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MG Midget and Sprite Technical - 1275 gearbox engine oil (Millers)

For Jeremy and others.

Recommended gearbox engine oil for 1275 gearbox (and engine presumably) -

. Classic Pistoneeze 20w50 Mineral Oil ("formulated with ZDDP")

. Classic Sport 20w50 Semi Synthetic ("formulated with full ZDDP")

. Classic Sport High Performance 20w50 ("with full ZDDP") Fully synthetic with Nanotechnology low friction additive

As the BBC would say, other manufacturers and oils are available - and shop around for best price.

On another thread Jeremy asked about a recommendation, I had none but suggested contacting an oil company like Millers (or others) that deals with oils for classics.

In a spare moment I sent off an email to Millers asking about gearbox oil "... please recommend three of your oils to cover standard, better and best (for road use)".

To save confusion I didn't ask about oil to put in the engine but I (me) am assuming (always a risky thing to do) that the oils above would also be recommended for the engine too particularly as I use Classic Sport High Performance 20w50 NT in my engine (I have a Ford Type 9 g/box so that has different oil as per other thread).
Nigel Atkins

ETA: sorry a typo, I use Classic High Performance 20w50 NT (not Sport in the title) in my engine, the previous label and grey plastic can, this stuff -
Nigel Atkins

Many thanks Nigel,

ATM I'm trying Silkolene Silkolube (has a reassuring 30's feel to the name hasn't it?) in the engine as it has a fairly high (1100ppm) ZDDP content
so may give it or one of the Millers (probably the first one), a try.
Do you know the specific ZDDP content when they say 'formulated with ZDDP'? It's not mentioned in the PDF sheet.
Don't worry if the answer is no as I'll drop them an email and ask.
Jeremy MkIII

Hi Jeremy,
if you're happy with the Silkolene why not put it in your gearbox too.

Don't get hung up on numbers of ZZDP it's just one part of the additive package and smaller part of the overall oil.

I previously went into ZZDP numbers with Millers when they changed from Classic High Performance 15w50 to Classic High Performance 20w50 NT when I was assured the NT additive package, with a lower ZZDP number than the previous oil package, was a better additive package. IIRC(?) the 15w50 was 1200ppm(?) and the 20w50 NT an undisclosed figure of less than 1200ppm - so it could 0ppm to 1199ppm but as the (grey) can label has "contains high ZZDP level" I'd guess it's nearer 1199 than 0.

I can't remember the exact details of what I've read but let's say in the 60s the ZDDP level in some oils was 1200ppm or 1500ppm that doesn't mean that was the required or optimum level and of course today's additive packages are 50 years advanced so could contain alternatives that reduce the required level of ZZDP in the overall additive package. IIRC(?) I think(!) I read the '60s ZZDP level was possibly about 600?(-900?)ppm in the oils at the time (don't quote me on the numbers though. :)

As with a lot of things oil is a lot more complicated (liquid engineering - remember that advert) than it looks and a few figures on paper can only give you a bit of a guide not the whole story.

It depends on what you do and expect out of your Spridget, if it's mainly for Sunday pottles then statistically you'd probably have less need for the wider protection margins that the better oils offer.

If you want fuller and more exact details if you email me I'll see what I can drag up again.

Don't be seduced by sales advertising too, such as 1100ppm sounds better than 0.11% and even "contains high ZZDP level" (but if "high ZDDP level" is a sales boost then it will be mentioned whatever its actual requirements) - and with Nano(anything) in it you could probably also sell it as a face (or beard) cream. :)
Nigel Atkins

I thought 'liquid engineering' was a shampoo?!

I think the TV advert said 'liquid engineering', although this one says 'German engineering'. Maybe Castrol complained!
Dave O'Neill 2

You're right Dave the adverting phase I was thinking of was "oil is too smaller word for it".

I'd think they'd be some sort of commercial (pun intended) connection between the shampoo and oil companies at least with the advert.

German engineering necessarily being of high quality, now there's a bit of good and long lasting marketing, I'm sure many Merc and VW owners may have cause to disagree, the English taste for snobbery must have helped to extend this belief with German cars well beyond its deserve. It can take a long time to build a good reputation but even longer to lose it if you have good marketing. :)

Not enough Merc, BMW or even VW owners will admit to faults with their cars until after they've left the marque.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks again Nigel,
it's not hammered but did survive a blast of around 205 miles down (and up) the M6, A500 to Peter Burgess' last week (many thanks Peter) so no need for 'fancy pants' racing spec oil I suspect :)
The hair shampoo is a complete copy of the Castrol one so must have been made with their consent or does copyright expire after so long a time?
Jeremy MkIII

I bet the blast was a bit more going back, just the mileage would help the car let alone the the team's tuning.

Let us know the results and effects of your gearbox oil change, good, bad or indifferent and the condition of the oil that comes out compared with the fresh oil (let it fully cool down for thickness comparison).

I like the fancy pants race stuff to give me margin with the engine for the times the coolant system has problems, as it likes to do despite all the attention time and money I give the coolant system. Plus as I use the car year round and it always sits outside, for the engine, gearbox and axle I like ease of operation year round throughout the range of weather we get. The very small performance gains are soon lost but it's nice to know the car is running just that little more efficiently when I'm pushing on or I could run just a little more economically should I ever chose to (more like need to for some reason).

It'll be interesting to see next time my car's on Peter's rollers if the Millers CRX in the gearbox and axle has made any recordable and attributable difference to power losses (allowing for all the various variables in such calculations of course).
Nigel Atkins

I raised a similar question a couple of years ago regarding newer lubricants for ribcases.

I ended up using Penrite gearbox oil GB30 which is their recommendation for gearboxes that were spec'd to run on 30 or 20/50 engine oils.

So far so good !

richard b

This thread was discussed between 21/06/2017 and 25/06/2017

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