Oil grade for a 1981 Honda Civic

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583
Location
Virginia
I hate to keep asking questions about this car but I cant find any specs or info on this car. Its almost like it didnt exist. Anyway, im running rotella t 10w-30 conventional but im considering a thicker high mileage oil. Its smoking a good bit since i put the rotella in it and I DIDNT over fill it. It wasnt smoking before the oil change. Its a greyish-blue smoke and its prevalent at operating temps. It doesnt smoke period when cold. Im wondering if there are seals worn out (likely) and or piston wrings. I dont have much crank case blow by but it does smell of gasoline. Should I run a high mileage oil? and or go to something a lil thicker? I realize winter is coming....
 
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17,301
Location
OH
I used 10W-40 or even thicker in our old Civics, two '86 Wagons and a '76 CVCC 1500. My wife bought the '76 new five years before I met her and we bought one of the Wagons new and one used. I used 10W-40 in these cars and all went on to live 200K+ miles on the oils of the time. You may have rings stuck from little use or you may have valve guide wear. If it's the guides, you'll see some smoke at the first start of the day and not much thereafter. If it's the rings, you may need to drive the thing a bit to get them moving freely, or you may need to use a solvent to free them up. With as little use as this car has had, you may be cleaning up corrosion in the cylinder bores. It doesn't have anything like the miles that would be involved in wearing out the rings. My advice would be to drive it for some miles and see what happens. You can go from there. These old Honda 1500s were tough engines. I don't think oil grade really matters much.
 

Volv04Life

Thread starter
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583
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
I used 10W-40 or even thicker in our old Civics, two '86 Wagons and a '76 CVCC 1500. My wife bought the '76 new five years before I met her and we bought one of the Wagons new and one used. I used 10W-40 in these cars and all went on to live 200K+ miles on the oils of the time. You may have rings stuck from little use or you may have valve guide wear. If it's the guides, you'll see some smoke at the first start of the day and not much thereafter. If it's the rings, you may need to drive the thing a bit to get them moving freely, or you may need to use a solvent to free them up. With as little use as this car has had, you may be cleaning up corrosion in the cylinder bores. It doesn't have anything like the miles that would be involved in wearing out the rings. My advice would be to drive it for some miles and see what happens. You can go from there. These old Honda 1500s were tough engines. I don't think oil grade really matters much.
These are all possibilities Im hoping for and not a tired engine.
 
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3,117
Location
Virginia
Might be hardened valve seals - especially if it smokes more pulling away from traffic lights when warm. Give the Rotella a chance for a few thousand miles, fresh oil may help bring the seals back to life in time. After that, I'd recommend MaxLife 10W-30 or 10W-40.
 
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beaver land EH?
It's an old/tired engine that needs attention (partial engine rebuild, at least a new set of rings, seals, bearings, valve stem seal, check valve guides for clearances, etc. If it's CVCC type engine, I wouldn't be spending too much on them (sorry, just me), for the parts and carb servicing these engines are becoming rare these days.... G'luck. Q.
 

Volv04Life

Thread starter
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583
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Virginia
Originally Posted By: bigt61
Might be hardened valve seals - especially if it smokes more pulling away from traffic lights when warm. Give the Rotella a chance for a few thousand miles, fresh oil may help bring the seals back to life in time. After that, I'd recommend MaxLife 10W-30 or 10W-40.
Thats exactly how it acts...
 
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1,410
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Western Canada
Originally Posted By: Volv04Life
Originally Posted By: bigt61
Might be hardened valve seals - especially if it smokes more pulling away from traffic lights when warm. Give the Rotella a chance for a few thousand miles, fresh oil may help bring the seals back to life in time. After that, I'd recommend MaxLife 10W-30 or 10W-40.
Thats exactly how it acts...
Like a 33 year old engine...? Run a High Mileage conventional, and see if it helps...
 
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6,156
Location
Buffalo, NY
Originally Posted By: bigt61
Might be hardened valve seals - especially if it smokes more pulling away from traffic lights when warm. Give the Rotella a chance for a few thousand miles, fresh oil may help bring the seals back to life in time. After that, I'd recommend MaxLife 10W-30 or 10W-40.
+1 Maybe Defy in the same weights...
 
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1,623
Location
western australia
If you have switched oil brands there will be some cleaning and the oil filter may be clogged causing it to go into bypass mode. Change the oil filter only and top up and see how you go. Old rule of thumb change oil filter between 800 to 1200 miles in the first and second OCIs when switching brands due to cleaning from differing brand additive chemistry.
 
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7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
sorry, given the age of the car/engine, it is not unknown that those valve stem seals, crank seals, etc. have hardened so badly that virtually nothing can be used to revive them. Not even fresh new engine oil will do that, don't even think about HM oil (try it, if you don't believe me). IMO it's a tired engine that needs refreshing, period. you can burn some cheep oil to keep it going and nothing else beyond that. Q.
 
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