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Old 03-18-2006, 05:50 PM
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Synthetic Motor Oil In 454 Rebuild

I just finished my 454 rebuild and am wondering if using synthetic oil will be appropriate for the application. I would like to use it to reduce friction and resulting heat to make my engine run cooler (still runs a little hot even with new 4-core radiator and new water pump) and to gain additional horsepower. It has a .060 overbore, fresh forged pistons, rings, cam, lifters, reconditioned iron heads, internally balanced crank, timing chain set, distributor, ignition, etc. Your thoughts please.

thanks. Lee

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Old 03-18-2006, 06:54 PM
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I would not use synthetic until the engine is completely broken in. Personally, I have been using Shell Rotella 15w40 for break in period because of the superior additives that it has for flat tappet camshaft break in, which is critical. Synthetic oils are great, but not for a fresh engine IMOP.

Brian
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Old 03-18-2006, 07:21 PM
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There will be differing opinions on this subject. Shell Rotella is a fine oil and a favorite of the diesel crowd for obvious reasons. On the other hand lots of newly rebuilt engines are run from day one on syn oil with no problems. If it were mine I would run it in for 500 or so miles on a high quality conventional oil like Castrol GTX. Then switch to a high quality synthetic like Mobil 1 and use a high efficiency filter like the Mobil 1 or Puralator Pure 1. IMO it makes no sense to run an expensive oil like Mobil 1 and a cheap crappy Fram filter. You must combine the syn oil with a high efficiency filter.

Vince
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Old 03-18-2006, 07:47 PM
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nissan

I have used amsoil since 81 an they recomend breaking in on regular oil since there oil is to slick to let the rings seat. I use hastings filters and change every 25,000 miles. I increased my milage by 6 mpg. I don't use oil between changes an have 200,000 miles on my truck, it still has the orginal timing chain. I also use the gear lube in the trans.& rear end.
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Old 03-18-2006, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302/Z28
There will be differing opinions on this subject. Shell Rotella is a fine oil and a favorite of the diesel crowd for obvious reasons. On the other hand lots of newly rebuilt engines are run from day one on syn oil with no problems. If it were mine I would run it in for 500 or so miles on a high quality conventional oil like Castrol GTX. Then switch to a high quality synthetic like Mobil 1 and use a high efficiency filter like the Mobil 1 or Puralator Pure 1. IMO it makes no sense to run an expensive oil like Mobil 1 and a cheap crappy Fram filter. You must combine the syn oil with a high efficiency filter.

Vince
Vince - from what data and/or sources are you basing your opinions on with regards to oil and filters? For example you say Fram oil filters are "crappy". Please expand on that and why the Mobil 1 filter is superior.

Lee
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leejoy
Vince - from what data and/or sources are you basing your opinions on with regards to oil and filters? For example you say Fram oil filters are "crappy". Please expand on that and why the Mobil 1 filter is superior.

Lee
It is no secret that Fram's standard filter is junk. There have been numerous tests confirming such. The Mobil 1 filters have a synthetic spun filter media that filters a much smaller particulate size than paper filters do. In test after test Fram standard filters always perform poorly compared to standard filters from Puralator and others. Even Frams top of the line filter does not compare to either the Puralator 1, Mobil 1 or the Amsoil filters. Do not believe all the hype you are fed on TV about Fram filters.

http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Filters.html

http://people.msoe.edu/~yoderw/oilfi...lterstudy.html

"Stay away from fram oil filters"

Vince

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Old 03-18-2006, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leejoy
I just finished my 454 rebuild and am wondering if using synthetic oil will be appropriate for the application. I would like to use it to reduce friction and resulting heat to make my engine run cooler (still runs a little hot even with new 4-core radiator and new water pump) and to gain additional horsepower.
Just to clear some things up. Synthetic oil is the same oil molecule as mineral oil... its just created in a lab instead of millions of years of decaying dinosaurs. It won't reduce friction, nor will it increase horsepower. Its strongest point is that (since it is solely oil molecules without the extra junk that dino oil has in it) it can dissolve more junk from the engine as well as dissolve more additives. These attributes may increase the change intervals in your engine, but without testing there is no way to be sure.

