Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

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Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:08 pm

I have been looking for an excuse to start running Mobil 1 synthetic oil in my old Buick engine. It has nearly 20 years, but less than 5,000 miles on a complete rebuild. Its main challenge is that it sits more than it runs. Dry starts are a major concern as is the lack of zinc in modern oils for the flat-tappet camshaft. I have recently discovered that Mobil 1 offers an oil for "High Mileage Engines" in 10W40 grade,containing sufficient zinc for flat tappets. It carries both the CI-4 and SL classifications, again good for flat tappet engines. My main concern with using synthetic oil in that old Buick V-8 is leaking. Those things just love to throw oil all over themselves. Will synthetic oil cause it to leak worse? There is allegedly an additive in High Mileage Mobil 1 to prevent leaks. I know a few of you guys have older vehicles, and I would be interested in your input on this.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:13 pm

I have used the oil in question. The leak preventative additive is supposed to swell seals. For my vehicle the benefit wasn't too great. It reduced the amount of leakage slightly and I found that it leaked a bit worse than originally when I used Mobil 1 without the additive afterwards ( I had everything ready for the oil change but they were out of the high mileage. One good thing about synthetic is it has just enough of an affinity for rubber that it will help keep it lithe and rubbery. other than that, in older engines when just using Mobil 1 It should leak at the same rate as fossil oil.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Ragwire on Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:41 pm

I have found M-1 to leak more, but I have not tried the one you are planning to use. Generally I stay away from Mobil 1 products and use Valvoline full synthetic because of the high iron counts in most of the used oil analyses that I have seen from Mobil 1 and the very low counts from Valvoline. It may be nothing, but high iron usually indicates additional top end wear. Again though, this is not specific to the high ZDDP product you are planning to use. My engine (a 2012 Nissan Frontier 4.0) uses flat tappets, but they are designed for more modern oils. It actually takes a pretty aggressive cam and a lot of pressure to wear with--even the newer SN oils.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:12 pm

I will likely change the old Buick over to Mobil 1. I have been using Shell Rotella-T diesel oil up to now, but that stuff is harder to find in the big city. I can get it at some parts stores, but it is almost as high as Mobil 1. I run Mobil 1 in most everything else I own, including small engines on lawn equipment, and have been well satisfied. I saw this High Mileage Mobil 1 and it has zinc for the upper end, for whatever that is worth. I feel it will give an advantage with dry starts, which this engine gets every year after sitting all summer. This engine tends to have clattery lifters after it has sat for a time, and that bugs me. Perhaps Mobil 1 will quiet those lifters. Thanks, everybody for your input.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:54 pm

I know Sam's usually carries rotella, I used to get it for my Olds Toronado with the 5.7N. I would imagine if there is benefit to a zinc additive there would be an additive with mainly that at the parts store. The other thing I like about both M1 and Rotella is that they seem to run cleaner. My boss used to run the heck out of an olds sedan and wagon, each with diesel engines and when they needed teardown, the innards looked like they had been stored in a barrel of used oil with no deposits nor solids whatsoever. The oil will become dirty, but these engines didn't have the look that about 5 or 6 big ashtrays were emptied in them. My '85 Bronco II in which I religiously used Pennzoil had the ashtray look.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Guest on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:00 pm

I have experienced leaks with the original Moble 1. When I purchased a brand new 1976 F250, I tried moble 1. It leaked in a brand new truck!

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:18 pm

A number of lubricants lay claim to being able to inhibit leaking.  I have seen two fluids that will swell rubber seals and cause no adverse reactions to the rubber.  The first is jet fuel.  I had a HT 1000 radio that had been dropped in a container of it.  it had seals that were maybe a little larger than 1/8" in diameter when I opened the radio out sprung the seal at nearly 1/2" in diameter I lay it on a paper towel in the open air and it was back to normal in 2 days.  The other is Super Lube grease.  It will swell a rubber seal to at least twice its size and it will stay that way much longer, til the rubber consumes it to the degree it goes back to near dry.  Swelling the seal is a mixed blessing as the tightened seal will wear overly fast and fail sooner.  Such things should, in my opinion be only used for static seals.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:39 pm

