Jump to content

Which oil for 401?


Recommended Posts

Hello Gents, 

 

   My '63 Riv is running great, but some discussion with my car buddies has me wondering if I should use a different oil than the standard 10W-30 I use. 

 

  Those guys were talking about various additives (zinc is one I recall them mentioning), so it got me wondering if there is a reason to use a different oil than just a plain old 10W-30, which I figured was what was recommended by Buick back in '63.   As usual, I only have questions and no answers. 

 

   Thanks for any advice,

 

Rich in Tampa

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot depends on how many miles are on the engine.  I use Mobil 1 10w-40 High Mileage Full synthetic.  It has the zinc and phosphate (ZDDP) in sufficient quantities that no additives are needed. 1,000 parts per million is recommended. Look at stat sheets for oils and find the ppm for each. If they meet the minimum, you're good to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If your car is already broke in, you are probably fine with the oil you run, Having said that, your engine has a flat tappet design lifter/cam set up. Back in the day of these engines the oils were blended with the proper additives. Not so much now days. For that reason I run Joe Gibbs high zinc formula 10/30. It can't hurt right? Plus when I got my car one lifter would tick on start up for about 30 seconds. After changing to the high zinc formula, that has gone away. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi TampaRiv,

This could be opening a can of worms.  Haha.

First if you are not up to speed on motor oils for flat tappet cam, here is a pretty good article.  http://www.superchevy.com/how-to/corp-0808-worn-down-engines

This has been discussed many times.  Ed states, Mobil 1 High Mileage Full Syn, 900-1000 ppm.  There is Lucas Hot Rod & Classic Motor oil, 2100 ppm.  I have used the Lucas oil in my 67 Firebird 400, my hotrod and in the 64 Riv.

 

Art

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mobil 1 Synthetic that is described as being truly formulated for flat tappet engines is their 15W-50. But that 50 might be pretty thick.  I think the wear (mileage) on your engine will also be significant in what you choose.  I know a guy locally who has over 400,000 miles on his 4.0 L Jeep.  He's used nothing but Shell Rotella in it from day 1. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, RivNut said:

The Mobil 1 Synthetic that is described as being truly formulated for flat tappet engines is their 15W-50. But that 50 might be pretty thick.  I think the wear (mileage) on your engine will also be significant in what you choose.  I know a guy locally who has over 400,000 miles on his 4.0 L Jeep.  He's used nothing but Shell Rotella in it from day 1. 

Ed,

That is true!  The 15W-50 is 1300 ppm of zinc.  Which is better than the 900 ppm.  A lot of people here have built engines over the years, I am one that has had experience with Pontiacs, Chevy SB and Chevy 409's.  After going through several flat tappet cams on the 409, I bit the bullet and went with a full roller valve train.  It was the best engine I ever built.  I will never build another engine with a flat tappet cam.  Almost forgot, there is NO cam break-in with a roller cam and lift setup, just start it and drive it.

Again I stress read articles on the cams and the oils.  I researched the heck out of this stuff several year ago  You will answer your own questions on what type and makeup of oil is best (not brand).

 

Art

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, RivNut said:

A lot depends on how many miles are on the engine.  I use Mobil 1 10w-40 High Mileage Full synthetic.  It has the zinc and phosphate (ZDDP) in sufficient quantities that no additives are needed. 1,000 parts per million is recommended. Look at stat sheets for oils and find the ppm for each. If they meet the minimum, you're good to go.

 

This is what I use.

 

FWIW.  YMMV.

 

😎

Link to post
Share on other sites

I never was a fan of wide multi-grade oils back when we used conventional mineral oil, all those additives such as viscosity enhancers in place of base stock. Not sure nowadays with Synthetic oil with improved flow at ambient temps. Even  with temperature extremes where I live, I choose 10W-30. My kid's M3 non-turbo takes BMW Turbo oil 10W-60 with no mention if it's synthetic!

In my locale, it was tough to find anyone selling Non-API Oils. I settled on Royal Purple Synthetic HPS 10W-30 from a speed shop. Their Product Data Sheet makes no mention of how much ZDDP.

