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Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

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Old 03-16-2006, 02:28 AM
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Default Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

I was curious if anybody had read the article called "The Great Castor Oil Conspiracy" written by Brian Winch in his column "The Oily Hand" in the February 2006 issue of R/C Report magazine. He talks about castor being corrosive and wonders why even high quality degummed low acidity castor is even used at all anymore with all the advancements in engine metallurgy and synthetic oil. He uses strictly synthetic blends in all his engines and says even after running many gallons (44 in one example) his engines still look virtually new inside. It was a very comprehensive article and got me thinking I should drop castor oil completely. I know castor still probably has better resistance against lean runs than synthetic, but just making sure the setting is always on the rich side, which is good practice always, seems worth the effort to eliminate any chance of corrosion, gumming, and varnishing. What do you think? Much ado about nothing or should it be taken seriously?
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:16 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

I read that article and I think the guy is wrong, I have 112 engines, all have castor in them and most have had for a long time. There is no sign of corrosion, no sign of rust. I,m going to keep right on using it. Sometimes people dream up something like that just so they can say something.
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Old 03-16-2006, 09:48 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Wasn't there one little blurb in one sentence about him not having access to really good castor?

Ed M.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:39 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Brian Winch is the reason I stopped my subscription to Airborne magazine many years ago. His "engine tests" are all cut and paste from other tests and he never says anything bad about any engine. Except for one which wasn't sold by any of the advertisers in the magazine. His grasp of physics is laughable, I showed one piece he wrote to my young daughter and even she knew it was rubbish. Castor corrosive? I don't know where he's getting his castor from but it certainly can't be Castrol M which is very widely available in Australia and most definitely doesn't cause corrosion. At least, it hasn't in the last 45 years or so I've been using it in every single engine I've ever owned.

He's made a name for himself because he writes for so many magazines but it's difficult for most people to pick out the good stuff from the bad. As torque wrench says, I think he's running out of ideas and just trying to stir something up.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:57 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report


ORIGINAL: downunder

As torque wrench says, I think he's running out of ideas and just trying to stir something up.
I'm sure glad that never happens here at RCU.
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:42 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

I think Brian suffers from poor source of good degummed Castor oil. He has his opinion. Remember most of the fuel in Austrailia is home brew. When he speaks of using Cool Power he is talking about the oil not the Morgan Fuel you get in the states.

I did send a message to Gordon RE Brian Winch's diatribe against Castor oil. He is doing a disservice to US users.

Got a reply saying he got the message.

I no longer use fuel that is exclusively synthetic. If it does not have Castor, I add some. I use mostly 2C fuel anyway for both 2C and 4C engines.

Cheers,

Chip
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Old 03-16-2006, 05:30 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

He is exagerating the obvious. Castor oils is about 80% ricinoleic acid.

Structural Formula Of Ricinoleic Acid

HOO-C-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH=CH-CH2-CHOH-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH3

As you can see it is actually a very long hydocarbon. It is a very very weak acid and does not attack metal. Most hydrocarbons and alcohols are slightly acidic.
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Old 03-16-2006, 08:42 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

I have run lots of straight castor fuel, a fair amount of straight synthetic fuel, and have settled on blended. I think striaght castor does run gummier than straight synthetic. but synthetic seems less forgiving of hot runs. A few % of cstor seems to be the ticket. I did get some synthetic fuel for some ABC engines I am running, just to see if there is any difference.

You also noticed Brian's comment about good grade of castor available here.

As for Castor and WW1 pilots running for the bathroom. Well I doubt that breathing a snoot full of synthetic oil would have been a lot healthier!

Note he recommended 25% sytnthetic oil & 30% nitro. RUN PROPERLY (ie NOT lean) this will actually yield a lot of power on a richer (and cooler) needle setting. Run lean and it will get VERY hot and nasty on engine parts!
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:19 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Wow, I feel much better about castor again. It did make me wonder why I have never had problems with it. I like using both methods as needed for each application. I think one would be better off worrying about keeping moisture out of the bearings when not in use. Now there's a damaging fluid.
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Old 03-17-2006, 12:14 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

ORIGINAL: wcmorrison
Remember most of the fuel in Austrailia is home brew.
A salient point.

Sadly, most users in my primary club (200+ members) wouldn't know what the castor they are buying was/is, nor do those who do the purchasing if you question them. Castor oil is castor oil is the prevailing attitude. Uhuh! Cheapest seems to be 'popular', and as we all know, cheapest is usually neither degummed nor 1st grade.

When he speaks of using Cool Power he is talking about the oil not the Morgan Fuel you get in the states
Yup.

I no longer use fuel that is exclusively synthetic.
I do think it can be done, safely. But for the average bod...it's not a good idea. It is undeniably cleaner and offers sufficient lubricity - as long as the film is not burnt away.

