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Remaining faithful to my old school ways of vehicle maintenance, I changed the oil and filter upon reaching 1000 miles on the odometer. I then chose to disassemble the filter element to see what has been happening inside.

Sry for the blurry photo . . . my camera is made in the USA.



From the small strip of the filter element, you can see a modest amount of carbon buildup, and a few specks of foreign objects.

I fished out all the F.O. I could find that were more than 1mm in length. Much to my surprise, I only found 3 rubber pieces, 1 mysterious piece of red plastic, and 13 metal shavings; 17 items in total.

There were many more pieces too small to pick up, but this tiny number is quite the testament to the precision engineering that has gone into this engine. I have disassembled several oil filters from a '92 Subaru SVX, '98 BMW M3, '03 Jeep Liberty, and Rolls Royce T56 Turboprop engines (C-130 Hercules). This is by far the cleanest I have ever seen.

I am used to and quite loyal to the 3000 mile oil change interval, but from these findings, I'll be extending that interval significantly.
 

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Sry for the blurry photo . . . my camera is made in the USA.

...

I am used to and quite loyal to the 3000 mile oil change interval, but from these findings, I'll be extending that interval significantly.


It may not be USA origins so much as how you were holding your camera... it looks like you had a real closeup... some cheaper (<$100 digital) cameras are designed for fixed 6 foot focal length, +/- 2 feet either side of subject. Others have a 'macro' (close-up) function for when you get with 6 or 12 inches of the subject.

It's good to know the filter did its job so well and yet didn't have a whole lot to catch. Still, maybe it's a good idea to do a first oil change at 5k miles instead of 10k? Or for me, with <5 mile city trips, 3k interval.
 

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Still, maybe it's a good idea to do a first oil change at 5k miles instead of 10k? Or for me, with <5 mile city trips, 3k interval.
10,000 miles is a very long time, unless you're pure highway. If your driving is mostly city and less than 5 miles, it is my own professional opinion that an oil change every 5,000 would keep your engine very healthy. 3k just might be overkill, considering Mitsubishi themselves recommend for this engine 5k if you drive city and 7.5k if you drive highway.
 

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10,000 miles is a very long time, unless you're pure highway. If your driving is mostly city and less than 5 miles, it is my own professional opinion that an oil change every 5,000 would keep your engine very healthy. 3k just might be overkill, considering Mitsubishi themselves recommend for this engine 5k if you drive city and 7.5k if you drive highway.
and for the record, your 'profession' is WHAT? :confused:
 

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and for the record, your 'profession' is WHAT? :confused:
I used to be a mech tech for an import collision shop. Now I'm a mech tech for Rolls Royce Turboprop engines, T-56-15, C-130 Hercules. I know, I'm not certified by smart, and that's why I stated 'opinion' instead of 'Daimler Motor Group Endorsement.':D
 

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M-B/Mitsu

10,000 miles is a very long time, unless you're pure highway. If your driving is mostly city and less than 5 miles, it is my own professional opinion that an oil change every 5,000 would keep your engine very healthy. 3k just might be overkill, considering Mitsubishi themselves recommend for this engine 5k if you drive city and 7.5k if you drive highway.
It is notable the extent that M-B has kept Mitsu (and any Mitsu-originated info) out of the picture. The oil recommendation provided to the U.S. smart dealers is M-B Sheet 229.5, a listing of European oils devised for the "big" M-Bs. I have yet to find anything on the engine itself that identifies it as a Mitsu, and the stated engine type in the smart literature is not Mitsu 3B2x, but a M-B engine designation (M132 - "Motor132").

I would be interested in Mitsu's own recommendations that will accompany the European-marketed Mitsu "i Car," with its sub-liter triple.
 

