Cold weather and sludge

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Oct 7, 2002
Mountain Home AFB, ID
From reading some of the posts here, the radiator blocking one in particular, some are implying that cold weather invites sludge buildup. What exactly are you talking about? I was under the assumption that overheating the oil caused that. I'm concerned because I'm moving from Florida to Idaho in about 45 days. It's a higher elevation and waaaay north. Gets down below 0 deg F easy. You guys got me paranoid cause I just spent a boatload on full synths and ARX and bypass filter etc. I'm hoping this all hasn't been in vain! I think I'm gonna go put a blanket on her to keep her warm! [Wink]
Sounds like you are all set for the move. There are actually two kinds of sludge; the cold milky sludge, and the black sludge. The cold milky sludge is due to moisture buildup and the oil temps not rising high enough to burn-off the moisture. In black sludge, high temperature oxidation breaks down the oil and additives and turns it black. The milky sludge can cause acids to form if the acid-fighting additives are not high enough or if they become depleted.
Going to Mountain Home? It doesn't get really cold there (below -40°), I don't think, at least not very often. Don't worry. Use your choice of 5W-30 or 0W-30 oil. Synthetic lube in a manual transmission is a really good idea, or just shift at the speed the lever will move--don't try to rush it. It's also good for differentials and automatics, but not as important. Remember, most folks use the lubes from the auto factory. Any good standard battery is OK; a large capacity battery is better if you need a new one. 50-50 antifreeze/water should be OK, or maybe use 60% antifreeze / 40% distilled water. An engine block water jacket heater is good but not essential. They heat the coolant for easier starting, more even engine temperatures while it's warming, give better gas mileage 'cuz your engine's computer controls don't need to keep the fuel mixture extra rich for so long, lower emissions for this same reason, and best of all the heater comes on sooner. There are electric oil pan heaters and battery heaters, also, but I don't think you'll need those until you go to Elmendorf. Do get four good winter tires..."All Season" tires truthfully are three season. Do get winter wiper blades with the rubber boot over the metal parts. Do get a couple of good windshield scrapers and brushes, and carry warm gloves. Whe it gets below -20°, be ready to scrape the frost off the inside of your windows. Oh, yeah, find an empty snowy paved lot and practice winter driving...braking, sharp fast turns, recovering from skids, etc. Ken
[LOL!] Not laughing at you, laughing WITH you! I used to live waaaaay up north and I know exactly what you mean. I've been in the military so long that I don't know how to drive in snow anymore! Good suggestions though! I'm going to need a reaaaaaally big parking lot though. I have an Excursion! [Big Grin] And yes, going to Mt. Home. Can't wait to go skiing!!!!!
[Off Topic!] Somewhat off-topic, but some people have told me that the Excursion has a more stable suspension system than Suburbans. Give us your thoughts on the big EX verses Burbs. Thanks Mola
I haven't driven the newer style 'Burbs (2000 and up I do believe) but I have driven numerous earlier models all the way up to '99. *disclaimer* This is only my opinion and is based upon real world driving. The Suburban's suspension was a bit softer and gave a nicer "Caddilac" quality ride. However, this was a detriment to the handling abilities since it tended to give a bit too much when cornering, especially with a load. The X's ride is a bit stiffer but is not untamed. To tell you the truth, it rides better than our old Mercury Villager minivan! As for handling...I don't know how well it would do in the slolom (sp?) course but there's no waiting for the truck to react when you turn the wheel. If you want to be there....well, it just goes there! I was really impressed by both trucks suspensions considering what they were designed for. The Burb's being designed for comfort and the X's being designed originally for hauling in the F-250 3/4 ton truck. When I go on trips I carry the whole household with me. So, considering this I would still have to choose the X because it handles a load much better (IMO) than a Burb. Mikie
Thanks Mikie, I have a friend who is a dentist and he just bought an EX (Has a 2000 Burb Before that). He says side sway is minimal and on tight turns in the Smokie Mountains, the Excursion handled more like a wide-trak, low-slung sport car.
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