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Old 12-16-2019, 10:56 PM   #1
bdtutton
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Default Oil usage/loss in cold weather

I live in Michigan and I drive my 1930 Model A any time the roads are clear and dry until the end of December. When it is really cold I always let the car idle until it has warmed a bit before I start driving it. It also allows the thick transmission oil a chance to warm enough to allow me to shift without straining. I run a synthetic 10W30 oil with a full flow oil filter.

During the summer the car only uses/loses about 4 ounces of oil in 1000 miles of usage...when using the car around 20 degrees F it can use/lose 16 ounces of oil in a matter of 200 miles. I also noticed the breather fills up with that watery foamy stuff too. I think a lot of the oil is coming out of the rear main, but I am not sure. This happened last winter too...and then returned to normal when the weather warmed up.

Is cold weather a problem for model A's?? Or do I have a problem??
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:31 PM   #2
MikeK
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

If the breather fills with white stuff you have a lot of cold engine blowby. Are you running a 'stat? Try 180F for the cold weather. Oil consumption will be way up with a cold engine.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:45 AM   #3
Benson
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

Some people have put a green Scotch Bright pad inside the oil filler cap, thinking that it would slow down the fumes coming out

Problem is that the White foam junk collects inside the green pad, when it dries out it blocks off the air coming out of the breather tube this pressure forces the oil from pan out the rear main.


Several years ago a guy had his engine run completely out of oil and it was destroyed.


His rebuilt engine (engine #2) did the same thing ... ie ran out of oil in about 70 miles.



After much work PatinSantaCruz found the Scotch bright pad completely plugged which forced all the oil out of the pan.


This guy did not check the pad and just installed the old plugged cap on his new engine.

Could not even blow through it!



A thermostat as mentioned by MikeK will help stop the foam.

But removing the pad would also be a good idea.

Last edited by Benson; 12-17-2019 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 12-17-2019, 08:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

I had the same problem a few years ago. Luckily some fine fellow on the Ford Barn made me aware of the blockage from the filler tube. I caught the excessive oil consumption on a 50 mile trip in time to preclude any damage. lost about a quart.
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Old 12-17-2019, 09:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

Motor oil behaves like an SAE 10 in cold weather at the engine's operating temperature, so having a lower viscosity the oil will likely leak more.
Using a thermostat is an excellent practice.
In the cold winter months, condensation is a problem because of the hot and cold operation of the car's driveline. Keep the gas tank full. Run the engine several miles to vaporize moisture out of the crankcase. Short trips / idling sessions are not a good practice.
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:24 PM   #6
GerryAllen
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

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Bob, what do you call a short trip? When I drive mine in coolish weather I travel at least 20 miles.

Gerry Birch Bay WA
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Old 12-17-2019, 12:59 PM   #7
1931 flamingo
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

The car needs to be run long/far enough to get up to operating (160*+) temp, IMO.
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Old 12-27-2019, 08:54 PM   #8
bdtutton
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

I cleaned the foam out of the oil filler tube and have driven over 500 miles without losing oil.
I did not realize how little back pressure was needed to push oil out of the engine. It also helps the local temperature has increased quite a bit over the last week, but I started and drove the car on a couple of 15-20F degrees mornings.

Thank you everyone....
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Old 12-28-2019, 08:48 AM   #9
Bob Bidonde
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

I read somewhere that a short trip to vaporize moisture from the crankcase is 14 miles at operating temperature.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Oil usage/loss in cold weather

If you are not running with a 180 degree thermostat, I would partially block off your radiator when driving in temps below 40. Think of it like this: The wind chill at 30mph on a 20 degree day is equivalent to the rate of heat lost at 0 degrees. Even though you let your engine warm up before driving you are losing a lot of the heat being generated by the engine both in the cooling and lubrication systems. The sludge in the breather is evidence that oil is leaking by the larger than normal internal clearances created by the low operating temperature of the engine and is condensing very rapidly.
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