What engines are easy on oil?

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Staff member
May 27, 2002
Guelph, Ontario
We all know that the Toyota V6s are notoriously hard on oil, turning them to sludge easily, but what engines are the complete opposite? I'm gonna guess that an engine like mine (350ci LT1) is pretty easy on oil, due to being a pushrod V8 with a half decent oil capacity (over 5 quarts with the larger oil filter) [ August 23, 2002, 04:54 AM: Message edited by: Patman ]
I don't know much about American iron, but I thought 350's were V8s. Let'm build em in Canada and they lop off 2 cylinders and don't lose capacity. I need to start reading those car magazines again. I'm out of touch.
You are correct in assuming the 350 is indeed an eight cylinder motor. I am sure Patman knows this also--no doubt a typo. The most important factor in a motor being easy on oil is its operating temperature I would think.
I think the biggest factor is the displacement; the more surface (wetted) area on the cylinders, the more possibility of oil consumption. Other factors would be the rpm range in which the engine runs, quality of the piston ring metals, etc.
Oops. After re-reading the post, I think Patman means the oil condition rather than consumption... [Duh!] In that case, I would think low powered engines, low compression, low rpm, in lightweight vehicles...my riding lawnmower comes to mind.... [Burnout]
Wayne, you got that right! As was said before, any engine which runs moderate to low compression, low temperature and low RPMs. This excludes every air-cooled motor I know about. With emissions being what they are these days, ALL engines run rather hot. --- Bror Jace
So many variables,piston speed by the use of a rod ratio less than optimim due to the trending towards square engine designs,Exhaust Lobe Center Angle,sump capacity ect. Have you noticed the newer small 4 cylinders having the finned aluminum oil pans? I don't buy into the cam gear thing on the Toyota,they are Helical cut for one,for many years all the Ford,Chevy inline sixes were gear driven. Also the tall deck 427 and the 366 Chevy truck engines were gear driven. Japanese M/C that shares it's oil with the transmission is not as hard on oil as these engines are. Somethings wrong and it's not the first time Toyota has dropped the ball in quality control Has anyone ever thought about a porosity problem in the cylinder head? The pics I have seen look to have had water in them. Any analysis work on the oil on these Toyotas with problems? I saw Terry's post on the LS1 engine. Gm is noted for poor main saddle alignment. The older Rat motors had over/under size Moraine 400 bearings for this.Many a steel crank was broke after rebuild from not checking and alighn honing the mains Patman,what is the bore,stroke and the rod lenght of the LS1 motor?. Can you find the factory pistons pin height ? I want to compute piston speed and rod ratio. I would also like to see a pic of a factory piston if you could lead me to one. At the Corvette forums I see no talk of consumption or knocking in engines,,unless I missed it. And yes,I understand GM is supposed to have a fix for this,,very doubtfull it will for long will. Seems like a bandaid to me [Smile] Are they using the new style tapered face top ring on the LS1? [ August 23, 2002, 06:12 AM: Message edited by: dragboat ]
Don't know if this adds anything to the discussion but the timing gears on the ford and chevy inline sixes consisted of a phenolic composite (plastic) timing gear running against a steel crank gear. I worked at the plant that made these for many years, until chevy designed the valve train away from it by using roller lifters and stronger springs in the 2.5/4cyl which was just the front 4 cylinders of a chevy six. They went to a chain because the gear was failing (due to bad harmonics IMHO). By the way, does anyone think the ford 4.6 is hard on oil due to its overhead cam? My wife inherited a 94Town Car which purrs like a kitten but the oil stays at full for over 1K miles then starts to go down and will be down 3/4 Qt by 1500 miles. Regards, RW
I have a 97 4Runner and it has the Toyota v6. It doesn't use any oil. I have 91k and I use Mobil 1 10W30 every 8k with a UPF53 filter. Difference from the other Toyota v6. Well, the 4Runner v6 holds 6 quarts and is 3.4 liters vs ~ 4 quarts and 3.0 liters on the others. Does the increased displacement or oil capacity make a difference. I dunno. Jack
My '86 Burb was easy on the oil until I installed the higher lift, long overlap cam, a CC 260H. While not a radical or racing cam by any means, there is a lot of natural EGR with this and more radical cams for sure. I think VaderSS had some data on another thread about this very subject. This leads to EGR and its affect on oil abuse as well. And Dragboat may be on to something as well when he discussed linear piston speed. Has piston speeds increased as well? I dunno but linear piston speed is certainly a subject for consideration. Add to that small sump capacities, and your engine today is certainly not your Dad's Oldsmobile. [Big Grin]
Just to clarify, when I say "easy on the oil" I am not really referring to consumption, but yet to which engines are putting less stress on the oil, meaning they are more suitable for longer drain intervals.
Emergency electrical generators possibly? They enjoy warm starts, constant loads, cool-off periods, and operate away from dusty environments. [ August 23, 2002, 05:54 PM: Message edited by: Jay ]
Not to be the contrarian: Bror Jace , I can show you some air-cooled engines that are murder on oil. The worst for Oxidizing and increasing visc. Jay, Emergency Generators... if not run often enough, the acids and moisture builds up. I could also show you some Nissan diesel Generators that chew up oil, and Deutz Diesel Generators that oxidize it. of my thirteen vehicles, none has ever taken the oil out of grade in 4,000 mile changes. 2 straight 6's (one with turbo), 1 V6, and the rest 4 cyl (1 with turbo).
widman, check my post again. I'm more than happy to agree with you that a hot running air-cooled engine can tear the heck out of even good oils. I stipulated in my post that the types of factors which are easy on oil excludes most air cooled engines. In other words, air-cooled engines can be awfully tough as many often run hot and exceed the operating temperature range of equivalent liquid-cooled motors. --- Bror Jace [ August 24, 2002, 11:21 PM: Message edited by: Bror Jace ]
Maybe someone who has one of those engines that chews up the VI improvers wants to think about this statement and move to a heavy duty diesel formulation: (Quote from Oronite site on selection of VI improvers for motor oil) "The 50 SSI VIIs are most frequently used in Passenger Car Engine Oil (PCEO) applications when fuel economy attributes are critical. The 21-35 SSI VIIs are used mostly for heavy duty diesel engine oils and other applications with more stringent viscosity retention requirements."
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