No, I don't intend to open that can of worms again. Any oil sold today is better than Polarine, or Veedol, or Zerolene, so I shop for price. That means the Wal-mart house brand or anything I may find that's even cheaper. I don't intend to use it, but I do have a question about one current additive. Zinc. Being a metal (conductor), does it have any effect on the magneto?
Sometimes I take zinc for colds. Now I understand why the synapse in my brain make me think fuzzy. They don't fire on all eight. To be sure the electrical activity is low voltage and low frequency. <grin>
Up until a very few years ago, didn't all motor oil contain 'zinc'? I doubt it is really just zinc. They call it ZDDP which I haven't bothered to look up, but a compound can have way different properties than the element itself. It may not be conductive at all.....'Course it still could be......But given the motor oil we used only a few years ago didn't cause magneto trouble, I doubt a zinc additive meant to take its place in modern oil without ZDDP would hurt.
A lot of metals which have fair to good electrical conductivity (eg aluminum) have poor or no conductivity when combined with another material to form a salt (eg aluminum oxide).
On that basis alone I wouldn't worry about it.
Also I believe in non specialty motor oils ZDDP has been greatly reduced or even eliminated.
My T has been running on 5w-30 WalMart oil for quite awhile now. No complaints so far. By the way, that cheap Walmart oil meets all the API specs that the high price slickum does.
I think that the concern about which oil to use in a Model T is 'much ado about nothing'.
I agree with Bud and others that the so called cheap brand oils available at Wal-Mart, Dollar General and other discount stores is plenty good enough. MUCH better than what was used in the Model T era and work really well today.
It amazes me about the long discussions that come from different points of view about this subject.
Its kind of like reading a book written by Rube Goldberg.
Very interesting reading!
While many of you use the very cheapest oil in your T's because of the T's simplicity and our legendary frugalness as Model T owners, I have the opposite opinion and use the best possible oil in my '26 coupe. Right now, I have Mobil 1 in my T which I have used since completing a complete engine overhaul in 2010. Since I have not used anything else but the best since the overhaul I don't know if it would run any different with the cheapest oil available, but I do know my engine runs beautifully like a sewing machine, never giving me a moment's trouble. Can I attribute that to the oil I use? Maybe, but as long as I can afford to, I am going to continue to spend the few extra dollars it takes to pamper her and use the best lubricant available. After all, she's now an 87 year old lady who has been through alot, surviving the inferior oils of her youth, the neglect of the Great Depression, the steel drives of World War II and the Hot Rod and funny car crazes of the 50's and 60's and, in my humble opinion, deserves the very best I can provide to ensure her survival for many more decades. Jim Patrick
PS. I understand that the term "best" may not apply here as there are special, high performance oils that cost hundreds of dollars for the expensive, high performance cars. I simply mean that for the average car and the average consumer, Mobil 1 has a reputation as being better than the average oil and thus, is more expensive. Jim Patrick
Middle ground here. No reason to go for no-name or top of the line. A good name brand 10w30, possibly at a bargain price, works fine. In a recent episode of Fast and Loud the boys install a re-built engine and were told to use break-in oil which contains zinc. $78.00 a case. They put in regular oil + a bottle of additive containing zinc and very quickly wipe out the camshaft. So if you're buying this senario the additive did nothing. They pull the motor, have it re re-built and run it with break-in oil and all's well. I'm leaning towards a bad cam to begin with or a poor re-build in general but as Uncle Si Robinson says: "Hey"!
I'm with Jim. I run synthetic and have for years and I run fast with no troubles
To each his own I suppose. I believe the long intervals advertised by the makers of synthetic oils are based on a system with an oil filter. Without a filter, I believe frequent oil changes are better. No harm in running synthetic oil, but no way would I ever run the same oil for 3 years without a filter.
I think its best to use 4 quarts, and if it drops below the top spigot, top it off before you make the next run.
