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Old 02-16-2017, 07:15 AM   #1
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Thinner oil

This is a bit from the Blackstone oil analysis lab newsletter describing how thinner oils arent watered down with additives to the point of sensible discussion and they aren't just for super cold weather either.

"Today we are starting to see more diesel fleets going to
10W/30, and Iím here to tell you that this change is good. Not
only will the bearings do just fine, but the engines will start up
better (especially in the cold). And this change might eliminate
the need for plugging your diesel in at night. Now, there will
always be some people who are resistant to change. In fact
there are whole countries that are. The German vehicle
manufacturers have yet to embrace thin oil, though I think that
change will happen some day."
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Old 02-16-2017, 07:50 AM   #2
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Saw that, think I'll stick with the manufacturer's recommendation. Other than cold climate starting, not really seeing an advantage. My Cummins 6BT in my Dodge pickup has 430,000 miles on it and doesn't use any oil or have metal wear issues in the oil analysis. Not sure how thinner oil will improve on that. Regarding cold weather, think it's far better to use a block heater than thin oil. That's what I did anyway, when I wintered in the NE.

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Old 02-16-2017, 08:40 AM   #3
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My car is specified for both 5-30 and 5-40. It had 5-40 in it and when I changed I put in 5-30. If I was driving on steep grades in hot weather I'da gone w the 5-40.

On my boat I use straight 30.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:48 AM   #4
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From psneeld's Blackstone newsletter: "The German vehicle manufacturers have yet to embrace thin oil, though I think that change will happen some day."

It's unclear which manufacturers the writer refers to, but for many years Volkswagen's specification for my current diesel (a 2001 TDi) is for a list of lube oil products ranging in viscosity from 5W/30 to 5W/40. See the 2008 VGA Technical Bulletin, here: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/images/pdf/vwoiltsb.pdf

My previous Volkswagen came with a digital engine-oil temperature display, which I miss. For the first forty or fifty thousand miles, I ran that engine with conventional (fossil) lube oil, then switched to Mobil 1 synthetic oil. Under similar operating conditions (speed, air temp, load, etc.) I immediately noticed that the oil temperature display showed a consistently lower temp for the engine lube oil, by about 10 degrees F. E.g., with fossil oil, the oil ran at about 235 degrees. With synthetic, the value showed about 226. That visible difference convinced me that, weight for weight, synthetic oil has better lubricating properties.

Diesels need heat to run efficiently, but reduced lube-oil temps don't impair combustion, since the engine operating temp is controlled by the thermostat.

That said, most of the marine diesel mechanics I've talked with say that, over time, the type of oil you put in your engine matters less than how often / regularly you change it. The last workboat I ran had a pair of 3406 Cats, each requiring twelve gallons at an oil change. As my boss pointed out when he thought I was being a little overzealous, oil changes can add up.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:49 AM   #5
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I think it depends on oil temp when operating. What matters is the viscosity at temp, and 10w30 at 160F is probably thicker than 15w40 at 200F. I would need to look up the visc/temp charts to tell exactly. But viscosity changes drastically with temp.

My 5kW NL gennie engine runs cool, so it gets rotella 10w30. Oil fill cap actually is printed with 10w30!! My Cummins main when planed out runs around 200F and manual definitely specs 15w40, so that's what it gets.

My VW diesel car runs oil around 220F, and has a dry turbo, and they spec 5w40 synthetic. I don't like changing turbos so I stick with spec.

For you guys with Lehmans, Perkins, Volvo and Yanmar with sea water oil coolers, those typically run oil cool and 10w30 may be an option.

Thick cold oil creates a lot of friction and that means higher fuel burn. But it may be a bit of an experiment on those old beasts. Tread cautiously!!
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:50 AM   #6
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In cars, lighter weight oil is used to meet fuel mileage standards. It's possible that a marine diesel engine would be more efficient with lighter weight oils but switching to synthetics would do the same thing.


I would say the manufacturer's recommendation is certainly a good place to start and if you don't have cold starting issues, it's probably a good place to stay. It's true that if your engine was designed twenty years ago, improvements have been made in motor oils but if you're not having any problems, you're probably better off sticking with what works.


I suspect very few of us ever start our engines when it's below freezing.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:00 AM   #7
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boat engines using heavy-duty oil for cars and their oils, although both the same viscosity, and additives is absolutely erillainen due to the machine load differences.


if you want to lower emission figures, dilute the oil with diesel fuel, such as WV


Kippis!
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
This is a bit from the Blackstone oil analysis lab newsletter describing how thinner oils arent watered down with additives to the point of sensible discussion and they aren't just for super cold weather either.

"Today we are starting to see more diesel fleets going to
10W/30, and Iím here to tell you that this change is good. Not
only will the bearings do just fine, but the engines will start up
better (especially in the cold). And this change might eliminate
the need for plugging your diesel in at night. Now, there will
always be some people who are resistant to change. In fact
there are whole countries that are. The German vehicle
manufacturers have yet to embrace thin oil, though I think that
change will happen some day."
sorry, is bull shit that the machine starts to work better than 15/40 10W30 viscous oil. cold viscous differential 5W may be lost in the variation between the oil standard and oil mix parts. pardon my rough language.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:29 AM   #9
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10-30 has a lot less VI additives in it than 15-40.

