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Dunc
06-13-2019, 06:54 PM
Sometimes helping the neighbor becomes tricky...
Would using 2-cycle motor oil (the pure oil, no gas mixed in) as the oil in a 4-cycle engine cause damage? Mower was used for 30-45 minutes before the error was discovered... leading to my second problem

The engine is a 6.5HP Briggs & Stratton vertical shaft mounted on a Sears 944 series 21" model power mower. I cannot locate any more info on either the engine or the mower. The mower is a walk-behind, tho with power to drive the front wheels (belt & pulley arrangement). The oil drain plug is steel that accepts a 3/8" socket extension to loosen it. None of the usual approaches work and I fear cracking the aluminum sump housing if I get too ambitious.
Pretty much left with pumping the oil out the fill port. Do I pump out & replace with 4-cycle or pump out, flush, replace or...

brian Rupnow
06-13-2019, 07:05 PM
It probably hasn't done any damage. I wouldn't flush it out. Just pump it out or turn the mower over and let it run out. Refill with the proper oil and you should be good to go. Don't even try to remove the drain plug.

RB211
06-13-2019, 07:07 PM
Sae30 is often used in those motors, no oil filter, so a non detergent oil. I see no harm in pumping the oil out the filler in those simple engines.
Maybe stick a magnet down there to pick pick up any shavings if your worried about that.

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

Jim Stewart
06-13-2019, 07:22 PM
If it's the appropriate weight, you could just leave the 2stroke oil in there. Only thing is, it won't have any detergent (dispersant) action. But you should replace it - assuming it's *not* castor-based oil (wonderful smell but a pain to clean up) any of it left in the crankcase will mix fine with regular oil.

The big difference between motor oil and modern 2stroke oils is the latter have low ash content (so as not to foul spark plugs) and low smoke when they burn. The oil you used is probably synthetic for extra-clean burning and superior lubrication. And non-detergent.

-js

cameron
06-13-2019, 07:55 PM
Sae30 is often used in those motors, no oil filter, so a non detergent oil. I see no harm in pumping the oil out the filler in those simple engines.
Maybe stick a magnet down there to pick pick up any shavings if your worried about that.

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

I've used and maintained a lot of small engines over the years, Tecumseh, B&S, Kohler, Honda, not one of them has a manufacturer's recommendation to use non-detergent oil.

Jim Stewart
06-13-2019, 08:21 PM
I've used and maintained a lot of small engines over the years, Tecumseh, B&S, Kohler, Honda, not one of them has a manufacturer's recommendation to use non-detergent oil.

My Generac (Tecumseh motor, I think) specifies non-detergent.

-js

RB211
06-13-2019, 08:38 PM
I've used and maintained a lot of small engines over the years, Tecumseh, B&S, Kohler, Honda, not one of them has a manufacturer's recommendation to use non-detergent oil.Detergent oil is for pressurized oil systems that go through a filter. These simple engines use a splash oil system. They probably don't mention it because it's irrelevant to them. In my opinion, you want the junk to stay at the bottom, not be suspended in the oil.

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

cameron
06-13-2019, 08:52 PM
Detergent oil is for pressurized oil systems that go through a filter. These simple engines use a splash oil system. They probably don't mention it because it's irrelevant to them. In my opinion, you want the junk to stay at the bottom, not be suspended in the oil.

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

They do mention it. They all specify the oil to be used in the engine. They run SC,SD,SE, SF,SJ,SH, depending on when the engine was made.

Perhaps you haven't seen the inside of an engine that had been run for a few years on non-detergent oil.

You should inform the engine manufacturers of your opinion, they've probably been doing it all wrong.

oxford
06-13-2019, 09:06 PM
As far as oil changes through the filler. I have a Honda powered push mower and that engine doesn’t have a drain plug. When it is time for an oil change the gas valve gets shut off to the carb and the mower tipped on its side until the oil runs out, no pump needed.

cameron
06-13-2019, 09:19 PM
My Generac (Tecumseh motor, I think) specifies non-detergent.

-js

What model of Tecumseh, and what year was it made?

Some of the engines I've dealt with have single grade SAE 30 oil recommended for summer use, but not non-detergent SAE 30.

lugnut
06-13-2019, 09:36 PM
Any oil would be better than none,,,????? but it would be wise to drain it and put in the proper slick.

