I just changed the oil in the my 25 T. I replaced it with 30 Wt.Non Detergent motor oil with an API rating of SA meaning that it is not suitable for motors built after 1930...Seems like I'm good there. The only statement on the container that gives me pause is that it states that the oil is 100% mineral oil with no additives, will this oil be OK to use. I'm used to buying oil for our modern cars. Seems as though all I saw was 30 Wt. non detergent and picked it up at the local ACE Hardware. I haven't started the engine yet. The engine is an old rebuild and the previous owner said he used 30 Wt. that's all I know. Do you think it'll be an OK oil to use, or should I drain it out and use something else?
Thanks in advance Charles
I use 30 wt non-detergent
I have been running 30 WT non-detergent oil in all my early cars forever with no issues. The only time I switch to modern oil is after a rebuild when I know the motor is clean and detergent oil won't dislodge all the accumulated sludge. I do run lighter oil in the winter when I am up north however.
Run with it and change it often!
It's a Model T, it doesn't care. Anything sold today is far better than what it was designed for. That said, I avoid the super light weight blends and stay with 10/30 or 10/40 in my cars depending on what is on sale when I need oil.
The only time I would go out of my way to find non-detergent oil would be for a car that was filled with sludge that I didn't want to get loosened up.
Thanks Ron, the next question is.....It states that it is 100% mineral oil on the container. would this be OK?
Thanks Guys, I'll take your advice. What a great forum!
This question always brings a seemingly endless barrage of differing opinions. My dad retired in 1965 after forty years of working in refineries for Shell, Pathfinder, and Union Oil. He used to say it all came out of the same pipe. He didn't mean it literally, of course.
He was saying all brands have to meet the same standards, so you might as well go with the cheapest oil that has the API seal. Around here that's the Wal-Mart house brand.
Where I live it gets mighty toasty in the summer and awfully chilly in the winter, so I use a multi-grade oil like 10W-40. If you think the engine may have sludge, you can use the non-detergent version.
Any oil you get today is better than what went into your T when it was new.
Charles - the mineral reference is just letting you know it is not a synthetic oil. Fine to use. Go drive and enjoy.
Chris, Mineral oil would be far better than vegetable oil. Yes, Mineral oil is what you want to use.
Used 30 Non D for years until I tried for a start in an unusually cold December. NG. Went to 10/30 got my start and stayed with that grade for good. Only saying this because of your location.
You should select your oil based on the environment that you plan to operate the car in. Since you live in Vancouver, it is cool a lot of the time. You will find the car very hard to crank with straight 30W oil in anything less than 100 degree weather.
I recommend 5W-30 as a good choice for a Model T because the engine will be easy to start in any temperature, year round. Change your oil once a year or every 700 miles, which ever happens first.
A question I gotta ask you, what oil did you use in your T's before the introduction of a 5W oil back in 2002?
Thanks for all of the replies. I'm still a little new to the exciting world of owning a Model T...but I love it! This forum is a great asset to the new owner and the seasoned one alike.
Frank we had 5w30 here in the USA long before that. It has always been the recommended oil for the Ford 4.6 V8 which was introduced in the early 1990's.
I used 10w30 previously or SAE20. The SAE20 non detergent oil leaves a lot of sludge even when changed regularly so I quit using it long ago.
I have had several old timers tell me in the winter they used to thin the oil with kerosene.Tin Lizzie printed in 1955 said sae 10 was the oil to use.If you live in the north i would put a can of that straight 30 in your refridgerator for several hours and see how well it pours!! It's going to do the same in your engine so how long do you want to run with no lubricaition?? Royce is right,5w30!! Bud where we crank our t's.
I noticed on our our 16 that was parked for over 70 years the trans looked like new when I took the cover off but now after 4 oil changes in maybe 200 miles the oil comes out black and the inside of the trans is black the 10w40 detergent sure broke the sludge loose!I guess I could flush it with kerosene but I think it would do more harm than running it and doing more oil changes.
