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Which Hydro oil...synthetic or petroleum based?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Armando Conti, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. Armando Conti

    Armando Conti LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    TC mentions, in a thread about Wright Sentar, a failed hydro pump due to not using synthetic oil. He shows pics of failed parts. Is there good evidence that synthetic is the way to go in hydros?
  2. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,036

    ok, you HAVE to use mobil 1 15w-50 on the exmark hydro pumps. they do not have an oil cooler, so it can heat up pretty good. you have to go by the manufacterers recomendation on what to use. you can shread a hydro in weeks with the wrong oil. so, check, and double check your manual, and make sure of the stuff you are using, that hydro pump was owned by the local exmark dealer, one of his employees "didn't know" and put in 30w.
  3. ALarsh

    ALarsh LawnSite Silver Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 2,412

    No messing around with the hydros. Use what it says in the manual.
  4. fscot4283

    fscot4283 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Non synthetic oil requires viscosity modifiers (essentially liquid rubber) in the additives package to maintain viscosity with changing temperature. Full synthetics (versus synthetic blends) are able to maintain their viscosity without the modifier. Viscosity modifiers start breaking down with high temperatures and form sludge and loss of viscosity - this will shorten hydro life dramatically. Don't trade oil cost for hydro life - use synthetics when called for.
  5. Armando Conti

    Armando Conti LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    The unit is a Ferris dual hydro 48, which calls for straight 30 or 20. No mention of synthetic or not. I don't know if I've seen straight weight synthetic. I think I'll stick with regular oil unless I see a straight weight synthetic.
  6. Mowman29

    Mowman29 LawnSite Member
    from OH
    Posts: 106

    I have a Ferris and it requires 5-50 synthetic.

    They have straight 20 and 30 synthetic. it not cheap 4.00 -5.00 a qrt.

    Castrol makes it and you can also buy Mobile

    You better use it because they will not replace your pumps if they fail. and they are not cheap. 486.00 each on a ferris. I know both of mine failed the 1st 60 hours i had it. dealer never set the machine up right. I didn't have to pay for them but that what happen they used the wrong oil.
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I have always used what's reccomended. My z master calls for mobil 1 sythetic 15w 50 so that's what I use. The engineers USUALY know more than we do about this stuff. If it calls for 30w use that. If it gets really hot I would consult a factory rep about going to a synthetic. Mine doesn't have a cooler just a finned resiviour.
  8. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,036

    right, proscapes has the same hydro setup as I do.

    just read the manual before you pour, and if you should pour the wrong stuff in there, take it out immediatly, and flush the lines out. if you should run it with the wrong oil, drain the hydro oil, and look for "silver streaks" in the hydro oil. if you see them, it's components of the hydro system wearing down because it wasn't lubed right. after that, you will notice your mower slowing down. before they are totally shot, you would probably be moving maybe half speed.
  9. Armando Conti

    Armando Conti LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    I've used straight weight as manual says, I have not played around. I will call the factory about synthetic. This is the integrated Eaton transaxle that Ferris uses, 2 on the dual hydro. I figured that cost would be much more than the above quoted $600 something.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Armando's hydro system is a little different that ours being that it is on a Ferris hydro walk. They use Eaton hydros. It would be best if he called the factory to confirm what to use.

    Now I on the other hand have a question. I have had ZTR's and now newly have a ZTR that calls for regular 20w50 motor oil in the hydro system. The previous ones called for 'conventional' 20w50. The current one does not specify. These 20w50 systems are always high capacity. I bet the current one might be near 3 gallons because it has a 10 qt reservoir and a 1 qt filter.

    I haven't called to ask, but I'm guessing this one is also designed to run dino 20w50 due to the large capacity. So, with that in mind, if it were your machine, would you convert it to synthetics? If so, then what synthetic? I'm not too much up on them, but I'm thinking amsoil is the only one I can think of that offers 20w50 synthetic. Stuff like mobil 1 is 15w50.

    Personally I'm all mixed up about what to think of all this. On one hand, I can't see why synthetic oil would hurt anything, but on the other I don't know that much about it. I'm also thinking that maybe you could use it, but maybe it's really not needed due to the high capacity design of the system because most of the synthetic systems only have a 2 or 3 qt capacity v/s 2 or 3 gallons.

    I'm also thinking the thought process of those engineering are looking at the cost of the fluids for a fluid change. One guy is pro-synthetic, where as the next guy says to himself, for the cost of 3 qts of synthetic, I'd rather have 3 gallons of conventional oil circulating in the system.

    What do you all think?

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