ARCO Graphite Oil

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Jun 19, 2002
Upper Midwest
Anyone remember ARCO Graphite Oil? Supposedley, they found a method of suspending the graphite in the oil without settling. I used it in a couple vehicles and it worked fine; havn't seen it in years. Only problem was it went in BLACK!

I remember that. Wasn't it in the 70's. I used it a couple of times. Like you said, it came out of the bottle BLACK!
when I used to do valve jobs at a machine shop when I was 18 , we used to coat the valve stems in a mixture of Arco Graphite and stp 50/50 before we installed them ...was told it help seat the guides very quickly as oppsed to just regular motor oil.
I remember Arco graphite. I remember getting better gas mileage with it than other oils, but I understand that there was a problem with the oil and it was discontinued. I don't know what the problem was but I see that no one has since made a graphite oil.
I still have some in the back of the garage. Biggest problem I remember is it was thin and tended to leak worse that other oils.
I was a dedicated user of it in a '74 Gremlin I had. Subjectively, I thought the engine ran smoother, quieter and had more power. Objectively, it gave me at least a 5% increase in gas mileage.
I too used the stuff in my 77 Vega-gt. I used to buy several cases at a time, because I couldn't buy it locally. I remember that it was very thin and worked well in our cold winter. I later switched to synthetics (easier to obtain were I live). BTW to this day that was the most reliable car I have ever owned!

[ September 11, 2002, 04:23 AM: Message edited by: Ross ]

Originally posted by addyguy:
I've read that GM finally got the Vega engine 'right' in the last two years or so that they built it...

"Right" would be wildly optimistic euphenism for the level of development of later Vega engines.
ARCO Graphite motor oil was black right out of the container because, uh, graphite is black...
(Anyone s'pose that's why graphite is used as pencil "lead"?)
Correct my reasoning on this, but didn't ARCO quit the oil, not so much as the black color right off the bat, but using it in engines with "crud" so to speak in them, caused the materials to break loose and clog passages?
my father used it in a 1974 LTD 460 c.i wagon,but best as i can remember it got hard to was black,with gray flecks.then he went to gulfpride,that was a pretty good oil.
I used it in my '84 VW Jetta. When I got it in '89 with over 90K miles on it...the previous owner told me that he'd tried Mobil 1 and the car ran better and had cooler oil temps with the ARCO Graphite.

I had the valves adjusted shortly before I traded it in. The mechanic was impressed with how good the engine internals looked. I don't believe he mentioned the word "clean" since I imagine it was pretty black from using graphite oil for all those years. That car was still running strong when I traded it in with 194K over 5 years later.
I used it a couple of times. It really stained clothing and skin. I believe it never went over in the marketplace because it looked like drain oil right out of the bottle.
I'm willing to bet that the combination of poorly maintained fuel system (carburetor choke in particular), leaded gas and blowby caused enough spark plug fouling to make it unpopular besodes appearance.

I first recall a neighbor using it in his OLDS V8-350 diesel.

The old man used SHELL 10W-50 in his '74 & '76 Cadillacs from the mid-70's until it was no longer available (early '80's?) and those motors ran a very long time.
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