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synthetic oil used in small engines?


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  #1  
Old 04-10-2007, 10:42:27 PM
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Austen Austen is offline
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Default synthetic oil used in small engines?

I've been kind of wondering about this lately, so I thought I'd ask. I was wondering if you guys have ever run synthetic oil in a small engine such as a lawnmower, garden tractor? I've never heard of anybody using synthetic in a small engine. It's probably not necessary in a small engine, but I've alway kind of been a believer in it and was curious to get your take on it for using it in a small engine.
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:04:16 AM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

I know of people that use it regularly in generators. It is supposed to be able to resist breaking down under sustained high temperature extremes such as a 5000 watt generator with a Briggs 10 hp engine running 3600 rpm for 8 hours straight (and then probably gas it up and start it for another 8 hrs if the power is still out)
You still have to change it regularly though. Even synthetic will get contaminated and degrade. Especially if the engine has excessive blow-by or a damaged or malfunctioning crankcase breather.
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Old 04-11-2007, 08:38:19 AM
Ron Beddome Ron Beddome is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Synthetic oil workes especially well in small briggs etc that have to start and run up to speed in sub zero weather. That type of motor relys on splash lubercation such as a oil slinger or the like. In a really cold weather start up the slinger or dipper just digs a hole or grove in the grease like oil and the motor runs up to speed with little or no lubercation until the oil gets enough heat transfered down from above to start to flow. This might take awhile in a snow blower at -20F. I allways say buy the most expensive synthetic oil you can find for a snow blower or an auger motor that has to run in these temps----what the heck you only need one quart or so. Test it for your self on a cold day, put a cupfull of each out side and check how even 10-30 will get really stiff .
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:43:20 AM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Not to brag, but I may have as much experianceas anyone with synthetic oil in small engines. In mid January of this year we suffered a major ice storm here in Southwast Missouri. My Father-in-Law and I were with out power for six days. My Dad was down for twelve. Before the ice storm, as we had a pretty good waring, I changed ALL my generators to Mobil 1 10W-30 oil. Dad also changed his.
The generator I ran for six days is a LP fueled unit that a friend of mine saved from a salvage yard. He saved 3 like unit that were autostart. This one was a remnant of the three. Unit was originally on NG. I do not lnow haw many hour was on the engine before I got it. As I said I ran it for 6 day. I started shuting down every 12 hour to check the oil. Not seeing any useage I went to 24 hour. Seeing minimal useage in this time I streached the time to 48 hours. I check the oil twice in the last 4 days of the outage seeing oil use of 1/2 pint of the 10W-30 Mobile 1 every 48 hours.
I also had a little 300 watt generator that is part of an old venalating heated from the telephone company. It is LP fueled 3 hp B&S which was enough power to run a friends pellet wood stove which keep his family warm during the power outage. It also ran Mobile 1. Had no problems with ir and it is about 35 years old.
The generator I ran at the Father-in-laws had no oiling problems. the only problem was the small tank would NOT allow continous running. I corrected that after 3 day by changing the valve spring cover on the 8 HP B&S to one that had a vacuum port for a fuel pump. I ran the engine on a 15 gallon barrel that allowed me to fuel once a day.
Dad's 5000 watt 10 HP Tec. engine had a valve problem after 6 days that was NOT oil related. After I fixed the problem Dad said it had never started that well even when new and wondered if it had a problem when he bought it new from Sam's Wholesale Club. I havd NOT been around the genset that much. I know he complained about hard starting and wanted tme to make it electric start which I had done some years ago using parts from a dead Tec. riding lawn mower engine.
I am changing ALL the OHV engine I install on Riding Lawn Mowers to Mobile 1 after the break-in period.

Kent
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:58:19 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

heres the simple cut short answer.
in regular conditions synthetic vs mineral is equal.

synthetic only really starts to make a difference in extreme conditions
such as hot or cold
and especially in running full speed, full load for hours upon hours on end.
synthetics are more stable than mineral in high load high heat

On my briggs and Stratton charts, regular mineral is 30 weight is for 30degrees on up to like 100 degrees, and 5-30 is would it says for below 30degree

Synthetic 10-30wt or 5-30wt covers the whole tempature range on the chart.

I personally have always used Pennzoil, first because thats what my Dad
had always said use and they this was backed up by what I have read in many high performace engine building books.

This is an excellent question and I hope others read this so they can understand more as well.

-Casey
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:35:03 PM
Jim Metzger Jim Metzger is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Hi,

I use synthetic oils or synthetic blends in any of my rare, expensive Briggs engines, that I run at engine shows, such as all F series and any of the very early engines where internal engine oiling was in its very early stages of development.
Even though they, for the most part, are not doing anything but running slowly and are not under any loads I feel that any extra protection I can give them makes sense. Some of these engines have a very small oil sump volume and hold only a small amount of oil. If these early engines leak any oil at all such as through the push rod through the block hole or either of the main bearings it does not take much time at all before they are out of oil and any extra protection may make the difference between damage and no damage.
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Old 04-11-2007, 07:45:29 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

