This is how it all began...
Carl Mitchell, Mitchell Drilling and Mining Supplies: I would like to ask if you are willing to run a test on a new friction-reducing product we are introducing from USA. This is a high quality (no multi-level marketing here, just a small company trying to get a break with a high quality product) product tried, tested and approved for use by the likes of US Navy, VW, M.Benz, GMH. If you would take the time to look at our web site (www.mdms.com.au and click on Militec-1) I am sure you will see that this is a very reputable product. If one of your staff could telephone me on 07-46303044 I would be most appreciative.
Julian Edgar, Editor, AutoSpeed: If you can send us the documentation proving that the product has been "tried, tested and approved for use by the likes of US Navy, VW, M.Benz, GMH." then we will be interested in performing a test.
Carl Mitchell: Thank you for your response. I have the documentation you ask for. I can email it to you. Do you have Lotus123 as most of the docs are in Lotus. Also, you can see all the data on our web site: www.mdms.com.au Just go to the site and click on MILITEC-1 LOGO. If you can open Lotus123 docs I will attach them in my next email. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Julian Edgar: I don't have Lotus 123. I would prefer scans of the originals, actually.
Carl Mitchell: The originals are with the distributors in the USA. All references are to USA companies etc. as the product has not been used in Australia as yet. The files I have been supplied from USA are copies of originals in the majority of cases. I will send you what I have and contact the USA to see if I can obtain scans of the original docs. This will take a bit of time though. If you are concerned about the docs being altered or in some way being modified from the original, I should point out that this info is available on the US manufacturers web site and they would be brought undone very quickly by the companies concerned if they altered any data. As I stated earlier, our web site has a lot of info on the product and it really would be worthwhile visiting the site.
Carl Mitchell: I am getting some info together for you with URL's to the appropriate sites. Also I have some info that I can fax to you if you will give me your fax number. I appreciate that you may be sceptical about the product but I can assure you that it is as good as it claims and it does have legitimate credentials. I should be able to email the site details to you on Sunday.
Julian Edgar: Just this week I have had three anti-friction additive companies promising me that their product is a wonder.... Fax is sick - email or post, please.
Carl Mitchell: I appreciate that you are inundated with people wanting you to look at their products though I feel certain you will be impressed with Militec-1 and the fact that this product actually works. Can you please advise your mailing address. Again, thanks for sparing the time to talk to me.
Julian Edgar: PO Box 175, O'Halloran Hill, 5158, South Australia
Carl Mitchell: I express posted an information pack on Militec-1 to you yesterday. You should have it by Monday. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. There is a lot of data in the pack, I trust it will give you a good idea of the quality and effectiveness of the product and the level of acceptance from industry in other countries. I hope to hear from you soon.
Julian Edgar: I received the information pack and sample yesterday. I have read the material and watched the video. I will proceed with testing over the next few weeks. The documentation is impressive; I hope that the product is too!
Carl Mitchell: Thanks for giving the product your prompt attention. As you say, the data is impressive and I know you will find that it is factual and the product is all that we say it is. I look forward to hearing your results. When testing, remember that Militec-1 is NOT an oil substitute. It conditions the metal surfaces so the oil can do its job better and longer. When adding Militec-1 to oil it must be added 'additionally' to the correct amount of oil, not as part of the total oil volume required. Militec-1 will use the oil to reach all metal surfaces and then will react with the metal, leaving the oil carrier.
Julian Edgar: I have done some preliminary (anecdotal style) testing of Militec-1, and it seems to have made an improvement in some aspects of engine running. I would now like a larger quantity of the stuff, so that I can do some dyno work on the engine, and also treat some gearboxes and diffs. I would expect to do this for perhaps three cars.
Carl Mitchell: I will post 2 x 1L bottles so you have enough for all the tests. I look forward to seeing the results. Also, thanks for starting the tests so quickly.
Firstly, let's make it quite clear that the complete and detailed testing of any 'metal conditioning' oil additive would take several years and cost many tens of thousands of dollars. So before you email us telling of inadequacies in our testing procedure, take a breath and then don't bother - we're aware of them. However, we believe that the tests that were carried out are indicative of the results that would be gained under normal operating conditions by AutoSpeed readers.
