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What lubricants?

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What is the right oil to use? This is a moving target, as oils were changing throughout the 1950’s, and the factory was changing their specifications along with them. Determining what lubricant to use is yet another glimpse into the world of Lancia and the motoring industry in the 1950’s. First step is to figure out what was Lancia recommending for their cars. It turns out this was a specification in evolution. So where to look? For the Aurelia, a review of  Lancia’s Owner’s Manuals shows  thinking in the 1950’s. Then Lancia published a data sheet for lubrication, # 1027I, in 1965,  reflects their conclusions ten years later.

These are summarized here: spread sheet of the different Aurelia lubricants

Three Owners Manuals were reviewed  – from 1952, 1956 and 1958 in the spread sheet above. The 1952 manual covers the B10, B21, B22 and B20 2nd series, and represents early thinking for the Aurelias. The 1956 manual,  is a 5th series manual, with an English insert for the 4th series, and represents “mid-course” thinking. The 1958 manual is for the 6th series. The final chapter of Lancia’s thinking can be found in the  1965 Data Sheet. The evolution is as follows:

  1. Engine – the 1952 manual called for straight weight oil by Veedol, with different weights depending on outside temperature. 20, 30 or 40w were used. Curiously, from 1952 to 1956, Lancia recommended 50w oil for “sporting events”, probably in response to engine heat. By 1958, this is no longer mentioned for the 6th series cars.  By 1954, 10-30w multi-grade oil from Mobil is accepted for use and by 1958, Esso multigrade. By 1965, Lancia only recommended multi-grade; straight weight oil is dropped.
  2. Transmission – throughout the Aurelia’s lifespan, Lancia called for use of 90 weight (EP) oil. However, curiously in the 4th series, 140w oil is called for the transaxle and potjoints when outside temperatures were over 68 degrees. Why is not clear. Was this because of wear in the pot joints? By 1958, this approach is dropped, and 250w oil was called for the potjoints only. They gave up the idea of changing transaxle oil for higher outside temperatures.
  3. Steering box – 140 w oil is recommended throughout.
  4. Front Suspension – typically 20w oil is recommended for the refilling, however, the specification for the bottom is changed frequently: originally to be filled with 30w, it is later changed to 50w, then 40w, and finally 90w (EP).

These changes evidence Lancia’s responses to changes in oil technology, as well as their efforts to address wear in certain areas. Note the move towards simplicity, as earlier efforts to be more “specific” and changing oil for particular uses (temperature or competition related) are abandoned in favor of simpler, more comprehensible specifications.

The 1950’s were a period of significant change in manufacturing and in the lubricant industry. Lancia (and other manufacturers)  found  wear to be of concern as the impacts of higher continual speeds (autoroute driving) were likely more in evidence.. Oil formulations were being changed by the oil industry, in moves from single weight oils to  multi-grades andadditives.  With the Aurelia, Lancia was changing to keep up with the times.



Written by Geoff

April 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Aurelia

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