Homelite Generator - M1 0w-30?

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860
Location
SD - South Dakota
anyone see any problems with using M1 0w-30 AFE in a Subaru Robin powered generator? i can't find a recommendation from Homelite or Subaru. i bought it used a couple years ago when my son was born so i could run the furnace in the event of a sustained power outage in the winter. haven't ever needed it, but if i do, as sure as i type it will be colder than cold out when i need it. thinking the 0w would be great for cold starts, and robust enough to use all year long, if needed. plus with never being used, i figured i'd probably never have to change it with the M1 on board. haven't even started the thing in over a year, but i started it up today and by gosh it fired on the first pull smile thoughts on the 0w-30?
 

meborder

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Messages
860
Location
SD - South Dakota
interesting .... i just found the oil recommendation from subaru. 5w30 up to 30°F 10w30 from 10°F to 100°F 30wt down to 50°F not sure what to make of that, why 5w30 wouldn't be good above 30°F but 10w30 would ... regardless, looks like 30wt is right.
 
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12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
Originally Posted By: meborder
interesting .... i just found the oil recommendation from subaru. 5w30 up to 30°F 10w30 from 10°F to 100°F 30wt down to 50°F not sure what to make of that, why 5w30 wouldn't be good above 30°F but 10w30 would ... regardless, looks like 30wt is right.
It's not that 5w30 wouldn't be good, it's that 5w30 isn't needed.
 
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43,676
Location
'Stralia
They are looking at * temporary shear (the shear that occurs due to the presence of VIIs, reducing operational viscosity) * Permanent shear (the shear that takes place in service, largely as a result of VIIs) * Oil consumption (the multis will typically burn some more (see above two reasons) * The fact that it will probably be run a long time between checks/changes (see first three). * Traditionally, SAE 30 was what things ran. The SAE30 would typically have an HTHS (operational viscosity) in the mid 3s (3.5cst or thereabouts), have a particular oil consumption rate, no temporary shear, minimal permanent shear...but unfortunately not have great cold temperature performance....thus it can be used at all temps aove 50F The 10W30 would have VII (mid way between the 5W, and straight 30), would have a thinner basestock than SAE30. It would be more prone to bother temporary and permanent shear, and higher oil consumption than the 30...but significantly better low temperature performance...so they advise a limited top operating temperature of 100F, but operation down to 10F. The 5W30 would have around twice the VII of the 10W30, have much more temporary shear, more permanent shear, and consumption. That's why they limited the upper operating temperature to 30F, not because it wasn't needed. The recommendation has been overtaken massively by technology, the multis have nothing like the shear rates that they had in the past, so much less in the way of disadvantages in a fixed speed long run engine. So your table, while their recommendation, is worth looking at as a trend not an absolute. A modern 5W30 would take you from -15F to 100F easily. Unless you need the absolute lower limit of pumping/pouring, there's no reason to go to AFE 0W30. Mobil's 5W30 has lower kinematic viscosity, and a higher viscosity index than their 0W30, meaning that at temps between freezing and boiling, it's thinner than their 0W30, and above boiling, it's thicker.
 
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10,806
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Clearly, you need cold weather performance, so your oil choice will be vastly different than mine. I'd choose a very high quality 5W-30 Synthetic. And, I'd probably avoid automotive 0W oils, unless, possibly, it's M1, 0W-40, which is a fairly robust oil. I have an 11HP Subaru generator. I run 15W-50 M1 in it. And, my choice of oil is an excellent one for my location (South Florida) as it's so hot, humid and muggy after a storm, generators were failing like crazy on 5W-30. I also perform 50 hour oil changes. The genset has well over 1000 hours of very hard use on it. What happens here in the heat is that the engines, being air cooled, and operating near the garage in stagnant air, tend to run very hot. The 5W-30 does not have enough viscosity when oil temperatures reach 260 deg F and the connecting rod "big end" starts to wear, leading to a broken connecting rod. I've had it happen twice on Honda water pump engines here. M1, 15W-50 was the solution. Where you are, I doubt oil temp will ever reach 200F.
 
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555
Location
Tennessee
I'm using Mobil 1R 0W30 (the original racing version) in my 10kw Subaru Robin powered, portable home generator. Bought a bunch of years ago years ago at a $2/qt clearance price. This oil has quite a bit more zinc added to it than the AFE version. It worked well in a 48 hour outage in 10F temperatures in a 15kw Generac generator (when I lived in Michigan). Not so well, in a 48 hour outage in 90F temperatures. I had some consumption issues. Bottom line: Don't let anyone fool you, this oil is second to none, regarding easy start up with a Robin engine. However, if I knew there would be a prolonged power outage in 80F+ temperatures, I would want to have Mobil 1 10W30, or better still, Mobil 1 0W40 in the the sump. Hope this helps.
 