If you use a non detergent oil all the crud stays in your engine. If you use a detergent oil the crud forms a colloidal suspension and comes out when you change the engine oil.
Ted you are right when I was a kid I got I got a few 5 gallon cans of oil in very old cans from an old farmer I thought was new but the bottom 2 inches of the cans had a hard crust of sludge in them I didint know what was going on until my father said you dummy dont you know the dirt settles out when non detergent oil sets? I dident. then he told me the bus company in Des Plaines had a big tank and put all there drain oil in it and after it sat long enuf used it again. with detergent the dirt never settles out
Rather than using kerosene to flush the engine, I would think diesel fuel would be better. Diesel will provide some lubrication.
RE: flushing with kerosene
From the 1921 Ford Manual (owners manual)
How often should Oil be drained from Crank Case? Answer No. 101
It is advisable to clean out the crank case by draining off the dirty oil when the new car has been driven three hundred and fifty miles; thereafter it will only be necessary to repeat this operation about every seven hundred and fifty miles. Remove the plug underneath the flywheel casing and drain off the oil. Replace the plug and pour in a gallon of kerosene oil through the breather pipe. Turn the engine over fifteen or twenty times so that the splash from the kerosene oil will thoroughly cleanse the engine. Remove crank case plug and drain off kerosene oil. It is of vital importance that all the kerosene be removed from the depressions in the crank case. To do this put about a quart of lubricating oil into the motor and turn the engine over several times; then remove crank case plug and drain off the flushing oil; then replace plug and refill with fresh oil. (See Answer No. 3.)
All cars 1991 or 2 say in the owners manual and on the oil filler cap to use 5-30. Some newer cars now require 5-20.
Actually it is 5W-30 and 5W-20, the 5W means when the oil is cold it is a 5 winter viscosity. The W stands for WINTER.
5-30 has been around a looooooooong time. When I lived in Wisconsin My Dad always used 6-20 in his '51 Ford that he had from '51 to '58.
5-20 or 5-30 didn't just come on the market in the 90's.
If you have an engine that has crud built up in it from using non-detergent oil and you change the oil 200 times in a year or two using only detergent oil you will NOT GET ANY OF THE SLUDGE OUT.
NONE! It won't even loosen up. Not a single bit.
Anybody that tells you detergent oil will loosen all the crud and plug up all the oil passages on a T does NOT know what he is talking about.
It won't happen. It can't happen.
Why not stop all the BS? The detergent PREVENTS sludge build-up, if you change oil regularly. It does NOT dissolve sludge that has already built up.
Post truth, your real experiences will help us all. The BS won't.
The T was built and designed for non-detergent oil.
It was also designed to be driven on gravel roads, to use real low grade gasoline, use alcohol in the radiator and driven with no stop light.
Does that mean you gotta use the crappiest oil you can find to make the car last?
Since good grades of detergent oil run over $2.50 a quart... I suppose so.
I know guys that use non-detergent oil and only use high test gas in their T. How much sense is that?
Oh ya, the T has that ultra high 3.6 to 1 compression ratio. I forgot.
That's pretty much my thoughts, too, Aaron. I believe the 'detergent oil breaking up all the crud' business in a wives tale. Too bad products that are marketed to gut grease and clean things don't work as well as some believe detergent motor oil does.
Exactly how much dirt do the rest of you have in your engines?
I will stick with modern multi-viscosity oil. By doing so, I am able to start my engine for occasional cold weather drives. I also am happy knowing the chemical buffers in modern oil are neutralizing the byproducts of combustion that blow by my rings. Id rather have this than acid rusting stuff in the sump.
The museum where I occasionally volunteer has Model Ts running in daily service. Multi-viscosity modern oil is all that is run in those engines. The oil comes out black but that's only because it did its job.
The only thing that will dissolve that crud build-up is commercial chemical engine flush, or diesel fuel.
Last month I put a new timing chain in my wife's car. After 217,000 miles and never an engine problem, always changed the 5-30 DETERGENT oil before 3,000 miles, it had a small crud buildup on the flat timing sprockets on the camshafts.
