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#4612067 - 12/23/17 10:19 AM Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines
Building3 Offline


Registered: 04/30/17
Posts: 82
Loc: Michigan
I'd like some opinions please about this mixture for flat tappet 1960 era engines: Pennzoil conventional yellow bottle 20w-50 which has 800 ppm zinc mixed 50/50% with Pennzoil Racing GT 25w-50 which has 2000 ppm zinc. That would yield a zinc level of 1400 which is just about perfect for these engines. Any thought pro or con?

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#4612078 - 12/23/17 10:27 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: Campbellsville, KY
What kind of engine(s)?
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#4612083 - 12/23/17 10:31 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
Astro14 Online   content


Registered: 10/10/10
Posts: 8533
Loc: Virginia Beach
Unless you've got a high lift cam, and/or strong valve springs, you don't need that much ZDDP. A regular engine from that era will be fine on today's oils.
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#4612091 - 12/23/17 10:38 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
BrocLuno Offline


Registered: 09/06/15
Posts: 5511
Loc: Kalifornia Kollective
I recently contacted Valvoline about this. This is what they said:

Broc, thank you for contacting Valvoline Product Support.

Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic Blend motor oils are formulated with 830 ppm zinc and 770 ppm phosphorus. Although this oil is very capable of protecting flat tappet camshafts in stock pushrod V-8 engines, we do offer Valvoline VR-1 Racing 10W-30 and VR-1 Racing 20W-50 which contain 1400 ppm zinc and 1300 ppm phosphorus if higher levels are desired. VR-1 Racing oil is recommended for use in performance street engines, racing applications, and for use during the break-in of a new engine where the highest level of protection is required and modern emissions systems such as catalytic converters are not used.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us via phone at 800 TEAM VAL or by email at [email protected] for assistance.

Thank you and have a great day.
Michael
Valvoline Product Support


So I currently have only flat tappet motors at home. Wife's Jag is OHC, but nothing else and nothing I drive. I use Delo 400 15W-30 SD (severe duty) as my break-in oil on fresh flat tappet motors. It's 1,000+ PPM ZDDP, but according to all I have read, that's plenty.

Howards is my usual cam supplier and they specify Brad Penn oil which is 1,200 to keep the warranty, so I do that if using one of their cams. But, to me, it's always been about the cam assembly lube used - I only use Crane cam lube during assembly. And their recommendations are for break-in only.

Thing is all of these refiners are having to step back the ZDDP for most of their products. So they are doing alternative chemical strategies. Chevron claims 50% less wear with their new CK-4 HDEO's, even though they have less traditional AW compounds in them. I think most of the big refiners have had their labs working on organic calcium compounds and such with good success. And those will not show in VOA/UOA tests.

For flat tappet motors, it's all about the metal hardness of the cam lobe and the lifter face and the radius of the lifter face. Get any of those wrong, no oil will save you ... Ex was GM's soft cam cores in the late 1980's and onward for a while ...

If your engine is OEM stock or close to it, no sweat. I have over 220,000 on the Bronco now just running off the shelf oils. My last BBC Chevy truck left with over 400,000 and only it's second engine on mostly Chevron Supreme 10W-30 which, by modern standards, is nothing special.

If it's a Hi-Po street motor or a race engine, obviously that won't hold true. But that is due to much higher valve spring pressures. So then you are into oils for conditions. Follow your cam makers recommendations laugh


Edited by BrocLuno (12/23/17 10:39 AM)
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#4612134 - 12/23/17 11:24 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Alex_V]
Building3 Offline


Registered: 04/30/17
Posts: 82
Loc: Michigan
Alex_V: stock Ford 289. One rebuilt, the other not; owners manual recommendation was for 10w-30. 1972 Mopar 440 4bbl original not rebuilt; owners manual recommendation was for 20w-40 or 20w-50 with one pint of Mopar sulfurized ester added at each oil change.

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#4612137 - 12/23/17 11:30 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: BrocLuno]
Building3 Offline


Registered: 04/30/17
Posts: 82
Loc: Michigan
BrocLuno: Thanks for forwarding that info from Valvoline. It would be nice, and easy just to use easy to find Valvoline, Pennzoil, etc. and not worry about it. I had one 289 rebuilt less than 1,000 miles ago so I probably want to keep a high zinc oil in that one for a while. The Mopar 440 original spec was to use 20w-40/50 and a pint of sulfurized ester so that may need more zinc. Any additional thoughts?

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#4612185 - 12/23/17 12:20 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
OVERKILL Online   content


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 36428
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Building3
BrocLuno: Thanks for forwarding that info from Valvoline. It would be nice, and easy just to use easy to find Valvoline, Pennzoil, etc. and not worry about it. I had one 289 rebuilt less than 1,000 miles ago so I probably want to keep a high zinc oil in that one for a while. The Mopar 440 original spec was to use 20w-40/50 and a pint of sulfurized ester so that may need more zinc. Any additional thoughts?


