My 'magic' oil - Valvoline Synpower 20W50

Messages
360
Location
VA, US
My Ford Explorer with V8 5.0L engine, had an issue with oil pressure since I have bought it (used, 83k miles). Those engines where designed in 60's, with 20W40 in mind, sold in Explorers with 5W30 and, in the last two years of fabrication (2000 and 2001) where sold as taking 5W20. Mine is a 2001 and it had a horrible tick, sounding as a diesel. With engine warm, at idle, or even at 1200 rpm (with 5W20), pressure would drop to the point of pressure needle bouncing violently (it's a dummy switch for 5psi). I have used a real gauge to measure the pressure, and the issue is real - once warmed up, idle pressure is almost non-existent. I even tried a lower temperature T-Stat - helped just a smidge (took longer to do the jumping dance). Tried 5W30 - no change. Tried Rotella T6 - almost good, but still needed some Lucas or Motor honey to be completely quiet. But those will wear out eventually and start doing it again before the 5000 miles mark. Tried Mobil1 5W50. It was good from the start, but eventually still starting to be 'jumping'. Longer lasting of all. Tried Liquid Moly at the end of the oil change interval, and that made quiet back until I was ready to change oil. Well, since it was spring, summer coming, I decided to try Valvoline Synpower 20W50 - hoping that base oil starting at 20W will have less additives (to wear out), lower volatility. I am at 3000 miles now, time when it was starting already to sound like a diesel. Wow, still quiet as was in the first day. Almost unbelievable after all those years of lifter noises and needle pulsating at idle. The gas mileage didn't increase, but that truck is now driven more around town, so idling at lights and constant acceleration/breaking is what mainly affects the mpg. Vis @ 100°C (cSt) = 19.0 Vis @ 40°C (cSt) = 139.0 NOACK, wt. % loss = 8.2 Sulfated Ash = 0.78 Zinc/Phosphorus, wt.% = 0.084/0.077 Calcium = 0.193 So.. I found my magic oil.
 
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Messages
737
Location
NC USA
It would be interesting to see the bearings in that engine, it should be quiet on 5w20. Completely different engine than the one from the 60s, tighter clearances and a roller cam. It is losing pressure from excessive clearance somewhere, usually main bearings
 
Messages
28,123
Location
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
If an engine of that vintage and an ILSAC specification needs 20w-50 (or something else plus snake oil) to sound sensible, it's got issues. That's why people dump the 20w-50 or Lucas garbage in such vehicles and sell them as quickly as possible.
 
Messages
2,689
Location
South Carolina
Run this or any reg/high mileage 20w-50 until it quits. I would throw in some liqui-moly mos2 or Schaeffer additive to help put off the eventual demise if I really liked the car.
 
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
Originally Posted By: SoNic67
So.. I found my magic oil.
No, you found a way to cover up the real problem on a temporary basis.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,081
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: SoNic67
My Ford Explorer with V8 5.0L engine, had an issue with oil pressure since I have bought it (used, 83k miles). Those engines where designed in 60's, with 20W40 in mind, sold in Explorers with 5W30 and, in the last two years of fabrication (2000 and 2001) where sold as taking 5W20. Mine is a 2001 and it had a horrible tick, sounding as a diesel. With engine warm, at idle, or even at 1200 rpm (with 5W20), pressure would drop to the point of pressure needle bouncing violently (it's a dummy switch for 5psi). I have used a real gauge to measure the pressure, and the issue is real - once warmed up, idle pressure is almost non-existent. I even tried a lower temperature T-Stat - helped just a smidge (took longer to do the jumping dance). Tried 5W30 - no change. Tried Rotella T6 - almost good, but still needed some Lucas or Motor honey to be completely quiet. But those will wear out eventually and start doing it again before the 5000 miles mark. Tried Mobil1 5W50. It was good from the start, but eventually still starting to be 'jumping'. Longer lasting of all. Tried Liquid Moly at the end of the oil change interval, and that made quiet back until I was ready to change oil. Well, since it was spring, summer coming, I decided to try Valvoline Synpower 20W50 - hoping that base oil starting at 20W will have less additives (to wear out), lower volatility. I am at 3000 miles now, time when it was starting already to sound like a diesel. Wow, still quiet as was in the first day. Almost unbelievable after all those years of lifter noises and needle pulsating at idle. The gas mileage didn't increase, but that truck is now driven more around town, so idling at lights and constant acceleration/breaking is what mainly affects the mpg. Vis @ 100°C (cSt) = 19.0 Vis @ 40°C (cSt) = 139.0 NOACK, wt. % loss = 8.2 Sulfated Ash = 0.78 Zinc/Phosphorus, wt.% = 0.084/0.077 Calcium = 0.193 So.. I found my magic oil.
The 5.0L Ford was not designed in the 60's with "20w-40" in mind and the 20W component is simply a representation of the oil's ability to be pumped when cold not how much it is additized. That engine likely has no rod bearings left in it from some rather horrific abuse (as the 302 is basically bomb-proof). The cheapest fix would be a used low mileage Mustang shortblock with the Explorer top-end swapped onto it.
 
