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Old 02-03-2013, 07:52 PM   #1
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Synthetic vs. regular disel oil

What are the pros & cons of synthetic oil for a 2008 Cummins Diesel engine with 590 hrs? I live in Florida and the engine has been using regular 15/W40 Oil. I'm considering switching to synthetic on my next scheduled oil change.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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No benefit but no harm either. Tony Athens says same, you may want to peruse the boat diesel archives on this subject.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #3
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What are the pros & cons of synthetic oil for a 2008 Cummins Diesel engine with 590 hrs? I live in Florida and the engine has been using regular 15/W40 Oil. I'm considering switching to synthetic on my next scheduled oil change.
Many pros only con is price. Synth allows for longer times between changes. Synth is better oil period. You decide.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #4
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You might want to spend some time reading at this link....

http://www.kleenoilusa.com/pdf/warra...tin_May-07.pdf

If your engines have EGR's....you need to read it.

Here is what I use in my old Perkins engines...and Cummins approves of it.
Valvoline.com > Products > OEM Endorsed Products > > Valvoline Premium BlueŽ Extreme Diesel Engine Oil

I really can't see any point in using a synthetic oil....Cummins and other engines manufacturers state the oil change schedule is to be the same for both types of oil, so the only real difference is price.....

NAPA quite often has a sale on the Valvoline Premium Blue....
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:08 PM   #5
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99% a waste of money.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:16 PM   #6
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Synth allows for longer times between changes. .
Not true nor recommended by Cummins plus it would void any warranty you may have if you extend beyond mfrs hour limit. Go by the book for recommended oil and change intervals and you won't go wrong. Concentrate on the real maintenance stuff (have you serviced your aftercooler lately?) and you'll be much better off than assuming you'll help your QSL with synthetic oil.

On a common rail or computer controlled newer engine be careful listening to the older engined guys. Once again, boatdiesel.com is your Cummins friend.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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If you don't intend to stretch the timing of oil changes with extra effective filtration there is no benefit. The synthetics also will do a superior job in starting in frigid temperatures that's no benefit in Forida. It's your money, if it makes you feel good go for it. But you could spend your money more effectively.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:24 PM   #8
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I'm a big believer in synthetic oil for my truck, but wouldn't put it in an older diesel. After looking at the cost/benefit for even a new diesel, I still wouldn't use it unless it was a workboat, running nearly every day. The way most of us use our trawlers, the dino is just fine. Now if you're full time cruising, I'd certainly use it with a bypass filtration system to reduce the number of changes.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:38 AM   #9
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Marine diesel manufacturer's recommend changing the oil every 100-200 hours. This is to remove built up soot, refresh the anticorrosion additives and replace oxidized, degraded petroleum oil with fresh.

The only difference with synthetic is that the latter doesn't happen as much. So to take advantage of that fact and extend oil changes, over the road fleet operators use synthetic oil but monitor soot and additives with routine oil analysis. The analysis is cheaper than the oil change and lets them go hundreds of hours between changes- 500 or more.

But recreational boaters can't or won't do all of the above, so must change their oil as the manufacturer recommends. In that case most of the benefits of synthetic are wasted.

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Old 02-04-2013, 07:58 AM   #10
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Synthetic is a poor choice for most pleasure boats as the oil drains better (its fuel burn advantage) causing culinder walls to rust sooner.

If the engine MFG ( and local temperature swings) will allow usually a single weight oil gives the longest lasting engine.
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:57 AM   #11
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Marine diesel manufacturer's recommend changing the oil every 100-200 hours.
David
It depends on the engine and year. My 2003 engines (Perkins Sabre 225/Cat 3056) are book stated at 400 hours with "low" sulfur fuel. Many marine engine books were written when low sulfur fuel didn't exist.

I had a long talk a few days ago with the manager of PNW Cummins Marine about detecting a leak in an aftercooler. He said do it with an oil analysis (yearly for most of us) and I said have a drain valve on the bottom of the cooler to detect salt water on a daily basis. Oil analysis is too late - he agreed. Point being, when cruising, look things over every day, very carefully.

On a side note, Tony Athens just posted on boatdiesel that oil analysis is salve only and he has not seen in his 40 years of marine diesels that oil analysis ("no real benefit") trumps good maintenance.
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Old 02-04-2013, 11:50 AM   #12
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The manual for my Hinos says to use sae30, I use Shell Rotella T. When the engines were built in1986 Dino was pretty much the standard. I think a diesel would get more benefit from a pre-lube system than synthetic & you only buy it once.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:28 PM   #13
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Sunchaser:

The 400 hour change interval specified for your engines is interesting.

