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View Full Version : Which Oil to run in a Zero Turn Kawi Engine?


Angelski28
03-29-2012, 01:11 AM
I am wondering what oil you guys think is best to run in a 24 HP Kawasaki engine. It sits on a bob-cat zero turn. Manual says 10w-30 but wondering if I should use synthetic or not. Let me know your thoughts. Cheers.

mtmower
03-29-2012, 01:18 AM
I run synthetic in everything. I usually bump up the viscosity rating one notch from conventional oil (ie. mobile one 15-40w synthetic, etc.). I also add a zink additive to each service since they pulled the zink from most all oils.

Exact Rototilling
03-29-2012, 01:35 AM
If you use motorcycle specific oils it will have the old.SG and SJ ratings that have higher levels of zddp.
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ashgrove landscaping
03-29-2012, 01:47 AM
Try kawasaki oil. Its partial synthetic or something like that. Real good oil and half the price.

mtmower
03-29-2012, 02:20 AM
If you use motorcycle specific oils it will have the old.SG and SJ ratings that have higher levels of zddp.
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I'll have to look into this closer. The zddp or zink additive I found locally is $18 a bottle which does up to 6 qt. Which is ridiculous. Do they offer these in synthetic and what viscosities have you found? I did find a Mobile One racing non-synthetic oil in high viscosity only but I like my synthetics.

Exact Rototilling
03-29-2012, 12:20 PM
I'll have to look into this closer. The zddp or zink additive I found locally is $18 a bottle which does up to 6 qt. Which is ridiculous. Do they offer these in synthetic and what viscosities have you found? I did find a Mobile One racing non-synthetic oil in high viscosity only but I like my synthetics.
Walmart has Mobil 1 20w-50 and 10-40 for only $9.95 a quart.

STP oil treatment has zddp in it but it is frankly too thick and bumps up the viscosity.

I still have an old.stash of CI4 rated shell rotela 5w-40 I'm working on before they made it environmentally friendly.

Might be worth following the new and used oil analysis threads on bobistheoilguy.com for what is the best. I have not followed it much in the last 2 years.
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jetta
03-30-2012, 09:17 AM
if you use synthetic oil you dont need to add zinc...if you dont, then use a diesel grade 1030 like shell tripple t it also has zddp in it at full levels...so does kohler 1030 oil

MOturkey
03-30-2012, 09:50 AM
Walmart has Mobil 1 20w-50 and 10-40 for only $9.95 a quart.
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Last I bought, I could buy Mobil 1 in 10-40 for around $26 for the 5 quart at Walmart.

Valk
03-30-2012, 11:14 AM
Have read many a time that Mobil 1 15w/50 is one of the better formulations. That's all I use in my KAW KAIs. Changed out every 75 hours with a new oil filter as well.

I'm a believer that a mower engine needs 50-100 hrs of break-in on conventional motor oil before transitioning to synthetic.

More importantly is to make DARN sure that the initial break-in oil is changed AFTER the first 8 hrs of operation = CRITICAL.

mtmower
03-30-2012, 12:30 PM
if you use synthetic oil you dont need to add zinc...if you dont, then use a diesel grade 1030 like shell tripple t it also has zddp in it at full levels...so does kohler 1030 oil

I was under the impression that the zinc was even removed from the synthetics. Supposedly they pulled it to keep catalytic convertors from going south so soon.

mtmower
03-30-2012, 12:41 PM
Have read many a time that Mobil 1 15w/50 is one of the better formulations. That's all I use in my KAW KAIs. Changed out every 75 hours with a new oil filter as well.

I'm a believer that a mower engine needs 50-100 hrs of break-in on conventional motor oil before transitioning to synthetic.

More importantly is to make DARN sure that the initial break-in oil is changed AFTER the first 8 hrs of operation = CRITICAL.

X2!! Amen brother.

mtmower
03-31-2012, 01:21 PM
if you use synthetic oil you dont need to add zinc...


