Blending (i.e. DIY ing) my own 2 Stroke oil?

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Jul 6, 2014
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To preface this thread, please only constructive comments (criticism welcome of course if it's based on more than opinion). Also, this is not a recommendation thread. It's obviously stepping into unknown territory with good or bad results. As a guy who works on his own equipment, I understand the risk and although I haven't had any oil related repairs (yet) I know it's a possibility. Ok... so here goes.

I had used Walmart Super Tech 2 Stroke oil for many years and with good results. No longer shopping at Walmart, I don't have access to it. I have been looking for a replacement around the same price ($13 a gallon).

It occurred to me after much shopping and not finding gallons anywhere (yes, I burn a lot of two cycle gas)... that this oil likely had #2 Diesel or #1 Kerosene in it based on the odor. I decided to look up MSDS sheets on the most popular 2 cycle oils (Yamalube, Phillips Injex, Warren (I believe makes the Walmart TC-W3 oil), Mercury Quicksilver, Stihl, Makita). They all seem to have a percentage (10 to 40%) of what appears to be Kerosene (which is the same CAS # as Mineral Spirits). I did some experiments and soaked 1" squares of paper towel in different oils and burned them. I made a spreadsheet to record smoke levels, burn times, lubricity, and viscosity. Oils/fuels tested were:
-30 Weight (straight SAE 30)
-5W40 Synthetic
-Tractor Trans/Hyd (approx SAE 20??)
-#2 Diesel
-#1 Kero
-Several commercial 2 cycle oils (Phillips Injex, Echo, a few store brands)

My results were fairly obvious in the smoke category. The commercial 2T oils had little to no visible smoke. Diesel smoked terribly. Kerosene had little to no visible smoke (much better than diesel). 30 weight had heavy smoke. Tractor Trans/Hyd had very little visible smoke. These smoke results also translated in my Lawn Boy mower (mixed 40:1 as for every 2 cycle I own). Viscosity varied greatly with these oils and fuels. 30 weight is much thicker than commercial 2 stroke oils. 85% hydraulic fluid 15% Kero is close in viscosity AND burn time.

In a full summer of use of DIY 40:1 mixed oils (including 30 weight straight out of the pail), I did not seize any of my several 2 cycle engines. I did observe a fouled plug in my Stihl FS81 trimmer. The fouled plug may have been operator error (my teen son who had a habit of half throttling for an hour).

Why would I use SAE30? 30 Weight was an alternative recommended in owners manuals in the 60s by outboard boat motor manufacturers (OMC I believe) to be used if 2 stroke oil (possibly castor at the time) was not available. I'd read accounts of old guys using non detergent straight SAE 30 in chainsaws for decades without problems. In my tests, it smoked much more than 2 stroke oil both in engines and on the 1" square paper towel sample when burned. I could see plugged exhaust ports and spark arrestors and maybe even stuck rings being an issue. However, hydraulic (tractor trans/hyd) fluid burns clean with no smoke. I found this to be the most readily available clean burning oil to mix.

Based on my reading of MSDS sheets mentioned in the first paragraph, I came to a conclusion (hopefully correct) that 15% Kerosene and 85% tractor (trans/hyd) MAY (or may not) be a good substitute for commercial 2 cycle oil. It seems to work and I haven't seized anything with it yet. The one ingredient (very important IMO) I see on the list that I'm not able to replicate is the strong blue dye. I always mark my cans with a date mixed, but I also like the blue dye in commercially mixed oils.

I realize this is probably not going to be a popular topic. I do not recommend trying this as it poses an obvious risk, but has anyone else tried mixing their own 2 stroke oil? The ratios (approx) and ingredients are all right there clear as day on the MSDS sheets. Obviously there's research involved to make a commercial product, but it doesn't seem like rocket science. And in this case, it's not ever going to be a commercial product. I'm just hoping for something better than the SAE 30 that manuals of yesteryear recommended as a substitute.
 
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The 'let's blend our own' threads never go well. The pool is always too deep and it just devolves into an argument.

Just buy it from Bass Pro Shops for the same price as Walmart.

Screenshot_20210613-094432.png
 
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777funk

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The 'let's blend our own' threads never go well. The pool is always too deep and it just devolves into an argument.

Just buy it from Bass Pro Shops for the same price as Walmart.

View attachment 60201

This is the best answer of course. I'm not looking for something recommended (as 100% tested to be safe and effective). In my case, I'm just looking for something besides the SAE 30 that used to be recommended in manuals for when I have what I have on hand. I'm curious if anyone else has experience with this. I have a season without ill results. Now that I have a good alternative... I'll probably just buy that to be honest. But I am one who experiments and I can rebuild most of my smaller 2 cycles in a half day easy enough if I make a mistake.
 
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I burn wood in winter for primary heat, so I use a good amount of 2-stroke. I have never considered mixing my own oil as several of my saws are wicked expensive and I have a lot of time tuning all of them (especially my restored '78 Mcculloch 555 - it's a dirt bike engine in your hand).

I commend your effort to find a substitute, but I don't see it as a viable long term option. "Seems to work" or "not seeing smoke" are not conclusive testing results for long term equipment reliability. You would need to take a new piece of equipment, take it apart, measure the components, run your oil mix for a testing period and then dissect and re-measure.

