Best oil with ZDDP - Vintage Mustang Forums
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Old 05-12-2019, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Best oil with ZDDP

Yet another oil thread. Some of the info I have found is a little dated so I am posting this to get the best current thoughts

I have learned that for my flat tappet 1968 J code engine, I should be using an oil that has high concentrations of ZDDP (about 1,200 ppm). Other than the intake and carb, it is a stock engine. I have seen that using ZDDP as an additive is not as good as an oil with the ZDDP already refined into it.

I drive my car gently. In the spring through fall in the Chicago area. Mostly to and from shows and some cruising around town.

Seems like the Valvoline VR1 Racing oil 10w-30w might be best for my engine. Not sure why I need racing oil but not afraid of the cost or if I have to buy it online.

Thoughts? Thanks!

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Old 05-12-2019, 10:03 AM
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Mobile 1 15/50 has elevated ZDDP for older engines.

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Old 05-12-2019, 10:14 AM
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I'm using Lucas Hot Rod and Classic, I have heard great things about Valvoline VR1 but it is hard to find in my area.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:20 AM
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I have been using the ZDDP additive for 20+ years in my '68, no issues yet. Where did you hear that it is not as good as oil with it included?

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Old 05-12-2019, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 1968Cally View Post
"......Seems like the Valvoline VR1 Racing oil 10w-30w might be best for my engine. Not sure why I need racing oil but not afraid of the cost or if I have to buy it online......."
Originally Posted by maladezo View Post
Mobile 1 15/50 has elevated ZDDP for older engines.
racing oil is great.

Great for a) engines subjected to racing stresses,
b) great for engines being torn down after every other race.

If you're not doing both "a" and "b" then racing oil is not for your engine. It doesn't have an additive package designed for the long haul of street driving.

even just putting around town, your engine is going to be working, often at higher temperatures than any other motoring activity. Pick a quality synthetic oil. They are formulated to handle higher temperatures without breaking down, and / or having viscosity issues. As maladezo points out, Mobil 1 15w-50 is a good oil and many on the forum are using it in their classics (including me). Mobil 1 0w-40 will also work well, and it has enough zinc / phosphorus as well. These oils can be had for $25 for a 5 quart jug. No need to spend more.

But there are other quality oils, a lot of good choices.

Of equal or greater importance is your oil change schedule. Even if your miles don't add up to a lot, change the oil and filter before your can goes into winter storage. Out vintage engines have a fair amount of blow-by, and these combustion gases are very acidic. They combine with the oil and WILL have a detrimental effect on main and rod bearings if left to marinate all winter long.

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Last edited by zray; 05-12-2019 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 05-12-2019, 10:51 AM
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I noticed on an episode of CCC w/ Wayne Carini that in their shop they had cases of Shell Rotella T on the shelf.
What the heck is that all about?

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Old 05-12-2019, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dbenichou289 View Post
I have been using the ZDDP additive for 20+ years in my '68, no issues yet. Where did you hear that it is not as good as oil with it included?
Here is a link to the article I had read about it.

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Old 05-12-2019, 11:40 AM
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I agree with Z. At his recommendation I used Mobil 1 15-50 in my HiPo build for 2+ years.

Lucas Oil also has some good offerings at less weight if desired, yet at slightly higher price than that of the Mobil 1 which can be picked up at your local Wal-Mart for less than $25.
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Old 05-12-2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by 1968Cally View Post
Originally Posted by dbenichou289 View Post
I have been using the ZDDP additive for 20+ years in my '68, no issues yet. Where did you hear that it is not as good as oil with it included?
Here is a link to the article I had read about it.
Interesting article

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Old 05-12-2019, 11:57 AM
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Mobile 1 High Mileage 10w-30 has high levels of ZDDP, thats what I have been using for 4 or 5 years.
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Old 05-12-2019, 12:51 PM
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I started out using a ZDDP additive after rebuilding my engine, but now using the Mobil 1 15w-50. Never had any issues with the additive, but if I can run down to the local Wally World and grab a 5 quart jug of Mobil 1 and change my oil, then life is easier.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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"Best"? Mobil 1 FS X2.

