why would a manufacturer recommend only synthetic?

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45
Location
CA
i own an acura rsx and, i use synthetic by choice for extra protection. this makes sense because it is a high-revving, high performance engine. my dad just bought a 2003 2.3L ford ranger truck. why does the manual say only to use synthetic oil? the ford ranger 4.0L requires regular oil while my dad's smaller 2.3L requires synthetic. can anyone explain this?
 

Al

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19,199
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Elizabethtown, Pa
Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I owned a 2.3 Ranger (1988). Engine has been around forever. Are You sure you read the information correctly??
 
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500
Location
Vermont
I have one very cynical idea why they might recommend synthetic only. I surmise that that engine has a lot of failures resulting in warranty replacement, so Ford rather quietly says synthetic only, because they know a large percentage of owners will not use synthetic at all, let alone exclusively. That way when there is a claim for a failure under warranty, they say "prove you used synthetic every time" in which case the people who didn't use it are out of luck.
 
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4,633
Location
The Garden State
I'm with Al on this one. Even Ford's new high performance motor's recommend a 5W-20 oil, without any mention of using synthetic only. Check the owner's manual again. Whimsey
 

hondaintegratypes

Thread starter
Messages
45
Location
CA
quote:
Originally posted by Al: Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I owned a 2.3 Ranger (1988). Engine has been around forever. Are You sure you read the information correctly??
yes i read it 3 times. the 4.0L engine requires regular 5w-30. the 2.3 and 3.0L engines require 5w-20 synthetic.
 
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3,693
Location
Chattanooga, TN
The Ford (motorcraft ) 5W20 is a semi synthetic and that may be what they are referring to. Not many 5W20s to choose from and I beleive most are a synthetic blend at least.
 

rj

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7
Location
Latham, NY
The current 2.3L used in the Ranger is a relatively new Mazda design and a cousin too the Mazda6 sedan engine. It bears no resemblance to the Ranger engine of old. A version (called "PZEV") is also being used in Ford Focus's currently destined for NY , MA, and CA and will be in all Foci next year. Is it possible that this recommendation is insurance against sludge and lighter viscosity recommendation issues? If so is this the beginning of the end for anything not labeled "synthetic"?
 
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179
Location
Forest Hill MD
Mercedes-Benz just lost a class-action lawsuit for recommending synthetic in a quietly-passed memo. The manual said use regular oil. Result: Lots of sludged engines and filters falling apart from acid. I wonder if the same could happen to Ford? I suppose not since the "synthetic required" is stated in the manual. Troy
 

CJH

Messages
489
Location
Pennsylvania
quote:
Originally posted by hondaintegratypes: i own an acura rsx and, i use synthetic by choice for extra protection. this makes sense because it is a high-revving, high performance engine. my dad just bought a 2003 2.3L ford ranger truck. why does the manual say only to use synthetic oil? the ford ranger 4.0L requires regular oil while my dad's smaller 2.3L requires synthetic. can anyone explain this?
My guess is Ford is recommending this based on preproduction testing they did on the vehicle / engine. I agree it is very unusual.
 

Kestas

Staff member
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13,915
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The Motor City
The problem with the new Mercedes was not the oil recommendation, but the fact they recommended the owner follow the on-board FSS oil change interval system, which told you when the oil needed changing. This meant that sometimes the oil was left in the engine for 12,000 to 15,000 miles before changing! The FSS system didn't always work. They still recommend using fully synthetic oil for their engines. Mercedes-Benz has sent letters to all affected owners essentially stating the engine warranty has been extended to 10 years/150,000 miles for any lubrication-related problems.
 
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Location
Saskatchewan
The 5W-20 is simply always synthetic or semi-synthetic. It's spec'd only for fuel economy reasons. Ford seems to like 5W-20, so something must have slowed down the conversion to 5W-20 on the 4.0L. Maybe Ford's engineers predict the life-shortening effect of the 5W-20 to be too severe for that particular engine? [ May 27, 2003, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: rpn453 ]
 
Messages
179
Location
Forest Hill MD
quote:
Originally posted by Kestas: This meant that sometimes the oil was left in the engine for 12,000 to 15,000 miles before changing! The FSS system didn't always work.
The FSS system worked perfectly. But it was *designed for a synthetic oil*. That was the problem, because customers were using natural oils. Ooops! Trivia: The FSS doesn't monitor the oil... it's all based on calculation and your driving style. It is programmed for a minimum interval of 10,000 miles and a maximum interval of 20,000 miles. Troy
 
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4,478
Location
Southern California
quote:
Originally posted by hondaintegratypes: ...the 4.0L engine requires regular 5w-30. the 2.3 and 3.0L engines require 5w-20 synthetic.
The key is the ambiguosly worded "5W-20 synthetic". ALL 5W-20 oils in North America are apparently a "synthetic" blend now by virtue of being based on some proportion of Group-III base stocks. (Motorcraft even mentions their 5W-20 oil is a hydrocracked "synthetic blend" on the back of the bottles.) The Ford owner manual's wording seems to specify it's necessary to use a full synthetic oil for the 2.3 and 3.0 liter engines when the reality is probably that it's necessary to use 5W-20, which happens to be a Group-III/Group-II(+?) semi-synthetic. As long as your dad uses one of the current 5W-20s, he shouldn't have anything to worry about. [ May 27, 2003, 12:48 PM: Message edited by: Ray H ]
 
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