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Subject: More on oil

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Larry    Posted 12-21-2017 at 06:43:38 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • More on oil
  • I wrote the Shell Answer Man about what oil to use in older Tractors in my cold climate in Northern Indiana. Here is his reply. Again I'm no expert but this is what the man told me when he wrote back.

    Hi Larry,
    Rather than use a current day gasoline engine oil, I think you’d benefit from the extra wear protection (important for flat-tappet/cam) of Rotella T6 5W-40. It has higher levels of zinc and phosphorus comparable to levels in the oil when the engine was designed. Current day oils have reduced phosphorus to help protect the catalytic converter.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 12-21-2017 at 14:07:31 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • The recommended oil is fine. The technical information provided is not.

    Engine oils in the late 50's and early 60's did not contain levels of zinc or phosphorous anywhere near the levels contained in current oils. That is pure myth. Well known experts like Bob Olree (chief engineer of the lubricants division at GM and now deceased) have explained time and time again that the zinc and phosphorous (ZDDP) levels started to increase in the late 80s and early 90's for reasons other than wear protection. Prior to that ZDDP treat rates were quite low by modern standards. When fellow N-board member JMOR told me he had a large quantity of premium engine oil from the early 60's I asked him to send a sample to Richard Widman at Widman Oil. Mr Widman is a resident expert over on Bob Is The Oil Guy forum and very knowledgeable wrt engine oil additive technology. I was curious what he might find and what his reaction might be. The analysis confirmed what Mr Olree and the other REAL experts at API had been saying:

    The unopened can of oil sampled was labeled as an API service category MM-MS-DG oil - the highest performance category at the time. It contained 510 PPM zinc and 480 PPM phosphorous - roughly HALF of the MINIMUM levels required in a modern engine oil. This sample is exactly the oil Ford and most other motor companies were specifying for use in ALL of their engines.

    The flat tappet valve spring pressures in your 1940-50 tractor are very low by any standards and it does not need nor will it benefit from zinc/phosphorous (ZDDP) levels above 800 PPM. The same is true of virtually all production flat tappet engines up through the late 80's. There are exceptions. Some high performance engines with higher than normal valve spring pressures require higher levels of zinc for flat tappet anti-wear protection. They are the exception not the rule.

    The hot running engines of the early 90's is what drove the increase in the ZDDP treat rate. In addition to being an excellent anti-wear compound ZDDP is also an excellent anti-oxidant. ZDDP treat rates were increased primarily to provide better ant-oxidation protection.

    ZDDP is not the only anti-wear/anti-oxidant compound that can be used. It just happened to be the cheapest and most readily available. Starting 20+ years ago more expensive but just as effective compounds began replacing ZDDP. The motivation for that was to extend the life of catalytic converters which are damaged by phosphorous. So unless you are building a high performance race engine you don't need a high ZDDP oil. And even that is a bit of a canard because lower ZDDP treat rates coupled with advanced anti-wear/anti-oxidant compounds can be just as effective at preventing flat tappet lifter wear and oil oxidation as high ZDDP only treat rate formulations. There are thousands of controlled flat tappet engine tests demonstrating that fact.

    Here is a link to Richard Widman's monograph on engine oil additives. It opens with a page one discussion of the analysis of the sample oil JMOR sent him...

    Engine Oil Additve Technolgy by Richard Wodman


    Farmer Dan    Posted 12-22-2017 at 00:58:45 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • Ok I understand there is a lot more to oil than the general public is aware or even needs to know and I know enough to get in trouble. So my question is taking into consideration the "modern oil" and the "antique engine" is there any reason why one could not just use 5 quarts of any 10W-30 and have a happy engine? Tolerances are not that tight, compression is not high, rpms are low, torque is low, shouldn't really require to much for lubrication.

    TheOldHokie    Posted 12-22-2017 at 07:40:08 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • Exactly. Any premium engine oil, conventional or synthetic, in a grade suitable for your geographic area/ambient temperatures will work fine in your "antique" engine. It's vastly better in that engine than what the engine got for the first 40-50 years of it's life. For most people that grade would be SAE 10W30 and suitable for year round use.


    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 12-22-2017 at 11:17:22 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • Dan -thanks. That sums it up perfectly. The oil debate will go on perpetually it seems, but the facts are there if like you, one wants to dig deep. Gas and oil products today are much better than they were in the 30's, 40's, 50's, and even 60's and 70's. FORD original spec of SAE-10, 20, and 30 straight oil was because that is all the was pretty much available and used. When I first got my early '48 8N in 1990, I also received the original Operator's Manual with it. I was the 2nd owner, tractor was all original from a potato farmer in Canada. The manual said SAE-030 oil so that is what I used for many years -straight, non-detergent SAE-30 oil. In winter I changed to SAE-20. Then I was told by an old retired Ford mechanic that today's non-detergent oil is made from recycled oil. I don't know if that is true, seems I did some research on it back then but don't remember. Whatever, the debate on detergent oil and sulfur additives harming your engine will be eternally debated so thanks for making these facts available. Now, one only has to search the archives with 'oil + TOH' in the search box and get these results. I know you have posted this info before as well. Heck, when my engine was worn out, it ran thru oil like mad. I only was using the tractor to mow 5-10 acres at the time and would take my old oil from my F-250 oil changes and pour it in the tractor when I mowed. Any oil is better than no oil. Next we'll be rehashing hydraulic oil...again and again...

    Tim Daley(MI)

    Larry J Holbrook    Posted 12-21-2017 at 17:09:55 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • I don't know anything about oil. No expert at all. I don't have the 8N anymore I sold it and bought a 74 Ford 3000. Not that it makes any difference I'm sure. I just thought for the heck of it I'd write them. Gave them my climate and what year and make tractor I have. That's what the guy wrote back. I do read a lot on these forums and everyone has a sometimes heated opinion. I was surprised they wrote back.

    Bruce (VA)    Posted 12-21-2017 at 08:46:10 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • Yep, tip # 6.

    Nice to know they have 5w-40 now. Not that I'll ever move to a colder climate!

    And being in the oil industry, your contact at Shell did not repeat the myth about detergent oil stirring up the sludge!

    Larry J Holbrook    Posted 12-21-2017 at 17:12:55 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • Here is their website with a picture of the blue jug.

    Dave Smith    Posted 12-21-2017 at 08:22:58 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • I use nothing but Rotella T 15-40 in all my machines. I have never had a oil
    related problem. Now I see Rotella T4 on the shelves, I haven't seen the T6 yet.
    Dave <*)))><

    Larry J Holbrook    Posted 12-21-2017 at 17:04:17 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • I bought some. It's in a blue jug. The 15-40 I always put in the 8N was gray I believe.

    36 coupe    Posted 12-21-2017 at 09:20:28 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: More on oil
  • I have had a big problem with 15/40 oil in cold weather in my Ford F150.The owners manual says no 15/40 below 30 degrees.I got rappy starts, erratic oil pressure.Drained it replaced with 10/30 problem gone.My tractor cranks slow in cold weather with 15/40.

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