Synthetic oil

Just bought a 2004 Rodeo and wonder if anyone has any thoughts on using Mobil One in the 3.2 Liter engine. When should the switch be made?

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On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 02:07:34 GMT, "John Holmes"

Your choice... whenever you want...
Pretty simple, actually...
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Generally you want to start using synth as early as possible in order to slow down engine wear. It does not make much sense to use synth in 100K+ engines, these are well worn anyway.
Peter
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Slowing down engine wear is the only benefit of eynth oil ???? How about cold weather starting or better heat resistance longer drain intervals and other benefits?
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I've used both synth & semi-synth, never felt any noticeable difference for cold-weather starting. FWIW my mechanic recommends semi-synth over synth in 60K+ engines, drain intervals are 6K miles for both (I live in Europe btw)... I believe synth will break down much faster when it starts to go.
Just my $0.02
Peter
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Badmuther #1 wrote:
[snip]

I have a 1985 Chevy S-10 Diesel that came out of the factory with an Isuzu drivetrain. (Isuzu C223 engine) I put Amsoil synthetic in the engine and transmission, and the fuel mileage went from 26mpg to 28mpg, and I gained 5mph top speed. That effectively gives me an extra gallon of fuel with each tankful.
The durability of the Amsoil combined with a Trasko depth filter also means very extended drain intervals.
AP
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Alan Petrillo wrote:

That would be nearly a 10% improvement. Ok, fine, so if I'm not running Amsoil, or synthetics, then 10% of my fuel usage is going to heat? Heat is the only other place it can go, well, considering lubrication issues alone. 10%, that's simply absurd.
If you spend 1 gallon out of 10 generating engine friction, your engine wouldn't last the month. This is plain, simple, high school level science.

"Durability" is an odd word. Conventional oils sludge primarily because of paraffin, and similar heavy weight molocules. Synthetics are effectively paraffin free. All synthetics. Build 'em from scratch, a la, Mobil, or process the heck out of 'em, a la, Shell.
All engines chemically "burn" oil in the crankcase, "burn" for lack of a better word, synth or not. This "burning" forms longer chains, that end up as grunge, grunge that ends up as varnish. This "burning" is chemical, and additive packages in all motor oils are there to retard this constant chemical attack.
Synths simply start farther back from the grunge starting line than conventional oils. They have fewer long chains to start with, so they take longer to build 'em up to the point of grudging the engine. With synth's the engine first has to "build" the long chain molecules that came in the bottle of conventional oil, day 1. From there, there isn't much, if any, difference between the two.
Depth filters do not stop oil decomposition. They don't even slow it down much. Some types of bypass filters, like string wound, do provide a massive surface area for grundge to selectively varnish upon. This reduces the amount that settles on your engine parts, and that's a good thing. But, it is as simple as that (unless you have a desiel). One big decomposition factor is acidic water, but having been soaked with fresh oil, day 1, these "depth type filters" are simply unable to "hold water and acids" as some claim. The water simply cannot displace the previously retained oil in the filter's structure.
If you're looking to a depth filter to pull out "microns" of "engine bits", you're also misguided. If there were that many "engine bits" to filter, you wouldn't have the engine for very long anyway. Oh, yea, they do pull dust missed by the air filter - but perhaps a better (HEPA) type air filter would be a more effective solution than waiting for the oil to trap the crud against the cylinder walls for awhile.
Anyway, run a synth to 40K miles, changing it according to plan, and your engine mechanic will be able to tell you you're running synth. The inside of your engine will simply be shiny, clean, metal. There will simply be little, if any, yellow/brown tarnish on any of the parts. The oil pan will be clean, just like the old Mobil 1 commercial told you it would be.

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Me wrote:

<shrug>
Want to see my fuel and maintenance records?
In all honesty, I was a little astonished myself. I expected a little improvement, but not
2/26*100=7.69
8%, certainly. I was expecting to see something more like 2 or 3%.
But we aren't dealing with a single variable either. I put Amsoil into both the engine _and_ the transmission.

Well, considering that engines spend much more than that generating frictional heating anyway, 1 gallon in 13 is quite an improvement, but not necessarily indicating that it was previously having problems with film strength breakdown. There are also pumping losses, and synthetics are know to have flow characteristics which make them easier to pump. Then there is the friction in the transmission. Transmissions do get hot because of friction, you know. Very hot if you're towing. My transmission is running noticeably cooler, and I know this because now the transmission tunnel no longer gets uncomfortably warm.
As far as extending the oil drain interval goes, every 3000 miles I rebuild the filter and take an oil sample. If the analysis of the sample shows signs that the additive package is breaking down, or the varnish or moisture content of the oil is out of control then I change the oil. That hasn't happened yet.
AP
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I've heard of taking oil samples before...is that some you do, or have to pay someone else to do? And how do you change/rebuild the filter w/o letting all the oil run out of the engine? I'm trying to do the reading and decide whether or not to switch to synthetic in our 2002 Trooper...got 16,000 miles on it so far...
Thanks,
Wesley

