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Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

General engine tech -- Drag Racing to Circle Track

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540 RAT
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Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by 540 RAT » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:22 pm

For the benefit of those who haven’t seen my oil test data write-ups this year, and to prevent the same old questions from coming up, here is some background information.

The amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about motor oil is absolutely mind boggling, even though the basic technology of motor oil is NOT Rocket Science. It is simply unbelievable how much COMPLETELY WRONG information is out there on the Internet and on the various Forums.

And of course once wrong information has been repeated countless times, it becomes fact as far as most people know, even though it is completely worthless. But, you really can't blame folks for not knowing any better. Because in addition to a ton of bad information being out there, motor oil advertising hype is often misleading or downright false, almost no one ever tests anything to know for sure what is true and what is not, aftermarket companies sell bogus oil additive products, including zinc additives, that only wreck an oil’s chemical properties, and any test data outside of the oil companies themselves, is virtually impossible to find ANYWHERE……………until now.

If you are interested in seeing the FACTS from real world independent and unbiased Engineering Test Data on motor oil, then the information below is for you. At the end of this write-up, I’ve also included a motor oil “Wear Test” ranking sheet for anyone to use, who might be interested. You can choose any oil from that list, and know exactly how it compares to other oils in terms of wear protection.

“THE” single most common misunderstanding about motor oil is that higher zinc levels provide better wear protection. That has been repeated over and over again so many times over the years, that people just assume it is correct. But the fact is, that thinking is COMPLETELY FALSE.

Zinc is used/sacrificed in very small quantities at time, so the total amount present in your oil does not change how much wear protection the oil provides, as long as you don't run out of zinc. “Lab Testing” and “Wear Testing” analysis proves/confirms that more zinc provides LONGER wear protection, NOT MORE wear protection.

An analogy for the zinc level in motor oil would be the amount of gas in your tank. Gas is also used in very small quantities at a time. So, if you have a quarter of a tank or a full tank, it does NOT change how much power your engine makes, as long as you don't run out of gas. More gas provides LONGER running time, NOT more power. It’s the same type of idea regarding the amount of zinc in motor oil.

Zinc is used as an extreme pressure, anti-wear additive. But, zinc “DOES NOT” build-up over time like some type of plating process. For those who have actually taken an engine apart that has been running high zinc oil, you know that you don’t find a build-up of zinc that looks like some sort of coating or sludge build-up. Zinc does NOT work that way. And zinc is not even a lubricant until heat and load are applied. Zinc is only used when there is actual metal to metal contact in the engine. At that point zinc must react with the heat and load to create the sacrificial film that allows it to protect flat-tappet camshafts and other highly loaded engine parts.

So, with zinc being sacrificial, it will become depleted over time as it is used up. This has been proven/confirmed by analysis of new and used oil lab test results. On top of that, earlier oil industry testing has found that above .14% or 1,400 ppm, ZDDP INCREASED long term wear, even though break-in wear was reduced. And it was also found that .20% or 2,000 ppm ZDDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".

So, you really don’t want or need a ton of zinc. You simply need “enough” so that you don’t run out of it with your particular application, that’s all. And this is precisely the reason why the motor oil “wear testing” I’ve been performing, has ALWAYS shown that the level of zinc does NOT affect how well an oil can provide wear protection. I’ve had many HIGH zinc oils, as well as many modern LOW zinc oils, produce outstanding results in the wear testing. I’ve also had HIGH zinc oils as well as LOW zinc oils that produced only modest results in the wear testing.

And this brings us to the second most common misunderstanding about motor oil, which is that modern API certified motor oils cannot provide adequate wear protection for flat tappet cam lobe/lifter interfaces. This has also been repeated over and over again so many times over the years, that people just assume it is correct. But the fact is, that thinking is also COMPLETELY FALSE.

Wear protection is determined only by the base oil and its additive package “as a whole”, and NOT just by how much zinc is present. There is nothing magical or sacred about zinc. It is just one of a number of motor oil additive package components that can be used for extreme pressure anti-wear purposes. The other components that are typically Oil Company proprietary secrets, can be added to, or used in place of zinc. And most modern API SM and SN certified oils have shown in my wear testing to be quite good when it comes to providing wear protection, and have even EXCEEDED the protection provided by many high zinc oils.

So, modern low zinc oils CAN BE USED SAFELY with flat tappet cam setups, even in engines with radical cams and high spring pressures. Simply choose from the higher ranked oils on the list at the end of this write-up, and you'll be good to go. I know people who've been using modern low zinc oils in High Performance flat tappet set-ups for a long time, and they've had no issue at all.

Just looking at an oil’s spec sheet to see how much zinc is present, tells you ABOLUTLELY NOTHING about how well that oil can provide wear protection. To only look at the zinc level to try and predict an oil’s wear protection capability would be much like looking at your gas gauge to predict how much power your engine will make. That kind of thinking simply makes no sense at all. So, throw away that useless motor oil zinc quantity reference list. In other words, forget about zinc. The ONLY THING that matters, and the ONLY WAY to tell how well an oil can prevent wear, is to perform some type of dynamic WEAR TESTING that is done at representative temperatures. And that is exactly what I’ve done here.

The test equipment used here to perform this kind of testing, focuses on an oil’s “load carrying capacity or film strength”, and for good reason. THE single most CRITICAL capability of any motor oil is its film strength. Everything else it does for your engine comes AFTER that. Here’s why. When oil is down to a very thin film, it is the last line of defense against metal to metal contact and subsequent wear or damage. And oil film strength capability DIRECTLY APPLIES to flat tappet lobe/lifter interfaces, cam gear/distributor gear interfaces, mechanical fuel pump pushrod tip/cam eccentric interfaces and other highly loaded engine component interfaces. The higher an oil’s film strength, the better your engine is protected in these areas.

Oil film strength capability also DIRECTLY APPLIES to cold start-up conditions. In this case, only an oil film remains on most internal engine components, because most of the oil drained off after hot shut down. And it’s no secret that nearly all wear occurs during start-up when there can be a couple of seconds or even more, depending on the oil viscosity being used and the ambient air temperature, before a flow of oil reaches all the components. Before oil flow reaches the components, all you have saving your engine from wear or damage, is the remaining oil’s film strength. That makes it another very important reason why an excellent film strength is highly desirable.

When Amsoil refers to wear scar size comparisons on their website, they are referencing oil film strength test data. A couple of years or so ago, when Castrol Edge and Valvoline SynPower ads talked about their oils providing better wear protection than Mobil 1, they were referencing oil film strength test data. Pennzoil Ultra currently advertises that no leading synthetic oil provides better wear protection, and they also reference oil film strength test data. The bottom line is that oil film strength testing and the resulting data, is the “Gold Standard” in the motor oil industry, regarding wear protection.

There is no additional value to performing more “comprehensive” oil testing related to wear prevention. Because when an oil is thicker than a mere film, it becomes LIQUID oil. And LIQUIDS are INCOMPRESSIBLE, which of course is how hydraulics work. But, that refers to 100% PURE LIQUID with no air bubbles what so ever. And the nature of liquids being “incompressible”, is a basic FACT of Physics.

