Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea?
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    1. #1

      Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea?

      Hi there!

      We have a 1996 850 Turbo with an IPD ECU upgrade with about 200,000 miles. We change oil always at about 3,300 miles.

      Our new mechanic urged to change from dino oil (Pennzoil 10W-30) to synthetic.

      We have changed the rear main seal already once at 100,000 miles because of leaking and I am reluctant to change oil type in case the engine starts leaking again.

      What do you guys think? Should I switch to synthetic or just use the regular oil? If I switch, what weight should I use with the ECU upgrade? Is 10W-30 too thin? Thanks!

      2004 XC90 T6 - member of the Quarter Million Miler Club

    2. #2
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (kaitsu)

      REAL bad idea. Just keep on using dino oil and change every 3500 miles
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    3. #3

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (JRL)

      The question I have is,

      What would be the benefit of switching to synthetic?

      You've got 200k on the car with dino, stick with what works.


    4. #4

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (RussBert)

      At that car's age, I really don't think you're going to have any benefit by switching to synthetic. If the oil you're using now isn't giving you any problems, I'd stick with it. My 850 T-5R has around 148K (been running dino all the way) and I wouldn't even switch it at 50K less miles than yours.

      Like they said, if it works, stick with it...

      Stephen


    5. #5
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (ChambsT-5R)

      I'll disagree here. It can be an excellent idea, if approached correctly.

      Simply tossing synthetic into a high mileage crankcase is asking for trouble, mainly in the form of seal leaks developing from partial deposit removal. But if you take the time to first cleanse out the crankcase and the seals, you can successfully convert over with all the benefits that a full synthetic allows. I've done it repeatedly with no issues using Auto RX, a little known crankcase cleanser that works wonders. It will also clean out ringpacks, rejuvenate compression levels, and the engine should regain peak smoothness and efficiency. More information on ARX can be found at BITOG, where it is highly regarded and recommended by a very critical audience.

      Other than deep cleaning the seals above, you should remedy all gasketing seepage; a synthetic will only leak out faster.


    6. #6

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (sgmlaw)

      So what makes running the synth oil a "better idea"

      will it save money vs. dino oil?
      improve fuel mileage?
      extend the life of the car?


    7. #7
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (RussBert)

      On a turbo? It will absolutely extend the life of the engine and keep it cleaner internally down the road.

      Even more so where an ECM mod is involved.


    8. #8
      Senior Member JRL's Avatar
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (sgmlaw)

      Quote, originally posted by sgmlaw »
      I'll disagree here. It can be an excellent idea, if approached correctly.

      Simply tossing synthetic into a high mileage crankcase is asking for trouble, mainly in the form of seal leaks developing from partial deposit removal. But if you take the time to first cleanse out the crankcase and the seals, you can successfully convert over with all the benefits that a full synthetic allows. I've done it repeatedly with no issues using Auto RX, a little known crankcase cleanser that works wonders. It will also clean out ringpacks, rejuvenate compression levels, and the engine should regain peak smoothness and efficiency. More information on ARX can be found at BITOG, where it is highly regarded and recommended by a very critical audience.

      Other than deep cleaning the seals above, you should remedy all gasketing seepage; a synthetic will only leak out faster.


      If you go thru all that at 200K sure, but I think he meant just change the oil and then the answer would be no
      Email: jrl1194(at)aol.com
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      2006 XC70 White/Black 60K miles, new daily driver
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    9. #9
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (JRL)

      That's why I thought a little more discussion on the matter might add some options for the gentleman. The street wisdom on this particular topic is somewhat ill-informed at times.

      It's certainly a little added work and expense to do it right, but it can pay very gratifying dividends. A tight, leak-free, strong-running engine is a wonderful thing.

      It's up to him whether he wants to make the effort.


    10. #10

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (sgmlaw)

      That's a fascinating web site, but way too much stuff to sort through (and very technical).

      I have a '96 Turbo with just under 120K miles, and was going to switch to synth or partial synth. I always use synth, but it's been a while since I bought a car with this many miles on it.

      Should I NOT change (or use the partial instead of full)?

