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Technical Early Hemi Oil Change

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Wes Rager, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Wes Rager
    Joined: May 4, 2016
    Posts: 37

    Wes Rager
    Member

    I recently purchased my deuce with a 331 Hemi. I bought it from a dealer so there is very little history with it. I want to do an oil change and am wondering what oil to use. I currently use full synthetic in everything; am a firm believer in the high heat stability and lubricating properties. The whole zinc issue leaves me wondering what the proper oil is for an old (rebuilt) engine. Can is use synthetic and add zinc to it?
     

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  2. Seeing that you don't have much history on it, run Joe Gibbs or something similar with the higher zinc this oil change, after that you know everything is seated, sealed and broke in, then go how ever you what on oil. Better safe then sorry.
     
  3. These engines ran straight 30 & 40 weight new, I would say to run 20-50 to keep the pressure up, I ran 10-30 and when hot pressure at idle was lower. So switched to 20-50 and a bottle of zinc( think Lucas made it)
     
  4. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,867

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    'Oil change' might be misleading...Don't think it means 'from petroleum to synthetic'...I'd stay with petroleum based oil, and as suggested above, a 20/50 with Zinc additive. (safe)
    Blindly changing to synthetic oil may result in galled rocker shafts, cam bearings, and multiple other problems.

    In the late fifties/sixties, service stations would strive to change older cars over from non detergent oil to the high detergents. Carbon deposits were washed away, and engines were 'Instant Smokers'...
    The argument: "Never hurt anything by cleanin' it..." o_O
    History is usually the best teacher.
     
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  5. I run Castrol in my motors as a rule so if it is a brand you are looking for and you asked me I would say Castrol. Of course that may not be a good idea like @Atwater Mike says, I threw Castrol 20W50 in my bike when I got it, oil in it was terrible. It finally broke enough crap loose to stick the by-pass in my oil pump. :eek:

    If you want to run straight weight, you can get Castrol in 40 and 50 straight weight from the local 'Zone. You can get 60 weight if you ask them to order it. I would not switch to synthetic after dead dinosaur oil. They usually don't mix well and not mixing well can cause a problem.
     
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  6. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,265

    73RR
    Member

    Why does a rebuilt EarlyHemi get treated differently than a rebuilt 'x'? Is there some difference between a 1956 engine and a 1976 engine when each are rebuilt? 1986? 1996?
    How many miles are on the rebuild?
    Does it have mild manners (no giant cam profile or mega compression)?
    If the engine was properly rebuilt then treat it like any other rebuilt engine. The question remains, what was done in the rebuild, but changing oil should not cause a catastrophic failure.
    Personally, I don't like 20-50 in a tight engine. Use it when you get to 100K miles.
    As to the zinc, it is important during initial break-in, especially for flat tappet cams, but after the engine has been properly 'broke-in' the high zinc only benefits the marketing departments.

    .
     
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  7. Gee someone with a little common sense. OMG:D :D :D

    I been trying to convince these yahoos since gawd knows when that you only need to break your cam in right then just run off the shelf oil. They would rather gather their information from the salesman. :eek:
     
    czuch likes this.
  8. some people seem to think that your engine has the ability to read the damn label on the can...oil is oil.is oil,is oil.....damn ad people have done a number on everyone in todays world
     
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  9. Wes Rager
    Joined: May 4, 2016
    Posts: 37

    Wes Rager
    Member

    Thanks for all your insights! The odo now reads roughly 2600 miles so I believe we are well past the break in period.
    I will say this engine, at least according to the gauge, runs extremely cold. Even when the temp is 90+ outside I barely reach 160. Not sure where the sensor is located. I'll check with my pyrometer next time. Next month I'm headed to Good Guys in Columbus. Anyone going?
     
  10. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    Unless rings, cams, etc. have changed in the past 40 years, then why the zinc additive? Back in the day, you put 30w NON-detergent in for break in oil. Change it after 500 miles, and put detergent oil of your choice. My choice is Valvoline, since it is a non-parafin based oil.
     
  11. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 5,413

    jimmy six
    Member

    If you don't plan on driving much I'd stay away from 20-50. My Ford is used on the week ends and 5-6 miles a trip and 4K miles in 5 years. Water is 160-170 and I use 10-30. As for pressure I don't want to know; as long as the idiot light is off its OK by me. I look in the rocker covers for evidence of oil and everything looks ok .
     
  12. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,253

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

  13. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,253

    Dan Timberlake
    Member

    It is pretty well documented that Chrysler had serious problems with cam and lifter wear when developing the Gen 1 331 Hemi.
    http://www.allpar.com/mopar/hemi/chrysler-hemi.html

    “The first serious problem that I encountered [as a resident engineer at Jefferson Avenue] was premature camshaft lobe wear. We were failing camshaft lobes in the first 20 minutes of engine operation. It took several months of 24/7 laboratory work at Central Engineering to solve this problem. We eventually changed tappet material, added a special coating to the tappet face, changed tappet and cam profiles to promote tappet rotation and added an anti-scuff additive (ZDDP) to the break in oil. We solved the problem - which was so serious that it threatened production of the Firedome V8 engine.”

