Engine Oil Viscosity

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: Engine Oil Viscosity
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chester Leighton on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 08:36 am:

I got my latest copy of the "Vintage Ford" yesterday and in one of the main articles it states to change your engine oil and replace with 20-50 weight oil. I've been using 20-30 weight since I've had my T and have recently(this past November) had a short block rebuild mostly due to wear in the cylinders. It was thought by the rebuilder that the cause for this wear was an improper bore job coupled with improper installation and end gap of the new rings the first time I had the engine rebuilt. I changed my oil last week and cleaned my transmission screen and magnet and there was a light grey film on the screen and some very fine fuzzy filings on the magnet. This is the third time I've changed the oil since rebuild and I have about 500 miles on the engine since rebuild. I don't recall seeing anything worse than this when cleaning the screen, it always has looked like this. I use a Texas T high capacity outside oiler so I don't know how I could get anymore oil to the front of the engine. I'm wondering now if 30 weight oil is too light and this is causing a high rate of cylinder wear? The only thing that suggests that 30 weight is O.K. is the multitudes of people using 30 weight in their T's with no ill affects. I researched past threads and 30 weight seems to be the weight of choice with some variation in multi grade use. So which is the correct viscosity 30 weight or 50 weight?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 08:47 am:

20W-50 is perfect if average daily temperature is above 100 degrees. Saudia Arabia in summer time, Death Valley California, Tucson from May - October or Beijing China in summer weather. If you live in one of these type places with very hot weather, you can use thick oil that is resistant to flow at lower average temperatures.

I have not seen the article you are mentioning Chester, but I think it is irresponsible to recommend thick oil that doesn't flow well. Our Model T engines have a splash and drip oil system. Thicker oil lubricates less effectively in this type of engine. Engine wear is rapid when lubrication is not present during start and warmup.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jimmy Davis, Panama City ,FL on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 09:27 am:

This is a great topic, I put 40W non detergent in my 27 and it seemed ok, thinking it is hot here in Florida. I changed it and used 30W non detergent and WOW what a difference. It starts a lot easier and runs better I can tell it has more power and idles better. Some say I'm crazy but I'm positive it's true!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 09:31 am:

The gray/black goop is normal from wear even with 30W I have found. Oil film or not, every time the piston goes up and down there is microscopic particles that get scraped off. I am using 10-40 to try and cut down on oil getting pumped past the rings. It's helping some. I know it's getting past the rings still, but not as much. Time for a rebore.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chris Olsen on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 10:13 am:

What about Lucas? I used it in my bikes which had tolerances about as loose as a T and they ran quite well. I'm not usually one for 'magic engine fluids' but I like Lucas. None of them had Babbitt though. Going by what Royce stated though, perhaps not. While a 1:3 won't be very thick added to 10/30...
cheers,
chriso


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 10:49 am:

The problem I see with using heavy grade oil in a Model T is the oil line is gravity flow. It simply won't get enough oil to the front of the engine fast enough. And the oil in the dips will be thrown up by the rods and will not be replenished quickly enough so the bearings will wear fast. It might work well after it gets there, but the slowness of the flow will cause oil starvation and rapid wear.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Chester Leighton on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 11:14 am:

The article is in the most recent volume (49, number 3) of "The Vintage Ford" which is our club magazine. The article is by Milt Webb and the reference to oil viscosity is on Page 28. It states "Change the engine oil. Install 4 quarts of 20-50 weight oil." These instruction follow an introduction which explains that what follows are the steps necessary to get your T ready start up following the work done in the previous article in the previous volume of the magazine in which the coil box and coils were rebuilt.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 03:50 pm:

As Milt what grade oil he used in his T when he went to Detroit?
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 06:02 pm:

You need to know how a modern graded oil works'
first with lets say 20/50, cold, you are starting with oil that is only thick or thin as 20W, no problem with that, as oil gets hotter it thins so that's when the higher grading comes in, the molecules start to act like and to the higher viscosity, the oil doen't go thick like some try to tell you, a high viscosity for a splash system is a good thing.
Now lets say, under normal weather conditions, you use a oil starting at 5W, already cats piss, it get hotter and thinner, and does it's job when hot at 20W, that's giving you a much lower internal bearing oil pressure, now the problem is, as Ford Australia found out when changed to 5/20w in new cars in 2005 was, when cooling down the oil was that thin it would drain out of vital top end parts, over head cam bearings, chain adjusters and hydro tappets etc, giving a rattling next time start-up. a starting W of 10 solved that problem.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 07:41 pm:

Don't forget the bands, thin oil will soak in better than thick.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 11:35 pm:

The fact that people are reporting no problems with using both 5w-30 and 20w-50 suggests both do a reasonable job. Only a scientific comparison test will ever prove which results in less engine and transmission wear in a Model T.

