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Do NOT run 20W50, even in Florida.  If you have an evening you want to kill, read about different oil viscosities on here (do a search on "what oil to use?") but 20W-50 will make your engine run hotter than need be because of how it is designed. 

This is a Volkswagen engine, NOT a Porsche and it expects to be treated differently.  For oil, run 10W-40 year round in the Sunshine state and it will love you.   Change it every 3,000 miles or so.  Regular (Dino) oil is fine.  Brad Penn Green is perfect, because it has a bunch of additives that you need for that engine.  You may have to search a bit for it, but check online and see if you can find it nearby.  You can also order online for delivery.  Expect to pay around $75 per case (12 quarts).  Royal Purple (available at your local motorcycle dealer, especially Harley Davidson shops) is really good for these cars and has the same additives as Brad Penn - Tell them it's for a flat tappet engine, they will understand.  If you really wish to run synthetic, then Mobile 1 is good, although the additive level is slightly less than the other two.

On the oil leaks, There are several areas where these engines tend to leak a bit.  If you can tell us generally (or better, specifically) where your engine is leaking you will probably receive a whole lot of suggestions on how to cure it.  In the end, they tend to leak (I like to use the term, "weep") a bit and some of those leaks can be cured, some not (entirely) so we just live with them.  Autozone sells a leak mat which you can slide under your car to catch the leaks and not mess up your floor - I have one.....Maybe you could use one, too?

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Filling crank case with too much oil will cause them to leak too.  Quick change places are notorious for this since a stock VW takes only 2.5 quarts of oil.  Most seem to want to fill it with 4 or even 5 quarts!  Just remember an extended sump, remote oil cooler and remote oil filter do add to capacity.  Too much oil gets whipped up by crank shaft and also builds up crank case pressures (blow by) forcing oil past seals and push rod tube.

Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil should be available locally at Advance, Autozone, O'Reillys.  It had the desired high zinc content for flat tappet applications.  It's available in SAE 30 weight (what VW specified way back), SAE 40 (for worn engines, leakers or hot summer apps) and 10W30.

Back in the 70s I had a 911 that had a oil leak....no puddle just a stain.... I took it to the dealer and ask what to do about it....to my surprise the Service Manager said...it is about $4000 to reseal a 911....oil is cheap....

My current mechanic said that if I go out to drive my JPS VW and there is no fresh oil on the garage floor....don't start it up....it is out of oil..... 

I have never owned a air cooled car that didn't leak... 

 

Bart: I think we've all heard those admonitions before.  I had two 356s and they leaked or oozed, depending on your point of view, some.  I learned how to seal up the oil drain plate properly and thus limited the mess and bother.  BTW I have a JPS and it does not leave much on the floor -- very little really.  I do go under there from time to time and wipe it down, because it does sweat (ooze??) a little oil from here and there.  Not sure if anybody has ever counted the number of places one of these engines COULD  leak from, or how many inches of seal are needed to keep the oil inside.  It is a lot. Skill in manufacture (close tolerances) and skill in assembly can produce tight cases and little drip.  Screw up just one of those, and there will always be more oil than you'd like on the outside.

One of my valve cover gaskets slipped or cracked or something a while ago, and started dumping oil on the exhaust.  Was heading to the gas station, and had less than a mile to go.  Was leaving a really nice smoke screen behind and me thinking the worst -- i.e., a broken ring.  a fellow there saw my trouble, and offered help.  I said i needed a ride home to fetch a new gasket.  So I pushed the car off to a corner at the station, took the offending VC with me, he dropped me off, I did my thing, and my sweetie rode me back to the station with a couple of qts of oil in tow.  Took a couple of hours out of my afternoon.  Other than that, which was extreme, no leaks.

I love these engines, but they may be the stupidest mass-produced design ever. Cases split side to side? No oil seal on the pulley end? 3 lousy main journals? No valve-seals?An oiling system only Rube Goldberg could love (oil bypass based on viscosity... seriously)?

Every time somebody starts to blather on about the "Sainted German Engineers", I want to grab their ear and drag them through a small-block Chevy so they can see how a real engine is designed.

