Another Thick vs Thin Experiment -- Quick Results

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This weekend, I changed the oil in the TCH (Camry Hybrid). The manual calls for 0w-20 or 5w-20, with no other alternate grades specified. But notice the tantalizing language shown underlined in red in the photo, below. Relying upon this, I decided that I would try a fill of "old" M0428... green GC, which is over 12 cSt. I had just finished my second run of PP 0w-20. Not surprisingly, coming off the mid-8 cSt PP and going to the thick GC, I noticed an immediate drop in mpgs, as displayed by the computer. Typically, in the mixed highway and city driving I do, I'd see 36-37 mpgs indicated on the display. So far this week, driving pattern the same, temps somewhat hotter than the last few months, I have not been able to coax the displayed mpgs above 34.5. That's pretty hard to overlook! Oh yeah, subjectively, the engine is running fine. I do not notice any of the sluggishness that others switching "thin oil" cars to GC have noted in past years. Nor are there any undue or scary noises when it's cold. Go figure. Comments?
 
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39,806
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Pottstown, PA
At least you're in a platform that's high enough in yield to actually tabulate the difference. You're getting about 94.5% of your former mileage. That would fall into the variance in a 20mpg car. Where I think your results would be more confounded was in shorter trip stuff. The electric assist and auto-shutdown would tend to confound the calculations. On the longer trip/commuting usage, you tend to even out the process variables. What I'm saying is that you may not suffer as much as a regular engine due to parasitic losses.
 
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15,052
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Canada
I'm suprised that Toyota put in such a vague statement regarding oil viscosity choice. Theoretically, you could put in something like 20W-50, and say you thought it was 'better suited' if you ever had an engine problem......
 
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1,267
Location
Tennessee
Sounds like 'high speeds' would be 65mph+, being that this IS America. And "extreme load conditions" could mean nearing the max GVWR (I'm sure that's probably only 600 pounds of people/cargo) OR just flooring it all the time. Thicker = better protection. Thinner = gas mileage.
 
Messages
318
Location
Kerville, Texas
Hi EK!!! Old Crows here.... Now this is very interesting. I'm running M1 5W-20 AFE in my HyCAM right now at 6300 +/- miles. (Ok, I'm fessing up all you BITOGERS ... comin' clean as it were ... I just couldn't stomach having the dealer's 5W-20 "almost synthetic' Conoco/Phillips/Motorcraft stuff {although its reported to be a very good oil on BITOG.} \:\! Some how running a FORD recommended product in my Toyo was keeping me awake at night!!! FWIW... I checked the oil temp after a 30 mile run to "Fritzville" yesterday. Ambient was 93-95 on outdoor tempy gauge. I wasn't sparing any AMPS getting to and staying at 65 -70 mph when getting back home. No pulse and glide work going on here. The oil temp was ~ 152F ... immediately after shut down. I take a 'good enough for gummint work' measurement of the oil on the tip of the dip stick using my IR thermometer. Opinion... I don't think these engines are going to get the oil hot enough most of the time to get your oil up to its rated hot viscosity. So a 'thicker oil' is not useful. Consequently, I'd think it would be better to use the 0W or 5W-20s as they are going to be in that intermediate viscosity between the cold and hot ratings almost all the time. IE... less pumping losses and better circulation. After 30 years of running some type of synthetic oil in my wheels, I'm seriously considering going with a conventional SM rated 5W-20 oil on the next OC. Just a thought! Cheers Mate!
 

JAG

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5,320
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Fredericksburg, VA
Those mouse engines need mouse milk! 0W-0 sounds about right. In my VW 1.8T, most of the thinner (XW-30) oils I've used seemed overall to give worse gas mileage than XW-40 oils. The most recent experiment was going from Red Line 5W-30 to Mobil 1 5W-40 TDT. Gas mileage jumped up on the 1st tank of gas used on the latter oil and it has stayed up so far. Gold version GC 0W-30 was probably the worst in terms of fuel efficiency in this engine's history. M1 0W-40 probably ranks as best in efficiency in its history. These are strange occurrences.
 
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MD
Is there any harm to the engine when switching back and forth between a thick and think oil? Could consumption occur?
 
