Should i change my oil change routine ?

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Hello to everyone, I'm starting to wonder if i did the right thing during all this time, changing my oil every 7000 to 8000 kms (4 to 5k miles) using cheaper 5W40 synthetic with 229.3 spec. I mostly do highway driving and country roads (500 kms a week) with a few short trips but little city driving. The car is a 1998 Mercedes C180 in perfect condition with 150k kms and i plan to keep for a long time and the highest mileage i can. It only runs E85. Is E85 a good reason to keep my OCI short ? Should i continue with shorter OCI and 229.3 oil ? Change the oil every 15 000 kms as recommended in my car's manual, maybe with the highest spec 229.5 and change the filter once between oil changes ? I dont want to compromise the lifetime and performances of my engine but i feel like i am wasting money and good oil sometimes.
 
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M119

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It recommends 229.1 spec. Other options would be to use cheaper 15W40 and stick to short intervals or use xW50 oil for long intervals to avoid any problem related to the fuel dilution that may occur with E85.
 
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Originally Posted by OilUzer
Which spec does the manual recommend for the 15K km?
15k km is c. 9500 miles - no problem at all for any oil on the market today
 
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I'm not familiar with MB specs. I assume higher numbers are better. No? Is 229.1 obsolete like A1/B1? If 229.3 is tougher spec than .1 and covers .1, then what you are using (229.3) is better than the owner's manual spec. German engineering is supposed to be one of the best ... So if they recommend 15K km with 229.1, then you are using a better oil at half the mileage. having said that, I never follow owner's manual mileage thing and 12000 km (7500 miles +/-) seems to be my limit as long as oil doesn't look too dirty and that's with synthetic. With dino my limit is 7200 km (4500 miles +/-). Oil gets too dirty it comes out. Oil gets too dirty before 12000 km, it's out. I am sure experts that do uoa disagree with that but I don't like dirty looking oil. You are doing 7-8000 km (4700 miles +/-) with syn. You must really love your car! LOL
 

M119

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Yes, 229.1 was superseded by 229.3 in 1998 for newer V6 and V8 engines and than that was superseded by 229.5 in 2002 and is still the latest spec for all gasoline engines without direct injection and particule filters i believe. And here a cheap supermarket 5W40 synthetic with 229.3 spec costs only 20€ for 5L while dino 15W40 costs 15€, pretty cheap. However 229.5 will only be available from brands such as Shell, Total or Mobil and will cost between 30 and 40€.
 
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I dont know how API classifications work, but I know that all oil sold in the UK that has 229.1 or 229.3 approval is also A3/B4 so therefore >3.5 HTHS, full SAPS.
 
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Originally Posted by M119
Same here, they're all A3/B4 too, and almost all of them are API SN.
I thought API specs were low HTHS and low SAPS? I've never bought any so could well be mistaken but my understanding was that API was resource conserving water? Obviuosly not the case....
 
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It's sounds like what you've been doing is working. It's your money, if you need to save then proceed with your new plan, if not, keep on what you've always done. I drive a Lexus in similar driving conditions you've mentioned. I change every 5,000 miles. Costs me $50 diy oil change. So costs me an extra $50 per year. It's your wallet, do what makes you feel good.
 

M119

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I think i will continue to do that, After all i have no idea if E85 breaks down oil sooner and i asked mechanics and nobody seems to know the answer.
 
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Originally Posted by M119
I think i will continue to do that, After all i have no idea if E85 breaks down oil sooner and i asked mechanics and nobody seems to know the answer.
Your engine will take longer to get up to temp on e85 and generally there is less sulphur and acid with e85. So I guess "It depends " is the best answer. Long trips likely mean longer fills, short trips likely mean more condensation Take your pick.
 

M119

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Thanks for your answers. After spending quite some time geeking about oil change intervals again, as we all do here i guess, i've decided not to extend intervals. A DIY oil change with cheap synthetic 5W40 or premium brand conventionnal such as Shell or Total 10W40 our 15W40 costs only 20 to 25€ including a Hengst or Mann Filter. To spend that money one or two times more in a year is a pretty cheap insurance. If more options were available i would get some xW50 oil but these oils are rare and expensive.
 

M119

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It's not approved but E85 is becoming more and more popular in France since it brings down the cost of a full tank from 90€ to 35€ compared to unleaded. One liter of E85 costs around 0.60€ while one liter of regular unleaded costs 1.50€, imagine paying $7.50 a gallon. My car is equiped with a flexfuel kit. It makes me save several thousand euros each year. I've been doing it for many years on different cars, most of them 90s Mercedes and some Renaults for hundreds of thousands of kilometers and never had a fuel line degrade or any problem at all.
 
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M119

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An interesting oil is the Total Quartz Racing 10W50, is this oil only for racing applications ? The fact that it has the API SN rating makes me think that it's ZDDP content is low therefore making it compatible with catalytic converters and street use.
 
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Bear in mind E 85 boils at a lower temp than gasoline. Also, ethanol is polar and oil is not so the fuel dillution may not be as pronounced.
 

M119

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I really feel like trying the Total Quartz Racing 10W50 this summer, it's API SN, ACEA A3/B4 and is a grp III oil, it appears to be quite similar to Quartz 9000 5W40 depsite the lack of oem approvals. The only thing holding me back is the name. Is "racing" just a commercial name ? I can also get some Mobil 1 5W50 but the price is much too high.
 
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Most manufacturer's service intervals are conservative, so if you were running the recommended grade of fuel I would say not to worry about it. But since you are running a non-approved/non-recommended fuel, I suggest you err on the side of caution. Yes, today you can get high quality oil for cheap, and a slightly more frequent service schedule is good insurance since you plan to drive the wheels off that thing. Of course an oil analysis will give you hard answers to your questions but you knew that. Personally, I don't pay much attention to Group III-IV-V base oils because what matters most is the performance of the finished lubricant. Just because a certain brand/grade of oil has a higher percentage of PAO or ester does not mean it is a better lubricant. Good luck and happy motoring.
 

M119

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I think the assumption that E85 harms the oil comes from more than ten years ago before API SN. That may be the reason why manufacturers played it safe by telling to halve OCI. It may also come from guys running the fuel on engines with super loose clearances and piston rings. I ran some cheap conventionnal API SL oil in my previous car once and the oil came out milky and smelling like alcohol. None of that ever happened to me with SN oils. I've asked people who did UOA and E85 does not seem to be an issue at all anymore.
 
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