Over 200 thousand miles with ONLY detergent oil.
Now then; are you telling me that if I would have just poured in a quart or two of detergent oil it would have loosened that crud???
If all that BS is true why do engines that have been running on detergent oil have a crud buildup?
I have used SAE 30 non detergent since getting the car back in '07. I was told the engine had not been apart and it certainly looked like it. The previous owner used the same oil too. I run the car from early April to early November. It has not been hard to start nor tough to crank using that oil. As far as the sludge goes I did drop the pan a couple years ago to check things out as was amazed to find basically no sludge whatsoever! So, if you change oil once a year I don't believe you will get any sludge. That is all misconstrued just like calling oil 30 weight instead of 30 winter.
Just my thoughts
I do believe that detergent oil will desolve the old sludge. if it shows up the two pics are our 16 after sitting 70 years very clean and after 3 oil changes with detergent oil very dirty I never took off pan and cleaned it out like I should have before starting eng I do know detergent oil holds the dirt in suspension and non detergent the dirt settles out I think if you change your oil often you won't get sludge with non oil but the additives with detergent may prevent rust
Is the picture on the left before or after the engine was running for the first time in 70 years?
Paul, if detergent oil dissolves sludge how do sludge formations get in engines that have had nothing but detergent oil all their lives?
Changing oil often may keep sludge from forming when using non-d, but there is no reason in the world to use non-detergent. None. Do you use it in your modern car? why not?
I had a model T friend that bought a '49 Chrysler Windsor that would only hold 3 Qts. of oil.
In 5 years he changed the oil 20 times, always using detergent oil. Still only took 3 qts. to fill it.
After the five years I took the pan off. It had a sludge pancake in the bottom more than an inch thick. It was never going to dissolve.
I scraped it out and cut it up like chocolate cake and left a piece on the work bench that stayed in it's shape for months until I threw it out.
That is one example of a dozen cases like that that I could tell you about.
Since my wife's car was new we changed the oil 72 times in 218,000 miles.
Always used 5W-30 oil which only comes in detergent.
Why does it have a slight sludge buildup on the cam sprockets? Also a tiny bit on the chain cover.
You think if I add some detergent oil it will dissolve it?
The sludge is composed of oil mixed with the carbon in the blow by from the rings and valves. There is very little in a rebuilt engine and if you run it with detergent, the deposits will not be formed and the sludge will be removed every time you change the oil. However over the years of running with non detergent oil, the sludge will deposit inside the engine and as the rings and valve guides wear, the sludge will increase. Only problem I see would be sludge which deposits inside the oiler line. Anyway, if your engine is clean and you want to keep it clean, use detergent oil, but if badly sludged, use non detergent oil. You can tell by removing the valve covers and the inspection plate under the engine and taking a good look.
Non T, but many years ago I had a 35 Ford V8. It had so much sludge in the valve chamber I had to spoon it out to find the valve springs! It had a burnt valve when I got the car. I replaced the one valve and I used non detergent oil and the engine ran as long as I had the car.
Hal the pic on left was before I got car running the old oil looked clean. pic on right was after eather the second or third oil change with detergent oil 10-40 I wanted to see what it looked like after running
Aaron I think the sludge you find on modern cars is caused by water eather not getting hot enuf to burn off or not compleat combustion bad rings or valve guides. the newer cars you can wipe off the sludge with a rag on the old stuff it takes a putty knife.I do know that non det. oil will let the dirt settle out if let to sit long enuf how long? 5 years? 20 years? not sure. detergent oil never settles out leave it in barrel 25 years it is still dirty. if we had hyd lifters in a T it would be a problem! like Norman says carbon causes the sludge and I dont think it hurts our engines it is the grit that causes wear and with out a filter the only way is change it often
Paul, I can't help but think your second picture would look the same no matter what oil you had used. But I could be wrong. Just ask my wife.
