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Old 03-09-2007, 02:14 PM
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Cam break-in and zinc

This is a bit lengthy; but I suggest that everyone read it.

There has been much discussion on this and other automotive sites pertaining to the fact that the Oil Industry has eliminated or at least partially eliminated zinc from petroleum based lubricants. This has caused a valid concern when performing a “cam break-in” on an engine that has a new flat tappet cam installed. This would also include all aftermarket “crate” engines that come with a flat tappet camshaft and all rebuilt engines with flat tappet camshafts. It seems that the reduced or eliminated zinc additive from the oil can cause extreme wear on the lobes of the cam and / or the bottom faces of the lifters during the “break-in” period.

The previously suggested “fixes” have been to either use Shell Rotella T oil which has / had the much needed zinc in it or use GM Break In Oil, GM EOS, GM part #12345501. The Shell Rotella T oil is designed for diesel engines and supposedly is currently having the zinc no longer part of it’s formula.

Now for some interesting info.

Several years ago I purchased and installed a Comp Cam in a small block Chevy engine. It came with a small packet of lubricant (red in color and very sticky) that they suggested be applied to the cam lobes and the faces of the lifters at assembly. I did that. Completed the assembly and installation of that engine, primed the oil pump, installed the distributor and fired it up. Did the 20 minute cam break-in and all was well.

About a year later I bought a GM crate engine. (Hecho en Mexico). Before installing it I pulled the heads and installed AFR heads as well as a Comp Cam. I again used the packet of lube that came with the Comp Cam. I had found another product at the local auto parts store made by Permatex. It has the name Ultra Slick Engine Assembly Lube and the part # 81950 and comes in a 4 fl.oz. plastic bottle. I used it on the cam lobes as well. It is the same color and consistency as the lubricant that came in the Comp Cams packet. Completed the assembly and installation of that engine, primed the oil pump and fired it up. Again I did the 20 minute break-in and once again all was well.

That brings me up to today. I have another small block that was rebuilt about two years ago. Not by me, but I have had the pan and the heads off for inspection. I originally filled the pan with regular 30-weight oil and primed the pump. I have primed the system a few times since and rotated the crank by hand (with a wrench) several times. After reading about the elimination of zinc from petroleum based oils I thought I should either change the oil to the Shell Rotella T or at least add the GM additive before I fire this engine up for the cam break-in. I will not be doing that for at least another month.

Now comes the dilemma.

I went to the local Chevrolet dealer and purchased the GM part #12345501 additive today. It comes in a 4 fl.oz. bottle and is light golden brown in color and seems to be the same consistency as the Comp Cams lube and/or the Permatex lube. It is named Camshaft & Lifter Prelube. The instruction for its use is the same as the other two lubes. “Apply lubricant liberally on foot of valve lifters and on all camshaft lobes”.

It is NOT an additive at all but a PRE-LUBE (used at assembly) lubricant. Pouring it in the crankcase is not the recommended use and more than likely will not help in the initial start up to insure lubrication to the lobes.

OK. So what do you engine builders suggest to reasonably insure lubrication to the cam lobes and lifters at initial start-up? Will the Rotella T oil be enough? Should I pull the intake, pushrods, lifters, water pump, harmonic balancer, cam cover, timing gear and chain to pull the cam and lube it?

FYI

The Comp Cams lube, the Permatex Part #81950 and the GM Break-in Lube part # 12345501 appear to be the same product.

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Old 03-09-2007, 02:55 PM
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I would use th GM E.O.S. lube along with what you are doing to ensure a trouble free break-iin-
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:16 PM
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I also have interest here since last year my XE268 Comp Cam wiped within 20 minutes and took out all the crank bearings. This is the second XE268 I've lost in the last three years. After having the block cleaned and the crank ground, I'll refire it this summer.

I have recently saw "diesel oil" for sale at AZ or Advance. Would this sub for the Shell Rotella?

