Exposing the Engine Oil Bearing Friction Test / Scam

I’ve come across a couple of engine oil / oil additives companies that use the timken bearing test – also sometimes known as the “one arm bandit” test or bearing lubricity test – to display the efficacy of their oil or oil additive. I must admit that the test, being very visual, is extremely convincing. But did you know that this non-standardised test is practically useless in demonstrating the efficiency of oils? In fact, it can actually be (unscrupulously) manipulated.

So, the next time before you’re convinced of the “superiority” of any engine oils or oil additives using this demonstration, remember this – you might actually be better off using shampoo*!!

*on the bearing test only please. Do NOT use shampoo in your engine!

6 thoughts on “Exposing the Engine Oil Bearing Friction Test / Scam”

  1. Hi SGbiker boy, ive been followin and reading your motorblog website. Thank you for sharing your wealth experience and information about biking.
    Anyway would you mind doing a review on an engine oil additive on the brand Polytron MTC specifically. They did that timken test with this oil additive brand. Thank you very much

    1. As this is a personal blog, my resources are pretty limited. Unfortunately, I’m unable to review too many products. The reviews you see on this website are stuff that I actually purchased and used. Perhaps if you would you be interested in sponsoring? 😉

    2. I used to work in a bearing test lab back in the 1970’s, and we performed oil and grease tests using a Timken OK Lube Tester manufactured during the 1950’s. The precision test parts were supplied by Timken. We tested all kinds of oils and greases. Some from customers who were having bearing failure issues, and some were new products that made huge claims. The results, as you would guess, were very interesting.

      For every test we used a fresh block surface and drawn cup, both cleaned in fresh Acetone. There were a set of strict procedures we had to follow each time we performed the test to ensure there were no variations between tests other than the lubrication. I don’t remember the exact times, but we first applied the lube to the block and cup surfaces, then set the block against the cup that had been installed on a tapered shaft. Next, we began applying the lubrication from a cylinder at an exact rate from start to finish, and the machine was started at a fixed RPM. There was a break-in time of maybe fifteen seconds with a light load. After the break-in period, we applied the full load. Each step was timed with a stop watch, and we recorded the exact time at which the block began to score. Smoke and screeching sound were the defining factors for failure. We then inspected the wear scar and wrote detailed a report of our results. I felt this was an accurate test when all procedures were followed by the book.

    1. These machines are on ebay, kind of pricey too.
      However i just happen to be refurbishing an original schaeffer oil salesman
      Demo machine at this time.
      I have a missing part im currently working on.

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