Hal that pic on left was after car sat 70 years with out running I had my hand in there as far as I could feeling for play on triple gears my hand came out pretty clean. but after running eng and oil changes every thing is black and dirty. I know you cant drain all the old oil out by plug alone.My thought is the old oil settled all the sludge out to the bottom and the new oil loosened and spread it all over.I think if I would have took off pan hatch and wiped it out before starting it would be clean now. I think I will take off pan and trans covers and flush and brush with kerosene when I get the time
There is so little call for non-detergent oil in these parts I usually buy this when I go to see my brother-in-law I buy this http://www.ruralking.com/oil-all-fleet-30wt-motor-oil-2gal.html
comes to about 2.50 a quart.
and in Florida even in the winter there are still plenty of warm days.
Ford's advice was to use a medium light oil - that's SAE 20, so SAE 30 would be a tad heavy. I use 10W-40 and change every 750 miles as Ford said. YMMV.
I have been using Shell Rotella T in Model A's and T's and antique Tractors. Don't remember why but there was some reasoning at the time. Anyone know why this oil would be Good? Bad? or OK? Goes on sale a lot at TSC.
I just love "right" oil discussions. I am kinda of the opinion that there is not a really wrong oil and the only real choice is detergent or non-detergent. And how often to change. By engine run hours or calendar time.
A few years ago oil was going round and round then Bruce spoke up and said he thought 5-30 was to thin so he used 10w30.Shell Rotella is what most truckers use or so i'm told and i use it in everything now except the modern car cause i'm to fat to change that!! I think being cheap on oil is penny wise and pound foolish!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey,It's your money do what pleases you! Bud??
I have mentioned this before and will mention it again. I am no expert, but this is an observation about a 1988 Ford 1/2 pickup I have with a 300 CID six in it.
I bought it at an auction in 1996 with 34K miles on it. Most of the milage was put on at a corporate farm and it had been sitting for 2 years when I bought it. The first thing I did was pull the drain plug to change the oil. Nothing came out! I pulled the coil wire and the oil filter and cranked the engine over to "pump" the oil out.
After pumping 3+ quarts out I put on a new oil filter and put the drain plug back in. I also added 1 quart of oil and 3 quarts of ATF.
I then started the engine and let it idle for 30 min and changed the oil. I repeated this 3 times and then put 4 qts of oil in and one quart of ATF. After 50 miles it got another oil change.
I put 50K miles on it and then the oil pan started leaking. Dropped the pan and it was SPOTLESS! Clean No Sludge! The once grungy rocker arm assy was spotless! I don't know what I did wrong but between the ATF and the oil changes the engine de-sludged itself.
I don't know if detergent oil will de- sludge an engine, but in my case ATF shure did!!
An interesting publication I have been reading, published by Synlube, a 20 page report on 5w-30 and with out going into all their facts, the break down is.
You will get at best about 2% better fuel economy, but you may get up to 30% shorter engine life!
If you want the best possible "fuel economy" and also minimized engine wear, consider the use of better oil like: SAE 5W-50!
ATF will dissolve sludge. That has been a known fact.
It is also a little risky to run it in an engine.
Anyone who has been reading this forum should know that ATF mixed with acetone is by far the best penetrating oil you can get.
What Bill did with ATF I have seen done with diesel fuel with similar results, only they recommended not running the engine for more than 10 minutes at a time and per oil change.
The Shell Rotella was used because it still had zinc in it.
It no longer has zinc.
A T does not need zinc anyway. It is not a high performance engine with heavy valve springs.
Since '86 to '89 all push rod engines have gone to roller tappets so there are no flat tappet engines now except some overhead cam engines which have cam followers that can survive without zinc added to the oil.
I don't hear of many cams and lifters getting torn up like I did 8 to 10 years ago.
I think the oils have improved and people are more aware of the oil not having zinc so they either use oil with zinc or put in a zinc additive.
Diesel truck and equipment engines often take 44 qts per change so buy the barrel or bulk is the way to save on quality oil.These large engines are extreemly expensive so few owners are willing to take a chanch by being penny wise pound foolish!Bud.PS,Maybe a T does not need high quality oil but to save a couple of bucks are you willing to chanch it?? Bud.