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Which oil for break in of small engines?
Old 11-02-2014, 07:26 AM   #1
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Which oil for break in of small engines?

I just bought a pressure washer with a Honda GX160 OHV engine (163cc). It doesn't come with any oil. The guy at the shop says "make sure you put regular oil in it while you break it in, not synthetic oil." The manual is silent on synthetic vs. regular oil, it just says to change the oil after the first 5 hours of use. Google results are inconsistent, some people swear you can't use synthetic to start, others say it doesn't matter anymore.

Is it still important to break in small engines with dino oil or can you go straight to synthetic?
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:43 AM   #2
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The owner's manual is silent on synthetic vs dino. I'd just start with and continue to use an oil that meets the specs in the manual.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:46 AM   #3
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"Break in oil" of yesteryear is really hard to find , except at a racing or speed shop. It had really high zink content, mostly to protect flat tappet camshafts. Zink kills catalytic converters in cars , so motor oil available in the retail consumer market has almost none in it. The so called flat tappet camshafts went away in cars and trucks about 20 years ago, and in newer design utility engines too.

Short answer: get a quart of 10-30 conventional oil, change it at 10 hours, then change at mfg. recommendation thereafter. Honda , Yamaha, and Suburu/Robin small engines usually outlast the device, unless you do something really stupid with them.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:00 AM   #4
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I've always used a good 10-30 or 10-40 oil and I don't remember ever having a small engine fail on me. It's always been something else on the "tool/device" that seems to fail first. Since the "devices" are typically used infrequently, I'll check the oil levels each time I use them and change the oil according to the owners manual (or sooner)
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:18 AM   #5
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I don't think the type of oil is important. Years ago I recall it was straight weight non detergent type. Walmart still carries a brand called Accel and it's cheap.

Here' briggs and strattons guide

Small Engine Break-in Procedure | Mower Maintenance | Briggs & Stratton FAQ

The change is more important than the type. That first change gets rid of wear particles from the first few hours of use.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quaker State if you can find it.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
The owner's manual is silent on synthetic vs dino. I'd just start with and continue to use an oil that meets the specs in the manual.
This is the only post with relevant information. Follow the manual for your equipment.

The OP has a HONDA not a Briggs & Stratton. What other people have done or recommend makes no difference, follow the manual.

page 20: Looks like first change is in 20 hours/1 month, then 100 hours/6 months.


page 7:
Quote:
Use Honda 4-stroke oil or an equivalent high-detergent, premium quality motor oil certified to meet or exceed U.S. automobile manufacturer's requirements for Service Classification SG.SF/CC.CD.
No brand specified (other than the self serving "Honda or equivalent").

That covers it, doesn't it?

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Old 11-02-2014, 09:36 AM   #8
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Use what the manual specifies. I would not agonize over dino vs synthetic, but if it were me, i would use dino as it is cheaper.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:33 PM   #9
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Just on past practice I'd use conventional for break-in since you're going to change it out real soon anyway. Since the manual is silent on the subject it probably doesn't matter. Only one of mine even mentions it.

Like others, I've never had a small engine wear out, even a Briggs & Stratton I had ran fine for 20 years which is my record for a small engine. It was always something else in the tool that broke first. In that case the steel deck on the lawn mower just rusted away until there wasn't enough metal to hold a patch anymore.

Correction: I had a Honda lawn mower for 25 years. An axle broke and it wasn't worth a new transmission/axle assembly.
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