Oil change, synth or dino, when to change?
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This is a discussion on Oil change, synth or dino, when to change? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Greetings everyone, I have done very extensive research about the types of oil that are out there, the difference between ...

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    Oil change, synth or dino, when to change?

    Greetings everyone,

    I have done very extensive research about the types of oil that are out there, the difference between synth and dino, the viscosity, climate considerations, thickness etc. I understand there are certain rules of using them as well it is up to the driver to use its own kind - the preferred one.
    Here are the links I found on this forum (thank you they were very helpful):
    http://neptune.spacebears.com/cars/s.../oil-life.html
    http://www.nordicgroup.us/oil.htm
    http://members.rennlist.com/oil/Motor%20Oil%20101.htm
    http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...te_id/1#import
    http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...castrol+syntec

    I also need to admit, that this is my first post on this forum.... I will try my best to post more....but i guess this is a good beginning.

    I understand that this topic was brought up many times, but I really could find the answers I was looking for the past 3 days. Most of the replies are rather general than specific, that why I need to ask for everyone's opinion.

    I have a very general question about oil change and how it would affect the motor.
    Recently I bought 2004 WRX with 39000, everything stock no mods no nothing. Right now I am up to 44500 miles, I was using regular oil, changed it every 1500-2000 at the local subaru dealership (I would never go to them again since with the last oil change they didn't refill it completely, when I checked it was lower than the E mark).
    Recently I decided to switch to the M1 Synth oil 5W-30 with Mobil Extended Performance Oil Filter, supposedly it is one of the top quality brands for both (DUHHH). Before I switched Subaru Dealership used Agip dino 5W-30 oil.

    I am wandering if I haven't switched to late. Some say it is to late some people don't I guess there is not general rule for that?

    I guess there might be some drawbacks from switching back to dino oil, but obviously there are no negative reasons why to switch back?

    To support my point we can go back to research done by Paradise Garage "Synthetic Oil Life Study" and their findings about M1 Synth 5W-30 oil:
    Looks like they've tweaked the formula a bit since last time: boron is about a fourth of its previous value, and phosphorus and zinc are down about 25%. Nothing seems to have risen appreciably, though, which means they're putting less "stuff" in their oil -- or they're using something we're not testing.
    Here is a complete research they have done:
    http://neptune.spacebears.com/cars/stories/mobil1.html


    The owners manual states that you can use synth oil as long as it has the same GF-x category and is certified by API / SAE.
    The oil engine cap on mine WRX says GF-3 but as mentioned by NASIOC specialist GF-4 is backward compatible to GF-3 but not vice-versa:

    The categories are backwards-compatible with all previous categories, however they are not cross-compatible. For instance, GF-4 can be used in-lieu of GF-3, but GF-3 cannot be used when GF-4 is required.
    I am bringing it up since the oil I purchased at Strauss has been rated in GF-4 category, but according to whatever I have found I should be good with the oil I purchased?


    In addition according to NASIOC forum, all Subarus can use synth as long as Owners Manual says so, I guess this can be debated for hours:

    Clarifications:
    1) Synthetic oil can be safely used provided the viscosity and oil grade classifications as noted in the Owners Manual are used. The oil change interval noted in the maintenance schedule must still be adhered to.
    2) Severe Driving Conditions will require the oil change interval to be increased to 3,750 miles or 3.75 months. New for 2008: All turbocharged models are considered to be operated under severe driving conditions and require the oil interval of 3,750 miles or 3.75 months.
    So all the facts I brought up show, but not necessarily prove that synthetic oil is the right oil to use?

    Just to add more on to the question, NASIC forum moderator stated the following:
    Summary:

    * Use a GF4/SM oil if you have a 2006 or later Subaru
    * change your oil at 3750 miles
    * use synthetic if you want


    List of GF-4 (or SM) approved oils:
    Amsoil ASL High Performance 5w30
    Amsoil XLF Extended Life 5w30
    Castrol Syntec 5w30
    Mobil1 5w30
    Mobil1 Extended Performance 5w30
    Pennzoil Platinum 5w30
    Redline Synthetic 5w30
    Valvoline SynPower 5w30

    What is NOT GF-4 (or SM) approved?
    -Royal Purple
    -Motul
    So it seems that all of them are good choices although he is not encouraging to use synthetic oil?
    He is also saying that "Use a GF4/SM oil if you have a 2006 or later Subaru" - so this means older versions shouldn't use GF-4 only GF-3 or later opposing to the fact that GF-4 is backwards COMPATIBLE to GF-3?