I have since found a discount Jobber with a huge selection of ZDDP enriched Motor Oil.

1st and last time Royal Purple, pricey and the colour looks already dirty on the dip-stick!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using Super Tech Heavy Duty SAE 15W-40 Motor Oil.  It's got a high concentration of ZDDP according to the datasheet and comparing that number with other brands/types.  I haven't seen any negative effects with it in Southern CA climate.

 

Chris

Edited by first64riv
added location for reference (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

So Ed,  if I were to convert to the Mobil 1 Synthetic,  would it be a matter of simply changing the oil and filter?   Thanks to all you guys for your input, I knew you'd have the answers.

 

By the way, it's miserably hot and humid here in Tampa (our "Polar Vortex", only in reverse!). I did take the Riv out for a drive today, but without the AC working, it was brutal.  In another month's time, we'll be enjoying the nice weather all through the winter months until June.  Everything's a trade-off I guess.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can switch without doing anything else. But the synthetic oil will start to clean the sludge from your engine. Therefore, you need to keep an eye on how long the new oil stays clean.  You might need to do two or three oil changes before what's recommended.  FYI - I can almost always find the Mobil 1 at Wally's World for less than $25 for a 5 quart jug.  Leaves you more $$ to spend on that quality filter.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see NOBODY read the article or you would not be jumping to Mobil 1 for your Riv.  Mobil 1 is a good motor oil, but not for older cars with flat tappet cams.  I gave you all an article to start with and there are more on the topic.  I can't stress it enough do the research and get the FACTS.  

 

Art

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually buy Havoline oil. When it says Texas Oil Company, TEXACO, on the jug I just get a good feeling my money is going to the right place.

Photographs by Horace Poolaw at National Museum of the American Indian -  The New York Times

 

Texas and Oklahoma are tapping the same pool anyway.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it more important to look at how often you change your oil than the type. I use valvoline vr1 but I change the oil at least one a year regardless of the miles. With synthetic oils they call for longer intervals on oil changes. My vehicles sit during the winter months and I don't want the dirt and moisture sitting in the engine  all winter. The pervious owner of my riviera used Mobil 1 and said it was the only type of oil used since he rebuilt the engine. One of my first projects after getting the car was to change the lifters. It sounded like a $100 dollar beater for about 3 or 4 minutes when started. The lifters were not worn but I was surprised there was a little sludge in the lifter valley. No problems since changing lifter and oil.

Kevin 

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Jim Cannon said:

Hi Jim,

That is true.  And not all oils are the same!  And not all engines are the same!  Since 87-88 everything went roller cam/lifters (I know Corvette was the first), you don't need the anti-wear additives in the oil, but older engines do.  Especially when you rarely drive it (cold starts), like most of us with our Riv's.  Wouldn't you much rather have the extra protection 2100 ppm's of ZDDP motor oil than a 900-1000 ppm's.

https://lucasoil.com/pdf/Zinc_Values_https://lucasoil.com/pdf/Zinc_Values_MotorcycleOil.pdfMotorcycleOil.pdf

 

Art

Link to post
Share on other sites

I switched to Synthetic motor oil for all my rides back when it became available and purchased only what was on sale. I can't say the same for Non-API oil and that's what we're talking about here. Think about it. Why would a retailer stock the stuff? I seriously considered going the Amsoil route with their 'Z-Rod' product. But, late last year, I found a Jobber, a discount supplier at that with quite a selection of motor oil with ZDDP including Lucas Oil.

All Mobile-1 motor oils up here are API oils and stay away for my nailhead.

 

From what I recall from an oil seminar a decade ago, wide multi-grade oils have a shorter oil change interval. Can't remember if was for synthetic or mineral formulations?

 

Oil Filters too, NAPA Gold always out-of-stock. Fram PH-11 availability iffy at other stores. So, K&N #HP-2003 was only a couple bucks more and on-the-shelf at a speed shop. Support them for thinking of us.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...