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Hot Rods The right oil for old cars and Engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blazedogs, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,675


    Been using VR-1 Racing since it came out. Haven't had any issues. Then again, I have only driven 435,000 miles since then, across my 3 vehicles that run it.

    We shall see how it does when I really rack up some miles.
    i.rant, hemihotrod66 and volvobrynk like this.
  2. Mark Axen
    Joined: Nov 14, 2014
    Posts: 3

    Mark Axen

    Perhaps better not being your own chemist by pouring in additives, instead rely on professionally formulated 'classic car oils', such as Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Car Oil, Classic Car Motor Oil, Hemmings, and others. Along with ZDDP, they also contain corrosion-inhibitors that help if you store a car over the Winter months. Valvoline VR1 racing oil does not have this.
  3. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 318


    This is an old thread, but I’m glad Mark A. revived it so I could read it. Blues4U is DA MAN!
    kbgreen, pitman and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  4. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,978


    If you are talking splash systems do not go with heavy weight oils. When these engines started using oil people would to a heaver oil hoping it would use less and then they would starting have rod problems. The thicker oil would not run in well enough.
  5. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,903



    Coming from an experience with all types of oil, sure, back then a nice can of Valvoline in 1960 would have been great. Old Flatheads just loved a new can of 30 wt Valvoline. But, over time, it was black just like all oils and then the cost got too high for a meager money teenager. The old reliable gallon container of reclaimed oil was used for 1000's of miles of So Cal road trips everywhere up and down the coast. No rebuilds, no problems with the motor running, just a normal, low powered, Flathead in a 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery.
    For those that are very conscious about oil weight in motors, the tech stories will scare you as well as tempt you to use whatever brand paid for the tech article. But, for the general consumer, any kind of oil was used back in those 1960 hot rodding days. Yes, if I could afford a cases of Valvoline, I would have bought them. Our local mechanic that worked on Flatheads said there is enough oil ingredients in reclaimed oil that it is just using someone else's oil that has been strained over many times. In modern terms, it was recycling used oil.

    Used oil had "stuff" in it and through whatever process used for recycling the oil, it is still good oil, just not new oil. Re-refined oils were purified through an acid-clay treatment. Re-refined engine oils are just as safe and effective for your car’s engine as fresh oil, and meets all of the same API specifications... all from major oil production companies websites.

    In most gas stations back then, the new quart cans of new oil were proudly displayed near the front door to the gas station and between the pumps. When we all used to jump out and fill the gas tank, we also used to have a guy check the oil, clean the windshield and the air in the tires. That was called full service. It was standard for all gas stations. (If you did not want to pump the gas, then part of the full service was for the attendant to put in as much gas as needed. ) On occasions, we put in only a dollar or two, so we always pumped our own gas.

    This is/was home away from home for a gallon+ of reclaimed/recycled oil in our own containers. the reclaimed oil pump drums were usually located on the side or rear of the gas station and we had to pump the oil into our gallon cans.

    My Flathead was an oil burning mystery. Even though it never leaked a drop, had any oil on any surface above or below, or had smoke of any kind coming out of the exhaust pipes, it used oil. So, the mechanic recommended the recycled oil. Maybe he was smarter, as the recycled oil was thinner and still did the fine job of lubricating the Flathead on those long drives up and down the coast.


    “Jump up to the time when automotive articles were beginning to praise the double weight oils, made changes for all of us. It seemed logical to use a 10 wt / 30 wt for the motors. Then the advantage of some high powered motors called for 20/50 wt oils. It was a merry-go-round of choices for every motor in domestic and European cars.

    In our 327 from our 2nd 40 Ford Sedan Delivery, we still used 30wt Valvoline. But, my wife’s high performance car required 20-50 wt. oils as recommended by the factory and her mechanic.

    Today, people have so many choices that it is daunting. The rate of oil change all depends on your upbringing and work history. But, for the most part, the multi grades seem to be the oil of choice. My neighbor has not used anything else other than Mobil-1 since it came out. Maybe, it is because he used to work for Mobil Oil. He probably owns plenty of company stock shares... Ha!”

    “Recycling used oil is a small way to make a difference for the environment.” So, maybe I was a teenager on a mission to use reclaimed oil for my Flathead powered 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery. But, it was the cost if anything and not for social causes or relevance to the environment. I was helping, but not in a goody two shoes kind of way, pushing the environment everyone’s direction… It helped my bank account and made the Flathead run smoothly for thousands of fun miles...YRMV

    firstinsteele likes this.
  6. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,939


    Blues4U, was reading thru your posts and started looking up CJ-4 specs. (Im an engr, reading specs is fun for me:confused:)
    Noticed a lot of comparison on CJ-4 and CK-4. Whats your opinion on how the 2 perform in old vehicles, any reason to use one or other, or do both serve the need.
  7. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,882

    from So Cal

    Good question. I've mentioned this in other threads, I don't know about this one, but CK-4 is another step up in quality and performance, but there is a downside to it that is tied to the difference in phosphorus allowed between heavy duty diesel engine oils and passenger car engine oils, heavy duty diesels are allowed about 25% more phos than passenger car motor oils. Prior to CK-4 if a licensee wanted to display both the hd and the pco specs on the container, if they displayed the hd spec first and the pco spec second (i.e. CJ-4, SN), the API allowed the oil to contain the higher hd levels of phos. Starting with CK-4 that was changed, so it the container displays both licenses, it cannot have more phos than is allowed under the pco spec. This is important, the main source of phos is ZDDP. Keep that in mind when looking at the tech data sheet, if the oil carries the SN or other pco license, the zinc level will be no more than around 800 ppm. Otherwise, CK-4 is a great oil. Just watch for that 1 thing.
    Truckdoctor Andy and indyjps like this.
  8. Scrapin’Metal
    Joined: Mar 19, 2018
    Posts: 57


    It’s true on the VR-1 racing oil. Not made for normal street use. Lacks the corrosion inhibitors and cleaning agents a normal daily driver needs.
    The oil is formulated for short term use with high demands and heat dissipation.
    I have had good luck with the newer Royal Purple Street oils. Made for the older engines with Zinc additives. Just watch out and do not buy the regular royal Purple mad for newer modern engines.
  9. Bacon Drippings


    Olive Oil
    hemihotrod66 likes this.
  10. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 7,175

    jimmy six

    I’ve moved to Lucas hot rod oil for my yblock. The original call was for a straight 40 in summer and either 20 or 30 in winter depending on conditions. I’ve found since I only drive about 2k a year that 10-30 is for me. About 3 months I take off a rocker cover and check the overflows when running. I recommend a good filter, I use wix.
  11. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,675


    I am at over 600,000 miles, running VR-1.

    I just replaced the oil pan gasket on one of my vintage bikes. Everything in there still looks brand new.

    I just pulled the engine from one of my Fords, to replace it with an even more powerful one. Pulled the pan, and the valve cover to inspect it, go figure, everything looked about new in there, too, after 98,000 on VR-1.

    No issues with cleanliness, or corrosion. I guess I am just lucky. Must be the Wix filter.

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