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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:56 pm
Posts: 25
Location: South Carolina
Hello, First off let me say what a great forum everyone has here, Thanks to all of you who give up your time, energy & web space to provide us with a place to voice our opinions/views. Some of the info here is really helpful & I’m sure it has saved people a ton of money compared to garages & dealerships.(it’s saved me a trans change) Thanks again staff/viewers. :D
A couple of posts ago, I wrote that I am a recovering “oilaholic”. Actually I have been involved in all kinds of maintenance from jet engines, heavy equipment. Diesel & automotive. The automotive part of mechanics is basically due to the number of vehicles I’ve own/have owned. I refuse to pay the high prices of some very basic mechanical repairs and have learned many things through reading, research & places like the Swiftforum. I get satisfaction from doing many of these on my own as do many of you. Some of the other “have to” repairs are to stay further out of debt. Some times, it has to go into the shop because of specialized equipment or time constraints. A large part of keeping up a vehicle is taking the time to do preventative maintenance. It will save you money in the long run that we can spend on the other things we like to do. Going fast, watching others go fast, showing off our workmanship & feeling good about ourselves for doing a job as good as or better than that so called professional mechanic.
Let me see if I can convince any of you of the benefits/drawbacks of synthetics vs. conventional motor oils. I would make an educated guess as to the number of people who are using synthetics here on the forum is probably at least 35%. Many of you already know the pros & cons of good oil and the benefits of good routine maintenance. I’m not a mechanical engineer & most all my knowledge has been thru trial & error or first hand experience. I have been involved with synthetic oils since the early 70s. I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes by knocking one oil vs. another or slam anyone’s maintenance practices. I know what has worked for me over the last 30 years & would like to let you make your own choices. Most of the people that view the forum are here looking for a performance edge they can do own their own. :razz: (Without going broke) Trying to stay up with some of the latest technologies, or to get ideas from other people on doing it better or making it look a certain way. I enjoy chatting with people about their accomplishments and exchanging ideas. I applaud those of you who will bust your knuckles & put in so much time on your vehicles and many times come up with simply amazing results. Long live the dreamers and the experimenters. :wink:
Synthetic oils are definitely not some of the latest technology. The Germans developed synthetic oils & greases during WW II for their fighter aircraft. They found that at high altitudes the paraffin-based oil (conventional) that they used became thick like 90w grease. Thus taking away horsepower as well as creating maintenance problems. This led German engineers to develop synthetic oils. An oil that would stay thin in extreme cold or heat. American & British engineers scratched their @@ses for quite some time figuring out how the German aircraft were making such horsepower at altitude. (Synthetic oils & Nitrous…wow) It was later discovered that synthetic oil alone was boosting HP output by as much as 10-20% on comparable designed axis engines.
Let me start by listing some of the reasons I prefer synthetics to conventional oil. Although the last few years, conventional motor oils are becoming much better at lubricating and cleaning than in the past.
1. It can save you $
2. It can save you even more $
3. It keeps the inside of the engine really clean
4. It is not using up the current reserve of fossil fuel (non dependence)
5. You don’t have to change oil as often (yea)
6. Not as hard to wash out oil stains as conventional oil (so my wife says, wives like that)
7. Engine makes more horsepower
8. Engine will run cooler
9. It takes EXTREME heat to carbon up
10. RPM comes up quicker
11. Rubber seals will stay pliable a lot longer
12. Engine wear is reduced considerable compared to conventional oil.
13. Check the battery amperage on starting synthetic to conventional oil @ 0 F
14. Start up that G10/13 engine below 0 F & see which type of oil the valves like better.(valve clatter)
Mobil 1 is being used as comparison; AmSoil is my preference, which is generally higher price. Conventional oil could be Pennzoil, Valvoline,Quaker State, etc comparable @$ 1.89 Qt. Prices will vary

