Found some old oil change records

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
Cleaning up today and I found some old oil change records. Car was a mid 80's 4-cylinder Holden Camira, the GM J-body also sold as the Opel Ascona, Vauxhall & Chevy Cavalier etc. I picked up the car second hand in the mid 90's with about 150,000 km (93,000 miles) on the clock. I was mostly motorcycles up to then but a smoking hot girlfriend who was OK with the occasional sunny weekend ride, but much preferred to go grocery shopping on a rainy night in a car. Go figure. Oil spec was API SF 20W-50 every 10,000 km (6,200 miles) or 6 months. Most oil changes were mineral 20W-50 (API SH) at about 8000 km (5000 miles) with Mobil Super XHP, Valvoline XLD and Castrol GTX-II. By far most were the GTX. However back in the 90's I was already using full synthetic in my motorcycle, and so they also made it into this car (when I could afford it). I did a few changes on Castrol R Synthetic (now called Edge) 10W60, and a few changes on M1 5W-50. I ran the synthetics out to about 12,000 km (7,500 miles). I have one shockingly long oil change of 22,500 km (14,000 miles) on GTX 20W-50. But I think this is more an error of my note taking as I believe I also did a run of Castrol XL 20W50 in this car, but it's not in my notes. If we assume the above is a note error, then my longest run was 17,700 km (11,000 miles) on Castrol R 10W-60 full synthetic (PAO based back then, I range and asked them). Car went to the wrecker / breakers with a good engine but the body falling apart. My timing was perfect, it dumped its radiator in the car park of the wreckers, and I drove it in the last 50 meters dry.
 
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13,194
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Maricopa Arizona
Interesting. My first car was a Cavalier and it got 10W30 it had 150K miles on it when was totaled due to a bent frame. I had to do an evasive turn on the highway due to a driver running a stop sign. We got airborne through a ditch into a corn field.
 
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2,042
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British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted by SR5
Car went to the wrecker / breakers with a good engine but the body falling apart. My timing was perfect, it dumped its radiator in the car park of the wreckers, and I drove it in the last 50 meters dry.
Good timing is right! A friend says his friend used to run the tires on his Volvo right to the bitter end. Eventually the tires were so bald he decided they had to go. There was a bump at the entrance to the garage and (so the story goes) his friend blew out 2 tires getting over the bump. Though I don't advocate driving any vehicle on bald tires, if true, that was good timing too.
 
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117
Location
NW Iowa
My 1998 Cavalier 2.2L had 280k miles when I sold it, still running, for $300 in 2016. The powertrain on it had never been touched. It even still had the original Dexron III in the transmission from 1998. However, like most other J-body owners will attest to, the body had seen better days.
 
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5,570
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New Zealand
The Camira wasn't loved in NZ, so they sourced the Isuzu version and rebadged it, ah, power steering at last. I'm pretty certain no Camira ever got synthetic over here.
 

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
I remember being impressed in the 90's at how well the synthetics started in winter and how clean they stayed on the stick. Not a big ask in comparison to API SH 20W-50 in a mild Australian winter I know, but I could still pick the difference. But synthetics were so expensive back then, at least 3x the price of a name brand mineral oil. So the car mostly got GTX. Still a life of M1 or Formula R (Edge) would have made no difference in the end. The body died before the engine.
 

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
Originally Posted by Silk
The Camira wasn't loved in NZ, so they sourced the Isuzu version and rebadged it, ah, power steering at last. I'm pretty certain no Camira ever got synthetic over here.
They had a bad rep in Australia too, that's why I picked it up cheap. I was the second owner and it was the very last of the JB series (82-84) so mine was better sorted than most. I'm probably the only person in the world who ran a Camira / Cavalier on synthetic. Fun experiment but a waste of money, glad I had the sense to run it a bit longer.
 
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13,194
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Maricopa Arizona
Originally Posted by Kira
Airborne car without death being involved?....glad you're still alive. Was you hurt? Friends had a Cavalier (dan't ask what year) and it served them extremely well.
No I was in company of the Pastor's Son and Brother. No one of was hurt and the lady who blew through the stop sign admitted fault and she didn't pay attention because she was sick.
 
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3,175
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Western S.C.
I have all change records for my '81 Mazda (see below) going all the way back to the beginning. Without bothering to dig them up, I can reveal that most oil changes were at ~6k miles (vs. 7.5k suggested by Mazda in non-severe conditions), and most filter changes were every third oil change. I stretched a few changes out longer (up to ~11k) during leaky (self-changing) periods in its old age. Mostly conventional 10W-40, occasionally 10W-30 in winter. Air filters roughly every 100k. Never any problem due to wear of oily metal bits.
 
