Seized engine - multigrade to blame?

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2016: Seized engine - multigrade to blame?
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett, Spalding United Kingdom on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 01:06 pm:

On the Saturday of Neil Tuckett's April Fools event we had a great day, looking at Lyndon Yorke's amazing collection of amphibious bikes and wicker cars (!) and enjoying a great pub lunch. Until the afternoon stop when I tried to crank the car to leave - locked solid, wouldn't budge. No alternative but to call on Pete Eldred in the vulture truck to take us back to base.

Talking to Pete on the way back he said they had a similar problem on one of the Scottish tours. On stripping the engine he found the trans was completely dry internally, no oil film on anything.

When Pete asked the oil company rep, he said that modern multigrade is so slippery it just falls off components when the motor stops. It's fine for a fully pumped system but for splash lube and things like the T trans, stick with an oil formulated for antique engines.

Next morning the car turned over as normal but I didn't take any chances, we loaded up and went home - this is the original open-valve block and it has been extensively metal-stitched following a broken crankshaft. so I treat it with kid-gloves. It's waiting a total stripdown. I have pulled the dip tray off the pan and looked in the top of the trans, no damage visible.

Now I can't remember what oil I put in last autumn. We were in the process of moving house and I was giving and throwing away half-used cans of oil etc wholesale, so I may have grabbed a can of synthetic multigrade instead of the straight 30 I usually use.

So did the oil all drain off, leaving the heat to rise in the trans shafts and bushings to the point that they locked up? Anyone else had this problem? Obviously I'll report when I strip the unit down.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Harold Schwendeman - Sumner,WA on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 01:40 pm:

....."he said that modern multigrade is so slippery it just falls off components when the motor stops."

Well, all I can say is that if that is the case, it's the first I've ever heard of it! However, there are many within this forum that know a lot more about oil than me, and I'm thinking that this thread will likely generate some interesting discussion!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 01:46 pm:

how long since the last overhaul? Sounds more like something was a bit tight to begin with and expanded to the point of locking. The engine would get hotter when cut off for a short time because the water is not going thru it.

The question of what type of oil to run in a T is a debate that will be going on till 3 past the end of time.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Norman T. Kling on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 01:58 pm:

I don't think it was the transmission. Also it might not have been completely seized up. You could not crank it. Did you try push starting it? I think it was too tight to crank but not seized. Ordinarily a seized engine would be running at the time and then began to slow down and finally stop abruptly.

Most likely, the parts are tight and the increased temperature from driving and then stopping caused the problem. I have never heard of multigrade oil causing that sort of problem.
Norm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Chaffin on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 02:16 pm:

I had a problem with multi grade oil. I do not remember the brand but I used it because I was out of non detergent and was in a hurry. Big mistake. The engine ran beautifully but after running for about a half hour the engine started missing. All of the valves were coated with a heavy film that caused the valves to stick in the guides and remain open. Wish I had recorded the brand but never used multi grade again.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 03:34 pm:

I don't remember using any single-weight oil in a T, and haven't had this problem. As for all the oil sliding off the works, the way oil is instantly slung all over everything when the car starts, I don't see how it would stay dry long enough to be a problem.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By lorenzo leon on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 03:48 pm:

there is an article on TINKERING TIPS 1 that Ted Aschman warns about synthetic multi grade oil , [If I remember]that it leaks away from engine parts fast because is so thin [drain off][think they call it ..me old]
Lorenzo


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 04:02 pm:

In my mind [Questionable at best] i see a vision of a witch doctor in a old Tarzan movie saying modern oil bad and we should use roofing tar!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 04:10 pm:

There must have been something else going on to cause the engine seizing. If multi grade was the cause there would have been a car collectors upheaval years ago.
I could maybe understand the multi grade thin synthetics running off the parts quickly because of the thinness. I wouldn't use synthetics in old low rpm engines anyway. The conventional multi grade oils have been around for years and years and worked fine in my old tractors and T's.

