I recently replaced the transmission bands in my 1909 T. I refilled the engine and transmission with synthetic oil.
Before I replaced the bands, I had been using high quality regular multi-weight oil. High gear functioned just at it should.
With the synthetic oil, high slipped horribly. I promptly replaced the synthetic oil with regular oil. It slips much less than it did, but it's still possible to be traveling along fully engaged in high and attempt to accelerate somewhat briskly and high gear will slip.
Was using the synthetic oil a mistake? Since the first oil change did not remove all the synthetic oil, would another oil change be helpful? Will the synthetic oil work its way out of the clutch disks? Should the transmission be flushed with some solvent? Is a high gear clutch adjustment called in order?
Comments and suggestions welcomed.
Park the car with the brake off. That will force the oil out of the disks. With time and subsequent oil changes all the synthetic oil should be out. When you change the oil, jack up the front as high as you can so that the oil in the dips will run back into the sump and let it drain for a few hours before you put in the plug and refill it.
Timothy, I have experienced that too. My advice is to use the synthetic oil and adjust your clutch.
OK. The problem started with the fake oil and is going away when you changed it out. Easy stuff first: Change the oil again after a few runs and drive some more to check it out.I wouldn't flush with solvent. You'll only be breaking junk loose that's not doing any harm now. Perhaps a run with a rear wheel off the ground might be the thing to do. Use that hand brake lever and open & lock those plates so they clear out.
I use synthetic motorcycle oil in my '26. No problems at all.
Has a rating of "SF", which is an older rating, indicating that the oil formula has the most anti-wear additives, and no friction modifiers.
Brand : Mobil One 4 cycle motorcycle oil 10W40, "SF" rating. Reason: Most cycles have a common sump for lubrication of engine and transmission.... just like the Model T !
Now, what rating was on the container of synthetic oil you used ? Betcha is was an "SM" rated oil.
Just because one uses synthetic oil doesn't mean all synthetic oils are the same. Gotta understand and read labels nowadays..... regular dino oils and synthetic oils show ratings in a ratings circle usually on the back label of the oil container.
Forgot to add, the friction modifiers in the synthetic of your choice caused the clutch plates to slip.
If synthetic oil was cheaper than regular oil, then I would use it too, but as the oil needs to be changed 5 to 8 times more frequently than in most other engines, the price of the oil is more important than the additive package.
Synthetic Oil lightens your pocket book and if it makes you feel better, use it. In my view Model T oil does not need to be changed more often than other cars. Model T engine use a little oil and drip out quite a bit so you are needing to add some frequently. Use a good detergent oil and change it once a year, or more often as you wish.
I use synthetic in everything, due to "less friction". I guess you may need to tighten high (and low too possibly).
I really noticed a difference starting in winter (easier) and that convinced me to go with synthetic. I no longer had to jack up a wheel to start with synthetic. The idea is "less friction, less wear " as far as I'm concerned.
That may be true Rob, but the T relies on "friction" brake to stop.
Synthetic oil in almost every mechanical item is going to be a better choice than regular mineral oil IF your wallet can afford it. Just make sure it doesn't have friction modifiers and is "wet clutch compatible". If you don't know for sure, contact the manufacturers tech department and they can advise.
Perhaps some running in neutral would help get the old oil out from between the clutch discs. I don't see how running with the wheels off the ground will help unless you were doing it in Low or Reverse. In High, the discs are held firmly together. There's a much better chance of getting the discs flushed out in Low, Reverse, or Neutral where the clutch is disengaged.
Synthetic oil offers no advantage in a Model T. The primary advantage of synthetic oil in automobiles is longer life until the oil is worn out. In a Model T that never happens because you must change the oil very early in its wear cycle due to the impurities in the oil. There's no reason I can imagine that makes synthetic any better for your Model T, or in the case of Rob, his Model K or N.
I did try using Mobil 1 in my 1913 touring and immediately afterwards noticed a major increase in oil leakage. Clutch worked fine, car ran no differently. I never tried it again due to the crazy cost. After changing back to Wal Mart 5W-30 the leakage went back to normal.
One interesting thing about synthetic oil is that it can hurt horsepower. Synthetic oil does not burn. If your engine does not have fairly sophisticated oil control, any synthetic oil in the combustion chamber can cause a slight decrease in power. That's why some race cars use conventional oil, such as Nascar and NHRA drag racers. Those engines are relatively crude, relatively low technology devices.
The decrease in power in a 600 horsepower engine from using synthetic oil is on the order of 4 - 5 horsepower. Not much difference, but enough to influence the most serious guys to use specially formulated non synthetic racing oil which - by the way - costs even more.