    Also, I don't know if this is normal or not (since I never owned a Subaru before) when you start the engine an it warms up usually at 1.5k rpm, I can hear like a quiet knocking sound (can't really describe it). The sound is present only on low RPM usually up to 2k. Is this normal? The RPMs are stable, I haven't encouraged any issues while driving, but I am concerned about that sound. Any suggestions?

    To add more I haven't noticed any oil consumption while driving. I raced the engined few times while driving upstate New York on highways, so far only that was done only on Dino.
    I haven't have a change to to drive long runs on the M1, but I will post my results to keep the conversation open at least for a while.

    Really, I am very sorry for the post to be so extensively long. I just wanted to make my point and ask the right questions. I would appreciate the help of forum members and their feedback on the topic of "Oil change, synth or dino, when to change?".
    If anyone has a suggestion for me please let me know, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you ClubWRX Forum.

    Chris
    Last edited by r4kieta; 11-18-2007 at 07:28 PM.

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    DUB
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    What, exactly, is your question?


    Oh, and welcome to the club.

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    I am sorry if I haven't made it clear enough.
    These are my questions:
    I am wandering if I haven't switched to late. Some say it is to late some people don't I guess there is not general rule for that?
    I guess there might be some drawbacks from switching back to dino oil, but obviously there are no negative reasons why to switch back?
    I am bringing it up since the oil I purchased at Strauss has been rated in GF-4 category, but according to whatever I have found I should be good with the oil I purchased?
    ...not necessarily prove that synthetic oil is the right oil to use?
    ... this means older versions shouldn't use GF-4 only GF-3 or later opposing to the fact that GF-4 is backwards COMPATIBLE to GF-3?
    Also, I don't know if this is normal or not (since I never owned a Subaru before) when you start the engine an it warms up usually at 1.5k rpm, I can hear like a quiet knocking sound (can't really describe it). The sound is present only on low RPM usually up to 2k. Is this normal? The RPMs are stable, I haven't encouraged any issues while driving, but I am concerned about that sound. Any suggestions?
    Thank you again

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    Does anal retentive have a hyphen?
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    Still too many questions to comprehend at one time.

    Look, here it is. You are seriously over thinking this engine oil thing.

    1. Just make sure you purchase a grade that matches the specification dictated in the owners manual. Synth or dino, whatever floats your boat.

    2. You can switch back and forth between synth and dino as much as you want, it doesn't matter.

    3. Most people prefer synthetic oil for turbo cars because it withstands the extreme temperatures produced by the turbo better than dino oil.

    4. About your engine noise: Especially when cold, our boxer motors produce some strange noises (ticking, knocking and such). Your noise is most likely perfectly normal. However, if it worries you have it checked out by a certified mechanic.

    5. Lastly, you will probably get a better response from people when asking question on this site if you keep your posts down to 1 or 2 paragraphs. People don't like to read that much at once, especially without pictures.


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    Thank you for the answers you provided. In the future I will just keep it simple....

    Besides that I though that I can provide my own feedback on my questions.
    I wrote to the Subaru Of America and this is what they have wrote me back:|
    Enjoy and again thank you for your help.

    Thank you for your recent e-mail to Subaru of America, Inc. We appreciate you taking the time to contact us.

    The use of synthetic oil is the decision of each individual owner. Our Technical Services Department advised that if you do decide to use synthetic oil, that you always use it because your engine will become accustomed to it. The same goes if you decide to use 'regular' oil.

    We recommend that you first change the oil in your 2004 Impreza WRX at 7,500 miles or 7.5 months, whichever comes first. We STRONGLY recommend that you at least wait until the break-in period of 1,000 miles is surpassed.

    The break-in period of the engine requires that a given amount of friction exists between components. The piston rings need to rub against the cylinder wall to break-in or finely tune the machine mating between the two metal parts. To properly seat all mechanical components, a certain amount of friction is required between the metal parts. Since synthetic oil has a lower friction rating than regular oil, we recommend that Subaru owners wait until after the 1,000 mile break-in period to switch to synthetic engine oil.

    Synthetic engine oils can be used in our engines if the user follows the engine oil recommendations prescribed in the Owner's Manual. Subaru has not tested the compatibility of all synthetic oils with engine seals, but the petroleum industry does adhere to standards for the refining process which meet Subaru requirements. Subaru does not guarantee the performance of any brand of any engine oil.

