What oil to run in our air-cooled Porsche 911?

It was time to change the oil, which meant it was time to ask a question: Which oil should we use?

On a newer car, the answer can typically be found in the owner’s manual. While the book for our 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera lists an oil spec, the world has changed a bit since it came out, with newer standards often replacing the old ones.

Over the years we've used different high-zinc, classic-friendly oils in our Porsche. Lately, though, we’ve heard some talk about updated formulas to old favorites causing some issues.

So, again, we went back to the source: Porsche.

Instead of opening the nearly 40-year-old owner’s manual, however, we looked at the brand’s current offerings–specifically, the line of new oils sold under the Porsche Classic brand.

From the Porsche Classic site:

In addition to the engines’ original requirements, the developers also took longer vehicle stationary times into account. Because classic cars are often stationary and cannot always be warned up sufficiently when used only occasionally, condensation and combustion residues collect in the engine. This can lead to acidification of the oil, which damages engine parts. Other additives also preserve sensitive engine components.

The Porsche Classic Motoroil lineup includes four products, with each aimed at a certain model run:

  • 20W-50 for all 356, 914 and 911 models up to 2.7 liters.
  • 10W-60 for the air-cooled 911 models with displacements of 3.0 liters or more.
  • 10W-50 for all transaxle models including the 924, 944, 968 and 928.
  • 5W-50 for 996 and 986 models and derivatives, including turbocharged variants.

Porsche Classic notes that the 10W-60, 10W-50 and 5W-50 oils are synthetic.

We ordered the 10W-60 oil for our car.

So, how much for all of this? Depending on the retailer, about $85 for a 5-liter container–so about on par with many other synthetic oils.

We also picked up a new oil filter from Porsche Classic–we figured the retro can just looks the part.

We don’t have zinc specs for this oil, but once we run it through an oil analysis, we’ll report back.

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Noddaz PowerDork
10/18/23 11:14 a.m.

I will take "Green motor oil" for 100 please.

What is PennGrade motor oils? 

I have forgotton the brand name in the past even though I sold many, many cases while I worked at a Porsche dealership back in the day.

Wait, there it is on PennGrade's history page.  Kendall GT1.  

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