I've gotta call bunk on this statement. I run a lot of Amsoil. They have a few oils that specifically state high zinc content. The other synthetics they offer have no zinc unless stated.

I've been using a product found a AutoZone, O'Rielly's, etc. called Hyper Lube. It states that it's not zinc but a zinc substitute, that it provides better lubricating quality than zinc does, and that it can be used in any motor and will not hurt catalytic convertors. It also states $18.00 a bottle! Works with up to 6 qts. If this is such a thing, why can't they just add this in to the oil making process!?!?
$s $s $s.

I may be looking into becoming an Amsoil dealer. $25 fee and 20% off everything and you can sell. Or you can become a premier customer for $15 a year, still deal direct, get the 20% off but you can't sell. With the amount of oil I buy it would pay off. Their 15w-30 and 20w-50 high zinc is like $39 for 5 qts. plus shipping. Mobile one at Walmart is $26 and Hyper Lube $18 so I'm already at $44.

OakNut
03-31-2012, 01:48 PM
I'm coming up on needing to do my first (8 hr) oil change, so I started doing searches on the topic of oil.
So far, I'm not seeing anything posted anywhere that isn't anything more than personal opinion, with little to no explanation as to how one came to the conclusion that "X" is "the best".

I guess I'll just roll the dice.

ShooterK2
03-31-2012, 02:01 PM
I use Wal Mart's cheapest oil: Super Tech. I run it in every vehicle, mower, etc. that I own. I use Super Tech filters as well. I have used it for years. I've heard lots of folks talk about how they believe they need to run this brand or that brand, but I have never bought into it. The truck I drive every day and pull my trailer with is a 2000 Chevy Silverado. It has the 5.3 liter, and it has 274,xxx miles on it now. The engine has never been into. Still runs fine and has plenty of power. My previous truck was a 1988 Chevy with a 4.3 V-6. It had 387,xxx miles on it when I sold it. Still ran fine, and never had engine trouble. I've had several other small cars and such over the years, and I've never had anything go wrong that could be blamed on oil (except when I ran my 67 Beetle OUT of oil, but that was my fault). All my vehicles get run into high mileage, so I'm not talking about a new car with 30,000 miles here.

My point is, if you change oil on time, and change the filter too, you should be fine. Look for the ratings on the bottle. If it meets the requirements your engine calls for, then I wouldn't think twice about running it, regardless of the price or the name on the bottle (they all come from only a few refineries anyway).
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Florida Gardener
03-31-2012, 02:36 PM
I use Wal Mart's cheapest oil: Super Tech. I run it in every vehicle, mower, etc. that I own. I use Super Tech filters as well. I have used it for years. I've heard lots of folks talk about how they believe they need to run this brand or that brand, but I have never bought into it. The truck I drive every day and pull my trailer with is a 2000 Chevy Silverado. It has the 5.3 liter, and it has 274,xxx miles on it now. The engine has never been into. Still runs fine and has plenty of power. My previous truck was a 1988 Chevy with a 4.3 V-6. It had 387,xxx miles on it when I sold it. Still ran fine, and never had engine trouble. I've had several other small cars and such over the years, and I've never had anything go wrong that could be blamed on oil (except when I ran my 67 Beetle OUT of oil, but that was my fault). All my vehicles get run into high mileage, so I'm not talking about a new car with 30,000 miles here.

My point is, if you change oil on time, and change the filter too, you should be fine. Look for the ratings on the bottle. If it meets the requirements your engine calls for, then I wouldn't think twice about running it, regardless of the price or the name on the bottle (they all come from only a few refineries anyway).
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If you are changing every 3-K on the truck and every 50 on the mower, fine. But I wouldn't run that stuff on a 15-K OCI on the truck....
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Patriot Services
03-31-2012, 02:46 PM
I've gotta call bunk on this statement. I run a lot of Amsoil. They have a few oils that specifically state high zinc content. The other synthetics they offer have no zinc unless stated.