    Engine Oil Guidelines: - only use engine oil that meets or exceeds the API classification designated in the Owner's Manual for the vehicle - only use engine oil that meets the VISCOSITY requirements for the ambient temperatures under which the vehicle will be operated as outlined in the Owner's Manual - THE ENGINE OIL MUST BE CHANGED AT THE INTERVALS SPECIFIED IN THE WARRANTY AND MAINTENANCE BOOKLET FOR THE VEHICLE. SOME SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERS RECOMMEND EXTENDED OIL CHANGE INTERVALS. SUBARU DOES NOT RECOMMEND ANY DEVIATION FROM THE SPECIFIED INTERVALS IN THE OWNER'S MANUAL.

    If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us again. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.

    Best wishes,
    Gina Holwell
    Subaru of America, Inc.
    Customer/Dealer Services
    Last edited by r4kieta; 11-19-2007 at 02:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by r4kieta View Post
    I have done very extensive research about the types of oil that are out there, the difference between synth and dino, the viscosity, climate considerations, thickness etc.

    Then you are ahead of the game. Most people know little else than marketing and old wives' tales.



    Recently I decided to switch to the M1 Synth oil 5W-30 with Mobil Extended Performance Oil Filter, supposedly it is one of the top quality brands for both (DUHHH). Before I switched Subaru Dealership used Agip dino 5W-30 oil.

    If there are any faulty seals or gaskets that are temporarily prevented from leaking due to accumulated crud, and you switch to an oil with a detergent package capable of clearing that crud, the seal or gasket may start to seep. There is only one way to find out. Keep in mind though that seeps occur even with synth oils, especially in areas like the valve cover gaskets and the seals on the motor front cover etc. Again, whether it happens to you or not is impossible to predict accurately, but the longer the car has been in use and the longer between oil changes on a regular oil, the more likely a gasket or seal has had enough. It's a lottery. No general rule.

    I guess there might be some drawbacks from switching back to dino oil, but obviously there are no negative reasons why to switch back?

    Cost. Do the math, see if you like the numbers.

    The oil engine cap on mine WRX says GF-3 but as mentioned by NASIOC specialist GF-4 is backward compatible to GF-3 but not vice-versa...
    So all the facts I brought up show, but not necessarily prove that synthetic oil is the right oil to use?

    It's hard to find a wrong oil if the viscosity and specs are correct. I use synth on two of my cars, a dino oil on the third, and whatever I can find on the fourth. There's more options than absolute cut-and-dry correct choices. Lots of stuff will work fine.

    He is also saying that "Use a GF4/SM oil if you have a 2006 or later Subaru" - so this means older versions shouldn't use GF-4 only GF-3 or later opposing to the fact that GF-4 is backwards COMPATIBLE to GF-3?

    It does not follow. He's only said what he's said; he's not said what he's not said. If you have a 06+ you have the silly screens in some of the galleys and you need to keep an idiotic, archaic 3750 mile change interval (welcome to the 1970s, Subaru...) to prevent coking and clogging. Non-AVCS, earlier motors aren't faced with this apparent limitation. Those owners are free to chose any oil that meets (GF3) or exceeds (GF4...) the requirements stated in their owner's manual. Since the manual was written when GF3 was current, that's all that's listed. As time goes on later formulations will appear that are backwards-compatible. Since these newer products are backwards-compatible, unless Subaru specifically says not to use them, they're fair game. In either case the GF4 stuff is now easier to find anyway so there's no point in focusing on GF3 only.

    The sound is present only on low RPM usually up to 2k. Is this normal? The RPMs are stable, I haven't encouraged any issues while driving, but I am concerned about that sound. Any suggestions?

    Search "piston slap." I've not learned to like it yet but it's there on my car too. Common. Not worried.

    I haven't have a change to to drive long runs on the M1, but I will post my results to keep the conversation open at least for a while.

    You may want to increase the frequency at which you check the level, since any new oil may have different use pattern than the old oil. Keep it topped up. Some motors sip a little of the thinner M1 formulae. Not a big deal in my view but it can happen so keep an eye out.
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    Getting Back to the post.

    Hello all members and guests, before I start I would like to wish Everyone Happy New Year....

    About the whole oil consumption, I have went New York Upstate About 200 miles driving non stop (both ways), I kept the car at about 70-120Mph (3000-5000Rpm) on 5th gear. I also did couple of high gear reductions 4000-5500RPM from 5th to 4th and 4th to 3rd gear when necessary.
    I also traveled 150 miles in total while being upstate.

