5W-30 Synthetic Oil in 3.6R - Page 7 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #61 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 06:31 PM
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The 0W-20 oil spec'd for the 2.5L is because it uses less energy ala reciprocating mass friction. This is the same reason Honda, Ford, etc have specified this viscosity regimen. It's all about "energy saving" oil. It gives then the extra 1 mpg on the highway so they can continue their bragging rights. It also allows them to continue specifying proprietary oil or dealer-only oil changes.

It's also why most of these oils are semi-synthetic or fully synthetic. These thin oils suffer shear thinning much faster than other normal oils. (edit: as a percentage of the original viscosity)

Because the shear thinning occurs at the same rate as regular oils (edit: per mileage driven) , these thinner oils become dangerously close to be "bad" much sooner. Hence the regular oil change intervals despite using semi-/synthetic oils. (edit: a thin oil will become dangerously thin much faster than a thicker oil)

The 3.6L is not an "old tech" engine. It's the engine that sells to people who don't care as much about fuel economy. So an energy conserving oil doesn't matter so much as the frequency of service. And this is one great (IMO) reason the 3.6L has a 7 quart sump: use true synthetic oil and you can likely drive 10K+ miles between oil changes. For many of us that us annually.


Last edited by FlowBee; 03-06-2015 at 06:39 PM. Reason: Not getting my point across
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post #62 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 09:46 PM
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I agree on many of your major points, Flowbee.

There are a lot of people out there who repeat what they see in corporate advertising. Low friction engine? What manufacturer doesn't seek to reduce friction? Sometimes they get it right, other times ring materials and tensions are too low and you end up with a chronic oil-burner (sound familiar to anyone?).

There has been very little transformative mechanical engine technology introduced in the past 30 years. The only exceptional thing that I can think of off the top of my head is BMW's magnesium & aluminum engine casting. The rest -- including critical engine tolerances -- isn't very much different than engines produced 10 or 20 years ago.

Sure configurations such as bore and stroke change, but this is mostly due to emissions requirements. Sure things like sintered metal matrices are used. Most of the time, these things are chosen and incorporated into new designs because they do the job at less cost to the manufacturer.

It's even a stretch to say that certain aspects of oil technology have changed for the better. Back in the days of SG and SH oils, additives such as ZDDP were used to impact some exceptional extreme pressure properties to motor oils. These were phased out over concern about catalytic converter poisoning. Not that that was such an issue, but it was that manufacturers wanted to use far less rhodium and platinum in catalytic converters in an effort to reduce cost.

@GeoffD: Being around "back in the day", I recall a landmark case between Mobil Oil and Castrol over what could be marketed as "synthetic". Mobil took the high ground (technically speaking) and insisted that truly a synthetic oil had to be engineered from at the molecular level. Castrol disagreed, seeking to formulate synthetic oil from conventional base stock (aka conventional oil). Castrol won the case, thereby allowing them (and others) to market less capable oils as "synthetic". Mobil, faced with competing on unequal terms (price-wise, due to the cost of what was then state of the art synthesis processes), switched most of its formulation to what then became the North American industry standard. (European Mobil, I understand, is still formulated the old-fashioned way which explains why its use is specified in very high performance applications.)

http://www.caranddriver.com/columns/...mantics-column

It all came clear to me after using Castrol back then. In like oil, out like water -- or so it seemed to me. In other words, the oil massively sheared back in viscosity. Fortunately, it was only in for one very brief period (I change my oil a lot). Sometimes you learn things doing a bit of research and having hands-on experience. Other times, you believe what the marketing guys say and learn the hard way. The choice is yours.

So newer isn't always better. Nor are the boasts of companies to be accepted on face value.

The issue of "thin oils" being all the rage is another example of corporate interests taking priority. Thin oils produce some very good EPA test results. Manufacturers say that their lower viscosities pump better at low temperature.

Any quality synthetic oil in the 5W30 or 10W30 range pours and pumps at incredibly low temperatures -- about the same as the zero-weight oils, plus or minus a few degrees. But many thin oils don't perform as well in extreme wear tests.

So unless you're operating your car in Kapuskasing (what has traditionally been the automotive industry's cold test location), zero-weight oils don't offer any practical value -- except, of course, to a manufacturer who is trying to squeeze an extra mpg out of its EPA test cycle.

Without a full understanding of the specs of these oils (especially extreme pressure and high temperature limits), owners subjecting their cars to hot conditions, towing, etc., are at a real disadvantage.

I'm not interested in debating this too much, as it is all available to those interested in doing the research themselves. What I will say, is that @FlowBee and @GeoffD make some very good points in their posts. Those who say that the 3.6 is a low(er) tech engine don't know much about engine technology. Those who say that "synthetic is synthetic" don't know much about how motor oil is actually formulated and why.

'nuff said.

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post #63 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:29 PM
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Aluminum magnesium engine blocks.

Aluminum magnesium engine blocks have been around for some time since the 50s and 60's; developed by GM and adopted and further developed by Land/Range Rover. There is nothing really new or exceptional about that technology....


Rover V8 engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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post #64 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ormandj View Post
1) Bring your own oil
2) Never Mobil 1.

