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Which oil to use for track days for 2011 Mustang GT?

Grant 302

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That's why I've taken on the this research project because no one, on any of the forums, has provided comprehensive information to support what the ideal route is.
I take a small, teeny amount of offense to this statement. ;) :D

Agreed for the most part.
I think we just have slightly different ideas about what is 'safe' for certain setups and use. Nothing wrong with that.
 

TheLion70x77

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Okay, so let's break this down. First, viscosity: the difference between 5w20 and 5w30 is about 8 degrees Celsius, and the same again between 5w30 and 5w40. Second, the higher the viscosity, the harder it is to pump, which takes energy that's absorbed by the oil and that means that thick oil runs hotter than thin oil under the same conditions. This was glaringly obvious in my E39 M5 that was approved by BMW for both 5w30 and 10w60. Track day running temps were noticeably lower for the 5w30.

So that's why I'm not convinced that all the concern about viscosity is as important as it seems - the higher the viscosity, the hotter the oil, the less "extra" viscosity. And then there's Dr. Ali Haas, who was on BITOG for years. He argued that the thinnest oil that maintained adequate pressure was the right oil. His view was that thinner oil flowing faster would carry heat away from the hottest parts of the engine faster so that they'd be cooler than they'd be with a thicker oil flowing more slowly. The argument has merit. He ran 5w20 in his Enzo, which was rated by Ferrari for 10w60. Had he tracked it, he might have stepped up, but he'd have done it on the basis of oil pressure at high RPM, not what the manual said.

So, if I had a 2016 GT PP1 that's still under warranty, I'd run the oil that Ford recommends, add the oil coolers that Ford recommends, and I'd change it after every event, again as Ford recommends. Once it's out of warranty, I'd switch to a 5w30 that's on the Porsche C30 list. It'll have an HTHS of 3.5 or higher and it's low SAPS. If you don't care about SAPS, you can also switch to Redline 5w20, which has an HTHS of 3.2, more like a US 5w30.
I've seen no evidence to suggest viscosity alone has anything to do with thermal transfer. But yes, higher pumping losses and drag losses will result in more heat. The engine simply has to work harder. Oil base stock quality has more to do with cooling than oil viscosity alone. And the oil won't flow MORE with thinner oils. Ge-rotor oil pumps are positive displacement, they flow the same volume of oil regardless of viscosity. What will vary is oil pressure. Positive displacement pumps also typically are more efficient with thicker fluids than thinner.

Remember there are many systems that use oil and oil performs three functions, hydraulic fluid (viscosity dependent as it pertains to lash adjusters and cam phasors), cooling (not very viscosity dependent, but oil quality dependent) and lubrication (viscosity and quality dependent). Thinner oils prove to be problematic with high RPM operation, the lash adjusters bleed down too fast you don't achieve full valve lift...not good on a performance engine.

That's one reason NASCAR and other performance race engines do NOT use hydraulic lash adjusters. They provide no benefit (self adjustment to compensate for wear) in an engine that gets rebuilt after every race and is problematic with high RPM and oil thinning. They use solid lifters for those reasons. The BITOG users typically are not looking at high performance applications. They are more worried about daily use and long OCI's, 99% of them have no experience with performance cars or track type uses.

Also how do you know his Enzo is still running...oil viscosity is directly related to film strength in the bearings regardless. Going down that far in viscosity likely will have some serious negative impacts long term on that engine. I wouldn't do it. Those bearings were likely set up for thick oils with a clearance in the 0.003 to 0.004 in range, possibly more....20 weight in that clearance will generate marginal film strength = not good for long term, regardless of oil temps. Even if his oil temps were 30F lower (extreme case of switching grades), 10W-60 will still provide substantially higher MOFT than 5W-20. So unless he dropped his oil temps by 90F, which is what it would take to make 10W-60 as thin at 5W-20...which is not possible just by switch viscosity grades...he's running that thing into the ground. At most I might considering going down one grade using a higher quality oil, but four? That's a case of ignorance and not understanding how things work.
 

TheLion70x77

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I take a small, teeny amount of offense to this statement. ;) :D


I think we just have slightly different ideas about what is 'safe' for certain setups and use. Nothing wrong with that.
No offense intended, maybe you did in the past, I'm new to this particular forum, but have been on mustang6g for quite some time. I provided some pretty reputable data from Borg Warner (CTA camp phasors), Clevite (OE Supplier for rod bearings for Ford, their recommendations) and Engine Builder Labs (with data from a performance engine builder on hydraulic lash adjusters), data from Lake Speed Jr. from Driven Racing as well as data from King Bearings on MODFT vs. oil viscosity, bearing clearances and temperature and the cooling effects of oil.

