Briggs & Stratton synthetic oil - $13/quart????

nysffOctober 31, 2009

$13 a quart for Briggs & Stratton 5W-30 synthetic - is this a joke? I've got a new 205cc/6.5HP B&S Vanguard on my Cyclone Rake. I ran the B&S 30W that was shipped with it for the 1st 5 hours and need to change it. B&S seems to make a recommendation for 5W-30 synthetic for all seasons and since the temps might getting close to the 40F min on 30W if I use this into November, I thought I would shift to the synthetic. I was at Tractor Supply yesterday and since I was there and they don't have much of a selection of other synthetic oils, thought I would just pick up the B&S synthetic which they had. Only problem is it was $13 for quart. Checked online today - $14 a quart through Amazon.

Are they smoking something at B&S headquarters in Milwaukee?? I see "warranty certified" and specially formulated for air cooled engines. Is there really something special with this stuff? You don't use much of it, but come on, $13/quart? They are selling it, so I assume someone is buying it. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I should be using this stuff. Anyone know if there's something special in there? I think I'll still go synthetic, but it will be Mobil1, Valv or Pennzoil or something from Walmart, Advance Auto, etc.

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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

I'm no authority, but I think any brand name synthetic is as good as the other.

There are lots of companies out there who change the name on the bottle and keep the tap flowing.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:37AM
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nysff

I don't think there is anything special in the B&S synthetic - my bet is it's all marketing hype "warranty certified" blah, blah, blah - that's what the marketing folks get paid for - taking money out of your pocket and putting it in theirs.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:51AM
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rcmoser

Man, I thought MObil 1 0W40 was expensive at $7.50 a quart. Probably Mobil 1 anyway and briggs added their surcharge for there name.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 1:51PM
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rcmoser

"O" I have CR with the cheap tec, going on my 9th year and it looks and runs like new. I think in dusty conditions you would be better off changing the oil about every 4 months and not worry about brand. If it black and gooey it's way over due for change IMO. My oil in my TEC is as clear as new havoline when it comes out.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 1:56PM
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bushleague(MA)

Zinc. If you go to the oil mfgrs sites they are reducing the amount of zinc in their oils.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 5:55PM
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nysff

What's the connection between zinc and the B/S synthetic?? Trying to follow you on that. The engine manual recommends B/S warranty certified oils but it does say that other high quality detergent oils are acceptable is classified for service SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher. I think most oils are up to SM, so that's not an issue. RCMOSER, are using a straight 30W? When I finished up today it was just about 50F. I've got at least a few more weeks of leaf work, so I'll probably be running it with temps in the 40's. Maybe mid to high 30's is possible earlier in the day. I think I need to make the shift before temps start to drop - probably go with Mobil1 5W-30, seems like a safe bet and lot less than the B/S synthetic.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:49PM
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rcmoser

5w-30 syn blend. I'm cheap! much as I change it I could get refined. Hee,Hee. Your briggs will do alot better in the cold than the TEC. it don't even have a choke. I have to push the primer buttom 5 times. it fires right off but with no choke when cold (45 degrees or below) it dies, so I raise the throttle, remove the air filter and prime the shyt out of it with carb. cleaner (that carb. got to be the cleanest carb. this side of the Mississippi.)it fires and goes to full throttle and when it starts to stall I hit it again with the carb. cleaner, it finely warms up enough and runs fine. they upgraded to a better engine after I brought mine back in 01. Only thing that will gum up the engine is letting it set. start it up at least every three months. I only use mine in the fall and spring. very little in the summer. don't worry about the impeller. I sucked up half red brick, it was burried in the leaves, made a big thud and knocked the dust off, I shut it down and looked at the impeller, couldn't hardly see where the brick hit, looked in the bin and the red brick was broken up into fine pieces.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:46PM
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den69rs96(z6CT)

Zinc is an additive that was put in oil to reduce wear in older car engines. This additive is especially important in engines with flat tappet cams. The EPA has forced the oil companies to reduce the amount of zinc because if it gets burned, zinc attacks emissions equipment like O2 sensors. This isn't a problem with newer vehicles as they now use roller camshafts so lower levels of zinc are fine.

