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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Vast amounts has been written on this, but I’m yet to find anywhere the details of what is so special about Selenia with respect to MA health.

It can’t be viscosity (that’s standard), nor APEA or other specs for all the standard metrics of oil performance such as HTHS etc.

So what is it? I’m assuming it’s a marketing/contractual deal, but happy to be corrected.

MA is just steel cylinders reciprocating in their bores. And a solenoid controlled pressure relief valve. Not particularly exciting or bizarre concepts.

Lots of people say use only Selenia or the MA will die. Why?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
And why do all the MA units (both the 1.4 and the 2.4 Tigershark) in the Nth American market use a Shell oil?
 

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“ENGINE OIL PETRONAS SELENIA Petronas Selenia products are certified directly by Fiat through the C.T.R. (Contractual Technical Reference).”

If you do have issues and you’ve used Selenia your warranty claim is easier.

“Selenia K Pure Energy is the new fully synthetic lubricant for new petrol engines*. With its low ash content it passes the new ACEA C3 specification and offers total protection of the catalyst, thereby lengthening its life cycle.”
There are other oils that satisfy the ACEA C3 requirements but not by a company that used to belong to Fiat and is referred to in the book.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
“ENGINE OIL PETRONAS SELENIA Petronas Selenia products are certified directly by Fiat through the C.T.R. (Contractual Technical Reference).”

If you do have issues and you’ve used Selenia your warranty claim is easier.

“Selenia K Pure Energy is the new fully synthetic lubricant for new petrol engines*. With its low ash content it passes the new ACEA C3 specification and offers total protection of the catalyst, thereby lengthening its life cycle.”
There are other oils that satisfy the ACEA C3 requirements but not by a company that used to belong to Fiat and is referred to in the book.
That just supports the idea it’s a mutual sales deal, nothing technical.

My question remains - whats special about Selenia, or what is it in the MA that it’s protecting?

“It’s Fiat approved” is meaningless on its own.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
C3 is a spec for protection of diesel DPFs btw - it’s not required for petrol, although it probably assists longevity.

It has a poorer HTHS spec though, which is important for an engine with flat bucket tappets...

Many many years of happy petrol catalysts on the petrol A3 spec can’t be too wrong though.
 

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It's just a manufacturer tie in with the fiat group, and had been for decades. There's nothing particularly special about the oil.

Any other oil which meets the same specifications will be just fine.

Bmw used Castrol oil for many many years but now use shell in BMW branded containers. Doesn't mean one is better than the other of that the old one is suddenly obsolete, just means the manufacturer has struck and affiliation deal with that particular brand for a certain length of time, just like they might do with an oe tyre supplier.
 

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Exactly. That’s why Ford cars have a BP sticker on them.
A quick search finds the Ford owners asking the same question Bp Fuel
 

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That just supports the idea it’s a mutual sales deal, nothing technical.

My question remains - whats special about Selenia, or what is it in the MA that it’s protecting?

“It’s Fiat approved” is meaningless on its own.
Nothing, is my guess. I used Motul X-Clean which is advertised as Multiair friendly and the dealer was happy to put it in. No issues for the three years I owned the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's just a manufacturer tie in with the fiat group, and had been for decades. There's nothing particularly special about the oil.

Any other oil which meets the same specifications will be just fine.

Bmw used Castrol oil for many many years but now use shell in BMW branded containers. Doesn't mean one is better than the other of that the old one is suddenly obsolete, just means the manufacturer has struck and affiliation deal with that particular brand for a certain length of time, just like they might do with an oe tyre supplier.
And every Renault with an ELF sticker on the back window...

Difference here is that there are some people (and Alfa dealers) who say you will destroy the MA if you use anything else. Even some owners demanding the oil be drained and replaced with selenia when a dealer put something else in.

So there is certainly plenty of mystical notions going around. I remain curious as to whether there was ever any actual technical/chemistry/metallurgical reason for it.
 

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What was the name of that old Monty Python album, Contractual Obligations? It’s just like the old Golden Lodge 2HL scam that had Alfa owners buying sparks plugs that were many times the price of single electrode ones because any other would put a hole in the piston crown. Complete bs!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In Australia, we have very poor quality high sulfer fuel, so I don’t use C3 oil due to its poor resistance to sulphur contamination/degradation (not a problem for all you Europeans ;) ).

I use what Fiat/Jeep use in the US - Shell Helix Ultra A3/B4.
 