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Illinois
Funny thing is....I got the best mileage when using GC in my Mazda3. Many said it's too thick, but it performed very well in the 2.3L. Quiet, smooth, and nice MPG.
 
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34,954
Location
NY
 Originally Posted By: frank83
Is there any harm to the engine when switching back and forth between a thick and think oil? Could consumption occur?
There are a lot of people who switch between thick and thin oils during the change of seasons. They run the thicker oil in the summer and the thinner oil during the winter. Consumption shouldn't be a problem. I try and stick to what the mfg suggests for the car, and use it all year, it just makes things easier for me.
 
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579
Location
Ontario Canada
Why not use Castrol Syntec 5w30 if you want a slightly thicker oil. It is barely a 30 wt oil. I couldn't see myself using a 0/5/w20 oil. Castrol Syntec 5w30 with a viscosity of 9.8 cSt @ 100 C would be perfect.
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
At least you're in a platform that's high enough in yield to actually tabulate the difference. You're getting about 94.5% of your former mileage. That would fall into the variance in a 20mpg car. Where I think your results would be more confounded was in shorter trip stuff. The electric assist and auto-shutdown would tend to confound the calculations. On the longer trip/commuting usage, you tend to even out the process variables. What I'm saying is that you may not suffer as much as a regular engine due to parasitic losses.
Gary: I had been thinking the same thing. There's a nice stretch on my 17.5 mile (one way) commute where I can get pure "stealth" mode (electric only) for almost two straight miles. I suppose that when I'm doing stealth, I could have bunker oil in the crankcase, and it really wouldn't matter. And when the power is mixed gas and electric, there'd still be an attenuation of the "penalty" imposed by the thicker oil. ============================================================
 Originally Posted By: addyguy
I'm suprised that Toyota put in such a vague statement regarding oil viscosity choice. Theoretically, you could put in something like 20W-50, and say you thought it was 'better suited' if you ever had an engine problem......
Yeah, being an attorney myself, that statement really surprised me. It's sufficiently vague that I think any TCH owner could use any reasonably close oil grade, and win a legal fight, might one actually be necessary, over the failure of a warranty-covered engine. That said, I doubt I'd try a SAE 60 racing oil in the winter (especially if I lived in Montana. . .). =======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
Sounds like 'high speeds' would be 65mph+, being that this IS America. And "extreme load conditions" could mean nearing the max GVWR (I'm sure that's probably only 600 pounds of people/cargo) OR just flooring it all the time. Thicker = better protection. Thinner = gas mileage.
