Oil recommendation for daily driver/occassional drag race F-body

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Jun 4, 2003
Nashville, TN
Hi guys. I just got done reading through the first 20 pages of posts in this forum trying to find what I was looking for. For my situation I thought it best to post a new question. Car is a 1996 Trans Am WS6, heads & cam, headers, blaa blaa blaa. About 320 hp to the rear wheels. This is my daily driver, but my trip to work is only 2.5 miles each way. So on a daily basis the car only gets 5, maybe 10 miles. Probably only gets really good and warm once or twice a week, so there is some concern about moisture buildup in the oil. I drag race the car 3-4 times a year, probably a total of 20 passes annually. I have been running Mobil 1 5w-30 since I bought the car in 1999. It had 24K miles on it at the time, has 65K on it now. I run the K&N HP2002 filter. From the last three oil changes (I average about 3500 miles between changes, about 3 per year) the magnetic drain plug has been covered in metallic silt...almost like dry graphite powder. I am assuming this is from the bearings. So, what I am looking for in an oil is something that will hold up well to my driving style, considering the car doesn't get hot often enough, as well as increase protection to the bearings, especially during drag racing. Do I need to just step up in grade to Mobil 1 10w-30 or a 40wt? Or change brands to Amsoil or similar? Thanks.
I hate to say this, because I'm a 'dino kind of guy. But from what your saying, I'd probably pick Mobil 1 15W-50. I think your main problem is going to be keeping the additives working since a lot of your driving is short trips, but then your going to need some thicker stuff when you hammer it.
Thanks for the input. It honestly would not be much of an issue for me to take the "long way" to work in the mornings, get the car warmed up properly that way...the only barrier to that is habit/laziness. Luckily climate is not really a consideration. Never gets below 0* here even on the coldest winter mornings, and the car is garaged kept (the garage always warmer than the outside air in the winter). So in that sense I think a 15w would be fine, maybe year 'round. I'm about to step up to an even more powerful heads/cam combo and I don't want to destroy the bottom end prematurely, and if the right oil can help then I would be stupid not to switch.
Having a garage is the way to go. I don't know how some of the Canadian brothers do it without one. I still probably pick the Mobil 1 15W-50 in your case. Sure like those TA's, you got the WS6 package, sweet. I've been looking for a '79 TA with the TA 403 engine. They are getting harder to find and if you do find one, they seller knows it and wants a arm and a nard for one that is trashed. You got the 6X or the 4X heads on that?
Originally posted by Schmoe: You got the 6X or the 4X heads on that?
You got me on that one, don't know what that means. What's on there now is a set of stock LT1 heads that were mildly ported by GTP in Houston. The new set is another set of stock castings coming from a guy named Lloyd Elliot from Dallas. These are fully ported and flow 276/192 intake/exhaust with 2.00/1.56 valves. Going in with a comp XE 224/230 cam. Hopefully it will still be plenty streetable!! Good luck with your 403 Old TA search. Well that's two votes for 15w-50. Thanks for the help guys!
Sorry dude, I got lost in my thinking as I was referring to the 403 motor. The '79 TA's had the 6X heads, more power, and the 4X were on the 6.6 Litre Olds engine. Your set up sounds SWEEEEEEEEEEEET! [HAIL 2 U!]
