20W-50... whos uses it?

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1,539
Location
Shippensburg, PA
For years, I subscribed to the "thicker is better" theorey, and I used Valvoline Racing 20W-50 exclusively (this is in a 327 Chevy II that only sees summer use). Now that I am older and wiser, I see no need for such a heavy oil. Does 20W-50 have any practiacl applications in todays motor oil market? While we are on the subject, what make Valvoline "Racing" oil different from thier regular 20W-50? I would typically run this oil for 3000 miles of street use with a PF35L filter. Never did an analysis though. I was under the impression that the racing oil has more Zinc. Is this true? Thanks.
 
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47,642
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I use Amsoil Series 2000 20W-50 racing oil in my 85 Volvo turbo and my 85 Toyota PU. Please look at the pour point, etc of this synthetic oil vs. a dino 20W-50. The oil analysis on the turbo says this oil is fine. The car has 234,000 miles. I would NEVER use a dino 20W-50. I think many engines were ruined over the years by the "thicker is better" mentality...pushed largely by Castrol, et al. Mostly on cold starts.
 
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47,642
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Actually new from the factory - I wouldn't run 50W, but I don't really worry with the hi miler Volvo, and the analysis says what I'm doing works fine. EDIT: Check the numbers on the S2000 20W-50. Pour point is -36° or so...other numbers convinced me to give this oil a try. I would NEVER recommend it to others.....I say follow the manual...but if you wanna try it in a "classic"... Again also I would NEVER use a dino 20W-50. [ February 07, 2003, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Pablo ]
 
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2,480
Older European models (70's, 80's) state it's OK to use. Usually a 20 indicates for temps. over -10C (~20F)...any lower than this it's pretty thick. Last week at a local gas station, the outdoor rack of oil contained Penzoil 20-50. It was -15C (~8-10F)...grabbed the bottle...no swooshing there!
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,989
Location
Oakville, Ontario
Pablo, have you ever tried another viscosity in that Volvo? I wonder if the Amsoil 10w40 might give you better results than the 20w50?
 
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47,642
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Patman - yes I ran Amsoil 10W-30, with no problems, but I wasn't anal-analysis back then.....so no hard numbers. BUT- next oil? I'm gonna do the the HDD Series 3000 5W-30. See what happens. (gonna do a LubeGard and Nuetra flush first, too)
 
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1,565
Location
palm beach
also an engine rebuilder i know who is_the_best builder of vw aircooled engines and porsche aircooled engines in the usa says 20w50 isd good for warm southern climate. he been doing it for 30 years, nothing but vw and porsche engines. he is a well respected guy and i trust his advice over anyone else.
 
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2,480
Hey, we used to use 5-30 in an old `84 Volvo...no wonder it was using oil and the car slowly lost power with age. The same thing happened with my current BMW. You can use 5-30...analysis will probably show great results. But, this isn't the complete story. You will probably get increased consumption and increased build-up (varnish/sludge) taking up the space where the thicker oil used to be (acting as a lubricant). Adding oil will only mask the probelm IMHO. Go for it and let us know...
 
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1,565
Location
palm beach
patman, engines and oil go hand in hand. when you build a $15,000-$$20,000 volkswagen bug race motor i think the guy knows a thing or 2 about oil. he has customers from around the world, not just in the usa. the guy knows his stuff and if he sayd 20w50 for warm southern climates, i believe thats what im going to run. edit: pat, i dont doubt what you say. but it may not be applicaple to an aircooled engine which operate at normal tempatures which would absolutly fry a water cooled engine. i know you have alot of expierence with motoroils and engines. [ February 07, 2003, 01:21 PM: Message edited by: cryptokid ]
 
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3,023
Location
USA-Michigan
20W-50 oils are often recommended for use in high stress applications, like racing engines for instance where they are run at maximum rpm's in high stress, high heat situations. Not all manf. recommend 20W-50 oils, my 2001 GMC and 2002 Pontiac Trans Am owners manual specifically state not to use 20W-50 Oils. NASCAR racers will often qualify using 0W- oils to get maximum HP and race using 20W-50 oils, at least thats what some of the crew chiefs were saying on the race on Fox last year. [ February 07, 2003, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Mike ]
 
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128
Location
Los Angeles
Hi, I use Mobil 1 Sypersyn 20W-50 in my 1995 Supercharged Jaguar XJR. Been running it since I bought it with 24K on the odometer. I just recently put Mobil 1 synth. trans and diff fluid in and the results are great. Tim 1995 XJR
 
