Synthetic oil in a vw bus

Ok, ok….take it easy now. Before anyone wants to comment on why I should not have gone this route, let me just say that I’m not trying to get anyone to follow me. Nor am I trying to depict myself as an “oil guy.” With that said, and with my flame suit dawned, let’s move forward.

Last week I made the move to Mobil 1 5w40 full synthetic motor oil on Buster. This engine (2.0 FI) has around 20k miles on it, and engine temps are around 220 to 230 while cruising at 65mph. So obviously, the VDO temp gauge may not be the most accurate, but I can at least follow trends with it. Also, I’m running 195 tires, not 185, so 65mph on the gauge is probably more like 68mph? In any case, I was partly lured to synthetic based on our current oil temps. The design of the bus engine, and many others opinion on it, show that cost of synthetic is not necessarily worth it. Oil contamination isn’t exactly less just because I am using synthetic, so I’m still going to follow regular intervals for changes. But, it has been shown that it can withstand and transfer heat better than non synthetic (dino.)

Reason number two, completing my list of reasons for moving to synthetic, is weight range. I won’t say that it’s not out there, since I am not sure, but finding 5w40 in non synthetic form appears to be challenging. And when winter comes and I want to drop to 5w30, or dare I say, 0w30, those may be just as hard to find. Living at 7k feet in the mountains of Colorado, I need an engine that will start when the wind chill is -20 degrees.

Some other notes as well. I went with a Mobil 1 oil filter for all this. It’s part number M1-204 if I remember correctly. There have been talks about Mahle’s design and/or materials changing in a way that prevent it from performing as well in regards to oil back flow. These guys are easily 3x the cost. $12 to $15 bucks. Regarding the oil leaks that are supposed to start hounding me (according to some,) it’s not happened yet. I have a small drip that was there before the move to synthetic. After about 400 miles, I would “guess” that it may be dripping just a tad bit more. I’ll post more on that as results come in. Oil temps? According to my gauge, they are down about 10 degrees. That’s not much, but it counts. Where I really noticed the change is how much faster the temps go down when you back off the throttle. Another “guess” is that I can start to see the temps going back down in about a minute, which is much faster than previously noted.

We’ll see how it goes. This oil change cost me $47, and left me with about a quart to spare. I’ll update this thread in a few days with any findings. If I’m being clueless on something, feel free to comment. I’m open minded, most of the time :)

Leave a Reply