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Great truck advice (Dan H.)

Mike D_7
Mike D_7 Member Posts: 22
I like synthetic oils, but I question their cost effectivness as an engine oil unless you take advantage of the extended oil change intervals they allow.

I use synthetic oils in all my vehicles, 2006 E450 motorhome (w/V10), 03 Honda CRV and a old Suzuki Sidekick (w/18oK+) I change my engine oil at 10,000 miles or at least once a year.

I like them for the extended service life the oils provides. I use a 5W-30 in the Ford and the Honda cause I can't bring myself to use a 5W-20 oil, even though all the vehicle companies now recommend them for their reduced friction & fuel savings.

In my opinion, don't waste your money on synthetics as engine oil unless you take advantage of the extended milage they allow.

I do like synthetics for automatic transmissions, hydraulics, power steering and differentials. The longer time between changes makes them cost effective.

I've seen synthetic oils lower the operating temperature of automatic transmissions and extend the life of other components it's used in.

Heat is the greatest enemy of power steering and automatic transmissions. Seals deteriorate faster as temperatures go up.

By the way, "Synthetic" oils are usually made from petroleum, just like regular oil. They are produced using refining techniques that allow for a higher quality oil. They can be made from totally non organic sources, but the stuff we use isn't.

There is no legal, SAE, or other standard to define "synthetic" as used in lubricants! Read ALL the writing on the oil can and you might see them hedge their "all synthetic" claim. It's still good oil, just hyped a little.

Keep in mind I'm giving my opinion. I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy, and my life in fleets has sold me on the idea that preventive maintenance is cheaper than "breakdown" maintenance.

Mike D


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    This is from Mike D.

    Mike has received heating help from this site and wants to repay us by sharing his knowledge. Thanks, Mike!

    Help Your Truck Help You

    If anyone has knowledge they'd like to add to Hot Tech Topics, please let me know and I'll publish it under your byline, along with a link to your company's website if you'd like.
    Retired and loving it.
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • bruce_21
    bruce_21 Member Posts: 241

    Great stuff! Thanks for the wake-up call.
    What oil change interval is appropriate for a manual trans? I've got 160K on my Toyota 5 speed.
  • Rich Kontny_5
    Rich Kontny_5 Member Posts: 116

    In construction we always say, "paybacks are hell" In this case it is quite the opposite. You compliment, share your talents and expertise all in one post!

    It is what this site is all about!

    Thanks Mike great advice!

    Rich Kontny

    Make Peace your Passion!
  • Mike D_7
    Mike D_7 Member Posts: 22

    Thanks for the comments. It's good to know I can give a little back.

    Every two years is a good schedule for manual transmissions.

    Be sure to check your owner's manual and be sure the service guy uses the recomended fluid for you truck. A lot of the Japanese companies have very specific fluid requirements. Make sure your service man uses the correct fluid. "We never have a problem with what we use." is lame. The guy who uses non-approved fluids never knows if the component's service life is cut in half.

    Sorry to say, but a lot of folks think owning tools makes them a mechanic. I'll bet your trade has them too. We call them "parts changers" and other stuff I can't say here. Give the rest of us a bad name. Reading you vehicle's service recomendations in the owner's manual is good insurance. Never hesitate to ask questions. The real pros will be glad to work with someone who can apreciate the extra their skills bring to the table.

    Don't forget keeping your battery filled with water too. (as long as it's not a sealed one.) Tap water is fine as long as you don't have real hard water.

    Oh yah, the most important thing.....
    When you have a problem with your vehicle. Tell the mechanic all you can about the symptoms. What you heard, felt, smelled, etc. Tell him when it happens. I.E. On first start of the day, when it's driven a while or fist run, etc. Is it worse when it's hot out? When your climb ing a hill. That sort of stuff. try to notice what's going on when a problem shows up.

    We trouble shoot the same way you do. Avoid supplying your own diagnosis unless your sure. Such as "The stater need to be replaced." Cause if you do, he might just change the starter, and never check the low battery condition that ruined the old starter (or was the actual problem)

    I hope this info makes your life easier. It made mine easier.

    Mike D
  • Metro Man
    Metro Man Member Posts: 220
    sin - oil

    Mike's what's your take on the the synthetic oils. Been thinking of changing out next time on vehicles.

    Worth the money or????

    01 Chevy 5.4? V8 has 110K
    02 Ford 4.2? V6 has 115K
    95 Ford 4.9 STRT 6 has 157K
    95 Chevy 4.3 V6 has 190K

    All have K/N air fiters that are cleaned reg.