How hot is too hot? Remember, engines like to run hot, drivers like them to run cool. I keep a 195 stat in my 454 and I wouldn't worry for a heartbeat if the temps made it to 230. As long as you're not boiling there is no need to make it cooler. You can make it cooler to increase power a few ponies, but at the expense of reduced oil life, slightly shortened plug life, and greatly increased carbon buildup inside the chambers and on the pistons.

There is no problem using synthetic after break in, but I'd wait for 6000-9000 miles.
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Old 03-19-2006, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curtis73
Just to clear some things up. Synthetic oil is the same oil molecule as mineral oil... its just created in a lab instead of millions of years of decaying dinosaurs. It won't reduce friction, nor will it increase horsepower. Its strongest point is that (since it is solely oil molecules without the extra junk that dino oil has in it) it can dissolve more junk from the engine as well as dissolve more additives. These attributes may increase the change intervals in your engine, but without testing there is no way to be sure.

How hot is too hot? Remember, engines like to run hot, drivers like them to run cool. I keep a 195 stat in my 454 and I wouldn't worry for a heartbeat if the temps made it to 230. As long as you're not boiling there is no need to make it cooler. You can make it cooler to increase power a few ponies, but at the expense of reduced oil life, slightly shortened plug life, and greatly increased carbon buildup inside the chambers and on the pistons.

There is no problem using synthetic after break in, but I'd wait for 6000-9000 miles.
curtis, curtis, curtis.

if you go to all the website for all the synthetic oil manufacturers like mobil 1, valvoline, royal purple, they all say their synthetic oil can be used on new engines with no problems. why would they say that if it were untrue and expose themselves to liabilities?

With regard to my engine running hot. I need your help. first of all I pretty much agree with you to a point about "engines like to be hot" but once the temp gauge starts rising above 210 I get nervous about detonation, warping heads, etc. Here's my situation in a snapshot. I just finished a 454 rebuild on my Nova. I put a new 4-core radiator in there. there is no room for a "belt driven fan". I installed a new aluminum "performance" water pump and upper and lower hoses as well. I also installed a 16" electric fan on the outer side of the radiator setup in a "push" design to push air through the radiator instead of the standard "pull" design which I cannot do because of clearance issues. I put a switch on the dash for the radiator fan and it runs continuously when the engine is running. The upper and lower hoses I used are those "universal" flex type with the internal springs in them to prevent collapsing. I am a little suspect of those. The upper hose is only a 1-1/4" ID. Is that right? The lower hose is a 1-1/2" ID. Not sure if those internal springs are impeding water flow. anyways, even on a cold day, with the hood off !!!!!!!!!! and the electric fan running, the temp will rise above 200 to 210 if the car is not moving. As soon as the car starts going down the road the temp drops to about 180 to 190. That worries me because HOT summer days are coming soon and my Hood will be on. It's only off now because I am constantly testing, tuning and checking due to the rebuild. I have no shroud for the radiator/fan setup. I'm not sure if this is a water flow or an air flow problem at this point.
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Old 03-19-2006, 06:21 AM
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There are two key words in the topic description that I want you guys to keep in mind. Those two words are rebuild and oil. Not to get off topic about oil filters or how good synthetic is vs. mineral oil, because synthetic is known to be superior in terms of longevity and resistance to break down.


However, since I build engines on a daily basis, and I have seen quite a few flat tappet cams fail lately, I am inclined to believe the camshaft manufacturers when they say NOT to use synthetic oil during the break in period. Furthermore, Comp Cams directly recommends the use of Shell Rotella T oil. I've been using it because it's available anywhere and it does the job. It's not just for diesel engines only. It says right on the bottle that it's fine for gas engines. My other choice is Valvoline 20w50 racing, non-synthetic.

Words from the wise right here and here.

This is more than just a rumor, it is true that modern oils are NOT designed for flat tappet camshafts, particularly ones in a big block chevys that normally employ more lift than the average engine.


