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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Question Engine Oil

A couple of years back I had the original 352 engine replaced with a 390, in my 1965 Galaxie. The mechanic who did the swap used 20W50 oil and I have continued to do the same whenever I got an oil change. When I go back to the copy of the service manual it shows that the recommended oil is 10W30 or if consistent temp below -10F use 5W20. Does anyone have any suggestions as to whether I should continue to go with the 20W50 or go with the service manual recommended 10W30? Also, any recommendations as to the benefits of synthetic vs non-synthetic oil?

Cruising in my 1965 Ford Galaxie Convertible

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 08:37 PM
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Re: Engine Oil

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Originally Posted by Bill M View Post
A couple of years back I had the original 352 engine replaced with a 390, in my 1965 Galaxie. The mechanic who did the swap used 20W50 oil and I have continued to do the same whenever I got an oil change. When I go back to the copy of the service manual it shows that the recommended oil is 10W30 or if consistent temp below -10F use 5W20. Does anyone have any suggestions as to whether I should continue to go with the 20W50 or go with the service manual recommended 10W30? Also, any recommendations as to the benefits of synthetic vs non-synthetic oil?

Do you have a build sheet for the 390? Very often engine builders use bearing clearances that are looser than factory. Especially in high performance engines. This is a big factor in using thicker oil. Viscosity should be chosen based on the individual engine. Not many of these engines are on their original factory bearings. So it helps to know how they were rebuilt when possible.

A side effect of this is that people tend to think it’s cool to run 20-50. And do so with no real reason. The same guys who tell you about their old nova with a 327 jumping coke cans in the rain will go on at length about running 20-50.

This is also why you see engines today running things like 0-20. Tighter manufacturing clearances.

FWIW mine was a mystery rebuild before I got the car. I’m running 10-40 Amsoil right now. Synthetic vs non synthetic is whatever, just make sure you are running something advertised as having sufficient zinc levels if you aren’t running a roller cam.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 05:40 AM
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Re: Engine Oil

The comment above is spot on. Do you have a gauge on the car? Not a science, but if we know idle and cruise pressure we can give a recommendation. You may be able to use a bit thinner oil which will aid in drain back, cold start and ever so slight gain in power.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 09:13 AM
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Re: Engine Oil

My Go-To oil for Hotrods has always been Mobil 1 15w50. Since it is a synthetic, it flows a lot better cold than dino oil. At 1300 ppm, it also has plenty of Zinc. It's actually the only common weight of Mobil 1 that has the higher zinc content for older flat tappet engines. I also use it in all of my air cooled engines around the house... generators, pressure washers, dirt bikes, etc... as they tend to run hot in the summer. I've used it for decades, and it has always worked great. As a bonus, places like Advance Auto Parts often have bundle specials where you can get 5 quarts plus a premium filter for around $35. Can't beat it!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 09:32 AM
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Re: Engine Oil

There is so much out there about this type of question- and honestly, there are as many people that will say one thing and the same number of people that will counteract the advice with other opinions.

I do agree, it is a matter of knowing your engine, its age, its former abuse if possible, and what your experience is.

My 66 LTD has the original 352 with 70,000 miles on it. I tried at first the recommened 10w-30. I found the car burned oil alot more at that weight.

I went to my go to, that I have used now for years, on both my 66 Mustang and 66 LTD- Shell Rotella 15W-40. I know, diesel oil, but with the tiny bit of extra zinc it has, and a small amount of Lucas ZDDP additive, I have the right ration of zinc in the oil. Never had any issue, both cars don't burn oil at all and I drive each one about 3000 miles per year, gently.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 04:15 PM
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Lots of people do it, but IMO there are enough options out there now that have zinc levels that you don’t need to use additives.

VR1 (not the race only version) is usually readily available. It’s not the best oil but it’s decent. Obviously the ready made synthetics like Amsoil have better characteristics but are harder on the wallet. Kendall GT1 is a nice middle. Some of the oils that say they are made for turbos have high zinc too.

As mentioned some diesel oils do, but they aren’t as high zinc as they used to be. I sorta feel the same about those as I do the additives though. There are enough options that I think you don’t need to resort to a diesel oil.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 05:28 PM
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Re: Engine Oil

I'm a big fan of Valvoline VR1 for older flat tappet engines. I run 10W30 or 20W50 depending on the season.

Here's some good reading about zinc levels in oils:

What oil brands offer the best protection ***Good read***

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 12:26 AM
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Re: Engine Oil

I like the Mobil one 0w-40 european blend it has a higher zinc content.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 04:54 PM
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Re: Engine Oil

When I rebuilt my engine I read up on Zinc and made sure when I broke it in that I had plenty of it. Like Lucas assembly lube, you need the right stuff.
But I did not know you have to keep the zink coming, I thought it was a one-time deal.

Putts drives a 1965 customized Galaxie. Rebuilt 390, 4100 electric choke on a Performer, MX, AC, PS, PB w Scarebird front discs on Cragar 17" S/S.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 06:45 PM
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Re: Engine Oil

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Originally Posted by puttster View Post
When I rebuilt my engine I read up on Zinc and made sure when I broke it in that I had plenty of it. Like Lucas assembly lube, you need the right stuff.
But I did not know you have to keep the zink coming, I thought it was a one-time deal.
No you have to keep it up if you have a flat tap pet cam setup. Everything new these days comes with a roller cam. They also come with catalytic converters. Roller cams don’t need the zinc additive and it’s bad for the converters. So it’s gotten fazed out to an extent. Some more so than others. Oils that say they are for turbo applications usually have more. Or as mentioned there are plenty of oils these days targeted at the zinc needy crowd. VR1 on the low end, Z-rod or other boutique brands on the high end.

The conventional oils like grey bottle VR1 will have plenty of zinc and are just fine, but can’t stand up to the cold pour characteristics or some other stuff that the expensive synthetics can boast. Some people say their engines seep more oil when they use synthetics. That’s kinda an ongoing argument.

One of the big problems is oils rebrand all the time. So you’ll find a list that gives additive levels. Half the time when you read it’s it might be 5 years old and maybe not all that valid anymore. Or the company slightly changed the title of the oil. Maybe discontinued it. I usually only trust the bottle, or better yet a current MDS from the companies website.

Last edited by 4SpeedJeremy; 05-29-2019 at 06:49 PM.
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