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Copernicus

5W-30 Synthetic Oil Use

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Hello! We recently purchased a 2017 Transit Connect LWB Cargo Van with the 2.5L motor and optional Trailering Package, in which we plan to pull a 10' Teardrop trailer on long extended camping trips. The plan is to cross the desert. The owner's manual calls for the use of 5W-20 oil. Lacking both an oil and trans cooler (to my knowledge), I am concerned that 5W-20 will be too light for the possible work load we could encounter on long grades in high temps, with the viscosity thinning out. In another used vehicle we own, I replaced the 5W-20 that was used with 5W-30 Mobil 1 Full Synthetic oil, with no problems. On a visit to the local Ford Dealer, I asked the Service Dept Manager this question, and he replied that I shouldn't have any problem, and that is what he would do. But he seemed vague, and inattentive, so I wasn't secure in his assertion.

Do you think switching up to 5W-30 Mobil 1 Full Synthetic oil would be prudent in our Transit Connect, and it wouldn't cause any problems other than slightly decreased fuel mileage (such as "setting the Check Engine Light, etc?).

Your thoughts and experienced opinion is valued here, as we hope this vehicle will serve us for many years and problem-free miles. Thank you!tango_face_smile.png

Doug

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Modern engines with their much closer tolerances require the use of much thinner oil than we old guys are used to.  The recommended 5W-20 oil is formulated to behave like 5 weight oil when it's cold to ensure the thicker cold oil gets into those tighter clearances so they don't starve for oil when the engine is cold.  The '20' is what the oil is designed to behave like when it's hot, and they chose that number for a reason  -  Hot oil rated at a viscosity of 30 may be just enough thicker that it doesn't get into everywhere it needs to go

I'm no oil expert and neither am I a mechanical engineer, so I've gotta believe that those much smarter than me chose 5W-20 for good reasons and I wouldn't recommend anyone to try 'outguessing' the experts, based on what we *think* is happening inside a hot engine.  The engineers know the oil gets very hot and when it's hot they want it to behave like 20 weight oil, so that's what I would stick with.  My 'guess' is that a heavier weight would be more likely to cause you problems than prevent them

Don

Edited by Beta Don

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I agree with Don. Keep in mind that using an oil grade different from the Ford recommendations may void your warranty in case of future claim, whether related to oil grades or not. In a situation where I think that my oil is "overworked", I would simply do more frequent oil (and filter) changes. 

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The 2.5 has both a Transmission cooler and  engine oil cooler.

if you are working the TC hard keep a check on the transmission fluid level often and change the engine oil more often and things will be swell.

If you want to do something more change to a full synthetic 5W20 .

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Great thread. I also have a 2017 Transit Connect LWB Cargo Van with the 2.5L motor and optional Trailering Package. Stick with the 5W/20 oil, Mobil 1 is available in that weight. As GBL said, the TC has a engine oil and a transmission cooler, all stock. If you tow a lot, change the engine oil every 5000 miles and the transmission fluid every 30,000 miles, as Ford recommends. There are a few on this forum that tow regularly and have no issues. Go for it, and have fun.

Edited by zalienz

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Big thanks to Beta Don, Dandytc, GBL and zalienz for your very helpful information.  Mobil 1 5W-20 Full Synthetic oil it will be!  So great to hear that the 2.5L motor comes with BOTH an engine oil and transmission cooler.  Interestingly, I asked this question at my local Ford dealer when ordering our LWB Connect for trailering, and they "informed" me these features were not available, so they encouraged me to buy the extended warranty due to their absence!  (I usually don't go for these...) Unbelievable!  We will feel so much better now towing with these features keeping things cool(er)! 

Can any of you great TC owners direct me to where I can find a diagram or image of where the transmission fill plug is so I can check the tranny fluid?  I guess while we are at it, the trans drain plug as well, so I can drain and refill the trans at 30,000 miles.  Does the TC 2.5 trans have a filter that will need to be changed as well?  On my wife's 2005 Toyota Matrix, I am used to dropping the trans pan every 40,000 miles and changing out both the filter and the entire AT fluid.  (Thus the trans shifts and operates like new with over 130,000 mountain miles on it.) A bit messy, but relatively easy to do myself.  (This is the only other car I have ever owned besides our newly purchased TC that has had an automatic transmission.)

Thanks again for your knowledge and kindness.  Happy trails!

