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How to tell the difference between synthetic and organic oil

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by joshkbomb, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. joshkbomb

    joshkbomb 1/2 ton status

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    The reason I ask is I was just switching to synthetic and my mechanic forgot to use the oil filter I provided him. He assured me that he did use my synthetic oil though. Still, I'm weary of trying to go twice as long between changes if I'm not 100% sure what I have is synthetic.
    From what I can tell synthetic and organic look and feel the same, any ideas?
     
  2. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    just because it's synthetic does not mean that you can go twice as long between oil changes. which synthetic are you using? every synthetic oil i've ever seen, with the exception of amsoil (i know nothing about royal purple either), which happens to be of the type which guaruntees x number miles over the common 3000 mile interval says that this excludes harsh conditions. everything i've ever read says that harsh conditions include stop and go traffic, heavy towing, dusty conditions, etc. so basically, everything is harsh conditions unless it's a nice day for a long drive down a clear freeway at a constant speed.

    to answer your question - there's no way to tell by feel or look.
     
  3. joshkbomb

    joshkbomb 1/2 ton status

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    It's Pennzoil.
    I've been reading on the internet and the consensus seems to be that synthentic allows you to go much longer between changes. Considering the oil cost about twice what I usually get, I figured 6000 miles would be good. Should I have stuck with the regular organic oil?
    Oh, and this wasn't for my Blazer (regular high mileage oil for it), it's for my dad's 98 Explorer with a fancy Overhead Cam engine.
     
  4. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    well, my personal opinion says stay away from pennzoil products for a couple reasons:

    1. tho i have no personal experience with this, i know that those who have rebuilt engines run w/ pennzoil often tell horror stories of how nasty internal engine components look w/ some kind of nasty build up.
    2. they own jiffylube. the way i see it, if your company is willing to employ unknowledgeable people to promote your product in a way such that your company developes a bad name, then you don't care enough about the quality your product either. i had the misfortune of working for jiffy lube and i can say first hand, they don't give a sh*t about the employees - only the bottom line.

    don't know where you've been getting that consensus about synthetic oil and mileage, but it's wrong. if you read the bottle it will tell you that you still need to change it every 3000 miles. you can run dino oil for 6000 miles too, and you won't feel much of a difference... for a while. the additives in either fluid are designed for a certain mileage, it's just simply the base that's different. synthetic oil has a nice quality of sticking to engine parts better than dino oil, so everything stays lubed nicer.

    highmileage oil is a joke. they'll try and sell you on it over and over again. high mileage has additives in it which are designed to expand seals such that it will supposedly stop leaks. rarely have i heard success from this, and there's no reason to keep running it after a while - the additives which expand the seals will have done all they can at some point, as there comes a time when seals won't expand any more.

    if you really care about your engine, you'll run either mobil 1 synthetic, or amsoil.
     
  5. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

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    My original motor was run on pennzoil practically its complete 165K life before it was rebuilt. When I tore it down the bearings and everything else showed little wear (I didn't measure anything, but didn't see any bronze or scratches on the bearings either).

    FWIW, I run Mobil 1 synthetic now and change it ~twice a year.
     
  6. 4by4bygod

    4by4bygod 1/2 ton status

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    As Colby said, you can't tell synthetic oil from look or feel.. Thing is, it doesn't matter anyway.. they are both petroleum products.. the term "synthetic" refers to the petroleum molecules being "more processed" so they are all the same size.. mineral or "organic oil" as you say is less processed.. the molecules are all different sizes.. this is where synthetics get their cold flow characteristics from and can claim " more protection at start up".. the oil isn't really doing a better job of protecting, it's just getting there faster..

    Watch your pcv valve, and see if it gets clogged.. many engines we think are using oil, are really just experiencing the solvents boiling out of the oil because it's cheap crap.. and it's all the same cheap crap.

    interestingly, the term synthetic can now legally be applied to any oil that blends PAO /Ester / hydroprocessed mineral basestocks.. mobil one, amsoil, royal purple, castrol, are all basically the same..

    WRT extended drain intervals, if you aren't doing oil analysis, go with the 3k interval.. otherise, you are letting marketing hype rule the day.

    Tom
     
  7. Russell

    Russell LB7 Tahoe Status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Another big difference between synthetic and regular oil is how long the oil lasts before it breaks down. Dyno oil breaks down within the 3000 miles or so of "harsh conditions", which is part of the reason why it turns jet black, and turns into sludge. It isn't just combustion causing that, at least I'd like to hope your engine isn't letting that much compression blow past the rings!

    I personally run synthetic in my trucks, both of them, and change the oil every 6000 miles or so, it always comes out looking pretty much just like it went in. I do, however, change filters every 3000 miles, using a good Napa Gold Wix filter.

    My father runs synthetic in his 03 6.0L, and only changes it every 10 - 12 000 miles, with no intermediate filter changes. His oil always comes out looking golden too, and cutting the filter open doesn't show any major accumulation of anything, so he is perfectly fine with it.
     
  8. joshkbomb

    joshkbomb 1/2 ton status

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    Reading online I got both opinions that I'm getting in this thread: officially you should still change it every 3000, but people go 6000 and can't tell the oil is bad.

    I guess I'll get the mobile 1 synthetic next time. Don't you have to order Amsoil?
    Maybe I'll stick with the 3000 changes but not be so strict about it. It's a pretty nice low-mileage Explorer and I wouldn't want to risk messing it up.
     
  9. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    one way to tell...

    Try putting synthetic oil in a waste oil heater--it wont burn for crap compared to petroleum oils...I know they now sell newer heaters that'll burn it ok,but it raises hell with the older versions..:crazy:
     
  10. colbystephens

    colbystephens 1 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    amsoil is sold at GI joes - that's where i get mine. i haven't seen it on the shelf any where else tho.
     
  11. randy88k5

    randy88k5 1/2 ton status

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    They stock Amsoil at my local CarQuest. I still use Mobil 1, its cheaper and Wally World/Sams Club has it.
     
  12. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    I run Amsoil in my Dodge Cummins towrig/DD/worktruck. I drive between 3000-5000 miles a month so changing Dino oil every month is a HUGE hassle. I am an Amsoil dealer now so I run Amsoil throughout my truck. I did my first extended oil change in my Dodge last go around and am waiting on the oil analysis for it. The last change was 13,500 miles. As long as the analysis comes back OK I will go 15,000 miles on this change.

    I am going to switch the K5 over to synthetic next oil change and run the same 15w-40 diesel oil I have in my Dodge. I don't drive the K5 very often so I will probably change the synthetic oil I put in it once a year.

    Harley
     
  13. Hossbaby50

    Hossbaby50 3/4 ton status

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    P.S. Some "synthetic" oils out there are not true synthetics. They are super refined dino oils. Most Amsoil, Redline, Royal Purple, & Mobil 1 (I believe) are true synthetics.

    If you run a good quality synthetic you should be able to go at least 6K miles per oil change with a good quality filter. You can always get your oil analysed if you have questions about its integrity when you run it 6K miles. In a well maintained stock application Amsoil guarantees 1yr/25,000 miles out of some of its oils when used in conjunction with an Amsoil Absolute Efficency filter.

    Harley
     
  14. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    3,000 miles? Look to see who reccommends that.

    I don't know what Chevy reccommended for the '87 K5 Blazer I'm building.

    I do know my '95 Pathfinder is 3,500 - 7,500 miles. I picked 5,000 miles because it's easy to remember.

    I'm fairly sure it was Jiffy Lube who first started advertising 3,000 miles. I didn't take their word for it.:rolleyes:
     

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