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From Blackstone Labs, $15-20 for an analysis kit, depending on how you order it:
http://www.blackstone-labs.com/order_now.html
If the engine oil level in the pan is below the filter fitting, it won't run out... at least, it never has when I've changed filter only. I also would like to know what he means by "rebuilding" his filter.
Total cost for a filter change and oil analysis is usually as much or more than just changing the oil, with just as much bother!
This practice... oil analysis with extended drain intervals and high-priced specialty synthetics... is a hobby. Can't be justified as anything else, IMO.
On the practical side: I have never traded a car because the engine was "worn out" or any other oil-related cause. I've always traded because the the car doesn't work for me anymore... mounting electrical, suspension and accessory problems especially, or it just didn't fit my purposes. And I've had cars with very high miles.. upwards of 200K... all on petroleum oils.
So what that the engine internals would be shiny, like new clean with synthetic? or that it could easily run another 100K? That represents no value for the bother and expense!
I've just never understood the economics of synthetic oil, except in certain extreme service cases (very cold climates and turbochargers are the primary ones... but there are others). Petroleum oils with conventional change intervals work just as well in most applications.
I have a 94 3.2l Rodeo in which I run Mobil1 0w30 synthetic to keep the noisy valves quiet (this is another special case). This the first time I've used synthetic oil regularly, for an extended period, but I have tried them for a while on several other occasions in other cars. With this vehicle, as always before, I am dissapointed because I've not seen ANY gas mileage improvement!
BuddyWh

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BuddyWh wrote:

Among others, but Blackstone is generally considered to be the best, even though they are a bit more expensive than most.

In the case of the C223 engine family the oil filter is mounted upside down also, so if you let it sit for an hour or so the oil will run out of it into the oil pan. Most engines have the oil filter mounted such that the filter is above the level of the oil pan.

On this particular truck I have a Trasko oil filter. http://www.trasko-usa.com / I'm not endorsing it yet, I'm just seeing if the thing is going to perform as advertized. So far it is, but the jury is still out.

Depends on how much bother changing the oil is. If the engine in question is, say, a class 8 diesel in which the oil capacity is measured in gallons rather than quarts then the sample/analysis process can be both less bother and less expensive than just changing the oil.

To a certain extent, you are correct. In my case I've been speaking for conservation my whole life, so using the sample/analysis method is simply putting my money where my mouth is. I also run my trucks on biodiesel, even though it is somewhat more expensive than petrodiesel, also as a form of putting my money where my mouth is, and also because my money is going to American agriculture and industry instead of middle eastern oil sheiks.

Personal choice. In my case if my little diesel trucks last me the rest of my life I'll die happy.

Oh, no doubt part of the synthetic oil appeal is just marketing. Again, each consumer must consider the options and do the cost/benefit analysis for himself. In my case, because I'm dealing with turbodiesels I do have turbochargers to care for, and I want to keep my turbocharger main bearings from coking up. The best way to do that is by using synthetic oil.

I know the results I've seen with my little old truck is anomalous, and I have no good reason for it. The vast overwhelming majority of people who switch to synthetic oil see little if any effect on their fuel mileage, particularly if they have later model vehicles.
From a longevity standpoint, the superior lubrosity of synthetic oils has been proven to reduce wear, especially in main bearings, and thus should make engines last longer, while the superior detergency should keep them cleaner at the same time.
From a conservation standpoint, especially with large engines, the ability to go 75,000 miles on a single fill of oil definitely saves resources, and can save money and hassle as well.
For me synthetic oils solve a number of problems. As I said before, though, each consumer must do the CBA for himself.
AP
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wrote:

I've been using synthetic oil (and lubes) in all of our vehicles since 1978, and could not be happier. I was skeptical at first, particularly back then where there were a number of fly-by-night synthetic oil companies that were responsible for ruined engines. But I knew the individual who sold it to me, and trusted him (and his experience with it). I've never looked back. And I can honestly say that I've never had a vehicle in which I did NOT notice an increase in fuel economy after switching to synthetics. Some have been small increases, but still measurable, and my most recent vehicle was perhaps the most dramatic. I waited until I'd put 3800 miles on it before I changed oil, just to make sure I had good break in (despite what I'm told about not needing to break them in anymore). I had an immediate increase of right at 2 mpg on a Nissan pickup (4 cylinder) that is advertised as 22/25 mpg. I just went over 10,000 miles this week and am still getting right at 26 mpg on the highway, and overall average (still largely highway, but with plenty of stop/go driving getting there and back) of over 24 mpg since switching. That's nearly 10%, and translates into nearly $150 in annual fuel savings in a year at today's prices. (And I haven't even changed over the transmission or rear end yet.)

