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Old 02-21-2021, 02:26 PM   #1
clo2jim
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Default Synthetic Oil for Model A

I am currently cleaning out some sludge in the oil pan for my Town Sedan. I have been using Pennzoil 5W30 oil. Last oil change showed that I had sludge in the oil pan. I range from 23 to 230 miles per year on this car. I usually change oil once per year.



I am thinking of switching to Mobil I Synthetic Oil to get away from the sludge problems.


What are your thought on the use of Synthetic Oil in a Model A engine.


Thanks from snowy Northern Ontario Canada
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Old 02-21-2021, 02:47 PM   #2
Kurt in NJ
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

I have seen modern synthetic oil all its life engines sludge up too, short trips, bad thermostat,mixture problems, do you use a thermostat? , drive till oil is up to temperature to boil off condensation, get fuel mileage over 17?
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Old 02-21-2021, 03:06 PM   #3
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Unless you drop the pan and open the valve galley up and remove the existing sludge it's stilll going to be there. Lot of work IMO opinion for only driving what you do. JMO
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Old 02-21-2021, 04:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

100 years ago, the standard recommendation when changing oil was to fill the crankcase with kerosene and run the engine until all the sludge was dissolved. Then drain out the kerosene and fill the crankcase with fresh oil. One trick I used to do with my Model T was to jack up the front end or run the front of the car up a ramp to drain out the oil in the rod pans. I am sure not everyone will agree with the kerosene method. Otherwise, use a good grade of multi grade detergent oil and run the car non stop for 100 mile, drain out that oil and fill with fresh. For the 100 miles, if cold out, cover part of the radiator to really warm up the engine. Or put in a 160 degree thermostat.
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Old 02-21-2021, 05:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

No Thermostat


Never measured fuel mileage. Only put 1,900 mile on it since I got it in 2009.


I do know short trips does not help


Thank-you for all the comments so far.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

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The thermostat would help a lot. It did on my A and especially on the V8 that had a lot of sludge when I bought it 5 years ago. No oil filter but I’ve made it a practice to change the oil every 350-500 miles, done it 12 times now and there’s no sludge that I can feel through the very large oil drain hole. But that doesn’t answer your question....I use Rotella 15-40 in my cars and feel the synthetic might not make any difference. Frequent changes and a warm engine should help. Others will definitely have differing opinions.
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Old 02-21-2021, 06:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

I have been using 20w-50 HD for many, many years. Only drive 150 to 200 miles per year. Last time I dropped the oil pan, no sludge at all. Just a very light film of what might have become sludge later on.

When I do go for a drive, I try to make it over 10 miles. No thermostat.

Sometime I think we worry to much about these cars.

Enjoy.
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Old 02-21-2021, 08:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by WHN View Post
I have been using 20w-50 HD for many, many years. Only drive 150 to 200 miles per year. Last time I dropped the oil pan, no sludge at all. Just a very light film of what might have become sludge later on.

When I do go for a drive, I try to make it over 10 miles. No thermostat.

Sometime I think we worry to much about these cars.

Enjoy.
WHN,

Im with you. Model As have probably taken a lot more abuse over the years than well even know.

I would only worry if I had just paid $4K or $5K to have the engine rebuilt.

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Old 02-21-2021, 08:48 PM   #9
Richard in Anaheim CA
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

I can't argue with the advice you were given but most of you are doing your Model as a real disservice. You need to follow the motorcycle guys slogan from the 70's.
TAKE IT OUT AND PLAY WITH IT

Take it on the road and drive it 45 mph or so for an hour or more. Go visit someone. Go to breakfast, lunch, Then repeat Often. Use any modern multi grade oil you use in your modern car.

You aren't going to hurt your Model A by driving it.

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Old 02-21-2021, 09:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

What am I missing here? Any modern ashless dispersant oil, ie detergent oil, will hold particles in suspension and sludge does not form. We are all changing our oil at very short intervals.

