oil for Hydro-gear ZT-2800 and Kawasaki FR-730

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Pa, USA
I found this forum and site to be interesting and learned a lot about lubricant and learned how most people misunderstand lubricant. So I registered with my own question. I bought a brand new Gravely ZT XL lawn mower for my half acre lot 2 years ago, that I plan to keep forever and now have 50 hours on it. I want to give it the best lubricants. I not fussy about brand names, not interested in starting the who the best, but whats the best. I have the Hydro Gear ZT-2800. The company doesn't suggest at all using a synthetic oil, but doesn't say you can't either. According to there service manual, they say of course to use 20w50 motor oil. How ever Gravely says, you can use 15w50 synthetic oil in it. In Hydro Gear's service manual, they say this: "The fluids used in Hydro-Gear products have been carefully selected, and only equivalent, or better products should be substituted. Typically, an engine oil with a minimum rating of 9.0 cSt (55 SUS) at 230° F (110° C) and an API classification of SL is recommended. A 20W50 engine oil has been selected for use by the factory and is recommended for normal operating procedures." So lets tear this apart and see what your interpretation is. This would be my interpretation: We all agree that synthetic is better than conventional, so yes, the company is saying that synthetic oil would be ok to use. Thd catch with the minimum rating, is no one rates there oil at that temperature. But considering they recommend 20w50, any --w50 oil would at least pass that rating. Maybe a --w40 would too, but a 30 would be pushing it. Since 5w50 synthetic is more commonly available, would there be anything wrong using that instead? It seems it would be better that it runs thinner when colder. Please no one tell me its too thin, without reading Bob the oil guy's Motor Oil University first. Would there be anything wrong running a 5w30 or 0w30 synthetic oil, instead of a 10w30 oil in the Kawasaki engine? I believe that at least a multi weight oil is better for mower, since it goes through a lot of warm up cool down, then run straight for hours on ends. It takes me about a half an hour to mow. Again please don't tell me its too thin without reading the motor oil university.
 

JTK

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13,518
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Buffalo, NY
Per the Cub manual for my 2010 model year Z-Force 44" ZTR that had ZT-2800's, the recommendation was "Rimula 15w40" for the HG ZT-2800 drives. I no longer own the unit, nor did I own it long enough to do an oil/filter change on the drives. I'd think any quality 40 or 50wt variant would be fine. Just make sure you break the fill plugs loose first. I know I took mine out and applied never-seize to them. They were in there TIGHT from Hydro-Gear. The spin-on filters can be had reasonably mail-order.
 
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2,935
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wi
Do you mow lawn when it's 0F outside then u might need a 0W30 and no I didn't read motor oil university. Amsoil 30/10w30 OPE oil is what I would run if I want one of the best.
 

NH73

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Originally Posted By: dave123
Do you mow lawn when it's 0F outside then u might need a 0W30 and no I didn't read motor oil university. Amsoil 30/10w30 OPE oil is what I would run if I want one of the best.
It seems I can't edit my original post. What I mean by "best lubricant" is good lubricant at a value, preferably synthetic oil. I could buy a 0w30 oil cheaper than Amsoil small engine oil. Why do you say that Amsoil 30/10w30 Small engine oil is the best?
 

CT8

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15,392
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Idaho
I doubt that there is anybody Better at recommending the proper oil than the manufacturer. SYN oil ? maybe maybe not? Look at this link other major oil brands have the same results. Think about the cost of these engines. If syn oil was so much better would they spend the money for syn if there was an advantage? HERE is the link http://www.deloperformance.com/products/case-studies.aspx I have read motor oil 101 and I can't consider anyone properly informed by that article.
 
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wi
U don't need the 0W it is not helping at all if anything potentially hurting it stick around for awhile read a lot and u will learn why no oil mfg would recommend it for this app.
 
