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Play it safe and buy non detergent.  Have it shipped in from another state. 

Because CA thinks it's good for you,  doesn't mean it is. 

 

If you have always used detergent I would not switch unless you pull the motor apart and clean it all out real good,  then make frequent changes after that.  

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From this website: https://www.fillingstation.com/articles/earlyengineoil.htm

 

When early engines (prior to 1954) were new, oil filters were an accessory item and non-detergent oil was the type of oil used. Original, unrestored engines have most likely been run on non-detergent oil. If you are running an early unrestored engine that is not spotlessly clean internally, it is imperative to continue to run it on non-detergent oil. Otherwise there is the risk of damage to the engine.

Non-detergent oil was used before oil filters became standard equipment. This type of oil would "stick" contaminants to the sidewalls and valleys of the engine to prevent dirty oil from damaging bearing surfaces. Engines that have been run on non-detergent oil for many years will have a thick "sludge" buildup. Sludge will appear to be oil that has turned to gelatin except that it will be very black with contaminants.

Using detergent oil in an engine that had been running non-detergent oil would allow these contaminants to be released to flow through the engine. This could result in serious damage to the rod, main and cam bearings as well as other engine components such as lifters and plugging of oil lines.

After an engine has been rebuilt or thoroughly cleaned, use straight grade 30 WT or multi-grade 10-30 or 10-40 WT detergent oil to keep the engine clean. Early oil filters only filtered a small portion of the oil flowing through the engine. Unlike modern, full flow filters, these add-on filters are more of a decoration than real protection for the engine. Even if your engine does not have an oil filter, the number of miles a vintage car is driven is much less than when these cars were new. The simple solution is to change your oil more often. Every 500 miles or a minimum of once per year is a good rule of thumb.

- See more at: https://www.fillingstation.com/articles/earlyengineoil.htm#sthash.9ORCW9Vf.dpuf

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I'm not sure the fillingstation.com article applies to the OP's situation.  The 1949 Windsor has the benefit of a FULL-FLOW oil filter, meaning that ALL oil is filtered. Yes, there's the possibility of some debris being turned loose and clogging an oil gallery, but not that much of a possibility.

 

Have you had the oil pan down, cleaned it out, and cleaned the oil pump and its pickup screen?  Not a bad idea, even if you continue to run non-detergent oil.

 

What I did, successfully, with a 1925 engine with no oil filter and a 9-quart capacity, was to phase in detergent oil: After cleaning out the pan and pump, I used 3 qts of detergent and 6 qts of non-detergent, ran it 300 miles, changed the oil HOT, then used 6 qts detergent and 3 qts non-detergent.  After another 300 miles, I drained and went to 9 qts detergent.  That was 22 years ago....

 

Given the full-flow oil filter, OP can also (if he uses detergent oil), remove the filter cartridge and check (or replace) it at frequent intervals based on what he finds.

 

Early detergent oil, 60 years ago, did turn loose deposits.  Today's detergent oil will not clean out a dirty engine, but will help keep it from getting dirtier.

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Detergent oil has been available since 1947. It was the default choice in all garages and dealerships since the early fifties. Chances are your Windsor never used anything else until you changed to non detergent. It shouldn't make any difference, except that your engine will be cleaner and last longer.

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Ron , I am not going to make a value judgement on the advice you have received here so far. I'll leave that up to you after you have read the definitive paper written for the fairly tech savvy civilian car universe. Google up  Selection of the Right Motor Oil-draft 17 . 33 pages long , reading it will put you ahead of 99.9 % of the people who have not yet read it. There is an almost certainty that you will actually be glad Cal. has given you the opportunity to learn a new trick. I read all of it twice , and thankfully changed long heald mis-conceptions. Now , if I WERE to make a value judgment here , and risk confronting contrary opinion , I'd side with esteemed Grimy George , and the great and trusty Rusty. But I won't , so as not to butt heads with anyone. Not tonight. Just don't savor a fight , so I'll just zip my lip. All oils are not created equal , and there are different degrees of syntheticity. (eg. Amsoil at the top , Castrol at the bottom , Mobil 1 in between. - neither Widman nor myself represent Amsoil in any capacity whatsoever). Oh , yeah , have you dropped your pan recently ? What DID you find ? Clean it up , and if you can't slog through Widman's paper , post again , and I will help you with the bottom line. I hope Dr. Spinneyhill will chime in here soon to help you , as I calculate New Zealanders are stirring. Congratulations upon reaching technical old age 3 months ago ! I hope you are and will continue to enjoy good health !  - Carl

