Shell Rotella T recently change composition ?

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I have a new engine rebuild that my engine builder used Rotella T 30W (plus I added a bottle of ZDDP) for engine breakin...primarily to break in the cam. Well after 500 miles the rings never seated and has major blowby. Getting ready to do an engine diagnosis (leak down test, compression test) and probably need to pull the engine to possibly replace a bad block (??). Anyway my builder just talked to a collegue in the industry and was listing all the machining, parts etc he used and when he mentioned Rotella T he said "there's your problem"...basically he told him that he just had the same problem and Shell recently changed thier compostion to a semi-synthetic and not listing on the label. As many know you can't seat rings with a synthetic oil. Anyway I tried "talking" to my builder saying that I know a lot of people that use Rotella T for break in with no problems plus I frequent a forum that specializes in "oil" and I have not heard of this. Anybody have any idea where this guy got this info from ??
 
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I started out as forced labor cleaning Caterpillar parts during the winter months for my family’s construction company, and then ultimately moved onto working with John Deere in 1988. The engine break in process was always the same. Start it let it warm up a bit and work the *ell out of it. We always used the same oil. In the family business it was Delvac SAE 30. When we would rebuild a Caterpillar engine, it was run long enough to make sure it didn’t leak etc, adjust the valves, I tend to adjust valves while the engine is running if possible, then the machine was bolted back up and sent to the field to work, only concern was to avoid much engine idle time. That was it no special oil, no special consideration except to work it hard and not idle it too much. In the family business they didn’t get so much as early first oil change. This was with Cat, Detroit Diesel, and Cummins engines with the odd Komatsu, Deere etc. When I first went to work with Deere they had some special break in powder you were supposed to sprinkle in along the rockers, but in the shop we never did this. The only tractors we ever had oil consumption issues with were older tractors used for light duty, like chores and so forth, tractors that didn’t see field use and get used hard. When these came back with oil consumption issues the fix was always the same, hook it to a dynamometer, hook up the water hose to the dyno to keep it cool then work the tractor to the point where it was just smoking black as coal for a couple hours, worked every time. New John Deere engines now come filled with John Deere Break In oil that you are supposed to use for I think the first 100 hours, I’m probably off on the hours part. The owner’s manual is very specific about the process, and goes on about working the engine, avoid much idle time etc. It also mentions that is after at the time of the first oil change period the engine is still using oil to do the first oil change with the special oil. This oil is 10W-30 and you should be able to find it at most any decent sized Deere dealership. If they don’t have it in stock they use their computer system to find a dealer who does otherwise they can order it but it’s a minimum of 6 gallons. Your notion that you can’t seat rings with synthetic oil is horse *rap by the way. Other than possibly camshafts in flat lifter engines needing better than average oil, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what oil you use as long as it’s good oil. My personal break in method for vehicle engines is to find the biggest hill I can in the area and start slow at the bottom and accelerate up it, when I get to a decent speed I slow back down, the accelerate hard back up the hill, repeat as much as possible and drive it hard, but not with overly fast RPM’s, nothing more than normal, and try to avoid stop and go city slow speed traffic as much as you can.
 

OVERKILL

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That's a crock of poo, many GM engines are broken in on synthetic, as are a couple from Ford, and MANY from Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Audi....etc.
 
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The only engines I ever run across that couldn’t get the rings seated were due to a do it yourselfer or amateur error. An example of this is the Detroit Diesel two cycle engine; you can’t use the normal cheap ring compressor on these engines. You need a tapered special service tool to do it right. If you don’t use the right tool it often results in broken rings. I have seen rings that had three pieces for the oil grooves, and the customer installed them in the incorrect order, I’ve seen standard rings on oversized pistons. I myself try to space the ring gap 180 degrees off from the one next to it, but then I once saw a piston out of a Hudson automobile engine that had a pin running through the very edge of the piston that lined up all the ring gaps, it didn’t use oil, so it kind of threw water on my ring spacing theory. Did the rebuilder hone the cylinders to get a good crosshatch? Maybe a scope type tool would let you loon in the spark plug or injector holes and see?
 
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I ran mine for 20 minutes @ 2000 rpm. Revved it up a few times, Set the timing then shut it down, once cooled I checked the coolant and took it for a blast around the block. By blast I mean Wide open throttle. On the trip home I made many full throttle runs up to the speed limit then slowed down.
 
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Sounds like a bad re-build. Though that extra zddp doesn't help rings seat. I'd use weak oil like half API SA or ND. BTW the cars with factory synthetic DO have long term oil consuumption issues - auto mags have been complaining about it for years - especially on Porsce with M1. No issues breaking in on syn? Show me the data!
 
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 Originally Posted By: y2k600f4
I have a new engine rebuild that my engine builder used Rotella T 30W (plus I added a bottle of ZDDP) for engine breakin...primarily to break in the cam. Well after 500 miles the rings never seated and has major blowby.
What engine did you have rebuilt and what rotella Ci4 or Cj4?
 