    ==========
    So did Studebaker with their V8.
     
  14. Rattle Trap
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 358

    Rattle Trap
    Member

    I'd run a 15w40 HDEO. Most still have a good amount of zinc in them. 900-1000 ppm.
     
  15. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 980

    Hombre
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    There has been volumes written about flat tappet cam failures. It has gotten so bad that some performance engine builders won't even consider a flat tappet cam in "SOME" engines, mostly Big Block Chevys. I personally have done a lot of research into this problem for my own peace of mind. Here are a few of my own findings, take them as information only of just one observer.

    It would seem from a superficial look at this problem that the problem started with the Oil Companys at the demand from the gov't reducing the additive pack in modern oils. That additive pack contained an additive ZDDP that was added as a friction reducer. Once the ZDDP was reduced below 1,000 PPM ( now it is around 800 PPM) flat tappet cams no longer have the friction reduction to live under the conditions that are required of them. A flat tappet cam needs around 1,500 PPM. Well it may appear that way but flat tappet cams failed on occasion when there was ZDDP in the oil, so I do not believe that the lack of ZDDP is the "ONLY" reason for these failures.

    About the same time that ZDDP was reduced flat tappet lifters them selves took a real hit. There was a period of time when there was very little Lifter manufacturing being done here in this country. Two of the three plants had closed completely and the third had greatly curtailed it production down to about 10% of there yearly production figures. So for a period of time almost all Lifters were being made Off-Shore. Man that is never good! When taken together reduction in friction control and inferior lifters many cams were just doomed no matter what you did. Also most cam failures it seems come from after market or performance camshafts. There added spring pressures just add to the problem greatly.

    To me it looks like this. You want to use a oil compatible with the parts you are using. In the case of the flat tappet cam and lifters it appears if you are running a stock cam and at least stock spring pressure you will be just fine with a good break in oil, and good quality oil after that. You do not want to skimp on the Lifters that's for certain.

    Now with that said there have been a couple of comments that once the cam is broken in then you can run any oil after that you want to. Well maybe they know more than I do, BUT it seems to me that the parts (cam and lifter) still rub on each other and the spring pressure is going to remain the same, broken in or not. I'm going to play it safe and run a good quality high in ZDDP oil all of the time. It may cost a little more but in the end I feel better about that.
     
  16. Blacktop VooDoo
    Joined: Oct 28, 2011
    Posts: 129

    Blacktop VooDoo
    Member

    X2! I always use oil with ZDDP. I'm a believer!
     
  17. bostonhemi
    Joined: Dec 1, 2011
    Posts: 643

    bostonhemi
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I agree with Hombre for piece of mind. Compared to the cost of an engine it seems like pocket change.
     
  18. I use roller cams for piece of mind. :cool:
     
  19. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,008

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Chrysler never recommended 40 weight for the hemi. They recommended heavy duty, detergent oil, 30 weight only for hot weather above 70. 20W20 for summer use, 10 for winter, 5 for below zero.

    As soon as multi weight detergent oils became available they were recommended and used by every dealer and garage. 10W30 was the default choice for everything.

    Your hemi has a heavy and complicated valve train and is one of the engines that needs zinc. I don't know if modern synthetics eliminate the need for zinc. I would be looking for oil formulated for high perf pushrod engines. Rotella 15W40 used to be good, it was a diesel formula with zinc and was used in many high perf and racing engines.
     
  20. I have been running Pennzoil, 30W, 20/50W, 10/40W, whatever, in my 331 for the past 15 years. 5,000mi/year when I drive it. @ 50,000 mi no sign of problems.
     
  21. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,722

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I use Mobil-1 15w-50 in the engine in my race car (avatar). I've never had a problem and have heard that anything "-50" has over 1000 ppm of zinc. You've heard enough about oil here already, so I want to mention something else. Because my engine is in a race car, there is no thermostat. I run a '63 Valiant radiator (which is pretty small), and the car is still very cold-blooded. When we get to the track, I have to run the engine for 20-30 minutes just to get it to 160 so it will have some heat in it when the heat races start. I always amazed me at how cold it ran. I didn't think oil had that much to do with cooling, but this car has 1 14 quart system with 2 filters and an oil cooler. (When I was building it 25 years ago, the old-timers kept telling me that older hemis liked a lot of oil. I guess I did that part of it OK.)
     
