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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Performed my initial oil change over the weekend (6170 miles, <10% oil life on the readout). As promised, changed to Castrol Syntec synthetic 5w20. Also replaced the filter with a Honda filter (I know the owners' manual says the original filter can stay on until change #2 but I didn't want dirty oil mixing with the synthetic). Getting at everything was very easy although I was forced to transfer the oil from the 5 gallon jug to a plastic cup when filling since the filler cap is not the easiest to reach. This is the 1st vehicle that I could crawl under without lifting.

This morning was the first time I have driven my Ridgeline since the change. While it may be my imagination, I could swear the transmission shifted more smoothly, especially while cold. The engine was absolutely purring with it's new blood. While I wouldn't think motor oil would affect shifting, I was curious to hear if any of you have experienced this after changing to synthetic oil.
 

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I have heard lots of similar synthetics stories over at BITOG.com forum (where all the oil geeks hang out). Often times a car will run smoother with new oil, be it synthetic or dino. Most modern oils and synthetics are going to do just fine in these great Honda engines but I'm sure some brands and certain oil packs will sort of "please" the motor more than some others. Maybe you stumbled on one of those pleaser oils with the Castrol.

I have a little shy of 4000K on my Ridgeline and the oil life monitor reads 50%. I have had the truck since May so you can see I do not put a whole lot of miles on it. I am retired and will drive even less in the winter. I do not haul anything and don't even have a hitch. For my kind of driving, synthetics is probably overkill and an extra expense not really needed.

If I do decide to go that route, however, I will probably do it after I dump the factory fill and use Havoline dino for my first change; then, the second change would be synthetic. I would do it this way because I would get a used oil analysis of the Havoline to see if the oil life monitor is accurate for my kind of driving. I also use Lube Control 20 for a little extra extended drain cushion as well as enhanced wear and oxidation protection. If the analysis comes back positive, I'll stick with that formula. If I detect a problem, I will adjust by cutting back on the change interval or going to synthetic (sooner or later I'll get it right!).

BTW, how did the oil look when you dumped it? Was it brown or black, any metal shavings, etc.? I bought a Fumoto valve to make my drains easier - I hope it works.
 

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I emailed Fumoto and they told me the Ridgeline would accept the F-106 and adapter ADL-106. The adapter is needed because of the reset or indented pan. I purchased the valve with nipple (F106NL) because I intend to attach a hose to it in order for the oil to flow into my oil jug. It comes without the nipple as well, as shown in the photo above. I paid $31.95 plus $3.00 shipping.

I spoke to someone that installed this unit recently. He said the exhaust is very close to the pan and he had to use a wood wedge against the exhaust to give him a little extra room for the wrench to tighten the valve (the adapter needs to be attached to the valve before you install it). I have an open end metric wrench which should work without having to wedge the exhaust out of the way - I hope.

I got under there the other day and there is not a lot of room to spare for this contraption, especially with the nipple and adapter. Also, because it is so close to the exhaust, stout gloves are in order or you will burn yourself for sure trying to release the spring valve. You want to change the oil while hot or at least very warm and the exhaust will not have cooled down enough to get your finger up there. The use of gloves causes even more problems because of the already tight space.

I again emailed Fumoto about this dilemma and they said that the spring release can work in any position, even upside down, so it does not have to be positioned straight up and down next to the exhaust. The only problem they saw in the upside down position was that you would get a little oil on your finger upon release. With a nipple and hose, this should not be a problem. It is important not to over tighten the valve as the pan is aluminum (read expensive!) and the threads could easily be stripped. This of course would be true of the original oil drain plug as well.

Fumoto went on to explain that there MUST be a washer between the pan and adapter AND another washer between the adapter and valve since metal to metal is never a good seal. The washers come with both the valve and adapter. However, if the spring release falls in an unreachable position after adequate tightening, it is much better to install another washer to hope for a better position rather than turn the valve further and risk stripping the threads. The fellow I "spoke" to on the internet installed his this way and used one of the washers that came with a Honda oil filter.

This sounds like a lot of work and bother but it is only done once and that's it - forever. So I think it is worth taking the time and doing it right and from that point forward, changing oil and getting small samples for analysis will be a piece of cake.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
shortspark said:
BTW, how did the oil look when you dumped it? Was it brown or black, any metal shavings, etc.? I bought a Fumoto valve to make my drains easier - I hope it works.
Nothing unusual- pretty much like any used oil after 6000 miles. Probably more brown than black. Didn't check for shavings although I still have the oil (waiting to take it to the recycling place).

After 2 days, I swear the synthetic oil has made a difference. I was heavy on the throttle on the way home last night. I don't think the change in the engine's responsiveness is my imagination. It felt different last night and again this morning. I'll be most interested in watching the gas mileage on the next fillup.
 

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Boy, you guys are making me rethink this whole thing and just go to synthetic. Well, I will try to resist for my initial change anyway just to see what the truck's reaction to the Havoline 5w20 dino will be.

BTW, my OLM just hit 40% somewhere between 4,000 and 4,070 miles or so. I had 4,003 miles on it this morning and it read 50%. When I got home from about a 70 mile or so trip I checked again an it showed 40%. Is this about the same as your experience at the "half-way" point of oil life expectancy?
 

