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1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils #5335382 01/29/20 11:22 AM
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Mossyoakglock Offline OP
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We just got a 1965 Mustang 289 from my fiance's uncle and it's time for some maintenance to be done. It's been in the family it's whole life too.

It's completely original/stock with the stock 289 that has never been rebuilt. Her family thinks that the OD has rolled over so no idea how many miles it has on the car/engine.

What are some recommended oils on a completely stock 289? Should I go to synthetic or would that risk causing possible leaks? Do I need an oil with high zinc (we do for our 76 MGB). 10w-30 vs 10w-40?

I also need to replace the trans fluid and rear diff fluid too. Any recommendations on that?

Last edited by Mossyoakglock; 01/29/20 11:33 AM.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado
5.3L / 4L60E
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335384 01/29/20 11:24 AM
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OVERKILL Offline
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M1 0w-40, Castrol 0w-40...etc. Any Euro 0w-40 that you can find at the local parts store should be more than sufficient. It's my oil of choice for SBF's.


2019 RAM 1500 Sport - Mobil 1 EP 0w-20, FRAM Ultra
2020 Grand Cherokee SRT - Ravenol SSL 0w-40, FRAM Ultra
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335394 01/29/20 11:31 AM
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My family had a 1966 289 Mustang for several decades; recently got rid of it.

There was an OEM sticker under hood that said "10w-30" and OCIs every 6k miles! Frankly, that was not great because engine oils back then were not nearly as robust as they are today in terms of detergents and dispersants. Under the valve cover was a gunky sludge mess.

But today's oils are MUCH better in terms of wear and cleanliness. I would use a 10w-30 HDEO or 10w-30 PCMO and it'll be fine.

The old Windsor engines (especially the 289) suffered from cam bearing wear that would often let the oil pressure drop to zero at hot idle. Ours would run about 30-50 psi when cruising, then drop to zilch at a stoplight. It had 73k miles on it when we sold it. If yours has turned over the odo, then I suspect it's also in the same shape. Using a thicker oil might bump up the pressure at the gauge, but it won't really stop the oil bleeding off at the worn cam bearings. If you want to solve that, it's going to have to get new bearings. These are easy engines to work on, and cheap to rebuild. I'd recommend just putting some case aside and planning on a rebuild. They can run a LONG time even with the bearings being worn out, but you end up risking low oil pressure at other places, etc. If you do a rebuild, get hardened valve seats while you're at it.

Last edited by dnewton3; 01/29/20 11:34 AM.

The act of preventative maintenance, in and of itself, is FAR MORE important than brand/grade/base choices among lubes and filters.
- under maintaining something is akin to abuse/neglect; that can kill equipment by shortening the lifespan
- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335396 01/29/20 11:34 AM
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BMWTurboDzl Offline
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10W30 was recommended at a 6mo/6k mile interval.

Today I would start out with a HM of some 30w and evaluate for consumption and/or oil leaks.


Last edited by BMWTurboDzl; 01/29/20 11:35 AM.

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

435i
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335400 01/29/20 11:37 AM
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Mossyoakglock Offline OP
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I will probably pull the valve covers this weekend just to have a look and see what shape it's in. At some point I want to have it rebuilt but not sure how long down the road that is going to be.

The car was driven as a daily driver when it it was purchased new for years but then it was kept in a garage and driven maybe once a month to keep things loose.

Should I stick with a conventional oil or would it be ok to bump up to synthetic? I do know I can find Euro oil at WalMart if that's a route to go with synthetic.

Last edited by Mossyoakglock; 01/29/20 11:50 AM.

2008 Chevrolet Silverado
5.3L / 4L60E
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335407 01/29/20 11:47 AM
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Donald Offline
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So I bought a 1965 Mustang with a 289 around 1969-1970. Changed the oil to QS 10W30 in the round cans. Started it and no oil pressure. Trashed the engine. There was sludge inside the oil pump and the new detergent oil loosened enough to jam the oil pump and snap the shaft driving the oil pump. A shaft came from the bottom of the dist to the oil pump to drive the oil pump. I assume someone had been running non detergent oil in it. Given the time frame thats a possibility.

I rebuilt the engine to be a high performance engine, broke the output shaft in the transmission trying to do burnouts. Fixed that and sold it.

