Going Off the Reservation

After reading the entire RAT540 oil blog I decided to give Valvoline VR1 dino oil a try. I bought it at my nearby NAPA store for about $6.50 per quart. According to RAT's blog the VR1 silver bottle ranked 36th out of 200 oils, It had a shear strength of 103,505, 1472 zinc, 1544 phos, 3 Moly, and 2,707 calcium. In comparison the Brad Penn had a shear strength of 71,206, 1557 zinc, 1651 phos, and Moly 3.

I also followed his guidelines of using a multi weight oil versus a single weight oil so I using VR1's 10/30wt oil versus the 40wt Brad Penn I had been using. I'll see how the new oil affects anything, if it does. The ZDDP numbers were pretty close to the BP so I'm not worried about that. I am excited to see the shear strength of the oil is just under 30,000 more and that was the single most important factor to me.

I also decided to change my pushrods. I thought I'd have stock chromoly pushrods in the car but they were aluminum. However, they were a little beat up and the tips were wore out and slightly bent. I put in CB Performance Super Duty Aluminum push rods and had Pat D cut them to the correct length for me. Put them in, torqued the rockers back in place, adjusted the valves, warmed up the car, and changed the oil. The engine is a lot quieter now with the new push rods.

Let's see how it goes.

If you're not living life on the edge, you're taking up too much space!

 

 

 

Original Post

I think you've made some good choices, Robert. While Jim seems to have proven that a good modern oil (I think his words were "anything that's on sale") works for reasonably light spring pressures, guys running engines with a little more "zip" (or rpm capability) still have to be aware of the damage heavier spring pressures can do. The VR1 (dino or synthetic, which only ranked ever so slightly lower) with such high ratings and (for those of us not totally convinced that it's not needed) higher zinc/phosphorus levels seems to fit our application perfectly. And switching from straight 40w to 10w/30 will be easier on the bearings (and everything else) on start up.

Usually the ends get pounded in with aluminum pushrods that aren't up to the task- can you take a couple pics so we can see the damage to the ends?

edsnova posted:

Ah! A Real World Test.

Look forward to your results. Before you change the oil next season, please take copious photos of the tear-down and micrometer readings of the cam lobes. Before and after!

Sorry Ed. It’s too late. I already drove it and if I tear it down now to get the “before” readings they won’t be accurate. LOL 

ALB posted:

I think you've made some good choices, Robert. While Jim seems to have proven that a good modern oil (I think his words were "anything that's on sale") works for reasonably light spring pressures, guys running engines with a little more "zip" (or rpm capability) still have to be aware of the damage heavier spring pressures can do. The VR1 (dino or synthetic, which only ranked ever so slightly lower) with such high ratings and (for those of us not totally convinced that it's not needed) higher zinc/phosphorus levels seems to fit our application perfectly. And switching from straight 40w to 10w/30 will be easier on the bearings (and everything else) on start up.

Usually the ends get pounded in with aluminum pushrods that aren't up to the task- can you take a couple pics so we can see the damage to the ends?

That I can do. 

Robert, I dumped the fairly new Brad Penn 10w40 I had in Whitecloud after reading the Rat's ramblings.

I put Mobile 1 synthetic, 5w30 and he (Whitecloud's a guy) loves it! I've always been concerned about start-up and cold-start-up oiling as a large amount of wear occurs then. I think more than ZDDP levels, the shear-strength of the oil film protects parts, especially on start-up when most engines have no oil pressure and residual oil is what protects the wear-surfaces.

Heck, if thin oil is good enough for Gene Berg, it's good enough for me!

Kath and I returned home last night from a day with friends in Arroyo Grande. We left the south county just before dark, 4:45 pm and when we hit the grade (first time with  Pat's new engine) I kept a steady throttle at 3K rpms, passed a few cars on the way up and had so much headroom, maybe another 30% left and the Cuesta Grade is a litmus test of all tests, especially air-cooled cars: 3 1/2 miles of straight-up grade, so stoked!

I don't see how it's possible to give anything but a subjective evaluation of the differences a change in oil is making unless there was before and after documentation of everything inside the engine. It's certainly something Pat could do, but for most of us it would just be speculation.

Based on recommendations from Scott, I've been using Valvoline VR1 dino oil for years along with a bottle of Lucas Zinc additive.

