So Where's the Lead Coming From?

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Jan 17, 2004
North Carolina
2003 Ford Ranger Vulcan 3.0 Ltr V6

I have been trying to decide what viscosity of oil to use and have been doing some research at this site and elsewhere. Ford of course specs 5W-20. I did and posted a 3700 mile Factory Fill UOA (5W-20) and a 7,900 mile with Amsoil 0W-30 UOA. The lead count on the factory fill was 98 while on the second UOA it was 14, high compared to other UOA's?? In my research at BITOG I came across a great thread by MotorBike on 4/30/04 "Understanding of Bearing Metalurgy in Different Engines. A search of Ford engine specs gives these specifications for the bearings of a 2004 V6, but I bet the 2003 is the same (could not find 03):
Camshaft - Relaceable Bushing, Steel Backed, Babbitt, (What's in Babbitt?)
Main Bearings - Replaceable Insert, Aluminum
Connecting Rod Bearings, Aluminum
So where's all my lead coming from?

I understand when a manufacturer specs an oil it is expected to run in all conditions world wide. So I was thinking that a 5W-30 in North Carolina might work OK, give better wear protection and start-up and reduce the lead given the little higher viscosity?? But where is this lead coming from? This also lead into another question, How do manufacturers design engines to use a specific viscosity of oil? I've read here that european cars can spec 0W-40 or 5W-40. Are these higher viscosities a result of bearing materials, bearing clearances, higher oil pressure, hotter running temps?

[ May 29, 2004, 08:17 AM: Message edited by: needtoknow ]
babbit metal is Pb,Sn / Cu and some other metals's bushing material for load bearing surfaces, invented by Isaac (?) Babbit - old school buy tried and true. Pb has good lubricity!

On the 0W-30 - Pb came down - still seems high - however if it was so high before I would think it to be clean up. Watch it go even lower next OCI.

I wouldn't necessarily go thicker. Look at the recent Ford V8 towing 5W-20 in UOA.

[ May 29, 2004, 08:46 AM: Message edited by: Pablo ]

Originally posted by Pablo:

Pb has good lubricity!

And better embedibility over an aluminum bearing for when trash level is high .

The lead probably came from the cam bearings and whatever was occuring at the time no motor oil could have stopped be it swarf from machining or coreshift through production ect .

On another note the engine bearing wear looks great on the 4.6 and 5.4 motors for the most part . I don't really think that infers the crank is not taking a beating
and I tell you why I think this way . My Mother still owns one of those 4.6's and when I change the oil the mains knock like a SOG . Just like a zillion mile motor does but this one's still below 50k and is a 98 model .

I use synlube in it to extend the drains so I don't have to here that death knock but once every 9 months or so
Thanks guys. One note is that before I did the Amsoil switch the dealer did the 3k oil/filter change. I put about 300-400mi on that and installed the Amsoil and their dual bypass filter setup. I was thinking the dealer oil change should have, along with the dual filter, flushed most of the assemly trash out of the engine? I will do another UOA in about 5 mths. Given all the 5W-20 opinions here, pro & con, I think I'll try the 5W-30. What % of lead would babbitt be? So does that mean if I replace these bearings the new ones will be a paste I have to fill and scrape to spec. just like the old babbitt?

[ May 29, 2004, 09:41 AM: Message edited by: needtoknow ]
Well part of that 98PPM was from break in. It is still awfuly hugh though. This is why it came down to 14 the next OCI. As long as it continues to drop I would not be concerned. DO not be afarid to run other synthetics. Amsoil 10W30 and 5W30 are excellent choices and so is M1 wich is usualy available. You often have to play around with viscositys and brands to find the oil and OCI that is going to work for you! THe series 2000 0W30 is a lot like Redline in some reguards. THe S2000 is supposed to be their best PCMO but we often see it generate less then stellar numbers a lot like Redline.
Your lead is most likely coming from the camshaft bearings (Babbit=Lead+Tin) and the crankshaft thrust bearing(s).
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