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Old 03-23-2013, 04:04 PM
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Oil and Flat Tappet engines info

Hi,

A lot people are worried about cams wearing out in older non-roller cams and lifters. I own an 86' Buick Regal T-Type (turbo charged) with the 'Flat Tappet' cam and 2003 Toyota Tundra V8 (overhead cam/shim valve train).

Using todays oil is no problem for the flat tappets, why?....All GM, Ford, Mopar, Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Porsche, Ferrari, MB, Lambo.....etc. use overhead cams in some of their small 4 - 6 cylinder and V-12 engines, depending on manufacture.
The overhead valve set up is a cam/shim where the cam lobe is rubbing (contacting) the shim on top of the valve. Same as a flat tappet cam lobe rubbing (contacting) the bottom of the flat tappet lifter. Plus, the Shim\Bucket set-up use HIGHER spring pressure than a lifter setup due to higher rpm range.
Pictures below are what most motorcycles/cars use, but it's same on all 4 cycle auto engines. Notice no roller or hydraulic lifter involved.
If these everyday garden variety cars, Toyota, KIA type cars (except the exotic V8 - V12 engines where the manufacture requires a SL rated oil) can use the same oil with overhead cam /shim valve train, your flat tappet will be ok.
Warning - a 300lb spring pressure springs you will need SL API rated oil (more fortified with high pressure additives) in your Hot Rod drag mobile. When you break-in your cam always use EOS, it is mandatory
But most soccer mom type cars can use SM API rated oil with overhead cam/shim engines or flat tappet that older cars use with normal spring pressure .
A Hyundai Genesis R-Spec with 429hp V8 dual overhead cams (shim valve set-up) uses the SM rated oil.



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Old 03-23-2013, 05:44 PM
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It's already been proven time and time again that todays oils are missing vital additives to protect FT cams. Even cam manufacturers warn against not using zinc additives and they are the authorities as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:51 PM
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There are at least 100 threads on this board concerning flat tappet cams, zinc, proper break in and what oils to use. Concerning the overhead cams and spring pressure, the ramps are generally not as steep, and the shims are wider than flat tappet lifters, thus not as much load.
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:02 PM
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I am even seeing the fuel pump lobes worn down or even galled/smeared and farm equipment with many problems caused from current oils.
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Old 03-23-2013, 11:42 PM
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30wt

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Originally Posted by S10 Racer View Post
It's already been proven time and time again that todays oils are missing vital additives to protect FT cams. Even cam manufacturers warn against not using zinc additives and they are the authorities as far as I'm concerned.

Cam manufactures still use Zinc/Phosphorus, around 800 - 1200 ppm, plus use Boron as a anti-wear preventive additive. I have an old 88 Suzuki 1026cc (modified) M/C with 4 valves per cyl. that has steep cam lobe ramps with shim/buckets and 225lb spring pressure and the cams still look new. Bike has 25,600 racing miles on it. been using Shell Rotella T 5-40 synthetic oil now and 10-40wt prior to that.
A lot of Hot Rodder's use just 30wt oil since it has over 1200 - 1400 ppm of Zinc/Phosphorus. Single weight oil has more than the multi-weight oils.
We mixed 30wt with 10-30wt to run in new modified engines after break-in. It works with close tolerances.
So long you start it up above 50 degrees using 30wt.





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Old 03-24-2013, 01:11 AM
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The following statement is from GM believe what you want but I'm running a xe-274h with 1.6 rockers and using Chevron supreme 5w-30 and NO additives without any problems....

The Starburst Oil Myth -- The latest myth promoted by the antique and collector car press says that new Starburst/ API SM engine oils (called Starburst for the shape of the symbol on the container) are bad for older engines because the amount of anti-wear additive in them has been reduced. The anti-wear additive being discussed is zinc dithiophosphate (ZDP).

Before debunking this myth, we need to look at the history of ZDP usage. For over 60 years, ZDP has been used as an additive in engine oils to provide wear protection and oxidation stability.