I have heard of experiences like those of MR MEZ, hence my question. I have used Mobil 1 in lawn mowers, always from their first oil change, the wife's Tahoe, from about 25,000 miles, and my old Pontiac, from about 120,000 miles. I have not experienced any leakage to speak of. Nothing in automotive use. The valve cover gaskets like to leak on Briggs Intek engines, but I am not sure if that is from synthetic oil or is just the nature of the beast. I make a good set of cork gaskets and the leaks stop. I hesitate to put it on my old tractor that leaks some anyway, the truck with a 454 for whatever reason (chicken?) or the Buick due to the potential for leaks. I don't have any leaks now, and don't want any. I am trying to eliminate potential problems from dry starts and to attempt to quiet a traditionally sticky set of hydraulic lifters. I don't like listening to that banging and clattering when I start the engine after it has sat all summer. The reason I would consider "High Mileage" oil is for the zinc package and the SL classification. Whether or not that makes a real difference, I have no idea. Just err on the side of caution, I guess.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Dr. Radio on Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:46 pm

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2012/10/18/tech-101-zinc-in-oil-and-its-effects-on-older-engines/


There's the chart link at the end of this write up:

http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Car_Care/AskMobil/Zinc_Motor_Oils.aspx


PPM's, phosphorus content. Makes my head spin.

I don't know what to tell you. If you find a good answer involving Mobil 1 synthetic with plenty of ZPPD, let me know.

The '70 sits so much it ain't even funny. I switched to Mobil 1 full synthetic 10w-30 in the early 2000's. It leaks no more then a car that sits so much it ain't even funny with traditional oil. I've worried about the zinc thing, but you need a car with a dash to drive it around first before worrying about such things.... Sad
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:07 pm

I have read technical articles, and they make no sense to me. I would rather hear from real folks with real-life experience. I read about a guy who uses Mobil 1 in a V-12 Lincoln. If it works okay in one of those, it should work okay in my Buick. You say you have a "'70." A '70 what? Sitting is a killer for anything. Dry starts worry me. Always quiet valve lifters would be a plus.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:13 am

A few years back the ford truck forum I frequent ran a long thread on the relative merits of each of the cartridge oil filter types. and it seems there were some that had a one way valve that was designed to keep oil in the system to prevent dry starts. That might be something for you to look into. One thing though, I was always led to believe that a feature of an oil's formulation was to maintain a coat on the wearing surfaces when the engine is at rest.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:42 am

My Buick V-8 has a full-flow spin-on oil filter with an anti-drainback valve. The issue with this particular engine is that when the engine sits for an extended period, approximately a week, the oil drains out of the hydraulic lifters and they clatter on startup until oil gets to them. This condition is fairly typical of engines of this generation. Almost every make of car suffers from this to one extent or another. I have been told that synthetic oils alleviate this condition to an acceptable degree. And I have learned that synthetics provide additional lubrication to somewhat eliminate the effects of dry starts. I crank up oil pressure before I set the choke to start the car, and this helps with the clattery lifters. It does little for dry starts.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Ragwire on Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:52 pm

All ordinary oil filters have antidrainback valves to prevent dry starts, but they all leak down eventually. If the lifters are hydraulic, the lifter clatter is not likely due to metal on metal and not likely to be really damaging anything--just leaking down over time and they rattle until they pump up. I know you said the Buick has flat tappets, but are they just non-roller type, or non self-adjusting (hydraulic) as well? One thing I have found to help on an engine re-light after sitting for an extended period is to cut off the fuel supply and crank it over until it builds oil pressure. Then start it.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:03 pm

I was going to suggest that too, but it is a bit more difficult to do so with a mechanical pump feeding a carburetor.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:42 pm

I crank up oil pressure before I start it. This particular carburetor is set with a lean choke, and the engine will NEVER start without the choke closed. I can crank it until the oil pressure light goes off, then I pump the throttle to set the choke and off it goes. I realize that lifter clatter is caused by the hydraulic lifters not having oil to them, and usually causes no damage, but I don't like hearing it. My thinking was that perhaps synthetic oil would stop the clattering. This Buick V-8, like ALL Buick V-8's, has non-adjustable hydraulic valve lifters. The only adjustable hydraulic lifters ever in a Buick engine was in the straight eights.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Ragwire on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:25 am

Synthetic will probably not keep the lifters from collapsing in storage, but it will flow faster when cold...all thing being equal. Might as well try it. Also, the Mobil 1 oil filters, along with their K&N clones and other Champion Labs built clone filters are very good and sturdy oil filters, but they tend to leak down more than some others (the anti-drainback valves) unless the filter is mounted threaded side up. Purolator products and WIX/NAPA Gold tend to seal better.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 11:37 am

I use a Wix 51047 on my Buick engine.  K&N and Mobil 1 do not market filters for engines that old.  I have been well-satisfied with Wix over time.  I think NAPA is made by Wix.  AC does not make a filter for my Buick.  Lest someone interject that AC still provides the short filter, that is true.  But the old, genuine one quart filter is no available from AC.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:21 pm

Ragwire wrote:Synthetic will probably not keep the lifters from collapsing in storage, but it will flow faster when cold...all thing being equal. Might as well try it. Also, the Mobil 1 oil filters, along with their K&N clones and other Champion Labs built clone filters are very good and sturdy oil filters, but they tend to leak down more than some others (the anti-drainback valves) unless the filter is mounted threaded side up. Purolator products and WIX/NAPA Gold tend to seal better.

