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Discussion Starter #1
I know many people have already heard that wear additives in oils have been dramatically reduced in the past couple of years due to new EPA regulations. It is documented that people have worn down camshafts within few hundred miles who ran common name brand oils not knowing they had been changed, especially with new engine break ins. Do a web search for more info. The engines most affected by the decreases amounts of zinc and phosphorous are push rod and flat tappet engines (which category our old Alfa engined fall into). I have 3 old Fiats & Abarth that are push rod engines as well.

I have switched over to Shell Rotella t HD 15 40 after reading recommendations from many classic car and motorcycle experts. It is a very high grade oil that can be used in any gas or diesel powered vehicle. I found out today from the Shell Tech person that due to new requirements, Shell did have to reduce slightly the zinc content a few months back, but it is still .12% down from .14%, which is about what classic oils had in them. By contrast, many modern oils do not have even half of that anymore, even many of the expensive synthetics. Rotella comes in gallon containers and cost about $12 gallon at Walmart and Kragens . I highly recommend it.

So be carefull what oil you run in your Alfa, especially if you are breaking in a new engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The reason I posted this info was that I have found that many of my customers are still not aware that oil formulations have recently changed again to the detriment of older cars. Some folks are still running the same name brands they have used for years and don't realize the no longer offer the protection they used to for older engine designs. I also wanted to add that an "LE" (low emissions) indication on any oil bottle is a dead give-away to not pour it into your classic car. As of a few months ago, the other major brands of diesel oil (that had been recommended a year ago) now do not now contain enough zinc and other anti wear additives for push rod and flat tappet cam engines. Chevron's Delo now has "LE" and "SG" on the bottle,which signify the latest reformulation without most of the zinc.
 

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Zinc content in motor oils

The zinc content in Rotella (and other diesel oils) has been reduced, and will continue to be reduced, to meet EPA limits on zinc in motor oils. Rotella is due for another reduction for next year, I was told by Shell.

Oil additives with ZDDP (the zinc-containing compound whose concentration is being reduced) include Marvel Mystery Oil, STP, and Rislone--although I think some formulations of these products do not contain ZDDP; check the label.

You can learn more about ZDDP by doing a web search under "ZDDP." There was also a long discussion on this subject in the Yahoo 750-101 group recently.

Jeffrey Frey
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I asked the head tech person at Shell last week if I should stock up on the current oil, and he said there were no more revisions needed at this point, and the current formula would meet federal regulations for at least the next 3 years, if not longer.

He also said that the industry underestimated the affect removing the zinc would have on older engine designs. Now that they know, you think they would be required to put a warning on the products that no longer have the needed stuff to protect earlier engines.

He was recommending to their marketing department to change the label on Rotella T to inform people of its appropriate use for older designs of gasoline engines. Because as of now, the label just talks about using it in diesels.
 

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<sarcasm warning!> Wasn't that nice of the oil companies to let everyone know about the formulation change!?! Most of the cars using these oils were getting their cat converters torn up by the ZDDP, but those of us with vintage cars have only found out because of torn up engines.

After doing some research, I've decided to use Valvoline VR-1 20-W50. It's a conventional base stock (so not a lot of $). There's lots of other racing formulations out there, but most of the others are synthetic based.

Would it be cheaper/better to keep using my Castrol and just add MMO? I'm adding it to the fuel anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The problem with racing oil is most have little or no detergent packages in them like street formulations do. Probably won't make much of a difference on an occasional driver, but could end up gumming things up in the long run on a car that gets a lot of miles put on it.
 

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So, I can use the VR-1 racing oil (with the ZDDP) and add MMO as a detergent -or- use the Castrol 20-w50 and add a ZDDP additive (STP...)??? I'm more concerned with adding too much detergent that would strip away the boundary layer lube that the ZDDP offers!
 

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Rosso Veloce;405206Would it be cheaper/better to keep using my Castrol and just add MMO? [/QUOTE said:
Probably not IMO. MMO has a watery consistity which probably would dilute your 20w-50 down quite a bit. I think it's time to look at what exactly is in STP.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
most chemical engineers I have spoken to don't recommend oil additives. The reason is that they can interact with the oil in ways that lead to unknown and unintended results. Better off sticking with a swill mixed up on purpose by the product designers. Marine and motorcycle oils are another alternative, as they are not affected by the new requirements. marine oils are especially good in cars that sit a lot, as they are resistant to moisture contamination. I am trying out an Amsoil marine oil in my Abarth coupe right now. Its expensive is the only draw back, but not as expensive as having my Abarth 1050CC engine damaged!

At some point, we may be having this discussion about the "New formula gasoline" that runs like crap in older cars (that kind of happened out here in CA when the MTBE stuff was forced on us-I'm glad that is gone). It will make this oil issue seem like nothing.
 