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In the late 80's I read and article that was put out by Valvoline. I long ago lost track of the original, but some of the information has stayed with me, and which I have used many times on cars that I have purchased, but that I had little information on how they had been maintained. The article stated that it was really a shame that the term "detergent" had ever been used to describe the post war additive packages, because there was very little active cleaning ability by any of the ingredients. The term "detergent" was really a contemporary buzz word that was then popular in advertising, but was really inappropriate when used to describe what it did inside an engine. The article went on to say that the real job of the additives was to hold the current combustion residue, that made it's way into the sump, in suspension until it could be drained out when the oil was changed. As I remember the article used the word "dispersant" as a more proper term for the job that the packages performed. The article went on to say that the additive packages were not designed to remove accumulated deposits, but rather to keep additional deposits from accumulating. The findings were backed up by their own laboratory testing of engines which had been run on non-detergent oil and then switched to detergent oil. In no case did they find that switching from N/D to detergent oil caused any damage to any of the test engines.

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  • Bill's article said, "  The term "detergent" was really a contemporary buzz word that was then popular in advertising, but was really inappropriate when used to describe what it did inside an engine. The article went on to say that the real job of the additives was to hold the current combustion residue, that made it's way into the sump, in suspension until it could be drained out when the oil was changed."
  • If it floats the dirt out with the oil, that's cleaning to me, and getting the contaminants out is the idea to make engines cleaner.
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If you really want clean oil and clean engine get a Frantz oil filter. The kind that does depth filtration through a roll of toilet tissue.

 

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is in charge of lubrication at a local factory. He told me they use Frantz filters or the industrial equivalent. They found in their tests, using microscopes and lab tests, that used oil that had been through the filter was cleaner than new oil they bought in bulk from Esso.

 

One type of filter used a roll of paper identical to those big rolls you see in commercial paper towel dispensers except it was wrapped in cheesecloth. The cheesecloth did not do anything but it allowed them to charge $117 for a roll of paper. He tested both, and told his boss they could save over $100 by using the paper towels but they weren't interested.

 

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A dispersant or a dispersing agent or a plasticizer or a superplasticizer is either a non-surface active polymer or a surface-active substance added to a suspension, usually a colloid, to improve the separation of particles and to prevent settling or clumping. Dispersants consist normally of one or more surfactants, but may also be gases.

Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension (or interfacial tension) between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid. Surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.

 

The logical conclusion is that dispersants and surfactants can be correctly considered detergents! 

 

 

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)
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Mark , please note : George , with his great knowledge and accuracy , states in posting #4 above , that the '49 Windsor does indeed have a full-flow filter. As we recommend dropping the pan and cleaning it and the pickup screen , don't you think a new filter element and treating this engine to the best modern lubricant is advisable under these circumstances?

Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends , all !  - Carl

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On 11/21/2016 at 3:57 PM, WindsorRon said:

I was surprised to find California has outlawed non-detergent oil.  I have always used non-synthetic, non-detergent 30wt SAE oil in my 1949 Windsor.  How is the detergent oil going to affect my engine? 

 

California politicians & law makers,  don't they know we, us two legged creatures are only here temporary.  So while we are here,  why

do they make life miserable?  non detergent oil  got nothing to do with anything.  I'm told you can't even buy paint there or paint a car or

have an old something in ya driveway.   Offer me a million to live there NO :  MOVE out of that dump, then kick it in the ocean...I've been

there and there is nothing that gets my attention cause its all gone to a fake plastic place......Took a trip interior south holy smokes every

body got a still junk in the yard a rockin on the porch with a shot gun in hand smokin a pipe with steaming whiskey ! your turn !

