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Old 08-22-2009, 11:07 PM   #1
sLicK 2004
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Default Subaru + Synthetic Oil

Let me start by apologizing for im sure this isn't the first thread of its kind.
I did read the FAQs but I wasn't satisfied.

So I've heard more than once that Subarus in general shouldn't use synthetic oils. I can't remember why they said but i remember hearing it. Wheither or not they meant N/A or Turbo I dont know. Maybe i missed an important part of the story? Has anyone heard or had experience with this "myth"? I have an 04 WRX using conventional oil, being paranoid about it but if this is a load I would consider switching to synthetic for I can only see it being better for a Turbo engine vs conventional.
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:33 PM   #2
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If you'd truly searched, you'd understand that most of us run synthetic oil. The big debate is over which synoil to run.

Dispel what you heard and read the Oil FAQ thread. Just remember, the first post is 5 years old so you'll need to grok the changes in mindsets over time.
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Old 08-22-2009, 11:47 PM   #3
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d000000000000000d

just dont use Mobil1 or Royal Purple and you will be fine

and you do NOT have to use 5w30
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:28 AM   #4
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Mobil 1 is fine, but you'll want to run the 5w40 or 0w40. The 5w30 or 0w30 tends to slip through and get used up too easy if you do any aggressive driving. Sticking to a 40 weight hot viscosity fixes this. As well, it's not just Mobil 1 that will do this. The bad wrap comes from folks who toss in motor oil and never looks at it for 5k plus miles. By that time, they're down to 2 quarts, and their engine seizes up. A good habit is to check your oil every gas tank fill up. KNOW how your engine uses oil. Watch it and use the correct viscosity for the tolerances/wear of the engine. Synthetic or petroleum doesn't matter. Synthetic is cleaner and apparently offers more shear protection.

In the past Royal Purple had issues. When they first offered their oil to the consumer level, they were basically offering race oils. They had no additives for long term use, no rust protection, and things like that, wrecked a lot of peoples cars. I haven't heard any complaints in a number of years though, so I assume they're building more traditional consumer level products now.

All I can say is research, but that only depends on how serious you want to get about your oil. Frankly, there are a lot of very good oils out there. If you're changing oil every 3k miles, pretty much anything will work fine, even the cheapy stuff. Most oils these days are really clean too, so there really aren't major gunk build up issues or anything anymore. The additive packages have gotten better over the years offering better protection and longer protection for more miles.

Thicker oil protects better. A 0w50 is ideal, but one isn't readily available. Apparently ENEOS makes a 0w50, Japan company, new to the US market. Apparently this 0w50 is also used in Hondas F1 engines...if that's worth anything. Understand cold viscosity and hot viscosity. The cold viscosity is determined by the base oil used. This is typically a 0, 5, or 10 weight oil. Any of these are VERY thick (relatively speaking) cold. However as they heat up, the thin out quick and get too thin by the time they get as hot as what an engine normally operates. Additives are put into the oil to keep the oil thicker as it's heated. So a 5w40 oil will be as thin as a straight 40 weight oil at engine temp, a good bit thicker then the plain 5 weight that it is. Relative to the cold viscosity, any of these oils, even a 5w50 is VERY thin. For example, lets take Mobil 1's 0w40. It starts off as a very thin 0 weight oil. The viscosity of this oil at room temp is 78.3 cSt. At engine temp (around 200F), it's equivalent to a much thicker straight 40 weight at 200F. The thickness of this 0w40 at 200F is just 14. The point is the hot viscosity is important, but there's no reason you need to shy away from a low base rate. It's very thick relative to operating temperatures. So a 0w50 isn't too thin cold and isn't too thick hot to operate in the engine because it will always be thinner hot and always thicker cold. The only reason you'd buy a 5w40 or 10w40 is to save money...if it's cheaper and the temp is plenty warm to not require a thin oil for easy start up cold.

