Using thicker oil in new vehicles

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7,485
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S California
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Just talked with the owner of a disabled passenger transportation company. He uses Ford vans rigged up with wheel chair lifts, seats and other equipment needed for the job. These vans are spec'd for 5w-20 oil but on the first oil change he switches them to Mobil 1 15w-50 oil and Mobil 1 oil filters and changes the oil based on experience with UOA's and past maintenance experience, usually at 10-12K miles with the filter done every other change. His vans usually see between 60 to 75K miles a year driven 2 shifts a day, 7 days a week. He runs them until maintenance expenses start to rise, usually at 400 to 600K miles. He does his own maintenance for most stuff and maintains a yard with crashed or worn out vans for parts and does maintenance for a couple of other operations that use these same vans in their business. He previously used 5w-20 and it worked well for the first 100K miles or so, but after that wear increased to the point where he stated looking for a solution. This increased wear problem was not experienced when he switched to the higher viscosity oil of the same brand of Mobil 1 oil right from the start. I know this is not typical passenger car wear and tear but I though it was at least interesting. Because these vehicles are driven by drivers often times in a bit of a hurry to get to calls with engines left idling to keep the a/c or heater going he said he could not pin down any fuel mileage differences. He also stated that he's never used "high mileage" oil. He knows the theory but has never felt the need to try it. He said his next move to improve maintenance is going to be trying changing the oil based on the amount of fuel used instead of mileage. He thinks that idle time and terrible mileage in rush hour traffic should be considered when it comes time to change the oil. Since all gasoline is purchased from dedicated credit cards and often from the gas station down the street this will be an easy scheme to implement.
 
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4,263
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Port Orange, Florida
Originally Posted By: blupupher
Just hook up an hour meter to the engine and change based on that vs mileage.
Why? This method is working well. 400-600k miles, definitely working. I see the same thing. I said about the guy at work with a 05 Ford F-150 over 300 k on 20w50. That truck idles all day too. I think this guy found a niche that works for him. I think oil filter every other oil change is insane with that severe service. I find no fault in heavy oil or changing his current intervals. You have to realize this is a bussiness and you won't to look at cost. Less oil changes, less money out.
 
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17,302
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OH
His experience doesn't mirror that of other fleet operators of vehicles using the Ford Mod engine. Most use 5W-20 from cradle to grave with no problems and most don't bother with UOAs, VOAs or any other As. They just run the engines on 5W-20, change the oil as recommended and also rack up 400K-600K in service. My personal best ride was in a Crown Vic cab, an actual new delivery cab, with 625K on its original 4.6, all on 5W-20 conventional. The matured generations of these engines seem to run about forever without regard to oil or grade used.
 

CT8

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15,408
Location
Idaho
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
His experience doesn't mirror that of other fleet operators of vehicles using the Ford Mod engine. Most use 5W-20 from cradle to grave with no problems and most don't bother with UOAs, VOAs or any other As. They just run the engines on 5W-20, change the oil as recommended and also rack up 400K-600K in service. My personal best ride was in a Crown Vic cab, an actual new delivery cab, with 625K on its original 4.6, all on 5W-20 conventional. The matured generations of these engines seem to run about forever without regard to oil or grade used.
This is BITOG every one on board knows engines won't live over 53,000 miles with out running syn oil at 5,000 mile oil change intervals and a uoa every 2,500 miles to see the trending. grin grin grin
 

Y_K

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2,755
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WA (USA)
Doesn't mirror my personal experience on Ford mod v8 in taxi or towncar application: haven't seen a single on 20 oil past 300k with no smoke. Similar story on Siennas: none survived past 250k on the thin oil (M1 or Amsoil). How can one stand all that racket the 5W-20 makes in the Ford mod v8? When you drive anything professionally for that many miles you hear every tiny hickup, let alone the unbearable bang the MC 5W-20 would make on the warranty fills. We would Mytivac it immediately..
 
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1,701
Location
'murica
The Modular engine family is legendarily reliable and very notably NOT picky about viscosity. There's an interesting analysis on the Motor Oil University section of this site.
 

