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OK, OK... I know I that there are a pleathora of motor oil discussions, and I truly didn't want to be "that guy", but here it goes...

As some of you may have observed in this thread, I may be taking a warm weather spider across the frozen tundra. She runs a pretty standard 20W50 oil, which a lot of people like on the bb. It is entirely possible that I will have a couple of single / double digit starts before I return to a more moderate climate.

So, two questions. If I keep the 20W50 in the car, what concerns should I have, especially with that first start in the morning? (I assume once the car is at running temp, I should be ok).

If I were to give it a quick oil change before I go, what weights would you recommend? Would you also recommend changing back to the 20W50 when I get back? Also, considering I can check the oil every 3-4 hours, would this be a great time to try a synthetic, as I can monitor if I'm losing any oil pretty closely?

OK... so that was four questions... thanks in advance for your suggestions!
 

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I don't think you need to do anything, except make sure your battery is in good shape..... Battery output goes down with temp and you will need to have a little more "juice" to crank her to start. (Incidentally you do not clearly state what temp and how many starts).
If you want to change the oil...10W40 is the best alternate (Do not go down to 5W30!)
The crank holds 7 quarts of oil, why would you waqnt to "check it every 3 or 4 hours"?

INHO now is not the time to experiment with Syntethic....

BTW, your trans and diff will tell you "its cold" and you will need to take it easy to warm those up!

TTFN Elio
 

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I think you'll be OK with that for your trip as long as the block doesn't freeze in North Dakota! ;)

Just make sure you warm it up slowly. Otherwise my suggestion would be to go with a synthetic for lower pour temperature. I run M1 15w-50 in my car year round. Castrol Syntec 5w-50 could also be used......

Chris
 

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In my 3 Alfa's, 1 BMW M3, and wife's Volvo I've always used Mobil 1, most recently their 15W-50 in just about all climates. We don't have a car with <100K miles on it, and none leak or burn any oil. It's pretty tough to find a bad synth oil. I started with Mobil 1 back in the late 70's, when I think they only had 5W-30.
 

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The comment was in respect to RICTORG's car I'm assuming he has always used 20W50 and he has some miles typically >60K. At this point and for the short cold trip he is talking about, I would not suggest Syn Oil. There have been reports wherein the Syn would excacerbate and expose any leaks etc., I also assumed that he was happy with and always used 20W50 which is typical of an 83. I have no problem with Syn Oil used consistently from an early age. Hope that helps clear things up.

TTFN Elio
 

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10w40 is probably a good compromise, although I think you could get by with the 20w50 for a few starts. For any prolonged period in very low temperatures, I recommend a block heater. Although I don't use on in my Alfa (it sleeps most of the winter and is garaged), I do use them in all my other cars. Keeps the engine nice and warm and, I think, saves a lot of wear due to frequent stone-cold starts in the teens and below.

I remember starting my old 1750 in Denver in single-digit temps and she complained alot about the abuse. But she did start.
 

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With the utmost respect for my friend Elio, I understand it is a Myth that one can not switch to synth after having used dino for a long while. No scientific basis for it.

Also, no reason one can not put in a v low wt, say, a 5w-40 for v cold temp. Why is a 5 w too low?? Too much oil flow on start-up?? That is GOOD thing! Then, upon warming up, the oil will change to the higher viscosity if necessary.......

Too many leaks? Fix the gaskets!
 

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I run 10w-40 year around in Florida, with no problems. I switched from Castrol GTX High Mileage to Mobil 1 High Mileage Synthetic with 75,000 miles now on the spider. I only drive it about 2,000 miles a year and change the oil once a year.
 

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Too many leaks? Fix the gaskets!
I generally agree with your post, Joe, but that's Elio's point exactly - if it does turn out he's got some leaks that the low viscosity synthetic oil brings to light then he doesn't want to find that out out n the middle of Wyoming!
 

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Joe, Buon Natale.

From an oil and lubricity/wear point of view, you can switch from Dino to Syn any time. I know that, having worked for one of the Major refiners/Oil companies for most of my life.

You misunderstand my point GV27 interprets it correctly.

I use Dino for the following reasons: cause I don't want to excacerbate any seepage; cause I drive less than 5000mi in a season and change my oil at ot before 5000mi. Using Syn and changing it every 3500 to 5000mi is a waste of the premium (cost) of Syn over Dino. BTW, in my 87 I use 10W40 and the Alfa 85 to 89 shop manual lists that as the preferred oil, whether Syn or Dino.
TTFN and Felice Anno Nuovo!
 

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I agree with these points of view, unfortunately, it seems as alfa leaks get solved by simply using higher viscosity. As you know, this is at the expense of lower oil lubrication upon startup, the most vulnerable time for engine wear. I too, have been a victim of this practice. Oh well.......
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for your tips; I got her home on the 20W50, and used very little oil over the course of the trip (about a half quart over 3000+ miles). She gets an oil change next weekend, and I'll most likely stick with the Dino 20W50 that she's used to.
 

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I think you'll be OK with that for your trip as long as the block doesn't freeze in North Dakota! ;)

Chris
I resemble that remark!

Yes, we do have days when you can literally throw a hot cup of coffee in the air and it will have frozen and crystalized before it hits the ground. But on the otherhand, I just stood in the driveway and changed a taillight bulb in the daily driver in the bright sunshine and balmy 36 degree (Fahrenheit) weather.

...required Alfa content--it's currently taking a loooong nap :)
 
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