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Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? #5336137 01/30/20 06:48 AM
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metroplex Offline OP
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The Ford GT (supercar) and a few of Ford's other performance vehicles are specified to use 5W-50 synthetic (The GT is specified to use Castrol Edge Supercar 5W-50 specifically in the owner's manual, but it meets a Ford specification). That got me thinking, so I looked up the VVT solenoids from the GT and they are common with Ford's other engines (2.3L, 3.5L, 5.0L, etc...) It seems to me that mechanically speaking, the 5W-50 synthetic would run in the majority of Ford's engine lineup. I remember Ford Australia's modular V8s (which were made in the US) being specified to use a 5W-50 synthetic while the same engines in the US were spec'd to use 5W-20.

The reason for me asking is that it looks like the internal water pump on the Duratec V6s (3.5/3.7) have a non-sealed bearing that relies on engine oil to lubricate the needle/ball bearings. Someone used a water jet to cut apart the failed water pumps and saw flat spots on these bearings. I'm thinking the bearings probably failed due to a lube issue, causing the shaft to overheat and destroy the shaft seal, causing the coolant to flow into the engine oil. Since the majority of these engines are running 5W-20 or 5W-30 as well as in police fleets with 50k water pump changes, maybe those oils aren't providing enough protection? There are lots of reports of timing chain "stretch" (basically wear) on these engines as well. I have a friend whose Explorer Sport (3.5L EcoBoost) with under 50k miles had to have the timing chains replaced due to "stretch".

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336142 01/30/20 06:58 AM
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I am not an oil scientist but if 5w20/30 is good enough for turbo bearings.. how would it not be good enough for water pump bearings?

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336148 01/30/20 07:08 AM
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thastinger Offline
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I'm kinda in the other camp. The trinity 5.8 in my 13 GT500 calls for 5-50 but I run 5-30 or 0-40 in it.
I spoke with Shelby America about this and they agreed that I didn't need a 50W oil if I wasn't racing the car, which I don't.

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336149 01/30/20 07:10 AM
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zeng Offline
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One is tens of thousand rpm, the other is below 6000 rpm .

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336160 01/30/20 07:32 AM
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metroplex Offline OP
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Bear with me.. The 3.5L EcoBoost in the early MKS/SHO (we're talking like 09-11) actually listed 5W-20 in the manual, but when the F-150 came out with EcoBoost, everything was suddenly changed to 5W-30. But timing chain "stretch" seems to be commonplace with the transverse 3.5/3.7 V6 that uses 5W-20, as well as the 3.5 EcoBoost which uses 5W-30. The internal water pump issue is also relegated to the 3.5/3.7 V6 on the transverse applications and is frequently replaced on the Police Interceptors (like every 50k miles or so) and is known to fail between 20k miles and 100k miles on civilian/POV applications. Seeing how the pump bearings are not sealed and use engine oil for lubrication just has me wondering if 5W-30 is too thin for this particular application. The pickup trucks/Mustangs all use external water pumps, as do the car/SUVs that run the 2.7/3.0 EcoBoost V6 (which is 99% the same as the truck 2.7 anyhow).

Last edited by metroplex; 01/30/20 07:33 AM.
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336165 01/30/20 07:43 AM
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ford46guy Offline
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I got an oil change at a Ford dealer for the DOHC Lincoln and the tech said to use 5w50 in there. He said that is exactly what goes in his 03 Mach 1.
He said you get the cold startup protection and ultimate protection when you drive it hard. His opinion is that oils are speced more for driving style.


95 Tbird V8 240K PP SYNTH ULTRA 5W30
98 MGM 160K M1 HM 5W20
96 Explorer EB V6 159K PP SYNTH HM 5W30
95 Conti 155K MC 5W20
11 GS350 90K PP HM 5W30
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336167 01/30/20 07:45 AM
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Chris142 Online Content
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A roller bearing does not require much in the way of lube. Japanese motorcycles both 2 and 4 stroke have been using them on crankshafts since forever with very few failures.

I am going to guess that the problems ypu talk about are a quality control problem. Not a lube problem and no special oil is going to fix that.


02 Wrangler Napa high milage 10w40
87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am Maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor Chevron sae30
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: Chris142] #5336173 01/30/20 07:52 AM
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metroplex Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Chris142
A roller bearing does not require much in the way of lube. Japanese motorcycles both 2 and 4 stroke have been using them on crankshafts since forever with very few failures.

