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Scorpion 04-18-2004 06:36 PM

I know there are some motor heads around here in this forum. I now come to you for some wisdom about synthetic oil.

The facts:
I have a 95 Toyota Tercel, 4 speed manual trans that I love dearly for its fuel economy, compactness when it comes to parking it downtown Denver and more less the whole Toyota reputation of being a great car. The car has about 127k miles and my plans are to keep this car until the whole thing desintegrates.

The question:
I use regular 10W30 by Castrol for engine oil. Lately, I have been thinking of switching to synthetic oil of the same brand and same weight. I am not sure if I should go to full synthetic or semi-synthetic. Would I be able to notice a "difference" once I switch? And if so, on what? For a car with this mileage, what is recommended to use for oil? 30 wt or heavier?

I am sure there will be more questions asked by the motor experts. I consider myself a weekend mechanic. Lately, the way new cars are built with all those computers on board are making my weekend mechanical ventures limited. Most require the hi-tech equipment most of us may not own.

Thanks in advance.

Mustang5L5 04-18-2004 11:22 PM

The thing with using synthetics in higher milage cars is that they usually develop oil leaks right after. The synthetic particles are smaller and when put into a well worn engine, leaks develop.

If you want to go sythetic, you really need to do it when the car is new or under 5000 miles. When i build a motor i usually break it in for 3000 miles on conventional oil and then switch to synthetic. On all my higher milage motors (that i got later on) i run pure conventional oil.

I see no difference in all in wear. I just tore down a 175,000 mile Ford 5.0L V8 that was run on conventional all it's life and it had very minimal wear.

I think the frequency of oil changes has more to do with it. Castrol is a very good oil. It's also my oil of choice due to it's petroleum source coming from PA. PA oils tend to have better lubricating qualities that TX oils. Another good brand of oil is Kendal. You don't want to change oil brands every oil change depending on what's on sale. Use the same brand and weight of oil for the car's life. If you have oil pressure problems or loose tolerances due to wear, then you can use a thicker oil.

Just keep running the same Castrol 10W30 and perform frequent oil changes and you should be fine.

Oh yeah, NEVER use Fram Oil filters. They are absolute garbage. I would post the proof but it would take too long. Just take my word for it, stay away from FRAM!

PS. My primary hobby is building, showing and racing Ford Mustangs. You are right about newer cars becoming more computer orientated. I have a carbed '85 GT that i can tune with a screwdriver, but several of my newer Mustangs require me to use a special software i installed on my PDA to change fuel and timing curves and other variables. It's gets stressful sometimes but that's what the planted tank is for :)

jojomichael 04-19-2004 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mustang5L5
Oh yeah, NEVER use Fram Oil filters. They are absolute garbage. I would post the proof but it would take too long. Just take my word for it, stay away from FRAM!

Be careful, you might get sued. I use a different filter too...

Mustang5L5 04-19-2004 01:03 AM

Don't worry, what i just said was very nice compared to what's been said on some of the automotive boards i frequent.

Scorpion 04-19-2004 01:07 AM

Thanks for the info Mustang 5L5. So what do you recommend for oil and air filters? Care to share some of those automotive forums?

gnatster 04-19-2004 01:08 AM

Search the archives on the Ferrari or BMW lists. There are many references to the "quality" of Fram oil filters. The stories on the Ferrari list are golden, Fram oil filters litteraly blowing apart on startup. What a mess 16+ qts of oil everywhere.

gnatster

Scorpion 04-19-2004 01:10 AM

What lists are you referring to? Do you have an URL?

Mustang5L5 04-19-2004 04:05 AM

Well my oil of choice is Castrol conventional oil. I use that brand in all my cars. As for Filters, I use Ford on my cars. I beleive Puralator makes them for Ford and supposedly they are one of the better manufacturers.

As for my car boards, well i'm into Mustangs so all mine lists are Mustang based...

www.corral.net
www.stangnet.com (i'm a mod here)
www.mustangworld.com
www.foureyedpride.com
www.mustangworks.com

Scorpion 04-19-2004 04:45 AM

Cool. Thanks for all the help!

GulfCoastAquarian 04-19-2004 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnatster
Search the archives on the Ferrari or BMW lists. There are many references to the "quality" of Fram oil filters. The stories on the Ferrari list are golden, Fram oil filters litteraly blowing apart on startup. What a mess 16+ qts of oil everywhere.

gnatster

Slight oversight to fail to mention that the Ferrari engine that is blowing apart the Fram filter is pushing far more oil pressure than a conventional engine. I've been using Fram filters for 10 years with no problems. *knock on wood*
And one of them even had a high pressure oil pump (1990 Mustang GT)

As for switching to synthetics at this level of mileage, I wouldn't do it. I don't know about smaller particles squeezing by or whatnot, but most dual viscocity motor oils contain a "swelling agent" that causes the seals in the engine to swell somewhat, reducing the risk of oil leaks. As an engine ages, and those seals wear, they could use a bit more of that agent.
There are a multitude of "higher mileage" dual-viscosity oils out there that contain more of the chemicals that cause the seals to expand slightly more than usual. This will reduce leakage and prolong the life of your engine. If you've got more than 100k miles, I say go for it.

-Just the $0.02 of a obsessive gearhead. Motor Oils are almost like religion, though. You'll find people that disagree with me to their grave but my information comes from someone in reliability at an oil company with a Master's in Chem E.

Celura 04-19-2004 07:42 PM

My Firehawk came with synthetic and that's what I will always and forever give her. :)

Mustang5L5 04-19-2004 09:59 PM

[quote="GulfCoastAquarian"
Slight oversight to fail to mention that the Ferrari engine that is blowing apart the Fram filter is pushing far more oil pressure than a conventional engine. I've been using Fram filters for 10 years with no problems. *knock on wood*
And one of them even had a high pressure oil pump (1990 Mustang GT)

[/quote]

Most of the problems lie in the anti-drainback valving and the glue holding the filter together coming apart prematurly and switching over to bypass which basically circulates the oil unfiltered. I myself have cut open a fram when my oil pressure gauge suddently started reading lower to find it had fallen apart inside after 1200 miles and was running oil unfiltered.

Just my own personal expeirence

GulfCoastAquarian 04-20-2004 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Celura
My Firehawk came with synthetic and that's what I will always and forever give her. :)

Yeah Jenny, well you need all the help you can get since you don't have a Mustang. :lol:

Celura 04-20-2004 04:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GulfCoastAquarian
Quote:

Originally Posted by Celura
My Firehawk came with synthetic and that's what I will always and forever give her. :)

Yeah Jenny, well you need all the help you can get since you don't have a Mustang. :lol:

I will never own anything with a blue oval on it. I'll walk everywhere first. ;)

GulfCoastAquarian 04-20-2004 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Celura
Quote:

Originally Posted by GulfCoastAquarian
Quote:

Originally Posted by Celura
My Firehawk came with synthetic and that's what I will always and forever give her. :)

Yeah Jenny, well you need all the help you can get since you don't have a Mustang. :lol:

I will never own anything with a blue oval on it. I'll walk everywhere first. ;)

I could never beging to comprehend that type of stalwart dedication to a marque. I love the looks on the faces of people that drive by our house and see that my wife has a Camaro and I have a Mustang. I'm sure it is complete sacrelige to do so in many people's books.


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