General Oil Type 1971 500L

erockin500

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Ciao!

Newbie question. I'm currently in Italy, where I can purchase the oil that was suggested to me, Elf Start's 15w 40 - Lubrificante a Tecnologia Minerale. Supposedly it works for diesel and gas engines.

I'm trying to purchase some oil in the US for my Fiat that just got there. But the oil I'm finding there is labeled 15w 40 diesel. It does have the term mineral or gas/diesel.

My question is what type of oil do you purchase in the States for your classic Fiat 500? And if so what websites do you use to have it delivered?

The more answer the better. Drop your answer down below. Grazie!
 

the hobbler

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Here in the UK, for a 'standard' 500' I would reccommend a high quality '20/50'oil. Castrol is one such brand, as is Millers, Fuchs, Shell, etc. As far as I am aware, Castrol is available in the US. I wouldn't go for a 'diesel' oil as their make-up is slightly different.
 
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Same here, up here in Canada, i used 20w50 for anything aircooled (911's and the 500). Usually Castrol is whats typically available.

I typically use the 15w40 diesel in my classic benzes, but its a bit thin for air cooled when they get hot.. On a plus side, the diesel oils have a higher zinc content as most automotive non heavy duty oils actually have limitations on zinc, zinc doesn't play happy with modern vehicle emission systems such as the cats. One thing that i would definitely do for these older design engines (500) is get a decent Zinc additive to throw in there every oil change. Zinc helps with valve train tappet wear and overall metal to metal contact protection.
 
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fiat500

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Same here, up here in Canada, i used 20w50 for anything aircooled (911's and the 500). Usually Castrol is whats typically available.

I typically use the 15w40 diesel in my classic benzes, but its a bit thin for air cooled when they get hot.. On a plus side, the diesel oils have a higher zinc content as most automotive non heavy duty oils actually have limitations on zinc, zinc doesn't play happy with modern vehicle emission systems such as the cats. One thing that i would definitely do for these older design engines (500) is get a decent Zinc additive to throw in there every oil change. Zinc helps with valve train tappet wear and overall metal to metal contact protection.
The ZDDP levels being so important with the whole valve gear system and the reduction or partial elimination of those compounds from the otherwise superb modern oil formulations is what lead to me using 4T motorcycle oil.
You'll struggle to have manufacturers reveal the actual zinc content even in an overpriced and overhyped "classic" 20W50. In the UK you can get a regular 20W50 quite easily and cheaply, but legislation compels it to have low zinc levels.
Motorbikes with "wet" clutches can't use the modern alternative compounds which add "slipperiness" to oil and allow the elimination of so much zinc. This is why their formulation is much closer to the oil which was available when our engines were current.
As many bikes are still air-cooled it makes sense to me that bike oil will also suit them in that respect.
 
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the hobbler

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That is an interesting train of thought Peter. When I was running-in my new engine, I deliberately looked for a "high zinc content" oil. I ended up using 'Morris oils' "pistoneez" which does have a high zinc content.
 
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I would think that over in the UK, someone makes just the additive for classic cars?

There is a few manufactures on this side of the pond that make just the additive. Again im not a big fan of "miracle additives", alot of garbage stuff fills the shelves at all the local big box autoparts stores. But a good ZDDP additive is quite common here in Canada and in the US. It just allows me to use a standard off the shelf oil 20w50, and just add what i need. I stocked up on a case of "Lucas TB Zinc-plus" that should last me the life of my 500 ownership. They call it a "break in additive", but can be used constantly. They just dont want to be liable for emissions damage if people use it constantly in cat cars, thats why they state "Not designed for passenger car use" lol.


After seeing the insane cam and tappet wear in my 500 engine before the rebuild, this will be a must going forward. Then again, its previous owner wasn't a fan of maintenance from what i could see.
 
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the hobbler

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Thanks for that info Jacques---Lucas TB IS available in this country (Demon Tweeks sell Lucas products). It would seem that I have a supplier 2 miles up the road from me!
How would you use it in the 500? I have a sump full ofhigh quality oil---can you add say, 1/2 a container, as a 'booster' to the zinc content in the 500s oil?
 

TeleSpeed

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Valvoline VR1 oil is what I use. It is a non-synthetic racing oil with zinc and is available in many auto parts stores.
 
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How would you use it in the 500? I have a sump full of high quality oil---can you add say, 1/2 a container, as a 'booster' to the zinc content in the 500s oil?

Yes (y) i would just check and find out what the original zinc rating is, if the oil mfg gives you that info.

In their data sheet, they say adding 16oz, (473ml), to 4.25L of oil. will raise its overall zinc content by 5000ppm.

-8oz to 4.5L is approx 3000ppm
-4oz to 4.64L is approx an increase of 1900ppm

I haven't done too much research on recommended zinc ppm's, but the general consensus i have found is its ideal to have a overall system range from around 1500-2500ppm range, 3500ppm would be the limit i would feel comfortable with. More is totally possible, however ultra high zinc ranges can cause a metal corrosion issue as the oil becomes more acidic. I haven't dived too deep down that worm hole to research the science and such behind that, maybe some light reading during the winter months lol, ill try and hunt down some SAE papers thru some contacts.
 
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rusty500

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In the US Lucas sells "Hot Rod & Classic Motor Oil" in 10W-40. It's labeled "High Zinc". Someone recommended that I switch to that over the HD Diesel oil I had been using, which I was told had been reformulated with less zinc.
 

fiat500

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Yes (y) i would just check and find out what the original zinc rating is, if the oil mfg gives you that info.

In their data sheet, they say adding 16oz, (473ml), to 4.25L of oil. will raise its overall zinc content by 5000ppm.

-8oz to 4.5L is approx 3000ppm
-4oz to 4.64L is approx an increase of 1900ppm

I haven't done too much research on recommended zinc ppm's, but the general consensus i have found is its ideal to have a overall system range from around 1500-2500ppm range, 3500ppm would be the limit i would feel comfortable with. More is totally possible, however ultra high zinc ranges can cause a metal corrosion issue as the oil becomes more acidic. I haven't dived too deep down that worm hole to research the science and such behind that, maybe some light reading during the winter months lol, ill try and hunt down some SAE papers thru some contacts.

I'm not keen on using additives of any kind. As far as I'm aware, the chemistry of lubricating oils is very complex and the oils are formulated in a way which considers the balance of one compound with another. The best thing would be if it was possible to find out what was the formulation of the recommended weight and brand of oil back when the cars were current....a job for me for a rainy day I think. I think our research results may converge.
 
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