1929 Ford Engine Oil Sludge Cleanup

I have a 1929 Ford that seems to run quite well, but I know nothing about its history. When I attempted drain the crankcase, the oil would not drain due to what appeared to be thick sludge in the bottom of the oil pan. How should I proceed to clean up the engine and get it properly lubricated?

1929, wow a real classic! I’m sure knowledgeable people will chime in but I would remove the oil pan, clean out the sludge, change or clean oil filter if it has one, then fresh oil and filter change as soon as the oil is dirty, repeat forever.

The first time I dropped the pan on my '28 AA truck to tighten up the babbit bearings I found a lot of sludge too. I think it’s a case of having been run on old fashioned paraffin based non-detergent oil for the first 70 years of its life. Modern oils do a much better job of lubrication and keeping things clean.

As suggested above, you need to start by cleaning the pan. Get some Plastigage and check those bearing clearances too.

Good luck. You’ve got a neat car there.

If there’s that much sludge in the oil pan where the oil won’t drain out, it means the rest of the engine is sludged up. And if you want proper lubrication of the engine, it requires the disassembly of the engine to chemically/mechanically remove all the sludge.


While the pan is off I would clean the oil pump.

Yep, sounds like time to clean it out. Also, you’ll need a good book (or two or three) on Model A restoration and maintenance. Here’s one: http://www.amazon.com/Restorers-Model-Manual-Motorbooks-Workshop/dp/0879381949/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1266890975&sr=1-2

I’m sure there’s Model A forums full of Model A nuts/enthusiasts, too. Google away!

Sounds like LOTS of fun!