170000 Miles on engine, asking for advice on oil

Hello everyone. I have a 1994 Ford Escort 1.9L LX. It was a free car that I have been driving for a few years now. It is in decent shape overall. I have replaced the radiator, timing belt, and water pump sinse i have owned it.

My question is this, what oil should I use in the car? Back then convetional oil was what you mainly had. I change the oil every 3000 miles simply because it is cheap insurance. The car calls for 5w-30 engine oil. As of right now the car has factory Motorcraft oil and filter installed.

OK now to my questions that I did not get to yet. :slight_smile: Should I use an additive such as BG MOA (motor oil additive) which mainly increases the zinc content? The engine does not leak or smoke such will go through some oil during a highway trip over 400 miles. My goal is to make the car last as long as I can. It is a good little car and I am not interested in a car payment. I want to drive it and save up so when it is time for a newer car I can have a nice down payment.

i put lucas oil stabilizer in everything I own. never had any problems either.

have you ever “flushed” the crankcase? every 5th oil change i add a bottle of motor flush to de-sludge the engine. it’s cheap insurance.

although, if the car is already starting to use oil, it will only get worse as time goes on…and those canned cylinder “treatments” don’t fix anything (cylinder restore, etc.).

How many miles/quart? You can’t do better than using specified weight conventional oil and changing every 3000 miles. I wouldn’t use any additives.

MOA is pretty pricey stuff. You can by zinc cheaper. Diesel rated oil, motorcycle oil, both have plenty of zinc…FORGET to Lucas GOOooo. In the summer, when it’s hot, 15-40 fleet oil would be a good choice…Rust is what kills Escorts, not engine failure…

I’m not much into OTC additives. Oils are very good at deposit control, at least at this state of the art. I would probably use Auto-Rx (google). It will decoke long term ring deposits and clean up any formations you may have. It’s not cheap, but it’s not some $5 Kerosene in a can either. It’s a mixture of complex esters that like to bond with metal.

Otherwise, API SM 5w-30 should work just fine for you. Zinc and phosphorous decay in a linear manner inside your engine based on rpms. It’s the fundamental aspect to the GM Oil Life Monitor. The rest of the inputs detract from that fundamental truth. So there really shouldn’t be anything to worry about with a stock engine …especially over shorter oil change intervals. Now throw in some heavier springs …more radical cam grinds…etc…then you’re already out of bounds with even SL oils.

Thank you all for such a fast reply. I do all the basics myself. One of the posts reminded me of something. The car two years ago broke a metal retainer clip that holds a roller lifter in place. The lifter rotated in its bore and wiped that lifter and the cam. My dad and i took it apart and we replaced the following while it was apart: cam, lifters, rocker arms, timing belt, and all related gaskets. The cylinder walls at that time looked fine.
I have used in the past STP oil tretament which in a nutshell adds zinc and thickens the oil. I tried the Lucus oil stablizer as well and that stuff is very gooey and stingy/stixky. My dad works for FA Automotive which supplies the Motorcraft parts to Ford dealers. Before that back in the 60’s he worked for the state. He does not like items like STP because he says he has seen that “goo” pile up at the bottom of oil pans over time and not drain out of the engine so you end up with piles of sludge. Now I am not trying to dispell all of your help…just telling you what I know. :slight_smile:
My dad can get Lucus from his work, BG as well. I can get it at cost. The car does not use any oil under day to day driving. If you take a long trip with constant 3000 RPM drives stopping only for gas…the car will use up to 1 quart of oil over a 1000 mile trip.
I have never used any of those “miracle” products sold on TV. I simply want the car to last as long as it can. I know of a Ford Taurus that has 330000 miles on it using nothing more than Motorcraft oil and filters every 3000 miles…it is my dad’s company car. Yet I know of other cars that do not last that long. :slight_smile: Thanks again for the help.

I wanted to add another thought of mine. My understanding is that zinc is being cut back in motor oils because of emissions. I am interested in engine protection and do not care if my car pollutes a tad more because of the zinc. Thank you all for the help. :slight_smile:

Maybe I can help here. Zinc and phosphorous in motor is oil mainly needed for flat tappet engines like my 59 T-bird 390 4bbl and 74 Nova 250 I-6. The Zinc and phosphorous create a protective barrier between the cam and lifters to prevent wear. Newer engines without flat tappets or roller cams do not need the higher levels of Zinc and phosphorous.

The reason they are reducing Zinc and phosphorous is because they found out that it can destroy catalytic converters before the government mandated warranty expires.

Unless you are burning oil I would stick with what you have been using.

What I do being in Florida is use a 20w-50 weight in these 2 vehicles all year round, but mix 50% Valvoline racing oil which contains 1500ppm of zinc with regular valvoline 20W-50 which is 1000 ppm of zinc which gives a 1250ppm average which is more than a flat tappet engine would need.

The only time you would need a much higher zinc level is when breaking in a new cam and lifters as thats why they use special cam break in oil.

You car should be perfectly fine using today’s modern oils and not to worry about it. Flat tappet engines should have minimum of 1100ppm and thats why they sell those special zinc additives which are expensive.

The multi viscosity oils like 5W-30, 10w-30 are limited to a maximum of 800ppm. 20W-50 and straight weight oils are exempt from this limit.

Changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles is about the best thing you can do. I don’t think any additives are useful or cost effective given your 3K oil change habit.

If you live in a northern “cold” climate I’d stick to 5W-30 in winter and perhaps go with 10W-30 or 10W-40 in warm weather. The thicker oil in the summer will help reduce your oil burn off and will protect your '94 vintage motor fine. You need the thinner oil in winter to ease the strain on your starting motor and give better oil circulation until the car warms up.

My dad has a 1961 Ford Galaxie with a 352 V8. He has 10w-30 Mobil 1 in it. Thank you for all of the help. I will stick with what I am doing and keep driving the car.

Don’t over think or over worry about engine oil. If you look at the cars in the bone yard, you will not find very many that end up there because of an oil related problem and most of those are because someone did not follow the instructions for checking the oil and or changing the oil.

Stick with the recommendations that came with the car when new. In your case most any modern oil should be fine and change at 3 - 5,000 along with the filter. Also make sure you keep checking the oil level.

Personally use the cheapest oil you happy with no additives. Oil is not going to extend the life except that you continue to change it in a timely fashion.

Your engine is not very demanding; the normal spec dino oil with the right viscosity is all you need . Just change it and the filter every 3000 miles and live happily ever after.