If the engine was, or is back specified to be able to use 5W-20 & is still in good condition, 5W-20 would be ok to use, BUT, Ford & many other brands have let the NOACK % evaporation get away from them on the SN/GF-5, 5W-20 & 5W-30 viscosity recipes, so if it uses/burns some oil, it may use more with the Motorcraft SN/GF-5 recipe, or other brands whos NOACK % evaporation has risen to a figure thats close to, or over the 15% max NOACK figure on their SN/GF-5, 5W-20, OR 5W-30 recipies.
PQIA has the VOA NOACK % evaporation numbers on both of those viscosities of Motorcraft oils & a number of other brands & right now the latest recipies of Pennzoil & Quaker State 5W-20 have the lowest NOACK % evaporation engine oils out there, at around 6-9% depending on how new or old it is & if its mineral or synthetic.
The newer recipies of those two are now using the GTL base oils from the Shell natural gas to liquid (GTL) plant in Qutar in their motor oil recipies & have the lowest NOACK figures currently out there. SO, if your engine is going to be used hard in the mountains of WVa, lugging, tugging & or towing in hot weather, it'll likely appreciate & yield less consumption using an oil recipe with a Low NOACK % evaporation number.
Here is a PQIA link to SN/GF-5 5W-20 VOA tests. http://www.pqiamerica.com/Feb2014/co...ed5w20ALL.html
Here is a link to their Motorcraft & a couple of other brands SN/GF-5 5w-30 VOA tests. Petroleum Quality Intitute of America
You can look in the PQIA archives for more SN/GF-5 5W-30 brands VOA testing if you want to consider using something other than Motorcraft. Just make sure the tests your viewing are for the latest tests of SN/GF-5, so your getting the results of the latest recipe tests. EDIT: Here is a link to the PQIA search engine, so you can make side by side test comparisons http://126.96.36.199/
Most mfgrs NOACK % evaporation went up a good bit on the SN/GF-5 recipe engine oil. Many are now close to, or in some cases over the max 15% NOACK figure. That could mean if we have a 5qt sump, that we could consume as much as a qt of oil due to evaporation alone, during an oil change interval & that doesn't count what the engine might consume from oil leaking past rings, or valve stem seals, or dripping/leaking from gaskets or seals. SO, a low NOACK % evaporation engine oil can help us cut consumption over an oil change period.
A bunch of thoughts for pondering, give us some more details on how & under what conditions this puppy will be used & the forum can likely be more specific on good choices for consideration in your application.
All the modulars I change oil in (1 - 4.6l and 2 - 6.8l) get 5w-30 ever since the factory warrenty expired. Up until around 2002 Fords speced oil for those engines were 5w-30. I did test some ow30 in my 6.8l this cold winter with good results. In VA you won't have a problem running 5w-30 MC all year round. I would run 5w30 Motorcraft myself (vs the synth I run) if it was more available for me in the 5qt jugs. The 5qt jugs are usually 5w20 in my area.
BUT, would be helpful to know what year it is & what you intend to do with the vehicle in WVa & what oil was originally specified for it
'09 4.6 E-250 4:10 Motorcraft Semi Syn 5-20
Customized inside. 1/2 people (carpeted, cloth, insulated) , 1/2 cargo (cardboard, plastic, rubber mat) Van. Mainly haul motorcycles. Have a 18' 10K car, anything trailer,+ a 8' 3 motorcycle, 1 round bale, 2K lb firewood, trailer.
Last summer (including a trip out west and back) I ran Motorcraft Semi Syn 5-30. This winter (when I wasn't snowed in) was 5-20. A Ford Dealer mechanic said, "that running anything other than what 'they' recommended would result in motor failure from lack of too thick of lubrication"
Seems to me, with all that confined (x-tra heat) motor space Vans have, pulling a trailer up many WV hills, 20w is too thin.
I know, times have changed, but I'm one of those who still embrace the saying, "there is no substitute for cubic inches, 2 1/2" dual exhaust and round headlights, thicker is better for loads."
That is the reason I posted the 5-20/5-30 Motorcraft oil question here. To get other opinions, pro/con (truth?) from those who are not brainwashed dealer people.
OK, good feedback. Are you having any oil consumption using Motorcraft 5W-20, or 5w-30, or having any untoward engine noise problem/s????
What oil filter are you using????
For instance, from the above PQIA data links, we see that the Motorcraft 5W-30 NOACK % evaporation is 14.3% & the Motorcraft 5W-20 is 15.2% & for instance Pennzoil yellow bottle 5W-20 NOACK % evaporation right now is only 6.5%. So, if for instance you were/are having some oil comsumption, that you can't attribute to gasket leaks, or piston ring wear, or seal leaks from high mileage, ect, you might be able to trim consumption some, by trying an oil recipe with a lower NOACK % evaporation figure.
