Post road trip - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Post road trip

Hello everyone,
About a month ago, I got my 1970 Mustang back together. Thank you to everyone who provided advice and suggestions, this forum helped me a lot with my mini-restoration project.
I just got back from a 2500 mile road trip to see family and friends in NY and PA, and overall the car did great. I had one issue, about halfway through: at one point, when I pushed in the clutch to stop at a sign, the RPMs dropped to 200, then after a moment the engine died. It restarted, but very hesitantly, and ran rough for the remaining 1/2 mile to my mom's house. Turns out the primary bowl float was set too high, which is odd because I could have sworn I set it right. A quick adjustment and the car is running perfectly again.

The new suspension feels great. I put Eaton 138# leafs in the back, Moog heavy duty coils in the front, 1" Shelby drop, Bilstein steeet valved shocks, and roller perches. No big sway bar yet but it's already a major improvement.

One question: I changed my oil before the trip with Pennzoil Platinum high mileage synthetic, a bottle of ZDDP additive, and a can of Restore (engine was starting to burn a little bit of oil, Restore seems to have stopped this). I drive this car a lot, so pretty soon I'll have oil with 3000 miles on it that's only 3 weeks to a month old. I know 3k miles is a general rule of thumb for classic cars, but this is synthetic oil with lots of highway mileage. Should I change it at 3k or go a little longer? Engine is the original 302, as I mentioned above it was starting to burn a little oil before I added Restore, compression is slightly uneven.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 06:47 PM
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Great feedback and review! I'm sure you've encouraged others to go on a "roadie" beyond the sprints to local cruises and shows.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 07:35 PM
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Myself, I usually figure 3k mile oil changes on dino oil. With synthetic I'll usually go 5k miles between changes. Some go 7500 to 10k with synthetics. I think you'll be good for a while yet.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 08:02 PM
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How awesome- sounds like a great trip with only a mild adjustment. Can’t ask for much better than that.

As for the oil change, (any) synthetic is definitely good for more than 3000 miles. That said, I would ask this: how long did the car sit before this trip, or how long was it between previous oil changes?

After 3,000 miles in a short period of time, an oil change change now would give the system a nice flush - especially with the extra additives you introduced into the system. There is no harm in changing the oil early... except to the wallet. You could always split the difference and just change the filter, but...

I know the oil subject has as many different opinions as there are old AND new car enthusiasts, but take a look at your synthetic oil of choice. It may already have plenty of ZDDP formulated in - for example, Mobil 1 does. If you’re really that concerned, find an oil that has it already baked in, vs using an additional additive.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Feethurt View Post
Pennzoil Platinum high mileage synthetic
That sounds like $10/quart oil. Back when I was your age if we had an oil burner we put the cheapest oil we could buy in it. That happened to be "rerefined", "rejuvenated" or "reconstituted" oil and it cost 25 cents/quart. We didn't even change the oil because it went through the engine quickly. No use putting high dollar oil in a worn out engine.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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Actually I got it for $2 a quart! I got a lot of it too, it was on sale.

I was using Royal Purple HPS, which from my research is the cheapest 10w30 synthetic with adequate ZDDP on the market. (I think I remember reading about a Mobil 1 with sufficient ZDDP but it was the wrong weight?) But I got such a great deal on a bunch of synthetic 10w30 Pennzoil, STP, and Mobil 1, all $2 a quart, that I'm using it now. It was never burning oil too badly, maybe a quart in 3000 miles, but I figured I'd try Restore as it has quite a good reputation (unlike most oil additives, and it's not an oil thickener) and it definitely seems to have helped, the engine doesn't seem to have lost any oil yet.

I'll probably go out to 5k miles, then change the oil. The original owner's manual recommended 6k mi intervals (!) on 1960s conventional oil! That would seem about right on a modern car but I figure with the inferior fuel control of a carburetor, combined with age, looser tolerances and wider clearances, 6k miles is probably way too much on conventional oil. Ford probably didn't care as long as the cars made it out of warranty.

Sorry to kind of turn this into an oil thread. I was busy with family on the trip and didn't get any pictures with the car. Had some fun on twisty Pennsylvania back roads though. Also loaded up the trunk and back seat with a bunch of stuff from my dad's house (helping him move), he couldn't believe how much I was able to fit in there. People underestimate a Mustang's practicality, think they need a wagon for everything.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 12:09 PM
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You might get an oil analysis from Blackstone or NAPA and see whats happening first. They can tell you a sort of % of oil life is left and will start to track it and be able to notice little variances in wear metals and such over time.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 01:27 PM
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Since its a new runner, I would take the car for a good romp then drain the oil and change it. Then you can push the miles if you want but I say let the new oil get the crap that was in the motor, outtta there with an oil change...

