Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

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Sjschmidtky
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Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Sjschmidtky » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:06 pm

Time to change the oil in my 23 touring car. I always thought non-detergent oil was a must (5W-30 for my climat), but just read an article that detergent oil is good for the car after all. What’s the consensus from the experts here?


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:18 pm

In 1976 in many circles, the prevailing wisdom was Non-detergent. In about 2006, with a little over 5000 total miles on the engine (oil changed religiously every 6 months), my dad burned a rod on his first organized tour...he made 7 only miles and was heart-sick. I opened the inspection plate on the bottom of the engine and it had 1 inch of goop on the pan, with 3 troughs cut through the goop by the rods. There was little if any liquid oil in the troughs. Overall, the engine was trashed. It was rebuilt again, and runs 15-40 Rotella. 12,000 miles on it since then without a moment's trouble or hint of goop.

Take your choice.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Erik Johnson » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:21 pm

Use 10W-30 or, if you like single weight, SAE HD-30 (detergent). If you are going to do winter driving, you could use 5W-30.

The only non-detergent oil you are going to find are single weight such as SAE 30 or SAE 40.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by A Whiteman » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:52 am

Umm, probably not a helpful reply - I find any oil works fine, it seems to keep running right out faster than any sediment can build up :o
(I am told 'ThreeBond" is a good sealant ;) )

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Dan B » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:37 am

Here is a great article on the subject.

https://modeltfordfix.com/care-and-feed ... el-t-ford/
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Gonenorth » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:53 am

There really is no "best" oil for your Model T. Its more a question of preference, and some oils containing friction reducers should probably be avoided. Any good quality multi-grade or straight grade (in warmer temps) will work fine. Yes, detergent oils are better than non-detergent oils particularly is you have a rebuilt engine with clean internals. Considering the lubricants used "back in the day" our cars are loving the stuff we feed them now regardless of brand.


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by John kuehn » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:19 am

As stated above any good detergent 10w30, 5w30, or something in that range is way better than what was available in Henry’s era. The house brand oil from the dollar store, Auto-zone or Walmart works just fine for me. And by the way using the screen oil filter that goes under the transmission cover door is a cheap investment. It really does work and an aftermarket item the Ford should have thought of! My opinion of course!


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by R.V.Anderson » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:07 am

The point about today's cheapest oils being better than yesterday's best is pretty accurate. I use straight 30 weight in my '14 as I remember once reading from an authoritative source that today's multi-weight oils are about 1/3 non-lubricating additives.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by KirkieP » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:21 am

I use Rotella 30 wt. It comes in a gal jug and I can recycle the old oil in the same jug.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by TeveS-Nor Cal » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:16 pm

The cheapest! My local Tru-Value Hardware store just had their Master Mechanic oil on sale for $1.99.Got a years plus waiting to be used


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:36 pm

I often wonder how many Model T engine shops recommend using the cheapest oil possible, in their new $6000 engine/transmission.

It is true that most motor oils today are "better" than what was offered in 1920, even generic oil (usually). However, Model T's did not typically drive 35MPH for hours on end in 1920, either. Operating environs and circumstances are so different that to believe the cheapest oil possible will protect today's car better than a period oil did in the day, is making an assumption based on very disparate and certainly unprovable criteria. I believe that Model T's used on modern roads greatly benefit from a quality oil. I don't begrudge anyone using an oil viscosity or brand different than me, but I sure would not ever run the "cheapest" oil in any of my cars, nor would I personally advocate anyone else do it.

This is a phenomenon unique to Model Ts, I think. I have never read a blog, article, or talked to an owner of a 1910 Rolls Royce or other similar auto, who advocated the use of the very cheapest oil they could find.

To each his own, I suppose.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Susanne » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:53 pm

Detergent oil is fine - it helps flush out all the carbonized crud from your crankcase.

I've run straight 30 detergent in Angel forever (or since she's been in the family), with one exception when I couldn't find it, I ran 15-40 (and held my breath!)... but all in all, it's not going to kill your car (or shouldn't) either way...

I DO disagree with "run the cheapest possible". Just because what's made now is better than what was made in the 20's doesn't mean you should run the cheapest you can get - I'm kind of in favor of using the best tech available when it comes to lubricant. YMMV. Yes, even IN my 103 year old car.

After all, I wouldn't run Coleman Fuel or white gas in my car even though it's better than the cracked stretched fractions they were selling as (allegedly) gasoline in the 20's...

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Oldav8tor » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:41 pm

Oil is the cheapest thing you put in your car but one of the most important. Use a good quality, multigrade detergent oil and change it frequently. Like Scott, I'm a fan of Shell Rotella 15w40 in all my older vehicles.

