1.8T oil changes (regular vs. synthetic)

I recently changed the oil in my newly-acquired B5 Passat's 1.8T. I have no idea how often and what type of oil was used by the previous owner.
I went to a "mom-and-pop" shop (well, mostly pop ;) instead of the dealer because of price. The guy basically told me it's $20 for regular oil and $40-$50 for synthetic (inc. filter). I chose regular (I believe it was Chevron 5W-30 that they put in) as I prefer frequent oil changes - I plan on changing the oil every 2500 miles.
I am wondering if there is any detriment to not using synthetic in this little turbo engine. I hear synthetic is recommended for extreme temperatures, does this apply here? I currently live in NYC but am moving to south Florida after New Year's - should I plan on using synthetic down there because of the warmer weather?
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The recommended oil viscosity grade, 5W-40, is available only as synthetic oil. Now, there are frequent postings arguing the merit and need to use 5W-40; you may want to look them up here, at VWVortex, and at ClubB5. You may be convinced by those who say 5W-40 is unnecessary. I believe VW knows why they recommended 5W-40, and that (or 0W-40) is what I use. Therefore, I have no choice but to use a synthetic.
Basically, using conventional vs synthetic in the Passat seems to depend on whether you believe the factory recommendation or not. If you do, you must use synthetic because conventional 5W-40 is not available. If you don't believe the factory recommendation, then go with whosever oil argument convinces you the most, because there are a ton of them out there.

owner.
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Did you/they use the proper oil filter. I was told by my VW parts manager that the 1.8T engines went with a slightly different oil filter starting in 1999. Looks the same but possibly it has finer mesh. I am not sure on this. He also claimed that they also use Valvoline 5W-30 in the engines.
I prefer the best when it comes to oil and filters. hint hint My older 83 GTi engine (Mobil 1 and Mann filters every 6 months) has over 220,000 miles and still runs strong without burning oil, but I have only owned it for 12 years and 135,000 miles. ;-) Just got a 91 Passat 105K miles, that I am now going to use syn. oil and Mann filters.
just my $0.02 later, dave Reminder........ Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes. Frieda Norris
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dave said the following on 11/3/2003 8:51 AM:

It was either Purolator or Fram, can't remember which - probably the worse of the two (Fram). Again, since I'm changing it every 2500 I'm not really concerned. Anyone use K&N oil filters? The lit on them looks great, do they work well on the 1.8T? Next change I'll prolly buy my own oil and filter, either Mann or K&N (depending on feedback). As 4Motion correctly pointed out, the Owner's Manual recommends 5W-40, although it also says you can use 5W-30 should that not be available. From my quick search, Mobil 1 is not available in 5W-40 for gasoline engines (there's a Delvac 5W-40 which is for diesels). All I've seen so far is a Chevron Delo 400 5W-40.
Considering my eminent move to a hot climate, I guess the 40 will make a difference because it will thin to a 40 weight as opposed to just a 30 weight? 5W-40 is a very wide range and only a synthetic can hope to achieve it. Wouldn't a 10W-40 serve me just as well in south Fla? Don't really plan on traveling back up north much, and if I do I'll fly.
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As long as you change your oil every 5000 miles or under, dino oil is fine. If you race, autox or are a rev happy crazy bastard then you might want to consider Syn. Personally I recommend the factory filters, I buy 6 at a time from parts4vws.com
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Mobil Delvac 1 5W-40 is suitable for gasoline engines that can use oil with the API SL or SJ rating. You can also check the ratings on the Chevron Delo 400 5W-40 to see if it has an acceptable gasoline engine rating. VW dealers in the US should carry Castrol Syntec 5W-40, and Wal Mart in the US may carry Shell Rotella T Synthetic 5W-40. A place that carries Valvoline may be able to get you Premium Blue Extreme or Synpower in 5W-40.
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Duke Ionescu wrote:

Um, my Passat manual says 5W30 is to be used "FOR TOPPING UP ONLY" (emphasis added by VW, not me). If they recommend 5W40, I'm sure they do so for a reason.
-- Mike Smith
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Mike Smith said the following on 11/3/2003 1:25 PM:

Mine doesn't have any such emphasis, it says (as previously stated) "If engine oil viscosity grade SAE 5W-40 is not available, you can also use SAE 5W-30." That sounds to me like it's okay to use 5W-30. Mine is a '00 Wagon.
But considering my relocation to a much warmer climate, I will use 5W-40 once down there. Although 10W-40 would probably work just as well. Point being that 5W-40 is probably the widest available range (if we ignore the 0W's), and that's what VW recommends for the 1.8T !?! In a way it makes sense, they want the top to cover really warm climates (and, considering there's a small turbo in there, the oil may reach higher than normal operating temperatures at the same ambient temperature), and the low end for winters.
I remember when back in the day it was common practice to use a different grade of oil for different seasons (in 4-season environments). Not this one-size-fits-all deal, thanks to the wonders of modern technology. I still think you're better off changing dino oil often rather than putting synthetic in and forgetting about it. If you live in a warm climate, the 5 from the 5W-40 doesn't really apply to you.
Anyone have feedback on K&N oil filters?
P.S. Any thoughts on using 20W-50 in warm climates? :-)
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5W-40 oil is available in the US from a German manufacturer called Lubro Moly. Do a Google on Lubro Moly 5W40.
My indie mechanic uses Lubro Moly in either 5W40 or 0W40; his insistence on using at a minimum the recommended viscosity range, and on using VW 503/505 spec oil, is one of the reasons I use his shop.

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Shell has syn 5-40

manager that

1999.
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|dave said the following on 11/3/2003 8:51 AM: |> Did you/they use the proper oil filter. I was told by my VW parts manager that |> the 1.8T engines went with a slightly different oil filter starting in 1999. |> Looks the same but possibly it has finer mesh. I am not sure on this. |> He also claimed that they also use Valvoline 5W-30 in the engines. | |It was either Purolator or Fram, can't remember which - probably the |worse of the two (Fram).
Last i looked, Fram was still listing the PH2870 for thses, which is a common filter that has been around forever and fits half the cars on the road. I'd not let anything get screwed onto my car unless it was OE/Mann or Wix. Purolator maybe, if it's their premium line. Rex in Fort Worth
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I don't know what VW recommends, but I would stick with that, especially if it recommends synthetic.
Turbos are hard on oil and standard may not stand up in this use. One of the reasons trubos are so popular now is synthetic oils have helped make them reliable. Put regular oil in and you loose the reliability, even if you change the oil often.
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$I am wondering if there is any detriment to not using synthetic in this $little turbo engine. I hear synthetic is recommended for extreme $temperatures, does this apply here?
Synthetic oils do handle high temperatures better, and turbochargers tend to get pretty hot. They have fresh (i.e. hot) exhaust gases running through them, and they compress air (and if you've ever used one of those hand pumps to pump up a bicycle tire, you'll know that air heats up when you compress it).
During normal operation, the oil is circulating through the turbo, so it never stays there long enough to have a problem - and, in fact, the oil helps cool the turbo. Some turbos (and I don't know if the 1.8t is such a design) also have engine coolant running through them. But when you turn off the engine, fluids stop flowing, and that can basically cook your oil. The cure is simple - let the turbo cool off before turning off your engine. Idling or gentle driving for a little while should do the trick.
$ I currently live in NYC but am $moving to south Florida after New Year's - should I plan on using $synthetic down there because of the warmer weather?
One of the reasons I use synthetic oil here in Toronto is because of the other end of the extreme temperature range: synthetic oils flow better than conventional oils of equivalent weight when it's cold. If my car has been sitting outside on a cold winter evening, I want as much oil flowing as soon as possible.
It's obvious that synthetic oil is better than conventional oil. It's not obvious whether this actually makes a significant difference to your engine's lifetime. By changing your conventional oil more frequently than the manual says, you're also doing something that's obviously good for the car.
Me, I use synth. Started it two cars ago, and I use synth on my A4 1.8t. If I were to use conventional, I'd be nervous about the car's 16 000 km oil change interval and I'd probably change it every 8 instead - and with two oil conventional oil changes compared to one synthetic oil change, I'd probably end up paying about the same for oil changes either way, which negates the "But synthetic costs too much" argument.
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Isn't this ironic?
Audi with 1.8T has the same engine as VW 1.8T. Both dealers will change your oil using dino oil, unless you specifically request to use synthetic (and pay more). VW oil change interval is 5000 miles and it's not included in the maintenance - customer pays for it. Audi oil change interval is 10000 miles, but it is included in the maintenance of the car.
Obviously Audi is not afraid that the engine is going to blow up if you change the oil every 10000 miles. I've also posted a link to an article earlier about the subject. In Europe (UK specifically) VW dealers us Castrol SLX Longlife II synthetic oil and their recommended oil change interval is 10000 miles or 12 months.
Here is a link to more detailed document from a credible source (VW itself): http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/assets/Longlife_servicing.pdf
Conclusion: US VW oil change interval is aimed to rip you off, but you gotta do it if you don't want your warranty voided.
As far as the actual oil is concerned. In the 1.8T engine you should use the X W-40 oil. It has a TURBO and the oil gets a lot hotter than in the non-TURBO engine. It is the VW specification for those engines in both Audi and VW. My manual ('03 Passat) specifically says to use 5W-40. It also says that if 5W-40 is not available you can use 5W-30, but you should REPLACE it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE with 5W-40.
The lower number (5W) can be adjusted based on the climate. If you live in a hot climate you can use 10W-40 and if you live where the temperature in the winter time drops a lot below freezing you should use 0W-40
5W-30 will start to break down as soon as the TURBO gets hot. Deposits of burned oil will start to form and the TURBO and engine damage will occur, even if you change it every 1000 decimeters
Why don't you use what the manufacturer recommends? Do you think "mom-and-pop" have a clue?