If you've got a new engine with a flat tappet cam, take heed to this advice. After you've broken it in, run your oil of choice.
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Old 03-19-2006, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302/Z28
It is no secret that Fram's standard filter is junk. There have been numerous tests confirming such. The Mobil 1 filters have a synthetic spun filter media that filters a much smaller particulate size than paper filters do. In test after test Fram standard filters always perform poorly compared to standard filters from Puralator and others. Even Frams top of the line filter does not compare to either the Puralator 1, Mobil 1 or the Amsoil filters. Do not believe all the hype you are fed on TV about Fram filters.

http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Filters.html

http://people.msoe.edu/~yoderw/oilfi...lterstudy.html

"Stay away from fram oil filters"

Vince
vince

here's another site I found on oil filters

http://minimopar.knizefamily.net/oilfilters.html
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Old 03-19-2006, 07:00 AM
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Diesel engine oils are high detergent,maybe too high for gas engines,I am a heavy duty mechanic and always have lots of 15-40 esso diesel oil around so have been running it in my truck for years,when I tore it down for a rebuild,the cylinders were scuffed and grooved very badly as were the pistons.

I've opened up many motors with way less miles on them and all were in better condition than this last one of mine,only thing myself and others could find to blame was the diesel oil being too high detergent for gas and washing down the cylinder walls too clean.

Maybe that would be good for break in and seating rings.

I'm not entirely sure that's what caused it,but I will be running oils designed for gasoline from now on.
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Old 03-19-2006, 07:11 AM
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Jim,

Rotella oil is suitable for gas engines. It's right on the bottle.
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Old 03-19-2006, 07:25 AM
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I had a simular problem with a 383 stroker in a T bucket. I took the brass and copper radiator out and put in an aluminum radiator. Now I run a 195 thermosts and that is what the engine runs.
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Old 03-19-2006, 11:02 AM
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I am not a petroleum geologist but my best friend is and just retired with a lifetime of knowledge and experience, and not a bunch of "old wives tales" regarding oil.

I agree with NAIRB.

Cylinder wall finishes and ring type has a lot to do with break in and using synthetic oil initially or at very low miles. New engines that come from the factory with synthetic oil are designed for it.

Oil manufacturers recommend using mineral oil for break-in because of the variablity of the machine shop work, etc.

Most local machine shops are stuck in the 70s with their cylinder finishing techniques and equipment. I have talked to several BIG NAME engine shops who finish all cylinder walls with the same stuff they were using 20+ years ago. 90% still don't use a nylon finish hone.

Use conventional mineral oil for break-in 2-3,000 miles in my opinion.
Diesel oil carries a "Gas Engine Rating" also. I respect Brian's opinion about the cam break-in using diesel oils.

Curtis,
in fact, oil does NOT come from "millions of years of decaying dinosaurs", as you put it. Think about this.... if one dinosaur made one gallon of crude oil, there would have to be 20 billion of them standing around in a herd to make ONE good oil reserve. (that's gallons not barrels)

Synthetic Oil is NOT the "same molecule" as regular mineral oil.
Synthetic oil does reduce friction/wear and increases horsepower, period. The ability to suspend trash in the oil is a factor of the additives.

No I am not a petroleum geologist but my best friend is and just retired with a lifetime of knowledge and experience, and not a bunch of "old wives tales" regarding oil.

As for oil filters. There are lots of engines out here that have run 250,000 miles with junko oil filters on them. Believing hype on oil filters is like believing hype on carburetors or tires. You buy what you find the most believable.

Of course I think that you should use Ford filters on Fords and Chevy filters on Chevys. If the manufacturer says it is OK, then I won't buck their judgement. As for racers, use the brand the winner is using. See all the stickers on the sides of their cars? That is what they are there for !!!
(But Champion spark plugs still suck, and I wouldn't run them if they were free and someone else put them in for me.)

Last edited by xntrik; 03-19-2006 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xntrik
Curtis,
in fact, oil does NOT come from "millions of years of decaying dinosaurs", as you put it. Think about this.... if one dinosaur made one gallon of crude oil, there would have to be 20 billion of them standing around in a herd to make ONE good oil reserve. (that's gallons not barrels)

Synthetic Oil is NOT the "same molecule" as regular mineral oil.
Synthetic oil does reduce friction/wear and increases horsepower, period. The ability to suspend trash in the oil is a factor of the additives
You're right about the dinosaurs, but my point was levity, not history We often refer to mineral oil as dinosaur juice or dino oil. In truth it comes from large areas of vegitation and animals (including dinosaurs) that have been buried and all but the hydrocarbons have gone away leaving crude oil. Actually one acre of forest can only make about one cup of crude.

