Any Reason For 5w-20 besides CAFE?

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College Dorm...
Ok, I don't mean for this to become a 20-weight bash fest, but I do have some questions. Many on here have stated that new OHC engines from Honda and Ford actually NEED the "newer" lower-viscosity oils for ideal lubrication...I guess in regards to the overhead cam and establishing a fluid film (?). Anyways, my question is this: If the 5w-20's are absolutely needed, and running anything thicker will result in engine damage (yes, some on here say running a thicker oil will result in engine damage or, at the minimum, shorter engine life), then why do other markets, such as Europe and Australia, spec. 10w-30 oils as the primary recommendation for engines that are, by all means, at least oil-system wise, IDENTICAL to engines that operate here? Once again, I don't mean for this to sound like I'm trying to start an argument...and I fully understand that the 5w-20's are turning in good wear numbers in these super-smooth running modern engines. I just don't understand where, unless you are operating in cold temps, where you need to run a 5w-20, unless you just want .1mpg better fuel economy. And to me, at least in modern, smooth running, computer controled engines, I'm not sold on thick or thin oils. We see good wear results using both high-quality thin oils and high-quality thicker oils.
 
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Yeah, that IS a good question. If the thinner xW-20 helps the motor last longer, then would folks in Germany who drive WOT on the Autobahn receive much better protection than the xW-40 or xW-50 oils they now run? If xW-20 oils provide "better" high temp protection, then folks in Australia had better ditch their xW-50 oils and use the xW-20 oils in +45 C summer temps. All this EPA CAFE nonsense and "Starburst" oils are to make us feel good about driving a 10 MPG SUV. Oh, yet that giant SUV is also considered a "green" vehicle, since the emissions tier requirements are much different over a certain GVWR. Face it, we're a disposable culture and most of us don't care if the motor won't last beyond 100,000 miles, as it becomes somebody else's problem. Jerry
 

Patman

Staff member
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We've seen almost no evidence whatsoever which shows 5w20 oils are causing engines to wear out sooner. Sure, these oils haven't been out long but you also can look at the UOAs on here for a good idea of engine wear. And if you look at all of the 5w20 and 0w20 reports as a whole, most of them are outstanding reports! People just have a hard time letting go of their past beliefs that 50wt oils are the only way to get long engine life, but that's simply not true. And I also believe is no reason a 5w20 oil can't handle the hot summer or the Autobahn in a lot of modern engines, so long as the engine has an oil cooler or simply as long the oil temps don't exceed 220F too often.
 
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some of us who date back a ways can remember the original Mobil 1, about 25 years back, which came out in 5W-20 only! For some reason it wasn't well received (maybe tendency to shrink some seals had something to do with it). Reformulated to 5W-30, it gained acceptance in just under a generation.
 
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5w20 oils have been around for a LONG time. In fact, the very first multigrade oils produced in the early 50s came in two grades: 10w30 and 5w20. Mobil 1, when it first came out, was available in one grade: 5w20. That is a clue as to why 5w20 can be a viable motor oil today in any climate condition. It's really the advance in base oil technology that has enabled oil companies to build a 5w20 that can protect not just in cold temps, but all temps. Mobil introduced Mobil 1 as a 5w20 at a time when 10w40 was the norm, and everyone was starting to jump on the 20w50 bandwagon in North America. The stability of the PAO base oil was what enabled Mobil to build an oil that could protect as well as a heavier conventional oil. Nevertheless, the public wouldn't buy (literally) a 5w20 in the face of overwhelming opinion that "heavier is better," and Mobil capitulated. When the second generation of Mobil 1 came out, it was 5w30. (That the early version of Mobil 1 did have leakage problems didn't help either, BTW.) Modern hydrocracing and hydroisomerization production processes for conventional base oils are what enable oil makers to build "conventional" 5w20 oils that can protect as well as heavier oils. Mobil's brief run of 5w20 Mobil 1 just foreshadowed an industry trend. I should mention that it isn't ALL base oil technology that is behind modern 5w20s. Additive technology has come a long way, too.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Patman: We've seen almost no evidence whatsoever which shows 5w20 oils are causing engines to wear out sooner.
But we are. BMW M3/M5 that originally were to use the 5-30 as "every other BMW" had the factory switch things to the same oil used in Europe...the 10-60. I now have engine problems from using 5-30 for 10k mi. intervals after 150k of use. What are the problems? Maybe we will find the UOA's hidden facts, but I think they are (assuming the engine doesn't blow up) is 1. increased burn-off and consuption leading to 2. carbon build-up and a dirty engine. So, you have 2 solutions. 3k intevals or auto-rx. In other words, I still challenge anyone to do UOA's on 5-20's at 10k intervals for 100+k mi.'s (the standard OCI in Europe/Aus).
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Patman: [QUOTE]I also think that viscosity has nothing whatsoever to making an engine dirty or not. You can run a 5w20 or 5w30 oil and still have an internally clean engine. The base oil and the additives determine the internal cleanliness of the engine, NOT the viscosity of the oil.
Do this experiment. Take same brand, eg. M-1 5-30. Run for 5,6, 7, 10k mi. Then run the A3 rated M-1 0-40 for the same interval and compare. The A3-rated 0-40 will look cleaner than the 5-30. Not because it "didn't clean" or the VII's were "left behind", but simply because it has more cojones. Addative package? Viscosity? Who knows...they're both M-1 right? But,the A3 rated 0-40 has more cojones. That is why "real cars" in "real markets" get A3 rated oils, not A1 5-30 or 5-20's. ie. no 3k intervals driving 55mph. But, rather 10k OCI's at 150mph all day. You do that with a 5-20 and tell us how long it lasts!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Patman: The switch from 5w30 to 10w60 was BMW's kneejerk reaction to what ended up being an engine design flaw, not an oil viscosity flaw that caused those blown engines.
This may be true, but we can't get away from the fact that the engine was spec'd for 10w60 in Europe, and the problems arose in the US with M3 engines using the same 5w30 that BMW uses in its other engines. (It could be that the 10w60 simply masked the flaw in Europe, while the 5w30 exploited it in the US.)
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: Do this experiment. Take same brand, eg. M-1 5-30. Run for 5,6, 7, 10k mi. Then run the A3 rated M-1 0-40 for the same interval and compare. The A3-rated 0-40 will look cleaner than the 5-30.
Have you personally done this experiment? If not, how can you be so sure of the results? As for your reasoning... [Roll Eyes]
 