It's possible to get them to make a lot of power, live a reasonably long life,  and not leak oil by the gallons- but it'll become your life's work. Nobody will care, and sensible people will start to avoid you.

Call me Ishmael. 

Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan somehow in the haze from those daze when we gad our first VW's, we have all forgotten these engines were engineered for a disposable car. The fact that when left to the original purpose they seem to run in spite of all the problems with design and leaks. In retrospect it is an amazing example of technology from 80 years ago. Amazing how far Porsche took the technology, "air/oil" cooled, before going to liquid. 

I was watch documentary on the Rise of the Evil NAZI empire.  Back before 1938, the National Socialist German Workers' Party (aka NAZI) leader - Adolf had a grand plan to put German workers back to work after the great recession which apparently hit Germany even harder than the US.  One phase was to build the entire Autobahn road system by hand.  Problem was there weren't many cars then to use it so he had Ferdinand Porsche design the People's Car.  He build a huge VW (larger than Ford ever had) factory at government cost. Adolf told Ferdinand that cost would be 990 DM (which was about a German workers 2 month earnings).  Ferdinand was not thrilled at prospect of failing - he did say it could not be accomplished (so I'm sure there were short cuts made!).  If you note early VWs are all one color with no chrome and no optional accessories.  990 DM was still steep so you bought stamps on a monthly basis and put them in a book - miss 1 month's advance payment and you start over at zero.  Adolf though the long straight concrete Autobahn highways could also be used for military landing fields.  That never happened BUT Allied bomber followed it to major cities when weather conditions were not ideal - so it actually back fired militarily. 

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I don't ever forget it Noel. Even at about 50 hp, they ran about 80K mi before they needed a full rebuild, and about 20k before they started using a lot of oil.

What you point out regarding how far it is possible to take an engineering dead-end is exactly what I like about them. Neanderthals might not have made it, but I'll bet they were brutally strong. An air-cooled vehicle had no business surviving into the '90s, but it did, and they were amazing.

As far as the genius of the 80 y/o tech, I'm going to stand by my assertion that Herr Doktor did exactly what the fuhrer told him to-- design a car that anybody could afford, that would run on crap for gas, and be reasonably simple. It wasn't the highwater mark of Herr Doktor's engineering prowess, nor were all the successive versions the results of obsessive perfecting of an amazing idea. If the VW engineers could design, make, and sell something serviceably sufficient, they did. They didn't build Beetles in Latin America until after the new millennium because it was such an awesome idea- they built them because it was good for the bottom line.

To see what was an example of amazing engineering from 80 years ago, just go to an aviation museum. WW2 birds were supercharged, had multiple spark-plugs per cylinder, used Nitrous Oxide, had water injection to suppress pre-ignition, etc. This is stuff that is still relevant, and was being developed and produced before my dad was born.

Make no mistake- I  think the ACVW Type 1 is ridiculously cool.

It's also ridiculous.

Stan Galat posted:

I love these engines, but they may be the stupidest mass-produced design ever. Cases split side to side? No oil seal on the pulley end? 3 lousy main journals? No valve-seals?An oiling system only Rube Goldberg could love (oil bypass based on viscosity... seriously)?

Every time somebody starts to blather on about the "Sainted German Engineers", I want to grab their ear and drag them through a small-block Chevy so they can see how a real engine is designed.

It's possible to get them to make a lot of power, live a reasonably long life,  and not leak oil by the gallons- but it'll become your life's work. Nobody will care, and sensible people will start to avoid you.

Call me Ishmael. 

Lots of sensible people have avoided me over the years, first time I heard this excuse, but it makes sense.

I run my car with 20w-50 out here in the hottest summer months. I used to subscribe to the "don't run 20w-50" fear mongering. My car runs very cool in summer and I have the added confidence that the engine is well protected. In the colder months I switch to 10w-30. I use both Valvoline VR1 Racing and Amsoil Z-Rod in 20w-50 and 10w-30. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a fanatic about quality and good engineering. I am also a self proclaimed expert on vintage steering wheels and motor oil.

Last edited by Rusty S

I also am destroying my engine, causing myself embarrassment everywhere I go, and probably giving myself halitosis, male pattern baldness, and ear-wax build-up by running 20W/50. My wife has left me over it, and my children have disowned me. There's a restraining order keeping me from seeing the grandkids, and dogs growl when I roll by.