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5,570
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New Zealand
Cars of that era didn't have good PCV systems, crankcase ventilation without the positive part, that wouldn't of helped the oil. I think the Camira (and all the other badged Opel sohc engines, with the waterpump cambelt adjuster) had an vent hose that used to crack or collapse...the 323 just dribbled poop into the carb.
 

hpb

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1,638
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Tasmania, Australia
You took a JB Camira past 200,000km??!! Well done mate! What a dog they were. And yes, I know they were awarded "Wheels" Car of the Year! I will say though, the very last of the Camira's, with the fuel injected 2 litre donk, weren't a bad thing to drive. Oh, and everything I owned back in the '90's lived happily on a dino 20w50 diet too, changed every 10,000ish kilometres.
 

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
Originally Posted by hpb
You took a JB Camira past 200,000km??!! Well done mate! What a dog they were..
Mate, my JB Camira made it to 300,000 km with numerous drives between Brisbane - Sydney - Melbourne. It even had working air-con (after I fixed it). Didn't that suck the power, and there wasn't much to give. You could make distance or stay cool, but not both. Red station wagon with a 4 speed manual. Long enough to sleep in with the seats folded, I did a lot of bush car camping in that thing. Them were the days ...
 

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
BTW nobody ever tried to rob me in my bush travels. A man sleeping in the back of a Camira station wagon is not a rich man. If he's not at actual rock bottom, then he can see it clearly from his bed room.
 
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3,175
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Western S.C.
Originally Posted by Silk
Cars of that era didn't have good PCV systems, crankcase ventilation without the positive part, that wouldn't of helped the oil. ...the 323 just dribbled poop into the carb.
I don't know exactly what era you're referring to. My '72 Subaru and my brother's '74 VW Dasher (=Passat) had that sort of crude crankcase venting, years after most US cars had real PCV systems. The Subaru dumped its oily blowby onto the clean side of the air filter, creating a mess. I modified it to direct blowby more directly into the top of the carburetor. No further problems.
 
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248
Location
Illinois valley
I junked a perfectly good running 84 Cavalier we bought new. Regular conventional oil changes, whatever name brand that was on sale that week at Trak Auto Parts. Open the oil cap to see clean cast iron, no sludge. It was a 2.0 4 banger with TBI and it ran pretty good. Body fell apart from rust. I ordered it with the performance axle, 3.73:1.
 
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2,306
Location
Seattle-ish, WA
This brings back memories. My first "new" car was 1985 Cavalier Z-24. I was a senior in HS and my parents though I was going to a military academy (I had been accepted), so they blew some savings they had set aside on that for my 18th birthday. Honestly, blew me away as I don't think either of my parents had ever had a new car, nor have they since. First oil change, for some reason my dad took it to a Jiffy Lube or similar (which was odd, we were DIY types but lived in an FL condo association that frowned on DIY stuff). They used the wrong oil filter and while I was sitting at the intersection of US 19 and FL SR580 (at the time, one of the 10 deadliest intersections in the US), the engine just started spewing white smoke. I pulled into the median and called dad, thankfully, and did not trash the motor. The filter had just blown off the threads. Eventually, the academy found out my left eye was 20/40 and I could do a lot of things but not fly, so I went to another school in a fit of adolescent egotism; my loss. But that put paid on I think the only new car anyone in my family ever bought, from the '50s until now AFAIK tell. Oh wait, that just refers to my parents or I. My brother and his wife did get a new Tahoe and a Z4 at some point (but then held them for 15 years+)/
 

SR5

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5,906
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Down Under
To be honest, now days I would run a mixed fleet (petrol & diesel) 15W40 HDEO and be done with it. Better formulated than the mineral 20W50 PCMO and much cheaper than the 10W60 and 5W50 synthetics. BTW no oil leaks even with swapping between mineral and synthetics in an old car.
 
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15,061
Location
Canada
I had a 1985 Buick Skyhawk as my first car; Buicks version of the J-body over here in NA. I thought it was much 'classier' than the plebian Cavalier! It had a Chevrolet built 2.0L OHV 4-cylinder with TBI and about 85hp, hooked to a 3-speed auto. I got it with 62k miles on it....'grandma driven'...lol. It spec'd 5W-30, and I was a die-hard 3k OCI guy, so it went to 'Mr. Lube' every 3k like clockwork and got Castrol GTX 5W-30 and a Purolator white can. I also believed that Wynn's 'friction proofing' treatment was a good thing,it got that as well all the time. Didn't use much oil at all. Engine wasn't spotless, but it was clean through the fill hole. Engine ran pretty good for the two years I had it before I got rid of it. In fact, engine and transmission were the two things that really didn't give me any problems. I got rid of it at about 90k miles, but it kept going for years after that - person who bought it after me lived near me, and I used to see it all the time, chugging along just fine.
 
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4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
My Lil Sis has been driving for 20 years and has owned 2 cars. Pontic Sunfire (J-Car) 2..2 and a Pontiac Solstice 2.4L. We used to do 10,000 mi drains on Castrol 0W-30 in the 2.2L. It used zero oil after 10 years. The Solstice 2.4L has had Dealer Bulk (Mobil then GM Dexos) since new and also uses no oil. Neither car was/is fast but both have been extremely reliable for her.
 
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