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Old 09-18-2020, 08:22 AM   #1
Denali
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Default 600w vs 90w

I live in Fairbanks Alaska. It gets so cold here in the winter that even in modern vehicles have difficulty moving.
My question is: Is it absolutely necessary to use 600w oil in my transmission and rear end on my Model A? In the cold here, 600w turns to solid tar and your vehicle will not move. Try finding 600w at NAPA...
Is there a reason I can't use 90w?
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

The oil and lubricants in a model a are generally highly debated. Some use "600w" some use the modern equivalent. Some use straight STP additive or a mixture of it.

You can likely get away with a thinner lube.

The issues with going too thin will arise when you finally get the car going and the oil is up to operating temperature.

If you are comfortable using a thinner oil then do it, just pay attention to how the car reacts, you will likely notice when it's warm that it will shift different than you are used to. If use notice something is askew change back to some version of a thicker weight oil sooner than later.
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:57 AM   #3
Bob Bidonde
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Denali, the stuff sold as M-353 600W foams badly and should not be used in a transmission or differential. I have been using SAE 75W-140 successfully. You should use the gear oil typically used in modern Alaskan cars. Current oils are far superior to those of the past.
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Old 09-18-2020, 09:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Back in the day, 600w was thinned for use with cold weather! If you drive in cold weather use what's required. In 1971 we had cold I was driving daily and in the morning I drove in first gear at least a block before even thinking about trying to shift. Also I needed to put the transmission in the right gear for driving off, if not I needed to use both hands to move the shifter. BTW the cold temperatures for us was 0*F

I would think about how to keep the Windows from frosting over! My rule was don't exhale towards the windshield only on the side windows.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

600W is anywhere from 150-250 weight.

When young we used 140 in everything. It'll get below zero here at times and that oil seems to work fine. For really cold weather I would think 90 would work fine. You may have to change it to 140 during the warmer weather though.
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Old 09-18-2020, 11:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

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It usually doesn't get much below freezing temps in the winter here . I have had good results using 90 weight in the transmission and back end . A lot depends on who is doing the shifting . The gears can be felt through the shift lever just before the gears would scrape .
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

How about using a multi-grade gear oil? Say 85w-140.
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Old 09-18-2020, 12:14 PM   #8
Jim Brierley
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

I've been using 85W-90 for years, and it rarely gets cold here. Cold here is comfortable in AK. Modern oils are far superior to vintage stuff.
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:52 PM   #9
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

There is a lot of mis-information about the gear oil. Here is what has come out in the past as far a correct information. I need to add this is incomplete as others have located oils by other manufacturers that meet the correct specs. In any event, you can go look at the information and make your decisions.

Where the oil you need for the A differs from the modern oils is in the type of gear action. The A oil needs to stay in place the straight cut gears push hard against the other metal. The modern oils are for the shearing action of the modern gears.

There may be correct heavy pressure oils with lower viscosities at the lower temps. The best thing is to take these modern numbers and go to the websites and see what you get at the temps you need to worry about. I remember looking at the websites and noticing the correct heavy pressure steam oil was available in many viscosity to temp profiles.

Here is the researched info posted by others in the past:

Posted by Marco Tahtaras from c-24-4-43-195.hsd1.ca.comcast.net (24.4.43.195) on Saturday, August 09, 2008 at 9:38AM :

In Reply to: Mobile 636 gear oil posted by Bob from ? (64.237.121.113) on Friday, August 08, 2008 at 10:35PM :

Mobil:
Mobilgear 636 (Which has been replaced with MOBILGEAR 600xp 680 11/27/2011)

BP:
Energol GR-XP 680

Castrol:
Castrol Alpha LS680

Shell:
Omala 680

Texaco:
Meropa 680


Here is some more info
Re: 600W Thickness -- One (1) Answer


Read Follow Ups Post Follow Up Model-A Ford Message Board FAQ
Posted by H. L. Chauvin on Nov. 26, 2011 at 16:34:03

In Reply to: Re: 600W Thickness, Transmission Gear Grinding
posted by louis on Nov. 25, 2011 at 17:19:35

Hi Louis,
Your former question made sense when someone new to this Forum reads "all" of the many "different" former 600W discussions in the attached archives.

It appears most "salespersons", (parts suppliers & oil compaies), offer the 1930's 600W substitute, but as Marco noted in the archives in the late 1990's, they are "not" all the same.

Many articles appear on experiences of switching to thicker transmission oil; thus eliminating driver's not experiencing grinding of transmission gears.

Gear oil thickness, (resistance to flow), is measured by several methods.

Kinematic Viscosity per ASTM D445 is one standard method indicating the milimeters squared divided by time in seconds at 40 degrees C, or 104 degrees F, which is closest to trasmission gear oil viscosity after attaining operating temperature.

For example, per ASTM 445, water has low viscosity, honey has high viscosity.

