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Best oil for the older car and ZDDP?

Old October 15th, 2009, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cutlassgal View Post
I'm still confused!! I'll never look at oil the same as I used to!! It's like steel - until I started working in the steel industry, I never knew that steel was made up of different "ingredients"! I never really thought about it, or had any reason to think about it! To me, steel was steel. Heavy, dirty, and rusts in water! I never looked at a block of steel and wondered hmmmm... is that A-36, P-20, W-2 etc... Then I find out that different steels have different chemical analysis' that they are made of.
Kind of like oils. I'll never remember all this technical stuff, so I'm sure I'll still be asking questions!! I've worked around steel for 14 years now, and what I've learned is.... it's heavy, dirty, and rusts in water, no matter what it's chemical analysis is!! LOL!
You are absolutely right - good analogy. But I know you care for your car as much I do mine, and want it to last. I firmly believe that having the right oil (especially now) is the single most important thing I can do to save wear and tear for my older car. It has also become more of a moving target to identify the right oil, as the standards and products change. We simply have to keep up to some extent - I guess it's a price to pay for having that old beauty (but well worth it, IMHO).

From all this, here's some conclusions that I have reached (for myself) in a nutshell:
1. Don't use API Service Rated "SM" or "CJ-4" rated motor oils.
2. Use only API Service Rated "SE-SJ", "CI-4". In a pinch, I would also use "SL" (but has a bit less ZDDP than I would like to see).

Last edited by Dan Wirth; October 15th, 2009 at 08:20 AM.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:10 AM
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between the oil and the gas (ZDDP and Ethanol) I am a nervous wreck!
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:27 AM
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Yeah, what BOTH of you said!!

So what oil should a 37 year old Olds 350 engine have in it?; the tires don't get smoked, the car doesn't get raced; pretty much local driven to car shows,cruise ins and work - city driving w/ stop lights, in nice weather; stored in winter with temps in the teens to below 0 at times, while we're praying for spring? Is there only one or two answers to this???
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyalman View Post
between the oil and the gas (ZDDP and Ethanol) I am a nervous wreck!
Just think, you'll be the oil expert your family and friends will come to rely on...
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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I say use the Shell Rotella T or any oil and the additive.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cutlassgal View Post
Yeah, what BOTH of you said!!

So what oil should a 37 year old Olds 350 engine have in it?; the tires don't get smoked, the car doesn't get raced; pretty much local driven to car shows,cruise ins and work - city driving w/ stop lights, in nice weather; stored in winter with temps in the teens to below 0 at times, while we're praying for spring? Is there only one or two answers to this???
Over the winter I would suggest keeping the Kendall oil you are using during storage, then on your next oil change use Gastrol Racing GTX, AMSOIL, or Brad Penn. Some may also recommend Valvoline VR-1. I would not use Rotella in my 57 Olds unless it is rated SJ or CI-4.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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anything wrong with using Royal Purple? not the racing stuff...
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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hoo wee this tread has morphed into a monster lol.Who would have thought that there would be this much discussion about oil.My inbox is getting bombarded with this treadhmm now that I think about it i was going to take pic's of the oil i use and the filters.I will have to try to do that along with the many other things going on today.Have fun with your oil
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Old October 15th, 2009, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 442scotty View Post
anything wrong with using Royal Purple? not the racing stuff...
I haven't done much research on this oil so I simply don't know. But from what I see on posts in the motor oil forums, this oil is highly thought of. I'd like to know the API Service Rating of Royal Purple. Do you know what standard it is rated at?
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyalman View Post
I say use the Shell Rotella T or any oil and the additive.
That is one way to do it, but it is not as effective as having the right stuff (ZDDP) processed in the oil itself.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:15 AM
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NAPA sells a 15w-40 diesel oil that is CI rated, with the good add pack.

Redline oils have a high ZDDP level as well.

The issue i have with the designer oils is that they are expensive and hard to find.

BTW, I have used diesel oil in all my collector cars since the mid 1980's with no issues at all.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:23 AM
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[quote=delmontcrusier;115940]hoo wee this tread has morphed into a monster lol.Who would have thought that there would be this much discussion about oil.


Amazing isn't it!! I would have never guessed myself! It has been interesting though. Thanks Dan, I wrote those names down, and will figure it out!! I do love my car and want whats best for her, bless her old heart! Gotta take care of the engine - especially after Bluevista paints it for me!!! LOL!
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Rotella T 15W-40 carries mutiple ratings, CJ4, CJ4 PLUS, CH4, CG-4, SF-4, CF/SM, SL, AND SJ. The Shell Rotella T web site gives the stats as 1200 ppm of zinc and 1100 ppm of phosphorous
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Old October 15th, 2009, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by citcapp View Post
Rotella T 15W-40 carries mutiple ratings, CJ4, CJ4 PLUS, CH4, CG-4, SF-4, CF/SM, SL, AND SJ. The Shell Rotella T web site gives the stats as 1200 ppm of zinc and 1100 ppm of phosphorous
That's good to know for the viscosity you mentioned, but does it also apply for the other Rotellas? I have found differences between the weights of the other brands. There's also the variables of high performance, diesel, gas, gas and diesel, so forth and so on.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by My442 View Post
NAPA sells a 15w-40 diesel oil that is CI rated, with the good add pack.

