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I was wondering what the general consensus is on motor oil these days. I have a 74 Spyder and have been using Valvoline 20-50 racing oil, mostly because of the ZDDP protection.
I recently brought my head up to Don Ereminus for some work and he thought that the bit of oil still in the head looked very dirty; it only had about 2500 miles on it. We talked about a few different brands; Don likes Mobil 1 but I don't think it has the ZDDP, witch concerns me.
I would like a few thoughts from the BB gang. Thanks very much!
 

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I was wondering what the general consensus is on motor oil these days. I have a 74 Spyder and have been using Valvoline 20-50 racing oil, mostly because of the ZDDP protection.
I recently brought my head up to Don Ereminus for some work and he thought that the bit of oil still in the head looked very dirty; it only had about 2500 miles on it. We talked about a few different brands; Don likes Mobil 1 but I don't think it has the ZDDP, witch concerns me.
I would like a few thoughts from the BB gang. Thanks very much!
Mobil 1 15W50 has plenty of ZDDP. I've used it for years, and like that it's relatively cheap and readily available.

http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Files/Mobil_1_Product_Guide.pdf

-Jason
 

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If you search this site or any other classic car site, you will see lots of different opinions. I use Mobil One 10w-40 high mileage. Just use something with a high ZDDP "zinc" protection, which ususally means 10w40 or 20w50. Bob's Oil Site - Bob is the Oil Guy has lots of good info.
 

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1969 Alfa Spider 1750 veloce.
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Check out the FAQ Oil Jihad...
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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you might have some extra blowby which will dirty up the oil faster than normal. the valvoline 20w-50 racing oil is a non detergent oil or so I've read which will get dirtirer faster. I use the valvoline reg 20-50 and have had good success with it.
 

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I was wondering what the general consensus is on motor oil these days. I have a 74 Spyder and have been using Valvoline 20-50 racing oil, mostly because of the ZDDP protection.
I recently brought my head up to Don Ereminus for some work and he thought that the bit of oil still in the head looked very dirty; it only had about 2500 miles on it. We talked about a few different brands; Don likes Mobil 1 but I don't think it has the ZDDP, witch concerns me.
I would like a few thoughts from the BB gang. Thanks very much!
I've been using Mobil One 15-50 in all of my Alfas forever, maybe even longer. No engi e trouble, ever.

YMMV,

bs
 

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If you look at the link I posted earlier you'll see the Mobil 1 15W50 has 1200 PPM Phosphorus and 1300 PPM Zinc. That's about as good as anything you'll find. I came across an explanation somewhere that while the latest API SM oil standard mandated the lower levels in most standard multi-weight viscosities there is no mandate defined for the non-standard 15W50, which is how Mobil can still get away with the higher ZDDP levels.

The 15W50 viscosity is about perfect for an Alfa engine anyway, so it works well all around.

Here's a quote from the "Bob is the oil guy" forums. The original API doc no longer seems to be on-line:
"Phosphorus limits of 0.08 max and 0.06 min apply to API SM SAE 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils. A phosphorus limit of 0.10 max applies to API SJ SAE 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils and API SL SAE 0W-20, 0W-30, 5W-20, 5W-30, and 10W-30 oils. A limit of 0.12 max applies to API SH SAE 5W-30 and 10W-30 oils (SH must be preceded by a “C” category). If CF-4, CG-4, CH-4 and/or CI-4 categories precede SM or SL and there is no API Certification Mark, the limit for phosphorus does not apply."

-Jason
 

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I still use Castrol 20W50 in my Alfa too. I've thought about the synthetics for years, but never had a good reason to change. My BMW uses only the latest Castrol synthetic, which is awfully expensive (especially in BMW plastic from the dealer - but it's still Castrol).

BMW specifically does not allow Mobile One or any other synthetic. Anybody know what the zinc and phosphorous content of the Castrol stuff is? Is it really better than the other synthetics?

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Is this oil synthetic? Thanks.
 

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The BMW requirement is Castrol Syntec, now called "Castrol EDGE with Syntec Technology". It's the state-of-art in synthetics. The question for Alfas is: What is the ZZDP level?

Robert
 

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71 Berlina 74 GTV 17 Giulia Q4
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I used to swear by Catrol 20-50 until I learned that all they do is spec out the oil and get anyone to make it. One friend found debris in the bottom of a jug of new Castrol. I've since swithched to Valvoline 20-50 and and get about 7 more psi oil pressure and an a happy camper. It's all pretty irrelevant in the sense that most all major brands are good oils and if changed regularlly I doubt you'd see much difference between a two motor test on tear down. just my 02
 

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Actually, I'd believe that all oil is made in one batch! I do know that US Army specs dominate all POL in the US - so that they can buy from everyone (lowest bider) and never have a compatibility problem. Minor additives is all they can vary. Sell the sizzle!

I do know that the origin of synthetic oil was Army Tanks in Alaska at -40 to -50 below! A real "Cold War" issue.

