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1951Olds88

What engine oil?

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I have tried searching the different forums (fori??), as I am sure that this topic has come up before. Unfortunately the search tool is not sophisticated and brings up a lot non-relevant data. So apologies if I am asking something already answered elsewhere.

What oil is the best to use in my 1951 Olds 88 rocket V-8, e.g. high-mileage, synthetic vs non-synthetic? I have posed this in the general Technical section as I expect that the make is not important, but the year could have an impact on your answers. Also, are there any additives that I should think about using, e.g. oil stabilizer.

I am trying to run the vehicle exclusively using ethanol free gas, might this also influence what kind of oil to use?

Thanks in advance to this learned group

Stefan

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IMO, almost any oil today is better than the best oil available at the time your car was built. The only question you might ask is do you want to run multi grade or straight weight oil?

There are others with strong opinions on the best oil to use.

Using alcohol added fuel / E-10 which is gas with 10% alcohol should have no impact on the oil you use. BUT>.........it can/ will affect the rubber components, fuel lines, fuel pump diaphragms, carb parts, and the list goes on.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)

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There are at least 4,444 different opinions on what oil is best for your ride.

What I would caution is that the early 50's Oldsmobiles were known to have noisy tappets. To try and prevent that, do make sure that any oil you use has the requisite zinc content. Modern oils have an EPA mandated reduced zinc content, to protect catalytic converters. Your Olds does not have a catalytic converter. Since is does not, you may add zinc to your oil, or buy oil with the higher zinc levels.

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Larry,

I had read about the negative effect of ethanol on rubber parts, especially on older cars because the rubber was not prepared for ethanol. SO that I why I am trying to use ethanol free as much as possible. One thing that helps is having 2 gas stations within 8 miles that sell that kind of gas. The other help is 'pure-gas.org' which I can use when out and about.

Thanks for you comments

Stefan

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There are at least 4,444 different opinions on what oil is best for your ride.

What I would caution is that the early 50's Oldsmobiles were known to have noisy tappets. To try and prevent that, do make sure that any oil you use has the requisite zinc content. Modern oils have an EPA mandated reduced zinc content, to protect catalytic converters. Your Olds does not have a catalytic converter. Since is does not, you may add zinc to your oil, or buy oil with the higher zinc levels.

Dave, I recall seeing somewhere that oil for diesel engines has a higher zinc content. Would that be the way to go?

Thanks for your help

Stefan

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You will get 50 million opinions on oil. You can buy high zinc level oils or current blends to which you add the zinc yourself. Here is a link for high zinc level oil - Brad Penn

If it were my car and I was only driving it in warm weather, I would use a 30W to which the zinc has already been added. If a straight weight is not available, then I would go with 10w-40.

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You will get 50 million opinions on oil. You can buy high zinc level oils or current blends to which you add the zinc yourself. Here is a link for high zinc level oil - Brad Penn

If it were my car and I was only driving it in warm weather, I would use a 30W to which the zinc has already been added. If a straight weight is not available, then I would go with 10w-40.

Thanks Dave for poiting me in the right direction. I will look at both possibilities (add zinc and the Brad Penn). Isn't it a shame that the traditional recipe Castrol, using castor oil, is not available any more. What a beautiful smell came out of the exhaust with that.

While it is warm most of the time here in GA, I might go with the 10W-40 (or 30) because of the few winter months.

Stefan

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Check out this paper. It is well written and contains a bit more engineering science than we usually see in fora.

http://www.widman.biz/Corvair/English/Links/Oil.html

Ref the comment about diesel oil, yes, that is what is recommended in this paper. Use CI-4 rated oil: it has the most zinc in it for our flat tappets.

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CI-4 has been off the market for a couple of years, superceded by CJ-4 which still has plenty of ZDDP, about 1100 ppm versus 1375 in the prior CI-4.

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Just my opinion on this topic.

The issue with many modern oils is the low zinc content. The auto manufactures figured out that zinc was killing catalytic converters so they re-engineered the engines to work on oil with lower zinc levels and the oil producers lower the zinc level in most modern automotive oil.

You have several choices.

1. Go with whatever oil you choose and if the zinc level is low you can add a product like ZDDP.

2. Find a modern oil with sufficient zinc.

Some of the oil with sufficient zinc that I am aware of include: Brad Penn and Hemmings (yes, Hemming Motor News now distributes oil for antique cars under their name), and I am sure their are others.

I never looked into diesel oil, so I will take your word for it.

Many racing oils also have high zinc levels. I have been using Valvoline VR1 synthetic racing oil in all my antique cars since the zinc level dropped in most oil. Valvoline also makes VR1 in a non-synthetic version. The non-synthetic comes in a lot more weights than the synthetic version. http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/motor-oil/racing-motor-oil/

Also visit my personal website at: www.jakegingervila.wix.com/bobs-vintage-cars-

Vila

1933 Chevrolet

1962 Triumph TR4

1984 BMW 633 CSi

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The article below is very interesting, if you wade through the mountains of data. At the end of the line he does include Brad Penn #1 in the list of recommended lubricants, as also advised by someone else in this thread, so I guess that is the direction I will go.

Check out this paper. It is well written and contains a bit more engineering science than we usually see in fora.

http://www.widman.biz/Corvair/English/Links/Oil.html

Ref the comment about diesel oil, yes, that is what is recommended in this paper. Use CI-4 rated oil: it has the most zinc in it for our flat tappets.

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Stefan. I owned my 88A for 18 years. In that time I drove it just over 10,000 miles. In all that time I only used Valvoline 10/W/30. I never even once heard a noisy lifter. I think the trick is to change the filter (PF122) every year, and change the oil at least two or three times a year. Many my think thats overkill but it sure kept my Olds quiet and by the time I sold my car the oil would come out almost as clean as it went in.

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I keep only 2 oils on the shelf any more.......5W30 for my two Model T's and 10W30 for the other cars and two tractors.

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