Plus-50 II Engine Oil FAQ

Q. Is John Deere oil a re-brand of standard shelf oil?

A. Plus-50™ II is a unique engine oil, developed by John Deere engineers and exclusive to John Deere dealers.

Q. What makes Plus-50 II the best?

A. Features and benefits include:

  • Reduces wear.
  • Resists increases in oil viscosity.
  • Gives better oxidation control.
  • Fights against varnish and sludge deposits.
  • Cost savings: Less downtime, maintenance, and labor costs, and extended drain intervals (when used with John Deere filters).
  • Compared to other oils, it has greater thermal stability, a lower rate of viscosity thickening, better soot control, and better wear protection.

In summary, Plus-50 II was not developed to just meet a minimum API performance standard. It was developed to provide the ultimate protection and premium performance for John Deere engines in John Deere machines. It is a premium, heavy-duty engine oil, not just a generic-brand oil that meets minimum API standards. Documented test results from our field machines and lab engines support its superior-performance claims.

Q. How does Plus-50 II compare to other oils?

A. Compared to other oils, Plus-50 II has:

  • Greater thermal stability, lower rate of viscosity thickening, and less degradation than with competitive oil.
  • Longer oil life with sustained performance and drain intervals increased 100% over Operator's Manual recommendation when used in John Deere engines with John Deere filters and Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD).
  • Increased engine durability, and less abrasive and corrosive wear than with competitive oils.
  • Cleaner engine and less piston deposits than with competitive oils.
  • High initial alkalinity and good reserve at the end of recommended drain interval, allowing continued acid protection.
  • Excellent low-temperature fluidity.

Q. Do Torq-Gard™ and Plus-50 II have the same base oil?

A. The same type of high-quality base oil blends are used in all John Deere lubricants.

Q. Where can Plus-50 II engine oil be used?

A. Primarily designed for off-highway, heavy-duty diesel engines, Plus-50 II oil also gives excellent performance in on-highway, heavy-duty diesel applications.

All diesel engines requiring SAE 15W-40 and API CK-4 classification oil. Plus-50 II is also available in SAE 10W-30, 5W-40 and 0W-40.

Q. Are there any applications where Plus-50 II should not be used (such as irrigation engines or power units)?

A. Some engine manufacturers have oil recommendations that specify a unique product for an application. For example, 2-cycle Detroit Diesel recommends an ash level below 1.0% and a straight SAE 40 viscosity grade. Some engines designed for natural-gas or liquid-propane fuels commonly recommend that ash levels be held below 0.5%.

  • Plus-50 II should not be used for initial fill in new or rebuilt engines. John Deere Break-In™ Plus oil is available for this purpose.
  • Check the Operator's Manual for oil recommendations before making any changes in engine oil type.

Q. What is the advantage to a customer who intends to continue changing oil at 100-hour intervals?

A. Use of Plus-50 II is added insurance. With Plus-50 II, the engine will run cleaner, with less wear and more power, even if used for only 100 hours.

Q. “I’ve used co-op oil for 12 years and never had a problem. Why should I change to Plus-50 II?”

A. If Plus-50 II is used, you will have a cleaner engine, more power, and less wear. It is not a matter of avoiding catastrophic failure, but rather a matter of better performance and the extended life of the engine.

Q. Can I put 2018+ oils into 1960 machines?

A. Operator's Manuals are to be used as the guideline in all cases.

As a note, older manuals will not recognize any advances of technology occurring after the product was introduced.

  • John Deere-marketed lubricants take into consideration older-model units and the recommendations for the use of these lubricants in those units.
  • Plus-50 II is recommended for use in all John Deere diesel engines and may be used in older John Deere and competitive engines recommending the use of API performance grades CH-4, CI-4, CI-4 PLUS, CJ-4, and CK-4.
  • In general, older (lower alphabetical designations) API performance designations can be replaced with newer (higher alphabetical designations) API performance levels without affecting engine performance.
  • Performance and longevity are usually improved by this switchover.

Q. Will changing my brands of oil cause my engine to consume oil differently?

A. When upgrading to Plus-50 II oils following the use of other oils, little differences in oil-consumption rate should be expected. A small percentage of engines may experience a noticeable change in oil-consumption rates.

  • Those engines experiencing decreased oil consumption should require no further attention.

Normally no increase in consumption will be observed. However, if it does occur, it may be due to one of the following factors:

  • The previously used oil product may have built up deposits on internal components.
  • Introducing a premium-performance oil with different additive systems which contain additional detergents, dispersants, anti-wear characteristics, and antioxidants that may cause different chemical reactions to occur in the deposits already established.
  • The time required for the engine to regain previously observed oil-consumption rates with the new oil may vary from one to three normal drain intervals. This phenomenon is not unique to John Deere engines and oils but is commonly reported for competitive engines when switching to competitive oils.