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4,557
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N.C.
Mobil 1 15w50 in the Hydro Gear. My Kawasaki engined John Deere would puff blue smoke on startup with the 5w/10w oils so I started using 30wt HD oil years ago with no problems and no smoke on start up. I think the Ow/5w/ oils are too thin for your needs....{I've read M-O-U so I can say that]. It sounds as if your mind is made up on synthetics, so the Amsoil 30/10w30 OPE oil would be a great choice, as stated by dave.
 
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375
Location
Louisiana
I see no problem using 5w-50 in hydro gear. Engine Oil I like to stay with HTHS of >= 3.5. because of air cooled. It probably makes no difference. I have a Gravely ZT HD2552 with the ZT-2800. Manual - M1 15w-50 EP. Changed once w/M1 15w-30 EP. Considering going thinner to help cool weather starts "Maybe". After seeing your post of 9.0 cSt at 230°F required by Hydro Gear I wonder if thinner oil that meets this would help my starting in cooler weather. Using Widman operating viscosity calculator: Rotella T5 9.7 cSt @ 110°C. This would meet the min. cSt, Cheap at Wally world and I already use it in all small engines. But it will be hard for me to go with the T5 because of no leaks or trouble with the M1 15w-50. You got me thinking.......
 

NH73

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Originally Posted By: dave123
U don't need the 0W it is not helping at all if anything potentially hurting it stick around for awhile read a lot and u will learn why no oil mfg would recommend it for this app.
Would love to know why. As of now, I am not using a 0w oil. According to Motor Oil Universe, it would be the better of the worse when starting an engine from the current temperature. Do small engines require a different requirement for motor oil than a car? Most manuals never indicate such.
 

NH73

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Originally Posted By: gman2304
Mobil 1 15w50 in the Hydro Gear. My Kawasaki engined John Deere would puff blue smoke on startup with the 5w/10w oils so I started using 30wt HD oil years ago with no problems and no smoke on start up. I think the Ow/5w/ oils are too thin for your needs....{I've read M-O-U so I can say that]. It sounds as if your mind is made up on synthetics, so the Amsoil 30/10w30 OPE oil would be a great choice, as stated by dave.
I will agree a thinner oil will be more prone to leaks, which is an indication of blue smoke upon start up in your engine. But as far as lubricating your engine I would respectfully disagree. I am currently running 5w30 Quaker State Ultimate Durability in my mower and so far no problem. Amsoil is too expensive. Is there reason why its better over any other motor oil?
 

NH73

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Originally Posted By: Bebop367
I see no problem using 5w-50 in hydro gear. Engine Oil I like to stay with HTHS of >= 3.5. because of air cooled. It probably makes no difference. I have a Gravely ZT HD2552 with the ZT-2800. Manual - M1 15w-50 EP. Changed once w/M1 15w-30 EP. Considering going thinner to help cool weather starts "Maybe". After seeing your post of 9.0 cSt at 230°F required by Hydro Gear I wonder if thinner oil that meets this would help my starting in cooler weather. Using Widman operating viscosity calculator: Rotella T5 9.7 cSt @ 110°C. This would meet the min. cSt, Cheap at Wally world and I already use it in all small engines. But it will be hard for me to go with the T5 because of no leaks or trouble with the M1 15w-50. You got me thinking.......
Thats great. Altought they state thats the minimum, the optimum might be different. A 50 weight when it runs at 100 degrees C might be just that. Thanks for mentioning the calculator, that was a help. According to that, Mobil 1 5w30 would pass that but I don't think I would do that. 15w50 would be the closest thing to what the factory puts in, but yet 5w50 would give thinner oil when cold, better in operation but more leak prone? You mentioned that you wouldn't put any oil in below 3.5 of HTHS, but yet I saw many if not all multi-weight -w30 oils are under that, but about all small engine manufacturers recommend at least a -w30 oil, a straight weight 30, or a 40. So apparently its ok to use one below that.
 
