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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have started a side business of working on and restoring older tractors. I have put up some pictures on here in my gallery of one of them. I am getting a lot of people who want thier oil changed over to synthetic. Is it OK to run synthetic in a 4020 or 3020? Some people say it shrinks the seals, others say it will leak because its so much thinner. Other say its a myth. I would really like a good answer I can give my clients an feel confident that I am telling them the truth?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I need a bit more info, and it would be nice to not be from a major company. Its a trust thing I guess.
 

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Well, if you are restoring the machines then I would think they would be fully capable handling the newer products. If you are changing oil in a machine not reconditioned I myself would advise against it unless I researched the newer viscosities and products. Just my two cents.
 

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Oil is one of those topics where everybody has an opinion. From a purely mechanical standpoint, i see no reason why there would be a difference if the viscosity is the same. I also have a hard time believing that oil companies are using additives which are not compatible with seals commonly found in a engine. I say go for it. I run syn in everything i own.

Don't know if i can refer other sites so mods delete this if i cant but bobistheoilguy is a good site for oils and lubricant discussions.
 

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Oil is one of those topics where everybody has an opinion. From a purely mechanical standpoint, i see no reason why there would be a difference if the viscosity is the same. I also have a hard time believing that oil companies are using additives which are not compatible with seals commonly found in a engine. I say go for it. I run syn in everything i own.
Very well put.:thumbup1gif:

Don't know if i can refer other sites so mods delete this if i cant but bobistheoilguy is a good site for oils and lubricant discussions.
From what I have seen this site has great admins. and allow useful info. to be posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did some reading and I am going to try out some Redline in a customers 4020. He knows the possible risks and thinks its worth the chance it could leak. I will keep you guys informed.
 

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If a motor is in reasonable good shape, no sludge, not all gummed up due to not having oil changes on time, I see no reason to fear synthetic oil at all. The idea that a premium product say---like Rotella or Delvac synthetic, would unbuckle an engine that was doing real well on conventional oil, is not a concern for me. I'd put it in if that is where you want to go.
 

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Good running motor use synthetics, if its junk feed it junk.

Synthetics are the best way to go. The reason people think they need to “change over” is from the media. The reason people say synthetics leak is not true at all, unless. Yes you knew it was in there! Synthetics are pure, clean and formulated (speaking for Amsoil only here) there for yes they can be easier to leak since they do not sludge up. Once a seal leaks sludge forms at the leak from the difference in temp, pressure, and a mix of other reasons. That sludge will help a bad seal or destroy it. Synthetic oil does not sludge so it will leak as a result of a bad seal. If you have something wrong don’t you want to know about it? Inspect your vehicles often is key to keep ahead of issues such as bad seals or worn parts. The synthetics will not make a leak! But they will make a problem known. Most of the time people don’t have problems with their engines so it’s a good idea to use the best products for your application. Do not use an oil thickener or stabilizer, it will hurt your lubrication in your engine from lack of oil flow and make hot and cold spots. And you can’t fix a problem by putting in more additives over junk oil.
And if you have an old motor with bad, old oil and you use a synthetic it might burn some oil. Why? Your piston rings have old dirty build up around them. Once the clean oil takes out those deposits your rings will not fit the cylinder 100%. After about 500 to 1000 miles the rings will seat to the clean cylinder and you will be fine. It all depends on how dirty your oil was to start with. Now Amsoil offers an engine flush to run in you motor before you change your oil to clean the motor. (It is a detergent, if you use convention oil there is a detergent in it to keep it from making sludge and will not hurt your motor. Not for use in motorcycles with wet clutch.)
I do not use conventional oils due to the paraffin’s in the oil from the hydro cracking process. The paraffin’s are like a wax at cold temps. That wax is hard when cold and is very bad in your motor! A hard wax being spun around your crank bearings makes me shiver like nails down a chalk board. Oh, and some paraffin’s are also in diesel fuels, that is one of the reason it gels up in the cold! That is why I also offer Amsoil Cold Flow for diesel fuel. Also you have to love the use of Low Sulfur Diesel Fuels. The sulfur can help lubricate the fuel, good for your high pressure fuel pumps and injectors. A bottle of Diesel Concentrate will help with that also.
If you cannot see the issue here it is with the manufacture of the products we rely on. The convention oil is not up to today’s standard, nor was it really ever up to par to what we should have been using but it’s a money issue for the big companies. The same problems we see in our fuel, its being cut with other products for emissions and cost reasons, but it’s not the best products for our use. Once you understand the corporations plan to just build it and people will buy it because of marketing and money management you want to dig deeper into better products for your needs. So synthetics or not it’s up to what you trust. You could dig and dig on the subject but you will see synthetics such as Amsoil are the best since they are uniform, clean, and proven. Why does Amsoil say some oil products last up to 25,000 miles or one year? Because it can! Why would you buy a jug of Rotella or Mobil 1 (By the way Mobil 1 is not a full synthetic, call them) and change it every 3,000 or 7,500? Waste of time, money, and life of your engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Lubeman, Thats what I was looking for. The last thing I want to be accused of is changing oil for someone and creating a leak just to get more work.
 

