Most important oil characteristics

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This is my first post. I purchased a Ford Explorer this past summer with the 4.6 mod. engine and my concern about the 5W20 oil. Don't worry, I am not going down that road! I am, however putting together a spreadsheet of all the major XW20 and 5W30 oils to compare and contrast to make my selections. I also have a Taurus with the 24V engine. My specific question is this. What top 5 or 6 properties of an oil that would be listed on a PDS would you consider the best criteria for measuring a virgin oil's strength and how would you rank them in importance (ex. [email protected], HTHS, VI etc.). I must admit that I don't fully understand what all the designations mean, but I understand higher is better etc. Thanks! I have been immensely entertained the past few months!
 
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Honestly, I've mostly given up on using product data sheets for determining how an oil will do in real life. I've seen too many oils that look good on paper not perform as well as oils with inferior paper charecteristics. If you want the 5 or 6 most important properties, you are asking for what most oil brands give out in total in information for their oils. [Smile] The other answer, it depends on which one or two properties you want your oil to excel at, since in most cases meeting that goal lowers results in other categories.
 
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During the winter months I think pour point and cold cranking viscosity is very important. The Motorcraft 5w20 has a better pour point (-49) than some full synthetics and this will be the oil in my Ranger next winter. API certification has really kind of leveled the playing field for many of the specs in today's oils. I like to know what kind of base stocks the oil is made from. I would only buy a group 2 or better dino. I think that used oil analysis are much more entertaining to read. Based on these, Motorcraft 5w20 is a strong contendor for oil of choice in a newer Ford.
 
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I look at detergency, HT/HS (high temp/high sheer--higher number is better like mid to high 3s), flash point (I like minimum 230C), cold flow properties (plenty of good discussion on that here: http://theoildrop.server101.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=005784 ), viscosity. Speaking of viscosity, I would be looking at possibly running 10w30 in that engine for a more robust oil than 5w30 (less viscosity index improver additives and maybe higher HT/HS).
 
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I agree with MNgopher. I stopped using spec sheets also. It is like splitting hairs. Don't loose sleep over it. The specs are only averages of samples taken. So your oil might actually be different than what is actually speced out. Some oils just work better in certain engines.
 
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Why don't you do a search in the UOA board and see what oils worked best or good with similar engines to your's. And just remember "thickerer is not always betterer". Especially with the Ford OHC engines it seems. Many a good UOA has been reported using "watery" 5W-20 oil in the Ford Modular engines [Smile] . Whimsey
 

Patman

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quote:
Originally posted by Schmoe: In this order: HTHS VI (lower the better) Moly ZDDP package Viscosity
I find it kind of odd that you would put HTHS at the top but then viscosity at the bottom, since those two generally go hand in hand.
 

james1

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Thanks guys! I guess I will look at the product data sheets more as marketing (especially since they all choose to disclose different characteristics). I will focus on UOAs and maybe VOAs for my oil data. BTW I have pretty much decided to run the thinner XW-20 oil in the Explorer. The Explorer has just under 9k miles. After the factory fill at around 2.6k I ran M1 0W-20 then at 6k got my free dealer oil change. I am looking at XW-30 for the Taurus. That's a good idea about doing a search on my engine. I have searched based on oil, but not engine. Should be interesting. . .
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Schmoe: In this order: HTHS VI (lower the better) Moly ZDDP package Viscosity
I cannot agree. A higher VI is better, imho if it got there by the right chemistry. High VI doesn't have to get there by using unstable VI improvers, it can be because of the base itself. Moly may not be required. Some high quality oil will have a very desireably high VI and no Moly and be just fine. This won't show up in your voa's. I don't agree about the lower VI. Higher is better, but it relative and maybe should be taken with a grain of salt.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by haley10: I don't agree about the lower VI. Higher is better, but it relative and maybe should be taken with a grain of salt.
Very generally speaking I would say a lower VI is better for a dino oil, but a higher VI is better for synthetic. Actually, for a good synthetic, who cares what the VI is--the stuff will perform regardless. Anyway, back to dino. Notice that the highest VIs are 5w30 and 10w40. My truck likes a 40 wt, so that's why I am going to 15w40 because it's VI is much lower (than for a 10w40) and is roughly comparable to a 10w30, 20w50, 5w20. That tells me that the 5w30 and 10w40 both have a lot more viscosity index improver additives. Also interesting with these grades that have lower VII additive levels, how as the back number increments, the front (w) number also increments. 05 w 20 10 w 30 15 w 40 20 w 50 5w30 and 10w40 don't fit this progression as only the back number increments from the previous grade. That surely means more VII additives. [ March 11, 2004, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: TallPaul ]
 
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Not all product data sheets contain the same information. HTHS is a rare, but useful one. The ones I would ignore altogether are color and gravity. VI is of limited value in multigrades because you cannot tell if it is from the base oil (good) or additives (bad). I look primarily at flash point HTHS (if listed) percent zinc cold cranking simulator viscosity TBN ash content
 
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