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Testing Uniglide

by Julian Edgar

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Important Note:

It was not the purpose of the tests within this article to determine whether the Uniglide product met the claims of the manufacturer as detailed on the Uniglide product packaging as their claims do not provide an order of measurement. The purpose of the test was to determine if a distinctly improved level of power was achievable solely by the use of the Uniglide product in the engines of the test vehicles.

The tests performed on the Uniglide product and the results of those tests detailed in the following article are only applicable to the vehicles used in the tests and for the conditions under which the tests were conducted. It is possible that similar tests undertaken on other vehicles may yield different results. It is the opinion of the writer that the tests performed are suitable to determine whether a measurable performance improvement was achievable by the addition of the product tested.

Stephen Walker of Uniglide has disputed the validity of our testing procedures and has advised that they are undertaking their own tests. AutoSpeed has indicated to Stephen that we are willing to publish their own response and test results when available.

Through conversations with Unique Auto Sports and in conjunction with reading the instructions on the Uniglide bottle, it was our understanding that a power gain would be possible through the treatment of the engine oil alone. Uniglide Australia has since suggested to us that for any power gain to occur, the engine oil, gearbox oil and differential oil all need to be treated.

The claims of "15 per cent power gains" were made by Unique Auto Sports not Uniglide Australia Pty Ltd or Uniglide International Pty Ltd. Unique Auto Sports is a reseller of the Uniglide product and to the best of our knowledge is not controlled in any way by Uniglide Australia Pty Ltd or Uniglide International Pty Ltd.

Uniglide is a registered trademark of the Uniglide group of companies.

Along with many other oil-additive products, Uniglide Friction Reducing Concentrate claims to achieve maximum performance and protection when added "to any mineral, or synthetic hydrocarbon based lubricating oil" in accordance with their instructions. The product claims to "Reduce friction, wear, drag, noise and operating temperature; reduce oil consumption, oxidation and corrosion; provide for maximum compression and power; does not build-up on metal surfaces; increases engine and equipment life; provides start-up lubrication and reduces fuel consumption."

However, most interesting to us were suggestions by Unique Auto Sports (a Sydney, Australia business that retails the Uniglide FRC product) that large power gains were immediately noticeable once the product had been added to the engine oil.

A 500ml plastic bottle of the treatment cost us $45. We purchased two bottles and put it to the power test.

On the Dyno

The first test used a VL Commodore wagon which has been fitted with the Nissan RB20E (not RB30!) in-line six. The engine is in the pink of health and pulls quite well. The dyno was the Dyno Dynamics machine of Darlington Auto Tune in South Australia, and the operator was John Keen. To avoid the criticism that we received when we performed the ULX-110 oil test a few issues ago, we drained the RB20E of oil and added brand new Penrite 20W/50 multigrade. The car was then placed on the dyno with the intake air temp correction probe inserted in the airbox. Other than using the RB20E engine, the Commodore was dead-standard.

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Rather than do a simple power pull, we decided to replicate as closely as possible on-road performance. To do this we set the dyno to a ramp speed of 40 and stepped the reading every 3 km/h. This meant that through-the-gears power could then be measured, with the automatic car accelerating from 10-180 km/h in about 44 seconds. At 10 km/h in first gear, John flicked the dyno controller and put his foot to the floor. The car then smoothly wound out in first, before changing to second and then finally reaching third.

So that the power output could settle, a number of runs were made with the normal Penrite oil, with the green line showing the stabilised power curve. The Uniglide FRC was then added at the 10 per cent ratio specified on the bottle. The first power run made with the Uniglide (blue line) was up a little over the final run made with just Penrite, but the next Uniglide run (red line) was down a little. In other words, the subsequent power runs neatly bracketed the final run made on just Penrite! This 3-4 per cent level of variation is typical of that which occurs on a chassis dyno when making multiple power runs. It also makes proving tiny power gains (or losses) near impossible.

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While there was possibly a minor power gain in the RB20 engine we were certainly unable to detect a distinctly large increase in power.

After we had carried out this test we received an email from John Penlington of Unique Auto Sports: "When you are testing the Uniglide make sure car you are testing hasn't had any PTFE in it previously. It seems to limit or slow down the impregnation of the product into the metal. Best results so far have been on turbo cars and vehicles that have done a few kilometres. We are getting between 5 and 15% increase in power at the wheels." The instructions on the bottle do not mention anything about using it in a car that has or has not had PTFE (an anti-friction material) added nor was this mentioned prior to our purchasing the product. We do not know whether the RB20E engine has ever been treated with this material - and suggest that most owners of secondhand cars or engines may not know of this either!

On the Road

Next, on-road testing was carried out on an Australian Holden Camira wagon. The 2 litre Family II engine uses a hot cam, lifted compression, a large exhaust and engine management mods. The engine has 150,000km on the clock but is very healthy. The oil used in the car during the test was Mobil 20W/50 XHP which had been in the engine for about 5000km. Rather than do 0-100km/h times (which can vary a lot due to changes in launch) we opted for an in-gears 40-80km/h split in second gear. This corresponds to about 3000-6000 rpm. Timing was carried out using a hand-held digital stopwatch. Incidentally, for any who would decry this test method, such a timing approach will easily pick up conventional performance improvements coming from an exhaust, extractors, intake airbox mods, or similar.

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The same stretch of road and direction of travel was used for each test. The car was driven along at a steady 20km/h, then the accelerator floored. The stopwatch was then started at 40 and stopped at 80km/h. Testing with just the Mobil XHP in the engine gave 40-80km/h times of 3.80, 3.82 and 3.86 seconds. We then added the Uniglide. The times with the treated oil in the engine were 3.75, 3.76 and 3.79 seconds. This gives a 'before' average of 3.83 seconds and an 'after' average of 3.77 seconds - a statistically insignificant six one-hundredths of a second difference. Again while there was a minute improvement it was certainly not the dramatic improvement we hoped to see.

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Conclusion

Adding Uniglide FRC to the engine oil of two cars gave us, at best, a marginal performance or power gain. Certainly we saw nothing like the dramatic power gains that had been suggested to us....

Contact:

Unique Auto Sports uniqueas@ozemail.com.au

Uniglide uniglide@hotmail.com or www.uniglide.co.za

Prior to publication of this article the following message was received from Stephen Walker of the Uniglide group of companies. At the time Stephen had not been given the opportunity to review the article.

Further to our conversation of earlier this week, I must inform you that this has been referred to legal council for an opinion. I must also inform you that the independent tests already carried out by numerous other test facilities have confirmed our claims and that if anything appears in this "publication" that may be deemed to be damaging to the reputation of the trademark Uniglide, the performance of Uniglide FRC or the integrity of the directors of Uniglide Australia Pty Ltd or Uniglide International Pty Ltd, you can expect civil proceedings to be instituted forthwith. Investigations are currently underway to verify our claims and your test methods and qualifications will be questioned as well. Please be very careful what you reduce to writing when you report on you findings. I might suggest that you reconsider your test methods and invstigate further, delving deeper into the mechanics of just how Uniglide FRC works and why one should see a measure of increase on a dynamometer. Speaking of which, as you correctly pointed out, there is much room for error on a chassis dynamometer and I've subsequently spoken to useres of engine dynamometers who don't heed ANY chassis dynamomter readings at all! I trust that you take cognisance of the content of this message.

Regards,

Stephen Walker

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