 

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7 hours ago, GK1918 said:

 

California politicians & law makers,  don't they know we, us two legged creatures are only here temporary.  So while we are here,  why

do they make life miserable?  non detergent oil  got nothing to do with anything.  I'm told you can't even buy paint there or paint a car or

have an old something in ya driveway.   Offer me a million to live there NO :  MOVE out of that dump, then kick it in the ocean...I've been

there and there is nothing that gets my attention cause its all gone to a fake plastic place......Took a trip interior south holy smokes every

body got a still junk in the yard a rockin on the porch with a shot gun in hand smokin a pipe with steaming whiskey ! your turn !

 

 

The State of California knows!  Just read the label.

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I love oil discussion threads!  I used to be on several motorcycle discussion sites and without fail the oil threads would generate so much discussion that they would drag out for months and never really reach any agreement.  At least on this forum they do seem to reach a point of agreement most times and many good points are raised and examined.

 

Terry

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On 22/11/2016 at 9:57 AM, WindsorRon said:

I was surprised to find California has outlawed non-detergent oil.  I have always used non-synthetic, non-detergent 30wt SAE oil in my 1949 Windsor.  How is the detergent oil going to affect my engine? 

As Grumpy says, they know the science and are attempting to save uninformed people from themselves and from spreading their misinformation to others.

 

DO NOT for one moment consider using "non-detergent" oil if you value your engine.

 

 

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This discussion comes up every month or so. I am surprised there are some who persist in promoting non-detergent oil. And it is disturbing The Filling Station also peddle this uninformed stuff.

 

 It is a myth that detergent oils circulate damaging particles. The physics of sediment transport come in here. The larger bits need faster, higher energy (or more viscous) flow to move them. The finer bits stay suspended in much lower speed flows. Clay sized particles only settle out very slowly, over a period of weeks or months. Detergent oils prevent this settling of super-fine particles, which is one of the reasons your oil stays black.

 

It was recognised early on that there were three problems with oils in use at the time, with five significant symptoms (source: Service Station and Motor Mechanics Manual, George George A.M.I.A.E., M.S.A.E., M.I.A.M., F.I.C., 1940, p. 87). The problems were exercising the minds of motor lubricant makers, I expect under pressure from auto makers:
1. Corrosion by the organic acid compounds produced by the combustion of the fuel, upon the upper part of the cylinder walls and upon the piston rings.
2. Sludge formation in the oil itself.
3. Rate of viscosity reduction with temperature.
4. Extreme pressure lubricants needed for gearboxes and differentials.
5. Corrosion of the new alloys being used for bearing metal.

 

As shown above, we call oil additive packages "detergents" so I will continue with that loose terminology. These detergents include anti-oxidants to retard corrosion. They also prevent the oil turning to sludge. And the additive packages provide for a flattening of the viscosity-temperature curve, hence multigrade oils. The base oil is probably still S.A.E. 30, but the additives make it behave like the numbers in the multigrade designation: easier to pump at startup (e.g. 5W or 10W), leading to far less wear, and holding their viscosity at operating temperature.

 

Remember that back in the day, engines were full of SLUDGE (a consequence of the oil, not a design feature). It held in suspension and circulated the larger particles. With modern detergent oils, there is NO SLUDGE so the larger particles (the ones that do the damage) settle out in the sump. If you have damaging particles, your engine is already in serious trouble anyway. The particles that are entrained are very very small - clay sized. They are basically combustion products, which is why detergent oil goes black and the inside of the engine doesn't get this stuff deposited all over it.

 

With non-detergent sludgy oil, there are larger bits in circulation that may be bad for the engine.  All particles, including those very small ones resulting from combustion, settle out when the oil slows. Think of sediment transport: when the water slows in the river, the small particles settle and sand bars result. When an engine is shut down, the non-detergent oil drops all particulate matter where-ever it stops, which is everywhere in the engine - such as in the oil galleries in the block and crankshaft, in the dipper troughs in splash engines, in the tappet chamber, in the oil pump, on the oil pump pickup screen, in the piston ring lands and so on. Once settled, it doesn't readily get picked up again by non-detergent oil. The oil ways are narrowed, all of them.