I remember a few years ago when my aircraft mechanic showed me a plane where the owner decided to save a few bucks by running cheap automotive oil instead of the proper ashless dispersant aircraft oil. Trashed a $20,000 engine.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Moxie26 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:40 am

Our engines share the same lubricant as motorcycles...... the same oil lubricates the engine and transmission. This was expressed years ago by one of our past MTFCA Presidents.... Fred Houston ( R.I.P. ).

Oil blend for motorcycles are formulated to withstand more heat . Viscosity ??? Fred recommended 10W40 pr 15W40.... Synthetic or dino oil ???? your choice. After engine re-build , I decided to use Mobil ! synthetic 4 stroke motorcycle oil. Insides have no discolorations, no sludge, no deposits of any kind. Just relined trans bands with wood liners and changed oil.

As was mentioned, how many vintage Rolls Royce owners brag they use today's cheapest oil since it's better than oil "in the day " ??????? Price vs quality ??? and what value do you see for your money spent ?? It's your decision.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:41 am

Let's go shopping. Just so we'll be comparing apples to apples, we'll restrict our choices to conventional 10W-30 motor oils. Here's are some we find at Walmart.

1 quart Chevron....................$4.42
1 quart Pennzoil....................$4.68
1 quart Quaker State.............$4.24
1 quart Valvoline...................$4.47
1 quart Super Tech................$2.78

These all have the API certification mark (Starburst) on the container. https://agriculture.mo.gov/weights/fuel ... icants.pdf

Which one is best?
Why is it better than the others?
Are any of them unacceptable? Why?
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Moxie26 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:12 pm

:) ........ Like I said Steve, it's your choice...... As long as you see the value in the amount that you spend.


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by John kuehn » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:37 pm

So what kind of oil did the high range autos come with from the factory way back when. Makers such a Packard, Winton, Rolls Royce and other high end makers must have used what was avaliable on the market. So was the oil Ford used a lower grade to keep the cost down in production?


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:00 pm

John, I speak only for myself when I say that in my opinion, all automakers used what was on the market. I know of no manufacturer who claimed to cut costs with their oil. My point is only this: I have never heard an owner of a Ghost or other similar car brag that he/she put in the cheapest oil they could find, after spending $10,000-$20000 rebuilding the engine. That level of penuriousness seems solely the realm of Model T owners, and the justification typically put forth borders on the ludicrous.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by gcomo » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:49 am

After all of the time and money that
I have invested in my restoration, the last thing I’m going to skimp on is oil.


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Randall strickland » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:07 am

This fellow does some testing of oil
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0OL8DEb-MA

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by TWrenn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:41 pm

Only problem is from the video, while synthetics have their place from what I've read they don't do too well in a model T. Has to do with the bands slipping too much. Makes sense to me. The "other trouble" is, some day straight oil may be extremely hard to find. And maybe (hopefully) not. For now I stick with good old Rotella. Its pretty cheap at Menards and Rural King and has a better concentration of zinc and phosphorus too. Thats another forum argument!


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Hal » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:49 pm

Steve,
I suspect you are right. As long as the oil meets the standard, I think you are fine. However, I doubt you will win the argument. I'd bet most T owners buy what is on sale, or what is available when needed, but probably won't admit in public, lest they be accused of not taking care of their car.

I try not to shop at Wal-Mart, so i do not use their brand of oil. I use NAPA oil. It is made by Valvoline. I suspect Wal-Mart oil is made by someone who makes another better known , dare I say "better regarded", oil. It'd be funny if we found out it was made by the same folks that make Rotella.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:16 pm

As long as the oil meets the standard, I think you are fine.

I found some interesting info on house brands here: https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/u ... Super_Tech_

I've always suspected the reason for the notable cost difference has to do with big advertising budgets or the lack thereof. Ray H in So Cal seems to agree:


"The only problem with SuperTech motor oil is that WalMart doesn't promote "image" by packaging it in macho designer bottles with hex-head caps, scent the product with extract of fruity candy, or spend lavishly on TV ads touting their motor oils' use at Le Mans, Indianapolis, the Pike's Peak Hill Climb, the annual Soap Box Derby, and as original factory lube for Schuco clockwork car repros, Cracker Jacks clicker toys, etc."

So far nobody has explained why an oil that meets the API standards is inferior to other oils which meet the API standards. Lots of folks imply that, but I'm waiting to see evidence that backs up the implication. I'm perfectly willing to buy one of the big name brands when empirical evidence persuades me of its superiority.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:10 pm

There are many classifications that make up "API standards". Each is for a specific use, so saying you use "motor oil that meets API standards" is meaningless unless it makes you sleep better, and I suppose there is value in that.

