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2000-2005 Discuss your 2000-2005 Bonneville SE, SLE, and SSEi Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 10-17-2004, 10:23 AM   #1
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Default Synthetic Oil

I am driving a 2000 Bonneville SSei approaching 60K miles.

I am due for an oil change soon, and have a question. Is the synthetic oil really a better bet for the money? The folks at valvoline tried to talk me into getting it last time saying it would increase gas mileage (I declinced), and I'm sure I'll be given the same choice again. Is synthetic oil better? I searched this forum but couldn't find a topic that direclty answers this question.

Also, is it helpful or harmful to use an additive to clean the fuel inectors? If helpful, what do you recommend?
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Old 10-17-2004, 10:51 AM   #2
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Now for the synthetic oil, its your choice if you want to use it or not. I cant really get into detail for what it really does to the motor but I like it. Just cant go back to regular 10W 30 once you go synthetic. For the cleaning the injectors, I would just go to the dealer and let them clean them. i did it ocne and what a differnce it made in my acceloration.
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:22 AM   #3
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My experience is If you don't hot-rod and you change oil and filter at recommended intervals, non-synthetic will be just fine. Now, on the other side, I own a '95 LT1 Vette, 300HP. Will eat my Bonne alive. Pure synthetic was filled at the factory and GM recommends it for the Vette. I use it because we all do (those of us who do, are following like sheep!). I drive the Vette like I do my '01 SC Bonne, kinda nice and easy and I "get on it" when I feel the need, but my Bonne gets standard oil. I can't locate the article for you but a GM engineer on my Corvette Action Center website wrote a very good article and "implied" that the Vettes will do just great with the standard oi, "if you drive sanely and change oil and filter at reasonable intervalsl. He basically said, "well, you see GM worked out a real deal with Mobil for the Mobil 1 fills at the factory..... so go figure it out yourself."

I can tell you a few things from my experience:

1. Pure synthetic molecles will find a way to get past sealing surfaces as your engine ages; ie-potential leaks.
2. Pure synthetic costs 3-4 times as much as standard oil.
3. My '02 SSE Bonne used standard oil, every 3,000 milles. It was still going strong when I sold her at 240,000 miles. Just before I sold her, I dropped the pan to change the oil pan gasket. I will tell you that was the CLEANEST engine I have ever seen after all those miles. The top-end rockers were very clean as well. I could reach my finger up and touch the piston walls from underneath. Those were the shinniest and scratch-free walls I have seen in a long time. The engine burned NO oil.
4. Even though treated like a queen, my Vette, with 30,000 miles, is using a little synthetic oil and blowing a little out the tail pipe. Probably valve seals though.
5. My '01 Bonne will get a steady diet of standard 5w-30 oil, giving me no worries at all.
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:41 AM   #4
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Its better to change your own oil if you go synthetic. MUCH cheaper $25- 30 all together including filer for oil
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:38 PM   #5
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So far from what I've read - I'm sticking with 10W30. I don't want to create trouble in the long term by allowing letting those synthetic molecules loose on my engine
@compyelc4 - you had 240K on a 2002 Bonneville??? dang!



The fuel injection question tho - I don't want to ask the dealer to clean them at the moment since we recently had a strong disagreement on price of service - so I'm reiterating the question: is the fuel injector cleaner additive a safe alternative?

Thanks for your replies...
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:52 PM   #6
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Fuel injector cleaner is kinda contraversial.. some have had issues, some say it works great.. its risky. You can try ONE bottle in a FULL tank of gas, but a lot of people recommend using it ONLY when on trips, when you will use up the tank of gas much faster, instead of letting it sit, possibly causing more problems. I used to use fuel injector cleaner every fillup, for maybe 8 months [filled up once a week]. My fuel pump is orignal, and running strong. Since my car has had the same tank of gas since June, I don't use it.


-justin
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Old 10-17-2004, 12:53 PM   #7
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I run fuel injector cleaner twice a year in my fuel (spring and fall), There are a few cleaners out there I prefer Chevron techroline many here use the napa fuel injector cleaner.
I live in the far north and run 5-30w in the winter, 10-30w in the winter and yes I do use Mobile 1. I do my own oil changes so I dont mind a few extra dollars for the premium oil.