JoeLee
06-13-2019, 11:04 PM
I've used and maintained a lot of small engines over the years, Tecumseh, B&S, Kohler, Honda, not one of them has a manufacturer's recommendation to use non-detergent oil.I was wondering about what RB said also. I put non detergent oil in an old 2.5 HP Briggs along time ago and it really gunked up the insides. Never used it again, always detergent.
I doubt the 2 stroke oil did any harm. It keeps everything lubricated in a 2 stroke and they run at a lot higher r's than the brigs 4 stroke does.

JL.............

PStechPaul
06-13-2019, 11:26 PM
From the horse's mouth:

https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/support/faqs/browse/mower-oil-type-and-capacity.html


When choosing lawn mower oil, use a high quality detergent oil classified as "For Service SF, SG, SH, SJ" or higher. Do not use special additives.

https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=483370

https://www.ferrismowers.com/na/en_us/support/faqs/browse/what-oil-do-i-use-in-my-engine.html

https://www.mytractorforum.com/44-small-engines-repair/243449-whats-non-detergent-oil-good.html

Use non-detergent oil for your lathe or mill - unless it has a gas engine :rolleyes:

Jim Stewart
06-14-2019, 12:18 AM
What model of Tecumseh, and what year was it made?

Some of the engines I've dealt with have single grade SAE 30 oil recommended for summer use, but not non-detergent SAE 30.

It's been years since I looked at the manual, but I believe you're right. It wasn't non-detergent specified, it was single weight SAE30 - IIRC, it said multigrade didn't hold up at the higher temperatures of an aircooled stationary engine.

-js

CalM
06-14-2019, 12:41 AM
I've used and maintained a lot of small engines over the years, Tecumseh, B&S, Kohler, Honda, not one of them has a manufacturer's recommendation to use non-detergent oil.

Unless there is a removable FILTER, there is no reason to use detergent oils.

Think!

Detergent means that contaminants are held suspended in the oil. There is no reason to do that if the oil does not pass through an efficient filtration device.

CalM
06-14-2019, 12:45 AM
It's been years since I looked at the manual, but I believe you're right. It wasn't non-detergent specified, it was single weight SAE30 - IIRC, it said multigrade didn't hold up at the higher temperatures of an aircooled stationary engine.

-js

The Kohler literature that apples to the engine on my Bolens Ht-23 states in no uncertain terms that single weight SAE30 is the right oil. Others may lead to excessive oil consumption.
I run 10W-30 anyway, have for over 20 years, no troubles, I had to replace a head gasket two years back and had the engine all apart for that. Everything looked just fine! Just a data point... nothing more

CalM
06-14-2019, 12:49 AM
From the horse's mouth:

https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/support/faqs/browse/mower-oil-type-and-capacity.html



https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=483370

https://www.ferrismowers.com/na/en_us/support/faqs/browse/what-oil-do-i-use-in-my-engine.html

https://www.mytractorforum.com/44-small-engines-repair/243449-whats-non-detergent-oil-good.html

Use non-detergent oil for your lathe or mill - unless it has a gas engine :rolleyes:

Non detergent for your air compressor too! Let that crap fall to the bottom.

I use ND in the Fordson E27n tractor for the same reason. The gravel screen that is part of the sump isn't doing much, but with splash lubrication, you don't need much. ;-)

cameron
06-14-2019, 08:28 AM
Unless there is a removable FILTER, there is no reason to use detergent oils.

Think!

Detergent means that contaminants are held suspended in the oil. There is no reason to do that if the oil does not pass through an efficient filtration device.

I do think, though it's a terrible strain at times.

It's something of a myth that non-detergent oils allow contaminants to drop neatly down to the bottom so they are removed when you change the oil (you do change that ND oil from time to time, I presume). Rather they allow contaminants to be deposited at random, eventually covering everything inside the engine, moving or non-moving, in filthy crud.

Not having an oil filter means you need to change oil more often, and it's better if the contaminants come out with the oil, and are not left to coat everything inside.

By the way, my Speedaire compressor came with the recommendation to use "a good grade of 10W30 detergent type oil".
It ran fine on that for the better part of forty years and would probably be still running if I hadn't retired the compressor because of concerns about how much rust there might be in the reservoir.

That reminds me, I should change the oil in the new compressor. Who knows, they might have put ND oil in at the factory.
But no worries, if it craps out I'll replace it with the Speedaire head. No ND in that baby.

Willy
06-14-2019, 01:04 PM
Cameron, I'm another happy camper with a 43 year old two cylinder Speedair that has only had whatever was the current API service classification automotive 10W30 oil in it from day one. Still running strong and never had any more work done to it than an oil seal replacement back around 1980.

