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Old 07-19-2013, 05:57 PM
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400 sbc

We have a 1965 Austin Healey replica purchased a few years ago to upgrade.
The chassis and suspension are done. The engine is a 400 SBC out of a 1972 Caprice that the previous owner put a Edlebrock Performer intake on it with a Quadrajet carb. The car runs pretty good but when we went to Muskegon a few weeks ago (about 165 miles round trip) we went through a little over a quart of oil. I have been putting 10W30 in it. There were about 24000 miles on the car when we bought it (miles on engine unknown). Should we be using 10W40?? Cruising speed usually 45-55 MPH.
Should I be putting a zinc additive into the oil also?? Oil pressure usually runs 60-80 lbs at speed and drops to about 20-40 lbs at rest. This day oil pressure dropped to about 10 - 20 lbs.
I also picked up a bottle of STP zinc additive, should I use this or not??
Thank you for your input.

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Last edited by duehew; 07-19-2013 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:24 PM
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I am not a fan of either 10w40 oils or after market additives. If possible you should try and sort out where the oil is going and fix the problem, not try a band aid. If you think it is oil related (I doubt) try running some straight 30 weight oil.

To help sort out where the oil is going look at your plugs, pay attention to the exhaust on start up, and try to monitor if the oil consumption is different depending on driving conditions. If the oil consumption is only high when cruising on the highway what is your breather set up, you may be creating a lot of vapor being sucked in through the PCV.
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:54 PM
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1) check compression, if compression is low it could be bad rings and burning oil

2) check plugs, if they're sooty black or oil soaked then your burning oil

3) on start up watch exhaust, if smokes on start up then valve seals are bad and leaking

4) check pcv valve how much smoke is coming out of pcv valve

5) do basic checks on valve covers, oil pan, timing cover, etc
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:40 PM
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At 150 miles to a quart of oil it doesn't matter what weight of oil you use or what additives you use.
Time to do a compression and leak down test to see where all the oil is going.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duehew View Post
We have a 1965 Austin Healey replica purchased a few years ago to upgrade.
The chassis and suspension are done. The engine is a 400 SBC out of a 1972 Caprice that the previous owner put a Edlebrock Performer intake on it with a Quadrajet carb. The car runs pretty good but when we went to Muskegon a few weeks ago (about 165 miles round trip) we went through a little over a quart of oil. I have been putting 10W30 in it. There were about 24000 miles on the car when we bought it (miles on engine unknown). Should we be using 10W40?? Cruising speed usually 45-55 MPH.
Should I be putting a zinc additive into the oil also?? Oil pressure usually runs 60-80 lbs at speed and drops to about 20-40 lbs at rest. This day oil pressure dropped to about 10 - 20 lbs.
I also picked up a bottle of STP zinc additive, should I use this or not??
Thank you for your input.
Very likely the actual mileage of the '72 Caprice is 124,000 miles- it's turned over the odometer.

Valve guides often are shot well before that much mileage/age, and the rings could be worn along w/the bore, especially on a carbureted engine that tends to run too rich at start up due to choke malfunction and or maladjustment. Check the PCV system to be sure it's functioning as it should. The plugs will be a window into the combustion chambers, so remove them and keep in order to assess the conditions inside each cylinder.

It's a good idea to use an additive to replace the zinc and other additives that have been removed from the current OTC motor oils, if you're running a flat tappet (stock type in other words) camshaft and lifters. One way is to use an oil w/the additives replaced (expensive) or use an additive like ZDDPlus that's a little more affordable. I have no experience w/the STP additive you're talking about but you can research it to see if it contains the "right stuff". The additives are needed less w/a stock cam and worn stock valve springs, but is needed a lot more w/an aftermarket performance cam/valve springs. Likely the cam and lifters are well worn if they're stock.

Over all it might be a good time to consider a rebuild if compression and leak down testing shows wear beyond what's acceptable.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:42 AM
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Sounds like a very cool car,well deserving a very good quality engine? It is true that some engines do not do well with 10-30 oils,IE,the mazda rotary will use oil like a junk yard engine with 10-30. Trying different oils wont hurt the engine. I use straight 50 in my 434 for example.
What has already been mentioned is where I would be leaning,(prumora) do a visual for leaks and a leak down test.NOTE: all engines will have some leak down,how much is acceptable,"depends". Myengine now uses about 1/2 a liter between changes.My engine is over 10 years old so its not a big worry,but I am "aware". I will freshen my engine after a thourough chassis dyno tune and just before we paint the car.

If your engine runs well and uses some oil,then monitor oil level and buy a liter(quart) as required until there is a problem that has to be addressed
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:30 AM
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400 sbc

Thank you guys for your input. Looks like I am in for a rebuild or put in a different engine when the funds become available.
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:00 AM
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post a couple pictures,would like to see this car.I worked for a guy that had a 289 in a Healey,it was fairly quick
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Old 07-20-2013, 09:56 AM
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Sometimes when switching to different wgt oils,the engine may consume an excessive amount on the 1st change,or,maybe even 1st 2 changes.After that tho,it should level off.Also,if the engine had been using an older style Nondetergent,or,low detergent oil,& you then switched suddenly to a modern high detergent oil,it could also cause excessive oil use by basically washing away crud & gum that had built up in engine due to the nondetergent oils previously used.If motor had been sitting for along time,this very well could be the case.
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:04 AM
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Also,if a 400 ever runs a little hot,& @ some point,most of em do,they seem to use excessive amounts of oil after.Good engines,but,not very tolerant of overheating.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:00 PM
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400 SBC pics

1965 Austin Healey replica. Fiberglass body and rectangle tube chassis. IFS, Ford rear end and QA1 adj. coil overs all corners.
Decent ride now that the parallel leaf springs are out and the front IFS has been changed and the coil overs have
been tuned in. Wheels are now Dayton 72 wire bolt on.
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Last edited by duehew; 07-20-2013 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 07-20-2013, 02:24 PM
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Thats a very nice looking car. Must be a lot of fun to drive and a head turner.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:20 PM
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Yes, it is a blast and my wife loves to drive it also.
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Old 07-20-2013, 05:47 PM
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X2 on that. nice clean ride.
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Old 07-20-2013, 11:59 PM
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Nice job on that one.
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