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Motor oil

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  • Motor oil

    There has been alot of discussion concerning motor oil for the old engines, but what is the recommended API service for the 289 and 352 cu in motor? Is there any advantage to race car oil?

  • #2
    Race car oil is what you would consider "high performance". It is, however, just an old formulation. It contains anywhere from 1200ppm to 1800ppm ZDDP, which is an additive. Today's standard oils, due to engine layout and functionality have little to no ZDDP in them. This additive is very important to engines with tappets. There are modern oil additives (synthetics) that have not necessarily been tried in the older engines due to the availability of the ZDDP concentration in high performance oils. Some of these may work well, but as I said, they are untried by the universal collective.

    The advantage is due to the ZDDP, it is a lubricant and it's vixcosity has a lot to do with wear in the engine. It also burns out differently (breaks down). So, using modern oils w/out ZDDP will cause faster wear on engine parts and the like.

    I am still learning about the different engines and their "optimal" oil viscosities and additives.
    I just called and left a message with a friend at American Refinery in western PA... I will post when he gets back to me.
    Last edited by new2drive; 10-05-2010, 08:01 AM. Reason: adds


    • #3
      Ok, I just learned a lot....
      First up... any legacy motors (motors with tappet set up) need a ZDDP additive in them. This is the "anti-ware" package. Modern oils have anti ware packages, but not of the ZDDP variety, they are API -SM packages, designed for fuel effeciency and driven by emissions.... so little to no ZDDP as the phosphorus is very bad for emissions.
      The first thing to consider is this:
      Is the engine pre 1975? and does it have a catalytic converter.... if so, ZDDP is NOT the way to go as it will ruin the converter... you would need to use a modern anti-ware package.
      Next up to consider is this:
      What oil has been run in the car to date? Older cars that have not been retrofitted to use detergent oils MUST use an oil designed without detergents. So, the modern ZDDP high performance race oils are a no-no. You woudl need to buy regular oil: non-detergent 30 or 40.

      And there is also this site:
      It is VERY informative on which API oils to use for which engines.

      Brad Penn does sell both kinds of oils. Their main line for older cars: Penn Grade 1 High Performance Oils can be bought at, remember, these oils ARE high ZDDP ~1500ppm BUT they are also detergent oils...

      So the biggest questions are:
      What kind of oil IS in your car now? Detergent or NON-Detergent? You need to know so you buy the right kind of oil to add.
      Was it converted over for detergent? Again, most restored cars are using detergent based ZDDP products without having been converted over from non-detergent. (I will find out the effect... it has somehting to do with cleaning the engine and loosening deposites/build ups)
      Is it pre-1975 with a catalytic converter? If yes, then NO ZDDP for the tappets, if you have them as the phos ruins the converter. You must use modern lubricant packages.
      And finally there is something about knowing what type of cam your car has.... I am still learning that.
      Last edited by new2drive; 10-05-2010, 08:45 AM. Reason: edit


      • #4
        do a forum search zddp .....lots of info...........I use it in my 53 flatmotor.....
        good website BTW, thanx for that.