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I spent $40 on 5 quarts of Lucas Hot Rod Motor Oil, specifically because it had zinc in it...

I can't keep paying that... Is zinc really a must have ?

I've had an '82 Impala, a '78 Impala, and an '86 Monte Carlo... Never had to use zinc specific oil in those engines...

I read and see so many other options...

Factory specs call for 5w-30, I've read others say 10w-30 in the winter and 10w-40 in the summer, some say use cheap oil and add a zinc additive, and I even read some using Rotella 15w-40 diesel oil...

I just don't and can't blow a bunch of money on zinc specific oil, and I'm sure there are cheaper options...

What exactly is zinc used for ?

How does 15w-40 diesel oil work in gasoline engines ?

Can someone explain and recommend something cheaper ?
 

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The reason for older engines needing more zinc in the oil is for the most part flat tappet camshafts being used. The flat tappet cams make a lot of friction on the cam lobe and the bottom of the lifter and on cams that are performance grinds, they have really fast ramp rates and require a lot more spring pressure which only adds more to the problem with modern oils. Quality is also a problem with flat tappet cam and lifter sets as well. Also the old style rocker arms with pivot balls also get lot of friction and heat and what zinc does is creates film cushion that helps protect the rubbing surfaces and also embeds itself into the metal and helps protect things.

There is a lot more then that to explain and I don't know all the info right off the hand to put down as to why. The EPA required zinc to be removed from oils because of emissions stuff. The zinc additive creates a protective barrier on all the moving parts inside the engine and the most critical is the cam and lifters and some valve train stuff. Also since they went to hydraulic roller camshafts in the late 80's and up they was able to decrease the amount as the years went on. As far as the oil weight goes it depends on the clearances your running in your bearings that will dictate that and some other factors. Only difference between 10w30 and 10w40 is the 10w40 wont break down as fast in high heat vs the 10w30 but in cold weather they are both still a 10 weight oil and will not flow any different during warm up. Engine setup and bearing clearances and also some lifters will require thicker oil and some won't need thick oil.

Many folks years ago went with diesel oil as it had more zinc in it but they soon took a lot of zinc out of it as well because emissions for diesel engines.

 

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Hates: Liver. Loves: Diesel
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The cams in those engines are insanely small and the furthest thing from aggressive you can find. I would get a case of whatever Pennzoil/Castrol/Store brand is cheapest and never lose a minute of sleep over it.
 

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With bone stock cams I don't know the risk of a cam lobe going flat that easy compared to a performance grind since a stock cam has a very light spring pressure and a very lazy ramp rate and not much lift to worry about things. I know a guy who owns a late 80's full size chevy truck with a bone stock 305 in it and he just uses regular oil and he has driven it for many years and all the stuff is original and he has yet to have any problems. It also is original made stuff and not a lot of the junk you get nowadays either so that also plays into things. If you get your valve stuff adjusted and all fixed out I would just at least just put an oil additive into it every oil change. You can get them from summit for around $10 bucks on average and cal it a day or some auto stores carry stuff like lucas additive.
 

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Go to Walmart or go online to them.

Super-Tech Engine Oil. Right now they have a 10W-30 full synthetic, high mileage in a 5-quart container for less than $18.

I purchase the stuff in the larger 12 quart box and use a leftover 4-5 quart container to dispense it. It lowers the cost per quart a little bit more and with multiple vehicles that helps. I use this in 2018 & 2014 Nissans, 2006 PT Cruiser, 2008 Ford RV - Class A (18,000+ pounds) and I have been using it going on close to 10 years in various other vehicles we had and sold.

Unless you have a solid lifter cam in one of those engines, you don't need the zinc. And if you do, you can add it to this oil.
 

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Even those wimpy factory cams will wear lobes and lifters. Use oils specified for high mileage engines, marine oils, or diesel oils specified for pre converter engines. You don’t need synthetics a good type III base oil is plenty suitable for the street. The big thing is to keep up on changes especially in cool weather and short drives. The big destroyer of engines is water and other combustion products that travel into the oil from the blow-by which worsens as engines age so this forms a self defeating process where the acids forming from combustion contaminate the oil increasing the wear rates on parts leading to more and sooner increases to the contamination that etches the wearing parts. So there is a point which on these older engines to where the frequency of oil and filter changes is more important than the use and expense of fancy label oils like Lucus.

I think 05W30 is too light for Gen I or II SBCs especially older ones where bering wear has loosened clearances. This oil with viscosities approaching that of water is for modern engines with tight clearances and oil pumps of more sophisticated designs than 2 gears in mesh.

I run 15w40 in everything including my Harleys I really prefer 20w40 but it’s hard to find anymore. My favorite oils are Chevron RPM Delo, Mobile Delvac, and Shell Rotella. If that doesn’t run contrary to popular opinion I don’t know what does? I’ve used these for 50 years and I get lots of miles out of my builds.