Agreed, thinner, faster flowing oil will pump up the lifters far quicker than the molasses 15W-40... On a motor with only 5k miles the M1 0W-40 should be fine...

Last M1 filter I used on the wife's Grand Marquis with OHC 4.6L caused all sorts of clatter on cold start, pulled it off and went to Motorcraft all has been fine... Also I've had same issue with Purolater Classic, stay away from those as well...
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:57 pm

Factory recommendation for my Buick is 20-20W year around.  I have not seen that weight for sale for years.  10W30 can be used in a pinch, but is not specifically recommended.  Buick recommended "20 weight" straight weight oil for eons, maybe since the 1930's.  Only when the wedge-head V-8's came out in 1967 did Buick "officially" endorse multi-weight oil.  0W40, huh?  I never thought of that.  That would get oil to the lifters quicker, huh?  That may be something to consider.  Thanks, Tom.

My grandpa always used 20 weight, non-detergent Standard Permalube in his old straight 8 Buicks. He maintained that detergent oil would ruin a straight 8, with its poured rod bearings. He used to race Buick 320 straight 8's and ran them in moonshine cars. That is scary stuff nowadays to think how rotten the oil was back in the day. Those engines had a by-pass oil filter for whatever that was worth. The big 320's had hydraulic lifters, and the smaller ones did after Dynaflow was introduced.

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:53 pm

Back in the day 10w-xx multi-viscosity oils didn't hold up very well, quickly sheared down to the base oil's 10 weight so many mfgr shunned them... These days all that and detergent oil attacking babbit bearings is ANCIENT history...

Along the way you probably find someone spewing garbage that 0W-xx is far too thin... It's only thinner at colder temps and even then it's still far thicker than optimum or any oil at operating temps... Basically it doesn't thicken as much when cold as say a 10W-30, 10W-40 etc...

Here's a good article that explains oil grading...

http://www.upmpg.com/tech_articles/motoroil_viscosity/

If one checks the PDS on different oils you'll find the viscosity varies greatly between same "rated" weights... One 30 weight can be just slightly above 20 range, while another is nearer to a 40 weight(this is the reason Joe Schmuck will claim such and such oil is no good because it burns faster in his '47 Chevy vs another brand) ... Castrol 0W-30 is close to a 40W while the M1 0w-40 isn't that much thicker, considered by most to be a thin 40 weight...

I haven't checked but that 15W-40 is probably nearer to a 50 weight when hot...

BTW "hot" is 100*C if you engine oil is operating at say 180*F, that 30 or 40 weight is probably in 50 weight range...
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:11 pm

You might go to your auro parts stores' website to see what weights of oil they carry or can get. It can make finding it easier than a wild goose chase. When I find such an item I'll print it out so they can get the stock number. It gets all the preliminaries out of the way.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Ragwire on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:38 pm

0W-40 might be a good suggestion. Brad Penn makes a good heavy duty full zinc oil, but I do not believe they sell anything but 10-30 and 20W-50. I think Royal Purple makes a 0W-40.
Just thinkin' out loud...
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 35Z5 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:35 pm

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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by 75X11 on Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:53 pm

I use it in both my vehicles and I use what remains in the bottles to lubricate my stainless steel and alloy framed firearms, as it does an excellent job on those as well.
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Re: Mobil 1 synthetic oil in older engines

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:11 pm

My Buick sat from April 3 to today.  I connected the battery cable, cranked the engine until the oil light went off, primed the carb with a dram of gas, pumped the throttle to set the choke and cranked it again.  It fired off on the third quarter crank, with nary a peep from the lifters!  No even one click.  Go figure.  And another strange thing.  Those of us who are blessed to own a Buick with Dynaflow have a saying.  When the Dynaflow quits leaking, you need to check the fluid!  It always leaked a puddle in my drip pan when it sat the winter in MO.  It did not leak that first drop all summer!  Either it likes being back home in Arizona, or it is gonna take a big dump. This car has an Interstate "Workaholic" battery in it that I put in in April 2002. That is not a typo. The battery in this car is 12 1/2 years old and it still works. I should replace it, I know, but I am almost positive that the replacement will not last as long as this one has. It would almost be worth being left sitting just for the bragging rights.

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