Don't need much (if any) VI in boat engines .. unless they are fire boats.
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:46 AM   #10
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Sae /CCSviskositeetti cP/įC
10w / 7000-25 Cį
15w/ 7000-20 Cį




this fact. 10W vs 15W -5 į C, the same fluidity or viscosity. if you start the machine even -10 degrees Celssius practical difference does not exist


oil W = mean winter
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski in NC View Post
I think it depends on oil temp when operating. What matters is the viscosity at temp, and 10w30 at 160F is probably thicker than 15w40 at 200F. I would need to look up the visc/temp charts to tell exactly. But viscosity changes drastically with temp...
The Blackstone conversation was lacking in discussing operating temperature. Every four stroke engine I have owned specifies oil by operating temperature. For many people in the US, the temperatures are not at an extreme that requires an oil for winter and a different oil for summer. However, the big reason I use synthetics is to get a 0Wx40 or 5Wx40 oil that better covers seasonal temperatures. My truck really does not like starting when using a 15Wx40 oil when the temps are in the low 30s or below. All of my engines want a 40 weight oil when it is hot outside.

Which always made me ask how come so many diesels in an engine room are running 30 weight oil while my other engines running in lower temperatures outside an engine room need 40 weight oil? Which gets back to what Blackstone was saying...

Later,
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Old 02-16-2017, 10:26 AM   #12
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My gas Acura MDX specifies 0-20 synthetic Pennzoil. Standard Acura power train warranty is 7 years and 100K miles. An industrial diesel seeing thousands of hours per year has very different needs and oil specifications. Best to follow the manufacturers' guidance in both cases.

But, given our very light use and low hour boat diesels it has been well established that any reasonable oil concoction and filter setup will work, until it doesn't.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:07 AM   #13
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I suppose it would be churlish to point out the irony of the Blackstone oil comment that contained the offhand reference to people's beliefs regarding oil. I would put it to you that there is more religious doctrine swirling about oil than there is about anchors, fuel filters and Donald Trump combined. Good luck getting people to change their lifetime's church experience.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:14 AM   #14
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Gotta love TF.

If an expert disagrees with one's thinking, it's BS.

If someone states something that some one doesn't agree with, too many say check with the experts.

Yep...gotta love it.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:32 AM   #15
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Gotta love TF.

If an expert disagrees with one's thinking, it's BS.

If someone states something that some one doesn't agree with, too many say check with the experts.

Yep...gotta love it.

I think the OEMs and Blackstone in large part are in agreement. In my industrial experience the same diesel equipment when used in a desert or near equatorial setting would have a warrantable oil spec different than the same engine and application used in the tar sands of Alberta. Additives and viscosity packages vary to meet conditions, fuel used and daily usage.

The key word is warranty. We had cradle to grave engine, driveline and genset warranties so long as lubricant specs and change intervals were met.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:35 AM   #16
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I've always been puzzled by many mfr's oil selection guides. They say pick a certain weight oil based on ambient temps. Use a 10w30 or 30 when it is cold, use a 15w40 or such when conditions are hot.

But most engines use coolant to cool or otherwise establish oil temps. Oil temp stays in a temp range that is dependent on load and almost immune to ambient temp!!!

Ambient temp does affect viscosity for startup, but differences in temp make more of a difference than the weight of oil selected.

And often the same engine is used for tractors or road vehicles as marine. Operating temp range very different. Yet most oil spec pages are identical copy and paste!!

I think it is generally laziness of the mfr's when it comes to refining the oil specs for the marine market. Just too small to warrant the effort.

I'd put more faith in the mfr's specs if they were defined like this:

SAE 30: Coldest start X deg F. Max operating oil temp Y deg F
SAE 10w30: Coldest start temp X deg F. Max operating oil temp Y deg F.
SAE 15w40: Yadda yadda
SAE 5W40: Yadda yadda
SAE 40: Yadda yadda...

So if engine is never below 50F and running oil temp is max 180F, then you pick the grade based on that.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:28 PM   #17
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Ski,
But w a boat the engine room is never below 50 and maybe 40 degrees. And running oil temp is never over 180 degrees.

This is my reasoning for straight 30w oil.

But the oil temp while running is determined by engine load in a diesel boat.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:58 PM   #18
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Since I know next to nothing about engines, I tend to stick with the recommendations of the engine manufacturer. I will also listen to knowledgeable sources, Blackstone being one, but the evidence has to be pretty compelling for me to move away from the mfg's recommendations.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:05 PM   #19
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I know this is like walking on thin ice, but here goes:

In regards viscosity only, a perfect oil:
Has same viscosity from cold start to full load.
Is the thinnest oil that can still give enough oil pressure when hot, both full rpm and idle rpm.
That's basically it.

Now, real world added in:
It takes a modern synthetic oil to contain viscosity modifiers that can support a wide viscosity index spread and keep stable between changes. Engine shear tends to kill viscosity modifiers, and that is why historically, boat engine manufacturers were slow to adopt other than straight weight oils. Boat engines run hard.
Engines have, over the years become more oil friendly, mostly due to roller cams, and low shear oil pumps, though these same engines can be more demanding for oil due to hotter run temperatures. (not as true for non-emission controlled engines).

Pleasure boats don't tend to have cold starts below freezing, unlike road engines that cold soak to much colder temperatures. Yes, ambient air temperature talk doesn't make much sense on boats, and really for OTR engines, only at start and warmup. Although OTR engines get some convective cooling, unlike boats.

But, all this aside, lots of folks have evidence that you can get away with far less than the most expensive oil on the shelf. I ran a car with only dino oil for 350k miles, about 6k hours. Same oil consumption as at 150k miles (1 qt per 2kmiles or so). Had great luck in gas inboards with straight 40, although I wouldn't use that oil north of the FL border. Most of my "cold starts" were at 80 - 90 degrees.
my 2cents.
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Old 02-16-2017, 03:54 PM   #20
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And don't forget that some of the manufacturer's specs are based on engine design. Some engines take longer to get oil to critical areas.
I designed and developed camshafts for a few automotive engines and this was a factor.
Once the engine is running, then yes perhaps Blackstone's comments are valid.
But the bottom line is stick to what the manufacturer is recommending.
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