The reduction of zinc has caused alot of cam failers in older flat tappet cams in the muscle car world. Folks run big cams with lots of spring pressure and if the cam is not broken in correctly with an oil with plenty of zinc, lobes of the cam get wiped out. Oils today have around 700-800 PPM of zinc where they used to have around 1400 ppm. I'm not sure what the zinc content of Briggs oil is. It might have more or the same as any quality 5W-30 thats currently available. There are a few companies, Royal Purple, Comp Cams, Joe Gibbs Racing, etc that are making engine break in oil with higher zinc levels. There are plenty of zinc additives available such as GM's EOS, Comp Cams, Trickflow etc as well to replenish the zinc content for flat tappet cams. Another alternative is to use diesel oil like Shell Rotella T. This oil had higher levels of zinc, but the epa is starting to go after diesel oil too. I wouldn't recommend diesel oil for small engines though.

Generally I don't think its a probably with smaller single or twin small engines since they don't have spring pressures anywhere near what people are putting into older muscle car engines. Use the Briggs oil that came with your equipment to break it in, then use any quality 5W-30 in your engine and it will be fine.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:32AM
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bushleague(MA)

API SM doesn't contain enough zinc for the small engines.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 5:26PM
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idaho_gardener

Some clarifications;

Not all synthetic oils are the same. The good ones make their oils from scratch, the bad ones do a process called hydroprocessing on regular mineral oil.

Good oil; Mobil1

Bad oil; Castrol Syntec

I put fresh Castrol Syntec 10w-30 in an old Toyota Corona with 300k miles. The engine labored. I drained that out and put in some used Mobil1 motor oil. The engine ran like a top.

Mobil1 10w-30 synthetic pours well even at low temperatures, and it survives higher temperatures than mineral oil.

Regarding 'zinc'; what we're really talking about is ZDDP - Zinc Diaryl Dithio Phosphate. There are two kinds of ZDDP, one for car engines and one for diesel truck engines. You want the one for car engines.

The zinc itself is simply a carrier for the DDP. The DDP part drops the zinc when it bonds to iron oxide such as the surface of the camshaft.

At the request of the EPA and others, oil manufacturers have been changing the formula of the oil they use to help with emissions. The Phosphorus in the ZDDP will foul catalytic converters over time.

Per; a conversation with the B&S technical staff, it is ok to add a small amount of ZDDP. I recommend using the STP Oil Treatment in the red bottle.

The motorcycle gearheads had done analysis of various sources of ZDDP and found that the STP Oil Treatment for four cylinder engines, the red bottle, had the highest concentrations. Another source was GM's EOS, but there are conflicting reports about them changing the formula.

The zinc forms a sludge in the bottom of the crankcase over time. Use ZDDP in the recommend amounts to reduce sludging.

Here's my executive summary;

Use Mobil1 10w-30 synthetic oil. Use STP Oil Treatment for four cylinder engines.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2009 at 2:00PM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

Some clarifications;

Not all synthetic oils are the same. The good ones make their oils from scratch, the bad ones do a process called hydroprocessing on regular mineral oil.

Good oil; Mobil1

Bad oil; Castrol Syntec

Tell me more about this idaho. News to me. Are you saying the Castrol Full Synthetic is bad?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 5:29PM
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jammer1(mass)

The best thing , is to use regular oil and,change more often.......in the long run your engine will be cleaner inside and you'll be better off........heck at that price you could change the weight of the oil every 2 weeks or even earlier, as you see fit....I'm not sold on the synthetics;the price they charge isn't worth the "advantage" Plus; I know a few people that had a small tiny leakage of oil,that only amounted to moisture,and then when they put in synthetic,it turned into a appreciable leak,enough to piss you off.........

    Bookmark   November 8, 2009 at 11:19PM
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idaho_gardener

Baymee, Castrol Syntec calls itself 'synthetic' and actually won a court case to that effect. But it is not even in the same ballpark as Royal Purple, Mobil1 and other oils made from PAO and ester resins. Castrol Syntec is made from hydroprocessed mineral oil.

Again, I wouldn't use Castrol Syntec synthetic oil in my lawn mower, old pickup truck, or newer Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 2:55PM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

That's what's been in my van for the last 146K miles. I'm due to get some oil, so maybe I'll start using Mobil 1.

