I have been using TORCO's range of engine and gearoil for a long time but recently, the local Torco distributor also took up distributorship of UK's Millers Oils to widen his portfolio. As a result, for the past several months, I have been using and testing out four Millers Oils fluids : CFS engine oil, CRX gearbox oil, Extra-Cool radiator ' coolant', and 300 Plus brake fluid and this is my experience with them.
A very nice name, the 'CRX' is Millers Oils lubricant for manual transmissions. Prior to being introduced to Millers' CRX, I was using TORCO's SGO 'racing' gear-oil with excellent results. Then, the TORCO/Millers importer told me about Millers CRX and that it is designed for use in 'dog' gearboxes like those used in WTCC race cars. Naturally, curiosity got the better of me and I bought some for testing eventhough my car obviously does not have a dog-box. I guess this is a 'sickness' inherent in most hardcore enthusiasts.
Now, most Honda enthusiasts will describe the shifting feel of B-Series gearboxes as 'slightly notchy'. This 'notchy' characteristic is typically used to describe a slightly 'uneven' feel when engaging the next gear. As the gearstick is shifted to engage the next gear, the dog-gear feels as if it is just slightly out of rotational sync with the dog-teeth on the next helical gear, as if the synchromeshes are not able to align them exactly. As a result, there is a slight resistance like hitting a notch in the gearbox and then haveing to glide past it before completing the gearshift, i.e. as if the gearshift was not in a direct straight line but there is a very slight bend, a notch, that we have to move around in order to fully complete the shift. Hence the description 'notchy'. Owners of B-Series gearboxes should be very familiar what I am describing. Nevertheless, this notchiness is very much alleviated with later generations of gearboxes as Honda uses better synchromeshes but owners of older manual Hondas had to live with this weakness in what would otherwise be an excellent manual gearbox.
With TORCO SGO, my gearchanges are a lot smoother, better than others I have tried before. It felt as if the synchros were able to do a better job and the dog gears are accurately, or at least very very closely aligned with the next helical gear with each gearshift. The TORCO oil brings the shifting feel of the older Honda 5MTs closer to the preciseness of the multi-synchro 6MTs in the S2000 or the FD2R (for e.g.).
In use, Millers Oils' CRX was a bit 'polarizing'. It is much easier to get into 1st gear compared to SGO. With SGO, I had to force the gear-stick into first gear when the car is moving at anything slightly faster than stationary. When slowing down for a toll-gate for e.g., I can only downshift into 2nd when using TORCO SGO, unless its down to a near complete stop. Forcing a shift into 1st can and did cause gearshift grinding. With Millers Oils CRX, I could shift into 1st, even when I am only down to 10 or 15kph. However, with CRX, gearshifts are still a bit 'notchy', better than using other gearoils, but ultimately not as smooth as the TORCO oil. While TORCO SGO lets me enjoy some of the preciseness of the newer 6MTs, Millers Oils CRX reminds me my gearbox is still the Y1.
After so many months of usage, I tend to suspect the lack of smoothness with Millers CRX compared to TORCO SGO might possible be due to the generation of my gearbox. My synchros still works well but B-Series gearboxes are rather well known for their weak synchros. They lack the refinement of later generations of Honda manuals especially the 6MTs used with the KSeries or with the F20C of the S2000. Eventually I plan to shift back to TORCO gear-oil. In the TORCO USA website, SGO is no longer listed and in its place are two types; RTF and MTF. So I will most probably try out the TORCO RTF next. But I think for owners of newer Honda manual gearboxes, those with double or triple synchros, e.g. DC5s, FD2Rs, I suspect Millers CRX gearoil might work very well, with especially the ease to shift into 1st gear a very valued advantage.