Robert
 

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Detergent oils are supposed to get dirty and keep that in suspension until you change oil. Thats what the detergent does, clean. FWIW, I use Valvoline 20-50 dino oil.
 

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My Alfa has always had the twice-a-year or every 3000 miles oil treatment. I can't imagine doing that with $20 per quart synthetics!! Oil change on my new BMW is over $150, but only every 15,000 miles, and the oil is still clean at 14,990 !!!

I'll likely stay with the 20w50, at least 'till the next major.

Robert
 

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I am not a professional (expert), but my career was with a MAJOR Oil co and I did control systems on a number of lube oil projects. The facility I worked at was the global lab for oils lubes and climate controlled testing facility.
I use 15W40 diesel oil that is also rated for gasoline engines. It is high on detergents/supension agents, gots Zinc and performs well under extreme mechanicals as well as periodic times where the engine sits unused for periods
The Shell Rotella T is my favorite, but Mobil and Chevron are equivalent.
This Oil is Dino.
You will note that the 15W40 is the heaviest duty rating CJ4 diesel, but also API SM for gasoline. (reading from a jug I bought last year)
This oil will keep that oil pressure gauge up and the cost per gallon is in the $12 range.
That's my take.
Elio
 

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Agree with most of the postings above. Yes, there is so much marketing baloney in the oil branding its like gasoline. Just look for the API spec- get the latest spec- usually the highest letter attached to the "S". Isnt SN out now??

Even if castrol has someone make it for them, doesnt mean they have no control over the quality- any one here in the private label business in the chemical field? Thats how it works. That same factory may make garbage oil for another brand, like Quaker State, then Monday comes around and the plant gears up (sorry for the pun) for an order of Castrol, but they add/filter/boil/in a different way cuz they have to then send a sample to castrol's QC lab for final approval.

Thats the difference. Still, I just but the cheapest brand with the highest API spec.

Also, a 20w will not flow as fast through your cold engine as say, a 10-40 will. Most engine wear occurs at startup.
 

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Ciao, Elio! Now, like elio, Im no expert either (who is here??)

I dont get this oil pressure concern. The more important issue shhould be oil FLOW, and sometimes a presure guage does not necessarily indicate flow. Pressure and flow are 2 different things. Cars cant have flow meters cuz they would cost too much, so the next best thing is a stupid pressure guage. A thick oil will indicate more pressure which in reality, the flow is reduced, from what I understand. Anybody correct me I will appreciate it, of course.

Thats why Im for the lower weight on the cold temp viscosity side.
 

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I run 20-50 Valvoline racing in both Alfa and Ferrari engines. My Alfa GTA engine keeps the oil visually cleaner longer than most of the old Ferrari V12's.
As has been mentioned, the Valvoline is a non foaming, non detergent oil that only keeps debris in the oil in suspension when the oil is circulating.
I have always suggested this oil be changed by translucence rather than time or mileage. If the Valvoline sits in your engine a week or so without circulation, it will APPEAR clean and transparent. Look at it when the engine is just shut down. If it APPEARS translucent (cloudy) or dirty, change it. My GTA engine runs about 2000 miles before this happens. I have a 275 Ferrari GTB engine that will run 2000 HIGHWAY miles or about 1200 around town miles between changes.
Crud will ALWAYS settle in low spots with this oil. That is not a problem in most applications. All detergent oils will also do this to some extent, with long use. You can switch back and forth from Valvoline racing to Valvoline detergent, and I know vintage Ferrari engine owners that do this. How much it helps, is hard to guess, and is a case by case situation. I have never torn down a vintage Ferrari or Alfa engine that was spotlessly clean.
I do rebuild Alfa oil pumps and do not suggest the use of synthetic oil with these engines that were not designed for synthetic, like the BMW's mentioned. HOWEVER, to my amazement, a customer supplied GTV pump core was unusually clean, internally and externally. I asked what oil he used. It was Mobile 1 changed every 3,000 miles. This pump also showed slightly less measurable wear than most high mileage pumps. I no longer do NOT recommend Mobile 1, though other oils MIGHT be just as good. I am not an engineer, and only report what I have seen.
ALL the above is just my opinion, or observations.
 

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Where does the addition of something like stp red oil txt(4 cyl formula) fit into the equation. It has increased zzdp levels so does adding it or another zzdp product make a cheaper ,dollar wise, oil better? Is there any down side if the oil is not so thickened as to affect flow?
 

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Oils are formulated and very thoroughly tested in standard engines in a lab. The additives package is optimized for the particular oil blend.
What I learned from the oil gurus where I worked was that you buy an oil a good oil...the stupidest thing you can do is use an additive.....
It can skew the formulation detrimentally...you don't know what additives or amounts are in the oil...
Additives were for when lube oil was simple distilate of Dino and very little else.
You will note that API tests and Manufacture's tests are very exhaustive.

One oil guru with a PhD answered the additive question in a lecture to company engineers this way..."If there was an know additive that could make our product better, don't you think we would be utilizing it in our product?

Best regards,
 
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