Heavy trailer towing - what oil to use?

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36
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
I'm looking for advice as to which oil would be the best to run in my 2000 SL2 when towing. Here are the details: Type of driving: driven very hard, 1000's of km on the track (WOT or threshold braking - only 500 km of this per oil change though), towing 1800 lb trailers (20,000+ km), daily 100 km commute (with WOT 6500 rpm shifts very common). Mileage: 152,000 km (95,000 miles) Oil run for first 140,000 km: Castrol GTX 5w30 Current oil: Quaker State 10w30 for "high mileage engines" (5w30 started to require a top up just before change - 10w30 burns about 1/2 as much) Change interval: 5000 kms (3000 miles) max. What's different is we are now planning to tow the camper on a 13,000 km (8000 mile) holiday, including up and over the Rockies (instead of many shorter trips - typ. less than 1000 kms). The engine will be running in 4th at 4000+ rpm most of the time (5th gear provides very little manifold vacuum and I don't want to sludge the engine up). I'm thinking Mobil 1 10w30 or possibly 15w40 for three 4000 km (2500 mile) change intervals. After reading other postings I'm a little concerned about existing sludge contaminating the oil. It needs a change right now so I could swap to synth now and then change it again before leaving (will probably drive more than 5000 km before leaving). Sorry for the long-winded post - what do you think (about the oil)? Steve
 
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5,336
Location
London, AR
SaturnSl2, Are you going to be pulling this 1800lb. trailer with your Saturn? It would help to know the vehicle/engine for sure.
 

SaturnSL2

Thread starter
Messages
36
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
Yes, a Saturn. It tows very well (after a few chassis/suspension mods). Engine/tranny are stock. It's a 2000 SL2, with the 1.9 liter DOHC, 4 valve/cylinder, 4 cylinder engine and the 5 speed manual tranny (Redline MTL in the tranny). Steve
 
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5,336
Location
London, AR
SaturnSl2, Do me a favor and send me your itinerary so I can make sure that I am fishing the day you are near me. I don't doubt that aprox. 124HP and 122torque will get that 1800lb. trailer moving. Now lets talk about stopping that grossly over loaded vehicle. JMO
 
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5,785
Location
Dixie
Steve, I'd run Mobil 1, 10w-30 and see how that does ...If the oil consumption goes way up with the trailer towing and M1, 10w-30, I'd run some Mobil Delvac 1, 5w-40 in there. You can find this oil at most Walmarts in Canada .... Since you aren't leaving for a while, get yourself a bottle of AutoRX and run that in the engine for 500 miles before putting the Mobil 1 in. That should cut down on the oil consumption .... TooSlick
 
Messages
6,388
Location
Washington St.
quote:
Originally posted by 59 Vetteman: SaturnSl2, Do me a favor and send me your itinerary so I can make sure that I am fishing the day you are near me. I don't doubt that aprox. 124HP and 122torque will get that 1800lb. trailer moving. Now lets talk about stopping that grossly over loaded vehicle. JMO
Stopping won't be a problem if the trailer has brakes (it BETTER!). Keeping the rig straight and in just one lane will be the problem. Too much trailer, no where near enough tow vehicle. Ken
 
Messages
168
Location
KY
Steve, I've noticed the same thing on here as well...you ask an oil question (since this is an oil board) and many on here give you junk about the choices you make. Remember guys, this is an oil board. If he wants to pull with a Saturn, then he's gonna pull with a Saturn. So what! Anyways Steve, I'd recommend the highest viscosity oil your manual says (which is probably 10w-30). If you can find it, and since I really like HDMO's, I'd go with either Delo, Delvac, or Rotella in the 10w-30. It might take a little looking to find, but you should be able to get it through an area oil distributor. Change every 3,000 miles, and it will definitely hold up to the stress of this application. If you want to go synthetics, a 10w-30 PCMO if you want to stay with the oil recommendation in your manual. Of course, if you want to go 40 weight, you have alot more options. Justin. [ April 22, 2003, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: Justin ]
 

MolaKule

Staff member
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21,600
Location
Iowegia - USA
Steve, People are simply trying to make suggestions with your safety in mind. As for oil and towing, I would go with a 15W40 such as Amsoil AME or Schaeffer's #700 Blend. Both are very robust, and with the Saturn's notariety for oil burning and loose clearances, this would be my choice. My advice, leave plenty of room! [Eek!]
 
