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1931 fluid recommendations- oil, trans oil, differential, coolant, etc?


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I recently purchased a 1931 8-67 Sedan.  I am new to ownership of 1930's vintage cars.   Car has sat for many years and most of the fluids should be changed.  Any suggestions as to what types of fluids should be used for:  motor oil, radiator coolant, transmission oil, rear axle lube?  Better to use "standard" green antifreeze or "extended life" green, or something else? thank you.

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If the motor was mostly run on non-detergent motor oil and has lots of oil sludge buildup, a detergent type motor oil may release a tidal wave of junk into your oil. So if you go with a detergent oil, id plan on doing ANOTHER oil change soon to clean everything out. Id use just a cheap oil first for your "wash" then refill with a good "hot rod" or "classic car" oil like Valvoline VR1 which has more zinc and moly. 10w-30 should be good barring other mechanical issues. I personally run synthetic 5w-30 in a low mileage '37 Special.

For the transmission, id seek an oil with GL-4 specs. GL4 is safer for yellow metals which many older trans have. GL5 or GL6 may harm yellow metals. Napa has a StaLube oil which is GL4. This is also what i use in my differential because there are two thin brass shims in there. Im not sure about your diff.

For rad fluid, i chose to go with the pet friendly propylen glycol style for i have pets, the cooling system is not a closed system and i prefer it for when it has to be changed and it inevitably gets everywhere. Otherwise theres no problem with the standard green. Id do some sort of coolant cleaner flush with CLR or stuff from auto parts store.

James,C

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If you are just buying the car that has set for years, then I would pull the oil pan and inspect and clean all of the junk in the pan.  You can then use any oil that you like.  New oil will not harm the engine or bearings.  The worst oil today is better than the best oil "in the day".

 

Change all of the fluids and replace with new.

 

As for transmission lube, I would use what it says to use in the owners/service manual.  Many older cars called for steam oil or 600 wt oil.  Most of that oil from my investigation is GL1 without additives.  Plain mineral oil from my understanding.  Same for the differential.

 

Just another persons opinion and what I use.

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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Lots of folks use John Deere "corn head grease" in the steering box because it is a semi solid when cold so it wont leak out as bad on a worn box.

Snyders antique ford sells 600 WT called M-533.   You can use it in the rear axle, transmission and steering box.  

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Corn head grease is what I use in the steering gears on my cars/trucks.  I just took off the grease cup and put in a zerk fitting and filled it up until it came out.   Using corn head grease instead of regular grease is that regular grease will wipe it's self off the gear faces over time. (displaces).  Corn head grease becomes semi fluid when being worked and will stay in the gear face area.  When it is not being worked, it stiffens up so it will not leak out of the gear box.

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On 4/18/2019 at 4:24 AM, 70sWagoneers said:

If the motor was mostly run on non-detergent motor oil and has lots of oil sludge buildup, a detergent type motor oil may release a tidal wave of junk into your oil.

 

Sorry, this is rubbish. Modern oils do not contain magic ingredients that immediately dissolve years of caked on dirt and muck and redistribute it through the engine.

 

So called non-detergent oil is just oil without additives. Those additives have many purposes, some of which are: to increase viscosity index (i.e. cold oil has very high viscosity, hot oil has very low viscosity; additives make the difference less extreme and increase the viscosity index); to reduce corrosion (i.e. they contain anti-oxidants); to reduce oxidation of the oil, which turns it to sludge (this was a major problem until additives were developed to slow and eventually to prevent it); to suspend combustion products, esp. carbon, so they come out at oil change time rather than being deposited throughout the engine, including inside any crankshaft oil ways, engine oil ways, caked on the time gears (and chains if fitted), in the ring grooves in the pistons, and so on. A gradual buildup of muck reduces lubrication and increases wear throughout the engine. Sludge is hard to pump around and is a poor lubricant.

 

If the engine has been used with non-additive oil, it will be fairly dirty inside and lubrication reduced. The first job is to clean it out as much as possible. Then put in a multi-grade oil, something like a 5W-30 or 40 and change it a couple of times at 1000 mile intervals. The oil will pick up some of the muck that was deposited in high turbulence locations - simple sediment transport. It will NOT put metal filings through your bearings. If there are such things in the sump, the engine is already in trouble and a change to modern oil won't change that. It won't cause any more damage; in fact it may prolong the life of the engine.

 

Viscosity index is "an arbitrary number assigned as a measure of the constancy of the viscosity of a lubricating oil with change of temperature with higher numbers indicating viscosities that change little with temperature " (Merriam Webster).

 

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No, if you want to release all that crap and circulate it through the engine, detergent oil won't do. Get some Rislone. I once had an old sludged up Ford 352 that had a noisy lifter. I put a can of Rislone in, and then I had 16 noisy lifters.

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