It seems from reading some of the above comments that some are confusing the functions and properties of detergents and dispersants and using them interchangeably.

Regarding the the OP's question, I would do just as Brian's initial response stated, tip it over to drain and refill with proper oil. These little engines are pretty durable and see a lot more abuse by the typical user. Some see no oil changes at all, only getting oil added to the thick dirty goo inside the sump when absolutely necessary. Getting two oil changes on the same day day would be a treat.:)

RWO
06-14-2019, 01:15 PM
As far as oil changes through the filler. I have a Honda powered push mower and that engine doesn’t have a drain plug. When it is time for an oil change the gas valve gets shut off to the carb and the mower tipped on its side until the oil runs out, no pump needed.

The latest B&S small engines require no oil change for the life of the engine. The only requirement is to use the recommended oil and keep the oil level up to spec. I read somewhere that the average life of a lawn mower engine in the USA is 6-7 years in residential use and B&S engineers found that modern oils will handle that duty without excess engine wear.

RWO

RWO
06-14-2019, 01:24 PM
My Generac (Tecumseh motor, I think) specifies non-detergent.

-js

Generac makes their engines in the USA.

RWO

lynnl
06-14-2019, 01:33 PM
The latest B&S small engines require no oil change for the life of the engine. The only requirement is to use the recommended oil and keep the oil level up to spec. I read somewhere that the average life of a lawn mower engine in the USA is 6-7 years in residential use and B&S engineers found that modern oils will handle that duty without excess engine wear.

RWO

That's like saying "...don't waste your time and money changing the oil, this engine's not going to last very long anyway." :D :D

Willy
06-14-2019, 02:02 PM
The latest B&S small engines require no oil change for the life of the engine. The only requirement is to use the recommended oil and keep the oil level up to spec. I read somewhere that the average life of a lawn mower engine in the USA is 6-7 years in residential use and B&S engineers found that modern oils will handle that duty without excess engine wear.

RWO

I remember reading about this in an industry trade publication when this was first announced by B&S. The article quoted a B&S engineer as saying that the engine would definitely benefit from regular oil changes. B&S's reasoning for this design change was that this engine series was aimed at the entry level buyer who won't maintain the engine anyway and will teat it as a disposable item.
Now the engine is better designed to live a life of neglect. Lets face it, most push/walk behind rotary mowers get treated like crap, B&S knows this.

BCRider
06-14-2019, 02:03 PM
Dunc, my mower has a B&S engine and I ran into the same issue with trying to find out the oil and how much.

Start at the B&S "Find your Operator's Manual" PAGE (https://www.briggsandstratton.com/na/en_us/support/manuals.html)

You'll likely need to use the links to the details on where to find the numbers you need. It took me a bit to find my own engine numbers. The serial number is actually called the "code number" by B&S. So watch out for that. And the model number format is a bit different too. My tag on the engine had a "-E1" on the end of the model number which actually didn't mean anything. And the way the model number is stamped on the tag has spaces where the model number format given on the B&S page does not show any spaces. So watch for that too.

And if it helps with selecting oil the B&S manual calls specifically for DETERGENT oil and then lists the grades "SF, SG, SH, SJ or higher". So clearly they want us to use regular automotive oils. And the chart for my engine as straight 30W dead dino juice for any reasonable temperature where you would need to cut the lawn. But if using full synthetic oil you can use 5W30 or 10W30

To add to the oil discussion it seems to me that an engine is a fair bit different from a compressor. The engine is always going to have some exhaust products in the blowby that gets into the crankcase where the compressor will see only pure air blowby. And while there isn't a filter in there I would want the carbon and exhaust products to stay suspended in the oil so they are washed out during an oil change.

old mart
06-14-2019, 02:12 PM
I had a small mower with an Aspera motor made in Italy. It was a Tecumseh made under license, it even used all Unified nuts and bolts. I fed it Mobil1, a slight overkill.

Fasttrack
06-14-2019, 02:19 PM
The oil drain plug is steel that accepts a 3/8" socket extension to loosen it. None of the usual approaches work and I fear cracking the aluminum sump housing if I get too ambitious.


