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NEWLY REBUILT ENGINE - BREAK-IN OIL?


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I am going to start this new thread with a really technical question.  I will be picking up the rebuilt engine for the 1916 D-45 toward the end of March.  As all of us know on here, an engine with poured bearings is a different animal than an engine with precision insert bearings.  The original crank has been turned along with the new poured bearings.  The thing that I am wondering about is what should a person do in the way of crankcase oil to see that no harm should come to the new bearing surfaces while they get seated in properly.  I am a huge fan of Havoline oil and that is what I want to run in this engine.  My Dad always ran Marvel Mystery Oil in any engine that he ever owned.  He always ran a half quart of the MMO to bring the oil up to the proper level.  I intend to do the same with this engine.  I know that several of you have gone through this engine rebuilding procedure and I would like to hear what you have to say about the first 500 - 1,000 that is put on the engine after the rebuild.  Bearing and cylinder wall clearances for an engine that was built 100 years ago were way more loose than what is in an engine being built today.  This engine will have aluminum pistons with modern rings for ultimate oil control.  The Babbitt bearing material of today is light years ahead of what was being used 100 years ago.  There are some really sharp folks out there.  I would like to hear what you have to say about this.

 

Thank you,

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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My experience with two engine overhauls, same engine, same driver 500,000 miles at third overhaul.  Good GM mechanic where I worked said thick oil takes too long to circulate.  When I started after each overhaul I used #5 wt. oil for the first 10,000 miles approximately and then went up to #20 wt. oil. until the next overhaul at 180,000 miles.  After the first overhaul I never had to add oil between changes even when I extended the mileage to 3000 between changes.  Usually the oil was down a quart when it came time to change.  With  the thin oil I never had any trouble starting in Manitoba winters.  Many of my miles were at highway speeds both summer and winter.  On the Trans Canada Highway and your Interstates mainly I5 and I 90 55 mph was my cruising speed with 60+ for passing.

Generally the rings and valves were the reason for overhaul.  Loss of power due to low compression.  The rod bearings could have been tightened by removing shims but then they would have been oval and why not fix it all when it was apart.

Several times single weight oil was not available so I tried multi-grade.  I found that the mult-igrade oil seemed to lose pressure after a long days trip (400+ miles) so always went back to single weight.

When I started driving my Pontiac it was burning oil 200 miles per quart of #40 wt. oil.  My GM friend said to put lighter oil in the engine.  I did and consumption went down so I did it again and consumption went down again and then at 140,000 I did my first overhaul.

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Hi Terry!

I used 7 quarts of this TORCO brand SAE 30 Break-in-oil in my '37.  I kept it in the first 300 miles, then changed it to my regular 10W-40.  (Also Torco Brand)

 

I'm so excited for you to get the motor home.  Can't wait to see the posts!

 

Have a great day!

Gary

 

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Terry just called so I looked up his post. 

 

Never heard of Torco so I looked it up too.  Site said it is API ‘compliant’ but I’m curious if the product carries the API starburst with the spec is met   The API testing and certification is expensive and difficult to pass.  Can you check the bottle for us Gary?  
 

I’m suspicious they are not API certified  if they don’t have the starburst on the front label.  Having spent the better part of 30 years professionally associated with engine lubricants; the API rating is significant.  Not having it is a red flag. Now I’m certain it’s better than 1930s oil.
 

On a dipper rod engine the oil is there on the first stroke/dip assuming the troughs are full when you load the pan then crank the engine with the plugs out until the galleys are full too. 

 

I’m a user of graphite type assembly lubes when I put an engine together.  Just one man’s opinion. That and a high quality API rated multi viscosity name brand oil. 
 

When GM Fuels and Lubes tested engine oils to the API metrics, Havoline was #1. All the others that were also API rated were a very close second.  Not far enough away to matter.  The test matrix is tough and for good reason. The non API oils tested failed miserably.  None would have snuck through. 
 