1. Nissan EXA Engine
The first guinea pig vehicle was a 1984 Nissan EXA 1.5-lire turbo. For the whole of the previous 18 months (since the vehicle was purchased) the engine had exhibited quite noisy valve gear, a common problem with these engines. The noise was such that it could be heard from about 8 metres away - so it was far from subtle. The engine was warmed and then 45ml of Militec-1 was added, following which the car was driven fairly hard for about 45 minutes. When the vehicle was then idled, no change was discernible in the nature of the valve gear noise. However, over the next few days of driving, the noise reduced substantially. The upper engine noise was still present, but it could no longer be heard from the same distance away - it was quieter. Further, when the engine was started from cold, the noise sharply reduced after an initial loud start, presumably as pressured oil reached the valve gear. Prior to the addition of Militec-1, no change in noise level could be detected on start-up.
There was no noticeable change in any other engine characteristics eg power, response.
Subsequently, it was realised that the addition of the Militec-1 to the EXA's engine was at a level about one-quarter of that specified on the bottle - we had added 45ml, not the 45ml per litre of engine oil that the instructions state is required. No more Militec-1 was added, and shortly afterwards the car was sold.
2. Audi S4 Engine and Gearbox
The 1993 Audi S4's engine oil was warmed to an indicated 80 degrees C, then 45ml per litre of engine oil was added. The engine was immediately fast-idled for ten minutes before being driven hard for 45 minutes, the oil temperature being 80-90 degrees C for the duration of that drive. Following this, no change in engine noise level could be ascertained, however the idle was noticeably smoother. After fitting the cold air intake, the Audi's engine had idled a little more roughly than in standard form, presumably due to the change in the acoustic tune of the intake system prior to the airbox. This could be both felt and also seen as a wavering in the tacho needle. Following the addition of the Militec-1, the idle returned to its previous (ie pre-intake mods) smoothness. However, four weeks later the idle was again uneven, although perhaps still slightly better than it had been pre-treatment, and following that it returned to its previous (ie untreated) idle state.
The gearbox of the Audi had recently had its oil changed to ULX. The gearbox does not require that its oil be changed over the life of the car, however I was concerned that a slight gear whine had developed in third and fourth ratios. This was in addition to the chattering noise that had always been present at all throttle positions in fifth and sixth gears at low rpm. (The latter noise is hard to describe - it sounds very much like faint engine detonation, and initially I thought it was just that. However, use of the AutoSpeed Detonation Detector microphone in the engine bay had isolated the noise as coming from the gearbox.) With the ULX oil added, there was no improvement in either noises but the gearbox was noticeably notchier, especially when started from cold. Militec-1 was added to the ULX oil in the gearbox in the ratio of 30ml per litre of gearbox oil. The car was then driven for 40-50km in urban conditions, before being driven for two hours at 100-110 km/h.
Immediately following this, a number of changes were noticed. Firstly, the gearbox whines were gone. Secondly, the chattering noise was almost totally gone in fifth and sixth gears, until 0.4 Bar boost was achieved at low rpm, whereupon it could be faintly heard. However, the greatest affect was that the gearbox was far less notchy, to the point where the next day someone else driving the car from cold immediately noticed the much better gearchange.
Unfortunately, within a day the whines had returned, and soon after, the chattering noise could again be heard, albeit faintly. Within two weeks the gearbox was again notchy, and within three weeks it was at least as bad as it had been previously.
3. R33 Skyline R33 2.5 Turbo Gearbox
The gearbox in this car was very notchy both when the gearbox oil was cold, and also when it was very hot. Militec-1 was added at the recommended ratio of 30ml per litre of gearbox oil. The car was subsequently driven from Adelaide to Melbourne and back again.
The owner commented, "The run to and from Melbourne didn't show any noticeable improvements, in fact it seemed to get worse, particularly if the gearbox was given a hard time. However, I have noted that since I've been back for a while, I haven't noticed the (gear change) problem. I think it probably needs more time, but it definitely seems to have gone past the really bad point and is now slowly improving."
A few weeks later he said: "Nothing significant to report, although it definitely is not getting worse. Still quite difficult to get gears if thrashed, but all other times works pretty well. Without taking the clutch out or examine the gearbox, I don't think I can tell you much more."
