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Old 11-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #1
parabellum9x19
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Default Oil review with lab analysis: Valvoline 5w30 "Full Synthetic"

I just wanted to share some results with you all, for posterity.

Car: 2008 WRX Hatch, powertrain is completely stock, car still under subaru gold warranty.

Mods: None that matter (kb ss kit, flaps, hid).

Oil: Valvoline 5W30 Full Synthetic

Mileage on car at time of analysis: 38,500

Mileage on oil in the sample: 3000

Driving conditions: This sample was taken during very moderate temperatures, at least 1500 of those miles were highway. I let my car warm up before driving it hard, but once warm, I am not shy on the gas.

Here is the results of the analysis I had, it looks like my engine is very healthy and this oil is a good choice for this engine.

So, if you just bought a WRX, or want to switch to synthetic but aren't sure what to use (the oil debate is endless), so far this oil looks like a good choice.



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Old 11-03-2010, 08:02 AM   #2
bluesubie
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Good baseline report but there are very few miles on the oil. If you're concerned about warranty, at least run it to 3,750 miles.

The shearing to a 20 grade is normal for an Energy Conserving oil and doesn't appear to be affecting wear that a uoa would pick up.

Are you running a stock air filter?

-Dennis

Last edited by bluesubie; 11-07-2010 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:45 PM   #3
parabellum9x19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie
Good baseline report but there are very few miles on the oil. If you're concerned about warranty, at least run it to 3,750 miles.

The shearing to a 20 grade is normal for an Energy Conserving oil and doesn't appear to be affecting wear that a uoa would pick up.

Are you running a stock air filter?

-Dennis
Yes, i am on the factory air filter, which i was planning on replacing at 40k.

Thanks for your input, ill do another analysis at ~3700 miles in the near future.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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Personally, I think that shearing to 20W is a major concern in terms of rod bearing longevity on the Subaru turbo engines. It's not showing much wear yet, but if you drive it hard on 20W oil, it's only a matter of time.

BTW, don't get surprised if this is moved to service and maintenance.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:58 PM   #5
parabellum9x19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concillian
Personally, I think that shearing to 20W is a major concern in terms of rod bearing longevity on the Subaru turbo engines. It's not showing much wear yet, but if you drive it hard on 20W oil, it's only a matter of time.

BTW, don't get surprised if this is moved to service and maintenance.
Hmmm, i have to see if subaru requires an energy conserving oil ir not.

Thanks for the input, i guess i will do some more reading.
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
Hmmm, i have to see if subaru requires an energy conserving oil ir not.

Thanks for the input, i guess i will do some more reading.
It only 'recommends' it .
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:44 PM   #7
CT26SupraTurbo
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wow such a nice report. I wouldn't run that valvoline synpower 5w30 longer than 3k miles though. simply because the viscosity went low. Why don't you try their 5w40?

Hell, with 5w30 I wouldn't expect it to last too long anyway.

I change mine every 2500 and I thought my results were good.
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #8
mikeythejew
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I also have an excellent UOA using Valvoline Synpower 5W30. http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...php?p=23773473

It's a very good oil. Valvoline supposedly has the best and most sophisticated engine oil test lab in the U.S.. Ashland/Valvoline actually test oils for other engine oil companies which you can find with a good google search if wanted.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT26SupraTurbo
wow such a nice report. I wouldn't run that valvoline synpower 5w30 longer than 3k miles though. simply because the viscosity went low. Why don't you try their 5w40?

Hell, with 5w30 I wouldn't expect it to last too long anyway.

I change mine every 2500 and I thought my results were good.
Yeah, i may step up to their 5w40 at some point in the near future, maybe it will retain a 30 rating over time.
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Old 11-03-2010, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeythejew View Post
I also have an excellent UOA using Valvoline Synpower 5W30. http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...php?p=23773473

It's a very good oil. Valvoline supposedly has the best and most sophisticated engine oil test lab in the U.S.. Ashland/Valvoline actually test oils for other engine oil companies which you can find with a good google search if wanted.
I work at Ashland's Lexington site. Lab center is 2 buildings down from where I work. I asked my boss for lab tour didn't get it yet lol
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:05 PM   #11
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Nice report. Bluesubie is right that there aren't that many miles on it, but it's still a good report, IMO. Anyone who tells you that the SynPower fluids are anything other than very good (or better) right now has no clue what they're talking about, IMO. The foolishness of the fear of 'shearing down' is proven by this UOA. Wear isn't caused by an oil that shears slightly, it's caused by abuse, poor formulations for the application, mechanical problems, etc.
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Old 11-03-2010, 11:06 PM   #12
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I forgot: I'm curious to know what oil filter you run. ?
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:36 AM   #13
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Your viscosity #s are just a shade higher than mine where my RP oil was leaking through my turbo seal and smoking out the exhaust on extended idle periods.

I'd really steer clear of EC oils, or any oils that shear to a 20 weight in our cars.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndewrx
Your viscosity #s are just a shade higher than mine where my RP oil was leaking through my turbo seal and smoking out the exhaust on extended idle periods.

I'd really steer clear of EC oils, or any oils that shear to a 20 weight in our cars.
I was running GC when I had the same problem with my seals.

-Dennis
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Old 11-04-2010, 11:41 AM   #15
parabellum9x19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bulwnkl View Post
I forgot: I'm curious to know what oil filter you run. ?
The oem black filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndewrx View Post
Your viscosity #s are just a shade higher than mine where my RP oil was leaking through my turbo seal and smoking out the exhaust on extended idle periods.

I'd really steer clear of EC oils, or any oils that shear to a 20 weight in our cars.
Damn...what would you recommend then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesubie View Post
I was running GC when I had the same problem with my seals.

