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Old 05-11-2013, 11:31 AM
Brandon H.'s Avatar
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What oil you runnin?

Got a solid flat tappet cam in the s10,

Been reading but it's getting me nowhere. Some say this, some say that.

Can I run Delo 400 le with a bottle of engine break in additive? Anyone recommend one that's easy to find?

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Old 05-11-2013, 11:35 AM
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Any good oil can be used (except synthetic) if you also use a zinc additive. I personally use Valvoline VR1 Racing oil in any of my solid cam applications.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:13 PM
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some odd moons ago the EPA took zinc out of conventional oils.they say "its better for the environment" but now its causing flat tappet cams to go flat.
these oils lack the zinc. so its detremental to all oldschool engines. the roller cams do fine.

i use either Kendall or schaffers racing oils, kinda pricy @ 10 bucks a quart. but they are formulated for high rpm use.

you caN use any oils you want, but like S10 said make sure you use zinc additive. it will do just fine.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:29 PM
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That's why I am thinking about adding a ZDDP or break in additive.

Just wondering what everyone else was running, or recommends.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:35 PM
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You can use synthetic oil for F.T. break-in, you just need to get the correct one.
Corvettes & other Hi Performance vehicles come from the factories w/synthetic.(I know there rollers. But the cam isn't the only high pressure area either)
Scroll down & read the charts about whats in Amsols synthetic oils. Not looking
for an argument, just read the article & make up your own mind.

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Flat Tappet and Camshaft Lobe Lubrication

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil Recommendations


Flat tappet camshafts undergo extreme pressure and loads, thus requiring an engine oil that is fortified with antiwear additives to provide premium protection. The severity of higher spring pressure in racing engines also creates the need for additional wear protection.

To preserve catalytic converter life, phosphorus levels in motor oil have been reduced. Concerns have risen that oils containing lower levels of zinc/phosphorus could provide insufficient protection in high-pressure areas of flat tappets and camshaft lobes found in many older and high performance engines.


The most commonly used anti-wear additive in motor oils is zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP). ZDDP contains both zinc and phosphorus components working together to provide anti-wear protection, and is most important during cam "break-in" procedures. Proper break-in lubes should be used during the break-in phase for all new or rebuilt engines with flat tappets. These lubricants provide the extra protection required to reduce wear at the point of contact during break-in and help the flat tappet face properly mate with the cam lobe. Once the break-in phase is completed, AMSOIL motor oils, which are formulated with high levels of zinc and phosphorus, will provide premium protection to flat tappet cams.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and International Lubricants Standards Approval Committee (ILSAC) have mandated the reduction of phosphorus to extend catalytic converter life. However, reducing the level of ZDDP can compromise protection to engine components, most notably in fl at tappet camshafts. Current API SN and ILSAC GF-5 specifications for gasoline engines have maximum and minimum phosphorus levels of 800 ppm and 600 ppm, respectively, for SAE 0W-20, SAE 5W-20, SAE 0W-30, SAE 5W-30 and SAE 10W-30 motor oils.

All engines, especially high-performance modified engines, benefit from oils with superior film strength and antiwear properties. The flat tappet/camshaft lobe interface is the one area in an engine that has extreme contact load. Since this load increases significantly when non-stock, high-pressure valve springs are employed, the use of properly formulated motor oils is extremely important to reduce wear and extend flat tappet/camshaft life.


AMSOIL recommends motor oils containing high levels of zinc/phosphorus for superior protection. The following tables list many of the AMSOIL synthetic motor oils that are formulated with high levels of anti-wear additives:


Phosphorus Level (ppm) Zinc Level (ppm)
Z-ROD™ 10W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil (ZRT) 1320 1440
Z-ROD™ 20W-50 Synthetic Motor Oil (ZRF) 1320 1440

Secondary Recommendations Phosphorus Level (ppm) Zinc Level (ppm)
Premium Protection 10W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil (AMO) 1265 1378
Premium Protection 20W-50 Synthetic Motor Oil (ARO) 1266 1379
Series 3000 5W-30 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel Oil (HDD) 1266 1379
15W-40 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel and Marine Motor Oil (AME) 1267 1377

AMSOIL Synthetic Racing Oils Phosphorus Level (ppm) Zinc Level (ppm)
Dominator® 5W-20 Synthetic Racing Oil (RD20) 1424 1575
Dominator® 10W-30 Synthetic Racing Oil (RD30) 1424 1575
Dominator® 15W-50 Synthetic Racing Oil (RD50) 1424 1575
SAE 60 Super Heavy Weight Synthetic Racing Oil (AHR) 1265 1375

AMSOIL ZRT, ZRF, AMO, ARO, HDD, AME, RD20, RD30, RD50 and AHR all contain high levels of zinc/phosphorus, maximizing flat tappet/camshaft life in stock modified and high-performance applications.

ZRF 20W-50ZRT 10W-30AMSOIL Z-ROD™ 10W-30 (ZRT) and 20W-50 (ZRF) Synthetic Motor Oils are formulated with high zinc and phosphorus levels to provide protection in gasoline engines with flat tappet camshafts. Z-ROD oils also contain high levels of rust and corrosion inhibitors for maximum protection during long periods of storage.

