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  • Racing Engine Oil

    Not really for sale...but a possible bulk buy.

    I am going to order some racing oil (10W30) from Cen-Pe-Co. A guy I know from the Birkinowners mailing list happens to be the engineer there who formulates the stuff. Normally they cater to the tractor pulling community and other heavy duty racing applications. This oil has less detergents (may not last 2 years in short-distance commute) but much higher content of zinc/phosphate anti-wear additives than the recently reduced EPA limits for passenger car oils (2000ppm vs. 800 ppm, may theoretically poison your cat if you have one and the engine burns oil). So I suppose it is better suited for typical Seven use than the family sedan variety.

    At about $19 per gal (incl. shipping) factory direct it is about the same price as the Mobil1 from Costco.

    If you are interested in a few gallons and local to pick it up please let me know to order more. If you are interested and not local I can get you the contact.


    Disclaimer: I have no stock of Cen-Pe-Co. You may blow up your engine at your own risk :)

  • #2
    Is it better than Mobil1? Why?


    • #3
      Brad, here is a post from the Birkin Owners list that explains some of this:

      The Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA, and I do not know why the acronym does not fit) released a technical bulletin last month, TB 2333. It says, "The current engine oils used by engine manufacturers are not applicable for initial flat tappet camshaft break-in. Those oils are less desirable than older formulations which have better wear additives than the current SM category oils." "There have been numerous reports of premature flat tappet camshaft failure. This has been an issue of late..." They go on to recommend diesel engine oils which contain more antiwear additives than permitted by current passenger car motor oil specs.

      A high performance engine is no place for today's "environmentally friendly" oils . More antiwear additives, which will take out the cat if your car burns oil, are needed for higher valve spring rates to protect against cam and lifter wear.

      It is not very often I get a chance to honk my own horn, but I predicted this in December 2004 in post # 10142.


      And here is his post #10142 from Dec. 2004:

      Subject: New Oil Spec

      This month the new PCMO (Passenger Car Motor Oil) specification (GF-4/API SM)
      became official. Like the last three or more specifications, it was driven by
      environmental concerns. It is not the best for high performance engines or
      driving. Here is the scoop.

      Auto manufacturers were concerned about phosphorus depositing on the surfaces
      of the catalytic converter. It is not completely understood, but seems to
      relate to the volatility of the oil, the volatility of the phosphorus
      containing additive, and oil consumption. The industry tried to develop an
      engine test, but it suffered from a lack of repeatability. So, the
      manufacturers set an arbitrary limit to phosphorus of 1000 ppm a couple
      specifications ago. This month the limit has dropped to 800 ppm.

      Phosphorus is part of a zinc phosphate compound used as an anti-wear additive.
      There was much debate over the limit, as many of the older cars have slider cam
      followers instead of roller cam followers. There was concern over wear,
      particularly in older engines.

      I have heard rumors that cam lobes of high performance engines will suffer.
      There is no data to back it up, but with stiff valve springs it sounds logical
      to me. Any car viscosity grade (SAE 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30) with a starburst or
      labeled API SM has no more than 800 ppm phosphorus. I would recommend
      something designed for performance.

      Due to some loopholes, non-car grades (SAE 15W-40, 20W-50, and all straight
      grades) do not need to meet the limit. It does not mean they have more,
      however. I was working with the crew chief of a blown alcohol funnycar that
      ranked high in the NHRA points race. In his class, the top contenders change
      bearings after every pass. He had used my employer’s oil (>1700 ppm
      phosphorus) the previous year, but a nationally known sponsor offered him
      $5,000, a fire suit, a bunch of caps, and all the oil he could use in his car,
      his hauler, his daily driver, and a few of his friends cars. He told me he had
      used the sponsor’s product four racing weekends, not just four races, and had
      four failures. They claimed it was all his fault. He gave his sponsors a
      sample of my oil. They analyzed it and told him it was a “high metalsâ€‌ oil.
      He said, “Fine. Make me a high metals oil.â€‌ They said they could not because
      their oil had to meet new car requirements. He asked, “What car calls for a
      straight SAE 50 oil?â€‌ The point is that most products called racing oils are
      simply thicker versions of regular products.