The recommended BP Energol 680, Shell Omala 680, Mobile Extra Helca Super Cylider Oil 680, have ASTM 445 measured viscosities, (40 C), of a high 680; Texaco Mepora 680 indicates a thinner 646; however, Valvoline 85/140W drops down to 395, & Castrol 85/140W is thiner at 369.

One of the "most" scientific test conducted on Ford's 1930 recommended 600W appears to be a gentleman who wrote that he had an old sealed can of
Ford's recommended 600W.

After trying many gear oil substitutes, his highly scientific lab test indicated that the 600W was extremely thick, almost like melted tar, & equal to the above mentioned 680 viscosities.

His test, he dipped his finger in each & watched it flow!

It appears if one uses recommended gear oil with a viscosity of 680, & gears continue to grind, begin looking somewhere else.

Hope this helps 1930's future 600W research.
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Old 09-18-2020, 03:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Part of the discussion is the type of gear lube and if it's ok to use with certain types of metals like brass, bronze, etc. Some are not compatible with the modern additives.
The modern SAE 680 on the kinematic charts is close to 250 , not the original thick 600w as Kevin posted. These charts are on the net, etc. Many of the vendors' 600w is closer to SAE140 which maybe ok in the cold weather. What to thin it with is an interesting question.
The Meropa 1200 is thicker than SAE 250.
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Read the Ford Dealer Service Bulletins for info on thinning the 600W oil with kerosene for winter.

There is not a "modern SAE 680" oil. The 680 is on the ISO scale. It is a different lab test from the SAE test. See the table below.

"600W oil" was a Mobil Oil trade name for a specific oil they sold, it is NOT 600 WEIGHT oil. Sorry, guys; common misunderstanding. It was called Mobil 600W Steam Cylinder Oil. It was thick, it was sticky. It clings to the flat gear faces of our transmission and differential quite well, which provides an oil cushion between the metal surfaces to prevent wear. It also slows the spinning gears inside the transmission when you shift, eliminating the need for double-clutching for most up-shifts (1st to 2nd, 2nd to 3rd) unless you are drag racing.

IF the original 600W oil was indeed the ISO 680 available today, and I have no documentation to say that it is, then that is equivalent to SAE 190 Gear Oil. There is also a modern version of 600W that is ISO 460. This is close to SAE 140. I need to go to the Benson Ford Research Center to ty to find out what the original ford specification was for this oil.

The figure also helps you equate the ISO 1200 to SAE 250. This chart is very helpful, I refer to one like it a lot.



A multi-viscosity oil might make sense in a cold climate. Remember the numbering system of SAE 75W-140 means it acts like SAE 75 oil in Winter (the W) and like SAE 140 oil in the summer. So that might work well in Alaska. Or 85W-140. Something like that. Remember, Ford did not have these fancy multi-grade oils in 1928-31.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Now that the usual lectures and chest thumping are over, back to the man's question.

Can he use 90 w while living in Alaska..... if you shift carefully and don't mind possible additional leakage from thinner lube, try it for a season.

My only concern is how new are your grease seals in the rear ? Thinner lube might get past the seals easier.
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:57 AM   #13
Kevin in NJ
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

There are 2 points that need to be understood.

600W was a type of oil and not the viscosity.

600W and the modern equivalents carefully research by knowledgeable A people was a heavy steam oil. It is designed for heavy pressure points like the straight cut gears in the A so it does not squish out and not lubricate the gear.
The oils people are advocating using are designed for a shearing action found on the hypoid cut gears. So you may find premature wear from improper lubrication.

If you do not believe me, go read about the oils. I had found manufacturer documentation at one time for both types of oil clearly expressing the type of action the oil was designed to lubricate.

There are secondary properties of the correct oil that you may not have considered. It coats the inside of the metal housings so they do not rust with condensate. The U joint may count on the oils for lubrication and how it flows. Of course, shifting action and gear action change depending on the oil.

Disclaimer: The above is about the pure usage of the oils. In reality most A's are not likely to be driven enough to matter what oil you use. I try to relate the correct information as best known. It is your car do with it as you want.
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:53 AM   #14
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin in NJ View Post
There are 2 points that need to be understood.

600W was a type of oil
The oils people are advocating using are designed for a shearing action found on the hypoid cut gears. So you may find premature wear from improper lubrication.

"Mobilgear 600 XP Series oils are recommended for industrial spur, helical and bevel enclosed gears with circulation or splash lubrication, operating at bulk oil temperatures up to 100C. They are particularly suitable for gear sets working under heavy or shock loads. Mobilgear 600 XP oils also find broad application in marine gearing applications. They may also be used in non-gear applications include highly loaded and slow speed plain and rolling contact bearings."

https://www.mobil.com/en/lubricants/...ear-600-xp-460

Last edited by GPierce; 09-19-2020 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 09-20-2020, 02:49 PM   #15
Denali
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Default Re: 600w vs 90w

Thanks Bob!!!
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