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Old 04-10-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Syn Oil?

Time to change my oil on the FL120. I'm planning on refilling with Mobil1 syn for diesels. Any advice?
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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I'm in the same quandary. Guy on the dock who has the same power set up 6BT/Twindisc 502, who runs a dive boat when to synthetic but I'm not so sure about changing what she has known for 22 years.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:44 PM   #3
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Synthetic oil dos'nt have any benefits unless your'e racing or for some other reason running your engine at the ragged edge heat wise. Buy regular oil (30W) and change twice as often. Then you will actually be doing your engine a favor. But synthetic oil is better than refined crude in every way except price. But you wo'nt experience any benefits unless you run your oil around 300 degrees. I change my oil frequently but I change the filter every third time. In the relatively dust/dirt free environment of the engine compartment of a boat it would take years to trap enough stuff to require a filter change. Whatever type or brand you use make sure the duty rating (like SJ) is recommended by your engine manufacturer. Follow the manufacturer before dealers and mechanics. Manufacturers formulate their recommendations from engineers.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Not sure I can add anything, but we have synthetic (Amsoil) in our Volvo; the previous owner had always used it (he was an Amsoil rep) and swore by it, not surprisingly. He suggested an easy 500 - 600 hours between changes which sounds like a stretch, although the engine also has an oil bypass filter which I'm sure helps.
The key thing to remember is that you cannot mix conventional and synthetic oils. And synthetic is very expensive. Our engine has approximately 4500 hours on it and just purrs along.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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I don't thnk you want to do that. There was some previous discussions on this forum about that. I don't remember the detais but bottom line these engines were made way before synt oil and they would probably not take it too well. In any event, you should call American Diesel to ask them.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #6
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I would not use a syn in an older diesel engine especially an older 2 stroke and/or if syn is multi weight when the mfg recommend is single weight. Make sure it meets the mfg requirement.


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Old 04-10-2012, 06:56 PM   #7
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I have heard on other forums from people who say they have run synthetics in an engine like the FL120 with no problems. However when we bought our boat one of the first questions I asked was what kind of oil should we use. The answers from people ranging from engineers in the marine diesel manufacturing industry to our local diesel shop to long -time operators of similar engines was "use what the manual recommends." In the case of the FL120 in this climate, that is 30 wt oil. So that's what we have used for the last 13 years--- Delo 400 30wt.

I have heard the reasons not to use synthetic in an old technology diesel, particularly one with a fair number of hours on it. Leaking seals and gaskets, less-than-ideal lubrication immediately after starup, and so forth. Since we have never run synthetic in our engines I cannot say from experience whether these potential problems are real or not.

I was told by the fellow in the marine diesel design and manufacturing industry that if we had our FL120s completely rebuilt using seals and gaskets of the "right" materials, then using synthetic oil would probably be okay. My wife's new Subaru calls for synthetic oil exclusively and this is a growing trend with the latest generation engines.

But for an old thumper like the FL120, I will stick with the oil it was designed to use, which is single weight dinosaur oil. These engines have a reputation for going some 12,000-14,000 hours in recreational boat service assuming regular use and proper operation and maintenance. At that rate the engines will outlast me probably. So I see no reason to switch to a different and more expensive oil for either no benefit or one that nobody will ever realize. The engines will most likely fail for some other reason long before the lubrication advantages of dinosaur or synthetic oil make any difference.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #8
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I wouldn't change to synthetic mainly for fear the seals would start leaking. I could see advantages though especially to reduce wear from a dry start, but that may be more theory than practicality.
I believe in keeping consistant with oil brand and type. That is why I continue to use 15-40 in my Lehman becuase the previous owners used that.
Funny that many become really passionate about oil brand when in fact there are few failures that are oil brand related.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:18 PM   #9
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What I have read (thousands of pages of tech reference).....is that syn oil for the average user (driver or boater) is you are wasting your money unless you do oil anaysis and change your oil based on that (even then you can argue tha dino oil is satisfactory).

The trick is that oil is changed when either particulate accumulation or oil ph/additive formulations are no longer doing their job.

Almost universally a 200 hr oil change of dino oil with filter if your engine is still pretty normal and your engine will last as long as it was meant to and oil won't be the reason it fails.

Syn oil is OK to use....multi-weight is OK to use...single weight is OK to use unless operating over a temp range that single weight would prevent easy starts.