Marvel Mystery oil is nothing more than cheap unrated transmission fluid.  I’ve seen the chem lab analysis report. If you put it in your crankcase, don’t call me. All you are doing is diluting good crankcase oil. If you are determined to mix it with your fuel, try a modern low ash 2 cycle oil with the latest API rating.  I believe it is now TC.  This oil is meant to be combusted and provide lubricating qualities while it does so and not stick your rings which it is specially tested for. 
 

Put MMO on your pancakes or on your head to grow hair.  Just don’t put it in your engine. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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I left out that MMO also contains Stoddard Solvent.  At least for a little while.  Due to its evaporation rate it doesn’t stick around in a warm engine very long. I’m guessing back in the day of non detergent oils, the Stoddard Solvent unstuck something gummed up and people elevated it to Sainthood. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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I also put a rare earth hard drive magnet in my oil pan. 
 

Takes a screwdriver to pry it off they are so strong. 
 

For others reading this, these are non oil filter equipped engines. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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And we can all add one of these magnets to the outside of our pan and remove it right when you change the oil.  Then put it back. 
 

I just know some smart aluminum oil pan guy is going to post next. 

Edited by Brian_Heil (see edit history)
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Brian,

You're one cool dude!  You already figured out that one needs an aluminum magnet for the early oil pans.  I was just going to suggest using some of that whizz bang duck tape to hold the magnet on the pan.🤣

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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A related question I'm curious about, pertaining to multi-grade oils in poured-babbitt engines:  Does there exist a scale of equivalent "weights" at various oil temperatures?  Let me expand on that.

 

I use multi-grade in hope of getting better cold circulation, since 100-year-old cars, and even later pre-war cars, have a number of cold/cool starts for club activities and touring, usually involving several stops per day.  That is, in selecting 10W at the bottom end of the multi-grade scale, I've been excluding consideration of what "grade-equivalent" my 10W-40 or 15W-40 is after 2 hours of 40-50 mph driving.  A friend who had a gigantic 1917 Pierce 66 (825 cid out of 6 cylinders but--almost necessarily--a 1,500 rpm redline) could not get that car's oil temps higher than 118*F at the end of 8 hrs at 60 mph on the highway at 90*F ambient temperatures.  So what weight-equivalent (20/30/40) is any given oil at 118*F?  Has the multi-grade reached a temperature so that the oil assumes the viscosity of a single-weight?  Modern cars' oil gets substantially hotter in service at highway speeds, I believe.

 

Not a Buick, but Pierce 8 (1929-38) and 12 (1932-38) engines specified 20 in winter and 30 in summer--of course, this was well before multi-grades were available.

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Terry, 

     I am using Lucas 30 Wt Break in oil.  I have about 100 miles to go before I change it.  I would suggest to not use marvel mystery oil as well.  I am not one to be my own chemist.  I would think a manufacturer would have what is needed.  I have not built a 1 off engine.  There are plenty of babbitted engines.         Hugh

https://www.amazon.com/Lucas-Oil-10631-supplement-additional/dp/B00INXYZH0/ref=asc_df_B00INXYZH0/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312181776237&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=9272351083525402675&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9027834&hvtargid=pla-623685630687&psc=1

 

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Years ago a lawsuit involving an airplane accident forced MMO to reveal their formula. Among other things it was 1% lard.

 

They have since changed the formula, it no longer contains lard.

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Grimy

 

No disrespect to your friend, but those numbers are too low to believe. 
 

I’d recommend some confirmation testing with a modern thermal gun checking block, head, sump and coolant outlet temps. 

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Depends on how many carbon atoms in the molecule

 

C1 = methane

C2 = ethane

C3 = propane

C4 = butane

C5 - C8 = gasoline

C9 - C11 = stoddard solvent

C12 - C18 = kerosene or diesel

C19 and above = oil

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29 minutes ago, Jack Worstell said:

What is Stoddard Solvent ?    A solvent based on a mix of hydroarbons  of some sort ?

 

Jack Worstell


Carb cleaner and dry cleaning fluid are close relatives. Pick your poison. Literally. 