If it does not have Castor, I add some.
Can I say me too. Nothing like sufficient oil volume for adequately dissipating heat, and castor adds that little bit of viscosity and temperature resilience for our broiling 35+ deg C summers. I use 3 to 4% castor (20% of the total oil volume) in my fuel brews. I use first grade degummed, but it is as expensive and difficult to source. Not available at my club or most hobby shops except in absurdly priced 500ml or pint containers.

Cheap non-degummed castor does make a mess though. Not even talking about the viscous goop it leaves on your model, but the external bake 'n internal carbon buildup.

Corrosive? Call me skeptical.

Winch? He's a journalist which naturally suggests he's influenced in staying published and the remuneration, also benefiting from the quid pro quo. No-one who who reports honestly how it is against the commercial interest of the supplying sponsors will get published for long. The remaining magazines raison d'etre is advertising and the 'articles' such as the hardlly guised sponsored product promos can be called are just a delivery vehicle for target advertising. Rubbishing castor, promoting synthetics specifically with mention of Coolpower (oil) as he does in every second breath. Ask "whose relationships benefit" from such an accusation? Not to disparage Coolpower as a good synthetic oil which it is, but there's the more likely the truth of the matter.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:07 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

The cool power oil available from Morgan is the same oil used to mix the cool power fuel.
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:03 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

cheapest is usually neither degummed nor 1st grade.
Degummed is nothing but marketing hype. The best castor is Bakers AA, it is simply the oil from the first pressing. That is the beans are pressed till the shell is broken and compressed. After draining it is filtered and poured into containers. Baker's A is the second pressing, the beans are pressed as much as possible to get the oil out then filtered and poured into containers. The second pressing will contain gum and other impurities from the bean shell, it is not golden in color but slighty greenish. Nothing is done to Bakers AA to get rid of gum, but there never was any gum to begin with.
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Old 03-17-2006, 11:05 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

but it is as expensive and difficult to source.
Look outside of the hobby shop, Sig's sells it, but it is cheaper from Morgans and Fox manufacturing. Not expensive either.
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Old 03-17-2006, 05:55 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report


ORIGINAL: MOTORMAN37
The cool power oil available from Morgan is the same oil used to mix the cool power fuel.
Thanks MOTORMAN37, we are already well aware of that.

Didn't think a lot of discernment was required to comprehend the point that we can pick up Morgan Coolpower oil from every second LHS outlet here, but obtaining pre-mixed Coolpower fuel of any description is like searching for rocking horse sh1t! Only rich kids buy pre-mixed fuel in Australia, because (A) pre-mix costs between double and quadruple what we can mix our own for (US Gal quantities) ; (B) irregularity of stable supply; (C) unavailability of range of alternative formulations.

Because it'd be commercially futile promoting CoolPower fuel when it's pragmatically unobtainable, one might suppose thats why BW perpetually mentions CoolPower oil ....except when he's writing an promo article for another advertising sponser selling an alternative brand product when surprise, surprise Gomer....guess which brand fuel and/or oil distributed by which distributer rates the mention during the "engine test" exercise and review? Of course it could all be consistant coincidence and the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy might be real..just I haven't seen them yet.
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:13 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

ORIGINAL: Sport_Pilot
Degummed is nothing but marketing hype.
Not according to the indications on either the outside or inside of my engines, even when used as the only oil -ie: not mixed with synthetic. [link=http://www.tnet.com.au/~lion/Pro-Glow_Products.htm]This[/link] is what I use. First press or "1st grade" "degummed" with surfectants if on its own, without if mixing with Klotz Techniplate. Scroll down the bottom until you come to PG-218 & 219.

Big difference in the viscosity and mess associated with rubbish castor, Castrol M (which is almost as exensive) or this one which is first press. No comparison. Of course it's easy for the skeptics to believe otherwise until they have used the three. The local favourite Castrol M is sooooooo over-rated and overpriced.

The best castor is Bakers AA, it is simply the oil from the first pressing.
See above. No argument with Baker's AAA. It's a good product, just not marketed in Australia until recently (SIG), although even now only in pint and quart volumes (useless to me) and ranks between quite difficult to impractical obtain. <sigh>

Nothing is done to Bakers AA to get rid of gum, but there never was any gum to begin with.
The semantics of the labelling "degummed" are moot. Misnomers abound in contemporary marketing.
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:26 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

That guy has written complete nonsense from article one. Just about everything he writes goes against the conventional wisdom of all the engine manufacturers, writers, and engine designers like Clarence Lee, George Aldrich, Peter Chinn and Dave Gierke. I don't even read his column anymore. The engine columns were ALWAYS the first things I read in all the hobby mags.
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:57 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Funny, Lee and all the others claim Bakers AA is degummed. I guess they don't know what they are talking about. They've only been using the stuff for 50 or 60 years and design engines. You can buy medicinal Castor oil and it's not degummed. I know, I had to drink the crap when they were checking me for butt cancer. Medicinal castor can not be used in model fuel because it will carbon up the engine in no time. It is NOT degummed.