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You should be fine as long as you use Amsoil from www.thelubeman.com! LOL Just Kidding! There are more advantages to using a synthetic then not. I always said its just oil. Then a friend of mine said your body just runs off your blood. Get it checked and see how much junk you have in your blood! Think of the same thing when you put oil in your tractor or anything else that needs lubrication! Its the life blood of your tool, treat it well. Just like you would your body.

Unless you can say, Heck with it they make new ones every day!

If anyone has any questions feel free to email me anytime at [email protected]
 

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I have a 3150 with over 9300 hrs, I have had it 5 years and switched it over to 5w40 syn . suggested for better starting in the winter ( I use it for blowing snow ) very happy no problems
 

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I have 3 years of schooling for automotive mechanics and as an automotive machinist which is an engine builder/machinist combination. I have 22 years work experience. My take is synthetics are the best way to go. I say that meaning engine oil, gear lube, and hydraulic oil. There are so many advantages. Contrary to some old wives tales, synthetic oil will not ruin an engine and it does not shrink seals. It is true that an older engine that ran non synthetic oil may spring some leaks at the seals or gasket areas when you switch over to full synthetic. The reason for this is simple. Synthetic oil is clean. It has a fair amount of detergents in it. On an older engine sometimes what keeps the seals from having a noticeable leak is the fact that it is gummed up with crud, partially plugging the leak. When you dump synthetic oil in an older engine the synthetic oil and it's detergents start scrubbing the engine clean and in the process it removes the crud that is plugging the old seals and you get a leak.

I would use caution when thinking of dumping oil in an old engine, especially if the person did not change oil religiously. With cars you usually are safe until 20,000 to 30,000 miles before you have to worry about issues, maybe longer in some cases. I have no idea how that translates into hours on a tractor. As far as my equipment, I use synthetic oil everywhere I can. As soon as my engine is broke in, synthetic goes in there. John Deere says an engine is broken in between 100 and 150 hours. Synthetics don't seem to cause issues in older equipment where you may use gear lube, hydraulic fluid, or manual transmission fluid. Automatic transmissions kinda fall into the same category as engines. If they have alot of miles/hours you may want to think twice about switching to synthetics.
 

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I've read this thread with great interest. I must say I really do not understand the concept of changing to a synthetic in either a tractor or an older automotive engine. I'm not saying that the synthetics are bad in any way. I'm just not sure if its worth the extra cost for them especially when someone says thy'ev changed to syn., & I ask why & the answer is "There just better".

I have a 855 utility tractor with 1,250 hrs. on the clock. The tractor went into service in 1989. It gets two oil changes a year & a new filter. I change the oil & filter in the fall & change the tractor over to snow plowing use. Then in the Spring I change the oil out with filter & ready it for grass mowing. Sometimes in the winter it dosen't even see 10 hours of use if there is little or no snow flying around. In any event it still gets changed out twice a year. For all the years, I've used JD Plus 15W-40 & JD filters. Only about four times in the entire life of this tractor, I used Rotella 15W-40 which I think is a high quality oil as well as the JD plus.

I know the hours are on the low side for a machine thats like 24 years old, but I can tell you that if I look inside the oil filler holes (it has two) or pull the valve cover off, this yanmar engine is as clean & shiney as the day it left the assembly line.

Also I have a 1998 Ford Exploder (Explorer) with 190,000k on it. Always ran conventional quality oil in it. At 140,000k I noticed an ever so slight oil drip on my garage floor. I switched over to a quality high mileage oil & after the first change, that little oil drip was gone.

