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#488141 - 04/04/06 09:20 AM 5W20 for snowblower?
bob_ninja Offline

Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 571
Loc: Ottawa, ON, Canada
I am reading yet another xW20 low viscosity debate. Then I realized this new lower viscosity may be perfect for the snowblower.
When I clear snow the highest temperature is about -10C (14F) and more typical is around -20C (4F). This past winter I used it only for half of the recommended OCI (mild winter). Most runs are about 15-20 min, then a short break.
Now the manual and manufacturer's site (Briggs&Stratton) have no recommendations below 5W30 which is for the +5..-30C (+40F..-22F) range (arrow points down and doesn't terminate at the low range end). I am thinking that since I never come even close to the high end of this range that 5W20 may be more suitable. Also as it has less viscosity improvers it would shear less, etc. Plus of course the improved startup wear protection.

What do you think? Is 5W20 good enough for small air cooled engine in winter (colder climates)? I assume that it doesn't appear on the manufacturer's docs simply because it is new and was rare in the past. Opinions.

P.S.: If the choice were between a 5W20 synth, a 5W20 dino and a 0W30 synth (such as GC), which one would you choose?

#488142 - 04/04/06 12:07 AM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
H20024.6L Offline

Registered: 02/10/03
Posts: 78
Loc: New Jersey
My snowblower manual says 5-30 dino or 0-30 synthetic. It is a 9hp Ariens with a Tecumseh engine. I used sync 5-30 in my last Tecumseh engine and it seemed to 'blow' it out the exhaust and I went back to dino. I have not tried syn on the new Ariens, but I think I will stick to 5-30 dino. If I were you I would stay with the dino 5-30.

#488143 - 04/04/06 05:54 AM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
Turk Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 9000
Loc: MN
Interesting, but when the engine warms up, and it does warm up, (touch and you'll know...) it will be at the 20 viscosity, not 30.

Tough call, call the Manufacturer !!!

#488144 - 04/04/06 08:12 PM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
bob_ninja Offline

Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 571
Loc: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Well that is the issue, being air cooled and perhaps operating at higher temps than liquid cooled. One argument is that W20s don't provide enoguh protection from higher temps and result in more wear. Another argument is that since they are thinner they flow faster/easier thus cooling the engine better than W30s.

I am confused????

#488145 - 04/10/06 01:09 AM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
JR Offline

Registered: 08/08/04
Posts: 1160
Loc: Michigan born but my heart bel...
I have a generator with a 4 horse B&S. The serial says it is a 1972 or 1976 can't remember right off hand. But on the air shroun it says to use a 30 wt in the summer and a 5W-20 in the winter. This is not the generator manufacturer requimendation, since the sticker is a has B&S written all over it. It was my dad's til He got a new one. I got it last fall and dumped the old nasty sludge called oil out. I dumped some 15W-40 in it and used it on a job and worked it hard. I put four hours on it and it did not use a drop, but turned it pitch black. So I dumped a few ounces out and put some diesel in the crank. I ran it for five minutes and dumped it. I ran a wash with the last of the 30wt I had in my garage. I dumped that out and put rotella t 10W-30 I had layin around. I ran that for close to 30 hours. I used the last of the 10W-30 on a second run that was about as long. After that I have used valvoline 5W-20. And can be happier. It starts so much easier and seem quietier.

#488146 - 04/10/06 06:35 AM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
80caprice Offline

Registered: 08/09/05
Posts: 194
Loc: N.C.
You've got to figure in, its a snowblower being used in the harsh cold. So not only will the oil pump easier, the cold air coming in will keep it much cooler then running it in the summer. Briggs did recommend 20 weights at one time, but I guess people just didn't agree so they backed off it.

#488147 - 04/10/06 07:49 PM Re: 5W20 for snowblower?
97 GTP Offline

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 865
Loc: LI, NY
My dad has a snow blower that's 30 years old and it has a sticker on it that says 5w20. For the amount of hours these things run, it really doesn't matter.