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One thing I've found since buying mine is that very few employees at most Ford dealerships know anything at all about our TC's  -  They're made is Spain, relatively new to the market and most dealers don't sell many of them, so despite the fact that everything they would need to know is available in Ford's technical literature, nobody seems in any hurry to read much of it

But, being the true 'car professionals' that they are, they'll never admit they don't know something  -  If you ask a question, you'll get an answer  -  It may be 180 degrees from the real answer in the tech manuals, but that doesn't bother anyone either.  If you need factual information about the vehicle you drive, I would trust the Internet 10 to 1 over anything I'm told at the dealers

Someday, (probably in another life) I'm going to ask a question at the dealer and someone will say "Gee, I don't know the answer to that  -  I'll have to look it up"

Naw  -  I'm just dreaming

Don

 

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22 hours ago, Copernicus said:

 

Can any of you great TC owners direct me to where I can find a diagram or image of where the transmission fill plug is so I can check the tranny fluid?  I guess while we are at it, the trans drain plug as well, so I can drain and refill the trans at 30,000 miles.  Does the TC 2.5 trans have a filter that will need to be changed as well? 

 

 

There is no dipstick to check the fluid with.  With other automatic transmissions, you would check the dipstick, then add fluid as needed through the dipstick tube.  
 
This vehicle's transmission is best serviced by a fluid exchange via the cooling and return lines.  Add fresh fluid into the return line as old fluid comes out of the cooling line.  Continue until fresh fluid exits the cooling line, which indicates that all of the used fluid has been pumped out.  
 
Since I have yet to take my transmission apart, I am under the impression that there is a screen inside of the transmission casing.  Why do I think this?  I don't see an external filter.  And most transmissions do have some sort of filter accessible by dropping the pan.  
 
This service video of a Ford Focus may be useful.
 
 
 

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Here's the post I did on changing the Transmission fluid it could help

 

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On 3/1/2017 at 1:23 AM, Copernicus said:

Big thanks to Beta Don, Dandytc, GBL and zalienz for your very helpful information.  Mobil 1 5W-20 Full Synthetic oil it will be!  So great to hear that the 2.5L motor comes with BOTH an engine oil and transmission cooler.  Interestingly, I asked this question at my local Ford dealer when ordering our LWB Connect for trailering, and they "informed" me these features were not available, so they encouraged me to buy the extended warranty due to their absence!  (I usually don't go for these...) Unbelievable!  We will feel so much better now towing with these features keeping things cool(er)! 

Can any of you great TC owners direct me to where I can find a diagram or image of where the transmission fill plug is so I can check the tranny fluid?  I guess while we are at it, the trans drain plug as well, so I can drain and refill the trans at 30,000 miles.  Does the TC 2.5 trans have a filter that will need to be changed as well?  On my wife's 2005 Toyota Matrix, I am used to dropping the trans pan every 40,000 miles and changing out both the filter and the entire AT fluid.  (Thus the trans shifts and operates like new with over 130,000 mountain miles on it.) A bit messy, but relatively easy to do myself.  (This is the only other car I have ever owned besides our newly purchased TC that has had an automatic transmission.)

Thanks again for your knowledge and kindness.  Happy trails!

   It's old school "pull bolt and see if oil is up to the hole" under the car behind the front half shafts on the drivers side.  Under the soft belly pan so easiest to do it when you change oil. 

Edited by MLB

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Although this perhaps only marginally applies, my son crosses the desert fairly regularly between Colorado and Cali in his 2012 TC using 5W20 with a 1000 lb plus load with no apparent problems. Even in this most recent heat wave he had no problem.  His 2012 has a 2.0 engine with a four speed auto tranny.  He uses standard Ford recommended products.  He changes oil every 5000 miles.

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On 2/28/2017 at 12:21 PM, Beta Don said:

Modern engines with their much closer tolerances require the use of much thinner oil than we old guys are used to.  The recommended 5W-20 oil is formulated to behave like 5 weight oil when it's cold to ensure the thicker cold oil gets into those tighter clearances so they don't starve for oil when the engine is cold.  The '20' is what the oil is designed to behave like when it's hot, and they chose that number for a reason  -  Hot oil rated at a viscosity of 30 may be just enough thicker that it doesn't get into everywhere it needs to go

I'm no oil expert and neither am I a mechanical engineer, so I've gotta believe that those much smarter than me chose 5W-20 for good reasons and I wouldn't recommend anyone to try 'outguessing' the experts, based on what we *think* is happening inside a hot engine.  The engineers know the oil gets very hot and when it's hot they want it to behave like 20 weight oil, so that's what I would stick with.  My 'guess' is that a heavier weight would be more likely to cause you problems than prevent them