If there’s anything I hate it’s having to rebuild a build, so I treat them accordingly.

Bogie
 

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For oil with higher zinc levels you could also check out Chevron Delo 400LE 15W40 or Mobil One 10W40 Hile Mileage. I've used both with good results in my '74 Pontiac 455 with hydraulic roller cam. I can't prove it but I feel Delo 400 saved my cam and other components after a disastrous roller lifter to valley pan interference issue sending broken valley pan shards and particles raining down to my oil pan. After a THOROUGH 45 minute cleansing and modification of the valley pan, a 4 gallon Delo 400 flushing of my block right through the lifter galley, and fishing metal out through the the oil pan drain plug hole with a flexible magnetic pick-up tool, I've luckily had zero problems after 2 years 5000 miles and just ran my best quarter ET and MPH.
 

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People tried to help out Austin86 and all of a sudden he wanted his account removed? Folks gave some good information and I can't understand why he would want to be removed. I guess this post and all others of his are gone then.
 

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I spent $40 on 5 quarts of Lucas Hot Rod Motor Oil, specifically because it had zinc in it...

I can't keep paying that... Is zinc really a must have ?

I've had an '82 Impala, a '78 Impala, and an '86 Monte Carlo... Never had to use zinc specific oil in those engines...

I read and see so many other options...

Factory specs call for 5w-30, I've read others say 10w-30 in the winter and 10w-40 in the summer, some say use cheap oil and add a zinc additive, and I even read some using Rotella 15w-40 diesel oil...

I just don't and can't blow a bunch of money on zinc specific oil, and I'm sure there are cheaper options...

What exactly is zinc used for ?

How does 15w-40 diesel oil work in gasoline engines ?

Can someone explain and recommend something cheaper ?
If you have a flat tappet cam in any vehicle, just use Rotella. Racing and Lucas oil is pricey. Roller cam and lifters? use the 5w30. Most vehicles after 78 use roller cams for low friction. Adding a Zn supplement to 5w30 is risky I've been reading.
 

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If you have a flat tappet cam in any vehicle, just use Rotella. Racing and Lucas oil is pricey. Roller cam and lifters? use the 5w30. Most vehicles after 78 use roller cams for low friction. Adding a Zn supplement to 5w30 is risky I've been reading.
Why would it be risky? It's a flipping additive and it's not going to do anything to the oil but use it as a transport system. We used to use GM EOS for years but now of course they say not to use it as an additive because the damned EPA wants to outlaw zinc and GM needs to keep their ass out of the fire.
 

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I spent $40 on 5 quarts of Lucas Hot Rod Motor Oil, specifically because it had zinc in it...

I can't keep paying that... Is zinc really a must have ?

I've had an '82 Impala, a '78 Impala, and an '86 Monte Carlo... Never had to use zinc specific oil in those engines...

I read and see so many other options...

Factory specs call for 5w-30, I've read others say 10w-30 in the winter and 10w-40 in the summer, some say use cheap oil and add a zinc additive, and I even read some using Rotella 15w-40 diesel oil...

I just don't and can't blow a bunch of money on zinc specific oil, and I'm sure there are cheaper options...

What exactly is zinc used for ?

How does 15w-40 diesel oil work in gasoline engines ?

Can someone explain and recommend something cheaper ?
If you can't afford the right oil, you can't afford the hobby... skip a couple of trips to Burger King and give it the good stuff.
 

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I know a guy who owns a late 80's full size chevy truck with a bone stock 305 in it and he just uses regular oil and he has driven it for many years and all the stuff is original and he has yet to have any problems.
Same here. I have a old Chevy pickup with a 355, 204/214 cam, and Edelbrock springs rated 80# at 1.70" installed height. I broke-in the engine using regular oil and CompCams break-in additive, but since then (around 2004) it's had name-brand regular 10W-30. From what I understand, once the cam lobes and lifter faces are mated there's not much to worry about with stock or even slightly higher pressure springs. Have to admit I did use Valvoline VR1 at the last oil change because I had a 6-pack on the shelf.

As for cheap oil: I'm no expert on the pros and cons of synthetics, but Mobil 1 10W-30 has decent levels of ZDDP, and a 5 gallon jug costs only $28 at Wal-Mart. Also, Valvoline VR1 non-synthetic has high levels of ZDDP, but it's around $8 per quart. However, I'd choose either one over regular oil with a ZDDP additive, which can sometimes do more harm than good. That's because you don't know how well it will play with an engine oil's additive package.

Also, FWIW, I have been using WIX oil filters for many years. The guys on the BobisTheOilGuy website, who are into tearing filters apart and analyzing used oil, say they are well built and do a better job of filtering than most other brands.
 

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Mobil One has a 15w50 oil with 1200 ppm phosphorous and 1300 ppm zinc, for older engines with flat tappet cams . I've never found it in the big jugs at Walmart (cheapest choice), but most of the other parts store carry one quart bottles for the same price as other Mobile One products.
 
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