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Mechanically OCD
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I have several B&S engines, from an old 23A-B on my log splitter to a 10 HP Vanguard on my Cyclone Rake, and several on mowers, pumps, etc. B&S recommends 5W30 synthetic as the best overall oil, but when I questioned them on other - possibly superior - alternatives (like AMSOil 10W40 synthetic for hotter conditions, or 5W50 synthetic for overall extended durability), all I got for a response was, "10W40 or 5W50 is not recommended in the engines. Using these can cause damage to your engine. Please use only the recommended oils." That's a nothing answer.

Can anyone give me a cogent reason why these higher-rated oils would not be superior to B&S's recommended lubricants? I can't fathom what sort of "damage" would be caused.

I tend to look with suspicion on their recommendation; first, because it was only fairly recently that they admitted to the superiority of synthetics, and second, their unwillingness to factually back up their recommendation with a "why" in addition to a "what" is unconvincing.

Thanks.
 

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Rider on the Storm
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I have several B&S engines, from an old 23A-B on my log splitter to a 10 HP Vanguard on my Cyclone Rake, and several on mowers, pumps, etc. B&S recommends 5W30 synthetic as the best overall oil, but when I questioned them on other - possibly superior - alternatives (like AMSOil 10W40 synthetic for hotter conditions, or 5W50 synthetic for overall extended durability), all I got for a response was, "10W40 or 5W50 is not recommended in the engines. Using these can cause damage to your engine. Please use only the recommended oils." That's a nothing answer.

Can anyone give me a cogent reason why these higher-rated oils would not be superior to B&S's recommended lubricants? I can't fathom what sort of "damage" would be caused.

I tend to look with suspicion on their recommendation; first, because it was only fairly recently that they admitted to the superiority of synthetics, and second, their unwillingness to factually back up their recommendation with a "why" in addition to a "what" is unconvincing.

Thanks.
I can't comment on Briggs' motivations, only to say that I run Amsoil ASE 10W-30/SAE 30 in all my Briggs engines without issue. It's an exceptionally good oil. Use with confidence.

AMSOIL Formula 4-Stroke 10W-30/SAE 30 Small Engine Oil
 

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Not sure why you would even want to run 40 or 50 weight oil in a small engine, unless it's very well worn or souped up to the point that heat generation is a major issue causing the oil to run very thin.

On a normal pressure lubed small engine in reasonably good condition, the heavy weight oils will cause high lubrication pressures with the potential of blowing out seals. On splash lubed engines, there is a risk that heavy oil will not be able to flow into the bearing areas.

This makes me think of the guy who wants to debate your authority to tell him to duck, just before the swinging cable raps him upside the head.

B&S has engineers who do calculations and testing to find the best weight of lubricant for their engines. If you asked nicely, maybe they would supply you with their results. Understanding those results may stretch your comprehension abilities. I know that reading the technical information just on lubricants stretches mine into a pretzel, never mind the applications.

Sometimes it just makes sense to accept the word of the manufacturer.
 

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Funny though that now they finally recommend a full synthetic, they go with 5w-30. I think this is all about the cold weather items like snow blowers.
A 10w-30 or higher viscosity would be much more appropriate for engines that spec a 30w.
I always refer back to older Japanese motorcycles. Up to at least the 90s. They are very high performance engines and last a very long time. They have a huge allowance for oil weights.
The manual usually shows 10w-40, 20w-50, 10w-30, and often a uncommon U.S. weight like 15w-15.
Don't think I have seen any st30 ones but that's because they assume some people start them when cold out.
For those who only start motorcycle when above 60 out, 30w would most likely provide a less scuffed/worn engine on teardown.
Manufacture specs are the good enough to get by for all people in all conditions, but rarely the best for all/certain applications.
There is no way Briggs brand 30w oil is better for an engine than a high end synthetic 30 or 40 that has higher heat abilities, but it's overkill. Any failures are not going to be oil related anyway...unless it's lack of oil.
So many design flaws and quality control issues; oil is one thing they got right.
 

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You recieved the answer you did because you were talking to a CSR that had a scripted answer that was acceptable to Briggs' lawyers. I'd doubt you'll ever get more detail out of them unless you somehow get one of ther engineers in a conversation over a beer some night.

it could be as simple as synthetic does not outperform conventional in the wear categories that they are concerned about. Why spec a synthetic when a cheaper conventional will achieve the same result? There are two areas where synthetics consistently outperform conventional oils - Resistance to shearing and extended change intervals. They may not care about either of those.

I've seen enough used oil analysis to recognize that it's not the oil type that matters, it's that you do regular maintenance. that's what matters in engine life. I found this quote from a gm engineer interesting....

"Snider says it’s a waste of money to use costlier motor oil that meets GM’s tougher requirements in vehicles that don’t require it. “The best” is an inappropriate term, he says. “The best oil is that which the vehicle was designed to run on.”
 