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Now being fair.  


Lots of oil manufacturers are not API certified which begs the question if they are so wonderful (which they may be) why not be certified to the industry standard (API)?

 

I don’t know the answer but I do know API, ASTM, SAE and the like, these standards go through years of review and development and, in the case of API random monitoring to remain certified. 

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Also, from my experience with the '24 and '27 Cadillacs,(inherently cool running engines), I concur with Grimy's temperature assessments. I monitor oil temp at the filters, (full-flow 40 micron on the '24, 21 micron bypass on the '27). Maybe around 110 cruising around cool Seattle in the '24. Similar in the'27, but up to 140 or so under good load in 'Vegas in late June, with ambient temperature above 100, and hot pavement in the afternoon radiating heat up into the mechanicals. Looking at temperature/viscosity graphs of multi-viscosity oils, it is obvious that Grimy's concerns are well-founded. Penrite make some quite heavy multi-viscosity oils specifically for old, slow turning engines. IIRC, something on the order of 40W/70. I used to consider that oil to be far too heavy. Now I see some validity to that range. Recently, I have been thinking along exactly the same lines as Grimy, and now plan to blend up 20W/50 Amsoil Z-Rod with a VI improver. Target is around 25W/70. 

 

As most of you know, I have been a synthetic fanatic for something like 35+ years. And I fully understand the point many people make, which argues that any modern oil is better than any oil was in the pre-war times our cars were new. If the contention is that any modern oil is "good enough", hey ! I get that too. Is there supporting evidence that the very best engine oil available is demonstrably better than "good enough" in an ancient, low speed, cool running engine ? I'll leave that to others to decide. Because, I really don't care. The difference in cost for a once every year or so oil change is so minimal, that I will pay it. Then I don't have to waste time figuring out the "good enough" threshold. AND, all engines have hotspots, and any engine is susceptible to accidental overheat. The best quality synthetics (Yes, all synthetics are not created equal), have significantly higher flashpoints than the conventional mix of broken polymers looking for oxygen to link up with. I am far from alone in thinking that my engines deserve the very best.

 

So please forgive me, Terry. At this time I have nothing "to say about this". In a world, and on a forum which includes real experts like Brian, I avail myself of their expertise and let them do my thinking and speaking for me when appropriate. As you select break in, and other lubricants, I suggest you spend a little time on the Amsoil site. I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that company, and would drop them like a hot exhaust manifold if someone could prove there are better lubricants. Please enjoy their rather complete explanation of concerns in developing their own break in oil. See what they have, in my stead, "to say about this". It will take a little of the mystery out of the selection of a marvelous product. Take it or leave it.    -   Carl 

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Ha. I’m no expert.  I wrote lab requests to guys with PhDs who sent me wonderful reports who were experts. 

 

I change my old car oil every 800 miles roughly. 
 

At that low an interval I would be throwing away perfectly good synthetic. 
 

In an unfiltered, cold running engine that has lots of condensation, blow-by and sitting time between run cycles, I want the detergents in the modern oil to do its job and then exchange that dirty oil with new clean high quality oil.  That’s my school of thought.  
 

Is synthetic great stuff?  It is.  Be leary of synthetic blends.  The % amount of actual synthetic varies widely.  Some blends have next to none yet charge nearly the price of full synthetic. 
 

The late Harold Sharron of Brass Buick fame and also 40+ years of designing engines for Pratt & Whitney had a response when asked what type of oil he used:

 

“Whatever’s on sale with an API rating”

 

 

Terry asked me a question about graphite assembly lube on roller lifters.  I would say no for fear of skidding. But an absolute yes on flat tapper lifters. 