I really don't think you can generalize that easily about oil grades and their relative protection. When I first came here five years ago, the 20 wt oil debate was raging. Well, I still don't see any pattern in the UOAs of the 20s not doing the job (in engines meant to use them), nor are we seeing massive numbers of failures of Fords or Hondas. They've been using the thin stuff for nearly a decade now -- and still no signs of early death in xw-20 cars as a whole. ======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Silber Igel
Hi EK!!! Old Crows here.... Now this is very interesting. I'm running M1 5W-20 AFE in my HyCAM right now at 6300 +/- miles. (Ok, I'm fessing up all you BITOGERS ... comin' clean as it were ... I just couldn't stomach having the dealer's 5W-20 "almost synthetic' Conoco/Phillips/Motorcraft stuff {although its reported to be a very good oil on BITOG.} \:\! Some how running a FORD recommended product in my Toyo was keeping me awake at night!!! FWIW... I checked the oil temp after a 30 mile run to "Fritzville" yesterday. Ambient was 93-95 on outdoor tempy gauge. I wasn't sparing any AMPS getting to and staying at 65 -70 mph when getting back home. No pulse and glide work going on here. The oil temp was ~ 152F ... immediately after shut down. I take a 'good enough for gummint work' measurement of the oil on the tip of the dip stick using my IR thermometer. Opinion... I don't think these engines are going to get the oil hot enough most of the time to get your oil up to its rated hot viscosity. So a 'thicker oil' is not useful. Consequently, I'd think it would be better to use the 0W or 5W-20s as they are going to be in that intermediate viscosity between the cold and hot ratings almost all the time. IE... less pumping losses and better circulation. After 30 years of running some type of synthetic oil in my wheels, I'm seriously considering going with a conventional SM rated 5W-20 oil on the next OC. Just a thought! Cheers Mate!
Eagle: Nice to hear from another Crow ;\) Mine's got just over 26k miles on it now. I have a Scangauge-II installed, but alas, it offers no data concerning oil temps (obviously, as there's no sensor, and thus, no data available from the port). That said, I've actually been pondering installing a stand-alone, off-bus oil temp sensor. Your reading is interesting, and would certainly suggest a return to the 20 wt oils. BTW, if you're into such things, you might consider the SG-II. It makes available a huge amount of normally-hidden data from the diagnostic port (including codes, should your car ever generate one). I keep rpm, fuel flow (or mpg notwithstanding the panel gauge), water temp, on display at all times. I now see why there's no tach in this car -- rpms don't make any sense unless you really understand how the car does its business. Once you do, you can use the rpms together with the mpg display to maximize fuel economy (for example, I've found that accelerating at 2500 rpms +/- 200 or so produces the best results). It's a useful and fun device. Here's where I keep mine:
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
 Originally Posted By: 2KBMW
Why not use Castrol Syntec 5w30 if you want a slightly thicker oil. It is barely a 30 wt oil. I couldn't see myself using a 0/5/w20 oil. Castrol Syntec 5w30 with a viscosity of 9.8 cSt @ 100 C would be perfect.
'cuz I still have a lot of green GC on hand. . .
 