Patman

Staff member
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Guelph, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: Do this experiment. Take same brand, eg. M-1 5-30. Run for 5,6, 7, 10k mi. Then run the A3 rated M-1 0-40 for the same interval and compare. The A3-rated 0-40 will look cleaner than the 5-30. Not because it "didn't clean" or the VII's were "left behind", but simply because it has more cojones.
If anything the 0w40 M1 is going to leave the engine dirtier than their 5w30. Why? Because the 0w40 has more VII in it, and it's known to thin out, while the 5w30 has little to no VII in it and is known to hold it's viscosity. But this thread is not about 0w40 vs 5w30, it's about 5w20 oils, and I still stand by my belief that for a new well engineered engine that comes with 5w20 in it as it's factory fill, you can continue to run this viscosity and get long engine life. Time will prove this.
 
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Outside smalltown, IL
quote:
Originally posted by G-Man II:
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: Do this experiment. Take same brand, eg. M-1 5-30. Run for 5,6, 7, 10k mi. Then run the A3 rated M-1 0-40 for the same interval and compare. The A3-rated 0-40 will look cleaner than the 5-30.
Have you personally done this experiment? If not, how can you be so sure of the results? As for your reasoning... [Roll Eyes]

There's an even better way than looking. Do a UOA and lets see the numbers. If these heavy oils are so much better we should see something in a UOA...
 
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If the 60W oil helped the Bimmers from grenading, it was because that 60W goo is so thick the poor engine could not rev up as fast... [Wink] Anyone who thinks a good 20W does not help MPG and HP(beyond some minute number critics throw out) are living in a dream world..especially on smaller hi revvers. As far as what we are doing here in the US...why the love affair with the Euros? Like they are the wizards of the world? Yeah right. [Big Grin] Critics say we in the US use 20W to save a tad mpg and thats about it. Toss the engine away at 100,000 miles. We could care less... (all BS) I suggest Euros use heavier oils because they do not have or have had, access to much oil over the years... so they stretch what they have..thicker oil that shears down over time..but is changed less often. But THEY are doing it for engine longevity not because they are oil poor? Sure bet.... LOL Plus we all know how many miles they pile on their cars in Europe [Patriot] [ March 11, 2004, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: tenderloin ]
 
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Yes. I have tried it. An A3 5-40 synthetic is better than any A1 (and probably even an A3) 5-30. Euro's only? Sorry, guess we forgot that even Honda recommends a 40 weight...except in N.A.. And why would a 10-60 be "as thick as goo"? Such poor misconceptions it's a shame. Heat up any oil to 200F and tell us how thick it really is? And at this temperature, which oil will start smoking and smoldering...a 5-20 or a 15-50? So if anyone here dosn't care about what happens after 100k, go ahead and use 5-20, 5-30 or whatever "fuel economy" based oil you can get your hands on.
 

