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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1998 LX SOHC, and i was wondering things like what are some good oil/oil filter brands, i currently use penzoil high mileage with a fram oil filter. I was also thinking of upgrading to a k&n air filter or something i do not have to replace all the time. I have 142,000 miles almost and I was also wondering if i should change the ignition cables and the distributor box? If so what are some good manufacturers? Not sure when they get worn down, and my acceleration is a little hesitant at times.
 

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Those questions have been asked, and debated over, several times. Just search things like "oil" or "filter" to see what comes up. I stick with synthetic in my engine, but it's rebuilt, and I use an FL-1A oil filter, but there may be clearance issues in later models (I have a 1st gen). By that mileage I'd look into change the plug wires, and the plugs if they haven't been already.
 

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In my opinion any major brand oil or oil filter will be fine. Lots of poeple don't like Pennzoil and say it is a cheaper oil, but that's what I'm running in my '88 Escort Pony and it has 498K miles. As for filters there are also lots of people that don't like Fram and claim their filtering capability isn't as high as other brands. I have used Fram at different times over the past 35 years and never had any issues with them. There are better filters out there, but if you are changing the oil at a reasonalble interval (3-5K miles) you shouldn't need to use an expensive filter. I usually use whatever I can find the cheapest. I currently have about 50 oil filters in my garage where I have bought at different places when they were going to quit selling oil filters or changing to a different brand. Most of them I have bought on clearance for under $1. each. If you were running synthetic oil and leaving it in for 10-20K miles I'd defintely say use a more expensive filter. I have a set of Auto Zone's best ignition wires on my '88 and have been using their wires for the past several years. They come with a lifetime warranty so if they ever need to be replaced all you have to do is return the old ones for a new set. I just replaced mine about a year ago because I was having problems with misfiring, but it ended up being something else not the wires. I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say should you change the ignition box, but if you are speaking of the coil, I wouldn't change it unless I knew it was bad. My '88 Pony still has the original coil on it, I tested it a while back and it was still within factory specs.
 

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I stay well away from Fram. The last one I used was in bypass from the start, as my oil pressure gauge was hitting 80 psi, which is the limit of the pump. Mind you the gauge is installed post filter, and it's normally around 60-65. I've also cut Fram filters open and they have much less pleating material than a Purolator. The cardboard endcaps of the Fram are also crap.
 

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I loved the 0w-40 honestly. It had excellent cold and hot weather performance, but I can't find it around here anymore....which ticks me off. The only Mobile 1 synth I can find is 5w-30, 10w-30, and 10w-40 high mileage, which is what I'm running. I can't even get Valvoline full synth in 10w-40 version. I don't like 5w-30 due to it not handling hot days or long trips well..my oil pressure drops when using it. That's kind of why I liked the 0-40 the most; it pumped easily, but held up well against trips and temps. Too bad stores here don't sell it...although I can get royal purple (seriously...why?).
 

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No matter what brand oil and filter you use, I would suggest getting a magnetic oil drain plug. You would be amazed at the amount of fine metal particles that get through the filter. You can pick one up at the parts store for less than $5.
BTW, I run Motorcraft 5w30 Sytnthetic Blend and a Purolator PureOne filter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The magnet drain plug sounds like a good idea, i will have to try and find one. I change my oil about every 4,000 miles sometimes earlier, but i don't like to let it go over 4,000. Would changing to synthetic be a good idea since i have so many miles? I have heard that it might clean out the engine too much and clean out gunk that is preventing it from leaking, i have heard the same with flushing the radiator and changing the trans fluid is any of this true? I was also wondering about the ignition box because i hear they wear down over time like everything else, so i wasn't sure if there is a certain amount of miles you have to inspect/change it. I am probably going to pick up a good set of ignition wires because last time i changed my spark plugs the little metal piece inside stuck to the top of two of my plugs, so i think they are getting old.
 

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No, don't switch to synthetic, as it usually has higher detergent content, and will remove any deposits that may be sealing the engine. Flushing the radiator will not cause leaks unless the system is in dire need of repair or replacement. I try to flush mine every 2-3 years, and I notice a difference in how well it cools (although mine runs pretty cool anyway).

I've also never had a problem flushing a tranny or replacing the filter, but I always use a new pan gasket, and sometimes a little contact adhesive to make things easier. Then just slowly torque it up, and keep it even to prevent pan warping. Buildup doesn't really happen much in an auto trans since it's a bit more sealed than an engine.

If it's a wasted spark ignition, don't bother replacing it until it breaks. If it's distributor based, replacing the cap and rotor is a good idea after about 12k miles on an Escort (only 1st gens had distributors as stock).

Plugs in a wasted spark system are usually good for a very long time..some are good for 100k miles. Wires I would say will go that long, but not much beyond. In an Escort they are also in a hot zone, and have to deal with a lot of heat. Test the resistance and that will tell you what kind of health they're in.
 

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You don't have to flush your trans but with that many miles I would change the fluid and filter. I use synthetic ATF in my Aerostar and I have no leaks.
Drain and fill your radiator with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water, the stuff wears out. I would flush your brake system fluid too. As it ages it takes on moisture and lowers the boiling point.
If your plug wires are original I would replace them too. You can also clean your throttle body, MAF and IAC for better performance. Also check and/or replace your PCV valve.
 

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Agreed: synthetic trans fluid will not cause leaks...and it's a whole lot better in terms of gunking up, and tolerating heat. I had a friend switch his '03 Corolla to synthetic and he noticed better shifts, especially on hot days.
 

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I know I'm a little late but couldn't help but read you liked 0w/40 but can't find it. There is a diesel oil that is 5w/40 if your interested. Its Shell Rotella Synthetic and you can get it at wally world for $19 a gallon. You may want to try that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alright, well i will be sure to look into everything and start replacing parts and fluids that need it, thanks for all the advice. The only other question i have would be about the intake system. Is a K&N air filter the best filter to get? is it worth the price or is there something better? I am also considering changing my timing belt sometime not too far from now. Anybody change theirs themselves or know how hard it is? I know you have to take apart a lot of the engine, but was just wondering if it is easier or harder than other cars might be.
 

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I personally run a stock filter (I have a CFI). The reason behind this is from seeing independent tests regarding a K&N vs. other filters. It does outflow them, but it also allows more dirt to enter the engine, as was evidenced in pictures where the person had some white filter paper behind the K&N. It was in a Miata too. I don't think it really really matters, but since I drive my car over 500 miles a week, I'd rather have a little less power, and a little better dirt protection; not to mention the roads here are often dirt, or dirt covered.

I've always changed my timing belt, and have had little problems. I've never dropped the engine. I only have to take off the passenger side front tire and I'm good. Granted, I have a 1st gen and other gens will be a little different, but should be using the same basic formula: hard to get to main pulley and belt tensioner bolts. While you're at it, it's a good time to change the water pump. They're cheap, and right in the way of where you're working. Plus, you'll be giving the car a fluid flush; even better opportunity.
 

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madmatt2024 said:
I know I'm a little late but couldn't help but read you liked 0w/40 but can't find it. There is a diesel oil that is 5w/40 if your interested. Its Shell Rotella Synthetic and you can get it at wally world for $19 a gallon. You may want to try that.
Well, checked there last night; I believe either my wal-mart is crap, or else you might've missed a 1 in front of the 5, as the only weight I could find for diesel engines is 15w-40: a little too thick for my uses.
 

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