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Synthetic oil or natural oil?
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pocvw
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Synthetic oil or natural oil? Reply with quote

I am sure this topic has been covered before, but I wanted to post a new thread anyway. I have an 80 westy with only 1200 miles or so on a rebuild. I am pretty sure that all 1200 miles have been put on with natural oil.

First of all, what oil is preferred among us vanagon owners and why?

Secondly, is it too late to start using synthetic oil in my westy?

Thanks for your opinions!
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cnskate
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an 80 Westy too, and I'm planning on switching to synthetic hoping to drop the engine temp just a little. The engines on the aircooled Westy Vanagons really have to work hard, so I think they justify synthetics. I am also interested in hearing what people have to say on this topic.
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really up to you if you want to go to synthetic. Conventional oils are really a lot better than they used to be.

I only use it because I like the fact that it doesn't break down so readily at high temps. I still change it and my Mahle/Mann filter every 5K. I buy my 15-50 Mobil 1 at Walmart for $20 for 5 quarts. I doubt if I am saving any money, but I feel better about it.

If you are going to do the switch, do it at 5K so that the engine is all nice and broken in. I assume that that you changed it 2 or 3 times before the 5K.
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lovedavdubs
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a bad idea. Are there any preparations I should go through before switching over in my 82 Air-cooled?
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lovedavdubs
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS. My engine is well broken in.
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cnskate
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2005 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone, mabye it was weinerguy, suggested adding Lucas oil to prevent leaks?
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Connie
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what is a good brand of synthetic oil and what viscosity should i use? i live in Florida, and it gets very hot here. I have been using Castrol GTX 20W-50 in the past, and i just bought some Mann Filters. ThankS! connie.
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sprung for the full Castrol synthetic (not the blend) when I first got my 81. To me is seemed like it ran a few degrees hotter, but not anything to be worried about. Ran fine, worked good. I wasn't to happy with letting the oil go to 10,000 miles without changing it, and I figured changing this every 3,000 miles could get expensive. So I went back to good old Castrol 20-50. The cost to benefit ratio for me was to large.
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Karl
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Castrol product is full synthetic?

I hope you don't believe SynTec is!

From here http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html :

"In the late 1990s, Castrol started selling an oil made from Group III base oil and called it SynTec Full Synthetic. Mobil sued Castrol, asserting that this oil was not synthetic, but simply a highly refined petroleum oil, and therefore it was false advertising to call it synthetic. In 1999, Mobil lost their lawsuit. It was decided that the word "synthetic" was a marketing term and referred to properties, not to production methods or ingredients. Castrol continues to make SynTec out of Group III base oils, that is highly purified mineral oil with most all of the cockroach bits removed.

Shortly after Mobil lost their lawsuit, most oil companies started reformulating their synthetic oils to use Group III base stocks instead of PAOs or diester stocks as their primary component. Most of the "synthetic oil" you can buy today is actually mostly made of this highly-distilled and purified dino-juice called Group III oil. Group III base oils cost about half as much as the synthetics. By using a blend of mostly Group III oils and a smaller amount of "true" synthetics, the oil companies can produce a product that has nearly the same properties as the "true" synthetics, and nearly the same cost as the Group III oil. The much more expensive traditional synthetics are now available in their pure forms only in more expensive and harder to obtain oils. To the best of my knowledge, Delvac-1, AMSOil, Redline, and Motul 5100 are the only oils made from pure traditional synthetics."

Castrol has deep pockets and they buy judges!!
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh No not the oil debate again. One bottle said blend which was more expensive, and one said all synth and it was real expensive. I guess since I know you can't drain "all" the oil out when you change it, I'm using a blend right now. Wink My Take on it is if you feel better with putting the stuff in, go for it. Same with the high-milage oils or the like. What is it a softer oil for old engines? got some Geritol in it?
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molson88
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I switched from Castrol GTX 20w50 to Castrol Syntec 5w50, which I can buy at Costco for less than the 20w50 dino oil sells for. As an added benefit, I get a couple of psi higher oil pressure with the Syntec than I did with the heavier-weight dino oil.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever Castrol Syntec 5W50 is, it's the best on the market. Period. I put it into thousands of customer cars at my German car shop over the last 15 years with nary a complaint. One of my customers at my Sun Valley shop was the chemist who invented 'Slick 50', and it made a believer out of HIM.
Don't use it in engines with a rope rear main seal, and don't use it in a Ford Diesel.
Here's a heretical thought: 3000 mile oil changes are, and always have been, for SEVERE SERVICE, not around town or highway driving. The rise of the Quick Lubes got everyone convinced that 3000 miles was bible truth. Look at what your owners' manuals say about oil change intervals. If you're so programmed that you feel the need to change at 3000 miles, then I guess you need to do it. It's a horrible drain on resources, though, and you really DON'T gain any engine life. If you go to a repair shop in Germany for a 3000 mile oil change, they'll refer you to the psych ward.
Just some food for thought.
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psych-illogical
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good point. I used to do a 60 mi. each way commute for years in my old Dodge Colt. Bought it new. Changed the oil at about every 6 -7K miles (all steady hiway miles at 70mph). Sold the car with 220K on it and no repairs other than the usual batteries, tires, timing belt.

Here's stuff I've gleaned from years of reading the oil debate on the motorcycle web sites I frequent. Synthetics don't necessarily run cooler than dino juice but they do withstand higher temps without starting to break down. Real dino juice is supposed to be better at keeping rubber seals swelled up and tight thus reducing some leaks especially on older engines with rubber seals that are getting dry and brittle.

