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Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil

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FC Andy

07-15-2002 07:36:11

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I have a question for all you mechanics out there: Are antique tractors compatible with synthetic oil? I have used Mobil 1 10w-30 in my C for a few months now, but yesterday I seemed to have less oil pressure than normal... Dad uses the same stuff in his van and got a BOOST in oil psi's and 2 mpg. I haden't noticed any differences in my tractor until yesterday, It didn't even have the same oil psi's that it normally has when starting or after running after a while... I have had this synthetic in it for a while and hadn't noticed any difference between it and regular oil. Should I use a higher viscoscity synthetic? or go back to normal oil? I decided to try it in the tractor after dad using it for years in his van and after reading an article in Farm Industry News magazine from this year about how synthetics held up better to thier heat and sludge and breakdown tests... Are there any differences between my c's oil system and a car or truck or even a newer tractor's oil sysetms? I know this is long, But I thought I'd ask and this is a topic that I haven't heard much on to begin with and thought it could benifit others as well...I'd like to keep using synthetics because I think they're better but I have no Idea... Thanks Everyone !

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Dan WV.

07-16-2002 05:51:46

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 Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to FC Andy, 07-15-2002 07:36:11  
Andy, these tractors were built when motor oil was well.......motor oil. Most of what was available was NON-DETERGENT and that is probably what your "C" was raised on. When you changed to a synthetic oil it probably has detergents in it. Look on the bottle and see. Let me try to explain what is happening to your engine. The new oil with the detergents is removing all the sludge and deposits left by years of the NON-DETERGENT oil. As you know these engines were built with fairly loose tolerences. When the deposits are removed the tolerences actually become greater with engine wear, and that is where you loose you oil pressure. But hold on it gets better. That same old oil sludge that has been in there for all these years has also been stopping internal and external leaks. Now your engine has lost pressure and is smoking and leaking all over the place. If you continue to use the new stuff it will get worse. The sludge that has been sealing off the valve seals and the piston wear is leaving and oil consumption will increase dramatically. A friend of mine did this same thing in a 52 cub and it got to the point it looked like a brush fire in the field. Shortly after that came an engine rebuild because it fouled plugs left end right. I am not saying this is the only reason for the engine demise of the cub but, I have seen this too many times to not let you know the potential consequences. My advice to you is to drain out the new high tech stuff and find you some NON-DETERGENT OIL at a tractor supply store. Your local auto parts store will probably look at you and say "did you look over by the bug shields with the rest of the oil?". Remember to replace your filter element when you do this. Good luck. Dan.

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Heinie Manush

07-16-2002 18:26:20

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 Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Dan WV., 07-16-2002 05:51:46  
oh my god! he killed kenny! i mean.. he killed andys tractor

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Dan WV.

07-16-2002 20:47:28

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 Re: Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Heinie Manush, 07-16-2002 18:26:20  
wow that was a good one from sombody called "HEINIE"

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07-15-2002 15:27:57

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 Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to FC Andy, 07-15-2002 07:36:11  
One big advantage with synthetic oil, as with Castrol Syntec, is their 5w-50 weight, which is unobtainable in dinasour oil. Think of the extreme coverage with this weight, with start up and under load, or with a worn out motor!

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07-15-2002 09:59:18

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 Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to FC Andy, 07-15-2002 07:36:11  
FCAndy,I know that my C only caries about 5psi with 10W30 and about 30psi with 20W50 QS.

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Doug in OR

07-15-2002 08:09:25

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 Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to FC Andy, 07-15-2002 07:36:11  
I use synthetic in my car and truck, and would never use anything else anymore. Older tractors - now that's a different story. Engine tollerences in a tractor are much looser than in a newer car engine. Tractor engines normally run around say.. 160 degrees. Most thermostats in cars are in the range of 220. Car engines take much more of a beating than tractor engines.

Having said this, I don't feel it matters one way or the other if you use synthetic in a tractor. Even a 10w mineral oil of today is far superior to the SAE 30 oils of 50 years ago. The synthetic oil would probably clean your engine more - which might explain why your oil pressure is lower. Less sludge usually means less pressure is developed when the pump tries to circulate the oil. One fallacy is the theory of higher oil pressure meaning better oil flow. This just isn't necessarily true. If your oil passages are gunked up, you darn well might be developing higher oil pressure.

