Sunday, May 31, 2009

Engine and Gearbox Oil Change

I am a bit particular about my car engine and gearbox internal parts. I can't say the same for my car's cosmetic (interior or exterior), because that is the easy part, you got a scratch at your bumper or a dent on the body, it is visible and you know what is the implication and how to cure it. Unfortunately, for internal mechanical parts, you don't really know the exact history, current condition and any indication of incoming problem. That is why, when it comes to engine and gearbox oil change, I'll have a *headache* in getting the right product. If you buy the wrong one, it might actually accelerate your gearbox internals wear-and-tear or maybe causing the engine's hydraulic lifters to trap air (which can be caused by engine oil that is too viscous) and reduce your car performance and starts making those loud annoying tick-tick sound especially when the engine is cold.

As you should already know, my Evo II GSR engine is from a halfcut, that is most likely well exposed to harsh weather and maybe suitable enough for micro-organism to breed in it as it was kept in the warehouse for god-only-know how long. Now, you can imagine the condition of the engine and gearbox oil, we can safely assumed that the oil is very dirty and badly oxidized.

[1st oil change]
As a start, for my 1st oil change on the 4G63T engine, most probably the final step in the engine's transplant process before cranking it to a new life (with its new lucky owner of course, hehe...), I supplied the mechanic with 4-litre of Castrol GTX 20W-50 (mineral) and 3-litre of Pennzoil SAE 80W-90 Multi Purpose Gear Oil (Limited Slip Differential) (GL-5). This is to make sure the engine starts with a fresh oil and doesn't choke itself.

If you do noticed, these are cheap oils and not really suitable for a high performing turbocharged engine. No worry, I just want to use it for 300-400km and replace it with a better oil. This is to make sure I can clean out any debris or water before it overloaded the load-carrying capability of the oil and causing any damage to the internals. I can actually use engine flushing oil for this purpose, but I heard bad things from people doing it, maybe it dislodged too many debris at one shot and causing blockage. This is a risk I am not willing to take, especially when I have a safer option.

[2nd oil change]
As planned, I sent the car to Karamjit Motorsports for an oil change after driving it for around 350km. This time, I opted for Castrol Magnatec 10W-40 (semi-synthetic) and Castrol LSX 90 (compatible with LSD). It will be for another 2000km before the next oil change is due.

[3rd oil change]
Fast forward, after the car accumulated another 2000km, another engine and gearbox oil change was done using Castrol Edge Sport 10W-60 (fully-synthetic) and Castrol LSX 90. I am quite confident that at this time, most of metal debris or water that trapped inside the engine or gearbox are already flushed out. This round, it will be for 5000km before the next oil change.

Unfortunately, I found out that the Castrol Edge Sport 10W-60 is too thick for my engine. Actually, this engine oil is for competition use where super-extreme temperature is expected. Although the 4G63T engine does produce lots of heat, I don't think it will ever reach the temperature needed for the engine oil to properly flow. This is not a cheap engine oil, this one cause RM145 damage to my wallet, so maybe I will just continue to use it for now and hope for the best. In an article from an oil expert, using engine oil that is too thick and not suitable for your engine, can cause your ride's lifters (a.k.a. tappets) to trap air due to lack of oil flow and low oil pressure. That is why you need to use the right engine oil for your car. Temporarily, I'll do an extended warm-up for my car, to make sure it reached the optimum oil pressure and temperature before starts driving it.

[4th oil change]
After 2 months of hard driving, the car accumulated another 5000km, quite fast right? Maybe due to my work nature that is hopping around attending meetings and project sites. So, just several days ago, I sent the car for another service. It seems that most of early Evo owners are using either 10W-30 or 10W-40 engine oil and Redline/Motul gearbox oil, so I bought Castrol Edge 5W-40 and Redline 75W-90 for the oil change.

Although the cost is a bit high, I really don't want to skimp on it, oil to cars is what blood to human. If you are wondering what is the cost of my recent oil change (excluding labour charge):

a. 1 x Castrol Edge 5W-40 (4L)= RM145

b. 2 x Redline 75W-90= RM90

c. 1 x Mitsubishi Oil Filter for 4G6x= RM18

TOTAL= RM253.00

After several days of driving my car using these expensive-but-quality products, I can really vouch for its effectiveness. My car's engine feels smoother and quieter as I suspect that the engine can rev easier due to thinner oil running on it. This is not a placebo effect as I can really feel the car is revving faster and I'm being push much harder to the seat when boosting.

My gearbox also seems to produce less whine at high speed and less noise. Although it is normal for LSD gearbox to generate a bit of chatter, as it means that the gearbox is working properly, I get less noise when using Redline compared to Castrol LSX 90. If you want to buy one, make sure you buy the correct oil. Redline has a non-slip (NS) 75W-90 oil for gearbox without LSD as to allow the synchromesh to reach equal speed faster, in other words, you get better acceleration.

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