They are much better than the original oils used in the T era. I'll stick with the Dollar store and Wal-Mart 10W-30 and be happy.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kevin Whelihan Danbury, WI on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:03 pm:

I think I would be checking the oil funnel and the inside oil line for clogging that resulted in oil starvation. Considering the quality of the stuff they used back in the day, any modern oils are bound to be nicer to the engine. I use a high quality 10W-40 synthetic oil in mine engine (very minimal leakage) without issue. I also installed an outside oil line and transmission screen.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Michael Pawelek Brookshire, Texas on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:23 pm:

This last month I took my 1931 Slant Windshield 4 Door Sedan out of moth balls after sitting and not running for 8 years. As part of the clean up/ inspection I dropped the pan to check the lower end of the engine and found all the parts inside including the block and pan walls still had a slight film of oil on everything. I've always used a multi grade oil in all my older cars so if there was some present after 8 years I find it hard to believe you would have problems over one night.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett, Spalding United Kingdom on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:25 pm:

The motor was rebuilt several years ago and is just nicely bedded in, runs very sweet. Has a trans screen but no outside line. We've toured France twice, + various other trips, never had a problem with running hot even when the fanbelt kept falling off.
Like I said I will strip it down and see what I can find.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:31 pm:

"When Pete asked the oil company rep, he said that modern multigrade is so slippery it just falls off components when the motor stops."

HORSEFEATHERS. POPPYCOCK.

I have used only multigrade (petroleum, not synthetic) oil in Model Ts since the late 60s and no trouble yet.

As to the "so slippery" modern oil: Take a screwdriver and immerse the shaft in modern multigrade oil and then lay it on your bench. Come back to it a day later and pick it up by the shaft. Please let us know if the oil fell off and the shaft is dry and devoid of lubrication.

I am sorry for your troubles and do not intend to sound harsh. I just can not fathom how the oil is the culprit.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James J. Lyons III - West Virginia on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:46 pm:

I will not use multi-grade oil in any of my T's. I live in the mountains where you're always going up. It's very hard on your car. In any event, I found that with 10W-30, I had to adjust the rods every two years. I then learned that my Grandfather, back in the 50's, never used anything but straight 30W in his T's. I made the switch about 6 years ago, and haven't adjusted a single connecting rod since.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Lloid on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 05:47 pm:

I use modern oils in both my T s and my Model A s as well. No problems yet. Hopefully I will never have problems caused by oil. Tim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Frank van Ekeren (Australia) on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 06:36 pm:

Bill H,
Try some 30w in one spindle and 5w-30 in the other and then tell us which is on the shed floor in the morning!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 07:21 pm:

You've got to be kidding Jem! That is priceless......


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Colin Mavins Winnipeg,Canada on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 07:51 pm:

sounds to me like a tight engine and when it got hot it stuck when it cooled of you could crank it.My buddy car fresh 396 could drive all day but if you shut it off you have to wait a half hour. Once broke in it was fine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bill Harper - Keene, NH on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 08:11 pm:

Hi Frank,

It is good to see that a few drops of oil have fallen from the spindle as that ensures that lubrication really has reached the lower bushing. I sleep better at night knowing that the lower spindle bushings are receiving adequate lubrication. Oily Bill


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 10:01 pm:

So apparently I've been doing it wrong for 40 years!!
Been using synthetic for 15 now. Slowly converting to 15-40 synthetic diesel oil as it has more ZDDP (zinc compound). Kind of think I'll stay on my "program "


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By George n Los Angeles CA on Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 10:04 pm:

Piston rings gaped too tight ??


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mark Gregush Portland Oregon on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 12:02 am:

Go back and read his 5:25Pm posting.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By James A. Lightfoot on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 12:50 am:

Multi Viscosity oils have a dispersant additive, it's job is to carry particles to the filter. Since most Model T's do not use a filter. Napa 30 wt non-detergent is best used. I have used it for 35 years in my A's and T's with no adverse effects. I would not want metal or other particles running around in my engines, I prefer sludge in my pan. To each his own.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Stroud on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 03:14 am:

All I can say is WOW! If there is any oil that is so slippery that it just falls off and leaves components "dry", I'd have to see it. Even with a full pressure system, if the modern multigrade oil would "fall off components" when stopped, everything would be dry when the engine was started after setting for awhile. Ever heard of that? I don't think so. Even Diesel fuel will stay "oily" for some time. Sounds to me like you better find another oil company rep, or find out why the oil leaked out of the engine. I've heard some "tall tales" over the years, but this just about beats all of them. Not trying to be a smart A$$, but this just sounds like an oil rep that is trying to sell some other type of oil, or doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. I would love to meet him in person. Ask him to show some proof of this "theory". Sorry about the rant, but people like that just p##s me off! JMHO. Dave


