Oils Ain't Oils

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

Moderators: RichardW, myglaren

RobertZ
Posts: 6
Joined: 04 Nov 2015, 02:17

Oils Ain't Oils

Post by RobertZ »

Hi folks,

Castrol's commercial for their GTX engine oil was absolutely correct- some oils just don't measure up!


Thought I'd briefly share my experience of engine oils used in my 1997 1.8i 16V Xantia since I bought my car over 16 years ago.

Whilst it was based in the UK from 2000 to 2007, I exclusively used the semi-synthetic Total Quartz 7000 10W-40.
It served me well, initially requiring no top-ups between the 10,000 mile/12 month services and - above all - providing crucial engine protection after many occasions of six or more months of dis-use.

After my car arrived in Australia in 2008 though, it was difficult to source the Total oils and I tried out the Australian-made semi-synthetic Penrite HPR10 10W-50.
Once more my Xantia was left stationary for an extended period in early 2010, but starting it after just 11 weeks of not running was a different experience to that with the Quartz. The resultant sound of grinding metal for a second or two was rather alarming.

Shortly after that experience I briefly used Shell Helix, then changed to the expensive fully synthetic Mobil 1 5W-50, because I wanted nothing but the best for my beloved Xantia.
Oil consumption with the Mobil 1, however, kept going up and after several years I became sufficiently concerned to make another switch.

It was back to the Quartz 7000 and I was delighted to see oil consumption immediately halved with this trusted old product.

And things got better still, when the Quartz 7000 10W-40 wasn't available from Brisbane distributor Onshore Oils. Their substitute Elf Evolution 700FT 10W-40, although to the same API spec, had a difference appearance and consistency, and oil consumption dropped still further.

At the moment the 19 year old girl is using a respectable 250 mL of oil per 1000 km, after a hard life of countless short journeys and covering more than 160,000 miles.


So there is something to be said for French automotive engine oil technology!

Cheers,

RobertZ

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44006
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1775

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by CitroJim »

That's most interesting Robert, thanks for that :D

Keep us up to date with your Xantia adventures ;) Where in Oz are you? We lived in Darwin for a while in the early 90s and our eldest daughter Robyn was born there. We gave her a proper Aussie name for being born a Territorian!

Bar the heat and humidity we loved the place and above all, the people... Would return at the drop of a hat...

Youngest Daughter Sian is currently in Melbourne nearing the end of a 2 month backpacking adventure all around...

She has had the time of her life :D

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6817
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1204

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by white exec »

Interesting details, Robert. Do not like the report of grinding metal after the long lay-up.
Just wonder whether, apart from having put in the Penrite, whether you might have also fitted an oil filter without a non-return valve/membane?

On basic oils, somewhere in the middle of the last century (1960s, that is) I started out with Castrol GTX 20W-50. It was ok, but several engines in good internal condition would use a pint of it every 2000 miles or so. It also had some bad press. An uncle - whose job had covered military and emergency service motor transport - recommended Duckhams Q 20W-50, and I switched to it. Oil usage dropped significantly, and I continued to use it until about 2003. During that time it was rechristened Hypergrade, and may well have been reformulated. BP and Duckhams merged somewhere along the line. During all that time, everything always ran well, and I never had an issue with engine wear. Our BX19RD went from 45k to 177k miles with us, and I know there was virtually no wear on the bores, inspected while replacing the head (as you do).

I still run our two (2.5 TD XM and RAV4 D4D) on 20W-50 here in Spain, for almost ten years on Esso Uniflo, and now on Repsol Elite Super (SL/CF, A3/B3). Although lighter oils are the normal recommendation, 20W-50 is approved by both Citroen and Toyota for the engines, depending on climate and use. It, and filter, gets changed at 6000mi/10000km. Neither engine (106k mi and 200,000km respectively) uses any oil between changes.

A peculiarity of our Toyota D4D is a top-end 'diesely' clatter that occurs at just over 2000rpm, and disappears at 2200. It's done it from new, but a move from 10W-40 to 20W-50 removes the noise altogether.

Just call me old-fashioned.

RobertZ
Posts: 6
Joined: 04 Nov 2015, 02:17

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by RobertZ »

Thank you Jim and Chris for your feedback.

I am based in the shire of Byron Bay, about 100 miles/2 hours' driving south of Brisbane. The shire features beaut Cape Byron, Oz' easternmost point.
Never visited Darwin, but can imagine the 'wet blanket effect' from heat and humidity. Here in sub-tropical Byron we get a taste of that for 6 months from mid November onwards.

As regards the grinding metal after the long lay-up, I relied mostly on two garages in Australia for service work, who would almost certainly have put in quality oil filters.
Could there have been a manufacturing fault with this particular non-return valve not working? There was never a problem whilst in England or since the Penrite mishap, and the car has been laid up a few more times since.
The only precaution I ever took all those times was to disconnect the battery.

I am impressed with the absence of oil usage in your cars - changing oil every 6000mi/10000km clearly made a big difference.
In hindsight it would have been better for me to have done the same, as my car usage could be classed as severe duty.
It would have been better for me to have been old-fashioned too.