I really wasn't able to determine how long you have been using this oil in your tractor. But if it has been several months, and the the oil pressure recently dropped, I'd look for another reason besides the oil.

Synthetics tend to flow easier and provide less viscosity friction when used in a tighter engine. This will be especially apparent in colder weather. That's why the car you speak of gets better mileage with synthetic oil. You probably won't see any difference with a tractor.

Bottom line... if you don't like the lower oil pressure, and switching to a thicker oil restores some of the pressure, it may not mean that the oil is at fault. You might simply be covering up another problem.

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FC Andy

07-15-2002 11:56:29

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 Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Doug in OR, 07-15-2002 08:09:25  
Thanks Guys. I have been running synthetic oil in the C for about 2 months. The Biggest Reason I asked anything is that saturday when I started it up the needle on the gauge stood straight up (Have no Idea on psi's, my IH gauge says nothing about pressure) which is normal, but sunday I ran it and the needle didn't stand straight up when I started it. I think it also got lower than usual sunday. I see and understand that when the engine warms up some psi's are lost, but I had to look really close to make sure there was a reading sunday after running it for 10 minutes. I'll check things out more. Thanks guys !

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07-15-2002 11:08:46

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 Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Doug in OR, 07-15-2002 08:09:25  
Doug: About yourlast point about covering up another problem.. That's OK if switching back to straight 30 increases pressure. There's probably quite a few problems in 50 year old engines and if 30wt covers a few of those problems up, I say fine. Going to 30wt is lots quicker and cheaper then an over haul. --Not disagreeing with you.-- Just making a point that if 30wt works..why try fixing it with synthetic(which wasn't intended for 50 year old tractors) If the engine was just completely overhauled, that might be a time to try the synthetic. G.

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Doug in OR

07-15-2002 11:51:06

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 Re: Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Gene, 07-15-2002 11:08:46  
Gene, my point wasn't to say that older tractors don't have problems. I'm saying that if you mask a problem, and it could otherwise be fixed with something as simple as cleaning the pan or filter, you might well be inviting more trouble. IMHO, too many people here are putting too much stock in the oil pressure grail. In Andy's case, he is talking about a sudden loss of oil pressure - and not because of a sudden switch to a lighter oil. I would definitely investigate the cause here, rather than cover it up by switching to a thicker oil.

It's your equipment - do as you like - but I'll take lower oil pressure with the knowledge that it is flowing to all vital areas - before I'll take a higher oil pressure, at the expense insufficient oil flow to certain engine components.

Kind of like having high blood pressure because your arteries are clogged - or your blood is too thick! Do you really want that?

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Gene 2 Doug

07-15-2002 16:35:03

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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Doug in OR, 07-15-2002 11:51:06  
Doug: Iam plenty old enough to know about blood pressure and I don't believe that's a valid comparison at all to a Farmalls oil pressure. I'll say if it was my tractor, I'd switch back to the regular 30wt oil ..pronto. If the pressure comes back up, leave the engine alone and use it. If the pressure stays very low, start fixing it. That's the clear cut direction I'd take ASAP. Gene.
Ps:You do have some interesting comments Doug

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07-15-2002 08:23:47

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 Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Doug in OR, 07-15-2002 08:09:25  
Right, I was wondering if he had switched to the synthetic after switching to detergent, and how many intermediate changes had been made, and has the oil pan been cleaned out.
I'd probably drop the pan and make sure the pickup is good and clean.

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Doug in OR

07-15-2002 08:44:31

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 Re: Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Ludwig, 07-15-2002 08:23:47  
An excellent point, Ludwig! The company I buy my synthetic oil from *strongly* recommends that the engine be flushed with an engine oil flush when converting from mineral oil to synthetic - unless the engine has low miles (under 15,000) and is known to be clean. I concur. Drop the pan and check for crud. Also, change the oil filter. There might be sludge there too.

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07-15-2002 08:49:31

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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Antique Tractors and Synthetic Oil in reply to Doug in OR, 07-15-2002 08:44:31  
I'm going to convert my Super M to detergent oil on the next change, I'll drop the pan and clean the sludge, then do a new filter and the oil. I'll change again after 10 or 20 hours.
Its already got some detergent oil in it because my wife used some of the non-
detergent in the lawnmower. That was the day I decided to go all detergent....
At least she didn't put it in her car.

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