Messages
39,806
Location
Pottstown, PA
O'kay ...E.K. You've proven the validity of visc:mpg... Now it's time to contact Bruce for a batch of 0w-10 in the last formulation. Can we break 40 mpg on your daily commute? (yes, what's this we "stuff" )
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
Messages
9,427
Location
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 Originally Posted By: firemachine69
ekpolk: A SGII and a V1. Those two are oxymorons.
Nah, not really. The SG has many uses. Most frequently, I use it for the tachometer. As I noted above, by targeting about 2500 rpms on acceleration, I keep my average mpgs up. This is a factor mostly in urban driving. The V1, as I'm sure you appreciate, is most useful on the highway (but by no means useless around town either). A funny observation, though -- I admit, I really hadn't even considered how the two might look side-by-side.
 
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earth
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
At least you're in a platform that's high enough in yield to actually tabulate the difference. You're getting about 94.5% of your former mileage. That would fall into the variance in a 20mpg car. Where I think your results would be more confounded was in shorter trip stuff. The electric assist and auto-shutdown would tend to confound the calculations. On the longer trip/commuting usage, you tend to even out the process variables. What I'm saying is that you may not suffer as much as a regular engine due to parasitic losses.
Gary: I had been thinking the same thing. There's a nice stretch on my 17.5 mile (one way) commute where I can get pure "stealth" mode (electric only) for almost two straight miles. I suppose that when I'm doing stealth, I could have bunker oil in the crankcase, and it really wouldn't matter. And when the power is mixed gas and electric, there'd still be an attenuation of the "penalty" imposed by the thicker oil. ============================================================
 Originally Posted By: addyguy
I'm suprised that Toyota put in such a vague statement regarding oil viscosity choice. Theoretically, you could put in something like 20W-50, and say you thought it was 'better suited' if you ever had an engine problem......
Yeah, being an attorney myself, that statement really surprised me. It's sufficiently vague that I think any TCH owner could use any reasonably close oil grade, and win a legal fight, might one actually be necessary, over the failure of a warranty-covered engine. That said, I doubt I'd try a SAE 60 racing oil in the winter (especially if I lived in Montana. . .). =======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
Sounds like 'high speeds' would be 65mph+, being that this IS America. And "extreme load conditions" could mean nearing the max GVWR (I'm sure that's probably only 600 pounds of people/cargo) OR just flooring it all the time. Thicker = better protection. Thinner = gas mileage.
I really don't think you can generalize that easily about oil grades and their relative protection. When I first came here five years ago, the 20 wt oil debate was raging. Well, I still don't see any pattern in the UOAs of the 20s not doing the job (in engines meant to use them), nor are we seeing massive numbers of failures of Fords or Hondas. They've been using the thin stuff for nearly a decade now -- and still no signs of early death in xw-20 cars as a whole. ======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Silber Igel
Hi EK!!! Old Crows here.... Now this is very interesting. I'm running M1 5W-20 AFE in my HyCAM right now at 6300 +/- miles. (Ok, I'm fessing up all you BITOGERS ... comin' clean as it were ... I just couldn't stomach having the dealer's 5W-20 "almost synthetic' Conoco/Phillips/Motorcraft stuff {although its reported to be a very good oil on BITOG.} \:\! Some how running a FORD recommended product in my Toyo was keeping me awake at night!!! FWIW... I checked the oil temp after a 30 mile run to "Fritzville" yesterday. Ambient was 93-95 on outdoor tempy gauge. I wasn't sparing any AMPS getting to and staying at 65 -70 mph when getting back home. No pulse and glide work going on here. The oil temp was ~ 152F ... immediately after shut down. I take a 'good enough for gummint work' measurement of the oil on the tip of the dip stick using my IR thermometer. Opinion... I don't think these engines are going to get the oil hot enough most of the time to get your oil up to its rated hot viscosity. So a 'thicker oil' is not useful. Consequently, I'd think it would be better to use the 0W or 5W-20s as they are going to be in that intermediate viscosity between the cold and hot ratings almost all the time. IE... less pumping losses and better circulation. After 30 years of running some type of synthetic oil in my wheels, I'm seriously considering going with a conventional SM rated 5W-20 oil on the next OC. Just a thought! Cheers Mate!
Eagle: Nice to hear from another Crow ;\) Mine's got just over 26k miles on it now. I have a Scangauge-II installed, but alas, it offers no data concerning oil temps (obviously, as there's no sensor, and thus, no data available from the port). That said, I've actually been pondering installing a stand-alone, off-bus oil temp sensor. Your reading is interesting, and would certainly suggest a return to the 20 wt oils. BTW, if you're into such things, you might consider the SG-II. It makes available a huge amount of normally-hidden data from the diagnostic port (including codes, should your car ever generate one). I keep rpm, fuel flow (or mpg notwithstanding the panel gauge), water temp, on display at all times. I now see why there's no tach in this car -- rpms don't make any sense unless you really understand how the car does its business. Once you do, you can use the rpms together with the mpg display to maximize fuel economy (for example, I've found that accelerating at 2500 rpms +/- 200 or so produces the best results). It's a useful and fun device. Here's where I keep mine:
like the MPG gauge! my friend's mom had an old 3 series BMW that had a small one.
 