If I want to slip and fall down on a concrete floor, any oil will do...if I wish to protect my engine with some certainty, I use known oil with atributes I desire, in a viscosity of my choosing.

http://www.pqiamerica.com/Labels.htm
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Original Smith » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:44 pm

I buy Valvoline 15w-40 diesel oil at Walmart. It comes in a gallon jug, and is the right amount for a T. Detergent oil will not attack the bands like we used to think back in the '60s. It keeps the engine clean.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:37 pm

Scott, thanks for the excellent link. If I understand correctly what I read, it confirms what I thought: 1 The API sunburst shows that the oil has been rated by the American Petroleum Institute; 2 The API donut on the container tells the characteristics of that oil. I looked at oil on the shelves at a couple of local stores. Here's what I found.

IMG_3114 copy.JPG
IMG_3116 copy.JPG
IMG_3118 copy.JPG
IMG_3120 copy.JPG
IMG_3122 copy.JPG
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:43 pm

IMG_3124 copy.JPG
IMG_3131 copy.JPG

Based on the information provided by the API, which of these seven is best? Why? Is there any we shouldn't use? Why? If the API donut isn't enough, what criteria should we use in choosing an oil?
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:35 am

Steve

The API donut tells you which classification the oil within meets. All of the ones you posted are SN or SN plus. Based on those posted, the SN Plus is the "latest" in rated oil. Considering the extra oxidation protection, etc., that SN and SN Plus offers, I personally would be fine using either.

What folks don't realize when they say they paid "$1.99" for their oil and that it is "better than oil back in the day", they are likely purchasing severely under-rated oil, which is available in many places. Yes, it is probably better than oil in the 1920's, but perhaps only barely (and maybe not at all). All oil is NOT created the same, is not categorized the same, and usually the lack of quality/superiority is reflected in the price.

One final link to show the differences in ratings: http://www.pqiamerica.com/apiserviceclass.htm

Note: just because a classification is listed "obsolete" does not mean oil is no longer produced to this classification...it definitely is still produced.

I am as big of a bargain hunter as there is. I just recognize that because something is cheap, that doesn't mean it's a good deal or even a good idea. However, I doubt this will sway many who are simply determined to spend as little as possible on their oil. The bottom line, is they are buying on emotion, with little regard of facts.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:18 am

Yes, I read that page when I looked at the previous link. Based on the donut info, I surmise that all the oils I checked would be OK, and that #2, #3, and #7 (SN PLUS) would be the best. Here are the containers bearing the seven donuts pictured above.

IMG_3113 copy.JPG
IMG_3115 copy.JPG
IMG_3117 copy.JPG
IMG_3119 copy.JPG
IMG_3121 copy.JPG
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:22 am

IMG_3123 copy.JPG
I meant to include just conventional oils, but I see that this one is synthetic.

IMG_3126 copy.JPG
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by John kuehn » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:06 am

I base what I buy on common sense not emotion. The Model T’s I have don’t run at NASCAR or have engines that turn 6000-8000 RPM plus. Not sure if any one one on this forum do. Maybe some do I don’t know.
I would use an economical 10-W30 detergent oil or similar knowing my T’s are not running at NASCAR next week and be happy.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by TRDxB2 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:53 am

Yet another thread on the same subject....
Proper understanding of the difference between "non-detergent" and "detergent" oil. "Non-detergent" oil was used before oil filters became standard equipment. This type of oil causes contaminants to form the sludge that appears in the bottom of the oil pan and sometimes on the walls of the engine. Changing this oil may/may not drain all the sludge, so it is necessary to drop the oil pan and clean it from time to time. "Detergent" oil was designed to put the contaminants in suspension so they could be captured in an Oil Filter. It seems logical that if you change oil regularly "detergent" oil is the way to go. HOWEVER, if you are really concerned with "what oil?", you should plan on dropping the oil pan cover first to see how much sludge is there and clean it out before you use it. There are reports of how "detergent" oil loosened sludge build-up from an engine that had run on "non-detergent" oil and caused an engine to fail. But it should be realized that the sludge was there to start with and regardless of what oil type was used and if it got loosened sooner or later the sludge would do its damage. Using the "best oil" and changing the it based on mileage and seasonality is only part of what is need to keep the inside of your engine clean. My point is - how many of you have looked to see if there is sludge in your pan?


