Specific questions about car oil in B&S

Joined
Oct 28, 2017
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2,990
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Americus, GA
I have a 5qt. jug that has a variety of oil brands and grades. It’s mostly 5W30 blend and synthetic. It does have some 10W30 and 20W50 VR-1 mixed in. I use 1litre of it and 1 litre of Rotella T5 15W40 for my Yamaha powered Gravely. It’s what I have and when the excess oil jug is used up, I will use T5 15W40 exclusively.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2004
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6,325
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Texas Hill Country
Some folks seem to approach their OPE-s as if they were not worth anything, or if these are the beggars who can't be choosers. "It gets the leftovers". I don't look at it that way. My zt lawnmower is a full member of my small republic of ICE-s. I am probably a fool and OC, but I try to take care of it and my other OPEs as best I can.

So JustinH, why does grade not matter? Please clarify. Are you saying that it does not matter to you, or it does not matter to your OPE?
Grade does not matter to me on a briggs consumer lawnmower. So long as it is topped up you will do just fine. Some of the 20 weights burn off, so I don't put those in. I would say that 75 percent of people don't even check the oil on their lawnmower let alone change it.
 
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Jan 25, 2018
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Location
South Carolina
Why overthink this? Car oil will work fine, but Supertech lawnmower oil is designed for this application. And it's cheap.
 
Joined
May 6, 2005
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7,297
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
The winter and summer viscosity do not constitute a "range". Rather, these describe how the oil behaves when very cold, and how it behaves once it is at close to engine operating temperature.

So the 0w can be considered strictly a cold start thing. You can forget about it for a lawn mower, which usually does not get used when it is very cold, so you woudl not benefit from 0w.

The only thing that matters once the engine is up to operating temp, is the second number.

From what I am reading, the 60 summer weight oils are have worse cooling performance than the 50s. AFAIK, no manufacturer of OPE-s recommends "Something"w60. A 0w60 would have to have an insanely high viscosity index, which would pose a challenge, and require severe VI modifier additives, if it is even possible to make.

Well - the motor oil industry settled on the term "multiweight" which doesn't properly describe it. Those are two points for measuring viscosity, and the first number is really about ridiculously, Arctic cold conditions where even an oil that pumps will be like molasses. The 0W-40 that I use in my car is going to be higher viscosity at any reasonable startup temperature than a typical 5W-20. Certainly at any temperature where I'd want to operate a B&S engine.

I haven't looked into it in a while, but I remember when heavy duty SAE 30 oil was the oil of choice for B&S engines. The properties have changed with better base oils - especially group II base oil, but by definition those don't use any VI improver, so theoretically there's no VI improver to break down and turn into a gloppy mess.
 
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Apr 15, 2010
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Connecticut
I like how it is "Specially Formulated for 4-Cycle Engines" :)
Marketing B.S. Just like how B&S and Kohler will market their oil filters as being "specifically designed to withstand the operating conditions of small engines" yet they are the cheapest constructed e-core filters I've ever seen.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
115
I do not think anybody doubts that different base stocks have different costs.
Ester being the most expensive, followed by PAO, followed by GTL, other group 3-s,
group 2 and refined mineral oils. I would be surprised if a maker/blender
could pick a cheap base stock, and then turn this into something magical, "specially designed.."
for whatever purpose by just adding additives. A proprietary additive package to make up
for the shortcomings of a mediocre base stock is IMO lipstick on a pig.
Printing some words on the package costs 0$, and totally meaningless.

The biggest disadvantage of the inexpensive base stocks imo is thermal breakdown, sludge
formation and shearing down of the additives (mainly the viscosity index modifiers) .
Let's not forget the contaminants inherently present in the raw material (mostly aromatics)
which are both a health and environmental hazard.

The sort of "evidence" folks tend to post "my brother in law used ...inexpensive product..
in his application and never had oil related problems " is not useful. Anecdotal, unverifiable evidence.

Obvious oil related catastrophic engine problems rarely manifest over the typical lifetime of a consumer
engine, no matter what you do, as long as you avoid gross negligence. Modern engines are amazingly well made,
and can take a lot of abuse. But that does not mean that abuse is the best recipe for preserving your
engines long term. Which is one of my explicit goals.

I find it entertaining that people bother to post opinions like "hey I used an inexpensive
lubricant/filter whatever, and I did not suffer any obvious consequences. You should too, and save
yourself (gasp) $20 on each oil change!".
My reaction: "congratulations, you beat the system. Please mention your experience to a leming".

If the manufacturer was serious about producing something outstanding,
they would start with a high quality, premium base stock, to factor out the contaminants.