Messages
318
Location
Kerville, Texas
 Originally Posted By: ekpolk
 Originally Posted By: Gary Allan
At least you're in a platform that's high enough in yield to actually tabulate the difference. You're getting about 94.5% of your former mileage. That would fall into the variance in a 20mpg car. Where I think your results would be more confounded was in shorter trip stuff. The electric assist and auto-shutdown would tend to confound the calculations. On the longer trip/commuting usage, you tend to even out the process variables. What I'm saying is that you may not suffer as much as a regular engine due to parasitic losses.
Gary: I had been thinking the same thing. There's a nice stretch on my 17.5 mile (one way) commute where I can get pure "stealth" mode (electric only) for almost two straight miles. I suppose that when I'm doing stealth, I could have bunker oil in the crankcase, and it really wouldn't matter. And when the power is mixed gas and electric, there'd still be an attenuation of the "penalty" imposed by the thicker oil. ============================================================
 Originally Posted By: addyguy
I'm suprised that Toyota put in such a vague statement regarding oil viscosity choice. Theoretically, you could put in something like 20W-50, and say you thought it was 'better suited' if you ever had an engine problem......
Yeah, being an attorney myself, that statement really surprised me. It's sufficiently vague that I think any TCH owner could use any reasonably close oil grade, and win a legal fight, might one actually be necessary, over the failure of a warranty-covered engine. That said, I doubt I'd try a SAE 60 racing oil in the winter (especially if I lived in Montana. . .). =======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
Sounds like 'high speeds' would be 65mph+, being that this IS America. And "extreme load conditions" could mean nearing the max GVWR (I'm sure that's probably only 600 pounds of people/cargo) OR just flooring it all the time. Thicker = better protection. Thinner = gas mileage.
I really don't think you can generalize that easily about oil grades and their relative protection. When I first came here five years ago, the 20 wt oil debate was raging. Well, I still don't see any pattern in the UOAs of the 20s not doing the job (in engines meant to use them), nor are we seeing massive numbers of failures of Fords or Hondas. They've been using the thin stuff for nearly a decade now -- and still no signs of early death in xw-20 cars as a whole. ======================================================
 Originally Posted By: Silber Igel
Hi EK!!! Old Crows here.... Now this is very interesting. I'm running M1 5W-20 AFE in my HyCAM right now at 6300 +/- miles. (Ok, I'm fessing up all you BITOGERS ... comin' clean as it were ... I just couldn't stomach having the dealer's 5W-20 "almost synthetic' Conoco/Phillips/Motorcraft stuff {although its reported to be a very good oil on BITOG.} \:\! Some how running a FORD recommended product in my Toyo was keeping me awake at night!!! FWIW... I checked the oil temp after a 30 mile run to "Fritzville" yesterday. Ambient was 93-95 on outdoor tempy gauge. I wasn't sparing any AMPS getting to and staying at 65 -70 mph when getting back home. No pulse and glide work going on here. The oil temp was ~ 152F ... immediately after shut down. I take a 'good enough for gummint work' measurement of the oil on the tip of the dip stick using my IR thermometer. Opinion... I don't think these engines are going to get the oil hot enough most of the time to get your oil up to its rated hot viscosity. So a 'thicker oil' is not useful. Consequently, I'd think it would be better to use the 0W or 5W-20s as they are going to be in that intermediate viscosity between the cold and hot ratings almost all the time. IE... less pumping losses and better circulation. After 30 years of running some type of synthetic oil in my wheels, I'm seriously considering going with a conventional SM rated 5W-20 oil on the next OC. Just a thought! Cheers Mate!
Eagle: Nice to hear from another Crow ;\) Mine's got just over 26k miles on it now. I have a Scangauge-II installed, but alas, it offers no data concerning oil temps (obviously, as there's no sensor, and thus, no data available from the port). That said, I've actually been pondering installing a stand-alone, off-bus oil temp sensor. Your reading is interesting, and would certainly suggest a return to the 20 wt oils. BTW, if you're into such things, you might consider the SG-II. It makes available a huge amount of normally-hidden data from the diagnostic port (including codes, should your car ever generate one). I keep rpm, fuel flow (or mpg notwithstanding the panel gauge), water temp, on display at all times. I now see why there's no tach in this car -- rpms don't make any sense unless you really understand how the car does its business. Once you do, you can use the rpms together with the mpg display to maximize fuel economy (for example, I've found that accelerating at 2500 rpms +/- 200 or so produces the best results). It's a useful and fun device. Here's where I keep mine:
EK, You're probably right about the RPM read out. I don't think that will tell you much. However, that G/Hr readout could be handy... a more direct measurement of fuel use.
 

ekpolk

Thread starter
Messages
9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
 Originally Posted By: crinkles
. . . like the MPG gauge! my friend's mom had an old 3 series BMW that had a small one.
Yes, it is a very useful tool. But it's very twitchy. If you want to use the throttle to control mpgs smoothly, you have to make very, very smooth, gentle, and subtle changes. We're talking modulating the pedal with light toe pressure changes. Part of why I like the ScanGauge so much is that you can learn to combine the mpg readout with the rpms to really refine how to do it right. Oversimplified, my approach is to use the rpms to make the "gross" adjustments to throttle position, then I use the mpg readout to "fine tune" to the optimum throttle position for whatever it is I'm trying to do. Obviously, this is not the case at all times. If I'm on an interstate on-ramp, I just keep it around 3000-3500 rpms (unless the circumstances call for WOT), and then let the computer do the fine adjustments via cruise control once I reach the speed I want.
 
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