Q. What specifically shows Plus-50 II is better than other oils?

A. Plus-50 II is evaluated using a special high-temperature engine test, which is beyond what is required for API rating. This is a severe test of the oil’s resistance to oxidation and thickening. It is also a severe test of the oil’s ability to keep the pistons clean.

Q. After I bought several pails of Plus-50 II oil, I found a few gallons of Torq-Gard. Can I mix the two until I’ve used up the Torq-Gard?

A. While the two oils are compatible and mixing of the two John Deere oil formulations is acceptable, mixing should not be done on an extended basis.

  • Mixing with Plus-50 II should be limited to short-term topping-off situations only.
  • When mixing these oils, the extended-drain feature of Plus-50 II would not be applicable.

Q. I changed my oil inventory from Torq-Gard™ SAE 30 to Plus-50™ II SAE 15W-40. Now I need to top off the oil prior to an oil change. Can I add Plus-50 II 15W-40 to the SAE 30 in my engine?

A. Yes, a one-time mix of the two formulations and viscosities is allowed; however, mixing is not recommended as an ongoing practice or during extreme conditions such as cold weather or continuous high loads.

Q. Can I change from SAE 30 to 15W-40 oil in my John Deere engine?

A. Yes. See below for further details:

  • In older equipment Operator's Manuals, SAE 30 is recommended.
  • Due to the improved additives in multi-grade oil, we now prefer customers use 15W-40 oil.
  • The customer now has the option to select the oil that best meets his equipment’s operating conditions.

Q. Can I use Plus-50 II oil as a “break-in” oil after rebuilding an engine?

A. No, it is not recommended for use as a “break-in” oil. A rebuilt engine must be allowed to properly wear-in the piston rings and the cylinder liner walls during the first 100 hours of operation. Although Plus-50 II has superior lubrication properties, it is recommended you use John Deere’s Break-In™ Plus Special-Purpose Engine Oil.

Q. What causes the engine not to break in during the first 100 to 500 hours?

A. One main factor that will delay an engine’s break-in time is operating the engine under less than high-load conditions (pulling a trailer, baler, or lighter load) as this may not provide enough loaded piston action to cause ring and liner seating.

Another factor that may interrupt the break-in process is the introduction of a premium lubricant, like Plus-50 II, prior to the completion of the break-in process.

To ensure there is no delay, we recommend the operator run the engine under high-load conditions and at various engine speeds during the break-in period.

Q. Can I use Plus-50 II oil when an API classification of CF-2 is required?

A. No, API CF-2 classification is for 2-cycle diesel engines only.

Oil used in these types of engines normally require a low ash content of less than 1% and single-viscosity oil. Since Plus-50™ II is a multi-viscosity oil, it is not recommended as it doesn’t meet both requirements noted (less than 1% ash and single viscosity).

Q. I use Torq-Gard SAE 10W oil in the winter and Torq-Gard SAE 30 in the summer. Can I use Plus-50 II 15W-40 oil year-round instead of changing oil grades seasonally?

A. Yes, Plus-50 II SAE 15W-40 can be used year-round. That would eliminate the possibility of having the wrong viscosity oil in the crankcase if an unseasonal hot or cold spell should occur. For the ultimate in cold-temperature stability, cold-flow ability, and quick lubrication, consider using Plus-50 II SAE 0W-40 full synthetic formula. (Check your Operator's Manual for the proper low-temperature range.)

Q. Should I use Plus-50 II in a new tractor?

A. Yes, it is the recommended oil for John Deere engines after the break-in period. As a reminder, for the first 100 hours (minimum), John Deere recommends Break-In Plus engine oil.

Q. What oil is in new John Deere engines?

A. New John Deere engine-powered equipment is shipped with our special-purpose Break-In™ Plus oil. If additional oil is needed during the normal break-in period, use John Deere Break-In

Plus, oil for top-off. Do not add oil prior to the oil level dropping to the add mark on the dipstick.

Q. Can I go 500 hours with Plus-50 II (CK-4 / E9) in a Tier 4 or older engine?

A. Yes, when all of the following conditions are met:

  • John Deere Plus-50 II and John Deere filters are used.
  • Use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel with a sulfur content less than 0.0015% (15 mg/kg or 15 ppm) is required.
  • The original-volume oil pan (or larger) that was delivered with the engine is still in use, and the oil level is maintained at normal volumes through the service interval.
  • The engine is operating within the original factory specifications affecting power output, including engine control units (ECUs) and fuel-delivery systems.

This is possible in John Deere Tier 3 emission-certified and older diesel engines because the original oil-sump capacity aligned with using higher sulfur level diesel fuel as written in the original Operator’s Manuals. We recommend changing the oil and oil filter at least once every 12 months, even if the hours of operation are fewer than the otherwise recommended service interval.