To me, it's not worth it when you can pick up oil from Tractor Supply, Runnings, Advance Auto, Autozone, NAPA,...etc and not worry about the possibility of equipment damage.

If you do decide to complete extensive testing, please post up. It would be interesting to see the results.
 
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I would find an alternate source for the proper two cycle oil. Other stores out there besides WalMart and you can order two cycle oil.
 

777funk

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Joined
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I burn wood in winter for primary heat, so I use a good amount of 2-stroke. I have never considered mixing my own oil as several of my saws are wicked expensive and I have a lot of time tuning all of them (especially my restored '78 Mcculloch 555 - it's a dirt bike engine in your hand).

I commend your effort to find a substitute, but I don't see it as a viable long term option. "Seems to work" or "not seeing smoke" are not conclusive testing results for long term equipment reliability. You would need to take a new piece of equipment, take it apart, measure the components, run your oil mix for a testing period and then dissect and re-measure.

To me, it's not worth it when you can pick up oil from Tractor Supply, Runnings, Advance Auto, Autozone, NAPA,...etc and not worry about the possibility of equipment damage.

If you do decide to complete extensive testing, please post up. It would be interesting to see the results.

Wood heat is the best way isn't it! I know I feel healthier when I'm processing wood. I'm running a small Stihl 026, which is easy to service, and a Lawn Boy for the finer grass cutting. I realize that a wear test would be complex (and not in any way lucrative), but on the same token, reading the signs has some value. I call signs (on a chainsaw): 1. tuning will be similar with both oils (I tune to slightly 4 cycle when unloaded and to smooth out under a heavy load), 2. does not dribble (commonly discussed symptom of bad gas/oil, too much oil, or running too rich), 3. low smoke, 4. spark arrestor screen does not plug 5. spark plug does not foul, and of course 6. with normal conditions, saw(s) keep starting and running as always. I have a good amount of history with my Stihl 026. It's been a VERY reliable and predictable saw for the 10 years I've run it. I've never had to work on it other than carb cleaning when I first purchased it used (as a non runner). It was in great shape other than that. So reading it's signs is easy for me and it's been low maintenance because I pay careful attention to tuning etc. I've also run it on ethanol free gas which definitely helps. I've never had the clean the carb in my own running of the saw.

It would NOT be worth the risk to try (80% 'oil type x' + 20% Kero) in say a 150 HP Yamaha outboard (expensive) or where reliability is critical to safety and returning home. But I don't mind this experiment with a Stihl saw or trimmer that I can rebuild if need be. Also, I have backups to these machines that are easy to grab if needed. I've read stories of the WW2 generation running SAE30 in OMC boat motors for hundreds of hours without trouble. Should that be done today where we have TC-W3 rated products? Probably not, but if a blend of two or three common dyno products can work for hundreds of hours with similar (at least the obvious) results to over the counter 2 stroke oil, that may (or may not) be useful information. I don't mind being the guinea pig. Working on chainsaws is a hobby for me. So that may be why... lol. I've never had an oil related failure to date. Hopefully (not holding my breath of course in uncharted territory), that doesn't change.
 
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Keep doing what you're doing. Time (running hours) will tell the story and give you the information you seek. The thing to watch with any two cycle mix (store bought or experimental) is what it leaves behind on the piston top, ring grooves, spark plug and in the ports and muffler. Carbon deposits (especially hard carbon) has always been the enemy of two cycle engines and the cause of death for many. From my experience with two cycle engines as long as some oil (almost any kind of oil) is mixed in with the fuel the engine will be lubricated.
 
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In the past, I've blended some of my own two stroke oils. Mostly using known bright stock containing components and mixing in some of the best 2 stroke synthetics. Worked very well.

high viscosity Bright Stock, a Group 1 oil was a favorite component in two stroke oils in the past, and still used in less expensive two stroke oils today. Often the viscosity was high, so it was thinned with something. Generally not Kerosene or Diesel fuel. Could be any number of commonly available solvents, including solvents with very high octane, hence the claim [in the past] that "it boosts octane" [nonsense]. Although it seems like the solvent percentage was high, it generally was not.

The solvent situation is also why some manufacturers claim you can use their oils at 100 to 1. There is no magic here, their lubricants are not that much better and the removal of 5% solvent does not cut the oil requirement in half. Our race engine testing always indicated higher rates of wear using 100 to 1, regardless of oil choice.

ALSO, solvents are not necessary for pre-mix uses. They only serve to thin the oil for pumps or ease of handling. Mixing a straight 30W motor oil with solvent, and then premixing it accomplishes nothing positive.

Today, the "base stock" of two stroke oils include components not commonly available to the average user.

The bottom line remains the same, the oil ratio you choose has a direct relationship on the amount of lubrication your engine receives.
 
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todays mail order delivers almost ANYWHERE, BUT its your time + $$$$!! i have been shopping for possibly a slightly better than supertech full synthetic 2 stroke oil for my chain saw at a comparable price.
 
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Buy the good stuff online and get it delivered.
Good fuel and oils = long engine life. Homebrews are penny wise and dollar foolish IMO as quality oils will let the OPE motors last for years with no issues along with great spark plug life.
I'm running Klotz in my OPE, use it in snowmobiles that are expensive stressed motors and the little bit of oil the OPE uses is a minimal expense at 40 or 50:1 ratios. Old premix snowmobiles only get 8-9 mpg and I go through gallons of oil at $45 a gallon.
 
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