Register now to get rid of these ads!

Hot Rods Proper oil for engines w. flat tappet camshafts

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by blazedogs, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 470


    I realize when braking in a freshly built engine especially w. flat top lifters one should use a brake -in oil with a high Zinc content or a additive. Now with all the government restrictions the make up of oil on the shelves today has changed even more and the wear on engines w. flat top lifters is said to be even more. Should we be searching more now for high Zinc oil or a additive for( ever oil change) as we pile on the miles ?

    Seems to be a lot of controversy on the subject..
    Gene in Mn
  2. No... It's everywhere! :)

    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,294


    flat bottom, maybe? :)

    I just use normal oil.

    In one of our recent discussions on the subject, a fellow here who knows a lot about oil gave a pretty good explanation of how ZDDP works. Modern oils have less than older oils, but not a whole lot less...and it's something that goes away over time, as the engine runs it transfers from the oil to the engine parts. So when it's depleted, it's time to change the oil. Most of us change our oil way more often than needed, so it seems that the lower ZDDP levels in modern oils are not really a problem, at all. I haven't had any issues with cams lately, and I use the cheapest modern spec oil that I can find (that blue bottle from WalMart, although I use the stuff designed for gasoline engines, not that pictured, which is for diesel engines).

    If you're really worried about it, put a roller cam in it...otherwise, just drive and enjoy.
    mad mikey, Hnstray and Montana1 like this.
  4. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,640


    Hi. I use the Valvoline VR1 Racing oil. It has lots of Zinc. The reason for the Racing classification is that makes in an off road oil & the Government regulations do not apply. It is avalible at Napa Parts Stores down here in Texas.
    Torana68 likes this.

  5. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 21,425

    Staff Member

    I think he means a flat tappet camshaft.....I am pretty sure there is no such thing as a flat top lifter. I am going to edit the title....
    Blues4U and Montana1 like this.
  6. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,651


    If you have a Menards near you its cheaper there.
  7. 283john
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 822


    I see flat-top lifters at the gym sometimes.
    bobss396, 56shoebox and hotrodyankee like this.
  8. Cleveland Coupe
    Joined: Aug 16, 2008
    Posts: 71

    Cleveland Coupe

    on the Valvoline VR-1 !!!!
    Amazon, Jegs and Summit usually have good deals !!!

    Sent from my iPad using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  9. Here come ol' Flat Top, he come groovin' up slowly...Thanks..Stuck in my head now. Want to pass it off to someone else...
    razoo lew, Jet96 and Blues4U like this.
  10. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 4,129


    Bugger... Hanks a lot! Now who can take it out of my head?
  11. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,231


  12. image.jpeg A lot of the misunderstanding comes from the amount of pressure(psi) the valve springs exert on the lifter which puts pressure on the camshaft. If you are running a radical camshaft that call for a lot of spring pressure(open or closed) in order for the lifter to follow the lobe on the camshaft closely,you will MOST likely run some amount of this ZDDP in order to get proper lubrication.If you have a flathead(which don't have pushrods or rocker arms) you shouldn't need anything but a good,decent motor oil. I have had hi perf flatheads for 55 years and have yet to see a wiped out camshaft in any of my engines. I regularly drag race my engines and punish them pretty hard. Run any decent approved motor oil and you shouldn't experience any problems in a Flatmotor.
    Texas Webb and 56shoebox like this.
  13. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 8,116

    anthony myrick

    been using rotella with zinc additive on fresh motors
    straight rotella after break in
    so far, so good
  14. X 20
  15. RamJet1
    Joined: Apr 9, 2012
    Posts: 343


    I didn't read the article, but have read many others. My '65 L-79 with a solid lifter cam rounded-off a lobe and was working on others when I discovered it. I drove it daily and hadn't heard about the zinc reduction in modern oils. All the shops, including the one that rebuilt it for me, said that the lack of zinc lubricating that area would cause the failure.
    So, all my flat tappet engines now run Valvoline VR-1, and O'Reilly's carries it as well.
    And no matter what side you stand on, using a high-zinc oil couldn't hurt, right?
  16. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,894


    Read here and product sold here, support the HAMB Alliance vendors -
  17. I've used a Brad Penn blend that is high ZDDP and my next change will use a Kendall product that is similar. I have a local speed shop that has a good oil and filter selection.
    TagMan likes this.
  18. My Model A (avatar) has a 322 Buick, I use Valvoline VR1 Racing oil, works well!
  19. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 470


  20. blazedogs
    Joined: Sep 22, 2014
    Posts: 470


    Flat tappet oil
    Sorry wasn,t clear what I was talking about

    Thanks for the reply,s I was not aware that oil with zink was still around that much anymore This will be my last freshly built engine at my age and want to put a lot of miles on it without issues.. Gene
  21. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,150


    Brad Penn in all my old engines.
  22. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,294


    I was reading up on oil for Corvairs (of all things), found an interesting report, which included an analysis of oil from an old can from the late 1960s....back then, the ZDDP level was about half what it is in the modern "low zinc" oils!

    but since oil selection is mostly based on faith, not facts, I don't expect anyone will care :)
  23. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,581

    Rusty O'Toole

    Another factor a lot of people don't know about is that refineries have improved a lot over the last 40 years. Purer oil means less additives are needed, the old oils needed additives to fight contaminants that were in the oil from the refinery!

    Some of those old refineries are still chugging away, making cheap oil while the better quality oils come from the new refineries. This is why you might find more additives in the cheaper brands than in the more expensive ones.
  24. One of my customers is a Wal-Mart district manager and drives a '39 Chevy hot rod and we got to talking - about oils - and I asked him what he uses. Low and behold he told me that he uses Super-Tech (Wal-Mart's brand) because it is just a commodity. :eek:

    He went on to tell me that they buy their (private label) oils from whoever gets the most shelf space. That means if Mobil, or Shell, or Castrol, or whoever, has the most shelf space at a particular store, that's who got the contract.

    He said they all build the oil to Super-Tech specs, and put it in blue jugs and we sell it at Wal-Mart prices. :eek::cool: That settled it for me! ;) Just like all the other labels, some oil has enough zinc and some doesn't.

    I personally like the "heavy duty" designated oil in the blue jug, made specifically for both gas and diesel machinery. I've had it tested at Blackstone Labs and it has the right zinc for FLAT TAPPET cams.
  25. stubbsrodandcustom
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,408

    from Spring tx

    Running vr1 in mine. The 440 has a pretty nasty cam so it's a must. The 318 has a lid bump stick so I could use conventional but choose vr1 there also. My local oreilly stocks 10-30 for me personally. Tell em you want a case or talk with the manager and ask them to stock it for you. Most of the time they will. Have a hard time putting diesel oil in my hotrod. Just don't know why but I do.
  26. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,734


    I find this quite interesting!
  27. Probably just because it says "DIESEL" on the jug. That motor doesn't know what oil is in there. :eek: It only knows if it is doing it's job! :D But, if it makes you feel good... ;)
    stubbsrodandcustom and bedwards like this.
  28. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,484

    jimmy six

    We run about as radical a flat tappet cast iron cam in our 1/2 mile dirt 422" iron-iron Dart as we can and use Delo 400. We also change all the oils and Wix racing filter after 4 races. The engine runs on the track from 4800 to 7000 with 140# valve spring pressure on the seat 320# over the nose and we've never had an oil related problem and never lost or hurt a cam...
    Truck64 and stubbsrodandcustom like this.

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!


Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.