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Discussion Starter #1
The owner's Manual specifies 5W20 oil for my 2002 Odyssey. Can I use 0W20 instead?

Based on my understanding of oil weight, the answer seems to be not only yes, but also better. My logic is as follows:

1) At operating temperature (after engine warms up), there is not much difference between these two weights of oil. They both have the viscosity of a SAE weight 20 oil.

2) During start up (when engine is cold), 0W20 is thinner than 5W20, therefore has better lubricity. It reaches to bearings, piston walls, camshafts, and valve lifts faster than 5W20 does. Since most of engine's wear occurs at cold start up, 0W20 can reduce engine wear. It also may improve MPG slightly.

3) People often argue that a heavier oil generates a thicker oil film, therefore provides a better contact surface protection. But during cold start up, there is very little oil on the surfaces that need to be protected, so the first priority is to send oil there to generate the protection oil film. Because 0W20 flows faster at cold temperature, it will achieve that goal sooner. Once engine warms up, both oils behave the same (SAE 20 weight), therefore produce the same file thickness.

Then why didn't Honda specify 0W20? Was it because 5W20 was cheaper (no longer so)? Was it because 0W20 was not widely available in 2002? Or does 5W20 leave more residual oil molecules on surfaces? Did I miss anything?

I'd like to get your opinion.
 

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You'll notice that starting with the 4th gen of Odys, Honda started recommending 0W-20 instead of 5W-20. It really does not make that much difference. You can probably use either one. I remember hearing that Honda now uses 0W-20 at dealerships even on cars that specify 5W-20, though I'm not sure how true that is.
 
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The answer is, it depends.

5W20 full synthetic is best for that old Gen 2.
0W20 will give you better cold startups in sub zero temps, so if you live in colder climates you could get away with using it.

would not use 0W20 in that old motor in hotter climates.
if you do live in an extremely hot climate area and tow/haul, 5W40 would be better all around.

an SAE graph for an idea on oil temps, need to convert from C to F.

160552
 

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The owner's Manual specifies 5W20 oil for my 2002 Odyssey. Can I use 0W20 instead?

****
Then why didn't Honda specify 0W20? Was it because 5W20 was cheaper (no longer so)? Was it because 0W20 was not widely available in 2002? Or does 5W20 leave more residual oil molecules on surfaces? Did I miss anything?
I agree with your reasoning, and use 0W-20 full syn in my '02. Also has benefit for me of simplifying my oil inventory as my '15 Avalon specs 0W-20. I buy the 12 qt. bag in box of Supertech.

The W viscosities have minimum flow at a low temperature requirements as a primary characteristic. The non W numbers have minimum viscosity (essentially, maximum flow) requirements at a high temperature as a primary characteristic. A lower W number does meet the requirements of a higher, without any undesirable characteristics relative to low temp use.

"Invented" is a word I wold avoid using in this context. I can say that when I looked around to buy 5W-20 starting in 2002, it was not broadly available other than in auto parts stores.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The answer is, it depends.

5W20 full synthetic is best for that old Gen 2.
0W20 will give you better cold startups in sub zero temps, so if you live in colder climates you could get away with using it.

would not use 0W20 in that old motor in hotter climates.
if you do live in an extremely hot climate area and tow/haul, 5W40 would be better all around.

an SAE graph for an idea on oil temps, need to convert from C to F.

View attachment 160552
Interesting graph. My van is driven exclusively in the Bay Area and the San Joaquin Valley of California. The environmental temperature doesn't drop below freezing point, but can be as high as 115F. Following this graph, I should use 20W50 multigrade oil.

This is probably an opportunity for me to understand this type of graph, which has puzzled me for a long time: The lower temperature end decides the worst start temperature for an engine, therefore the "W" grade of the oil. That is clear to me.

What about the higher temperature end? After an engine warms up, I thought its operating temperature is mostly determined by the coolant temperature (around 200F), and almost independent of environmental temperature (assuming thermostat, radiator, and fans work properly). Can someone shed light on how much the environmental temperature affects the engine operating temperature?

Just curious about the background of this graph. It is for contact surface protection, not fuel economy, right? Will engine design (variation in surface roughness and bearing clearance) change it?
 

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It is an unsourced, unattributed, undated picture that could be some 4th grader's creation, or it could be some manufacturer's recommendation for a lawn mower. Proceed with caution in following it's guidance.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree with your reasoning, and use 0W-20 full syn in my '02. Also has benefit for me of simplifying my oil inventory as my '15 Avalon specs 0W-20. I buy the 12 qt. bag in box of Supertech.

The W viscosities have minimum flow at a low temperature requirements as a primary characteristic. The non W numbers have minimum viscosity (essentially, maximum flow) requirements at a high temperature as a primary characteristic. A lower W number does meet the requirements of a higher, without any undesirable characteristics relative to low temp use.

"Invented" is a word I wold avoid using in this context. I can say that when I looked around to buy 5W-20 starting in 2002, it was not broadly available other than in auto parts stores.
I am for the same reason. A few Toyotas in my garage all call for 0W20, and I want to know if I can stock the same type of oil.

Talking about oil brand, I wonder if any one has an opinion on Kirkland Signature vs. Supertech? Costco's oil is prized very competitively with Walmart.
 

