The Following was Posted on the V8buick.com Website by Jim Weise the owner of Tri Shield Performance & Founder of V8Buick.com
I had the opportunity tonight to attend a Seminar on oils and high performance engines put on by a local supply house, the presenter was Lake Speed JR, who is the son of Retired Nascar driver Lake Speed, and is currently employed By Joe Gibbs racing. He is a lubrication specialist for the team, and very knowledgeable on the subject, as you would expect.
Discussion was about their break in and high performance "Hot Rod" oils.
We all know and have beat to death the whole thing about ZDDP, and it reduction in 2004 in normal passenger car oils. This lead to a slew of flat tappet cam failures.
I won't go into the whole thing on that, most of us know that you want over 1100PPM of ZDDP in your oil.
But tonight, I learned there are other factors to consider in your oil choice.
While an oil with high ZDDP is great, the other factor to consider is detergent, mainly Calcium these days.
Calcium and ZDDP fight each other in the oil.. In a nutshell, the ZDDP works to lay a anti-wear film on the parts, and the calcium works to clean that off.
When choosing an oil to use as the base for your bottle of ZDDP, if your going that way, it's important to get one with the lowest levels of detergent you can find.
Any oil with the "API donut" with a certification by them (newest one is now SN) has to have a high level of calcium in it. It's part of the requirements to get the certification. This is because as the CAFE standards keep increasing, OEM's are continually redesigning the engines to move the piston ring lands closer to the combustion chamber, to eliminate dead areas in the cylinder, and reducing emissions. They are also using more aggressive EGR flows, to keep the NOX down. Both these lead to excessive carbon buildup in the engine.
To keep these engines clean, they have to have the higher levels of detergent in them.
And they "bag" the exhaust of these engines when they do the test, and reduce the fuel economy, base on analysis of the exhaust emissions.. makes no sense, but that's how they do it.
Generally speaking, you want to stay away from those API certified oils, if possible, even if your dumping in the bottle of additive. That's virtually everything on the shelf of your local auto parts store. The calcium PPM does in fact vary from brand to brand, so do your research to find the lowest levels of Calcium in your base oil.
Or you might not be as protected as you think.
Another interesting thing I learned that may be of value for us here, is that their "Hot Rod oil" has a mil spec anti-corrosion additive in it. Originally developed for the US Military, to allow engines in combat vehicles to be stored for extended periods of time, without corrosion inside the engine. That's certainly a benefit for those of us up north that store the cars in unheated garages, over the winter.
Lots of other discussion about bearing clearance vs oil viscosity vs oil temps, bottom line is that for most of us in the .002-.003 range on our clearances at oil temps from 150-180* , 30wt oil is the way to go.
And finally, a lengthy discussion was held on hydraulic roller cam motors. Since the audience was filled with Chev and Ford engine builders, the majority of their customers have gone to these now.
While the need for high ZDDP/low detergent is greatly reduced in these engines, he has some data from Comp cams, which indicates that even with the high performance roller cams, it's still a good idea to have flat-tappet friendly oil in the engine. What they are seeing is "tracking" of the wheel into the camshaft, as well as accelerated rates of roller lifter failures, when modern API certified passenger car oils are used.
You still want an oil with the high levels of the extreme pressure additive (ZDDP) and low levels of detergent. That was news to me, as I was mistakenly thinking we didn't have to worry about that anymore, with the roller cams we now have for our Buicks.
Just thought I would pass that on.
Buick Engine Tech Forum.
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