Oil Mixture for Flat Tappet Engines

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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?
 
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.
 
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
 
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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.
 
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?
 
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.
 
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)
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Originally Posted By: Building3
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?
For the 289 and the 440-RedLine 10W30, JOE GIBBS 10W30
 
Love these threads! My oil knowledge for my '64 GTO enjoys it all! Going through the same concerns. I plan on going with Valvoline MaxLife or Kendall HM for the 1000 - 2000 mile OC. If I need to go over that, I plan to, maybe, add a few oz. of Rislone zinc additive to boost the zinc level until the next oil change. Today's oils are Way better than those oils 20-30 years ago. Just need to be concerned with the zinc being used up during the oil change interval, if over 2000 miles.
 
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