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Chronic Newbie!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What do you recommend??

Hi,
I have a Gravely 814 (Kohler k321, 14hp) & a Gravely 816 (Onan CCKA, 16 hp).
1) What engine oil does everyone recommend I use? The manual says SAE 30, but the Shop Manual Says 10w-30?

2) What oil should I use for the transmission? The manual says SAE 30 & the Shop manual says 10w-30?

3) does it really matter? I live on Long Island, so it gets cold, but not horribly, so does temp make a difference?

Thanks everyone.
 

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Re: What do you recommend??

Hi,
I have a Gravely 814 (Kohler k321, 14hp) & a Gravely 816 (Onan CCKA, 16 hp).
1) What engine oil does everyone recommend I use? The manual says SAE 30, but the Shop Manual Says 10w-30?

2) What oil should I use for the transmission? The manual says SAE 30 & the Shop manual says 10w-30?

3) does it really matter? I live on Long Island, so it gets cold, but not horribly, so does temp make a difference?

Thanks everyone.
First, are the tractors stored in a heated space?

There are differing opinions about what to use in the tranny, in fact there just recently was a spirited discussion on the yahoo boards regarding it. But first, are you going to be using the machines all winter, and trying to start them after they've been sitting out in below-freezing temps?
 

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Chronic Newbie!
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks.
I use one tractor (the 814-Kohler) all year round. The other one just in the summer. They are stored in a back shed, so it gets cold. I'd take them inside, but the wife says no. Last winter I had the 814, and I put 10w30 in the engine, and left SAE 30 in the tranny. The summer (and most of the year) I use SAE 30. I use it so rarely, and the oild stays so clean I'd like to change the oil once a year from now on, but I don't wanna hurt anything.
Thanks
 

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I Love All Color Tractors
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I thought that I read a little debate not too long ago about the multiweight oils not being able to withstand the shears inside of a gearbox.

Also, Don pointed out not long ago either that to make sure that the SAE 30 that is used in a gearbox does not contain sulphur.

Does anyone else remember the shear discussion?
 

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I've heard SAE30 in below-freezing temps can cause excessive crankcase pressure at start-up. And the gist of the multi-weight oil discussion was that recent multi-weight oils degrade too quickly in transmissions. I believe Chip (?) recommmended motorcycle oil or specific weights of synthetic. He did his research, that's for sure.
 

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I Love All Color Tractors
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That's what it was. Thanks for the reminder.

The consensus of that discussion was that the motorcycle multiweight oils had the proper additives to withstand the shear forces of the clutchs, therefor it could withstand the shear forces from a GT transmission.

Thanks again for the reminder. :fing32:
 

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After reading your posts, I went and read that oil discussion on the yahoo group. From what I can gather, the rule of thumb still applies. Use 30w in the transmission, and whatever you want in the engine. 10w30, 30w, 40w, 5w20, any kind of synthetic. Doesn't really seem to matter. I would not recommend running anything thinner than 10w30 in the summer and I wouldn't even bother using 5w20 in the winter. 30w is not likely to cause any trouble in any engine, but especially not in a 1 or 2 cylinder Kohler/Onan small engine that is probably being used less than 100 hours per year.
 

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After reading your posts, I went and read that oil discussion on the yahoo group. From what I can gather, the rule of thumb still applies. Use 30w in the transmission, and whatever you want in the engine. 10w30, 30w, 40w, 5w20, any kind of synthetic. Doesn't really seem to matter. I would not recommend running anything thinner than 10w30 in the summer and I wouldn't even bother using 5w20 in the winter. 30w is not likely to cause any trouble in any engine, but especially not in a 1 or 2 cylinder Kohler/Onan small engine that is probably being used less than 100 hours per year.
This is pretty much what I do - straight weight in the transmission and a multi-weight in the motor - works fine. :fing32: And of course, just about any oil made today is leaps and bounds above what was available when these tractors were brand new.
 

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I was getting ready to change the engine and tranny oil and happened to read the multi-weight discussion, coincidentally I then found Rotella SAE30 on sale at Advance Auto, so that is what is going in everything this season. If I had a machine sitting outside over the winter, I would probably use 10w-30 in the engine, as that's what Kohler recommended for below-freezing temps....
 

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Yeah, 10w30 is probably good for use in the winter, but if you can continue to buy just sae30, I wouldn't hesitate to go with that. The biggest thing is just taking the proper precautions in winter, which is mostly just common sense. Don't start it up at WOT and run it all the way out immediately. Keep the battery charged so it starts nice and easy, let it idle for a bit to get the oil moving, and then get to work. Interesting thing about the Kohlers (I assume the twin cylinders also) is that they are fundamentally designed to be run at wide open throttle for usage. Apparently, running them at mid-rpms or at idle consistently will heat them up a lot and significantly reduce engine life. Maybe that's common knowledge, but when I first found that out I was surprised.
 

