Auto Parts Suppliers: The best MOTOR OIL for a Model T...

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2017: Auto Parts Suppliers: The best MOTOR OIL for a Model T...
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 07:22 am:

What is the best oil to put in a Model T?
We already know that everyone on the forum has an opinion but if you read this and say that you don't have an opinion then you're not actually ON the forum, you're just looking at it. Let's look for an answer to this question beyond ourselves. What do the major auto parts stores, in their online presence, have to say about the best motor oil for a Model T? We will explore eight of them in alphabetical order:

Advance Auto Parts
AutoZone
CarQuest Auto Parts
Federated Fisher Auto Parts
NAPA Auto Parts
PepBoys
O'Reilly Auto Parts
Walmart (perhaps a little thin on available parts)

First up is:
Advance Auto Parts
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After going to their web site, in the search blank, you type, "What is the best oil to put in a Model T?" It comes back with "No Results". We really shouldn't expect it to be this easy, should we? At this point we just have to enter the specifics of our vehicle. So you attempt put in the year of your T and you simply cannot. In fact they only go back as far as 1942. So, now what? Well, we will get as close as we can. 1942 it is. For the maker we will select "Ford" of course and then for model, how about "Super Deluxe". That should do it. With our vehicle now saved and listed on the web page we tell it to search for "motor oil". 88 results. Wait a minute! I want to know the best motor oil not all the possible options. What we can do now is just accept the "best match" listing, as is, and we jot down, let's say, the top three. Here they are:
1) Castrol GTX 5W-30 Conventional Motor Oil (1 Quart)
2) Valvoline Premium Conventional 5W30 Motor Oil
3) Castrol GTX 5W-30 High Mileage Motor Oil (5 Quart Jug)
According to Advance Auto Parts, the best motor oil to put in a T is 5W-30! (As long as it is a 1942 Model T.)

OK, let's try this again with:
AutoZone
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We go to the web page and don't even bother to ask, "What is the best oil to put in a Model T?" but just go straight to entering the vehicle info and ooo-laaa-laaa, we are twelve years closer with: 1930 Ford Model A 3.3L Carburetor 4cyl. Then we ask for "motor oil" and receive "209 Results". Oopsie, this is getting worse. However, we record the top four and see this:
1) Mobil High mileage engine oil SAE 5W-30 5 qt.
2) STP High mileage 5W-30 5 qt.
3) Pennzoil Platinum motor oil SAE 10W-30 5 qt.
4) Motorcraft Synthetic blend engine oil 5W-30 1 qt.
According to AutoZone, the best motor oil to put in a T is 5W-30! (Winner again.)

CarQuest Auto Parts
==============================
You go to the web site and can do nothing. It is a cameo appearance. Then you see a message that they were bought out by Advance Auto Parts with a link to go to their online store. I suppose they don't want to answer, "What is the best oil to put in a Model T?" Perhaps CarQuest does not want to get into a debate with Advance Auto Parts, their owner, about the best motor oil for a T. That would never happen. We must move on in our quest.

Federated Fisher Auto Parts
==============================
You go to the web site and can do nothing. Again, really? Let's not give up so easily. Ahah! there is a "Chemicals & Oil Products" link. Click it and you arrive at this message, "Fisher Auto Parts stocks hundreds of thousands of unique items. Below is a list of just some of the major brands we carry in this category." Observing this list, the first brand is "Amalie Oils & Greases". There is a link that takes us away from Federated Fisher Auto Parts but let's just roll with it, shall we. We can add a vehicle all the way back to 1886!!! Let's choose 1918 which is between 1908 and 1927. It's the same engine anyway? Don't answer that. We now have a "1918 Ford Model T" selected at last. Whew! But then the web site returns this info: "Amalie Product Recommendations for Your Vehicle:_______". It's blank, but we are getting closer.