I guess my point is how does a guy like me, justify switching over to a syn when the conventional stuff has been just fine. I have friends that have made the changeover, but they can't really tell me why they changed over. They reported no issues or reasons like the ones stated in this thread. At least in my use I just can't justify it. That is not to say that going to a synthetic is a bad thing. It just may be the best thing but you can't convince me of it, at least not right now. And finally, if I were taking payment from people to service their tractors & they requested a change over to a synthetic, I would make darn sure they understood all the ins & outs of this stuff & maybe even have a shop service order that they would need to sign spelling out any possible risks-problems before I went ahead with it. That will at least protect you from a lawsuit in this lawsuit happy land. Once you take payment for your services you are changeing the game & placing yourself as the professional who knows better than the customer & that can come back to bite you. Good luck in your new business venture, & I sincerely mean that. I know how hard it can be in business after running one for the past twenty years. :empathy:
 

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Maddog, to each is his own as the old saying goes. For some people the old fashioned motor oil works just fine. Upfront you see an obvious increase in cost when switching to synthetic. For an additional cost there has to be a benefit for you to pay that extra money. What most people don't see beyond the initial sticker price is the long term benefits. I can say as an engine builder if you use synthetics from the start the engines stay much cleaner versus someone who used regular motor oil and took decent care of their engine. The synthetics work better in extreme temperatures much better than standard oils. In extreme heat a standard motor oil can break down after a while and can lose it's protection properties. Where I find synthetic oils most useful for my personal use is their use in winter weather. I am from NW Wisconsin and our cold weather can last from late October through early April. November through February can see subzero temps.

The first minute or so after you start your engine is where you put the most wear and tear on it. In theory, your piston rings should not touch the cylinder walls because they will ride on a thin film of oil. The same goes for your connecting rods and crankshaft, they should never in theory touch your bearings because they also ride on a thin film of oil. Unfortunately, when you start your engine it takes a minute for the oil to flow through the engine before everything is riding on the thin film of oil which results in engine wear. In the winter this problem is greatly compounded.

Engine oil starts to turn to a jello like thickness when it gets under 30 degrees or so and as it gets colder the oil gets thicker. At o degrees try and pour 5w-30 conventional oil and see how long it takes to get out of the bottle. Next try and pour some 20w-50 synthetic and you will watch it pour like water out of the bottle. This is part of the reason engines turn over slower and harder in the winter is because as you turn the engine over the oil pump is also trying to pump this thick oil. When you run synthetic oil it does not thicken up as it gets cold, it stays very liquid and flowable. This makes for better starts in cold weather and it gives you almost instant oil pressure to help reduce wear on your engine.

I honestly think synthetics can save you money over the long haul through less engine wear, especially in cold climates and reduced oil changes. The few bucks extra for synthetics over a year I feel is nothing compared to what a tractor costs these days, especially if it is something you plan on keeping for many years, and sometimes the remainder of your life.

I don't know if I would go 7,500 or 10,000 miles one one oil change. I guess that greatly depends on how you drive your vehicle. I do believe the synthetic oil does not break down which is why they synthetic oil companies claim you can go this many miles before doing an oil change. What I do disagree with is the fact you still get contaminants in your oil which is the largest reason you do an oil change. You are still going to get some dirt past your air cleaner and into your engine. Excess fuel that doesn't get burned goes into your oil. Your oil can get moisture in it after a period of time. Engine wear also gets into the oil. With diesel engines you get the soot in your oil. I still think you have to change your oil more often than the synthetic oil companies tell you. John Deere I believe says 500 hours or at least once a year minimum with their synthetic oil. I figure my tractor I would change twice a year depending on my use of it.

From my experience it is hard to dispute the benefits of synthetics. Everyone uses their equipment a little different and under different conditions. There isn't one shoe that fits every foot perfectly. For some synthetic makes sense and for some it doesn't. For me and many I know it does.
 

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I am appreciating this thread very much. I find the discussion very helpful regarding the oil we use in our tractors and our other vehicles. this is very good maintenance discussion.:thumbup1gif:
 

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Maddog, to each is his own as the old saying goes. For some people the old fashioned motor oil works just fine. Upfront you see an obvious increase in cost when switching to synthetic. For an additional cost there has to be a benefit for you to pay that extra money. What most people don't see beyond the initial sticker price is the long term benefits. I can say as an engine builder if you use synthetics from the start the engines stay much cleaner versus someone who used regular motor oil and took decent care of their engine. The synthetics work better in extreme temperatures much better than standard oils. In extreme heat a standard motor oil can break down after a while and can lose it's protection properties. Where I find synthetic oils most useful for my personal use is their use in winter weather. I am from NW Wisconsin and our cold weather can last from late October through early April. November through February can see subzero temps.

The first minute or so after you start your engine is where you put the most wear and tear on it. In theory, your piston rings should not touch the cylinder walls because they will ride on a thin film of oil. The same goes for your connecting rods and crankshaft, they should never in theory touch your bearings because they also ride on a thin film of oil. Unfortunately, when you start your engine it takes a minute for the oil to flow through the engine before everything is riding on the thin film of oil which results in engine wear. In the winter this problem is greatly compounded.

