[DML] Today's Motor Oil
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[DML] Today's Motor Oil

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: There are mountains of opinions about motor oil in the archives, and more of those opinioins will not be posted in response to this message. Only responses that directly address the question of changes in additives for newer oils and the impact of the lack of these additives for our engines will be posted.]


Now that my DeLorean is almost fully restored, I've turned my 
attention to restoring a '68 Chevy. (Be patient, there is a DeLorean 

My mechanic just finished rebuilding the Chevy's engine and 
reinstalling it in the car. After the engine is broken in, he 
recommended I only use Pennzoil or Quaker State racing oil.


It appears the older blocks are not compatible with today's oils. In 
1996, the API (American Petroleum Institute) mandated that motor 
oils used in production automobiles have less amounts of zinc and 
phosphorus to reduce pollutants. These are the main ingredients of 
the anti-wear additive ZDDP, zinc dialkyl dithiosphosphate.

The above mentioned racing oils still contain high levels of ZDDP. 
Because they are marketed for "racing" engines, they do not have to 
meet new car motor oil regulations.

The June issue of Hot Rod Magazine had an article about cam failures 
of older engines using modern oils. One cam manufacturer stated that 
cams made just 10 years ago would not pass today's quality 

Apparently, older cams were made of softer material that heavily 
relied on ZDDP for long life. The article states "The zinc reacts 
with the cam lobe's surface. That creates a sacrificial chemical 
coating strong enough to keep parts separated to reduce the wear." 
This suggests today's synthetics without ZDDP will not protect as 
well as older oil formulations with ZDDP.

A quick Google search on ZDDP seems to support what Hot Rod Magazine 
is saying. But, we all are aware of how things can be exaggerated by 
the press.

Just to be on the safe side, my rebuilt Chevy engine will be 
lubricated with racing oil. For my DeLorean, I think I will switch 
to Shell Rotella T 15W-40 at the next oil change. Rotella was listed 
in the Hot Rod Magazine article as being a high ZDDP additive motor 
oil. The DeLorean manual lists 15W-40 as a recommended viscosity. 
Wal-Mart carries Rotella, so I should be set.

VIN# 4494

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