For instance, from the data we see the Pennzoil & Motorcraft 5W-20 hot/100c viscosity numbers are very close at 8.7 & 8.6 cSt, but the Pennzoil 5W-20 now has a Much lower NOACK % evaporation number at 6.5% verses 15.2% for the Motorcraft 5W-20, so the lower Noack % evaporation recipe might lower oil consumption, if we have that problem due to evaporation, when using 5W-20 in a hot running engine during a severe service oci.
How much could it lower consumption???? Well if we have a sound engine, no wear, or gasket, or seal leaks & a 5qt oil sump, thats 160oz of oil X 15.2% NOACK evaporation = 24.32oz (.76qt). So we could consume a little over 3/4 of a qt from evaporation alone during our oci, using an oil recipe with a 15.2% NOACK evaporation loss figure.
SO, if we instead choose an oil recipe that has a lower NOACK % evaporation, say 6.5%, then we might be able to cut consimption to 10.40z, a little less than 1/3 qt, so we could cut consumption from about 3/4 of a qt to about 1/3 qt, just by using an oil recipe with a lower NOACK % evaproation figure.
Would everyone get the same results, who knows, but if we're running for long periods at high speed/rpm on the freeway &/or lugging & tugging heavy loads on the freeway in hot weather, or doing so in the mountains, or racing from stop light to stoplight in the city with the AC on, then we might be able to cut evaporation consumption some by using an oil recipe with a lower NOACK % evaporation figure.
Pennzoil, like the Motorcraft recipe, also has a nice dose of Moly & Boron, so should provide good wear results while keeping our engines clean. Used oil analisis with a particle count, could tell us how our choice of oil & filter are doing for wear & filtering, for the use we're putting our equipt through.
Motorcraft oils have put up very good used oil analisis (UOA) numbers in a lot of different engines, under a lot of different drive cycles, on bobistheoilguy web site & so have Pennzoil, Chevron, Havoline, ect, so there are some good oil recipies out there for us to choose from. But we may be able to tweak the resuts some in our favor, by choosing lube recipies that more closely match the rigors we'll put our equipt & lube through during the oci.
All that said, under your use conditions, I don't see that using Motorcraft 5W-30 is a bad thing to do in your engine, but you can look in the PQIA data to find & use a 5w-30 with a lower hot operating viscosity (100 deg c) operating temp cSt viscosity figure, that'll be closer to the specified Motorcraft 5w-20 8.6 cSt, 100 deg c/hot operating viscosity figure, that might yield good wear & mpg numbers.
Is there a mpg advantage to using 5W-20, over a 5w-30???? Well maybe in some circumstances, but I think most of us would be hard pressed to measure a meaningful mpg difference in around town driving. Maybe yes on a long highway run.
The govt beat up the vehicle mfgrs to yield better CAFE mpg figures, so the vehicle mfgrs developed 5W-20, to help cut hot engine oil pumping losses, but in order to kinda keep wear in check, the 5W-20 was goinna have to use a better quality base oil & ad pack, so Fords answer was to use a simi-synthetic, to get the performance, while keeping costs in check. UOA's in many engines, over many miles, under many different drive cycles seems to say they initially got the recipe mostly right, BUT it looks like they've slipped some on the 5W-20 SN/GF-5 recipe, as its NOACK % evaporation has gone up to the Max side, or a little over spec, like a lot of others & that might not be good for borderline engines operating in severe service conditions......buyer beware!!!!! Keep a close check on your oil sump level if using SN/GF-5 lubes, or you could find your sump level low from NOACK % evaporation loss, like I have!!!!!
I've measured better All highway mpg using Havoline synthetic 5w-30 against regular Havoline 5W-30, filling & refilling at the same gas pump facing the same way, traveling the same route to the same destaniton @ the same posted speed limit, twice. All Highway MPG increase with the synthetic was 1.3-2.2 mpg better with the synthetic of the same viscosity & service grade in my 99 Ranger 4.0L, compared to the same trip using regular Havoline. All that said, I was never able to measure a city/urban increase in mpg, while using the synthetic recipe Havoline!!!!! So as most of my driving is city/urban, I use regular mineral oil & change it once or twice a year, depending on how its being used.
There are a number of SN/GF-5 5W-30 oil recipies around the 10cSt figure with good NOACK, that would be closer to, but a little thicker than the specified 8.6 cSt Motorcraft 5W-20, that you could opt for/try, if you wish.
Right now I'm trying Valvolene Maxlife High Mileage 5W-30 in my 94 Taurus 3.8L, to see if it'll help with consumption that suddenly showed up after I began using the Havoline 5W-30 SN/GF-5 recipe, whos NOACK had gone up to 15.5-15.1% NOACK. The 3.8L was origionaly specified to use 5W-30, but has been back specified to use 5w-20 in the above Ford TSB, but I never changed over, as our drive cycle is severe, short trip city/urban with some hills & mountains.