Years ago I burned a valve on a Dodge van (good ol' slant 6). I had over 100,000 miles on the van, and was really low on money. I asked a friend (he owned the shop) to give me the odds of getting away with just the valve job without doing the rings too, because I just couldn't afford to do both, knowing it was a risk that I might blow the rings once the valves were done. He called me a few hours later to tell me how amazed he was at the condition of the cylinders - virtually no ridge, and remnants of the original hone marks, he told me - at over 100K. Interestingly, he used synthetic racing oil in his race car, but had never "bothered" to make the change in his personal vehicles - until then.

I really, really like not having to change oil but once a year. I do my own oil changes, so that's a plus - just a filter change in between, for a full 12 months. I quit sampling years ago because my confidence had built up to that point after experience with the oil, and constant contact with the industry at the time. I elected to purchase something that I'm not even sure is still available - a lifetime distributorship with the company, and for a few years dabbled at selling the oil. Other commitments just didn't allow the kind of time to make the synthetic oil business profitable for me, so I stopped selling a number of years ago. But I at least can still buy at dealer price, and the $100 I paid in the early 80s for the lifetime distributorship has been a bargain and a half! As a result, I get regular literature about the products, industry news, etc., and don't worry at all about not bothering to sample anymore.

I fully agree. In my case, given my decades of experience with this particular company's products (it happens to be Amsoil), the cost-benefit analysis comes down very heavily in favor of synthetics, since there's no sampling cost, and a whole lot less hassle to boot. If I wasn't using synthetics, I wouldn't ever go much over 3000 miles on a petroleum oil - so it's much less expensive to buy two filters and 4 quarts of oil a year (rarely have I had to "top off" during the year), as opposed to more than 20 quarts of oil and 5 filters (assuming 15,000 miles per year) - not to mention my time and hassle.
I can imagine this sounds like a commercial, but isn't intended to. I don't work for the company, and no longer sell it. I'm just fortunate enough to be able to get it at dealer cost for the rest of my life, and have better than 25 years experience using it. I wouldn't go back to petroleum for anything. The only cautions I'd offer are, (1) don't just buy synthetics off the shelf and do a change, and (2) be cautious switching over in a high-mileage vehicle. Even with a relatively few thousand miles, engines should be cleaned first or the synthetic could strip out buildups and deplete the additive package as well as fill up the filter quickly. And with a high mileage vehicle, if there are already cracks in seals that are plugged up by sludge and/or varnish, etc., a synthetic can spring leaks exceptionally well when it cleans things out. In some cases, it works "too good."
My recommendation is to find a dealer who's been in the business for a number of years, and who can walk you through the change over. I once had a friend who insisted on switching over a 50,000 mile Toyota Celica that used no oil, but didn't want to run a cleaner through the engine - even a relatively gentle one. I knew he had taken good care of it, so that much mileage didn't concern me. But I advised him to clean the engine. He still declined. So I suggested he drop a quart of petroleum, and add a quart of synthetic for 500-1000 miles to at least start the cleaning process. He agreed. After a few weeks, he did the full change. Mileage increased, initial sampling came back just fine, no oil use, no problem. Before the next scheduled sampling, suddenly he used a full quart of oil in a relatively short period of time. He was in a small panic. I wasn't. We did an immediate sample, he immediately changed oil, and the sample came back as merely having a fully depleted additive package. After that, he went 25K between changes, never added another drop of oil, and was a happy camper. But without the experience I was able to give him, he'd have scared himself to death and blamed the synthetic (which, ironically really WAS the problem in a turned-around sense), and bad mouthed the stuff for the rest of his life. Instead, he became a committed synthetic user, even after I moved and was no longer available to him as a dealer. Without some good knowledge of synthetics (Amsoil or otherwise), I don't recommend changing anything other than a relatively low mileage vehicle that's been regularly changed up to that point (or a brand new vehicle at the first oil change).
My 2
P.S. Yes, I know this is an Isuzu group - our other vehicle is still a Rodeo. I just wore out my old Hombre, and Isuzu doesn't make a p/u anymore. :-( (Bring back the small diesel!!)
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Nice post! I have an Amigo V6 that uses no oil (leak or otherwaise). It has 75K on it and will get lots of miles before it falls off of the road. I'd like to switch over to synthetic as the cost of 3k oil changes makes no sense. What is the best way to do this? Andy

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wrote:

As I said in my original post,

Personally, I'd be uncomfortable just giving you a blanket recommendation on a newsgroup and leaving you on your own with the change. Since I know Amsoil well, and how the company works, etc., I'd suggest looking in your phone book to see if there's a dealer (check both the white and yellow pages). In the yellow pages it'd most likely show up under oil or oils & lubricants, or something like that. If you can't find a dealer through your phone book, go to the Amsoil web site and write the company. They know where every dealer is. You can find that at:
http://www.amsoil.com/dealerinfo2.aspx
There's a place to put in a referral number at the bottom. Since I'm not an active dealer, and more importantly because the previous post was not meant to be a commercial, I'd say just leave that blank. If I gave you my referral number, it'd credit to me, and I don't want anything I said to appear to be a come-on for business. It wasn't.
The other thing you could do would be to go to one of the internet yellow pages sites (there's a link at the top of the above web page) and so a search for an Amsoil dealer.
You could probably do well with some of the other synthetics, but I just don't have any familiarity with them. But if you decided to try another one, ask plenty of questions of whoever sells it. If they just say, "Oh, just go ahead and make the change," I'd run out of the store, with 75K on my vehicle. They don't know synthetics. The nice thing about an Amsoil dealer is that's all he sells - no car parts, no tires, etc., unless s/he happens to have decided to include Amsoil as part of his inventory in a store he owns. I'd prefer a single-product dealer with several years of good experience, personally. S/he'd be very familiar with the product (and synthetics in general), and be the most likely person to best help you.
Best wishes.
C.R.
(If, after all this you insist on my referral number, email me and I'll give it. I wouldn't turn down the credit <grin>, but don't want to push the issue since it's not intended as a personal commercial for my own benefit.)
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wrote:

Engine wear is the benefit everyone thinks you'll get with synthetic... but there is no reason you shouldn't get very high miles using only petroleum oil if you change regularly. I have, and so have my friends.
People claiming better gas mileage and higher top speed are snake oil salesman, IMO. Well, using the snake oil sales approach at any rate. Impossible to prove wrong... but never proven right either. I'm not anti-synthetic, I've used it at various times for various reasons. I've never seen any gas mileage improvements. And top speed on a car is so hard to measure accurately... an accurate measurement would entail testing in both directions (to cancel any wind effect) and averaging, on the same day within a set time period (to cancel any temperature effects) with a precision measuring device.
The best advantages are cold weather performance (just try starting your car in Minnesota in January at -60 with out synthetic oil in the block). And extended drain interval... IF you want to play the game... periodic testing and filter changes are just as bothersome and expensive as just changing the oil, IMO.
BuddyWh
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BuddyWh wrote:

<shrug>
No reason you shouldn't, really, but I've always done oil analysis on my vehicles, and suspended metals always come out lower on the synthetics I've used, particularly copper, which is a sign of bearing wear.

I'd say it's the _corporations_ claiming higher gas mileage.
I use Amsoil, but that's mostly because I have a friend that sells it. Redline is just as good, and some would say better. Same with that purple stuff I can never remember the brand name of.

Want to see my notes?
I'm not talking instantaneous fuel mileage difference, I'm talking averaged mileage over several tankfuls. Keeping careful records of my vehicles is a habit my grandfather got me into.

My testing is less scientific than that, but IMHO just as valid.
My "test vehicle" is my 1985 Chevy S-10 Diesel. It's powered by an Isuzu C223, 2.2l diesel, of 62 horsepower. It's woefully underpowered. Before the switch to synthetic the foot-to-the-floor-in-5th-gear speed was 70mph. After the switch it was 75mph. Lower, sometimes MUCH lower, if I have to drive it into a headwind or uphill.
The only reason that I have kept such a woefully underpowered vehicle is that it has been dead reliable, up to just now when it's started having fuel system trouble. Even so, it ran and it drove, it was just even more stupefyingly slow than usual.

I'll agree with that. Starting up my old Audi in the middle of a German winter and wondering when I would see oil pressure was definitely no fun. And that wasn't even as cold as Minnesota gets.

It can be less bothersome, with the right tools. Instead of draining out a gallon or more of oil, you just pull an 8 ounce sample, and change two filters. Amsoil even offers a syringe with a long tube so you can take the sample out of your dipstick tube, and you don't even have to get under your vehicle at all. It's certainly no less expensive, because instead of paying for oil you're paying for oil analysis. It is, however, more environmentally responsible, because instead of changing your oil at some arbitrary mileage figure you change it when analysis says you need to change it.
But each to his own. As for me, I'll keep using synthetic oil, bypass depth filters (Frantz in the Trooper, Trasko in the S-10), and extended drain intervals.
AP
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<snip>

Alan,
You said (on IsuzuPup.com) that your truck was underpowered, but I had no idea this is what you meant. Yeah, I'd call that underpowered, too.
My '83 P'up has always been able to bury its 85-mph speedometer (the needle goes at least 5 mph past the last number, which is "85"). So I'd say the top speed is somewhere slightly over 90 (but it's kinda scary at that speed!). I think your S-10 must be quite a bit heavier.
Jack
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