As far as being corrosive??? I have been using Hobby Shack White Lightning fuel for 20 years. It is 100% castor oil lube. 10% nitro and the balance straight methanol. I have been using an old BOLT ON head Saito 45 since 1982. After 24 years I finally had to replace the bearings. Rust?? None. Any corrosion?? Nada. They finally just wore out.
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Old 03-19-2006, 10:38 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

You can buy medicinal Castor oil and it's not degummed.
You cannot use Baker A castor in medicinal castor because it is more likely to contain small amounts or ricin poisen. Medicinal castor is Bakers AA which has been tested for traces of ricin poisen. The extra test raises the price considerably. It can be used in model engines. I have used it in a pinch for 1/2 A engines, no problem. There is no process to remove the gum, except possibly the filtering which is done on all grades. All castor will gum up in time. Castor which has been blown, is drying castor which will dry and harden. This is made for the painting industry and is used to add flexibility to oil based paints. Perhaps this is the cheap castor that some called gummed?

IMO Clarance Lee is a good machinest, not an engineer. He has repeated a lot of myths in his articles. Peter Chinn however only reported what he knew to be true. Though since the industry seems to refer to castor oil as degummed, I wouldn't be suprised if he repeated this.
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:32 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Sport...Bakers AA is what Sig sells. I just bought another jug yesterday....says so right on the bottle, as it has for decades.

It also is labeled right on the front "NOT FOR MEDICINAL PURPOSES".

That's OK, because I really didn't plan on taking a shot of it...

So anyhow...


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Old 03-20-2006, 06:23 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

AA, Pale Press and Technical Grade are all different names for the same thing. Different companies call it different things.
All castor that is suitable for a lubricant or medicinal purposes is degummed.

Castor in fuel is a good thing.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:14 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

ORIGINAL: sigrun
The local favourite Castrol M is sooooooo over-rated and overpriced.
Could you expand on that? $8/litre seems ok to me. However, your post persuaded me to take the head off my G51 to see what it was like inside. The photo shows the result of 30 hours of running with 25% Castrol M.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:17 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

says so right on the bottle
Says what? Degummed? The same oil used for say industrial, chemical, or other purpose will say noting about gum. It is a long standing model hobby marketing hype. May have been used for castor motor oil also. There is no actual gum removal. The gum you get from sitting up is simply oxidized castor. Blown castor is partially oxidized, it may seem to have gum. Bakers A may have gum, but it is actually not removed from Bakers AA, the first press has no gum to removed. It actually is a poor way of expressing the truth. There is no gum in the oil, but there was actually no process to remove the gum. I guess gumless didn't sound right. Sounds like it has poor dental work.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:36 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Sport...you're getting what I (clearly) wrote out of context.

The bottle says "Pure AA Castor". It makes no reference to "Gummed, de-gummed, bubble gummed" or other.

The amount of yap-yap on the internet about "gum" is enough to make one's jaw ache. Does nothing but confuse those who aren't familiar with the product.

AA castor. Maybe it's got GOBS of gum in it. I don't care. It's always worked like a charm.

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Old 03-20-2006, 11:17 AM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

Fuelman,

He isn't going to listen to you. You know and I know and the powers that be know that there is such thing as a degummed castor oil. The difference is obvious in the use. Run non degummed oil in an engine and watch how fast it carbons up.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:48 PM
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Default RE: Article about Castor Oil in R/C Report

ORIGINAL: downunder
Could you expand on that? $8/litre seems ok to me.
Sure. Those who buy Castrol M at my clubs today pay 2006 pricing, not 1993 pricing.

However, your post persuaded me to take the head off my G51 to see what it was like inside. The photo shows the result of 30 hours of running with 25% Castrol M.
Show us the image of the outside -BEFORE - you cleaned the baked on brown scum and gummy goo off.

Times change, people move on even if in 2006 the occasional oddball can still present a showroom example of a 1972 Datsun 180B with 30,000km on the clock which has been religiously polished every week and kept garaged its whole life. Your post proves what exactly? That Castrol M lubricates? I don't believe anyone including myself inferred it didn't. It carbonises too.

I like my engines to still look like that (or cleaner on the inside) at 200hrs running, not 30...but on the outside as well without having them look like a bad cook's attempt to bake a cake. [X(]

Whether you accept it or not, the fact remains that there are simply better lubricants and superior quality Castors available in 2006 for the same or better pricing. But of course, no-one is forcing you to use them. If we can accept that, you should too. it doesn't mean you're somehow less worthy because in your stubbornness you prefer to remain an anachronism.

Castrol M. Overrated locally = yes. Overpriced locally = yes. Thank you for playing. You are the weakest link. Good-bye. [sm=lol.gif]
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