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Not this again, which engine oil?

Discussion in 'VT - VX Holden Commodore (1997 - 2002)' started by NeddyBear, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. NeddyBear

    NeddyBear Veteran Mountain Biker

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    Some time back guys here told me to start using 15W40 in our 270,000 VX Accliam for the lifter noise and overall performance.
    Just reading another post about lifter noise and the guys say use 5W30 and 10W30.
    We live where its 35 to 40 during the the 6 summer months and a lovely 15 to 20 during the 6 winter months, I now read this has a lot to do with which grade of oil to use.
    We tow a camper trailer a lot and change the oil every 10,000 and because of the lifter noise we also use a lifter and a worn engine treatment which reduces the ticking completely for 10,000 ks.
    Are there any professionals here that could recommend an oil to use or is it just by trying different oil grades the best way to see which oil is most suitable to an engine.
    I know this subject is never ending but I am concerned that we might be using the wrong oil or does it really matter which oil we use.
     
  2. Skydrol

    Skydrol Well-Known Member

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    Here in the USA I use 5W30 and my area the temperature can go from -6C to 43C (year Min-Max). Never have an issue with the engine and my VE with the L76 does not have the notorious lifter rattle. My oil of choice is Mobil 1 and so far, synthetic is the way to go; also change the oil by the Oil Monitor.

    What I know about oil is that has to be thin enough to travel through the engine to lubricate, extract heat at the same time, thick enough to seal and cushion the bearings. Thicker oils is not necessary better. Another thing that play here is how worn is your engine, for that, there are no potions, juices or magic tricks that can cure it. If the oil is getting too hot when you pull a heavy load, might be thinning out due to excessive heat. Perhaps, an engine oil cooler and/or higher capacity oil pan might help with that.

    My advice is go with what the manufacturer recommend on the oil grade and changes/services. Debating what brand of oil is best is all academia. The type that I recommend is Synthetic, the brand is immaterial.
     
  3. commodore665

    commodore665 expat Saffa

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    I agree with above , where I live it can get to mid 30's in summer and down to -8 in winter , I currently use Penrite HPR 5w 40 in the Commodore and Mobil 1 in the Alfa , have you spoken to a mechanic to see what they think .
     
  4. Munz

    Munz Right Foot Action

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    personally, regardless of oil and wanting to maintain a healthy yet long lasting engine I would use the liquid intelligence 224 lifter additive. Use the best lifter free with a decent quality oil depending really on the months of the year, with the lower viscosity in the winter 5-10w and a 10-15w in the summer.
    If all else fails: time for new lifters, sometimes you can't save them all
     
  5. BlackoutSteve

    BlackoutSteve Member

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  6. Skydrol

    Skydrol Well-Known Member

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    Bob the Oil Guy, good website, very informative.
     
  7. EYY

    EYY Well-Known Member

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    If it's an ecotec, you can run pretty much anything you like in it. It really doesn't matter what you run (within reason), as long as it's changed regularly and is kept clean.
     
  8. NeddyBear

    NeddyBear Veteran Mountain Biker

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    Interesting how you say time for new lifters because I've asked the same question in here and was told its a waste of time without rebuilding the engine, any thoughts on this.
     
  9. BlackoutSteve

    BlackoutSteve Member

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    You can swap lifters at any time without doing anything else..
    I'm double checking this is a V6 yeah? Because LS V8 require the heads off.
    But, before you start opening the engine up, you might want to make sure it's actually the lifter/s making noise.
    Have you removed any rocker arms and checked for worn pushrod tips and worn pushrod seats?
    Roller cams pushrods do not rotate like flat tappets. They wear the in the same place over and over and sometimes they wear excessively and this could be where you clearance/noise is coming from.
    Ticking in valve train isn't always a sticky lifter.
    Pull a valve cover and start the engine. With a rag, press down on the rocker arm one at a time. When/if a rocker quietens down while applying pressure, you've found the one with clearance. Next is to find out why.

    If you're sure it's a lifter/s, you might want to order them ahead of time ex USA from someone like Intense Racing because GMH here want $50 per lifter -exact same AC Delco part and number..
    INTENSE Racing: GM LS7 Hydraulic Lifters
     
  10. kangavxss

    kangavxss New Member

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    Good all round is Penrite 10 tenths 10w 40..
     