Last edited by Back Road Runner; 08-23-2009 at 02:01 AM.
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Old 08-23-2009, 03:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
Thicker oil protects better. A 0w50 is ideal, but one isn't readily available. Apparently ENEOS makes a 0w50, Japan company, new to the US market. Apparently this 0w50 is also used in Hondas F1 engines...if that's worth anything. Understand cold viscosity and hot viscosity. The cold viscosity is determined by the base oil used. This is typically a 0, 5, or 10 weight oil. Any of these are VERY thick (relatively speaking) cold. However as they heat up, the thin out quick and get too thin by the time they get as hot as what an engine normally operates. Additives are put into the oil to keep the oil thicker as it's heated. So a 5w40 oil will be as thin as a straight 40 weight oil at engine temp, a good bit thicker then the plain 5 weight that it is. Relative to the cold viscosity, any of these oils, even a 5w50 is VERY thin. For example, lets take Mobil 1's 0w40. It starts off as a very thin 0 weight oil. The viscosity of this oil at room temp is 78.3 cSt. At engine temp (around 200F), it's equivalent to a much thicker straight 40 weight at 200F. The thickness of this 0w40 at 200F is just 14. The point is the hot viscosity is important, but there's no reason you need to shy away from a low base rate. It's very thick relative to operating temperatures. So a 0w50 isn't too thin cold and isn't too thick hot to operate in the engine because it will always be thinner hot and always thicker cold. The only reason you'd buy a 5w40 or 10w40 is to save money...if it's cheaper and the temp is plenty warm to not require a thin oil for easy start up cold.
I agreed up to this point. Thicker oils do not protect better. The proper oil protects better. There is a good article in the new Grassroots Motorsports about what oils to use. I suggest everyone read it. Thicker oils hold in more heat, take more time to get around an engine when cold, and can actually cause catastrophic damage. Oil's ideal working temp is 212F. Thicker oils may not get to this temp on an engine designed for thinner oils so they do not lubricate as effectively.

The best advice I can give is use the same weight (or close) to OE spec, but a higher quality. I think the best Dino oils are Castrol or Vavoline. Changed on time and checked frequently these should work fine. For the more demanding driver/weekend racer synthetics do offer more protection. They lubricate better and breakdown at higher temps (usually about 30F hotter than dino oil). Most synthetics work well and are superior to dino oils. I prefer Redline, but as I said most are good.

Addressing these huge ranges such as 0W50. It's true that synthetics need less polymers than dino oil to achieve these ranges due to their multi-viscosity tendencies. That said synthetics would still need a decent amount of polymers for such a broad weight range. Why is this important. Well polymers are plastic. They do not lubricate and they tend collect on parts of the engine that see the most heat in the form of yellow-brown gack. They also require detergents in the oil to remove them. Detergents do not lubricate either. I know that Redline and M1 5W30 do not contain polymers. Amsoil 5W30 does. Other oils I don't know about.

My advice on weight ranges. Get the narrowest weight ranges that will do the job. Synthetics often have greater film strength too. Redline 5W30 has film strength equivalent to a 40 weight dino oil. Their 5W40 is equivalent to a 50 weight dino oil.

If your still worried get a good oil temp gauge. This will tell you if your oil is working optimally. An oil pressure gauge is a good idea too.

You can also get your oil analyzed.
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Old 08-23-2009, 01:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubySal View Post
I agreed up to this point. Thicker oils do not protect better. The proper oil protects better. There is a good article in the new Grassroots Motorsports about what oils to use. I suggest everyone read it. Thicker oils hold in more heat, take more time to get around an engine when cold, and can actually cause catastrophic damage. Oil's ideal working temp is 212F. Thicker oils may not get to this temp on an engine designed for thinner oils so they do not lubricate as effectively.

The best advice I can give is use the same weight (or close) to OE spec, but a higher quality. I think the best Dino oils are Castrol or Vavoline. Changed on time and checked frequently these should work fine. For the more demanding driver/weekend racer synthetics do offer more protection. They lubricate better and breakdown at higher temps (usually about 30F hotter than dino oil). Most synthetics work well and are superior to dino oils. I prefer Redline, but as I said most are good.