Don

That's a great argument hands down but someone like me that lives in Las Vegas with the 2.5 Connect it gets between 100 and 114 degrees outside between June and August so I was thinking the 5w-30 I could use for summer only as a little extra hot protection. When its that freegan hot out I'm sure the 30w will still flow like water and not have problems getting where it needs to go lol..... Still on the fence 😞   

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Your engine is designed to use 20 weight oil.  Not 30 weight.  The thicker oil will not help protect your engine.  100+ ambient temperature is fine.  The car was designed for that.  Your cooling system will still bring the operating temperature of the engine to a correct level.  In theory, your Transit Connect will still operate at or below 225 degree Fahrenheit.  The water pump will still work.  The electric fan will still turn on.  A heavier oil is not beneficial.  

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The second number in the oil spec  -  The 20 or the 30 in this case  -  Is how the oil behaves when it's HOT.  30 weight oil will not go everywhere it needs to go in these engines because the clearances are so much tighter than they were just a decade or so ago, so you're for sure not adding any 'extra protection'  -  Quite the opposite, you're shortening the life of your engine

 

I'm 'old school' just like you and years ago, I used to run 15W-40 in my old engines which called for 10W-30 thinking (mistakenly) that I was doing the engine a favor by using heavier weight oil which wouldn't break down under extreme temperatures.  Back then, it didn't really hurt anything, but these days are very different

 

Modern engines run at about 220 degrees whether the outside ambient temperature is 40 degrees or 140 degrees, so a Las Vegas 120 degree summer day is no challenge for the engine at all . . . . at least not if it has the correct oil in it  -  The internal temperatures inside the engine are the same as if it was 40 degrees outside

 

I would hate to buy a used car that you have traded in . . . . there are always those guys who think they know better than the engineers who designed the engines and it's unfortunate if you end up buying a car someone like that has basically ruined

 

Don

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29 minutes ago, Beta Don said:

years ago, I used to run 15W-40 in my old engines which called for 10W-30

 

 

I think back then, the benefit was that the thicker oil sludged to stop leaks.....Or at least that's what people thought at the time.  My Dad would use 20W50.  But we are talking about a couple of scores in time.  As in 4 scores, and 7 years ago.  

 

The modern Ford owners manuals call for 5W20, with 0W20 as an alternative weight.  A lot of cars are specifying 0W18.  Of course there are high performance and European motors which use higher weight oil.  And there are people who believe that lower weight oil is only for meeting CAFE standards.  And I think that there are Ford trucks and Mustangs which actually do work better with 30 weight oil.  But the Transit Connect 2.5 liter engine does fine with 20 weight oil.

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5 hours ago, '14 Connect said:

lives in Las Vegas with the 2.5 Connect it gets between 100 and 114 degrees outside between June and August so I was thinking the 5w-30 I could use for summer only as a little extra hot protection.

 

 

Last summer, there were 100+ days during the summer. We don't get it often, but it happens.  Same way I was in Las Vegas Chinatown when there was a flash flood, and water was to my knees.  My Transit Connect had no problems at all with maintaining the coolant and transmission fluid temperature.  This is a vehicle with modern engineering.  Not the 70's.  Not that I am old enough to remember the Pinto/Mustang II.

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Tell you guys what, if I ever have any engine problems with my TC I'll update on this thread. I've been running Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum Synthetic 5W-30 since mile 500 - currently over 15K miles now. My maintenance schedule is 1 oil change per year which is working out to be 7-10K miles per year.

 

My theory is that most modern manufacturers are desperate for income (even before all this economic shutdown madness as the auto industry was very long into the business cycle) and I wouldn't be surprised if most management have been willing to sacrifice longevity as well as improve emissions, at least on paper, by running a thinner oil than would otherwise be preferred by someone who is interested in maximizing mechanical longevity. Customers whose vehicles last too long, or too short for that matter, don't make for good repeat customers.

 

I'm willing to be wrong with this theory obviously, so while it's only anecdotal - I'll be sure to update if anyone is interested in the event something engine-related malfunctions.

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Is this the start of yet another discussion on motor oil?  There's a heated discussion on every other car forum.  Weight.  Brand.  Then the science of formulation.  People will post their used oil analysis.  Post photos of their oil filters cut open.  Reference all the videos on YouTube.  And everybody wins.....or there's no winner.....and we all feel good about continuing whatever it is that we are doing.  Not often, do you see someone online "see the light" about someone else's choice of oil/filter/oil change interval - then profusely apologize and vow to follow the leader.  But it could happen.  I might switch to 4 quarts of 10W40 every 3,000 miles, as opposed to recommended in the owners manual, because that's in the fine print of the oil change coupons.  