I've been using a product found a AutoZone, O'Rielly's, etc. called Hyper Lube. It states that it's not zinc but a zinc substitute, that it provides better lubricating quality than zinc does, and that it can be used in any motor and will not hurt catalytic convertors. It also states $18.00 a bottle! Works with up to 6 qts. If this is such a thing, why can't they just add this in to the oil making process!?!?
$s $s $s.

I may be looking into becoming an Amsoil dealer. $25 fee and 20% off everything and you can sell. Or you can become a premier customer for $15 a year, still deal direct, get the 20% off but you can't sell. With the amount of oil I buy it would pay off. Their 15w-30 and 20w-50 high zinc is like $39 for 5 qts. plus shipping. Mobile one at Walmart is $26 and Hyper Lube $18 so I'm already at $44.


Zinc is added for anti-wear properties. It does not improve the lubricity of oil. I will pay for higher quality oil before I add snake oil substitutes. Anybody remember Slick 50?:usflag:

ShooterK2
03-31-2012, 06:06 PM
If you are changing every 3-K on the truck and every 50 on the mower, fine. But I wouldn't run that stuff on a 15-K OCI on the truck....
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True, but then again, I wouldn't run ANY oil/filter anywhere near 15,000 miles. I don't care how good it claims to be. I've gone over 3,000 miles with Super Tech many times (sometimes close to 5,000).

I'm 40 years old, and I've been through a LOT of vehicles in my life. I routinely run vehicles to the 300,000 - 400,000 mile mark before selling them off.

In my 40 years, I've never heard of or known anyone running Super Tech oil that has had an engine failure that could be blamed on the oil. I'm sure there have been, but then, I'm sure there have been with any other brand of oil as well. I don't see anyone saying "I've ruined 3 engines with less than 100,000 miles on them because of that dang Super Tech oil!"

And, since I don't buy into the "you have to spend more money to be happy" mentality, I run the cheapest stuff I can buy. And I get great results with it, time and time again. I've heard others say stuff like "I'd be worried all the time with that oil in my engine" or something similar. They feel this way, of course, because the cost of the oil is not as much as others, and because they don't market it like others do. Oh, and because the label isn't as flashy.

If you need to buy expensive oil in order to be able to sleep at night, by all means, be my guest. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about oil. I just know my experiences, and I'm trying to share them so that maybe it will help someone else to make an informed decision.

Then again, maybe I just get really lucky over and over again. I don't know.

OakNut
03-31-2012, 07:39 PM
Any thoughts on using SAE30 as opposed to SAE 10W-30?

I'm just looking at what the chart is saying in the Kawasaki engine manual - it mentions that "multi-grade oils will increase oil consumption".

I'm obviously not going to be running the mower in cold temps, so is there any benefit to using 10W-30 instead of SAE30?

Florida Gardener
03-31-2012, 10:14 PM
True, but then again, I wouldn't run ANY oil/filter anywhere near 15,000 miles. I don't care how good it claims to be. I've gone over 3,000 miles with Super Tech many times (sometimes close to 5,000).

I'm 40 years old, and I've been through a LOT of vehicles in my life. I routinely run vehicles to the 300,000 - 400,000 mile mark before selling them off.

In my 40 years, I've never heard of or known anyone running Super Tech oil that has had an engine failure that could be blamed on the oil. I'm sure there have been, but then, I'm sure there have been with any other brand of oil as well. I don't see anyone saying "I've ruined 3 engines with less than 100,000 miles on them because of that dang Super Tech oil!"

And, since I don't buy into the "you have to spend more money to be happy" mentality, I run the cheapest stuff I can buy. And I get great results with it, time and time again. I've heard others say stuff like "I'd be worried all the time with that oil in my engine" or something similar. They feel this way, of course, because the cost of the oil is not as much as others, and because they don't market it like others do. Oh, and because the label isn't as flashy.

If you need to buy expensive oil in order to be able to sleep at night, by all means, be my guest. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about oil. I just know my experiences, and I'm trying to share them so that maybe it will help someone else to make an informed decision.

Then again, maybe I just get really lucky over and over again. I don't know.

