Which Ford Spec 5w-20?

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Mar 22, 2003
Hi, I've been lurking here for several months, and decided to join. Here is my question: I have a 2001 F150 Supercrew with 21,000 miles on the 4.6 V8. I want to keep within warranty specs which means I will continue to use the 5w-20. I change every 3000 miles and put more city than highway miles on it. I live on the Texas Gulf coast which is pretty hot (100) in the summer, with mild winters seldom in the freezing Temps. Which is the best Ford Spec oil for my conditions? I am currently using the Motorcraft, but am wondering if the Castrol , Pennzoil etc would be better for my driving conditions because of the Moly or since I change at 3000 miles, does it really matter? Thanks alot
Excellent question....and this same dilemma is why I joined this forum. I purchased a 2003 4.6L SuperCrew three months ago. I drained the factory fill and replaced it with Castrol 5w20 after reading a good analysis here. Like you, I'm concerned with the Texas summers and I don't want to be a ginuea pig with 5w20 in the crankcase during those 100 degree days in July and August. I said to hell with the warranty and just changed to Mobil 1 5w30 a few weeks ago. Since that time I've read some more and it appears the Motorcraft 5w20 is an excellent oil, and perhaps the Pennzoil 5w20 might be better with 70/30 mix of Group III and II, respectively (from what I remember reading...I could be in error and the Group II could actually be Group II+. I deep-sixed the warranty concerns because I intend to keep this truck long after 36,000 miles, and I want the engine to be protected from Day 1, not just to conform to warranty specs. Just my opinion, and I may change it when I see some 5w20 analyses for a hot summer month(s) interval. As of now, I'd have no problem running the Motorcraft 5W20 in November - February for the Ford recommended 5k intervals. Summer concerns me though.
I'll tell you what I do. I have a 02 Honda CRV that "requires" the 5W20 like your Ford. I buy the 5W20 and filter on the same day and keep the receipt. Instead, I use Mobil 5W30 SS. This costs me an extra $10 (5qts 5W20 @ $2/qt) because I buy twice the oil, but I have an original receipt proving my oil change. I feel I get a little better protection. Besides, M1 5W30 SS is a little on the thin side, very close to a 5W20.
In the summer, the 30weight is more thermally stable than the 20weight. The UOAs look so "great" only because they're group III/II blends and not plain I/II/II+ No straight group I/II/II+ 5W-20 exists as far as I know, maybe you should ask why? dino 5W-30 (I,II,II+) generally last 3k-5k miles depending on conditions before it starts to thin out to a 10 or 15 weight. Now imagine what would happen after 3k-5k miles of using a group I/II/II+ dino 5W-20!! Yes there are less VI's in there but its still not a synthetic - hence the reason Ford made the 5W-20 spec (like its Mercon-V spec) a Group III/Synthetic Blend. To answer your question I have a 2003 E-250 with a 5.4L SOHC V8. I changed it over to Pennzoil Dino 5W-30 after 500 miles. The best thing you can do for your engine is to change the oil regularly and use quality oil. I don't believe in buying the most expensive filters with the most expensive oils and leaving them in the engine for extended periods of time. I'd rather change the oil regularly (3-4 times a year ) with inexpensive but decent dino oil (not API SA spec oil!!!!!)
I buy the 5W20 and filter on the same day and keep the receipt. Instead, I use Mobil 5W30 SS.
LOL. Gee I wasn't going to mention this but I did the same thing....except that after buying the 5W20 the store receipt at WallyWorld simply said "motor oil" and not "Castrol 5W20". So, to overcome that I took day's newspaper, spread it out on the driveway, then set all 6 bottles of 5w20 on top of it + the Motorcraft 820s filter, took a photo of it with my digital camera, then archived the photos. Note the closup showing "5w20" on the bottle + the day's date on the newspaper, then a photo of the odometer thrown in for good measure. I don't see how they could doubt me now [Wink] I don't plan to buy any more 5w20 until the winter, so instead of spending $10 each oil change I'm just keeping these same 5w20 bottles on the shelf and will photograph them at the next oil change, with the latest newspaper, of course. [Razz] I must be nuts. And I have this forum to blame for it [Big Grin] http://www.f150online.com/galleries/albumview.cfm?num=3739
Use AMSOIL XL7500 5W-20, or the new Mobil 1 0W-20. Unlikely that any dealer will pull an oil sample to check for viscosity. And when is the last time you ever heard of oil causing a problem? Lack of oil, oil that broke down because it stayed in too long, oil that was contaminated with anti-freeze-----
Note: The following is only an opinion (mine). Its not really based on"facts" [Smile] 1. If I were in Texas-I would put in the oil that I (not Ford) thinks appropriate. 2. Do I think that the 30 wt. is better than 20 wt. for the vehicle in the Texas heat- yes. 3. Will Ford void the warranty because you did not use the 30 wt? Hard to tell I don't trust Ford period with my previous experiences. I would be interested in the exact "recommendation or requirement" in the manual for the use of the 20 wt. 4. In point of fact they would have to prove that the 30 wt. damaged your vehicle. They can't do that. 5. If you are uncomfortable with the 30 wt. documentation: Buy the 20 wt. copy the receipt and return the oil for a 30 wt. Hate to screw the store for that- but if you give that same store lots of your other business (which you should)-you can feel OK. 6. Do an 0il analysis off and on to verify that the 30 wt is doing O.K. 7. Go with the Mobil 1 (or Amsoil) 10W-30 vs the 5W-30. 8. Don't let Ford hold you hostage. Especially in light of their poor build quality issues (I am not slamming Fords- I have owned them) That's my story and I'm sticking to it [Coffee]
The way the manual is written, the 5w20 is recommended for the engines in the F150's. Note it says recommended, not required. However, under what specs the oil must meet, it refers to a Ford Spec, I can't remember the number of the top of my head, but I do remember it ends with an -H. The way that spec is written it conveniently requires the use of a 5w20 oil, as it is the only grade that will meet the spec. There are no charts for temps or anything like that. Here's my take: I'm willing to use the 5w20 assuming that analysis gets done with it to verify performance. So far, the numbers look good, recoginizing we will start to see some numbers in the heat this summer. I'm sure Ford didn't change to this on whim witout testing to confirm it would work fine. With seeing how many 5w30's shear back to a 20w anyways after 3,000 miles, I'm guessing using 5w20 wasn't much of a strecth. That being said, nobody has documented any changes to the engines that would require the 5w20. The Previous recommendation was for 5w30, and that has served me well on my two F150's with the 4.6l, now with 158,000 and 81,000 miles.
