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Newbie Questions- Apologies in advance:


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Hi Folks,

I'm the proud (yet uninformed) new owner of a 1927 Franklin 11B.

It's in great shape and runs. However, as this is my first car of anywhere near this vintage- and the car has been idle for approx 5+ years- it's been recommended that all the necessary fluids should be changed.

I have the owners manual on order and have looked through some of the tech sections on franklincar.org and used the search feature here, but have been unable to locate such real basic info as the following:

-What type of current motor oil is recommended for use? Is synthetic ok? Fill volume?

-Transmission, diff fluids recommended?

-Gasoline to use? Is some sort of lead additive necessary or recommended?

-Tire pressure recommended?

-Engine coolant? Ok, that's a joke. Aura Vincit!

-Anything else of import for a 27 Franklin in good running shape, but has sat dormant for a number of years?

Sorry for the stupid and real-basic questions, but I promise to reciprocate and answer the clueless new owners questions like this the next time around. If there's already links to this kind of info- just point me in that direction!

Hope to see some of you at the trek.

Thanks in advance,


Syracuse, NY.


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Hi Ed,

Congratulations, and welcome to the really old car club (not to say there is an even older brass and nickel club out there of course).

I'm new myself after picking up a 1931 Buick last fall. Before that 1965 was my oldest car, so I am not an expert by any means, and of course my car is not air cooled but this is what I've found out over the last months about our vintage of cars.

I add a lead additive because what I've read says that it became pretty much standard by the mid 20's.

I've gotten a lot of different thoughts on oil but I am of the camp that suggests straight 30 weight. And I was surprised to find that mine holds 11 quarts!

I am still working on the best tranny fluid so I can't be much help there.

My car has mechanical brakes and I am in the process of cleaning and lubricating the pivot points and linkage, and there is a lot of them. But it is making a huge difference in the braking power (or at least it seems that way).

good luck with your new old car.


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I received this private response below from PFitz probably within 2 hours of the original post.

I'll post it here for the benefit of all - since I was unable to locate such a "Quick Install" checklist on the forum.

Thank you.


"...I help club members with any Technical questions and tech talks at the Trek. I also follow the tours during the trek with tools as the break down truck and help out with any mechanical emergencies during that week.

You can use either conventional, or synthetic oils. The crank case holds 6 quarts. A 10w-30 for motors in good shape and a bit thicker if the motor is really worn. Just don't use non-detergent oil. It's an old wives tail with no proof, that detergent oils will damage old motors. Modern oils will help clean out sludge, but they do it so gently and slowly that there is no rick to the motor.

For the trans and rear axle, a good SAE 140, or 90-140 gear oil for limited-slip hypoid rear axles is what you need.

For all the chassis grease points, drive shaft, steering box, and wheel bearings, a #2 high temp wheel bearing grease is good. Comes in buckets and grease gun cartridges.

No need for gas additives of any kind, other than adding Marvel Mystery Oil to help prevent fuel tank and vacuum tank rust and keep the fuel system clean. It also helps clean carbon out of the cylinders and valves and keeps the top pistons rings loose so they can seal better. Use the proportions on the back label.

Use regular gas. It's much higher octane, cleaner burning and far better than the 57 octane that was available when your car was designed.

Usually, for a car that hasn't been run in many years it's recommended that if you don't know if the crankshaft bearings are original, it's a good idea to drop the oil pan and inspect the bearings to see if the babbitt material is cracked, flaking, or crystalizing with age. Better to take the time and look than finding out after expensive parts come flying out the side of the crank case.

Tire pressures should be about 32 to 35 depending on how firm you like them. If the tubes are more than ten years old think about replacing them. If the tires show sidewall cracks, same for them.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask."

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I have a 27 11B. They are absolutely wonderful driving cars. If the car has been idle for a while, I would check to make sure that there are no stuck valves, especially the exhaust valves. If you have any more questions, Paulf is very sharp on Franklins and I am pretty knowledgable on the 11B, Dave

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Also make sure to lube the rockers and top end before you run it. If it has sat alone time the top end will be dry. There are many opinions on what oil to use But I like s on synthetic on the top. I have a 29 130 and it has pads that need a strong coat of oil.

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