sythetic or regular trans oil - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


Drivetrain Tech General discussion of drivetrain for the Ford Ranger.

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  #1  
Old 12-26-2005
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sythetic or regular trans oil

got some money for xmas so im getting my transmission flushed and some new oil but im trying to decide if getting synthetic is worth the extra money? im not sure how much more theyd charge but its 150$ for everything with motorcraft trans oil....

will synthetic hold up better in the long run or is it not worth the extra money?
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Old 12-26-2005
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My philosophy on oil: Synthetic hasnt been around as long as conventional oils have... If the manufacturer doesnt require it on the dipstick or in the owners manual, use conventionals... They are cheaper, sometimes if you switch to synthetic after several miles, you develop leaks.
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Old 12-26-2005
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And I TOTALLY disagree. Since synthetics are blended to be compatible. Synthetics have been with us since world war 2 for crying out loud. Many aircraft, particularly jets, MUST have synthetics. They've been used in cars for 30 years now, but only recently have caught on. There is nothing "new" about synthetics, except in the minds of some people.

Somehow people are under the impression that car companies put the BEST oil in their vehicles for the application. Wrong. They put ADEQUATE oils for the applicaton. You can't seriously think they go out of their way with anything unless you pay top dollar. In fact, many top dollar vehicles specify synthetics now.

As far as the transmission goes, here's what I and others have experienced in these squirrely Ford automatics: synthetic improves them. Many of us have the same testimony. We put full synthetic Amsoil (my choice) or Redine or Royal Purple or whatever in and the shifting improved.

In mine it was that stupid 2-3 shift between the "extra" gear (2) in the 5 speed and the original gear (3). In the older 4 speeds the the tranny would have shifted from what we consider (1) to what is now (3). The new system adds a gear we call (2).

That 2-3 shift is glitchy on many of our vehicles. Using synthetic made it the same as my other shift points. Quite an improvement.

What Nick said about leaks is telling: know why you sometimes get leaks when you switch to synthetic later (way later with todays vehicles)? It's because the conventional lubes allowed the seals and clearances to wear and the more "slippery' synthetic can now squeeze out!

Interestingly, if you use synthetic from the get-go, you don't develop these leaks. It's because of the superior lubrication of a properly ENGINEERED lubricant.

But with today's vehicles this is seldom a problem and you can change "later" with no penalty. Synthetics reduce wear SUBSTANTIALLY and they are worth every penny. I change my engine oil once a year (about every 18,000 miles) and send samples for testing and every year it's the same: the oil is thicker, but not terribly degraded, and WEAR METALS ARE VERY LOW. Lower than you'd expect from a conventional oil at a 3K to 5K change!

So, I'm a believer after making my truck a "guinea pig" and actually measuring the oil quality. People who tell you they are no better are either not paying attention, or just plain scared to try something new.

There is one case where you should pay attention though: where the owners manual does not specify a lubrication "spec" alone, but instead tells you SPECIFICALLY to stay away from synthetics. I had this happen with my Auburn ECTED electric locker.

The ECTED uses clutches to lock, and the synthetic was TOO slippery, especially when I added limited slip additive (because the ECTED is a limited slip until locked). The result was a non-locking locker! The instructions told me SPECIFICALLY not to use synthetic, and I did anyway, being such a promoter of it, lol. Well, in this case it was a problem.

However, that is a RARE exception and you will not encounter that often. For our engines transmissions and gear boxes, good synthetics are a slam-dunk.
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Old 12-26-2005
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ok i understood everything that youve said up until the part about limited slip...since i have limited slip, is synthetic not as good or is it because you added that limited slip additive that makes it to slippery?
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Old 12-26-2005
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I used synthetic in my Ford factory limited slip, without additive and it was fine. I was getting too "enthusiastic" with the new rear I built for my truck. If you have the Ford Trac-Loc or whatever it's called limited slip, you should be fine with most synthetics.

Some synthetics will not be QUITE slippery enough, and in that case you should add a LITTLE" of the LS additive if you need it. Mine didn't need it.

When I put the ECTED in, I put the synthetic alone in, and the locker worked just fine. But the LS chattered on turns and what not. So I added the bottle of LS additive Auburn sent me with the ECTED -- THE WHOLE BOTTLE!

Yes, it was dumb in retrospect but lesson learned and I drained an refilled with conventional lube and so far everything is perfect. I added no LS additive, but thats because some oil was left in the axle tubes and bottom of the center section.

I have an Explorer IRS aluminum diff cover with the drain plug, but it leaves a bit in the bottom. My mechanic friend at work said to put regular stuff back in first, and the remaining synthetic and additive might be enough and darned if he wasn't right.
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Old 12-26-2005
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how do i know if its not slippery enough, harder shifts and such....?
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Old 12-26-2005
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Are we talking transmission now or limited slip? I was talking about the limited slip which is of course in the differential when I talked about "slippery enough".

In our transmissions, any of the "major" synthetic ATF's will work well. I can testify to the Amsoil, and others have used Red Line and Royal Purple and had similar results. You won't have any problems changing over if your experience is like everyone I know that has done it.
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  #8  
Old 12-26-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz
I can testify to the Amsoil, and others have used Red Line and Royal Purple and had similar results. You won't have any problems changing over if your experience is like everyone I know that has done it.
Changed mine completly over to Royal Purple at ~100,000 miles. Works absolutly great!
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Old 12-26-2005
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I have to disagree about "how the synthetic fluids are so much better" jazz!!! I used to work for a Nascar team and we ran standard oil from our supplier... If synthetics are soooooo much better, why do they run conventional oil in a motor that twists 8k rpms for 500 miles??? Why does my dads 88 full size bronco have over 250k miles on it and still run great(original engine, transmission, and differential)? I think synthetics are way overrated and overpriced... My mom had an 88 thunderbird turbo coupe(purchased brand new) with over 180k miles on it(original engine, turbo, transmission, differential) using havoline 10w30 conventional oil, sold it to my 16 year old cousin and she drove it for another 20k miles, my uncle who is harder on vehicles than I am, ran the **** out of it for at least 15k of those 20k with the original drive train still, sold it and its still running strong to this day!!!!! What makes synthetics sooooooo special???