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2 hours ago, C Carl said:

Also, from my experience with the '24 and '27 Cadillacs,(inherently cool running engines), I concur with Grimy's temperature assessments. I monitor oil temp at the filters, (full-flow 40 micron on the '24, 21 micron bypass on the '27). Maybe around 110 cruising around cool Seattle in the '24. Similar in the'27, but up to 140 or so under good load in 'Vegas in late June, with ambient temperature above 100, and hot pavement in the afternoon radiating heat up into the mechanicals. Looking at temperature/viscosity graphs of multi-viscosity oils, it is obvious that Grimy's concerns are well-founded. Penrite make some quite heavy multi-viscosity oils specifically for old, slow turning engines. IIRC, something on the order of 40W/70. I used to consider that oil to be far too heavy. Now I see some validity to that range. Recently, I have been thinking along exactly the same lines as Grimy, and now plan to blend up 20W/50 Amsoil Z-Rod with a VI improver. Target is around 25W/70. 

 

As most of you know, I have been a synthetic fanatic for something like 35+ years. And I fully understand the point many people make, which argues that any modern oil is better than any oil was in the pre-war times our cars were new. If the contention is that any modern oil is "good enough", hey ! I get that too. Is there supporting evidence that the very best engine oil available is demonstrably better than "good enough" in an ancient, low speed, cool running engine ? I'll leave that to others to decide. Because, I really don't care. The difference in cost for a once every year or so oil change is so minimal, that I will pay it. Then I don't have to waste time figuring out the "good enough" threshold. AND, all engines have hotspots, and any engine is susceptible to accidental overheat. The best quality synthetics (Yes, all synthetics are not created equal), have significantly higher flashpoints than the conventional mix of broken polymers looking for oxygen to link up with. I am far from alone in thinking that my engines deserve the very best.

 

So please forgive me, Terry. At this time I have nothing "to say about this". In a world, and on a forum which includes real experts like Brian, I avail myself of their expertise and let them do my thinking and speaking for me when appropriate. As you select break in, and other lubricants, I suggest you spend a little time on the Amsoil site. I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with that company, and would drop them like a hot exhaust manifold if someone could prove there are better lubricants. Please enjoy their rather complete explanation of concerns in developing their own break in oil. See what they have, in my stead, "to say about this". It will take a little of the mystery out of the selection of a marvelous product. Take it or leave it.    -   Carl 


If you are running such cold oil temps, why such a high viscosity number desired. I’m confused. 

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Brian, sincere thanks for questioning my assertion last night about an oil temp of 118*F at 60 mph.  The correct numbers, from a 1992 (reprinted 2004) PAS non-technical article I'm copying in below, are 150*F at 85*F ambient after 2 hours, and less than 120*F oil temp at 60*F ambient.  The author was a chemical engineer but not a petroleum engineer, and he and his father owned a 1917 Pierce 66 from 1942 through 2010.  I've had several discussions with the author, Marlin Hansen, over the years during tours, and somehow the 118 number became stuck in my head.  And from those conversations, he did use professional heat sensors and readout devices to develop those numbers.  I have highlighted what I believe to be the most important part for this discussion.

 

And thanks to Cadillac Carl for his comments.  Restating the concerns that Carl and I have:  Modern multi-grade oils add viscosity as the oil becomes heated.  But early cars (for our purposes here, pre-1929 but especially pre-1920) don't really achieve the oil temperatures for which these modern oils were designed, so what is the "effective" single-weight equivalent at, say, 140-160* oil temperature?  The answer, which I don't have and which I hope someone can provide, may inform us on how to balance the need for "cruise viscosity" vs. the desirable low-viscosity for start-up.  Or, as Carl alludes, at the (compared to modern cars) low oil temps that early cars maintain at cruising speeds, does 10W-40 / 15W-40 / 20W-50 afford sufficient viscosity for that usage?  At 140-160*F oil temp, has the oil become the equivalent of straight SAE 20, straight SAE 30, or what?  And is that sufficient?

 

Our early cars' manuals generally describe "light," "medium," and "heavy" oils which are usually translated as 20, 30, and 40 "weights" as regards engine oil--before there were SAE viscosity standards.  That's not particularly helpful.  About all we can do is to keep an eye on the oil pressure gauge during hot runs and assess whether the reading "looks right."  Those early cars designed to run on very low oil pressure (say, <10 psi) are more problematic.

