Correlation between noise and wear???

Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
1,132
Location
Colorado
I continue to read all over this forum that some are choosing a heavier weight oil, because it "smooths out the engine" and "sounds better". I also read a lot that many believe a very good 20wt Synthetic is just as good or better than the heavier weight oils. I feel certain that a top notch 0w20 will keep an engine running far beyond 100k miles, if not 200k miles. But, will a 5w40 better protect an engine to go beyond 200k miles? We all know that a 5w40 will sound and run smoother than a 5w20. I am just wondering, is there a correlation between a 'rougher sound and feel" to increased engine wear?
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2009
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: BigJohn
We all know that a 5w40 will sound and run smoother than a 5w20.
I for one do not believe that is a given. Many people report less noise with Xw20 than with heavier oils.
 Originally Posted By: BigJohn
I am just wondering, is there a correlation between a 'rougher sound and feel" to increased engine wear?
The last time I weighed in on this I got accused of dismissing people's intellect, but what I dismissed was the human ear's ability to make a a quantitative assessment of engine sound, especially when "audio sample A" is separated from "audio sample b" by the length of time it takes to change oil. Or longer. I think the issue is twofold: 1) We can *super* easily fool ourselves into thinking the engine is "smoother and quieter" when all it actually is is "different." I know some people have vastly different hearing abilities than others- some have perfect pitch, some have perfect relative pitch (I almost have perfect relative pitch), and others are absolutely tone-deaf. But no matter how you slice it, the ear is prone to a lot of subjectivity and error. 2) Many engine noises that may or may not be affected by the oil have absolutely no correlation to wear, whereas others may have a high correlation to wear. Classic example is piston slap- one of the most audible and identifiable noises that an engine can make, but causes either no or unmeasurably small added wear when it is audible (its ALWAYS there whether audible above other sounds or not). In fact one of the traditional ways of silencing piston slap and making car buyers happy is to slightly offset the piston wrist pin to one side so that the piston maintains pressure against one cylinder wall and doesn't shift as abruptly between compression and power strokes- but that method ADDS measurable friction and very slightly INCREASES wear in order to REDUCE audible sound. Which is one reason that carmakers stopped using that method a few years back and immediately got a rash of piston-slap complaints. So now that I've beat around the bush.... "NO, I don't think there is ALWAYS a correlation between 'rougher sound and feel' and increased engine wear."
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
Sound will travel through a lighter medium easier . It's like having heavier insulation. So noise may mean nothing about wear.
 

BigJohn

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
1,132
Location
Colorado
To some degree or another, I agree with all the statements above. Subjectivity is something we filter on this site 99% of the time and hearing and feel are HUGELY subjective. My mother owns a Ford F150 that she purchased for $500 from an Oil and Gas company. This truck is used on her property as a beater. It has 315k miles on it. It called for 5w20 oil on the engine cap, but for the past 310k miles, 15w40 Bulk Fleet was poured in. That engine is in absolutely outstanding condition. Anyway, when changing the oil 6 months ago, my brother read on the cap and filled the truck up with YB 5w20. Oh my goodness, the engine had an horrible sound and was very, very rough. My next trip over to Mom's, I drained the 5w20 and filled with Delvac 1300 15w40 and she was running top notch again. Now this example is with an highly used and worn engine.....but that is what got me to thinking about the sound and feel vs the wear.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 17, 2005
Messages
4,942
Location
Billings, MT
I switched my car (96 Crown Vic ex police cruiser with 131K) to Pennzoil Platinum 5W-20 after doing an Auto RX clean and rinse, and all you can hear under the hood is the fuel injectors and the fan. The engine is almost silent, which is a big change from the way it sounded before. I do not believe that a thicker oil automatically means a quieter engine.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
4,565
Location
NW Ohio
RE The Ford Modular V8s- They were born noisy and start up every morning and have a relapse. Chain noise and piston slap, exacerbated by a thinwall block casting. George Reid, in his new book "How To Rebuild 4.6/5.4L Engines" says (and I don't necessarily agree nor disagree, just relating the facts) that noise is impossible to eliminate from these engines and you just have to get used to what's "normal." Though the engine uses hypereutectic pistons, they run loose piston to bore clearances to accomodate piston expansion because combustion temps are naturally high. Reid says these engine will "talk" when cold and that it's normal and not life threatening.
 