Addressing these huge ranges such as 0W50. It's true that synthetics need less polymers than dino oil to achieve these ranges due to their multi-viscosity tendencies. That said synthetics would still need a decent amount of polymers for such a broad weight range. Why is this important. Well polymers are plastic. They do not lubricate and they tend collect on parts of the engine that see the most heat in the form of yellow-brown gack. They also require detergents in the oil to remove them. Detergents do not lubricate either. I know that Redline and M1 5W30 do not contain polymers. Amsoil 5W30 does. Other oils I don't know about.

My advice on weight ranges. Get the narrowest weight ranges that will do the job. Synthetics often have greater film strength too. Redline 5W30 has film strength equivalent to a 40 weight dino oil. Their 5W40 is equivalent to a 50 weight dino oil.

If your still worried get a good oil temp gauge. This will tell you if your oil is working optimally. An oil pressure gauge is a good idea too.

You can also get your oil analyzed.
http://www.volvoclub.org.uk/engine_oil_history.shtml
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:47 PM   #7
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Good article Scotty though I'm not entirely sure why you cited it.

I did learn some new facts. I didn't know poly-ol ester bases never breakdown. Makes me wish I could get just the additives and leave the oil in the car longer. I know this is done with bus fleets, but was surprised to find out it's done on aircraft turbines as well.

I guess it's overkill for my car, but I do drive hard and autocross. It's comforting to know I have that extra protection.

Seeing as how Redline protects so well it does make me wonder why my Tin content was a little high when I had my oil last analyzed though. Hmm.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:06 PM   #8
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A very great deal of a previous post was ...seriously misinformed at best. The worst part, though, was this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Back Road Runner View Post
Thicker oil protects better.
Given the context of this board, that's just flat wrong, and research science plus real-life analysis proves it.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubySal View Post
I didn't know poly-ol ester bases never breakdown.
You still don't, because they do. Just add water and watch them unravel.

Still, in a motor oil context, hydrolysis is expected to be limited to essentially nonexistent. But just to be clear, they will oxidize just like any other, and are unquestionably subject to breakdown, though not nearly so easily in some ways as some other possible motor oil bases.
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:25 PM   #10
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OK BW. I didn't know that. I do know that water can condense in a engine given the right conditions. This is minimal in CO, but my question is once the water evaporates out is the oil still affected? Does it simply dilute the oil or actually react and change it's molecular structure?

You know that's the problem with oil info too. Many times it's so contradictory.

I need my own lab
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:24 PM   #11
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I hear ya, SubySal.

Water in oil is bad for various reasons, as is fuel in oil. Fuel in oil does damage to the oil itself that cannot be erased or undone. Water in oil... well, one doesn't normally see issues with Red Line's motor oils (to name an example that uses polyols) that would indicate significant hydrolysis, so I wouldn't worry about it. If you have a leaky HG, things could potentially get out of hand. OTOH, if you have a leaky HG, things are already out of hand!
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Old 10-08-2009, 07:46 PM   #12
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Sooo...I just went to the local Walmart and bought my usual 5w30 synth oil and I noticed they now carry 0w30. I live in Minnesota and it gets crazy cold in the winter. I'm wondering if I could benifit from the 0w30. I drive every day and I don't race the car, just do spirited driving from time to time.

What do you guys think?
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:13 PM   #13
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royal purple sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! learned that the hard way.
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:32 PM   #14
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[quote=LASERBLUE135;28413339]Sooo...I just went to the local Walmart and bought my usual 5w30 synth oil and I noticed they now carry 0w30. I live in Minnesota and it gets crazy cold in the winter. I'm wondering if I could benifit from the 0w30. I drive every day and I don't race the car, just do spirited driving from time to time.



heck yes just make sure your not burning it check your oil often
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:34 PM   #15
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just run what the manual says and :
1.check oil often
2. do not extend oil change intervals in turbo cars past severe service (3750) without U.O.A