    Just after I came to New York I had to add about 4/5 of 1qt (4/5 of bottle) of oil to keep it at the level before I went on the trip.

    My question is: IS that normal for our Engines to consume oil like that. (SUBARU WRX 2.0L 2004)
    Again While driving in the City since I have created the post I haven't noticed any oil level changes or any leaks. Engine is at 47000 and I use Mobil Sync 1 with mobil performance oil filter.

    P.S. Any one knows any good diagnostic tool for engine and peripherals, software etc?

    Thanks for all you help guys.

    Chris
    Last edited by r4kieta; 01-13-2008 at 07:52 PM.

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    About the oil consumption:

    I noticed my first change between dino and synth I used about 1/2 qt over 3000 miles. Since then I dont burn a drop. I have noticed that my car with OEM filter likes just about 5 qts. I put in 4.25 and crank it over a few times without starting it to fill the filter and prime the system. Then I start the car let it idle for 30 secs or so then top off.

    OT:

    Has your PCV valve ever been changed?
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    I've heard of our boxers consuming oil. Some people say its normal, but I disagree. Any engine that consumes excessive amounts of oil is compromised. I would have a compression test done. If compression is at a normal level (120+ I believe?) and within 10% of each other, you're all good.

    Feel free to correct me, I'm no professional mechanic.
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    In NEED of a Complete STI motor

    hey
    where do i find an STI motor i wanna swap it into a 86 subaru XT
    let me know email @ JSMeucci@gmail.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by krex View Post
    I've heard of our boxers consuming oil. Some people say its normal, but I disagree. Any engine that consumes excessive amounts of oil is compromised. I would have a compression test done. If compression is at a normal level (120+ I believe?) and within 10&#37; of each other, you're all good.

    Feel free to correct me, I'm no professional mechanic.
    Not entirely true. High performance engines are known to consume a little bit of oil. For example on the LS6 equipped corvettes, its perfectly normal for them to consume a qt of oil of the showroom floor between changes.

    On turbo'd vehicles "consume" is a bad term since it is assumed oil is "burnt" when the stick is checked and a low level is found. Unlike an NA motor there are many places for oil to be "consumed."

    The turbo, blow back into the boost system, bad PCV can dump it into the intake. For these reasons a "catch can" is a popular upgrade.
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    Guys, thank you so much for all the replies you have posted.
    I really appreciate all help from the forum members....

    I am coming back with some more information to get advise on.
    For some it might be silly, but please, be patient with me, i am worried about my rex.

    I have changed the oil 2340 miles ago, Mobil 1 Full Sync, Mobil 1 Performance Oil Filter, started at perfect level between low and high notch when draining and refiling it back. Today I am at the 2340 miles driven, I have already used/added more oil, to be exact one full bottle of Mobil 1 Full Sync to make it normal level. Is that $h1t normal???

    Past oil change 3000 miles, Mobil 1 Full Sync, Mobil 1 Performance Oil Filter, used bettween 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle no sure cuz cant remember. Is that normal again.

    My plan of action, doing Tuneup, changing spark plugs with NGK IX iridium 6418 p/n: BKR6EIX at standard gap .030", changing Fuel Filter, Air Filter, I guess there are no plug wires cuz the cap goes directly on them?.
    Another oil change to make the whole situation perfect Mobil 1 Full Sync with Mobil Performance Filter.

    Then after replacing these, doing an engine diagnostic test for pressure as suggested by krex (BIG THANKS TO REPLAY).

    Can bad PCV can be fixed? I will consider doing the "catch can" upgrade, just need more research on it.

    2004 WRX 52000 miles on it all stock parts, i haven't noticed any leaks by the way. Just right side of the engine, the cylinder cover gets little wet but doesn't spill anything. I try to post pictures tomorrow.

    Just on a side, I am changing all the engine belts, they look mad worn, but I guess that doesn't have to do anything with it.

    Thanks again, sorry for the long post.

    Last edited by r4kieta; 08-26-2008 at 08:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 06wrx4me View Post
    On turbo'd vehicles "consume" is a bad term since it is assumed oil is "burnt" when the stick is checked and a low level is found. Unlike an NA motor there are many places for oil to be "consumed."
    I think I misunderstand, lol. Are you simply stating the fact that turbo'd vehicles "burn" oil instead of "consume"?
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    Didn't mean to confuse anyone...
    I am just afraid that It consumes more than normal.

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