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What oil is best for a total rebuild engine


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I just went thru this issue myself with my 74 tii. I asked a well respected oil analysis (dysonanalysis dot com) his opinion and this is what he responded:


Max, use about any major brand 15w40 HD CJ4 engine oil  for wear in. Delvac 1300 by XOM a good bet. Easy to find. Cheaper than 20w50 and has plenty of wear control. I have no idea who built it or what it was built with so this is a blanket guess response. I doubt a 20w50 is required and a 15w40 gives better cold start characteristics. Once analyzed I can fine tune lots of things in that regard. 


Who knows what BMW recommended (or if they even did) back then as it is not mentioned in the service manual or owner's manual.





Maximillian Importing Company




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47 minutes ago, Maximillian said:

Who knows what BMW recommended (or if they even did) back then as it is not mentioned in the service manual or owner's manual.

They didn't use a specification system like in the US.  They used the buddy and payola system,  so you see brand names in their old manuals.  Today they use the spec system even though they market their own oil.

A radiator shop is a good place to take a leak.


I have no idea what I'm doing but I know I'm really good at it.

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When my '73's engine was completely rebuilt in 2004, its break-in consisted of the drive from Dayton to Vintage in NC and return.  I was careful to vary the speed and revs, do a lot of coasting against compression and all the other little things that you're supposed to do to properly break in a new engine.


I used plain ole Pennzoil 20w-50 for the trip (right around 1000 miles), then changed the oil and filter and refilled with Amsoil 20w-50 synthetic.  I've been using Amsoil and Pennzoil 20w-50 synthetic ever since (Pennzoil doesn't make a 20w-50 synthetic any more, so will have to find another brand after using Pennzoil exclusively since 1967).  Engine now has just over 50k miles on the rebuild, uses practically no oil (less than a quart between 8k mile changes), no smoke etc.  So I must have done something right...


Just my experience




PS--my '69's engine is soldiering along at 224k without a rebuild on a steady diet of Pennzoil since new--a bit of a thirst for oil and a bit of smoke, but starts and runs just fine.  

'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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and then all the zddp levels went down.


I'd spend for the Gibbs stuff.  Wait, I have done so, at least twice now.

Then gone to Mobil 1 15-50 full synthetic.


That's worked a few times.  I don't believe that Mobil's the BEST, but they publish their chemistry.  And I haven't joined the Amsoil cult.  Yet...


Castrol 30 wt failed miserably in 2007, so I'm a little gunshy still.  The oil's so cheap compared to a set of rockers and a cam...




"I learn best through painful, expensive experience, so I feel like I've gotten my money's worth." MattL

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