Oil and the Model T

Oil on the Garage Floor

If you see oil on the garage floor, is your Model T leaking?

I have been told that if your Model T is not leaking oil, you are probably out of oil. One long-time Model T-er says his general rule of thumb is that the engine should not use more than one quart of oil for each tank of gas. Of course, it will vary from one car to the next, and I find I use about one third quart of oil per tank of gas.

Types of Oil to Use in a Model T

Actually any modern oil is better than the oils available in the 20's. We recommend NAPA 30W high detergent oil. High-detergent oil is also much easier to find while touring than non-detergent oil.

If non-detergent oil is currently in your engine there is probably a sludge buildup, which is normal when using non-detergent oil. You should NOT switch to high detergent oil until such time that your engine is totally cleaned, such as during a rebuild. The reason behind this is that the introduction of high-detergent oil will loosen the built up sludge, causing you to have a highly contaminated crankcase.

The use of high-detergent oil will keep the contaminants in suspension within the engine oil and they will be removed from the engine when the oil is changed.

Contributed by Ernie Wentrcek and Ben Hardeman ~ January 2008

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