So, since liquid oil CANNOT be compressed, there can be NO metal to metal contact, THUS NO WEAR OR DAMAGE. This means that ALL oils when in “incompressible liquid form”, provide the SAME level of wear protection. And it does not matter if they cost one dollar per quart, or twenty dollars per quart. Nor does it matter how much zinc/phos is present.

For example, the normal flow of oil between the crank journals and rod or main bearings, is "liquid" oil. And the "liquid" oil in that hydrodynamic wedge is incompressible, just like any liquid is. For a crank journal to ever touch the bearings, the oil has to be reduced to only a film, and that film has to be PENETRATED. Because of course, to achieve metal to metal contact, and thus wear/damage, you have to go THROUGH the oil’s film strength to get there.

If conditions cause a flow of liquid oil to be squeezed out of the way, you are right back to being left with only an oil film, and the need for good film strength. And this is PRECISELY why we perform OIL FILM STRENGTH testing. The ONLY thing that separates one oil from another oil, in terms of wear prevention, is the DIFFERENCE between their film strength capabilities. So, if an oil has sufficient film strength capability, then you are good to go when it comes to wear protection, no matter how much zinc is present.

The tester used here, was never intended to reflect exactly what goes on inside a running engine. It was designed to test “oil against oil”, nothing else. So, the whole point of my “wear testing” was to test oils directly against each other, head to head, back to back, at a representative operating temperature. Then see how they stacked up against each other.

For example, if oil "A" has a 110,000 psi “load carrying capacity/film strength” (no matter how much zinc is present) in this test, and oil "B" has only a 65,000 psi “load carrying capacity/film strength” (no matter how much zinc is present) in this test, it’s not hard to understand the fact that oil "A" with its WHOPPING 70% HIGHER CAPABILITY, will provide a MUCH HIGHER level of reserve wear protection in a running engine as well (no matter how much zinc is present).

My testing performs severe torture testing on motor oil, which is much harder on the oil, than what the oil will ever experience inside any running engine. This is a dynamic friction test under load, and the test results are determined by the size of the wear scar. And how good an oil is at preventing wear, high zinc or low zinc, is determined in a fair and straight forward manner. The numbers come out how they come out, depending on the capability of the oil.

All of the oils are tested at a representative normal operating oil temperature of 230*F, to make the comparison meaningful. By testing in this manner, it absolutely shows which oils are better at preventing wear than others. This real world test comparison allows you to test a large number of oils EXACTLY THE SAME, under controlled and repeatable conditions, which you simply cannot do in a running engine. And you can see how they compare right away, without having to wait for 100,000 miles to find out what happened. With this testing methodology, you can quickly and easily distinguish between outstanding oils and merely ordinary oils.

The whole thing simply comes down to what is called "margin of safety" or extra reserve protection capability. Let's say the lowest ranked oil has a 20% margin of safety relative to your engine's needs, which means that the oil’s capability "exceeds" your engine's needs by 20%. So, you are in good shape and you will never see a problem. But, if something bad happens like an overheating condition, or an oiling condition, or a loading condition, or some parts heading south, or whatever, and your oil protection requirements increase to say 50% above your engine’s typical needs. Now you've just exceeded the oil’s capability by a whopping 30%, and your engine is junk. But, what if you'd been running an oil that had a whopping 70% margin of safety to begin with? In this case, when your engine’s needs went up 50%, but you still have another 20% capability above that. So, your engine would still live to fight another day.

So, in the end, it just depends on how much margin of safety an individual is comfortable with for his particular engine combo. I'm one of those guys who runs a block, crank, pistons, rods, etc, that are capable of handling WAY more power than my weenie 800ish HP, 540 BBC will ever make. I simply feel better about having a LARGE margin of safety everywhere I can. And I'm the same way when it comes to the oil I run. So, I've chosen the oil with the highest wear protection capability, even though the oil with the lowest capability might work well enough under most circumstances. And that's whole point of all my oil testing, having the data to make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the best motor oil.

I did this testing only for my own knowledge, because there is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about motor oil. But, I do NOT sell oil, and I do NOT get paid by any oil company. So, it doesn't matter to me what oil people buy, or why they buy, the oil they buy. That being the case, I have absolutely no reason to try to make one oil seem better than another. On the contrary, I'm only interested in seeing how they TRULY differ.

So, there is no Snake Oil pitch going on here. And I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, I'm only sharing my test data results. People can embrace my data or ignore it. That of course is totally up to them. So, run whatever oil you like, but now you’ll have the data to see how oils rank, relative to each other.


NOW, ON WITH THE BREAK-IN OIL TEST DATA:

Let’s take a look at Lucas, Edelbrock, Royal Purple and Comp Cams Break-In oils. If you look at the marketing hype on the bottles, they generally say similar things. But, the two main points that stand out are along the lines of:

1. Ideal formulation for the break-in of rings, flat tappet lobe/lifters, etc.
2. Extra zinc for outstanding wear protection.

So, what’s wrong with these claims?

Break-In by definition means some level of initial wear, however small that may be, so that the parts can seat-in, run-in, or break-in, whichever term you prefer. Of course the desired end result is that critical components have nicely mated/matched contact interfaces. The hype for these oils, claims that they are formulated to facilitate that initial break-in wear, which means modest or low "load carrying capacity/film strength".

But then, the hype also claims that they provide outstanding wear protection that would PREVENT proper initial break-in wear, which means that they would have good or outstanding "load carrying capacity/film strength". These contradictory claims don't make any sense, because an oil cannot ALLOW wear and PREVENT wear at the same time. In fact, it is an oxymoron to claim that they can do BOTH things at the SAME time.

Oxymoron = A figure of speech which produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”

The bottom line is that they are claiming their oils are “wear preventing break-in oils”. It has to be one or the other, but NOT both. They need to pick a side, or better yet, just tell the truth about their products. But, apparently the Marketing/Advertising Departments/Agencies and/or the Oil Companies' tech folks themselves, have no problem misrepresenting their products.

A couple of other motor oils that come to mind that WAY overstated their capabilities, is the Kendall GT-1 High Performance oil and the Torco TR-1 Racing oil. Motor Oil claims seem to be among the worst when it comes to false advertising. So, one would be wise to never believe anything related to motor oil claims on the bottle or the website. Instead look for any independent test data that you can find. And this was one of the reasons why I decided to perform all the oil testing I've been doing this year, so that I can get to the truth about motor oil.

Back to the Break-In Oil.
On one hand, we want to prevent undue wear on flat tappet lobe/lifter interfaces, as well as numerous other areas, while on the other hand, allowing enough wear to quickly seat the rings. No oil can simultaneously allow wear "AND" prevent wear. Remember that rings are forced out against the cylinder walls by combustion pressure. So, can “any oil” no matter how well it prevents wear, actually "prevent" rings from seating promptly, considering the tiny contact area brand new rings have against the bores, and the resulting incredibly high contact area psi when the engine is running? And do we really "want" to prevent wear at the flat tappet lobe/lifter interface? Don't we want those surfaces to microscopically mate perfectly to each other? Of course there needs to be a bit of wear taking place to do that.

