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09-Apr-05 Adding Motor Oil

Filling the Crankcase



An article devoted to adding oil? Why not?
ImageThe first step was purchasing the oil. I realize that there are oil comparisons out there and some oils are supposedly "better" than others but I've always used Valvoline or Pennzoil and have had good luck with them. It goes back to when I drove Corvairs. A Corvair is cooled by air and oil so it's important to have good quality oil. Those two brands were highly recommended by Corvair Loyalists. I'll probably get e-mails now telling me what brand I should have used. Automotive oils, like automotive brands, have loyal followers who would never dream of buying anything else but the brand they love.

I intend to use synthetic oil in the car some day but not until the engine has a few thousand miles on it, so for now it's Valvoline 10W-30 weight.
ImageIf you haven't seen these nifty fill spouts, you need to check them out! They cost me 97 cents each and I picked up one for anti-freeze and one for oil (shown). They screw onto the bottle top and have an on/off valve so you can tip the bottle upside-down without loosing a drop and then turn on the flow (as fast as you like). When you're finished, turn it off, wait a second for it to stop dripping and flip the bottle back up. No spilled oil or anti-freeze and no need for a funnel. They're available almost everywhere (Wal-Mart, etc.). Best $1.94 I've ever spent :)
ImageI removed BOTH breathers and dumped a half-quart of oil down each side to start with. I figured it wouldn't hurt to run some oil down both sides of the engine to wash it out.
ImageI left the drain pug off and let the first quart run through the engine to hopefully carry any crud out with it. It looked pretty clean but I disposed of it anyway just in case there were some metal particles or contaminants in it. The drain plug was replaced and the filter was filled with oil (to help avoid an air pocket/dry start) and reinstalled before filling up the crankcase to the designated mark on the dipstick. I have a stock depth oil pan so it took just a hair under 5 quarts to fill – 4 in the engine and almost one in the filter. So, what do you do with the left over 1/2-inch of oil in the bottle? I decided to store it in the engine with the rest of the oil :)

I'll run this oil for only a hundred miles or less and replace it with fresh. I'll change the filter then also. A fresh engine can generate some microscopic metal particles so we'll want to remove them before the cause excessive wear or damage. The drain plug is magnetic so any shavings or metal dust should stick to it or end up in the filter. Fresh oil and a new filter are cheap insurance.
ImageWe primed the oil pump with a priming tool (a long screwdriver bit with a collar) in a drill (inserted into the distributor hole) before starting the engine so all the bearings would be lubricated. This is VERY important! Sorry I didn't get a picture of it happening.

This can be done with a long straight blade screwdriver but the priming tool has a collar so the bit won't chatter or get away from you and bang up the distributor hole. It also has a cup around the bit to hold it in place on the pump itself. If you use a screwdriver bit be careful not to apply too much downward pressure and gouge the pump. The priming tool has a collar to prevent this. Make sure the drill is turning in the same direction as the engine rotation and never turn the engine over with the starter to prime it!

You will feel a steady drag on the drill when the pressure has built up or you can use an oil pressure gauge. Reinsert the distributor and your good to go!

Side Note:
If you have access to an old distributor (with good bearings) you can also make your own priming tool by welding an extension for a drill to the top of the shaft.

See, there was enough information to warrant an article :)