I have not see anyone provide that level of comprehensive information on how oil viscosity and quality affects ALL of those systems. Most people focus only on the rod / main bearings and occasionally some anecdotal arguments on how it affects the cam phasors or the "i use this and you should too" type of arguments. I'm interested in efficiency. What is the lowest viscosity and quality I can use to maximize power output without compromising reliability. Often times slightly thinner but higher quality oils out perform more viscous oils, but that is only true for one or two grade changes as even the best mPAO's are not nearly temp stable enough to over come three or four grades at high temperatures.

The Ferrari guy is a case of taking something to the extreme and misinterpreting data. A few degrees cooler without considering the other impacts does not mean it's performing better. Too thin in any grade of oil regardless of quality can cause issues with the lash adjusters, cam phasors or rod bearings. And thicker is usually safer, but not always optimal. I'm after optimal, balancing drag losses with protection and my data suggest 30 and 40 weights in a high quality base stock to be in that optimal balanced range with current engine designs. As with all things, the optimal value is rarely at one extreme or another.
 

TheLion70x77

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Used oil analysis for my GT and 5W-50 Mobil 1 for 3 track days 4 hours and 2,800 street miles:
So your 5W-50 dropped to 13.37 cSt @ 100C. That oil is supposed to be 17.5 cSt @100C. That oil has lost 30% of it's viscosity under your uses as is no longer 5W-50. It's 5W-40. Minimum viscosity for 5W-50 is 16.3 cSt @100C. That proves my point. You'll get better wear from a stay in grade 5W-40 than a 5W-50 that shears down on a dual purpose car (that sees both street and track use).
 

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Just as an FYI, with apologies to "UnleashedBeast" on another forum for borrowing his picture, here's my UOA data from my 2011 GT Brembo. The first two changes over 10k miles were before I installed a blower, and for the last 15k miles, the engine had a Magnusson TVS2300 and ran about 525RWHP. I daily drove the car and I was doing about 10 track days a year at the time. Over the three years I owned it, each 5K OCI would have between 4 and 8 track days use. The cooling was a Boss 302 oil-water cooler and the stock GT radiator. I changed the oil based on the OLM, not distance or time.

JAJ GTUOA.jpg
 

JAJ

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The 10w60 in my BMW's (three of them) ran as a stay-in-grade 10w50 after a couple of hours of use, and most 5w50's seem to run as stay-in-grade 5w40's after a few hours of use. Big deal.

It's important to keep in mind that today's forums are full of engine problems with various engines, but literally none of them are related to lubrication failure. It just doesn't happen with modern lubricants that meet the manufacturer's specs.
 

Grant 302

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So your 5W-50 dropped to 13.37 cSt @ 100C. That oil is supposed to be 17.5 cSt @100C. That oil has lost 30% of it's viscosity under your uses as is no longer 5W-50. It's 5W-40. Minimum viscosity for 5W-50 is 16.3 cSt @100C. That proves my point. You'll get better wear from a stay in grade 5W-40 than a 5W-50 that shears down on a dual purpose car (that sees both street and track use).
40 weight oils don't provide enough pressure on track. My concern is that if I am wrong about my oil choice, perhaps I should be using a straight 50 weight or changing the 5W-50 at two days of track time. My car is dual purpose, so 5W-50 it is.

No offense intended, maybe you did in the past, I'm new to this particular forum, but have been on mustang6g for quite some time. I provided some pretty reputable data from Borg Warner (CTA camp phasors), Clevite (OE Supplier for rod bearings for Ford, their recommendations) and Engine Builder Labs (with data from a performance engine builder on hydraulic lash adjusters), data from Lake Speed Jr. from Driven Racing as well as data from King Bearings on MODFT vs. oil viscosity, bearing clearances and temperature and the cooling effects of oil.
There has been a lot of various threads where a lot of these topics are covered, and often with track use perspective, but also dual-purpose. What you don't get in any other Mustang forum is the track-focused perspective and members who care more about reliability who are willing to spend on real coolers and not just 'performance bling'. Look at some of the discussion in oil cooler and build threads. For example, I haven't seen a logical discussion or concrete examples of oil and cooling thermodynamics anywhere else. Members care about topics like that here. A lot of the answers shake out with members that actually race and upgrade when parts like coolers aren't adequate or reliable.