AMSOIL Premium Protection 10W-40 (AMO) and 20W- 50 (ARO) Synthetic Motor Oils are formulated with high zinc and phosphorus levels to provide protection in both gasoline (SL) and diesel (CI-4 Plus) applications. These oils are an outstanding choice where high zinc-containing protection is required, such as in late model hot rods that require extra camshaft protection.

AMSOIL Series 3000 5W-30 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel Oil (HDD) is a combination diesel/gasoline oil with a higher starting TBN to handle the significant stresses from high soot loading and acid generation in modern diesel engines. HDD contains the high phosphorus and zinc required for long life engine protection.

AMSOIL 15W-40 Synthetic Heavy Duty Diesel and Marine Motor Oil (AME) is engineered for use in a wide variety of light and heavy-duty applications. AME is formulated with high levels of zinc and phosphorus to ensure protection of flat tappet camshaft lobes in high performance diesel engines.

AMSOIL Dominator® 5W-20, 10W-30 and 15W-50 Synthetic Racing Oils (RD20, RD30, RD50) are all formulated with the same robust additive package. These oils are heavily fortified with zinc and phosphorus to protect flat tappet cams in the most extreme racing conditions.

AMSOIL SAE 60 Super Heavy Weight Synthetic Racing Oil (AHR) is a super heavy weight racing oil designed for alcohol and nitro burning race engines where viscosity loss associated with fuel dilution is a concern. AHR includes a high dose of zinc-containing anti-wear chemistry that race engines require.

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Last edited by richard stewart 3rd; 05-11-2013 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:45 PM
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The Importance of ZDDP - YouTube">The Importance of ZDDP - YouTube" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">

don't trust any over the counter oil.. read the label.. any for use in todays cars or big rigs, are lacking the zinc, no matter syn or dyno..
not all racing oil does either, valoine has 2 different lines of racing oils.. one with one without..
some say they never have issues, but are they going to be the one paying for your rebuild when and if a lifter/lobe fails, answer that to yourself. and do whats best for you..
just be cause shell big rig oil "used" to have it, doesn't mean it does now..
same with most oils, you'll have to read the label.. adding the zipp, won't hurt anything, unless you over do it..
running a high detergent oil and zipp additive fight each other..
this is basical an infomercial but it spells it out nicely..

The Importance of ZDDP - YouTube

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Old 05-11-2013, 06:14 PM
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Good video.

That's why I am looking at the Rotella Delo 400le, which is CI-4 rated, on top of break in additive should have the proper zddp
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:36 PM
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There has been a lot of discussion on this subject both here and on some other boards. I think the consensus is 1200-1400 ppm of Zinc, or ZDDP as we call it. Im not a fan of diesel truck oils in automotive applications, maybe its just me. Every oil has a purpose, just like I wouldn't use car oil in a motocycle.
With that said, Valvoline VR1, Brad Penn and Joe Gibbs all make excellent oils with ZDDP. BE CAREFULWHAT YOU GET, as all oils are not created equal. Break in lube additive is for break in, I wouldn't add it to my motor oil. Continued use of too much ZDDP is not good either. Price varies, but Im using the Brad Penn in both my flat solid tappet motors. The Joe Gibbs is like $15.00 a quart. I use Mobil one or Amsoil in everything else, including my John Deere tractor and HD Motorcycle. Hope this puts you on the right track
Do your proper break in procedure, you shouldn't have any issues.
PS... Brad Penn makes a "Break in" oil with extra amounts of Zinc.
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by S10 Racer View Post
I personally use Valvoline VR1 Racing oil in any of my solid cam applications.
X2 on the VR1 Valvoline "High zinc/phosphorus provides extreme wear protection, including flat tappet applications"

While I agree with the phrase "You Can Never Have Too Much Horsepower or Too Much Ammunition".... too much ZDDP can result in combustion chamber deposits.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:55 PM
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Too much ZDDP will also wear out your engine faster. There are also new additives in modern oil to replace some of the ZDDP. Anyway most of this information is 10 years old.

Check out some film strength tests and it will prove ZDDP is not the end all additive needed for flat tappet engines. Pennzoil Platinum has the highest film strength of any oil tested including several racing, and extra ZDDP oils.

I have been using Chevron Supreme 10w-30 in my 383 with a xe274H flat tapped cam for 3 years now. No flat cam. If you go back and read all the problems MOST of them relate to the XE line of cams, just think for a minute. The most popular and most radical ramp rate "street cam" their are bound to be some failures even with cam additives.

Some people still say Comp Cams let out a bunch of bad cams, Comp of course blamed the oil.

PS take a look at the film strength tests of diesel oils and you will probably think twice about using them in a gas engine.

Last edited by xxllmm4; 05-11-2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:11 PM
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Times 3 on the Valvoline VR1. If I can't find it I add breakin additive.
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:25 PM
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Best oil on the market today for all my engines is Brad Penn. It's a mix of regular oil and a small percentage of synthetic, plus it has zinc in it. I still use Valvoline Racing Oil, but I'm down to my last case of it. I purchased a huge supply of 20-50 wt. VRO off a guy on Craigslist who had new old stock still in the old cardboard cans for less than $4 a can. Very good stuff, and what I used back in the 60's and 70's.
The Brad Penn I bought to replace VRO when it finally runs out. It's $75 a case which works out to just over $6 a can. Considering what zinc additive costs per oil change, and the price of oil, the Brad Penn is a bargain, and doesn't need any additives.
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