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1908 Buick Model D oil pan question

Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:33 pm
by nickleh
Oil pan appears to have no method for checking oil level.

Car has a McCord oiler and we want to know whether oil pan should be drained periodically or if there is meant to be a reservoir of oil in the pan.

Under the pan is a barbed brass pet cock that appears to be set up for draining the pan.

Any light you can shed would be appreciated.

Re: 1908 Buick Model D oil pan question

Posted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:46 pm
by JV Puleo
The dipstick wasn't invented until the late teens or the 20s. Brass cars usually have a sight gage, a float or (I think most commonly) a petcock that can be opened to let excess oil drain out. You should check to see if what you think is a drain is really connected to a stand pipe. I expect another 2 cyl. Buick owner would know this.
Your oiler is effectively a "total loss" system. Oil goes in via the oiler and the excess has to be drained off every so many miles... as awkward as this sounds, it assures that you are always running clean oil (unless you put the old stuff back in, which I suspect was frequently done in period).

I would fill the crankcase until oil runs out using whatever level measuring system you have. Then fill the oiler and run the car. After perhaps an hour or running, try the level again or check to see how much has been pumped into the engine. In period it was common to set the drip feeds on the oiler much too high because everyone was afraid of wrecking the bearings. The result was that most cars left a trail of blue smoke and the plugs had to be cleaned regularly. Even if you find the correct instructions for setting the oiler it will probably give you settings that are too high, if only because oil is so much better today. In the end, its really a trial & error system. I have the same problem with my car. I was thinking of running the oiler with an electric motor to test and set it before taking a chance on over or under oiling the engine.