Again, if your changing every 3-K buy what's cheap. But for those of us that want to run longer intervals, your gonna have to buy better stuff.
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mtmower
04-01-2012, 02:57 AM
I'm coming up on needing to do my first (8 hr) oil change, so I started doing searches on the topic of oil.
So far, I'm not seeing anything posted anywhere that isn't anything more than personal opinion, with little to no explanation as to how one came to the conclusion that "X" is "the best".

I guess I'll just roll the dice.

Oaknut. I would recommend doing your oil service with what ever the book recommends till at least 50 hrs. Then if you desire you can switch to synthetic. These engines must brake in properly so they perform to their potential and synthetic is too slick to allow this to happen. After that you can switch to synthetic if you wish.

I can tell you I do have some background on oil. Got an AS in automotive/business. I have been ASE certified (left them slide since I'm out of the professional business), I was a service writer and service manager for 17 years and for the same # of brands, and cars are my hobby. I had my first when I was 14 and have had 60 plus and counting with the addition of boats, motorcycles, equipment, at age of 45. You get the picture.

Many people are swayed into paying more or buying a higher quality oil then they may need. It's sort of like octane in fuel. Fear is always a good motivator in the marketing game. I will tell you that there is tons of research showing the properties of synthetics to be hands down much better then conventional oil. I've even seen first hand demonstrations proving it. And yes some things out there are snake oil, but some are not. It handles heat better and doesn't brake down as quickly. This is why companies running semis run it and run it, sending out test samples of the oil to determine when to change the oil. They do change filters on a regular basis. But since syn. last longer it saves them money. Some over the road semis a going over 50k before changing the oil. It's only as good as the filter. Same two engines, with same filters. One with conventional, one with syn. Poor a tea spoon of carbon in either and or have excessive blow by and I don't care how good the oil is, you are gonna have wear if the filter isn't doing a good job. It doesn't always pay joe common to go to these extremes though. Most people don't even keep there engine driven items long enough to benefit from the cost.

My diesel trucks are running a high micron filter (amsoil $29) and I change the oil every 15k. Amsoil states the filter, when used with there oil is good for 28k. But I don't know how real world that is. Since I use my truck like a truck is meant to be used I change it sooner. It's cheaper then 15qts and a filter every 3k for even the cheap stuff.

My mowers I average about 75-100hrs a season so I go with syn. so I only have to service them once a season.

Syn. is slicker and will also be prone to leak and also consumption where conventional may not. This depends on the quality build of the engine.

Straight weight oils have there place but most oil educated people still tend to go with multi grade. It's typically a better functioning oil. It's not that the oil is lesser quality that causes the possibility of usage. It's the poor tolerances in the engine that allows the thinner viscosity to pass and be burned or leak. It's the engine manufacturers way of covering their bases.

If you do your research, you will see the removal of zinc is a big deal for flat tappet cams. So make no mistake. You will have more wear without it or something like it.

In a nut shell syn. is better oil. Any oil is only as good as the filter. Is the more expensive filter and oil worth it depends on how long you want to go between services and how long you want the motor to last.

I run all brands of oil. I know I come back to Amsoil often. They tend to have more info out there readily available. But one other note. They have a two stroke oil that can be safely mixed 100/1 instead of 50/1 and shows less engine wear in tests then conventional two stroke at 50/1. So us guys running two stroke get better protection with close to the same cost because it takes less. Again I don't take everything for a real world # because I use my stuff hard so I mix it at 75/1 as a margin of error. Two seasons and so far so good. Here is a link.

http://www.amsoil.com/a/synthetic-2-cycle-oil

btanchors
04-01-2012, 10:38 AM
For anyone who is interested:

I have done a lot of research on oils, including having a lot of use oil analysis done on my vehicles and even the commercial lawnmowers in my son's business.

For the past couple of seasons, I have used synthetic motorcycle oils for the following reasons:

1) They are optimized and formulated for small, air-cooled, high-revving engines, which is the type of service most lawn equipment engines are in.

