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Old 08-07-2017, 10:33 AM   #1
David L. Holloway
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Default Detergent oil

Is there any problem with using modern HD crankcase oil in 1930 Model A? My engine was rebuilt in 1972 but only has about 100 test drive miles on it. It has been stored since then. I am just now completing restoration and running engine again. Should I use non detergent oil (if I can find it) or is the modern SAE 10W30 ok?
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:44 AM   #2
WHN
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Default Re: Detergent oil

My recommendation would that you use 20-50 detergent oil for at least break in period.

I would not recommend using non detergent oil in your engine.

After break in, depending on time of year and where you live, there are many different views. I am sure you will hear some shortly. Enjoy you car.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:45 AM   #3
SGT in Ont.
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Default Re: Detergent oil

You can use pretty much any modern oil you want. If you have Babbitt bearings I would stay away from the fuel saving oils like 5w20. Many people use diesel engine oil and others use synthetic.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:02 AM   #4
Terry, NJ
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Here we go....... Again! No! I wouldn't use non detergent oil in your mod. A! But here's what I would do. Start it on the old old that's in it now, run it for 10-15 minutes and drain it out. Refill with any cheap oil. run it for ten hours and dump that. Then I would refill with Shell Rotella 15 / 40. Why such a involved process? Simple,when the car was stored in 1972, the engine acquired moisture in places we can only guess at. Like the cam lobes, valve stems, cylinder walls, etc. Starting the engine will scrape the rust off these surfaces and it will circulate in the oil as grit. If you don't scrape it off, It will contaminate the new oil and cause wear. The Shell Rotella is what most of us use, available from TSC in ten qt. containers. One thought to keep in mind, the worst oils of today are better than the best oils of 1930. And there really is no "Best" oil for a mod. A. I'd change at 1000 miles. Remember, These cars made it through the depression when oils changes were a luxury and WW2 when there was no oil. They took their oil out, settled the dirt out and put it back in, to run another 500 miles. Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Detergent oil

10- 30 detergent in a good condition A motor is all you need to keep it running like a champ. if it is worn and loose use a thicker oil maybe.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:40 AM   #6
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: Detergent oil

At a very high level, oil engineers when asked about antique engines, will tell you that you need detergents and additives to prevent the build up of bad chemicals.

Really kind of a no brainer once you understand the detergents do not break up sludge. They only keep the very small stuff in suspension to prevent sludge. Additives keep things like sulfuric acid from forming.

The other thing to understand is the modern oils do not really break down. The additives get used up, but they still lubricate. You should NOT change your oil every 500 miles as that is a waste of resources. A few thousand or a few years would be better.

Now there may be something to using oils made for compression ignition (diesel). The A engine and the diesel engine share some characteristics that make logical sense.

In experience, just about any oil works well.
Engines will fail not because of the oil, but because they were not built right to begin with, so do not fret much.

Yes, I left out a bunch of details. Loose engines vs new engines vs broke in engines there are some considerations.

Also,

We have like 30 engines we have taken apart and it is interesting how well oiled they can be. One engine I had owned like 15 years and it was sitting in a barn for a long time before me. When it was tore down there was still a good coating of oil on the bearings. There would have been a wet start even if you cranked and started right off.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Some add ZDDP zinc additive, which has been reduced in oils due to catalytic converter issues.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Detergent oil

I use 20-50, and do not add anything to it. New oils have some zink in them, just not as much as several years ago. Original Model A oils had none. The A has a forged steel cam, as opposed to cast like in modern engines. Also the A has very mild valve spring pressure, so added zink is not needed.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:30 PM   #9
David L. Holloway
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Thanks to all the replies! It appears most people recommend detergent oil. I was just afraid that the detergent oil might release a lot of sludge for a while into the system. I do plan to run with existing oil a few minutes just enough to warm and liquefy, drain out and then put new oil in.
On a slightly different subject, is there any problems using standard unleaded gas with ethanol ?
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Joe Valentine, a retired engineer from Texaco, gave a great seminar on oil at the recent MARC meet. I wish it had been videoed for sharing. Bottom line: Use detergent oil. The additives are what is important. They keep acids from forming and do lots of other things. There is a pretty good article on oils posted. I don't have time to look it up now, but a search should find it.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by David L. Holloway View Post
Thanks to all the replies! It appears most people recommend detergent oil. I was just afraid that the detergent oil might release a lot of sludge for a while into the system. I do plan to run with existing oil a few minutes just enough to warm and liquefy, drain out and then put new oil in.
On a slightly different subject, is there any problems using standard unleaded gas with ethanol ?
No. I also add Marvel Mystery Oil to gas, helps with the valves and stabilizes gas.

