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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any recommendations, either way, with regards to using Mobil 1 15W-50 synthetic oil in a Vanagon 2.1? The Mobil 1 web site recommends this viscosity for the temperature range here in the Pacific Northwest.
What are the advantages of a synthetic oil? What are the disadvantages? I know that they cost more (so they must be better - right!)
What oils are people using? Why?
Thanks!
 

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Re: Mobil 1 Synthetic??? (SlalomVan)

Both the VW service and the German shop I took my 98 Turbo Passat Wagon and EuroVan to says "The formulas in oil are so good this days, if you change oil every 5000 miles, you won't have to worry about anything". Both these places have synthetics but tells me they don't think it is worth the price difference.
For your engine's warranty to be valid, the dealer may want you to show proof that you have done all the recommended oil change and services. I don't think putting in synthetics which can last more than 10,000 miles and then replace them every 5000 miles is a good economic sense either.
 

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Don't let them kid you.....Full synthetic is the best. I've used it in my T4 for 90,000 km, & I wouldn't use anything else. Full synthetic makes HP! I could initially feel the differance in the way the engine went, it had more urgancy, it wanted to go. My son uses it in his T3 2.1 water cooled (your Vanagon).
We use Shell Helix Ultra because we have a Shell station very close, and it''s a lot cheaper than Mobil 1.
Make sure you then use a long life oil filter, or change the ordinary filter often, because the oil will outlast the filter.
THIS STUFF WORKS!!


Modified by Green T4 at 4:14 PM 5-19-2004
 

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Re: (jditom)

Its my understanding the synthetic oil molecules are more uniform and provide better lubrication over a longer interval, and dont break down as quickly as real oil.
I am now running Mobil 1 and have 2000 miles on the current oil. I was going to change between 7 and 10K. I'm to chicken to go 20K between changes. I guess I would if I changed the filter at the halfway point and added oil as needed.
Try this site, they have studied the bejeepers out of synthetic oil, I know they didnt use a VW, but the numbers are interesting. Check the "Synthetic Oil Tests" under related pages......
http://neptune.spacebears.com/....html



Modified by biggrey at 5:25 PM 5-19-2004
 

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Re: (biggrey)

I change my oil and filter every 5K with M1 which is still better than every 3k I use to do with nonsyn oil.
 

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Well, the Eurovan is a different beast that the Vanagon, so ignore those comments (mostly).
Problem with the Vanagon? Lifters that bleed down, and oil pressure buzzers that go off with too light of an oil.
I stick to Castrol GTX 20W50. Use a Mann or Mahle filter only. Bosch if you're in a pinch. IMHO the Vanagon doesn't need fancy expensive oil, since the failure mode on them is cooling system problems, not bottom end problems.
It's your nickel.
 

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Re: (Mr Wolf)

I've been involved with synth since the early 80s when the trucking company I worked for switched to synthetic for our service intervals. I've been using synth oil in my own vehicles since about 88, and as a mechanic and pro drag racer, I also have some experience with the differences under those extreme conditions.
That being said, there is no magic involved with synth. It's simply better oil. If your car leaks, or lifters leak down, or whatever with synth and it didn't with conventional oil, it would've started doing the same thing soon anyway. It's not "thinner" as viscosity is viscosity whether you're dealing with oil, molasses, or synthetic molasses.
Very simply stated, it simply lubricates better and holds up to contamination better. The benefits include slightly better overall efficiency (and less heat) from less friction and longer change intervals from far less contaminant buildup and less breakdown from heat.
It is a fallacy that some motors, mostly older, are not compatible with synth. Any motor will benefit. (Although if your motor burns or leaks a lot of oil, the expense will not be worth it)
That being said, you're wasting your money if you run synth and change your oil every 5k miles. Send your oil to be analyzed if you don't believe me. In an air cooled performance motor oil starts breaking down around 2k miles and is pretty much toast by 3500. Synth can go 20k+ miles before reaching the same level of breakdown. 10k miles intervals are now suggested by many manufacturers, including VW and Mercedes.
Az
 

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15W50 is still still a lower viscosity than 20W50. As engines wear, the tolerances get larger, and oil pressure drops, thus the need for a higher viscosity in older engines. The Vanagons are known to be bad for this. Many Vanagon owners see low oil pressure problems at highway speeds.
 

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Re: (Mr Wolf)

I run Mobil 1 synth in both of my Vanagons, 90 Westy Multi Van and Syncro 16 DoKa, and have almost zero oil useage. The oil pressure is fine as well. Neither is real high mileage and the goal is by using the synthetic I can avoid some of the issues that cause the low oil pressure problems later on in life.
Just my thoughts,
Craig
the Gorge
 

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Re: (spaeth)

i have a bmw with 200+ on the clock and it has gotten M1 15/50 since day one, every 3k..........i recently resealed the oil pan, the mains and such looked like brand new. the only bad thing about switching to synth is that you may find that you have some oil leaks that weren't present there before......also, yes benz and such have stretched their oil changes to 10k but that doesn't mean that it is ok to push it that far........i was a benz tech for years and saw them go to this service intervial and problems started happening. the valve covers leaking were a problem on the new 112 and 113 motors and you could honestly see the difference from someone who was changing their oil every 3 to 5 vs. someone doing it every 7 to 10......i have seen it first hand what happens to the motors when you stretch it that far between oil changes........i will keep using M1 and changing it every 3k....i can assure you my car will keep on going as a result.
 

