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Questions on motor oil and chassis lube

Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:10 pm
by Stan W 98370
First off, thanks to all, especially Dave Cizrr, for the info and advice I've gained from the posts on this subject. You've helped me and my '46 Clipper 6 immensely. Now, I ask your indulgence for a little more: I gathered from later posts on the subject, that Dave favors Shell Rotella T 15W40, and thinks that the zinc/phosphorous issue is overemphasized. That's good with me. I have used Chevron Delo 400 15W40 in my boat diesel (John Deere) for 20 years. I use a lot of it so I keep a lot on hand. Do you have any opinion as to whether it would be equivalent to the Rotella? Using it would simplify my inventory issues. 2nd question: I have just learned about the grease cup on the distributor. New concept for me. The Packard service manual I have specifies #3cup grease. Is this still a practical entity? How do you measure/apply it? I have a spare distributor and on both it and the working distributor on the car, the cup is nearly empty but not screwed down anywhere near tight. 3rd question: My service recommendations indicate one should use "gun grease" on the chassis lube points. Do you have a favorite? And how about the universal joints on the drive line? Same stuff? Does it matter?
Thanks so much for any insight you can offer. By way of explanation, I live in Western Washington. My brother bought the Packard in 1977, it was pretty bad, and by 1995 he and another brother who was a mechanic, now deceased, rebuilt the car including the engine, trans, and running gear. A year ago it came to me after sitting for some time. My wife and I have made a lot of progress with the "soft tissue" of the car, but unfortunately Ray, the mechanic in the family, has left us so I can't lean on him, and my other brother just doesn't remember a lot of what they did, or never knew...
Stan W

Re: Questions on motor oil and chassis lube

Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:19 am
by Dave Czirr
Hi Stan, and thanks for the nice words.

Your questions cover a lot of ground. Just on motor oil one could write a book, but a couple of generalities. First, any modern oil bought today will be better than what was available when your car was new. And If your engine is clean inside and has been using a detergent oil, then continue to do so but if not, don't change to a detergent without first dropping the pan and cleaning thoroughly, including the oil pump intake screen and surrounding areas. And the zinc/phosphorous oil additives probably won't offer any benefit to these older design engines with such low loadings on their tappets, but that said, though it probably won't help, likewise it can't hurt. I can't say if your Chevron Delo is the equivalent of Rotella T, but you could check labels for which specifications and industry standards they meet.

For good lubrication at start-up and faster oil flows that provide better heat transfer, you want to use the lowest viscosity oil that is consistent with maintaining proper oil pressure. And that will depend on many things including how worn your engine clearances are, and the temperatures prevailing during the seasons the car is in service. If your engine is older with plentiful miles and a bit of wear and you don't drive it into colder weather, then a SAE 15W/40 is probably a good choice. If it's a nice, tight engine, for example a recent rebuild, I'd look for something with a lower viscosity.

I'm not familiar with the chemical differences between cup grease and chassis grease, but physically cup grease is much "stiffer", more of a semi-solid paste, almost like old-fashioned shoe polish. I assume this is so that, when you tighten the grease cup, the grease is pushed thru to the bushing and not forced out around the threads of the cup as a less solid grease would be. As long as when you turn the cup, some of the grease actually reaches the distributor bushings, then I'd not be concerned about using chassis grease, I'm sure its got plenty of lubricity. For something a little stiffer and less likely to exude out around the cup threads of the cup, you might try a wheel bearing grease. My 1934 NorthEast distributor has a grease cup, once every year or two I turn it until I feel some resistance (to insure any further turning will deliver the grease) and then give it about a half-turn. Don't over-lubricate the distributor, excess can shorten point life. And don't forget the other distributor lubrication needs, I drop on the felt under the rotor, a little dielectric grease on the cam, occasional oil on the centrifugal advance pivots, etc.

Lincoln was (still is?) a major maker of professional car lubrication equipment and one of their grease guns would be a premium product. That said, I have several no-name grease guns that I've been happily using for decades without problems. Probably anything sold at a good local auto parts store like NAPA and the like would be fine. Industrial supply houses like MSC (my favorite) and McMaster-Carr should have them as well, and an assortment of accessories .

Check your Owner's Manual or Shop Manual for info about the universal joints. In earlier years they were lubricated with heavy oil which resided in the center of joint and as you drove, centrifugal forces slowly forced it out to the needle bearings. In later years grease was recommended. Replacement joints normally have a grease fitting, original factory joints generally did not, and diassembly and repacking was recommended.

Re: Questions on motor oil and chassis lube

Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:08 pm
by Stan W 98370
Thanks, Dave, I appreciate the insight. Gives me some more info to move forward with. I understand much better now what the behaviors of the grease cup should be and will lube accordingly. As for the rest of the stuff, I now have a bit more confidence to move forward with.
Stan W