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MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG TD TF 1500 - For the oil experts!?

Would you use this oil in your classic car? Not mentioning brand name for now.

This is the multi grade version, also comes in single grade in 10-20-30-40 & 50 wts.PJ

API CJ-4, CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF-2, CE, CD-II, CD/SM, SL+, SJ, SH, EC-I. ACEA E7, E5, CASE MS 1120-2. CAT SEBU 6385, ECF-3, CUMMINS NTC-400, CES 20081, 20076, 20078, DETROIT DIESEL 7SE270, 93K218, FORD M3C153-E, GLOBAL DHD-1, GM 6094-M, KOMATSU DRESSER B21-0005, MACK EO-K2, MACK E0-M, EO-M PLUS, EO-N, EO-O, MACK EO-O PREMIUM PLUS, NAVISTAR TSI-93-12-11, (I.H.) B21-5002 ("FLEETRITE"). VOLVO, VDS 3, VDS 4 MIL-CID A-A52306A (MIL-L-2104), A-A-52039B (MIL-L-46152), ALLISON C-3, C-4 & CAT TO-2 TRANSMISSIONS.
P Jennings

Not an oil expert, but this looks like a diesel engine oil, maybe Rotella ?
Some old car people use diesel oil since the ZDDP scare due to reports that Diesel oil still has higher levels. As people tend to be, they swear by what they have or use.
The "experts" say that diesel spec oils do not have the detergents and other additives for gasoline engines, so technically you are better with a gasoline oil specification.
Dallas Congleton

Only if I knew how much ZDDP was present. Everything else is just detergents and viscosity modifiers. The only important things about oil in these cars are:
Flat tappet wear prevention
Ability to carry dirt to the filter

As long as the above is accomplished, I can handle the rest by checking levels. Oil gets flushed out with the frequent oil changes so it doesn't need much more.

Dave Braun

Dallas, I wasn't trying to be evasive about the brand as it's the oil we used in our construction vehicles, This included the diesel tractors, dozers, back hoes etc. and also the trucks, cars & pickups. It's the specs for Black Bear oil out of long island. We also used their greases. We had one Ford pickup with a 460 engine in it that always used a quart of oil between changes, (3000 miles). After switching to Black Bear oils and two oil changes later, the 460 stopped using oil. We never changed oil brands after that. I don't know the zddp levels though. PJ
P Jennings

The oils to avoid are oils with an ACEA 'C-rating' (ie C1, C2, C3) because this indicates that it is suitable for Diesel with particle filters. These DPF-filters are the main reason that ZDDP is not added to oil for modern cars.

This oil is rated ACEA E7, so that would be OK.
The rating API CJ-4 rating is the highest rating for a heavy duty oil. For passenger cars CH is mostly adequate.

For more oil info:

Looks like the Black Bear oil is suitable for heavy duty industrial use, so I assume the ZDDP levels aren't lowered as much as roadcar oil?

Bottom line: I would use it.
Willem vd Veer

Much of the belief re ZDDP is incorrect or misleading. It is actually more the phosphorus in it that is important, and that is what kills catalytic convertors. In any event, the effects of ZDDP are most critical at initial break in, hence the use of the GM breakin additive for example.

In addition to a lot of recent reports, I have the original papers on the investigations into the increasing tappet failures around and after WW2, what was found, what was tried, what fixed it, and how ZDDP was found to help.

Wear on flat tappet engines past run-in has much more to do with crappy parts (tappets), bad driving practice (too slow), oversprung valves in modified engines(heavier is better - NO), and especially corrosion from long periods sitting (See FAA reports on light aircraft crashes from tappet failures). I expect fuel dilution from extended warm-ups and bad carb assembly/adjustment are also factors.

I ran Kendall 15W40 DIII in my big truck, so also ran it in my Austin America of the time. Works well, except there is a certain instability in viscosity index modifiers from high shear, so the BMC transverse gearbox caused a 10psi drop in oil pressure over the first few hundred miles but stable after, not a problem as I had well beyond sufficient pressure anyway - I did not build the engine, and was too buy to change the amateur "Uprated" OP spring.

