Too much oil consumption

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111
Location
Charlotte, NC
Thread starter
I never scrolled down on this site before and saw all of these other forums. Cool. Anyhow, I have an older (I don't even know what year, to be honest) Troy Built riding lawn mower with a 17.5 HP Briggs. It starts and runs great, no issues there. It burns a lot of oil though. It takes a full tank of gas to mow our lawn, I then have to add a quite a bit of oil too. I was always dreading rebuilding the thing (who has time?) and it dawned on me today; I wonder if there is a good additive that I could put in the oil to help slow down the consumption? I use the cheapest full synthetic high mileage oil that I can get at Wal-Mart; mainly just because it can be so darn hot here during the summer. 10W30. Back in the late 80's Restore was popular (I remember seeing the ads on TV with Neil Bonnet). Anyone have any success with anything?
 
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2,526
Location
wv
Rings are likely shot.. unless air filter is clogged that can cause a really rich burn. 20w50 conventional and keep an eye on the dipstick.
 
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6,421
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In the Garage...
How is your head gasket? Do you have smoke coming out of the fill hole? My 20 HP V-twin did, was using a lot of oil. Did the head gaskets, fixed it.
 
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118
Location
North East, U.S.
Have you tried a different synthetic brand? To me, it seems like the oil is not reaching 30 viscosity during operation, probably due to cheap additives or whatever used to achieve the higher viscosity, and so, the oil is burning off due to being at a lower viscosity when operating at high temperatures. Try Mobil 1 or some higher-end synthetic brand with the same weight of 10W-30.
 
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15,014
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Upper Midwest
Originally Posted by dinofish
Have you tried a different synthetic brand? To me, it seems like the oil is not reaching 30 viscosity during operation, probably due to cheap additives or whatever used to achieve the higher viscosity, and so, the oil is burning off due to being at a lower viscosity when operating at high temperatures. Try Mobil 1 or some higher-end synthetic brand with the same weight of 10W-30.
What do you mean by "reaching 30 viscosity during operation"? Prior to operating temperature the oil is at a much higher viscosity than any 30-grade. It doesn't "achieve" a higher viscosity, any oil always thins as it warms up.
 
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118
Location
North East, U.S.
Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by dinofish
Have you tried a different synthetic brand? To me, it seems like the oil is not reaching 30 viscosity during operation, probably due to cheap additives or whatever used to achieve the higher viscosity, and so, the oil is burning off due to being at a lower viscosity when operating at high temperatures. Try Mobil 1 or some higher-end synthetic brand with the same weight of 10W-30.
What do you mean by "reaching 30 viscosity during operation"? Prior to operating temperature the oil is at a much higher viscosity than any 30-grade. It doesn't "achieve" a higher viscosity, any oil always thins as it warms up.
MULTI-VISCOSITY OILS "Multi viscosity oils have polymers added to a light base (5W, 10W, 20W), which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it warms up. At cold temperatures the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up, the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C, the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot." Ok, so it won't thin as much. But I think it is thinning out more with Walmart synthetic oil, having it burn more. Also, when was the last time OP changed oil?
 
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5,986
Location
Connecticut
I'd bet money on it being the head gasket. It is a common problem on those single cylinder OHV Briggs engines, and the first sign is excessive oil consumption. I've done close to 100 of them for customers.
 
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15,014
Location
Upper Midwest
Originally Posted by dinofish
MULTI-VISCOSITY OILS "Multi viscosity oils have polymers added to a light base (5W, 10W, 20W), which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it warms up. At cold temperatures the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up, the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C, the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot." Ok, so it won't thin as much. But I think it is thinning out more with Walmart synthetic oil, having it burn more.
Well hopefully you learned something from that cut-and-paste.
 
Messages
118
Location
North East, U.S.
Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by dinofish
MULTI-VISCOSITY OILS "Multi viscosity oils have polymers added to a light base (5W, 10W, 20W), which prevent the oil from thinning as much as it warms up. At cold temperatures the polymers are coiled up and allow the oil to flow as their low numbers indicate. As the oil warms up, the polymers begin to unwind into long chains that prevent the oil from thinning as much as it normally would. The result is that at 100 degrees C, the oil has thinned only as much as the higher viscosity number indicates. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot." Ok, so it won't thin as much. But I think it is thinning out more with Walmart synthetic oil, having it burn more.
Well hopefully you learned something from that cut-and-paste.
Not really. I said what I said based on this. Nothing really has changed. I said in first post that oil probably has a lower viscosity at operating temperate, or, the technical term would be it 'thins' out less. I spoke of the same thing.
 
