Oil recomended for a moderate perf Buick 455

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Oct 20, 2008
The vehicle is a '71 Buick LeSabre with a Stage 1 455cid V8 that was rebuilt about 5,000 miles and 8 years ago, and hasn't been driven in the last 5 years. I'm getting it back on the road within a week or so. The 455 was built on purpose with the bearing clearances on the tight side (.0015 max on the rods and mains), and has a high-pressure/volume oil pump with the pressure regulator currently set at 50psi max. I've been using Rotella T 10-W30 with AC Delco filters (NOT the [censored] Frams that let all the oil drain back into the pan). The cam is a TA212 hydraulic flat-tappet, specs are: Intake .470"-218' / Exhaust .475"-230'. Valvesprings are stock Stage 1, iirc 115lbs pressure at .5" I Live in West Texas, and the car is retired from a daily driver. I'll mostly drive it on weekend cruises, some long trips and once in awhile to the local 1/8-mile track for test-n-tune. I drive it easy until it's warmed up and don't drive it like my hair is on fire, although I do like to open it up on long roads and at the occasional stop-light. I'm guessing I'll be changing the oil once a year, at 3-5K miles? I have no preference on conventional vs. synthetic, but I don't want to order online. What say ye all?
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The oil your using is fine you may try defy 5w30 I would use something with higher zinc levels myself.You could always use 1/4 bottle of redline with the oil changes also.M1 0w40 would be good if you want syn.
If you have an AutoZone local, how about Kendall GT-1 synthetic blend or full syn? Defy, Delo, and ConocoPhillips diesel oils are other good choices. Really no need to go heavier than 10W-30.
Defy 5w30 would probably be about perfect. Mobil 1 5w30 high mileage isn't a bad choice either. Also Fram Tough Guard filters are liked by many around here and they have better synthetic blend media than the AC Delco plus better silicone anti drain back valve vs the nitrile on the AC Delco. Also the Fram Ultra is top of the line for extended oil changes. Only the extra guard (orange can) gets a bad rep and can be a smarter choice than an E core. Any AC Delco filter with the e after the part number is e core ie: PF47E is e core but PF47 is not. Ac delco changes their supplier too often, even at one point you could get silicone adbv filters with Wix media.
Thanks for the quick responses! After y'all's comments and poking around in the forum, I'm leaning towards Defy in 5-W30, the local Wally-World has it at $16 for a 5-qt jug. Regarding filters, I'll re-think the Frams. Old Buick engines have the filter laying on its side, and I had a terrible time years ago with Frams taking *forever* to build pressure on startup. AC Delcos have been good, but it HAS been awhile since this thing has been on the road...
Tough guards are one of the best for sideways filters because they seal well against the anti drain back valve and don't let oil going back into the pan but any red silicone adbv filter should perform similar with respect to possible defects with any manufacturer. I also highly recommend Wix filters. If you have a real oil pressure gauge you can decide if you need anything thicker than 5w30 based on oil pressure which isn't likely. Mobil 1 0W40 is a good choice too but is designed for extended drain intervals and has a much higher high temperature High shear viscosity than necessary. Basically it's overkill for your application but still only $25 a jug at Walmart.
Any idea what oil pump was used? Oiling was always a sore spot for these engines with their front cover mounted pump, pressure at idle was worse than an old SBC. The aftermarket did make one with an extension, housing sleeve and longer gears, i had one from Kenne Bell in my old 430 ci 69 Riviara years ago, is this the one they used? These engines did better as far as oil pressure and cam wear went with a xw40, IMO something like Mobil 1 5w40 Turbo Diesel Truck would be ideal, plenty of zinc.
Definitely want a silicone ADBV-those Buick V8s seem to have trouble with the aluminum oil pumps built into the front cover, seems like wear is a common problem (at least with the 350 & 455 I had years ago). I would stick with a higher ZDDP oil like Rotella T5, T6, or M1 TDT. Defy 10W40 would work too.
Yup, the Buick V8 oiling wasn't the best, although I've heard Dennis Manner (the head guy who basically designed the 455) say that they were made to live with as low as 5 psi at idle (YOW!) My front cover is one of TA Performance's old blueprinted ones with stock length gears (longer ones eat cam/distributor gears), and opened-up passages and internal tweaks. IIRC, I had 20psi at hot idle, and was up against the 50psi relief at 3K rpm - and that's with a good pressure gauge reading off the back of the block, farthest from the pump. I picked up a jug of Defy 10W30 yesterday, and will give it a shot. Since I recently had the heads back off/on, this oil won't be in there very long, so I'll see how it does. Next question is oil filters...I hear ya that Frams have changed, but I'm going to have to think on it...old prejudices die hard I guess. Just checked my AC Delcos, both the one on the engine and the one on the shelf, and they're not "e-core", that is: just plain PF24. Then again, they're both 5 years old... Piffle! Fram doesn't make any PH25's in TG or Ultra, just the base [censored] ones. Have to go do some cross-referencing...
IIRC when i bought the pump it came with a new dist gear. I do remember the point adjustment window on the cap was a bit close to to the fan. I had the car a few yrs and had no trouble with the cam or dist gears, i don't know what happened after that though.
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