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4,653
Location
The Garden State
Originally Posted By: meborder
interesting .... i just found the oil recommendation from subaru. 5w30 up to 30°F 10w30 from 10°F to 100°F 30wt down to 50°F not sure what to make of that, why 5w30 wouldn't be good above 30°F but 10w30 would ... regardless, looks like 30wt is right.
My Briggs and Stratton generator has similar oil use recommendations. But they also added a recommendation for synthetic 5W-30 that covers all operating temps. Synthetic oils appear to hold up better than conventional oils in these air cooled engines. Whimsey
 
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12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
Have you already purchased the AFE 0w30? I had assumed you had already had it on hand and were just asking if it was okay to use, but if you haven't purchased it yet, i would also recommend the regular vanilla M1 5w30 like i have recently for cold weather small engines.
 

meborder

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Messages
860
Location
SD - South Dakota
Yes, i have already purchased the AFE 0w30. i got it with two reasons in mind. #1 the best possible cold start advantage #2 eliminate the need to change it (in my own mind) it sounds like 5w30 would have done just as well, but they are all the same price so i went for the 0w for the cold start. it can and does get pretty darn cold here, and that's when power is most likely to go out. i can remember quite a few times last year and a few years prior seeing -20's (F) in the morning. at those temps the power lines are the most likely to break. at -10, it rarely happens as they design for those temps. if there were a reason not to use it, or if it wouldn't work at all in the summer for running tools (if needed) then i'd consider not using it. but if the 0w-30 is good from -20 to 90F, that's about our range of temps in this part of the world. lord willing, i won't need to find out if the 0w has any advantages ... but if it does have advantages in the -20°f temp range, that was my primary reason for buying it. i don't see myself ever using it to power the house in the summer. if the power goes out we'll just open the windows. but in the winter ... with young kids, and the possibility of not getting help for days ... that's why i got the generator. thanks for all the replies! edit: i should clarify #2 above. eliminate the need to change it due to not being used. i doubt i've got 2 hours on it since i bought it .. but i'm the type that changes oil annually regardless, so i figure i can live with not changing it knowing that i've got the best possible oil in the sump.
 
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Messages
12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
I believe that the regular Mobil 1 5w30 is lighter at most temperatures above 0F or so than the AFE. It's a very good oil, probably verging on the SAE 0w30 specs but I believe AFE has the lighter viscosity at a certain temperature below 0F, but not sure. In any event, you'll want to monitor oil consumption closely if you do have to use it.
 
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5,024
Location
Southeast
I had a brand new honda mower that saw heavy use. it did not fair well on thinner M1 5-30. It ran way too hot for that oil in southern summers and the cylinder was scored after 3 years. I moved to rotella--- either 15-40 or 5-40, and the problem stopped getting any worse. If I really need to run a 30wt, I'll stay with 10-30. But really, all the OPE here gets Rotella 5-40. From the little 3k genset, to the 4-stroke strimmer, to the rider.
 

meborder

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Messages
860
Location
SD - South Dakota
lots of concern with the air cooled engine running too hot... I can check it with an IR to see what it runs, but how hot is too hot? then I'd know if I should be running a 5w40 or something along those lines. now that I think about it, I should probably check the riding mowers too, see how hot they actually get. (I think they are 12 and 13.5 horse briggs)
 
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6,495
Location
Connecticut
Its not so much about them getting hot as it is how much oil they consume. Small air-cooled engines run fairly hot just by their nature, and this can be a little harder on thin PCMO. I have a 1988 Coleman Powermate generator with an 8hp Briggs flathead engine on it. It doesn't smoke, but on thinner oils it does consume a bit after being run hard for a few hours. Using Rotella T6 5w40 in it has cut the consumption to almost nothing.
 
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6,638
Location
South Florida
Originally Posted By: meborder
lots of concern with the air cooled engine running too hot... I can check it with an IR to see what it runs, but how hot is too hot?
Your not going to have an air cooled engine run too hot in a North Dakota winter (assuming good running condition and nothing broken) They might even run too cold.
 
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4,262
Location
Port Orange, Florida
I think you are way too concerned with the cold starting. 10 w30 or 30wt, isn't going to turn to jelly at 0. Detroit Diesels would run straight 40 weight in way below 0 and get going fine. That generator is going to start just fine, I worry more about overheating on a air cooled motor and how hot that oil is going to get and how thin. No oil coolers and no fan except the starter recoil. Stationary air cooled motors run hot.
 
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2,935
Location
wi
Originally Posted By: Panzerman
I think you are way too concerned with the cold starting. 10 w30 or 30wt, isn't going to turn to jelly at 0. Detroit Diesels would run straight 40 weight in way below 0 and get going fine. That generator is going to start just fine, I worry more about overheating on a air cooled motor and how hot that oil is going to get and how thin. No oil coolers and no fan except the starter recoil. Stationary air cooled motors run hot.
At 0F might be the limit for a 30wt not me but in SD 0F is not cold -20F to -30F easy.
 

meborder

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Messages
860
Location
SD - South Dakota
if it only got down to zero i wouldn't even feel the need for a generator smile i've gone to work on days where the temp is -29°F ... -teens and -20's are not uncommon.... and that is also where power lines tend to snap and break off poles. hence the desire to be able to keep my house and 2year old from freezing to death (literally -- when the temps get that cold they run blurbs on the news about checking on elderly neighbors)
 
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5,069
Location
Saratoga, NY
meborder, 0W-30 AFE wouldn't be my first choice for a generator or any OPE, but given how far north you are and your intended use, it should be fine. Just watch the consumption. So, if you find yourself running the generator for 2-3 days at a time, check the oil each time you refill it with gas and keep it at the upper limit of the safe range. I have not been keeping up with formulations, but M1 tends to be on the thin side ... with a thin metallic add-pack. If I were to use M1 oils, I'd opt for the extended performance or high mileage formulations. Your unit is new? Don't even consider a long interval until it's had 2 or even 3 short interval changes to rid the crankcase of the break-in debris these engines produce when new. You don't want those abrasive bits splashing about your engine for dozens of hours. Chevron and Citgo make 0W-30 HDEO oils (gas/diesel) that might just be right up your alley. Hard to find here in the deep south of upstate New York, but you may be able to find them easily enough in the Dakotas.
 
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