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6,388
Location
Washington St.
quote:
Originally posted by cryptokid: patman, engines and oil go hand in hand. when you build a $15,000-$$20,000 volkswagen bug race motor i think the guy knows a thing or 2 about oil. he has customers from around the world, not just in the usa. the guy knows his stuff and if he sayd 20w50 for warm southern climates, i believe thats what im going to run. edit: pat, i dont doubt what you say. but it may not be applicaple to an aircooled engine which operate at normal tempatures which would absolutly fry a water cooled engine. i know you have alot of expierence with motoroils and engines.
Also, the viscosity of the oil need to match the clearances in the engine. If he builds in certain clearances, then a certain oil is needed...in this case, evidently 20W-50 after it's hot. Ken
 

Patman

Staff member
Messages
21,989
Location
Oakville, Ontario
I'm not necessarily saying this guy in particular doesn't know oil, but I have come across a few engine builders that don't. Especially those who say synthetics are harmful and will only recommend 20w50 dino oil to all their customers.
 
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1,759
Location
Elizabeth City NC
I still subscribe to the thicker is better in older engines. My toyota got 10w-30 till about 130,000 then 10w-40 till 180,000 and 20w-50 from 180,000 to 250,000. Then engine has some ring ware at 250,000 miles but uses less than a quart every 1500 miles which seems reasonable to me. Engine has overheated twice in the last couple of years without any damage as it needed a new radiator and also a hose popped. No damage to engine either time and one time it was definitely driven too long hot. Castrol GTX 20W-50 is great stuff. Use it in my TR3 with 130,000 miles.
 
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2,480
Hey, Tim nice car! What does your owner's manual suggest? I thought Jag's had Mobil 1 5-30 as factory fill? I thought we ruled out "clearances" w.r.t. oil grade. eg. Ford goes to a 5-20 with NO difference in engine design from the previous year(s). Additionally, the SAME engine in GM products uses 20-50 in Australia no design differences from the GM engine sold in N.A.. Is this still a plausible explanation?
 
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32
Location
Baja Oregon
Yes, I have 3 vehicles that I run 20W-50 in (either currently or in the recent past). In my 2 Harley's I used to use Mobil1 V-Twin until it was pointed out to me a few years ago that M1 15W-50 automotive oil was essentially the same product at half the $$, and I switched to it. I also have an '81 Corvette that likes Castrol GTX in 20W-50. I'm mostly a synthetic user - and have been since the late 1970's - but this engine was built to fairly loose tolerances, and combined with the fact that most of it's gaskets and seals are original, it leaks like a sieve with not only any viscosity synth. but lighter weight dino oils too. [Frown]
 
Messages
453
Location
Galveston, TX
quote:
Originally posted by TR3-2001SE: I still subscribe to the thicker is better in older engines. My toyota got 10w-30 till about 130,000 then 10w-40 till 180,000 and 20w-50 from 180,000 to 250,000. Then engine has some ring ware at 250,000 miles but uses less than a quart every 1500 miles which seems reasonable to me. Engine has overheated twice in the last couple of years without any damage as it needed a new radiator and also a hose popped. No damage to engine either time and one time it was definitely driven too long hot. Castrol GTX 20W-50 is great stuff. Use it in my TR3 with 130,000 miles.
Sorry for posting 2X!!!! Pushed the wrong button!!!!! I, too, have experinced big time overheating when radiator hoses blew. Had Castrol GTX 10W-40. Many miles running at freeway speeds with radiator completely dry and later, engine crankcase completely dry. No problems. No rebuild. Hooray for Castrol GTX.
 
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885
Location
North Carolina
I also agree with the thicker oil for older engines philosophy. Years ago I had a 1976 Datsun 280z that I used CastrolGTX 20w50 for the life of the vehicle, sold it in 1986 with 189000 miles on it, vehicle never used oil and I changed oil every 3k miles....and used Fram filters too believe it or not. I lived in NW Florida so there was never an issue with "cold" starts, even though 20w50 oil still flows at some pretty cold temps... I believe with newer engines these days that the mfg clearance specifications have tighter tolerances (due to modern mfg methods and equipment) than they had years ago, but I would not say that the manufacturers always design tighter clearances...a tighter engine will burn less oil and will run better and have a longer life in general than an engine that is considered "loose", but the "loose" engine will have less internal resistance to motion and that can help with fuel economy. I am only saying that older engines (higher mileage engines, and engines built back in the 70's and early 80's have some bigger "gaps" inside which cause the engine to benefit from thicker oil. After my vehicles get about 50k miles on them, I will swap out 1qt of 10w30 for a qt of 20w50. (I'm using Chevron/Havoline std petroleum oil, never used synthetic....but also have never lived in a very cold place either, I'm in NC now..and don't use Frams anymore either.. TGIF folks.... [Cheers!] Rando
 
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