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Motor Up Xtreme Plus - Fact Or Fiction - Luke Munnell Debunking Tuning Myths

The age-old saying "there's an ass for every seat" is never more applicable than to the automotive industry. There's absolutely no shortage of gimmick-y treatments and boosters littering the shelves of automotive parts stores, promising impossible benefits with one application. And they never seem to go anywhere...meaning there are a lot of asses out there looking for a quick sit-down, but Fact or Fiction is here to change that.

We continue playing musical chairs this month, only this time, to the tune of Motor Up's Xtreme Plus, a $20 (ouch) synthetic "engine treatment" designed to do nearly every good thing under the sun to your car just by pouring it in your engine's crankcase. In the hot seat? Me, and my '93 Miata project car.

The claims:
Motor Up's packaging of Xtreme Plus is redundant to say the least. The front and back of the product's carton mirror the labeling on its bottle and repeat the same five benefits four times over.

Interestingly enough, there isn't a list of ingredients, or manufacturer's contact info, given anywhere on the product or its packaging. But upon searching the Web, we found the official Motor Up site, along with the site of one of their chief online retailers, who added one more interesting benefit to Motor Up: Reduces oil temperature.

Oh, and we also stumbled across an official complaint issued by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Motor Up...just a minor detail, we suppose...

The Test:To test acceleration of our naturally aspirated Miata, we fitted our trusty G-Tech Pro RR Power Meter to its windshield, took it to a designated non-highway testing ground, and proceeded to flog it through quarter-mile acceleration tests three times over. Don't laugh: Baseline quarter-mile acceleration averaged 16.43 seconds @ 83.0 mph.

Oil temperatures were monitored all the while, by our Auto Meter oil temperature gauge reading at the Miata's oil pan through a specially modified drain plug. Baseline oil temperatures: 206 degrees maximum; 201 degrees average.

For power numbers, we took our Miata back to the Dynojet dynamometer of MD Automotive in Westminster, Calif., owned by import/sport compact guru Mark DiBella. Strapped to the rollers, the roadster was started cold, idled to temperature, and floored through three Fourth gear pulls, resulting in an average power output of 105.4 hp and 93.9 lb-ft of torque.

Now it was time to cowboy up, and Motor Up. We poured the contents of the little silver bottle in our Miata's crankcase, said a prayer, and drove 'er home.

After tacking on about 60 highway miles, we revisited our makeshift dragstrip the next day, and began the previous day's testing over again; taking caution to test when ambient temperatures reached the same marks they had the day before.

Baseline

Quarter-Mile: 16.43 seconds @ 83.0 mph
Oil Temp: 206 degrees maximum; 201 degrees average
Power: 105.4 whp and 93.9 lb-ft of torque

Motor Up
Quarter-Mile: 16.48 seconds @ 83.1 mph
Oil Temp: 206 degrees maximum; 201 degrees average
Power: 104.8 whp and 94.0 lb-ft of torque

The verdict:
Motor Up gets no big ups from us. In fact, it straight up brought us down! Sure, it did make an extra 1/10th of a lb-ft of torque on the dyno, and an extra 1/10th of a mph faster-which could be attributed to wind force-but it lost HP and ran slower overall. We consider that a healthy fail. And after reading through the FTC complaint and resolution, we're fairly confident this is the same stuff Motor Up got in hot water over, by claiming it would reduce engine wear and prolong life, simply re-marketed by some performance enhancing characteristics. Plus, we were out $20, and that's about half as much as we paid for our Miata in the first place! As we say around here, "No bueno!"

HOTBOX
FTC vs. Motor Up
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