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Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing #5435074 05/21/20 12:31 PM
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JosephH1 Offline OP
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Hi, I have an oil burning 2017 Subaru Forester (2.5i, 82k miles, non turbo, on it's second short block, STILL burning 1 qt every 1,000 miles). I have tried a thicker oil (0w-40) and cut oil consumption by 50%. My question is what impact a thicker than spec oil may have on the variable valve timing components? I do not want ease one problem and cause a 2nd problem. Should I be worried about a heavier oil and VVT? I am considering switching to a High Mileage oil at this point. TIA!

Last edited by JosephH1; 05/21/20 12:37 PM.
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435091 05/21/20 12:53 PM
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bdcardinal Offline
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You are going to get answers all over the map for this one. My personal experience is it is very engine dependent. People say with Fords for example that you have to use 5W20 in the Coyote engines, but mine specs 5W50 with no internal differences including the part numbers for the TI-VCT components.


2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

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Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: bdcardinal] #5435095 05/21/20 12:57 PM
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thastinger Offline
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Originally Posted by bdcardinal
You are going to get answers all over the map for this one. My personal experience is it is very engine dependent. People say with Fords for example that you have to use 5W20 in the Coyote engines, but mine specs 5W50 with no internal differences including the part numbers for the TI-VCT components.


My 2013 GT500 also specs 5-50 but Shelby America techs told me that was only because people track and race the cars....its a bored out mod motor. I run 0-40 M1 Euro in it and have run 5-30 in the past as I don't race her.

Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435101 05/21/20 01:05 PM
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Miller88 Offline
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Originally Posted by JosephH1
Hi, I have an oil burning 2017 Subaru Forester (2.5i, 82k miles, non turbo, on it's second short block, STILL burning 1 qt every 1,000 miles). I have tried a thicker oil (0w-40) and cut oil consumption by 50%. My question is what impact a thicker than spec oil may have on the variable valve timing components? I do not want ease one problem and cause a 2nd problem. Should I be worried about a heavier oil and VVT? I am considering switching to a High Mileage oil at this point. TIA!



I may or may not have ran a 0w-40 through my 2018 with the same engine. Not because I'm having oil consumption, but because I got a bunch of it for $1 a quart. I did notice once the temperature started to cool off last fall, I started having some weird "chugging" at part throttle until the oil temp came up. As soon as I changed out to the recommended 0w-20 , it was fine again.

Of course, this is all hypothetical, because I always stick to the MFR recommendation while under warranty wink Also, because mine is a manual transmission, there may be different tuning to make it meet emissions.


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435111 05/21/20 01:19 PM
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supton Offline
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I'm sure there are engine models that care, and maybe a specific engine or two, but, motor viscosity changes quite a bit, from -40C up to 100C. [I realize oil gets hotter than that in the rings and such, but that oil gets a chance to cool before it gets to the valvetrain.] I suspect that your engine won't care--if anything, in some markets it may be listed as an acceptable oil in the owner's manual.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435119 05/21/20 01:35 PM
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Subaru says that you can run a 5w30 or 5w40 conventional if 0w20 synthetic is not available but you're supposed to use a 0w20 the next oil change, to me that translates to the engine will operate just fine with thicker oil but due to the fuel economy and emissions information we submitted to the government we can't tell you that you're allowed to use them all the time. Plus euro 0w40 runs on the very thin side, usually just over the minimum viscosity necessary to qualify as a 40, so it's more like a thick 30.

Last edited by blufeb95; 05/21/20 01:35 PM.
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435124 05/21/20 01:45 PM
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bdcardinal Offline
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Tossing warranty aside, you can also look up the oil recommendations for your same engine in a different country, say Australia, and see what that shows.


2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

Ford/Mazda Parts Counter
NRA Benefactor Member
Opinions expressed are my own.
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: Miller88] #5435130 05/21/20 01:51 PM
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JosephH1 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Miller88
Originally Posted by JosephH1
Hi, I have an oil burning 2017 Subaru Forester (2.5i, 82k miles, non turbo, on it's second short block, STILL burning 1 qt every 1,000 miles). A friend tried a thicker oil (0w-40) and cut oil consumption by 50%. My question is what impact a thicker than spec oil may have on the variable valve timing components? I do not want ease one problem and cause a 2nd problem. Should I be worried about a heavier oil and VVT? I am considering switching to a High Mileage oil at this point. TIA!