Should a so-called Break-In Oil be high zinc or low zinc? Does it even matter? Do people even have a clue what is in the Break-In oil they buy? Should it have a high "Load carrying capacity/film strength", or should it have a low value? Do you even need a so-called Break-In oil at all, or can regular oils work just fine for Break-In? Should we use conventional dino oil, or is synthetic also fine? Does that even matter?

From Professional engine builders all the way down to one-time-only shade-tree engine builders, everyone who fires an engine up for the very first time thinks they know what oil should be used for break-in. Of course people do not think the same, nor does everyone have the same level of experience, so a wide variety of oils end up getting used for break-in. Everything from traditional high performance high zinc conventional and synthetic oils, to diesel oils, to modern low zinc oils with and without aftermarket zinc added, to store-bought break-in oils, to oils with EOS, STP Oil Treatment, or Lucas Oil Treatment added, and every imaginable oil in between are used. Are some people right about what oil should be used, while the rest of the people are wrong? Or is it possible that everyone is right, because it just isn’t as critical as many people think? All these questions come up in a discussion about breaking-in an engine and the oil that should be used to do that.

Now, let’s take a look at component quantities of these Break-In Oils, from the Lab Tests performed by ALS Tribology in Sparks, Nevada.

Lucas 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 4483 ppm
phos = 3660 ppm
moly = 3 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 1104 ppm
TBN = 5.9
This oil has by far, the highest level of zinc/phos I have ever come across. It has way more than twice the amount of zinc that begins to CAUSE wear/damage. Because of that, the extremely low level of TBN, and the extremely low level of detergent, this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

Comp Cams 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 3004 ppm
phos = 2613 ppm
moly = 180 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 4234 ppm
TBN = 14.7
This oil also has by far, way too much zinc/phos. It has way more than enough zinc to begin causing wear/damage, rather than prevent it. Because of that, this oil also should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

Edelbrock 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 1545 ppm
phos = 1465 ppm
moly = 4 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 3452 ppm
TBN = 10.6
This oil is manufactured for Edelbrock by Torco.


Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 1170 ppm
phos = 1039 ppm
moly = 0 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 3184 ppm
TBN = 9.8

As you can see above, there is absolutely no consistency at all, between the Break-In oils that these various Oil Companies blended. These oils are all over that place and bouncing off the walls. We see zinc from 1170 ppm to 4483 ppm. We see phos from 1039 ppm to 3660 ppm. We see detergent levels from 1104 ppm to 4234 ppm. And we see TBN values from 5.9 to 14.7. WOW!!! These oils couldn’t be much more different, and yet they are all aimed at the EXACT SAME Break-In oil market.

So, let’s take a look at the wear protection these oils actually provide, and see how they rank according to their “Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength". And this will tell us once and for all, what the Oil Companies would not, and that is, whether the oils are formulated for wear protection or to facilitate initial break-in wear.

*** The higher the psi result, the higher the “Load carrying capacity/Film strength”, and the better the oil is at preventing wear. The psi value is determined by the testing “load” being applied over the “area” of the wear scar that is created on the test specimen, as the test is being performed. So, you end up with “pounds” of force being applied over the wear scar area in “square inches”. Or in other words, pounds per square inch, which of course is just shortened to psi.

*** All oils were tested at 230* F (representative of actual running temperature).

*** Multiple tests were performed on each oil, and those results were averaged to arrive at each oil's final value shown below. The repeat test results of each of these oils had the closest re-test values of any group of oils I've tested to date. All the oil's psi values were within 2.4% or less, of their previous tests.

*** Test Result differences between oils of less than 10%, are not significant, and oils within that range can be considered approximately equivalent.

*** All oil bottles were thoroughly shaken before the samples were taken. This ensured that all the additive package components were distributed uniformly throughout all the oil in the bottle, and not settled to the bottom.

1. Edelbrock 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 69,160 psi
zinc = 1545 ppm

2. Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 62,931 psi
zinc = 1170 ppm

3. Comp Cams 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 51,749 psi
zinc = 3004 ppm

4. Lucas 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 49,455 psi
zinc = 4483 ppm

Anyone who has followed my previous oil tests, knows that the wear protection capability psi values produced by these Break-In oils is quite low overall. Only the Edelbrock and Royal Purple oils made it into the MODEST PROTECTION category (60,000 to 75,000 psi), while the Comp Cams and Lucas oils managed only the UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION category (below 60,000 psi). In comparison, the highest wear protection capability oil I've ever tested is the 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM, which has a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of 115,612 psi. That Pennzoil provides a whopping 67% greater wear protection capability than the top ranked Edelbrock Break-In oil here.

But, now we finally know that because of their low wear protection capabilities, these Break-In oils are formulated only to facilitate initial break-in wear, and are NOT formulated to provide a high level of wear protection. Of course it was impossible for them to be capable of both things at the same time, in spite of their advertising claims. And without the type of dynamic wear testing performed here, we would have never known what these Break-In oils were truly formulated for.

Every oil test I've done this year, proved time and time again that the level of zinc has nothing to do with an oil's wear protection capability, nor its ranking against other oils. And we've seen it yet again here, that high zinc levels do NOT provide better wear protection. In fact, the super high zinc Lucas oil, ended up in last place in wear protection capability for this group, and overall it also ended up in last place by ranking 64th out of the 64 oils I've wear tested so far. Motor oil wear protection capability is determined by the base oil and its additive package "as a whole", and NOT by how much zinc is present.

And no one can complain that my test equipment and test procedure do not allow high zinc oils to perform at their highest level. Because here are some high zinc (over 1100 ppm) conventional, semi-synthetic, and full synthetic oils that I’ve tested previously. And they all had test results over 90,000 psi, which put them all in the “OUTSTANDING PROTECTION” category.


10W30 Lucas Racing Only, full synthetic = 106,505 psi
zinc = 2642 ppm
phos = 3489 ppm
moly = 1764 ppm


10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil = 103,846 psi
zinc = 1669 ppm
phos = 1518 ppm
moly = 784 ppm


10W30 Valvoline VR1 Conventional Racing Oil (silver bottle) = 103,505 psi
zinc = 1472 ppm
phos = 1544 ppm
moly = 3 ppm


10W30 Valvoline VR1 Synthetic Racing Oil, API SL (black bottle) = 101,139 psi
zinc = 1180 ppm
phos = 1112 ppm
moly = 162 ppm


30 wt Red Line Race Oil, full synthetic = 96,470 psi
zinc = 2207 ppm
phos = 2052 ppm
moly = 1235 ppm


10W30 Amsoil Z-Rod Oil, full synthetic = 95,360 psi
zinc = 1431 ppm
phos = 1441 ppm
moly = 52 ppm


10W30 Quaker State Defy, API SL (semi-synthetic) = 90,226 psi
zinc = 1221 ppm
phos = 955 ppm
moly = 99 ppm


Back to the Break-In Oil.
Folks who have used these Break-In oils in high performance flat tappet engines without a problem, were able to do that even though these oils provided only minimal wear protection. So much for flat tappet engines requiring a high level of wear protection during break-in. Most likely these folks "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection, from what the bottles and/or websites claimed. But, now we know that the hype about great wear protection was nothing more than a snake oil pitch. These oils are formulated only to facilitate initial break-in wear, by having low levels of wear protection. And this is fine if that is what you are looking for in a Break-In oil. But, buyers should at least be told what they are getting.