I have over 122,000 miles on my 2000 ssei and it doesnt burn any oil.
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Old 10-17-2004, 03:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compyelc4
1. Pure synthetic molecles will find a way to get past sealing surfaces as your engine ages; ie-potential leaks.
2. Pure synthetic costs 3-4 times as much as standard oil.
Both of these statements are simply untrue.
1. The only reason why motors that haven't run synthetic since new have trouble with oil leaks is because of the buildup of sludge (caused by the impurities in conventional oil) in seal areas causes the gaskets to break down. The presence of the sludge keeps the degraded seal from leaking. Sythetic motor oil has a tendancy to dissolve sludge buildups (and prevent it), thus opening up those degraded seals to fresh oil. The leaks themselves are caused by the conventional oil that has sludged up and eaten away at the seals.
2. Synthetic oil is (on average) around twice (+ or - in some areas) the price of conventional oil. Ofcourse if you compare the bargain basement conventional vs. say Amsoil, then you can get to the 3-4 times the cost as compyelc4, but then if you are willing to put that crap (bargain basement oil) into your engine, you shouldn't be allowed to have a car! Mobil 1 is very competatively priced and is a great oil.

Personally, I use Mobil 1 10w30 in all of my vehicles (97 Ram 5.2L, '01 SSEi, & '70 Chevelle). The Chevelle has used synthetic after the 5000 mile break in on the engine rebuild and never used any oil between 5,000 mile changes. The truck has used it since I got married (wifes vehicle before w/ 52,000 miles at the time) and doesn't leak or use any oil (now at 77,000 miles) with 5,000 to 6,000 miles between changes. And the SSEi gets synthetic (since 25,000 miles when we bought it) and the oil gets changed whenever the DIC Oil Life Indicator dips below 25% (usually around 5,000-7,000 miles). Each and every one of them has a nice dark amber color when the oil is drained. No oil should ever come out the same as it goes in because it'* purpose is to cool, lubricate, and clean and engines are very dirty inside. Generally speaking, an oil filter is good for anywhere between 5,000 and 8,000 miles obviously depending on driving conditions and state of the engine.

I will agree that with strict 3,000 mile oil/filter changes, conventional oil is just fine for most (if not all) automobiles on the road. The problem comes when someone puts off the change until it is convenient for them.
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Old 10-17-2004, 05:39 PM   #9
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swartlkk,

I said POTENTIAL leaks; not a sure thing!

I agree with most of what you say, but I don't understand your comment about impurities in conventional oil versus synthetic. You mean there are more impurities to cause sludge in conventional oil meeting manufacturer'* specs than in synthetic? I'm gonna have to study up on that a bit.

In my experience, sludge buildup is typically caused by a combination of:
1. Oil drain intervals too long, coupled with..............
2. Ring blowby, coupled with...............
3. PVC inattention and.......
4. Additives such as STP which I have seen form a greyish goop in most of the oil pans I've dropped where the customer has admitted to using the stuff.

Bonnie,

Gee Bonnie, I don't think those mean synthetic molecules will ruin your engine and cause you all kinds of leaks. By all means use the synthetic if your driving style and maintenance schedule warrant the use of the product. Synthetic IS the best. I don't just always go with the best if "not quite the best" works as well for me. Regarding the 240k mi. on my Bonne SSE, that should have been my '92!

Do your homework, pay particular attention to your past experience, and do what works best for you. In my case the Vette gets synthetic; the Bonne gets conventional. Simple as that.
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Old 10-17-2004, 06:43 PM   #10
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Still, the potential leaks aren't the fault of the 'Synthetic molecules' sneaking past the seals. The EXACT reason why older motors leak is what I have stated.

On Sludging...
I agree with the numbered list on causes for sludging, but here'* another one that doesn't have anything to do with maintenance.
Anytime conventional oil sits in an area (top of heads comes to mind)) of the motor and has sufficient heat, it will cause sludge. That is why the most common leak area for a motor that has made the switch from conventional to synthetic is the valve cover gasket. There are other areas in engine blocks where oil can pool and over heat. Synthetic oil has much less impurities and that makes it resist sludging much longer, and at much higher temperatures, than conventional oil.

A great example of sludge problems is the 2.7L DOHC V6 found in the Dodge Intrepid. If you ever have the chance to get this car/engine DON'T! Those motors have a very bad problem with sludge build up. Over time the build up will cake on and flake off, clogging the oil pickup tube. I have seen this on many different motors and it doesn't seem related to an particular maintenance schedule. Some people have had faithful oil changes every 3,000 miles and others have been longer. Those that have run synthetic aren't having any issues well up and beyond 100k miles, but too many to count that run conventional have had blown motors before 50k miles. Now this is an extreme case because clearly there is a design flaw in the motor that allows oil to pool, but that says a lot for synthetic oil.
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