  11. devilly

    devilly Guest

    all depends where you live,at the moment im running 15w. but because its getting so hot 40 plus.i noticed the changed on my oil pressure gauge the other day, and thought i might change to 20w and put in the lifter additive because then it would be like 15w.as the additive is like water thickness.when you add and additive does it change the thickness and viscosity
     
  12. VR38

    VR38 Well-Known Member

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    I run 20W-50 but mine is a buick, 101xxxklms, I do notice a difference on start up if I run anything 10W-xx or 15w-xx summer or winter on the east coast. FWIW when I go to the snow I do drop the grade and run a 10W-40 or similar for the duration of the trip.

    At the end of the day, it could be a weak valve spring, worn rocker, bearing noise, cam wear, lifter wear etc etc or a combination of 2 or more.
    This is where the economics of "just replacing lifters" come into play.
     
  13. shadetreemechanic

    shadetreemechanic Member

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    What Skydrol said is the best comment so far. Most important thing is full synthetic oil as it resists breakdown thus not gumming up the lifters. As for getting new lifters installed various people here have replaced them only to find the same noise still there. As mentioned, unless doing a full rebuild just doing lifters is pointless.

    Also dont put in any additives as they can adversely affect the oil chemistry. I run Mobil 1 5w50 which is an excellent oil with heaps of sports car manufacturer approvals to back it up. Engine runs smooth and clean inside. The 50 weight gives plenty of safety over the course of our hot summers and the 5w gives great performance right from a cold start.
     
  14. NeddyBear

    NeddyBear Veteran Mountain Biker

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    Thanks Steve and when you take off the valve cover why doesn't the oil go everywhere.
    I know nothing of the internals of a modern V6 and after a quick look in the Max Ellery is it the intake manifold part that needs to come off to access the lifter parts.
     
  15. Skydrol

    Skydrol Well-Known Member

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    Just a small side track to state how critical is to follow the manufacturers recommendations.

    My wife's 07 Beetle has an 2.5 5Cly Engine and is recommended by VW/Audi specs 0W40 with 10,000 miles or 1 year (whichever comes 1st) changes. The crankcase holds 6 Liters; so far, no a single drama with the car. Even the dang coolant comes on different colors with a G letter and number designation. Some can be mixed, some cannot.

    GM Dexcool is a great coolant, left unattended creates havoc; seen how it turns on a nasty brown goo (rust like color) that plug the radiators. Well, my 03 Impala uses Dexcool since new, 170,000 miles later, the radiator is clean as whistle. Is not rocket science, keeping the cooling system serviced properly works wonders.

    Now, even the cooling system can make your lifters rattle. How? By not cooling properly heat builds up and thins the oil. Thin oil does not cushion well, therefore lifter rattle happens. Have you heard the awful sounds an overheated engine makes?

    Your best source of info is in your glove box, a book called Owner's Manual, live it, learn it, know it.
     
  16. shadetreemechanic

    shadetreemechanic Member

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    The problem with Dex-cool has been known for a while. It reacts badly when exposed to air. So if your cars cooling system is fully airtight then its an excellent coolant. When air gets in it turns to muck.
     
  17. edals

    edals Well-Known Member

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    This lifter noise, Put a bit of load on the engine, does the noise go away and reappear when you lift off ? Im only asking as i went through the process of changing the lifters, and still the same noise, to find out that ticking sound is slack in the cam chain.
     
  18. Skydrol

    Skydrol Well-Known Member

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    Give the man a cigar... That is true; that is why I said service the cooling system properly.
     
  19. TI3VOM

    TI3VOM Active Member

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    I doubt a thinner oil will fix anything. If anything try a thicker oil. I have been running Nulon 15W-50 in my VT for years & haven't had an issue.
     
  20. BlackoutSteve

    BlackoutSteve Member

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    Opposite. :)
    Roller lifters and V6/LS crank driven oil pumps are designed for 30 weights and light winter grades.
    Even Penrite with their backward "extra ten" way of thinking will still tell you to use a thinner grade if your lifters are ticking. Because if flows to the lifters better.
    30 grade has been the GM standard for decades. In the owner's manual, only if 30 is unavailable, is there the suggestion of 40 or 50. In other words... 30. Why all these toffee grades as first choice?

    Summer and winter is irrelevant. Unless you've pulled out your thermostat, your engine will run at almost exactly the same temp all year around.

    GM LS Hydraulic Roller Cam Bulletin - Driven Racing Oil

    I think I'll post this again. Motor Oil 101 - Bob is the Oil Guy - Bob is the Oil Guy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6-fYeZpfco
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015

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