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Old 05-01-2012, 06:57 PM   #1
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My synthetic vs dino oil experience, WOW!

I just changed the oil in my 4000 hour Ford/Lehman 120s. Put the good old standby Rotella SAE30 in one and then put Walmart brands 5W30 full synthetic in the other. Cost was the same. The synthetic engine is much, much quieter and smother running. I mean there is no comparison.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #2
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Putting a peeled banana in the rocker box will accomplish the same thing...... for awhile.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:05 PM   #3
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'putting a banana in the rocker box'
what kind of comment is that ?
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:19 PM   #4
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'putting a banana in the rocker box'
what kind of comment is that ?
Old used car dealer trick for quieting down a noisy engine. Apparently the same result as putting synthetic oil in an old noisy engine.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:45 PM   #5
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I think the banana was sound insulation.

When I was 19 I worked on a used car lot and we put potatoes in the breather tube to help contain the smoke. We had bald tires "regrooved " buy a guy that had a van w a hot knife and a tire rotator.

I've read that people have run cars w no oil .....just banana's.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:54 PM   #6
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I think the banana was sound insulation.
They quieted down noisy valve trains and, like the old STP oil additive, upped the compression of leaky cylinders for a very short time.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:19 PM   #7
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I've heard there is no advantage to using synthetic oil on the higher HP per liter engines because the oil needs to be changed at spec intervals to remove contaminants. If synthetic oil is not changed at the spec interval, the contaminants remain in the engine defeating the purpose of changing the oil which is mostly to remove the contaminants.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:58 AM   #8
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"higher HP per liter engines" how does this apply to a FL120? When did I say anything about the nearly double the hours change intervals? The oil is simply quieter and smoother.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:58 AM   #9
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I've heard there is no advantage to using synthetic oil on the higher HP per liter engines because the oil needs to be changed at spec intervals to remove contaminants. If synthetic oil is not changed at the spec interval, the contaminants remain in the engine defeating the purpose of changing the oil which is mostly to remove the contaminants.
I have heard that it applies to ALL diesels (gas for that matter too)...especially if yours is a diesel that turns your oil black quickly. Think about it..some combustion products must be getting in there....at some point the additives to keep the oil chemistry get overwhelmed and are no longer able to keep your oil in spec.

Synthetic is great for gear cases (fewer contaminants/sometimes extreme pressures/temps) or engines EXPECTING to hit severe service situations such as extreme environmental or operating temps.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:15 AM   #10
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I think it's interesting that you noticed so much difference. What would be very interesting to me would be to see an oil sample report comparison after 100 or 200 hours or whatever your "normal" oil change interval is. Would also be interesting to see what if there is any difference in oil consumption and or leak rate change engine to engine.

BTW I am currently using 5-30 synthetic in my BW 71 series Velvet Drive.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:06 AM   #11
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That's what really struck me. I'll monitor and post the results. As to the VD I thought they all required ATF?
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #12
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That's what really struck me. I'll monitor and post the results. As to the VD I thought they all required ATF?
My owners manual says 30wt "preferred" for engine speeds under 3000rpm...the ATFs are "recommended.

You tell me what they mean????... but I doubt under normal service either one is better or worse (under 3000 rpm)
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #13
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Daddyo,
I do'nt think you should notice a difference after the engines warm up but when they are cold (especially in neutral gear) the dino oil engine will be under a greater load and sound/feel different. Synthetic oil has the properties of multi-vis dino oil even without any viscosity improvers so there is'nt any 30W syn oil in existence to use for a comparison. Do any modern diesel engines use 5W30 oil? 5W30 may be too low of a viscosity oil for your application.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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I have had a conversation with Bob Smith on using synthetic oils in the Ford Lehman. His comments were something to the facts that these engines receive no benefits from the synthetics and in fact the straight 30 weight oils do a much better job of lubricating the engines internal parts and helps to prevent rust when the engine is not used for long periods. The 30 weight has all of the lubricating specifications for the Lehman engine. You can put vegetable oil in the crankcase if you like, but most of us use the recommended oil and these engines will run for 8 to 10 thousand hours if properly cared for. I would recommend that anyone considering a switch give Bob or Brian a call at American Diesel and have that discussion, then you can make an informed decision. Chuck
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:35 AM   #15
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I'm curious about how the difference in oil can make an engine run more smoothly? All it does is lube metal-to-metal contact. Quieter, yes, I get that, but smoother? Not sure how, mechanically, that would work. Change the crank balance? create more efficient fuel burn? Prevent pre-ignition? I've never had an internal combustion engine that ran poorly be corrected by an oil change.