I've run Castrol GTX 20-50 in my air cooled BMW motorcycles for years with good results. Since I've had my WBX Westy I've been using the Castol 10-40. I figured the waterboxer runs cooler than an air cooled so I opted for a bit lighter oil.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

psych-illogical wrote:


Here's stuff I've gleaned from years of reading the oil debate on the motorcycle web sites I frequent. Synthetics don't necessarily run cooler than dino juice but they do withstand higher temps without starting to break down. Real dino juice is supposed to be better at keeping rubber seals swelled up and tight thus reducing some leaks especially on older engines with rubber seals that are getting dry and brittle.


That would be my concern...would it be bad to switch to synthetic on an engine that has, oh, say 280k miles of conventional oil use? I have visions of the thing squirting oil like a fountain.
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except that the seals VW used since about 1967 were the seals that synthetic oils do not "attack" and VW was actually ahead of the game (for once). Until not too many years ago some crankshaft seals were the "rope type" and sysnthetics were bad for those.

I think the oil temps run a little cooler because friction is reduced within the engine. I like the fact that at 240* they do not break down as readily as dino oils.

If I had 280K on the engine, I would not switch. What is there to gain?

If I had 5K I would use a synthetic. But I would still change the oil and filter every 5K. If your engine leaks a fair amount of oil I would fix those first.

Just my 2 cents.
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Witless Joe
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tram wrote:
One of my customers at my Sun Valley shop was the chemist who invented 'Slick 50', and it made a believer out of HIM.


You should be hanging, drawing and quartering that guy, not servicing his car. What snake oil. The Federal Trade Commission forced them to stop claiming their product has ANY benefits whatsoever, and 8 class action lawsuits were eventually settled against them for about $20 million.

Anything that guy believes, I would believe the opposite, just on principle.

Quote:
Here's a heretical thought: 3000 mile oil changes are, and always have been, for SEVERE SERVICE, not around town or highway driving.


Yup, heretical and incorrect. Your "around town" description doesn't begin to describe the grid-lock commuter hell that most city-dwellers put their cars through, stop & start, engine never warming up to full operating temperatures, etc. Maybe you really do live in a one-horse "town" of 3000 or fewer people, and driving around is easy on your car. But most American's don't do that anymore. City driving is "severe service" for a car.
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molson88
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the place to go if you really want to get into technical discussions about motor oils...

http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/
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DanJReed
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2005 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is my own crazy theory. I can only say that I've seen it happen so I don't do it.

If the engine has more than say - 80K on it, don't switch. Here's why.

Part of the advantage of synth oils is that the makeup of them (the chemical chains) are *smaller*. this helps them outlive conventional oils. However up to half of what you buy as "conventional oil" is much better than it was 10 years ago, and almost half is man made.

Things (chems) get added to conventional oils such as friction modifers, viscosity adapters, anti-foaming, and anti-moisture agents are added into the dino crud. Motorcraft oil (Ford) 5w20 is *clear*.

So, what I have seen is that engines with about 80K on them will leak like a bitch if you change them over. The sad fact is that the synth oil can seep past smaller seal gaps and so on.

If you engine has 170K on it with conv. oil, it must must not so bad eh?

Stick with 1 brand of oil, and change it as needed, at least every 5K, and you'll always be in good shape. I don't like switching brands, the addatives can fight with each other...

Like I said, its my own crazy theory..

Cool
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Witless Joe wrote:
Tram wrote:
One of my customers at my Sun Valley shop was the chemist who invented 'Slick 50', and it made a believer out of HIM.


You should be hanging, drawing and quartering that guy, not servicing his car. What snake oil. The Federal Trade Commission forced them to stop claiming their product has ANY benefits whatsoever, and 8 class action lawsuits were eventually settled against them for about $20 million.

Anything that guy believes, I would believe the opposite, just on principle.

Quote:
Here's a heretical thought: 3000 mile oil changes are, and always have been, for SEVERE SERVICE, not around town or highway driving.


Yup, heretical and incorrect. Your "around town" description doesn't begin to describe the grid-lock commuter hell that most city-dwellers put their cars through, stop & start, engine never warming up to full operating temperatures, etc. Maybe you really do live in a one-horse "town" of 3000 or fewer people, and driving around is easy on your car. But most American's don't do that anymore. City driving is "severe service" for a car.


Read your owner's manual, both for oil change intervals, and their definition of "severe service". What does it say?
Another thing I see all the time is VWs that get their oil changed at quick lubes...and they put 5w30 in them. Rolling Eyes With incorrect oil, I don't care HOW often you change it, it doesn't mean jack. Consumers need to be more informed, not just blindly follow what the "big boys"- who have no idea what kind of car you actually drive- say to do. Would you listen to Click and Clack on NPR for repair advice on your VW or other European car? I don't know about anyone else, but every time I've heard them getting into a Mercedes, Audi, VW, Volvo, or Saab problem, their diagnosis has been dead wrong without exception. So why let Pennzoil, Quaker State, or Oil Can Henry tell you how to service your VW? Shocked
I used to drive my VWs in sweltering summer stop and go traffic in New York City and Cleveland, Ohio, and always followed the factory oil change intervals for regular service with no problems. Oils today are far better than they were when I was back there in the 1970s as well.
As to your asessment of Slick 50, I wasn't saying it was any good, now, WAS I? Laughing
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just checked my owners manual, maintenance schedule, and Tram is correct, as he is about most technical stuff.
Here is what it says for an 81 aircooled using 1981 oil technology,
The owners manual just said to check the maintenance schedule, but at least twice a year. No kidding that's what it says.
The maintenance schedule says to change it at these intervals:
7,500 15,000 22,500 30,000 37,500 45,000 ect. ect.
Every 7,500 miles, or every 6 months whichever you prefer.
So there ya go.
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