A Model T engine makes only 20 horsepower on a good day so the difference in power would likely be undetectable.
Kevin Whelihan and Rob Heyen:
You, out of all the "nay-sayers" on synthetic oil, really understand the point I posted about shared sump lubrication and not using any oil with friction modifiers.
Now, if only more would read labels before using ..........
Research in the development of polyglycols (polypropylene glycol monobutylethers) suggests that isometric positrons generated by the subliminal interaction of molecular conglomerations with dynamic magneto operation above 3.1416 mirofoonads of impudence may induce inferential ambivalence. Don't perform unsafe tasks. If you experience suicidal thoughts or actions, stop taking Phlimuphlam and call your doctor right away.
So lets re-cap: You used it and it caused a problem. You removed it and the problem began to go away. It costs more than the best multi-weight you can buy, It was never meant to be used in a splash lubed type engine, You have to carefully read the label because the wrong type might cause the exact problem you had. Even if you use this stuff and haven't blown up yet what exactly is the advantage? I haven't heard one thing that tells me there's and plus at all EXCEPT for the fact that (and I've posted this before) some guys like to experiment on their 85+ year old cars.
Ted, Most other engine crank cases do not have clutch discs running in them, also, many Ts run with out air filters. This type of condition would not be so bad if there was a positive filtration system to keep the abrasive particles out of the engine bearings. If you use a detergent oil, the particles will be held in suspension better and continue to be circulated through the engine. I am very cheap, and I think that changing oil more frequently is a savings over repair costs.
My pocket book will allow it for run in I think its important for that. When gears with bronze bushings and cranks with babbitt are not broken in all running in the same oil without a filter other costly issues come up.
Triple gears are pushed out running in high gear until contact is made from the bushing to the pin. Henry used a large electric motor driving the crank dumping oil on it burnishing the babbitt before it was run on the road----we don't have that tool for for run in.
The question is how does operation above 3.1416 microfoonands of impudence affect my flux capacitor?
That depends on which fremulator you're using.
I am somewhat of an oil freak. I read up on it extensively over the years and own or owned a variety of vehicles from antiques, to 2-stroke motorscooters, big twins, a couple of screaming rotaries, a blown 250mph+ land speed car, diesel Mercedes, Cummins-powered pickup, all the way to my old Lambo with V12. I had been a race car driver 'til I retired at age 49, and I have seen -- and used -- engine oil that cost $78 per quart, many years ago. We changed it sometimes after only an hour of use. Yep.
There's a perfect oil for every vehicle which depends on its construction and usage. I still believe that even expensive oil is cheaper than engines, so I use a variety of synthetic oils in several of my vehicles. One of the cars that doesn't get synthetic is the Model T, as there is zero merit in using synthetic on a car that has a splash system, revs up to only 1,600rpm, and gets fresh 5W-30 every few hundred miles anyway. Being "good" to a Model T engine means changing the oil often, and driving it with consideration in mind. It's not that a gallon of Redline of Royal Purple would be harmful to a Model T engine; it's just wasteful, like using bottled mountain spring water to water your plants, hoping they will last longer that way.
Mostly agree with you Bernard, changing the oil often is likely one of the most important issues with a T.
There is a big difference in how Ts are driven now days from the twentys. Much more traffic, and 20 mph then to 45 mph today with better roads oil an fuel. Balance, cams, heads, brakes, and better lighting have allowed that change. I buy most of my oil from garage sales,at fifty cents a quart. Its changed in all my splash oil machines often. My Toyota with 200K on it does not use oil between 3k oil changes and still gets 40 mpg at 75mph on the free ways.
I have used Amsoil synthetics for many years as do lots of folks up here in northern WI. And no, I don't work for the company or own any of it. I have seen the benefits of synthetic oils being run in everything from lawnmowers to heavy equipment up here. Its pays off with engine and components that have a lifetime of around double what those fed regular mineral oil do. Yes, you can go to Wally World and get a case of bargain basement oil and hope the specs are what's on the bottle knowing that likely whatever it is will be better than the glop those poor machines were fed for most of their lives. Personally, I'll have a king's ransom tied up in my engine/trans by the time it is rebuild and back to me. I don't mind spending a few extra bucks to protect my investment with a quality synthetic oil that is compatible with my machine.
Please explain the "benefits" you have seen from paying triple the price for oil.
Often men perceive that a high price product will outperform a lower price product of similar construction
Now when that product is oil men go crazy. Men will spend exorbitant amounts of money on high end oils without any realistic proof that said oil is any better then regular joe schmoe oil.
