What oil in older Rambler engine?

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Oct 6, 2009
I just got my Rambler fired up today with a rebuilt engine. I am looking for opinions on oil for this 1965 model 232 inline 6. For the initial start up I am running 10w-30 autozone oil and stp filter because this oil will be dumped after break in. I run super tech oil and filters in all my other cars(with the exception of using motorcraft filters on the crown vic) because I am using 4k oci which only takes about 2 to 3 months. All my other cars are newer and have roller lifters, but the Rambler is the old hyd flat tappet. I would prefer dino oil as after engine break in it will get changed twice a year due to lack of mileage. Sorry for the long post. Thanks in advance for any input.
I would use a cheap synthetic in the 10w30 or 5w40 grade. Supertech would be fine. The reason I would use a Syn is because Syn fares better under extreme pressure between metal surfaces like Flat Tappets. Syn also flows a lot better than dino on start up and colder weather. It will also stick to parts longer after shutdown giving you less dry-starts. (Read but never been able to verify) If you change it at 3K miles or less you will not have to worry about the lower ZDDP content in todays SM oils unless you are using super heavy duty valve springs that are pushing down on the tappets with severe pressure. If you are then use a ZDDP additive to boost the ZDDP levels. PM me for more information if you need. My dad and I have rebuilt many of these "older" classic engines and none have failed or shown any noticable wear with this advice.
Hi, cpsycholic - Firstly WELCOME! A 10W-30 viscosity is a good choice for these engines. An "old" specced lubricant will do just fine but as somebody else commented, a "mixed fleet" 10W-30 HDEO would be great too Best wishes
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AMC spec'd 10w-40 in these straight sixes (in the form of the 199, 232 and 258) until they were modified into the 242/4.0 shortly after being bought by Chrysler in 1988, IIRC. They do well on thicker oil. An HDEO 15w-40 would probably be ideal.
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Thanks for all the replies. Great people and info on this site. I am leary of using a 40w oil on this rebuilt engine. In my 1965 Rambler service manual it specs 10w-30 for above 0 degrees, and 5w-20 for below 0 degrees. I didn't even know they had 5w-20 in 1965. I'd like to stick to 10w-30 as cold weather in DFW area aint that cold.
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I wouldn't be leery of using 15/40 in many NEW cars in Texas. Plus, like I said, they spec'd a 40 weight in these sixes well after 30 weight was the mainstay. A 5/40 like Rotella T Synth would be even better. I plan on using it in my 96 Explorer when my stash of QS Torque 10/30 runs out.
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Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
Shell Rotella T 10W-30
I second ( or third or fourth) this recommendation. Also Chevron Delo in same weight(hard to find). John Deere 10w30 tractor SL would be great too, some Home depots and Lowes still have the 'new/old stock' API SL tractor oil in quarts in the yard equipment area. Avoid the SM.
Cam break in is important. Very important. After that, don't worry about your low performance cam/valve system with flat tappets . Umpteen jillion modern cars have OHC systems with flat tappets.
I'd break in with a conventional HDEO. Rotella 10W-30 or 15W-40. Cheap and good zinc/phos for flat tappet cam break in.
Originally Posted By: ARCOgraphite
Avoid the SM.
Only until after break-in. Then he's fine on SM. I run it in my Jeeps. I have Q Torquepower 5W30 in my trail rig right now. Works pis-sah.
Since you said it is just rebuilt, I would use 5w-30. Better start up flow. I owned the same make for years, and made several cross country trips in the summer, CA to FL, through Texas and AZ, using 20w-20 Sears Spectrum oil. This was when car was 2-3 years old, and it used no oil, none. 1965 Classic two door with overdrive. It also ran so smooth it was hard to tell it was on at idle. Of course I was a kid with time to get the dwell, timing, and carb just right. I sure liked that car.
I had one of these cars, new, off the showroom floor. It was a Classic 660. I used Castrol 20W-50 from the day I got it until the day I sold it. I put well over 100,000 miles on it. If it were mine, I would use, (1)Mobil 1 15W-50, (2)Mobil 1 10W-40 HM, (3)Valvoline 10W-40 MaxLife
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