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  2-smoke oil, any advantage to synthetic? What do you use?

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Author Topic:   2-smoke oil, any advantage to synthetic? What do you use?
SuburbanBoy posted 03-31-2001 09:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for SuburbanBoy   Send Email to SuburbanBoy  
I noticed that West Marine, Cabela’s Mercury and others are offering a TC-W3 2-stroke oil that they claim is synthetic. My experience with Mobil 1 synthetic oil in my 4-cycle engines has been very positive. With the exception of cost, it has worked out quite well. Perhaps 2-stroke oil can also profit from synthetic technology. I suspect it could be more environmentally sound, but do not know that for a fact. I also expect that the TC-W3 standard is geared for a lower negative environmental impact, and that it also provides a benchmark for engine life. Many brands of oil meet the TC-W3 standard. Relatively few claim to be synthetic. I am leaning towards the Mercury Premium Plus as it is available anywhere, and it will reduce the chance that I will someday mix two incompatible types of TC-W3 oils in my oil injected Tohatsu. The Premium Plus oil is TC-W3, but not synthetic. The Mercury synthetic oil is called OptiMax. I do not know if it is TC-W3.

There are two considerations that I consider very important (these are after environmental considerations of course!). The reduced propensity of my oil to thicken into a gel inside my oil injection system is my number one concern. I will not use my engine every week, and it will also have to endure a layup in winter. I will not drain the oil injection system for fear it will not prime properly and starve the engine for oil. My second concern is the smell of the exhaust. While I (and many on this Forum I guess) love the smell of 2-strokes in the morning, a little goes a long way. It is tough to idle for over a mile in a no wake zone to get to open water when you have to breath the 2-stroke fumes. Break-in is always a bear, as Tohatsu (and others?) recommend that in addition to oil injection, the customer supplement the fuel with a 50:1 oil mix. So with a new season approaching, with a new engine to break-in, I look forward to your insightful comments and advise. Thanks.

lhg posted 04-01-2001 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I was hoping there would be response to this question, as I, too, was wondering about the new 100% synthetic tcw-3's now being introduced. I saw the Pennzoil brand at Walmart this afternoon for $19/gallon, and wondered if anybody has used this stuff. They say it produces less smoke on start-up and idle, so it could be worth the extra price. Incidentally, if anybody's interested, they also had OMC Johnson regular tcw-3 at $16.50/gal. I heard OMC owners were having a hard time finding it since the bankruptcy.
SuburbanBoy posted 04-02-2001 12:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I assume then that you are using the OMC oil until somthing better comes along? If there are no other responses I will end up with Mercury Premium Plus. Just finished mounting the 6" engine bracket tonight. Close to the time when I will mount the engine.
B Bear posted 04-02-2001 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
I had used the Pennzoil synthetic TCW-3 for one season, with an OMC 115. The reasons I tried the synthetic were that in making a repair to the muffler I was dismayed at how much oil had collected there, also that when making way through no wake zones there was a goodly amount of smoke and oil residue left on the plugs making for a harder start up.
The synthetic did reduce the smoke, quite noticable during engine flushing on the trailer, and start ups seemed easier. Another reason I used it was due to the fact it is bio-degradeable, by seeing what was left in the mullfer I know that some oil must make it through the exhaust.

It is of course just observations on my part.
Bear

bdb posted 04-02-2001 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
I too have been anxious to find out about the new synthetics. Cabela's, which I believe is semi-synthetic, claims "smoke-free" burning and an environmental friendliness.

In the early 80s I used Amsoil 100:1 synthetic in a 90hp V4 Johnson. I went to this product after appropriate break-in and a summer of OMC 50:1. Results were remarkable. I ran that engine for several years with that mix, finally selling it. The engine was internally clean as a whistle, and plugs lasted forever. Combustion was almost smoke-free. Since then I have used the 100:1 in everything: lawnmowers, snowblowers, weedeaters, chainsaws. My Lawn Boy mower used to vibrate my hands to sleep. But with 100:1 it settled right down to a smooth purrrr. It's great not having 20 different pre-mix gasoline tanks around for all the various ratios these 2 strokes use. In a mix-it-yourself situation I'm sold! I should add that these 2 stroke engines have been in use/abuse fors years and some cases decades.

I'd like to start this coming season off with synthetic. The engine is a '90 Evinrude 70hp. However, this situation is a bit different in that it's a VRO system. So in that vein I'm like you guys...curious. I know there will be synthetic benefits, like outstanding lubricity and so on, but I just wonder if we'll be able to knock down smoke, smell and emissions.

And a final interesting note: The Amsoil 100:1 and injector products are apparently different blends.

Synthetic Harpoon Harry

lhg posted 04-02-2001 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
To further complicate the matter, there's the comparison between the SEMI-synthetics, like Cabela's and Pennzoil, and 100% synthetics, which Pennzoil also makes. With Pennzoil, using Walmat's pricing, it's the difference between $11/gal and $19.50/Gal. I wonder if the 100% is worth the extra price. Also wonder what the proportion of synthetic is in the "mixed" brands. If it's less than 50%, it's cheaper to buy each separately (straight tcw-3 and 100% synthetic) and mix your own in the oil tank.