 

When you next buy your bottle of non-detergent oil, look into the oil stocks used to make it. There is a pretty good chance it is low grade oil (see Widman's paper about this). If you want cheap low grade non-detergent oil, they will make it for you.

 

I don't for one moment think they would have continued to use old fashioned non-detergent oil once detergent oil became available. Non-detergent oil would not have been readily available. Reverting to it is a retrograde step.

 

Note also that oil changes were very frequent. My 1930 Dodge is recommended at 1500 miles in summer and 500 miles in winter. That was how they dealt with the sludge, corrosion and oil breakdown problems: new oil, frequently. The large sumps were also to handle a lot of oil: more oil should last longer before it is all sludge. And I don't for a moment believe the mechanics would remove the sump every oil change (or second or third or fourth even) - the customer wouldn't want to wait or pay for it and it is not a fun job.

 

I would never go near "old technology" oil. Your engine will last a lot longer on modern oil. Without a filter I would change frequently but still use a multigrade (i.e. detergent) oil. My 1930 Dodge has a bypass canister filter, but they are impossible to buy so I change the oil at 1000 mile intervals.

 

If you are running non-detergent oil you will be doing your engine and thus your pocket a big service when you See The Light and change to modern oil. Just clean out the sump and plan on a couple of changes in short (500 to 1000 mile) succession. The oil will probably get dirt fairly quickly as it picks up these super-fine particles where-ever there is a little turbulence or flow is fast enough. There are one or two web sites with test evidence (not heresay) that some synthetic oils reduce wear to a minimum, more so than good mineral oils.

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Change to detergent oil but if I were you I would drop the pan and remove the sludge and clean the oil pump intake screen if it has one. If crud is on the crank, cam, rods and crankcase sides you can use oven cleaner to easily dissolve it and rinse it off with a hose. 

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Padgett pretty well nails it provided you do not get lost in the smoke after it loosens crud around your rings and valves, which it will if you have an

older engine. I say this only because I am a voice of experience.

Perry

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What happened to EVERYTHING ELSE that was posted here ? Why ? Please enlighten everyone who has participated in this by contributing or reading. Thank you. - Carl

 

P.S. : I hope Ron read all the info that was presented here before it mysteriously evaporated.

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If the engine isn't already an oil burner you should be fine.

It is IS an oil burner don't switch because detergents will clean out what's keeping it from sucking oil like a pig.

When I bought my 2nd '59 Chevy (235 6) it burned oil pretty bad.

The car had stood for ages so I thought it might be a case of stuck rings.

It was burning a quart maybe every 100 miles.

I not only put in 10-30 detergent oil but used a detergent additive as well.

It worked........in fact it worked SO well it wound up burning a quart of oil in FIFTY miles.

At least I knew what I had to do....... :P

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3 hours ago, C Carl said:

What happened to EVERYTHING ELSE that was posted here ? Why ? Please enlighten everyone who has participated in this by contributing or reading. Thank you. - Carl

 

P.S. : I hope Ron read all the info that was presented here before it mysteriously evaporated.

 

Indeed. Someone probably deleted it all because they didn't want to hear it. Oh well, people will be people. I could put my contribution back - it is just a file to paste in.

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Explanation, please, from the moderators.  Other people and I put a significant amount of effort into setting forth our considered opinions and experience, pro and con, on detergent oil.  I have seen nothing that was either offensive nor prohibited by forum rules.  In fact, I think it was a model of calm and rational exposition of differing opinions.  The unexpurgated thread contained (past tense) enough information for people to make an intelligent choice for themselves.

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ArticiferTom is correct. 

 

I had not seen the duplicate thread previously but since those incorrectly complaining that the moderators had deleted posts in the other thread managed to bring the duplicate thread to the top, I have now seen the duplicate thread. I have combined the two threads to help avoid future confusion on the issue.