#1 It can save you $. The last dyno test results I saw on a synthetic motor were 2-5% gain in horsepower. (Just by changing the oil.) That could be a little less gas pedal to do the same or more WOT. RPM does come up quicker as well, less friction. Gas mileage increases of 2 –15% are not uncommon. I personally have increased the interval change to 10,000-12,000 miles/or once a year. Whichever comes first. (5w 30 all year) At 5000 – 6000 miles a new (good oversized) filter is replaced along with the amount of oil lost. 5 qts Mobil 1 @ $4.79 qt + 2 (good) filters @ $2.50 ea = $30.00 4 qts. Installed, 1 qt for filter change at 6000 miles. So in 48,000 miles I have spent approx $120.00. If I change my conventional oil @ 5000 miles @ $1,89 4qts + 9 filters @ $2.50 ea = $91.44
So, $120 for synthetic or $91.44 for regular oil. Every time you check the odometer it seems like its oil change time again. I might save $30.00 by using conventional oil. But is there an increase in gas mileage? Is the engine making more horsepower? Am I wasting time at an oil change station or my house? Is that battery working harder to crank that thick motor oil on those really cold mornings? It’s up to you to decide how to spend your money & time. A lot of other considerations have to go into the intervals you choose between oil changes. Such as off-road use, dusty conditions, how hard you drive it. My driving habits of mainly highway/city miles determined my interval. Keeping a good clean oil & air filter on the vehicle is also very important. The more dust & dirt that runs through the air filter, the more dirt is likely to make it inside the crankcase. I know an AmSoil dealer who ran a 6-cyl-propane engine in his truck that changed his oil/air filter every year & topped off the oil. He had over 70,000 miles on it (last time I spoke with him) & it sounded as sweet as the day it was built. The oil was so clean it was hard to see on the dipstick. (Mr.Ralph Peters)
Talk to a reputable engine builder & ask them if they have ever rebuilt a synthetic engine & what the inside of it looked like. A few I have seen were spotless. The valve guide seals were still very pliable after 100,000+ miles & the bronze valve guides were still within specs.
Don’t get me wrong on saying synthetics are the Holy Grail. They can cause you some problems. :cry: If you have even the smallest oil pan gasket, valve cover gasket leak, it will seem like a waterfall with synthetic oil. The oil is sooooo slick it will find the smallest leak & make it look big. I’ve changed a couple of cars back to conventional oil after installing synthetic. Because of oil leaks. This is where a semi-synthetic blend may be better than a 100% synthetic. (I have never used semi blend myself) If your looking at buying a fairly new used car, here’s a couple of simple steps to do before you decide to change over. If a car has several thousand miles + on it, pull the oil filler cap & check the inside of the valve cover for ANY carbon deposits. (Your fingers & a rag will work well here.) If you feel ANY carbon buildup,(hard chunks) there are precautions you should take before converting to synthetic. Inspect the PCV system or replace it. Buy a few of the biggest & bestest (lol) oil filters that vehicle will take. Change the first filter after approx 1000 miles & top off the oil. Then change again at 1500 – 2000 miles and top off. Hopefully you have a direct reading oil pressure gauge to watch in case that oil filter bypass clogs. Synthetics clean the inside of an engine so well; they can clog up a mildly carboned up engine real quick. I have actually lost an engine like this. Usually after 4 – 6000 miles of filter changes, the engine is good to go on a regular routine interval. Beware of how black the oil will be during this clean out period. The oil will eventually become cleaner looking over time.
If I install a new/rebuilt engine/or maybe a new car one day, (hahaha) I would break the engine in with conventional oil to about 10,000 miles before changing to synthetic. I have only seen a handful of factory engines with Mobil 1 installed from the factory. They usually have a Mobil 1 sticker on the valve cover(s)These engines will normally be run across a engine dyno at the auto plant for an extended period of time to properly seat the valves & rings. A brand new engine with synthetic oil installed in it will take a lot longer than normal to seat the bearings & rings due to the oil being so slick & the lack of friction. (Chrome moly rings being the hardest to seat) With the rings not being seated (worn) you can/will notice some oil consumption as well.
Today there are many types of synthetic oils on the market compared with 3 or 4 brands several years ago. I have tried to keep up on these oils but there is very little public information available. I’m sure that one day, someone will come out with a comparative type test that the public can view & make their own choices about which synthetic oil is actually the best. Until I can see an updated comparative report myself, I will keep on using the Amsoil or Mobil 1 that I used for all these years. Consumer reports magazine did a study of oils and filters several years ago. I wish I still had the copy. But I have recently checked and they have released no new information on oil analysis or filters in the last few years. I’m not trying to push AmSoil lubricants on anyone, but most of the AmSoil dealers or representatives you deal with are very helpful & usually well informed of their products. I think that Lucas oil products are on the cutting edge of technology as well, but I have only used their power steering conditioner with good results.
I like the idea of changing my oil once or twice a year compared to every 2 or 3 months. I know that after the engine has reached 150,000 miles, it can probably be rebuilt with just standard size bearings & rings if I choose to rebuild. The benefits of synthetic oil far outweigh the negatives. When you can see a Baja type jeep come across the finish line with the engine glowing orange from a busted radiator continue in the race the next day, (same engine) that says a LOT for the ability of the oil to lubricate & to absorb heat. I’m pretty particular about using other additives to my engines & will stay with something that’s tried & tested by myself with good results. There are a LOT of NASCAR/CART & professional racing teams that are using synthetics. They have seen & measured the gains in horsepower & longevity compared to other oils.
I have also been an avid user of synthetic gear lubes. At least until the “forum” helped me fix my 2nd gear crunch on my G10 GEO. The GM synchromesh gear lube has performed well beyond my expectations. I guess in a gearbox, the grease can actually be too slick. This gearbox did make it to 250,000 miles with Mobil 1 75/90W. But the GM synchromesh has made it feel crisp & smooth again. Ready for another 250,000.
If anyone has a dealer/parts store that has GM synchromesh for less than $12.00 bottle, please send me a link or address. It would be really appreciated. If anyone does have any links to oil tests/comparisons, those also would be great.
One last thing, I have no way of verifying this but was told by a small engine repair shop recently that synthetics do not work well in lawn mowers, garden tractors etc, I don’t think it has anything to do with air-cooled vs. water cooling, but he stated that regular 30w for the lawnmowers was better than multi-grade oils or synthetics. I know VW bugs will run fine or better with synthetics.
Just my 2 cents worth. Try to make your own educated judgments on synthetics.

