Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently purchased a 1986 Alfa Spider Veloce and I was curious as to what is the best engine oil I should use. The manual says 10w-50, but I've also read in various books and publications that 15W-50 or 20W-50 is fine as well. Also, should I use traditional oil or synthetic oil?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
17,039 Posts
Welcome Nick. Oil is almost a religious topic - everyone seems to have some deeply held beliefs...

Anyway, 20w-50 is a commonly used weight. Valvoline VR-1 is well regarded brand (non-synthetic). There are other brands that used to be recommended but (why is there always a but...) the additive packages have changed in recent years. Our cars need some compounds popularly called 'zinc' to protect the flat tappet cams. But (there it is again!) too much of these zinc compounds are not good for catalytic converters so the oil companies have reduced the levels of zinc in most of their oils. If you can find the specs, 1200+ PPM of zinc is what you seek. Generally, avoid oils labeled as 'Energy Conserving' - these will be lower weight oils (5W-20, etc) with little to no zinc.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
899 Posts
Here in Buffalo, NY I have used Castrol 10w 40 for many many years. I have not seen a failure from using this oil.

And welcome aboard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
For regular driving and a stock-ish motor, oil choice is unlikely to make a huge difference on our cars unless you use something wildly out of spec (like 0-20 or something). I like Mobil 1 15w50 for my spider as it has higher zinc content than other weights and is readily available for a reasonable price. 5w40 should also do the trick. One of the main reasons why synthetic is nice is because it allows wider cold/hot weight ranges. 5w40 doesn't exist without synthetic. Helpful if you are going to start it on cold days.
 

·
Registered
1978 Spider
Joined
·
349 Posts
If you are seeking Zinc...I suggest motorcycle oils...they tend to have a higher Zinc content...not sure why but as ghnl alludes to, perhaps its the flat tappet thing. Many bikes have used flat tappet lifters, requiring shims to adjust, like my old V-Max (1985-2005). 20W-50 is a common weight for Harleys. Several brands of oil offer this weight specifically formulated for motorcycles...both in synthetic and dino flavor...

Motorcycles also don't tend to have a cat to deal with. But that is changing. My 2010 Harley "had" one. My 2008 Harley did not. I suspect many Spiders are running cat free anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
If you are seeking Zinc...I suggest motorcycle oils...they tend to have a higher Zinc content...not sure why but as ghnl alludes to, perhaps its the flat tappet thing. Many bikes have used flat tappet lifters, requiring shims to adjust, like my old V-Max (1985-2005). 20W-50 is a common weight for Harleys. Several brands of oil offer this weight specifically formulated for motorcycles...both in synthetic and dino flavor...

Motorcycles also don't tend to have a cat to deal with. But that is changing. My 2010 Harley "had" one. My 2008 Harley did not. I suspect many Spiders are running cat free anyway.
If you do have a catalytic converter, you don't want to just go for the highest zinc oil as it can foul the cats. I'd also be wary of using a motorcycle oil. Many motorcycle engines run at much higher RPMs, and are likely formulated accordingly.
 

·
Registered
1978 Spider
Joined
·
349 Posts
My Harleys can't match Alfas rpms...and the PO put a pre-74 system on...but I use regular 20W-50 for a car anyway...might use MC oil in the future, IDK
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top