The world of automotive fluids is one filled with all kinds of stuff that promises to add horsepower, improve octane and make your engine cook breakfast for you in the morning. It can be tough to see any value in most fluids since most drivers due just fine on the recommended manufacturer fluids and fuels. Ever since I started tuning I realized that the basic manufacturer recommendations don't really cut it when you start pushing your equipment at the edges of and beyond it's designed tolerances. I first realized this in my first tuned car a 1995 Monte Carlo LS with a little 3.1v6 that I was beating the hell out of. I noticed that even with normal oil change intervals that I was seeing thickening of the oil and feeling some graininess in the fluid (carbon, varnish, metal and other solids).
Fearing for my hard work I started trying better fluids. Never a fan of additives I went right to full synthetic oils sending samples in and getting lab reports to review. I also started pushing to see how far I could take fluids as these premium fluids often came at a much higher cost than your off the shelf oils. I went through the brands many folks who push their cars try such as Mobile1, Royal Purple, Redline and AMSOil. With my last tuner car I stuck with AMSOil happy with the lab reports and the fact that I could safely go 15-25k on a single oil change as long as I changed out the filter every 5-7k.
After a nearly 8 year break from tuning the Fusion (damn turbos!) sucked me back in and I found very quickly that my favorite AMSOil did not seem to be the quality i once remembered, it really almost reminded me of the older off-the-shelf oils I used back in my early tuning days. After doing some research I discovered that the automotive oil industry changed a bit over the years and was even changing quite a bit while I was still using AMSOil in my Monte Carlo. Synthetic is now just a marketing term and may not be what you want anyway. Oils are mass produced for the widest applications possible and for the most common cars on the road.
From more research I found that Direct Injected, turbocharged engines like the ecoboost platform have made ever higher demands on the fluids that allow them to operate. Manufactures have worked with fluid makers and the EPA to create common fluids that are "good enough" for most usages but actively degrade modern engines in ways that would have been considered unacceptable just 15-20 years ago particularly with the carbon build up DI engines create on their valves.
I wanted something better and so I started digging, fortunately as I started looking a member of EcoboostPerformanceForum and 2GFusions started posting about his success with a small firm called BND Automotive. The claims made by ZDyne/Zalvern in his post seem preposterous and exceed even some of what many other "magic" fluids would claim. However Zdyne and some other members tried out BND stuff and started reporting very surprising results.
So I did some digging. BND (Brian Needs Dollars) Automotive is founded by an ex-oil industry chemical engineer that spent nearly three decades developing custom oil blends and fluids for aerospace and military applications. Deciding to strike out on his own Brian founded BND and started producing botique custom fluid blends for his fellow Dodge Hemi fans. Over the last decade and a half BND has expanded to nearly 17,000 customers all over with applications ranging from race teams, to daily drivers and even tractors. Everything is mixed for your specific application and after lots of digging in forums and the internet in general I have yet to find any negative comments about the fluids and additives that BND makes. There seem to be, in general, only two types of folks when it comes to BND; those who have used it and those who haven't. This was odd, you normally see some flame wars about different fluids. Maybe because its so small a company still.
I decided to call up Brian at BND and we had a long discussion about his business, his process and history. I was well impressed with the conversation and left it feeling he was either a brilliant chemical engineer, a brilliant saleman or both. So we discussed pricing (every order is custom and prices are not listed) and his stuff turned out to be, for me, not much more costly than AMSOil so I decided to order up a round of fluids for my Fusion to try out.
The whole package had just recently arrived at my door and in the last 5 days I have started by just putting some AcesIV in my gas tank. I noticed a difference right away, a bit more power, smoother running, higher MPG and it looks like a bit more timing advance but I added the additive right as temps dropped so maybe its just boost season? So I just yesterday put some AcesIV in my '12 Fiesta SES (1.6NA) and let my fiancee drive it. She came back from errands just this afternoon and is telling me she is a bit shocked at how well her car ran in mid-70s weather with high humidity and found the car accelerating much more quickly than expected. I drove the Fiesta this evening and it does seem a bit quicker and sounds smoother particularly at idle.
Of course this is only a few days of toying with the additive and I need to get the other fluids in the car. I am going to keep an eye on my datalogs and look for better timing advance over my next couple trips to the track. In the next week or so I will also get all my fluids changed out. Based on the pricing and my reading this stuff can't be any worse than the AMSOil i am using now so at WORST I overpaid for this round of fluids. At best I may have found a complete replacement for my AMSOil addiction.
I also plan on giving some AcesIV to sthulin @ 2gfuions in hopes of getting someone a bit less invested in trying the additive. For all I know I am just biased having spent money at this point.
More to come, more to learn, more to review; keep an eye on this blog for updates on my use of BND and more.