Synthetic Oil - good or bad?

Small Block Mopar Engine

  1. gregcon

    gregcon Well-Known Member

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    I know any thread that deals with oil will generate a lot of opinions, but just for kicks...

    I ran into an old friend yesterday I hadn't seen in over 10 years....he owns a company that services fleet vehicles. His biggest account is a telecom company, they have a bunch of heavy and light diesel powered equipment as well as a fleet of Ram trucks that use the 5.7L Hemi. I just bought a new/used diesel-powered Kubota tractor and he asked what type of oil I was planning to use...I told him on my old Kubota I used Chevron Delo (non-synthetic) but I'd probably use the synthetic version of Delo on the new tractor. He told me 'don't'.

    I should add the old tractor ran for 26 years on traditional Delo and to this day is still running flawlessly.

    Anyway, he said they see far better results with normal oil...he said 'I'm not an engineer, but we tear down engines that have been running synthetic and they are very dry inside. The synthetic seems to not cling as well.' He also said the famous 'Hemi tick' is usually due to a lifter (but can be other things like an exhaust leak). They go against the factory recommended synthetic oil and use traditional oil in the Hemis...lifter ticks and failures are largely eliminated. They also sometimes go a little heavier on oil viscosity, but only by 5W.
    He also said the GM LS engines in particular see a greatly extended life when run on traditional oils.

    My first inclination is he's full of shit....but then I remind myself he's a sharp guy, and he's talking about real-world results seen over dozens of engines and many years of service.

    Food for thought....
     
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    • RammerJammer75

      RammerJammer75 Well-Known Member

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      My two cents, I've seen Hemi's on conventional oil that ticked and had lifter failure. We serviced vehicles that were only ran on synthetic oil that had well over 200k and were quiet and didn't have any noticeable oil consumption. I think it all boils down to maintenance and how you keep it up. Are you doing regular oil changes? We never ran a synthetic engine to that supposed 10,000 miles, we always changed them around 5,000. I do think that makes a big difference as well. As far as the LS engines, I've seen a ton of them with 200-250k+ on synthetic and conventional. I will always say maintenance is the biggest factor on the life of a machine.
       
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      • A56

        A56 MoPar Affliction

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        I think a Kubota dealer would give you the best unbiased answer.
         
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        • ir3333

          ir3333 Well-Known Member

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          i agree..keep clean oil in your engine and the type of oil won't matter.
           
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          • Backally

            Backally FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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            I was in aviation, where certain engines needed to be tore down after a set number of hours. I’ve had multiple maintenance guys tell me engines that used synthetic when it first started coming out had almost no wear. Also read a early nascar paper that explained the benefits down at the almost microscopic level.
             
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            • 33IMP

              33IMP Well-Known Member

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              I use synthetic in the new car that calls for it. I use dino diesel in the diesels. I use race oil in the race car, and dino oil in the other old cars.
              I DONT use synthetic in transmissions or rear ends. Ever!
              Edit: "synthetic doesnt cling as well" is exactly what i was told by a friend who ran a one-man rearend shop. He refused to warrantee his work if the customer insisted on synthetic lube. He built Lots of racing nine inch rears.
               
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              • 66fs

                66fs FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                Funny, just had this discussion last weekend at Carlisle with two friends. I told them I have run 10w30 Valvoline in three different 5.7 and had no problems, and that is as low in viscosity that I will go. The oil is full synthetic. Zero problems, but I also change oil and filter about 3,000 miles. They still run like new. I've also run regular oil 30 and 20w50 in my 96 Neon 2.0 DOHC the 67 Barracuda 273 and they still run like new at 250,000 and 300,000 miles. Good oil is good oil. Dino or synthetic.
                 
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                • gregcon

                  gregcon Well-Known Member

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                  I agree, regular and frequent oil changes makes a huge difference.

                  As for conventional oils....I have to admit I'm surprised the oil companies have continued to produce it, and continued to improve it. Every year, the demand for it must be decreasing. But the modern conventional oil is a very good product with lots of R&D behind it.

                  I put little faith in anything a dealer of any product tells me. They have no actual operating experience, and their motives are never pure.
                   
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                  • CFD244

                    CFD244 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                    I have a friend that races stock cars and has been doing it for years. He was gifted 5 gallons of synthetic gear oil so he ran it in his diff. When he tore it down after the season the gears were destroyed. He won't use the stuff even if it is free.
                     