Now to GPC, otherwise known as NAPA Auto Parts.
==============================
At the web site we can again enter the vehicle "1918 Ford Model T" but we soon get the message, "We found 0 exact fit products for your Ford Model T." It's not over, with vehicle still known by the web site we select "oil" and get, "Showing all 558 'oil' results in Not-Fitted/Universal Fit Parts." Wow, correct car, longest list, but we ignore all but the top three:
1) NAPA Universal Fleet Plus SAE 40 Motor Oil - 5 gal
2) Royal Purple Nitro Plus SAE 50 Motor Oil - 5 gal
3) Chevron Delo 400 SD 15W30 Motor Oil - 1 gal
According to NAPA Auto Parts, the best motor oil to put in a T is SAE 40!

Moving down the list of auto part suppliers we get to PepBoys.
==============================
The web site only goes back to 1962 and we are forced to settle for a FORD FALCON 6-144 2.4L. When we search for "motor oil" we get these top five options:
1) Mobil 1 Annual Protection 0W-20, 5 Quart
2) Mobil 1 Annual Protection 5W-20, 5 Quart
3) Mobil 1 Annual Protection 5W-30, 5 Quart
4) Royal Purple SAE 5W20 Full Synthetic Engine Oil, 5 Qt.
5) Royal Purple SAE 5W30 Full Synthetic Engine Oil, 5 Qt.
According to PepBoys, the best motor oil to put in a Falcon Model T is 0W-20!

Our last real parts supplier in the list is O'Reilly Auto Parts.
==============================
"1940 Ford Standard" is as close as we can get with our selected vehicle but they have an option for "Motor Oil - Vehicle Specific". Now isn't that grand! The oil bubble is quickly popped with the message, "We're sorry, no results were found." We know what to do. With entered vehicle, we click on "Motor oil" and see a list to choose from:
A) Full Synthetic
B) High Mileage
C) Conventional
D) Heavy Duty / Diesel
I don't want a list to choose from. I want O'Reilly Auto Parts to tell me, "What is the best oil to put in a Model T?" Well, we are forced to click on something to get past this hurdle so we have to pull "the authentic card" and go with "Conventional". As soon as we do, we are presented, yet again with another list to choose from:
Conventional - 10W
Conventional - 10W-30
Conventional - 10W-40
Conventional - 15W-40
Conventional - 20W-50
Conventional - 30W
Conventional - 40W
Conventional - 50W
Conventional - 5W-20
Conventional - 5W-30
Conventional - Non-Detergent
This is getting ugly but we have to pull "the authentic card" again and click on "Non-Detergent" and get 5 options:
1) Valvoline 30W
2) Pure Guard 30W
3) Pure Guard 10W
4) Pure Guard 50W
5) Pure Guard 40W
According to O'Reilly Auto Parts, the best motor oil to put in a 1940 Model T is 30W!

The last one: Walmart and we are going to have to get a little creative (not that we haven't already).
==============================
Aaarrrggg, cannot enter a vehicle online but we can enter a vehicle when we are in an actual retail store. Not fair. What's up with the online presence? OK, let's get serious, in the search blank we enter "ford model t" and it works!
1910 Ford Model T Tin Lizzie 1/32 Diecast Model Car by New Ray" Price $23.09
Let's try that again, searching for "ford model t motor oil". Why not? This is actually easier than the parts stores:
1) Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20 Motor Oil, 5 qt
2) Mobil 1 0W-40 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil, 5 qt.
3) Castrol GTX ULTRACLEAN 5W-30 Motor Oil, 5 QT. (Sponsored product)
What? Castrol bought their third place ranking as best Model T oil?
According to Walmart, the best motor oil to put in a 1910 Tin Lizzie is 0W-20!

So, there you have it, from all the experts. Since NAPA was the only online store to actually list a Model T, I suppose we should all go along with their first choice: "1) NAPA Universal Fleet Plus SAE 40 Motor Oil - 5 gal". What in the world?!?! Five Gallons of oil? Maybe NAPA really does know what's best for a Ford Model T.

