Should I try one of those "High Mileage" motor oils for my van?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by John Pine, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    I have a 97’ Ford Windstar 3.8L (185k miles) with the original engine and transmission. This van has allowed me to keep upgrading/updating my HT for several years now, since it’s paid for, so I take very good care of it. The van still runs surprisingly well (considering it’s a Windstar and it’s mileage) with the exception of the number 2 cylinder, which is losing compression and fouling plugs about every 5-10k miles. A friend who is a shade tree mechanic suggested that I just keep popping a new plug in (#2) and ride it until she falls apart. I was considering trying a “High Mileage” oil to help with the compression loss on #2. Would it be worth the extra expense? Also, when the van was new I used 5W-30, around 100k I started using 10W-30 weight oil. Should I stick with 10W-30?
     
  2. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    I have a 97’ Ford Windstar 3.8L (185k miles) with the original engine and transmission. This van has allowed me to keep upgrading/updating my HT for several years now, since it’s paid for, so I take very good care of it. The van still runs surprisingly well (considering it’s a Windstar and it’s mileage) with the exception of the number 2 cylinder, which is losing compression and fouling plugs about every 5-10k miles. A friend who is a shade tree mechanic suggested that I just keep popping a new plug in (#2) and ride it until she falls apart. I was considering trying a “High Mileage” oil to help with the compression loss on #2. Would it be worth the extra expense? Also, when the van was new I used 5W-30, around 100k I started using 10W-30 weight oil. Should I stick with 10W-30?
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I have a very limited understanding of the subject, but my understanding is that the only difference with the high mileage oils is that they contain additives that condition the seals to prevent leaks. I think this would be very beneficial with a very high mileage car such as yours. On the other hand, even though you've got lots of miles you it's really not all that old, so it may not be necessary. Sorry I'm not much help.
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I have a very limited understanding of the subject, but my understanding is that the only difference with the high mileage oils is that they contain additives that condition the seals to prevent leaks. I think this would be very beneficial with a very high mileage car such as yours. On the other hand, even though you've got lots of miles you it's really not all that old, so it may not be necessary. Sorry I'm not much help.
     
  5. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Seth: Thanks for the feedback. You're right, my van's not "that" old but it does have a ton of miles on it. I put a minimum of 90 "highway" miles a day on it commuting to work.
     
  6. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Seth: Thanks for the feedback. You're right, my van's not "that" old but it does have a ton of miles on it. I put a minimum of 90 "highway" miles a day on it commuting to work.
     
  7. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Oil is not a magical mechanic in a bottle. It does not "fix" anything. Special additives may add an additional barrier against leaks in certain conditions but these are temporary and will not last if you stop using that kind of oil.
     
  8. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Oil is not a magical mechanic in a bottle. It does not "fix" anything. Special additives may add an additional barrier against leaks in certain conditions but these are temporary and will not last if you stop using that kind of oil.
     
  9. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    Seals on that #2 are probably gone. Go to a mechanic and ask for an estimate, then if it worth it to you, get him to take a look. You have to make a decision whether you want to keep the car or not, additives are not going to make the problem go away. Considering the age of the van, I would get the engine fixed (or replaced). If you get that many miles on your car, I suggest you start using fully synthetic oil on your car(s). Fully synthetic, not mineral oil based or mixes (so no Castrol).

    If you are going with the engine repair, switch to synthetic now. It might expose additional leaking seals but that's all good.
     
  10. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    Seals on that #2 are probably gone. Go to a mechanic and ask for an estimate, then if it worth it to you, get him to take a look. You have to make a decision whether you want to keep the car or not, additives are not going to make the problem go away. Considering the age of the van, I would get the engine fixed (or replaced). If you get that many miles on your car, I suggest you start using fully synthetic oil on your car(s). Fully synthetic, not mineral oil based or mixes (so no Castrol).

    If you are going with the engine repair, switch to synthetic now. It might expose additional leaking seals but that's all good.
     