From what I've heard and read, zinc was removed from todays oils as it had a bad reaction to the catalytic converters. And hydraulic lifters don't need zinc. Solid, flat lifters do. Hence the apparent need to add the ZDDP to your oil. I do. Figure it can't hurt. I run 10W30 also. I figure with a no-pressure, splash system, getting thinner oil up into things in the cold quicker is pretty important so I quit using straight 30. Just my 2 cents. Hmmm, in todays economy, that means not worth a thing!! LOL
Hydraulic lifters are flat tappets on most older cars, like a 1980 and older Ford or Chevrolet or Chrysler product.
Hydraulic does not enter into it.
Castiron lifters with real strong valve springs are the problem. They need the oil with zinc.
A model T does not need zinc, the cam to lifter load is very small.
Some speak of not using cheap oil.
Cheap is a price.
The cheap oil meets the same standards as the expensive stuff.
You can not buy engine oil that is so inferior that your engine will be short lived because of it.
Our family car just turned over 200,000 miles last month.
it has never had the valve cover off, it has solid lifters, has never had the pan or timing chain cover off.
It has never had oil that costs more than $3.00 qt.
It has had nothing but Walmart's cheapest.
It meets the same requirements as Castrol, Valvoline, etc.
We use it in all of our cars and trucks.
My next good or new car will get synthetic oil so I won't have to change it so often.
I really believe in synthetic oil for engines, transmissions and differentials.
Steve, I suppose you already know this as Zinc is non magnetic and there are no open contacts that I can think of inside the engine and trans. Ford does say (over and over) that Graphite is not to be used in the engine because it will affect the Magneto. Where do you find oil that has Zinc in it? I'm curios.
Just check the different oil manufacturers. I know Amsoil has a couple varieties that are zinc fortified oils. The other problem with graphite or other friction reducers is that is penetrates band material and reduces their ability to "grab" the drums. Many "energy conserving" oils contain molybdenum, which can also adversely affect engines that rely on wet friction clutches.
As far as lifters goes: most all the engines I ever worked on from the early 60's onward have had hydraulic lifters. They were not roller lifters, however. Those came in later in the 1980's. The latest engine that I can remember having solid tappets that needed adjustment every other month was in a buddy of mine's 1972 VW bus. Outside of break-in, I am not sure the lubrication requirements of the Model T (even a moderately modified engine) requires or benefits greatly from zddp fortified oils.
Hal. I did not mean to imply that I have had the same oil in my T since 2010. Simply that I have had the same type of oil (Mobil 1) in my T since the completion of the overhaul in 2010. Mobil 1 recommends to change it every year or every 15,000 miles whichever comes first, so, since I don't drive anywhere near 15,000 miles a year, I still change it every year because the oil tends to begin breaking down over that period of time. Jim Patrick
I am sorry. I misunderstood what you meant. I feel much better about the situation now.
I wouldn't worry about the zinc. It's in ion form and won't separate from the phosphorous compound. Neither are magnetic. I would worry more about any molybdenum (moly) compound added to the crankcase. It's not magnetic by itself but it has a very high affinity for iron. It will cause iron molecules/compounds to clump together and form large particles and that IS magnetic.
I have some very good research on oils. It said that any engine before 1950 should use SAE SL not
As soon as I can find it I will post it.
I use NAPA 1540 Fleet Oil in my 1911 T Model. It has worked well for years.
Quaker State Defy oil say it has zink in it right on the front of the container.
I use Accel 10-40 in all the older cars with heavy valve springs, Like MGs, Chevy V8s, Mustangs and other cars older than '88 that have heavy valve springs and flat tappets. High performance engines.
The Accel also says right on the front of the container that it has plenty of zink for cars '88 and older..
peter has it right, sl rating is for flat tappet engines and contains zinc. walmart and some others still have sl oil. fleetfarm diesel 10 30 i run has it.
Here is a very informative article:
SL came out after all cars switched to roller tappets. It has the very minimum of zink in it.
The three Walmarts that I go to do not have SL oils, the parts stores around here don't have it.
Walmart's has SF oil, Accel 10-40 which has plenty of zink for any hi-per flat tappet engine.
A model T or A with stock valve springs can get by just fine without zink. The SL,SM or SN oils are just fine for a T engine.
If you put in valve springs so you won't get valve float at 7,000 RPM in your T then you may need zink.
You put SM oil in you stock 84 Camaro of T bird or Mustang you will have camshaft problems unless the engine is well broken in.