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Let's beat that synthetic oil dead horse one more time. When the story came out about synthetic not working for breaking in engines, the synthetic was made in a chemical plant. It was polyalphaolefin or ester based. Maybe the story was true at the time. These days, most "synthetic" oil, including Shell's Rotella, are just very highly refined petroleum. Very different chemistry from the original synthetics, and different action inside the engine. Also, I doubt if Shell or anyone else is marketing syn blend oil without trumpeting the fact on the label. Syn blend for the price of conventional oil is a great marketing ploy. About modern engines leaving the factory with synthetic fill...factory engines have much better machining than any rebuilt engine. Also, the factories might put a special finish on the parts to allow them to break in with the true synthetic oil. There's more we don't know than we do know.
 

y2k600f4

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I figured it was not the oil... To give a little more info I purchased a restored car with a SBC 383 stroker with 50 miles on the car and engine. After troubleshooting and messing with it over a yr and 1000 miles due to major oil consumption I pulled the engine and brought it to a reputable engine builder with 30 yrs experience. Went through the entire engine and diagnosed the issue to improper cross hatch on the cylinders (angle was less than 20 degress) Amongst other things he put in new rings with the proper hone and cross hatch and now after spending $$$ the second time and after 500 miles on the 2nd rebuild I am having same problems which points to rings not seating. I am guessing my builder is hoping it won't need a tear down (block is suspect) and now wants to blame the oil used during break in.
 
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Check the piston ring lands for wear if you reused the pistons.Block should be ok If the bores are round. If they are not round then you will have to determin the currant bore size and go from there.
 
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y2k600f4

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 Originally Posted By: Chris142
Check the piston ring lands for wear if you reused the pistons.Block should be ok If the bores are round. If they are not round then you will have to determin the currant bore size and go from there.
My engine builder I think is at a loss what is going on (trying to blame on oil now). The first rebuild all new parts including pistons, fresh bore etc after 1000 miles rings never seated. At tear teardown it was determined hone cross hatch was too shallow. Bores were checked for roundness and taper (looked good) and correct hone placed on cylinders...now after 500 miles rings again not seating.
 
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 Originally Posted By: ARCOgraphite
Sounds like a bad re-build. Though that extra zddp doesn't help rings seat. I'd use weak oil like half API SA or ND. BTW the cars with factory synthetic DO have long term oil consuumption issues - auto mags have been complaining about it for years - especially on Porsce with M1. No issues breaking in on syn? Show me the data!
most of the automotive companies (including porsche) run their engines in test cells before they ever get installed in the car. some of them backdrive the engine with a servo motor, some actually operate the engine (backdriving allows you to install pressure taps instead of the spark plugs). in any event, the engine is broken in before it is ever installed in the car. same for diesel engine manufacturers. it is alot easier (and cheaper) to put an automated test cell in the engine assembly process than to repair engines in the field. my Cayenne S V8 wouldn't use any oil over the 20k OCI. OTOH, the Cayenne Turbo's drank the stuff, but that was more an engineering issue than an innate engine problem.
 
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Are you putting a load on this engine? Like WOT in the 2500-4000 RPM range to seat the rings within the first 100 miles? And not just cruising 1500RPM for the first couple of hundred? Not accusing, just asking how you break your engine in.
 
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I always put my rebuilt engines on the dyno to break them in. My last rebuild was an Olds 455, with some performance mods. The dyno shop starts the engine, and immediately goes up to 2500 RPM, down to 1500, then back up....over and over for 20-25 minutes. It appears that the dyno operator is abusing the engine, but the revving puts a load on the engine, and helps seat the rings. I use Rotella T 15w-40 and a bottle of break in lube. My last 5 engines have had the same oil, and no issues with rings.
 
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As has been said, it's not the oil. It's the final hone and RA on the cylinder walls... Are you using plasma moly, moly, or cast iron? I always use a bit of Total Seal Ring Seat on the cylinders ( a dry powder brushed on the cylinder walls before final assembly instead of oil). There's an artcile written on it by Circle Track magazine, check their website. Never had a problem.
 
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I'm curious about the rings too. I have almost always used what are known as Federal Mogul (used to be Sealed Power) moly ring sets with the SS50 oil ring. I have had tremendous success using these even back in my youth when we would often run cylinder bores shaped like an hour glass and re-use old pistons. Even with "dingleberry" hones and lard for cutting lube, we put together engines for our grocery getters that would go for years without using any oil.
 
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 Quote:
Anyway my builder just talked to a collegue in the industry and was listing all the machining, parts etc he used and when he mentioned Rotella T he said "there's your problem"
That's a classic. It's what every service manager ..dept manager ..supervisor ..whomever ..looks for. Did you do anything different? Well, the only thing I can think of is that I whistled Dixie when I fired it up. THAT'S IT!!! He would have gone down a list of whatever you said and latched on to something else eventually. He's trying to distance himself from any further entanglements with the problem ..like come back work for zero $$$. If he's not actively seeking the problem with you, at NO CHARGE, he's worthless. He's got no integrity as a rebuilder.
 
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