Engine Oil Questions

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2015: Engine Oil Questions
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Wayne Jorgensen on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:15 pm:

I have owned my 1915 T for two years and I am about to try and start it for the first time.

I have not changed to oil, but the oil appears clean. I am not sure how old the oil is, but it is most likely 4 + years old.

Question 1: Should I change the oil now, before I try to start the car? Or should I start the car with the existing oil, and if it starts, let the car warm up, and then change the oil? The car is in a heated garage.

Question 2: What weight oil should I use? The car doesn't have a starter, so it will be hand cranked to start.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:35 pm:

Hi Wayne,

Oil is cheep - inexpensive - so I would change it before and after starting it.

I use 10 - 30 oil in the winter and 20-40 in the summer.

If you jack up a rear wheel and put it in neutral with the brake off it will be a lot easier to start.
Do it outside because smoke might be enough to kill every mosquito in the vicinity.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les VonNordheim on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:38 pm:

I would use 10-30 oil. You may need to jack up the rear right wheel to get it started depending on how much drag is in the clutch.
If non-detergent oil is in the car now.....it could look "Clean" after setting for 2 plus years.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:38 pm:

1 If the oil is clean, I'd go ahead and start it up. I doubt that four or five years of aging will matter.

2 All motor oils have to meet the same minimum standards to have the API label on them, so I would go with the least costly multi-grade available.



No need to pay extra for fancy advertising. 10W-30, 10W-40, 5W-40, all are OK. If there's a chance you might be starting outside in cold weather sometime, I'd go with a bottom number of 5.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Roger Karlsson, southern Sweden on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:39 pm:

If the oil looks clean and new, there's no need to change it. If you don't know how much it's been used, you may want to change it anyway after getting the engine hot and testing the bands, adjusting them etc.

Was the engine recently restored before you got it or is it a "survivor" that has been stored for ages?

You can't go wrong with 10w30 or 5w40 and change often, at least every 750 miles.
Ford recommended a "medium light" oil, and that would be compared to SAE20 weight today.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Duane Markuson on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:51 pm:

At the least I would take the oil drain plug out to make sure there isn't any water in the bottom of the oil pan. Just on screw it and let a little (hopefully oil) out ,remember oil floats on water.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John f. wilson on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 12:54 pm:

You might consider pulling the pan plug and draw a sample from the drain. Contaminants can settle to the bottom and the oil might appear clean at the top petcock,it wouldn't hurt to take a look there if you haven't already. There might be something that doesn't belong like wire pieces or babbit scraps. Good cranking.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dennis Seth - Ohio on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 01:16 pm:

Since it's been sitting for a while you may want to turn the engine over by hand to get some oil up in the cylinders or pull the spark plugs and add a few drops into each one.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 01:21 pm:

Oil does age esp sitting in the pan with what ever is in there along with moisture. Drain it and put in fresh. There are recommendations for how long to go between oil changes even in cars that are not run. By the way the oil in my 1948 Ford F2 looked clean too and it had been sitting for about 15 plus years! :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joe Schrepfer on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 02:53 pm:

You may want to consider getting some lubrication on the cylinder walls and pouring some oil over the bands. Dennis is ahead of me on some of this.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 03:10 pm:

10w-30 oil for me in my T's. I get mine at the Dollar store, Wal-Mart or the store grade at the auto parts store.

No need to spend extra for exotic, synthetic or hi-grade brand names oils.

My very humble opinion


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 03:18 pm:

Wayne, I would use Rotella 10w 30, it has some zinc in it. I use it in all my antique vehicles and used to use it when I driving cross country in my own rigs.

Happy motoring,

Warren



Shell Rotella T engine oil has been formulated to provide Triple Protection technology against wear, deposits and emissions. Shell Rotella T Triple Protection oil uses the latest additive technology to protect under the most severe engine conditions found in modern low emission engines.

Designed to provide responsive protection that continuously adapts to your driving conditions
Significantly improved deposit control compared to API CI-4 Plus engine oils
Significantly improved resistance to breakdown under high temperatures compared to API CI-4 Plus engine oils
Exclusive low ash formulation helps protect the exhaust catalysts and particulate filters found on the latest low emission vehicles
Suitable for virtually all modern low-emission, heavy-duty engines


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rick Goelz-Knoxville,TN on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 03:25 pm:

My engine builder recommends Rotella 30 for fresh rebuilds, Ron's Machine Shop in Ohio.