It is interesting though that some small engine manuals (like the one that came with the Tecumseh's on my lawn mower & one of my generators) specifically say NOT to use synthetic oil, or in some cases even say not to use multi-weight oil (ie 10W-30). I have always used "regular" oil, and usually 30-wt, in my stuff but I may try synthetic in some of my completed motors & see what happens.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:06:48 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

hmmmm what year is that manual? I think when synthetics and multi-weights came out some manufactueres were kind of leery of them (being new and all)
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:38:36 PM
Devin Cline Devin Cline is offline
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Smile Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

we use jet turbin oil in our B&S go-kart motors all the time,,8000 rpms and air schouds restricted so only a little air cools the motor,,in other words they run fairly hot,, www.4cycle.com .... only my 2cents worth,,
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:52:08 AM
BWegher BWegher is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

All modern aircraft and military applications have been using synthetic exclusively for years.
Autos and OEM small engines are compatible with synthetic oils and will soon be all synthetic.
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Old 04-15-2007, 01:45:40 PM
Bill Rogers Bill Rogers is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Hi Guys;
The subject of motor oil and using detergent vs nondetergent oil is a subject almost everyone has a different opinion. For most of us it is what has worked for us or what hasn't for some reason.
Myself, I use a good brand of 10w30 in all my antique and mower engines and regulary change it before 25 hours. I have never had any problems in doing this and my mowers run about 60 hours a year and one is a 4 HP B&S Quantum engine and is 16 years old. Never touched this engine other than maintenance. My FH an FI engines also have never given any problems runnning at shows using multi grade oils, and I prefer using detergent oils as they do keep the engine cleaner inside along with the anti wear aditives in modern oils.
My thoughts in using synthetic oils vs mineral oils, to me its more important to keep the oil regularly changed and kept clean. I have no personal experience with synthetic oil, but it could never hurt as the synthetic can take heat better and flows much better when cold. The only draw back is the cost is more but as long as a person changes oil in a reasonable interval, it is a personal choice which to use.
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:39:05 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

I usually dont run anything but Penzoil SAE30 in my F series Briggs. Even though im running them at half speed of what they were meant to run I think the heavier oil does a better job of keeping an iron piston from wearing an iron cylinder out than a multi grade. Multi grades are used in newer engines mostly to help dissapate heat away from internal parts and cool the engine better. As for mineral oils, PA crude is the best in the world so it makes sense to use Penzoil. For synthetics in my diesels I only use Amsoil in my VW and Shell Rotella T 15-40 mineral in my Mazda diesel although I may switch to Rimula if its better.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:28:58 PM
Bill Rogers Bill Rogers is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Hi Guys;
Please bear with me, I have read and re-read this and many other feelings/thoughts/opinions, but honestly it's like ouyr vehicals the more we maintain the better and the longer life we will get back from these engines. Yes oil is important, but proper changes are the key to long life and carefree service.
I don't work for a oil company, but honestly I have got a min. of 150,000 out of every vehical I have owned. I really enjoy the old antique gasoline engines, from a IHC LB -FH Briggs and my personal experience is keeping the oil clean, and fresh. Oil is the cheapest item if you consider gasoline, milk, and well almost a cup of coffee. Synthetic or Mineral oil, detergent or non-detergent, it is the more the fact of keeping the oil clean.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:27:10 PM
Simple_serf Simple_serf is offline
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Just so you know, Pennzoil isn't based in PA anymore. They decided that it would be too much $$$$ to get at the oil left here. They sold most of their stations here to Mobil.

I run synthetic in my one tecumseh Generator engine I have. I personally have a hatred of tecumseh engines, every dead one I come across has thrown a rod.

Pretty much every genset I either run or am responible for I try to run mobil 1 in. everything else gets convetional that is changed often.

My DD is a 98 ranger with 175K miles on it (2.5 Lima). I run conventional in it, primarily because of the sludge issue with that many miles. Still starts and runs great. Whenever I replace this motor I am doing 2 things. 1) Sticking with the 2.x Lima engines. 2) running synthetic from the start.
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:43:24 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simple_serf View Post
Just so you know, Pennzoil isn't based in PA anymore. They decided that it would be too much $$$$ to get at the oil left here. They sold most of their stations here to Mobil.
How long ago did they do this? Thats a shame as their oil was the best mineral oil I think. Thanks for the FYI.



I agree with Bill on frequent changes. Although Amsoil says I can keep my synthetic for 35,000 miles with a filter change at 17,500 and a top off in my TDI.
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Old 04-17-2007, 03:22:49 PM
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Default Re: synthetic oil used in small engines?

I use Rotella T in all my air cooled engines 15/40 and never go over the 25 hour mark before a change so far this has lead to nothing but a little higher oil bill and no early wear outs....
My granfather mistrusted detergent oils. He wouldn't use them and he beilieved oil was only good after it ran hot to burn off any moister and light ends. I changed a lot of rings on his B&S motors at the camp while my Onans on Rotella ran on.
My 05 TDI Jetta uses the factory recommended oil but I change it at 8000 km ( twice as often as recommended ). Its not that I mistrust the oil but the filters can't remove the realy fine abrasives. I believe its these super fine particles that will wear my engines out if I let them build up in the oil threw extended oil changes.

Warm up and preheating is important, a block heater not only starts a diesel but gets the oil moving faster and reduces warm up time for less hours and wasted idle warm up time.

I may be wrong, but oil is cheap and recylced.
Peace of mind is even cheaper.

I'm starting to warm up to the idea of synthetic blends if they indead flow better cold and cling better hot that would be an improvent over the Rottela

Doug
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