It's a similar situation where many people have also gotten away with using low zinc oils with aftermarket zinc additives added into those oils, for breaking-in high performance flat tappet engines. They were able to do that with this oil concoction that also provides only minimal wear protection capability. These folks also certainly "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection, from what those zinc additive bottles and/or websites claimed.

I tested the zinc additives "ZDDPlus" which added a whopping 1848 ppm zinc when added at the recommended quantity, and "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" which added 573 ppm zinc when added at the recommended quantity. Each zinc additive was tested in two full synthetic oils and one conventional oil. And in EVERYONE of the six test oils, the wear protection capability DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY.

The "ZDDPlus" caused a drop of about 25% on average, and the "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" caused a drop of about 34% on average. The oils with the "ZDDPlus" ended up having a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 58,855 psi on average. And the oils with the "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" ended up having a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 51,930 psi on average. That puts them into the UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION category (below 60,000 psi). So, the wear protection capability of these oil concoctions, was right in the exact same range as the Break-In oils tested here. Oil Companies have always said to NEVER add anything to motor oil, because doing that will ruin an oil's carefully balanced additive package and its resulting chemical properties. And they were absolutely correct, because that is precisely what the test data showed.

It's also a similar situation where many people have used Diesel oils, for breaking-in high performance flat tappet engines without a problem. They were able to do that with Diesel oil even though these oils also provide only minimal wear protection capability. These folks also certainly "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection. But, I tested 13 different popular conventional and synthetic Diesel oils, including the "OLD" Rotella, and they had a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 72,408 psi on average, putting them in the MODEST PROTECTION category (60,000 to 75,000 psi). This wear protection capability puts them right at the upper range of the Break-In oils tested here.

To summarize, the Break-In oils, the low zinc oils with aftermarket zinc added to them, and the Diesel oils, all provided about the same level of modest to undesirable wear protection in gasoline engines. And that makes all of them suitable for use as Break-In oils, if you are looking for oils that don't provide too much wear protection for brand new engines fired up for the first time.

This also points out that all the effort people go to with any of these motor oils, in order to prevent wiped lobes in High Performance flat tappet engines, is often misguided, since these oils DO NOT provide the wear protection that most folks "thought" they did. Since wiped lobes don't really happen all that often in correctly built engines, even when using these oils with minimal protection capability (high zinc or not), it strongly suggests that when wiped lobes do occur, it is likely caused by cam/lifter material and/or heat treat problems and not because of the oil used.

Many people probably have a gut feeling that whatever Break-In oil you use, should not be overly protective against wear, so that components can break-in quickly. That's why you often hear people say to break-in an engine with conventional oil, then later switch to synthetic. After all, during the first few minutes of running, a brand new engine is not typically subjected to high loading anyway.

But, then the flat tappet guys often want to have max protection against wear to avoid wiped lobes. So, they will then often choose conventional oil with high levels of zinc, "falsely believing" that will help increase the oil's wear protection. But, as mentioned many times before, "wear testing" and "lab testing" has ALWAYS shown that the level of zinc does NOT determine an oil's wear protection capability. No more than the level of gas in your tank determines how much HP your engine makes.

Now keep in mind that whether an oil is conventional or synthetic, does NOT determine an oil's wear protection capability any more than the level of zinc does. Out of the 64 oils that I've wear tested so far, synthetic oils ranked from 1st to 58th. And conventional oils ranked from 5th to 64th. So, as you can see, they are mixed all along the ranking list. The bottom line is that viscosity, the amount of zinc, and being synthetic or conventional, are NOT what determines an oil's wear protection capability, which might affect the break-in of a new engine. Again, the wear protection capability is determined only by the base oil and its additive package "as a whole". So, is the particular oil chosen for break-in, even a factor at all?

We've only covered the "lower end" of the spectrum of Break-In oils to use, if you don't want too much wear protection, in order to facilitate break-in wear. But, since things just aren't that simple, let's also take a look at the "upper" end of the spectrum of Break-In oils. Consider the following facts.

Countless thousands of brand new cars have come off the production line, factory filled with full synthetic motor oil. We've seen this for years in both domestic and import Performance Cars. Perhaps the most commonly known is the full synthetic 5W30 Mobil 1 that comes in High Performance GM vehicles. Also the Ford GT Sports Car of a few years back, as well as Ford's current Supercharged Shelby GT500 Mustangs, come factory filled with full synthetic 5W50 Motorcraft oil.

That full synthetic 5W30 Mobil 1, API SN oil ranked 3rd out of the 64 oils I've tested with a “Load carrying capacity/Film strength" value of 105,875 psi. And the full synthetic 5W50 Motorcraft, API SN oil ranked 6th out of the 64 oils I've tested with a “Load carrying capacity/Film strength" value of 103,517 psi. Both of these oils were in the OUTSTANDING PROTECTION category (over 90,000 psi). Now, with the extremely impressive wear protection capability provided by these oils, if any oils would interfere with proper break-in wear, these oils would be the ones to do it. But, that is simply not a problem, and of course these vehicles all come with a normal factory warranty.

SUMMARY:

Now, we have seen that engines, even High Performance flat tappet engines, are commonly broken-in with NO issue, using any of the various "minimal wear protection" oils mentioned above. They don't have ring seating issues, nor do they generally have lobe/lifter issues.

We have also seen that High Performance factory engines, both 2 valve and 4 valve, are commonly broken-in with NO issue, using various "high wear protection" oils. They also don't have any issues with ring seating, and of course no issue with lobe/lifters either.

CONCLUSION:

People will have strong opinions about what they believe and what they have experienced. But, the bottom line is that the "facts" and the "test data", have shown that any oil, with either "low wear protection capability" or "high wear protection capability", can be used for break-in with NO issue.

If you wondered how those factory full synthetic oils with "high wear protection capability" and how any other synthetic or conventional oil with "high wear protection capability", can still allow proper break-in, here's the answer. Newly manufactured parts will have a surface that "microscopically" looks like peaks and valleys. The loading on those tiny little peaks, will be EXTREMELY high, because the load is not spread out across the whole surface. And no motor oil made by man can stop those peaks from being worn down, thus leaving a smoother surface that will distribute the load more evenly across the whole surface. And that in a nutshell, is what happens during break-in wear. So, we CANNOT stop break-in wear, no matter how hard we try. And that is a good thing, because we WANT that initial break-in wear, so that our part interfaces are nicely mated to each other. That way they can support as much load as possible without failure, when we press the loud pedal.

