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Thread: thinking about oil change, what grade can I use?

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2018-06-04 16:53:01
thinking about oil change, what grade can I use?
Someone told me black oil needs replaced on a gasoline engine or engine wear out, another one said change filter and fill if needed. That is a huge gap.

Now I'm aware my oil is getting old (I don't drive much), it looks black, but on a tissue, after drying there is a brown color and it looks like oil, not soot. But there are tiny tiny particles visible with the naked eye, but marginal compared to what is oil in this tissue.

So I have an new original filter, I have new plugs and my filter is Green, so I could give it a tune up.

Now there is an oil company over here, I wouldn't be surprised if you know the brand, and it is giving 4 grades of oil. This it a link to their website with their recommendations for a SR20DE engine (1992). This company exists for over a hundred years does that still mean something? :/

It is saying for a temperate climate I can use 5W30 (which I reckon as full synth), 10W40 (which I reckon as semi synth or 15W40 (which I reckon as dino juice) and I go like :s especially on the 15W40.

And it gets worse, if I click Mediterranean, it's giving 20W50.

I am aware FSM has pages for engine oil but I am not able to get my head around those W figures and I once in a while work on a Volkwagen giving it 5W30 and on a Hyundai giving it 15W40 because the owner said so and that car runs fine b.t.w.

Could someone school me the basics on engine oil use? I will use Valvoline because I find it has a great price but also good quality. It is available to me in all tastes. The reason I'm asking is that single HP that is hiding there or runs away from my car...

I would also like to hear on what other people do, this is a non turbo, should I be worried about black oil that is also three years old? Can I leave it there and take the decrease in fuel economy which I know is there?

A lot of questions I hope someone will tell me their trick and call me a pony

I forgot to mention, I do race at traffic lights and that is about it.
Last edited by richardwbb on 2018-06-04 at 16-55-55.
2018-06-04 20:43:33
All of this depends on how often you drive the car and how hard you beat on your car while driving.

Use 5W-30 weight. Whatever variation, for your Nissan SR20DE engine, use 5W-30. All sorts of engines have different tolerances and that is the most generic way to explain why some engines require some very strange weighted oils. (see some German weights for goofy examples)

Valvoline has a great lineup and I use that personally. If you can use a semi-synthetic blend, MaxLife variation, ("Red Bottle" in the U.S.A) that would be ideal unless your engine is brand new rebuild. I use Valvoline in my own cars and have had always a good experience. They have been proven to have some of the best wear protection factor for your engine at a very fair price.

I do not know why your oil is black, but three years is a long time. Oil will store moisture and other deposits that will try to harm your engine. Oil entraps these particles and allows the particles to flow away from the higher pressure spots of the engine to allow wear protection to take place. How many miles (or kilometers) are on the oil during those three years? Does the car sit during certain time periods? The mileage cannot be that high in three years, but black is black. Next, how does this oil FEEL, how does this oil SMELL? Good oil should have some sweet smell to it. Any deposit will make the oil smell more sour or bitter. The oil should be able to flow for lubricity, not flow like water.
2018-06-05 07:39:01
I'm sorry, I don't know if I have the energy right now to explain how oil weights work. I suggest you do some research of your own and then come back and ask one or two simpler questions at a time?
2018-06-07 15:57:00
@BenFenner I did look for 'W figures', but nothing comes close to what Kyle gave on details so to say.

I think I've solved several problems, while in my head I want to go for 5W30 (I here have to learn about tolerances of a SR20), the car is giving signals.

First, I see the engine sweating a bit more then before and second I noted my dip stick after a 15 mile drive come out half way. I have a hard time to explain in English but someone who worked for a Nissan dealer and owns an egg, said something like blow by over the pistons. While I am not able to imagine this I should probably have a look at an SR20 drawing, parts bin car is long gone. The engine has 138k miles on it and only the rod bearings have been replaced some ~10k ago

The oil tastes mostly like nothing, and a tiny bit sour (and I learned from Kyle = bad sign), the oil feels a little thin (I am suspecting there the sweating comes from), and smells like gasoline with a little burnt oil odeur around it.

I have made pictures in the process.

2018-06-07 16:53:21
How does the oil FLOW? Does that oil drip slower off the dipstick, or imagine if water were placed on the dipstick in horizontal fashion, and you turn the dipstick vertically. With water, that will flow rapidly off the dipstick.

Oil can look dirty and gross and still have lots of lubrication properties. Example is my dirty GM LS2 engine. Burns no oil, but loses oil due to excessive blow-by from higher RPM operation. The oil get dirty within a few hundred miles. I also have many SR20 engine in various states of repair or disrepair. Some old, some newer, some stock, some not so stock and my engines vary slightly, but the SR20 is a very good engine and can provide a lot of lifetime when treated correctly.

Oil being stored will eat up whatever is in the atmosphere. Water being a large culprit of contamination in a largely idle engine. Idle meaning not in operation for long periods of time.