I have not see anyone provide that level of comprehensive information on how oil viscosity and quality affects ALL of those systems. Most people focus only on the rod / main bearings and occasionally some anecdotal arguments on how it affects the cam phasors or the "i use this and you should too" type of arguments.
Usually the topics get addressed separately. The "I use this" type of arguments are an issue in any group.

I'm interested in efficiency. What is the lowest viscosity and quality I can use to maximize power output without compromising reliability. Often times slightly thinner but higher quality oils out perform more viscous oils, but that is only true for one or two grade changes as even the best mPAO's are not nearly temp stable enough to over come three or four grades at high temperatures.
I'd drive something else and have different hobbies if I was primarily concerned with 'efficiency' and my oil selection. I'd rather watch one of AJ's or Badger's track videos.
 

TheLion70x77

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It is correct that S197 track pack cars and non track pack cars had the same engine. Track pack cars got the Boss oil cooler/radiator and 5W50 oil recommendation. There was also a different calibration. The cam phasers are effected by using different Viscosity and the calibrations take this into account. Call Ford performance for clarification; that’s where I discovered this information.


For Gen2 owners (and non-track pack S197 with an aftermarket oil cooler), you could just use a really good 5w20 Synthetic and move on to bigger and better things.

Not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but NASCAR engines have been running 5w20 in race trim for decades. 9000+ RPM in engines that have crazy piston speeds and 800+HP.

Granted, they use different base oils but you can get it for your mustang.

Try Driven FR20 or M1 Annual Protection. Always go with the Viscosity the OEM (or Ford Performance if you will) recommends. Ford will always recommend Motorcraft because they have to. It’s not going to Damage your engine but you can get way better protection from the other brands I mentioned. Driven FR20 and M1 Annual Protection are the only brands I know of that use mPAO base oils. You can Google PAO vs mPAO and geek out.

If it were my money, I’d get the FR20 since I know it uses the same base oil used in NASCAR with and additive package taylored for Coyote motors. Just my $.02.

BT
NASCAR's are a bad example. The rules are strict and are very limited on what can and cannot be done. Those guys nitpick literally ever hp they can for an advantage. Those engines also only last 600 miles and use rod bearings with a tolerance down to 0.0001", extremely high uniformity that allows very thin oils at high temperatures with tight clearances. You cannot do that on a mass production level with current technology, at least not at the price point of a Mustang or Camaro etc. Pro Stock guys use 0W-5...but rebuild their engines after ever 4-8 miles and require them to be primed prior to starting...NASCAR engines also use solid lifters, they don't have to worry about the hydraulic lash adjusters bleeding down, inadequate lash is a very common issue at high RPM on street car motors. They don't provide enough lift due to oil thinning (increases bleed down rates), consequently the valves don't fully open and flow efficiency drops.

Performance street cars are about balancing reliability with efficiency, oil performs a broader array of functions on a street car than on a race car, even a street car being used for track. Consider the other extreme. Top Fuel. They run 70 straight weight...drag / pumping losses are astronomical compared to the 0W-10 used by NASCAR. But they have to run big clearances and high viscosity because of crank flex. There's no forging process or steel alloy that will be rigid enough or fracture resistant enough to allow for 59 psi of boost on nitro methane at 10,000 rpm that is producing 8,000 hp. Again, solid lifters and fixed cam timing.

Oil viscosity use depends on bearing clearances, temperature range, crank flex requirements, bearing tolerances (uniformity), lash adjuster bleed down rates, cam phasor requirements and bearing material load capacity. It's all application specific. 5W-20 was not intended for track use. Not a single track variant calls for 5W-20 in any of the big 3. And not a single non-track variant from any company (ford, Chevy, Dodge) calls for 5W-20 for track use on their lower tier models (aka like my 2016 PP GT). But they do call for going up in viscosity (Chevy Camaro / Corvetts, 2018 and newer Mustangs), running a higher viscosity all the time (Dodge Viper, Charger / Challenger 392, Ford's GT350 / Boss 302 / Ford GT) or adding cooling (2015-2017 Mustangs all variants).