At the end of the day, I have no real world test data and no real world running engine facts that would cause me to RECOMMEND a certain brand or type of oil to use for Break-In. Nor do I have any real world test data or real world running engine facts that would cause me to NOT recommend a certain brand or type of oil to use for Break-In. You can just basically grab whatever you have handy and you will be hard pressed to go wrong. So, what this means is that all the people who use a wide range of oils for break-in, from Pro's to newbie's, are all "correct". The bottom line is that choosing an oil for breaking-in an engine is simply not as critical as many people think. This stuff is simply NOT Rocket Science.

The only points I'd suggest are:

• Always prime an engine, making sure that oil is coming out of all rockers, right before first fire.

• Use a thinner oil such as 5W30 or 10W30, rather than something thicker. Because thinner oil will flow quicker/better. And flow is lubrication. Also quicker/better flow will get oil to all components sooner which is very important for cold start-up. And the quicker/better flow of thinner oil, will also carry away heat quicker/better than what thicker oils can. Remember that engine internal parts are DIRECTLY oil cooled, but only INDIRECTLY water cooled.

• And the last thing is to change the oil soon after initial break-in, to get rid of all the contaminants that will be present right after first firing a brand new engine.


For your convenient reference, here is the COMPLETE RANKING LIST of the 64 oils that I’ve “Wear Tested” so far. The list includes traditional High Performance high zinc oils, modern low zinc oils, Diesel oils and Break-In oils:

• The higher the psi result, the higher the “Load carrying capacity/Film strength”, and the better the oil is at preventing wear. The psi value is determined by the testing "load" being applied over the "area" of the wear scar that is created on the test specimen, as the test is being performed. So, you end up with "pounds" of force being applied over the wear scar area in "square inches". Or in other words, pounds per square inch, which of course is just shortened to psi.

• All oils were tested at 230* F (representative of actual running temperature).

• Multiple tests were performed on each oil, and those results were averaged to arrive at each oil's final value shown below.

• Test Result differences between oils of less than 10%, are not significant, and oils within that range can be considered approximately equivalent.

• All oil bottles were thoroughly shaken before the samples were taken. This ensured that all the additive package components were distributed uniformly throughout all the oil in the bottle, and not settled to the bottom.

• All oils are full synthetic unless otherwise specified.

• All oils are suitable for street use unless otherwise specified.

• Lower ranked oils are not necessarily bad. They simply don’t offer as much reserve wear protection (margin of safety) as higher ranked oils.


Oil categories for gasoline engines:

• Over 90,000 psi = OUTSTANDING protection

• 75,000 to 90,000 psi = GOOD protection

• 60,000 to 75,000 psi = MODEST protection

• Below 60,000 psi = UNDESIRABLE protection



********** OUTSTANDING PROTECTION Over 90,000 psi ************


1. 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM = 115,612 psi
I have not been able to find this oil with the latest API SN certification. The bottle says, “No leading synthetic oil provides better wear protection”. For once, a product’s hype turns out to be true.
zinc = 806 ppm
phos = 812 ppm
moly = 66 ppm

2. 10W30 Lucas Racing Only = 106,505 psi
zinc = 2642 ppm
phos = 3489 ppm
moly = 1764 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

3. 5W30 Mobil 1, API SN = 105,875 psi
zinc = 801 ppm
phos = 842 ppm
moly = 112 ppm

4. 0W30 Amsoil Signature Series 25,000 miles, API SN = 105,008 psi
zinc = 824 ppm
phos = 960 ppm
moly = 161 ppm


******* 10% below number 1 = 104,051 psi ********


5. 10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil = 103,846 psi
zinc = 1669 ppm
phos = 1518 ppm
moly = 784 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

6. 5W50 Motorcraft, API SN = 103,517 psi
zinc = 606 ppm
phos = 742 ppm
moly = 28 ppm

7. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Conventional Racing Oil (silver bottle) = 103,505 psi
zinc = 1472 ppm
phos = 1544 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

8. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Synthetic Racing Oil, API SL (black bottle) = 101,139 psi
zinc = 1180 ppm
phos = 1112 ppm
moly = 162 ppm

9. 5W30 Chevron Supreme conventional, API SN = 100,011 psi
This one only costs $4.29 per quart at the Auto Parts Store where I bought it.
zinc = 1018 ppm
phos = 728 ppm
moly = 161 ppm

10. 5W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 99,983 psi
zinc = 1042 ppm
phos = 857 ppm
moly = 100 ppm
titanium = 49 ppm


11. 20W50 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 96,514 psi
zinc = 610 ppm
phos = 754 ppm
moly = 94 ppm

12. 30 wt Red Line Race Oil = 96,470 psi
zinc = 2207 ppm
phos = 2052 ppm
moly = 1235 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

13. 0W20 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy, API SN = 96,364 psi
zinc = 742 ppm
phos = 677 ppm
moly = 81 ppm

14. 5W30 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN = 95,920 psi
zinc = 877 ppm
phos = 921 ppm
moly = 72 ppm

15. 5W30 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 95,717 psi
zinc = 818 ppm
phos = 883 ppm
moly = 90 ppm
titanium = 44 ppm

16. 10W30 Joe Gibbs XP3 NASCAR Racing Oil = 95,543 psi
zinc = 743 ppm
phos = 802 ppm
moly = 1125 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

17. 5W20 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 95,543 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
NOTE: Oil numbers 16 and 17 were tested weeks apart, but due to the similarities in their wear scar sizes, their averages ended up the same.

18. 5W30 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 95,392 psi
zinc = 830 ppm
phos = 791 ppm
moly = 1 ppm

19. 10W30 Amsoil Z-Rod Oil = 95,360 psi
zinc = 1431 ppm
phos = 1441 ppm
moly = 52 ppm

20. 5W30 Valvoline SynPower, API SN = 94,942 psi
zinc = 969 ppm
phos = 761 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

21. 5W30 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 94,744 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

22. 5W20 Mobil 1, API SN = 94,663 psi
zinc = 764 ppm
phos = 698 ppm
moly = 76 ppm

23. 5W20 Valvoline SynPower, API SN = 94,460 psi
zinc = 1045 ppm
phos = 742 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

******** 20% below number 1 = 92,490 psi ********

24. 5W30 Lucas conventional, API SN = 92,073 psi
zinc = 992 ppm
phos = 760 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

25. 5W30 O'Reilly (house brand) conventional, API SN = 91,433 psi
This one only costs $3.99 per quart at the Auto Parts Store where I bought it.
zinc = 863 ppm
phos = 816 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

26. 5W30 Red Line, API SN = 91,028 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

27. 5W20 Royal Purple API SN = 90,434 psi
zinc = 964 ppm
phos = 892 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

28. 10W30 Quaker State Defy, API SL (semi-synthetic) = 90,226 psi
zinc = 1221 ppm
phos = 955 ppm
moly = 99 ppm

29. 5W20 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 90,144 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


************ GOOD PROTECTION 75,000 to 90,000 psi **********


30. 30 wt Castrol Heavy Duty conventional, API SM = 88,089 psi
zinc = 907 ppm
phos = 829 ppm
moly = 56 ppm