Messages
2,168
Location
Saskatchewan, Canada
As my machinist buddy would say ... "Run her!" A low-mileage junkyard motor will swap in at low cost to you when the existing unit gives up. Reminds me of the change to unleaded gas and the valve seat fear-mongering. "You need to machine your heads to accept hardened valve seats since the lead protected them from wear." "What if I do nothing?" "Sometime in the future you will need to machine the heads to accept hardened valve seats." Okey-dokey then.
 
Messages
10,890
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Sounds like my old 5.7 TBI Suburban-low hot oil pressure & associated ticking lifters, ran 20W50 HM & changed it once a year, sometimes with STP Oil Treatment or similar-it made 2 800 mile trips to Virginia Beach & back for vacations, & other assorted runs, actually got QUIETER running MaxLife, I'd just keep running the 20W50, something else will likely kill it before the engine dies.
 
Messages
24,471
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
That's something that's always scared me off from Fords. A 15 year old car with under 100,000 miles should still be running like new. I see alot of Fords around here from that vintage that are smoking and knocking really bad. What exactly is making that happen to them? I'd definitely keep using the 20W50. I've never seen Synpower 20W50 around here,I'm guessing it must be really hard to find.
 

Bud_One

Site Donor 2021
Messages
2,117
Location
Spring,Texas
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
That's something that's always scared me off from Fords. A 15 year old car with under 100,000 miles should still be running like new. I see alot of Fords around here from that vintage that are smoking and knocking really bad. What exactly is making that happen to them?
Poor maint and a rough life ? shrug
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
Messages
46,081
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
That's something that's always scared me off from Fords. A 15 year old car with under 100,000 miles should still be running like new. I see alot of Fords around here from that vintage that are smoking and knocking really bad. What exactly is making that happen to them? I'd definitely keep using the 20W50. I've never seen Synpower 20W50 around here,I'm guessing it must be really hard to find.
Idiotic owners. Perhaps your area has more of them that drive Ford products? shrug Around here it is the clapped out Civics and Grand Caravans that were the most guilty, though the latter mention has dwindled in numbers significantly, most likely due to succumbing to rust.
 
Messages
780
Location
Illinois, USA
Originally Posted By: OVERKILL
Originally Posted By: aquariuscsm
That's something that's always scared me off from Fords. A 15 year old car with under 100,000 miles should still be running like new. I see alot of Fords around here from that vintage that are smoking and knocking really bad. What exactly is making that happen to them? I'd definitely keep using the 20W50. I've never seen Synpower 20W50 around here,I'm guessing it must be really hard to find.
Idiotic owners. Perhaps your area has more of them that drive Ford products? shrug Around here it is the clapped out Civics and Grand Caravans that were the most guilty, though the latter mention has dwindled in numbers significantly, most likely due to succumbing to rust.
My mother's 1996 Ford Explorer with the 4.0L (OHV) has over 185k and doesn't burn or smoke. My 2001 Ford F-150 with the 5.4L has over 120k and doesn't burn or smoke. My dad's 1998 Buick LeSabre, (I forget the exact amount but it has mileage between that of my truck and my mom's Explorer), with the 3.8L doesn't burn or smoke. Yet, our 1989 Chevy Camaro with the 305 TBI has less than 50k, and it smokes a lot at start up. And no, we don't maintain it poorly; we take care of it. It's just an older engine. The 5.0L in the OP's Explorer is not of 60s technology, but of 80s technology, with some extra 90s emissions stuff. It's not atypical for engines with 80s tech to smoke, even with low mileage. But I will say that having to run 20w-50 to quiet the engine is atypical for the 5.0L... It shouldn't need more than a 10w-40 at most. There has had to have been some major abusing of that engine previously for it to be needing 20w-50. ~ Triton
 
Messages
3,756
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Garak
It is. wink If any of the taxis made enough noise that a 20w-50 would silence it, I'd take it behind the barn and shoot it.
Glad you're not opinionated or anything. The natural progression for older engines is to run thicker oil.
 
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