Real scoop on 2 cycle oil

I just bought a bottle of ACE Hardware 2 cycle oil for my snowthrower.

The label says its good for all manufactures 2 cycle products, and is ashless. No other info on label. I have concerns now that i may not be able to use generic brands.

I thought 2 cycle oil of today was fine for any 2 strokes.

Can some of you learned folks give me the real story here?

You don’t have a 2 cycle engine, you have a 2 stroke engine which performs the 4 combustion cycles in 2 strokes, one rotation of the crankshaft.

Yes, there are good and less-good oils for your engine. What standards does your owner’s manual specify for its 2-stoke oil? The fact your ACE Hardware 2-stroke oil doesn’t cite any compliant standards strongly suggests the manufacturer has not bothered to test to industry standards, or has tested and failed.

Two cycle oil is pretty generic stuff. I helped develop the original low ash oil for Outboard Marine (Johnson & Evinrude, Lawn Boy) oils which was also suitable for their lawnmowers and chain saws. Low ash was originally developed to prevent plug fouling in water ski boats which had powerful 2 cycle motors that stopped and started frequently

Unless the owner’s manual specifically calls for a certain spec or brand of oil, you can use pretty well any 2 cycle oil off the shelf.

I have a Lawn Boy lawnmower and have used all kinds of 2 cycle oil in it, even though the original manufacturer (Outboard Marine) marketed their own branded oil.

I researched my question before posting here as i couldn’t see any discernible “claims” from one manufacture to another with the exception
0f synthetic. Seems that all are ashless,and contain a fuel stabilizer.

My Toro 2 cycle Snow thrower recommends Toro oil,OR any other good oil.
Ditto Lawn-boy,Ariens,Husky,and a couple others.

The only critical point seems to be the proper mix.

This is good information. I thought that the oil for water cooled outboard engines was different that the 2 stroke oil used in air cooled applications. The owner’s manual for the LawnBoy mower my parents bought when I was a teenager back in 1955 allowed us to use 30 weight non-detergent oil for the mixture. As I remember, the manual specified 1/2 pint of 30 weight non-detergent oil per gallon of gasoline.

Look for “meets TC-W-3” If it meets that standard you can pretty much use it in ANY 2-stroke engine, pre-mix or injected at ratios up to 100 to 1.

Your snow-blower probably requires 24 to 1 or 32 to 1 mix, and the oil you just purchased should be fine.

If your oil is not TC-w rated, it probably is not pre-diluted and therefore must be mixed (shaken up) more vigorously to insure complete mixing…

DAVID, what the heck is a 2 cycle engine then??

It’s a 2 stroke cycle engine!!! the word “cycle” refers to how long it takes for the cycle of the combustion process and exhaust to take place; in this case 2 strokes only compared to 4 strokes for a normal car engine (intake, compression, power, exhaust).

Today, all those additives in normal engine oil would contaminate a 2 cycle engine, since the oil has to be burned along with the fuel.

Also with a 2 cycle engine you are constantly “changing the oil” since it is burned off after lubricating the engine, fewer detergents are needed.

My 1986 Lawn Boy can use any “2 cycle oil” premixed with the gas. They don’t recommend mutigrade oil if you use straight SAE grade auto oils.

The bottle in my garage has pictures of various 2 cycle garden tools and says “Heavy Duty Multi-Purpose 2 Cycle Oil”. It’s suitable to be mixed in up to 50:1 ratios. So, not suitable for 100:1 engine specs.

“You don’t have a 2 cycle engine, you have a 2 stroke engine which performs the 4 combustion cycles in 2 strokes, one rotation of the crankshaft”

I found this on the internet! “The fundamental difference between two-cycle engines and four-cycle engines is in their gas exchange process, or more simply, the removal of the burned gases at the end of each expansion process and the induction of a fresh mixture for the next cycle. The two-cycle engine has an expansion, or power stroke, in each cylinder during each revolution of the crankshaft. The exhaust and the charging processes occur simultaneously as the piston moves through its lowest or bottom center position”.