 

During the coming tour season, I intend to maintain some kind of log of oil temps in my early cars at hot run, noting the oil viscosity, approximate ambient temps, etc.

 

I agree with Brian that ~800-mile oil changes are desirable for 1910s and 1920s cars, on the principle that frequent changes are necessary to get rid of liquid contaminants which particle filters cannot.  I use dino oil rather than synthetic (sorry, Carl!).  For the more modern Pierce 8s, which develop higher oil temps and higher engine speeds, I change at 1,000-1,200 miles or one year, whichever comes first, at the end of the touring season so that contaminants are removed before periods of minimal use..

 

The article below also advocates strongly for installation of PCV devices to reduce moisture contamination.  I'm not doing that, but will maintain my oil change frequency as a means of minimizing the buildup of liquid contaminants.

 

BEGIN ARTICLE

Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PAS Service Bulletin 2004-3)

by Marlin Hansen (from a PAS Technical Report, 1992)

When we turn the key and push the starter button on our Pierce-Arrow, something remarkable happens, or should happen. We add a spark to a compressed mixture of gasoline and air and we get internal combustion. This is quite different from the eighty years of successful external combustion engines that preceded the gasoline engines of 1900.

Steam engines had the "fire" in a boiler (external) from the pistons of the engine. Needless to say it was much more compact to throwaway the boiler and put the fire over the pistons. But this introduced new problems some of which are still being resolved today.

Historians know that work on internal combustion engines began about forty years before 1900 and that work on steam engines began about 1000 years before 1820. But I am using these dates for commercially successful engines.

The gasoline engine has temperatures of 2000 to 4000 degrees over the pistons, and pressures of 4 to 6 times the cranking compression of the engine. Fortunately the cooling and lubrication systems take care of these stresses to the engine.  Gasoline is a hydrocarbon. All that means is that it is made up of hydrogen and carbon. When we add air, fifteen pounds of air for each pound of gasoline, and burn this mixture the oxygen in the air combines with the carbon to make carbon dioxide just like we exhale in our breath. The hydrogen combines with the oxygen to make water. The amazing part is that, because we add air, for each gallon of gasoline we burn we make one gallon of water and many cubic feet of carbon dioxide. This is 98 to 99% of what goes out the exhaust pipe. On a cold day before the exhaust pipe warms up one can see the condensed water dripping out. The remaining one to two percent is carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbon, other oxides and acids that form during combustion.

Due to the very high pressures above the piston, a very small amount of this exhaust is forced down past the piston rings into the crankcase. Naturally, the more worn the rings are the more exhaust gases that blow by the rings. These exhaust gases can be a very big source of problems. They are one of the principal reasons the oil becomes dirty. If the crankcase is hot, above 160 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and if there is ventilation pulling the fumes out of the crankcase, then very little of the unburned gasoline and acids will dissolve in the oil. None of the water vapor will condense in the crankcase at these temperatures. Modern engines heat their oil very rapidly because of the overhead valve oiling. But even these engines with positive crankcase ventilation get some oil contamination in the first ten minutes of operation. What happens in flathead and T-head engines is much more serious.

Until about 1960, sludge accumulation in the crankcase was the major cause of engine failure. Below 160 degrees, more of the unburned gasoline and acids dissolve in the oil. Below 120 degrees, even with proper ventilation, some of the combustion moisture condenses on the insides of the crankcase and is trapped in the oil. The acids prefer water to oil and transfer into the water. We now have acid and solvent in the oil. This results in sludge formation, cylinder wall rust and bearing erosion.

Flathead engines expose their oil to heat only through friction, the bottoms of the pistons and the cooler crankcase surfaces. The T-head engines with their larger crankcases and low r.p.m. operation run even lower oil temperatures. Todays OHV and OHC engines pump the oil over the top of the hot head. A 1948 Cadillac flathead with a 180-degree thermostat needs forty minutes of highway driving to bring the oil to 160 degrees in 60-degree weather. A 1969 Lincoln with a 190-degree thermostat brings its oil to 160 degrees in only nine minutes under the same conditions. Last summer after two hours on the highway at 50 m.p.h. with my 1917 Pierce, the oil temperature only reached 150 degrees. The air temperature was 85 degrees and the engine temperature was 185 degrees. In 60- degree weather, the oil temperature does not go over 120 degrees.

