Oil Crisis of 2021

Hi all,

So, I was out to find some fresh oil to change in my new 1927 Murphy body Brougham. And that has the same engine (more or less) as in my 1928 Standard Sedan. And, unlike a few years ago, non-detergent oil is impossible to find on the shelf in New Jersey. Yes, I know it's a backwater state when it comes to old car sustainability. Nevertheless, I went to calling and visiting every store.

It turns out that the only two American suppliers are Valvoline and Lubriplate. If the bottle does not specifically say  "non-detergent", then it is a detergent oil. Valvoline makes a non-detergent SAE30, and no other weights and I still can't get it locally. The only other supplier is Lubriplate, which still supplies 10W (for racing motor cycles, BTW), 20W-20, SAE30, SAE40 and SAE50, according to their website. The only distributor within 100 miles of home is Motion Industries, and they showed 160 quarts of SAE40 in their Indiana warehouse, and 16 quarts in Alabama. No inventory of SAE50. And they told me that their inventory of non-detergent oil may not be refilled. (Gasp!) So, in a week or two, I will have my 7 quarts of SAE40 oil for my car, and that's OK for today. I know that in the approaching winter, when the engine is too cold, it will be too thick to turn over since it can go down to -5 F (-20 C) here. I would wish for 15W-40 non-detergent, but that does not exist anymore, at least in the US. This means to me that there is a non-detergent oil crisis looming in 2021.

Is there an answer? Is there an additive that can reduce the viscosity of cold oil? Should I add zinc since there is non in the SAE40 oil?

Comments

  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    First, why do you say there is no zddp in the SAE 40?

    why not drop the pan, if there is any sediment clean it out and run detergent? If you have been running your car regularly with oil changes you probably won’t have any sediment. I just overhauled an engine, always run with nondetergent , it was clean as a whistle. There was no sediment anywhere.

    Regards, Tom
  • BigSkyBigSky Posts: 954Senior Contributor
    Clean the pan good, used detergent oil & add a bottle of zddp.  One can also buy some specialty oils like gibs that have high zddp.  

  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    skip the zddp additive. ALL modern oils have zddp. I am not a petroleum engineer.. and I have not seen one on this forum..( unless this forum now becomes like a computer dating site where people can now claim to be a petroleum engineer).. but as a 40 year mechanic, I will state categorically, with the spring pressures all Hudsons have there is adequate lubrication in modern oils. 

    It is so strange to me that a producer of an additive is the only source claiming it works wonders..neither  petroleum producers nor engine mfg’s authorize or endorse it’s use. I don’t even know if this magic elixir even blends or is in harmony with the chemistry of the oils we buy. 

    I’ll save my $$ for a dinner out with my wife. 

    Regards, Tom
  • strangeplantstrangeplant Posts: 98Member
    My only point was that there is a decreasing supply of non-detergent oil. If you guys want to run detergent oil in a car with no oil filter, I can only see that the suspended dirt, the dirt that now does not settle out with detergent oil, will only wear your car faster. It's just so obvious that if there is no sludge in the oil pan, then the abrasive dirt is in the oil. The oil pans are two layer specifically designed to put the sludge to bed in the bottom where it won't be circulated.

    I would suggest that in the future there will be only two options: to use detergent oil and change the oil very very often, or somehow add an external mechanical oil pump and filter cartridge.

  • trdrewtrdrew Posts: 29Member
    One thing that may make you feel better is the fact that most piston air compressors and high pressure pumps (power washers) use non-detergent oil. The oil may not be as widely available as it one was, but it will not be going away any time soon.
  • lostmindlostmind Posts: 1,405Expert Adviser
    I was at Walmart today , they used to have 2 isles of oil choices. Now 1/2 aisle , synthetic only. It's a new world out there.
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,293Senior Contributor
    This is an old turkey.  I have been running all my cars on multi-grade oils since the year dot with no issues.  No way would I go back to the old sludge producing single grade oils.  My '28 Essex has over  half a million miles. 
  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    I second what Geoff’s experience and wisdom has been shared here.
    regards, Tom
  • Old Fogey UKOld Fogey UK Posts: 763Expert Adviser
    I don't know what the situation is in the US, but here in the UK Some of the specialist oil companies put out non-detergent single and multi grade oils with a higher zinc content for pre-1970 vehicles. Miller and Morris Oils are probably the two best known suppliers. They're not cheap but sell for less than Penrite oil.
    Having just re-honed the bores, I'm running on Miller's running-in oil for the first 500 miles and then I'll probably swap to a zinc-rich multi grade 20/50 for classic cars made by a Dutch company called MPM - because it's cheap and I can get it locally.
  • eddiehudsoneddiehudson Posts: 45Member
    I agree with Geoff and tiger. Clean out the pan and run detergent oil. If you follow the original oil change interval there would be no problem at all.

    Geoff how long do you run your oil?
  • ToddhToddh Posts: 140Member
    I would also add that on the splashers, the factory mechanical procedure manual recommended dropping and cleaning the oil pan every 10K miles
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 4,293Senior Contributor
    I agree with Geoff and tiger. Clean out the pan and run detergent oil. If you follow the original oil change interval there would be no problem at all.

    Geoff how long do you run your oil?
    Every 2000 miles.
  • cheyenne7271cheyenne7271 Posts: 327Member
    You can use a Rotella 10w30. It will have more zinc than most other modern oils as “they” are eliminating it because it is a pollutant. The newer the sta
  • cheyenne7271cheyenne7271 Posts: 327Member
    The newer the rating the less or non-existent lever of zinc
  • 35 Terraplane35 Terraplane Posts: 353Senior Contributor
    The patent for ZDDP / Zinc as a motor oil additive was applied for in October of 1941.  Its concentration has been steadily decreased after it was found to attack / harm the catalyst (platinum pill) in catalytic converters shortening service life and increasing emissions.  That said 1927 engines never saw ZDDP when new.
  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    All currently produced oils have zddp. 
    I second what 35 Terraplane says. No prewar car saw zddp. It certainly is not needed in higher levels in the cars we run.

    regards, Tom
  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    Regarding the “they” referenced above.. the curse of living in a democratic republic. The “they” is us.

     in this case the rest of the information contained in that comment is incorrect as cited by 35 Terraplane 
  • 35 Terraplane35 Terraplane Posts: 353Senior Contributor
    I’m curious about what is incorrect?
  • 35 Terraplane35 Terraplane Posts: 353Senior Contributor
    Never mind tiger moth, I miss read your last comment.  
  • tigermothtigermoth Posts: 444Expert Adviser
    All good 
  • terraplane8terraplane8 Posts: 564Senior Contributor
    tigermoth said:
    All currently produced oils have zddp. 
    I second what 35 Terraplane says. No prewar car saw zddp. It certainly is not needed in higher levels in the cars we run.

    regards, Tom
    But it may have been that pre-war car engines wore out quickly, after all I have read that they were not designed for a long service life in the first place. ie obsolescence was alive and well even then. That was an argument as to why the Terraplane gearbox was so lightly built. Because its service life was not expected to be that long and the car would be junked before it wore out.

  • 35 Terraplane35 Terraplane Posts: 353Senior Contributor
    Good point.  Probably why every town had at least one engine rebuild shop.  Like Geoff says above a good modern oil should work very well.
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