This is reason enough for me to I avoid any lubricant which is "lesser" than at least GTL based.
Gtl, group 4 and group 5 are all produced by chemical synthesis, thus entirely avoid the common
pollutants such as aromatics that can not be fully refined out of the "lesser" base stocks.
That makes sense to me.

And the price difference between a premium product and an economy product
at the consumer level is not enough to take a chance on.

Regarding mono-grade: Is there a synthetic monograde oil? Or that is a red herring because
the Group 3-5 base stocks inherently have a high VI, that just cannot be "undone"?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,017
I do not think anybody doubts that different base stocks have different costs.
Ester being the most expensive, followed by PAO, followed by GTL, other group 3-s,
group 2 and refined mineral oils. I would be surprised if a maker/blender
could pick a cheap base stock, and then turn this into something magical, "specially designed.."
for whatever purpose by just adding additives. A proprietary additive package to make up
for the shortcomings of a mediocre base stock is IMO lipstick on a pig.
Printing some words on the package costs 0$, and totally meaningless.

The biggest disadvantage of the inexpensive base stocks imo is thermal breakdown, sludge
formation and shearing down of the additives (mainly the viscosity index modifiers) .
Let's not forget the contaminants inherently present in the raw material (mostly aromatics)
which are both a health and environmental hazard.

The sort of "evidence" folks tend to post "my brother in law used ...inexpensive product..
in his application and never had oil related problems " is not useful. Anecdotal, unverifiable evidence.

Obvious oil related catastrophic engine problems rarely manifest over the typical lifetime of a consumer
engine, no matter what you do, as long as you avoid gross negligence. Modern engines are amazingly well made,
and can take a lot of abuse. But that does not mean that abuse is the best recipe for preserving your
engines long term. Which is one of my explicit goals.

I find it entertaining that people bother to post opinions like "hey I used an inexpensive
lubricant/filter whatever, and I did not suffer any obvious consequences. You should too, and save
yourself (gasp) $20 on each oil change!".
My reaction: "congratulations, you beat the system. Please mention your experience to a leming".

If the manufacturer was serious about producing something outstanding,
they would start with a high quality, premium base stock, to factor out the contaminants.

This is reason enough for me to I avoid any lubricant which is "lesser" than at least GTL based.
Gtl, group 4 and group 5 are all produced by chemical synthesis, thus entirely avoid the common
pollutants such as aromatics that can not be fully refined out of the "lesser" base stocks.
That makes sense to me.

And the price difference between a premium product and an economy product
at the consumer level is not enough to take a chance on.

Regarding mono-grade: Is there a synthetic monograde oil? Or that is a red herring because
the Group 3-5 base stocks inherently have a high VI, that just cannot be "undone"?
Why are you so salty about using cheap oils? If they have the appropriate certication, I will buy it. It doesn’t matter what base stocks they use to get the approval
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Messages
19,224
Location
Upper Midwest
I do not think anybody doubts that different base stocks have different costs.
Ester being the most expensive, followed by PAO, followed by GTL, other group 3-s,
group 2 and refined mineral oils. I would be surprised if a maker/blender
could pick a cheap base stock, and then turn this into something magical, "specially designed.."
for whatever purpose by just adding additives. A proprietary additive package to make up
for the shortcomings of a mediocre base stock is IMO lipstick on a pig.
Printing some words on the package costs 0$, and totally meaningless.

The biggest disadvantage of the inexpensive base stocks imo is thermal breakdown, sludge
formation and shearing down of the additives (mainly the viscosity index modifiers) .
Let's not forget the contaminants inherently present in the raw material (mostly aromatics)
which are both a health and environmental hazard.

The sort of "evidence" folks tend to post "my brother in law used ...inexpensive product..
in his application and never had oil related problems " is not useful. Anecdotal, unverifiable evidence.

Obvious oil related catastrophic engine problems rarely manifest over the typical lifetime of a consumer
engine, no matter what you do, as long as you avoid gross negligence. Modern engines are amazingly well made,
and can take a lot of abuse. But that does not mean that abuse is the best recipe for preserving your
engines long term. Which is one of my explicit goals.

I find it entertaining that people bother to post opinions like "hey I used an inexpensive
lubricant/filter whatever, and I did not suffer any obvious consequences. You should too, and save
yourself (gasp) $20 on each oil change!".
My reaction: "congratulations, you beat the system. Please mention your experience to a leming".

If the manufacturer was serious about producing something outstanding,
they would start with a high quality, premium base stock, to factor out the contaminants.

This is reason enough for me to I avoid any lubricant which is "lesser" than at least GTL based.
Gtl, group 4 and group 5 are all produced by chemical synthesis, thus entirely avoid the common
pollutants such as aromatics that can not be fully refined out of the "lesser" base stocks.
That makes sense to me.

