GC real hard starting in Canadian winter

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Nov 6, 2002
Mississauga / Ontario
I've been running GC 0W-30 in my 2001 4 cyl. Accord for the past 20k miles. Consumption has decreased significantly over the other oils I have used, engine has run a little quiter, and has overall pleased me up to this point... The car has about 50k miles on it, and it has never experienced hard starting problems as this winter. We dipped below -20C these past few days, and the car just absolutelly hates starting! It cranks like it's on its last breath, and the oil has been replaced by mollases. Now I'm not trying to put blame on the oil just yet, as others have had great results with GC in cold weather. What else could be causing this? Maybe the battery is weak? It also takes 2-3 seconds for it to start, compared to almost instantly with other oils in the past winters. Sorry for making this so long. I'm looking for suggestions where the problem could lay. Regards, Paul
I would say that your battery is more likely the culprit. Although I haven't used GC, judging from its specs, it should breeze through -20C.
Wow, you've done 32,000km on GC? Has it even been a year that it's come out? In either case, I doubt it's the oil...you have a 0W for goodness sake! Try M-1 15-50 and then tell us there's a problem starting at -20C...
I don't think it's the oil either.. My car hesitates while starting too but I suspect the 4 year old battery.. once I get going the engine warms up really quick and feels smooth. [Cheers!] Gotta love Canada, -30 or lower tonight! [Canada]
Can you tell us what other oils you have used that caused higher consumption? This seems odd that you only have 50k miles and it consumes enough oil that you can compare the consumption with other oils. Also, did you break-in the car on synthetic or dino oil? Thanks.
I don't know about you guys but I have a tittle glass jar in my car with gc in it and with the temp's that we are getting here, the oil is still getting thick. It will move thick. But it is still moving better then dino oils that I also have in glass jars. My car does start hard with this oil, but it does it with any oil. I'm not sure but I think it might be do to my 13 year old 4 banger sunbird [Big Grin]
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! My first guess was that the battery was the culprit, but I can't help wonder why a three year old OEM battery would give up its ghost. It has scared me into thinking that my beloved GC might not be all I've hoped it would be. Consumption: The car has consumed oil from day 1. I have used 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, and now the thicker (at oper. temp) synthetic 0W-30 GC. It has been in our family since 25 miles on the odo, and I assure everyone it has received proper maintenance and has never experienced any abuse. My guess is that this is just one of those cars. The consumption has been about 1qt/3k with dino of viscosities mentioned above. With GC it has dropped to about 1qt/6k. I've run GC for 9k and it used approx 1.5qts. I'm doing a test tonight: a bottle of GC is sleeping outside, exposed to all the great stuff mother Canada can throw at it. I'll look into trying out a known good battery and update everyone then. Regards, Paul
well....since i just finished my starting and charging class ill offer an informed opinion. 1. yes the OEM batteries can go south after 1 year or less! Why? THEY STINK!!all the OEM cares about is that the car starts once to get on the truck, again to get off the truck and once for the cust. after that its sayonara!!! 2. most OEM batteries have a low CCA. for instance, nissan batteries have CCA's around the 375 mark, whilst an aftermarket battery may have a CCA of over 500!! BIG DIFFERENCE in cold weather!! 3. check your battery's open circuit voltage w/a voltmetre. if its less than 12.6-you need a charge! remember, for every .2 a volt drop is a 25% drop in charge rate. so, a battery that has an open circuit charge of 12.4v, is %75 charged. I guarantee you its the BATTERY and NOT the oil!IMHO
Also it's possible that the battery terminal connections are dirty. A weak 3 year old OEM battery is nothing new. In a mild winter you'd get by with this battery.
55°F here today!
Sunny, too! Ken
That's what I've been saying, GC cuts consumption in half. [Big Grin] Hoping for even better results with the BC. OEM batteries suck, they sit around waiting for installation, then get run occasionally for a few months. Do you think the batter supplier sends out the freshest batteries when the factory order comes in for 10,000 of them? [I dont know]
Ken2- the battery terminals are not corroded or dirty. They have been cleaned and resprayed with lithium grease every 6 months or so. Yes, I am anal about service. [Big Grin] I also think it must be the battery. I will take Christopher Jefferson's advice and check it out. I hardly think the battery that was installed in the Accord was any older than the car its self. Honda. much like (almost) all of their suppliers, operates on a JIT inventory system. I would bet the date stamp on the battery is not older than the rest of the car by more than a few months. But I'll check to feed my curiousity. Anything else that might be standing in the way of fast and easy starting? -Paul
You lucky bastards with warm weather!! I just spent an hour and a half with a snow blower (Honda no doubt) and a shovel trying to clear the sidewald and driveway!! Gotta love our Canadian winters!! [Cool] -Paul
Don't block heaters come standard on most Canuckistan-spec cars? Plug it in! Definitely get your battery load tested, and look for a loose/dirty electrical connection at the battery terminals, starter, solenoid, alternator, etc. GC works well in the cold! I was in Vermont last week and the car started up just fine at -14°F (-26°C) with GC in the engine.  -
Actually, we refer to you folks in Southern Ontario as being "down south" so quit whining about a minor cold snap. [Razz] Just kidding! Was -42 F last week and is now a balmy 4 F / -16 C. Once it gets colder than -40, F and C have little meaning around here! I would wonder if the GC thickens quite a bit with extended use? Does your car make any nasty noises once started? I covered this in another post, but here we go again: According to the SAE J300 test, the "borderline pumping temperature" is the "yield stress" when the oil is >60,000 cP. The BPT simulates oil flow from the oil pickup tube to the oil pump, and is the MRV BPT (Mini Rotary Viscometer Borderline Pumping Temp). Also according to my Esso Lubricant Products Handbook, the following grades are listed to their absolute lowest ambient temperature use: 15W-40 -20 C (-4 F) 10W-30 -25 C (-13 F) 5W-30 -30 C (-22 F) 0W-30 -40 C 0W-40 -40 C The "0W" oils are partial synthetic HD diesel oils. Every oil from every maker will test differently on the MRV BPT. For example, Mobil sells a synthetic 0W-30 in Europe that turns solid at -38 C, so different markets have different priorities. I worry about cold temp performance as I ordered new a 200 GMC Sierra with Vortec 5.3. It has a rear sump oil pan, the oil pump at the very front of the crank, and a very long oil pickup tube. When new, with the factory-fill "low bidder" 5W-30, it made knocking sounds at temps colder than -10 F, and oil pressure took about 10-15 secs to build up. With Mobil 1 0W-30, between the time I turn the key to start, it starts instantly, and when I glance at the gauge it's already up. No noises at all, even at -42 F. I run Mobil 1 0W-30 in winter and Mobil 1 10W-30 in summer. The 0W-30 has a MRV BPT of -58 F, so no problems even at -42 F. I've seen cars around here break the oil pump drive when boosted at -42 F.
-10 degrees F with a healthy windchill this morning! Truck started with a few extra cranks. I think at this low temp that the gas doesn't vaporize as well, so starting can be labored a bit.
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