You folks are pretty savvy. I imagine you might be more familiar with this than I am. I was on the Ford Fleet web site and ran across a TSB on oil viscosity. Apparently, Ford recommends 5W-20 on 1993-2002 model F-150s. I attached the piece here:
ENGINE - ENGINE OIL - RECOMMENDED APPLICATIONS FOR SAE 5W-20 AND SAE 5W-30 MOTOR OILS - GASOLINE AND FLEXIBLE FUEL VEHICLES ONLY
Publication Date: JANUARY 14, 2002
FORD: 1992-2002 CROWN VICTORIA
1993-2002 ESCORT, MUSTANG, TAURUS
1998-2002 ESCORT ZX2
1993-2002 E SERIES, F-150, RANGER
1997-99 F-250 LD
1999-2002 SUPER DUTY F SERIES, SUPER DUTY F-53 STRIPPED CHAS.
LINCOLN: 1991-2002 TOWN CAR
1993-98 MARK VIII
MERCURY: 1992-2002 GRAND MARQUIS
This article is being republished in its entirety to update the vehicle models, engines and years affected.
NOTE: PLEASE REFER TO THE VEHICLE APPLICATION LIST LATER IN THIS TSB FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF VEHICLES AFFECTED BY THIS TSB.
Ford Motor Company now recommends SAE 5W-20 viscosity grade for servicing most gasoline and flexible fueled vehicles.
All 2001 and 2002 vehicles where SAE 5W-20 is specified should be serviced at the recommended oil change intervals using SAE 5W-20. This oil is an improved formulation to improve fuel economy. Testing has validated this viscosity grade can be used in many previous model year vehicles. It is recommended ALL vehicles on the following Vehicle Application Listing be service with SAE 5W-20.
All 2001-2002 vehicles other than those listed in the "Exception 2001 Vehicles" or "Exception 2002 Vehicles" chart are being filled with SAE 5W-20 motor oil at the factory and should also be serviced with SAE 5W-20 oil.
2000-2002 5.4L Excursion
1998-2002 5.4L 2V/4V Navigator
1997-2002 5.4L 2V F-150/250 (under 8500 GVW only), Expedition, E-Series, E-350 Chassis/RV/Cutaway
1993-1997 5.8L F-Series, Bronco
1993-1996 5.8L E-Series
2000-2002 6.8L Excursion
1997-2002 6.8L E-Series, E-350 Chassis/RV/Cutaway
1999-2002 6.8L Super Duty F-Series 250 HD/350/450/550 Motorhome
1993-1998 7.5L All Vehicles
NOTE: FOR 1993 THROUGH 1998 MODEL YEAR FFV USE XO-10W30-FFV.
NOTE: THE "EXCEPTION 2001-2002 VEHICLES" SHOULD BE SERVICED WITH SAE 5W-30 MOTOR OIL.
Exception 2001 Vehicles
3.9L Lincoln LS
4.0L Ranger, Explorer/Mountaineer, Explorer Sport, and Explorer Sport Trac
Exception 2002 Vehicles
2.0L HP Zetec SVT Focus
4.0L Ranger, Explorer/Mountaineer, Explorer Sport, and Explorer Sport Trac
NOTE: IF VEHICLE IS NOT LISTED IN THIS APPLICATION, SAE 5W-30 OIL IS RECOMMENDED. REFER TO TSB 99-8-16.
PART NUMBER PART NAME
XO-5W20-QSP SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil - Quart (USA)
CXO-5W20-LSP12 SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil - Litre (Canada)
XO-5W20-5QSP SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil - 5 Quart Jug (USA)
XO-5W20-DSP SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil - 55 Gallon Drum (USA)
CXO-5W20-DBSP SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil - 205 Litre Drum (Canada)
My question is this: why are most Ford vehicles being filled with 5w20 and just a few with 5w30?