Vern


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Charlie B actually in Toms River N.J. on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 08:11 am:

You sure have a gift of complicating things.... Asking a modern parts house data base for T info is like trying to tell the DMV your Touring has 3 doors and there's no "3" box on the form. Even the one that gave info was technically wrong. Non D 30 wt. is the correct answer but a lot of us don't use it anyway. Decent grade 10w-40 is OK with me others will chime in. KISS: keep it simple st***d. I wouldn't put junk in my modern & it's the same for a T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Robert Govoni Fredericksburg, VA on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 08:22 am:

Just got the counter and they will ask you if the car has AC?. If it's an automatic? front wheel drive. Etc.....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Rogers - South of the Adirondacks on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 08:47 am:

I spent 12 years working for one of the largest chains mentioned above and I can tell you unequivocally that all of their software and information provided is understandably geared towards the mass of vehicles that are currently on the road today because that's the business they're after.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Tim Eckensviller - Thunder Bay, ON on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 09:44 am:

As is often said, the very worst motor oil available today is equal to or better than what they used then.

What I would really like to see is a guide to how to find the best oil for your own use in your own car. There surely must be a way to 'read' the oil in your T to determine if you should go thicker, thinner, additives to looks for, etc. Eventually we should all be able to home in on what works the best for our individual situations.

In the meantime, I run the cheap stuff.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mack Cole ---- Earth on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 09:50 am:

You know,the mention of 3 doors not being on the DMV list is odd.GM pickup trucks, when they first had the opening door on the passenger rear for the extended cab are listed as 3 doors on titles and such.
When I redid the brakes on my 47 Pontiac I got everything I needed at Advance except I had to get another master cylinder used to over haul.

Frankly for oil,I use 30 weight ND but would Rather have a filter of some kind and use oil to keep the engine clean.
Which if you go to walmart to get 30 wight oil ND you have to go over to the section where the chain saw oil and stuff is,it is not with the other oils.And the local store does not keep but a few bottles. Same goes for 30 weight D oil,I had to make 2 trips to get 1 quart each time to change out the breakin oil from my fresh rebuilt lawnmower engine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john kuehn on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 09:54 am:

The cheap stuff in Wal-Mart, Dollar stores, Auto-Zone and other auto parts stores works well in ModelT's. I use 10w-30 (again the cheap stuff) and I'm happy with it. Henry would be amazed at the quality of cheap Wal-Mart oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 09:59 am:

I like the SAE 50 purple stuff.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:06 am:

Put in any on the shelf motor oil, 30w or 30w multi grade (viscosity needed, depending if you drive all year long including winter temperatures), {5w-, 10w-, 20w-}.... be it detergent or non-detergent.

Then drain and change that gallon of oil each 500-750 miles or each season if driven less. Use a transmission oil screen IMO too.




The above oils are superior to what the Ford owner used in the '20's.


(Artic rated winter oil, approx. 20w)

Like to remember my dad always telling the gas station attendant, "Fill 'er up with Ethyl and add 10w30 if the oil is low"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:14 am:

Oil is cheap but engines are not.If one can not find non d 30-wt try a building supply under roofing tar!Bud.PS,Anyone remember what Bruce said about oil?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Larry Smith, Lomita, California on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:24 am:

Well, I sure wouldn't put 50 wt. oil in any Model T I own, or have ever owned. Who would expect any auto parts counter man to know what kind of oil to put in a Model T anyway! They don't even know the candle power of a light bulb. Plus these cars haven't even been made for over 90 years. What a stupid post!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Steve Jelf, Parkerfield KS on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:39 am:

One of my favorite Dave Barry columns was about people he called humor-impaired. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jim Davis on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:44 am:

I remember in the 1950's when the service station would send a guy out on a Harley Davidson service cycle, attach the cycle with a coupler / trailer hitch to the back of the Captain's Packard and drive the car to the gas station for servicing, and then drive the car back when finished, and ride the service cycle back to the gas station. The Packard belonged to a next door neighbor who was a ship captain and could afford the special service, My Dad changed His own oil in a 37 Hudson Business Coup with a home made bench behind the front seat, nice place for a kid to take a nap.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Fred Dimock, Newfields NH, USA on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 10:52 am:

I remember putting used oil on the dirt road in front of a friends house to help keep the dust down!

Try doing that today and you will be spending time in jail.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:12 am:

Wow, Vern - you really did a LOT of research. Kinda fun just to see if these outfits even have a place for our Model Ts. Any road, their recommendations for any part or product has more to do with what will help their bottom line or what they have available than a completely objective assessment of them.