Messages
6,388
Location
Washington St.
Steve, You're doing a lot right with your trailer setup. Excuse us, but you'll probably agree that many folks towing do not know enough to keep from killing themselves and others. I think that your QS or Pennz hi-mileage 10W-30 is a good plan. On the road you'll probably be able to find that oil at Jiffy Lube (owned by Pennzoil/Quaker St.) or Wal*Mart, but you might want to supply your own better quality filter than the Fram (or Pennzoil-labeled Fram) they'll offer. Synthetic oil in your case may run slightly cooler, but that probably isn't worth the added cost. If you do choose synthetic, you'll be OK for a longer drain interval. The 15W-40 oils are an excellent option, and the Amsoil or Schaeffer oils are superior. If you can't carry the oil with you, you can buy Pennzoil 15W-40 anywhere. If you have time, a cleaning program with Auto-Rx or Schaeffer's Neutra will benefit your engine. Don't forget your transmission. You do have an added transmission cooler??? If not, the transmission heat pulling up those mountains will cook your trannie. I like the stacked plate coolers made by Long (from Ontario) and sold under the Long Tru-Cool, B&M, Tekonsha, and other brand names. Synthetic ATF after an Auto-Rx transmission cleaning will have a better payoff than synthetic engine oil. I'm sure you know (so this is for others' benefit), downshift and use your engine as your primary braking source for long downgrades and keep your brakes cool. If needed, downshift to 2nd, or 1st if need be, early in the downgrade, and only use your brakes moderately hard perodically...when you're below the safe speed for that grade, get off the brakes and let them cool, then brake again when you're back up to what you figure is the safe speed. Ken [ April 22, 2003, 01:54 PM: Message edited by: Ken2 ]
 
Messages
168
Location
KY
quote:
Originally posted by MolaKule: Steve, People are simply trying to make suggestions with your safety in mind. As for oil and towing, I would go with a 15W40 such as Amsoil AME or Schaeffer's #700 Blend. Both are very robust, and with the Saturn's notariety for oil burning and loose clearances, this would be my choice. My advice, leave plenty of room! [Eek!]
Heck, I live (and have grown up) on a farm, and for the past five years or so, we've had a Chevy Lumina, and it's definitely had a trailer or two behind it. All you have to do is take it nice and easy and you'll be o.k. Heck, it's a lot better than all the idiots who drive 2500's/3500's to pull their boat to the lake on the weekends...their the crazy ones. And MolaKule: When it comes to oil, you seemed to be very versed in the subject. But people come here to get opinions on oil, not on what you think they should do or not do with their vehicle. Oh well, whatever...I'm just ranting here!
 
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1,836
Location
Pac NW
Justin can rant... I'll RAVE! [Eek!] That's one very knowledgeable & devoted Saturn owner who can drive it hard on the road and on the track AND pull a trailer with a manual tranny to boot! How often (if ever, I guess) do you have to work on the clutch? Is it a pisser like on most of the rest of the FWD cars? I've never heard of (nor seen) a Saturn in a regular tow mode, other than maybe pulling a lawn trailer or a jet ski! I'm impressed! [Cool] Steve: is this your 1st Saturn? You seem to have had wonderful service out of this one. I'll be honest: I don't personally know anyone who has (or, has had) a Saturn. That's no reflection on Saturn owners but may be a reflection on me... I'm sure there are many that love their cars and you would surely seem to be one of these. Are they a popular car in Canada? Really don't see many at all here in Oregon. I guess not being a rust-bucket doesn't mean as much where cars generally don't rust to begin with. No previous sludge problem s'got to be great! [Cheers!]
 
