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I have a Kohler 14 HP in my Wheel Horse, circa 1984. At the time the engine oil specs were written, the API classification was SG, ( does that make you feel old? ) and the spec called for SAE 30 for use above 32 degrees F, and for 10W-30 below 32 degrees. Also, very few people were using synthetics in those days. I am pretty religious about using SAE 30, just because on hot days it gives me the assurance that the oil will hang in there for me.

I need an oil change, but I still have some more work to do outside, at times it may be below 32. I was thinking about using a full synthetic 10W-30 in place of SAE 30. I do not put my tractor "away" for the winter", I just leave gas in it treated with stabilizer, and then run it every two weeks or so just to get the fluids moving. So sometimes it gets pretty cold in the garage when I actually do need the lighter weight oil.

What do the people who are more informed than I am think about switching over to the synthetic 10W-30 for all around use particularly in the late fall? Thank you in advance.
 

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Just my thoughts on this but you have to realize that virtually all motor oils for internal combustion engines are designed around them being liquid cooled, as in a motor vehicle. A lawn tractor usually is air cooled, it is only when you get into the larger tractors that they have liquid cooling. That temperature is going to play a major part in the longevity of a synthetic formulation of an oil. The synthetic compounds will break down quicker at those higher temperatures. How much quicker is anyone's guess since they generally don't publish those test results.

Your method has worked well for you, why change it?
 

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Just my thoughts on this but you have to realize that virtually all motor oils for internal combustion engines are designed around them being liquid cooled, as in a motor vehicle. A lawn tractor usually is air cooled, it is only when you get into the larger tractors that they have liquid cooling. That temperature is going to play a major part in the longevity of a synthetic formulation of an oil. The synthetic compounds will break down quicker at those higher temperatures. How much quicker is anyone's guess since they generally don't publish those test results.

Your method has worked well for you, why change it?
Flaken: Is this true, that synthetic oils break down at high temps quicker than conventional oil? I did not know that, thank you. It is definitely an air cooled engine that I have, and in the heat of the summer, sometimes the engine block is too hot too touch.
 

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Flaken: Is this true, that synthetic oils break down at high temps quicker than conventional oil? I did not know that, thank you. It is definitely an air cooled engine that I have, and in the heat of the summer, sometimes the engine block is too hot too touch.
I don't agree with the comment that synthetics break down quicker than conventionals at high heat. I just did a quick google search, and found this.

"Conventional oils will tolerate engine oil sump temperatures of up to 250 to as much as 275 degrees F without difficulty. According to Quaker State engineer Mark Farner, oils like Quaker State's full synthetics can easily withstand sump temperatures in excess of 300 degrees. Farner says that synthetics, because of their molecular makeup, are better suited to withstand these temperatures."

Personally, I run Rotella 10-30 (or sometimes 15-40, depending on how I'm feeling in the fall when I do oil changes) in the tractor I use year round.
 

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Is it true? As I said, they were my thoughts. The base oil will likely still be there to lubricate things, but only a petroleum chemist would know about all the additives. They do not provide the info in the Technical Data Sheets (TDS) for heat performance. Not saying they don't work, just that I don't use them. I use straight SAE 30 year round here in northern Florida.

Touch is not a reliable or accurate method to sense heat. Place your hand on a motor vehicle engine block (liquid cooled) after it has run for an hour and tell me how hot it is? Even liquid cooled engines can and will be over 200° F.
 

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TWG1572, yes, I agree with that. But I notice that there is no time specification in the statement by the Quaker paid engineer. Does that mean it can handle sustained temperatures at 300° or greater? Or is it momentary?
I used the Rotella in the transmission, but it doesn't have heat there nor is it exposed to the soot particles from the engine.
 

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I learned a lesson with a 93 Ford Escort w/ 200k miles. In 2005, I changed from dino to full synthetic. 300 miles later, I had low oil pressure and looked underneath to see a drip from the rear seal every 5 secs. Now, I don't change old engines with old seals to synthetic. Maybe newer oils have better seal swellers but dino has worked fine this long. And I use straight SAE 30.
 

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Doug - That's the biggest issue I've heard with synthetics. I experienced that myself when I switched my Briggs Opposed Twin over to synthetic. I've been told that synthetics clean better than conventional, and that there was gunk plugging the leaky gasket that the synthetic cleaned out. Not sure if it's true or not, but seems like it could be a likely explanation.
 