But because I about have more cars than I can afford AND it sometimes goes on sale at a good price, Mobil 1 15W-50 is what I prefer in my old Fords. Not because of ZDDP, but because the overall additive package of these oils meets the ACEA A3/B3 specifications which means they are exactly what my engines require. In the case of the FS X2, it also meets 299.1 and A40 specs. Meeting these specs guarantees you these oils are the best for flat tappet engines, no issues with iffy claims of ZDDP amounts, and guesswork. There are other oils that meet these specs which would be every bit as good to use but Mobil posted a handy chart online (that they update) to make it easy to figure out which one you need, if you know the specs. Here-

It happens that Castrol also makes some fine oils that meet these specs with their GTX and Magnatec lines and sometimes they can be found on sale too. Most US-based oil brands don't seem to care to bother to try and meet 229.1 or A40 specs. No doubt there are some that probably would, but without the actual stamp on the bottle...
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:55 PM
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Your solid lifter engine will be fine with VR1. Brian

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Old 05-12-2019, 02:23 PM
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The "racing oil" designation allows the refiner to market the oil without having to limit the amount of zinc and phosphorus. If the oil is marketed as "ordinary" engine oil then it's subject to the government limiting these additives due to potential damage to exhaust catalysts on newer cars.

IMHO, step number one in selecting an engine oil is to choose the right VISCOSITY. The factors that dictate the correct choice are bearing clearances, ambient temperature range during use, and severity of use. Generally speaking, if stock bearing clearances are maintained then go by the manufacturer's recommendation for viscosity. In almost all cases, Ford recommended a viscosity for vintage Mustangs of 10W-30 for the majority of uses, 10W-40 if the ambient temperatures regularly exceeded 70 or 80* and a 5W-20 if the temperature regularly was below freezing. Consult the owners manual for your exact vehicle.

The next choice is whether to use a conventional or synthetic oil. In simple terms, a synthetic oil has the base stock chemically manipulated to desired properties, one of the main ones being to provide a molecular structure where all the molecules are the same size, which spreads out the load bearing properties over a greater range. This also results in lower friction between surfaces. Synthetics also withstand a higher engine oil temperature without breaking down. Conventional oils, today, are much better than what they were years ago and are suitable for use most of the time and are significantly less costly, which may be desirable if you change your oil frequently or if you don't put many miles on and change it only a couple times per year.

The last factor is quality. There are many different facets to judging oils from the content of the additive package to shear strength, viscosity index, etc. Google is your friend here.

Last but not least, the American Petroleum Institute classification system designates into what vehicles an oil is suitable for use. API classifications beginning with "S" are for gasoline engines and "C" for diesel engines. Some oils are "dual" class. It is advisable to NOT use an oil in an engine for which it wasn't formulated (eg. using a diesel oil in a gasoline engine) or using a "dual" class oil in an engine type not listed first (eg. using CF4/SL in a gasoline engine). The additive packages of these oils are specifically designed to work with the particular engine type, such as types and amounts of detergents, dispersants, anti-acid agents, etc.

Also, if you DO choose a synthetic oil, make sure it contains a minimum of 1000 ppm of zinc/phosphorous/ZDDP. I recommend this regardless of whether you have a flat tappet camshaft or not... flat tappets aren't the only engine components where surfaces slide against another... bearings, pistons/rings, etc., are still rubbing against another part. The anti-wear properties of zinc and phosphorous is exactly what they are put there for.
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Old 05-12-2019, 04:57 PM
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Growing up, my dad didnt buy a car until the current car was beyond economical repair. I remember weekends when he pulled the heads, took them to the machine shop on base for a valve job and had it back on the road Sunday afternoon. Except for tires, I never remember him taking the family car to a repair shop or the dealership.

As the engine wore, he would go from 10w30 to 10w40 to 20w50. When he couldnt slow the oil consumption using 20w50, we got a new car. New car to us was a car that was 1-2-3 years old. He didnt buy new.
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