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Old 12-06-2014, 12:04 PM   #1
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SHELL ROTELLA vs DELO 400

Yesterday I was buying Shell Rotella 30 wt for oil change in my Ford Lehmans and guy in store mentioned the Delco 400 was on sale. I only use the Shell Rotella 30 wt because that is what former owner used. I had never even heard of Delo. Guy at counter next to me was a diesel mechanic (land diesels). He spoke right up and said his experience rebuilding diesel engines is the Delo 400 is far superior to the Shell Rotella. He said all other variables the same, engines using Delo ran 2-3 times longer before rebuilds than ones using Shell Rotella. My marine diesel experience as an owner is 18 months so I'd like to hear from anyone who may have experience with Shell Rotella vs Delo 400. I also asked the mechanic if any problem mixing the two and he said no problem as long as you are mixing identical viscosities.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:10 PM   #2
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Ignore that mechanic. What engine so you have?
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:14 PM   #3
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If they meet SAE/API specs, they do the job. But I have read some people claim that DELO 400 has superior additives and moly in particular. Sounds to me like urban legend.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #4
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SHELL ROTELLA vs DELO

I have two Ford Lehman 120s in a 42 ft Grand Banks. Engines have 6200 hrs. Natural aspired.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:22 PM   #5
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Thanks. Two Ford Lehman 120s.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:38 PM   #6
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Well... an oil thread...
On many mechanical lists good for lots of flame wars.
My limited observation of the engine world has led me to the following conclusions:
1. Given a choice between NO oil and any kind of oil
(olive oil gear oil engine oil in all the flavors and types. )
The engine will always run better with oil than with no oil.
2. Modern oils are all pretty much the same stuff in terms of 15-40 this is the same as 15-40 that. Synthetic to synthetic, diesel oil to diesel oil etc.
3. I buy the weight I want, the type I want ( synthetic dino or blend) of the classification I need in what ever brand is available or on sale. See #1.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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While I think Delo is a fine oil...anyone that claims that Delo will make an engine outlast one with Shell 2-3 times longer should have a hard time claiming he's a mechanic.


As others have said...there's little definitive proof that you even need to CHANGE your oil and have an engine last that much longer....much less what brand or what kind of oil.


I'm not suggesting neglect you oil...just don't believe every witchdoctor out there.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:12 PM   #8
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We have two FL120s in our boat. We use Chevron Delo 400 30wt and change it and the oil filters every 100-150 hours. So far (16 years) the engines have done just fine.

If Delo 400 was not available in this area, but Shell Rotella was, we would have no qualms about using that oil and I would be willing to bet that our results would be identical and the longevity of the engines would be the same. Which means they would eventually wear out or fail for some reason other than oil the brand of oil used in them.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:39 PM   #9
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It's a Chevy -vs- Ford thing.... No winner. They both meet the specs which is called by the engine manufacturer. Flip a coin!
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:29 PM   #10
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I used Rotella for decades until I changed the oil one day and covered the harbour in brown smoke (yes brown).

Anyway long story short, All of the additives in the Rotella had separated and were found to be a brown sludge in the bottom of each jug.

Shell Canada said it wasn't their problem as I had bought the oil in Florida and it was refined in Texas. Apparently each refinery has their own formula for additives.
Shell in Texas did not respond to emails or calls.

I switched to Delo
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:40 PM   #11
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I have been using Delo 400 for over 40 years in our two boats and have experienced no problems. I can't say if one is better than the other, just know I will keep using Delo 400.
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:48 PM   #12
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Sounds like a bad batch of oil. I had something similar with a gas powered car but there was no smoking that I saw. I went to get a routine oil change at the same place I always went and a same oil I always used. When they removed the oil cover, there was a sludge built up and the oil was a weird whitish color and bubbling. The oil level also had gone low without a warning. I worried for for a long time that something would be wrong with engine but it ran fine and the problem never occurred again. Had well over 200K miles when the car got totaled.

Normally petroleum products work as they should but to think they don't have Quality Control problems from time to time is probably unrealistic. My suspicion was the batch I got was almost all detergent.
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:26 PM   #13
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what ever oil was used to get the 120 engine to 6200 hrs sounds like good oil.
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:45 PM   #14
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Rotella is made by Shell and Dello 400 is made by Chevron. Two of the biggest oil companies in the world. Both meet the same specs. Both are virtually identical.

I'll bet a Shell lubrication engineer couldn't tell the difference if he was given 5 gallons of Dello 400 to test, without analyzing it for trace additives and even then they might come out the same.

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Old 12-06-2014, 07:05 PM   #15
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For the life of me I can't find a web resource I looked at a few years ago that had wear comparisons simulated for 100,000 miles on engines using different oils. Rotella T-6 won that bake off, and I have used it every since. But any oil from a major supplier that meets the specifications the engine manufacturer recommends is going to be fine.
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:11 PM   #16
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Wished I had known Delo would give me 3 times the life. My Dodge pickup with the Cummins diesel has almost 400K miles on Rotella. Sure would have been nice to know I was going to get over 1.2M miles on the truck with Delo.

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Old 12-06-2014, 10:01 PM   #17
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All you ever wanted to know about oil:


Motor Oil 101 - Bob is the Oil Guy - Bob is the Oil Guy
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:25 PM   #18
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Somewhere in this forums archives is a scientific study and comparison of most of the major engine oils and I'm not finding it right now!! As I recall most engine oil was pretty similar with some variations in additives, but all were fundamentally within engine manufacture specs.

The surprise for me was Walmart's "Super Tech" motor oil was well rated and beat out several of the better known oil company names.
Obviously, Walmart doesn't make their oil and no I'm not a happy Walmart shopper!! Just the same "You got to give the Devil his due!!"
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Old 12-07-2014, 06:40 AM   #19
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The difference in oil is mostly in the additive package mostly needed for modern engines the Air Police has decided must eat their own exhaust. EGR

If the engine is old enough and a straight weight of oil can be used I believe the service life will be longer.

The additive package is smaller , so there is 10-25% more oil , in the oil.

Also the flour like thickening agent is not installed in single weight , a plus I think.

The requirement for multi weight oil is mostly to improve mileage a tiny bit.

The thin oil drains off faster , requiring less HP to scrape the oil on each down stroke (like synthetic) .

At 1.5 to 5 GPH fuel burn I am not sure any saving will be realized.

Starting below 30F ?, get the block heater going , not thin oil.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:49 AM   #20
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This sounds like the debate back in the 70s when we all ran hotrods Castrol against all the others
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