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General Forestry => Chainsaws => Topic started by: Weekend_Sawyer on January 21, 2003, 08:20:35 AM

Title: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Weekend_Sawyer on January 21, 2003, 08:20:35 AM
 A friend of mine told me he cuts his bar oil in the winter with 5W-30 so it flows better. Do you guys have any thoughts on this?

When I was growing up dad would put used motor oil in the bar oil tank. Dad grew up in the depression and tried to get the last bit out of everything. Taught me some great values but Don't drink his coffee!
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Tagerts_crossing on January 21, 2003, 11:23:08 AM
  I have thined with hyd oil in the past.  Once the saw gets warm you dont need to thin it as much if at all.  Some may say it wont stick and not to do it but if you can't pump it, it wont stick either.  Use the used motor oil if you want but as with any oil be sure it is clean.  Also the old timers used alot of gear reduction saws so the chain was not moving as fast as new saws do, so the need for sticky oil was minimal.  

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Rob on January 21, 2003, 03:25:25 PM

  Why don't you just buy the winter grade oil to start with instead of cutting the regular grade bar oil it's easier...??If your gonna this it I would use Kerosene or #2 heating oil.

                     Later Rob..
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Minnesota_boy on January 21, 2003, 05:22:07 PM
I noticed today that my bar oil was a bit thick, but I think I have a better solution.  I'm going to take a couple of days off and let the weather warm up a bit.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Jeff on January 21, 2003, 06:06:56 PM
We keep our bar oil in a heated room. Use the same stuff all year. I don't think the saw cares, its getting it in the saw when its thick thats the Beech.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: RMay on January 21, 2003, 07:18:08 PM
I did not know there was a winter grade bar oil . I have been cuting it with 5W-30 on the cold days which is not very often in Arkansas  ;D
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Larry on January 22, 2003, 05:04:08 AM
Husky sells the winter grade.  Same price as the regular stuff.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Weekend_Sawyer on January 22, 2003, 08:53:12 AM
 Just got off the phone with the shop I do business with. I asked him if he carried winter bar oil mix, He said no, just mix some disel in with it. He says that it is not cold enough for long enough periods of time to justify carrying it here in Maryland.

And that is good enough for me  8) 8)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Mark M on January 22, 2003, 10:08:06 PM
Iíve used #1 diesel fuel too when it's really cold. In the northern states thatís about Ė20F or colder. I didn't measured the amount, just added some to my summer bar oil and then shook it up until it sounded about the same as it does in the summer (probably no more than about 25%). Below Iíll explain why (in my opinion) itís not a good idea to dilute chain oil with 10wt hydraulic oil.

The viscosity of one summer bar oil I found is 143 cSt at 40C, this is somewhere between a 15W40 and SAE 50 oil and itís pretty thick For those of you who are not familiar with the SAE viscosity scale a 15W40 oil is about the same thickness as an SAE 90 gear lube. Different scales are used for Engines and Gear lubes. The engine oils (which include hydraulic and transmission oils) are SAE 60 and less. Gear lubes are greater that SAE 60, usually starting at SAE 75, which is about like a 10 wt hydraulic oil. ISO oils are about the same as the viscosity in cSt (centistokes) at 40C i.e. a ISO 68 oil is right around 68 cSt.

In our oil analysis lab we test viscosity and sometimes deal with fuel dilution and oil transfer problems from hydraulic systems to transmissions, engines, and final drives. I once did an experiment to see how much SAE 10 it took to affect the viscosity of 15W40 and found that you would have to add 6 parts 10 wt to 1 part 15W40 to lower it to a SAE 20 range.

Here are some sample viscosities of common oils. These happen to be Cat oil because I have access to the Cat product specs but most other brands of oils would have similar properties.

SAE 10 Hydraulic Oil: Pour Point -30C/-22F,  Viscosity 39cSt at 40C
SAE 30 Transmission Oil: Pour Point -15C/5F,  Viscosity 100cSt at 40C
SAE 15W40 Engine Oil: Pour Point -33C/-27F,  Viscosity 104cSt at 40C
SAE 50 Transmission Oil: Pour Point -12C/10F,  Viscosity 198cSt at 40C

I also found specs on a few Texaco/Chevron Chain Bar oils:

Texaco Summer Grade: Pour Point of -24C/-11F,  Viscosity 143 cSt at 40C.