One more thing.....

I raced crotch rockets for 2 years, and twisted them up to 18k rpms yes 18,000 revolutions per minute, and I ran a non-friction modified oil in the bikes I raced... Keep in mind that this oil is shared between the engine and transmission, including the wet clutch... Specific instructions in EVERY wet clutch type transmission states that you do NOT use any type of synthetic oil in the crankcase... It will lead to clutch failure and possible engine damage may occur. The oil required in these bikes is the same oil used back when it was in a steel can!!! What makes me want to run a "slicker" oil or fluid in a transmission that uses wet clutches such as an automatic transmission in an automobile, that can possibly cause clutch failure?

Last edited by NicksterSVT; 12-26-2005 at 10:49 PM.
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Old 12-26-2005
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Because it makes no sense to run synthetic when you throw the oil away and tear down the motor every 500 miles. Jeez. Racing engines and daily driving aren't REMOTELY related Nick -- bad example.

And ONE vehicle you had in the family is proof? And you change the oil HOW often to get that result? Synthetics last longer and lubricate better. It's not even debatable any longer. Why so much emotion?

Synthetics have still been proven to result in less wear time and time and time again.

Slicker is a matter language, isn't it? Synthetic formulations aren't necessarily just "slicker". What they do is make a more consistent oil film that doesn't break down into it's component molecules as easily when heated, for just one example. Oil is a complex of chemicals with different characteristics including viscosity, shear strength, etc. "Slicker" is a convenient term, but not one to argue the wisdom of synthetics with.

You're not arguing based on the realities of motor oil, just your opinion based on some VERY narrow examples and using faulty logic.

Again, there is no proof that synthetics hurt engines or transmissions and TONS of proof to the contrary, Nick, no matter how much you protest.
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  #11  
Old 12-26-2005
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Two vehicles mayn... No emotion, Im not upset at all... Just understand that I am a mechanic and I do see more that just a couple of cars everynow and again... Like I said, I am not upset or showing emotion, synthetics are overrated!!! The motorcycles were a prime example of synthetics doing damage... I had a few buddies that had nothing but trouble out of there clutches and rod bearings by using syns...
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Old 12-26-2005
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I would think Nascar teams don't use full synthetic because Nascar won't let them. If they could use what they wanted, they probably would have thrown out the carburetors sometime ago. From my understanding they still have to use paper filters for filtration.
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Old 12-26-2005
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I do agree the price spread is pretty outageous between the two.
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  #14  
Old 12-26-2005
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Yea thats right about the paper filter... All the claims and misconceptions about motor oils, Im just trying to use examples of extreme conditions that conventional oils withstand!!! I myself, I use synthetics in my vehicles!!! HAHA!!!!!!
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Old 12-26-2005
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lol
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Old 12-26-2005
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Im sorry that may have been out of line for me to do that, but I am getting so bored waiting on my engine... I think im gonna run pennzoil in it when it comes back... OKOK sorry just jokin again!!!

Dont hate me n3elz!!!! I know im a jackass
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  #17  
Old 12-26-2005
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I ran Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic for a few months and the Taurus runs like a champ :)
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Old 12-27-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksterSVT
Im sorry that may have been out of line for me to do that, but I am getting so bored waiting on my engine... I think im gonna run pennzoil in it when it comes back... OKOK sorry just jokin again!!!

Dont hate me n3elz!!!! I know im a jackass
Ha ha! So am I much of the time. I'm not upset. I just believe synthetics are largely more beneficial than harmful. Conventional oil is ALSO harmful, if you look at it rationally. There is no perfect lubricant.

And there ARE applications where synthetics cause problems, as I myself discovered. These are relatively few, and none that I know of related to our Rangers, which is what the original question dealt with.

Has anyone scoped Amsoils declaration on oil related failures? They do have a warranty provision on that and if lube failures can be attributed to their synthetic they will pay.

The price spread evens out if you do long drain intervals. I would say I spend less on oil a year than most of you, even buying "outrageously priced" synthetic. I also contribute a tiny fraction of what most people do to the oil waste stream -- salves my conscience, but I still drive a gas hog so I'll have to take what I can get...

Of course, I wiped that out by having to drain my diff like 3 times in the past 12 months, lol (old diff drain, drained new after inital fill when reopened to retorque ring gear and bearings after 500 miles, and drained again when I screwed up the mix in the differential).
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  #19  
Old 12-27-2005
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when i got my trans fluid changed i asked about it and the books said not to use the synthetics don't know why they would tell me not too if they could have made a few extra buck from it
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Old 12-27-2005
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It's funny since Fords tranny fluid is partially synthetic. What "books" are you talking about, and who are "they", by the way? I've never seen such a recommendation.
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  #21  
Old 12-27-2005
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I wrote that book to **** people off!!! HAHA J/K
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  #22  
Old 12-27-2005
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the quick change place = they the books = the book they had that told them what to put in each car
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Old 12-27-2005
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i thought it said the ford manual (one that comes with the truck) to use synthetics in the tranny.
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Old 12-27-2005
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mine says to use...motorcraft MERCON V ATF 10 quarts....
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  #25  
Old 12-27-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4X2XLT
mine says to use...motorcraft MERCON V ATF 10 quarts....
thats the stuff, they wouldn't put anything else in there at the quick change place
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