      Can you tell me why or why not (in a nutshell).

      Greatly appreciated,

      NM


    11. #11

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (kaitsu)

      I own a 1984 Nissan Maxima, where I have always changed Valvoline 10W30 every 2,500 miles. At 190K miles, I switched to Amsoil (Synth) 10W30. Now, 11K miles and 11 months later -- no leaks and no increase in oil consumption.

      I own a 1993 Honda Accord, where I have always changed Valvoline 10W30 every 3,000 miles. At 160K miles, I switched to Amsoil (Synth) 10W30. Now, 16K miles and 11 months later -- no leaks and a mild increase in oil consumption (need to add a quart after 3K miles).

      Both engines were fairly clean to start with. I did not use any crankcase cleansers. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Maxima is able to go 5K miles without the need to add a quart of oil between oil changes.

      What prompted the need to switch to synth? A change in driving habits. I went from driving about 1,000 miles per month to over 3K miles per month. I am too lazy to change my own oil every 3rd weekend.




      Modified by robert213 at 7:44 PM 9-21-2006


    12. #12

      One man's experience...

      I did the cold turkey switch from dino to synth on my V70 XC. At the time the XC had about 121k on it. Every one advises against it and I found out why first hand.

      That engine leaked like a sieve! I went about 2-3 weeks until I was about a quart low. I just kept up with it until the next oil change then went back to dino with a quart of Lucas. I may have those leaks still but now they're much slower. At the rate I'm going, I'll probably go through a quart/oil change.

      The only good I may have done is clean out the crankcase a little bit.


    13. #13
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      Re: One man's experience... (Beiner)

      Try the AutoRX and the leaks should go away. THEN you can go over to a full synthetic.

      While synthetics have better detergent properties than conventionals, they only partially clean the seals, often just enough to make them start leaking. No motor oil by itself can fully cleanse out a crankcase. They are designed to lubricate, not clean.


    14. #14
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (NyteMusic)

      Quote, originally posted by NyteMusic »
      That's a fascinating web site, but way too much stuff to sort through (and very technical).

      I have a '96 Turbo with just under 120K miles, and was going to switch to synth or partial synth. I always use synth, but it's been a while since I bought a car with this many miles on it.

      Should I NOT change (or use the partial instead of full)?

      Can you tell me why or why not (in a nutshell).

      Greatly appreciated,

      NM

      If the engine has no mechanical problems (and that includes torn or damaged seals), then a full syn is always a better oil choice for a turbocharged engine regardless of mileage.

      But you need clean seals before changing over, or you can develop significant leaks. That such leaks develop is evidence of the deposit buildups that occur, even in well-maintained engines. That is why a crankcase cleanser should be used first. ARX is highly regarded among "oil enthusiasts" and those in the lubrication industry for this purpose. It is what I use. I have no interest whatsoever in either the company or product. I just know from personal experience that it is very effective where safe, solvent-free deposit removal is needed.

      Once the engine has been cleaned out, and all other gasketing leaks addressed, you can make the change over with much higher confidence.


    15. #15

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (sgmlaw)

      Well - I just ordered a bottle of AutoRx. Had my oil changed yesterday, using dino (Quaker State High Mileage 10W30).

      I'll follow the instructions, probably do it twice as they recommend, then switch to either full synth or partial (my mechanic recommends the partial).

      Wish me luck!


    16. #16

      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (ChambsT-5R)

      Thanks for all the replies. I think I'll stay with regular oil for now.
      2004 XC90 T6 - member of the Quarter Million Miler Club

    17. #17
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      Re: Switch to synthetic oil at 200k - bad idea? (NyteMusic)

      Quote, originally posted by NyteMusic »
      Well - I just ordered a bottle of AutoRx. Had my oil changed yesterday, using dino (Quaker State High Mileage 10W30).

      I'll follow the instructions, probably do it twice as they recommend, then switch to either full synth or partial (my mechanic recommends the partial).

      Wish me luck!

      Good stuff that may surprise you. Works best with long, hot, highway drives. Check in after about 500-600 miles, as the ringpack cleaning becomes noticeable (sometimes VERY noticeable) around that mileage.