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I'll apologize up front for yet another rookie question, 20W/50 in Northeastern summer? This poor car has been sitting so long I can't recall what I used.

In return for your tolerance, I'll share a dumb a$$ moment. After dinner with the wife last week the cool summer evening called. Just before dark, some wine with dinner -perfect.  I had put a new starter in that didn't look right (it was a Bosch for an automatic) but it bolted up. I figured it was a new type that didn't need to go into the trans. Started fine. Well, with my wife not beside me I was having fun. I think I was hitting 4Gs in the turns. Maverick would have been proud. Then the grinding started. Loped back to the driveway "OMFG I killed it, I KILLED IT!"  Thinking ok, I burned something, too lean?, cavitation during one of the Joey Chitwood turns? Time to pull the engine. Then came to my senses and asked "What was the last change?" Yup the starter. Gear looked a little blue so I had to paint it silver before returning it. What? Still works.

Original Post

I second Gordon's advice. 20w50 is unnecessary for the temperatures you'll see where you live. Just make sure you've got ZDDP.

Without starting ANOTHER STUPID OIL WAR, I use Valvoline 4 stroke motorcycle oil. You know, the stuff for Harleys. In Autozone or the like, it will NOT be where all the normal car oils are. About 6 bucks a quart, available everywhere, and sometimes on sale for $4.

I've been using it for about 10 years now.

Jeff, Somewhere on here in the distant archives, I had been running 20w-50 oil and did a quick run to Fall River from Tiverton, RI.  Blasted back into the driveway and checked the oil temp with a dipstick thermometer.

Then I did a quick oil and filter change but used 10W-40 and re-traced my route and speeds (mixed highway and back roads, all at sea level or close to it, same ambient temp both runs).  

That was back around 2006 or 7 so it’s getting foggy (I’m sure the posts are still buried on here somewhere) but IIRC, it ran 5°-10° cooler just with the lighter oil.  I have no oil pressure gauge but it had a Melling 30mm oil pump back then so I never worried about it.

Been running 10W-40  year round ever since.

Jeff, Somewhere on here in the distant archives, I had been running 20w-50 oil and did a quick run to Fall River from Tiverton, RI.  Blasted back into the driveway and checked the oil temp with a dipstick thermometer.

Then I did a quick oil and filter change but used 10W-40 and re-traced my route and speeds (mixed highway and back roads, all at sea level or close to it, same ambient temp both runs).  

That was back around 2006 or 7 so it’s getting foggy (I’m sure the posts are still buried on here somewhere) but IIRC, it ran 5°-10° cooler just with the lighter oil.  I have no oil pressure gauge but it had a Melling 30mm oil pump back then so I never worried about it.

Been running 10W-40  year round ever since.

There’s a good explanation of this in the Samba mega oil thread. The thicker oil doesn’t travel though the engine as fast as the thinner oil does and, being more dense, doesn’t transfer heat In the (OEM) oil cooler as well. Or something like that. I bought it  

But if you’re running an external oil cooler with a proper thermostat it shouldn’t much matter. I’d assume those temps you noted were oil coming out of the engine? (Stock sender location?)

This is one reason I decided to stick to VWs recommendation from BITD and run straight 40W in the summer. 

Last edited by dlearl476

Everybody always has an opinion on this topic, so talking about it usually just dredges up what's hiding just under the surface.

The heart of the "oil viscosity conundrum" is that the Sainted German Engineers designed an oiling system to operate "well enough" with the straight-weight oils available and the machining tolerances possible in post-war Europe.

The bypass pistons are clever and stupid at the same time. It's a great way to get the oil warmer quicker - and it just assumes that the engine will run just fine with about 3 psi of oil pressure at hot idle. There is no shortage of guys who will swear up and down that this is enough. I'm not inclined to be one of them. Advocated of lightweight oil presuppose that the only thing to care about is controlling the oil temperature with the stand mounted cooler - that an aux. cooler is admitting defeat, or some such nonsense.

My first order of business is maintaining oil pressure. Heavier oil does a better job in a hot air-cooled engine. Once I have adequate oil pressure, I can pretty easily figure out how to cool it. If the engine makes adequate oil pressure, the pressurized oil can be used for all sorts of things that are good for cooling (using squirters to spray the underside of the piston crowns, using it to spray the valve-springs, etc.), and the heat it picks up can be radiated with a cooler of meaningful size.

Someone will doubtlessly bring up the apocryphal exploding oil filter, from too much pressure when cold - but this can be easily remedied with a JayCee pressure limiting filter base or oil pump cover.

Do as you wish, Gentlemen, I'm running 20W50. I'll be over here making 2x the oil pressure most Type 1 engines generate when warm, never having my oil get over 200*, and running nice, cool heads. Your mileage may vary.

 

Last edited by Stan Galat

I ran 20w50 all the time and I loved the fall time response of my 2110cc, good power and while I had no HT guage seemed to really be responsive.  I tried lower viscocity mostly during storage and for a week or so before spring season beginning and I never liked the sound of the engine it just felt like it sounded noisy I don't know but it wasn't sounding like it liked thinner oil.  Just saying

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