I'd run a Euro 5w-40 or 0w-40 in the 289, the SBF is not a difficult application. I've had plenty of flat tappet 302's run obscene hours on whatever was on the shelf in 5w-30. The MOPAR would probably do well on the same oil, but if you want to be safe, a 15w-40 HDEO would be an excellent choice.
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#4612197 - 12/23/17 12:41 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: Building3
with one pint of Mopar sulfurized ester added at each oil change.


I have owned a ton of big block Mopars, none ever had any owner's manual.

This is the first I have heard of "Mopar sulfurized ester" oil additive?

Sounds like an EP lube additive. (like rear diffs use)
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(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4612199 - 12/23/17 12:43 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: OVERKILL]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 6148
Loc: Waco, TX
I've had plenty of flat tappet 302's & 351's run a very long time on plain ol' 15w-40 HDEO
_________________________
"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."

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#4612274 - 12/23/17 02:14 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: Campbellsville, KY
Originally Posted By: Building3
Alex_V: stock Ford 289. One rebuilt, the other not; owners manual recommendation was for 10w-30. 1972 Mopar 440 4bbl original not rebuilt; owners manual recommendation was for 20w-40 or 20w-50 with one pint of Mopar sulfurized ester added at each oil change.


I agree with what most others have said. A 15w40 for the Mopar, and 10w30 or 10w40 for the SBF's. Extra high ZDDP isn't necessary unless the valve train is of high-perf specs. On the Fords if oil pressure stays high enough (15 PSI hot idle?) there's no reason to be afraid of a 30 weight. In all applications, I'd chose a syn blend - Maxlife, Rotella T5, or Schaeffer's (their syn blend "7000" comes in 10w30 and 15w40). If the Mopar has an aggressive cam and you cruise/generally putt around in it much I'd probably pick a 15w40 (maybe 5w40?) and use a Zinc additive.

However, just because the manual specifies the use of an additive doesn't mean it's necessary with today's lubricants. Just like the old idea of "thicker is better" that has been superseded by more resilient oils (example: "run a 10w40 so it only shears to a 5w20 in 3,000 mi." vs. the fact that modern 5- or 10-30's stay much closer to grade up to, or past, the 3K mark) whatever they were trying to accomplish with the sulferized ester may be irrelevant after 40 years of better chemistry.
_________________________
I like Chevy and Valvoline.

'13 Cruze, 1.4T, 112K
'85 GMC C3500, 454, 130K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 167K
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K

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#4612351 - 12/23/17 04:32 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
jongies3 Offline


Registered: 03/11/16
Posts: 797
Loc: MT
Why make it difficult? Run a HDEO like Rotella 15W-40 and call it a day, plenty of zinc and phos in it for flat tappets. I run it in all my old Ford V8's from 351's to 390 FE's without any problems.
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#4612444 - 12/23/17 06:41 PM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: jongies3]
Building3 Offline


Registered: 04/30/17
Posts: 82
Loc: Michigan
Thanks for the input from everyone. It looks like oil won't be a problem for these flat tappet engines. Like was said, make it simple and that is what I will do. Probably the Rotella 10w-30 for the 289 and 15w-40 for the 440 Mopar.

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#4612754 - 12/24/17 07:34 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
Alex_V Offline


Registered: 04/10/16
Posts: 1155
Loc: Campbellsville, KY
Originally Posted By: Building3
Thanks for the input from everyone. It looks like oil won't be a problem for these flat tappet engines. Like was said, make it simple and that is what I will do. Probably the Rotella 10w-30 for the 289 and 15w-40 for the 440 Mopar.


Sounds like a good plan.
_________________________
I like Chevy and Valvoline.

'13 Cruze, 1.4T, 112K
'85 GMC C3500, 454, 130K
'82 Mercedes 300CD, OM617 turbo, 167K
'67 Suburban, 350, 331K

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#4612757 - 12/24/17 07:37 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
FordCapriDriver Offline


Registered: 10/22/15
Posts: 2378
Loc: Balearic Islands , Spain
Rotella will serve them perfectly well.
If you want a lot of Zddp then go for VR1 10W-30 for the 289 or 20W-50 for the 440 Mopar.
_________________________
1975 Ford Capri II Ghia 3000 V6, - Valvoline VR1 20W-50
1988 Ford Escort MkIV 1.6 Xr3i Cabrio, - Shell Rimula R4X 15W-40 HDEO.

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#4612886 - 12/24/17 09:38 AM Re: Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines [Re: Building3]
vintageant Offline


Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Florida, USA
_________________________
1925 Alvis HDEO 15W40
1937 Alvis Speed 25 20W50 w LM MoS2 & LM MOS
1970 VW Peking - Paris Rally Beetle HDEO 15W40 w LM MoS2
1987 Porsche 924S HDEO 15W40

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