Redline oils have a high ZDDP level as well.

The issue i have with the designer oils is that they are expensive and hard to find.

BTW, I have used diesel oil in all my collector cars since the mid 1980's with no issues at all.
I've read some good things about the NAPA brand Oils. They are made by Valvoline, and would expect their specs to be similar. I'm not that familiar with Redline Oil. although their oil filters come recommended, by the reports I've read.

True, some of the synthetics like AMSOIL are an order online or via a local dealer situation. Also, for example, Brad Penn - I have not seen in my neck of the woods, although I know how to order it, which seems easy enough.

Keep in mind that no matter what oil you choose, they may change overtime to accommodates newer standards and engine technologies.

For the older cars/trucks, racing cars, motorcycles, farm vehicles, other high performance engines, etc. - special attention in the way we make a selection is warranted, IMO.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Wirth View Post
Amsoil has independent dealers in specific areas around the country, go to their website for more info where they are located. I have not seen their products in the auto stores - but wish they had them there. You can also purchase their products on line, which is a good option except for the S&H expense. But you still save over the long run , needing only one oil/filter change per year or 25000 miles (whichever comes first) on their premium products.

CJ-4 has a running average of phos = 819(ppm) and zinc = 1014(ppm). Below the example target range of 1200-1400(ppm) I am looking for.

  • CI-4 (on the other hand) is in the target range, having phos = 1150(ppm) and zinc = 1374(ppm)
CJ-4 is not recommended for older cars, nor is SM rated motor oils. I am not sure about the newer CJ-4 standard you mentioned (I think it is called CJ-4 Plus).

There is a study (and API chart) by LN Engineering that gives these API Service running averages (in previous post of this thread) that may be of interest to you.
AMSOIL can be sold in stores but here is the catch. The dealer has to convince the store to carry it. Or the store owner could also be the dealer. And yes you can order it online. OR you can do what I did years ago. Become a dealer and get it at dealer cost.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Stickman View Post
AMSOIL can be sold in stores but here is the catch. The dealer has to convince the store to carry it. Or the store owner could also be the dealer. And yes you can order it online. OR you can do what I did years ago. Become a dealer and get it at dealer cost.
Interesting. So I presume you have also been using AMSOIL for years. If so, how do you feel it stacks up (generally) against the others and why?

(I would like to hear from someone who actually has first hand experience with this oil - as I do not, but do like what I read).
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Old October 15th, 2009, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Wirth View Post
Interesting. So I presume you have also been using AMSOIL for years. If so, how do you feel it stacks up (generally) against the others and why?

(I would like to hear from someone who actually has first hand experience with this oil - as I do not, but do like what I read).

