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1971 Spider (USA) 1750 Spica
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My motor oil of choice for my 71 Spider is Valvoline VR-1 20w-50. Here in Croatia, it’s unobtanium. In fact, ANY 20w-50 can’t be found either. All I’m finding is this stuff:

Bottle Liquid Flowerpot Houseplant Fluid


Bottle Font Electric blue Drink Tire



Yep, says it’s for motorcycles. Is this a no-no for my Nord 1750 engine…?

Thanks,
Bob
 

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74 Spider 78 Spider 84 Spider
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synthetics are rumored to cause leaks in older engines. supposedly the cleaning agents/abilities can remove all the gunk along old gaskets/seals allowing oil leaks. and that build up is what helps old "shrunken" gaskets to not weep oil.

or so I've heard. I have not personally experienced this but that's not to say there is not validity in that theory...
 

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I've heard this too which is why I keep my older car on Castrol 20/50.
What about a new build that's only had synthetics?
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Yeah, Alfas never leaked before synthetic oils came out :LOL:

The leaking thing is is a myth due to some issues with early synthetic oil formulations fifty years ago. Also, "synthetic" doesn't really mean anything any more due to some legal outcomes in the 1990s, so pretty much any oil can be marketed as "synthetic" these days. So "don't use synthetic oil" is way out of date on multiple levels.

If you're really curious you can read up on Group III, IV, and V synthetics and the history of oil formulations. Personally I use Mobil 1 (some mixture of Group III and Group IV, probably) without issue. If you're worried then run a Blackstone oil analysis, if the wear metals look okay then the oil is protecting fine whatever the formulation.

Anyway, that Valvoline stuff is API-SL rated, so theoretically it's fine for car engines. The MA-2 means it's got friction modifiers for wet motorcycle clutches, no idea what impact that'll have on a car. If it's the same as the US formulation then it's 1120ppm zinc which should be okay for an Alfa flat tappet engine (recommendation is usually 1200ppm).

I can't see any reason to specifically use VR-1, and I might be inclined to see what other classic car oil options are available instead of the motorcycle stuff. But at least at first glance it won't destroy your engine.
 

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We are running Mobile 1 0-40 Synthetic in our S3 endurance car. It was a free, non-running car that we got running and put a cage in. We don’t know how many miles were on it, but we haven’t even had the head off of it. We drained some very dirty oil out of it, and filled it with the synthetic. After 35 hours of hard racing, it still has good oil pressure and hardly burns any oil. Cams and followers look fine. I run the same oil in a 200+ horsepower vintage race 2L. Also with no problems. Just sayin…….
 

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74 Spider 78 Spider 84 Spider
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FWIW, the guy at the parts shop said that this oil is frequently used by people who have “older” engines.
that's because older engines usually call for a higher weight oil (clearances and tolerances have gotten much tighter over the years of automotive development)...which that stuff is and is the weight that your Alfa calls for
 

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An aside; in my 2001 BMW e39 530i, when it hit about 100k and began drinking the 5w-30 BMW “synthetic” (with my shop discount, it was the least expensive “synthetic” oil that I could purchase) at the rate of more than 1qt per 1000 miles, I switched to Rotella 15w-40 diesel oil. In 5 gallon pails it was less than $2/qt. It cut the consumption in half to 1qt every 2k miles. Recently sold the BMW with 309k miles; engine still running great (oil pan and cylinder head never removed) so I guess it worked ok.
 

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1971 Spider (USA) 1750 Spica
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Speaking of clearances and tolerances… does that mean that I can expect less likelihood of leaks with the modern components (gaskets, bearings, seals, rings, pistons, liners, etc) that I’ll be using to rebuild a 2.0L Nord engine in the fall…?
 

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74 Spider 78 Spider 84 Spider
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Speaking of clearances and tolerances… does that mean that I can expect less likelihood of leaks with the modern components (gaskets, bearings, seals, rings, pistons, liners, etc) that I’ll be using to rebuild a 2.0L Nord engine in the fall…?
nope. no less, no more..."clearances and tolerances" is internal. mass produced engines were not as "tight" way back then so heavier oil was needed to maintain oil pressure. well that's my guess. As production line machining improved over the years, I gather the engine internals "tightened" up and a lighter, thinner oil was needed to insure proper oil circulation.

but again...I'm no engineer...
 

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My 2 cents worth. I have owned a 1989 porsche 944 turbo since 2008 and the prior owner had just switched to synthetic before he sold the car to me because the oil relieve valve was sticking and I had developed a front main oil seal leak so I went back to dino 20w50 and have not had a bit of trouble since. Also, I was running castrol 20/50 for years and then decided to switch to VH1 20/50 and my oil consumption went down. Now granted my car has almost 150,000 miles on it now but I believe that synthetic will cause leaks in older engines from my experience.
 

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I think someone mentioned synthetic oil is OK for new builds..
Can some of the Pros clear this up..
I'm told that's a no no...
 

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The friction modifiers boasted about by oil companies early on (Castrol was first, maybe) weren’t suitable for wet-clutch motorcycles: too slippery, and clutches slipped too much, according to commentary at the time. Nowadays, us motorcyclists pay way-too-much for oil WITHOUT such spiffy modifiers in it. Tho maybe 12-14,000rpms-plus demand other goodies, to be fair.
 

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Alfa Romeo GT Sprint 601507
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If it’s a track car use Lucas hot rod oil 10-40whatever It’s got all the additives
 

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I think someone mentioned synthetic oil is OK for new builds..
Can some of the Pros clear this up..
I'm told that's a no no...
When I rebuild an Alfa engine, I begin with 30w non-detergent oil. After about 50-100 miles I switch to Valvoline 20w-50 VR1. IMO, the only real benefit of the top tier "synthetic" oils is longevity. If you NEED to go 10k miles between oil changes, use synthetic. If you are able to change the oil at 4-6k intervals, use conventional. Just my $0.02
 
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