Performance & Hotrod Business May '14

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May 2014 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 83 Most of the specialty oils available are not API-rated and do not meet modern catalytic converter requirements, but do provide "the right oil for the application." Today's API rated "SN" oils are not right for pre-1995 engines or any high-performance engine, in spite of some manufacturers' market- ing claims. The detergents in "SN" oils are stronger than ever before and are able to keep the metals protected from dirt and other foreign elements. Unfortunately, they do not know "zinc" from dirt. More on that subject in Part Three. What Is Zinc? Zinc is a basic element/metal that has very little to do with what we use in our engines. Zinc is the primary ingredient for "galvanizing." The zinc in engine oils is either ZDP or ZDDP. We call it "zinc" to keep from hav- ing to learn the long word(s). It would be more correct to refer to it as a phosphate, because phosphorous is the main/key ingre- dient. Putting ZDDP under heat and pressure forms a glass phosphate film that becomes the barrier between metals. "Zinc" is not a single chemical, but a group of chemicals. There are over 50 different formulas for zinc. To understand why there are so many, let's use an oversimplified example of some ZDDPs. One is referred to as "fast-burn." For lack of a better explanation, it is soft and easily squeezed into the porous surfaces of newly machined parts and gives good, fast break-in results—but is not long-lasting. It is used in break-in oils and, after break-in, is replaced with oil containing a slow-burn, harder, long-lasting ZDDP for durability. Each formula of zinc is different and designed for specific applications. The lat- est zinc additives (since 2011) are designed to create less oil vapor. This "phosphorous retention zinc" does not contaminate cata- lytic converters as fast, because it minimizes oil vapor. It is important to know that all ZDDP or ZDP formulas are not compatible. A "zinc" additive might improve one brand of oil but clash with the "zinc" additive in anoth- er, totally destroying the existing oil additive package. Unless you are a chemist and under- stand the results, mixing "zincs" together is chemical roulette. If you think your oil needs an additive, you have just admitted you have the wrong oil! Get oil designed for your application instead of trying to blend your own—unless you are a chemist in petroleum engineering. Oil additives are never the correct decision over having the right oil. Engine Changes Back to the history—major engine changes came about in the early 1950s. Manufacturers started using Babbitt-coated steel or non-ferrous bearing "inserts" in- stead of poured-Babbitt bearings. Oversimplified, Babbitt is basically a lead or tin-based solder. Engines were being pro- duced with overhead valves, hydraulic valve tappets (lifters), higher cylinder compres- sions and were turning higher rpms. The "SB" oils were not suitable for these condi- tions, so in 1951 "SC" oils became the new standard, providing longer bearing life, even under higher-speed conditions. For the first time, using these new oils, driving 100,000 miles or more became a reality. These specifications were used until 1967. Part Two in this "Truth About Oil" series will explore the "Muscle Car Years" and discuss the oil spec changes from 1967 to 2004. This is the period when synthetic oils entered the automotive world in the United States, so the differences in petroleum-based and synthetic oils will be discussed. The introduction of unleaded fuels also caused necessary changes to oil additive packages. An explanation of "the API Do- nut" on oil bottles will be included. The third and final segment in this series will be for the (almost radical) changes in 2004 and 2011, sub-titled "Modern Oils Are Not for Old Cars." Today's oils are not designed to be run in older engines. The oil companies have worked hard for years to keep oils backward-compatible, but it has finally hit a wall. Trivia questions (to be answered in Part Two): • Why did the oil specs change in 1971 and 1979? • When crude oil is refined, what color is the resulting base oil used for auto- mobile engines? • Why is transmission fluid red? Note: This article contains segments, quotes and paraphrases from the websites of The American Petroleum Institute (API), The Petroleum Quality Institute of America (PQIA), The International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Commit- tee (ILSAC), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Driven Racing Oil (founded by Joe Gibbs Racing), Lubrizol, and The Society of Tri- bology and Lubrication Engineering (STLE). Ed Preston is an "Old Car Spe- cialist" at Driven Racing Oil. NEWSSTAND PERFORMANCE BUSINESS CATALOG AD Atech is your parts source for high performance and race; street rod, muscle car and restoration; truck and powersports; stock replacement parts; and marine! Atech offers the lowest prices on 1,100+ brands backed by a Beat-a-Price guarantee, fast shipping, expert advice, no-hassle special orders, and the best customer service—plus we export at competitive rates. Atech Motorsports. Parts you need! Prices you want! Service you deserve! ® ATECH MOTORSPORTS Monday-Friday 8:00 am-8:00 pm ET 1-800-517-1040 Fax: 1-330-630-5365 1200 Southeast Ave, Tallmadge, OH 44278 2013-14 CIRCLE TRACK CATALOG Recognized as the definitive source book for circle track components, our latest Circle Track Catalog offers everything needed to build a competitive circle track car. Whether it's a pure stock, factory stock, super stock; entry level modified, dirt late model; asphalt stocker or late model, all the proper pieces and parts to build a championship contender can be found between the covers of this gigantic book. Visit for more information. MOTOR STATE DISTRIBUTING 8300 Lane Drive Watervliet, MI 49098 (269) 463-4113 800-772-2678 PHBMAYp58-91.indd 83 4/2/14 2:06 PM

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