-Dennis
Again, what would you recommend to avoid this problem? Same oil but go 5w40 instead?

Do you have a tried and true recommendation for a NON EC oil that works for our cars?
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:21 PM   #16
Toadfart
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Shell rotella t6. Non ec and 5w40. Plus $20 a gallon. I use it in my bike that revs to 15k rpm and in my subie.
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:45 PM   #17
parabellum9x19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toadfart
Shell rotella t6. Non ec and 5w40. Plus $20 a gallon. I use it in my bike that revs to 15k rpm and in my subie.
Ha, that is the oil i use in my FZ6 also! Ok well i may switch to that after a few more oil changes, id like to do another analysis from winter driving before i change oils.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:16 PM   #18
09rexwagon
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Maybe give Valvoline Synpower 5w30 MST a try. It's not energy conserving, a bit more viscous at temp (12cSt at 100degC) and a ACEA A3 certified. Would likely stay in grade better than the EC 5w30.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:17 PM   #19
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Hmm, another good choice.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:33 PM   #20
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How much oil did your engine consume (not counting external leaks that you may need to fix) during this interval? I did not see you complain of high consumption, yet I see you being scared into changing oils based on other people's troubles with different fluids. I don't get it; what did I miss?
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:55 PM   #21
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How much oil did your engine consume (not counting external leaks that you may need to fix) during this interval? I did not see you complain of high consumption, yet I see you being scared into changing oils based on other people's troubles with different fluids. I don't get it; what did I miss?
Well, scared implies emotion, and I assure you that my interest here is scientific.

If others were seeing shearing to 20, which means that the oil was running a bit too thin at high temps, AND they also had turbo valve leakage, then its reasonable from a scientific view to assume that it may have been because the oil was a bit too thin.

Also, the oil added during the interval was zero, which is indicated in the "Make up oil added" row of the table that I attached in the original post.

Subaru calls for a 5w30 oil, if my oil after 3000 miles is performing like a w20 oil at high temps, then I see that as a decent reason to at least TRY a w40 oil.

I will do another analysis here in a few months, to see how this oil performs during the winter months (cold cold starts here in the midwest, can be very hard on an engine).

Then, when it gets warmer out, I *may* try a 5w40EC, or a 5w30 non EC, or some other variant that is roughly what Subaru recommends.

I'm just here to learn, and share my results with others so they can learn too.

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Old 11-04-2010, 04:15 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post

Damn...what would you recommend then?
I went to Rotella T6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post

If others were seeing shearing to 20, which means that the oil was running a bit too thin at high temps, AND they also had turbo valve leakage, then its reasonable from a scientific view to assume that it may have been because the oil was a bit too thin.
Seems reasonable to me.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:52 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
Well, scared implies emotion, and I assure you that my interest here is scientific.
Great! Then we can converse clearly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
If others were seeing shearing to 20, which means that the oil was running a bit too thin at high temps, AND they also had turbo valve leakage, then its reasonable from a scientific view to assume that it may have been because the oil was a bit too thin.
I disagree. Given the "ifs" above, combined with your observations and test results in your own engine (and let's throw in the consumption that bluesubie experienced with a relatively thick and very shear-stable 30-grade), then what is most reasonable to conclude or suspect, scientifically, is that the viscosity of your fluid is not a problem, nor a potential problem. It is more reasonable to conclude that the other people's engines have worn or faulty parts or assembly (like bluesubie's had), or that other oils of the same grade do not perform as well in Subaru service as SynPower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
Also, the oil added during the interval was zero, which is indicated in the "Make up oil added" row of the table that I attached in the original post.
Thanks. That's why I said I didn't see you complaining of consumption, but wondered whether there was a misprint somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
Subaru calls for a 5w30 oil, if my oil after 3000 miles is performing like a w20 oil at high temps, then I see that as a decent reason to at least TRY a w40 oil.
While I can understand where you're going with this, there are some things to think about:
1) All the fluids that are certified to the specs Subaru prefers function as a 20-grade after a short period of operation. That is to say, they all experience a few to several percentage points of permanent shear. Therefore, is it not equally reasonable to conclude that Subaru would prefer a super-shear-stable, yet relatively thick SAE 20 grade, but there is no specification that will give them that at present. In fact, hasn't Subaru changed over to recommending 20-grades in their newest versions of our engines? If this kind of fluid is of interest to you, perhaps Red Line's 5W20 would suit your experimental desires. It's rock-stable in terms of viscosity retention, and is a very-thick 20-grade, just like what the oils that Subaru prefers are, in actual operation.

2) Just for the sake of discussion, let's suppose that not all of the fluids certified to Subaru's preference shear permanently to 20-grades, but that yours did. What part of your data tells you that it caused a problem, or allowed additional wear?

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
Then, when it gets warmer out, I *may* try a 5w40EC
Just fyi, there is no such thing. Energy Conserving doesn't apply above 30-grade.

Quote:
Originally Posted by parabellum9x19 View Post
I'm just here to learn, and share my results with others so they can learn too.

Absolutely! All I was asking is what you thought you saw in your data that suggests there's a difficulty to be fixed.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:56 PM   #24
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bulwnkl, what oil is in your car right now?
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:04 PM   #25
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I think bulwnkl may be right in that my seal problem could have been a faulty or worn part. At the time that I had problems, there were few others having problems as well.

I'm actually starting to rethink my thin oil phobia. There was recently a good Castrol Edge uoa at legacygt.com. That oil is barely a 30 weight when new. But he has low wear, although it was also a 3k run.

My buddy has a built LGT and he runs regular 5W-30, although he warms it up for 10 minutes before driving it.

If you have major wear, a uoa may not even pick it up though because of the limited size of the wear reading.

-Dennis
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