'96 A4, valve cover removed, after ca 100k mile with Syntec 5W-50

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Jun 2, 2003
That picture is from spring last year. I was replacing the valve cover gasket on the passenger side and took this picture. Keep in mind I drive my engine (2.8 V6 12 valve) pretty hard. If Syntec is indeed shearing badly, and if it's loaded with VIIs, then I wonder why me engine looks pretty clean. Syntec 5W-50 also gave me the lowest oil consumption in this engine at about 1/2 quart added to top off between 10k miles oil changes. Shortly after this picture was taken, I switched to M1 0W-40.  - [ January 19, 2004, 02:31 AM: Message edited by: moribundman ]
Silverado, I switched from the 5W-50 to M1 Ow-40 after I found out the 5W-50 had become a group III oil since I had started using it in '96. I didn't feel like buying a product from a company that that used fishy advertising. I also wanted to use an oil with a slightly more narrow viscosity spread, but because 5W-40 oils, which are recommended for my motor, were hard to find, I chose the next best thing, which happened to be M1 0W-40. I am not endorsing Syntec 5W-50, though I can't say anything bad about the performance of this oil. I just like to let the facts speak for themselves. Shannow, I think I may have to go for an Auto RX to calm my fragile nerves. [Wink] [ January 19, 2004, 04:07 AM: Message edited by: moribundman ]
You got sharp eyes, Silverado. I have indeed replaced all OEM crimp-on clamps with good quality screw-on hose clamps. If anyone knows where I can find Swedish ABA clamps in the US, please let me know. They're the best. [Cool]
I'm hoping that engine will last to at least 300k miles. Someone I know had the same 2.8 12 valve engine torn down at 150k miles, and he didn't even need new valve seals! The 2.8 12 valve seems to have a very good engine design (Well, it is an old design), with some minor issues: oil leaks. Almost all 12 valvers are battling various, usually minor, oil leaks from valve cover gaskets and the valley pan gasket. Apart from that, the Audi 2.8 12 valve motor seems near bulletproof. I prefer this simple design over the newer 30v engine.
Moribund: IPD (Volvo performance and aftermarket) sells ABA hose clamps, as does "Ultimate Garage". Try a google search; ABA apparently has a plant in Illinois now.
Very nice. I will however, go ahead and thoroughly endorse the Syntec 5-50 (not the 5-30 nor 10-30). Very good oil. High HT/HS, very low consumption, wide rage of operating temps. and (what I found) a much lower coefficient of friction of friction than M-1 15-50 even though both are 50 weights.
Dr. T, in what car(s) did you use the 5W-50? Was it in a Bimmer? Too bad I'd have to pull the valve cover off (There's a splash shield obstructing the view under the 710 cap) to compare to how it looks around the cam at 130k miles after using M1 0W-40. I doubt it looks any cleaner now. [Wink] [ January 19, 2004, 11:31 AM: Message edited by: moribundman ]
Back in 93 I started using the 5W-50 Castrol Syntec in my then new 93 S-10 4x4 with the 4.3L V-6. I don't think this engine liked this oil very much because by 30,000 miles I had to have all of my valve seals replaced and it started consuming quite a bit of oil. The engine was also becoming very noisy, almost like the clearances were too large. I ended up switching to 10W-30 Quaker State 4x4 oil which cut down on the oil consumption but the engine was always very noisy. I figured the 50wt part of the oil had somehow damaged the engine since this engine called for a 5W-30, and I never used the Syntec again. Wayne
You see, Wayne, my manual says I can use anything from 5W-30 to 10W-60. I would not deviate from what the manufacturer suggests. 5W-50 is specifically mentioned as an option in my manual. Who knows why your valve seals were toast. Maybe that oil really was too thick for your engine.