But I don't care. I'm gonna' keep on running my molasses gonna' kill my engine dead motor oil.

I'm just a rebel like that.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Funny that WE now go on for pages over the attributes of modern motor oils - when original early VWs used a manufactured oil derived from coal.  In 1938 thru WW2, Germany had little dino oil available - all came from coal (as did much of the rubber including seals in U-boats).  (This as also covered in the TV documentary I mentioned above.)

Rusty S posted:

I run my car with 20w-50 out here in the hottest summer months. I used to subscribe to the "don't run 20w-50" fear mongering. My car runs very cool in summer and I have the added confidence that the engine is well protected. In the colder months I switch to 10w-30. I use both Valvoline VR1 Racing and Amsoil Z-Rod in 20w-50 and 10w-30. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a fanatic about quality and good engineering. I am also a self proclaimed expert on vintage steering wheels and motor oil.

Me too....JPS recommended Valvoline 20/50 all year long and that is what I do (except I don't drive in the winter)... John says synthetics are not good for air cooled engines .. they have a 24/24 warranty on their engines so it makes sense to me that they are recommending what will protect them...  

edsnova posted:

Raby spec'd 20-50 also. Brad Penn Racing Oil only, please. He was quite insistent. 

He was also quite insistent that he'd "NEVER" work on a watercooled Porsche engine.

I have a Raby motor, and used 20w50 for a while. But I tried 10w40 in the spring and left it in the summer, and you know what: my CHT went down 10 degrees F. Oil temp went down a scosh.  

 

Hmmmm? Things that make you go....

DannyP posted:
edsnova posted:

Raby spec'd 20-50 also. Brad Penn Racing Oil only, please. He was quite insistent. 

He was also quite insistent that he'd "NEVER" work on a watercooled Porsche engine.

I have a Raby motor, and used 20w50 for a while. But I tried 10w40 in the spring and left it in the summer, and you know what: my CHT went down 10 degrees F. Oil temp went down a scosh.  

 

Hmmmm? Things that make you go....

TEMPERATURE is NOT the ONLY parameter of interest to JAKE...his research is very thorough AND he examines torn down engines/parts(valves, crank, cams, etc) at a VARIETY of mileage to examine the integrity of the metal. One MIGHT think that a more cool running head might be better but I would take JAKE's word for it before I would assume that your choice of 10-40 and a 10 degree cooler CHT is DESIRABLE

I think 40,000 miles of experience with this particular motor, great compression and low wear, along with a healthy oil analysis says I'm good.

Been running 10w40 for 4 years now. BTW, I started using Valvoline 4 stroke Motorcycle oil about 5 or 6 years ago, first 20w50, then 10w40. It's available at the chain stores and has ZDDP etc. Sometimes it is on sale for half off but is usually $6 a quart,

Last edited by DannyP
DannyP posted:

I think 40,000 miles of experience with this particular motor, great compression and low wear, along with a healthy oil analysis says I'm good.

Been running 10w40 for 4 years now. BTW, I started using Valvoline 4 stroke Motorcycle oil about 5 or 6 years ago, first 20w50, then 10w40. It's available at the chain stores and has ZDDP etc. Sometimes it is on sale for half off but is usually $6 a quart,

I am a SCIENTIST(3 degrees, one in PHYSICS/CHEMISTRY) and rely on hard research BUT have an appreciation for anecdotal evidence! When you SUGGEST low wear....are you tearing down your motor and do you "MIC" (micrometer) your cam/crank/etc., to actually measure wear AND THEN do it every 10,000 miles and compare to another SAME motor using 20-50 to COMPARE WEAR? What might be the parameters measured for "HEALTHY OIL ANALYSIS"?

I have NO doubt that your motor is fine.....but hard research is a VALUABLE asset and stands the test of time until someone DISPROVES/CONTRADICTS with a quality study. I know that JAKE does hard research and I value his opinions. IT may very well be that 10W-40 in your hands does just as well or POSSIBLY better for that matter, but SHOW ME THE MONEY(LOL). No argument from me.....just looking for measurables...

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