I believe that oil is oil and only buy dino name brand oil on sale. I'm not saying that expensive oil is bad but have yet to see any realistic proof (not a lab report) that running high end oil in my car will significantly change my life or the life of my engine.
The only fact that I do know is that my wallet will weigh less from buying expensive oils.
Using high technology synthetic oil will most likely make the T improve in mileage pr. gallon.
The lighter wallet will make the whole equipage lighter and hence perform better.
DISCLAIMER: Irony may be present.
I use the heaviest oil I can find. Less leaks out of the T and you don't slip on it as easily when on the garage floor when "T" marks its spot. This is a personal safety issue! Never mind if you can't crank the T. Also stops annoying "free starts". :-)
I think I need Bob Jablonski and Rob Heylen to "tag team" with me on this one. Some of the benefits of using a good quality of synthetic oil in any mechanical device are: more resistance to thermal breakdown, less wear on moving parts, and greater tolerance to dilution without losing its lubricating and protective qualities. There is a reason why nearly every manufacturer of power equipment has gone to this stuff and recommends its use: it works. If it didn't offer significant benefits over traditional lubricants, cost conscious manufacturers wouldn't use it. I personally use Amsoil in every engine I have. No regrets. If you need proof of synthetic's performance, check their websites. Most have independent lab testing results available. in the case of Amsoil, I have contacted their tech department many time with questions about their products and specific applications. And yes, there have been times when they have replied back NOT to use their specific product for a use I have had in mind. Also be aware that all synthetics are not the same. Some are higher quality than others.
Royce, if for some reason you're ever in my part of the planet, stop in. I'll be happy to prove that synthetics burn just fine. I save all my used oil from changes to start the fires in my wood furnace. I'd be happy be happy to use a cup of the stuff to fire up the unit or get a campfire going down by the lake. Besides, the beer is always cold here.
I've been using Mobil One 4 Stoke Motorcycle oil, ever since Fred Houston's Vintage Ford article a few years back. He's one of the first to suggest either synthetic or regular dino based 5W30 multigrade - "SF" rated - motorcycle oil - to use in the Model T engine.
He backed up his conclusions with specific data.
If anyone is interested, in actual facts, or to discredit, do the search yourself.
Strange, out of all the nay-sayer oil experts, no one has the slightest idea that multigrade "SF" rated regular dino based oil is still available and just as effective as synthetic, minus the plusses of synthetic !
Any motorcycle shop worth their salt will carry regular dino oil with the "SF" rating along with the same rated synthetic formula.
It's my choice on synthetic.
As I wrote above, switched to synthetic, and I was able to hand crank at sub 20 degrees (F) without jacking up a rear wheel. The difference was noticeable immediately, and I've not gone back since. Easier cold cranking told me there was less friction before warmup, and less drag (therefore wear) on the engine and transmission, and a better "free" neutral.
I'm not suggesting anyone else use it. I have no studies to back it up, just my personal preference. It's where I choose to spend my money.
Thanks for having my back guys!
We are of the same mindset, result of understanding the formulations of base oils, additives, reading packaging, and experience.
Hey, oil is still cheaper than rebuilding an engine !
For Forum lookers....
The rating system starts at "SA" oil, which is base mineral oil, usually straight weight non-detergent, then progresses by the second letter B,C,D,E,F,L,M,N,... skipped over a few due to discontinuation. For those who are interested, google for info on oil ratings. Not here to preach, gotta learn for yourself.
Your new car manuals have a section on engine oils to use..... and do specify a rating... either by the "S" system or by a manufacturers specification code such as GM 60904M, Chrysler MS=-63950 or Ford WSS-M2C929A. Would you use any oil in your modern engine just because it's cheap ? Price alone does not dictate good lubrication and protection. EXAMPLE : Just after the "SM" oils were on the market, there were engine wear failures, especially on flat tappet/cam lobe areas..... not on roller tappet engines.
True, the Model T engine isn't rocket science. In the day, engines were rebuilt every few years... for several reasons, some due to regular wear, running low on oil, overheating, misuse or abuse.
Today, we have oil formulas specific for engine applications.
Bob is talking about problems with flat tappett camshaft wear on high performance engines in the 1950's - 1980's. This is not anything applicable to Model T Fords.
The premature camshaft and lifter wear problems are associated with valve spring pressure of (typically) 100 pounds closed and 300 pounds open, or more. These types of valve spring pressures are needed in overhead valve engines that operate at higher RPM to be able to close the valves in an appropriate amount of time. It has no relevance to Model T Fords at all.