Honda engine bays are not exactly roomy, a by-product of their Man-Maximum-Machine-Minimum design philosophy. This means the space used for mechanical parts of the car is squeezed to the minimum, in favour of space for the human- the cabin and the boot (trunk). With the engine completely stock, clearance are often already at the minimum. Add a turbocharger like what I did and the front of the engine clearance space to the radiator gets squeezed real tight. I myself cannot use the standard Honda cooling fan and had to use the thinner type fan meant for the air-conditioning system. The extra heat from the turbocharge now gives a form of a 'double whammy' - air circulation is already compromised by the extra components in the engine bay, compounded by the reduced air-flow capacity of the fans and now extra heat is added from the turbocharger. Water or ECT temperatures creeping up as high as 120degC used to be a common issue when stuck in very slow moving traffic jams on very hot humid days. I partially overcame it by upgrading to first, a Type-R spec radiator from the DC2 ITR and later, an aftermarket ARC aluminium radiator. But I still didn't totally fix my cooling issues.
Its logical therefore that I have always been very interested in finding a good coolant all these years. I have tried everything I could get my hands on, from the famous RedLine water-wetter, Motul, even Honda's OEM coolant. Millers Oils 'Extra Cool' is the latest I am trying and in it, I really think I may have finally found one that works well for me. With Millers Oils Extra-Cool, my water temp at traffic jams seldom exceed 110degC, no matter how hot the weather is. It really worked well in controlling water temperature.
With coolants, a great worry for me is that many common coolant, especially the generic branded ones, will cause chalky and sometimes even white gooey deposits inside our radiator. The easiest way to see them is when we open the radiator cap. The cap itself and the radiator's filler neck will have white deposits. For very bad cases, the neck might even be partially clogged with deposits due to the coolant. The photo on the right shows an extreme case of this (I found it on the internet). If the cap and the neck is this bad, chances are most of the internal radiator passages as well as the water passages inside the engine will have similar deposits and may also be partially or even completely blocked by the deposits. There goes the cooling capacity of our fancy new expensive aftermarket aluminium radiator !
Millers Oils Extra-Cool does not have this problem. This is one of the most important strength of Extra-Cool. After months of usage, the radiator cap and the filler neck of the radiator are completely clean as shown clearly in the photos below. Note that Extra-Cool, unlike typical coolants which tends to be green coloured, is slightly yellowish in colour. This gives me good confidence that the water passages inside the radiator and my engine are similarly clean as well.
So for me, my search for radiator 'coolant' has ended and I plan to use Millers Oils Extra-Cool as my coolant for good. I strongly recommend it as being very worthwhile to test out.
My staple engine oil has long been TORCO's SR-5. It has TORCO's patented zinc-based MPZ additive and I have had very good results from it. However, at the suggestion of the TORCO importer, I tested Millers Oils CFS in my last oil change (I wish to note however, that I paid for the oil).
While TORCO SR-5 has MPZ, CFS boasts 'Nanotechnology'. Millers Oils says 'millions of nano-particles' are present in their CFS and these acts like tiny ball-bearings, filling up gaps and smoothening up asperities (a fancy term for surface roughness) on opposing engine parts surfaces. They are said to work particularly well under pressure, creating an oil film on the surface of engine parts and reducing internal friction. As with all fancy oils, CFS claims reduced engine wear, more power, more torque and so forth. Actually the same claims by TORCO for their SR-1 and SR-5 MPZ oils as well. So what difference, if any, did I get from using CFS compared to SR-5 ?
Firstly, I will not make any claims on power, torque, and such because I think any differences, especially between top-quality engine oils are going to be very tough to notice and probably very minor, if any. However, there is one very big, obvious, and visible difference when using CFS versus SR-5 and it's something I totally did not expect. This is to do with my oil temperature. I have the Defi meter stack in my DA6, which comes with both a water temp and oil temp meter. When I was using TORCO SR-5, oil temp will usually go to 80-90deg C on normal usage and would follow the water temp closely, meaning when I was stuck in traffic jams and hot weather, water temp would be 100-110degC and oil temp around 100degC or higher (this is with Millers Oils Extra-Cool as coolant).