Chevron Red ISO 68:  Pour Point of -30C/-22F,  Viscosity 65 cSt at 40C
  Recommended for less than 32F

Chevron Red ISO 100:  Pour Point of -27C/-17F,  Viscosity 95 cSt at 40C
 Recommended for 32F-60F

Chevron Red ISO 150:  Pour Point of -24C/-11F,  Viscosity 143 cSt at 40C
 Recommended for all seasons mild climates

Chevron Red ISO 220:  Pour Point of -21C/-6F,  Viscosity 209 cSt at 40C
 Recommended for summer use in high performance professional saws

Although I would have to do an experiment to get a accurate number (I havenít tested chain oils in our lab), I am guessing that you would need to add 10 or more parts SAE 10 to summer bar lube to get it below the 65 cSt of the lowest temperature Chevron bar oil. By the time you do this you have diluted the bar oil so much that it no longer behaves like a bar oil but instead a hydraulic oil, which has very different properties. This may or may not cause problems but I predict the wear rate would be greater.

My advice is to use either a winter bar oil or dilute with kerosene/diesel fuel. At least you will be diluting less to bring about the same viscosity change. Below are some approximate amounts of fuel need to bring about a change in 15W40 engine oil. Although I didnít do this experiment with bar oil I expect it would have similar results. Use your own good judgment.

Adding 10% diesel fuel to 15W40 lowers the viscosity to about SAE 30
Adding 15% diesel fuel to 15W40 lowers the viscosity to about SAE 20
Adding 20% diesel fuel to 15W40 lowers the viscosity to about SAE 10
Adding 25% diesel fuel to 15W40 lowers the viscosity to about SAE 5

Mark Mathys

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: johnjbc on January 23, 2003, 07:09:13 AM
My Kubota with HST maintenance schedule call for changing the hydraulic fluid every couple hundred hours So I end up about 15 gal of fluid every time I change. This works great for cutting Bar Oil  :D ;D ;)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Mark M on January 23, 2003, 08:10:46 AM

Did you ever have that oil tested? We routinely run hydraulic oils over 4000 hours, some up around 10000. As long as it is clean and dry there is little degradation that takes place. In most cases the oil that gets drained is a lot cleaner than the new oil that goes in.

I don't know anything about Kubota HST though, so it may be very different. Is the transmission in the same oil?

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: johnjbc on January 23, 2003, 09:05:19 AM
No I never had it tested. Its what is recommended in the manual.  Its all one system, the transmission, backhoe, and any implements you hook on the 3 point hitch.  Sense I sold my other tractor maybe I should hook up all my attachments and let the oil flush before  the next change.   ??? ??? Then I could try a longer interval. Guess itís a trade off between the cost of the oil and the cost of a transmission rebuild  ::) ::)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: ADfields on January 23, 2003, 05:31:22 PM
John, you are right to change it like the book sead.   It's your transmission fulid in your cace and is a lubercant for big buck parts in your trans.   Also the heat made in your trans brakes it down so soon it's not as slick and has fine matter suspended in it that a filter cant get out.   In a plane hydraulic systom the stuff will last about forever but when a trans is in the mix it must be changed.   I would not bother with flushing out the impluments befor the change just keep the tractor cleen.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Mark M on January 23, 2003, 06:31:01 PM
Hi John,

Andy is right about the heat being generated by the transmission leading to oil degrade faster than hydraulic alone. Most hydraulic systems only run about 140F so there isnít much oxidation or thermal degradation. The bigger concern is condensation because they donít get hot enough to cook off the water.

I have to disagree with Andy about flushing the implements though. We see a lot of contaminated systems on new farm tractors because someone hooks up a dirty implement. What I would do instead of circulating oil and maybe contaminating the tractor is hook up the pressure hose to the implement and then remove the fitting on the outlet hose and stick it in a bucket instead of hooking it back to the tractor. Cycle it a couple of times and then hook it up. Watch your oil level closely when you are doing this so you donít run too low.

FYI Ė I rebuilt, tested, and did trouble shooting on Cat transmission and hydraulic systems for over 11 years before I went back to school to study chemistry. If the oil is breaking down it usually has a bad (burnt) odor and will be dark brown. If it is clear and bright it is probably still good. Take a sample to your nearest Cat dealer and for about $12 they can test it for contamination and wear material. Make sure they do a particle count. If all looks good you may be able to save the cost of an oil change (but don't jepordize your warranty coverage though). We used to say ďoil is cheapĒ but not anymore. By the time you figure cost of materials, labor, disposal fees, loss of productivity, etc. etc. etc. it costs a lot of money. You donít want to change it until it is necessary. This is just good equipment management.

