Which oil for my rebuilt Ford 2.3L turbo?

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Jun 6, 2009
Riverside, CA
I recently had the engine rebuilt for my Merkur XR4Ti. It is a Ford 2.3L Turbo SOHC. The engine was built with factory specifications on the bearing clearances. The cam is a hydraulic slider cam, not roller followers.

I have approximately 3000 miles on the engine at this point. I have changed the oil a couple times. The break-in was with Autozone 10w30 and Comp-cams break-in lube. The second oil change after about 10 miles was the same. At 500 I switched to Castrol GTX Diesel 15w40 and at 2000 miles I switched to Valvoline All Fleet Plus 15w40. I've been using the deisel and all fleet because they are few non-SM oils that I have been able to locate.

I'd like to switch to a synthetic, but I figure I'll need something with high ZDDP levels because of the slider cam. This is a daily driven car, but I will be taking it to open track driving events as well and I'm sure the oil temperatures will get quite hot.

I'm looking for something that is available off the shelf. I have Napa, Autozone, Kragen, Pep Boys, and Walmart near by.

The owners manual recommended API SF 10w30 or 10w40 for 0°F+, 15w40 for 10°F+ and 20w40 or 20w50 for 20°F+.
Ooh, fun! I had a black '87 XR4Ti, drove it from Poway, CA to Riverside CA every day and back for work...LONG!!

Mobil 1 5w-40 TDT is a great oil for that engine, as is Shell Rotella Synthetic 5w-40.

Great car, good luck!
A 0-40 full synthetic HD diesel oil would seem to be just what you are looking for.

Just the fact of having a flat tappet cam does not mean you need extra zinc.
Most new cars have a version of flat tappets/buckets/lifters.
After break in, you can use a modern SM oil in the weight you need.
I got an '83 Turbo T-Bird with that very same engine when I was fresh out of law school.

I ran 10/30 in it.

I really miss that T-Bird.

I saw a Merkur XR4ti for the first time in about twenty five years a few weeks ago on a trip back from Ohio. They're cool cars.
M1 15W-50 is an SM oil and has 1200 ZDDP. It is on the shelf at Walmart. Mobil 1 10W-40 and 20W-50 motorcycle oils are available at our local Walmarts and have 1600-1800 ZDDP. Valvoline made Roush oils can be had with 1200-1400 ZDDP and are becoming available at auto stores, do a search for Roush dealers. Valvoline now makes a synthetic raceing oil but Idon't know the rest of the ad pack.
Thank you for all of the suggestions.
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