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I think many people here are using Castrol 20W50.....so we should stop using it?:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good question. As of a year or so ago, most of the common 20 W 50 formulas, especially those labeled "high mileage", still contained acceptable amounts of anti-ware additives, even though they were less than they had been before (as opposed to the lighter multigrade weights of the same exact brand which all but eliminated zinc).

Be nice if they listed these ingredients on the label, wouldn't it? Maybe a call to Castrol tech suuport would be in order. I did see a letter from Castrol online recently that told the person to not use their current line of auotmotive oil in a motorcycle because of the recent reduction iof zinc & phosphorous.

Here is a post I copied from the BB from a while back. Do not know if it is 100% true or not.

"In the Alfa Owner a couple of months ago they had a article on Zinc in the oils today and they said they contacted Castrol and they said that their Castrol GTX 20/50 does not have zinc anymore.

The article also gave a short list of oils that still contains zinc. Most of those oils were racing oils not legal for street use. One of the oils they listed that has zinc was 20/50 Valvoline Race oil that is only availble at NAPPA."
 

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Here is a post I copied from the BB from a while back. Do not know if it is 100% true or not.

"In the Alfa Owner a couple of months ago they had a article on Zinc in the oils today and they said they contacted Castrol and they said that their Castrol GTX 20/50 does not have zinc anymore.

I looked back to June (or May ?) of last year and couldn't find any article.
 

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Zinc content in mineral motor oil

Guys,

Hooking up on to this thread, I´ve yesterday sent a querry to Shell of Sweden (where I´m based) regarding the zinc contents in Shell´s Helix Super 10-40 mineral oil (still in the market here), which I guess is the closiest match to the propper motor oil for our cars recomended in the car´s manual, and the answer I received today was, this specific oil contains 0,10 % zinc which, according to Shell, should be enough to keep our engines going without worrying for there´s condition.

Any comments?

Dennis

´62 Giulia 1600 Sprint
´62 Giulia 1600 Spider (with ´61 1300 engine, if stock or not, still a mystery)
 

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here's Castrol's reply to my question about Zinc in GTX20W50, and whether I should switch:

"Thank you for contacting Castrol,

Castrol is aware of articles in enthusiast magazines and web-sites, as well
as after-market parts manufacturer discussions concerning GF-4 engine oils
and cam-shaft durability issues in older performance vehicles. Some
consumers suspect the lower level of ZDDP in GF-4 oils may be causing these
failures. Castrol is currently investigating this issue.

For those consumers that wish not to use a GF-4 oil in these vehicles,
Castrol does offer the following products that contain Zinc at a level that
is typical of the Zinc level found in oils (API SG) marketed during the
"muscle car" era of time:


The following Castrol products have Zinc levels that are typical of API SG
oil:

1. Castrol Syntec 20W-50 (*NEWLY FORMULATED classic oil formula - see link
to website below for information on our new 20W-50 product)
2. Castrol SYNTEC 5W-40
3. Castrol Grand Prix 4T 10W-40 (product has been replaced by Castrol
Motorcycle 4T 10W-40)
4. Castrol Grand Prix 4T 20W-50 (product has been replaced by Castrol
Motorcycle 4T 20W-50)
5. Castrol GO! ATV 10W-40
6. Castrol GO! ATV 20W-50
7. Castrol TWS Motorsport 10W-60 (full synthetic, available @ BMW
dealerships)
8. BMW Long Life 5W-30 (full synthetic, available @ BMW dealerships)
9. Castrol GO! 10W-40 Motorcycle Oil
10. Castrol GO! 20W-50 Motorcycle Oil

If installing a new performance cam in an older performance vehicle, it is
important to:
* follow the installation recommendations provided by the cam
manufacturer
* use the recommended cam break-in lube
* prime the engine oil circuits
* use the recommended engine oil
. confirm valvetrain geometries prior to starting the engine with the
new cam

*
http://www.castrol.com/castrol/genericarticle.do?categoryId=82915470&contentId=7032644

Castrol Consumer Relations."

So this would mean I have to switch to synthetic, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
good job! Thanks for getting the latest info directly from the source-that is what I did with Shell Rotella.

From the response you got, I'd say it was safe to say the regular 20W50 old stand by Castrol probably isn't the best choice anymore.

Synthetics are fine if your car doesn't already leak and you don't mind the extra $.
 

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I bet the'll be quite the hose job done with prices for this "new" old 20w-50. Syntex isn't even a "pure/real/actual" syn either. It's IIRC a Group 3 or a more "purified" (for lack of a better work) dino oil.
 

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Synthetics are fine if your car doesn't already leak ....
they also are fine for a car that doesn't already leak that you want to leak or for a car that leaks that you want to leak more IMO.
 
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