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I went to the oil wholesaler today intending to buy some motor oil for my spring change today and found that oils have evolved yet again. I have been buying Shell Rotella for mixed use (gas or diesel). What I found is that Rotella no longer has a designation (SN in the API donut) for gasoline engines. I bought Chevron Delo because it had the SN designation but called the technical support number to be sure the oil was okay to use in gasoline engines. What tech support said was that most ZDDP had been removed from Diesel engine oil. I was told that what I bought was okay for my application but was not significantly different from strictly gasoline motor oil. Anyone else by motor oil lately? What is going on? Zeke

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I use this in my Mercury that has a freshly built engine. 30 wt though.

 

VR1-RACINGOIL

 

 

Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil's high zinc provides race-level protection for high performance engines on the race track and is compatible with passenger vehicles.

  • High zinc/phosphorus for anti-wear protection, including push-rod & flat tappet applications
  • Formulated to increase horsepower
  • Enhanced anti-foam system protects engine during extreme stress
  • Recommended for engines burning gasoline and full or partial alcohol fuels
Edited by Laughing Coyote (see edit history)

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Hoo boy.....  The rabbit hole is deep... deep...deep....

 

The trouble, as I understand it, is that you cannot certify an oil to an API standard that is no longer current, and that makes it hard to tell what you have. On bobistheoilguy.com, people regularly send their oil in for analysis, and the reports on the zinc content of Rotella and VR1 have been conflicting over the years. Also, the 10w30 and 15w40 Rotellla might (or might not) have different zinc content from each other in the USA due to some legal requirement. Australians and New Zealanders do not seem to be complaining about that, so your location may matter. The last time I looked into it, Shell had conflicting information on their website about Rotella. Someone on bobistheoilguy noticed and asked Shell. IIRC he never got a straight answer. Valvoline claimed to have not reduced the zinc in VR1, but certified to some standard that implied lower zinc, When the numbers came back they were lower. It is unclear whether they went back up. They may have. VR1 is supposed to be racing oil, and should not require a certification for use in new cars. The current bottle advertises high zinc. YMMV.

 

Thats a short as I can make it. You could literally read about this all day and all night for months. It is more complicated than simply the level of zinc, due to interactions with other things that are added to the oil. You can have too much.

 

These are both oils I use. I guess thats an endorsement. On a couple of the cars (pushrod v8s) I dump in the zinc additive. I have no idea whether it does more harm than good.

 

P.S. I wouldn't worry about the lack of a Gasoline engine certification. If high zinc is what you want, you probably aren't going to get one.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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In Oz we have a very good source of oils suitable for older vehicles, some with high ZDDP - local company , but they are present in USA. Been  here since 1926, so they know a bit.

https://www.penriteoil.com.au/locator?country=usa

I use a high zinc 10-50 (HPR-10) in an 80s Porsche  V8 SOHC, and a couple of 90s Miata engines with no issues. Not sure if they are classed as 'expensive' in US terms. They also do a lot of lubes for 20s and 30s models, as Steering boxes, single weight engine oils etc. Very helpful people. As I understand ZDDP levels, its most important when a newly rebuilt engine is being broken in, but less so with a well used engine. 

jp 26 Rover 9

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If you buy a diesel oil with API CI-4 you will get maximum "zinc". I need it for my tractor. CJ-4 has slightly less "zinc".

 

If you buy ANY fully synthetic oil, forget about "zinc". It will be better than ALL mineral oils in terms of minimising wear. If you want to find out about "zinc" and viscosity, read Widman's paper and while there, look around the other information there.

http://www.widman.biz/Corvair/English/Links/Oil.html

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2 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

If you buy a diesel oil with API CI-4 you will get maximum "zinc". I need it for my tractor. CJ-4 has slightly less "zinc". 

 

It SHOULD be that simple but in the US apparently it isn't. I'm not even sure you can still buy CI-4 here, but when you could, test results were all over the place.

 

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to find solid science-based answers to these questions. I still have no idea how to reliably get zinc, or if I need it.

 

2 hours ago, Spinneyhill said:

If you buy ANY fully synthetic oil, forget about "zinc". It will be better than ALL mineral oils in terms of minimising wear.

 

They have a test that involves spinning a ball bearing on a piece of metal under tons of pressure (or something like that) to determine scuff resistance. Yes, synthetics do extremely well. Consider this though, zinc was originally added to combat scuffing when the oil was not doing its job, or not present, such as on a cold start. How well could the synthetic do if it is not present, and how could you ever quantify that? Perhaps theres a simple answer, but I don't recall ever seeing it discussed.

 

It is also interesting to note that there are many "synthetic" oils sold in the US that would not be called synthetic anywhere else. In practice, this is almost all of them.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Bloo said:

not present, such as on a cold start.

Now we are talking about the viscosity. That is why we use a 0W or 5W-30 or -40. The first number with the W refers to behaviour when cold and a low number before the W means it behaves like an SAE 0 or 5 oil, which further means it is very easy to pump around to get some lubrication as soon as possible on cold start.  In many ways it is good to crank the engine for a few seconds before it starts, to circulate some oil.

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16 minutes ago, Spinneyhill said:

Now we are talking about the viscosity

 

Except I wasn't really talking about the viscosity really. Yes, low viscosity will get the oil there quicker on a cold start. I was talking about a dry camshaft, for instance, that all the oil has run off of, vs a dry camshaft with some zinc residue embedded in it. At that point it doesn't really matter how good the oil is. It isn't there, yet.

 

As I understand it that was the whole purpose of the zinc.

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5 minutes ago, Bloo said:

As I understand it that was the whole purpose of the zinc.

I think it was introduced as an anti-wear agent, but not for the purpose you describe. At very high engine speeds, pressure builds up between the cam lobes and the followers. This intense pressure squeezes motor oil out from between these two parts – creating the need for anti-wear additives. Zinc (ZDDP) was introduced to take care of this, esp. in high performance engine with flat tappets.

 

The zinc is bonded to the surface, not embedded, I think.

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There are a few brands in alphabetical order that make oil with high Zinc levels for vintage cars

 

Amsoil ZRod:  https://www.amsoil.com/lit/databulletins/g2883.pdf

 

Brad Penn:  http://trf.zeni.net/featureT6/49.php

 

Hemmings:  https://www.hemmings.com/classic-oil

 

Lucas Oil:  https://lucasoil.com/hotrods-classic-cars

 

Valvoline VR-1 Racing:  https://sharena21.springcm.com/Public/Document/18452/18bdee61-0a7e-e711-9c10-ac162d889bd3/a61538b4-0cbd-e711-9c12-ac162d889bd1

 

Valvoline VR-1 Synthetic Racing:  https://sharena21.springcm.com/Public/Document/18452/ff44b91e-cb81-e711-9c10-ac162d889bd3/8213a6c1-0cbd-e711-9c12-ac162d889bd1



 

 

 

 

 

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After reading the replies I think I will use the oil I bought for this change ,regrouping for the future. It appears that the Chevron Delo will work for this application. It’s certainly better than what passed for good in 1933. My main concern was to avoid a situation that might void my Dodge Brothers warranty. (s)Thanks to all for the research and thoughtful comments. Zeke

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