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Doug - That's the biggest issue I've heard with synthetics. I experienced that myself when I switched my Briggs Opposed Twin over to synthetic. I've been told that synthetics clean better than conventional, and that there was gunk plugging the leaky gasket that the synthetic cleaned out. Not sure if it's true or not, but seems like it could be a likely explanation.
I had the same experience switching from one brand dino oil(Motorcraft) to a high detergent dino oil(Trop-Arctic). Switched back and my leaking stopped.
 

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I just leave gas in it treated with stabilizer, and then run it every two weeks or so just to get the fluids moving...
If you don't run it long enough to get it thoroughly warmed up, condensation will form and do more harm than good. Also, electric start will not likely bring the battery back to a full charge if it is just left to idle for a while.
 

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I had a 1995 Ford Countour with a 2.5 V6...
I sold it to a friend after I owned it 8+ years,and I had always used conventional SAE 5W-30 in it,which was what Ford says to use in it...engine ran perfectly ,quiet,no rattles or lifter noises on a cold start,even with 140,000 miles on it..

My friend decided to change the oil in it after a few months,and he put synthetic SAE 5W-30 in it..
After he started it back up,it made some scary noises until oil pressure built up,which isn't that uncommon after draining an engine out--but 3 or 4 miles up the road,it started making a horrible noise,coming from the timing cover area..:eek:

He went right back home,drained the synthetic oil out,dumped out the oil filter,and put some used SAE 20W-50 oil he had run for about 1000 miles in his truck back in it,and tried running it again--it went right back to sounding normal in a minute or so..
He then drove to a store and bought 5 quarts of conventional oil,after feeling the engine was going to survive OK..

He drove the car about a year after that with no issues,and changed the oil with conventional 10W-30 every 3000 miles,figuring the engine had high mileage and a little thicker oil wouldn't hurt anything..

All we can figure is the timing chain in that engine,which is about 3 feet long (DOHC),and has oil pressure fed tension devices,were not getting either enough pressure to keep the chain taught,or the nylon guides the chain rubs on were worn down and the synthetic oil lacked the viscosity to lube it well enough..at any rate the engine didn't like it!--we thought it was going to have a major malfunction,it sounded so bad!.

I do not use synthetic in any of my small engines or vehicles,my reasoning is if they have already been run on conventional oil for a long time,you won't see any real benefit from synthetics ,and possibly can loosen up any gunk in the engine and do more harm than good..it costs more too...now if I had a brand new vehicle,or piece of equipment that calls for synthetic from day one,I'd use it,but in anything else I wouldn't..

I have put synthetic in a hydrostatic John Deere transaxle (K46) in hopes it
ll extend its life span..but that's about it..
 

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I don’t over think this sort of stuff. Use what the manual says and send it. Always works for me, anyway...
 

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I don’t over think this sort of stuff. Use what the manual says and send it. Always works for me, anyway...
I feel like oil discussions are akin to political ones. When I got my first LT in 2000 with a 22HP B&S Vanguard I ran the factory oil in it for at least 2yrs/160hrs before changing it. Changed it to 30W and added whatever I had on hand when it was low--mix of 10-30 to 10-40, 30W etc, all dino oil. Only changed it when it was good and black, sometimes not for a couple years or so.

When I sold it 12yrs later it used a little oil but didn't smoke and ran great. I beat the snot out of that thing too, sometimes mowing 3ft tall field grass, hauled wood all winter after cutting dead trees. Keep em full of oil and give em more TLC than I did and they will serve you well.
 

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I just changed the oil in my Cub 129 ....which was made in 1973...bought new in 1973 with the 12HP Kohler... I asked a lot of questions and wound up using Rotella 30....I would have preferred a non- detergent straight 30 but could not find a good brand of it.....In my simplicity which is from the '90s and has a Briggs I use Mobil 1 5W/30 as recommended in this article put out by B&S https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/support/faqs/browse/mower-oil-type-and-capacity.html

Some guys disagree with the recommended oils......but I have to think that the maker of the engine has looked into it and has figured out what works best
 

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Modern oils made today, whether fossil or synthetic based, have much better additives in them than when your engine was made and the manufacturers recommendations were written in the book. A 10W-30 oil produced today will provide better lubrication, even in hot weather, than any 30 weight oil from 1984.
 