Sufuric acid produced by sulfur in the fuel, is the a main reason for additives- to neutralize the acid. So with ultra low sulfur fuel, which most of us get at our marinas because it is the only thing that refineries produce today, that problem mostly goes away. (As a corolary, the long standing recommendation to change the oil before winter layup goes away as well for the same reason).

How does your oil look after 400 hours? Black with soot? Ever done an oil analysis to check it?

FWIW the oil in my old naturally aspirated 27 hp Yanmar would turn black in 50 hours or so. The oil in my more modern but mechanically injected Yanmar 370 would take 100 hours or more. I suspect that really modern common rail injected engines can go much longer before soot loading is a problem.

I agree that conservatism and inertia causes most marine engine manufacturers to continue to specify short drain intervals.

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Old 02-04-2013, 01:21 PM   #14
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Sunchaser:
The 400 hour change interval specified for your engines is interesting.
How does your oil look after 400 hours? Black with soot? Ever done an oil analysis to check it?

David
DM:
The longest I've gone is about 350 hours when the fall change time kicks in - most of the time about 200 hours. Oil looked sooty after about 250 hours, oil analysis no issues reported as best I recall. Most diesel books assume 70% rated load/fuel burn (and low sulfur feed) for duration of oil change intervals, so since vessel operates at 30% load or so I feel pretty safe.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:17 AM   #15
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Most engine mfg have engine hours OR time (months) as their specification.

Oil samples may not "save" the engine , but can catch unusual things like a small coolant into the oil leak.

A good history of oil samples will also help at boat sales time

10 years at $15 a test , not hard to recoupe,
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:54 AM   #16
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From what I've read and heard the main reason for changing oil is to remove most of the carbon from the oil. Carbon is said to be an abrasive and a major source of wear in engines.

So considering the above I change my 30W dino oil twice as often but only change the filter every third time. Dino oil is cheap and it's very quick and easy to change oil ..... especially when leaving the filter alone 2/3rds of the time.

Clean oil and easily done w minimal cost.

I would like to get a bypass system. I remember when all cars that had any filter had one.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:05 PM   #17
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From what I've read and heard the main reason for changing oil is to remove most of the carbon from the oil. Carbon is said to be an abrasive and a major source of wear in engines.

So considering the above I change my 30W dino oil twice as often but only change the filter every third time. Dino oil is cheap and it's very quick and easy to change oil ..... especially when leaving the filter alone 2/3rds of the time.

Clean oil and easily done w minimal cost.

I would like to get a bypass system. I remember when all cars that had any filter had one.
Eric, I don't understand your rational on not changing filters but wanting a bypass system?
The sole purpose of a bypass system or filter is to continue to lubricate if the filter plugs or begins to restrict flow. I've gone back and forth with the bypass filters on construction equipment and trucks. There's convincing arguments on both sides. There are bypass filters for most applications if want to go that route.
I'll continue to change my filters with the oil.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:13 PM   #18
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Walmart, by far the cheapest source of Shell Rotella I've found, charges the same for syn as regular so now I run syn.

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Old 02-05-2013, 05:05 PM   #19
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Anode wrote;

"I'll continue to change my filters with the oil."

Not trying to talk anybody into doing anything or say'in my way is best. Just say'in what I do and why.

I'd like the bypass system to filter the oil further than the full flow filter can. The full flow filter is limited to needing to be able to pass all the oil necessary for max rpm. The bypass filter can flow at very low rates and thus can filter out very small particles. They are a little like refining the oil as you cruise along. Not unlike a small re-refiner.

As to the filter changing infrequently I reason that my filters can hold much more "dirt" than what can be collected over a 100 hr period. Changing the oil and changing the filter may be necessary or unnecessary at different intervals. Interestingly changing the oil w/o changing the filter produces oil that looks like new oil .. to my eye. I could, of course drain the filter cartridge and reinstall it but feel I may introduce unfiltered dirt into the engine or get something on the gasket and perhaps cause leaking.

I've mentioned this before and Marin thinks it's nuts and so do many others but I think it works well so why not do it? The only good reason I can think of is that filters are cheap. But one of the biggest things I like about the practice is that it makes oil changing so easy.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:15 PM   #20
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On a side note, Tony Athens just posted on boatdiesel that oil analysis is salve only and he has not seen in his 40 years of marine diesels that oil analysis ("no real benefit") trumps good maintenance.
It is most certainly not a "salve" and rather than "trump good maintenance" it is actually part of a good preventive maintenance program.

Oil analysis is the same a temperature and pressure trending, it gives the prudent owner a means to monitor condition and the rate of change, if any.
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