31. 10W30 Joe Gibbs HR4 Hotrod Oil = 86,270 psi
zinc = 1247 ppm
phos = 1137 ppm
moly = 24 ppm

32. 5W20 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM = 86,034 psi
I have not been able to find this oil with the latest API SN certification.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

33. 15W40 RED LINE Diesel Oil, API CJ-4/CI-4 PLUS/CI-4/CF/CH-4/CF-4/SM/SL/SH/EO-O = 85,663 psi
zinc = 1615 ppm
phos = 1551 ppm
moly = 173 ppm

34. 5W30 Royal Purple API SN = 84,009 psi
zinc = 942 ppm
phos = 817 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

35. 20W50 Royal Purple API SN = 83,487 psi
zinc = 588 ppm
phos = 697 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

36. 20W50 Kendall GT-1 High Performance with liquid titanium, (conventional) API SN = 83,365 psi
zinc = 991 ppm
phos = 1253 ppm
moly = 57 ppm
titanium = 84 ppm

37. 5W30 Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile, API SN = 83,263 psi
zinc = 890 ppm
phos = 819 ppm
moly = 104 ppm

38. 0W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 82,867 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


******** 30% below number 1 = 80,928 psi ********


39. 15W40 ROYAL PURPLE, API CJ-4 /SM, CI-4 PLUS, CH-4, CI-4 = 76,997 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

40. 5W30 GM's AC Delco dexos 1 (semi-synthetic) API SN = 76,501 psi
zinc = 878 ppm
phos = 758 ppm
moly = 72 ppm



**************** MODEST PROTECTION 60,000 to 75,000 psi ************


41. 5W30 Royal Purple XPR (Extreme Performance Racing) = 74,860 psi
zinc = 1421 ppm
phos = 1338 ppm
moly = 204 ppm
NOTE: This particular bottle of oil was just opened, but was out of a 3 ½ year old case.

42. 5W40 MOBIL 1 TURBO DIESEL TRUCK, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4 and ACEA E7 = 74,312 psi
zinc = 1211 ppm
phos = 1168 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

43. 15W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE, conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM, “Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 73,520 psi
zinc = 1519 ppm
phos = 1139 ppm
moly = 80 ppm

44. 15W40 MOBIL DELVAC 1300 SUPER conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4/SM, SL = 73,300 psi
zinc = 1297 ppm
phos = 1944 ppm
moly = 46 ppm

45. 15W40 Farm Rated Heavy Duty Performance Diesel, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF/SL, SJ (conventional) = 73,176 psi
zinc = 1325ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

46. 15W40 SHELL ROTELLA T conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM = 72,022 psi
zinc = 1454 ppm
phos = 1062 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

47. Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 Nitro 70 Racing Oil (semi-synthetic) = 72,003 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

48. 0W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 (semi-synthetic) = 71,377 psi
zinc = 1621 ppm
phos = 1437 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

49. 15W40 “OLD” SHELL ROTELLA T conventional, API CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4,CG-4,CF-4,CF,SL, SJ, SH = 71,214 psi
zinc = 1171 ppm
phos = 1186 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

50. 10W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 (semi-synthetic) = 71,206 psi
zinc = 1557 ppm
phos = 1651 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

51. 15W40 VALVOLINE PREMIUM BLUE HEAVY DUTY DIESEL conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SM = 70,869 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

52. 15W50 Mobil 1, API SN = 70,235 psi
zinc = 1,133 ppm
phos = 1,168 ppm
moly = 83 ppm

53. 5W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, SL, SM = 69,631 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


******** 40% below number 1 = 69,367 psi ********


54. 30wt Edelbrock Break-In Oil conventional = 69,160 psi
zinc = 1545 ppm
phos = 1465 ppm
moly = 4 ppm

55. 5W30 Motorcraft, API SN = 68,782 psi
zinc = 796 ppm
phos = 830 ppm
moly = 75 ppm

56. 5W40 SHELL ROTELLA T6 synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, SM, SL = 67,804 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

57. 15W40 LUCAS MAGNUM, conventional, API CI-4,CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SL
= 66,476 psi
zinc = 1441 ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 76 ppm

58. 15W40 CASTROL GTX DIESEL conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4/SN = 66,323 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

59. 10W30 Royal Purple HPS (High Performance Street) = 66,211 psi
zinc = 1774 ppm
phos = 1347 ppm
moly = 189 ppm

60. 10W40 Valvoline 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oil conventional, API SJ = 65,553 psi
zinc = 1154 ppm
phos = 1075 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

61. Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil conventional = 62,931 psi
zinc = 1170 ppm
phos = 1039 ppm
moly = 0 ppm



********** UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION Below 60,000 psi ***********


62. Torco 10W40 TR-1 Racing Oil with MPZ conventional = 59,905 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

******** 50% below number 1 = 57,806 psi ********

63. 10W30 Comp Cams Break-In Oil = 51,749 psi
zinc = 3004 ppm
phos = 2613 ppm
moly = 180 ppm
This oil has by far, way too much zinc/phos. It has way more than enough zinc to begin causing wear/damage, rather than prevent it. Because of that , this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

64. 30wt Lucas Break-In Oil = 49,455 psi
zinc = 4483 ppm
phos = 3660 ppm
moly = 3 ppm
This oil has by far, the highest level of zinc/phos I have ever come across. It has way more than twice the amount of zinc that begins to CAUSE wear/damage. Because of that, the extremely low level of TBN, and the extremely low level of detergent, this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by 358T » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:10 pm

Which one makes the most hp when ran in an engine?

What would testing at a lower temp yeild? 230* is awefully high for a drag racing engine.

I've personally ran the lower ranked 5W40 Delo and Rotella oils in my drag engine (on alcohol no less) and don't have any wear related problems or failures. No implying that it means anything other than it is sufficient for my application.

Scott

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by rally » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:21 pm

RAT you sold me again on your tests, very well done. Lots of hype about breakin oils. your tests prove this. You have sold me on the Pennzoil Ultra 5W-30 full synthetic oil by far. Royal purple racing oil and Bradd Penn oil are not on my list to ever use again. . I will take your advice next time i build my motor and use the right oil as your tests show.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by jsgarage » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:39 am

As an ex- chem/mechanical engineer in aerospace as well as being a working hot rodder since the flathead Ford days, I appreciate your methodical approach to oil myth-busting. Can I hope that you will continue with 'octane boosters' and 'lead additives' some day? Thanks again for your self-funded efforts.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by Kevin Johnson » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:36 am

540 RAT wrote:For the benefit of those who haven’t seen my oil test data write-ups this year, and to prevent the same old questions from coming up, here is some background information.

The amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about motor oil is absolutely mind boggling, even though the basic technology of motor oil is NOT Rocket Science. It is simply unbelievable how much COMPLETELY WRONG information is out there on the Internet and on the various Forums.