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Although this is a question I am now asking for my second year with the JD 318 and an oil change coming. Last winter I found myself starting and then blowing snow well below 0 deg F here in Minnesota. What to do then? I see all kinds of info regarding synthetics, 0 weights, 00 weights -and most of this I cannot disentangle. Probably just will ask the dealer today when I go get the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you don't run it long enough to get it thoroughly warmed up, condensation will form and do more harm than good. Also, electric start will not likely bring the battery back to a full charge if it is just left to idle for a while.
Aha, my good man. I appreciate your concern and the good tips. I have it on a battery tender, so it is at full charge 100% of the time. You read that right. 100% charge. I also run it for at least a half an hour and get it good and warmed up. Not afraid to go out and get some fresh gas once in a while. So, come April, and time to cut grass, that tractor is in fighting shape. No spring clean up on my tractor, she's ready to go. And mulch up the deer carcasses.
 

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I also feel today,s SAE 30,and other straight weight oil isn't as thick as it used to be back in the day..

I bought a 2 gallon jug of SAE 30 at Walmart,their own "Tech 2000" brand (probably made by one of the big oil companies for them like Quaker State,etc).

It has a "CF" rating which is listed as "obsolete" after 1993 for diesel use,but since my truck is an '82 ,it is still better quality oil than what they had back then (CC-CD rating) ,and is perfectly suitable for use in my engine..

Previously I'd been using 15W-40 oil year round,I was curious this summer to see if SAE 30,which is what is specified for this engine above 32 F,to see if it would make it run any differently or quieter...it did not,and it has about 10 psi less oil pressure when warmed up with this SAE 30,than it did with 15W-40...

When I put it in my 6.2 diesel GMC pickup,I noticed it poured like it was 10W-30 compared to what I had been used too in the past--SAE 30 used to be more like maple syrup or honey when you poured it in,now it seems as thin as any of the other multi-weight oils are..

Today's super low viscosity oils may provide equal or better protection as thicker "old style" oils,but some older engines with some wear can benefit from a thicker oil,at least in hot weather...my diesel doesn't like to start in the winter with 15W-40,and I am thinking the SAE 30 will be worse,so I am going to try putting 10W-30 diesel rated oil in it soon..

Perhaps they now make SAE 30 oil thinner purposely to prevent damage to newer engines that are designed for light multi-weight oils..you know people will buy whatever is cheaper and dump it in,regardless of what is supposed to be used..
It may "protect like SAE 30",but in reality I bet its viscosity is a lot thinner than it used to be maybe ?..
 

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I also feel today,s SAE 30,and other straight weight oil isn't as thick as it used to be back in the day..

I bought a 2 gallon jug of SAE 30 at Walmart,their own "Tech 2000" brand (probably made by one of the big oil companies for them like Quaker State,etc).

It has a "CF" rating which is listed as "obsolete" after 1993 for diesel use,but since my truck is an '82 ,it is still better quality oil than what they had back then (CC-CD rating) ,and is perfectly suitable for use in my engine..

Previously I'd been using 15W-40 oil year round,I was curious this summer to see if SAE 30,which is what is specified for this engine above 32 F,to see if it would make it run any differently or quieter...it did not,and it has about 10 psi less oil pressure when warmed up with this SAE 30,than it did with 15W-40...

When I put it in my 6.2 diesel GMC pickup,I noticed it poured like it was 10W-30 compared to what I had been used too in the past--SAE 30 used to be more like maple syrup or honey when you poured it in,now it seems as thin as any of the other multi-weight oils are..

Today's super low viscosity oils may provide equal or better protection as thicker "old style" oils,but some older engines with some wear can benefit from a thicker oil,at least in hot weather...my diesel doesn't like to start in the winter with 15W-40,and I am thinking the SAE 30 will be worse,so I am going to try putting 10W-30 diesel rated oil in it soon..

Perhaps they now make SAE 30 oil thinner purposely to prevent damage to newer engines that are designed for light multi-weight oils..you know people will buy whatever is cheaper and dump it in,regardless of what is supposed to be used..
It may "protect like SAE 30",but in reality I bet its viscosity is a lot thinner than it used to be maybe ?..
TH, think about those multi viscosity oils as "little number thickness when cold(15W) big number thickness when hot (40W).

That means when 15W-40 is hot it is thicker than SAE30 is when it is equally hot.

So your 15W-40 is 10W thicker when hot than SAE30. Rotella T6 5W-40 may be your answer to easy winter starts with good oil pressure when hot.
 

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Maybe they did change the SAE viscosity rating method? Or certain additives make it slicker? Like T-H, I recall in the 1970s - pushing the pointed spout into a real 30 wt oil can and leaving it upside down to drain for seemingly forever. New 1 qt bottles drain quickly.
 
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