UOA will tell you the story, and the money you save by bringing your own oil will cover the UOA and then some. If you don't bring your own, request synthetic. There's no way to know for sure they use synthetic aside from watching and asking to look at the oil they used (you can generally see a difference in the oils).

Motul is great, so is Red Line. I wouldn't suggest either for a non-turbo/lower compression engine, you're paying for oil that is far from necessary. Shearing isn't a big issue with engines of this nature.
Any of you guys remember the days before synthetics? Car engines ran for 100's of thousands of miles. If what I've read in this thread is any indication, save your money, put in any cost effective quality oil, and drive your car till your ready to sell it.

If your really concerned about longevity, using a 0/20 oil is not going to help. Your going to need a heavier weight oil to keep things oiled properly. The ONLY reason manufacturers are going to these super thin oils is to try and gain a TINY MPG advantage, and TINY emission reduction when warming a cold engine. It's NOT to add longevity.

If your super serious about longevity, install a remote bypass oil filtration system. Fairly inexpensive way to help fight wear.

Subaru gets AMSOIL By-pass 2-micron oil filter system

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post #65 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:39 PM
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I have a 3.6R on order, and I'd like to use the recommended 5W-30 synthetic oil instead of the "ok" 5W-30 conventional oil. When taking the car in for routine maintenance, do dealers just use the cheapest alternative (conventional) by default? I'd like to make sure the 5W-30 synthetic is used.
I believe that 2012+ they use synthetic by default (at least here in Canada).
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post #66 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:41 PM
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Any of you guys remember the days before synthetics? Car engines ran for 100's of thousands of miles. If what I've read in this thread is any indication, save your money, put in any cost effective quality oil, and drive your car till your ready to sell it.
I do. Stuck valves, varnish, worn bearings, scuffed pistons, polished bores. Ahh, those were the days .

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If your super serious about longevity, install a remote bypass oil filtration system. Fairly inexpensive way to help fight wear.

Subaru gets AMSOIL By-pass 2-micron oil filter system
Agree, though I'd plumb it a little better than through the oil cap and having my oil hoses cross over the engine! The new 2.5 with a top-mounted filter point should make plumbing a little easier.

I'm also a big believer in engine oil coolers -- a good one (Mocal or Aeroquip) with thermostatic control so that the oil maintains correct temperature.
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post #67 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jogosub View Post
Aluminum magnesium engine blocks have been around for some time since the 50s and 60's; developed by GM and adopted and further developed by Land/Range Rover. There is nothing really new or exceptional about that technology....


Rover V8 engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
We're talking about two different things.

The Buick/Rover V8 was all aluminum. Not elemental aluminum, as engineers back in the early part of the century understood that aluminum alloys (usually containing silicon and trace amounts of magnesium) worked best.

The BMW technology I was referring to was the N52 engine, which is a two piece aluminum alloy/magnesium alloy casting. Big difference.

http://papers.sae.org/2006-01-0069/

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Originally Posted by Society of Automotive Engineers Paper
For the first time in the history of modern engine design, a water-cooled crankcase is manufactured by magnesium casting for mass production. This extraordinary combination of magnesium and aluminium is a milestone in engine construction...
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post #68 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 05:50 AM
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I do. Stuck valves, varnish, worn bearings, scuffed pistons, polished bores. Ahh, those were the days .

Yeah, that NEVER happens anymore.
Face it, the oil companies are duping you into thinking that buying oil that is $3.00 a quart higher priced is going to actually pay off.

I've gotten over 300K miles on 2 of my current vehicles. Neither of them burn any oil. Neither have been run on synthetics. Neither has any kind of oil related problem.
Heck, My F150 gets worked hard, and has not been treated well. I go over 7K on oil changes pretty consistently.

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post #69 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 07:19 AM
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Yeah, that NEVER happens anymore.
Face it, the oil companies are duping you into thinking that buying oil that is $3.00 a quart higher priced is going to actually pay off.

I've gotten over 300K miles on 2 of my current vehicles. Neither of them burn any oil. Neither have been run on synthetics. Neither has any kind of oil related problem.
Heck, My F150 gets worked hard, and has not been treated well. I go over 7K on oil changes pretty consistently.
I think any oil (even the cheapest WallyWorld), when used in intervals required for your type of climate zone and your type of driving will suffice..IMO!

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post #70 of 171 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 08:50 AM
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Aluminum magnesium engine blocks have been around for some time since the 50s and 60's; developed by GM and adopted and further developed by Land/Range Rover. There is nothing really new or exceptional about that technology....
It's not the metal used in the block, it's the technology used in valves, valve seats, rings, bearings .... Engines didn't used to run for the huge miles of today's engines. Pretty much any engine got a valve job, cylinder walls bored, and new rings at the kind of mileage where Subaru 2.5L owners now scream about having to replace head gaskets. When I was a kid, it was a really big deal for a car to "roll the clock" at 100,000 miles and odometers didn't have that extra digit. That was the 1970's. Engine tolerances are much tighter now. Compression ratios are much higher in normally aspirated engines. The oil you use matters more. It really matters if you're the typical 'Murican car owner who never checks their oil and forgets to do oil changes on schedule. 10,000 miles on a full synthetic is no problemo. 10,000 miles on no-name Walmart oil is going to cause a lot of wear and likely sludge buildup.

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