I am going to guess that the problems ypu talk about are a quality control problem. Not a lube problem and no special oil is going to fix that.


But wouldn't the crankshaft on the motorcycles be lubricated all the time? The timing chain driven internal pump could be a quality control problem, but it doesn't get a direct feed of oil from what I can tell. Maybe the chains are just slathering the oil around and it gets into the shaft. This is widespread enough to affect pretty much a lot of 07-19 models and is about $2000 to replace at the dealership.

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336193 01/30/20 08:16 AM
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ARCOgraphite Offline
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This is likely a design or common with Ford, a materials qc issue. This industry will rely heavily on the supplier quality assurance - there is no way with JIT with these number of assemblies/parts to perform a meaningful iQC on them. A historically high failure should trigger more aggressive sampling; regrettably shipping and meeting the forecast target is Über Alles in manufacturing.


2019 VW Jetta S 6MT OCI#2 7378mi-MOTUL Specific VW508.00+VW Service Filter; '17 Subaru Crosstrek CVT OC#8 60864mi-Subaru Idemitsu 0W20 + SOA Filter
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336201 01/30/20 08:28 AM
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nascarnation Offline
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I can't imagine the 5W50 would be a problem, so go ahead and run it if you think it's better.
At worst you might get a very hard to measure loss of fuel econ.

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336211 01/30/20 08:34 AM
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Our 08 Ford Edge with the 3.5 and we have run 15w-40 HDEO oil in it since it has been new. 235,000 miles on it and the first water pump has finally went out. Had the Ford dealer install new pump and he suggested that we put in new timing chains but they were not that bad. He couldn't believe it lasted that long and how good everything was inside the motor. I am not a believer in this thin oil thing. We have a lot of diesel engines here on our farms and they all live in a lot tougher environment than these engines just idling down the highway. If its good for them it sure is good for these little car engines.

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: rideahorse] #5336219 01/30/20 08:41 AM
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metroplex Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rideahorse
Our 08 Ford Edge with the 3.5 and we have run 15w-40 HDEO oil in it since it has been new. 235,000 miles on it and the first water pump has finally went out. Had the Ford dealer install new pump and he suggested that we put in new timing chains but they were not that bad. He couldn't believe it lasted that long and how good everything was inside the motor. I am not a believer in this thin oil thing. We have a lot of diesel engines here on our farms and they all live in a lot tougher environment than these engines just idling down the highway. If its good for them it sure is good for these little car engines.


Wow, that is impressive!!

Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336225 01/30/20 08:52 AM
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Chris142 Online Content
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Originally Posted by metroplex
Originally Posted by Chris142
A roller bearing does not require much in the way of lube. Japanese motorcycles both 2 and 4 stroke have been using them on crankshafts since forever with very few failures.

I am going to guess that the problems ypu talk about are a quality control problem. Not a lube problem and no special oil is going to fix that.


But wouldn't the crankshaft on the motorcycles be lubricated all the time? The timing chain driven internal pump could be a quality control problem, but it doesn't get a direct feed of oil from what I can tell. Maybe the chains are just slathering the oil around and it gets into the shaft. This is widespread enough to affect pretty much a lot of 07-19 models and is about $2000 to replace at the dealership.
look at it like this. A 2 stroke running a 50:1 or even 100:1 ratio is enough lube to keep those bearings happy. Any amount of slather from a chain or whatever is more than a 2 stroke crank gets.

Last edited by Chris142; 01/30/20 08:54 AM.

02 Wrangler Napa high milage 10w40
87 F250 Valvoline 15w40
07 fjcruiser Car lube plus 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am Maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor Chevron sae30
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336244 01/30/20 09:09 AM
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tcp71 Offline
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Some of the timing chain wear may be attributed to soot accumulation from the DI combustion process in these engines. Thicker oil may provide a wider mechanical separation of metal links in the chain, keeping the soot particles from wearing the metal. shorter OCIs may reduce the amount of these abrasive particles as well.


2016 F150 Eco: Edge 0w40
2005 Sienna 3.3: PP 5w30 syn. (varies)
Re: Running 5W-50 in Ford engines instead of 5W-20 / 5W-30? [Re: metroplex] #5336286 01/30/20 09:51 AM
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Most of the time reports Ive seen show the motorcraft 5w-50 sheers down to a 40 weight pretty quickly anyways.

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