Here we are back to the oil discussion - always sort of fun in a perverse way ! One thing has been nagging at me. There are a few opinions that arise on our forum regularly enough and with enough support you could say they are our "party line". In the case of oil, it's always stated that :

"Any oil available today is FAR SUPERIOR to ANY oil that was available in the Model T era." -

I have no reason to gainsay this major "truth", but during the course of the 18 months since I joined the forum, it has never been fully explained in factual terms just how this is so. Anyone out there knowledgeable in petroleum chemistry and development who can explain what changes and progress have been made in motor oils in the last century ?? I'd be obliged, and I'll bet others would like to know as well.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dan Treace, North FL on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:44 am:

Rich

Guess one way would to find a can of "old" oil from the 20's (although shelf life can affect it) and do a test with modern SA rated oil, note that SA rating is now obsoleted for modern cars, and causes lots of issues, since most low-priced SA rated oil have no additives, and some are even made from re-cycled used oils!

That typical low price Wally brand or Dollar store 30w non-detergent SA rated is likely better maybe than the '20's, but still just a plain oil without additives may not be best for our T engines driven at typical tour speeds all day long during a weekly tour of 80-110 miles each day.

You have to make you own decision, as there are so many variables and one type won't fit, that's why the topic of oil for my T will never go away.

This site did a comparison with plain SA rated oil and found it failed in modern engine applications, that is why all modern engine mfg. state the oil rating and weight required by the engineering determined specifications for long life of their products.

http://www.autolub.info/pdf/ilsac_low_quality_oils_2004.pdf

Failure of SA rated oil.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:46 am:

I must agree with Larry.

The whole point was entertainment, tongue in cheek, trying to feed the trolls over the past few months who have been looking forward to another oil debate and yet present it as a psuedo-scientific survey. It was silly hard work, just for a kicks and the true results that I received are as bogus as can be. Don't anyone actually believe what was comically listed at top.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:57 am:

Vern, I "got" the joke, and indeed it was fun and entertaining !!
I don't know any "old car guy" who hasn't one time or another enjoyed getting the goat of a "modern" car guy by posing Model T questions in an "inappropriate" environment . . . ! ; )

Dan, I guess my curiosity stems from having personally bridged this gap. When I had my first T, "Havoline" still came in metal cans, was water-clear, and at least according to the minimal ad copy and information at the time, was touted as being the same formula it had always been. Don't know when it was introduced, but I've seen ads for it in '20s publications.

Engines have changed so dramatically in design and requirements the past 30 years it begs the question whether some of these oils (5 w ???) are really appropriate for a Model T. No question that the rpm, load ratings and heat ranges of the new stuff is far from the mark compared to a Model T.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By John Noonan - Norton, MA. on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 12:17 pm:

Vern, don't let it bother you, sometimes even the best of intentions will ultimately be frowned upon by someone. :-)




Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By john pawlowski - NE Pennsylvania on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 12:30 pm:

I still remember my father, who lived during the depression and served in the Navy in WWII,would go to the Times Square Store buy reconditioned oil and recapped tires. That's what he was used to. Only reason he stopped was when he couldn't buy them anymore. I always think about my father and what he would think about $3 dollars for "High Test"


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:04 pm:

Wow, I'm reading a lot of "cheap" guys using "cheap" oil....

One of our past presidents of the MTFCA, Fred Houston, did his study of engine oil and published findings in the Forum magazine years ago.

He concluded that the Model T engine lubrication system is similar to a 4 stroke motorcycle engine in as much the same oil lubricates the transmission and engine.

He ruled out oil formulations with friction modifiers and such since he found problems with transmission lubrication with them.

Basically, oil formulations today come in various viscosities and API ratings.

He suggested 10W30 or 10W40 weight oil with a API rating of SF.

Most posters I have read here will know of oil viscosity but know NOTHING of the API classifications and useage. If anyone reading this has questions, Google, don't reply to me.

Oh, by the way, Fred Houston recommended a multi-viscosity oil of 10W30 or 10W40 and API rating no higher than SF........ specifically any 4 stroke Motorcycle Oil, dino or synthetic.

I've been using 10W40 SF rated Mobil One Motorcycle Oil since engine rebuild in 2001.

