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Discussion Starter #21
Did the oil today with the wood pyraminds - worked great. I will be getting some beefier ramps and some jack stands though- I can see how they would be much needed for other under the car work. I got a Bosch premium oil filter- not sure part # but it seemed alot bigger than the one i pulled off that the PO had on there. The local Pepboys takes my old oil- What I do is use a 15 qt tub to catch the old oil as it's coming out then I dump all the old oil into a 5 gallon gas can that I keep around for my motorcycle oil changes and truck changes and I take that in and dump it when it's full. Did a 75 mile drive this evening along the Pacific Coast Highway with the top down and watched the sunset from the ****pit while driving- I LOVE THIS CAR.
 

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Rhino Ramps are dirt cheap at your local auto parts store/Wal-Mart. We're talking $20 for the set. Safe too.

And get a drainage tub - whether it be a turkey foil pan or a dedicated plastic oil drain tub. Do not pour the oil into the ground or into sewers (of couse you won't, but I have to say it). Recycle of course.

12mm hex wrench for the S4 plug.

Purolator Filter, the standard type - I've done some reading on their more advanced Pure One filter which is twice the price, and hear talk of restrictive oil flow. Just tests I've read...FRAM - don't touch it. Cheap, cheap, cheap. You'll have to reach down between the radiator and engine block to get to the filter. Literally, on my S4, that's the only way to get to it...not underneath, not from the side.

And I know Castrol is a big hit as far as non-synthetic oils around here, but Havoline has a better rep (believe it or not) amongst virgin oil afficianados:

http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=11;DaysPrune=1000

Castrol is a pretty good oil - but Havoline tests and performs better, and is cheaper. I've been doing some pretty heavy reading recently - just passing on the fact that Havoline is consistently rated highly, whereas Castrol is inconsistent, at best.

Sythentics did cause some leakage in my engine that did go away once I switched back to dino (natural) oils. There is some debate as to which is better, and I think Mobil Extended Performance is probably one of the most consistantly highest rated oils easily available - but sythentics weren't the best choice for my 15 year old gaskets.

Also, I took some advice from Alfa Centro and tried Marvel Mystery Oil in my engine, and the typical S4 valve noise is gone! It's just not there anymore...it's a "mystery". I've read a lot too about MMO to try and explain why - I recently found out its basically 20% thin mineral oil and the rest is naptha (yeah, lighter fluid) and esthers and some chemicals. I guess it got rid of my valve noise, but I'm dumping what's in the sump soon...just don't like the idea of naptha in my engine, but call me crazy.

As for the weight - well, you hear different opinions. I feel strange, except in the HOTTEST weather, using 20W50. I'll put some in in mid June - as you can tell, I'm a bit anal retentive about oil. I drive 6,000 miles a year and figure it's $12 to change it, so I change it every 2000 miles. $36 a year for oil - 20w50 in the hot summer months, 10w40 for the fall/spring. Winter driving is limited to salt free roads...

If I was to judge which weight to put in my particular engine, just based on the oil pressure guage readings, I'd probably use 5w20 - that is, my oil pressure gauge either reads high or else I'm getting a really strong pressure inside what I can only assume to be a healthy, strong engine.

I like to see 7 psi at idle, and 60 at 2500 RPM+. That "feels" right to me. But often I get something a tad higher with these heavier oils I use, which are in fact the recommended oil.

Okay, that's my diatribe concerning oil...attached (hopefully) is a Virgin Oil Analysis sheet which might help deciding on which oil. Probably the best bet is to use a known good oil and change it as often as you can.
 

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Pete & Motolust,

For the big metal ramps, you can buy over-riders for them that lessen the entry angle, allowing cars like ours with low airdams to get up onto them without scraping. They're plastic, are made for these specific ramps, and work brilliantly. I don't know if such an accessory exists for Rhino Ramps, though.

David
 

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I made a set of over-riders from some 1" thick oak boards off of an old pallet. They are the about 8" wide and about 3' long. They fit perfectly between the raised edges of the metal ramps I have. I use them by placing one edge halfway up the ramp and the other edge on the ground. It does reduce the angle and allows the car not to hit the ramps on the trip up. Don't worry. I tried it out on the Jetta, before driving the Alfa up on it. I improvised this for the "new" Jetta that had a lower front air dam than the old GTI I drove. Best feature of this fix was the price.... Free!!:D I just have to make sure I don't burn them in the chiminea.
 

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Oils: Everything I know comes from one old article I read in "Alfa Owner." As I remember the article, here is the story about oil:

Every molecule of synthetic oil is 100% identical to every other molecule. It is created that way.

Natural oil (dino) is refined and refined to get the molecules as similar as possible, but perfect is not possible. As a result, some of your dino oil will become "toast" while other portions are still perfectly good. As I understand it, there is absolutely no downside to synthetic except price. Even that is misleading, as synthetic oil will last about 2x as long as natural oil before breaking down, because it has no fuzzy molecules at the edges. For lack of a better explanation, some molecules of natural oil are less heat resistant than you want, and some are more heat resistant, because of variations in size or shape. They are all in an acceptable range, but there is a range. In synthetic, there is no range. Everything is exactly the same - where the engineers have determined it belongs.

I've got a 20 year old GTV-6 that runs like the day I bought it. I've used synthetic since day one. I might get the same results with natural oil in my Spider (which I bought last spring) but I don't have any intention of finding out. It's full synthetic for my cars. Always.
 
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