What engine oil to use?

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  1. 493 Mike

    493 Mike FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    Hi fellas,
    I have been looking for information on oils for 40 odd years now and as technology advances the options increase. Every company claims their product is best so comparisons are dubious at best. I do believe synthetics are superior to older refining methods but, I have never had any failures due to lubrication regardless of oil base stock.
    I guess I'm trolling for ideas on what to use in my new street 540 solid roller motor. The cam is .691 lift but being roller I wonder if I need or want the 20W-50 Brad Penn the builder recommends. It was broke in with Royal Purple and that is what I use in my 493 flat tappet motor so I was leaning towards the R.P. brand but, I use Mobile 1 in all my smaller toys. Over the years I always have had trouble buying the brand oil I wanted as the distributors/retailers seem to go out of business or switch brands. Anyone else have this problem?
    What are you fellas using in your motors? Thanks!
    Mike
     
  2. bigbluedodge

    bigbluedodge Well-Known Member

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    Brad Penn 20w50 here. 499 stroker 600+ lift flat tappet cam. I have used Royal Purple and Valvoline VR1 and Not Street Legal all with good luck.
    I've also never had an oil related failure. Until recently I used 10w30 oils but a friend (who I trust) recommended 20w50. I think it helped with valve noise.
    Bry
     
  3. onlyone

    onlyone Bird of Pray FBBO Gold Member

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    Mobile 1.
     
  4. not so famous bob

    not so famous bob Well-Known Member

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    I`ve got a friend that`s held an nhra record 18 times over the yrs., he`s always run mobile 1. he used to blow a motor about once a yr., when on the race circuit. but , when you side step the clutch at 9400 , that ain`t bad !!!
     
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    • partmopar

      partmopar Well-Known Member

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      I run Amsoil 10W30 Z ROD
       
    • 1967coronet440

      1967coronet440 Well-Known Member

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      I've heard nothing but great things about the z rod oil from ams. Haven't used it yet though.
       
    • texas69bee

      texas69bee Well-Known Member

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      Your using a roller rocker, why do you need the zinc?
      Mobile 1
       
    • JC Childress

      JC Childress Well-Known Member

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      What rockers you have has nothing to do with what oil you use. If you run a flat tappet cam ( hydraulic or mechanical ), then you need to run oil with a high content of zinc ( at least 1300 ppm in my opinion ). Some people say to just use an additive but unless you're a chemist, just buy the oil with the zinc in it. Many folks make it. I work at engine shop and we have done thousands of flat tappet engines with pretty decent spring pressures. We also break the cams in with break in oil and no inner valve springs. Its more work but it sure beats wiping out a cam. Even on our roller cam engines we still use oils with zinc. We carry Spectro and we carry Maxima. I'd say all the name brands are good as long as its changed often. Hope this helps.
       
    • stage3

      stage3 Well-Known Member

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      I found out the hard way a few years ago about zinc and phourous additives that r no longer in the oils....

      I had a 480+ inch race hemi idling in the driveway and 1 of the pushrod cups broke due to heating up because of bad oil(no zinc).that cost 5000.00 to fix with everything it tore up..since then I have used Valvoline 20-50 vr-1 racing oil from o'reillys and included the hughes oil treatment that adds zinc and phourous back into the mix,,,,this way I know the proper additives are in there and no more BS modifications from oil manf playing with us,,,trying to make catalectic converters last longer......which is why the additives were removed in the 1st place,,,govt mandate to manf that cat converters have to last 120000 miles...they could not do it with zinc in the oil....

      HUGHES EXTREME PRESSURE OIL ADDITIVE (P/N HUG 3690)
       
    • texas69bee

      texas69bee Well-Known Member

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      My bad on stating roller rockers, the OP states he has a roller motor. I am assuming that indicates a roller cam. Then why the need for zinc?
       
    • dual fours

      dual fours Well-Known Member

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      She's an old engine and I also have a friend real close by that sell this.
      I also hear that engines will leak though gaskets quicker with synthetic oils. I don't know how true. DSC08911-2.jpg .
       
      Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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      • LemonWedge

        LemonWedge Well-Known Member

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        I run a solid flat-tappet cam. I've been using Lucas HotRod 10w-30 for a few years. It's a high zinc oil, but I still add a bottle of Lucas zinc additive as well with each change. It's not the most expensive oil, but I've had no issues.
         
      • onlyone

        onlyone Bird of Pray FBBO Gold Member

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        Synthetic oil has a smaller molecule which is more uniform.
        If an engine leaks, it will leak worse with synthetic. It does not cause leaks.
        That's what I've read.
         