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By gary hammond on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 06:50 am:

Engineer oil all you want- there is NO substitute for BODY and FILM THICKNESS. Synthetic oil is oil engineered to have the same size molecules to improve flow and thinner film, to improve internal slickness in modern close-tolerance engines (think energy savings). In an old large-tolerance engine, not balanced well, with a usual full load of passengers and cargo on a tour without a heavy-bodied oil the engine will be extremely hard on itself, requiring bearing takeups, etc. How many people complain about engine heatups and seizures with dyno oils? Not many. My observations only, not posted for debate. Gary


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jem Bowkett, Spalding United Kingdom on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 09:34 am:

Boy, oil is up there with water pumps and Kevlar for stirring this Forum! FWIW, I'm not convinced by anything until I get it stripped and find something that shows signs of seizure. Right now it turns easily and starts up, sounds fine. if it wasn't such a valuable block I'd be tempted to just change the oil and drive it, see if it happens again.

Just to repeat, it's a well run-in engine, doesn't boil up, was not short of oil, no blockage in the oil line, no shrapnel in the trans screen, the dips or the oil I drained out. I hope I find something obviously wrong, I hate mysteries.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 10:02 am:

With what is involved with this early engine i think your going the right direction with the tear down to find the cause!! I just bought a slightly used 2015 Ford pick up and Ford uses a syn/petro oil blend but i do not know the why? Please tell us what you find,and should you have the oil analyzed before anything? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dewey, N. California on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 12:03 pm:

As for Non-Detergent oil, if you live in California--good luck soon in finding ANY! Our wonderful legislature has outlawed the sales of it to "protect the consumer & the environment."
RIIIGHT. . . I'd like to know who paid for that bit of legislation.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 12:55 pm:

I am with Dave Stroud on this one unless it is an April fools joke and then I would say that Jem got ya all


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Dumas on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 01:34 pm:

Non detergent oil stays pretty and clean looking. You should use it if you want all the crud generated by the engine to remain inside. If you want the engine internals to stay clean use a detergent oil.

In any case, whatever oil you use today it's better oil than it was in the heyday of the Model T. If you use 4 quarts everything should work out fine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Les Schubert on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 01:40 pm:

Bud
If you want your 2015 Ford engine to last use the Ford spec synthetic oil. Also ONLY use OEM spark plugs


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 02:21 pm:

Les,That sounds like good advise to me!!I really like the truck so far!! Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Glen Chaffin on Sunday, May 01, 2016 - 05:23 pm:

Jim. It's not the oil. I can't believe no one has mentioned insufficient clearance on the pistons. This is the no. one reason for seized engines. Aluminum pistons need 4.5 to 5 thousands clearance.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By TT on Tuesday, May 03, 2016 - 02:29 am:

Hi

I use multigrade after trails with a couple of single grade as do many other do with no specific problems, i do not profess to be a T expert in anyway, but your problems I suggest seem deeper than just type of oil.

After a few discussions on this forum and a few local vintage car owners ( not Ts!) was advised to ensure it was formulated for wet clutches, which generally is motorcycle oil.

What I do know from years of riding different bikes is that non wet clutch oil is a different formula which means it does not 'grab' as well which can lead to hot/burnt out in extreme cases wet clutches, though on most performance bike they are pretty abused in any event! I do not profess to understand the differences technically.

I settled on Westway 10w30 semi synthetic motorcycle oil for the last change, much improved warm up and clutch/gearbox work and engage well hot and cold, this weight seems a good compromise for our British weather imo.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By JohnCodman on Friday, May 06, 2016 - 07:34 pm:

Modern oils are so much better then anything that was available when our T's were new that there is no comparison. Bill Harper is correct. The modern oils coat better, have much higher film strength, and have higher temperature capability. If the synthetic oil that I use will work well in a 600 HP supercar, (and it will) it will work just fine in a 20 hp four-banger.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Greg Adkisson on Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 09:01 pm:

Anyone other than TT using wet clutch motorcycle oil in their T?


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