2015-2017's (I4, V6, V8 excluding GT350) were never intended for track use however, so they simply didn't consider recommending alternate oil viscosity for the lower tier models. The only note in the manual is to add cooling as we all know. But it's far more cost effective and practical to use a higher viscosity oil than to modify the cooling systems (there's also risk of additional leaks and there is ALWAYS a small pressure drop penalty). Either way is valid to compensate for elevated thermal loads. You can stay with the same oil viscosity and add cooling (assuming your cooling system can compensate for ALL of the added thermal load that is necessary for safe operation) or you can increase viscosity and let it carry the heat.
 

Bill Pemberton

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So ....in summation, I am just glad I change my oil after every second track weekend, because I find that oil discussions on Forums usually go on for weeks or months, and when they finally expire only three people change their minds, hehe.

Personally I would prefer we discuss the merits of olive oil over canola oil, as I need to work more on my diet in order that I can constructively reduce more of the ugly fat weighing down my RaceCar?
 

Nvrfinished

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So ....in summation, I am just glad I change my oil after every second track weekend, because I find that oil discussions on Forums usually go on for weeks or months, and when they finally expire only three people change their minds, hehe.
Yep, that's what I do. My car is not my daily driver. Until I get an oil cooler installed (future project), I run 0w40 in the car and change the oil every 2nd track day. So far it has kept me just shy of the yellow zone on the oil temp gauge. The tracks here in SoCal are just too hot to run in the summer, so the car usually goes for a few months or so without seeing the abuse. I just run the factory recommend 5w20 during that time.

I was interested in using Lucas 5w50 since it was designed around the Ford specs, but I can get 5 quarts of 0w40 Mobil 1 from my local Walmart for only $23.
 

TheLion70x77

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40 weight oils don't provide enough pressure on track. My concern is that if I am wrong about my oil choice, perhaps I should be using a straight 50 weight or changing the 5W-50 at two days of track time. My car is dual purpose, so 5W-50 it is.

There has been a lot of various threads where a lot of these topics are covered, and often with track use perspective, but also dual-purpose. What you don't get in any other Mustang forum is the track-focused perspective and members who care more about reliability who are willing to spend on real coolers and not just 'performance bling'. Look at some of the discussion in oil cooler and build threads. For example, I haven't seen a logical discussion or concrete examples of oil and cooling thermodynamics anywhere else. Members care about topics like that here. A lot of the answers shake out with members that actually race and upgrade when parts like coolers aren't adequate or reliable.

Usually the topics get addressed separately. The "I use this" type of arguments are an issue in any group.

I'd drive something else and have different hobbies if I was primarily concerned with 'efficiency' and my oil selection. I'd rather watch one of AJ's or Badger's track videos.
To be clear when I'm talking about efficiency, I mean drag losses vs film strength. Power to the wheels reliably. Many people compete, weather against the clock or against others. Power matters as much as handling, which matters as much as driver skills. It's all a piece of the puzzle. I want to maximize power while ensuring adequate protection. Have more protection that is necessary is wasteful, but I digress, usually a safe bet.

Viscosity changes. Heat (temporary shear) and polymer uncoiling (permanent loss). Your 5W-50 M1 you provided in your UOA has changed viscosity permanently down to a 5W-40 weight. Add in heat and it's thinning out further down to a 30 (230F) or 20 weight (250F) when in actual use on the track until is cools back down to 210F during normal street use where it returns to a 40 weight. But originally I wasn't making cases for the track variants of the mustang that already call for 5W-50 as the OP had a 2011 non-track pack. So I"ll drop the argument made by Lake Speed Jr. of Driven Racing that using a thinner but higher quality base stock is more beneficial (both performance and protection) than using a lower quality thicker OE spec oil like Motor Craft or M1 which isn't much different.
 

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TheLion70x77

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My original information was aimed at non-track pack cars. 2011-2014 S197's without the track pack and 2015-2017 GT's. None of which call for anything but 5W-20 in the owners manual and their only reference to track use is "add cooling". Even with added cooling, 5W-20 is marginal because of how hot the oil gets. It's not the bearings that are really the issue. It's the rest of the engine that needs thicker oil to work properly.