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Re: (asnvolks)

Seriously, get your oil tested by Blackstone or one of the others. This is solid data, not conjecture by me or you.
Az
 

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Re: Mobil 1 Synthetic??? (SlalomVan)

Not strictly Vanagon related, but...
I've owned and driven for a while, and switched to Mobil-1, all of the following vehicles/engines:
1994 Jetta GLX
1997 GTI VR6
1995 Passat GLX
1988 Ford Ranger
1992 Corrado SLC
Audi 3A engine in a VANAGON
1987 Scirocco 16V
1996 Jetta GL
1995 Audi A6Q
Every one of these had a coolant temp gauge, most had oil pressure gauges, and some had oil temp gauges. Some had high mileage when switched (Ford, 150K miles), and all were switched to the most appropriate viscosity available.
Results:
Gas mileage increased, by 2-3 miles or more, in every car.
Oil temperature: Increased by 2-7 degrees across all driving conditions.
Oil pressure: Generally speaking, dropped somewhat, perhaps 3-4 pounds at most.
Change interval: factory recommended at first, but now I will go 7500-10000 w/out worry.
My conclusions: I've done it before and I'll do it again. I've never had leaks, the engine internals get clean, the extended drains save me $$, and I feel free to flog my cars in the mountains. The cars all just... FEEL better.
BUT... while I agree the failure mode of the 2.1L is cooling stuff, my camper's failure was oil. When I swapped engines, I discovered the old bearings were down to copper... abused copper. I frequently got an oil light after highway driving, and high temps too. I'd measure your oil pressure before switching.
 

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Re: (AzBarber)

The good thing about synthetic oil is the longer oil change intervals. Whoever changes synthetic oil every 5000 miles is wasting their money. Just change the filter. Anyone try Amsoil?
 

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Re: (rsvic)

I'm picking up a case of Amsoil after work. They claim (hype?truth?) that Mobil 1 is only half synthetic and Amsoil is fully synthetic. They also claim that the new vehicles that come with Mobil 1 break in in the first oil change interval, with Amsoil it takes longer (less wear? again hype?). I dont think I will go the full 25K or one year between oil changes, although in my owners manual VW sez 10K between changes....Are the oil change intervals longer in Europe? Do they have different oil or just no Jiffy Lube/Rapid Oil Change marketing?


Modified by biggrey at 12:26 PM 5-28-2004
 

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Re: (biggrey)

in europe they change their oil more frequently and change their filters yearly.......and Mobil 1 is full synth.......Amsoil is a bit of hype.......i mean Porsche/Mercedes/BMW among others put Mobil 1 in their high-po motor (turbo/AMG/M) cars for a reason......and i am sure they have spend a ton of money in testing and found what works best.........
 

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Re: (asnvolks)

Quote, originally posted by asnvolks »
in Europe they change their oil more frequently and change their filters yearly.......and Mobil 1 is full synth.......Amsoil is a bit of hype.......i mean Porsche/Mercedes/BMW among others put Mobil 1 in their high-po motor (turbo/AMG/M) cars for a reason......and i am sure they have spend a ton of money in testing and found what works best.........

I can't find the original source for this information, but my understanding is that, as of fairly recently, the U.S. oil companies can now label motor oil as "synthetic" without the oil being fully synthetic. The reason that this information isn't incompatible with the information above is that Porsche/Mercedes/BMW and others are using European oil that has strict labeling standards. Ask your service manager what oil is approved by VW to be used in the new W8 engines or W12 and he'll tell you it's a German only variation of Castrol(?) or whatever brand they're using.
 

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Re: (rbeamis)

On one of the Audi lists I am on there was discussion about the newer Mobil One not being fully synthetic anymore. I guess there are some weights that still are completely synth but not all of them. I do believe it had to do with the newer labeling restrictions or lack there of. I wish I had a better memory or had kept some of the info, but with some digging I am pretty sure you can find out.
Craig
the Gorge
 

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Re: (spaeth)

"If your dealer or mechanic tells you that you already have synthetic motor oil installed in your vehicle, chances are you really don't...
 
Do to a legal loophole, almost anything can be called "Synthetic".  Most of these oils are no more than re-engineered petroleum oil or blends.  AMSOIL is completely lab-synthesized and fully guaranteed.  since AMSOIL Appeared On The Market In 1972, There Has never a been a warranty claim against AMSOIL. "
From http://syntheticmotoroil.homestead.com/
 

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Re: (rbeamis)

I do believe that using synthetic motor can benefit in many ways other than to the engine. First off, changing oil less frequently will benefit your pocket book. If you keep the oil in for 10K, you'll have less filters to buy, less oil to buy, and less time wasted to change oil.
But just as importantly, less waste produced and better for the environment.
I just switched over to synth for one reason...in the long run it's cheaper and less of a headache for me since I change my own oil. Within two oil changes, I'd have already saved over $120 (oil,filter, etc....in 15K miles say), and all that time wasted under the car.
I have to say, for some reason, my car doesn't seem to feel any smoother or quieter or have better fuel mileage. Could be too early to tell. But acceleration even seems just a tad slower...strange. I'll have to keep an eye on it.
 
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