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think I'd say it was a new runner. It sat from December to May, but in the year before that I put 13,000 miles on it. I've owned this car since early November 2017 but until January I didn't have the time or space to do all the work it needed.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 02:15 PM
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Lots of opinions about the "proper" oil change intervals (OCIs). Here's mine.

New cars today tend to have extended OCIs. The factors that go into recommended OCIs are many and varied. In general, I suggest the manufacturer has three primary interests, the engine needs to earn maximum gas mileage for CAFE standards so thin oils that can stand up to many miles of use are the norm today (for example 0W-20) , the engine has to last more than the factory powertrain warranty, and the average new car customer (especially lease cars) tend to trade in the car when the lease is up. The point is that car maintenance which enhances long term engine health is low on the list of priorities for the average new car buyer and the toll for such practice is shorter engine life.

While not necessarily a huge factor among this crowd, there was a time when high performance air cooled engines where more common (think Porsche 911 pre-1998) and the oil served two functions, lubrication and cooling. The fact that the the dry sump lubrication system on these cars contained 11 quarts may have influenced frugal (read "CHEAP") owners to stretch out the OCIs. Note that an engine overhaul on that car at that time was in the range of about $10K, As my car was driven about 500 miles per month on average, I found that 2K between changes was acceptable. I sold that car in early 2000 with about 60K miles on it and the last time I spoke with the current owner of that car, it had about 175K miles on the engine and it was still running strong though the engine seals were seeping due to age.

Early on, I embraced the philosophy that clean engine oil was cheap engine insurance and the 3K mile OCI became my standard. I tend to do my own oil changes so the cost of oil ($25 for a 5 quart jug plus a few dollars for a good quality name brand filter) is still a reasonable way to push engine overhauls further down the road. My Mom's '96 Camry (bought new by her and still in the family 23 years later) was just "retired" at nearly 300K miles due to a head gasket leak. My '79 Scirocco enjoyed clean oil for about 275K miles with no internal engine repairs. My ex-wife's 98 Passat likewise made it to 190K miles before she sold it for something new. My experience is that frequent oil changes and regular timing belt service got these cars there.

Some might argue that frequent oil changes are a "waste". To those doubters, I suggest you look at the inside of the valve covers on a "casually" maintained engine and see what sort of sludge build up has been allowed to "thrive" there.


*Principal wrench on this 69 Mach I*
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Feethurt View Post
Sorry to kind of turn this into an oil thread. I was busy with family on the trip and didn't get any pictures with the car. Had some fun on twisty Pennsylvania back roads though. Also loaded up the trunk and back seat with a bunch of stuff from my dad's house (helping him move), he couldn't believe how much I was able to fit in there. People underestimate a Mustang's practicality, think they need a wagon for everything.
TRUTH. If you take the spare tire out, it's quite roomy. MUCH better than some modern cars. Have you seen the itty bitty opening of a newer Camaro trunk? Sheesh. I can only imagine how nice a fastback would be. Thinking about how to make a coupe seat fold down...HMMMM... anyway, my car used a little oil between changes this time, buuuut I can't complain the original 289 was rebuilt in 1993, will still eat fire and scat lightning and I drove SEVERAL 2-3 hour trips at highway speeds recently. Maybe used half a quart. I'm happy just to change it and use an oil suited for summer heat this time.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 03:47 PM
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My 2¢: With synthetic I always changed at 5k miles (or after 1 year if it was a slow year). It was an easy number to remember and I had several engines go past 200k with no internal issues. Two engines had heads off to replace head gaskets at 150k+ (not the fault of the oil) and both were clean as new and you could still see the cross-hatch pattern on the cylinder walls.
I do agree however that with the Restore I’d change the oil sooner.
PS Think about Mobil 1 15-50.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 11:34 PM
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Good for you! I'm glad your car ran well for the trip

I run full synthetic in Jane and tend to change it at the 5500 mark. I use the Mobil1 15W-50 as it comes with plenty of ZDDP in it, and the extra viscosity helps not burn oil so much when the motor's turning high RPMs on the Texas interstate.

I think you'll find that your change intervals are very much subjective to your particular motor and the oil you're running. For example, I can't even make it to 3000 miles on the Valvoline VR1 10W-30 conventional - I start to lose oil pressure as the oil just breaks down too much and it is disgusting when changed. That's why I changed over to the Mobil1, which still looks pretty amber-colored (not pitch black) at the 4000 mile mark. And I've never had issues with it losing viscosity or behaving oddly.
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See my travel blog here for my adventures:
Over 50,000 miles of North American roads driven on road trips since 2014. More always in the works - stay tuned!

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