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Saratoga, NY
So you have two questions: Which oil for the engine, and which oil for the gearbox? Odd that a gearbox would specify a motor oil instead of a gear oil ... I guess they want it thin when cold. I'd opt for Valvoline Max-Life 20W50 if you want to stay with a 20W50. Healthy add-pack and the extra seal conditioners certainly won't hurt. The engine? Any shear stable XW30 when it's new. If you go with a 0W30 or 5W30, just monitor the oil level closely until you are familiar with the machine's oil consumption pattern. Oh, and I am not one that believes a synthetic is always better. Additive packs mean more to me than whether there is a synthetic base oil. Synthetics merely flow better at temp extremes ... high and low.
 
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375
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Louisiana
It's OK running HTHS <3.5 as you stated.....I sure it makes no difference because we all run small engine with most anything for years......it's just me reading too much on this forum... I going to go with M1 5w-50 next gear oil change. Thanks for the info. from Hydro Gear manual.
 

NH73

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Pa, USA
Thanks Bebop367, you have provided a lot of information. There a lot I don't understand when reading the specs. For you guys out there that says Amsoil's small gas engine oil the best, when I was reviewing specs of oil, this is what I found out. What I have in right now(Quaker State Ultimate Durability 5w-30), would not as good for wear as the Amsoil, but would give better fuel economy. The one I found to be about equivalent would be Mobil 1 High mileage. These I can buy cheaper than the Amsoil. According to the specs. I decided I will compare the Amsoil to Mobile 1 High Mileage 5w30. Amsoil's High Temperature/High Shear is 3.25, while the Mobile 1 is 3.3. Being higher, gives the Mobil 1 a slight advantage in better wear protection. The Mobile 1 has a better Viscosity Index. Both claim to have good cleaning and wear additive, but it seems Amsoil's trys to cover a bunch of things, like transmissions, hydraulics, and hard to service that would not apply to me. Being it trys to cover those things compromises solely on engine protection. It seems the Mobile 1 would be a better oil for me than the Amsoil and I can get that cheaper. In the end, its always the lack of maintenance that gets an engine, rather than which is the better motor oil that does.
 
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The Garden State
Originally Posted By: Bror Jace
The engine? Any shear stable XW30 when it's new. If you go with a 0W30 or 5W30, just monitor the oil level closely until you are familiar with the machine's oil consumption pattern. Oh, and I am not one that believes a synthetic is always better. Additive packs mean more to me than whether there is a synthetic base oil. Synthetics merely flow better at temp extremes ... high and low.
I believe synthetic base oils have less of a tendency to burn off in air cooled equipment that tends to run hotter. Of course checking the oil level regularly is most important as you say. Synthetics give you a little insurance if you don't check oil level regularly or operate in adverse conditions. I can see synthetics benefiting a generator that may run for many hours before refueling, especially if it doesn't have a dip stick for ease of checking. Checking the oil level through the oil fill is a pain and not accurate. You add oil till it flows out. Whimsey
 
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N.C.
dave123 stated the Amsoil 30w/10w30 OPE oil was ONE of the best, and I agreed with dave. I have been using Supertech 30wtHD for years in my OPE and I do use the Mobil1 15w50 in my hydrostatic transmission. You stated you wanted your new Gravely to last forever and you wanted to use the best lubricants. Best is very subjective on BITOG as you will soon learn... LOL!
 

NH73

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I have found that even though a lot of manufacturers make 5w50 oil, its not stocked that great. Getting it at a deal is hard, so I will either stick with 15w50, or need to go with a xw40 oil.
 
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N.C.
I've only changed the oil in my hydrostatic transmission once in the 16 years I have owned it, out with the factory fill and in with the Mobil1 15w50.
 
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796
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Michigan
John Deere say's Hy-Gard (JDM-20D) is the best hydrostatic transmission oil for Tuff Torq, Hydro Gear, Parker drives. It cost less than Mobil1 15w50.
 
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4,557
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N.C.
IIRC John Deere's Hy-Gard is made by Chevron. I used they're Hy-Gard in my diesel 332 GT, and it worked fine but decided to use the Mobil1 in my LX188 with the Tuff Torq hydro transmission. I liked the extra heat protection provided by the Mobil1 synthetic. Still nice and quiet after 6 years with the Mobil1. Went 10 years with the factory fill so the Hy-Gard is good stuff.
 
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