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Yeah, 10w30 is probably good for use in the winter, but if you can continue to buy just sae30, I wouldn't hesitate to go with that. The biggest thing is just taking the proper precautions in winter, which is mostly just common sense. Don't start it up at WOT and run it all the way out immediately. Keep the battery charged so it starts nice and easy, let it idle for a bit to get the oil moving, and then get to work. Interesting thing about the Kohlers (I assume the twin cylinders also) is that they are fundamentally designed to be run at wide open throttle for usage. Apparently, running them at mid-rpms or at idle consistently will heat them up a lot and significantly reduce engine life. Maybe that's common knowledge, but when I first found that out I was surprised.
Yep, it is not a car it is not meant to be idled, and you don't use the throttle to acelerate. Think about a generator or a pressure washer, they are set to run a certain speed and that is it. It is not really wide open throttle, it is the factory setting for where it will work the best. It amazes me when I see people asking what throttle setting they use to do a task. The throttle should be set at full and chose the gear that will produce the speed you want. Ed
 

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Yep. That's the hard part about using a Gravely. I'll be honest and admit that I cheat on throttle a lot. Rotary plow, half throttle (for my own peace of mind -- full throttle in this rocky ground is not a good idea) -- plowing snow, half throttle. sickle bar, idle. etc. The biggest thing with a generator or a pressure washer is that they just won't work at anything but full throttle.
 

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Chronic Newbie!
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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, 10w30 is probably good for use in the winter, but if you can continue to buy just sae30, I wouldn't hesitate to go with that. The biggest thing is just taking the proper precautions in winter, which is mostly just common sense. Don't start it up at WOT and run it all the way out immediately. Keep the battery charged so it starts nice and easy, let it idle for a bit to get the oil moving, and then get to work. Interesting thing about the Kohlers (I assume the twin cylinders also) is that they are fundamentally designed to be run at wide open throttle for usage. Apparently, running them at mid-rpms or at idle consistently will heat them up a lot and significantly reduce engine life. Maybe that's common knowledge, but when I first found that out I was surprised.
Thanks for this info. For me this was not common knowledge. I will always be a "Chronic Newbie"
 

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Yep. That's the hard part about using a Gravely. I'll be honest and admit that I cheat on throttle a lot. Rotary plow, half throttle (for my own peace of mind -- full throttle in this rocky ground is not a good idea) -- plowing snow, half throttle. sickle bar, idle. etc. The biggest thing with a generator or a pressure washer is that they just won't work at anything but full throttle.
My point was that it is not really full throttle, it is what the engine is set to run at for a particular aplication. If it was really full throttle the engine would run away and blow up. It is an adjustable setting on most engines. The main thing you already pointed out is that air cooled engines aren't meant to run really slow or idle alot. Without the water cooling it they rely on the air flow from the fly wheel or in the case of motorcycles the air flow from driving.
 

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Yep. That's the hard part about using a Gravely. I'll be honest and admit that I cheat on throttle a lot. Rotary plow, half throttle (for my own peace of mind -- full throttle in this rocky ground is not a good idea) -- plowing snow, half throttle. sickle bar, idle. etc. The biggest thing with a generator or a pressure washer is that they just won't work at anything but full throttle.
Not quite true. Many gensets run at 1800 RPM when the engines are designed to run at 3600 RPM max. Throw away gensets run at higher speeds. The longest life out of an engine is normally in the 3/4 load/RPM area. Generac builds generators that run at 1800, 2300, 3000, and 3600 RPM.
 

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Are you talking loaded RPMs Don? I assume that while the Kohlers will run 3600 with no load, that under heavy load (like snowblowing) they are probably running more like 3k - 3200. Am I right on that?
Gravely set them at 3300 under no load governed. The change to the lower RPM came in the mid 80s. That held true up till about 2000. New engines like the Kohler Commands are set to run at 3750+/-50 no load and 3650+/-50 max under governed load. Lower throttle settings produce less heat that an engine has to get rid of but you give up some power. Most engines produce peak torque at around 2400 to 2700 RPM and are most fuel efficent at that point. There is an advantage to not having an engine at WOT in that the engine can still pick up a load and not lug where if it already is at peak RPM it can only bog down. My PM 20-G runs at 3200 no load but maintains 3200 under load too. And you do see/hear it load up.
 

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ENGINE OIL - Mobile-1 SYN. 10W30 here, in all Deere GT's + 4 stroke push mowers....

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