owner.
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Mom & Pop - What about the dealer? My dealer uses the 5w-30 and says that it's fine to use on my 1.8T. My manual recommends the 5-w40, but states to use 5w-30 if none can be found - It does not state anything about changing to 40 weight asap, or using Synthetic.
Once again - unless your an AutoXer, or just a nut - changeing Dino oil every 5000 miles will be fine. Please substantiate your claim that a "Hot" turbo immediately breaks down 30W oil.
If you don't thing the rest of the engine gets just as hot, where do you think the gases that heat the turbo are created? The myth that Turbo engines run exponentially hotter is just that - unless 25degrees is what your claiming is breaking down the oil.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com said the following on 11/4/2003 9:52 AM:

My owner's manual says no such thing either - it simply says, if 5W-40 is not available, use 5W-30, nothing more, nothing less. That said, on my next change I'll buy my own oil, and it'll be either 5W-40 or 10W-40. Any thoughts on using XW-50?

I too would be interested in this, as it's has me a little worried.

Not being an automotive engineer, hearing both sides of the argument definitely helps me. Thanks!
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Let me try...
Once an engine reaches is optimal operating temperature it's being cooled down by the cooling system of your car, therefore the oil's temperature passing through the engine and the temperature of the engine are fairly constant.
On a car with a Turbo, the oil also passes through the turbocharger, where depending on the amount of extremely hot exhaust gasses the Turbo's temperature varies greatly(inside), variably increasing the temperature of the oil.
The viscosity of the oil changes with temperature. Typical viscosity (cSt @ 100 C) of a X W-30 oil is 10; of a X W-40 is 14 (where X is either 0, 5, or 10). That's almost 40%. At 40 C the viscosities are 55 and 80 respectively. So even when the Turbo heats up the oil only to 100 C, you are losing quite a lot of your oil protection, especially if the engine was determined to use a particular oil viscosity.
Inside the Turbo the oil is heated up very quickly. X W-30 is more prone to lose its properties than X W-40. The most damage occurs when you shut off your engine and the oil inside the Turbo stops circulating and just sits there having its temperature increased even more. That's when oil break-down occurs, deposits start to form... I guess that's what I meant by "immediate".
VW has determined that 5W-40 is of the right viscosity for their 1.8T engine. If you think that 40% thinner oil is still OK, I guess no one can't change your mind. Ford and Honda are now experimenting with 5W-20 oils (extra thin). It saves gas. In a few years we will know the results. If you willing to experiment a little, you could try the 5W-20 in your car and let us know if you get any better gas mileage? Can you also monitor the oil and let us know if it changes color? After how many miles/km, but only if you want... I actually wouldn't recommend any experimenting.
I'm due for an oil change next week. I'm going to put Mobil 1 0W-40 (only because a cold winter is coming). I'll monitor the oil, as well.
-Paul
said the following on 11/4/2003 9:52 AM:

of
occur,
that it's fine to use on my

can be found - It does not

every 5000 miles will be

breaks down 30W oil.

think the gases that heat

hotter is just that - unless

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Exactly - It passes THRU the turbo, it doesn't stay there. It goes back into the engine where it gives off the extra heat to the engines cooling system.
As it does this it cools the turbo, (carries away the heat) thus the turbo doesn't reach the horrendous temperatures you claim that instantly break down the lower weight oil.
I took two years of Heat Transfer & Fluid Flow and can promise you that if Turbo's cooked oil so quickly, they would have been designed with some sort of secondary cooling system. But they don't.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com said the following on 11/6/2003 1:47 PM:

That makes sense and I'm not worried about the turbo cooking my oil on contact. Here's what I'll do in the meantime: I'm gonna let the engine run at least 60 seconds at idle before turning it off, especially after "more spirited" driving, until the next oil change (about 2000 miles away). Then I'll put in 10W-40 dino and forget about it.
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they would have been designed with some sort of secondary cooling system. But they don't.
Yes they do... the VW turbo is also cooled by engine coolant.
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