I put more faith in Jim's +100k miles of driving experience with "what ever is on sale" than I do on any posts claiming this one is better than that one. 

^ I completely agree with this. Anecdotal evidence remains anecdotal.

Nobody is ever going to do a controlled study on motor oil in old engines. If they did, the data would be useless in a few years because the formulas change regularly. Shear tests and HDDP counts are good data, but viscosity preference has more to with theory than anything else.

I have good lubrication on startup because I have a pre-oil system (accusump). Does this mean I can run heavier oil than a more conventional application? I also have an external relief so that even if I'm pumping molasses, I'm never going to burst a filter or line. A true 5W50 synthetic with great shear numbers and 1500 PPM ZDDP would be the cat's meow, but such an oil doesn't exist.

Based on the article, I'm inclined to run VR1 when my back-stock of BP oil runs out, but I'm not dumping $70 worth of oil on a hunch.

It would be very easy. Have your oil tested for a couple changes with the same stock(buy 2 cases) to establish a baseline for amount of wear in the engine. Then change your oil and purchase a couple cases of your new brand. Continue to test oil for a couple years. Done.

I don't know where I posted this, but I'll repeat it. This is not anecdotal, this is actual evidence: Changed from 20-50 Valvoline 4 stroke Motorcycle oil to same brand etc. except 10-40. NO other changes. CHT and oil temp reduced 10 degrees Fahrenheit in all conditions.

 

So many well-reasoned opinions. So many different conclusions.

What's a flat-tappeted guy to do?

I'm reminded of the five blind men who all thought they knew about elephants, but only really knew about an ear, a tusk, or a trunk. Who among us has trashed enough engines (and is certain what caused each one to die) to really know the big picture?

I don't really care too much which oil is best. I just need one that has been shown to work well in engines like mine. And since I know even less about oil than the blind men knew about elephants, I have to rely upon someone who does know.

Who better to ask than a long-suffering mechanic who has worked on hundreds of engines over the years? A guy who has had to pull apart 30 years worth of holed cases, busted crankshafts, and broken dreams? A guy who has had to figure out for paying customers, over and over, what worked and what didn't?

My mechanic says use the green stuff. And change it when it ain't green no more.

When it comes to stuff like this, I trust mechanics more than I trust engineers.

At least the blind men could all agree about how an elephant smells.

 

Well, I think I have enough “Green” left for one more oil change next spring, so I think I’ll follow my West Coast Muse (Troy) and start looking for VR1 on sale and stock up.  Or, I can use the Green stuff in my snowblower......Maybe then It’ll blow snow over into my neighbor’s driveway!

Years back, I performed the same expiriment that Danny P. did: Ran 20W50 Rotella, checked my oil temp after exiting an interstate, then went home, changed the oil to 10W40 and repeated the trip, all within the same hour.  Oil temp dropped 8 degrees on the second run with thinner oil.

Troy Sloan posted:

I don't see how it's possible to give anything but a subjective evaluation of the differences a change in oil is making unless there was before and after documentation of everything inside the engine.

Well Troy some of us have engines that talk to us and let us know if they like the oil we put in it or the filter we use. That is how I dialed my engine oil in. In fact I now use my engine as a financial adviser. And sometimes when I just need some life advise I drive out to a private place, park and prop up my deck lid and have a conversation. I go to a private place because most people would not understand me talking to my engine and they cannot hear it talking back anyway.  

Rusty S posted:
Troy Sloan posted:

I don't see how it's possible to give anything but a subjective evaluation of the differences a change in oil is making unless there was before and after documentation of everything inside the engine.

Well Troy some of us have engines that talk to us and let us know if they like the oil we put in it or the filter we use. That is how I dialed my engine oil in. In fact I now use my engine as a financial adviser. And sometimes when I just need some life advise I drive out to a private place, park and prop up my deck lid and have a conversation. I go to a private place because most people would not understand me talking to my engine and they cannot hear it talking back anyway.  

You know, Rusty, one night my Spyder sat in Max's garage with Max's Speedster. The Speedster was all butt-hurt ass in the air on jackstands. Apparently, they spoke to each other and Max wrote down the conversation in one of his "Actual Mileage" articles........

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