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Lubricating for Oilfield Engines

Peter Holmander

Subscriber
Age
71
Last Subscription Date
12/23/2019
Was wondering what all the oilfield engine guys are using in their oilers for piston and rod lubrication. The Reid Type A engine manual speaks of using Western Paraffine Base, Pennsylvania Paraffine Base, or Western Asphalt Base. Also, viscosity is shown in Baume. Are paraffine based oils still manufactured?
 

Bill Hazzard

Registered
Last Subscription Date
08/28/2008
Oilfield engines are lubricated by whatever waste motor oil that they can get for free. You should use 30 weight non detergent oil which will most likely be paraffin based oil.
 

KeithW

Subscriber
Age
64
Last Subscription Date
02/28/2020
I use 30 wt non detergent motor oil from the farm supply store.
 

Steve Webre

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
12/11/2019
Hey Peter!

You will never hurt an open crank, oilfield engine using non-detergent oil. That said, there is no need to stick with a non-detergent oil with a "once thru" type system.

I suggest you use the cheapest detergent oil (30W or "thicker") you can find and you will never have an issue. As an added benefit, the piston and rings will stay cleaner if you run it a bunch. Remember that the amount of oil used is much more important than the type as even the poorest engine oil today is much better than what they had back in the day. Good luck!
 

Peter Holmander

Subscriber
Age
71
Last Subscription Date
12/23/2019
Thanks for the replies !! The only concern I had was that someone told me that using too heavy an oil in a Reid engine can gum up the transfer valve seal and make the engine misfire. But through numerous searches, I have never been able to confirm this.
 

Joel Sanderson

Registered
It's been kinda the opposite in my experience, Peter. When I first started running my Reid I experimented with different oils: 10w30; 15w40, HD30, ND30 and a couple others. One was so bad the piston went dry while I was working it: it sounded like a painful "Boing Boing" as it blew by. That was Pennzoil 10w30. Awful stuff. The 15w40 worked, but the bore was so dry the next day I could hardly start the engine. The one that worked noticeably the best was ND30, mixed up by our local oil place. I took them the manual with that baume you mentioned, and that's what they said to use. All I had to do was read the manual, but no... I had to find out for myself. :)

I use the same oil on the bearings until it gets cold (below 20). Then I switch the crank bearing to 5w30. In the winter of '13 when it was below zero for so long I was using ND30 there too, but it got thick and quit dripping. (I open the windows when I run, and the engine room gets colder.) When I walked into the engine room to check on things, the babbit was flung all over the room! The crank wasn't hurt, so I was able to just pour it again. Sure wasn't something I wanted to do though.

Oh--one other thing: I'm burning a gasoline-kerosene mixture, so the charging cylinder gets rinsed pretty badly with condensed fuel, so I run that oiler quite a bit faster than the manual says, to keep it slippery. Don't know if that pertains to you or not.

Hope this helps.

Joel
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Last Subscription Date
05/14/2017
My engine club's Oil City - South Penn uses SAE 50 oil in its Powel-Boson oiler and in all the oiling points - oil wells on the mains and on the guides. SAE 30 is a bit thin, and multigrades are definately out - too thin to stay on the large bore pistons. The OC-SP uses 10 to 12 drips/minute. Any less and the piston begins to run dry. If you have an open crank engine like a reid or 4 stroke, have a look at the piston body as the engine is running. If it looks wet, you are OK, if dry, you need more oil. If a closed crankcase, have a look at the piston thru the exhaust port if possible. same deal, if it looks wet, you are OK If you cant see the piston, you should see a little oil come out the exhaust. An old rule of thumb was used to be 1 to 11/2 drips/minute for each inch of piston diameter, just make sure the piston looked wet.
 
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