Sounds like we're all hoping we can get our conventional 2 strokes to operate more like a DFI or 4 stroke!

I think I'm going to give the stuff a try.

Mako posted 04-02-2001 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mako  Send Email to Mako     
In the 4-cycle (automotive) motor oils, the "semi-synthetics" contain around 25% synthetic oil. Not sure if there's a standard, but the blends behave more like conventional oils than synthetics. You're right about it being more cost-effective to mix it yourself.
B Bear posted 04-02-2001 06:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for B Bear  Send Email to B Bear     
Just a note, mine was a VRO set up.
Kim posted 04-10-2001 11:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kim  Send Email to Kim     
suburbanboy;
I use to race jet skis in the 80's
I used a synthetic oil.tenth at the world finels 1987.
ok a good test; take a little of each. on your for finger and thumb use a litte. each hand ok one on the rt & other on the lf. now put your hands in water and try to rub it off/ after you have done this dry your hands and see witch hand feels smouth. in other words/witch one is slick?
I think you will find the synthetic. will win. but the draw backs are great. it CAN NOT be mixed with other 2 smoke oils.!!! such as the ones you buy at a fuel dock(pre mix) the new oils are very good but they have there draw backs...
kim.
SuburbanBoy posted 04-11-2001 12:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Kim, I guess that you don't have to worry about 2-smoke oil anymore. You have left the world of light weight - smokey exhaust motors for the world of quiet heavyweights. In your Suzie, I suggest Mobil 1 without reservation. I don't know change interval suggestions, but expect it to be around 50 to 100 hour cycles.
What brand of oil did you run in your jet ski?
Thanks
lhg posted 04-11-2001 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Since I have a twin engine Whaler, I am going to try a "side by side" oil test for a month or so, continuing to use regular TCW-3 in one oil tank, and the 100% synthetic in the other tank. We'll see how they compare exhaust-wise, in both air and water pollution.
SuburbanBoy posted 04-11-2001 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
That is great news lhg. When you say tank, I am assuming you mean the oil injection tank. Also what brand and type of oil for each tank? This can get interesting.
lhg posted 04-11-2001 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I take a lot for grief for this, but I use either Texaco Havoline TCW-3 ($6/gal at K-mart) or Walmart's own brand, $7/gal. The Texaco brand is darker in color, but the Walmart brand looks just like the Mercury oil.

For the 100% synthetic, I'm going to try the Pennzoil brand, $19 at Walmart. I may also give Pennzoil's or Cabela's part synthetic a try.

simonmeridew posted 04-11-2001 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
If I dump a gallon of the synthetic in the oil tank of my '99 Johnson, what if there's a pint of regular 2 cycle oil in the bottom of it? Should I try to remove what's there first?
simonmeridew
SuburbanBoy posted 04-11-2001 11:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
To remove most of your old oil, I suggest a turkey baster and some rubber tubing attached to the end of the baster. I would suck out most of the oil. Then I would pour in a pint or two of the new oil, and mix it up with the remaining old oil. Next, I would suck this mixture of old/new out. Finally I would refill with new oil. One item that Tohatsu (probably other engine companies as well) is very concerned about is air in the oil injection lines. Tohatsu even request that for the first 10 hours you run with 50:1 premix in addition to the oil injection. I can already hear the replies about engine break-in. And I can think that break-in is a minor reason for the premix. The main reason I believe, is because the oil injection system may have numerous air locks, and it will require some time to work the air out. One of Tohatsu's pre delivery requirements is to bleed all of the air from the oil injection system. BTW, Tohatsu very nicely posts all of their owners manuals on-line. They also include prop, controls, and a Tach/warning gauge with all engine purchases as well. 2 year warrenty also. Now if they could just loose 50lbs from each of their fuel injected two-strokes.

Manual:
http://www.tohatsu.com/tech_info/own_manuals.html

Breakin Schedule:
http://www.tohatsu.com/tech_info/break_in.html

Kim posted 04-12-2001 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kim  Send Email to Kim     
suburbanboy
I used a oil called caster oil. it is costly at 20 bucks for a 1/2 gal. it is thick very thick like honey. not good for injected engions, you may have smelled it befor. it smells sweet, like model airplane fuel. a very destinc(s/p) smell.you CAN NOT! use this with other petrolem oils.
I use 10/40 castrol GTX in my new suzuki. chang oil every 100 hrs. and lower end also. filter is recomended every 200 hrs. but I chang it with the oil. I have used this kind of oil in my toy truck and it's got 231,000.miles I call it jap oil.used it in my volvo also.it ran good then I sold it at 250,000 miles.
kim.
bdb posted 04-13-2001 10:24 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Glad this thread came back up. Lhg you're experiment sounds brilliant; I'm sure everyone is anxious to learn the results.