    All run fine, change oil reg., service when broke, knock on wood.

  • Metro Man
    Metro Man Member Posts: 220

    Thanks Mike,

    I would be looking at this as a potentially getting better gas milage and performance. There have been a lot of claims of 2 - 4 mpg better after switching. Don't mind changing @ 3K... makes you at least look under truck to see what's going on.

    I'm with you on the light weights... seem a little too low on scale. Will engine spin w/ less friction with the lighter weights.. and if true then lighter not syn. will get better millage?

    Maybe I'll change to 2w - 8w and put electric fan on motor!!!!

    Metro Man
  • Mike D_7
    Mike D_7 Member Posts: 22

    Dave, I believe the synthetics are better oils. I have seen that frequent
    enough oil changes with a good quality non-synthetic seems (in my
    experience) to get the same life out of engines.

    I know that both Fedex and Ryder did long term studies with a variety of
    synthetic oils and concluded they were not cost effective for them. With
    all of that, I use them. I've never noticed any improvement in mileage in
    my vehicles.

    As for engine oil weights and friction, yes the thinner the oil, the better
    the fuel mileage. That's as long as the oil can maintain a film of oil on
    the engine parts. On the other hand, the thinner the oil, the easier it
    leaks out and is burned. You pay your money and take your choice. In my
    Suzuki I run Castrol 5W-50 to reduse oil consumption.

    F.Y.I. The S.A.E oil viscosity test works this way. A standard volume of
    oil, heated to 180 degrees F is timed as it leaks through a funnel shaped
    device (heated to the same temperature). 30 weight oil runs out in 30
    seconds, 40 weight in 40 seconds, etc.
    For the W (winter) rating the oil is cooled to 0 degrees F. and put in the
    same device (also cooled to zero). The hole is larger and 5W oil runs out
    in the same amount of time (at zero degrees F) as straight 5 weight oil
    would at zero.

    So 5W-30 oil is as thin as 5 weight oil at zero degrees and as thick as 30
    weight oil at 180 degrees! Viscosity improvers are added to 5 weight oil
    base stock. These viscosity improvers are compounds that get thicker as
    they heat up. So the stabilize the viscosity of the oil as it heats.

    All good quality motor oils contain viscosity improvers, anti-corrosion
    additives, pH buffers, dispersants and detergents. Modern oils are really a
    package to produce the properties desired.

    Todays fuels are much better than they used to be, so less sludge, less
    wear, etc. Isn't it grand! Even belts and hoses last much longer than ever

    Mike D
  • Metro Man
    Metro Man Member Posts: 220
    bar question

    Always wondered where they came up with the weight of oil... could earn me couple of brews at the pub.

    While I'm thinging of it what say you on injector maintenance? Every so often I'll throw in a can of fuel inj. cleaner. ALWAYS take w/ on cross county trips. Used to use the B&J (?) but stuff got kinda $$

    Techron, STP, etc.. good, bad, better??

    Thanks for all the info
  • Boilerpro_5
    Boilerpro_5 Member Posts: 407
    Fuel Mileage gains with synthetic

    I recently posted on this subject and so far have found significant gains in mileage when switching to synthetic blend (motorcraft) or synthetic motor oil (Mobil 1). I am continuing to monitor fuel mileage for our 3 vehicles...2002 Ford E250 5.4 50,000miles, 1993 Ford Excort 225,000 miles, and 2001 VW Jetta Wagon, 56,000 miles. The van is currently running full synthetic and appears to have gained as much as 20% or more in mileage. VW appears to have gained about 5 to 7% in mileage and the Escort is still on its first 1,000 miles (both with blends), but so far appears to also have gained 5 to 7 % or more mileage. All vehicles are driven in rural areas typically, so very little stop and go driving.

    One question though, for those that drive stop and go in winter, what about the moisture build up in the crackcase? Should the oil be changed at the typical shorter interval to get rid of this moisture?


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  • Mike D_7
    Mike D_7 Member Posts: 22
    Injector cleaner

    Dave, I did a little research and asked around. The injector cleaner of choice is Techron.

    I've been using it in my own vehicles. I asked a couple of tune-up men I respect and that was their choice too.

    They claim it does help some.

    I throw in a can once a year. I don't know if if helps, but it doesn't seem to hurt. I do it as a preventive measure.

    Mike D
  • Bruce Stevens
    Bruce Stevens Member Posts: 133
    I change my oil once a year

    usually within mileage limits but do it in the spring for hat concern.
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