Diesel oils in general actually have some benefits for these cars - lots of detergents specifically designed to prevent or cure ring sticking, whether from sitting or pussy footing around, high pressure capabilities for modified or high rpm, high temp capabilities in any oil suited for turbo apps. I would probably be using Kendall still, except Kendall was et, may now be part of Brad Penn, which is made in the old Kendall refinery.

When I had my Pittsburgh shop, I used MacMillan, an old time heavy duty diesel and gas engine oil. We had used Castrol, but quit after Castrol cut the throat of the man who had done a wonderful job of building the Castrol name in area import and MC shops. Despite all the awards Castrol had given him, they bypassed his distributorship and started selling direct to discount stores, and did not even have the decency to give him a heads up - he found out when customers started telling him they could by oil at K Mart for less than his cost. He also distributed MacMillan so we switched - cheaper and arguably better than Castrol. Seems to me it only came in drums - that's what I had. Besides, MacMillan had cool blue and orange signs that looked pretty much as they did in 1935, when they were sponsoring air and auto racers.

FR Millmore

Back in the day when I was a young A&P, we found Lycoming flat engines were the ones prone to tappet failure. The top mounted cam in those engines would experience run-off when unused for long periods resulting in dry starts. The Continentals have a low mount cam and were somewhat less susceptible due to oil dripping off other items such as the crank as soon as it rotated whereas the top mounted needs oil to pressurize before it gets lubed.

We never experienced any problem with flight school planes that ran nearly every day.

Usually you could pick up the beginnings of a problem by cutting open the oil filter and examining it during 50 hour oil changes. On screen-only engines it was readily apparent.

I'm using Rotella in my diesel and flat-tappet gas engines; no problems. I have magnetic drain plugs in just about everything which I hope will give me a heads-up.
JE Carroll

Yes, FAA found that the Lycoming failures were due not so much to startup lube problems, but to corrosion = rust forming in engines that sat for long periods in non temp/humidity controlled storage. The rust started pits, which initiated cracks, leading to tappet and subsequent engine failures, frequently on take-off climb.
This all sounds too similar to cars that sit for months or years, but of course they don't generally fall out of the sky when they blow.

It is worth paying for oil analysis once in a while, especially a few hundred miles after resuscitating a long dead car. I have seen too many cases of bearing failure from corrosion, which could be prevented with new bearings only until they disintegrate in flight, as it were, when they may take out everything in the engine without warning. The failure would show up in oil analysis before damage.

FR Millmore


I suppose the rust, pitting, and cracking problems are the run-off carried to extreme. Unfortunately GA planes tend to sit for much longer periods now since avgas has become so expensive.

I think general aviation enthusiasm has dropped to a low. During the time period to which I was referring, the airport using airport transfers tunbridge wells where I worked had Cessna, Beechcraft, Piper, and Mooney dealers all with flight schools and thriving. I'd be afraid to fly VFR these days with the TFRs popping up wherever the president and VP are campaigning. Oh well, flying the jets is paying the bills and still somewhat fun.

The Lycomings we disassembled didn't have corrosion issues but rather spalling of the cam and lifters - no other damage. I have no problem that the issue has deteriorated to the point that corrosion is causing catastrophic failures in seldom flown, neglected planes. I'm at a loss as to how the problem isn't detected during routine maintenance.

It seems that I remember an additive Lycoming required due to this issue but my memory isn't clear :-)

JE Carroll

My understanding from reading the reports was that the oil drained off during storage, and rust formed on the tappet face. This started pits, which progressed to the cracks and spalling. No neglect was involved, just temp/humidity fluctuation and time sitting - like over winter. The starting pits were microscopic, and would not be found on a visual check not under magnification, once the engine had been started or even cranked over. Hence why it took a long time to figure out the start cause. Micropits are the known cause of failure in heavily loaded sliding or rolling loads with oil present, as the moving load creates a hydraulic wedge to cause the spalling.
And I did read that Lycoming came up with an antirust additive.

FR Millmore

"Micropits are the known cause of failure in heavily loaded sliding or rolling loads with oil present, as the moving load creates a hydraulic wedge to cause the spalling."