One "for-what-it's-worth:" Several years ago I had a bit of a crash course in oil refinery. There was a heavy emphasis on additive "packages." These packages determine the quality of the finished product. Therein lies the key to the differences in all oils. While they say they "meet or exceed" all mfgr's requirements, or TCW-3 or 10W40 or FDA nutritional minimums, they are not equal in quality. So I suppose "you get what you pay for" works here too. Additionally I would be willing to bet that the semi-synthetic formulations are not simply X per cent organic and X per cent synthetic mixed together. So trying to formulate your own blend might not be wise. And in the end, do any of us really use enough oil to risk the financial consequences of burning a cheap oil? Or maybe more to the point, if we do burn that much we're probably even better off making sure we use a premium product...you know, cheap insurance.

Stepping off the soapbox I remain cordially Harpoon Harold

Chris J posted 04-17-2001 11:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
I want to hear more about the Amsoil 100:1. I'm in favor of anything that will make my 1986 Evinrude 150 smoke less. How safe is 100:1 in old 2-strokes? You put many hours on that engine after making the switch?

Another thing that concerns me with 2-strokes (with no VRO, like mine) is how well the oil stays mixed with the fuel. My boat sometimes sits unused for weeks at a time, and some oils seem to settle more than others.

AZdave posted 04-23-2001 01:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for AZdave  Send Email to AZdave     
I look forward to the results from lhg's experiment. I have been using the Penzoil synthetic (actually my bottle says Quaker State, but I read that a corporate buyout is the only change). I used mineral based oil for break in, then changed over to synthetic in my 30 hp Yamaha. The motor smokes some at start up. I really can't see any smoke after it warms up. The problem is that there is no control for me to compare with. I should also mention that I have mixed up some gas for my chain saw and string trimmer using this same synthetic. I had a lot of congestion after using these tools and breathing the exhaust. I won't swear that the oil was responsible. Clearly chain saws and and trimmers put all kinds of interesting particulates into the air. It might not be safe to assume that the smoke from a synthetic oil has less affect on the lungs. When the companies claim "environmental friendliness" I think they are referring to the rate at which bacteria decompose the residue.
lhg posted 04-23-2001 01:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
OK guys, I did my first "side by side" test on the synthetic oil. What a surprise!

Here's what I did, using my 18 Outrage with twin 1985 Merc in-line 6 cylinder 115's, as pictured in the Engine Brackets reference section. These engines have both been re-built, and are like new with full compression, new pistons and rings, etc. These are non-oil injected, so I pre mix at 50 to 1. So as outboards go, these would be as "smokey" at idle as you can get, with six non-oil injected cylinders and best for this experiment. All the new OI engines idle at 100 to 1.

The gas in the belly tank is mixed with Walmart's TCW-3, costing, lately, $5.99 a gallon. Believe it or not, I think this is pretty decent stuff. Right next to it on the shelf was Pennzoil's new 100% synthetic, costing $19.50 a gallon, more expensive than the Merc or OMC oil they had. So I bought one. I mixed up 12 gallons worth of pre-mix, put this 12 gallon Tempo tank under the seat to fuel one of the engines, and started them up for a day on the water. Used about 8 gallons through each engine.

Well, now I know why Pennzoil, after going back to read the label, DOES NOT CLAIM ON THE BOTTLE less smoke! That's because there was MORE smoke! Couldn't believe it, but clearly was the case. I mean, like twice as much smoke at idle. I took the boat out on open water, ran it up to 40MPH, then back into the harbors, let them idle a while, same thing, MORE smoke coming from the synthetic oil. Nothing changed all day. Obviously, there is no way to tell if the lubrication, etc is better, although I suspect it would be from other things I've heard about synthetic auto oils.

But there is a bright side. The exhaust from the synthetic oil, at idle, seems to less pollute the water. No oil film at all could be detected. It's supposed to be bio-degradeable and truly may be. No rainbow colored oil slick, although the other engine doesn't do much of this either.
But the synthetic was definitely cleaner in exhaust in the water.

So go figure! My inclination right now is to save the $13 per gallon, and stay with the LESS smokey conventional oil. But I am also going to try this in the 200EFI's, and maybe I'll try the Cabela's brand where they ADVERTIZE less smoke. Stay tuned for future reports on the subject!

If anybody else can do a similar experiment, it would be interesting to hear other comments and experiences.

bdb posted 04-23-2001 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for bdb  Send Email to bdb     
Lhg,

Thanks for the quick experiment and update. The Penzoil product had intrigued my, but no longer.

I have emptied my oil resevoir of whatever product was in it, and filled it with a gallon of Amsoil Injector Oil. It will be a while before I can launch and it will take some running time to be sure the old oil remaining in the line is consumed. After that I will dutifully file a report.

A well lubed Harpoon Harry

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