4. Lawnmower Engine
A Rover Rebel lawnmower using a Briggs and Stratton Series 4-stroke engine was tested. This mower is a bit tired - it blows smoke for the first 10-15 minutes after start-up, before the smoking then stops. The spark-plug was removed and a spring balance used to measure the force required to turn the engine over with the pull-start cord. The mower was then treated with 25ml of Militec-1 and immediately operated under arduous conditions for an hour (I hadn't mowed the lawn for a while!). The engine was allowed to cool overnight and the same spring balance test applied. There was no change in the average force required to turn over the engine. A week later the mower was again run for an hour, and allowed to cool. The test was repeated, with no change in the force required. No other changes in engine behaviour were noticed after the treatment had been added.
5. Suzuki Baleno Engine
A standard Suzuki Baleno 1.8 litre engine was treated with Militec-1. No positive change was subsequently noticed by either of its regular drivers.
6. Commodore VL Turbo Engine
The specified amount of Militec additive was added to the RB30ET's existing engine oil (BP Visco 5000). No difference in oil pressure was noted on the factory oil pressure gauge in hot running conditions, however, cold-start oil pressure appeared to have increased by around 20 kPa to 4.9-5.0 Bar. Performance testing with the AC-22 performance meter from 20-100 km/h showed no solid improvement in acceleration times. Idle smoothness was slightly improved.
It was our intention to perform dynamometer runs with some of these cars in before/after power comparisons. However the lack of any apparent (apparent to the driver, that is) major retained positive outcomes of the treatment made us reluctant to spend the money on such testing. If the power cannot be seen on the road, and those gains which are obvious are not retained, then there doesn't seem much point in dyno testing...
The documentation available to support claims made by the manufacturers and distributors of Militec-1 is impressive. And perhaps an oil wear analysis may have revealed positive outcomes that were retained for a reasonable period.
However, the lack of any noticeable improvement in some of our test examples, and the way in which the obvious improvements were not maintained, makes us reluctant to recommend this product.
Mitchell Drilling and Mining Supplies Pty. Ltd
Firstly I would like to thank you for the opportunity to respond to your test report.
As you say, a full and meaning full test would require considerable time and resources and whilst we appreciate your efforts in evaluating Militec-1 it is fair to say that a more scientifically based test would have given a more accurate picture of the properties and effectiveness of Militec-1, This is particularly so when measuring effectiveness over time.
1. Nissan EXA Engine
No comment required.
2. Audi S4 Engine and Gearbox
Can you advise the exact volume of Militec-1 added to the gearbox and the engine? You state that 30ml per litre of oil was added to the gearbox and 45ml per litre of oil to the engine though you did not state the number of litres of oil in the engine or gearbox. If insufficient Militec-1 is added, treatment will not reach all the metal components and this may have been the problem. Militec-1 has been proven in a large number of trials to provide friction reduction over lengthy periods of use as confirmed by trials by the US Navy, General Motors and many others. The consideration here is WHY is the gearbox noisy and notchy? There is obviously a mechanical problem with the gearbox and it would be unreasonable to expect any oil or friction-reducing compound to repair this problem. The Militec-1 added to the gearbox would be under great stress at the points of mechanical damage and whilst the product would provide temporary relief in these areas the Militec-1 would be worn away very quickly due to the greater than normal stress at these points. If additional Militec-1 (even as little as 50ml) had been added to the gearbox it would have retreated the damaged areas with the remainder in suspension in the oil as backup treatment which would be called on when required. This would have enabled the product to continue to relieve the stress over a greater period of time.
3. R33 Skyline R33 2.5 Turbo Gearbox
It is very difficult to comment on this trial, as there is no baseline to evaluate the performance or lack of, after adding Militec-1. Also, you have not advised the total volume of Militec-1 added to the gearbox. If temperature plugs had been fitted to the gearbox and oil analysis done before and after adding the Militec-1 there would be clear data to evaluate. As with the Audi S4 gearbox, there is obviously a pre-existing problem that must be addressed in the trials. The same comments apply as for the Audi S4 trial.
4. Lawnmower Engine
It is unlikely you would notice any difference in force necessary to turn the engine over as by far the majority of resistance is a result of compression and not friction [The sparkplug was removed during testing, as stated - Ed]. Friction does play a part though this is very slight when compared to the compression, particularly on a 4-stroke engine. Temperature measurements would have given a better basis for evaluation. Militec-1 would have been reducing the friction within the engine though in a worn engine this is not going to be as dramatic as in a new engine as the tolerances have already worn to a point where friction would have been already reduced significantly. The benefit of using Militec-1 in a new engine is that it will run much longer before such wear occurs. Militec-1 will not rejuvenate a worn engine but it will extend the life of worn equipment.
