Trans. and axle oil viscosity

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    I recommend the use of an ‘old’ NON-EP lubricant in the Overdrive transmissions. I have been using this for many years in all of my cars with Borg-Warner O/D transmissions. This thinking originally came from problems with a B/W overdrive sticking in one of my non-Pierce cars long ago. The change solved the problem.

    When I purchased our 1936 1601 sedan in 1995 I was given the same advice by George Peckover, the former owner, former PAS Technical Director, and something of an authority on lubricants. It is not generally available in stores, but I can purchase Quaker State 90/110 Non-EP in 5 Gallon quantity through the local oil distributor.

    I use a modern 140 in the rear axles of both the 1601 and 1247.



    It’s actually easier than the last time I chased it down.

    Go to your local NAPA and have them order GL-1 Gear Lube in either 1 gallon or 5 gallon containers. Stock numbers NHF 65-201 and NHF 65-205 respectively.

    Dave Stevens


    I am changing the ring and pinion in my 1927 series 80 and started my gear oil search by contacting member George Teebay. He led me to NAPA also AND GL-4 140. At NAPA they have multiple high viscocity gear oils and I called the Tech-line on the containers and spoke with a “scientist”.

    They laughingly said they hear it all the time from “old car folks” that they use GL-4 and NEVER GL-5. Apparently GL-5 used to be caustic to bronze and brass, both present in many old transmissions and differentials but said the additives they currently use are not as custic as they used to be. My research led me next to a family that has been making lubricants for locomotives for over 100 years and got somewhat the same story. To satisfy yourself go to NAPA, get the number and give them a call. I’d give you the number but my gallons are at the shop. They have multi-weight or numerous single weights. I chose 140 GL-4, exactly where George Teebay had me start. Tom Abbott


    As previously indicated, I use a modern 140 in my rear axles.

    The GL-1 recommendation applies ONLY to use in the Borg-Warner OVERDRIVE transmissions…and nothing else.

    The basis for this, as previously indicated, includes actual experience with sticking overdrive causing engagemant and disengagement issues. A non-EP lube works based on my personal experience and an EP doesn’t.

    I do wonder about “scientsists”” who work answering help lines being given great credence. Trust in experience from PAS members is best.”


    Tom, thanks for the kind words. I want to reinforce what Dave has said a couple of times now about using GL-1 (non-hypoid, straight mineral oil) in a Borg-Warner overdrive, which for P-A owners will be only the 1936-38 cars. I now have two Willys-Overland Jeepsters (’48-’49) but the one I’ve had for 28 yrs will soon go elsewhere. The Willys Owners Manual AND Shop Manual are very explicit and emphatic about using GL-1 (straight mineral oil) in the trans & overdrive (lube can migrate between the two) BUT say to use hypoid (extreme pressure–EP) lube (= today’s GL-4) in the differential.

    The B-W overdrives were also used in Packard, FoMoCo, Studebaker, and almost all other OD-equipped vehicles (I’m excluding Columbia 2-speed axles, as I know nothing about them), so the GL-1 is THE lube to use in any B-W OD and its transmission.

    VBR, George

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