Ok here's the whole story. I built an S-10 with the 4.3L V-6. I started to AutoX it and spun a bearing my first time out. After that a Mechanic all but insisted that If I was going to do that I was going to run AMSOIL. So I ran their 20W-50 racing oil. Now this is not the same 20W-50 that I run now as that stuff was red like hydraulic fluid with the consistancy of baby oil. I ran that stuff and would simply wait till the oil started to look dirty then change the filter, And the next time it got dirty I would change the oil. So about once a year I would change the oil. Now I was AutoXing and later would road race it. So figure running 20 minutes at a time constant of hard acceleration and braking. I also used this truck as my daily driver in all kinds of weather. There were times I would come out of work late at night with the temps 10 degrees or lower and simply hop in start it and go. No warm up. I put in excess of 12K miles a year. That woulld be all hard miles as I did not treat this truck gently which is kinda how it liked it. So yea you can say I am more than happy with it and it's performance.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 07:43 PM
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Thanks for your comment.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 442scotty View Post
anything wrong with using Royal Purple? not the racing stuff...
Myself I would not touch the Royal Purple because of some experience. I work for asplundh tree service and they had changed the fleet of trucks over to royal Purple because of the claims of the oil and going further between oil changes but they soon started having major problems including 2 motors blowing up ( an expression ) they did replace 2 motors and had overheating issues and breakdowns so they changed all the trucks back over. Now these trucks are used a lot and many of them are pretty old for the buisness. 10 years and the trucks are pretty much toast though they have a couple older than that.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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This info is good to know, but it does make me wonder just how old those trucks were when the engines blew and how beat up they may have been from the work runs and multiple drivers.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 07:03 AM
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I am of the opinion too not use synthetics in older original engines especially high mileage. If you have a fresh or recently rebuilt mill then go ahead.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Nilsson View Post
I am of the opinion too not use synthetics in older original engines especially high mileage. If you have a fresh or recently rebuilt mill then go ahead.
Why is that?
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan Wirth View Post
This info is good to know, but it does make me wonder just how old those trucks were when the engines blew and how beat up they may have been from the work runs and multiple drivers.
normally it's one driver resposible for that particular truck , but I know a couple of younger guys that are really hard on them. most of them were big block gas motors with I think the 366 being the motor that was one that "blew". Even when they are sitting still the motor runs the hydraulics so you have to keep the RPM up.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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well all this hub bub about oil and I said I was going to post pic's and info on the oil I use so here it is.The first is the normal oil I use for my vehicles and the fram filter I use in them.The second is the oil I use in my olds it is for old or classic vehicles and has slick 50 in it.The oil filter is a baldwin as fram doesn't have the long filter for my car it used to be a 11 they discontinued them.The baldwin is a good quality filter and I don't mind paying the 5 bux to have a decent filter.
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Well I have been debating this issue as well and have seen similar threads on other sites with just as many varied opinions...makes it tough. I have been leaning towards Valvoline VR1 or Brad Penn. However, I'm a bit concerned about the lack of detergents in these oils as they are made for high performance use. I do drive my car "aggressively" so high performance oil is fine. I just feel like I'm losing the detergents to gain the zinc???
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Old November 14th, 2009, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 4speedBench View Post
Well I have been debating this issue as well and have seen similar threads on other sites with just as many varied opinions...makes it tough. I have been leaning towards Valvoline VR1 or Brad Penn. However, I'm a bit concerned about the lack of detergents in these oils as they are made for high performance use. I do drive my car "aggressively" so high performance oil is fine. I just feel like I'm losing the detergents to gain the zinc???
I've been reading about the detergent issue and older cars. It seems that if you get too aggressive in using (or overusing) detergent oils or additives in the older vehicles, more problems can ensue with the breaking away of sludge that has been building up over a long time, and re-lodging elsewhere. This may present a whole new set of problems. I would think this would be less an issue (or a non-issue) on an engine that has been recently rebuilt.

For myself, I am opting for the higher levels of ZDDP.
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Old June 15th, 2019, 10:43 PM
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10 years later...anyone care to update this? I wonder how much has changed.
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Old June 15th, 2019, 10:50 PM
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Found this article as an update:

Best Oil to use in Classic Cars
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Old June 15th, 2019, 10:56 PM
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Old June 16th, 2019, 02:13 AM
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Thanks for the links. The same principles should apply as they did 10 years ago. The flat tappet guys still need to be vigilant. Perhaps some of the anti-wear additives have been further reduced. It would be nice if the manufacturers would divulge their additives and the levels.
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Old June 16th, 2019, 06:15 AM
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Oils have changed a lot, for flat tappet cars, not for the better. SN plus in a 30W or less can only have 800 ppm zinc and 700 phosphate. The 40W and up get tricky. Even in SN they can have high ZDDP, it will depend brand to brand. This is why 10W40 and 20W50 VR1 have a SN rating despite having 1300 ZDDP.
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Old June 16th, 2019, 06:28 AM
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Most everything has changed including what I use(Rotella T 15-40) but it still has enough ZDDP that I have no tappet issues. What was good 10 years ago may or may not be the same oil or near the same formula anymore.... Tedd
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Old June 16th, 2019, 06:46 AM
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Mobil 1 with a 7$ bottle of zinc is my choice.
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Old June 16th, 2019, 08:09 AM
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One thing that hasn't changed is the amount of opinions on the subject.
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Old June 17th, 2019, 06:13 AM
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I am still a firm believer in Rotella T 15W-40. Especially since I've started driving a diesel truck. It's reasonably priced at Sam's Club.
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Old June 17th, 2019, 09:06 AM
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Still using Valvoline VR1 Racing Oil and no additives. Using 10W30 in my 54. Amazon just had a deal on it and I bought two cases (12 quarts). This and a WIX filter works for me.
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Old June 17th, 2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Olds64 View Post
I am still a firm believer in Rotella T 15W-40. Especially since I've started driving a diesel truck. It's reasonably priced at Sam's Club.
Best buy at Tractor Supply. I think it is up to T4 these days. 10w30 and 15w40 are ci/ch rated. Straight 30 Rotella no longer contains Zn & Ph in required cam break in levels. It is only rated CJ, which ainít no good for flat tappets.
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Old June 17th, 2019, 12:08 PM
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I'll have to check the prices at Tractor Supply. Sam's Club only ever carries the 15W-40, I didn't know they made it in 10W-30 and 30.
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