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1,836
Location
Pac NW
Oh, yeah! "Oil discussion" was requested! A HD 10W-30 if you can find one or good ol' LongLife 15W-40 (after all, your warranty is done gone) or Delo should provide exactly what you need in protection & cleaning. I'm still amazed! [stretch]
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,600
Location
Iowegia - USA
quote:
And MolaKule: When it comes to oil, you seemed to be very versed in the subject. But people come here to get opinions on oil, not on what you think they should do or not do with their vehicle. Oh well, whatever...I'm just ranting here!
Hehe! [Wink] One should realize that on this board, you will get any and ALL opinions whether you want it or not. I did give oil advice to SaturnSL2 as well. He can either accept or reject any and all advice. BTW, I did tow a large camping trailer once (in 1983) with an S-10 PU (4-cylinder, 1.9 L) from Cedar Rapids Iowa to southern Missouri on a very hot day. I did just fine and the engine didn't overheat. Stayed in mostly third gear and revved high, but got decent gas mileage in spite of the huge load behind me. Boy, did I get funny stares from those who passed this Mutt and Jeff combination. I guess from behind the trailer (which was rather wide) they couldn't see what was pulling it! Electric Brakes are great! The trailer could stop on a dime and slow the truck in a heartbeat. Speaking of heartbeats, I think my wife and kids probably skipped a few; but Slingshot (the kids name for the truck) didn't seem to mind. [Big Grin] [ April 22, 2003, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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5,069
Location
Saratoga, NY
Steve, it sure sounds like you know what you're doing and I won't comment on your towing set-up ... but I wouldn't be so testy with people who were concerned for your safety. There's a lot of yahoos out there, I'm sure you know that. [Wink] Besides, the comments weren't exactly "mean spirited." [Cool] And, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the discussion on this board tends to wander ... but there's usually no harm in it. [I dont know] Ken2: "Don't forget your transmission. You do have an added transmission cooler??? If not, the transmission heat pulling up those mountains will cook your tranny ... Synthetic ATF after an Auto-Rx transmission cleaning will have a better payoff than synthetic engine oil." Um, he has a manual transmission. Did you miss this or does your advice still hold? I can't be sure either way. As for what he's already using in his manual tranny, I don't think anything will work better than Red Line MTL. Good choice. [Big Grin] Back to the original engine oil question, I'd opt for one of the 15W40 fleet oils, especially Schaeffer Supreme 7000 or Pennzoil Long Life as both have a good dose of moly. The combination of heavier hydrodynamic film and heavy barrier lube is what I'd go for when the loads add up. The only downside I see will be a couple percent loss in fuel economy over a 5W30 or a 10W30 ... but I can't imagine that's a serious concern with your set-up. [Cheers!] --- Bror Jace
 
Messages
64
Location
Eckville, Alberta
I would have a look at the Petro Canada line of Duron oils. Take a look at the 0W-30 or for something a little heavier take a look at the 5W-40. I don't have a Saturn but I run the 0W-30 in my F150 I6 pulling a 2 horse trailer over the mountains to Alberta regularly. The engine screams at close to redline for 12 - 14 hours (pedal to the floor and shift to keep the revs in the power band [Big Grin] ). I run 10,000 km oil changes and have had the oil analysed and it was still in excellent shape. This Duron is excellent oil and very easy to find at any Petro Canada bulk distributor. Good luck on your trip. [Cheers!]
 
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6,388
Location
Washington St.
Bror Jace I should have noticed the part about 5th gear [Duh!] He doesn't have to worry about automatic transmission heat, just his clutch. Ken [ April 22, 2003, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: Ken2 ]
 

SaturnSL2

Thread starter
Messages
36
Location
Ottawa, Ontario
I just got in from "re-winterizing" the camper. The forecast calls for a "severe winter storm" tomorrow - 15 cm of snow, with below freezing winter conditions for the next 3 days... Thanks for all the feedback. I read through it and then headed out to the local Canadian Tire and Walmart to see what was available. The four oils I looked at in detail are: Mobil 1 10w30 with syntec: from what I've read it seems a little on the thin side at temperature though - 10 cSt at 100°C. I suspect it'll be consumed more than I'd like. Mobil 1 15w50 with syntec: seems a little thick - 17.4 cSt at 100°C Mobil Delvac 1300 15w40: what about detergent performance? sounds like a good heavy duty oil, 15.5 cSt at 100°C Rotella T 15w40: again are the additives ideal for gasoline engines? 15.8 cSt at 100°C I'm leaning towards a 15w40. Here's why: - I assume the engine is designed for an equivalent to 30 weight oil (~12 cSt @100°C) when new and at normal operating temperatures - The engine has a few hard miles (getting close to 100,000) on it and the clearances will have opened up a little - When towing hard it will spend most of it's time with the oil at least 10°C above normal cruising temperatures (I'm guessing here). - I don't want an oil with too many viscosity modifiers to break down and it will be run very little when cold (cold engine) so a 15wt when cold should be OK. Too bad there isn't a Mobil 1 15w40 - I'd have bought it tonight. A question: the "fleet" oils such as Delvac & Rotella - how do their additive packages compare with other high quality gasoline oils. Will I see problems with too much detergent or too little? Steve
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,600
Location
Iowegia - USA
Steve, I think the Delvac 1300 is probably the better choice if you cannot acquire the Amsoil AME or the Schaeffers, since it has a high level of detergents and a robust AW additive package. Since you're going to be running hot and with high revs while towing, you will need both for cleaning and for protection. It sounds as if you have your ducks in order with the stiffend suspension sytem and other mods. Good luck on your trip. [Cool] [ April 23, 2003, 12:02 AM: Message edited by: MolaKule ]
 
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