I am sure you will hear pro's and con's on this one. Enjoy.

Last edited by WHN; 08-07-2017 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Detergent oil

If you drive through the tankfuls quickly enough there shouldn't be trouble with staleness and hydroscopy. Ethanol is corrosive to tern finish.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:55 PM   #13
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Talking Re: Detergent oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin in NJ View Post
At a very high level, oil engineers when asked about antique engines, will tell you that you need detergents and additives to prevent the build up of bad chemicals.

Really kind of a no brainer once you understand the detergents do not break up sludge. They only keep the very small stuff in suspension to prevent sludge. Additives keep things like sulfuric acid from forming.

The other thing to understand is the modern oils do not really break down. The additives get used up, but they still lubricate. You should NOT change your oil every 500 miles as that is a waste of resources. A few thousand or a few years would be better.

Now there may be something to using oils made for compression ignition (diesel). The A engine and the diesel engine share some characteristics that make logical sense.

In experience, just about any oil works well.
Engines will fail not because of the oil, but because they were not built right to begin with, so do not fret much.

Yes, I left out a bunch of details. Loose engines vs new engines vs broke in engines there are some considerations.

Also,

We have like 30 engines we have taken apart and it is interesting how well oiled they can be. One engine I had owned like 15 years and it was sitting in a barn for a long time before me. When it was tore down there was still a good coating of oil on the bearings. There would have been a wet start even if you cranked and started right off.
Thank you, Kevin in NJ, for the accurate post. There are far too many oil myths running rampant, such as one claiming you need to add zinc! And another claiming that you must use non-detergent! So one is to dump zinc into a crankcase full of non-detergent 30W oil???

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Old 08-07-2017, 08:53 PM   #14
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Default Re: Detergent oil

If you are just going to start it up and let it idle until warm and then change the oil you might be waiting a while for the oil to warm up. That is if you have a cooling system in good order.
In your case I would get a piece of cardboard to cover the radiator to help get it warmed up. Place an inexpensive meat thermometer in the coolant and monitor the water temperature while you are warming it up.
Using the thermometer often while you are getting used to driving your A will give you a lot of information on how your engine is operating. As you get comfortable with it you will use the thermometer less and less.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Before even cranking it over for the first time, loosen the oil drain plug and let a little oil ooze out. Any condensation will have settled to the bottom. No point in circulating grunge!
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:57 AM   #16
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Do as 40 Deluxe says, then remove the dist. and pour a quart of oil in there and start ASAP, this will pre-lube the main bearings, any oil will do for this.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:19 PM   #17
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Default Re: Detergent oil

You may also want to pull the valve cover. I have seen several motors that have been sitting for a long time have rust and crud build up in there from condensation. The back of the valve cover rusts.
If you don't clean it you will be sending it down to the main bearings.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:21 AM   #18
Mike V. Florida
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Quote:
Originally Posted by David L. Holloway View Post
Is there any problem with using modern HD crankcase oil in 1930 Model A?
NOPE! Any oil designed for motor vehicles of the correct weight will work just fine.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:09 AM   #19
Mr. J
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Default Re: Detergent oil

Alittle info on rotella.... in my experience it has the best lubricating value of any oil, I had a certified mechanic tell me once that he ran into a problem with it lubricating too well and bypassing the scraper ring and the engine lost compression and he had to do a top end flush on the engine, but ive never seen it happen myself
But I can tell you I use it in my dodge cummins, all of my equipment, and my grandfather used it in his big rigs for over 30 years in the coalfield's and the motors looked as good as new after miles of diesel soot accumulating in the oil and it never lost its lubricatin value....
In my opinion if you want superb lubrication I would go with it, I even plan on putting it in mine when I get to that stage in the checklist
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Old 08-11-2017, 09:46 AM   #20
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Default Re: Detergent oil

I agree with all of the replies, but no one really mentioned synthetic oil. I'm going to go with fully synthetic oil when I start driving my A. If it sets for any long periods of time I'd rather have synthetic oil in it. Also, since A's have a tendency to run warm or hot, I'd rather have oil that doesn't break down with heat. Good luck with your A.
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