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I certainly hope someone did not exercise power of censorship based upon personally held dogma. It might have another explanation. I sure can not remember anything negative in the postings by any of the well informed participants here deleted. If there is anyone who might have merited a deletion , I would say I probably was the most provocative. I had implied a value judgment re: 3 specific oil products , A***** , M**** * , and C****** , this having to do with degree of syntheticity as per " Widman". Yes , I understand there is some policy against identifying various products by name , but one would think that we would all be better served with some line item veto , rather than having our entire great works zapped. Quite a bit of valuable "peer review" takes place here , usually under particularly civil back and forth dialogue. I am 72 years old , and have been pleasantly divested of long heald misconceptions on one hand , and on the other hand have had corroborated some of my opinions which have never before been "second sourced" , thanks to this very fine forum. What a remarkable resource this collective cyber brain is. Let us be very judicious and careful when considering gagging anyone here. And yes , please Dr. Spinney' , restore your well referenced response since you can do it with a few clicks. I am afraid I am in the same camp as George with no apparent way of resurrecting our laboriously composed gems. (I am so primitive that I must thumb tap on my mini-iPad). LONG LIVE THIS FREE AND OPEN EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ! Oh , and yes , I too am in agreement that under certain circumstances, carbon seals long in the making , may be dislodged by additives in high detergent (synthetic) oil. Spinney' ?  Others ?  - Carl

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Yes, thank you.

 

I was looking into why California has "outlawed" non-detergent oil. Maybe this is it:

"§ 13460. Engine lubricants

Engine oil shall not be sold or distributed for use in an internal combustion engine unless the product conforms to the following specifications:

 

(a) It shall meet the engine oil requirements established by the latest revision of the Society of Automotive Engineers Standard SAE J183 for engine oil performance and engine service classification.

(b)..."

 

I suspect non-detergent oil doesn't meet any SAE standard outlined in J183? I haven't found a way to see that standard without paying quite a lot of money: it is $74 to download. There is more to find out about this.

 

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Compressors use non detergent oil so you can go down the tool Aisle and load up. It is time to give up ND oil in your car. Clean the sludge and gunk out and then run a good 10-30 or 10-40 oil. If it causes the car to smoke you can fix what should be fixed.

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  • 1 month later...
On 2016-11-21 at 3:57 PM, WindsorRon said:

I have always used non-synthetic, non-detergent 30wt SAE oil in my 1949 Windsor.  How is the detergent oil going to affect my engine? 

 

Detergent oil will make your engine cleaner. See BITOG: How does Detergents and Dispersant's work in oil?

Quote

Detergents serve two principal functions.

First, they lift any deposits from the surfaces from the surfaces of the engine to which they adhere to and then chemically combine to form a barrier film, which keeps the deposits from coming out of suspension and coagulating. Detergents form two kinds of barrier films. On small particles, (generally less than 0.02 microns in size), detergents form an absorbed film which slows down coagulation of the particles. On much larger particles, (ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 microns in size), detergents cause the particle surfaces to acquire an electrical charge of the same sign so they can repel each other.

 

Secondly, detergents neutralize any acids formed by the combustion of the fuel by chemically reacting with the acids in order to form harmless neutralized chemicals.

 

See Selection of the Right Motor Oil for the Corvair and other Engines (Bottom Line Recommendation 10)

Quote

Forget the myth that you can’t put high detergent oils in older engines or engines that have  been  using  poor quality oil.  I  do  it  every  day!  50%  of  this  market  is  API  SF or lower, frequently  without thermostats.  They  are  full  of  sludge.  Some  drain  plugs  come out looking  like  a  cork,  with  an  inch  or so  of  thick  sludge  on  the  end.  No  matter  what the engine, I put in a 10W-30 high detergent CI-4 oil and instruct the customer to come back when it thickens up, or the following week if he doesn’t want to check it himself.  Once  it  no  longer  thickens  up  quickly  we  move  on  to  15W-40 and add  a  1200  mile engine cleaner.  At the end of that cycle we move to whatever oil the engine should have.

 

See Sludge.

 

Non-detergent engine oils also don't have anti-wear additives so using modern engine oils will help engines last longer by reducing wear:  See Impact of Low Quality Oils on Engine Wear and Sludge Deposits Wear and Sludge Deposits.

 

I would use a 10W-30 Heavy Duty Engine Oil in your Windsor.  I use 10W-30 Rotella T in my slant six and will be switching to Petro Canada Duron-E once the Rotella is gone.

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