Rick


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Aaron Griffey, Hayward Ca. on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 05:38 pm:

If it has API Service SN on the container what gives you the idea that it has sink in it?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Burger in Spokane on Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 11:46 pm:

Why does this truck have a small bedpan mounted where the left headlight should be ?
Or is that a mock up of some anatomical part ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 01:01 am:

That's a Woodlight Headlamp, very rare nowadays. The idea was they would NOT shine glare onto oncoming drivers--however, they also didn't light the road very well, I'm told!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Constantine in Australia on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 02:00 am:


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:01 am:

Burger, Dave beat me to the correct answer, I am surprised that you did not know that.

I believe the location of that photo is US 10 (now I-90) at Snoqualmie Pass (which I have driven over many, many times), fifty miles inland from Seattle. Keeping this major east-west route plowed year round began only in 1931. Previously, snow in the Cascades meant a long detour through the (which I also run many, many times) Columbia River Gorge. Perhaps the novelty of a wintertime pass crossing called for photographic proof.
Did I mention (Fred Dimock & Dave Dufault) this was after doing my paper route and walking 10 miles to & from school, in a blinding snow storm or when it was raining horizontally or the roads were so hot you could fry a egg on them and up hill all the way!

Happy motoring,

Warren


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 08:00 am:

Warren...

walking 10 miles to & from school, in a blinding snow storm or when it was raining horizontally or the roads were so hot you could fry a egg on them and up hill all the way!

both ways??

See you at the meeting tonight.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 09:52 am:

I don't know how many times, but it has been many, that I have drained the oil from a long parked engine and the first thing I get is a lot of water. Oil left in a non running engine for years will allow the dirt and moisture to settle out. All that crud and water is heavier than oil. So the water is all collected in the bottom of the oil pan, waiting for you to let it out. The old oil appears to be perfectly clean - that is a deceiving thing about old oil.

If you start an engine with all that old oil, water and dirt in it then all that stuff can cause immediate engine damage. You do not want to do that!

You should jack the Model T up 5 - 6 inches in the front and put jack stands under the axle. Then drain all the old oil and water. Rinse out the engine with some kerosene or diesel fuel. Let it drain overnight, then reinstall the drain plug, let the car down on level ground, and remove the hogshead inspection door.

Pour a half gallon of the new oil in the hogshead door. Pour the other half gallon in the oil filler at the front of the engine.



Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 11:16 am:

Royce - I noticed something that seems odd to me,.....the 5th & 6th line down in the second article you posted. It says,...."The oil is drained out by removing the plug at the bottom of the crank case, and by cranking the engine." I'm wondering what benefit there would be in ....."cranking the engine." (???)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 11:21 am:

In thinking about that a bit more, maybe the thought there is that by cranking the engine, the crankshaft journals and the big end of the connecting rods might push a bit more oil out of the four troughs. Other than that, I just don't see a reason to "crank the engine". No big deal,...just seems "odd" to me,.....harold


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 11:43 am:

I am amending my first answer for the reasons stated by Royce and others. Change it before starting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 12:38 pm:

Yeah,....me too Steve! When I first saw the title of this thread, my thought was,....OH boy! Another thread on oil! How much more do we need to discuss oil, right? Well, this forum is fantastic in many ways, including the fact that no matter how much you think you know about a subject, there is always more to learn! I never thought about water from condensation collecting in the bottom of a crankcase, just from sitting for a long period of time. But as you said Steve, thanks to Royce and others, that's a little detail that I'll remember! (.....well,.....at my age,.....I'll TRY to remember!)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Reginald Urness on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 03:11 pm:

I have been using Shell Rotella*15w40 in my three t's. It is used in diesel engines and was recommended on the forum about two years ago.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Reginald Urness on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 03:20 pm:

I have been using Shell Rotella*T 15w40 in my three T's, with good luck. It is oil that is used in diesel engines. It was discussed on the forum about two years ago.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Severn - SE Texas on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 08:45 pm:

Reginald

Ditto. That Rotella 15W40 works great down here in the heat of Houston. I use it in both my cars.

Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Monday, December 07, 2015 - 09:04 pm:

If the car has been sitting for a while without cranking it over most of the oil should be out of the inspection pan. I would dump a qt in the front and let if flush the inspection pan, let it drain over night. Then after putting the drain plug back in dump the rest of the oil over the transmission through the opening.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Wednesday, December 09, 2015 - 01:36 am:

Mark, I'm confused(which ain't hard to do!), why would most of the oil be out of the inspection pan if the car has been sitting for a while? Where would it go? Am I missing something?(again, not hard to do!). Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 08:32 am:

Yes Dave,
Warren...

walking 10 miles to & from school, in a blinding snow storm or when it was raining horizontally or the roads were so hot you could fry a egg on them and up hill all the way!

both ways??

As well as the fact that we ( my older sister, brother and twin brother) had to cross Route 2 in Lexington (both ways) going to and coming home from Franklin School, with no traffic light or crossing guard!

Happy motoring,

Warren

ps: missed you at the meeting, but tried to eat enough for both of us, after all "what are friends for"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Coiro on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 09:06 am:

What Royce said.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave Dufault on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 09:06 am:

Thanks Warren.....for the answer, as well as the help with the cookies! After all, ALL the cookies must be eaten at each meeting, or else the next meeting will have fewer. (Learned from the Government - use up what was allotted to you, else next year's supply will be less).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By steven miller on Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 09:23 am:

I would be removing more than just a drain plug.
1. crank case inspection plate
2. transmission cover.
3. valve spring cover.
Clean out any sludge and inspect ..gaskets are cheap.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Adam Doleshal on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 12:20 pm:

4 quarts of fresh clean oil is less than $10. Why risk it?

As a matter of fact, if I had a Model T motor that was an "unknown quantity"; At the very least, I would drain all the oil, pull the inspection pan, inspect everything I can see, and clean out every bit of dirt, etc around the "horse-shoes" and at least reach my hand into the transmission sump as far as I could and feel around for anything "out of place" BEFORE I fill it with fresh oil and start it the first time.

It is not uncommon for a T to be put into storage because of a "catastrophic" issue (like a magnet clamp plate falling off, or "un-retrevable" band hardware). Then it sits in storage for 10 or 20 years until the owner forgets why he parked it (or dies) and the car is sold... The new owner gets it running and maybe drives it for several miles before the loose item is picked up and causes real damage...

Any old machine, if it has set idle for any extended length of time, should be fully inspected, internally cleaned, re-oiled, etc... Not just fired up to see what happens.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:02 pm:

Change the oil. Condensation or a very small leak of coolant into the cylinder or elsewhere can amount to quite a pool of water below the oil in 4 year time. If you change now, it will not circulate throughout the engine. I would even recommend pulling off the inspection plate under the crankcase and cleaning out the dips while checking the rod bearings just to be sure they are OK. It will be all right if you don't remove the inspection plate but at least put the front of the engine up higher than the back so that the oil in the dips can drain maybe even pour some oil in while it is up with the drain plug out so that the dips will drain out.

Then after you get the engine started and warmed up, you can check for knocks, misfiring etc. If you are lucky, it will run just fine.

You will probably also want to flush out the cooling system and put in clean anti-freeze solution.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 01:48 pm:

Like Dave, I couldn't make it to the meeting either.

I wonder if Warren as able to fit behind the steering wheel of his T after eating all those cookies ! :-)
He probably drank all the soda also!


I gotta tell you guys that the up hill walk was a lot steeper going home.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 03:08 pm:

I agree with Adam, it's best to check out everything you can before starting for the first time.