CKN

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5,449
Location
Utah
Originally Posted By: CT8
There is a misconception about thin oil on BITOG.
Among many other things......
 
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6,674
Location
Katy, Republic of Texas
Originally Posted By: Panzerman
Originally Posted By: blupupher
Just hook up an hour meter to the engine and change based on that vs mileage.
Why? This method is working well. ...
because
Quote:
...He said his next move to improve maintenance is going to be trying changing the oil based on the amount of fuel used instead of mileage. He thinks that idle time and terrible mileage in rush hour traffic should be considered when it comes time to change the oil...
Fuel used is very similar time engine running (when compared to just miles total driven), and easier to keep track of. A $10 hour meter on each vehicle is a lot easier to check than going through fill up records IMO.
 
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509
Location
VA
I'm still running a 2011 Crown Vic PI as my department issued car. It idles a lot and gets run pretty hard at times. Our shop changes the oil every 3,000 miles and runs bulk Shell 15W-40 in them. We usually auction the cars off at around 150k but the engines are still running pretty strong. The transmissions and rear ends can be a different story though.
 
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8,793
Location
Houston, TX
This did not mirror my experience (increased wear after 100K) either, I UOA'ed every OCI and did not see a problem using xW-20 oils. I towed 8-9000 pounds in heat up to 117F for 45% of the 160K miles I put on my 2010. I would consider this harsher duty than a vehicle that is constantly ran.
 
in Southern California the 15w50 is probably not hurting anything, the 15w50 is an excellent oil, i have read tons of people on BITOG saying that that's all they used in their engines and they lasted forever, some taxis that were run for over 500k miles on it and still ran perfectly, but since it's specced for 5w20 i would probably rather run something like M1 5w30 HM or Rotella 5w40 the 15w50 is probably causing worse fuel econmy too
 
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1,755
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
What works well for somebody might not for someone else. Senior Techs E350 with the 5.4 at work has over 270K running nothing but Motorcraft Blend 5w20 and MC 820S filters at the dealer since 2006. Religiously serviced at 5K. It's 10K plus in weight, and the original drivers were not easy on it. It uses some oil, but with the terrain around here that's normal. The engine is going to outlast the Knapheide body; it's getting crispy.
 
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6,773
Location
Fort Lauderdale, FL
One needs to keep in mind that we are talking about a different animal than the 4.6's found in the Vics. The 5.4's have a well-documented nasty little problem that can rear it's ugly head with the oil pumps in these engines. The oil pumps have aluminum backing plates that can deflect at high oil flow and temperatures, causing oil to unintentionally bypass out of the pump body, sending oil pressure tumbling. Most engine rebuilders will use a Melling oil pump with an iron backing plate to prevent the bypass of oil. What happens when this occurs? The phasers will not return to idle setting under some (or all) situations, causing the engine to run like garbage, and make some seriously bad noises. I recently spoke to a man in the UK who has a fleet of 6 Lincoln Navigators he uses for black-car service, and exactly all of them had oil pressure issues. Ford USA advised him to change out his oil pumps for a high-volume Ford pump they gave him part numbers for. I advised him to do something well-known to many Ford dealers already: Change his engine oil to a 15w-40, or nearest equivalent. Since doing that, he reports his engines running a lot better, and no more oil pressure issues. I now run M1 0w-40 to eliminate the part-throttle rattling of my phasers. My wear numbers have improved. I'm down to 21ppm of iron over my last 11k mile OCI. When I went to wipe off my magnetic drain plug, there was almost literally nothing on it. Usually, there is at least a little bit of a coat of stuff on it. I can't complain about 5W-20 though. I only ever had problems with it before I installed an oil cooler. Using conventional 5W-20 over a 10k OCI, I got wear numbers equivalent to a 5k OCI with your average 5.4 3V. Doing service based on fuel burned is a very common practice in fleet maintenance, and a pretty good idea. Since he is keeping track of fuel usage anyway, he shouldn't have any issues. Doing double OCI's on a filter with severe service is no big deal for these engines. I beat the tar out of mine on a very regular basis doing this, and no problems.
 
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