Ford Pickups and Towing (5w-20?)

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Mar 8, 2003
Know a couple of guys around home that are running new Ford Super-Duty's with both the 5.4 and 6.8 liter Triton engines. Thing is, they tow horse and cattle trailers all the time, and run the heck out of their trucks. I'm very curious about the 5w-20 oil that you have to run in those Fords now. How does this stuff protect under high-stress operating conditions? Would it really hurt to go with a 10w-30 (such as Castrol GTX or Chevron Supreme), or for that matter, even a 15w-40 (if temperatures weren't too low)? Is there any reason Ford went with this rating besides their continuing passion to obtain higher fuel economy numbers?
The only reason Ford switched to the 5w20 oil is for fuel econmy reasons. No bearing or engine clearances changed from when they were requiring the use of 5w30 oil. My thought is this: Based on how many 5w30's we see that sear back to 20 weight oils within 3,000 miles, and the regular service schedule is 5,000 miles, if the 5w20 oils are more shear stable, then there probably is not going to be any issues. I know in the UOA section we have had two postings on a SD with the 6.8, towing light trailers in Colorado that have looked pretty good. Still no hot weather numbers to look at though... If it were me, I'd run a decent quality 5w30.
I'll bet the engines will make it past warranty. On a previous post ,also I have read studys in the past that heavy oil protect the berings better under high load lugging operation. I wonder if automatic transmissions will due to the torque converter will eliminate this ? Any engineers out there? The 5w20 interests me because M1 oil was 5w20 when it first came out and Redline oil claims their oil's protect better than the next grade higher.Redline oil is a real heavy duty oil not always needed but when is is it works. I'm thinking about trying it in a 10w 30 toyota engine maybe?
Justin, We just don't know answers to the questions you're asking. And we probably won't know until those engines get well over 100,000 miles. Ford claims that they tested the engines over 100k before they issued the 5W-20 requirement, and 5W-20 does have some tougher specs than 5w-30 and the rest...we'll have to wait and see. Until then, Ford owners probably have to follow the owner's manual "recommendations" through the warranty period, and "extended warranty" period depending on what's written in that contract, to avoid arguments if they have a warranty claim. As you say, running those engines in hot weather with heavy loads sure does seem to call for a higher viscosity oil...yes, I know about jet engines and their light oil, but the conditions are different. Ken
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