2) They contain higher levels of zinc and other anti-wear additives, which I have proven through analysis.

3) They contain added rust-inhibitors that most automotive oils don't have. The reason is that many motorcycles see intermittent use, so they need added rust-inhibitors so there is no internal rusting that forms when the engines are in storage, or on the off-season.

There is one disadvantage motorcycles oils have though: they do not have friction modifiers in them for added "slipperyness" because motorcycles often have clutches that are lubricated by the engine oil and excessive slipperyness prevents proper clutch operation.

This season, I began using a new oil that has all the advantages of motorcycle oils but still has added friction modifiers:

http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/zrt.aspx

I am very excited about this oil. I actually had an analysis performed on an unused sample of this oil - see the results at:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2426045#Post2426045

As you can see from the analysis, this oil has around 1400 parts per million of zinc and phosphorus, whereas current automotive oils are limited to about 800ppm.

I plan to report on my results after I have finished this mowing season...

FYI I am not an Amsoil dealer, but I do love this product...

Florida Gardener
04-01-2012, 10:52 AM
For anyone who is interested:

I have done a lot of research on oils, including having a lot of use oil analysis done on my vehicles and even the commercial lawnmowers in my son's business.

For the past couple of seasons, I have used synthetic motorcycle oils for the following reasons:

1) They are optimized and formulated for small, air-cooled, high-revving engines, which is the type of service most lawn equipment engines are in.

2) They contain higher levels of zinc and other anti-wear additives, which I have proven through analysis.

3) They contain added rust-inhibitors that most automotive oils don't have. The reason is that many motorcycles see intermittent use, so they need added rust-inhibitors so there is no internal rusting that forms when the engines are in storage, or on the off-season.

There is one disadvantage motorcycles oils have though: they do not have friction modifiers in them for added "slipperyness" because motorcycles often have clutches that are lubricated by the engine oil and excessive slipperyness prevents proper clutch operation.

This season, I began using a new oil that has all the advantages of motorcycle oils but still has added friction modifiers:

http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/zrt.aspx

I am very excited about this oil. I actually had an analysis performed on an unused sample of this oil - see the results at:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2426045#Post2426045

As you can see from the analysis, this oil has around 1400 parts per million of zinc and phosphorus, whereas current automotive oils are limited to about 800ppm.

I plan to report on my results after I have finished this mowing season...

FYI I am not an Amsoil dealer, but I do love this product...
I just changed my tundra yesterday at 15,170 using amsoil 0-20. I'm sending to blackstone and when I get results will post.
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OakNut
04-01-2012, 06:37 PM
Thanks for the additional info guys.

I just picked up some Pennzoil 10W30 for now and I grabbed a filter while I was at it. I think I'll change the filter on the second oil change (and change it earlier than recommended), as they don't cost that much.

I'll do some more research into the synthetics and probably switch over to that and a "premium" filter.

MarkSupply
04-01-2012, 11:48 PM
I have used amsoil products for a while and have had nothing but great luck and they have all the hard to find specialty lubes in one place. I do extended drain intervals not only saves money but more importantly time.... Oh yeah it gets shipped to my door too.

Florida Gardener
04-01-2012, 11:57 PM
I have used amsoil products for a while and have had nothing but great luck and they have all the hard to find specialty lubes in one place. I do extended drain intervals not only saves money but more importantly time.... Oh yeah it gets shipped to my door too.

Yup, same here. Who wants to change oil every 3-K?? I am too busy to be messing with that and I put on 3-K very quickly.
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lowendrider
04-02-2012, 12:16 AM
30w super tech in all my OPE..change on time and all will be good.

mtmower
04-02-2012, 12:23 PM
This season, I began using a new oil that has all the advantages of motorcycle oils but still has added friction modifiers:

http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/zrt.aspx

I am very excited about this oil. I actually had an analysis performed on an unused sample of this oil - see the results at:

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2426045#Post2426045

As you can see from the analysis, this oil has around 1400 parts per million of zinc and phosphorus, whereas current automotive oils are limited to about 800ppm.