With all due respect to you and your friend, (no flames intended) the oil molecule used for lubricating oil that you dig up in the form of crude is between C16-C19 hydrocarbons, the smaller being less viscous like 3 in 1 oil, the larger being more like vaseline. By cracking these hydrocarbons you can manipulate their conditions along with the additives you put in them before they go in the car.

The molecules they create in a lab are anywhere from C13s (in the kerosene range) up to C22 (paraffin wax range). Then heating gets rid of the lighter molecules and cracking takes it down to the same range as what gets dug out of the ground. Same exact molecules.

If you think about it, they are all HxC2x hydrocarbon chains. Any more carbons than you need and you have vaseline. Any less and you have kerosene. It physically HAS to be the same molecule or its not right to use as motor oil.

The ability for it to dissolve more junk in it is due to its purity. The additives have nothing to do with it. In fact, the more additives you dissolve in oil, the less "room" there is to dissolve combustion by-products. Its no different than tap water versus distilled water. You can dissolve more of something (for instance salt) in distilled water because its solely H2O molecules. Tap water is already occupied with various dissolutes. Refined crude oil is 98% hydrocarbons. The rest is silicates, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, and metals. Synthetic oil is 100% hydrocarbons. That extra 2% can be used for dissolution of more additives or dissolution of more engine junk.

There are several basic additive families that go into engine oil, including anti-wear (like phosphorus, zinc, and molybdenum disulphide), Detergents which contrary to popular belief DO NOT "clean" an engine, they merely hold the particulates in suspension instead of letting them sink to the bottom. This helps filtration efficiency. Other additive families include pH balancers like calcium, anti-foam agents to counteract the surfactant qualities of the detergents, etc.

Its also making me chuckle (and no flames intended... just counterpoint) several times in this thread a couple of you have said, "it says right on the bottle." Of course they say stuff like that on the bottle. There are Castrol ads on TV right now that show a 350Z carving a corner and the announcer says "now see what it WANTS to do." There are Quaker State ads that show liquid oil horses running alongside a Subaru STI saying "you paid for 300 horses, make sure you're getting all of them." Of course an oil company will say that its better at getting MPG or HP out of a car. Of course Mobil 1 says that its the best. They haven't changed their formulation for 7years, but they were the first, they're recommended in the corvette, and they're the most expensive so they must be the best, right?

Come on guys. You're talking to an engineer here. You can gain 3 hp by switching from valvoline to mobil 1, but then you might gain another 3 hp by switching to castrol or havoline.

Its a semantics game. Those high-mileage oils are just formulated on the high side of their viscosity and they throw in a little more calcium for blowby acids. Those high-hp oils are formulated on the low side of their viscosity and don't have as much moly and zinc to prevent roping which robs hp. If you dynoed the high-mileage oil then switched to the high-hp oil, you might gain 10 hp, but that's not the point. There are no blanket statements. If you do two identical dyno runs back to back you might see a 10 hp difference.

The two things that shine with synthetic are 1) increased viscosity stability. Since they have ultimate control in the lab over which hydrocarbon chains remain in the oil, very little or no viscosity modifiers need to be used. Since viscosity modifiers are one of the first additives to get burned away, mineral oils often suffer what Castrol calls "viscosity breakdown." 2) increased solubility. This means that a synthetic oil may last longer. It could last a shorter period, but they don't advertise that part. As far as viscosity stability and ability to dissolve more junk, they last longer. But if you have an engine with more blowby and your expensive synthetic oil doesn't have as much calcium compounds, it will reach is pH limit in very short order. No one tests the pH of their oil so many people assume that their synthetic oil lasts twice as long. Sometimes it doesn't.

Again, no flames intended, I just wanted to clear up some stuff that I know for an absolute fact. Some of this stuff can be found on HowStuffWorks.com if you want to check up on it.
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