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shortspark said:
Boy, you guys are making me rethink this whole thing and just go to synthetic. Well, I will try to resist for my initial change anyway just to see what the truck's reaction to the Havoline 5w20 dino will be.

BTW, my OLM just hit 40% somewhere between 4,000 and 4,070 miles or so. I had 4,003 miles on it this morning and it read 50%. When I got home from about a 70 mile or so trip I checked again an it showed 40%. Is this about the same as your experience at the "half-way" point of oil life expectancy?
shortspark, im going to the synthetic blend on my next (second) oil change. i remember your post about the motorcraft 5-20 doing well in posted reports.
my dealer uses quakerstate so i will use it in the 5-20 blend since i get my tires rotated for free at every oil change. due to that, i don't do my own oil change. anyway, am hoping the blend will do fine.
 

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I had my 1st oil change last month. I posted then that the engine seemed looser afterward. It's dino oil.
 

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Yes, the MotorCraft 5w20 is an excellent synthetic blend oil and has received some super used oil analysis reports over at BITOG.com forums. Havoline dino has also received glowing reviews. All these new 5w20s are showing great results. Synthetics are wonderful of course but the gap between them and the new 5w20 oils is much more narrow now than even a couple years ago. Anyway, only doctors can afford sythetics these days!
 

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Re: Syntec in the Crankcase

denvrfan said:
I paid $2 per quart for the Castrol in a 5qt jug. What's premium grade dino oil going for these days, $1.50? So I paid a whopping +/-$2.50 more for my oil change. Seems to me that anybody who can afford a Ridgeline can afford this tiny premium.
Around here the synthetic is about double the price of dino. $4/qt vs $2/qt.

Also, it itsn't just a matter of being able to afford it, but do you get any benefit for the extra cost. I'm not convinced you do.
 

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Around here I wait for Advanced Auto's Havoline sale (which they have every so often). The last one was a few weeks ago where you buy a case on sale and, after additional rebate, it comes to about $1.15 per quart. At that point you gotta stock up. Between Havoline and Penzoil, my Dodge Dakotas I've had over the years never failed me. I have not seen any synthetics, even on sale, for less than $3.89 although there was a good deal for a short period of time on Penzoil at one of these supply houses where you would get $15 back in the mail if you bought a certain number of quarts. I don't remember what the per quart basis was.

The synthetic blends may be the best values. The Motorcraft 5w20 runs just under $2 and Mobil 5000 and 7500 are over $2. TropArtic can be had for $1.39 at WalMart or $1 at Dollar General (sometimes). The TropArtic is suppose to be very similar to Motorcraft but it will be hard to find in 5w20 at the dollar stores.

Sure, I agree that if one can afford a Ridgeline a few dollars one way or the other should not be of any concern, especially for a chore only done two or three times a year. But that is not the point. I want the best protection for my Ridgeline for my kind of driving but I want it with a dose of common sense. Of course I can afford whatever it takes but I would rather insert some informed value judgments along the way.
 

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shortspark said:
Around here I wait for Advanced Auto's Havoline sale (which they have every so often).
The Advanced Auto where I live doesn't carry 5W-20. Their thinnest grade is either 5W-30 or 10W-30, can't remember which he said.

The local Wal-Mart was out of the cases of 5W-20 and their 5 gallon jug is more expensive than buying 5 individual quarts.

You'd think the as many Hondas are on the road that 5W-20 would be easier to find.
 

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Keep in mind that Castrol Syntec is not really a synthetic oil. Due to an idiotic ruling by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the FTC Castrol is allowed to advertise Syntec as synthetic.

Castrol brought on this fiasco, but others like Valvoline and Pennzoil follow the same policy.

The Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil and many other products sold as synthetic oil are really nothing more than highly refined Group III base stock products. Not synthetic at all, but are very good conventional oils.

On the other hand a product like Mobil 1 is a true PAO Ester synthetic Group IV/V base stock product.

It's really unfortunate that the term "synthetic" is allowed to be used on products with Group III base stocks.

-Joe
 

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csimo said:
Keep in mind that Castrol Syntec is not really a synthetic oil. Due to an idiotic ruling by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the FTC Castrol is allowed to advertise Syntec as synthetic.

Castrol brought on this fiasco, but others like Valvoline and Pennzoil follow the same policy.

The Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil and many other products sold as synthetic oil are really nothing more than highly refined Group III base stock products. Not synthetic at all, but are very good conventional oils.

On the other hand a product like Mobil 1 is a true PAO Ester synthetic Group IV/V base stock product.

It's really unfortunate that the term "synthetic" is allowed to be used on products with Group III base stocks.

-Joe
PAO = Poly Alkaline Olifin Ester based: same oil used in refrigeration system with R134A refrigerant.
 

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shortspark said:
Sure, I agree that if one can afford a Ridgeline a few dollars one way or the other should not be of any concern, especially for a chore only done two or three times a year. But that is not the point. I want the best protection for my Ridgeline for my kind of driving but I want it with a dose of common sense. Of course I can afford whatever it takes but I would rather insert some informed value judgments along the way.
absolutely, well said...........over kill is not the better action.......i am going with the synthetic blend, only 3 dollars more at oil change. have you happened to run across any info on quakerstate 5-20 blend in your research?
ive never used quakerstate.
 
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