That's what this "cheap" guy uses for oil...... and it's still "cheaper" than a engine rebuild... or a RADIATOR....lol ...CHUCKLE.

Bob J.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:12 pm:

Maybe it's time for our Forum Magazine editor to re-publish Fred Houston's oil findings....


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kenneth W DeLong on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:32 pm:

Good point Bob!! One of engine oil's jobs is cooling!! Now if the trolls and anals don't skin you! LOL Bud.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Perry Kete on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:44 pm:

I just take my shop vacuum and suck up the garage floor under the car where the oil ran out and put it back in. :-)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Terry & Sharon Miller, Westminster, CO on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:56 pm:

Perry,

Do you run it through a coffee filter first or just pour it right out of the vacuum cleaner?

Last time, I had a heck of a time getting that big vacuum can anywhere near the fill hole. Had to vacuum up most of the oil again.

Terry


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:57 pm:

Ken:

We're all in this together.... to share and educate.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Perry Kete on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 01:58 pm:

I strain it through my wife's panty hose and boy she really got mad the one time I tried it while she was still in them!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Terry & Sharon Miller, Westminster, CO on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 02:01 pm:

Perry, there's an idea I hadn't thought of. I'll have to try that one next time I see my wife in panty hose. That should be about the next blue moon. I think it should be about time to change the oil then.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 02:31 pm:

Click and Clack had something interesting to say:
https://www.cartalk.com/content/sg-sf-sm-sa-sb-sc-se-whats-it-mean-when-it-comes -oil
Basically, Use API SN, as it also covers the original SA (pre-1930).


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Jablonski on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 02:41 pm:

Vern:

Please research your misinformation before posting here.

API - SF oils have the most of anti-wear pressure additive for flat tappet lifter engines.

Isn't that whats in your T engine ????????????


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dean Kiefer - Adams, MN on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 03:41 pm:

At large Model T tours, after every one goes to bed I set buckets and pans under all the Model T's and early in the morning before they wake up I collect all the oil that dripped out over night. I get enough oil to last until next years tour. But now I'm hearing people are cheaping out on the quality of oil they are buying so I might have to rethink this procedure.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Conger - Wyoming on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 04:15 pm:

I don't think anyone felt that Vern was trying to educate us on oil to use. He even stated that it was for entertainment value in a later post.

His posts were no more misinformation than those suggesting we vacuum up the oil under our car and redeposit it or waiting for their wives to get out of their pantyhose before using it as a strainer. Sheesh.

I've been to LA twice and SanFran once, and since then, am now sure that pantyhose is not the exclusive domain of women. To suggest otherwise...now that would be misinformation!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Vern (Vieux Carre) on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 04:56 pm:

I think we are actually making progress in this adventure.

At 11:12, Rich asked for information about the claim that "any oil available today...". I respected Tom and Ray (RIP) back in the day when they were on the air, even if they were funny. So, my post is in reply to his question, link attached and I choose (so far) to believe that SN is better than SA. Now, if we can find evidence that SF is better than SM or SN then we can step even closer to that ultimate oil question. Hopefully, the research by Fred Houston was conducted when SN existed.

I have read on other threads where zinc (for engine break-in) could theoretically be a problem with the magneto and eventually short it out. In a similar project I became concerned about using JB Weld on an electronics part because of the iron content. So, I grabbed my VOM and checked for continuity across both wet and hardened JB Weld - nothing, at least it was OK for 12v. I never did retake the JB Weld experiment with higher voltages. With Zinc, I was going to run VOM probes to see if there was continuity (I doubt it and haven't tried yet.) If the magneto were DC voltage, I might be concerned about zinc ions collecting at the post.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Marty Bufalini - Grosse Pointe, MI on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 05:57 pm:

I use 20w50 and add about a half a quart to a quart of automatic transmission fluid.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rich Bingham, Blackfoot, Idaho on Friday, December 08, 2017 - 06:05 pm:

Vern, thanks for the link. I always enjoyed Click 'n' Clack when I had the chance to hear them, fun and informative !! Now besides learning what all the "S & M" letters mean, I also know what to put on my salad !!


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