I know I have seen oil discussed on here before but I just need to know what you would use in a T motor that I know nothing about. I couldn't say if it's engine has been rebuilt ever. In saying that it's quiet, no smoke no knocks. So does sae 30 sound like what I should put in it or?? or what came in a Model T? Thanks in advance Tim
10-30 or 10-40 detergent and change it often. Pull the valve cover and inspection plate off, clean and check. You will need the gaskets.
Originally Ford used oil equivalent to what we today call SAE 20.
Any oil that you buy at the store is better than what Ford used.
In Georgia I would use the cheapest 5W-30 that I could find year round, regardless of what anyone used in the car previously.
Lately Peak motor oil has been on sale around here at $15 for a 5 quart jug of 5W-30.
You'll get many various opinions on this. I use SAE 30. We live in the CA Central Valley, so compared to many places our winters are mild and summers are hot. Some folks change the oil used seasonally but I have not found it necessary.
I use 30 W non detergent SB by Shell. Many engine builders say that detergent oil eats babbitt. If an engine does not have an oil filter the detergent oil suspends particles and there is nothing to filter them out. Oil in model T's had to be changed only after 500 miles so the sludge would not build up. Check out- pqiamerica.com
Bearings in every car made today are still Babbitt. So anyone who believes that oil eats Babbitt is confused.
I found that when I use single-weight oil, my car creeps forward on start-up. _It doesn't do that when I use 5 or 10W30. _My preference is for the detergent kind because I figure it's better do drain the dirt out when changing oil than it is to leave it in the engine.
At fully heated engine operating temperature, there is no difference between SAE30 and 5W-30. BUT at start-up and warm-up, 5W-30 is low viscosity, and SAE30 is high viscosity. You do not want high viscosity oil at start-up and warm-up. The oil will not get to where it is needed. Most of the cumulative wear on any engine happens during start-up and warm-up. So 5W-30 gives you both of what you need - low viscosity at start up, and higher viscosity at normal operating temperatures.
Detergent is the way to go, normally. But you said you don't know the history of the engine. If it has always run on non-detergent oil in its past, and has it in there now, to switch to detergent oil now will mobilize all the gunk and sludge which is presently stuck on the walls. That would not be good. I would recommend you pull the pan and take a look-see to confirm what oil has been running in the engine. If it is non-detergent, you will easily see tons of gunk and sludge build up on the walls and surfaces. If it is detergent, it will be clean. If you find everything clean, go back with detergent oil. If you find everything gunked up, either go back with non-detergent to salvage what you have, or rebuild to clean everything up and then switch to detergent.
Whenever there is a discussion about 'what oil?' for our T's, I'm reminded of something my Dad had said: "Don't use detergent oil because it will glaze the bands." Knowing we now have different materials (and oils) available with those bands, does the choice of that band composition make a difference? Any experiences? I've always used a straight 20W oil because of what he had mentioned, and his old TT has kept on tickin... Thanks for any input.
I have used 10W30 or 10W40 whichever was on sale for the last 30+ years and haven't had any oil related failures. It's all better than the stuff used back then. Keep the level up in range and change it fairly frequently and all should be fine. None of the currently used motor oils will hurt your bands or babbitt.
What Richard in Dallas said!!
10-30 10-40 even 5-20.
If you are concerned about switching from non-detergent to detergent you can always wash things out with kerosene before switching.
Pennzoil in the late 1950's and all through the 1960's had a consumer education campaign designed to teach consumers about the advantages of multi viscosity and detergent oils. Popular Mechanix and Popular Science magazines had a Pennzoil two page ad every month on the subject.
One of the old wives tales that was discussed every year that was floating around was exactly what Richard has said - that some horrible something would happen if you were to use non detergent oil in an engine that had previously only used detergent oil. Pennzoil's engineers had proven that there was no danger, and they also proved that there were immediate benefits to using detergent oil.
Alas, the program was not that effective, and there are still holdouts who are unconvinced by science.
And here is a link to a July 1977 Popular Science article where a reader was asking Pennzoil about switching to detergent oil in an old car previously run with non-detergent, and the Pennzoil "expert" said don't do it unless you clean inside your engine first. Perhaps the '77 Popular Science and Pennzoil crowd did not get the prior memo. In a brief search I also found a reference to Texaco saying the same thing.
https://books.google.com/books?id=LAEAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA55&lpg=PA55&dq=changing+old+ engine+from+non+detergent+oil+to+detergent+oil+pennzoil+chrysler+152,000+miles&s ource=bl&ots=_n_oUDa_DS&sig=sDslZ7D2ymyQmgKKAiYwlDcHvrI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi4 j5SL4r7LAhVJ0GMKHcbjAtUQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=changing%20old%20engine%20from%20no n%20detergent%20oil%20to%20detergent%20oil%20pennzoil%20chrysler%20152%2C000%20m iles&f=false
I think it is more likely a case where, as most contentious subjects go, both amateurs and experts alike fall on both sides. We could spend the next two weeks researching old expert opinions about making the switch without cleaning first, and I'd bet it'd be pretty close to 50-50. We have to decide for ourselves.
Don't get me wrong. I believe non-detergent oils are as a bad as the devil's toenail, and if I had an old engine with it in it, I would rebuild it for the sole purpose of cleaning the sludge out of it and putting it on modern oil. But for those less inclined to do deep engine surgery, I can't in good conscience recommend that they put a detergent oil specifically designed to mobilize and disperse contaminants into a heavily contaminated engine until which time they are prepared for at least the possibility of surgery.
So if one concedes to doing a 'clean out' before going to the multi-viscosity oil... use just the kerosene straight or mixed? How much (if any) run time? Simple questions, but I've never tried that before. Things have been fine, but I'd still rather be pro-active instead of re-active. And, to not fix it if it's not broke! (As a British friend once mentioned: "It meigh be too late to remembuh that your ahbjective was to drain the swamp, wehn you ahr up to your arse in ahley-gators!") Thanks.
I ended up pulling the valve cover with plans of cleaning it but it was very clean with no sludge or build up of any type. I went ahead put the 10-30 oil in it and drove it about 20 miles. It all seems fine and i appreciate all of the information and opinions. Thanks to all. Tim
I was thinking about using some motorcycle oil (Hondaline 4-stroke) in my T. Good quality oil and made to be used with a "wet" clutch. Was going to do it in my next oil change to see if it had any effect on my transmission bands. But alas, somebody made me an offer I couldn't refuse for my T. So now I need to get another T before I can try it.
Has anyone out there tried motorcycle oil?
Royce has a history of spewing misinformation as authoritative truth ("there are still holdouts who are unconvinced by science"). Worse, he doesn't acknowledge his mistake despite solid supporting references affirming he is wrong in my experience.
Thank you for setting the record straight Richard, by citing the supporting references to your post on oil so others are not led astray by misinformation.
Why waste your money with motorcycle oil? They don't use cotton, kevlar or wood for clutch material. In my bikes I run Rotella 15w-40 so go figure.
Just use regular 5w whatever will do fine for your t. Supertech oil by Walmart is cost effective and a good oil for the price.
There might be an argument for using motorcycle oil because most of it is wet clutch compatible. Motor oils labelled "energy conserving" have friction modifiers that may not be the best for band material. That being said, I have never run energy conserving oil in a Model T to know for sure. anyone out there using oil labelled "energy conserving" in their Model T? If so, any issues with it?