Last edited by misfitracer25; 10-09-2009 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 10-08-2009, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misfitracer25 View Post
oil is eassssyyyyyy just run what manuel says and follow simple rules. 1.check oil often
2. do not extend oil change intervals in turbo cars past severe service (3750) without U.O.A
3.dont use additives.
4Give me money.
http://www.dictatorofthemonth.com/Noriega/noriega6.jpg




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Old 10-09-2009, 01:57 AM   #17
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im Duuuuummmmbbbbbb
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:35 AM   #18
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[quote=misfitracer25]
Quote:
Originally Posted by LASERBLUE135 View Post
Sooo...I just went to the local Walmart and bought my usual 5w30 synth oil and I noticed they now carry 0w30...
If it's Mobil1 0W-30, just keep walking down the aisle. M1 0W-30 is geared towards fuel economy with a low HTHS and thin viscosity.

If you want a 0W-30, go with Syntec 0W-30. The complete opposite of M1 0W-30. High viscosity, high HTHS, SL rated, not Energy Conserving, and will probably show less wear in a uoa.

-Dennis
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:12 AM   #19
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Thanks guys. Very helpful!
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Old 10-09-2009, 10:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SubySal View Post
I agreed up to this point. Thicker oils do not protect better. The proper oil protects better. There is a good article in the new Grassroots Motorsports about what oils to use. I suggest everyone read it. Thicker oils hold in more heat, take more time to get around an engine when cold, and can actually cause catastrophic damage. Oil's ideal working temp is 212F. Thicker oils may not get to this temp on an engine designed for thinner oils so they do not lubricate as effectively.
So in the owners manual where it says...

"Engine oils viscosity (thickness) affects fuel economy. Oils of lower viscosity provide better fuel economy. However, in hot weather, oils of higher viscosity is required to properly lubricate the engine"

10W-40 is label from the temp ranges of 0 degrees to over 100.

Maintenance and service 11-11

Then it goes on to state what viscosity Subaru recommends for heavy duty applications.

SEA viscosity No. 30, 40, 10W-50, 20W-40, 20W-50

AKA Subaru recommends it. I have blackstone lab results saying its perfect as do many others. However we should ignore Subaru, and ignore the lab results for what reason again? Because you say it could cause more damage (even though we know for a fact it doesnt)?

.....................

OP: On the same page it says...

"Synthetic oil

You can use synthetic engine oil that meets the same requirements given for conventional engine oil. When using synthetic oil, you must use oil of the same classification, viscosity, and grade shown in this owners manual, and must follow the oil and filter changing intervals shown in the maintenance schedule."
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:19 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicX View Post

10W-40 is label from the temp ranges of 0 degrees to over 100.

they actually recommend 10-40 down to zero? I have my doubts about running it that low, i've seen 10-40 turn to into nearly a solid at temps not far below that.
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:55 AM   #22
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they actually recommend 10-40 down to zero? I have my doubts about running it that low, i've seen 10-40 turn to into nearly a solid at temps not far below that.
According to the manual they do.

Amsoil 10w-40 has a pour point of -47 degrees F, only 10 degrees different from their 5w-30. I guess other oils can very. I've run it year around with good oil analysis. It doesnt get down to zero degrees very often here though...
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:38 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicX View Post
According to the manual they do.

Amsoil 10w-40 has a pour point of -47 degrees F, only 10 degrees different from their 5w-30. I guess other oils can very. I've run it year around with good oil analysis. It doesnt get down to zero degrees very often here though...
German Castrol 0-30 in the winter, and Mobile 1 0-40 in the summer
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jddssc121

German Castrol 0-30 in the winter, and Mobile 1 0-40 in the summer
Thank you for bumping a one year old thread to post this.

-Dennis
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:59 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie View Post
Thank you for bumping a one year old thread to post this.

-Dennis
Come on Dennis, at least he picked 2 decent oils .

My brother in law's M3 shears M1 0w40 faster than it shears GC (ie UOA vis on the 0w40 is lower than the UOA vis on the GC with the same OCI.)

That said, I'd just run GC all year round.
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