Slower driving lowers the oil temperature by ten to twenty degrees. The ideal operating temperature for motor oil is 160 to 220 degrees. It is ironic that modern cars cause oil break down by excessive heat (in excess of 250 degrees) and antique cars cause oil failure by low oil temperatures.

The second part of the problem is ventilation. Before road draft tubes appeared around 1920 the engines had almost no ventilation. The draft tubes probably worked good over 40 mph. But at idle there was no ventilation. It is not surprising that we find old engines full of sludge and hear of people starting their old cars in the winter and breaking their oil pump because it had ice in it.

I had been changing the oil in my T-head Pierce every 800 miles. The owners manual says to change oil every 475 miles. In 1986, I cleaned the insides of the crankcase and pan. The pan had sludge in it and there were some rust pits on the cams and cylinder walls. My Dad purchased the Pierce in 1942 and said the engine had been rebuilt in 1937 by the original owner at 70,000 miles. By 1986 the car only had 86,000 miles on it. After cleaning the crankcase I installed a full flow oil filter in the line between the oil pump and the engine. I also installed an oil temperature gauge. I then began changing over to detergent oil with one quart of detergent oil and the rest nondetergent. During this change over I changed oil every 400 miles and kept increasing the amount of detergent oil. After each oil change I let the oil sit in the drain pan for a day and poured it out slowly. There was always a little water in the bottom of the oil. I had seen this before I cleaned the crankcase.

Also. I had added a dye to radiator water to check for block leaks but the water in the oil was always clear. I remembered my experiences with my 1948 Cadillac and realized that the ventilation and temperature problems were even worse with a T-head. I decided to add positive crankcase ventilation (P.C.V.). A P.C.V. system uses the vacuum in the intake manifold to maintain a continuous flow of new air through the crankcase. The fumes are pulled into the intake manifold and burned. It is one type of pollution control that helps fuel economy by burning unburned gasoline.

 

I dropped the pan again and drilled and tapped a hole at the back of the crankcase. Then I did the same on the back side of the intake manifold and installed a P.C.V. valve from a Lincoln 460 cubic inch engine. It was necessary to close off one of the two vents to the crankcase to get air flow across the length of the engine. The air now enters through the vent screen in the oil filler. I also installed an electric oil pan heater. With this heater plugged in the crankcase, oil reaches 110 degrees in about three hours. This reduces possible condensation during the first twenty minutes of operation. Of course my oil temperature when driving is still about 100 degrees cooler than that of a modern engine. Even with the much improved ventilation there can still be some hydrocarbon and acid contamination at these temperatures. I am now changing my oil every 1500 miles and the water droplets are completely gone from my drained oil.

I recommend installing a P.C.V. system on all old cars. The parts needed are available at auto stores. The installation can be done to have very little visibility. On cars with a road draft tube, it is not necessary to drill into the crankcase. Just block off the draft tube and install a three-eighth inch outlet ahead of the blockage. Connect a rubber tube to this outlet and route it to the intake manifold. The source of suction should be just below the carburetor before the manifold divides off to the cylinders. You will need to adjust your idle mixture after the installation.

Some older cars have a removable plug at the proper location on the manifold. If no plug outlet is available, you will need to drill and thread one. If you can remove the carburetor and use a vacuum hose to catch the metal particles, it may not be necessary to remove the manifold. For a two barrel system, a P.C.V. valve for an engine of half your cubic inches can be installed in one side and the mixture to that side adjusted. A better choice is to install the smaller valve in both sides and connect them together with a "Y" connector. These valves are also check valves and will not allow vacuum to leak from one side to the other. This function also keeps a backfire from blowing into the" crankcase. If your intake manifold has a heating chamber right below the carburetor you will need to consult a knowledgeable mechanic for your installation.