For more info on Oils, Fuel, Oil Analysis, Cooling Systems and Coolant Analysis visit:

Good Luck

Mark M

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: ADfields on January 23, 2003, 11:46:10 PM
Mark I agree with flushing into a contaner like you say for contaminated implements.   I just dont see the need if it's never been hooked to a bad or dirty systom and the implements are cleen.   If the tractor is cleen and you keep it cleen why remove cleen fluid from implements?   Now if something has failed and the fulid is contaminated in the implements it needs to get out.  

Also about testing.   The way I see it if the fulid tests bad you were behind the ball and need to play catch up.   By that I mean when you drain the fluid you dont get it all and in most caces onley around half is all you get.   So the half you dont get will mix with the new then the systom will test "out" a lot faster next time around so I dont see the payoff.   I did my tow trucks on a cycle and tested all the fluids every time for a number of years but it was not very hard to get way behind the ball this way.   It's hard to shut things down and get it changed when it needs to be changed ASAP, it was much beter for me to look at a calender and say we will service truck #x on Saterday the 10th.   In the end I found it just worked out beter to service as the book stated the service times should be.

Now back when I was on the farm we just keep dumping it in the top and change the filter if you think of it when we were in town at the parts house.  :o   With all the leaks we never fixed it all worked out about right. ::)   The good old days. 8)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Bro. Noble on January 24, 2003, 03:34:15 AM

That last part sounds like us.   In addition you lose a bunch everytime you connect and disconnect quick couplers------seems like it goes all over your shirt and pants >:(.  Probably a good idea to change shirt and pants on a regular rotation ;D

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Don P on January 24, 2003, 05:34:14 AM
Don't forget the waterproof shoes :D.
I need to reread the technical stuff it just soared over the top the first time by. My tractor runs straight 80 wt mineral oil as trans and about slow to get up in this weather. I've used it as bar oil some, when I'm it ok to just use it up for that? Would kill 2 birds.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Mark M on January 24, 2003, 07:01:59 AM
Hi Don

Are you sure it uses an 80 in the hydraulic? The gear oils generally have extreme pressure (EP) additives that might cause problems in a hydraulic system. A SAE 30 transmission/drive train oil might be a better choice, but you should use what the manual says. Hydraulic systems aren't too fussy and in Cat machines (probably most others too) you can use just about anything except gear oils. A 5W20 engine oil works really well.

As for the bar oil a 80 gear oil would probably work pretty well. It has EP additives that give protection is sliding wear situations. It's a little thinner than 30 wt engine oil so should hang on the bar pretty good at cooler temps. You might want to let it set for a while to settle out any solids and then carefully transfer to another container without disturbing sediment. Hydraulic oil doesn't have any EP additives and wouldn't be as good, but it will flow at a lower temp.

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Tagerts_crossing on January 24, 2003, 01:14:48 PM
  I have a cousin who was a designer for cat worldwide as well as some aerospace firms.  He was responsible for that joystick drive on the big cat crawlers.  He is one to try to talk over your head with mumbojumbo then give the disclamer Don't hold me to it.  To meet him he is very convinceing in his delivery,  but to Know him is another story his equipment and vechicles are much nicer and newer than most, but always in a state of disrepair and rebuild.  But always a tale of how it is not his fault(BAD DESIGN). I have learnd that you can always get good advice from the guy who has had to make do with what he had, and has been successful at it.  Just a thought John  

 I bet the worms are going to crawl out of the can now.  HA!
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Bro. Noble on January 24, 2003, 01:56:06 PM

Boy I wouldn't have had the guts to call Rick and Perry worms! :D :D  :D  When did your cousin work there?  Good chance my Dad worked with him.

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Jeff on January 24, 2003, 02:45:37 PM
I don't see any bad advice anywhere on this thread, but a well rounded mix varying from the high tech development to the low tech (That would describe me) userside.