The 15w50 is going to be too thick for that LT1. I'm running 10w30 Schaeffer Supreme blend in my 95 Formula, and will be switching to 5w30 soon. I do a lot of drag racing myself also, and see very good oil analysis results with this oil. I also do tons of full throttle on the street. My engine is still bone stock though, however it doesn't sound like your bottom end has been changed, so the clearances between our engines would be identical. I would recommend the larger HP3002 K&N oil filter though. With the use of this filter I put in 5.3 quarts of oil in total. Schaeffer's antiwear package is extremely good at protecting the bearings, I saw my lead content in my oil analysis come down greatly when I switched to their oil. It's their combination of moly, antimony and Penetro which makes this oil stand out. Amsoil and Redline 5w30/10w30 would also be very good choices for the LT1 too. I'm not a big fan of Mobil 1 in hard driven cars, it doesn't have quite a high enough HTHS number for my liking. By the way, what kinds of quarter mile times have you run with your car so far? I just ran a new best this weekend in mine, 13.74 at 100mph, in bone stock trim! It's a 3.23 geared automatic, low option hardtop (3440lbs on a half tank) Next year I'll probably throw on a set of SLP headers and a Magnaflow catback, followed by the LT4 hot cam the year after. A friend of mine has a similar setup to that and ran 13.17 at 108mph this past weekend, in a 3.73 A4 LT1 Z28. [ June 05, 2003, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: Patman ]
I can't run a longer filter because of my longtube headers. They are by FLP (Finish Line Performance) if any of you guys know about them. The primaries/collecto tuck in close to the pan on the driver's side and literally pass slightly underneath the filter. I can't even get a conventional band type filter wrench on there, I have to use the K&N just for the little nut on the bottom!! Local places carry the K&N's but they are always out of stock, so I've been buying them 3 at a time from Summit Racing and just sort of stocking them. I don't mind doing that with my oil either.
I didn't realize you had the long tubes on there. One of the reasons I don't want to go with long tubes on mine is because I want to continue running the longer oil filters, plus in case I decide to lower my car later on, I want the extra ground clearance too.
Chris, Nice car BTW! Even though I have an LS1 I still love the LT1's. I'm currently contemplating swapping one into my 00 Jeep Wrangler. Short trip driving is very hard on any oil as the engine never reaches operating temperature and acids, moisture and fuel dilution result in the oil. Driving the car more and letting the engine warm up would be the best choice. I would run the Mobil 1 0W-40 first before going to the 15W-50 and then perform an oil analysis to see how the oil is performing. OT: Your new setup sounds really mean! Have you had your car dynoed? It seems that setup would make alot more than 320wrhp. I've seen many LT1's with all the bolt on's and LT headers make 300+ rwhp.
To answer Patman's question about ET. In really cold air, I've run a best of [email protected] on a set of ET streets. Car also has a 2800 stall Vigilante torque converter. I don't have the new stuff on yet, but will by the end of the month. It should put down 375-385hp and I'm hoping for at least 12.3s @ 109. That's all with no lightening/removal of anything...I love my creature comforts and with Tennessee summers A/C is essential!! [Smile]
Chris... since you are already doing 3500 mile intervals, have you ever thought about switching to dino 10W-30, and changing every 2500-3000 miles? Just a thought, but I think Chevron Supreme for $1.08/qt at Wal-Mart would do just fine for a short interval. Many cars have been run hard on dino for years with no troubles, and dinos today are much better than they were years ago. If you are changing oil often anyway, you could use that $20 / oil change savings and apply it to more mods. [Wink] I'd definitely go 10W-30 whichever oil you choose. Ahhh, but what do I know? I drive one of them darn Mustangs! (running $.68/qt 10W-30 Chevron/Texaco Havoline right now) [Wink] BTW... Welcome! Shouldn't you be installing those heads, instead of wasting time here being anal about oil! lol [ June 05, 2003, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: novadude ]
I'm the same way, I didn't remove any weight out of my car to get my 13.74, in fact I still had a trunk full of junk, my spare tire, and more than a 1/2 tank of gas! I figure that is the way the car runs on the street, might as well run it down the strip the same way to truly see how it runs. The only difference is that I did cool down the car a long time since that LT1 intake gets so darn hot. That's one area where I really miss my LS1 (I owned a 98 Formula from April 1998 to November 2000, it ran a best ET of 12.68 at 110.6 with just a few simple mods) Do you plan on doing oil analysis on your LT1 Chris? I'd love to see more LT1 reports on here to compare mine to.
Originally posted by novadude: Chris... since you are already doing 3500 mile intervals, have you ever thought about switching to dino 10W-30, and changing every 2500-3000 miles?
Hey John, what a coincidence, LOL. I am just too big of a believer in synth to go back to Dino oil now. The extra protection provided the unexpected happens is worth the money in my oil-ignorant opinion!! Patman, I actually have a Blackstone sample kit sitting on my workbench right now, next time I change it I'll send the sample in.
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