Interesting, especially when the effort on less heavily loaded sliding parts, such as the piston/cylinder, is to create a microscopic area to retain lubricant, such as the etched channels in chromed cylinders.

I've seen hydraulic lock push the bottom cylinder off a radial engine and do similar destruction in other equipment, just never thought of the same principle working on the microscopic level to attack a lifter face or cam lobe.

JE Carroll

Maybe a naive question, but with all the discussion and angst over ZDDP levels, why not use the commercially available ZDDP additives, they seem to be every where and relatively inexpensive . If they are reasonable what are actually the recommended levels
Jon Levine

As a follow up to Fletcher's information regarding rust Micropits during periods of inactivity and storage which caused hydraulic damage to heavily loaded or sliding surfaces (such as the cam lifter interface), recognition of this problem ca WWII is what led to the development by the US Military of the zinc phosphate (ZDDP) additives. The additives were for preservation efforts initially, but they provided beneficial side effects as well.
All was good until the additives were reduced or eliminated by a recent generation which did not know their original purpose.
Dallas Congleton

The anti corrosion effects of ZDDP in small amounts may have been a military development, and became standard in oils; but the use for cam/tappet protection came later, from people researching the problem. They were running a big test program, and suddenly started getting anomalous but very desirable improvements in the part life. It turned out that a single barrel of the standard oil they were using had accidentally been dosed with a very heavy addition of ZDDP, by the manufacturer, something like 10x. Total accident solving the problem, but they had an awful time figuring it out, because of the time between test start and useful results, plus forensics - but the barrel was still in the building.

My books with this and an incredible amount of other cool stuff got wet, and are infested with an extremely nasty form of mold, so I have to be very careful about looking stuff up. It takes about 3 minutes to give me an awful headache, burning eyes, and respiratory problems, so I can only look it up outside and carefully - tastes awful too. But, I have been meaning for years to put them outside in the sun, and today I finally did, thanks to you bringing this up. Been walking by and turning pages all day, it will disinfect it from past experience. You can smell the mold across the property though!

FR Millmore

Fletcher, you are correct in that the enlightenment came in steps, some years apart. The military association was also with the addition of lead and other additives, which had good intended, and some surprising results, as well as a lot of myths.

I think that people re-engineer and re-discover previously known answers when problems reoccur.

I was exposed to the problem with micro-pitting and consequent spalling failures in industry in the use of very large hydraulic drive motors. These were rotary cam motors with tremendous roller loading and we were having repeat failures- even with the best of one of the largest oil company application engineers assigned to the problem.
It came to my attention through my contacts that the Swedish made hydraulic motors were not failing in Europe. Consequent investigation uncovered the fact that they were using the same brand and numbered oil- but European spec.
Guess what the American spec had removed ;^)
Although we couldn't buy the European oil, we started adding the additives to bring it to their specs and our failures disappeared.
Dallas Congleton

>My books with this and an incredible amount of other cool stuff got wet, and are infested with an extremely nasty form of mold

Might have other effects besides headaches:

Rob Edwards

Art thee implying summat?
Seriously, them drugs will have to get a lot better to be worth the side effects!
I doubt it would take much, as these books are far worse than any other I have met, and I am not very sensitive to allergens of any sort.

It is a terrible article, typical of newspaper pfaff, but the subject is very interesting.

I notice right now, 4 hours after I brought the books inside but not where I am, that I can taste the stuff. No highlusyinationzses though!

Dallas - Yes on the constant loss and rediscovery of information, for certain, kind of my specialty. While I've read millions of things re these phenomena, the actual physical mechano-hydraulic mechanism of failure was first written c 1970, in a paper on rolling element bearing failure. Since then I examine any object with that kind of loading, and similar failures are everywhere. The tappets were an obvious case, but I've not seen any description which covers it, other than my own. Nor have I seen it applied to highway failures, which I had about 750,000 miles of observation time on, same mechanism, same failure, different scale.

FR Millmore

This thread was discussed between 06/08/2012 and 09/08/2012

MG TD TF 1500 index

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