I may or may not have ran a 0w-40 through my 2018 with the same engine. Not because I'm having oil consumption, but because I got a bunch of it for $1 a quart. I did notice once the temperature started to cool off last fall, I started having some weird "chugging" at part throttle until the oil temp came up. As soon as I changed out to the recommended 0w-20 , it was fine again.

Of course, this is all hypothetical, because I always stick to the MFR recommendation while under warranty wink Also, because mine is a manual transmission, there may be different tuning to make it meet emissions.


I have the manual transmission as well. Of course this is hypothetical, as we all follow MFR recommendations during the warranty. Of course, I am not planning to eventually run anything radical, likely a high mileage oil in xw-30 or xw-40, maximum. Or maybe a low SAPS to try and save the converter.

Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435136 05/21/20 01:59 PM
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Miller88 Offline
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I, hypothetically, may be running a high mileage 5w-30 in it now. Trying different things now to eliminate the weird resonance/rattle that it has under light throttle at 2500RPM.


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435159 05/21/20 02:32 PM
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I don't have any logs to prove this on this laptop (RIP old lappy), but for my previous '08 STI I would see frequent AVCS fluctuations, even when the engine was only slightly warmed up. I used 5W-40 in that engine, which called for 5W-30. I believe that hydraulic oil is hydraulic oil and it doesn't take much to essentially slide an actuator for VVT operation.

As has been said, there may be some weirdo engine out there with super small orifices that cares about oil viscosity, but I just can't believe it.


14 Forester XT Touring FA20DIT (Cobb Stage 1)
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Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435186 05/21/20 03:06 PM
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It won't hurt a thing. The 0W20 is only spec'd to help them meet CAFE standards with no regard to engine longevity. That thin oil is why your on your second motor and now eating oil again.... put something else in it for gosh sakes!!! Subarus hate thin oil! I ran 40Wt in my 08 Legacy GT all the time and never once did I have any AVCS issues. The car was sold with 178k miles on the clock, original engine and barely used any oil.


Just say NO to thin oils and M1!
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Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: blufeb95] #5435260 05/21/20 04:41 PM
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wemay Online Happy
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Originally Posted by blufeb95
Subaru says that you can run a 5w30 or 5w40 conventional if 0w20 synthetic is not available but you're supposed to use a 0w20 the next oil change, to me that translates to the engine will operate just fine with thicker oil but due to the fuel economy and emissions information we submitted to the government we can't tell you that you're allowed to use them all the time. Plus euro 0w40 runs on the very thin side, usually just over the minimum viscosity necessary to qualify as a 40, so it's more like a thick 30.


A 40 is not a "thick 30" when it meets viscosity requirements of a 40 and not a 30. A 40 is a 40 and a 30 is a 30.


2019 Volkswagen Passat Wolfsburg TSI: M1 0W-20, PL21478 o.filter
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T: RGT 5W-30, OE o.filter
Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: wemay] #5435314 05/21/20 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by wemay
Originally Posted by blufeb95
Subaru says that you can run a 5w30 or 5w40 conventional if 0w20 synthetic is not available but you're supposed to use a 0w20 the next oil change, to me that translates to the engine will operate just fine with thicker oil but due to the fuel economy and emissions information we submitted to the government we can't tell you that you're allowed to use them all the time. Plus euro 0w40 runs on the very thin side, usually just over the minimum viscosity necessary to qualify as a 40, so it's more like a thick 30.


A 40 is not a "thick 30" when it meets viscosity requirements of a 40 and not a 30. A 40 is a 40 and a 30 is a 30.

Yeah, but what if it's more of a really super duper thicky 30 and less of a thin 40? laugh


1995 Corvette coupe LT1 6-speed
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Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: wemay] #5435316 05/21/20 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wemay
Originally Posted by blufeb95
Subaru says that you can run a 5w30 or 5w40 conventional if 0w20 synthetic is not available but you're supposed to use a 0w20 the next oil change, to me that translates to the engine will operate just fine with thicker oil but due to the fuel economy and emissions information we submitted to the government we can't tell you that you're allowed to use them all the time. Plus euro 0w40 runs on the very thin side, usually just over the minimum viscosity necessary to qualify as a 40, so it's more like a thick 30.


A 40 is not a "thick 30" when it meets viscosity requirements of a 40 and not a 30. A 40 is a 40 and a 30 is a 30.

Out of the bottle it's barely a 40 weight, given that it's a 0w40 it'll shear to a 30 pretty quickly, through out most of the OCI it'll be more like a thick 30.

Re: Thicker Oil and Variable Valve Timing [Re: JosephH1] #5435339 05/21/20 06:50 PM
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It doesn't matter to the engine VVT system one bit.


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