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In Australia, we have very poor quality high sulfer fuel, so I don’t use C3 oil due to its poor resistance to sulphur contamination/degradation...

I use what Fiat/Jeep use in the US - Shell Helix Ultra A3/B4.
Yep, that’s what I use in my Giulietta Veloce, though I’ve gone over to Amsoil for my 4C.
 

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I don't have a MA, but if I did I would be perfectly happy using any good quality oil that met the correct spec.

I have never been much of a fan of Selenia anyway, ever since the 20k days and seeing how badly it caused deposits in TS engines. It was bloody expensive as well.
 

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A few misconceptions here...

Acea C3 isn't a diesel spec. It is a low SAPS spec both for diesel en petrol engines. The film strength it to the same level as A3/B4. A3 was the old petrol spec, B4 was a diesel spec. These have been joined ages ago though.

ACEA allows for 13% NOACK volatility, but the fiat specced oil allows only 10%, same as MB 229.5/51. Volatility has been linked to excess deposits in the intake and combustion chamber. The most recent fiat specs dropped the NOACK volatility limit to 8%. SAPS had been suspect in the causing deposits aswell, but theres more and more evidence debunking this lately. However, the phosporus especially can kill catalytic converters so theres another reason for the OEM to limit SAPS.

In order to meet the oxidation limits set out in ACEA testing with reduced SAPS, the base oil must be of higher quality. I do suspect that is the most significant reason for FIAT speccing a C3 oil over A3/B4. Lower volatility also pushes the base oil quality up.

Now, you can use the high base oil quality you would use for C3 oils, and make an A3/B4 that will outperform the low saps oil in some areas but since less and less OEM spec these oils they are dropping out of the market rapidly.

BTW alfa dealers over here don't use Selenia. The dealer I bought from uses Total...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Film strength (if that’s HTHS you mean) does tend to be weaker with low saps oil, but with most engines using roller cam followers these days it’s not a problem.

The 1.4 MA is unusual for a modern engine in having relatively “old school” flat tappets.

I chose the SHU for its suitability for such a design, not so worried about the catalyst.

I think C3 is specced on petrols partly because the good quality fuel in Europe allows it retain relatively long service intervals (such as we don’t get away with in the colonies...) and simple economies of scale - easier to make and market a one size fits all oil.
 

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The minimum film strenght (High temperature high shear indeed) for C# or A3/B4 oils is the same at 3.5 centiPoise. But there is no maximum. You wont find a C3 20W50 though ....

I too run an A3/B4 oil, even though I have a diesel. The tolerance for soot is higher with the higher HTHS over C2. Have another turbo to replace on a diesel car running god knows what oil, shaft broke...

Low saps oils on petrols is an issue here too, though ACEA alledges it shouldn't be. I find they are only suitable under ideal conditions for the full oil change interval, which rules out 95% of our car park. Excessive varnishing and even coking of the oil is not unusual even in small grocery getters that run less than half of the MA service interval. Id say 7500k is a realistic maximum for a lot of petrol cars if you value them. But then a lot of them are disposable after a few years, and it doesn't make sense to throw away an old car with an engine as good as new.

So I don't criticise your oil choice, I applaud it. I believe SHU carries the MB229.5 approval so should have under 10% volatility anyway.
 

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I think a lot of extended service intervals these days are a joke.

All a car manufacturer wants is for a car to reach the end of its warranty period reliably, and cost as little as possible to service to appear to fleets and other company buyers.

Cars seem to be moving towards camchains again, and modern lightweight simplex chains combined with extended intervals are a recipe for disaster.

Our Diesel G is specified to have a C2 oil, but I put in a C3 most of the time. It should give better engine protection at the expense of fuel economy, but I have never noticed a difference on the fuel economy front. It also means that I can buy in bulk and put the same stuff in my Bimmer.
 

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“I think a lot of extended service intervals these days are a joke.”
The Giulietta’s long service intervals were only on the earlier cars. The last MA I had needed a service every 9000 miles.
 

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That's probably because Alfa realised the damage it could do to cars and their reputation. Are the earlier cases of MA issues linked to dirty oil I wonder?
 

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It’s probably because the fleet sales never materialised for the Giulietta and that’s what drove the 18000 mile intervals; they could buy them cheap and sell ex-fleet at 14000 miles before needing to add a service to the running costs.
Also , the thinner oil for better emissions really couldn’t get away with it from the 2014 spec onwards.
 
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