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1,050
Location
NC
Originally Posted by Lubener
Run 20w-50. No chemical in a can is going to put new metal where it has worn off. Restore is just a can of lead, it is just snake oil.
Copper, Silver, and Lead to be exact. It works, but gotta add some to every oil change. So 20w50 makes more sense financially. In my worn out mower Quiksilver 25w-40 did the trick with reducing oil consumption for about 5 years before the mower completely died.
 
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4,363
Location
Massachusetts
I have a 2003 Murray Select with your mowers little brother, the 13.5HP B&S I/C engine. I would do as Eddie suggested initially - make sure the crankcase is properly ventilated. I have other equipment and as such, my little Murray has seen mostly 15W40 with no consumption or other issues. Supertech 15W40 is fine and cheap and would work for you. Other things to try would be to pull and read the spark plug. Hopefully it's not oily. If it's not too bad, clean, adjust and keep on mowing. While the plug is out, it's easy to do a compression test. The testers are inexpensive and I think Walmart actually sells one. If not, Harbor Freight does. Can't hurt to take a few readings. Other than that, I'm going to go with Mike and Jeepman in regard to the head gasket. I don't think they are tough to do. Jeepman does them in his sleep. If you can't do it yourself, you're probably looking at dropping it off and having it done, which is cheaper than buying a new mower. Good Luck!
 
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4,363
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by dinofish
Not really. I said what I said based on this. Nothing really has changed. I said in first post that oil probably has a lower viscosity at operating temperate, or, the technical term would be it 'thins' out less. I spoke of the same thing.
no-no Mobil 1 and STHM 10W30 have virtually the same kinematic viscosity at 100*C.
 
Messages
118
Location
North East, U.S.
Originally Posted by Zaedock
Originally Posted by dinofish
Not really. I said what I said based on this. Nothing really has changed. I said in first post that oil probably has a lower viscosity at operating temperate, or, the technical term would be it 'thins' out less. I spoke of the same thing.
no-no Mobil 1 and STHM 10W30 have virtually the same kinematic viscosity at 100*C.
I don't know much about that, but I would first try changing the oil to a better brand. And if that is ruled out, then proceed to other steps.
 
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5,986
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Zaedock
Other than that, I'm going to go with Mike and Jeepman in regard to the head gasket. I don't think they are tough to do. Jeepman does them in his sleep. If you can't do it yourself, you're probably looking at dropping it off and having it done, which is cheaper than buying a new mower. Good Luck!
I've only seen 1 tractor that had a clogged breather, and it was a combination of it having the original engine oil in it, and a loose air filter which likely let junk into the intake system. The head gasket is easy to do with basic hand tools, and there are several videos online about how to do it. I charge customers an hour of labor. If you can change your own oil, you can replace this head gasket. Don't let shops take advantage of you and charge a huge amount of cash. The reason I've done so many is mainly new customers will call me to get a quote after they have called the local small engine shop that wants $300 for the job and a 2-3 month wait. shocked2 It's a bad design on Briggs and Stratton's part, there aren't any bolts on that side of the combustion chamber and the gasket blows in-between the valve area and the cylinder. OEM gaskets last the longest, but the sad part is there's no way to improve upon the design to prevent eventual failure again. The circled area is the failure point: [Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
 
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5,986
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by dinofish
Originally Posted by Zaedock
Originally Posted by dinofish
Not really. I said what I said based on this. Nothing really has changed. I said in first post that oil probably has a lower viscosity at operating temperate, or, the technical term would be it 'thins' out less. I spoke of the same thing.
no-no Mobil 1 and STHM 10W30 have virtually the same kinematic viscosity at 100*C.
I don't know much about that, but I would first try changing the oil to a better brand. And if that is ruled out, then proceed to other steps.
Oil brand will make zero difference since it is likely a mechanical problem. Never in my life have I seen a brand change decrease oil consumption on an engine. A viscosity change (say from a 5w30 to a 15w40 HDEO) might slow consumption, but changing from SuperTech to something like Mobil 1 won't do a thing, unfortunately.
 
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