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Thoughts on synthetic oil in old engines.


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#1 CraftsmanGT OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 04:22 PM

What's the general thought on using synthetic oil in old engines? Reason I ask is I use Shell diesel 5W40 year round (0-90+F) in a newer 12.5hp Briggs and a newer 5hp Briggs, I was wondering if it'd be ok for year round use in a Wisconsin TR10D? It's easier buying 1 oil for everything. Thanks.
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#2 Bolens 1000 ONLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 05:49 PM

I do not recomend it, these old engines were not designed for that and need regular oil, preferably with zinc added

Several shops and engine manufactures have told me not to use synthetic in these older engines


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#3 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 06:08 PM

Here is my understanding of synthetics:

 

The uniform polymers allow a multi-viscosity oil with fewer additives.  Since there are fewer additives the break down is less significant and you can get longer service life from the oil.  Problem is over that longer life it picks up more contaminants.  They add extra detergent to the oil to prevent the contaminant (dirt) load from causing sludge.

 

On an older engine gaskets and seals my not be too great, but sludge build up keeps them from leaking.  That extra detergent can wash off the sludge and leaks appear.  This the reason for the belief that synthetic oil can cause older engines to "leak".

 

For me, I'd rather use a conventional oil and change it more frequently.  That way I don't have to worry about uncovering leaks or having a load of dirt flowing with the oil.

 

I am a huge fan of diesel oil.  It's got lots of zinc and other additives that are good for engines but will ruin a catalytic converter so aren't in gasoline engine specific oils.  I run diesel 15W40 in my motorcycles and all the power equipment that is out-of-warranty.


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#4 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 06:13 PM

Back in the late 70's when Mobil 1 first came out  decided I would use it in my 1973 Gran Torino.

I was changing oil every 2500 miles and the extended use Mobil 1 was to be a 12,000 mile oil, with a new filter (and 1 quart) add at 6,000.

The Mobil 1 was $5 a quart (less than the cheap stuff now) and I figured that I would be saving money at 12,000 miles.

Well after going to the Mobil 1, I needed a quart of oil at 1,000 miles so I added a quart,

Again after another 1,000 mile it needed a quart of oil. I added a total of 3 quarts of oil ($15) to the already $25 worth of oil.

I was afraid it was going to take a quart every 1,000 miles and that would be 12 quarts at $5 + the original 5 quarts for a total of $85 and the same12,000 miles changing at 3,000 miles was only costing probably $40 including filters!

 

I went back to the old stand-by "Dino-Oil" and never had to add a drop!


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#5 Jazz OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 06:31 PM

i would stick with "Dino OiL" on engines that did not come from factory with synthetic. I would like to use synthetic in my daily driver however its not recommended .  Sure makes for easier starting. My wifes Toyota runs only synthetic and spins over easily in very cold temps.


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#6 MFDAC OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 08:55 PM

I have never used synthetic in small engines but have in automotive with excellent results racing and terrible results on the street, All using Amsoil. Best thing we ever did with race engines, operating temps went down 20* or more and only changed the oil every 3rd or 4th show VS every show before.

 

I finally decided to try it in a '05 Chrysler mini van with under 50,000 on it that the wife had for awhile. I was laid up with an illness so my brother-in-law offered to do her oil change as he was an Amsoil dealer. I was well enough a month or so later and checked the oil, almost 2 qts down. Added 2 and same thing at another 1000 miles. Engine was not leaking. I changed the oil back to dino and the consumption stopped.

 

Like a dummy I tried it in my daughters '95 Camry which at the time had about 115,000. on it. She got to college, 400 miles away and called with stressful news. "It's dripping oil and the light comes on. It's still above add on the dipstick" I asked her if the light would go out at certain rpms and she said yeah. I told her to drive as little as possible and when she comes home at Christmas break to check the oil every stop and drive at whatever RPM the light stays off at. When she got home I changed back to dino oil and no problem but one small leak still persists to this day with now about 170,000 on it. My wife and I drive it now as she bought herself a new car last January.

 

Sorry long story--I have one more about synthetics on the street to but that was enough!!