Similarly, there is no benefit associated with synthetic oil that is applicable to Model T Ford lubrication needs. While synthetic oils do outperform non - synthetic oils in laboratory tests, none of the test conditions where this performance benefit occurs are found in a Model T. Or your lawn mower.
Royce, give it a rest. Period .
Model T Ford engines do not have flat tappets ??
Please do not answer. The others will comment.
I welcome comments and opinions from everyone. Discussion and opinions are healthy forms of communication. I won't ask you to be silent.
I do not think the flat tappets was the salient point of Royce's comment, but the high spring pressures in high RPM engines.
You can tell how much pocket book posting folks have!
I would use Synthetic in every machine I have if it could be changed often but buying synthetic on SS is not as important as other issues for what is gained.
Amsoil 90 weight will be used in my rebuilt Ruxtell for 2.00 a quart but the price is the main reason.
Didn't ask you to be silent, although others will, I just asked you not to answer.
There have been instances of Model T engine failure due to cam lobe/tappet wear and problems with friction modifier additives in the current rating oils.
There are regular oils with the same "SF" rating that are sold at "popular " prices if you prefer.
And there we are again: oil is like religion; no point in trying to turn a Jew into a Muslim or vice versa. This discussion will go nowhere from here.
First, a comment on posting style. A large problem with this forum is the tendency of certain posters to post their opinions as fact. It is very simple to say "I think" or "in my opinion" before you post something that may only be true to you. This can go a long way to assuage the feelings of sensitive people (like me). You may be able to prove bad facts wrong, not so with opinions.
Here is an example: "there is no benefit associated with synthetic oil that is applicable to Model T Ford lubrication needs."
This statement of fact was made after another poster explained how he could hand crank his car in cold weather with synthetic oil. I could see a fellow getting angry because the post (in blue), stated as fact contradicts the other post. It would appear that one or the other is not telling the truth. One poster has essentially called the other a liar, from my perspective. This can lead to hard feelings.
OK, I'm off of my soap box. (For the time being.)
I use the lightest (usually 0-20W) synthetic oil that I can find in my T's. I have had great luck including hours of driving at 50 mph plus and even extended periods of 60 mph plus. I used Mobil 1 in my first Montana 500 car that I built in 1974. It still had the same babbitt in it in 25 years later when I gave the car to my sister.
Now, having said all of that, I think that I more or less agree with Royce on this one. for the average T guy, the benefits of synthetic oil do not out weigh the cost.
If you have special needs (hand cranking, Montana 500 e.g.), and your engine is well sealed against leaks, or you plan to keep the motor for a long, long time, you might consider synthetic oil.
Now, back to the original post. My advice is still to adjust your clutch. If it slips, it ain't adjusted right.
I'd like to add one more thing. Please don't get the idea from the post above that I am trying to discourage the use of synthetic oil. Go ahead and try synthetic, if you'd like. You may like it if you drive your T a lot and your motor doesn't leak too bad.
I wouldn't waste my money on synthetic oil. I like straight 30 weight. It's not a race car it's a model T!
I enjoyed this discussion. When my T needs oil I dump in a handy quart or two of compatible VIS. I change it often. If I were to judge the posts here I would put Bernard's first with a bunch of other good ones second, including Mr. Royce in Dallas. Thanks guys, I learned a a bunch.
(BTW, I run a pressurized A crank and a full time oil filter.)
I am sure Rob is telling the absolute truth when he states that when he installed Synthetic oil the car cranked over easier in cold weather. However, the same results could be achieved by using a similar grade of conventional oil. The results would be identical.
It is always important to choose the grade of oil that is appropriate for the operating temperatures. A guy who lives in Saudia Arabia is going to need a different grade than a guy who lives in Nebraska. This is true regardless of the price of the oil, synthetic or not, or even with the outrageous Amsoil price attached.
Well said Tom and Bernard!! I picked up enough consumables at garage sales today for 20. to last me another year.
I can attest to the fact that my change from straight non-d 30 wt. to 10w-30 resulted in easier cranking/starting in cold weather. Actual personal experience.
I was at a large farm show last year where there was an Amsoil vendor set up hawking his wares. Early one morning, he had his truck backed up to the door of the exhibition building unloading some stuff. Oil was literally POURING out from under his idling engine. I alerted him and he moved the truck and someone else put out dome oil dry on the several quarts worth of puddle on the concrete. I have np idea whether he was running Amsoil in the truck or if it was responsible for the deluge (I doubt it.) But I have to admit I found the whole thing amusing. Had to be bad press with a big Amsoil sign on your truck and a big puddle underneath.