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
1,267
Location
Tennessee
The 4.6's are quiet, period. The only noise you will hear is start up noise because of the filter. I don't believe that the 'thicker oils' help to 'insulate' the sound. No way. What is 3 cst when it comes to sound? The engine isn't making that noise with the thicker oil because it is providing more buffer. Many times that I've went to a slightly thicker oil, the engine most definitely gets quieter on the top end. My wife's 2001 Eclipse GS used to tick and chatter when it got good and warm. That was with 10W-30 Castrol GTX. I put it on a diet of 0W-30 GC, and the difference is amazing. Just that extra 2cst helped keep the engine quiet, no matter how much it has been driven. I won't argue if this is causing more wear, because people love to know their engine can run on a thin oil... BTW, I love the F150 example. It's a high mileage engine that has ran 15W-40 all its life. I don't think thin oil is necessarily bad, I just think that a thicker oil is better for longevity (200k+ miles). Yes, some of us keep 'em til they die.
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
747
Location
miami fl
heavier weight oils when cold do not have the best cold start protection. if you want to see this for yourself look inside of a engine valve cover during startup with a 20w50 oil, watch the toothpast slowly flow across the engine until it warms up! during this time engine wear is at its most! then do the same thing with any 5W30 oil and the physical difference is stunning to see for yourself! I say the thinner oil protects at cold engine temps significantly more than the heavy 50 weight. now at higher temps there is another issue that comes along. this is where SYNTHETICS hold superior, cold and hot engine protection. mineral oils just cant hold the hight temps as well during long drains i/e 5000 miles as non mineral based oils. let the insults follow now!
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
 Originally Posted By: BigJohn
To some degree or another, I agree with all the statements above. Subjectivity is something we filter on this site 99% of the time and hearing and feel are HUGELY subjective. My mother owns a Ford F150 that she purchased for $500 from an Oil and Gas company. This truck is used on her property as a beater. It has 315k miles on it. It called for 5w20 oil on the engine cap, but for the past 310k miles, 15w40 Bulk Fleet was poured in. That engine is in absolutely outstanding condition. Anyway, when changing the oil 6 months ago, my brother read on the cap and filled the truck up with YB 5w20. Oh my goodness, the engine had an horrible sound and was very, very rough. My next trip over to Mom's, I drained the 5w20 and filled with Delvac 1300 15w40 and she was running top notch again. Now this example is with an highly used and worn engine.....but that is what got me to thinking about the sound and feel vs the wear.
Engines develop a wear pattern. It is quite possible because a 40 grade oil was used, that the 20 grade was too thin because of how the engine wear pattern developed using the 40 grade. After those many miles I would just stick to the 40 grade oil. JMO AD
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2007
Messages
747
Location
miami fl
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
The 4.6's are quiet, period. The only noise you will hear is start up noise because of the filter. I don't believe that the 'thicker oils' help to 'insulate' the sound. No way. What is 3 cst when it comes to sound? The engine isn't making that noise with the thicker oil because it is providing more buffer. Many times that I've went to a slightly thicker oil, the engine most definitely gets quieter on the top end. My wife's 2001 Eclipse GS used to tick and chatter when it got good and warm. That was with 10W-30 Castrol GTX. I put it on a diet of 0W-30 GC, and the difference is amazing. Just that extra 2cst helped keep the engine quiet, no matter how much it has been driven. I won't argue if this is causing more wear, because people love to know their engine can run on a thin oil... BTW, I love the F150 example. It's a high mileage engine that has ran 15W-40 all its life. I don't think thin oil is necessarily bad, I just think that a thicker oil is better for longevity (200k+ miles). Yes, some of us keep 'em til they die.
oil filters when cold bypass oil, i/e more volume of oil reaches the swinging parts of a engine quicker. now I will agree with some of what you say, I have opened over 500 oil filters or more in 15 years and the vast array of methods manufactures take to invent some new way for excessive pressure to bypass the filter media inside is amazing, I see something new all the time, now the difference in oil volume is drastic between these filters and a lack of volume at cold start in some cases cause engine noise. some designs bypass the filter anything above 30 psi, that is not what I call a bargain filter!
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Messages
14,871
Location
Illinois
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
The 4.6's are quiet, period. The only noise you will hear is start up noise because of the filter. I don't believe that the 'thicker oils' help to 'insulate' the sound. No way. What is 3 cst when it comes to sound? The engine isn't making that noise with the thicker oil because it is providing more buffer. Many times that I've went to a slightly thicker oil, the engine most definitely gets quieter on the top end. My wife's 2001 Eclipse GS used to tick and chatter when it got good and warm. That was with 10W-30 Castrol GTX. I put it on a diet of 0W-30 GC, and the difference is amazing. Just that extra 2cst helped keep the engine quiet, no matter how much it has been driven. I won't argue if this is causing more wear, because people love to know their engine can run on a thin oil... BTW, I love the F150 example. It's a high mileage engine that has ran 15W-40 all its life. I don't think thin oil is necessarily bad, I just think that a thicker oil is better for longevity (200k+ miles). Yes, some of us keep 'em til they die.
Disregard the book. My 4.6 is very quite even with 210,000 miles. M1 oils
 