 

DAC


Edited by MFDAC, November 22, 2016 - 08:57 PM.

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#7 adamjd200 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 22, 2016 - 09:21 PM

I use Shell T1 30W diesel oil in all my old engines, for snow blowers I use Penzoil 10W-30, My truck gets 10W-30 full synthetic changed every 5,000miles, many shops around here put 5W-30 or 5W-20 in all cars and light trucks(gas) but it's too thin for older vehicles like my '99 Ram.


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#8 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 05:17 AM

Lets face it...our old high mileage street vehicles just don't like the synthetics....UNLESS they started out using synthetics!


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#9 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 07:33 AM

Have an '04 Chevy with 170K+ miles.  At 125K changed over to Quaker State Hi  Mileage.  Change every 3000 miles or close and is usually down 3/4 qt if not doing any heavy pulling.  All my smaller engines use 10W-40 except the one hard worked with plow, tiller or disc run straight 30 W.  Never thought much of the synthetic oil.  Big claims with a big price and most don't work out they way they claim.


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#10 karel OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 07:54 AM

I have a Toyota Tacoma 2.4 engine with 298,000  Royal purple on it. I use Walmart syn, in all my small engines with excellent results. no leaks, no smoke and no wear. You keep using conventional, somebody has to keep thease old refineries pumping their sludge. Its like some people keep listening to their AM radio! and won't give it up. because its force of habit!


Edited by karl, November 23, 2016 - 07:59 AM.

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#11 mtoney OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 09:05 AM

Just make sure your oil your using is for diesel engines with the spec rating for such.  Normal oils such as valvoline or whatever brand you might pick up at the auto parts store do not have enough zinc in them to protect the cam shaft and tappets.  Diesel oil does have this.  Zinc has been removed from normal automotive oils to help with emissions and car engines are set up for this type of oil   Older small engines or anything with flat tappet (non roller) cams are prone to wear on the lobes.  The oil we stock here at the JD dealership where I work are formulated for small engine use in all the various weights we sell.  I just run Shell Rotella T in all my small engines as I have it on hand for my diesel pickup.  Just makes things simple that way, and they run just fine on it.   Mike


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#12 MiCarl ONLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 09:08 AM

I have a Toyota Tacoma 2.4 engine with 298,000  Royal purple on it. I use Walmart syn, in all my small engines with excellent results. no leaks, no smoke and no wear. You keep using conventional, somebody has to keep thease old refineries pumping their sludge. Its like some people keep listening to their AM radio! and won't give it up. because its force of habit!

 

Actually synthetic gets pumped out of the ground too.

 

Oil is a polymer, it's kind of like those children's beads that snap together.  Each bead is a "mer".  Within limits you can snap them together to make any length chain you want (a polymer).  When oil comes out of the ground there is an assortment of lengths all mixed together.

 

The first synthetic oils were made by breaking polymers up into the individual mers and then re-assembling into molecules of uniform length.  Later, some smart guy figured out how to sort the molecules in crude oil so he could obtain uniform length molecules without breaking them apart and re-assembling.

 

There was a lawsuit about whether this sorted oil was a synthetic.  The courts ruled that as long as it is identical to the assembled molecule it is the same thing and therefor also synthetic.

 

To my knowledge, all synthetic oil today is separated directly from crude rather than made in a factory.

 

By the way:  The advantage of uniform length polymers is they give yield a wider multi-viscosity range than a mixture.  This means you can get a multi-viscosity oil (say 10W40) with fewer viscosity modifying additives.  Those additives break down with use (a 10W40 conventional oil eventually becomes a straight 10W if you use it long enough).  So you can run a "synthetic" longer because it is less dependent on the additives for its multi-viscosity properties.


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#13 crittersf1 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 01:04 PM

The "diesel" oils don't have much zinc anymore


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#14 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted November 23, 2016 - 06:15 PM

I tried synthetic in an older engine and it blew up! Won't use that again!


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#15 old coot OFFLINE  

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Posted November 24, 2016 - 04:36 AM

i've seen way to many problems switching from dino to synthetic oils... I think synthetic oils are way over rated ,myself i'll stay old school, just my thoughts


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