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Performance Oils and Additives: Got Zinc?
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Ed Newman of Amzoil says that its racing oil was designed specifically with protection and performance characteristics in mind.
Newman says that Amzoil was the first to offer synthetic oil back in 1972 and today they offer a number of performance oils including those that are acceptable for flat-tappet camshaft engines.
“We offer a full line oil that contains an additive package with a proven history,” says Newman. “Products like our 10W-40 and 20W-50 high performance engine oils contain higher ZDDP levels, and are perfectly suitable for flat-tappet camshafts.
“I always tell people to measure the oil not by what’s on the label but by standard ASTM tests. There are all kinds of qualities an oil has to have for performance applications besides just the base stock,” Newman concludes.
Brad Penn offers several racing oil formulations including break-in oil for flat tappet cam applications.
Dick Glady of Brad Penn says that they have been receiving rave reviews from engine builders who have use their break in oil. “We have a strong detergent dispersant package with the base oil formulation. Which basically allows the metal that flakes off during the break-in to be pulled away from the metal parts.”
Glady adds that the detergent additive suspends the particles and gets them out of the engine quickly.
Glady points out that Brad Penn is the only US refinery of motor oil and it processes 100 percent pure Pennsylvania Grade crude oil. “We process it so we get a very unique cut off our fractionation tower. We blend this cut into our racing oil and it has a tremendous affinity for metal surfaces. It goes after the metal surfaces and stays there. So, not only have we not cut our zinc levels, which are typically 1,500 ppm, and our phosphorous at 1,400 ppm, the whole story isn’t just the zinc, it’s the combination of that and the properties of our unique base oil.”
Brad Penn also offers other racing oils in mineral-base and partial synthetic including SAE 0W-30, 10W-30, 20W-50, SAE 40, SAE 50 and “Nitro” 70 Racing Oil.
ENEOS 0W50 is 100 percent synthetic oil formulated for performance engines. Developed for auto racing by the Nippon Oil Corporation, this oil has an ultra wide 0W-50 viscosity range, so it provides outstanding performance from the very coldest to the very highest temperatures.
ENEOS’s Paul Tokarz says that the 0W-50 is not so much a racing oil as it is designed for high performance street applications. He says that the 0W-50 is particularly suited for high-revving OHC cam and turbo applications that are so prevalent among the sport compact tuner crowd.
Tokarz says that because the 0W50 is made from a blend of 100 percent synthetic base oils and optimized additives, its high-temperature oxidation stability is superior to oils made from mineral base oils. The oil also has outstanding coking resistance, which is an essential property for protecting turbo rotors that are operated at high temperatures and speeds.
The oil’s synthetic base allows it to maintain a strong oil film even at high temperatures, speeds, and loads. Its antiwear protection is particularly effective in the drive trains of overhead cam systems, where the lubrication conditions are especially severe. This motor oil also has superb thermal and oxidation stability, so it maintains excellent engine cleanliness by suppressing sludge formation, which can cause engine seizures and pump clogging.
Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil
In 2003 and 2004 Joe Gibbs Racing only produced enough oil for its own racing operations. The oil was produced in small batches several times a year, but that became a costly endeavor. JGD’s Lake Speed, Jr. says, “We wanted to have the very best possible product and we knew we couldn’t cut any corners to make it more economical for our teams, so the choice became clear that we would have to our oil to other racing teams. It kind of went from there.
“Anywhere there’s a pushrod V8 engine, our oil works very well for these applications; that’s what it’s designed for.”
Speed says that JGD offers several different formulations of its oil, but the JGR organization only uses three of the formulations.
The XP0 is the qualifying oil and the XP1 is the “open motor” race oil, whereas the XP2 is the “plate motor” race oil. The other products from XP0 to XP6 are just viscosity variations from the ones the team uses. They use the same additives and the same base oils, only the viscosity was changed.
Speed says the main criteria you need to select the correct oil for racing or any other performance application is temperature, load and rpm range. The best coefficient of friction is when there is no contact between the bearings.
Tom Harry from Les Frickshun says that he has an oil additive that replaces the zinc levels in any standard API oil. He says that his additive actually replaces a quart of oil so you can bring up the anti-wear protection to whatever level you need (8 oz. of LF Zinc per quart of oil).
Mark Ferner from Pennzoil says that the most common question they have been asked in the last year is about the levels of zinc concentration in API oils.
Ferner says that its latest API/SM blended oil is suitable even for older muscle car engine applications. According to Ferner, the clincher is that these oils are only acceptable if the engine has remained at factory specifications, meaning no hot cams. He says that there are a few “in between” oils available from Pennzoil that are API rated but with higher levels of wear protection. “Only the latest ILSAC fuel economy oils require the lower zinc levels, such as the 5W30s and 10W30s,” says Ferner.
For more information on racing oil suppliers and manufacturers visit click on the Buyers Guide
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