tpi

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So. CA
quote:
Originally posted by Patman: But this thread is not about 0w40 vs 5w30, it's about 5w20 oils, and I still stand by my belief that for a new well engineered engine that comes with 5w20 in it as it's factory fill, you can continue to run this viscosity and get long engine life. Time will prove this. [/QB]
I suspect you are correct, but I'm a little hesitant to judge what time will prove. 20W oils were specced in the '50's and '60's in US built vehicles for summer temps. The specifications took into account the short nature of many vehicle starts, and the fact the oil was frequently on a warm up cycle. Why waste power and fuel pumping an excessively viscous liquid? My view is the 20W will adequately lube engine parts in hot temps, and much of this debate is amplifying the effect of viscosity differences. However in hot weather on long trips per cold start, I think an xW-40 is actually thinner (on average) than an xW-20 in more typical conditions. I guess I'm conservative here. Once I see the engines going 200K + in hotter climates under long trip conditions, I'll jump on the 20 wt. bandwagon. This includes timing chains and valve guides. UOA analysis results aren't enough for me.
 
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California
quote:
Originally posted by Dr. T: Do this experiment. Take same brand, eg. M-1 5-30. Run for 5,6, 7, 10k mi. Then run the A3 rated M-1 0-40 for the same interval and compare. The A3-rated 0-40 will look cleaner than the 5-30. Not because it "didn't clean" or the VII's were "left behind", but simply because it has more cojones. Addative package? Viscosity? Who knows...they're both M-1 right? But,the A3 rated 0-40 has more cojones. That is why "real cars" in "real markets" get A3 rated oils, not A1 5-30 or 5-20's. ie. no 3k intervals driving 55mph. But, rather 10k OCI's at 150mph all day. You do that with a 5-20 and tell us how long it lasts!
I will take your challange as as long as 7.5k OCIs will work. I have a 7.5k uoa of M1 5w30, soon will have a 7.5k of M1 0w20. Now my driving is not at 150 mph, but I do show my age sometime (21) and drive in central california where I can go 300+ miles in 100+ heat for 4+ hours with my engine doing 4000+ rpm doing 80-90 with the ac on for that time, I also have fun on the weekends driving local backcountry roads with alot of wot time and even attend some autox events when I can. I also live in a valley and go to work in another vally next to me, so I am always going uphill on a cold engine for a distance of 4 miles often 4 times a day. So not quite your 150 mph, but close. Only problem is that it will take me close to 10 months to put the needed miles on the car.
 
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Euro's only? Sorry, guess we forgot that even Honda recommends a 40 weight...except in N.A.. LOL Like Japan has such immense oil reserves. In reality they have less oil reserves THAN MOST OF EUROPE so the same reasoning applies to Europe and Japan as well. You can run your 60W and THINK you are getting better protection. I'll put the extra money saved on MPG in the bank...and blow your doors away with better performance. [Wink] A better topic would be Any Reason for Heavyweight oils Besides recommending countries having little oil reserves? LOL [ March 11, 2004, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: tenderloin ]
 
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OK, chew on this...... If 5W-20 is all that and a bag of chips....then why is it NOT recommended for Mercruiser/OMC/Volvo inboard engines? You know they don't give a rats @ss about mileage. I know I'll get hit with the engines work harder on water thing, but if the oil is so good, would it even matter? If it can't handle the high loads on a boat motor, your telling me you'd put that stuff in your car? I think not. To add to the confusion: Mercruiser specifies their brand of 25W40 (synth blend) and Volvo specifies their brand of full synth straight 30 weight. The Volvo oil comes in the same shaped bottle as Amsoil and meets spec SJ not SL which I thought odd. I'll check the spec on the Mercruiser oil tomorrow when I go to work. By the way both Mercruiser and Volvo use exactly the same GM engines. [Confused]
 
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Oh, so now it's about who has how much oil reserves? [Duh!] Wow, wonder what they use in the Middle east then where the oil supply is seemingly unlimited and the average temps. are 40+C? A 0W-10? Look, it's not about oil supply or quantity. The bottom line is that 3k OCI's are unnecessary, costly, and wasteful except in N.A.'s attitude where you can still buy oil for $.99. Will it work? Sure.
 
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LOL MY post was mostly tongue in cheek though factual. [Big Grin] I agree 3,000 mile changes are wasteful in most cases, but marketing and habits are tough to break...but 20W are going past 3,000 miles with good results. Using a 20 or 30W has nothing to do with drain intervals, although the price and availabilty of oil in Europe and Japan has to have a little something to do with the extended drains. I am old enough to remember when multi vis oils came out and many thought they were no good. Next, as lighter weights continue to come out we hear the same tired scared chorus. There is not a one size fits all oil here. Different cars, oils, climates driving styles etc. all play a factor.
 
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AAAHHHH, Dr.T is at it again. [Big Grin] For drains up to 8k miles (and maybe more) a 5w-20 is great for engines that call for it. Additives are better and 20wts are boosted up with Moly and other high quality additives. If the N. American market called for long drains and had speed limits of 150mph, I'd use a nice 30wt or 40wt oil. [ March 11, 2004, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
 
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