The addition of a P.C.V. system will greatly reduce oil contamination. It will also eliminate crankcase fumes from drifting out of your oil breather at idle or low speed and entering your car.

Other factors which can help reduce oil contamination are controlled by the driver. Do not start your antique car unless you are going to drive for twenty minutes or more. Avoid using your old car in cold weather. Do convert to a detergent oil after a rebuild and add an oil filter if you don’t have one.

END ARTICLE

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Yes, it is precisely the intuitive confusion which lulled me into complacency. Cold running requires lower viscosity, right ? But say a somewhat tired old engine developed in the 'teens or'20s, is to be used for hours and hours. Now fully warmed up. Water temp 150 - 170. Oil temp 115 - 135. Old engine would like to be running, say, in a single viscosity, 40. Diligent owner is using a popular 10W/40, or 15W/40. Great pick for a modern high speed engine, more efficiently running at a much higher operating temp. Aided by a thermostatically controlled pressurized cooling system. Perhaps not so appropriate for the oldie which would like the heavier single viscosity. Like my old Cadillacs, and most of the Brass through Nickel cars we all love to tour. BUT : the multi viscosity oil running cool, may have the properties of, say a 20, or 25. That is where the temperature /viscosity curve indicates, say at an oil temp of 120. It will not have warmed up to the part of the curve which gives a 40 equivalency. That is what Grimy and I are talking about. I crave full synthetic, multi grade engin......................     HOLD HOSSES !!!!!!  JUST GOT NOTIFICATION GRIMY HAS WEIGHED IN.  I am sure he will be explaining far better than I. Let me see his offering.        TBC,   -   CC 

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18 minutes ago, Grimy said:

....The second part of the problem is ventilation. Before road draft tubes appeared around 1920 the engines had almost no ventilation. The draft tubes probably worked good over 40 mph. But at idle there was no ventilation. It is not surprising that we find old engines full of sludge and hear of people starting their old cars in the winter and breaking their oil pump because it had ice in it...

Oh boy, something just might have made sense — and my head hurts.

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6 hours ago, Brian_Heil said:


Carb cleaner and dry cleaning fluid are close relatives. Pick your poison. Literally. 

 

Carb cleaner is usually a combo of acetone and toluene. Dry cleaning fluid is not even a hydrocarbon. It's a chlorocarbon.

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I would add an in line thermostat and raise the coolant temp, and oil temp will follow assuming there is not a separate oil cooler.  You need to get the condensation/water out of the oil by having the oil near 212. 

 

My 1923 Buick runs about 160 coolant and 200 oil stabilized on tour in the summer. No thermostat. Fairly typical that oil is ~50 above the coolant in an engine. These other cars must have huge radiators. 
 

Frozen oil pumps.  Common issue back in the old days.  Water lays in the bottom of the pan and freezes locking the pump and breaking the drive mechanism 

 

Did you know a 1923 Buick has a spring loaded friction drive on the oil pump drive shaft from the factory just for this?  The thing slips if frozen and creates heat to melt the ice and then still works once thawed.  Nothing breaks. Pretty smart those Buick Engineers.   No idea what other years have this. 