I have done enough reading here and on 'bob the oil guy' site to be comfortable with the 5w20. I used Motorcraft 5w20 in my wife's 03 Mazda MPV with the Ford 3.0l V6 duratech. I have an 03 Mazda B4000 and it calls for 5w30. I have not found a good explanation on why this is. The 5w20 apparently is very sturdy out to 5000 miles, provides for less sludge, etc. The MPV has severe duty oil changes of 5000 miles on this oil, I'm going 4000. My B4000 calls for 3000 mile changes on 5w30. What's the difference in these engines? An F150 has more power, pulls more weight, etc and it uses 5w20.
BTW, I think (haven't been able to verify yet) that Mazda put out a TSB allowing 5w20 or 5w30 in the MPV.
*SOLD* 1994 Black/Silver F150 XLT 4x4 Reg Cab / Short Bed, 3.55 LS front & rear, 5.8L w/102k miles, K&N drop-in w/bored out airbox, manual hubs, magnaflow 2.5" si/so catback side exit, Mobil 1, profile cap, RoadMaster Active Suspension helper springs, Goodyear 31x10.5 ATD tires, Rancho RS5000 shocks
Upgrade wish list: lights
2003 Mazda B4000: 4 door x-cab, 4.0l V6, 5 spd auto, 4x4, 4.10 LS, Silver, nerf bars, fog lights, bed liner, tow pkg, 245/75 16 Goodyear RTS
With the engine testing that Ford did, the 4.0l was determined to wear unacceptably to meet the durability targets for the engine when using 5w20. Thats why the recommendation remains 5w30 on that motor.
Why was the wear not acceptable? I can't answer that, but I'd stick to the 5w30 here since it is listed as an exception.
I've done enough research to be comfortable on the 5w20s also - enough so I have it in both my F150's right now, and will be comparing my oil analysis results to see if there is any difference.
'99 F150 Supercab Flareside 4x4, 4.6l V8, Auto, 87,000 miles and running strong...
Sold! '97 F150 Supercab Flareside, 2WD, 4.6l V8, Sold at 162,255 miles on the odometer.
I won't debate a true syn being better than a conventional oil. it is, but thats not the debate here.
As to no 5w20 being a conventional oil, thats playing a bit of semantics. Historically, only oils with Group IV base oils and up were called synthetics. These oils were essenetially manufactured oils. Castrol began selling Group III base oils, which are essentially severely refined lubricating oils (Group I is the least refined, Group II and Group II+ are more refined, Group III severely refined) as "synthetic" in its Syntec line. Mobil took Castrol to court over the claim, but lost. Since then, the oil industry is calling Group III oils "synthetic". In reality, they are just more refined dino juice than before. Yes, they are better quality and have closed the gap on the old definition of synthetic, but they aren't there yet.
The only 5w20 that claims to be a blend on the market is Motorcraft. Conoco markets the exact same oil as a straight dino oil. It is a group II-III blend, as are most 5w20's. Therefore, I submit that nearly all 5w20's are conventional oils (although high quality conventional).
Even Amsoil markets Group III oils these days - the XL7500 line is a group III base. Again, a conventional oil.
Mobil 1 0w20 is still a "true" synthetic.
I will gladly post results when they become availible - should be 4 months or so - but I may have sold the '97 before then, but I am doing the same with my '99.
One local dealer in my area has pamphlets in the show room with all this information on using 5w20 and what cars and truck should use it.
It's not hidden information.
The factory does engine life testing, analyzes the oil for metals found and can tell exactly what part is wearing.
From this they either make a parts design change or if the engine passes to full test time with low findings such that it satifies warrenty time intervals for wear, this become the basis for oil change intervals, oil grade and type.
In the case of the 4.0L SOHC still using 5W30, the timing chain tensioners rely on oil pressure in that engine, probably more so than a 4.6/5.4/6.8. Ford had several problems with it when that engine was first introduced, and although through several redesigned tensioners and timing cassete assemblies, the problem has been more or less solved, Uncle Henry decided to go for broke and minimize any chances of the tensioners bleeding down and rattling; hence, using a slightly thicker oil than most other products in Ford's inventory.
I forget whether the standard OHV 4.0L still requires 5W30.
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