I don’t know much about 2 stroke oil . . . but one personal experience example for me is NOT to buy the cheapo oil, especially when you mix it 50 to 1, as I did with my generator. It was a real B!tch to start (pull start) this Summer until I ran out of gas and then bought new gasoline, mixed with a premium oil. Three pulls now and it starts right up. Same everything else . . . just different oil. Not worth all that pulling to me to save fifty cents on a two ounce bottle of oil. The previous 2 stroke oil I remember buying at the Dollar Store, thinking that all 2 stroke oil was the same. Rocketman

Thanks to all who replied. Certainly enlightening

I agree the engine is correctly referred to as a “2-stroke” engine.

However, out of fairness to the OP, the terms “2-cycle” and “2-stroke” are often used interchangeably.

Just so you old pros know there is such a thing as a “2 cycle engine” look here! Basic 2 Cycle Theory
Intake/Compression Stroke
A 2 cycle engine actually accomplishes two things per cycle while running, whereas a 4 cycle completes one task per cycle. This is possible by making use of both the combustion side and the crankcase side of the piston. Following the flow of fuel, we’ll start with the engine intake from the carburetor. As the crankshaft rotates, the piston is pushed upwards. This does two things. One, the rising piston generates a vacuum in the sealed crankcase which pulls a fresh air/fuel charge from the carburetor into the crankcase (thus the reason for having to add lubricating oil to the gas for 2 cycle engines). A small reed valve (a one way valve) allows the mixture to enter the crankcase, but not leave by the same path. At the same time, the rising piston is also compressing the previous charge in the combustion chamber. As the piston nears the top of the stroke, the ignition system ignites the charge in the combustion chamber. Once the air/fuel charge is ignited, the pressures generated by the burning mixture forces the piston down, again accomplishing two things. The downward motion of the piston turns the crankshaft, providing power output. In addition, the downward motion is pressurizing the air/fuel mixture previously loaded in the crankcase. As the piston continues it’s travel down the cylinder bore, it will first expose the exhaust port in one side of the cylinder. The spent gases from the burning mixture are then released to the exhaust system. A small amount of further piston travel down the cylinder now exposes the intake port. At this point, the now pressurized mixture in the crankcase is released into the combustion chamber through the intake port. A piston dome design, unique to 2 cycle engines, is used to help ‘sweep’ the chamber clean of spent exhaust gases by directing the incoming rush of air/fuel up towards the cylinder head and then down towards the exhaust port. As the crankshaft continues it’s rotation, the piston will eventually reach the bottom of it’s stroke and return to the top, covering the intake and exhaust ports in the process, and repeat the Intake/Compression cycle. It can be seen by the overall design that, unless the reed valve is mechanically operated, i.e. is actually a rotary valve used to accomplish the same one-way function, that the crankshaft can rotate in either direction making no difference in how the engine runs. Also notable, is the fact that since the piston itself controls the flow of air/fuel/exhaust by way of the intake & exhaust ports, that no valve train or cam is required.

All he wants to know is can he use Ace Hardware 2-cycle oil in his snowblower…Answer: Yes. End of thread.

Really? I would love to see the engineering on that for a single piston engine. I have a machine shop and I just cant picture how to do this. Been at it for almost 20 years. Usually the piston is really connected to the crankshaft and can only go all the way down on a 180 degree rotation. This means two ignition cycles on the power cycle, since as the piston goes up you would rather push the exhaust out than fire the piston again. Send me your description of how to do it this way.

“Answer: Yes. End of thread” Is it really up to you to end this thread???

I know this thread was about OIL, but someone told the OP that he did not have a 2 cycle engine. But he does!!!

This issue was resolved above when it was decided that some people in this case were using “two stroke” and “two cycle” interchangeably, and others used one or the other. Feel free to argue about the definitions of “two stroke” and “two cycle” until you are blue in the face. I think what Caddyman is saying is that nobody wants to engage you in such a useless argument when the issue has already been settled.

Check out Caddyman’s post on 10/27/2009 at 11:01:35 AM. It pretty much says it all, and makes the rest of this chatter totally useless.

Darn, I wish I was as smart as your are!
!Check out Caddyman’s post on 10/27/2009 at 11:01:35 AM. It pretty much says it all, and makes the rest of this chatter totally useless. This includes your last post!

There’s no need to be both antagonistic and boorish. One is enough.