Hopefully what happened to me will not happen to your Mustang.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335415 01/29/20 11:57 AM
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JeffKeryk Offline
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Wow, great car!
If the car has not been ran for some time I would pull the plugs and squirt a little 30w in the cylinders.
The fresh Autolite plugs and check points. Fresh oil and filter and fire that bad boy up!

Any good 10w30 is fine. Shell Rotella 15w40 might be good for an internal clean up.
After you get things sorted out, I would run a nice 10w30 synthetic.
Maybe Quaker State Ultimate Durability or High Mileage?

Have fun with it!


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2001 Tundra Access Cab, 1998 Accord LX, 1968 Corvette L36 Roadster, 1965 Olds 4-4-2
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335417 01/29/20 11:58 AM
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Olas Offline
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5/10w40. Spring pressures arent too high in these so any A3B4 should have enough AW for your camshaft. Redline for warm fuzzies when you give your baby the 'best'


Cable ties should hold it
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335422 01/29/20 12:04 PM
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BMWTurboDzl Offline
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Originally Posted by Mossyoakglock
I will probably pull the valve covers this weekend just to have a look and see what shape it's in. At some point I want to have it rebuilt but not sure how long down the road that is going to be.

The car was driven as a daily driver when it it was purchased new for years but then it was kept in a garage and driven maybe once a month to keep things loose.

Should I stick with a conventional oil or would it be ok to bump up to synthetic? I do know I can find Euro oil at WalMart if that's a route to go with synthetic.


I'd be curious to know if the gaskets were cork. I had a '65 with the I6 and that started my love affair with that cylinder layout.


“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

435i
Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335429 01/29/20 12:10 PM
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ecotourist Offline
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I had a '65 Mercury Comet with a stock 289 V8. I assume the engines would be the same.

I bought it in 1968 and sold the car to my BIL for almost nothing, as an oil burner less than 10 years old with 80,000 miles. I did a valve job (without replacing the rings) along the way which really increased the oil consumption.

I used 5W-20 oil in the winter and 10W-30 in the summer. That's what most people in the Canadian Prairies did in those days.

MY BIL had the engine rebuilt but the oil pressure was low afterwards. I remember driving it at highway speed with the oil pressure at only 1/4 of the gauge. Before the rebuild it would have been well over half at the same speed. So the comments about bearings and oil pressure should be noted carefully.


2000 BMW 528i 5MT M Sport
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Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335486 01/29/20 01:14 PM
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FordCapriDriver Offline
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Valvoline VR1 10W-30 would be perfect, not that expensive either and has 1300ppm of ZDDP, it may not need that much but it's good to be on the safe side of things.


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Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335494 01/29/20 01:23 PM
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10W-30 Pennzoil YB and MC FL1-A filter
Ford small blocks of the era of time are about as simple as it gets.

Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335496 01/29/20 01:24 PM
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bullwinkle Offline
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I agree with the HDEO comments above-10W30 in cold weather, 15W40 in hot summer weather. If really hot, I don’t think 20W50 would be bad either, we used to run Castrol GTX 20W50 in almost everything in the old days (Dodge 440s & slant sixes, SBCs, Ford sixes & FE block V8s. The original universal oil!


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Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335500 01/29/20 01:29 PM
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Mossyoakglock Offline OP
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Thanks, everybody.

I'm in middle TN if that matters. It gets really hot in the summers and mild in spring/fall which is when the car will be driving mostly. A tune-up was done not too long ago before we got it so all plugs/wires, etc are good. I just got done rebuilding the carb and she runs so much better now.

I'm running the VR1 oil in our MG for the ZDDP purposes and like it.

Sounds like I'm good with just about any oil out there. I'll check and see if there is any paperwork on what they have been using in the past too.


2008 Chevrolet Silverado
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Re: 1965 Mustang 289 - Recommended oils [Re: Mossyoakglock] #5335507 01/29/20 01:37 PM
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DavidJones Offline
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I use SuperTech HM conventional in my GTO.


My garage.....2012 Toyota Highlander (wife's), 2016 Ford 2.7EB F150(mine), 1969 Pontiac GTO, 2005 Double cab Tundra(son), 2015 Honda Accord EX(son).
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