  22. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,265

    73RR
    Member

    I'll add a couple random thoughts...
    The detergent in today's oil is far superior to the detergent in 1956 oil. It is clearly evident every time an 'old' engine is disassembled for the first time.
    Although the diesel oils have a bit more zinc, they also have a significantly different additive 'package' from oil that is designed for gas engines. The rest of the automotive industry, the big thinkers if you will, still say to use caution with a flat tappet cam.
    As mentioned, the valve train (rocker gear) is a bit convoluted but any good quality oil will do the needed job if the rockers are good to start with. I cannot stress enough that if the rockers are not properly rebuilt along with the rest of the engine then there isn't an oil made anywhere that will fix them.

    Oil has three jobs: Clean, cool, and lubricate.

    .
     
  23. 19ford49
    Joined: Mar 2, 2014
    Posts: 59

    19ford49
    Member
    from Casper,Wyo

    I run valvoline vr1 straight 30 in my stocker flathead shoe. 38k on the odometer. It smokes a little on startup but then goes away. Summer of 14 i went to a car show 2 hrs away. It was 95 out in august here in wyoming. Pulling hills doing 65 or 70 or so after market 6v thermostat was reading 230 :oops: she was getting warm. Old stock radiator in it. Pull over dump some water down in front of the radiator too cool it off and kept going. Now aluminum radiator and all is well. Went to a show few weeks ago it was only 50 miles away was 93 out and only went to 180 :D
     
  24. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,338

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Wow, every thread on oil is always filled with a lot of incorrect heresay.

    First of all, most synthetic engine oils will mix just fine with mineral non-synthetic oils. In fact, the 2 most common types of "synthetic" (mostly just a marketing term, not a scientific term) are called synthetic hydrocarbons, because the technology used basically just creates a more perfect hydrocarbon molecule. These oils will mix just fine with a mineral oil, no problemo. Putting synthetic oil into an engine that has been run a long time on mineral oil is also fine to do. A couple of decades ago, when synthetic oils were rather new on the market, they did have some issues with seal shrinkage. This is because the more pure the base oil, the higher the grade, the harder the oil is on seals. Google "Aniline Point" if you want to read up more on this. But over the decades the oil companies have learned how to compensate for this tendency to dry out seals with oil additives that keep the seals pliable and actually cause a little swelling to occur, offsetting the shrinkage caused by the synthetic base oil.

    As the saying goes, you only get once chance to make a first impression. Those stories about synthetic oil causing leaks have stuck around all these years, and you keep seeing people post the advise in online discussion forums about not replacing a mineral oil with a synthetic, cause it will cause leaks. It shouldn't, not if you're buying a name brand product. Buy some store brand from a large chain store, and all bets are off. Same thing with the stuff from the tractor supply stores out there in the heartland.

    But do you really need synthetic? Are you operating in extreme temps? (hot or cold) No? Are you trying to extend drain intervals to the maximum limit? No? Are you running very low viscosity 0W or 5W oil? No? Than why run synthetic. Current mineral oils are very high performing oils; far, far better than anything available when your classic engine was designed and built.

    As far as viscosity goes, I'm not a fan of the xW50 motor oils or straight grade 50. Unless you've got some serious wear issues in the engine and need the higher viscosity to maintain some decent oil pressure, or to keep it from burning, there's no reason to go with that high of viscosity. Higher viscosity oils hold on to heat longer, leading to heat buildup, which is going to cause the oil to degrade (oxidize) faster. Combine that high visc oil with a high volume oil pump, and you'll likely have issues with the oil pressure exceeding the relief valve opening pressure point, causing it to remain open longer, leading to more heating of the oil, shortening the oil life and leading to lacquer and varnish and eventually sludge. Also, straight grade oils are not more viscous than multi-viscosity oils of the same grade, i.e. straight 30 vs 10W30. At operating temps the multi-grade oil is just as thick, or thicker than the straight grade oil.

    ZDDP additives? Sorry, but I'm not a fan of these either. Unless you're a chemist and you know how these aftermarket additives are going to react with the carefully designed and blended oil, it's just a big gamble. ZDDP is a surface acting chemical. So are the rust & oxidation additives already in the oil. So are any friction modifying agents. So are detergents that are already in the oil. All these additives are carefully balanced by the oil formulators to work together and play nicely together. Than you come along and dump the can of ZDDP in and spoil the whole mix. Typically this is NOT a good idea. Unless you've got some extreme lift lobes on the cam along with some really stiff valve spring pressures and greater ratio rocker arms you really shouldn't need any additional ZDDP. The main protection is provided by the oil in what's known as Hydrodynamic (sliding conditions) and Elastohydrodynamic (rolling conditions) lubrication. Cam lobes experience both. The zddp is only needed to provide some protection at startup, before the oil gets flowing to the cam, and during extreme high pressure conditions that most of our engines will never see.
     