And of course once wrong information has been repeated countless times, it becomes fact as far as most people know, even though it is completely worthless. But, you really can't blame folks for not knowing any better. Because in addition to a ton of bad information being out there, motor oil advertising hype is often misleading or downright false, almost no one ever tests anything to know for sure what is true and what is not, aftermarket companies sell bogus oil additive products, including zinc additives, that only wreck an oil’s chemical properties, and any test data outside of the oil companies themselves, is virtually impossible to find ANYWHERE……………until now.
I do appreciate and respect the testing you are doing and the data you generate but please be cautious in the claims. Why?
540 RAT wrote:There is no additional value to performing more “comprehensive” oil testing related to wear prevention. Because when an oil is thicker than a mere film, it becomes LIQUID oil. And LIQUIDS are INCOMPRESSIBLE, which of course is how hydraulics work. But, that refers to 100% PURE LIQUID with no air bubbles what so ever. And the nature of liquids being “incompressible”, is a basic FACT of Physics.

So, since liquid oil CANNOT be compressed, there can be NO metal to metal contact, THUS NO WEAR OR DAMAGE. This means that ALL oils when in “incompressible liquid form”, provide the SAME level of wear protection. And it does not matter if they cost one dollar per quart, or twenty dollars per quart. Nor does it matter how much zinc/phos is present.

For example, the normal flow of oil between the crank journals and rod or main bearings, is "liquid" oil. And the "liquid" oil in that hydrodynamic wedge is incompressible, just like any liquid is. For a crank journal to ever touch the bearings, the oil has to be reduced to only a film, and that film has to be PENETRATED. Because of course, to achieve metal to metal contact, and thus wear/damage, you have to go THROUGH the oil’s film strength to get there.
The nature of liquids being incompressible is an idealized working assumption, not a fact. However, that is really an aside. The more general difficulty you run into here is fairly common if you analyze formal arguments or chains of reasoning.

It is a scientific fact that Henry's Law has been shown to apply to motor oils.* The onus on you would be to demonstrate that the oil samples you are using do not have any gases dissolved in them.

* Paraffinic base oils can absorb about 9% gases by volume under one bar pressure; if you identify an exempt example -- even of a different base stock -- that would be truly significant. It has been shown that average bubble diameter is a critical variable for in situ full absorbtion.

You are linking together the definitions of a number of terms: 1) Liquid; 2) Incompressible; 3) Film; and 4) Penetrate.

In an engine, at a bearing interface still technically within a hydraulic circuit, the pressure can be multiple bars and yet a lower pressure than that prevailing at the pump. This means that fully dissolved gases can evolve out of solution and, presto, a compressible fluid mixture results.

If you are relying on the analytic meaning of terms linked together in definitions, this is a double-edged sword. It has just been demonstrated that a liquid can easily become a mixture of "incompressible" and compressible components. Simply apply a mathematically infinite regression to any sub-sample of that mixture tentatively deemed liquid and it is possible that it is also comprised of a mixture of a "liquid" and "compressible gases". A "film" is such a sub-sample. It is an assumption that a gas evolved from a fluid will be fully bounded by a film when itself in a film. This makes "penetrate" a somewhat empty distinction in such a situation.

This is not a student of philosophy conjuring up some metaphysical objection; this is one of your colleagues in the pursuit of science pointing out extant engineering issues. This is just one example of a possible objection to your arguments. It jumps out at me because it is an area that I study.

Your work is important but does not exhaust legitimate wear testing comparisons between motor oils.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by digger » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:49 am

what is the implications of using one of the diesel oils in a non diesel application e.g 5W40 RED LINE Diesel Oil, API CJ-4/CI-4 PLUS/CI-4/CF/CH-4/CF-4/SM/SL/SH/EO-O = 85,663 psi which seems to be the best xxW40 oil?

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by greywolf » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:14 am

The SM/SL/SH classification has it covered for gas service.
When I turned 47 years old, I entered into my 5th decade of drag racing.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by 68rs406 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:32 pm

Oil engineering and testing is not something I will even pretend to have legitimate input on, but I have a question regarding the poster of this information.

Why is it I see these same posts on two or three other sites regualrly, but the OP never returns and adresses questions directed at his "tests" and data? He may well be a very legitimate engineer and understand these things well beyond most folks' realm, but it puts serious doubt in my mind when someone "drive by posts" these things and goes away until the next one.
Just my thoughts and .02
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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by Kevin Johnson » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:27 pm

68rs406 wrote:Oil engineering and testing is not something I will even pretend to have legitimate input on, but I have a question regarding the poster of this information.

Why is it I see these same posts on two or three other sites regualrly, but the OP never returns and adresses questions directed at his "tests" and data? He may well be a very legitimate engineer and understand these things well beyond most folks' realm, but it puts serious doubt in my mind when someone "drive by posts" these things and goes away until the next one.
Just my thoughts and .02
There are many very serious men of science who are weary for one reason or another of replying. His data is legitimate. The conclusions you should draw from it are open to discussion as is normal in science.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by Engguy » Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:33 pm

Curious, what is giving the high psi rating? You did Chevron 5W-30, I would like to know where their 10W-30 is at in your tests.
Are the companys adding more EP to the multi vis oils than a straight weight? Just for something fun and to see if there is anything to it, take the worse psi oil and add some of the various addatives to it and see if there is any improvement. Good stuff, and thanks.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by MrBo » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:01 pm

Kevin Johnson wrote: There are many very serious men of science who are weary for one reason or another of replying. His data is legitimate. The conclusions you should draw from it are open to discussion as is normal in science.
Legitimate?
I quit reading his first "oil test" after I read he reused the same test piece. Sorry if I missed the answer to the following questions:

How did 540 Rat extract the test oil from the same test piece between tests?
All metals will absorb oil will they not?
Each test was a mix of oils on a microscopic level was it not?
"I promise you Sheriff, I won't throw one more rock... Didn't say nothin' 'bout no brick!" --Ernest T Bass

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by Kevin Johnson » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:30 pm

MrBo wrote:
Kevin Johnson wrote: There are many very serious men of science who are weary for one reason or another of replying. His data is legitimate. The conclusions you should draw from it are open to discussion as is normal in science.
Legitimate?
I quit reading his first "oil test" after I read he reused the same test piece. Sorry if I missed the answer to the following questions:

How did 540 Rat extract the test oil from the same test piece between tests?
All metals will absorb oil will they not?
Each test was a mix of oils on a microscopic level was it not?

Focus more on this:
540 RAT previously wrote: The ASTM D 2782 calls for testing the oil at 100*F, yes 100*F, NOT 100*C. Testing at that temperature is completely worthless in my mind. Because that is really just a hot “room temperature”, and is not hot enough to be representative of actual oil temperatures inside a running engine. And for example, 0W30 and 10W30 are not even the same viscosity at room temperature, but they are rated the same viscosity by the time they reach 212*F (100*C). So, in order to obtain the most valid data possible, I did all the oil tests at 230*F, which has all the same hot category multi-viscosity oils at the “same” viscosity, and is representative of oil temps inside a running engine. That being the case, I did not precisely follow what I consider the useless ASTM D 2782 standard.

Note:
*** The test procedure I used was developed and refined to obtain the best possible repeatability, which ensures the most accurate test results possible. Once I made the final revision to optimize the procedure, testing began and the exact same test procedure has been used over and over again for all the following tests.

