Moderated Discussion Areas
  ContinuousWave: Whaler Performance
  Two-stroke oil: Air-cooled vs Water-cooled

Post New Topic  Post Reply
search | FAQ | profile | register | author help

Author Topic:   Two-stroke oil: Air-cooled vs Water-cooled
triblet posted 12-05-2003 12:21 AM ET (US)   Profile for triblet   Send Email to triblet  
UPS brought my Christmas present to myself tonight: a
Husqvarna pole pruner. The manual says:

- For best results and performance use HUSQVARNA two-stroke oil,
which is specially formulated for our two-stroke engines.
-Never use two-stroke oil intended for water-cooled outboard
engines, sometimes referred to as outboard oil.

The first item I chalk up to the usual marketeers influence
on the manual writers. But the second item I don't grok.
I've got several air-cooled two-strokes in the garage, and
none of them said that. And interestingly, they don't spec
anything like "TCW-3" or somesuch.

Now, I'm not terribly concerned about putting Quicksilver
TCW-3 in it because the pros run their Huskis day in and
day out, and mine will run maybe four hours a year, so
slightly non-optimal oil shouldn't be a problem, but it's


Tom W Clark posted 12-05-2003 01:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I've wondered that myself on a few occasions. I HAVE read that same caveat before in the manuals of other lawn maintenance equipment.

But the service grade "TCW" stands for Two Cycle Water cooled. If there were no differences in the requirements for air cooled vs. water cooled two cycle engines, why would there be a TCW grade of oil at all?

JBCornwell posted 12-05-2003 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Air cooled 2 strokes normally run at much higher temps and rpm than water cooled 2 strokes, Triblet. Head temps over 500*F and 10,000rpm are not unusual. The oil must be much more heat tolerant and higher viscosity.

They typically require much more oil-rich fuel mixtures as well. Sixteen to one is typical.

"Husky" gives you good advice. Never use TCW-3 outboard oil in any air cooled 2 stroke, not even air cooled outboards.

I destroyed a chain saw in my ignorance of the above.

Red sky at night. . .

Jarhead posted 12-05-2003 08:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
Biggie nailed this one dead-nuts.

Don't learn this lesson the hard way...

Peter posted 12-05-2003 08:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I have seen the warning against using TCW as well.
I understand that the TCW grades are optimized to provide good lubricating properties for the cooler and typically lower engine operating speed conditions of the water-cooled 2-cycle. The optimization of TCW grade comes in part from the use of a lighter grade of base oil which has a lower viscosity than the non-TCW grade. Based on my non-scientific testing (wiping up the spills of each over the years), I belive I can confirm that the non-TCW grade 2-cycle oil is a little thicker than the TCW grade.

You would be well advised to follow the manufacturer's recommendation and not use a TCW grade oil in your air-cooled 2-cycle engine.

Landlocked posted 12-05-2003 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
I have a husqvarna chain saw and Steel backpack blower and weedeater. I run Steel oil in all of them - mainly due to convenience. Any steel dealer will sell air cooled 2stroke oil in a six pack of small containers. one container to one callon of gas = the required ratio. Might be a little more expensive this way but it is so convenient. Besides, how much are you going to save over the life of the machine buying oil in bulk when you only use a few hours a year.


triblet posted 12-05-2003 10:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Thanks, guys. Learn something everyday. It's a good day
when it's still early in the morning (I read this in the
morning, just didn't have time to reply till now, the guy
doing the security review on my server farm walked in just
then. Passed with flying colors, which REALLY made my day.)


jimh posted 12-06-2003 03:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Changed TOPIC; was "Two-stroke oil for air-cooled engines differs from two-stroke oil for air-cooled?"--jimh]
JayR posted 12-06-2003 04:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for JayR  Send Email to JayR     
My friend just roasted his Husky. Now I know why....

Learn something new each day. Thanks!!!!

JBCornwell posted 12-06-2003 04:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
My sympathy to your friend, Jay.

I guess the silver lining to my learning experience is that it was a hock shop special Poulan I paid $50 for quite a few years back.

Red sky at night. . .

triblet posted 12-06-2003 04:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
BTW, Lowes has the Huski oil (and a couple other brands).
A couple of other places only had no-name (OSH) or house
brand (Ace). I'd have been happy with air-cooled oil from
any of the major chainsaw makers or any of the major oil
companies. But I really don't like off-brand lubricants.


ShrimpBurrito posted 12-08-2003 02:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for ShrimpBurrito  Send Email to ShrimpBurrito     
So based on the above logic, can i correctly assume that I can dump the leftover gallon or so of oil/gas for my Stihl trimmer into my 12 gallon tank on the boat (without causing damage to my outboard)?

Thanks for the info on this. I too had always wondered why you couldn't use TCW3 oil.

gss036 posted 12-11-2003 02:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
That would work for your left over oil. Go to a motorcycle shop and buy yourself a qt of Synthetic MC racing oil( I use Klotz). It will last for several years and will not let you engine seize due to heat.
triblet posted 12-12-2003 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
The half-gallon or so of TCW-3 premix I had left went into
the tank on the whaler with no second thoughts.

Interestingly, I just ran a tank of Huski pre-mix through
my leaf blower (it's still leaf season in NorCal, one more
pass after the next storm) and it seemed to run better, esp.
at idle.


gss036 posted 12-12-2003 07:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
Triblet: I just happened by a shelf with some Penzoil TCW3 and read the label. They said it is designed for chain saws, lawn mowers, etc Air Colled engines.
triblet posted 12-12-2003 11:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Interesting. You got me to go down to the garage and read
the freaking labels. My gallon of Quicksilver TCW3 says it
meets TCW-II, TCW-3, and API TC, and is good for air cooled
two-cycle operation including chainsaws. The little one-shot
bottle of Huski oil says it's for air-cooled two-strokes and
meets JASO FC and ISO E-GD.


gss036 posted 12-13-2003 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for gss036  Send Email to gss036     
It is interesting. I was at WallyMart abd looked at thier oil. They have 2 types. One for snowmobiles,etc and specifically says not to use in OUTBOARDS/not a substute for TCW3 or something to that effect.

Post New Topic  Post Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | RETURN to ContinuousWave Top Page

Powered by: Ultimate Bulletin Board, Freeware Version 2000
Purchase our Licensed Version- which adds many more features!
© Infopop Corporation (formerly Madrona Park, Inc.), 1998 - 2000.