, and it even was used as a lubricant at NASA!
Moly is considered a metallic lubricant. It can withstand extremely high temperatures and has a melting point almost two times that of steel. It is able to withstand extreme shock loads, extreme pressures, and can hold up to 500,000 pounds per square inch. This is far beyond the yield point of most metals except certain alloy steels.
It has natural attraction to metal surfaces plus it is an amazing friction modifier. Interestingly, it has a much lower coefficient of friction than lubricating oils. Moly has been found to be quite useful for all types of vehicles. It is formulated into greases, gear oils, hydraulic oils, compressor oils, and motor oils.
One of the benefits of using moly in an engine oil is its ability to help reduce unnecessary wear during cold or dry start ups of engines. The fact is that industry testing has proven that almost 80% of all engine wear occurs during initial cold or dry start ups. If there was a way to provide instant lubrication to critical engine parts during cold and dry start ups, then it seems logical that much of this unwanted 80% wear could be drastically reduced or eliminated.
Keep in mind that one of the unique properties and characteristics of moly is its ability to plate itself almost permanently to metal surfaces. Actually, these platelets occur over time one layer over another, and ultimately results in a total of 26 sub-micron sized layers. This means that when an engine is shut down and all the lubricating oil drains back into the oil sump and drain pan, the engine parts are not left unprotected as they would be with conventional non-moly engine oils.
An engine that utilizes a moly-based motor oil will ultimately have this 26 layer barrier protecting all critical engine parts all the time, even during critical dry start ups. When an engine is started up cold, it takes some time for the oil to travel from the drain pan through all the oil galleys and to all critical engine parts.
A Motor Oil with High Moly Content Extends Engine Life
In the case of the engine now protected with moly, those parts do not come into contact with each other, because the moly keeps metal surfaces from physically coming in contact with each other, giving the engine the precious time it needs for all the oil to find its way throughout the engine. This film of moly will drastically reduce, if not eliminate, that 80% wear that occurs during dry starts.
The advantages that are experienced from moly are quite significant. Moly offers an amazing ability to reduce friction that occurs in an engine, and parts that are plated with moly are now very resistant to wear. The sub-micron sized moly particles cling and plate themselves to metal all the time no matter whether the engine is cold during dry start ups, or operating under extremely demanding and hot temperatures. The moly particles have powerful lubricating qualities that shield metal surfaces from friction, shock loads, and heat, all the while preventing metal surfaces from contacting each other.
Beyond a motor oil containing the amazing friction reducing additive moly, there are other critical components needed to complete the picture of a motor oil that can deliver maximum protection to both gas and diesel engines.
Super Refined Base Oils Withstand High and Low Temperatures
First of all, it is critical that the base oils utilized in engineering a heavy duty engine oil use the finest base stocks available. It is imperative that all unwanted and unnecessary byproducts be removed and refined out of these base oils.
The first refining process that needs to be conducted is solvent extraction. This process will remove impurities found in the base oil.
Next, these base oils are hydro-treated. This process enhances the base stock oil’s ability to accept high performance and high quality additives.
Next, it is important to remove the unnecessary waxes found in base stock oils, thus they are dewaxed. The dewaxing process greatly enhances an oil’s cold weather performance.
Solvent extraction, hydro-cracking, hydro-treating, and dewaxing are all necessary steps in producing a motor oil that can accept moly and other performance enhancing additives.
The neutral base oils have a naturally high viscosity index. This high viscosity index gives an engine oil its thermal stability, allowing it to be highly resistant to extremely high temperatures. It allows the motor oil to perform over a broad range of temperatures. If the operating temperatures are high, the oil will not thin down. If the temperatures become cold, the oil will have far less tendency to thicken up.
One other critical but important result that is gained through using a base oil that is highly refined is that the oil now will not contribute to the buildup of sludge, gum, and varnish.
An important property that needs to be engineered into a motor oil with high moly content is its ability to provide extra protection for all copper and bronze parts that may be found in an engine. To that end, specialized copper deactivator additives are blended into this specialized formula.
High TBN Levels Neutralize Engine Acids
The next step in engineering a motor oil with high moly content is to give it superior acid neutralizing capabilities. The majority of conventional motor oils on the market today have TBN levels ranging from only 6 to 10. To be effective in neutralizing damaging acids within an engine, these TBN numbers must be higher.
There are multiple ways to enhance the Total Base Number (TBN) of an engine oil. The preferred and most powerful long lasting method for boosting TBN is to get most of your alkalinity via the detergent value of the engine oil. This method is the most costly path to take, but without a doubt, it is by far the most effective.
For diesel engines, fighting acid is extremely important, not to mention also offering an effective way at controlling increased amounts of soot loading that can happen within the motor oil. Look for a moly motor oil that has a Total Base Number of 15 or more. With this high TBN number, expect longer engine life and much longer oil drain intervals.
Moly Cuts Fuel Consumption By 5%
A motor oil with high moly content can also help in improving fuel economy. As we mentioned before, moly is an extremely slippery ingredient that will reduce friction and reduce wear. When you reduce friction in an engine, the engine works more efficiently and expends less power. By helping the engine perform easier, it requires less fuel to generate its power. One can expect fuel mileage increases ranging from 1.75% all the way up to 5%. If there is a desire for further fuel economy gains, then consider utilizing moly gear oils.
One last area that needs to be considered when deciding to use a motor oil with high moly content is to make sure that the oil coming out of the container that it is packaged in has been filtered down to within 10 microns before it was packaged. Very few oil manufacturers bother to put their finished motor oil through this final filtering process. The key and the very first step in making sure you are giving your equipment the cleanest possible lubricant is to have an oil coming out of its packaging in cleanest possible condition.
To get the maximum life out of your equipment and to be able to extend the oil’s drain intervals as far out as possible, it is imperative to start out with absolutely clean motor oil that has been filtered down to 10 microns at the oil manufacturers facility before packaging.
When you consider all the factors needed in engineering a motor oil with high moly content, plus considering the benefits that such an engine oil can provide, then it makes sense to seriously consider switching to this type of high performance engine oil.