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Earliest cars that no longer had a total loss oil system?


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I'm an HCCA member and I'm interested in buying an early brass era car, which would be my first pre-1930 car.  I'm trying to avoid a car with a total loss oil system, however, as it sounds like the kind of mess that would make my wife and the neighbors a bit unhappy with me.  I was wondering, what are some of the earlier cars that don't have total loss oil systems?   Thanks in advance for the help.

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Depending on what you intend on doing with the car, I would rate other features as more pressing. None of them had seals in the modern sense, all of them leaked. Model Ts were always splash lubricated as were others that lack oilers, they didn’t have oil pumps but they weren’t once through either. But they leak.

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5 hours ago, mechanician said:

Depending on what you intend on doing with the car, I would rate other features as more pressing. None of them had seals in the modern sense, all of them leaked. Model Ts were always splash lubricated as were others that lack oilers, they didn’t have oil pumps but they weren’t once through either. But they leak.

 

Thanks for the reply!   I guess I should ask a different question: Are there any early brass cars that leak less than others?  I get that they all leak some, but it's not going to work if the car leaves a trail of oil in the driveway. :)

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Any c 1912 car with oil you add to the crankcase rather than a separate oiler, and a center cane top loader transmission will probably leak the least.  Transaxles and side lever transmissions might offend. 
 

Your experience may differ…..

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Thanks, all.  To be clear, I don't care if it leaks in the garage.  My 1930s cars do that, it's fine.  My concern is leaking oil  while driving, on the driveway and on the road.   Anyway, thanks for the replies!

 

 

Edited by 1935Packard (see edit history)
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When rebuilt right a lot can be done to reduce the amount of oil leakage. My 14 Model T roadster barely leaks at all. I'm continually checking the oil to make sure it's full. Now my 12 Oakland on the other hand...

Ken

ACR 15-15 Tour Coulee Dam Ken and Chris's 14 T in front of the hotel.jpg

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I can't say if other Oaklands leak that much. On mine I need to dump the sump oil after every couple of hundred miles or so. Easy to do just open 4 petcocks on the pan and it drops the oil down to the correct level. that prevents a lot of the dripping. When I forget though, and the oil level gets too high, then it drips out the rear main quite a bit. The old transmissions are also tough to seal as they mainly used felt seals. There's always some dripping from them. However I've driven my Oakland now since 1988 and I've never felt the oil dripping to be an issue.

Ken

12Oakland.jpg

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What crop is growing in the background of your Oakland picture. What size is your Oakland? I hear good things about that make and you must be satisfied as you have a long term relationship with her.

Al

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Hi Al

Recovered yet from the Nickel tour??

We were in wine country in the interior of BC and those are grape vines.  There was lots of smoke from forest fires at the time so you can't see Okanagan Lake in the background.

My Oakland is a Model 40 so it's a midsize car. Runs very well and starts easily on the hand crank. I've never installed a modern electric starter on it. I restored it in 1987 and put more than 20000 miles on it over the years.

Ken

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Hello KLF.....

Yes, my wife and I had a real good time on the Nickel Tour and yes we recovered nicely. The following week we flew to Newport News Virginia for another fun filled week of vacation.  That Va. vacation took a bit more time to recover from but certainly was a good time.  Have you heard of anyone willing to sponsor the 2024 Nickel Era tour? How about you folks?????? I was intrigued by your picture showing your nice Oakland but also with the grapes in the background. I have been bringing back into production my Grand-dads old orchard that was started around 1895.  I started one full row of Jupiter purple seedless table grapes and some green seedless. I am configuring my arbor a bit different than those in your picture.  I am also planting my grapes on 8' centers. Your picture shows what looks like 3' centers. Back to your Oakland, what is the MFG. of your brass lamps, they look terrific against your green color.

Al

Edited by alsfarms
spelling (see edit history)
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Beautiful colors and cowl/dash on the Oakland. I may be cheating here a bit, but I’m needing a pair of nickel gas headlights, 7 1/4 inch between posts, or thereabouts…..

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I do not know.  1912 Babcock Touring. 
it came with 5 brass lamps. Nickel windshield and radiator and other small bits. 
 

I have found a great pair of G&D side lamps and a better tail light. Have a bulb horn I think I can make work. 
 

Thanks for your interest and help !

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Jim, Gray & Davis would be a good MFG. to look for nickel gas headlamps. That way they would match the cowl lamps you have located. Post a picture so we can see what series the Gray & Davis side lights are. What is your taillight?

Al

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Going back to the original question...a true "total loss" system would be very early. Virtually all the brass cars you are likely to encounter will have some form of circulating oil system or a mechanical oiler that fed at least the main bearings and probably the piston walls and cam bearings. I think of it as a "modified" total loss system in that you filled the oiler and the oil collected in the crankcase. You then drained it every so many miles and started over. That said, they all weep oil. The salient factor is the seals which were usually felt or leather. Those seals worked well but often aren't available today in the sizes you might need so in order to replace them you have to make them. It isn't hard to make felt seals but it does take some thought and I suspect that 90% of the "restored" cars, especially those that leak a lot, are running old, dried out and worn seals. Leather seals were much like their modern counterparts, in fact some are still leather. (CR stands for Chicago Rawhide). You are more likely to find a modern replacement for a leather seal but even there some adaptation may be required. In a collecting world that values perfect paint far more than the mechanical aspects of antique cars the chance that the seals are defective is something that should be taken into consideration. They didn't spew oil when they were new...although the underside of the engine was likely a bit wet. Crankshafts usually had slingers or rope seals but they simply couldn't have leaked prodigiously or the clutch would have stopped working. The same is true for the rear axle...if the seals failed the brakes would stop working.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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On 2/10/2024 at 12:49 PM, alsfarms said:

Yes, my wife and I had a real good time on the Nickel Tour and yes we recovered nicely. The following week we flew to Newport News Virginia for another fun filled week of vacation.  That Va. vacation took a bit more time to recover from but certainly was a good time.  Have you heard of anyone willing to sponsor the 2024 Nickel Era tour? How about you folks?????? I was intrigued by your picture showing your nice Oakland but also with the grapes in the background. I have been bringing back into production my Grand-dads old orchard that was started around 1895.  I started one full row of Jupiter purple seedless table grapes and some green seedless. I am configuring my arbor a bit different than those in your picture.  I am also planting my grapes on 8' centers. Your picture shows what looks like 3' centers. Back to your Oakland, what is the MFG. of your brass lamps, they look terrific against your green color.

Al

Edited yesterday at 12:50 PM by alsfarms

It looks like there won't be a Nickel tour this year. Hopefully it will come back in 2025.

My Oakland is actually painted a 1976 Volvo blue. The Oakland came in either blue or green. I like blue cars. (remember my blue 31 Chrysler??)

The lamps are all CM Hall

Ken

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