A number of lawnmowers specify turning the mower over to drain the oil. It's probably been 12 years since I last worked on one of those little vertical shaft mower engines, but I seem to recall some engines having a 3/8 square divot cast into the crankcase cover but it's not actually a plug. It almost seemed like the took an existing cover pattern and fitted a drain plug to it to make a new pattern. Could be I'm just imagining something, though... I just have this memory of digging clippings out of a divot to drain the oil, only to discover I would have to tip the mower over to drain it.

BCRider
06-14-2019, 02:56 PM
On my B&S vertical shaft engine it is in fact a drain plug. And yeah, it takes the square 3/8 drive direct off an extension. When I change mine I put the mower up on a stair step and block the wheels on the open side to get it level and then reach in and remove the plug.

It's a pipe thread into the casing. So it requires a bit of moxie to come loose. I've used a wrap of teflon plumbing tape each time since that first "Big Snap" so I didn't need to strongarm the plug after that.

On my engine the filler is an extension that reaches up to the top of the shroud. And it's down in one corner. Tipping it up would see me having to balance it on one wheel and the handle would be strongly in the way to ensuring a good angle so the filler was in fact the lowest corner. I thought of that but it's a lot less fuss to just lift/lever it up onto the step and block the wheels with some wood blocks that are the same height as the one stair step.

But of course this engine might well be different. The owner's manual search should clarify this.

cameron
06-14-2019, 03:07 PM
In 1991 my wife bought a small walk- behind mower with a Tecumseh engine. We live in the country and our grass, there's a lot of it, is more like a neglected cow pasture than a lawn. I can imagine the hoot of laughter we'd get from any of our daughters if we called it a lawn.

That mower has had a hard life, cutting tall thick grass, weeds, small brush, throwing rocks and shaving the tops of the baby boulders that keep sprouting out of the ground here.

A front wheel came off because of rust in that corner of the deck. I fixed that, eventually, and then put 13" wheels I found on sale at Princess Auto on the back. That made it almost a pleasure to cut the grass, so much easier to push up the hills and over the rough ground. After a few years of easy mowing, one of those wheels broke off the hub, and I sewed it back together with braided nylon mason's twine and filled the recess in the hub with a mix of concrete sand and WEST epoxy. Stronger than new it was. Then the other wheel broke, but it was the spokes that went, and no easy way to fix it, so I put the small wheels back on. Then the other front wheel fell off and my wife said.... well I won't tell you what she said, but she went out and bought a new mower, leaving the old one to me. I'm still using it, or rather its engine, which is now on the deck of a non-running mower someone gave me.

So that's what happens when you give a small engine regular oil changes with DETERGENT oil. 28 years of service and still running. Nothing but trouble, fixing one thing after another, hoping that damn engine will wear out so you can buy something new.

PStechPaul
06-14-2019, 06:58 PM
From personal experience, most mowers die because of gas left in the carburetor, and general abuse and neglect, such as storing them under a tarp or in a leaky shed so that water gets in where it shouldn't. Most of my mowers have been freebies or $20-$50 handyman specials. Last year I fixed up two mowers I'd had for a long time, and both needed new carbs, only about $10-$20 or so. After fixing them, I only used them a couple times, because my "lawn" is mostly weeds and dirt, and the meadow that I used to mow regularly is badly overgrown with nasty multiflora rose, small trees, and weeds, and it is hard for me to schlep a gas mower up the hill to mow it. Mostly I use cordless and corded string trimmers, and electric mowers. So the oil I use is of little concern, and the usual detergent type is what is mostly available.

Today I set up the nail gun for the porch roofing job, and the instructions call for adding a few drops of oil into the air connection every hour of use. I had some air tool oil, but couldn't find it at first, so I used some general purpose oil (SAE30?) Then I found the correct oil, a small plastic container, and I used that. I also have some compressor oil, which I think is non-detergent. Some time ago I tried to find SAE20 oil, and I had some from long ago, but could not find it in any store. 30 weight is common, but not 20. However, I think the air tool oil and maybe the compressor oil is 20 weight.

Jim Stewart
06-14-2019, 07:24 PM
My air tool oil is more like 5 weight.

-js

J Tiers
06-14-2019, 08:11 PM
If you need light oil, the hydraulic jack oil at the auto parts place seems to be somewhere in the 5 or 10 wt area, it sloshes around in the container about like water. Just a little thicker than honing oil.

I have no dog in the ND vs detergent oil fight..... but I'd be willing to bet that most old B&S motors ran on straight weight ND oil back when they were made, because it was available and newfangled oils were probably less so out in the sticks. Now we have more options, and you have to look around if you want ND oil.. Apparently around 1954 was the time the modern oils appeared.