F1FED159-E6F3-4B8E-929F-56A56E36E09F.png

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Well, it's been a week and I got quite a few comments about my engine rebuild.  I learned that there are as many opinions as there are comments.  With that said, here is what I am going to do.  I spoke with Dave Mattison at Abrahams Machine Service.  I figured that since they are rebuilding the engine they might have some suggestions.  Had a great visit with Dave and really learned a lot.  First off, I was told that Black Moly Assembly Grease and LubriPlate #105 White Grease should NEVER be used to set an engine together.  The reason being is that both of these products will not dissolve into the engine oil during the initial start-up.  Dave told me that they use a Clevite product for the initial assembly.  They also use and recommend Clevite break in oil for the first 300 - 500 miles on the engine and then I can switch over to the oil of my choice.  I asked him about using Havoline Motor Oil.  His words were, "EXCELLENT CHOICE".  I then asked about the grade to use since we will be running aluminum pistons.  I think everyone knows that the cylinder wall / piston clearance for aluminum pistons is different than for an engine with cast iron pistons.  I asked if 20W50 would be a good oil to use.  Again, his words were, "EXCELLENT CHOICE".  We then talked about the zinc additive in the modern oils.  I knew this, but, he told me anyway, the bearings in modern engines have Babbitt in then.  His opinion of the ZDDP issue is that it is way overblown and that with using the latest 20W50 Havoline oil the engine will run forever with it.  I want to say this very carefully so that there will be no misunderstanding - I AM NOT GOING TO RUN MARVEL MYSTERY OIL IN THE CRANKCASE!  Dave and I had quite a discussion about that.  He told me that when my Dad started driving back in the late 1930's and early 1940's, oils and fuels were way different than what we have today and there could have been some benefit from using it to keep the insides of an engine from getting gummed up.  Totally unnecessary today.  He said that if I was really set on using it, put a little in the gasoline tank with a fill-up.

Dave and Brian Heil both told me that Clevite is a major supplier of bearings to General Motors.  I am very comfortable with my new found knowledge about how to break this engine in properly.  Thanks for all of your comments and encouragement.

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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I think Marvel Mystery Oil will just evaporate. You are talking about something with a boiling point between gasoline and kerosene. Obviously if you put gasoline in the crankcase it will evaporate out after a long run, the same way water does. MMO has a slightly higher boiling point than gasoline so it will take a little longer, but even kerosene will eventually evaporate out the crankcase vent. Hell, the reason motor oil turns black and stops lubricating is the more volatile fractions of the oil evaporate out, so obviously the MMO will be long gone by then. All MMO is, is mineral spirits, the same stuff you clean your paint brushes with. It evaporates like water.

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Terry;

  I have rebuilt and poured bearings on several vintage engines, personally I think the best thing you should do is change whatever oil after about 20-30 minutes. At that time it will probably look somewhat metallic. But you will have accomplished 90% of the bearing filing stage. I think the Havoline 20-50 is a good choice. Personally I prefer Rotella 15W-40.

  I'm sure it will be very exciting hearing it rumble back to life!

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To make a long story short, in 1994, two PhDs at the Battelle Institute, doing Tribology research for, and funded by, an engine manufacturer, determined that break-in is still essential for long, trouble-free engine life, despite modern manufacturing methods. The manufacturer wanted to build an engine they envisioned could operate continuously for 1,000 hours under full load, at wide open throttle, without failure.

 

They determined that proper break-in required:

 

1) Initially using a lighter weight or viscosity oil than would be used in normal operation, say 30 weight instead of 40 or 20 weight instead of 30;

 

2) Running the engine under light to moderate load at lower RPMs, avoiding higher speed operation;

 

3) Draining-out the first fill of the lighter weight oil at about 25 miles of continuous operation, that is, 12 miles out and 12 miles back, observing point #2 (plus the filter being changed) and while still oil is still hot;

 

4) Refill with the light weight oil, plus install new filter, and then running for about 50-100 miles of operation, observing point #2. Then drain and refill plus another new filter, as in point #3, and drive an additional 250 miles;

 

5) Then drain the lighter weight oil, while still hot, change filter, and put in the oil that the engine will us in normal operation. Then drive normally.

 

The idea was to allow the microscopic asperities that remain on the main and rod bearing journals, left over from the manufacturing operation even after grinding, to gradually break free, and for the bearing material and journals to “mate” or burnish themselves to each other before normal operation began. Until they followed this break-in procedure, the researchers never reached 1,000 hours of severe duty operation.

 

I would also agree with others not to use Marvel Mystery Oil in the crankcase at all, only in the fuel system – and only if you need it down the road.

 

Also, do not “drive it like you stole it” like some wise guys tell you to do.
 

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