#3---Engine Oils, Flat Tappet Cams & Zinc

Dave Hughes

Recently one of our more astute customers noticed a tech article on a website of an oil company from the UK that addressed the lack of Zinc in the oil issue we have all been fighting. 
The article is very interesting. It kind of reminds me of politicianscredit card companies and global warming wackos (the lowest form of humanity).  Explanations & twisting bits of non-relative or made up information to help promote their agenda. We are concerned with our customers and our products. We present information that we think best serves you. This is our agenda! We are not concerned with the rest of the automotive market such as "Half-Breds" (Hybrids) or restored Model T Fords. Our parts, specifically cams & lifters in these example, run spring pressures from 320# to over 450# open (if you use our new "COOLFACE SOLID OIL THRU LIFTER" (P/N HUG 5012EDM). These numbers are very common in the performance and racing industry regardless of brand. However, for everyday citizens, these are unheard of if not unrealistic numbers and in their minds not something that they need to be concerned with. Except, of course, if they want to tell you that you shouldn't be doing it either. Remember, "THEY" know what is best for you.
    We, and I include everyone in the performance and racing industry, struggled for many years to find a cure for the flat tappet cam and lifter problem. We are dealing with high performance engines with higher spring pressures and more aggressive cam profiles. Bottom line is this, every cam company has some type of tech article or disclaimer about oils and flat tappet cams. This is not a made up or perceived problem. It is real. Cams were, in the past, failing on a more than normal basis. In hind site we can see that the time line of the cam problems is parallel to the reduction in Zinc Phosphate package in the oils.

   One of the first places this problem was noticed was in the Nascar Racing Series around 1998. SAE and Richard Childress racing even released papers documenting the problem with the oils and the reduced wear packages. Some of these Nascar teams are actually having their own oils formulated. Since we have provided the information on our website about oils and began to offer the Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oils, as well as the popular Extreme Pressure Additive  (P/N HUG 3690) with soluble moly, the problem has completely disappeared. This is not coincidental.
 What about diesel oils? Shell Rotella, one of the leading diesel oils in the world, has a note on their website concerning the reduction of Zinc in their oils. They refer to the Zinc as a "part of the anti-wear system within the oil".  Now they are removing Zinc to meet new emmission standards. This new formulation of diesel oils has created a situation where we cannot recommend diesel oils for flat tappet cams. 
     As a point of interest, the struggles of the industry to correct the problem has brought new products to the market that will allow us to make even more horsepower. Specifically, the "COOLFACE SOLID OIL THRU LIFTER" (P/N HUG 5012EDM) that have an oil hole on the bottom of the lifter that provide a positive supply of cool, full pressured oil to the cam & lifter interface area. With these lifters, tests have shown them to accept 500# or more open spring pressure and still extend cam life even longer than standard type lifters with lower spring pressures. WOW, these means even more aggressive ramps and lifts.......hang on! Like Tina Turner says, "It's gonna get rough!"
    If this were not, or had not, been an issue we wouldn't be talking about it and oil companies wouldn't write articles about it. The problem is (was) real. The oils are the problem. The Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oils has eliminated the problem. Game over.

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