With Millers Oils CFS, I was initially shocked, because my oil temp ran low. To the extent that I wonder if my oil temp sensor might be faulty. Basically, my oil temp rarely exceeds 80degC with CFS. On a normal drive, it in fact never reaches 80degC, usually averaging around the 70-75degC. Water temp has also correspondingly become lower now, with average water temp running 80-85degC, rarely over 90degC. Now, in traffic jams on very hot, humid days, my water temp rarely ever exceeds 100degC and after months of usage, I have not seen my oil temp ever touching 100degC. Now, it cannot be that both my oil and water temp sensor decides to go faulty at exactly the same time ! On rainy days or during night drives, I usually end up with the oil temp never exceeding 75degC and water temp never reaching 90degC, no matter how fast I drive. I may not have any hard data for differences in power or engine wear, but the temp guages doesn't lie and Millers Oils CFS really do allow my engine to run cooler, significantly cooler than even the excellent TORCO SR-5. However I no longer track my DA6 regularly so I have not seen how my engine will perform with CFS on the Sepang circuit, nor on a 'Genting run'.
CFS comes in either 1l pack or 5l pack. The 5l pack is especially useful for most modified Hondas as our VTEC engines can use up engine oil to varying degrees. With an oil cooler added, my regular service is a full 4-litre for each oil change, so I have always needed some spare for the occasional top-up. With the 5l pack of Milles Oils CFS, there's plenty left over for this. I plan to continue using CFS for the future. Running on lower oil and water temperature is always a good thing as far as I am concerned !
The final Millers Oils item I am currently using is Millers Oils brake fluid, simply named '300 plus'. As with all expensive brake fluids, the bottle proclaims 'Racing Brake Fluid', same with all the other brake fluid I used before from HKS, Motul, and so forth. Millers Oils 300 plus is Super DOT-4 which is compatible with ABS equipped cars.
I am still testing the 300 plus so I don't have much feedback on it yet. Previously I have tried various brake fluid and the best was HKS Super Dot 4. However, all of them had one big problem which I dislike and that is the brake pedal still felt spongy to some degree. The brake pedal just wasn't progressive and direct enough and after fully depressed, there is an amount of 'give' if I apply more pressure on the pedal, as if the brake fluid is being compressed. I feel this is a problem with the 'floating claw', 'single pot/piston' design of the stock Honda brake caliper (I have a BB1 brake caliper swapped onto my DA6). with Millers Oils 300 plus, the brake pedal feel was improved significantly and it felt more direct and progressive with much less 'give'. Unfortunately I never had a chance to try it at the track so I still don't know how it will hold its temperature over extended heavy braking uses. I have experienced brake fluid boiling with most other brake fluids before, on the Sepang track during my earlier track-days, something which many Honda enthusiasts knows well. After using HKS Super Dot 4, I no longer had the problem (though I then experienced brake fade). But the Millers Oils distributor told me that regular trackers have reported no problems.
So for me, my most important improvement so far is the brake pedal firmness, allowing very progressive control of the brakes, helping eliminate some of the vague feel due to the stock 'floating claw' caliper design. Given the result, I very much look forward to eventually putting in my Spoon calipers and expect even better brake pedal feel after that.
So after months of trying out four different Millers Oils fluid in my DA6, I have decided to continue using three of them : CFS engine oil, Extra-Cool radiator coolant and the 300 plus 'racing' brake fluid. However, as I wrote, I will be changing back to TORCO gearoil which I find to give smoother shifting at the expense of more difficulty shifting into 1st gear at slow speeds. Still I wish to reiterate again that I think Millers Oils CRX gearoil might possibly work well with newer Honda manuals, like the 6MT on the DC5R, FD2R, etc.
While not as glamorous as modding our Hondas with things like new coil-overs or high compression pistons, the 'mundane' lubricant and fluids we use in our cars are, IMHO, extremely important. The don't deliver better performance directly but indirectly, by allowing our engine and other systems to do their job more optimally. I liken using them to using the set of right tools for a job. The right set of tools makes a job much easier and the results will be excellent. Not having the right tools can make even a simple job very difficult and mess up the results. Similarly, having good engine oil and other necessary fluids will allow our car to perform at its optimum, and maximize the improvements from our mods.
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