Appropriate mileage to begin using synthetic oil?

Messages
658
Location
EU
2003 Ford V6, new in October. I don't know what the factory fill was, but I assume it was the now-recommended 5W-20 Motorcraft synthetic blend. I changed the oil (and filter) and refilled with that oil at 500 and 1000 miles. Now have 2300. I'm shopping for opinions on this issue as I cannot find any hard and fast data. Several Ford techs/service advisors have provided different takes on the occasions that I've asked them. I'm aware of the consensus that seating rings shouldn't be done on full synthetic. The 2300 miles on the engine in question is about 1500 city/800 highway. So, what do you think? When the 3000-mile change interval is up at 4000, am I good to go? Regards.
 
Messages
403
Location
California
I switched my oil to Mobil 1 synthetic at 1000 miles on my Ford 4.0 V6L engine. I ran analysis on it after 3000 miles on the oil and it looks like it's wearing normally. Here's my Analysis: Oil Analysis Mobil 1 SS, Ford 4.0L V6, 3000 Miles Mobil say's it's ok to break in an engine on their oil, but Redline, Amsoil, and Royal Purple suggest to wait for around 5000-7000 miles. I personally wouldn't hesitate to switch to Mobil 1 at your miles, but would heed the advise of the other vendors if you plan on using them.
 

YZF150

Thread starter
Messages
658
Location
EU
Can the oils really be that different? The fact that the manufacturers have different/conflicting recommendations is part of the problem that I have with this issue and why I came to this board for advice. This appears to be not such an exact science, no?
 
Messages
5,785
Location
Dixie
YZF150, There is no hard and fast rule for this, but I generally advise Amsoil users to wait until the oil consumption stabilizes at a low level before switching over. Some engines such as the VW/Audi 4 cylinder models use a hard chrome moly piston ring that generally requires at least 5000 miles to be fully seated. For something like a diesel pickup truck, I'd go at least 10,000 miles before using Delvac 1, Redline or Amsoil, and I'd go 250 hours on a diesel farm tractor before going synthetic .... You can go to a synthetic blend as early as you want, as most contain very little synthetic content. TooSlick
 
Messages
1,874
Location
Ocala, Florida
Actually many would say that for the purpose of engine break in but from where I stand, I have another reason not to do this with a new engine. The Truth.... Many new vehicles develop problems during the first miles of it's life. These problems need to be debugged. Problem with many dealers, mechanics and owners is that if you put a specialized oil in an engine, and something goes wrong while it is in there, then the oil is to be blamed. To eliminate this, We always advise people to get some miles on there so to ensure that the mechanical reliability has been established and avoids head on conflicts with people due to unknown factors. The only way the oil is going to cause any damage to an engine is to have 1 of 2 conditions exist.. Lack of oil or Sludge. But you'd be surprised as to how many times mechanics will put the blame on oil. This issue had just recently happened with me on an engine been running our oil for over 4yrs and now all of a sudden they experienced a lack of oil condition on the top overhead bearings and first thing out of mechanics mouth, it's the oil. After he "repaired" it 3 times for the same problem, I finally convinced the owner to let me pull the oil pan and clean out the bottom of the engine form shavings and such. Turned out his oil strainer for the oil pump pickup had 3 screens and all of them were clogged up with gasket material, metal particles, and get this, a used wire tie. Go figure. After 5 hours working on cleaning all the lines and housings and such did we even consider going back in with new fresh delo 400, based on it being cheaper and used as a flush to clear out all the sovents we used as well as clearing out any left over particles we may have missed. After that, in goes back the schaeffers. This is the primary reason for establishing the engine isn't using oil, and no actual mechanical condition exists.
 
Messages
3,023
Location
USA-Michigan
IMO The sooner you start using synthetic oil, the better for your engine in the long run. I would not allow 5,000 miles unless I had a engine with problems. The most important time in an engine's life is the first few hundred miles. I have in the past changed ove to synthetic oil with as little as 500 miles. Break in means to allow the engine to wear. Wear is not good IMO. Modern ring technology has evolved to the point that the rings are seated in the first few miles of use.
 
Messages
5,336
Location
London, AR
Mike, Your analogy is valid also. The only comment that I have is that with 3 oil changes in 4K miles, it would be hard for me to accept that any synthetic could have prevented wear any better, and he was flushing out any mfg. wear particles in the process. Pretty expensive to do with synthetic.
 
Messages
1,874
Location
Ocala, Florida
quote:
Originally posted by YZF150: Dear Bob, So how long (in terms of miles) does one wait to determine that, that there aren't any mechanical issues or consumption? In this post http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001094 we find an Amsoil sponsor advocating use of synthetic from the start--even stating that it is desirable, with agreement from one of the Admins who appears to be quite experienced in these matters. I have an email from Mobil stating that their oil can be used immediately. Your advice to monitor the initial performance of an engine notwithstanding, all of this intelligence seems to cast doubt on the generally held belief that rings won't seat on synthetic oil. So, let me capture the intention of my original question by asking it with two more: 1. Once one determines that an engine is mechanically sound and is not using oil, is it then appropriate to put synthetic oil in it? 2. Is there a general baseline/minimum mileage by which to determine this, or would it be engine-type specific?
It is my opinion based on my experiences that you can go with a full synth any time you desire. As pointed out, one main reason one would consider a standard oil is for flushing out particles due to engine building but other than that, no reason. I have not seen any synth oil to provide such wear protection to an engine that it would interfere with engine break in. A lot of mis conception passed around is that synth base oils are going to reduce wear and will not allow an engine to break in around the rings. Not true. The primary difference between mineral and synths is the base oil. Base oils will flow through out the engine. Base oils will also squeeze out in high shear zones such as ring areas. When this base oil shears out, it will allow heat and friction. Friction and heat is the main premise for breakin. Any amount of friction will allow breakin. No oil will prevent friction. Depending on the flow rate of a given oil, will effect the time it takes for the base oil to shear out of a high shear zone area. (20w50 will flow much slower, thus takes more time for oil to be sqeezed out than a 10w30 oil). I have already been proving the fact that the base oil isn't the ultimate factor for wear protection by using oil analysis of a blend which has the same base mineral oil but with an addition of pao base oil added to it against a straight mineral oil( http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000211;p=2 ). My thoughts are based on the additives used in the oils that reduce wear and friction but again, not to the point no friction doesn't exist. The wear numbers show that the mineral oil is producing a lower wear number. Anyway, back to the subject... I would not worry about a full synth being used immediatly. As stated above, it's mainly to establish engine reliability.
 