I plan to report on my results after I have finished this mowing season...

FYI I am not an Amsoil dealer, but I do love this product...

Well said. I was just made aware of that oil as well but hadn't seen the write up.

I did have a odd situation years back that made me wonder. I had a 24 hp Honda, on a ZTR that when hot and brought down to idle or when the deck was engaged, the oil war. light flickered on after switching to the same recommended viscosity oil in a syn. Had everything checked out and dealer found no problems. Dealer called Honda (this was in 2001) and was told the motor was not designed to run syn. What they are basically saying is that there tolerances are less then great building that engine. Brought Honda down a notch in my mind. This experience lead me to purchase the next higher viscosity rating (instead of 10w-30 I went with 10w-40 or 15w-40) and all was good. Maybe it's the farm boy in me, but I think if it's slicker it should flow easier which may drop pressure. You'd think this is considered when rating the viscosity and maybe it is. Buying the next thick product has worked for me for several years and I pretty much do it as a rule for everything when switching from conventional recommendations to syn. Just sold the ZTR with the Honda. Still running strong at 1000 hrs and no war. light.

Btanchors, Any recommendation on hydro oil for Hustler SZ? Calls for 10w-40 motor oil sc sj/cc cj I believe. Been running my Amsiol diesel oil in it , that I use in my 7.3 power strokes so far. http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/ame.aspx

yardguy28
04-02-2012, 02:59 PM
I just use whatever store brand I buy it at. the cheap stuff.

both for equipment and vehicles. never had an oil related problem yet.

rwreuter
05-13-2012, 10:44 AM
anyone have a take on the Synthetic Rottella T-6.....i have been using it.

jackal
05-13-2012, 11:06 AM
I use the cheap and change it at recomended intervals. Never had an oil related problem. Restricted air flow is the biggest danger to air cooled engines. I blow the grass out every day.

mtmower
05-13-2012, 01:59 PM
anyone have a take on the Synthetic Rottella T-6.....i have been using it.

IMO it's not a bad oil, but there are better quality oils out there. I use to run the synthetic rotella in my diesel trucks. I don't know where I got the information from but I have read stats now more than once that put rotella fairly low on the quality scale in the synthetic department. I switched over to Amsoil a few years ago and run it longer in my trucks when using their 28k filter. I still change it every 10k even at this. I have noticed over the years that depending on the engine build quality when it comes to inside tolerances and sealing, that you will lose or burn more oil using synthetic than conventional. I use to be a service manager for high end autos (Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, etc.) and they all ran synthetics even back in the late 80's. Because of the attention paid to building them they had a lot less oil usage and loss. I have read where guys prefer running conventional rotella in their older vintage vehicles, but for what reasons other than maybe available viscosity, I'm not sure.

npfaff
05-13-2012, 02:11 PM
Super tech is the same thing as valvoline oil is oil it all has to meet the same standards to be retailed you are really just paying fr the name and marketing hype.

Aaronnc
05-13-2012, 02:25 PM
Richard Martin had an interesting thread on this subject a while back:

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=360326

But if it helps, I've always used Amsoil 10W-30/SAE 30 Synthetic
http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/ASE.aspx

And a wix 5100 something or other oil filter (would have to go look it up)

Startron fuel additive for the past 3-4 years(not really convinced if it works or not, but hey I've had no problems whatsoever. More insurance and piece of mind than anything I guess.)

And I bought a Racor Fuel Filter Funnel. http://www.maesco.com/products/racor/r_funnel/r_funnel.html

Mine is the one at the bottom. But yeah, never once in years have I ever had a fuel/oil problem. Maybe I'm lucky. Oh yeah, and I put premium gas in everything.

For a long time, I thought all these premium oils and additives and crap was just a waste of money, but after I saw a old 80's era Sears lawn tractor with a Briggs engine on it have over 5000 hours and still start and run better than most brand new mowers, I was convinced. Just my $.02