These debates are therefore pointless. Even if you've done 50,000 miles using 5w-30 it doesn't prove it's a better oil than a 20w-50 for a Model T.

Whatever oil you use just change it every 1000 miles.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dean Yoder on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 11:42 pm:

Royce I have over 89,000 miles on My 24 touring using 20W-50 oil. If you do not like it. What are you basing your dis like on. Have you used it ? If so fore how many miles? Ore is it Like the E-timer You Bash at every chance. And never tried.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Saturday, May 10, 2014 - 11:48 pm:

I have found its best to use 4 quarts and even better if you use 4 quarts of detergent oil


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter Kable on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 05:39 am:

I tend to agree with Royce, I have only ever used 10-30 grade oil.

Hot or cold never a problem, in 2008 going across the USA were spent 4 weeks in over 100 F Degree heat crossing to Indiana. When in Yellowstone it got down to 32F ( that was a cold camping night)

In two period books I have one "The Ford Text Book' by E.F.Hallock says " for Ford use an oil of light body" "When the oil consumption increases it should be corrected by making the proper repairs". "To attempt to correct this condition by substituting a heavier grade of oil for the light oil required by the Ford construction is a fallacy"

The other is a booklet put out by Socony called
"The Socony Way to Successful Ford Motoring" the oil is refered to several times as (light Medium)

"Ford engineers recommend the same grade or body of oil for winter and summer driving. This adaptability of an oil for use throughout all four seasons is provided for in Socony Motor oil ( light medium). Socony motor oil ( light medium) will flow freely in cold weather"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 06:45 am:

In the Model T era multigrade oil such as 10w-30 and 20w-50 didn't exist.

If say the "oil of light body" E.F.Hallock is referring to is around SAE 20 then 10w-30 is too thin when it's cold and too thick at engine operating temperature. Just like 20w-50, 10w-30 gets a FAIL if you take the period correct approach.

The fact is guys that any modern oil is miles better than a monograde Model T era API SA standard oil, which is why people are using both 5w-30 and 20w-50 and not reporting instant engine failure.

These monthly oil debates are pointless no matter what angle you take. Only a scientific comparison test will ever prove which results in less engine and transmission wear in a Model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 07:04 am:

Royce has posted a chart showing grade vs temperature before. I'm sure he didn't develop it himself. I'm also sure one could find a similar chart on their own if they don't want to use his. I don't care what oil someone uses, but I know I'm not using 20w anything and try to hand crank it, especially in the winter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 07:26 am:

Some have problems in weather conditions for sure but what I don't like is the self appointed authorities on the interpretation of oil grading, oil companies have very well paid lab rats to keep us well informed. A far cry from using a 5W for normal conditions.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 07:40 am:








These charts put the 20W-50 range starting at 0F, +15F, +20F. All of which are all well below freezing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 08:05 am:

Interesting chart, but I wonder how much practical experience has gone into developing it. Sometimes theory and practical application are two different things. Racing oils like 20W-50 turn into something like the consistency of honey the closer you get to freezing (F). Having lived here in frozen tundra of Northern WI where it frequently dips way below zero, trying to start ANY engine with heavier graded oils is damn near impossible the colder it gets. I am sure it does stick well to the bearings (and all the other parts) at cold temps...like glue. Even in a pressurized oiling system with a filter by-pass, it takes a long time to register oil pressure. In a splash system I really doubt the oil is "splashing" at all until the engine warms up. I don't know if there is any perfect oil for the Model T engine. It probably tolerates a wider viscosity range than many of us think. But generally we don't drive our cars in temperature extremes so a moderate viscosity multigrade oil is more than adequate. For those hearty souls who brave those conditions, can change their oil accordingly.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Hal Davis-SE Georgia on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 08:10 am:

Im not saying it wont lubricate. Im saying I don't care to hand crank with it. I used to run 10w-30, but now run 5w-30. There is a significant difference in cranking ease. Couple that with all the folks who have to Jack up a wheel to start their T with straight 30. I'll stick with 5w-30.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Todd on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 11:14 am:

Methinks that Constantine's charts are for pressure lubricated engines.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 12:06 pm:

Yes, a pressure lubed engine can pump oil to the bearings in real cold weather but a T has to splash it up to the bearings and throw it up to the oil tube funnel and let it run down the oil tube to the front of the engine. That takes a while.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin in South Africa on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 02:36 pm:

Hi guys,

I'm not an engineer on oils, and I've run SAE 40, then 30, then 20w50... And I hear you on the ease of cranking, and its nice Not to have the car push me out the garage till the clutch frees up :-)

But the other day I was told that even though I am using 20w50, and most folks around here are... that because its Castrol GTX I might as well be using the recycled junk that is the auto shop house brands... News to me.. I thought it was a great oil..

So I went in search of an oil that was of the highest quality but didn't have Zinc or anything else I was warned about (magneto killer additives)

So, as a layman, needing an education on not only viscosities but also the ways they make these oils etc etc etc, I happened upon the following article.

http://www.upmpg.com/tech_articles/motoroil_viscosity/

Forgetting the branded website, the read seams actually quite unbiased, explaining the development of multigrade oils and how they work, and what makes them get their grading etc.

Then it goes onto Synthetics, and I'm sure the Mobil 1 users will be very pleased to hear how well the article speaks of it... caveat... Mobil 1 Extended performance, not the other kind..

So again I'm needing an education it seems.

All in all, taking into account the facts presented by Mr van Ekeren and others, as well as the temp charts, as well as the additives in the oils, and the need for Magneto killing free oils, and how much better synthetics are over mineral oils.... What I'd say about it is this...

I want to give my old gal the best I can, and this article gave me a few good leads.

If GTX is "junk" oil then it did my T and bike very well, so "anything" better will be like caviar!

I don't know why I never tried a full synthetic on the "t", but I guess I thought it was going to make the clutch slip or something. Now I know better.

All the best,

Justin
South Africa


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dare - Just a little South West . on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 05:34 pm:

40/70 - If you think this is a good idea, please rethink your thoughts, l trialed this oil thinking it was a very good idea, l could not turn the engine to crank it over, in fact although l have removed the oil as it would seem except for 1 quart, it is still very hard to turn to start.
I would NOT recommend this oil in a T at any time..
David.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 09:39 pm:

Castrol does not make oil, they have other companies put their oil in Castrol containers.
Castrol has to meet the same specs as everybody else, just like the cheapest oil has to.
For other old flat tappet engines I'm staying with the cheapest 10-40 I can find, which is Walmart's Accel. It even has zink in it. And it's $2.57 a Qt.
I just wish it came in 10-30 or 5-30.
The model T's get 5-30, I don't worry about price or zink in a T.
Paying more for oil is like paying to have an anti-knock octane increaser added to the gas to slow down the burning and using it in a car with 4:1 compression.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Karl Gilchrist on Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 10:48 pm:

Ah my favourite topic "which oil should I use?"
Firstly the worst oil today is better than the best oil between 1909 and 1927. I don't think it makes a lot of difference what you use provided you don't go horrendously thick or thin. I use 10-30W because most people I know seem to use this with no problems, its easy to find and it makes my car easy to crank over. I change it every 500 to 1000 miles and hence I don't use expensive synthetic oils as I don't like draining all that money away.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 12:49 am:

I have used 10-30 Mobil 1 Synthetic oil for 14 yrs. and no bearing problem yet. I do change the oil at least once or twice a year.
Yes, the cost of synthetic oil is more expensive compared to convention oil. It's my choice how to spend my money. The model T engine has a primitive oiling system compared to engines in cars today. Using synthetic oil to help the engine survive longer is not draining money away in my mind. Look how much it costs for Gas today....Buying 5 quarts of synthetic oil costs less that what it cost to fill the tank in a model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 01:03 am:

10w30 if you have winter where you live. Straight 30's a bear to crank at 25 degrees. Experience talkin' here.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin in South Africa on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 02:06 am:

Hi guys,

When I married my wife she a little hyundai 1300cc. On a cold morning when she started the car it would "tick" loudly for a few seconds then go quiet.