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                    • Nat

                      Nat Well-Known Member

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                      i've been running synthetic on all my cars and trucks for 30 years never had a failure and i drive my cars until they hit 350,000 miles . even my 340that i tore down at 10,00 mile looked brand new inside no wear on any bearing . none of my car even burnt oil between changes usually 5000 to 8000 miles might depend on the synthetic oil you buy , so far royal purple valvoline and total have been good to me
                       
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                      • ir3333

                        ir3333 Well-Known Member

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                        synthetic is costly if you run a deep pan and have many vehicles.I was using Amzoil for awhile and went back to Penzoil 5W30 in everything even my new Toyota. I too run vehicles to 300K and never had any problems.
                        I can hear all the gasps and murmurs!
                         
                      • 33IMP

                        33IMP Well-Known Member

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                        If i do a change on my plymouth with a milodon pan, my camaro, and my two diesels,......there goes 40 quarts.
                         
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                        • Nat

                          Nat Well-Known Member

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                          that gets expensive with synthetics
                           
                        • 33IMP

                          33IMP Well-Known Member

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                          Agreed! The SS camaro gets driven very little, and i have probably bought enough syntbetic on sale that i will never have to buy anymore, ever.
                          I DO buy all the dino diesel oil on sale when i can, cause i use that with some freebie race oil i was given, in the plymouth, to get the zinc for the flat tappet cam.
                          It's kinda hard to justify a $100+ synthetic oil change.
                           
                        • Nat

                          Nat Well-Known Member

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                          i think it does my 90 t bird sc manual said to change supercharger oil every 60,000 miles , my 92 used synthetic, manual said good for life 380,000 miles later i agree the engineers must know something ??
                           
                        • gregcon

                          gregcon Well-Known Member

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                          Another aspect of commercial vehicles is they tend to do a lot more idling-for-hours. I'd bet an engine that idles a bunch doesn't get the oil distribution of one that's driven 'normally'. Commercial vehicles also are driven by a far different sort of person than the average car owner....they are driven by people who DON'T own the vehicle and don't care if or when it breaks.
                           
                        • Bewy

                          Bewy Well-Known Member

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                          I think numerous tests, plus high mileage experiences has proved that syn oil is better than semi or non-syn oil. It may not 'cling' as well, but it is obviously clinging to the right parts to provide lubrication.
                           
                        • Oldiron440

                          Oldiron440 Well-Known Member

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                          As far as a Kubota tractor goes I used synthetic oil in mine and was happy with it. Synthetic hydraulic fluid and motor oil makes cold weather operations like summer, the loader was not stiff/slow and the tractor started much easier at -20F.
                           
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                          • 1971 CY Dodge Dart

                            1971 CY Dodge Dart Dart Swinger FABO Gold Member

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                            On our daily drivers in the past I ran Amsoil and changed the oil at the 15,000-20,000 mark. Never had a problem. With synthetic oil you can go much longer than conventional oil between oil changes.
                             
                          • 66fs

                            66fs FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                            My experience is you don't need synthetic oil, nor is it better. Never had a problem with either, but I change it every 3,000 miles. I won't use light oil, I tried using light synthetic years ago and noticed the rod bearings were down to copper, but the rest was like new.
                             
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                            • volaredon

                              volaredon Well-Known Member

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                              Generally not a fan of synthetic (largely due to cost difference) as I do alot of oil changes, and do them at 4k... But when I had my 97 ram 1500 4wd in the winter I had trouble sometimes with the front diff as it had the vacuum shift motor to lock the one axle together for 4wd.
                              Idk what oil was in it when I got it /but shortly later I had it blow the axle seals, (like the next day after I bought it) and ate up the needle bearing on the shaft right next to the vacuum shift motor, grooved the shaft and more/
                              I fixed all the damage and filled it up with regular 80-w-90 like usual. That winter I had problems with it engaging 4wd. I changed to a synthetic (might have been a semi synth, it's been a few years since) and no more problem getting it to engage and disengage 4wd after that.
                              So synthetic oil does apparently have it's place
                               
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                              • oldkimmer

                                oldkimmer FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                                I use it in my newer vehicles and my diesels. My diesels have it in motors, trannies , diffs and t cases. They work hard. Never a problem. Dino in my old stuff and race car. Kim
                                 
                              • Nat

                                Nat Well-Known Member

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                                my Grove mobile cranes with gas v-8 engines lasted one year longer with synthetics almost 3 years instread of year and a half -2 years , in the late 90's converted them to diesel never needed to rebuild the diesels
                                 
                              • gregcon

                                gregcon Well-Known Member

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                                When I changed the gears and added a limited slip carrier to my '16 Ram, the paperwork that came with the carrier specifically said not to use synthetic. I think it said synthetic would likely cause chatter in the clutches.
                                 
                              • ir3333

                                ir3333 Well-Known Member

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                                I think the bottom line is they want to reduce the Dino oil...probably good for the planet.We have
                                climatological disasters somewhere every day and are destroying the environment fairly quickly now.
                                 
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