Cheers,

Robert

lexi
Donor 2020
Posts: 2815
Joined: 17 Apr 2008, 17:51
x 119

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by lexi »

The Donk uses no oil. I put whatever I have in her. 15w 40 fleet diesel oil ( mineral) in summer and this time I put 5w 40 fully synth as I got it for a tenner in ECP sale. We might be due a cold winter for a change, so that will do her till May. I have done 8k miles and that is the 4th oil change in 18months. Bloody spoiled that thing is! Fantastic fishing/towing motor she is.

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44006
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1775

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by CitroJim »

She's proving a good car to you Lexi :D

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6817
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1204

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by white exec »

The non-return valve in good oil filters is nothing more than a thin rubber membrane, which you can normally just see through the outer circle of holes in the bottom of the filter. Oil is pumped in through these, and flows out through the central threaded hole. When the pump stops, the membrane flaps back, and stops oil draining back towards the sump, keeping oil in the upstream galleries.

The valves are not known to be a problem, but a filter without one can cause engines to start up with a clatter or knock, for a few seconds. Not good.

lexi
Donor 2020
Posts: 2815
Joined: 17 Apr 2008, 17:51
x 119

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by lexi »

The valves are not known to be a problem, but a filter without one can cause engines to start up with a clatter or knock, for a few seconds. Not good.
That's right Chris..........especially on vehicles with the filter sitting top side up (not many) Nissan Patrol Y60 being one. Filters could drain empty with no valve or poor quality valve. No probs with Donk C5 filters. £3.50 in Gsf sale, delivered, and that is genuine Purflux! I have a stock.

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44006
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1775

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by CitroJim »

2.5 XMs have an upside-down filter IIRC...

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6817
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1204

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by white exec »

Yes they do. And if OE a little plastic tray to catch the dips when you unscrew one!
That is, unless you've ditched the awful oil-water heat exchanger that sits underneath, and perforates (twice, in our case). Ours now sports a Setrab oil cooler in front of all the radiators.

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44006
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1775

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by CitroJim »

Did you know the oil cooler from the 1.9TD/2.1TD/Activa TCT/HDi engine will fit a 2.5 Chris?

Physically at least... Whether or not it has enough capacity is open to debate but I'd imagine it’s better than just bypassing the original faulty ones...

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6817
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1204

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by white exec »

Yes, I did know they fitted, albeit shallower. TBH, at the time I was pretty hacked off with the failure of not just the original, but then its expensive replacement, too. Both times, had to cope with a cooling system awash with engine oil. A miserable lump of aluminium fabrication by Valeo, available only as a Citroen big-bucks part (€500).

Having had enough, I decided to go for a traditional oil radiator and take-off pipes in its place. I do too much high-speed and hill climbing to just shunt it out of circuit, which I know some folk have done. The all-steel version on XUD etc is an altogether hardier bit of kit.

Based on my experience (with coolant never neglected) I'd recommend anyone with XM/605 2.5 to get the thing out, before it suddenly goes pop. Believe it was fitted to one or two (non-PSA) other vehicles as well.

User avatar
CitroJim
A very naughty boy
Posts: 44006
Joined: 30 Apr 2005, 23:33
x 1775

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by CitroJim »

Good advice Chris ;)

Just how do you deal with a cooling system contaminated with oil? Always looks a bit of an impossible sort of job to me...

Hell Razor5543
NOT Alistair or Simon
Posts: 11549
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
x 1325

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

I wonder what would happen if you were to soak it in cheap cola for a while? I do know that I have used it to remove the tarnish from some brass that had gone very black. Left it soaking overnight, and it didn't look any different until I took a wipe to it. The tarnish just fell away. Got it clean, gave it a good go with Brasso, and looked nice.

You would have to be careful, as cola is somewhat acidic (hence why it worked on the tarnish), and I would not want it to rot something expensive or irreplaceable.

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 6817
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
x 1204

Re: Oils Ain't Oils

Post by white exec »

The first time the heat exchanger holed, the cooling system was injected with a litre or two of black engine oil. I was obliged to drive about 3km home, up and around mountain tracks. Water temp indicated ok, but much bleating from the dash about Low Coolant Level - header tank full of non-conducting oil, so sensor reporting no water! How do I know this? - by making the inevitable mistake of cautiously lifting the filler cap, and being greeted by an eruption of black stuff!

Having got home and identified the problem, and jumped the exchanger out of circuit, I set about trying to clean the cooling system out. Tried a few things, including biological washing liquid, and a printers' water-miscible washout called Prowash, all with hot water and an external circulating pump, but still couldn't shift the last of the black stuff, which had obviously coated every internal surface of the cooling system!

Finally lighted upon this magic stuff:
Liqui-Moly Radiator Cleaner, art.no. 2506, 300ml can
designed to remove lime, oil and grease from vehicle rad systems.
Good instructions included - add to system, bring up to full working (fan cut-in) temperature, circulate for a while, and drain out. For good measure, I did this twice (= two cans). System left spotless, so quite impressed.

When the system does fill with oil, the oil floats on top of the water/coolant, and so largely accumulates at the highest point - the header/expansion tank. I found that if you dip the header tank with bit of rolled-up kitchen roll, the black oil sticks to the paper, and you can literally pull quantities of it out, clinging to the paper. Repeat a good few times, and you will find clean coolant underneath the oil. Run engine for a while, and fresh supplies of oil migrate into the tank, which you can fish out. Having got rid of a lot of it this way, then is a good time to use the Liqui-Moly cleaner.

Miserable thing to have to sort out, but highly instructive, as are most things XM.