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I have talked to 3 different Mitsubishi dealers about the oil change intervals on the smarts. All of them said use the recommended Mobile 1 0-40 synthetic and if you don't drive in dusty conditions 10k changes are fine, if you drive in dusty conditions you might consider 7500 mile intervals. All three service managers said you cannot loose by using Mobile 1. All three said it would be stupid to drain the Mobile 1 out of a new car and put non-synthetic in a new car for engine break in. If Mobile 1 is good enough as the original oil on some of the worlds most expensive cars it is certainly good enough for a smart car.
 

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John - thanks for the advice, I'll put my amor on shortly. I've talked to several smart service department managers and the Mitsubishi people mentioned. My experience has been to listen to what people who make their living working with the product tell me. I just sold a 2001 Hyundai Accent with 200k miles on it. From day one I ran Mobil 1 in it, changed at the 7500 mile intervals and at the time of the trade still went 2000 miles on a quart of oil. I may not like Exxon but they make a truly great oil, if it's good enough for an 19,000 rpm F1 motor or a 10,000 rpm Sprint/Nextel cup motor its good enough for my cars! These aren't F14's, Abrams tanks or some of the other things people have experience with on this site - they're passenger cars.
 

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Do we know for certain that new smarts come with Mobil 1 out of the factory? I know Mobil 1 is what smart recommends, but I was curious if anyone has actually verified that that is what they put in at the factory. The manual recommends an oil change at 10,000, which implies that the factory puts in some sort of synthetic oil, so maybe that's good enough to answer my question.
 

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Penske recommends Mobile1 because they are a major Penske racing sponsor. If Uncle Al's Dinosaur Oil was a Penske sponsor, they'd recommend that. Any oil with the proper rating will suffice. Most of the oils on the list I keep seeing aren't commercially available in the USA.
 

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Mobil 1 0W-40?

Setting the above noted three Mitsubishi dealers aside, I speculate that there are three reasons, why smartUSA hangs their hat on Mobil 1 0W-40 over other full synthetics and other viscosities:

a. M-B has supplied smartUSA their own M-B recommendation (229.5) vice anything from Mitsu engineering. There is only one oil listed on 229.5 that is normally available in the U.S. for automobile use - Mobil 1 0W-40. It stands out as the only 0W- of the over 50 listed. M-B 229.5 gives the rest of the world plenty of 5W- and some 10W- recommendations.

b. With lucrative Mobil 1 sponsorships of motor racing activities to both Mercedes-Benz and Penske Racing, they will likely push Mobil 1 where they can. They may be contractually compelled to. I note that my U.S. smart has a "smart recommends Mobil 1" sticker under my engine cover that the Euro demonstrators did not have.

c. Specifying 0W-40 acrosss the board is a convenient (for smartUSA) "one-size-fits-all" mentality, including 0W- in Arizona and 40 in Minnesota. Keeps them out of the viscosity advice game and makes product stocking simpler. U.S. Mitsubishi dealers may think similarly.

BTW, Penske has personally authorized my dealer, sc Virginia Beach, to substitute Castrol SYNTEC 5W-30 for Mobil 1 0W-40. There are some uncommon nuggets of knowledge in the system.

N.B. At 800 miles+ I am on my third oil fill and filter - Mobil 1 5W-30 and a Mobil 1 M1-108 filter. There is no need in the Mid-Atlantic region's moderate climate for either 0W- or 40 weight. So far, I have been too lazy to cut the first filter (the OEM/Tokyo Roki) or the second filter (an OEM/Tokyo Roki clone).
 

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Old Smart - Hey I'm not arguing and I know that you are also correct. I bought 5 quarts of 0 W40 Mobil 1 and a M108 filter at PEP Boys yesterday for $29.99 with a $5.00 rebate. My local WalMart also carries 0-W20, 0-W30 and 0-W40 Mobil 1 so it is becoming more common. I do know you can use 5-W40 in the absense of 0-W40. I think the best thing any new owner can do is start and stay with the same brand of oil throughout the life of the vehicle, be it Mobil 1, Quaker State synthetic (made by Shell and used by Ferrari US), Castrol Syntec, etc. Mitsubishi also uses M1 as the recommended oil for the Evolution models.
 