The 'experts' at the stealership said it was the hydraulic lifters and it would cost I forget how much, but a lot.

The car was being serviced by a well respected company in our town, and he wanted to do some exploratory surgery to figure out the problem.

To me, the oil wasn't getting to the lifters and causing a knock until pressure built up.

I looked in the book and it too showed the temp chart but recommended 10-40 oil and 5-30

So I went to the well respected guy and asked him what oil he services our car with. He pointed to a 210 litre drum with only 20w-50 on it...

I went straight to the auto spares shop, bought some Castrol Magnatec 10-40 and serviced the car myself.

My father in law was with me when we started her again, and it ticked for a second, then no "Tick"

I serviced that car that way till we sold it, and it Never gave us that sound again. All it cost was the right viscosity oil..

So, I fully agree with you guys on not feeding the T too thick an oil.. Splash system makes it even more important.. in my eyes anyway

Now, staying with Castrol, in the 70's my father used to use GTX in his race car (59 Alfa Guilietta SS) and this oil rep selling Duckhams was pushing him to use the Duckhams. I'm sure there might be more to the story but he said that after he switched, he ran bearings in practice the day before the next race. Spent all night rebuilding and paid some guys to drive back and forth between our town and the next to run it in...and raced the next day on GTX...

So, oil quality was drilled into my head. And probably the GTX oil choice as well...

Anyways, to each their own. I will go from GTX 20-50 to 15-40 probably Mineral oil for run in... because my motor is on 0.0015" clearances for the first time in who knows how long... and synthetic thereafter just because for me to do 500-1000 miles takes a while and it means more to me that its great oil in this now expensive engine than not.

Still great the car doesn't push me out the garage anymore... That was a funny, Don't forget the brick in front of the wheel!

Justin


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 02:32 am:

Oil weight, or viscosity, is far more important than oil brand.
I know of several cars and trucks that had the noisy lifter problem on start-up until the owners quit using Castrol 20-50 GTX.

It's not the Castrol, it's the weight.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin in South Africa on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 02:55 am:

Yes, I agree Aaron.. Today's cars are made to much tighter tolerances so need 15, 10, 5 w oils.

I also think quality is important. I didn't mention it earlier but in the case of my father's bearing failure he noted a much reduced oil pressure before the bearings failed.

Better quality oils (if I recall correctly) hold the oil pressure past where inferior oils start to fail.

GTX hasn't caused me a failure, its just the one's whose opinions I trust telling me its not a good oil that has got me wanting to learn more for myself.

Guaranteed, if I had to use GTX 20w-50 again after this rebuild, I am willing to bet it would not cause any ill effects to my T. But I want something better ;)

Cheers
Justin


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Georgetown TX on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 07:37 am:

How often do you guys who run 20W-50 have to adjust your rod bearings? I read in the Vintage Ford about a lot of rod bearing adjustment in the parking lot every night when the group of T's drove from California to the 2003 Centennial in Dearborn. Seems like it is not a coincidence.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kerry van Ekeren (Australia) on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 08:09 am:

Did that article in the Vintage Ford stipulate that they used 20W-50?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Todd on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 11:20 am:

Interesting reading about oil: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-101/


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Justin in South Africa on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 12:11 pm:

For all the Valvoline users... you guys will love this.. found it on the Valvoline website under the heritage tab.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Strange on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 12:32 pm:

Fascinating, can someone on the forum post a picture of their original "Valvoline Only" dash plaque?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Wells on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 10:19 pm:

Valvoline is only for starter/generator cars as the others had no dash to mount the plaque on.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Peter B. Ratledge on Monday, May 12, 2014 - 10:40 pm:

Gentlemen,
I have been running Napa 15w-40 Fleet Oil in my 1911 T for years. The SAE rating is SL not SM.
The SL still has the Zink in it.
The modern oils that are SM have had the zink taken
out because of the CATALYTIC CONVERTER. With the
zink removed it does not lubricate the small parts like the valves and the timing gear to well.
My wife and I drive our T on Two or three big tours a year.
Last year in Utah The first day was around 180 miles. I can't the miles for sure.It went the whole tour at over 10,00 ft. The only thing we had to do was adjust the carb. for the altitude.
The longest day we ever did was 240 miles up in New Hampshire.
I saw a article on the oil years ago. If I find
it I will post it.


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