ZDP was first added to engine oil to control copper/lead bearing corrosion. Oils with a phosphorus level in the 0.03% range passed a corrosion test introduced in 1942.

In the mid-1950s, when the use of high-lift camshafts increased the potential for scuffing and wear, the phosphorus level contributed by ZDP was increased to the 0.08% range.

In addition, the industry developed a battery of oil tests (called sequences), two of which were valve-train scuffing and wear tests.

A higher level of ZDP was good for flat-tappet valve-train scuffing and wear, but it turned out that more was not better. Although break-in scuffing was reduced by using more phosphorus, longer-term wear increased when phosphorus rose above 0.14%. And, at about 0.20% phosphorus, the ZDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling.

By the 1970s, increased antioxidancy was needed to protect the oil in high-load engines, which otherwise could thicken to a point where the engine could no longer pump it. Because ZDP was an inexpensive and effective antioxidant, it was used to place the phosphorus level in the 0.10% range.

However, phosphorus is a poison for exhaust catalysts. So, ZDP levels have been reduced over the last 10-15 years. It's now down to a maximum of 0.08% for Starburst oils. This was supported by the introduction of modern ashless antioxidants that contain no phosphorus.

Enough history. Let's get back to the myth that Starburst oils are no good for older engines. The argument put forth is that while these oils work perfectly well in modern, gasoline engines equipped with roller camshafts, they will cause catastrophic wear in older engines equipped with flat-tappet camshafts.

The facts say otherwise.

Backward compatability was of great importance when the Starburst oil standards were developed by a group of experts from the OEMs, oil companies, and oil additive companies. In addition, multiple oil and additive companies ran no-harm tests on older engines with the new oils; and no problems were uncovered.

The new Starburst specification contains two valve-train wear tests. All Starburst oil formulations must pass these two tests.

- Sequence IVA tests for camshaft scuffing and wear using a single overhead camshaft engine with slider finger (not roller) followers.

- Sequence IIIG evaluates cam and lifter wear using a V6 engine with a flat-tappet system, similar to those used in the 1980s.

Those who hold onto the myth are ignoring the fact that the new Starburst oils contain about the same percentage of ZDP as the oils that solved the camshaft scuffing and wear issues back in the 1950s. (True, they do contain less ZDP than the oils that solved the oil thickening issues in the 1960s, but that's because they now contain high levels of ashless antioxidants not commercially available in the 1960s.)
Despite the pains taken in developing special flat-tappet camshaft wear tests that these new oils must pass and the fact that the ZDP level of these new oils is comparable to the level found necessary to protect flat-tappet camshafts in the past, there will still be those who want to believe the myth that new oils will wear out older engines.
Like other myths before it, history teaches us that it will probably take 60 or 70 years for this one to die also.

Special thanks to GM's Techlink
- Thanks to Bob Olree GM Powertrain Fuels and Lubricants Group
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:00 AM
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We use no "special" additives during cam "break-in" when we run a customer's engine. Just a good moly-graphite lube smeared on the lobe during assembly, and 15W-40 Rotella for run-in. Lifts up to .550" have shown no issues with flat tappets. I never "bought in" to the "It's the oil's fault" line. While 'm no chemist, I DO understand how it all works. The logic of modern flat tappets being fine did not escape me. And "shim" type OHC systems have MUCH more aggressive lobes, as there's no rocker ratio to increase the lift.

I've seen a number of failures, though. Not from our stuff, but from "cleaning up" after another shop or a DIY guy that shouldn't have. In the majority of cases, recommended break-in procedures weren't used. I've heard "I'm not gonna leave the springs out. That's dumb..." And sure enough, they "wipe" a lobe. It's 'cuz the oil's bad. Or the metal's bad... Or the lifters must be imported... Or the cam cores are made in China... The list can go on and on.

Modern performance valve trains use "double" springs. We routinely "convert" small block heads to use them. NOTE: I've heard several refer to the "damper" (the flat piece wound up in the middle of the spring) as an "inner" spring. This is not correct. A "double" spring has two separate coils of wire. Leaving the "inner" springs out and running the cam "in" is recommended by virtually all cam grinders.