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Hal » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:28 pm

No need. Mine was clean when I assembled it and has had nothing but detergent oil since. :D


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Scott_Conger » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:07 pm

Frank

I can state with certainty that I do check the engine and agree it is excellent advice. Ever since my experience years ago with my father's T, every T I purchase or do significant work on, gets the inspection plate dropped and everything wiped down. It is remarkable how an old engine will dirty up new oil if this is not done. If it IS done, the oil will remain golden throughout its life so long as "life" is 500-1000 miles.

Here is a hint that everyone should do with a new-to-them T: pull the front passenger bolt (cap screw) on the inspection pan. Place an oil catch under it. Start the car. If oil doesn't pour out of this hole, your funnel is partly or completely blocked.

I purchased a car which kept loosening #1 rod (all rods were increadibly loose as purchased, and reset, but #1 just would not stay put)...when putting new bands in, I saw the funnel full of oil...UH-OH!! The mag post oiler was the only thing keeping that engine from destruction, and that was just barely. Ever since then, this oil-flow check is performed on any car I plan to purchase BEFORE $$ trade hands.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Hal » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:42 am

I can see where some might think if the price is low, then the product may be inferior due to the manufacturer cutting corners, etc. But let me play devil's advocate for a minute. If the price is high, why would someone assume the product is better? I've had good wine that was $4 a bottle and bad wine that was $25.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:20 am

I got my head handed to me a while back when I questioned "the cheapest I can find". There's a lot of guys out there that seem to enjoy experimenting with their T's. Engine oils, diff lubes, various coolant types, etc. Either their doing it or telling other's their doing it. I constantly ask when ever this comes up: do you do the same thing with your modern? If not why? 5W-30 to answer your question and not the cheapest either.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Hal » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:13 pm

As much as I hate to admit it, I don't change my own oil anymore. I just don't have as much time as I used to and find other things to do with what little I do have, so........Mine gets changed at our local tire shop and I have no idea what brand they put it in it. I have nearly 200,000 miles on both my 2013 F-150 and my 2014 Focus. I expect them both to go at least another 100,000 if not two. Am I just BS'ing myself?


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by HaroldRJr » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:02 pm

Hal - I can "relate"! Actually, changing the oil in a Model T is very quick and easy to do, as you don't even have an oil filter to bother with! The thing that makes the job time-consuming, and just plain awkward and miserable is,....what to do with the drain oil, right? My Dad used to use drain oil to hold down the dust problem on the gravel road that passed in front of the house before the road was finally paved years ago. Today however, that would be considered a "horrible" ecological "sin", but then I never could figure that one out, because really, what actually "IS" asphalt, right?

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Steve Jelf
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:20 pm

If price is the best indication of quality, it's easy to decide which oil to use. Buy the one with the highest price. :)
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:27 pm

....what to do with the drain oil...?
I dump it in a five gallon plastic jug. When the jug is full I take it to the local O'Reilly for recycling. I expect other parts outfits would take it too.
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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Hal » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:43 pm

Ahh, the advantages of living in the county. I have to take my trash to one of the county's "Convenience Centers". They have a compactor for household garbage, 3 or 4 open tops for scrap metal, appliances, old furniture, etc., a cardboard bin for boxes, and a used oil receptacle. I used to take it to the auto parts, but they don't act like they like it, especially if you don't buy something (regardless of how much you spend there other times). I like that I can take it to the "dump", as we call it, although it is NOT the dump, and is actually very well kept.

Just to clarify, I still change the oil in my antiques. It's my modern vehicles that I pay to have it changed. I put 3200 miles a month just going back and to to work. Oil changes come often.


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Moxie26 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:42 pm

Steve Jelf .... didn't you have a serious problem running 0- w20 viscosity oil on one of your trips ??????????? Viscosity and ratings are two different qualities of modern oils. I 've been using motorcycle oil with 15-w40 viscosity for years with no problems. This oil was strongly suggested by Fred Houston, a past president of the MTFCA, since the same oil lubricates the engine and transmission , as in in 4 stroke motorcycles. It also holds up in high heat conditions present in the Model T engine/transmission.My choice is Mobil One 4 stroke Motorcycle Oil, 15W30 weight.


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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Moxie26 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:09 pm

Excuse the typo...... should read 15W40 weight.

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Re: Best oil, I’m almost afraid to ask...

Post by Steve Jelf » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:56 pm

.... didn't you have a serious problem running 0- w20 viscosity oil on one of your trips ???????????

Yes, I did. It was actually 5W-20. Having read that Ford recommended 20 weight oil, I mistakenly thought 5W-20 would be the same. It's actually a much lighter weight oil, and may have been a contributing factor in my rod failure. Loss of oil through a bad leak didn't help, and may have been the main cause of trouble.

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