5w-30 Mobil1 or Redline. Forget the warranty. [ April 19, 2003, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: YZF150 ]
If you want to pick hairs, I'd just use Motorcraft 5W-20 in a Ford engine that calls for 5W-20. [Smile] With a pour point of -49C, and being relatively inexpensive for a Group III, its the way to go.
Originally posted by Alex D: Redline has a 5W-20........that's what I would use...
While it appears to be an excellent choice, it's also not API certified. So if you're going to use Redline 5w20, you might as well use Redline 5w30, since either one is voiding your warranty just the same.
Originally posted by mikemc: ...To me they would have to prove that a 30 weight or other oil itself caused the damage, but it gives them enough to make life a hassle if they wish...
You hit on the key, Mike. I'm no lawyer, but simple logic can be applied here. Keep in mind that a warranty is not a legal requirement to sell products in this country. Warranties are provided purely as a self-indulgent competitive marketing tool by manufacurers. Where provided, warranties are a de facto contract with the product's purchaser that if the product's purchaser abides by the terms of that contract, the manufacturer will stand behind problems that arise within whatever period specified by the manufacturer. The key, here, in my opinion, is the abiding-by-the-terms thingy. It should be obvious that the manufacturers are the executor of what constitutes proper adherence to the terms of the warranty. In the event of denial of a warranty claim and third party arbitration, Ford, Honda, or whoever, might get a pass if it's established that the vehicle owner second-guessed the manufacturer's terms by substituting a non-recommended lubricant - regardless how superior that non-recommended lubricant may have actually been. The manufacturer can't dictate to you what brand oil to use, but it can dictate what that oil's properties must be to maintain your warranty rights. Do I think that running 5W-30 instead of 5W-20 oil in your recent vintage Ford or Honda will damage it? Heck no! But, it really doesn't matter what I think. Those of you who choose to keep your own counsel about which motor oil weight to run aren't jeopardizing your engines, just your warranties, and your engines' longivity will probably not suffer. Probably. But, you are betting "x" miles or "y" months' protection that potential Monday-morning, blurry-eyed, four-sheets-to-the-wind Ford or Honda hourly employees did everything right on the assembly line as your engine shuffled from one station to the next. [Smile]
Points well taken, Ray. My reasoning is this: the engine has 21000 miles on it. By the sheer preponderance of statistics, any defect of manufacture or assembly would have presented itself by this mileage. He changes the oil every 3000. He is close in touch with this vehicle. He would know. I say, give the engine the oil that the engineers had in mind when they designed it. 5w-20 is an innovation not related to function. I think that it's worth the gamble that upon presentation at a dealership, they would be unable to tell that a 30 weight was installed, and they'd likely not test the oil to determine that.
The exact language in my 2002 Ranger warranty book states "Your New Vehicle Limited Warranty does not cover damage caused by failure to maintain the vehicle, improperly maintaining the vehicle, or using the wrong part, fuel, oil, lubricants, or fluids.". To me they would have to prove that a 30 weight or other oil itself caused the damage, but it gives them enough to make life a hassle if they wish. I cannot afford to be delayed or denied a claim if my engine goes south so I am using the Castrol GTX 5w20 while under warranty. I like the Castrol because its easy to find, Advance puts it on sale periodically and it meets the Ford spec for 5w20.
Let me play Devils advocate for a moment .... If the spec calls for 5w-20 and you use a 0w-20 synthetic, how does that come any closer to meeting the OEM requirement than using a 5w-30? In either case you aren't exactly following what the manufacturer calls for, at the low end or the high end. If you want to pick nits, if they call for 5w-20 then you should use 5w-20 .... I'd probably run a 5w-20 synthetic while the engine is under warranty, supported by oil analysis. Once the warranty period ends I'd experiment with 0w-30 and 5w-30 grades and see if the wear is significantly less. TS
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