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Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

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Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby mshred » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:47 pm

Hey guys,

I have been doing some research on this, but thought I would also ask to get some opinions here as I couldn't find many past posts on the topic. When running a flat tappet camshaft that has already been broken in, is it safe to use off the shelf synthetic oils like Mobil 1, Pennzoil, etc.? Reason I ask is because I currently running Brad Penn, but would like to try a synthetic to lower my oil temps or atleast increase the oil's ability to withstand heat (Half filled block and a street car), and I was just wondering if I needed to spend the coin on the big money zinc package synthetics or if off the shelf stuff works fine now that the cam is broken in?

Any experiences you guys can share would be great! If you have tried it and had good/bad results please share as that is what I am most interested in hearing about...I have received some great information from members so far on here and am hoping that again some of you experts can help shed some light on this topic.

Thanks!
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby rally » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:20 pm

I say before you make a change from Brad Penn oil i would call them and talk to the tech oil reps. I have talked to both guys before, they know their products real well. Tey could give you some good advice on what you are looking to do. These new synthetic oils dont have the proper zinc levels to protect a flat tappett cam. Call Brad Penn.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby kwilliams » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:22 pm

You can get away with off the shelf oil only if you have light stock type spring pressure. A big truck diesel oil that is dual rated will work like Shell Rotella or Mobil 1 Devac won't break the bank.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby dirtracr5 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:28 pm

Give a call to gibbs. They have a full line of full synthetic high zinc oils. They have worked flawless for us. Calling brad penn may not do you any good. I dont believe they offer a full synthetic oil.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby mbrooks » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:43 pm

walfart carries mobil 15w50 full synthetic for racing, flat tappet cams mentioned on the bottle and i think it has 1300ppm zinc. $6.50 a bottle, or about $22 for 5 qts.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby user-3597028 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:48 pm

Champion Hot Rod oil. full or semi synthetic. Look into it. I love the stuff for my street hot rods.

Synergen in all my race engines.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby mshred » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:45 pm

Hey guys, I have already spoken with the tech rep at Brad Penn...Very knowledgable guy, and he is the one who mentioned going synthetic. Unfortunately he was not in a position to mention a competitors product, and they don't make any full synthetic oils.

I was looking to see if off the shelf stuff would work, whether with or without a additive like ZDDP...but it looks like if I go synthetic I need the expensive race formulas with zinc additive packages...I live in Canada, so the wal farts here don't have the racing Mobil 1 stuff
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby Steve Salesky » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:33 am

Don't think a full synthetic will lower your oil temps much if any, but they will withstand more heat. My question is what is your oil temps now? Personally if it was mine and they were getting too high I'd add an oil cooler if I could and keep running the Brad Penn.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby lorax » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:02 am

mshred wrote:Hey guys, I have already spoken with the tech rep at Brad Penn...Very knowledgable guy, and he is the one who mentioned going synthetic. Unfortunately he was not in a position to mention a competitors product, and they don't make any full synthetic oils.

I was looking to see if off the shelf stuff would work, whether with or without a additive like ZDDP...but it looks like if I go synthetic I need the expensive race formulas with zinc additive packages...I live in Canada, so the wal farts here don't have the racing Mobil 1 stuff

I think you misunderstood the BP tech. They sell full synthetic oils. But none that they can recommend for a flat tappet cam. At least they are honest about their products, which can't be said for most oil companies.

http://www.amref.com/Products/Branded-L ... -Oils.aspx
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby vwchuck » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:32 am

I have seen test results showing that synthetic oil does not hold as much heat as conventional oil. The oil itself runs cooler but engine components run much hotter. This shows up significantly in air/oil cooled engines like a porsche or VW.
Now the synthetic oil has superior flow when cold and can take any temperature you can throw at it so you need to balance the good with the bad.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby CNC BLOCKS » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:57 am

I have been using for years AMSOIL with zero problems the 15/50 has 1800 PPM of zinc. And it has been proven many times to lower oil temps over petroleum based oils. AMSOIL is pretty popular in my area.

You can get away with off the shelf oil only if you have light stock type spring pressure. A big truck diesel oil that is dual rated will work like Shell Rotella .


Rotella T has gone down hill over the last few years and is not considered a good flat tapper oil with only 979 PPM of zinc.

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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby cuisinartvette » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:44 am

Rotella T has gone down hill over the last few years and is not considered a good flat tapper oil with only 979 PPM of zinc.

x2

prefer syn but if what you got works well the oil cooler is a great addition.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby JCR » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:47 am

vwchuck wrote:I have seen test results showing that synthetic oil does not hold as much heat as conventional oil. The oil itself runs cooler but engine components run much hotter. This shows up significantly in air/oil cooled engines like a porsche or VW.

Real results or myths peddled by Gene Berg? Why did Porsche issue a TSB for using synthetics on the older aircooled 911s?
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby rally » Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:20 pm

Agree with other poster, get an oil cooler on this engine and use Brad Penn oil. Its real good oil for your engine application.
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Re: Synthetic oil for Flat Tappet cams

Postby Mattax » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:02 pm

I'm not really sure why this was your conclusion.
Here's what I got out of ther various post in responses as they relate to your specific engine and use. (This plus having read Widman, Haas, and number of other relevant aricles on oil).
1. The higher temperatures you observed are typical result of filling a block.
2. The temperatures and pressures observed are within acceptable range for continuous use (although I don't recall exactly what you posted at Moparts about top rpm and pressure, but IIRC the concensus was it was OK).
3. If you want to match the viscosity to be the same as it was before the block was filled, you can use a heavier wt oil or install an oil cooler.

Also II'm also not sure why you are asking such a broad question. First, a normal street driven production motor with a flat tappet cam can use some modern oils that have good modern antiwear packages without zddp. You want to figure out which ones those are, especialy as the big manufacturers, revise the products and marketing people revise the labels every 6 months? The big companies are not terribly interested in the small market. However they do have some market share that needs products that demand high temp, high resistance to sliding wear, similar to older flat tappet needs - eg european turbo deisel truck. And after all that, my impression is that the spring pressures on your motor are much higher than typical production vehicles used before the roller took over. That's why most of us stay with the tried and true. A very few folks can work with tribologists who really understand the addative packages and all the other characteristics, most of us can't afford that level of service which is normally for industry an big money race teams.

Second, as Widman and others explain, the term 'synthetic' can be very broadly used by the marketing people. So you can't just ask about 'synthetic' and expect a useful answer.

That said, in terms of physics, I can only think of two explanations as to any oil would result in lower temperatures. If the viscosity is actually better matched to the engine needs so more volume is being pumped through (instead of dumping out the releif valve). This would result in more heat being carried off. The other is either due to viscosity or additive package, there is less friction and therefore less heat. Hard to imagine that alone is significant.
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