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That often?
#1
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Dave Brownell
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While looking through the Lubrication schedule in my 1956 Service Manual, I noted the frequent need for service. Every thousand for chassis lube, same for T-L, and every 2,000 miles for oil (with a filter swap twice that).

I started working for pay in a full-service gas station five years after my car was made, so we saw lots of our compliant customers frequently because of this and 12 mpg cars. But I did pause when I saw that the Service Manual suggested dropping and cleaning the oil pan yearly, with a swipe at the oil screen at that time.

Given how much we drive (15 to 20K miles annually), one can only do some easy math on how expensive it would be to drive that Packard today. I suppose that we did see some customers every month to lube and change oil, but I don't remember anyone being that dilligent about car care. One older lady did have a very nice 1955 Clipper Custom hardtop that I helped with routine servicing, but I believe that car was used mostly for once a week trips to church and the supermarket. But I can also remember the stir caused by Ford in the early sixties with their extended lube and oil change intervals. My boss was not amused, although he saw the trend and later became a successful Ford dealer in our town.

With the exception of T-L servicing and all those dropped oil pans, I wonder how owners of other car brands followed similar service schedules? For those of us with nice Packards, I suppose we owe a large debt to those who paid the piper by following directions.

Posted on: 2015/11/1 20:05
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Re: That often?
#2
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Packard 1948
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>because of this and 12 mpg cars.

I have a 2007 Yukon XL with a 5.3L Vortec. In town it gets 13.5 MPG and on the highway it gets 17 MPG.

I should weigh both the Yuk and the Pac and see what the weight difference is. Then it would be interesting to see what the aerodynamic drag coefficient difference is.

Assuming both cars are somewhat equal, It is kinda sad to think that in 66 years of automotive engineering advancements that the MPG of newer cars is really not that much better than back in the day...

Yes the Yuk is more powerful, reliable, cleaner, etc. but 5 MPG is the best they can do...even with EFI and cylinder canceling and stoichiometric fuel burns and ...Blah...blah...blah...

Posted on: 2015/11/1 20:23
Bill,

Dedicated to keeping the man who owns one on the road!!!
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Re: That often?
#3
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HH56
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I know my father never followed the schedule. That 51 Packard I "inherited" to drive thru school (which would have been 10 years old), in spite of all the abuse it had suffered, had to have been one of the most reliable cars made. It never let me walk thru anything it did or didn't do. I kind of wonder if Packard was a believer in overkill.

I do get amused when I think of the standard 90 days warranty though. I guess they had covered themselves well for those who did not follow schedules. Makes you appreciate some of the warranties and schedules we have today.

Posted on: 2015/11/1 20:26
Howard
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Re: That often?
#4
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DrewLA
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On dropping the oil pan, that seems like a hold over from the days before detergent oil was commonly used. Between the use of bypass filtration and earlier oil, sludge was common. With detergent oil, dropping the oil pan becomes unnecessary. I've been running 15W-40 mixed fleet oil and for good measure recently dropped the pan. It was basically spotless, it made me feel like I'd wasted my time.

I do wonder if anyone else ever followed the maintenance schedule, but almost any car would have a much better chance of surviving forever with maintenance that frequent. And maybe that's because if a mechanic was under the car every month, nothing would go for very long before it was attended to.

Posted on: 2015/11/2 0:30
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Re: That often?
#5
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Ross
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When I pack the rear wheel bearing on a customer's car I generally tell them "this is the last time the car will need this in your lifetime".

Greasing front suspensions is another matter. By their very nature the grease tends to migrate out and to become contaminated by road splash. My cars certainly don't get greased every 1000 miles, but usually every 2000. I find with that regimen that wear ceases. I ran up an extra 100,000 miles on a 60,000 mile car that had kingpins and trunions. When I scrapped the car because of rust I saved the front suspension off of it as it was no more worn than when I got it.

Posted on: 2015/11/2 6:30
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Re: That often?
#6
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Dave Brownell
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Drew brings up an excellent point about the cleaning properties of modern detergent oils. At the beginning of summer, I filled the Packard with Delo 15W/40. Last week, I did my fall change to Rotella (same weight will work for Atlanta winters, if and when the car is driven) and the 500 miles driven produced some black suspended oil. In most of our fleet, we'd save that low mile oil for use in tractors and other old engines. But this looked a bit more used than that coming from the newer cars. We'll have to see what it looks like after only a few hundred miles when the spring change comes. If it's dark and chunky, then more fresh stuff and the filter gets changed again.

I'm starting to feel a bit like that English fellow, written about in Road and Track a few years ago. He bought a brand new Allard in the early 50's, and over the years drove it very little. Twenty years later he had driven it less than 600 miles but had records showing eight oil changes. Conversely, the family fleet of eight GMC/Chevy pickups gets twice a year changes of Mobil One and filters. The two oldest have over 600,000 and 700,000 miles on their original unrebuilt engines and still seem ready to do more work. My sons think I'm crazy to pamper some of my old cars this way, but they'll reap the rewards when they take away my keys.

Posted on: 2015/11/2 12:27
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Re: That often?
#7
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Packard 1948
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Modern engines have a PCV valve and that really helps to keep the crankcase clean because it sucks out the water vapor, acids, and soot so the oil stays cleaner longer. Also, if the oil is changed frequently the PCV valve engine will have significantly less sludge on the walls of the engine.

I saw a really neglected 1970 Ford 390 that never had the oil changed (the only added oil when the red light would come on) and when the valve cover was removed the whole valve bay had Jello like sludge everywhere except the spaces under the rocker arms (looked like a Jello mold of the valve cover)...so even a PCV valve could not keep that neglected engine clean.

Posted on: 2015/11/2 18:02
Bill,

Dedicated to keeping the man who owns one on the road!!!
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