The owner's manual only recommended a 5W-30 or 10W-30 depending on temperature. I do remember reading that you were not to use anything else. I figured that since the oil was a synthetic it wouldn't be a problem running a heavier weight but I may have been wrong. I got rid of the truck with only 54,000 miles on it so I don't know how it would have held up. Needless to say, I now stay with the manufacturer's recommendation on oil weight. Wayne
Originally posted by wtd: The owner's manual only recommended a 5W-30 or 10W-30 depending on temperature. I do remember reading that you were not to use anything else... Wayne
I had a '94 GM 4.3 and it used oil from new to 100,000 miles, no noises though. It was not enough to warranty, but too much for a modern engine (1qt/1500-2000mi) on Valvoline 10W-30. The valve seals were probably the culprit. Thicker oil cannot damage valve seals. The fine print in the manual also allows straight 30 in the summer. That is what I ended up using to reduce oil consumption. I think the reason they stated not to run 10W-40 is the VII problem with dino 10W-40's. If I knew then what I know now, it would have gotten 15W-40 all year.
I've used it in my bimmer and then recommended it to my brother in his 1992 Civic Si (1.6L) who was on a steady diet of M-1 5-30 with increasing consumption...and in my girlfriends 1.6L Suzuki that actually calls for 10-40 dino.
If you run a 5w-50 long and hard, it will leave varnish/carbon deposits in all the high temp regions of the engine. The area you have to be particularly concerned with are the upper piston ring grooves and "lands". The temps are very high here and VI modifiers will leave carbonacous deposits when they thermally decompose. This type of behavior is well documented in SAE lubrication papers, including some by Mobil Oil. If you'd like references, call me at (256) 681-3590 .... In terms of best practices, the 5w-20/10w-30/15w-40/20w-50 and straight 30wt/40wt/50wt grades will provide the best thermal and oxidative stability. The further you get away from this - say to a 0w-40/5w-50/10w-60 - the worse the oil behaves. This is true even for the Amsoil formulations that use extremely robust basestocks and additive chemistries....I'll personalln run oils with a "spread" up to 30 points, say a 0w-30 or 10w-40, but that's it. The exceptions to this would be Delvac 1 and Redline - their 5w-40's use little or no VI modifier and are fine for high performance gas engines. Diesel engines run cooler EGT's, so 5w-40's are fine in them as well .... The behavior of VI modifiers at high temps is the achilles heel of even the best synlubes. Don't say I didn't warn you ... [No no] Tooslick www.lubedealer.com/Dixie_Synthetics
Although I agree with the concepts, why does M-B, Porsche and others recommend 0-40 if it's so bad? The bottom line is that the proof is in the pudding here (Moribundman's pics) and not M-1's concocted data. Their 0-40 is HT/HS 3.6 and Syntec 5-50 is 4.8...which do you think provides more protection and lower volatility? Use both and then get back to us...and tell the folks over on the Autobahn that they're wrong. In either case, either one I just listed is BETTER than ANY A1 5/10-30 and can make the difference in an engine that lasts for 300k or one that's gone at 60k eg. that Volvo....and NOT exclusively the "amount" of VI's.
I totally acknowledge what's been said about the use of a (relatively) large amount of VIIs in oil, but I'll point out once more, while I do not track my car (A 2.8 12 valve would be tad slow [Razz] ), I do drive it hard as far as street use goes. Why have I never had a problem with deposits? I did get those hard yellow/brown deposists in my '85 Buick's engine, which was on a diet of full synthetic 10W-30 (3k mi O/Cs). And I drove the Buick not nearly as "sporty" as the Audi. While I agree in principle with the theory of oil loaded with VIIs leaving deposits behind, I must wonder in how far the design of the oil system and engine contribute to general oil "health." The other thing I'd like to point out, and it's something my mechanic found always odd, was the strange fact that the Syntec 5W-50 would not darken considerably over the first 5k miles. There was the theory, and I had that nagging suspicion, that maybe the oil looked always so clean, because all the nasties were deposited inside the engine. However, seeing how clean it looks under the valve cover, makes me doubt I'll find a lot of deposits in the combustion chamber or anywhere else. Even the bottom of the oil pan is pretty clean. Also, as Dr. T mentioned, oils with a wide spread have been popular with some high performance Euro car makers, BMW even insisting on 10W-60 in some engine, and 0W-40 being factory fill in some Porsche cars.
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