And the price difference between a premium product and an economy product
at the consumer level is not enough to take a chance on.

Regarding mono-grade: Is there a synthetic monograde oil? Or that is a red herring because
the Group 3-5 base stocks inherently have a high VI, that just cannot be "undone"?
Learn how SAE grades are defined and you will find out if there can be a monograde synthetic.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
115
Why are you so salty about using cheap oils? If they have the appropriate certication, I will buy it. It doesn’t matter what base stocks they use to get the approval
I have no problem with cheap, as long as it meets my base stock requirement.
GTL, PAO , Ester or some combination thereof. I often buy bulk packaged M1 at Wallymart
(Comes in a plastic pouch w. a spigot, in a carboard box). That is rather cheap.

One of the reasons why I adopted this requirement: I do not want aromatics in my exhaust or waste oil, or on my
hands when I work on the car.

The "appropriate cert requirements" are often so minimalistic that they are meaningless to me.
SJ or SL? Yawn.

The Beemer and Mercedes certs, now those are meaningful, modern certs...
(e.g.: BMW LL-01 or Benz 229.5) But only true synthetic base stock oils meet those.

I refuse to buy anything where I cannot determine the base stock makeup. I often use the MSDS for
this purpose.
 
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
Messages
646
Location
WV
This is a highly debated question, and my thoughts are:
1) water cooled small engines are ok on almost any kind of oil, automotive or any other. They operate much like a car. However I do like extra zinc oil for them also, so a good diesel oil is perfect.

2) air cooled engines are a different animal altogether, they need to be temperature resistant, ie as a 30wt oil would be. Synthetics are fine for any engine. There are so many myths about syn oil it's sickening. Syn oil is just like any other oil only it has better characteristics. It handles heat better, and breaks down less in some cases. Having said that, most dino oils are so close to syn the difference is mostly moot. That is why in a lot of cases it's fine for hot running air cooled OPE. I can't bring myself to trust it in air cooled OPE even though there is no technical reason outside of low zinc content.

3) My view is that the best you can do for any small engine, air or water cooled is use 30wt or 15w40 diesel rated oil. You'll have to find one that still has 1000ppm zinc or more, and a lot of them still do. Those are my favorite oils that have proven over years of use to handle the job.

4) You can go boutique oil, like Amsoil, RP, Redline or whatever, but there is no proof of anything other than they cost more. Mobil 1 would be a much more sensible choice, were I to go all out. No one will ever prove expensive oils will work any better than a good diesel, syn or dino.
If you think about it, suppose the engine would reach it's maximum lifespan with dino el cheapo 10-w30 oil. Using super expensive oil would do nothing more. In other words, if the oil is "good enough", then more than good enough is a waste. It's all marketing. It's kind of like using leaded gas in an engine designed for unleaded, what have you accomplished? You just spent more money.
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
779
Location
Iowa
I always wait to find a quart of Delo or Delvac on sale on a Walmart endcap, and dump that in. Grade doesn't matter I've ran 5w30 10w30 15w40. My briggs Deere self propelled is about 12 years old no issues. Also gets a new Champion plug every year (gasp)
My 12 year old B&S Deere gets Super Tech FS HM 10w30. I’ve use Mobil 1 5w30 & 10w30…. Next step will be 15w40! This motor doesn’t seem to care. E0 and any oil, let ‘er rip!

just my $0.02.
 
Joined
Jun 28, 2003
Messages
6,483
Location
Illinois
OPE engines fail because of lack of oil and/or lack of maintenance, not because someone chose 5w-30 over 10w-40 etc...

For the normal homeowner, checking the oil level semi-regularly and changing the oil every year or two will result in the engine out living the rest of the machine.
Good thing Tecumseh went out of business.
 
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
2,688
Location
South Carolina
Just picked up my OPE oil at Wal Mart Friday. It's the usual 5 qt jug of SuperTech conventional 10w-40 I always use. In the past I used straight 30. The new stuff is a synthetic blend and API SP but no ILSAC rating. Why? HTHS 3.99. Sweet!
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2004
Messages
301
Location
South La
I am more in line with 15/40 in grass cutting equipment and a 10/30 syn for generators because may be used in winter time. Grass cutting equipment is once a year while gens are either 2 years or by hours if used.
 
Joined
May 23, 2021
Messages
115
Passgas55: I am currently using a high zddp ( 1300 ppm)
15w50 in my mower (zt and push mower both) .
If I had a genset. I would probably use a product that was designed for long OCI. E.g.: the 0w40 euro M-1, or some other brand "euro" labeled oil for this reason. That is what I am using in my snow thrower.
10W is not really a cold weather multigrade.
 
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