Tagerts_crossing just let us know if, who, and when your cousin joins the conversation. ;)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Jeff on January 24, 2003, 02:49:55 PM
I have did a complete change on our oil in the hydraulic system on the mill once in 19 years. About 15 years ago after a catostophic failure of a motor.  I only add oil as needed (Probably 3 gallons a week unless I blow a hose), change filters and take the top off the tank twice a year to check the magnet.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Tagerts_crossing on January 24, 2003, 03:30:24 PM
  Noble, he is a private design contractor now he worked for cat in Peoria , France, Germany and even Russia. over the last 15-20 years or so. I did'nt call Rick and Perry worms, would not even think of it.  Just ment that I may have opened a can of worms myself, but don't mean nothing but light harted fun.  Jeff B. I dont think he will be joing the forum, I think he belongs to the I am always right just ask me forum.
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Jeff on January 24, 2003, 03:39:08 PM
Oh, hes an enviro over on the greenie site. :D
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: johnjbc on January 24, 2003, 04:51:36 PM
I think your right about the temperature being the reason that Kubota recommends changing the oil so often. After running the hoe for a couple hours you won't want to put your hand on the cylinders for the heat( )
( )
. I was concerned about it but the Kubota Service Rep said it was OK. Thinking about putting a oil cooler on it.
As for having dirty implements. I hooked my wood splitter up to an electric powered pump from the barn cleaner several years ago with out changing or even adding to the oil. The previous owner quit farming in the seventies. Don't think I want that oil in my HST( )
( )

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Bro. Noble on January 24, 2003, 06:15:13 PM

I knew you didn't call Rick and Perry worms,  I was just trying  to insult them at your expense.  Dad worked in the design division at Peoria but retired about the time your cousin would have started there.  According to Dad the place had a lot of very intelligent engineers with a shortage of common sense.

A really nice thing about this forum is that it's full of very intelligent people that have common sense and experience.  Some have a lot of formal education and some got their experience by watching and listening and doing.  Sometimes the guys with the formal education are able to tell us why some things work the way they do.  

Rick and Perry are engineers at Cat.  I just couldn't help ribbing them.  They aren't really worms,  they're geeks with root :D  

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: whitepe on January 29, 2003, 10:48:38 AM
Yea that Noble guy is always ribbing someone at their expense.   :D ;D
However, when Noble visited Peoria, Rick and I got to eat
at his expense.   It's too bad that fancy Vonachen's place
was all booked up and Noble got off cheap buying us
lasagna.  :D  At least we didn't have to eat peas.  ;D ;D

Tagerts, Who what was your cousin's name? I've been
around here 27 years and I probably knew him.

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Rick Schmalzried on January 29, 2003, 10:53:24 AM
It is just that Noble is more picky than he is cheap ;)  I had the peas and even the spoons, but he wanted to go out instead  :D :D

( )

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: Bro. Noble on January 29, 2003, 11:09:16 AM
OH NO!!!  

Someone left the lid off the can. ;)

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: whitepe on January 29, 2003, 11:20:04 AM
Stay tuned for the next episode of
"As The Worm Turns"

brought to you by Tractor Pickle Cattle Company.

8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: whitepe on January 30, 2003, 02:52:20 AM

Your eyesight must be going bad.  The lids are still on
those cans of peas.   ;) I think that Rick had bought 200 cans of peas.   :) :)  Maybe when you come to Peoria in Mid
February we can do a retake of the pea - picture with
appropriate apparel.  Don't know what Rick's gonna wear

You still have my snail mail address?  ;)
Bless your pea - picking heart for giving out FF Hats. ::)

Title: Re: Winter bar oil mix
Post by: jokers on January 31, 2003, 08:30:23 AM
Hi Guys, most of you don`t know much about me so you have no way to gauge the validity of my opinion, but I have been running saws for over 25 years and at times, full time professionally. My point being is that I feel like I have a fair amount of experience. For many years I have been using new hydraulic oil when the temps got too low for the summer weight bar oil and I thought I was doing the best I could do. I recently started using Husky winter grade(which I`m sure is no different than Stihl) and have found that everything is better lubed than when I ran hydraulic oil. Somewhere along the way I must have overlooked what I already knew about winter bar oil and accepted the poorer lubrication afforded by the hydro oil, or maybe the current winter grade is better oil than oil of old. At any rate, the difference seems significant. Winter weight bar oil goes for around $3.50 to $4.00/gal in this area, so I can`t see any reason not to use it. My experience justifies the points that Mark M. made about using the bar oil instead of hydraulic oil. Russ