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Yellow Metal in a 1932 Packard

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I have a 1932 Packard standard eight.

Is there yellow metal in the transmission or differential?

Brass and bronze are not compatible with gear oils rated GL-5 due to the high sulpher content, so I understand.  But I don't know what's inside a Packard transmission or rear end of this vintage.  Can I use a modern GL-5 or should I look for a GL-4 or other low-tech gear oil?


Thanks -- Scott

Troy, NY

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For liability reasons, I would be surprised if ANY maker of  motor, hydraulic, or gear oil you could buy from a "legit" source,  would harm your vehicle.


I recommend using "multi-grade" lubricants - both for motors, transmissions, and rear ends.   Of course you want to be sure, in the case of gear lubricants, they bear the expression "extreme pressure".   That means they are o.k. for use in "hypoid" style rear axles - ordinary gear lubricants are not.


Why use "multi-grade" oils for your engine and gear systems ?    Because they are NOT MULTI GRADE !   The term "multi-grade" is simply an advertising expression, to indicate the viscosity remains relatively constant regardless of the temp.


For example a "single grade" motor oil need only meet its viscosity spec. at the boiling point of water.  At cooler temps, it becomes too thick to get into vital friction areas .  That's a major reason why in the old days,  motors wore out so fast.  A "multi-viscosity" lubricant flows at cold temps,  and does not "thin out" at extreme temps.


Bottom line - modern oils will not hurt your car !

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On ‎7‎/‎20‎/‎2017 at 8:43 AM, SaddleRider said:

For liability reasons, I would be surprised if ANY maker of  motor, hydraulic, or gear oil you could buy from a "legit" source,  would harm your vehicle...............Bottom line - modern oils will not hurt your car !


I should have added a brief discussion of my own experience - I believe my pre-war Packard has so called "yellow-metal" parts in its steering gear, transmission, and differential.


I started using "modern"  "extreme pressure" gear lubricants in the various gears,  and 10W-30 oil in its engine, as an experiment.   Never paid any attention to what brand gear and motor oil I selected at any given moment...all that interested me is whether the  packagining confirmed that they "meet SAE/mfg's specs".       My belief at the time was that this "experiment" was without risk, based on my own personal background in basic chemistry and physics.


So far,  I have not seen any malfunction or damage.   "so far....so good".........oh..I should explain further,   I started doing this right after I bought my pre-war Packard - of course the VERY first thing I did was drain all the fluids, "drop" the oil pan and clean out the crank-case. 


Let me add that because the oil pans on the big pre-war Packards are so long,   hard to get them entirely clean just by draining and removing the lower access panel.  So I "drop" the entire lower crank-case/oil pan every couple of years.  That way, the oil pump intake ( located at the very bottom)  is always sucking clean oil to the bearings ( yes,  pre-war Packards do have full-flow oil filters and oil cooling on most models)


How long have I been conducting this "experiment" to determine whether "modern"  ( meaning post 1940's)  gear and motor oils are suitable for use in pre-wart cars ? 


Well...I bought my pre-war Packard in 1956.  Been driving it more or less regularly and hard ever since.   About 100,000 miles to date.    I do have to admit I limit my steady cruising speeds tho - been careful not to get tickets.    Here in northern Arizona the posted speed limit on our Interstate 40 is only 75 mph....so to avoid being too obvious...I stay under 80 mph.


Oil pressure after a long hot run on a hot day  - 20 lbs at idle - 50 lbs at any engine speed faster than that.

Edited by SaddleRider (see edit history)
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