Also, I recently read that the Comp Cam techs told a guy that their red stuff is only good for a week after application. Comments?
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:16 PM
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You had me goin' there for a minute, I thought maybe GM stopped makin' the stuff, but a search at Scoggin-Dickey (www.sdpc2000.com) turned up the pour-in lube.....
http://www.sdparts.com/product/10523...6ozBottle.aspx
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:17 PM
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I used the comp cams lube that came with cam and a smear of moly lube on bottom of the lifters. I put a bottle of EOS in the oil itself. I think you would want it to mix up well with oil so that way the non zinc(or less zinc anyway) oil will have less of a damaging effect on the cam. I also used the shell rotella 15/40. STP also makes a very think oil supplement with ZDDP. I stir in a LITTLE bit (maybe an ounce tops) with every gallon of oil I use. I am not sure how much of an overall effect it as but it helped me sleep at night after i did the break in.
I had to pull top half of motor due to improper torque of the heads/head gasket causing a coolant leak into oil. While i had the manifold off I checked the bottom of the lifters and all seems to be well.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MI2600
I also have interest here since last year my XE268 Comp Cam wiped within 20 minutes and took out all the crank bearings. This is the second XE268 I've lost in the last three years. After having the block cleaned and the crank ground, I'll refire it this summer.

I have recently saw "diesel oil" for sale at AZ or Advance. Would this sub for the Shell Rotella?

Also, I recently read that the Comp Cam techs told a guy that their red stuff is only good for a week after application. Comments?

All Diesel Engine Oils are NOT the same-and now, with the new Tier III Diesel regs going into effect, I'm not certain that any of those will help now. I think I would break-in with something like Valvoline Racing Oil (I've heard that it still has the Zinc)-anybody else know?

In my Project the first thing I wanted to do was build the Engine, but I talked to a Tech at Childs and Albert and he recommended to wait until I was close to done and do the Engine last, so that is what I'm doing-his reasoning? That the Cam Lube and such would drip off of the Camshaft-now, I know what some of you are going to say (I think!)-what abut the Crate Engines out there sitting on the Shelf that may have been built some time ago? I don't have the answer, but I do agree with the Child's and Albert's rationale-
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techinspector1
You had me goin' there for a minute, I thought maybe GM stopped makin' the stuff, but a search at Scoggin-Dickey (www.sdpc2000.com) turned up the pour-in lube.....
http://www.sdparts.com/product/10523...6ozBottle.aspx

Good info! Thanks for the link. I'll go back to the dealer tomorrow.

What I asked for today was GM EOS but gave the part #12345501. That part number is for the 4 fl.oz. bottle of Camshaft & Lifter prelube. It cost right at $7.00 for the 4 oz. bottle.

Your link shows part #1052367 and claims it to be a pour in additive and/or an assembly lube.

I'll pour it in with the Shell Rotella oil and prime the system good before firing it up.

It will be a month or so before I fire the engine, but I will post the results.

To MI2600, I don't know if all diesel oil has zinc in it or not. Perhaps one of the others here will know.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:50 PM
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Along with many others, I use a set of worn-out stock valve springs for break-in, then change them out with shop air and a Manley spring compressor.

A quicker and easier way would be to use the springs that you will run with the cam and use a reduced-ratio rocker arm for break-in, changing them out to the full ratio after break-in. I was just searching for them and found part # 1112-16 in Compcams catalog, 1.2 ratio. I'm told that Crower makes them too. I priced the Comps in the Jegs catalog and they are....ready for this....$422.

Am I the only guy who thinks it's high time someone produced some stamped steel 1.2 rockers that won't break the bank?
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:57 PM
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The old claim was that Rotella T had .14 ZDDP content - with the new CJ+ ratings and such I highly doubt the new stuff still has it. On the flip side - I had a diesel engine that never seemed to like Rotella and I started using the "Coastal" 15-40 diesel fleet oil from Advance and AutoZone. Engine likes this stuff and price is a tad cheaper then Rotella. Anyways - I was looking at that and noticed it wasn't CJ+ - still the old CJ rating - Warren Unilube produces it, I called up their number off their website and amazingly a friendly tech pulled the information sheets for it and helped me out saying it is rated at a .141 ZDDP content. With that in mind that is sitting in my fresh engine waiting to be broken in - cross my fingers!! The problem is that oil ratings are often changing - you have to watch the ratings even on the same product on the shelf - recently I was in Sears and noticed some of their house brand stuff was SL and some was SM - just keep your eyes open.