23 minutes ago, connectvanplans said:

I've been running Pennzoil Platinum and Ultra Platinum Synthetic 5W-30 since mile 500 - currently over 15K miles now. My maintenance schedule is 1 oil change per year which is working out to be 7-10K miles per year.

 

In all honesty, I don't think there will be any real difference.  By the time your engine reaches over 100,000 miles, then 200,000 miles, there's no way to tell if it made any real difference.  I don't think you'll drive the car until the engine fails.  Most modern cars have engines that outlast the car.  My 97 Explorer "old tech" engine and transmission had around 500,000 miles when I got rid of it, and the engine and transmission were in great condition.  The rest of the car had way too much rust, was leaking in the rain, the interior was completely worn out, the headliner was falling down, the carpet kit was destroyed, the windshield had so many scratches that it felt like driving drunk - the engine and transmission outlasted the car.  

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5 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Is this the start of yet another discussion on motor oil?

Hey we are all locked down what else do we have to do?

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Good observation. 

 

Who has already changed their oil twice in the last month?  Even though the car wasn't even close to needing an oil change.

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10 hours ago, connectvanplans said:

I'm willing to be wrong with this theory obviously, so while it's only anecdotal - I'll be sure to update if anyone is interested in the event something engine-related malfunctions.

Don't tell us  -  Tell the person you sell the TC to what oil you've been running  -  They'd be much more interested than any of us

 

An infamous person said, "I think we'll be fine  -  We'll see what happens"

 

Don

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15 hours ago, Fifty150 said:

Not often, do you see someone online "see the light" about someone else's choice of oil/filter/oil change interval - then profusely apologize and vow to follow the leader.

 

100% in agreement man.

 

Better to have an aggregate data collection thread in which all forum members post their maintenance schedules, mileage, and other relevant stats to derive any kind of useful information people could actually reference to help inform their personal maintenance choices. This would be kind of nice thing to have actually.

 

On the other hand, you could just trust in Ford and follow their recommended maintenance schedule and prescribed fluids. Although, you'd also have to trust that that the pressure from their dealers to ensure that they have sufficient service revenue as well as their inherent business interests to maximize sales of vehicles does not exceed their interest in making maintenance recommendations that prioritize vehicle mechanical longevity. Not trying to be accusatory to anyone here, just providing an alternative opinion.

 

 

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10 hours ago, G B L said:

Hey we are all locked down what else do we have to do? 

Exactly!

 

5 hours ago, Beta Don said:

Don't tell us  -  Tell the person you sell the TC to what oil you've been running  -  They'd be much more interested than any of us

 

An infamous person said, "I think we'll be fine  -  We'll see what happens"

 

Don

 

It's funny, the last 2 cars that I sold to private party - neither was much interested in my extensive excel maintenance schedule documentation. Was a little upsetting actually, but any future owner of my vehicles will enjoy the same opportunity of transparency even if the likelihood of interest in the records are low.

Besides, I plan on keeping my TC for quite a long time as one of the first things I did with my brand new van was take a jigsaw to the roof paneling to fit a Maxxair fan for my custom camper build. Market for custom campers is not that big anyway.

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1 hour ago, connectvanplans said:

one of the first things I did with my brand new van was take a jigsaw to the roof paneling to fit a Maxxair fan

That's what I like to see on forums.  Modifications.

 

1 hour ago, connectvanplans said:

an aggregate data collection thread in which all forum members post their maintenance schedules, mileage, and other relevant stats to derive any kind of useful information people could actually reference 

Only problem there is that everyone's drive style and real world conditions will be different.

 

But still fun to look at what other people are doing.  Most informative when someone posts what didn't work.  Especially if someone were to post "exclusively used XXXX oil and filter, then engine sludge built up and seized.". But I doubt that could happen unless whatever they did was way different than OEM recommendations .  

 

Let's suppose that you have a brother in law who only uses Mobil1. His car gets an oil change every 3 months.  It's only driven on weekends to go shopping.  About 1,000 miles in 3 months.  Can you take the drained oil from his car, use it in your car, and call it Mobil2?  For the sake of argument, it's the same car, so you reused his filters too.  Not that I ever put my used motor oil into my mother in law's Honda.

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