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EFV-8 Club Forum / General Ford Discussion / Oil Change

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04-13-2010 @ 8:16 AM
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010
I recently inherited a 1935 Ford touring sedan. The car has the 221ci flathead V8 and runs very good. I would like to change the oil in this vehicle. I believe it has been rebuilt. I really don't know much about the old car and I'm still learning. To be honest I don't even know where to fill the oil. No cap!Before you laugh. I have worked on my own vehicles for years, so I'm not totally clueless to mechanics. I just would like some feedback before I dive into this car. I understand some of these did not have an oil filter. I have not checked for one yet. From my research it sounds like a non-detergent oil would be best. Any other advice as to maintenance on this car would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

04-13-2010 @ 8:41 AM
Posts: 3555
Joined: Oct 2009
First, congratulations on owning your new/old 35 Ford. I would make a couple of suggestions before tinkering with your 35. First I would join the Early Ford V-8 Club.You will get 6 issues a year of the V-8 Times magazine and it is full of technical advice for the owners of the 32-53 Fords. You will also get a roster of members that will give you acess to other members in your area who also own flathead Fords. You'll find those members very willing to help you with your car. You can join the club on the front page of this site or by calling toll free 1-866-427-7583.
Second I would purchase the restoration manual for the 35-36 Fords put out by the Early Ford V-8 Club.This book will give you a great deal of knowledge about your specific car. The book can be purchased on the front page of this site or by calling 707-226-5256 from 8:00am to 7:00pm PST.
Lastly you will get several opinions about oil, but most will tell you that detergent oil is best. Over the years I have used Castrol 20/50. Your motor probably does not have a filter and if it was retrofitted with one, it would be mounted on the left head of the motor. Your oil fill cap is located at the back of the motor. The cap sits on the short tube just above the fuel pump.You will twist it slightly and pull up to remove it.

This message was edited by trjford8 on 4-13-10 @ 8:43 AM

04-13-2010 @ 8:43 AM
Posts: 264
Joined: Oct 2009
The oil filler cap is located on top of the fuel pump stand at the back of the block. Most engines of that era did not have an oil filter, although a by-pass filter was available as an option. If so equipped, it would be mounted to a head stud on left side of the engine. As for oil, you will get many opinions as to the best type and brand to use. Currently, there is a big debate going on about the reduced levels of ZDDP in modern oils and its potential effect on flat tappet engines like flatheads. Whether there is any justifiable concern is still unresolved, so far as I know. IMHO, it's more important just to keep it filled, and any good, clean oil will do. Personally, I use 15w-40 diesel engine oil, and change it every 1000 miles. I'm sure others will chime in with their preferences. Hope this helps, and enjoy your flathead:-)

04-13-2010 @ 9:25 AM
Posts: 1460
Joined: Oct 2009
One reason you have trouble finding the oil fill cap, is that it doesn't "look" like a cap. On your 35, the "cap" is a rather odd-shaped triangular breather that has a screened rectangular opening facing forward to catch the air-blast from the fan. Rotate it about 1/8th turn counter-clockwise, and it should pull up and out. This was Ford's version of "Positive Crankcase Ventilation".

04-13-2010 @ 9:35 AM
New Member
Posts: 116
Joined: Oct 2009
Hi 06Z71,

Welcome to the club. I was a Newbie to flatheads myself about 3 years ago. I was like you, pretty experienced around cars but not these old flatheads. I took trjford's and other's advice and joined the EFV-8 club Nationally and Locally. I got the manual from this site on 38-39's. I have gotten all of my questions answered and have made a lot of friends. The roster of other local early V-8ers is a must have for some types of questions. Plus its great to go and tool around together in the old cars.

I have been using Castrol 20/50 with maybe up to a quart of Marvel Mystery oil added to 3 quarts of 20/50 in the colder months. My car sat mostly unused for 20 years and the oil gets dirty pretty fast (within 200 to 500 miles) so I change it more frequently. I am thinking I will probably switch to Sh*ll Rotella for a season to try and pull more sludge out of it. Mine doesn't have an oil filter on it.

04-13-2010 @ 10:16 AM
Posts: 6661
Joined: Oct 2009
All good advice, but remember that a complete fill of oil after draining is 4 quarts, not the 5 as often cited in reprint manuals. I use either 20-50 Castrol, too, or sometimes Rotella 15-40. If you don't drive your car at least 10 miles every time you start it, change the oil at least every 500 miles. As for non-detergent oil or zinc enriched oil, save your money.

04-13-2010 @ 5:10 PM
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010
Thank you for all the help. I look foward to enjoying this car and joining the club.

37 Coupe
04-13-2010 @ 6:52 PM
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2009
I disagree with the statement that oil capacity is 4 quarts,I have the original owners manual not a reprint for my 37 Ford 85 h.p engine which is same cubic inch 221 as the 35 engine,states right under specifications Oil pan capacity 5 quarts and this was before canister filter.

04-13-2010 @ 9:13 PM
Posts: 2381
Joined: Oct 2009
37 Coupe, It is for this reason mostly, that Fords are known to copiously leak oil. The capacity of the crank case is 4 qts. With a filter, it is 5 qts. More than these amounts will soon be found on the street below the dangling cotter pin.


37 Coupe
04-14-2010 @ 5:53 AM
Posts: 347
Joined: Oct 2009
I am just saying that is what my original 37 Ford owners manual specifies 5 quarts,I have the same original not reprint 37 Ford 60 h.p. manual and it specifies 4 quarts.Sure seems funny the Ford engineers had the owners manual printed wrong and they did it in other years too I bet. Would be interested in what other years original manuals have printed. Again I am not saying 4 quarts is too little and five is just right ,I am saying this is what Ford called out in at least 1937. When ever you get a chance to see an original Ford dealer service invoice check out how many quarts (at least what the customer was charged for) 5 quarts on 85 hp.

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