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  25. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,338

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    Just to clarify your post on "non-parafin" based oil. Mineral crude oils are categorized in basically 3 categories, Aromatic, Napthenic and Parafinic; though no crude oil is 100% of any one of these, it is always a blend. But the blends tend to be comprised mostly of one type or another. Aromatic and Napthenic oils are really no good for lubricating oils, they consist of unsaturated rings that have a very low viscosity index and are very susceptible to oxidation. Napthenics can sometimes be used to make a cheap hydraulic oil, especially for something like hydraulic jack oil. They also work very good for refrigeration oils, because they contain no wax crystals. And they also have very good solvency properties, so if you need an oil with good solvency, Napthenic oil may do the trick. But for motor oils, forget it. All decent motor oils from any manufacturer are always blended with base oils refined from parafinic base oils. ALL MOTOR OILS. Please, let's put this one to bed. don't repeat this any more, it's not true and it makes no sense. That doesn't mean there aren't differences in the base oils used, it just means that ALL base oils used for motor oils are blended with parafinic base oils. ALL OF THEM. PERIOD.

    Yeah, this came up in another thread just the other day; higher oil pressures DO NOT equate to longer bearing life. They just don't. Any pressure at all indicates there is sufficient oil in the bearing clearance to provide lubrication. More pressure does mean more reserve of oil, but the pressure indicated on the gauge is NOT what provides lift inside the bearing, that is the result of what is known as hydrodynamic lubrication. The oil trapped in between the bearing surfaces being sheared by forces provides lift, much like water ski's provide lift due to movement against the water.

    It has been pretty well established for several decades that the most critical point in the life of a cam is the first 20 minutes of operation. Once past that point the danger of failure drops drastically.

    HDEO is what I run too, and have for years. BTW, I typically see ~1200ppm of zinc in oil analysis.

    That is not accurate. Viscosity grade has no bearing on typical zinc levels.

    We always say oil has 4 jobs, Clean, Cool, Lubricate and Seal. It is the oil providing the final seal between any seal face and sealing surface, preventing the ingression of dirt or other contaminants. It's also the oil that provides the final seal between piston rings and cylinder wall.
     
  26. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,563

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've used synthetic since the late 70s (Amsoil). I'd recomend the ZRod 10w30 in your case. My son has been using it in his '50 Chevy 216 for about 4 years with no issues.
     
  27. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,094

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    If Valvoline has parafin blended, then it can't be much. I have used it since the 60's and never had an issue. So I will continue. The only other oil I use is Castrol, and that goes in my 650.
     
  28. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,338

    Blues4U
    Member
    from So Cal

    You misunderstand, no engine oil has parafin blended in, or added to the mixture, it has to do with the base oils that the lubricants are made with, and the crude oil that the base oils are derived from.

    The hydrocarbon molecule that is used to make all engine oils are parafinic hydrocarbons. All of them, Valvoline, Castrol, Pennzoil, Quaker State, and every other brand. This has to do with the structure, or shape, of the molecule; it is a long and branched chain of carbon atoms that are saturated to varying degrees with hydrogen. The crude oil that is used to make lubricant base oils is refined and specific viscosity ranges are extracted for lubricant base oils. These base oils are further divided into 1 of 3 different groups, Group I, Group II or Group III (which is considered "synthetic"). They all have varying degrees of wax content, group I has the most, group III has the least amount (in fact the process used to create Group III oils actually converts wax crystals into high performance hydrocarbons by subjecting them to hydrogen under extreme pressure and temperatures, which cracks the molecules apart and reforms them, hence the term "synthetic"). Wax, along with other undesirable content, is removed as much as possible during the refining process. That is where Parafin wax come from. They mix a solvent in with the oil, then chill the mixture and filter it, and part of what they get out of the oil is wax. But this is done for ALL engine oils, not just Valvoline. Nobody leaves wax in the oil on purpose. Current engine oils are mostly ALL blended using group II or Group III technology. Hydrocracking makes possible very high quality base oils from rather poor quality crude oils. Whatever wax crystals remain are really only a problem for very low temperature operation, where they will tend to crystalize resulting in very thick and heavy oil. But "pour point depressant" additives are used in the oil to prevent the wax crystals from forming, keeping the oil liquid for very low temperatures.

    Whatever quality you think Valvoline has and you are attributing to "no parafin", you are mistaken. It is due to the quality of the base oil and/or the additives blended in to it, it has nothing whatsoever to do with "parafin" being blending into it or not. Please bury that, it's not true and it needs to die. That is one internet rumor/urban myth that would be great to never see or hear again.
     
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  29. 392
    Joined: Feb 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,028

    392
    Member

    More people need to read ^^^^^^ excellent and spot on. Thanks Blues4U
     
  30. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 4,547

    sunbeam
    Member

    I'm a believer in braking in a performance flat tappet engine with light valve springs. Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Maxi wedges come with the good valve springs in the trunk.
     

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