Joined
May 26, 2003
Messages
9,826
Location
Central Coast, Calif.
I wouldn't say noise = wear. Back when valves were manually adjustable with solid lifters they'd click when they were happy. higher viscosity oil may quiet them but it was not changing their wear. Some vehicles have noisy timing chains, once again thicker oil may quiet them but isn't necessarily making them wear less.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
47,082
Location
Ontario, Canada
 Originally Posted By: lazaro
heavier weight oils when cold do not have the best cold start protection. if you want to see this for yourself look inside of a engine valve cover during startup with a 20w50 oil, watch the toothpast slowly flow across the engine until it warms up! during this time engine wear is at its most! then do the same thing with any 5W30 oil and the physical difference is stunning to see for yourself! I say the thinner oil protects at cold engine temps significantly more than the heavy 50 weight. now at higher temps there is another issue that comes along. this is where SYNTHETICS hold superior, cold and hot engine protection. mineral oils just cant hold the hight temps as well during long drains i/e 5000 miles as non mineral based oils. let the insults follow now!
That statement is a touch too broad. For example, M1 TDT 5w40 is thinner than Castrol GTX 5w30 at basically any point around 15C and lower. At -35, it literally almost HALF as thick. That's substantial.
 
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
1,267
Location
Tennessee
 Originally Posted By: tig1
Disregard the book. My 4.6 is very quite even with 210,000 miles. M1 oils
That's... what I said. I said the 4.6's were quiet. Mine was quiet on Castrol GTX. Don't disregard mah book!
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
4,565
Location
NW Ohio
 Originally Posted By: Jaymus
 Originally Posted By: tig1
Disregard the book. My 4.6 is very quite even with 210,000 miles. M1 oils
That's... what I said. I said the 4.6's were quiet. Mine was quiet on Castrol GTX. Don't disregard mah book!
Oh sure! Disregard a guy who has rebuilt hundreds, if not thousands of these engines, has connections with Ford and well known performance builders of the Modular Ford, such as Sean Hyland, and has researched extensively. All because of your one experience with one engine. Sure. Look, while I am trying to be a wiseacre here, I do it to make a point and not to torque you off. It's human nature to extrapolate our personal experience as the "way of the world." Besides, who knows what you consider "noise" vesus what other people call it, could be light years apart. For all we know, your hearing is as shell-shocked as mine is! Fact is, though, Ford has had a fair number of engine noise complaints with the modular, especially back when the 4.6L was first introduced and through the '90s. They addressed them and made big improvements but still, according to people in the performance industry I've spoken with, they are still "generally" considered to be "chatty" engines, though whatever noise they exhibit is not considered to be harmful. I guess it all depends how conscious a person is of such things. You would tend to be more so with a brand new car than with a car that has given 210K of trouble free service. In Reid's book, the engine they use for the rebuild is a low miles warranty pull-out that was replaced because of a noise complaint. Upon teardown, they find a nearly perfect engine with nothing wrong. That's when he gets into the noise issue and says, for the most part, a little noise is not harmful. If you want to hear another anecdotal comment, I have a 5.4L with 15K miles and it's not particular noisy from my POV, but I can hear some chain noise and a little piston slap if I listen carefully with the hood open... especially when its cold. I have categorized it as "normal" and tune it out. Going back to my main point, it's intellectually foolish to discount a book, a) especially without having seen it, and b) when your level of experience doesn't measure up to the author's. I'm not necessarily saying the guy is 100 percent right about the noise issue, or that you or I have to accept everything in the book as gospel (once you've read it, of course). It's just not a good idea to laugh it off with a glib one-liner when you've never laid eyes on it.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
4,379
Location
MS
I wouldn't count any associations with Sean Hyland as a positive resume point for Reid. Hyland's own book is loaded with incorrect or questionable information, and even some bad torque specs which is inexcusable for a Modular-oriented engine builder. Hyland has also built a reputation for putting out some of the most trouble-prone aftermarket Modulars around.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2002
Messages
901
Location
Northern Illinois
Add a second point for quiet at 200K on my wifes town car. Only bad years I know of are around 2003 when they cheapened the chain tensioners with plastic. Only other noise comes from putting a filter with a bad antibackflow valve in the car.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
 Originally Posted By: BigJohn
... We all know that a 5w40 will sound and run smoother than a 5w20. ...
Totally not true with my experience in 2000 MB E430. My E430 is much quieter with either PP 5W20 or M1 0W20 than M1 0W40, it also run much smoother with thinner oils.
 
Top