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Old Smart--I seem to recall you asking for old oil filters to be sent to you. Have you received any and, if so, could you please give us the results of your analysis. thanks.
 

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Old Smart--I seem to recall you asking for old oil filters to be sent to you. Have you received any and, if so, could you please give us the results of your analysis. thanks.
Ron,

I did have a used OEM smart/Mitsu/Tokyo Roki sent to me which I cut at the time. My observations were that it was very small profile, and very well constructed. At the same time I cut a Yamaha/Tokyo Roki 5DM-13440-00, and found them absolutely identical, right down to the tool marks on the innards. A little research turned up the fact that Tokyo Roki prides themselves on manufacturing efficient, small profile filters.

I was going to cut some new Purolators and a Mobil 1 M1-108, but before I did I decided to contact Purolator USA, Mobil, and AMS for their take on the smart/Mitsu/T.R. Purolator and Mobil actually did testing, while AMS' response was "It looks like it would work." I sent the Purolators (L14612 and PL14612) to Kane (Evilution) for his evaluation.

After "benchmarking," Purolator subsequently listed the better L14612 semi-synthetic and the best PL14612 full-synthetic fleece in their application guide for the 2008 smart. I note that they are still listed though I sent them Kane's photos showing the exposure of the longer 14612s. Performance-wise, Purolator determined that the 14612's characteristics equaled or exceeded the OEM.

Likewise, Mobil examined the OEM and found their M1-108 the equal of or better than the OEM (filtering capacity, flow rate, bypass valve spring rate, etc.). At the time I talked with them they were waiting to install one on an actual smart to determine clearances before listing it on their application guide. I cannot find a Mobil 1 application guide to see if it is now listed. Physically, the 108 is 2mm less in diameter and 14mm longer than the OEM, but it does not protrude below the bottom of the car though it does have a 20% greater internal volume than the OEM.

AMS' response was not good enough for me to consider the AMSoil EAO12 full-synthetic at this point.

smart uses the M-B Sheet 229.5 for their lube guide, which also includes the necessity to use a full-synthetic fleece filter, and which the OEM smart/Mitsu/T.R. is not. Neither is the semi-synthetic M1-108, but it is a good compromise if the Mitsu engineers are happy without a full fleece.

The only reason I went looking for alternatives to the OEM was for more immediate availability and maybe a little better price. My situation isn't so bad with my dealer 50 miles/1 hour away, but there are lots of owners around the country that are hundreds of miles and many hours away from their dealer.
 

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Somewhere on here is the oil viscosity chart from the UK Operators Manual (maybe posted by Kane?) showing the various temp ranges and recommended viscosity ranges. That's in an approved smart publication, so I'm sure you'd be safe following it. :)
 

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Somewhere on here is the oil viscosity chart from the UK Operators Manual (maybe posted by Kane?) showing the various temp ranges and recommended viscosity ranges. That's in an approved smart publication, so I'm sure you'd be safe following it. :)
From Kane's site: Evilution - Smart Car Encyclopaedia . It is an exact facsimile of the chart appearing in the 2008 Euro/English Operators Instructions. Leads one to wonder why the chart is not included in our manual.

N.B. For here in the City of Williamsburg, VA, and averaged over a 64 year period, the climatological data is as follows: Extreme low -05.5F; Median Low +30.2F; Median Mean +59.1F; Median High +87.9F; Extreme High +104.5F.
 

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Thanks Feral Collie for your time and information...very much appreciated! And as per all the worries among us...I'm using Mobil 1 full synthetic 5W 30 with a Mobile 1 #108 oil filter with first change at 1,530 miles with planned change intervals at 5,000 miles. If said car blows up due to oil or filter failure you guys will know. Now go out and enjoy the damn thing...:wave:
 
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