  11. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree with the above comment about synthetic oil, but some people say it doesn't do any good to switch over this late. I recently switched over to full synthetic on my 75,000 mile dodge intrepid. It hasn't been long enough to notice any differences, but I plan to stick with it. You may be interested in a new product from Valvoline: they are now offering their High Mileage in a full synthetic. To my knowledge this is the only full synthetic that contains the seal conditioners.
     
  12. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I agree with the above comment about synthetic oil, but some people say it doesn't do any good to switch over this late. I recently switched over to full synthetic on my 75,000 mile dodge intrepid. It hasn't been long enough to notice any differences, but I plan to stick with it. You may be interested in a new product from Valvoline: they are now offering their High Mileage in a full synthetic. To my knowledge this is the only full synthetic that contains the seal conditioners.
     
  13. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    There really isn't a too late time to start using synthetic. You might get leaks but that is just discovering a problem, not causing it. Better protection and the cost isn't any higher than on mineral oil as you can go much longer without an oil change. I do it every 6000 miles but could probably go longer. Newer cars (with bigger oil filter I assume) have much longer change intervals on synthetic oil, like 15000 miles.

    Especially important to use synthetic if you live in cold climate.
     
  14. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    There really isn't a too late time to start using synthetic. You might get leaks but that is just discovering a problem, not causing it. Better protection and the cost isn't any higher than on mineral oil as you can go much longer without an oil change. I do it every 6000 miles but could probably go longer. Newer cars (with bigger oil filter I assume) have much longer change intervals on synthetic oil, like 15000 miles.

    Especially important to use synthetic if you live in cold climate.
     
  15. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Garrett: Understood. But, if by merely switching oil brands I could possibly add an extra 6-12 months of use from this engine, I would consider it. This may be just wishful thinking.

    Sami: Agreed! A ring job is probably not far around the corner. But, understandably I’m apprehensive about spending that kind of money on a vehicle with 185k+ miles. I’m concerned that once I spend that money I’ll start having problems with other parts of the van due to age/mileage. If I overhauled the engine I would consider a synthetic. Although, I’ve never used one in the past and I’ve had very good experiences with engine longevity in multiple vehicles. Part of that, I’m sure is that I’m a firm believer in regular maintenance.

    Seth: On my next oil change, I’ll check the price on that for my other vehicle.
     
  16. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Garrett: Understood. But, if by merely switching oil brands I could possibly add an extra 6-12 months of use from this engine, I would consider it. This may be just wishful thinking.

    Sami: Agreed! A ring job is probably not far around the corner. But, understandably I’m apprehensive about spending that kind of money on a vehicle with 185k+ miles. I’m concerned that once I spend that money I’ll start having problems with other parts of the van due to age/mileage. If I overhauled the engine I would consider a synthetic. Although, I’ve never used one in the past and I’ve had very good experiences with engine longevity in multiple vehicles. Part of that, I’m sure is that I’m a firm believer in regular maintenance.

    Seth: On my next oil change, I’ll check the price on that for my other vehicle.
     
  17. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    On the other hand, that seal might still be in (very) good shape if you had used synthetic... [​IMG]

    Like I said, it doesn't hurt as the cost versus mineral is about the same.
     
  18. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    On the other hand, that seal might still be in (very) good shape if you had used synthetic... [​IMG]

    Like I said, it doesn't hurt as the cost versus mineral is about the same.
     
  19. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    If the problem is rings, the conditioners in the high mileage oil won't help you. If it's valve seals, maybe.

    Have you tried running a hotter plug? A hotter plug will help prevent the oil fouling, or at least prolong the time it takes to foul. Take whatever plug you're currently using to the parts store. Any good parts counter guy will be able to tell what heat range is one hotter from that one.

    -Dave
     
  20. DaveHo

    DaveHo Supporting Actor

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    If the problem is rings, the conditioners in the high mileage oil won't help you. If it's valve seals, maybe.

    Have you tried running a hotter plug? A hotter plug will help prevent the oil fouling, or at least prolong the time it takes to foul. Take whatever plug you're currently using to the parts store. Any good parts counter guy will be able to tell what heat range is one hotter from that one.

    -Dave
     

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