96 Caprice 5.7L Engine Lube Reccomendations

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Nov 6, 2003
Akron, OH
I am the proud owner of a '96 Chevrolet Caprice with GM's LT1 5.7L engine. It has the B4U SPID code, which means among other things that it has the heavy-duty cooling package for both engine and transmission lubricants. It was *not* a police cruiser, and Carfax verifies one-owner private vehicle status. I bought it used with approximately 67K on the clock and it is now approaching 3,000 miles on the oil the OldsBuickPontiac dealer put in it when they got it. The salesman claims that he got he it from a guy who took immaculate care of it and had all the receipts for all the service items... but they all say that. I love this car. What oil and filter combo would you reccomend using in the crankcase? I'm planning on running the next oil to 3K, then sampling it and making judgements on interval from there. I'd sample my current oil, but I don't know what the **** is in there, and I just got the car back from being in an accident that broke the air cleaner. The vehicle was operated for about 60 seconds with the air cleaner cracked, and I worry that might contaminate the sample in my current crankcase fill. I'm located near Akron, Ohio. The record low for this city is -24 Fahrenheit but per my wife we rarely see below -10 Fahrenheit. The oil that pops to mind is M1 5W30, given the ready availability and association with the Corvette's LT1, but all suggestions will be entertained.
I am far from an expert, but based on UOA's with LT1 & LS1's with Mobil1 5w-30, it seems to be a little too thin (Mobil may be fixing this?) for that engine. You may want to mix it with a heavier Mobil1, or if you want to look at another synthetic, consider Amsoil 5w-30 or Castrol Syntec 0w-30 labeled "made in germany" other wise known as GC or German Castrol. There are a few LS1 owners on here that can offer more specific info as to mixing ratios of different weights, etc.... [ November 09, 2003, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: medic ]
I saw very good results in my LT1 engine (in my 95 Firebird) using German made Castrol 0w30. I believe these engines like a thick 30wt oil, so another good choice would be Amsoil 5w30. Redline 5w30 would also work well.
Ok. Explain to me why the 0w part of that shouldn't scare me... I want to believe, after all God knows everyone here seems to like GC.
I have an 96 LT1 Corvette, a 01 T/A convertible and a 02 Suburban. I can't get the GC 0W-30 here yet since all our stores are still sitting on tons of the US made 0W-30. I am hoping that those jugs will move over the winter and be replaced with GC. I have so far used M1 5W-30 and 10W-30, Redline 5W-30 and Amsoil 5W-30/0W-30 and 10W-30 in these engines. Not having being able to try GC (which I would if I could), I believe that the best oil for the LT1 and LS1 style engine is Amsoil 0W-30 in the winter and 10W-30 in the summer. I would also try the Amsoil 10W-40 without hesitation in the hot summer months. Why? Lowest oil consumption on the LS engine, least mechanical engine noise and the UOAs here also support that Amsoil works excellent in these engines. Redline would be my second choice, it does not have the hot viscosity of the Amsoil line though and I am also a believer that the LT/LS engines like a little thicker oil for quiet and smooth operation, especially if they have a little piston slap. My vette and the T/A have a hint of slap on very cold start up. it is very minor and goes away seconds after start up on the Vette and lasts a little longer on the LS 1.The Burb has absolutely none. Mechanically the engines ran the quietest with the Amsoil and the noisiest with M1 5W-30. [ November 09, 2003, 10:29 PM: Message edited by: Alex D ]
Originally posted by TomJones76: Ok. Explain to me why the 0w part of that shouldn't scare me... I want to believe, after all God knows everyone here seems to like GC.
0W- means that the oil has passed a cold cranking viscosity test at -35°C. 5W...-30°C. 10W...-25°C. This does not mean that 10W is good in your engine at -25C (-13F), though. Use what works. If an oil is blended from excellent quality base oil with a high enough viscosity index and low enough pumping limit, 0W-30 works fine. If 0W-30 is blended with a lower quality base oil and large quantities of viscosity index improver polymer that will eventually shear down to a lower viscosity, stay away. German Castrol Syntec is an excellent oil. Ken
As far as filters go, does anyone have suggestions? Do I go with the ones from the dealer, or a Fram, or... maybe a Wix?
My vote would be for WIX filter with Delo 400 15W40. I know several folks running this oil in Impalas and Caprices ('94 to '96 vintage) including me. One of my friends drove his '94 to almost 200K. When he tore down the engine (by choice - nothing wrong)it was spotless inside and everything was within tolerances. We are in the northeast so it gets pretty cold here. Never had a problem with the 15W40. Some alternatives I would consider. Rotella T 5W40 Synthetic (Group III). Mobil Delvac 5W40 (PAO). I like truck oils in my LT1. They work well.
Originally posted by TomJones76: As far as filters go, does anyone have suggestions? Do I go with the ones from the dealer, or a Fram, or... maybe a Wix?
[LOL!] Around here, Fram is considered a four letter "F" word!
I have a 5.7L TBI engine in my Caprice, which came before LT1 and I use Pennzoil 10W-30. I have 105K miles on it. I don't truly care about it making to 300,000 miles even though it is theoretically possible. If that was my goal, I think I would use synthetic. I think that in your LT1, I would use M1. Not sure about the weight.
Originally posted by TomJones76: As far as filters go, does anyone have suggestions? Do I go with the ones from the dealer, or a Fram, or... maybe a Wix?
I like the K&N oil filter for my LT1, as it flows very well and is built super strong too. The Wix is also good too, but I notice it's more restrictive than the K&N (according to my oil pressure gauge)
You may also want to consider Mobil 1 0W-40. It seems to be easier to find than the German Syntec 0W-30 and it is a little thicker as well.
Well, of course I'm biased, but I'd run the Amsoil 5w-30 (ASL) in this application. It meets the Military specs for arctic engine oils, ie US MIL L-46167B specification, as does their Series 2000, 0w-30. It's also thick enough in high temp/high shear conditions to be ACEA, A3/B3 rated - thanks to Buster for getting them to update the website, by the way [Wink] I recently ran some of the Amsoil 5w-30 for 12,000 miles in my 2.4L toyota and it performed very well. The TBN was still 7.2 and there was no oxidative thickening - viscosity was 10.9 Cst, which is a mid range 30wt. Tooslick
Hmmm. Mobil 1 0W40 you say. I swear that grade didn't exist in any oil except maybe Redline or Amsoil 5 years ago. Or maybe I'm just going crazy. Wix or K&N oil filters it is then, unless someone else posts something highly informative. I respect the feelings of folks reccomending diesel-style oils (15W40) to me, but at the same time I have serious problems with running any 15W-anything in a place with winters down to negative numbers. Thanks though for your suggestions on that. The closest I may come is the "Full Synthetic" Rotella T 5W40, which on further reading is not really a synthetic, but does seem to kick butt. Anyone know how long the Rotella T holds out? Have we had a UOA on it at a long interval?
Went hunting for GC for my car. The nearest Autozone had 3 qts of GC and 3 qts of USA-Castrol in 0w30. I left with some tools, but no oil. I'm debating going back, grabbing any they have left, and then canvassing all the other Autozones in town to get enough for an oil change and 1 spare qt for top-offs. By the way, GC was NOT more than 10 cents cheaper than Mobil 1. Of course if we're comparing GC to a decent Amsoil or Redline, then that's not bad pricing.
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