Is anyone running straight mineral oil other than for beak in?
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Old 02-22-2021, 01:20 AM   #11
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

15w40 Rotella, is what I use.
If your in cold country, a thermostat is recommended. If you do few miles and short trips , let the engine WARM UP.
Also, a 180 degree thermostat would be more applicable.
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Old 02-22-2021, 07:27 AM   #12
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

with synthetic oil basically the same price as regular oil at Walmart- I have been running only synthetic in EVERYTHING.

even the lawn tractor. it protects far better then reg oil which breaks down much faster.
to me there is nothing to think about.
you will never have any motor "lock up" using pure synthetic.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

This same subject - what type of oil to use - comes up repeatedly on every antique/classic car/motorcycle forum I've ever had the pleasure to grace. My $0.02 worth:
  1. Any oil is better than no oil.
  2. Clean oil is better than dirty oil.
  3. If your oil is low, add a quart of whatever you have rather than wait until you have the "right" stuff. See #1.
  4. Any oil these days, synthetic or dinosaur based, is better oil than what went into these cars when they were new.
  5. Since we change the oil so often (see #2) it really doesn't make much difference what we use.
  6. Pick whatever oil you like and can get locally and inexpensively (in my case it's Mobil 1 20-50), carry a couple quarts when you go on tour, check the level frequently and don't sweat it.
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Old 02-22-2021, 12:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronn View Post
you will never have any motor "lock up" using pure synthetic.
Hmmm, can't say I have had any engine "lock up" because I used a regular oil either...
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Old 02-22-2021, 03:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Synthetic oil lubricates better. With this in mind if your car leaks a drop of oil every mile with synthetic it will leak five drops a mile.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Moose View Post
What am I missing here? Any modern ashless dispersant oil, ie detergent oil, will hold particles in suspension and sludge does not form. We are all changing our oil at very short intervals.

Is anyone running straight mineral oil other than for beak in?



Detergent oil can only do so much. Sludge results from moisture in the oil reacting with combustion byproducts that end up in the oil from blow-by past the rings and exhaust valve guides. Water (and whatever contaminants it has absorbed) does not mix with oil. It settles to the bottom of the pan when the engine is not running. The only way to get rid of this moisture is to get the oil hot enough to evaporate (boil off) the moisture. This moisture comes from condensation and also combustion. Water is a byproduct of burning gasoline, which is a hydrocarbon ("hydro" refers to hydrogen). We've all seen water dripping out a tailpipe on a cold day. Some of this water gets past the rings into the oil.
If a person starts and idles his Model A for 10-20 minutes every couple weeks or monthly in the winter, he is doing more damage than not starting it all winter. This includes corrosion in the exhaust system.
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Old 02-22-2021, 04:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Ronn: Please check your oil prices again if you are still on this Planet .
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Old 02-22-2021, 06:11 PM   #18
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

Oil basics.

What I have learn by listening to oil engineers specifically talking about the oil in antique cars. These are people who make a living dealing with the science behind the oil in your car. The advice is simple..


Oils need detergents and additives to keep the oil clean and free of bad chemicals. These wear out over a fairly long time.

Modern oils are really good and only lose their lubricating properties in high heat. Much higher then the A can give it.

Synthetic oils are for the engines which see much higher heat or more modern designs where they will work for a very long time. The A really does not need any of these improvements. You are just wasting your money.

Changing your oil too often is a waste of resources and money. A few years, a few thousand miles it will be fine. Keep in mind few will ever approach 50,000 to 80,000 miles which is the life of the engine. 99% of the engines will fail because they were not built right long before they wear out.

500 miles was the recommendation in 1930 because the oil molecules would break down and not lubricate. They know how to make oil not break down today. Except under extreme heat, then you use synthetics.

Here is the quick summary:

Use an oil with additives and detergent and do not change it too often.

Synthetic is overkill and a waste of money.

There may be some merit to using a compression ignition based oil because the additives are better tailored for the kind of bad chemicals found in the crankcase of the A engine. This means you do not have to change it as often.
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Old 02-22-2021, 09:05 PM   #19
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

When I change the oil in the A I usually very slowly pour about a half quart oil in before replacing the drain plug. The fill pipe is in the front of the block the fresh oil slowly cascades through the dipper tray pushing the old oil along with it. Watch the oil drain when it starts to run clean replace the plug. There is little to no waste just a more complete oil change.
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Old 02-22-2021, 10:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: Synthetic Oil for Model A

That sounds like a good idea. I checked today and I have only put a total of 250 miles on my 28 since I bought it in 2014. It has set for various reasons. I took my carburetor to a top carburetor builder and it took him 6-8 months before I got it back. He would rather make a lot off a 4 barrel than deal with me. I just finally got it set to run real good..I am going to check my oil tomorrow. A friend is coming over and if weather permits we will take a ride.
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