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I have used Rotella 15w40 Diesel engine oil for years in Briggs and Kohler, the reason is I owned trucking company and that is what I used in my trucks, I have a 2004 yard machine with well over 500 hrs on Briggs 17.5 hp I/C series single cylinder that I'm going to transplant into a craftsman 3000 lawn tractor, I also use it in my 2013 Husqvarna zero turn with Kohler Courage V-twin, it has 85 hrs on it now.
I have never had any issues with using 15W40, the Rotella is a severe service oil.
I will keep using it because I have a 55 gal. Drum half full, I also use it in my Dodge pickup.
Mowers are changed at 50 hrs or once a year which ever comes first
 

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I have used Rotella 15w40 Diesel engine oil for years in Briggs and Kohler, the reason is I owned trucking company and that is what I used in my trucks, I have a 2004 yard machine with well over 500 hrs on Briggs 17.5 hp I/C series single cylinder that I'm going to transplant into a craftsman 3000 lawn tractor, I also use it in my 2013 Husqvarna zero turn with Kohler Courage V-twin, it has 85 hrs on it now.
I have never had any issues with using 15W40, the Rotella is a severe service oil.
I will keep using it because I have a 55 gal. Drum half full, I also use it in my Dodge pickup.
Mowers are changed at 50 hrs or once a year which ever comes first
All our small engines get T6 5W40, She'll makes an excellent product.

I did an oil change for a friend, put 5W30 syn in it, next change will probably move her over to T6 also.
 

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I have 30W high detergent in my summer gas powered equipment, that is what we always used in the shop. We firmly believed mower engines need the best protection they can get considering the severe operating conditions. The most important thing is regular changes rather than getting hung up on brand or weight. We reserve 5W30 for ambient temperatures below 40F when we are not cutting grass anyway, 10W30 in engines with hydraulic lifters such as the Kohler Command. I see no point going to 40 or 50 oils in a splash lubed air cooled unless oil consumption is an issue but the additives in so called racing oils may make the problem worse.
 

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Remember these are AIR cooled engines. Water cooled motors use different grades of oil.

Briggs says 30w or a syn 5w-30. Those are hugely different grades of oil. One is a 5 and the other a 30. I'd use the 5w-30 in a snow blower only in below freezing temps. Do you mow in below freezing temps? If not use the 30w above 50F and never worry about it.

Most American's think bigger is better. Always use heavier this or that. "Thinking" better protection with a 200w oil is what they need. When Briggs says use a simple 30w. I don't get it.

slomo
 

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What Briggs knows, and most people don't, is that 90% of the engine wear happens in the first 5 minutes of operation before the oil is up to temp. 0W oil is too thick at 100*F! It needs to warm up to about 150*F before it becomes usable. Never ever ever use 40 or 50 weight oils in an air cooled engine.

steve
 

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Briggs says 30w or a syn 5w-30. Those are hugely different grades of oil. One is a 5 and the other a 30.

slomo
They are different grades when cold, but they are the same grade when warm. You engine doesn't know the difference between the two when at operating temps. Now at start up, that's a different story.

The advantage the straight weight 30 has over the 5w30 is that it does not shear down. Multi-weight oils like the 5w30 use viscosity index improvers that shear down as the oil gets hours on it. Give it enough time and it will be a 5w20. You won't see that happen in the straight 30 weight to the same degree. That's a big positive for running straight weight oils, if your outside temperatures will allow it. Synthetics typically are more resistant to shear as well.

What Briggs knows, and most people don't, is that 90% of the engine wear happens in the first 5 minutes of operation before the oil is up to temp. 0W oil is too thick at 100*F! It needs to warm up to about 150*F before it becomes usable. Never ever ever use 40 or 50 weight oils in an air cooled engine.

steve
I agree on the startup wear, but I don't see how that correlates to not using a 40 grade multi-weight oil. I have Rotella T6 5w40 in my tractor because I do run it in the winter. On startup, that oil will act just like any other 5w30.
 

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Last I knew, B&S says to use the same change interval for sym. as Dino. so no advantage there. While in theory multivis. 5 or 10 - 30s are the same vis at operating temps. in practice they are not.

Walt Conner

PS: Note that B&S says you may experience higher oil consumption with syn. & multivis bolstering my above contentions.
 

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They also say they make quality engines...pfft.
A Vanguard V twin is a quality engine. Kohler makes a cheap line of engine as well as a quality line. Honda makes a cheap quality line of engine as well as good quality and I have heard that Kawasaki, the indisputable quality engine, is coming out with a "box store" quality engine. IF you want quality, you gotta pay for it but most people buy cheap and get it.

I have a neighbor who has been doing custom mowing with an Intek V twin for 6 years and not even had to adjust the valves much to my surprise. The secret is he takes meticulous care of his engine. I expect he changes oil & filter even before suggested. I am going to see if he has an hour meter, I'd like to know how many hours he has on it.

Walt Conner
 

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We could argue the point that Briggs "makes" the vanguard. . Lol
They do put their name on them so I guess. I just subconsciously forget to include them with other Briggs.
I like the L head push mower ones that the epa just made the stop producing. They hadn't cheapened the down enough to cause problems...except maybe for that plastic gas tank.
 
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