Never had consumption problems with previous recipies of Havoline, but they let their NOACK % evaporation get away from them when the SN recipe hit the market, so we'll see if the Valvolene 5w-30 Max Life High Mileage, with nearly the same hot viscosity numbers as the Havoline, but with a 10.8% NOACK, verses the 15.1-15.5% Havoline, will make a difference in consumption. Just put the Valvolene in back in Jan, so it'll be a while before I know if its gonna make a difference in consumption. It's about the same hot/100 deg c viscosity, so I don't expect a drop in mpg.
A bunch more thoughts for consideration, let us know what you do & how it goes.
The mechanic at your dealer is telling you what Ford has pushed on him at training classes and in policy. Ask him why the 4.0l SOHC was never given the green light to use 5w20 and had to keep using 5w30. Despite the rest of Fords gassers (minus Shelby Mustang) going over to 5w20.
I don't feel you will have any issues running nothing but 5w-20. IMO you can get better protection when hot and towing with the 5w30. However if your van is under warrenty yet you may just want to use the 5w20 so if something would happen that you need to use that engine warrenty the dealer will not be able to point the finger at the oil.
The 4.6l in your van has changed very little since 5w30 oil was speced for the same engine. What has changed since is emissions and CAFE requirements, that is the main reason for the switch to 5w20.
The key here is the 5w which comes into play in colder temps and at cold startup. The 5.4l in the Shelby Mustang specs 5w50 motor oil. Granted that application is a bit different than the 4.6l however that 5.4l has a lot in common with your 4.6l.
Like I said before I use synthetic 5w-30 because of the lack of Motorcraft 5q jugs in 5w30 however I have noticed no noticeable mpg difference between 5w20 semi and synthetics vs the 5w30 synthetics.
I have found consumption to be the same between 5w20 and 5w30 on my truck and the others. I use Motorcraft FL-820S filters. Another good filter is the Purolator Pure One filter. Have not noticed a difference in engine noise between the two weights really, if anything the 5w30 is more quiet.
I do a lot of short trips and towing with a longer trip or two a couple weekends a month. I usually change oil somewhere around 3k-4k miles which can sometimes go 8 months. I did do a UOA with TBN on 5w20 MC blend years ago changed at 2,997 miles after 6 months. The TBN was lower than I thought it would be at 3.6 but everything else was good.
Since your warrenty is expired I don't see any cons to going to 5w30 but that is up to you.
"PawPaw" Thank you for the 'in depth' evaporation specs.
Something I NEVER gave ANY thought to was, how fast oil evaporated! I guess, learn something new everyday.
Oil and gasoline are both petroleum products. They both burn when exposed to a flame. But, when they are both left in an open container, the gas evaporates very fast, while the oil deems to draw moisture faster than it evaporates.
Yah NOACK % evaporation went up for most, but not all mfgrs SN/GF-5 oil recipe, as they are using thinner base oils, including Motorcraft & Havoline that I'd used for more than 60 years without problems, so if we have a hot running engine, we might have consumption go up with the SN recipe oil, I did on 3 of the familys 4 vehicles. But we might be able to hedge our bets some by seeking out & trying oil recipies that have lower NOACK % evaporation figures for the oil we use. Right now Pennzoil & Ouaker State are posting some mighty low NOACK % evaporation numbers, as it seems they're using the Shell GTL base oil from their new plant in Qatar, so perhaps one of their products should be on your consideration list for a trial run up in them thar hills!!!! I too am a "Mountaineer", out of McDowell county. Came out of the hills back in the early 50's to SW Va, so I guess that makes me a red neck hillbilly Mountaineer!!!! lol
I too mostly run Motorcraft filters & have in the past run mostly Havoline & I think that is about to change with its NOACK where it is & with Motorcraft 5W-30 NOACK at something like 14.3% & their 5w-20 at 15.1%, I don't want to try either, as they're about as high as the Havoline that three of the vehicles were using when they suddenly began to consume about a qt during an oci, as soon as I began using the SN/GF-5 recipe & none of the three had consumed any of the previous recipies of Havoline. Right now two of the vehicles are using synthetic Havoline 5W-30 & one has Valvolene MaxLife High Mileage 5W-30 in it, all of which have lower NOACK % evaporation, so we'll soon see how consumption goes.
The latest VOA of PYB 5W-20 SN/GF-5 has a very low 6% NOACK, so if your going to try a mineral 5w-20, that one should be near or at the top of your consideration list.
We don't have a current VOA NOACK test on PYB 5W-30, so we don't know for sure if it too has the GTL base oil in its recipe, like the 5W-20 PYB apparently does. Pick a good quality low NOACK % evaporation number 5w-30 & have at it, the engine will likely do just fine on it.