Does anyone have any fact sheets on what STP additive contains? Been curious and I could never find that info.
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Old 03-09-2007, 04:33 PM
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Posted by Koolaid:
"Does anyone have any fact sheets on what STP additive contains? Been curious and I could never find that info."

Years ago, I attended a school at the Quaker State refinery in Oil City, Pennsylvania. They instructed us that STP is a polymer that does little else but increase the viscosity index of the oil.
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Old 03-09-2007, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techinspector1
Posted by Koolaid:
"Does anyone have any fact sheets on what STP additive contains? Been curious and I could never find that info."

Years ago, I attended a school at the Quaker State refinery in Oil City, Pennsylvania. They instructed us that STP is a polymer that does little else but increase the viscosity index of the oil.
STP labels claim ZDDP and some other stuff.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:11 PM
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I would recommend using Crane moly paste on the bottoms of the lifters, on the lobes,on the distributor gear and on the fuel pump cam lobe. I would use GM EOS on the initial oil fill and Shell Rotella (older recipe) or equivalent.

tom
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techinspector1
Along with many others, I use a set of worn-out stock valve springs for break-in, then change them out with shop air and a Manley spring compressor.

A quicker and easier way would be to use the springs that you will run with the cam and use a reduced-ratio rocker arm for break-in, changing them out to the full ratio after break-in. I was just searching for them and found part # 1112-16 in Compcams catalog, 1.2 ratio. I'm told that Crower makes them too. I priced the Comps in the Jegs catalog and they are....ready for this....$422.

Am I the only guy who thinks it's high time someone produced some stamped steel 1.2 rockers that won't break the bank?
Definitely soft springs.
Think of this.

300# springs over the nose x 1.5 rocker ratio = 450# down pressure,
which was claimed to be 30,000+ psi on the lifter/lobe contact area.

300# x 1.2 rockers = 360# down pressure. Not a big difference, but significant.

According to Billy Godbolt of CompCams, newer cam lobes are being ground with a little more "side angle" and the newer lifter faces are being ground on a radius of down towards 60 feet instead of the old 100 feet. (yes feet) This is to make the lifter turn better, at the expense of mileage longevity. But the new contact pressure is estimated to be 50,000 psi because the contact area is smaller. YIKES.

I use 200# springs @ .500 200 x 1.5 = 300# is not that much different. Big difference is that the lobe heel and ramp are much less pressure. These springs only sit about 80# closed @ 1.75.

Looking through all the stuff on Comps web site, there is recommendations for 45 to 60 minutes at about 3000 rpm.

I have used 200# springs and 45 minutes for years. I haven't lost a cam yet. And YES it is a pain to change springs. But it is a bigger pain to tear the engine down and clean it and replace the cam and all the other stuff.

I also try to get 4 hours on the engine keeping it under 3500 rpm before installing the inner springs, or switching out the 200# to the recommended springs.

Rotella T and EOS. Mobil 1 synthetic later.
Also if you cruise the net, you will find major engine builders that say use MOLY, some say NO, it is to abrasive. Do what your cam manufacturer recommends always.
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Old 03-09-2007, 07:26 PM
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Well I gotta ask...

Why is it then that GM has used synthetic oil (namely Mobil 1) for break in...? Now dont go say well its roller lifters because that just dont cut it for the ring side of things...? I mean if its ok for the ring breakin then why not for cam break in...? Anti scuff is synthetic`s main property so hey what would be the issue with a new hyd cam build...?

My .02 (and 4 margarita`s later)
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Old 03-09-2007, 08:34 PM
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http://www.thegsresources.com/garage/gs_additive.htm

Scroll down aways to "The Zinc question". Some interesting stuff. They say the penzoil and valvoline racing oils contain the healthiest of zinc content. Shell rotella usually is at .141, the racing oils claim .20.
Its not the gospel but its a little backround on all the oil additives.
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