      By the way, he kept the sponsorship, but started filling the sponsor’s bottles
      with my oil, which is why I am not naming the sponsor. His problems went away.

      (PAO) synthetic oils are not as good at controlling wear as mineral oils, so do
      not think that they will save you from the new spec in a high performance car.

      I guess I rambled a bit, but I wanted to give everyone a “heads upâ€‌ on the new
      oil spec.

      Blaine Ballentine
      Lubrication Engineer


      • #4
        Gert, you can put me down for 2 gallons.

        I was getting ready to buy 5 quarts of Red Line oil, but at $10 a quart it is very expensive, and according to Blaine's post, may still be low in anti-wear ingredients.

        (485 days and counting until PNW 2007!)


        • #5
          O.K. will do. If I order tomorrow, it should be here a week later. Good enough?

          If you happen to be at Tom's Farm Breakfast run I could take it along.



          • #6
            Yes, I'll be at the Tom's Farm run, so I can pick it up then. Thanks!


            • #7
              Good, now I only need to get the material for my Laminova install and everything back together. I probably should not do this trip without oil and coolant in the engine......



              • #8
                OK. I'll bite.

                I tried to find the TB on the web site to no avail. I guess you have to join.

                Anyway, playing devil's advocate here...

                Just what does 'flat tappet camshaft failure' actually mean? Did the camshaft(s) actually break in half (or something like that) due to, evidently, insufficient zinc phosphate in the oil, or just wear excessively? Or were they breaking the buckets? Or what?

                Why haven't I heard about this type of failure before, on a myriad of lists / forums / etc. that I have farted around on? Why do engine manufacturers (like Audi, BMW, etc etc etc) put synthetics in their engines from day one w/ no problems, for engines that run for hundreds of thousands of miles. I have had 3, at varying mileages, all of which were/ are / likely will be just fine.

                Further, I'm not sure if or why I should care if a "blown alcohol funnycar" dragster breaks camshafts (were they flat tappet ones? Don't those motors use pushrods & rockerarms?). The duty cycle of those engines is measured in seconds, not hundreds or thousands of hours. Dragsters blow up all the time. Like just about every run.

                The tale seems long on vapor and short on actual evidence, regarding the "numerous reports of flat tappet camshaft failure", particularly with sentences like "there is no data to back it up" included therein. No shit. Smells like urban legend, or more correctly internet bullshit, to me.
                Last edited by moosetestbestanden; April 20, 2006, 09:21 AM.
                A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


                • #9
                  Well, I "know" the person that wrote the story through the Birkinowners list for several years and his postings have always been reasonable. Since he is in the business of oil formulation I can at least vouch this is genuine and no forwarded internet hoax.

                  That said, I understand he is kind of a zealot in his professional capacity and proud of what he is doing which explains the long story. As in all professions there will be vastly differing opinions on what is good or bad (e.g. synthetic vs. refined), not even counting the millions opinions and preferences of the non-professionals.

                  I also did not want to suggest that the currently available renowned brand oils are bad or make your engine blow up right way. It is just a few facts and observations that made me consider this opportunity:
                  - Consumer market oils are formulated to meet a set of needs for "regular" car use, including tolerance to extended oil change intervals and frequent cold running conditions (not really important to me)
                  - The EPA did reduce the anti-wear additives to 1000 and lately to 800 ppm (fact). So the oils that have been used in developing and testing my engine in the 80s are no longer the same.
                  - I am using high lift cams with stronger valve springs
                  - On the track I am using the engine for extended times close to the rev limit, another condition not planned for by the designers. After all, engines in race use are known to have a shortened life span due to higher wear.
                  - In Buttonwillow I noticed the oil temperature well exceeding 120 C and that was not even a hot day. Don't know how hot really because the gage pegged. While the synthetic Mobil1 that I am using so far can surely survive this temperature it also becomes very liquid which worries me. That is why I am also going to install a Laminova heat exchanger.

