Scuttlebutt and rumor—driven by ignorance, profit motive or competition—is that the Phillips AW and Plus Victory oils do the same thing as the CamGuard additive. This may be partially true with respect to anti-wear performance, but some buyers and retailers incorrectly interpret this as the CamGuard product actually being blended in with these oils.
In a recent online forum, it was stated that one lube distributor was ditching the CamGuard product because it was already in the Victory blend. It is not.
THE LYCOMING AD
Phillips AW100 and 20W-50AW contain an additive that qualifies them as compliant for the FAA’s Lycoming AD 80-04-03 R2, which deals with lifter and cam wear. It was initiated for the O-320-H2AD engine, and then applied to a few others. See Lycoming Service Bulletins 446E and 471B, and Service Instruction 1409C.
On a side note, all oils utilize additives to enhance performance. Without them, oil simply lubricates and carries heat away from pistons and cylinders. Except for break-in and mineral oil, all aviation oil has an ashless dispersant additive. Additional additives are added for multi-viscosity, anti-wear, anti-scuff, anti-corrosion and deposit control, whatever the goal is. Two oils—Aeroshell Plus and the relatively new Phillips Victory oils—have a phosphate ester anti-wear additive to make them compliant with that Lycoming AD. But engine ADs aside, additives are easy to market.
Flash back to 2006, when the CamGuard additive was officially accepted by the FAA. Back then you hardly ever heard much about additives in stock oil blends. And, almost immediately after CamGuard became somewhat of a competitor, reinforced when Aviation Consumer did its own analysis, vouching for CamGuard’s claimed benefits.
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
CamGuard said it has no interest in competing with Phillips or Aeroshell. Both are identified by the company (at tradeshows and in its literature) as excellent oils. Instead, the company markets CamGuard as a comprehensive additive package that provides the oil with the ability to address four major problems associated with all internal combustion and aviation engines. Wear is just one of these problems.
Ed Kollin, the formulation chemist who developed CamGuard, said that corrosion and deposit control were the biggest factors in reduced engine life. People could see rust and the devastating effect it had on cams and lifters, and they saw the benefits of CamGuard use in relatively short order. “Now you have the two major oil companies competing with an additive company, and it is only natural that through this competition, rumors come out claiming that CamGuard, or the equivalent chemistry, is in these oils, when nothing could be further from the truth,” Kollin said. Kollin stressed that they lack the corrosion (rust) control that protects the cams, lifters and cylinders, while maintaining compression. The deposit control protects the rings and cylinders from accelerated wear.
The new Victory oil does contain the anti-wear additive TPP (triphenyl phosphate)—a close relative of TCP (tricresyl phosphate, a methylated triphenyl phosphate). Several phosphate esters qualify for Lycoming’s LW-16702, an approved anti-scuffing agent. See Lycoming’s Service instruction 1409C, dating back to 2009.
Worth mentioning is that TCP is no longer used because of severe neurotoxicity potential. Neither TCP nor triphenyl provide optimal anti-wear performance. This is because they are too stable to form anti-wear films on the moving engine parts. The efficacy in oil and the amount of wear it reduces is compromised by this need for safety. What it does do is protect Lycoming from warranty claims if the product is not used.
Regardless, engine owners who decide that using the new Victory oil or the Aeroshell Plus oil as a standalone should consider that they may not be getting anywhere near the comprehensive protection that CamGuard offers with its blended chemicals.
CamGuard is not cheap, but its ingredients might offer some reassurance when an engine sits for longer periods than its owner might like. The eleven components in CamGuard are modern chemicals, not the antiquated components developed in the 1950s. The contentious dialogue and claims from either the oil companies or sales guys in a booth are really unnecessary. Pure economics dictates that if the Plus and Victory oils contained the same additives, in the same amounts as CamGuard, then the price per quart would be much higher.
CamGuard adds cost to an oil change; however, when used with Aeroshell 80 or 100 or Phillips XC blends, I think it is still the most economical way to protect an engine—whether it sits for a while or flies every day.