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What is this motor oil telling me?

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Last winter, I made the decision to buy the expensive stuff and just change the oil once a year instead of twice. We put around 5,000 to 6,000 miles per year on our trucks and by the time I change oil on 4 trucks (25 quarts of oil) my entire day is shot. So we bought Mobil 1 Synthetic oil, guaranteed for 15,000 miles last January and put it in.

    Our mechanic said if you want to go that long between oil changes, at least change the filters half way through. He said if the filters start clogging, they will cause increased pressure in the system and that can cause premature oil leaks.

    So, last weekend, I craweled under all four trucks and replaced the oil filters. The oil in the Nissan Frontier (60,000 miles) was still pretty orange. The oil level was fine. The Nissan was bought from a guy who was a maintenance freak and I am too. The oil has never gone too long between changes.

    The oil in the F-150's (each has over 100,000 miles) was black as it could be. Of the three F-150's, all three were low on oil. Two were 2 quarts low, one was a quart low. None of them are leaking excessively (no oil stains on the parking spaces) so they must be burning oil.

    What does this mean?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    What this means is that you have bought into the marketing BS that oil companies are using now to sell their expensive synthetic oil.

    First off, in a old tired engine like your Fords, your going to have lots of suspended particulates entering your engine from the combustion process due to worn seals/ rings etc.

    While the oil may not break down as fast as regular dino oil does, it still gets dirty, and your still pumping that crud around your bearings.

    Secondly, synthetic oils are high in detergents, so they will make a mess out of a high milage engine by cleaning the crud off of surfaces, you then have all this crud floating aroud being forced into tiny oil passages (and clogging them) and scratching up bearings.

    In the worst case, a synthetic oil can actually cause oil leaks by exessively stripping seals (from the detergents) on high milage engines.

    So, take it as a lesson learned, buy cheap oil, and change it often.
  3. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,979

    You are not alone. Many people have noted similar problems. I used Mobil 1 in my Mustang back in the early 90's, my F150 up until 2003, and quite a few mowers. And every one of them "consumed" it. More of an evaporation problem than burning it though. It was something I lived with because I thought I was using what was best. I finally gave up on in the F150 and went with Chevron conventional and the oil consumption mostly went away.

    Today, I run Motorcraft Semi-Syn in the F350 and the 2001 Mustang. Though on occasion I have run Amsoil or German Castrol Syntec and never had a problem with either of them like I did for years with Mobil 1. I run Amsoil in the mowers now, and none of them use much, if anything, between changes.

    I think Mobil 1 is simply not compatible with some engines. It is something I lived with for a long time, but finally got tired of throwing cash down the toilet. Now my mother's Lexus, on the other hand, goes 5000 miles on Mobil 1 without any real loss, so I continue to use it in her car.
  4. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Dirty Water is right you really don't want to start a high mileage engine on synthetic oil. Most truck engines don't need it unless the manufacturer specifys it.

    You really are not saving any money running synthetic because you may end up ruining the engine. I'am surprised you don't have leaks everywhere like a old 2 stroke detroit.

    Stick with a good grade of oil something like Shell Rotella or Delo 400.

    Like the contractors always tell me "Oil is cheap" "Parts are not" I usually always change my oil slightly earlier than need be.

    To see how your engines are doing you go get it tested by a company like Blackstone or other companies that do that. They can tell you how much wear you are seeing in your engine.

    Ohya if your using Fram filters or any other cheapo brand your killing you engine even further. Myself I only buy Wix or Factory Motorcraft but mainly Wix because the parts store carries it the Ford dealer is a hour away.
  5. jim dailey

    jim dailey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    There has NEVER been and NEVER will be a better way of treating an engine: Change the oil and the filter regularly. And the more often, the better. There absolutely is no other substitute. Nothing else matters, just change them often and faithfully.
  6. Up North

    Up North LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MN
    Messages: 1,063

    hmmm...I switched all my vehicles over to Amsoil last year and glad I did. They run smoother, idle smoother, and seem to get a little better gas mileage. (although I can't prove it as I don't track it). My Silverado has 117,000 miles on it, first time I put Amsoil in was around 90,000 miles. And the Jeep has 91,000 on it and I put Amsoil in for the first time at around 74,000. So far so good, I plan to keep using it. Personally I think the lubrication properties are better with the synthetic and they don't break down nearly as quick. I can go longer in between oil changes but I don't really care about that as I still change oil at 10,000 miles. (they say you can run 25,000...but I don't want to push it). Filters get changed at 5,000 miles.

  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    Slightly off topic, I use shell rotella 15/40 in my mowers and trucks, it is a good heavy duty oil. Im just not sold on synthetic oil. I tried it in the hydraulics on my scag mower and now both pumps leak small amounts of oil. I removed it and went back to regular oil. Maybe it was going to happen anyway, I dont know. I worked as a heavy truck mechanic for a fleet for 20 years and everytime an oil rep came to see us, their words were '' what ever oil you use, just keep it changed regular''

  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Ewww, full synthetic, not for me!. I put a synthetic blend in my Audi, but that's as far as I'll go. All the trucks and equipment get regular oil, usually Delo 400 if we can get it in the right grade.
  9. lawnmaniac883

    lawnmaniac883 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,613

    Either use synthetics after the break in period on your engine usually a few thousand miles if not diesel or dont bother switching them down the road.

    I dont understand why some of you are using a heavy duty DIESEL oil in your gasser trucks and gasser mowers? Where is the benefit? Rotella is great for diesels, it handles soot very well but there is no point running it in your mowers. It is a high detergent oil that just doesnt give you a benefit unless you have diesels. Same applies to delo. I run mobil 1 syn in the gravely, dino oil in the push mowers and rotella in the truck *diesel.
  10. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    I use it for the detergents to help clean and remove any dirt that gets in my mower engine. As for the truck engine.....the oil holds up good and doesnt breakdown as fast, plus I have 1 oil to buy for everything vs having several weights of oil to keep in stock. Diesel oils are considered severe duty oil, air cooled engines, hot, dusty dirty conditions, I call that severe duty.But hey what ever works for you


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