5. Suzuki Baleno Engine
Again, you have not advised the volume of Militec-1 added nor stated how any changes would be monitored. It is very difficult to make assumptions about performance without proper data to back up those assumptions. [Where volumes aren't stated the engine was treated as per Militec-1 instructions - Ed]
6. Commodore VL Turbo Engine
Trials on a dynometer[sic] would have given more accurate and measurable results. Power gains achieved with Militec-1 commonly range from 2-3% as described on our web site. This level of gain must be measured by dynometer to be accurately recorded. It would be unreasonable to expect anyone to provide a 'gut feel' assessment of gains of this magnitude. [Gut feel? - the measurements were made with an AC-22! - Ed] The benefits of Militec-1 are multi level - power gain is only one benefit. Militec-1 does only one thing - it significantly reducing friction between metal components. This reduction in friction will manifest itself in a number of ways and will vary according to equipment type, condition and design. Reduced friction will reduce the level and the rate at which that wear occurs. Reduced friction will also often reduce power draw, heat build up though the degree varies with equipment design, condition and application.
The trials carried out at best can only provide anecdotal evidence or lack there of and cannot realistically be used in any meaningful assessment of the product. The comments you provide are theoretical and speculative as no actual oil analysis, temperature reading or dynometer [sic] readings were used in your assessment.
I have included some comments from Alan Roth of Advanced Product Distributors of the USA. ADP are the most experienced and long term distributors of Militec-1 in the USA and have develop the majority of data appearing on our web site. These comments are not intended to be critical of your test procedures, rather put the tests in prospective. Whilst we appreciate your efforts we do not wish to have Militec-1 unfairly labelled as 'non-effective' when the data used to make this assessment is flawed.
Alan's comments: We see power gains of only about 2-3%. While this is significant, unless a vehicle is under-powered, you cannot reasonable feel the difference. This is a difference that needs to be measured on a dyno. We get anecdotal reports from users about the power improvement but, again, it's when there is not enough power and the change makes a difference that is discernible.
For example, an RV owner reported that when he drove his RV up a mountain road to his summer cottage, he always had to turn the air conditioner off to get the power to climb the mountain road. With Militec-1, he didn't need to turn the air conditioner off. We've also gotten power improvement reports from racecar teams as sometimes they can measure the difference on the track.
As for the gear noises, it's also important to know what is causing the noise and the role that lubrication can play. As you know, Militec-1 provides greater friction protection but its durability is based on two factors: load and oil condition. There are places in the gearbox, engine or most other equipment where there are hot spots due to exceptional load in those spots. If the Militec-1 that was put in has already reacted with the metal and there is no more Militec-1 in there to react further, the first places more Militec-1 will be needed will be at those high load spots where more friction has occurred and therefore more wear has occurred. While Militec-1 reduces wear, it cannot stop it altogether or you would have a perpetual motion machine. Eventually, the Militec-1 wears off and those hot spots will wear first. Now it is reasonable to expect that only a little more Militec-1 would make a big difference if the amount added was greater than the amount that can react with the available metal surfaces (those surfaces that do not have Militec-1 as a component).
That extra Militec-1 would continue to flow in the oil and be available to react with the metal at those worn hotspots. It's possible that this additional Militec-1 could be available for a very long period of time, continually renewing treatment of that part of the metal surface since very little would be required for a small area.
Also, the condition of the oil is an important factor. The better the oil, the more the oil will protect the surfaces from wear and the longer the Militec-1 treatment will last. When an oil is compromised, Militec-1 can play an important role in minimising damage. However, while Militec-1 is playing this important role, it will not last as long.
Of course all of the comments about the tests are theoretical and speculative because in any one gearbox, engine, etc., the conditions can be unique and unknown without tearing it down to inspect each part, or doing more serious scientific testing.
In situations like these, we have to hope that these cases will be ones where Militec-1 will somehow show its capability. We know that it works in all metal-to-metal friction environments but how it shows itself in any one piece of equipment is subject to chance. The opposite also happens where a user has a fantastic experience using Militec-1 and expects to have the same results in every other piece of equipment. I usually tell these people that they are fortunate to have seen what they did, but this is not the norm and their expectations should be lowered (without denigrating the really important benefits that one derives from the product).