Engine oil starts to turn to a jello like thickness when it gets under 30 degrees or so and as it gets colder the oil gets thicker. At o degrees try and pour 5w-30 conventional oil and see how long it takes to get out of the bottle. Next try and pour some 20w-50 synthetic and you will watch it pour like water out of the bottle. This is part of the reason engines turn over slower and harder in the winter is because as you turn the engine over the oil pump is also trying to pump this thick oil. When you run synthetic oil it does not thicken up as it gets cold, it stays very liquid and flowable. This makes for better starts in cold weather and it gives you almost instant oil pressure to help reduce wear on your engine.

I honestly think synthetics can save you money over the long haul through less engine wear, especially in cold climates and reduced oil changes. The few bucks extra for synthetics over a year I feel is nothing compared to what a tractor costs these days, especially if it is something you plan on keeping for many years, and sometimes the remainder of your life.

I don't know if I would go 7,500 or 10,000 miles one one oil change. I guess that greatly depends on how you drive your vehicle. I do believe the synthetic oil does not break down which is why they synthetic oil companies claim you can go this many miles before doing an oil change. What I do disagree with is the fact you still get contaminants in your oil which is the largest reason you do an oil change. You are still going to get some dirt past your air cleaner and into your engine. Excess fuel that doesn't get burned goes into your oil. Your oil can get moisture in it after a period of time. Engine wear also gets into the oil. With diesel engines you get the soot in your oil. I still think you have to change your oil more often than the synthetic oil companies tell you. John Deere I believe says 500 hours or at least once a year minimum with their synthetic oil. I figure my tractor I would change twice a year depending on my use of it.

From my experience it is hard to dispute the benefits of synthetics. Everyone uses their equipment a little different and under different conditions. There isn't one shoe that fits every foot perfectly. For some synthetic makes sense and for some it doesn't. For me and many I know it does.
I don't think I was questioning the value or performance of synthetic oils. Syn is certainly not a new invention. The aircraft industry & the military in particular have been using Syn before the start of WWII. For many of us, conventional oils & blends work just fine. For the rest of us, there is a choice that we can make. Also while Syn oils cost more, no one should accept or reject there use based on cost. Selection should be based on use & need.

I'm not sure I understand some of what you stated. You mentioned the air intake system. There is no question that an air intake system that is not properly filtered or operating correctly will totally destroy an engine in no time at all. But what is the relationship between the air & oil system. They are seperate systems. No lubrication system, including Syn system is going to protect your engine from airborn contamination. For instance, if you suck in some fine beach sand while doing 70mph, there's nothing that's going to prevent tearing up your cylinder walls. At least as far as I know.

You mentioned conventional oils breaking down in the heat & not protecting in the cold. I agree there are extreams. But no one seems to back up their statements with some data as to when & what point this happens at. I mean, how would I know I'm overheating my oil if my engine is running with no overheat issues? And if I'm changing my oil well ahead of the recommended change times, what are the odds? One of the reasons new cars run on 5wt oil is to reduce the friction wear alone caused by heavier grade of oil in engines built with high component tolerences, as well as the thickening of the oil you mentioned due to cold conditions. But there again how cold is cold ?

Lets agree to disagree. I don't think there are any right or wrong answers here. Just personal choice. I'm not in a situation where going Syn is going to improve anything for me. If I thought it did I would jump on it. But maybe a guy down the road from me might see it diffrently for himself.
:beer:
 

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Again I have appreciated the discussion here. My dad back in the 70's became a dealer for and started using Amsoil AMSOIL - Synthetic Oil, Motor and Engine Oil, Lubricants, Air Filters, Oil Filters and Greases. I remember the stuff was really expensive but the thing that they touted was better gas mileage,that the engine would last longer and the fact that you did not have to change it as often etc so in the long run it was suppose to save you money and time. Those were the things that I remember were suppose to be the selling points. Well he didn't sell that much of it so it only lasted a couple of years and he started using regular oil again.

My 2011 Sienna came with synthetic in it and that is what I have kept up with on their recommended change at 10k miles. The first 4 were free. I will be coming up on the 50k mile change here shortly. I will be finding out what it cost for an oil change. I am guessing at least twice of what a normal oil change would be.
 

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I use synthetic in everything. My logic is as follows:

1) Conventional oil has no advantages besides cost.
2) I can afford synthetic oil.
3) Synthetic oil thins less when heated.
4) Synthetic oil thickens less when cooled.
5) Synthetic oil cleans better.
6) Synthetic oil lasts longer.

How many more reasons do you need?
 
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