One thing I find annoying about synthetic oil is that it burns up. I drive about 5000 miles per year and add a quart of oil every 1500 miles, with no leaks. I know that my other cars where I used regular oil, I wouldn't have to add a drop for the full 6K miles.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 6:31AM
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evdpgh

"API SM doesn't contain enough zinc for the small engines."

Any comments on this statement?

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 7:03PM
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tomplum

"API SM doesn't contain enough zinc for the small engines."

Really, how will you ever know. Kohler as an example, likes to sell their oil and has had some cam issues. Much like Briggs. Seems like a good argument. But why can't you design an engine that can't run the same oil as a $ high dollar high rpm car engine. Maintenance done properly w/ quality engine oil is fine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 12:08AM
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rcmoser

well I figure any motor oil is better than no oil or oil thats been in for years. Come now you don't believe some people don't change their oil in their Lawn equipment? I've seen it too many times, some don't even check it!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 6:38PM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

I know for a fact that my father-in-law used to add oil to his pick-up and never once changed it. After a few years, I offered to change it, even though he made fun of me. It came out like tar.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 7:35PM
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idaho_gardener

"Maintenance done properly w/ quality engine oil is fine."

I'm sure you mean what you say, but the truth is that ZDDP has been reduced in motor oils, and engines are failing as a result. I have personally worked on a Ford 223 and a Chevy 350 where the cams went bad. Shouldn't have happened.

If you have an older engine, get the right kind of oil. Today's motor oil doesn't have the amount of ZDDP needed to protect old-style (flat-tappet) cams.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 6:09PM
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tomplum

Maybe time will prove me wrong, but I don't see anymore cams fail than I ever did in the L&G industry. No abnormal tappet wear. Oil related failures tend to be lack of lube in my world. A few get good and hot due to dirty cooling systems. Some shops pitch Optilube and I myself thought about adding synthetic options for maintenance services. No one really seems to care what I use in their equipment though. Hardly ever on synthetic. Never on zinc. You get questions on proper weight. I think the guy that gets wrapped up in oil compounds should use what eases there mind. I myself bought 2 cases of ELF oil from France or somewhere for my last ride. I don't even remember why anymore...

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 10:05PM
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tomplum

I realized that I should have stated OPTI-4 rather than optilube- which is yet another additive. Anyone have an opinion on that?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 11:59AM
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baymee(LehighValleyPA)

I've seen some shops put a sticker on the machine to the effect that if you don't use opti-4 lube, the warranty will be voided.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 7:24PM
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ewalk

Idaho: Good Post Bro ! I tend to agree , have used Amsoil Multi Synthetic 25-50 in my Air Cooled Harley for Yrs without any appreciable Top End Wear ! I had in the past had friends have lifters fail and cams wear due to a to heavy weight Mineral Oil use in Cooler Temps. Having said this I have witnessed where Valvoline Dura Blend was used in a Older Generator and the bottom end bearings were destroyed , the user said the unit used a little Oil but had never had any unusual Bottom end noise prior to the Semi Synthetic Oil Use ? Thanx for the contribution..Ty !

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 1:09PM
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zoulas

No reason to buy B&S oil. Leave the oil making to the oil companies.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 4:44PM
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idaho_gardener

ewalk, thank you. I have been assiduous about staying informed about oil, lubrication, filtering, and related. I'm no tribologist, but I've been paying attention.

Amsoil is very much akin to Mobil1; built up from small molecules to make long, very strong molecules. Long may you and your Harley run.

Trying to run older equipment with new products is dicey. When they designed engines back then, they based the design on the current state of the art in oil. Oil is quite different today. (For that matter, gasoline has changed, too. These days, I have put StaBil in the fuel tanks of mowers and old cars to keep the gas from going bad.)

It takes diligence to keep the right kind of oil available for the right engine. In this regard, it makes sense to pay the $13 because you are pretty sure to get the right stuff. But if you want to save a few dollars, you've got to bone up on oil and your engine. Obviously, B&S does not refine their own oil. I don't doubt that they specify how their oil is either refined, or modified with additives, but I suspect that you can buy Mobil1 or Amsoil, and tweak it with EOS or STP or some other ZDDP additive to protect your engine.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 5:21PM
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