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        • FLY 9999

          FLY 9999 Well-Known Member

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          You need to ask you engine builder what viscosity to use. Once you have that info, here's some info to ponder. 20-50 is what they use for road racing. It takes a long time to thin down and when you are road racing you are out there for at least and hour under full throttle(more on then off). Stock eliminator racers use 20-50 when their combo makes too much power and they don't want their cars to be refactored. On the other hand, when they race heads up the will use 0-10 for that extra HP that they need. They will then change back to 10-30(mostly). I am fond of Brad Penn because it clings to everything. A little extra protection if the oil pressure takes a dump while under power. Most race engines like 1200-1500 ppm of ZDDP. Anything over that is not necessary and becomes detrimental down the road( unless you run methanol or nitro). Synthetic flows better than conventional. It will find every opportunity to leak out. Quaker State Defy has 800-900 ppm of ZDDP and is sufficient for flat tappet cams after break in. The only thing that I don't like about it is there is a seal/ gasket swell additive. That's OK if you have 50K on the motor but not on a new motor. Lucas has some great products, a good break-in additive but some of their oils have in excess of 3000+ ppm. Synthetic oil will also give you more engine noise. Seems to have less sound deadening than conventional. I'm trying something new with a new SB build (about 375 HP street motor). After the initial break-in, Brad Penn break-in, 500-1000 miles with 2 filter changes, I'm using Valvoline 10-30 synthetic(presently $2.99 at Napa) with 1 qt. of Rislone ZDDP additive. That will boost the ZDDP levels to 850-1000. Food for thought... 2018 oil specs will be 0-16.
           
        • 68Charger440HP

          68Charger440HP Well-Known Member

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          I'm curious something related to this topic: how often do you guys change your? If you run 4-5 at a test and tune on fresh oil, would you change it before racing again? If not, how many runs would you go before changing the oil? I know it's "cheap" insurance but just curious. I run Brad Penn.
           
        • Frustration

          Frustration Well-Known Member

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          We've lost three engines in three cars due to oil. All were flat tappet motors. My brother's chevy had a hydraulic cam. My road runner and the max wedge car all lost cam shafts by having the lifter wear. Once the metal goes through the engine, it takes at least the bearings with it. Roughly six years ago, we switched to Brad Penn (10-W-30), and have not had a problem. now the RR and Max Wedge car run solid roller cams, but we want the additional safety of knowing the oil has the needed zinc. It's not cheap at all, but until we have a failure again, it's Brad Penn for us!
           
        • 67Satty

          67Satty Well-Known Member

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          I was running Valvoline VR-1 10W-30, started thinking about running a thinner 5W-20 weight to pick up a few HP then read something a respected Mopar engine builder in my area said that he uses 20W-50 in engines with hydraulic cams because he's found engines with hydraulic cams make more HP on the dyno with 20W-50 so I tried running some Valvoline VR-1 20W-50.
           
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          • fjr

            fjr Member

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            The main reason for using an engine oil with lots of the zinc (ZDDP - antiwear additive) is to protect the lobes of a flat tappet camshaft. Roller lifters don't have this need.

            Engines require oil FLOW and oil PRESSURE is related to flow and viscosity. Oil pumps are positive displacement, which means their flow is proportional to speed. Excess pressure is bled off back to the sump so you're better off keeping the oil's viscosity to the lowest that protects the bearings.

            It's actually the Phosphorus in the ZDDP that is the antiwear component of the additive. There is a limit to how much ZDDP you can safely use in an engine and it's about 1400 ppm of phosphorus. Too much phosphorus can lead to camshaft spalling. It's better to use an oil formulated with the right amount of ZDDP and other additives than guessing you've added the right amount.

            Unless your oil runs really hot, you probably don't need much more than a 30-weight oil (0W-30, 5W-30, 10W-30). I use HDEO (heavy duty engine oil) in my flat-tappet engines and look for oils with higher HTHS ratings. I'm using Rotella T4 10W-30 and will likely switch to Duron-E 10W-30 (1200 ppm of phosphorus). 15W-40 oils have higher HTHS ratings and oils for pre-2007 trucks (ie, CI-4+ & older) typically have 1300-1400 ppm of phosphorus.

            Engine Oil Article
             
            Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
          • Bigal75

            Bigal75 Well-Known Member

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            Vr1 20/50
             
          • Banzaiii67

            Banzaiii67 Well-Known Member

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            I went from 20W-50 to 10w-30 as I have a HV Oil pump and wanted to see if I could get my hot psi down some. It dropped 15psi, but the the thinner oil started to seep out the rear main (that's a different problem)so I'm going to mix VR1 10W-30 and 20w-50 for my own 15w-40..
             
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