Happy motoring,

Warren

Sambuca, September 2009, he had been sitting there since 1996 just waiting for me to come along and take him home (sorry Bill).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jay on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 10:36 pm:

I read the above posts...I am a newbie and about to change oil...but...I am confused and am asking for clarification.

a...I checked Shell Rotella at the auto parts store. The container indicates for use with diesel engines. Did I check the wrong oil? Is there one for gasoline engines?

b...It was recommended to use non detergent oil but a googled article indicates that non detergent oil is used on engines such as on lawn mowers and not to be used for automobile engines.

c...Another recommendation was to use full synthetic oil because it is modern and has many additives but another recommendation contradicted this because it is too slick for the transmission.

d...what brand, weight and type oil do seasoned veteran Model T'ers use? Perhaps subjective but I need a start in the direction of the majority.

Many thanks.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Noonan - Norton, MA. on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 11:01 pm:

Jay, i use a fairly cheap detergent 10/30 and change it frequently. The problem is, if you don't know what the inside of your crankcase looks like as far as buildup of sludge is involved, detergent oil will start dissolving this and wreak havoc on your engine. Have you seen the inside of your engine to determine how gunked up it is inside?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 11:25 pm:

My dad was a refinery stillman for Shell, Pathfinder, and Union Oil from the twenties until he retired in 1965. He used to say,"It all comes out of the same pipe." He wasn't being literal, of course. What he was saying is that there's little difference between brands except the advertising. As I mentioned above, all brands have to meet the same standards to have the API seal on the container.



With that in mind, I go with the least costly house brand. I see no reason to pay extra for fancy advertising by any of the familiar big name brands. Living where winter temperatures occasionally get down to single digits and some days in summer reach 100 or more, I use 10W-30 or 10W-40, although I'm not likely to do much driving in single digits with an open car.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By samuel pine on Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 04:08 am:

I just serviced mine yesterday for winter and go
the extra step of dropping my 4 dip pan which
is clean as a whistle. My filter /screen also
spotless. I drained royal purple 20-40 been in
there a year & never added a drop. So now we
put 5-40 Rottella & maybe I'm dreaming but it
seams to run smoother & more pep. Forgive me,
but I can't understand why people put K Mart
cheap oil in a prize possession and use the best
in a rice burner? not me


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 05:54 am:

Fred, somehow I missed your friendly post just above mine:

I wonder if Warren as able to fit behind the steering wheel of his T after eating all those cookies ! :-)(not all some other members got to the table before I had a chance to)

He probably drank all the soda also!( yes and it gave me enough gas to get home on)

Have a very Merry Christmas,

Warren

ps: for more lies about me check this out: http://www.prewarcar.com/magazine/previous-features/ben-afflecks-new-movie-live- by-night-027825.html


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 08:33 am:

I live in farm country and almost everyone has a tremendous amount of money in their truck and tractor engines.Shell Rotella is the standard and the way to save money on oil is to either buy bulk or by the barrel.What did Henry say over one hundred years ago,buy the cheapest you can find?? Bud in farm country.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 12:04 pm:

The recommendation to use non-detergent was good for an old engine which had been run on non-detergent oil. This is because the deposits have settled all over the engine and the detergent might dislodge them and cause a problem. However if the engine has been rebuilt and detergent oil has been used ever since the rebuild, it will cause no problems and keep the engine cleaner. You still need to change the oil often, and this applies even to synthetic oils. The reason for the often change is that the dirt is carried in the oil and needs to be drained out. The engines in newer vehicles have full flow oil filters in which all the oil is forced through the filter before it goes through the engine. Even the lint screen or other type filter which might be adapted to fit a Model T only bypasses the majority of the oil will still go through the engine.

So to simplify things: If you don't know what type oil has been used in the engine or if you know that non-detergent has been used, continue to use non-detergent. But in a rebuilt engine or one which has only used detergent oil since it was rebuilt, use detergent oil.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Warren Henderson, Dunbarton, NH on Saturday, December 12, 2015 - 04:36 pm:

Norm, I thought that you had to use an oil filter when using detergent oil, because the filter collects the deposits in the oil as they go through the filter.

Happy motoring,

Warren

ps: The first oil filters were introduced in the early 1920s (Ernest Sweetland invented it and named if "Purolator," meaning "pure oil later.") Filters of many designs were offered as optional and aftermarket equipment for decades, but they didn't start showing up as standard equipment until the 1950s. These devices solved the contamination problem and allowed [relatively] extended periods of service for each oil change.


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