Using EXACTLY the "right" spring is also paramount to survival of a flat tappet cam. We see "too much" spring quite often. Seldom, except in "budget" rebuilds, do we see inadequate pressure.

I attribute our "record" with flat tappets more to following break-in procedures and the correct springs than any other factors.

This does not mean you shouldn't use good oil and an additive. It certainly can't "hurt", but it's NOT a substitute for following procedure.

FWIW

Jim
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richiehd View Post
Concerning the overhead cams and spring pressure, the ramps are generally not as steep, and the shims are wider than flat tappet lifters, thus not as much load.
X 2 and also due to the lack of pushrods , the valve train is lighter which will also help lessen the need for heavy springs. Less weight...lighter springs. Bucket shim engines are also solid cam design, so there is no rotating lifters . Bucket shims are also lighter than Hydraulic lifters.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:08 AM
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Oil

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Originally Posted by xxllmm4 View Post
The following statement is from GM believe what you want but I'm running a xe-274h with 1.6 rockers and using Chevron supreme 5w-30 and NO additives without any problems....

The Starburst Oil Myth -- The latest myth promoted by the antique and collector car press says that new Starburst/ API SM engine oils (called Starburst for the shape of the symbol on the container) are bad for older engines because the amount of anti-wear additive in them has been reduced. The anti-wear additive being discussed is zinc dithiophosphate (ZDP).

Before debunking this myth, we need to look at the history of ZDP usage. For over 60 years, ZDP has been used as an additive in engine oils to provide wear protection and oxidation stability.

ZDP was first added to engine oil to control copper/lead bearing corrosion. Oils with a phosphorus level in the 0.03% range passed a corrosion test introduced in 1942.

In the mid-1950s, when the use of high-lift camshafts increased the potential for scuffing and wear, the phosphorus level contributed by ZDP was increased to the 0.08% range.

In addition, the industry developed a battery of oil tests (called sequences), two of which were valve-train scuffing and wear tests.

A higher level of ZDP was good for flat-tappet valve-train scuffing and wear, but it turned out that more was not better. Although break-in scuffing was reduced by using more phosphorus, longer-term wear increased when phosphorus rose above 0.14%. And, at about 0.20% phosphorus, the ZDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling.

By the 1970s, increased antioxidancy was needed to protect the oil in high-load engines, which otherwise could thicken to a point where the engine could no longer pump it. Because ZDP was an inexpensive and effective antioxidant, it was used to place the phosphorus level in the 0.10% range.

However, phosphorus is a poison for exhaust catalysts. So, ZDP levels have been reduced over the last 10-15 years. It's now down to a maximum of 0.08% for Starburst oils. This was supported by the introduction of modern ashless antioxidants that contain no phosphorus.

Enough history. Let's get back to the myth that Starburst oils are no good for older engines. The argument put forth is that while these oils work perfectly well in modern, gasoline engines equipped with roller camshafts, they will cause catastrophic wear in older engines equipped with flat-tappet camshafts.

The facts say otherwise.

Backward compatability was of great importance when the Starburst oil standards were developed by a group of experts from the OEMs, oil companies, and oil additive companies. In addition, multiple oil and additive companies ran no-harm tests on older engines with the new oils; and no problems were uncovered.

The new Starburst specification contains two valve-train wear tests. All Starburst oil formulations must pass these two tests.

- Sequence IVA tests for camshaft scuffing and wear using a single overhead camshaft engine with slider finger (not roller) followers.

- Sequence IIIG evaluates cam and lifter wear using a V6 engine with a flat-tappet system, similar to those used in the 1980s.

Those who hold onto the myth are ignoring the fact that the new Starburst oils contain about the same percentage of ZDP as the oils that solved the camshaft scuffing and wear issues back in the 1950s. (True, they do contain less ZDP than the oils that solved the oil thickening issues in the 1960s, but that's because they now contain high levels of ashless antioxidants not commercially available in the 1960s.)
Despite the pains taken in developing special flat-tappet camshaft wear tests that these new oils must pass and the fact that the ZDP level of these new oils is comparable to the level found necessary to protect flat-tappet camshafts in the past, there will still be those who want to believe the myth that new oils will wear out older engines.
Like other myths before it, history teaches us that it will probably take 60 or 70 years for this one to die also.