A lot of discussion about seals and everything else is hit or miss depending on the oil and engine...but for the most part modern oils are so superior to the older engines and components...almost anything you use, mix or anything else winds up being OK unless you are subjecting your engine to severe service...which most of us aren't because there's the constant crap about running our engines "underloaded".
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:06 PM   #10
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The seal issues using synthetic is an old problem and was completely solved years ago. All modern synthetics have an additive to counteract the effect on seals. It was swelling or shrinking.....can't remember which.
As for synthetics in older engines the're just as good of a waste of money in an old engine as a new one. Put syn in your Model A if you want.
Also one should consider that synthetic oil probably needs no viscosity improvers to achieve a multi-vis rating. Viscosity wise synthetic oil dos'nt thicken and thin out as much as dino oil does when heated and cooled. The bottom line is that you do'nt need it at all. Ther'es no downside though beyond the loss of your money.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:21 PM   #11
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I spoke to our oil supplier about this just a couple of months ago. Among other things he said it was bad to switch an engine that had been running on petro oil for many years to synthetic. He seemed to think it was a good idea for new engines that were run enough to require frequent oil changes. The extended run time on synthetic oil made it more economical. If you only change your oil once or twice a year, it's not worth the extra cost.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:36 PM   #12
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That's my take on it as well. Same for cars. No real point putting expensive synthetic oil in an older car, but from new yes, so one can take advantage of a significantly longer service interval. Ditto boats. However, I did depart from Marin's "follow the manual literally" advice a bit, and I use 15-40 Castrol Magnetec Diesel in my FL120, and it has been running great, and even tho she has done well over 4000hrs (hr meter now broken, so no real idea), uses virtually no oil between annual seasonal changes.
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Old 04-10-2012, 11:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manyboats View Post
Manufacturers formulate their recommendations from engineers.
I'm sorry but I can't agree with this 100%. It may have been true for an engine that was built in 1970 but remember the engineers didn't have at their disposal the things that are at the disposal of engineers today.

As an example what if you had a heart attack today and the Dr. that came into the room to treat you was 90 years old and he said "take two aspirins and get a lot of bed rest" because that was the way they did it when he got out of medical school in 1950. Would you do that or would you like to have the triple by pass, or valve replacement that has saved so many people in the last 40 years?

The point is that there are oils and lubricants that are available today that were not even thought of when your engine was built so there was no way for the manual to recommend them. Read the side of the can. If it meets or exceeds the SAE Specs for your engine it will not hurt your engine.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:20 AM   #14
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JD,
Of course syn will not hurt your engine. It's better except for the price so how is it going to hurt your engine? But Peter there's not point in putting syn in anything unless it's going to get real hot and experience extreme pressure and our trawlers and cars do'nt do that so syn oil is just a waste of money. Syn oil dos'nt wear out so quickly but it accumulates carbon just as fast and many to most say it's the carbon that wears out the engines. If I had an old car w lots of miles on it I'd put syn oil in it but only if someone gave me the syn oil.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:41 AM   #15
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According to the car people synthetics are recommended for a lot of new cars (like our Subaru) because the new engines have extremely tight tolerances and need that type of oil.

A former neighbor bought a 40th Anniversary special Corvette when they came out and on that car the factory warranty was immediatley voided if you put anything other than the recommended synthetic in it. The manual for our Subaru specifies synthetic (0-20 wt) but says that "in an emergency" regular oil (aka dinosaur oil) can be used but the oil must be changed back to the 0-20 wt synthetic at the first opportunity. Extremely tight tolerances is the reason given.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #16
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"Of course syn will not hurt your engine. It's better except for the price so how is it going to hurt your engine?"

EASY, its special effects can HARM the engine by reducing protection.

The Syn oil is great oil for extreme loads and high heat,but it is created to scrape easier off the cylinder walls.
This will give the engine 1 to 1 1/2 better fuel burn . But the chemistry that lets it scrape off also helps it run off.

A few days after an engine is shut down there may not be enough residual oil on the cylinder walls to keep them from rusting.

Less of a problem on a truck operated 250 days a year .
BUT on a boat with the usual wet exhaust there is frequently water in the exhaust all the time.Esp if a muffler or water lift silencer is aboard.

The choice of 1% better fuel burn VS rusty cylinder walls keeps me on std oil , and fogging fluid when there will be a known stand down time.

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Old 04-11-2012, 08:56 AM   #17
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I'm not advocating the use of Syn in an older engine. I was just pointing out that if the Specs on the can indicate it is better than the original requirement it will not hurt the engine.

My experience with Syn has been positive so far. The 2001 Audi TT we had went 120k miles with out a leak, never burned a drop between the 10k recommended oil changes and never had a lubrication problem. My 2003 Mercedes has 152k miles on it, has used Syn oil as well and has had the same results as has my 2010 VW TDI with over 59k miles. Now is it the oil or just better engines. I don't know but what I do know is that the sun glasses I wear have been advertised to keep Pink Elephants away and in the last ten years they have worked flawlessly. So maybe it is the same for the Syn oil.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:03 AM   #18
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I asked Bob Smith himself about this last year. Bottom line is he said it was fine but use single weight SAE30. He didn't see much benefit other then the longer cycle between changes. The other experts I've spoken with are Zimmerman Marine and they say it will actually make the engine run quieter with the synthetic. As to the cost it is actually a little cheaper the conventional oil when you factor in the savings of double life of the oil and half as many filter changes.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:14 AM   #19
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.............The key thing to remember is that you cannot mix conventional and synthetic oils. And synthetic is very expensive. Our engine has approximately 4500 hours on it and just purrs along.
I thought some commercial oils are just that - a blend of synthetic and "dino" oil. Am I wrong on that?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:20 AM   #20
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The guy at the local Jiffy Lube keeps trying to get me to put synthetic oil (at a $50 upcharge) in my 2007 Toyota with 65K miles on it. He says it's recommended.

I suppose I might get 2% better gas mileage, but I don't think there would ever be a payback.

My Volvo diesel (in my boat) has 3K hours on it with dino oil and it's running fine. I think I'll let well enough alone.
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