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Synthetic Oil Information and the changes manufacturers are doing per the EPA

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  • Synthetic Oil Information and the changes manufacturers are doing per the EPA

    This is not to say anything bad about any oil or brand just some info to consider. They are taking all the zddp out of the oil we run. Right now I have delo 400LE, being discontinued, I also have shell rotella T-4 both are 15/40 these still have the zddp in the higher concentration. You can also buy zddp here it is I am not sure about synthetics Tbird likes them I would like to know his experience with them in flat tappet motors. My personal experience is that it is far superior to regular motor oil. I have used it in my 85 f-250-460 160,000 miles and uses no oil. Also have used it in racing engines that turn in excess of 9,000 rpm. Amzoil and others make an oil for us, you can also buy oil for racers but it is very expensive. Just thought I would put this out there for folks to chew I just found this out and was not aware and as for the labeling they are still using the same labels on the jugs.

  • #2
    Chief, this is a synthesis of what I posted in two different threads. It is not my opinion, it is conclusion by the writer drawn from extensive data written up in an engine builder's book. A great deal of enlightening information awaits anyone interested in doing their own research. From what you have posted I think we are pretty much on the same page. What I have posted is not just for you, but for the wider audience. I suggest that posters who have a different point of view from Bell please post the research data you are using to back up your claims.

    I have had occasion to tear down A motors that had run synthetic and the cams and lifters were fine.

    Mitch, time to lock the oil threads !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Check out the Lubrication chapter in A. Graham Bell's 600 pg book on engine building and tuning,
    Four Stroke Performance Tuning, Haynes, 4th edition. There is a ton of proof why synthetics are better lubricants for any motor. He is a top-rated engine builder.
    Very interesting reading, in any event, even if you do not switch

    This engine builders book strongly suggests a hi-zinc oil for break-in. He reminds us that any area of the engine that has friction, such as rings, bearings, etc, and NOT just the lifters, will benefit. A. Graham Bell has written extensively on engine building.

    Rotella used to have high zinc, but as of a couple years ago, no more. The labeling is hard to find or non-existent. You have to go on-line and look up the MSDS. Valvoline racing oil does (I called them to verify this) , so that is what we use (30 weight straight for the first 1000 miles). After that he strongly advises Mobil 1, like a 20W50. He states that the synthetics are clearly superior lubricants. He shows lots of data to back that up. If you chose to run Valvoline racing 20W-50 all the time I would not argue with that.

    Ya gotta be careful. Castrol and Mobil went to war over the wording for 'synthetic'. Castrol put forth the idea that the concept was for marketing only and had nothing to do with the actual type of oil. Mobil disagreed. The judge must have been asleep because he sided with Castrol. See if I ever buy their stuff.
    What does this mean to guys like us? Read the label to see what you are really getting.
    My Silverado comes with a factory recommendation for Mobil1.

    He mentions another reason to change oil. Not only does the oil get contaminated, despite the filter, but the carbon chains get cut up by gears and such and end up smaller, thus they do not polymerize (thicken) as well with temperature. So, 2 reasons to be sure to change your oil.

    Some say any oil is better than the oils of 1930. True. You just dropped $3500 bucks for an overhaul, why not toss in the best you can? Is there a reason not to?

    BTW synthetic is so slippery that it will take a motor forever to break in. Avoid it for break-in use. You want the rings to seat!

    There are many highly opinionated answers on the forums, that have no backup data, that have disregarded the kind of extensive research Bell has done. To each his own. For me, I want the BEST oil I can lay my hands on in the motor, not just ANY oil.

    Bell's Lubrication chapter is 75 pages long. I suggest getting the book, and evaluating the extensive data yourself, and form your own opinion, which will no longer be based on myth and supposition.

    Clearly today's recommendations (synthetic) from the car manufacturers are based on solid research, and a desire to keep warranty issues to an absolute minimum.

    I think the other issue dividing posters on the forums is that of how they use the car.
    And, the type of use is never stated. There are 2 categories of A owners, to me. Some have 'ice cream' cars and take the grandkids to the local ice cream shoppe on Sundays. Others have long-distance touring cars. It could be supposed each use places different demands on the engine. I'd personally still want the BEST available no matter the use


      BNCHIEF commented
      Editing a comment
      Tbird not trying to be controversial I did not know this, if you read my post on running synthetic you and i are in agreement, i wanted to know your experience with synthetic in a engines on the cam and lifters because I know you have a great deal of it. If i spend 3500 to build up an engine i want the best in it.Amen there brother

    • tbirdtbird
      tbirdtbird commented
      Editing a comment
      no worries did not take anything you said as controversial. I myself am trying not to be controversial. I am, tho, encouraging people to try to find hard data before they decide on something

  • #3
    Again a reminder that the zinc is being removed due to adverse effects on catalytic convertors. Evidently the phosphates/ phosphorous in the (ZDDP) mix shortens the catalyst life in the convertor. As mentioned in prior posts, the Porsche Club of America did an extensive engine tear down test many years ago for the 356 engines to compare high zinc oils (positive) effects on tappets, guides, etc. It was apparent to us at the time that there was added benefit of zinc.
    Again as mentioned also, the red (not blue) bottle of STP had high zinc levels before it was pulled from shelves due to the cat. conv. issue.


    • #4
      "The anti-wear additive zinc dialkyldithiophosphate, or ZDDP, was essentially discovered by accident in the 1940s. Originally added to prevent rusting, engineers found it increased the anti-wear properties of motor oil by some then-unknown mechanism."

      Read more at:

      So, ZDDP was NEVER in oil when the A was new. Add it, don't add it, Synthetic, blends, detergents, non-detergents, single grade, multi-grade, what ever makes you get out and drive your Model A use it.


      • #5
        Mike, what do you use


        • Mike V. Florida
          Mike V. Florida commented
          Editing a comment
          Whatever is on sale. 14 years now changed every 1000 miles or so.

      • #6
        Check out the “new” dello 400 sde. Claims more anti wear thru hi tech, + zinc. I believe it’s .008 per million its somewhat agonizing to research.


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