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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All,

Over the last few months, I have been slowly documenting the changeover from OEM recommended 0W-20 to "nobody" recommended 0w-16, in my quest for affordable efficiency. I would like to start a thread so I can help answer the question:
"Is running 0w-16 is safe?"
(I believe you will each need to do your own testing and follow in my steps until we have many data points)

The Car:
2000 Insight MT - 253k miles at start on 0W-20 baseline. A fumoto valve has been fitted to the oil pan for taking clean samples.

The Climate:
Bay Area, CA. Think 40-85f (5-25c approx) year around.

The Route:
My normal commute is only 8mi each way and is a majority of the miles during this test. 1mi to freeway when cold, the. 6mi freeway @ 58mph average, then 1mi off freeway when warm.

The Goals:
  • To prove that 0W-16 is safe to run.
  • To extend Oil change interval (OCI) beyond 7500mi
  • To measure efficiency gains **
Testing planned:
At each oil change, a sample will be taken and submitted to Blackstone Laboratories to test for additive content, as well as wear particulate. Any sudden acceleration in wear will conclude the test. Measuring additive content allows oil change intervals to be extended.

Test 1: 7500mi on Honda 0W-20 w. OEM filter
Test 2: 7500mi on Mobil 1 0W-16 w. Fram XG6607 filter (I know, two variables, but this is an excellent filter)
Test 3: 7500mi on Mobil 1 0w-16 w. Fram XG6607 filter (repeat for safety)
Test 4: Max mi on Mobil 1 0w-16 w. Fram XG6607 filter (max theoretical cost efficiency)

** I realize a practical ABA test is very difficult to measure efficiency gains during this test. Therefore as a default, all data should be taken with a grain of salt. Further, as I finished the first oil change, the seasons quickly changed to winter. California Winter fuel blend and extended idling at lights when cold has made efficiency measurements unreliable. For now, I will disregard fuel efficiency unless long term data (>1yr) shows gains. Driver mod will ALWAYS heavily outperform this oil viscosity change.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Test 1: 7500mi on Honda 0W-20 w. OEM filter

Results are in. I have a healthy baseline to proceed, and was given the green light to test an OCI of 9,500 miles if I were to keep the same setup (Honda 0W-20, Honda filter). This longer OCI suggestion will be factored in final results.
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Now running 0W-16. There has been no noticeable, quantifiable gains. Any gain could be explained simply as changing speed on the freeway by 1mph, or air temperature changing with seasons.

84968


The only notable improvement is that my driving is becoming more consistent. Note Deltas in tank efficiency have been observed as the shut-off click at the pump being very inconsistent. I use the same pump every time on low, but there is still a large +/- 0.25gal tolerance observed. But the average is smoothing nicely..

Test #2 is approaching soon. Covid-19 quarantine is effecting schedule as I am working from home. It is also effecting tank calculations as I am no longer driving my typical commute to work. These data points will be disregarded from the set.
 

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2001 5S "Turbo"
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"Trends will yield more Insight".

(Pun intended?)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
1) Because the question has been asked (Aka, for science)
2) Because of the small population on IC that strive to gain that 2 mpg. (Cheers! ?)

There were some discussions in the past that Honda went back after the release of 0w-16 and revised specifications for some of their models stating that 0w-16 is an acceptable alternative to 0w-20. Given the small production numbers of the Insight, it doesn't make sense for Honda to take the time and do the required testing to revise the Insight's oil specification. The theory and the history is there for those who dare!
 

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0w16 may not necessarily provide any less protection. It's thinner, yes, but everything I've read suggests that under normal driving, most engines receive most of their wear from cold starts, and thinner oils tend to protect better and start protecting faster during cold starts. If one frequently bounces off their rev limiter I probably wouldn't recommend going thinner.

I ran a few trials with Honda's Green Oil, which is thinner than a 0w but around the same as a 20 when warm, and noticed my engine consistently took longer to warm up. I chalked this up to lower frictional losses.

I've considered dropping from the factory recommended 5w30 in my K24 engine to 0w20. For now I'm running a 0w30, but I do really wring this engine out with regularity.
 
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