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The drunker I sit here, The longer I get.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:51 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 10:48 pm
Posts: 471
Location: Auburn Wa
I typically use only two brands of oil. One is harder to get than the other but the other is just as good in my humble opinion!

I use Castrol oil or Kendall oil. Kendall oil is kinda green in color and is full of a lot of additives. Makes me wonder if it is even oil???

Castrol oil is all I have been using for a while now. I use 10 30 wt GTX mostly and have had really good sucess with it. I change oil every 3000 miles and this is a daily driver putter type situtation. 165,000 miles on my truck and no problems internally ever! No oil leaks or even seeps. Truck uses no oil whatsoever between oil changes. I have owned this truck since I bought it new in 92.

I use to use Castrol synthetic in it but had lifter noise when I used synthetic. The hydralic lash adjusters have real small passages in them and as the synthetic got dirty they would not get adaquate oil flow through the lash adjusters. Switching to regular Castrol GTX oil, and the problem went away. Tried the synthetic later again, like a year later and had the same results. As the oil got dirty the lash adjusters started making noise. Added half a quart of rislone and noise imediately went away. Went back to Castrol GTX 10 30 and never a problem since!

On my 92 vert I bought the car used with 140K on it. The lifters in it make noise when cold for the first minute or so and from what I hear this is pretty normal in cold weather. I am using Castrol Blend 10 30 in it and it seems to like that oil a lot! Lifters still noisy upon startup but noise subsides after 1 min or so. The noise is not a clack clack clack but more like a diesel engine that is warmed up. This engine was run pretty hard in its past and the rings are a bit worn. But after all most people don't take care of their cars too well and thats why I prefer to buy a new car as opposed to used cars! Most people that post at a board like this, do however take care of their cars and thats why they take the time to post here. IE They care!

I think if your racing Synthetic is the way to go!! If normal driving regular oil is just fine. If street racing look into synthetics or at least a blend. The added protection is worth it. In the case of my truck... I would still be using synthetic if it didn't cause a problem with my hydralic lash adjusters!

Also if your racing you need a oil cooler period!

PS I use Lucas gear oil additive and feel the same way! Great stuff for the rear end of my truck!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:14 am
Posts: 25
Location: Lancaster, pa
Great writeup. Just a few other things to add :)

One of the reasons synthetic oil was developed was for large turbocharged construction engines. I have some good links on synthetic from a discussion on the MR2 owner's club. I'll have to try and dig them up. :)

Synthetic oils resist coking much better than petrolium based oils. So for all you Turbo guys, Synthetic is the way to go. My first oil change on my Sprint is coming up, and I plan to replace whatever the previous owner put in with Mobil 1. AMSoil is a great oil, as is Royal Purple, but they can get quite expensive.

Also, about Castrol Synthetics. There are 2 distinct types of Castrol Syntec. Those made in the US, and those made in Germany. Those made in the German plant are actually a full synthetic oil. And even though the bottle says it's a synthetic oil, the Castrol made in the US is actually a synthetic blend, not a true synthetic. Mobil 1, AMSoil, Royal Purple, they are all full synthetic oils.

*edit* I found the link to the article about Castrol Syntec not being "true" synthetic. This website also has a lot of other good oil information.
http://www.performanceoiltechnology.com ... andpao.htm

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1991 MR2 Turbo


Last edited by tangbang on Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 2:30 am
Posts: 438
Location: Zagreb
I just changed my oil yesterday. I put in semi-synthetic valvoline 15W40. When I drove to the first intersection, I tought the engine stalled cause it was so quiet, then I look down at the tacho and it's still going. I can't believe the difference it made. When it idles, you can't hear it running. Amazing. :)


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 Post subject: 5w40 synthetic?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 11:35 pm
Posts: 9
Location: Texas
would 5w40 synthetic be ok in my '94 g10? it is currently leaking at the distributor (i think the o-ring) and the oil pan (didnt torque properly) but i am planning to fix them before i change the oil. when should i change the oil filter? 3-4 times in first 6000 miles?

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 Post subject: Re: 5w40 synthetic?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 7:44 am
Posts: 451
Location: near Burbank, Calif
Uproar wrote:
would 5w40 synthetic be ok in my '94 g10? it is currently leaking at the distributor (i think the o-ring) and the oil pan (didnt torque properly) but i am planning to fix them before i change the oil. when should i change the oil filter? 3-4 times in first 6000 miles?

Interesting information link regarding synthetic oil:
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Met ... ssage/3891

Yes, change the oil & the filter a few times - until it stays clear for awhile.


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