Engine Longevity

Home Page Forums Engine Engine Longevity

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #392963

    How many miles could an owner expect to achieve before a ring

    and valve job was needed on an eight? This in consideration of “normal” driving and maintenance when the cars were young.

    Also,what is the finish done on the water jacket cover on a 1935 845?


    The number of miles an engine will last is unanswerable because of the huge number of factors in a car’s early history.

    The motor in our ’29 143 EDL has never been apart, aside from a water jacket replacement, and it doesn’t really smoke and still runs strong.



    The ’34-’35 parts book indicates no suffix on the part number for the water manifold for the 8, meaning probably a black engine enamel. The 12’s part number has a -J suffix, indicating Japanning, again a black finish. !933 water manifolds were listed as no finish (black) for the 836, Japan for the 1236, and Nickel (-N) for the 1242,47.

    Notwithstanding all of this, many owners plate theirs in 1247 fashion.

    Happy New Year!



    “Back in the day’ I have read engineering papers indicating that in the ’30’s engines were re-rung without re-boring and the head “de-carbonized” at 15000 miles. Valves were also ground. Wear from airborn dirt with simple cast iron rings was the biggest contributor, so a city car driving exclusively on pavement would last longer than a car driven on country dirt roads. Tnis doesn’t mean they couldn’t go much longer than that and run okay. Loose, worn rings loose compression and leak more blow-by, make it harder to start, but have less friction at speed, and can still have good power. Full flow oil fltration helped some, but my reading has indicated the biggest improvement to ring/cylinder life was the chrome face top rings after WWII and the paper pleated airfilter in the late ’50’s. Chrome top rings were developed to give WWII tank engines better life in the desert. The dry pleated air filter was possible by the ’50’s because most of the roads were paved and the dust was reduced enough to allow a paper filter to have realistic life before getting plugged.

    I find modern airfilters to reversibly retrofit to ’30’s cars to keep the wear down. I’m not into authentic wear.


    My 1931 Model 43 phaeton was a very nice original car in 1959, when the previous owner bought it in New York, and drove it home to New Orleans.

    These days, one would hesitate to restore (I have the 1959 picture showing a wonderful original car), but restore he did. 1959-60 restoration, and I’m sure he made sure the engine was top-notch, as he worked for and with someone who was in the automobile business.

    During the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s, he drove the car all over the South on tours. He didn’t own a trailer, and he and his Buddy (literally, Buddy Walton from New Orleans), drove everywhere.

    Conservative estimate, when I bought the car from him in the early 80’s, he had somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 miles on the car (and engine), on antique car tours.

    Car still drove strong, but was a 60’s restoration, and getting tired cosmetically. I took the engine apart, the mains were fine, we fitted modern bearings to the rods and put in new pistons and rings.

    Thus, fantastic engines, if set up correctly and well maintained.

    Not sure that answers the question, but these aren’t fragile or short lived engines…………..

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.