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What about the higher temperature end? After an engine warms up, I thought its operating temperature is mostly determined by the coolant temperature (around 200F), and almost independent of environmental temperature (assuming thermostat, radiator, and fans work properly). Can someone shed light on how much the environmental temperature affects the engine operating temperature?
What you are saying is "normally" true, but not always. I remember traveling thru the Colorado mountains climbing a hill at 70degF and I overheated at altitude. Pulling a trailer too would have been much worse. 20W50 could have helped me on that summer trip.
 

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Sometimes the coolant temp is not regulated by the t'stat. Once your t'stat is full open, it's up to how well your coolant mix absorbs and releases heat, ambient temperature, flow capacity of cooling system, air flow through radiator, and heat generated in engine & trans. Engineers design in a certain "reserve" cooling capacity, based on design ambient temp and engine/tranny load. And efficiency loss for use/aging. Every bug on the front of your condenser, every little crush of condenser/radiator fins, reduces the system's ability to transfer engine heat. Water would be a better heat transfer medium than EG, but we need the anti corrosion properties in coolant. Sexy hoodlines and weight reduction goals weigh against that big, thick honkin radiator.
 

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Then why didn't Honda specify 0W20? Was it because 5W20 was cheaper (no longer so)?
Thinking back through the cobwebs, I don't think 0W-20 was available in 2002. In fact, the hot debate at the time was about swinging the other way to 5W-30, widely considered the norm at the time.

In any case, 5W-20 was a conventional oil so it was inexpensive. Only years later could I find either a semi-syn or full-syn version of it. Of course, both were much more expensive. I imagine most owners stuck with the $30-oil-change version.

I would have no worries over using 0W-20 in my 2002.

However, I wouldn't go heavier due to poor lubrication and also VTEC issues. (VTEC uses the engine oil as a hydraulic fluid.)
 
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use this one then, since a simplified graph wasn't enough.

Ted as always very insightful with his "smart" comments.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What you are saying is "normally" true, but not always. I remember traveling thru the Colorado mountains climbing a hill at 70degF and I overheated at altitude. Pulling a trailer too would have been much worse. 20W50 could have helped me on that summer trip.
I understand your points, and agree with you that air density (altitude) affects coolant temperature and that work load (up/down hill, pulling) affects engine temperature. But overheat is more of the result of an overloaded cooling system.

My confusion is environmental temperature effect. For example, driving the same car in a nice (80F) day vs. a hot (110F) day on a freeway, given all other conditions unchanged (altitude, speed, windage, load), by how much will the oil temperature change inside an engine after warm up?
 

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Thinking back through the cobwebs, I don't think 0W-20 was available in 2002. In fact, the hot debate at the time was about swinging the other way to 5W-30, widely considered the norm at the time.

In any case, 5W-20 was a conventional oil so it was inexpensive. Only years later could I find either a semi-syn or full-syn version of it. Of course, both were much more expensive. I imagine most owners stuck with the $30-oil-change version.

I would have no worries over using 0W-20 in my 2002.

However, I wouldn't go heavier due to poor lubrication and also VTEC issues. (VTEC uses the engine oil as a hydraulic fluid.)
Good to know. Thx.
 

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use this one then, since a simplified graph wasn't enough.

Ted as always very insightful with his "smart" comments.
Ad hominum attacks are generally used by those without facts or logic on their side, and reflect a general lack of intellectual capacity and/or maturity.
 
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I understand your points, and agree with you that air density (altitude) affects coolant temperature and that work load (up/down hill, pulling) affects engine temperature. But overheat is more of the result of an overloaded cooling system.

My confusion is environmental temperature effect. For example, driving the same car in a nice (80F) day vs. a hot (110F) day on a freeway, given all other conditions unchanged (altitude, speed, windage, load), by how much will the oil temperature change inside an engine after warm up?
read up on heat soak...
 

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We have an Ody, a Maxima and now a CRV. Ody calls for 5w20, Maxima calls for 5w30 and CRV calls for 0w20. I just use what the manual says. I have used 5w20 in the maxima but since the price is the same, why complicate things by over thinking this? Just found out that Costco sells mixed weights too so you can pick up a 12 pack with 1 6 pack of 5w20 and another of 0w20. I have been buying the 5 qt SuperTech jugs for the correct weight for more than a dozen years.
 
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We have an Ody, a Maxima and now a CRV. Ody calls for 5w20, Maxima calls for 5w30 and CRV calls for 0w20. I just use what the manual says. I have used 5w20 in the maxima but since the price is the same, why complicate things by over thinking this? Just found out that Costco sells mixed weights too so you can pick up a 12 pack with 1 6 pack of 5w20 and another of 0w20. I have been buying the 5 qt SuperTech jugs for the correct weight for more than a dozen years.
I have been using SuperTech too until recently with the Kirkland Signature rolling out.

As far as using 5W20 to replace 5W30, I am not sure. I would feel less concerned to reduce the winter grade a bit, but would not be comfortable to reduce the hot grade. Just a though, maybe not a big deal.
 

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I have been using SuperTech too until recently with the Kirkland Signature rolling out.

As far as using 5W20 to replace 5W30, I am not sure. I would feel less concerned to reduce the winter grade a bit, but would not be comfortable to reduce the hot grade. Just a though, maybe not a big deal.
Have only done it once or twice. I buy 5w30 for her.
 

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Talking about oil brand, I wonder if any one has an opinion on Kirkland Signature vs. Supertech? Costco's oil is prized very competitively with Walmart.
I have heard that the Kirkland oil can compete with oils like Mobil1. I was planning on buying some for my Accord.
 
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