Special thanks to GM's Techlink
- Thanks to Bob Olree GM Powertrain Fuels and Lubricants Group


The 'MULE' motor for the flat tappet test GM uses is a 3.8 V6 Buick motor, same as my 86' Turbo Regal and our club members were worried about wearing out our cams. We boost our engines up to 25lbs using stock head gaskets and pistons put bigger turbo's , bigger inter-coolers, different cams, ported heads, exhaust, different comp. chips .....etc and the engine stays together using the stock crank
Found out a GM engineer was in our club and he told us just use 10-30wt or 5-40wt Synthetic oil and you will be safe. He said our engines were built with close .0015-.002 tolerances in "important" areas and the oil "scare" is a myth. So I did what he said and mine is still running...






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Old 03-24-2013, 11:31 AM
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I believe it is myth perpetuated by hype. You have to believe something isn't right with the spring pressures people are running.

In my builds and break ins I used 30wt oil. No cam pastes or assembly lube , only the 30wt. I do pack the oil pump of coarse.

No problems.
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Old 03-24-2013, 12:19 PM
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Oil

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Originally Posted by spinn View Post
I believe it is myth perpetuated by hype. You have to believe something isn't right with the spring pressures people are running.

In my builds and break ins I used 30wt oil. No cam pastes or assembly lube , only the 30wt. I do pack the oil pump of coarse.

No problems.




Glad to see some people agree with me I feel so much better, thought I would have to start buying the STP Engine Honey bottles..........







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Old 03-24-2013, 02:29 PM
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I posted this a few days ago, no one replied. Just some more information to consider.

Oil testing, Sequence IVA Test Method ??

Oil's with the highest ZDDP levels did not have the highest film strength. The #9 ranked Chevron Supreme also proves you don't have to spend a lot for a quality oil. I stock up when its on sale, you can get it for $10 in a 5 quart Jug.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:43 AM
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Ask your local machine shop what oil to use....
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:04 AM
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Much of the wear issues with flat tappet high perf cams is improper installation-initial run in.
And much of it is inferior manufacturing method of the cam and lifters.

When you buy the most popular mass produced Hyd flat tappet cam at a cheap price from a company that spends the most money on marketing, thats what you get.

Buy quality made Hyd flat tappet cams from a company that makes them in house
on high quality cam cores. Use only high quality hyd lifters.

You'll pay a bit more. You get what you pay for.

One way to ensure this is to call and custom oder your next hyd flat tappet cam
with a special LSA or a unique pair of in and ex lobes. Then they have to make you one.
many companies do not charge extra for this custom cam grind service.
But you can expect to pay a bit more than the lowest advertized prices of the most popular mass produced-- mass advertized catalog cams
as these are likely mass produced by outside contractors at the lowest bid price.

If we the customers demand and are willing pay a bit more for high quality in high perf flat tappet cams and lifters
the industry will respond. If you only shop * price *.... well....

Last edited by F-BIRD'88; 03-25-2013 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:16 PM
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I have to laugh at all those that say the removal of zinc and other things doesn't bother the flat tap cam/ rockers/fuel push rod.
but these items wear faster know than ever before, fail tons more..
with the same oiling set up thats been around since 1955..
it's the springs, it's the break in, it's (fill in the blank)..
it's a myth..
but when the parts fail it's something other than the zinc..
yet the engine break in done by machine shop.. springs matched to cam..
had no issues untill the oil lost it's zinc then the cam lobes wear was showing.. and new springs only made it faster, rocker balls and rockers blueing even with spring sprayers.. and fuel pushrods ends turning blue..
only change was the oils lack of zinc..
but it's a myth..
this is what I say.. any builder you buy from that says its a myth, tell them if the parts fail. they fix.. and get it in writing.. don't be shocked if they tell you pound sand..
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