Non-detergent oil for engines w/o filter?

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May 25, 2005
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CT, YL of USSA aka Oceania
Though owner's manuals don't specify non-detergent oils, a friend is a strong believer that non-detergent oil should be used in engines without an oil filter; typical lawn mower engines. His rationale is that detergent oils keeps dirt and wear metals suspended in the oil that will circulate, and non-detergent oils will keep those item at the bottom of the engine. Does anyone use non-detergent oil, have the same belief, and have had engines outlast someone using detergent oil?
 
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Mar 3, 2009
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Fort Erie, ON
I think the following slide show shows why detergent/dispersants and anti-wear additives are added to engine oil: Slide show of SA oils in modern engines 2004 It sounds like you are saying that the owner's manual doesn't NOT specify SA oils. Are you sure that the manual doesn't specifically recommend an oil with some sort of API certification?
 

JTK

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Aug 14, 2003
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Buffalo, NY
Maybe in a super old engine with a large sump, continuing the use of ND oil would be a benefit to keep from stirring old debris up. Today's small stuff? No way. I'd think there's enough turbulence w/ the splash lube system that it doesn't matter. Joel
 
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Sounds like someone doesn't know exactly what they are talking about. First of all "Non-detergent oil" is a real misnomer. For an engine oil to work at all it needs some level of additives, and of course this includes additives we might refer to as detergents. Ca and Mg sulfonates, for example. Regardless, that is just flat [censored] stupid. Sorry to be blunt.
 
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beaver land EH?
I'm strongly with Pablo on this one. I only save API SA oil for pressure washer pump lube. Anything that goes into an IC engine shall be at least API SL/SM certification. dirt sinking to the bottom? Bah Humbug! All heavy metals and insoluables will sink/accumulate on the bottom of your oil pan due to gravity. Q.
 
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Way back in time, when I first got into motorcycling, the dealer told me that 'non-detergent' oil realy wasn't non detergent. There was some 'cleaning' going on anyway. Perhaps 'cleaning' is the wrong word here, but what he ment was that even 'non-detergent oil' would clean up an engine some after a fresh oil change. Of course, at the time, 1000 mile oil changes was common on cycles.
 
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May 27, 2002
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Saratoga, NY
If you change your oil ... frequently at first when it's new then seasonally afterward ... you should be fine. There may be something to the idea that oils labeled non-detergent allow the worst bits in the oil to stay at the bottom of the motor. I'd consider this if I were a loser who never changes oil just buys some piece of equipment runs the p1$$ out of it for a few years, never cleans it, never maintains it then just throws it away as soon as it becomes a bit of trouble. But I'm not like that.
 
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I believe the main purpose commercially for non-detergent oil is for it's use in hydraulics. Why use a detergent oil and change it regularly? Virtually all modern multi-weight oils are detergent oils. Detergent oil, cleans the soot of the internal engine parts and suspends the soot particles in the oil. The particles are too small to be trapped by the oil filter (if so equipted) and stay in the oil until you change it. These particles are what makes the oil turn darker. These tiny particles do not harm your engine. When the oil becomes saturated with soot particles and is unable to suspend any more, the particles remain on the engine parts. That's when you get what is widely known as the potential for excessive engine wear and tear. Use a non-detergent oil in a mower and the particles will not suspend in the oil but rather remain on the engine parts on a continual basis. Expect significantly fast wear and tear if you choose to use it. It seems sometimes on BIOTG that there are two distinct schools of thought. -The first are those who use products that are "okay-ish". -The other is overkill city. ( I belong to this group since in outdoor equiptment the price for a few ounces of oil...usually a quart or less aint gonna break the bank. ) Nor will 2x per season oil changes either. I do not like to see good equiptment suffer ;\) My .02
 
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