                  So, for that long story...I think if somebody makes an oil that is better for "crazy" applications it may be an opportunity to reduce engine wear under the conditions I am using it. But I am not the oil expert and you may call me a fool when my engine blows up with this new stuff :) Maybe it is just because I like to try out new things.....



                  • #10
                    I don't think that using an oil that is higher in anti-wear additives is going to cause your engine to blow Gert, nor did I mean to imply that what you're doing is somehow off beat. I was only challenging the unsubstantiated (by any factual data that I'm aware of) notion that modern, EPA certified consumer engine oils w/ fewer additives cause "camshaft failure". That's pretty specific language imo, language that means actual catastrophic failure rather than just accelerated wear.

                    There's no doubt that any engine that's being used harder is going to wear faster and taking a step to mitigate the wear or chance of actual failure is a good idea. For that reason I change my oil after each and every track weekend as a matter of course, as the oil is more likely to break down due to heat faster, and get dirty faster etc.

                    As an (interesting?) aside, my friend at BMW M explained to me during a visit to their engine prototyping & testing facility in Mأ¼nchen (where they build the F1 engines as well and no, he wouldn't let me see behind the frosted glass wall) that BMW M ECUs monitor service intervals not on the basis of mileage but rather by measuring how much gasoline is run through the motor. Which makes utter sense; harder usage at higher revs = more gasoline used = decreased time/distance between required service. Btw, they run their engines at full rpm on dynos for 500 hours. I had a chance to watch a test (loud but basically boring) and I had a look at some of the torn down post-test engines. They looked pretty good, at least to my untrained eye.

                    It may well be that one oil will be better at reducing wear in a highly stressed engine than another oil. I really don't know for sure, but based on advertising I know that all vendors claim that their oils reduce wear. For certain that's what synthetic oil vendors claim and they sell oils w/ lower amounts of additives.

                    If someone knows of hard data showing that reduced levels of zinc phosphate does in fact cause actual camshaft failure please share. I'm always willing to learn.:)
                    A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by moosetestbestanden
                      I was only challenging the unsubstantiated (by any factual data that I'm aware of) notion that modern, EPA certified consumer engine oils w/ fewer additives cause "camshaft failure". That's pretty specific language imo, language that means actual catastrophic failure rather than just accelerated wear.
                      Chris, you are probably right and I may be paranoid....but in any case there is an amazing amount of chatter going on in several places about the issue (just google "flat tappet" oil "anti-wear" failure or similar). Problem is only it's just chatter and no clear data so far. The oil is just one of the factors for wear and who can blame any individual factor for a failure that takes months to happen.

                      Quite funny was the posting of a company representative on a Shell oil forum dancing around the issue just short of recommending their Rotella Diesel oil for racing applications instead of the gasoline variety. I even found a thread about some Japanese manufacturers being concerned about timing chain wear. But, since I don't have a Duratec I don't care about that one :)

                      Anyway, since I can get the specially formulated stuff for the same money as the regular shop brand I will give it a try.


                      P.S.: Don't forward anything of this to Blatchat. You will start another World War.


                      • #12
                        P.S.: Don't forward anything of this to Blatchat. You will start another World War.
                        Yeah, it's really funny. Oil and Carbon Fiber are lightning rods.

                        Then again, it is Friday...
                        A day you don't go a hundred is a day wasted


                        • #13
                          I would like to have the final say on this topic.

                          Oil is for engines. Beer is for drinking. Do not confuse the two.


                          • #14
                            Hey Michael,
                            don't spoil the fun by getting too serious....
                            I'm wondering how long you could run an engine on Foster's.



                            • #15
                              Oh noez! The beer war has started.

                              Oh well. At least the americans should have the wits to stay out of this one. <- Inflamatory? Nah...

                              /Magnus F.