Not trying to give you grief, Mark. Just trying to see if I understand it correctly.

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Old 05-02-2012, 11:23 AM   #16
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Gonzo,
Diesel engines combustion is not very complete at slow speeds when cold so at an idle w less load on the engine it should be smoother.

Chuck,
Bob Smith is just a mechanic and mechanics are for bending wrenches and fixing things......not engineering or engine specification. The manual is a better bet than a mechanic. Mechanics are full of bias and prejudice.
But Smith is right (in my opinion) that there is no advantage to running syn oil in the old Ford engines. But I do'nt think he's right in saying dino oils do a better job of lubricating an engine than syn oil. I know for a fact that syn oil does a better job when things get really hot but in our engines they do'nt get really hot in our engines. You do'nt need Bob Smith to decide what oil to run in your engine. The manual will do better. However when the manuals for the Lehman's were written there was'nt any syn oil so it can be said that syn oil is better and you or I or Bob Smith can't say it's wrong and be sure. And that seems to be the problem .....we always dream of something better. If they were still making the Ford engines we would know...but they aren't. The best we could do is to find an engine currently made that is most comparable to the old Fords. My Mitsu is (as far as I can see) is no different in basic configuration than the Lehman's and should do (as an example) but I'm not an engineer. And then we could see what oil is recommended for them and assume it would transfer/apply to the old Fords. But it would just be a good guess. But w no real advantage .....why use the stuff? Even Marin who loves new stuff is using straight 30W. I personally mix 30W and 40W together.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:39 AM   #17
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I got a copy of a more recent Lehman manual and it said running a multi weight when experiencing cooler temps was preferred. Now I'm not sure that's for a marinized version but so close...I doubt the engines gonna know the diff with today's multis...

And for those wondering..for whatever reason..the lightweight multi synthetics do seem to smooth out and quiet an engine...at least that seems to be the consensus on the truck diesel forums (lot's more members reporting those results)
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:38 PM   #18
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Bob Smith is a bit more than just a mechanic. He is one of the original US engineers for the Ford Lehman and also the primary engineer responsible for marinizing the tractor engines. So I would tend to follow his direction when it come to my engine over anything I might see on a boating website. Chuck
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:45 PM   #19
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That's what really struck me. I'll monitor and post the results. As to the VD I thought they all required ATF?
It depends on which version of the operator's manual you have. Our 1973 VD manual says ATF only. But later manuals say ATF or gear oil of the correct viscosity. I know people who run the same Delo 400 30wt in their VDs as well as their FL120s. We have chosen to stay with ATF on the recommendation of our diesel shop and friends in the marine propulsion industry who we asked for advice on engine and transmission operation and maintenance when we bought the boat thirteen years ago.

The same is true, by the way, for the FL120 itself. Our operating manual calls for single weight oil exclusively. Later FL120 manuals include multi-viscocity oil in the table. We have elected to stay with the single weight oil, again on the initial advice we were given by the pros we talked to when we got the boat.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:51 PM   #20
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Bob Smith is just a mechanic and mechanics are for bending wrenches and fixing things......not engineering or engine specification.
Not really. I've talked to Bob over the years about various things to do with the FL120. When he worked for Lehman in New Jersey he designed from a clean piece of paper some of the components of the marinization kit that created a Ford Lehman 120 out of a Ford of England Dorset diesel. I don't know his background in terms of engineering and whatnot, but he was designing and overseeing the manufacturing of Lehman components, not just bolting them on.

He does hold some views that are typical for his age and mechanical "beliefs" that I don't agree with, the main one being his continued advocacy of using Marvel Mystery Oil in the fuel you send to an FL120. Tests within the past few years have shown that MMO actually reduces the lubricity of diesel fuel, not improves it. So I think he's incorrect in this respect.

But his involvement with the Lehman engines is far more than just as a mechanic.
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