The following short article recommends using ND oils if the engine has been run with them, and has not been thoroughly cleaned inside. The theory is that detergent oils will clean the sludge off and splash or circulate it around, potentially damaging the bearings with a big shot of the various gunk composing the sludge. I do not know how much that would apply to splash oiled vs pressurized bearing engines, the pressurized bearings probably would be more likely to be damaged, because the splash probably does not pick up as much particulate material.

https://www.fillingstation.com/articles/earlyengineoil.htm

enginuity
06-14-2019, 08:25 PM
I have a 1970 VW Bettle that does not have an oil filter (screen). If you think I'm going to pour anything but detergent 15W40 Rotella in it I've got news for you.

Not having enough zinc is a lot more dangerous than detergent vs non detergent.

Regarding lawn mowers and accidentally pouring 2 stroke oil in it - change it and don't worry. Even bacon grease is an acceptable lubricant for short duration.

PStechPaul
06-14-2019, 10:00 PM
The air tool oil I have seems to be fairly thin, about the consistency of 3-in-1 oil. I found some at Home Depot, and there are some comments regarding whether or not it is detergent type:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-8-oz-Air-Tool-Oil-HDA10800AV/100047286

It does have rust blockers and anti-gumming agents - they might be detergents. It doesn't say what weight it is.

There is an old thread on PM about alternatives to specific air tool oil. Mineral oil, Marvel mystery oil, vegetable oil, AT oil, hydraulic fluid, etc.

https://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general-archive/alternative-air-tool-oil-97284/

This discussion opines that air tool oil may be anything from 5 weight to 30.

https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/what-weight-is-air-tool-oil.465676/

I also have an in-line air filter, regulator, and oiler, but I haven't used it yet. I assume that oil in the air line would not be good for inflating tires.

A.K. Boomer
06-14-2019, 11:02 PM
I have a 1970 VW Bettle that does not have an oil filter (screen). If you think I'm going to pour anything but detergent 15W40 Rotella in it I've got news for you.

Not having enough zinc is a lot more dangerous than detergent vs non detergent.

Regarding lawn mowers and accidentally pouring 2 stroke oil in it - change it and don't worry. Even bacon grease is an acceptable lubricant for short duration.

yeah mobile1 found out about the zinc factor a long time ago and the hard way,,, the reason why your "bug" needs it so desperately is not just the fat that it's air cooled, it's because your cam lobes doing double duty because it's a horizontally opposed 4 banger that uses the same lobe for two different valves and springing... lack of zinc reared it's ugly head in these engines first... it's needed for cam lobes and lifters.

im not seeing bacon grease being acceptable for even short duration but got to admit no expert in that department cuz I don't even eat that crap...

cameron
06-14-2019, 11:03 PM
I have a 1970 VW Bettle that does not have an oil filter (screen). If you think I'm going to pour anything but detergent 15W40 Rotella in it I've got news for you.

Not having enough zinc is a lot more dangerous than detergent vs non detergent.

Regarding lawn mowers and accidentally pouring 2 stroke oil in it - change it and don't worry. Even bacon grease is an acceptable lubricant for short duration.

For what it's worth, the Toro lawn mower with a B&S engine and the no-oil-change sales gimmick comes with a container of oil labeled "Extra Zinc".

CarlByrns
06-15-2019, 01:20 PM
Generac makes their engines in the USA.

RWO

Tecumseh was a US company until they went out of business in 1998.

CarlByrns
06-15-2019, 01:31 PM
I remember reading about this in an industry trade publication when this was first announced by B&S. The article quoted a B&S engineer as saying that the engine would definitely benefit from regular oil changes. B&S's reasoning for this design change was that this engine series was aimed at the entry level buyer who won't maintain the engine anyway and will teat it as a disposable item.
Now the engine is better designed to live a life of neglect. Lets face it, most push/walk behind rotary mowers get treated like crap, B&S knows this.

I work in the turf equipment industry and some of our products use air cooled single or V twin engines. In 20 years I've seen around 5 lubrication-related failures, all of them caused by low or no oil. My 20 year old woodchipper Briggs Cool Bore (all aluminium, splash lube) had some debris under a crank seal and when I opened the engine up, everything but the valve springs was well within specs. With minimal care, small engines will last a long time.
Most consumer mowers go to the curb because the deck is rotted out or ethanol-fuel has made a mess of the carb.