Get more of the senses involved and write them down for us to interpret. I understand English is not your first language and that makes this process slightly longer. But plenty of us can help for sure.
2018-06-07 17:46:11
I will check for how the oil drips, for the burn, it didn't for thousands of miles (need to look at odo for a better figure), I'm in the time this topic develops not racing the engine. Actually I drive it mostly once in two weeks, does that mean anything? For the oil consumption which is about 15% of the min. max. figure, engine started sweating, but I also did jack up the car a bit and hit something since I found oil drips, it's not exact science by far. I know my chain is lengthy, oil and water pump should be replaced with such mileage I know and there is no reason for me to believe those have been replaced. I'm wondering from your answer Kyle, the photo's alone didn't tell you my oil needs replacing? I have a long to do list but I also find I have the luxury I *can* drive it once in two weeks for a maximum of 27 miles. That is what it mostly did past year.
2018-06-07 23:17:58
It is quite difficult to tell from only photos. If the oil flows smoothly, not rapidly (like water), then the oil is fine. Color is low on the scale of determining useful oil. Oil can trap deposits and be almost black. I do not see burnt stuff in your oil but the color is slightly darker than normal. THe oil may be broken down from time or collecting random deposits from being three years old.

I do not know what you mean by engine sweating, is that overheating? Meaning a term relative to the cooling system?

If the engine is overheating, than this oil is being cooked and something needs serviced immediately. Probably the headgasket.

"should I be worried about black oil that is also three years old? "

Yes. I think that is too long. Three years old, even using your car once every two weeks, I think is too long for any oil. Change your oil once a year if you do that minimal driving. It is good starting it once every two weeks as you do. When you drive, do you operate the car for an extended period of time? That would be vital to burning off the deposits the oil has collected while resting in the crankcase. The engine is exposed to moisture constantly. Oil is sticky and grabs everything in the air. Whatever can get into your engine, by whatever means, it will find a way.

2018-06-08 08:22:45
^^^ What Kyle said. And when in doubt, follow the manufacturers recommendations. ^^^

As an aside, a friend of mine purchased a 1987 Buick Regal Somerset, with the 2.5 Iron Duke, brand new. He then proceeded to drive it without ever, not once, changing the oil. Somewhere around 40k he had to start adding oil occasionally and by 150k he was adding it on a regular basis, weekly IIRC. When the car had nearly 200k he sold it to his sister who drove it for at least a year before the engine shit the bed.

At any rate, regular oil changes are important, no matter what the oil looks like.
Last edited by SE-RMonkey on 2018-06-08 at 08-38-28.
2018-06-09 11:50:37
Thank you for the replies. Though I have more information, I just checked the oil with feeling, it does feel like oil though. And for the dripping, it doesn't for about 5-6 seconds before the first drip. I did forget the brand but I am sure it is 10W40. Though I have no clean 10W40 around now I will have next week or so and maybe then I'll notice the difference. (I do have brake fluid and gear fluid but this wouldn't help me notice the difference with feeling with my fingers I understand).

I am aware now I should think about changing the oil. I need a diy garage but that isn't the problem any longer, there is one available to me. But next week I will have a look underneath the car and on a floor with jacking up the car. I'm aware I could drive to the diy garage but I specially have this $100 jack sparing me the $15 an hour for years now and until that time I won't change the oil, because from that point I'll decide what to do.

For revving, I drive a mild 110 km/h which is 3000 rpm and that is 68 mph. But you are right, the engine become's lazy which such rpm and for racing it, I do notice it doesn't travel happily from 4000 rpm to redline, I usually shift 300 rpm before redline even with another car next to me (I usually know what I will loose for sure from most makes and models) and I understand from your responses I need to swap oil as soon as possible, but I won't use the car before next week. For the driving that I do, that is just 14 miles twice. I wonder is that enough? The laziness I experience usually goes away after three sprints or so, but peace of mind about engine oil I have not any longer.

Because I am in doubt I lean towards 10W40 for now. I sure believed engine sweating was the correct term in English, but I did translate it literally, it are spots of oil that is have spurred or have run from the engine and are visible with sand deposit from airflow when the car is driven. I will wait for next week then I will take pictures from the oil sweating if my Android phone will allow that (it might becone blurred). I am aware I'm not taking the decision to change the oil and is against advice, but I want to find out as much as possible because two times 14 miles in two weeks I believe for now is long enough for the engine (if not please say so) and I promise not to rev it by then On a serious note I'm also waiting until next week to see where the first $100 is spent best, before going to a diy garage. I know this is the slow way but I spend more time with my car caring it then driving it and this came all out of the sudden to me.
Last edited by richardwbb on 2018-06-09 at 11-59-28.
2018-06-09 13:57:16
Oil sounds like it is fine from your description. Just tired..

Engine sweating sounds like leaking. Leaks. Depends on where the leaks are coming from. Where do drips form on the ground under your car? Are there drips after the car is cold or warm?
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