Messages
238
Location
Monterey Park, CA
For my C5R race engine block with finely honed cylinder walls, it takes longer to bed in than new production engines which walls have a relatively coarse finish resulting in quick bedding-in. For me I do believe for proper ring bedding on my race engine, there has to be some wear on the rings and walls. I think if you increase the oil's lubricity significantly by switching to synthetic, it prevents this type of ring bedding which can glaze the cylinder walls. Then my engine's walls will then stay "wet" and consume oil. So I'm doing it what Redline recommends at 7000 miles.
 

YZF150

Thread starter
Messages
658
Location
EU
Dear Bob, So how long (in terms of miles) does one wait to determine that, that there aren't any mechanical issues or consumption? In this post http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001094 we find an Amsoil sponsor advocating use of synthetic from the start--even stating that it is desirable, with agreement from one of the Admins who appears to be quite experienced in these matters. I have an email from Mobil stating that their oil can be used immediately. Your advice to monitor the initial performance of an engine notwithstanding, all of this intelligence seems to cast doubt on the generally held belief that rings won't seat on synthetic oil. So, let me capture the intention of my original question by asking it with two more: 1. Once one determines that an engine is mechanically sound and is not using oil, is it then appropriate to put synthetic oil in it? 2. Is there a general baseline/minimum mileage by which to determine this, or would it be engine-type specific? [ January 03, 2003, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: YZF150 ]
 
Messages
5,336
Location
London, AR
You have asked some very good questions that can and will have differing opinions and most of them are just that, opinions, including mine. I think that you have already started an excellent oil change routine starting with the first 2 at 500 and 1000. Because of your routine you should have most of the production crap flushed out by the oil changes. I wouldn't go over 3K on the present oil, change it and filter and have it analyzed. And yes, I would go ahead with the Synthetic at the 4K mark. Then when you get your analysis back on the 3K oil if the wear numbers are low, go 5K on the synthetic and do an analysis. If your vehicle follows typical Ford results on a new engine, your silicon may be high, but if the wear metals are low, ignore it as it is from the seals. I hope this makes sense to you. I normally don't start with synthetic until 5K, but in your oil change scheme, 4K is appropriate.
 

YZF150

Thread starter
Messages
658
Location
EU
So is it the consensus, then, that synthetic oil does not adversely affect ring break-in? If so, that seems contrary to popular belief.
 
Messages
874
Location
Pacific NW
Don't apply one rule to all engines. If it's a new production car you're almost certainly okay using "the best synthetic" oil immediately. Check with the manufacturer, not the dealer. Whatever used though, change early, so expensive synth may not make sense the first couple times. If it's a rebuild or custom engine, or a sport-bike, ask the builder/manufacturer for their recommendations. They should know the best method for their choice of parts & machining. Most still recommend dino and will have specific instructions for varying rpm's & loads for the initial hours. David
 

YZF150

Thread starter
Messages
658
Location
EU
Checking with the manufacturer is likely to be a non-starter. I can't imagine Ford saying anything but the party line: use the recommended oil, especially when their name is featured on the oil product label itself. If Ford/Motorcraft introduces a synthetic oil (not a blend), then maybe we'll see a recommendation for that. Until then, that's why I came to this site--for wisdom borne of experience and practice. Based on what I've read, I'm inclined to begin using a synthetic at next oil change.
 
Messages
874
Location
Pacific NW
YZF, What I intended was to say that for specialty vehicles or custom engines you should understand any issues that are different from mass-market products. Everything I've found on break-in indicates production line vehicles like yours are now built and pre-run to be somewhat fool-proof in this regard. I'd start out with something strong on detergents & go for early changes like vetteman suggested until you get to a few thousand miles. David
 
Messages
403
Location
California
My Ford Owners Manual doesn't even suggest I need to change the oil during breakin until either 3000 or 5000 depending on whether or not I am "Severe" service or not. I think car manufacturers would rather err on the side of making their cars inexpensive to maintain than what's best of class lubrication. Consider these lubes then are required at all Ford Service centers, and the less expensive the better for profits too. I wouldn't sweat going synthetic at all. In fact, I'm sure most Ford mechanics understand that Motorcraft isn't the best protection available. Now going out of spec on the weight is another issue that should only be done with careful consideration due to the warranty issue.
 

YZF150

Thread starter
Messages
658
Location
EU
Here's some additional intelligence on the subject. I just received this response from the technical advisor at Royal Purple: Royal Purple® currently offers many viscosity grades of API Licensed Motor Oils. (See the Royal Purple® Motor Oil Product Sheet or visit the API Engine Oil Licensing and Certification Website for more information). To allow for proper breakin of the engine, Royal Purple® recommends waiting until the manufacturer's first scheduled oil change or a minimum of 2,000 miles in new gasoline engines. Allow 8,000 to 10,000 miles before using Royal Purple® in diesel engines.
 
Top