HTHS of 5W-20 is adequate, 2.6 cSt @ 150C (302F), its thin but it will hold. So if your oil is getting up to 280~300F which is about HTHS conditions in terms of temperature, your bearings are still happy on 5W-20. But your lash adjusters are likely bleeding down too fast and your not achieving full valve lift. It's one of the biggest issues with high RPM performance street engines and I believe the primary reason Ford calls for 5W-50 for it's track variants, varying lash as the oil heats up at high RPM. I suspect the CTA phasors are just fine as well, they are very immune to oil viscosity and pressure.

Oil in these cars performs a far broader scope of function than it does in a NASCAR or Top Fuel Dragster. Some of those race cars actually have external oil tanks that are also cooled to keep temps reasonable. They use solid lifters and have NO cam phasors, it's all fixed so the oil's primary job is lubrication, not hydraulic fluid where bleed down rates are affected by viscosity. The manufacturing tolerances on production cars also don't support super tight bearing clearances that require extremely high uniformity when going with ultra thin oils (0W-20, 0W-10, 0W-5) for high performance cars making big power. Very different requirements for the oil, so it's a BAD example to compare 0W-20 or 0W-10 in a NASCAR to a mass production Ford Coyote 5.0L V8 or a Chevy 5th Gen LT1 6.2L.

Conversely, super thick oils have lots of drag AND most street cars NEED multi-viscosity. So using straight weights is out of the question and the majority of 5W-50's shear down badly, which means they become 5W-40 or 5W-30 permanently and thin out even further with temperature. Going that thick is also unnecessary for street use even if they didn't shear down in any of the regular variants like my 2016 PP GT. For non-track pack 2011-2014's 5W-20 OR 5W-30 is just right for street, 0/5W-40 in a high quality synthetic or a shear prone 5W-50 will be ideal for track even with the Boss 302 oil cooler as the oil squirters cause more heating of the oil as it pulls heat from the pistons, unlike the Boss 302.

For 2015-2017's with the performance package, which have the Boss 302 oil cooler and a 1.44" thick radiator, but retain the oil squirters, going up to 5W-30 is fine for street / light duty track as a multi-purpose oil as long as it's changed regularly and of good quality. 0/5W-40 is very robust for track on the stock cooling system for these cars, but many still use 5W-30 for track without issues. I just don't see a point in 5W-50 for track use on any of the regular models, especially when there are 0W-40's that out perform it.
 

Grant 302

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Your 5W-50 M1 you provided in your UOA has changed viscosity permanently down to a 5W-40 weight. Add in heat and it's thinning out further down to a 30 (230F) or 20 weight (250F) when in actual use on the track until is cools back down to 210F during normal street use where it returns to a 40 weight.
You can't make statements like this. The oil in that sample was never 30 weight or 20 weight. And to say that the 100ºC viscosity tested means that the HTHS properties are different is just wrong.

Seems like I've had this discussion before.
the OP had a 2011 non-track pack.
So do I. There wasn't a Track Pack option in 2011.
 

JAJ

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...So if your oil is getting up to 280~300F which is about HTHS conditions in terms of temperature, your bearings are still happy on 5W-20. But your lash adjusters are likely bleeding down too fast and your not achieving full valve lift. It's one of the biggest issues with high RPM performance street engines and I believe the primary reason Ford calls for 5W-50 for it's track variants, varying lash as the oil heats up at high RPM. I suspect the CTA phasors are just fine as well, they are very immune to oil viscosity and pressure....
Great theory, but it's not plausible in a modern Ford engine. Your ECU will detect this kind of problem and you'll have a DTC and a check engine light. Those systems are very sensitive. So if you're not getting a CEL, you don't have this problem.
 

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Lots of fun stuff here alrighty.

But let me go out on a limb and say that I simply use the oil Ford engineers recommend. Both in owners manuals for the Boss and in conversations with Ford engineers who frequent our site and that we meet at track events. They recommend Ford full synthetic 5w-50. Easy. Done.

I think Bill has a point many have missed while sorting through the MANY points both repeated and beaten to death. Full synthetic, no matter what manufacturer or weight tastes like shiznit on a fresh garden salad. A light virgin olive oil mixed with a tart balsamic vinegar is the way to go when trying to optimize the weight of the vehicle data processor and controls input modulator system. Although, truth be told, a Taco Salad is my favorite.

Thoughts anyone?? :rolleyes:

PS. I can remove the "S" word if it is offensive.
 

Bill Pemberton

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Darn, JAJ , I thought he was talking about " Synthetic, " but you are right, he even used "salad" in the commentary, without commenting at all about the use of non virgin olive oil ?
 
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