*** I used 5W30 Castrol GTX conventional oil during the entire test procedure development phase, in order to keep things consistent. During that time, I tested it both HOT (230*F) and COLD (mid 60’s F). And it’s COLD “Load carrying capacity/Film strength” was about “TWICE” as high as its HOT capability. So, the hotter and thinner the oil, the lower its “Load carrying capacity/Film strength”.
Some contemplation might reveal why so many varied oils worked successfully during break in. However, we do not know how ZDDP levels relate to this because of the different temperature point studied. It is likely that by the time the oil reaches working temperature the critical break in period is past.

This is why it is important to carefully study all the available data -- even off-hand remarks about development data.

Bob Hollinshead
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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by Bob Hollinshead » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:28 am

A lot of interesting results that raise a lot of questions for me, I always thought the Zinc package was for a second defense against scuffing when the boundary layer of lubrication went away-doesn't heat from friction activate the zinc? And the perfect scenario for when it's needed is on a flat tappet cam break-in?
Pro question poster.

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Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by induction apprentice » Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:15 am

540 RAT wrote:For the benefit of those who haven’t seen my oil test data write-ups this year, and to prevent the same old questions from coming up, here is some background information.

The amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about motor oil is absolutely mind boggling, even though the basic technology of motor oil is NOT Rocket Science. It is simply unbelievable how much COMPLETELY WRONG information is out there on the Internet and on the various Forums.

And of course once wrong information has been repeated countless times, it becomes fact as far as most people know, even though it is completely worthless. But, you really can't blame folks for not knowing any better. Because in addition to a ton of bad information being out there, motor oil advertising hype is often misleading or downright false, almost no one ever tests anything to know for sure what is true and what is not, aftermarket companies sell bogus oil additive products, including zinc additives, that only wreck an oil’s chemical properties, and any test data outside of the oil companies themselves, is virtually impossible to find ANYWHERE……………until now.

If you are interested in seeing the FACTS from real world independent and unbiased Engineering Test Data on motor oil, then the information below is for you. At the end of this write-up, I’ve also included a motor oil “Wear Test” ranking sheet for anyone to use, who might be interested. You can choose any oil from that list, and know exactly how it compares to other oils in terms of wear protection.

“THE” single most common misunderstanding about motor oil is that higher zinc levels provide better wear protection. That has been repeated over and over again so many times over the years, that people just assume it is correct. But the fact is, that thinking is COMPLETELY FALSE.

Zinc is used/sacrificed in very small quantities at time, so the total amount present in your oil does not change how much wear protection the oil provides, as long as you don't run out of zinc. “Lab Testing” and “Wear Testing” analysis proves/confirms that more zinc provides LONGER wear protection, NOT MORE wear protection.

An analogy for the zinc level in motor oil would be the amount of gas in your tank. Gas is also used in very small quantities at a time. So, if you have a quarter of a tank or a full tank, it does NOT change how much power your engine makes, as long as you don't run out of gas. More gas provides LONGER running time, NOT more power. It’s the same type of idea regarding the amount of zinc in motor oil.

Zinc is used as an extreme pressure, anti-wear additive. But, zinc “DOES NOT” build-up over time like some type of plating process. For those who have actually taken an engine apart that has been running high zinc oil, you know that you don’t find a build-up of zinc that looks like some sort of coating or sludge build-up. Zinc does NOT work that way. And zinc is not even a lubricant until heat and load are applied. Zinc is only used when there is actual metal to metal contact in the engine. At that point zinc must react with the heat and load to create the sacrificial film that allows it to protect flat-tappet camshafts and other highly loaded engine parts.

So, with zinc being sacrificial, it will become depleted over time as it is used up. This has been proven/confirmed by analysis of new and used oil lab test results. On top of that, earlier oil industry testing has found that above .14% or 1,400 ppm, ZDDP INCREASED long term wear, even though break-in wear was reduced. And it was also found that .20% or 2,000 ppm ZDDP started attacking the grain boundaries in the iron, resulting in camshaft spalling. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing".

So, you really don’t want or need a ton of zinc. You simply need “enough” so that you don’t run out of it with your particular application, that’s all. And this is precisely the reason why the motor oil “wear testing” I’ve been performing, has ALWAYS shown that the level of zinc does NOT affect how well an oil can provide wear protection. I’ve had many HIGH zinc oils, as well as many modern LOW zinc oils, produce outstanding results in the wear testing. I’ve also had HIGH zinc oils as well as LOW zinc oils that produced only modest results in the wear testing.

And this brings us to the second most common misunderstanding about motor oil, which is that modern API certified motor oils cannot provide adequate wear protection for flat tappet cam lobe/lifter interfaces. This has also been repeated over and over again so many times over the years, that people just assume it is correct. But the fact is, that thinking is also COMPLETELY FALSE.

Wear protection is determined only by the base oil and its additive package “as a whole”, and NOT just by how much zinc is present. There is nothing magical or sacred about zinc. It is just one of a number of motor oil additive package components that can be used for extreme pressure anti-wear purposes. The other components that are typically Oil Company proprietary secrets, can be added to, or used in place of zinc. And most modern API SM and SN certified oils have shown in my wear testing to be quite good when it comes to providing wear protection, and have even EXCEEDED the protection provided by many high zinc oils.

So, modern low zinc oils CAN BE USED SAFELY with flat tappet cam setups, even in engines with radical cams and high spring pressures. Simply choose from the higher ranked oils on the list at the end of this write-up, and you'll be good to go. I know people who've been using modern low zinc oils in High Performance flat tappet set-ups for a long time, and they've had no issue at all.

Just looking at an oil’s spec sheet to see how much zinc is present, tells you ABOLUTLELY NOTHING about how well that oil can provide wear protection. To only look at the zinc level to try and predict an oil’s wear protection capability would be much like looking at your gas gauge to predict how much power your engine will make. That kind of thinking simply makes no sense at all. So, throw away that useless motor oil zinc quantity reference list. In other words, forget about zinc. The ONLY THING that matters, and the ONLY WAY to tell how well an oil can prevent wear, is to perform some type of dynamic WEAR TESTING that is done at representative temperatures. And that is exactly what I’ve done here.

The test equipment used here to perform this kind of testing, focuses on an oil’s “load carrying capacity or film strength”, and for good reason. THE single most CRITICAL capability of any motor oil is its film strength. Everything else it does for your engine comes AFTER that. Here’s why. When oil is down to a very thin film, it is the last line of defense against metal to metal contact and subsequent wear or damage. And oil film strength capability DIRECTLY APPLIES to flat tappet lobe/lifter interfaces, cam gear/distributor gear interfaces, mechanical fuel pump pushrod tip/cam eccentric interfaces and other highly loaded engine component interfaces. The higher an oil’s film strength, the better your engine is protected in these areas.

Oil film strength capability also DIRECTLY APPLIES to cold start-up conditions. In this case, only an oil film remains on most internal engine components, because most of the oil drained off after hot shut down. And it’s no secret that nearly all wear occurs during start-up when there can be a couple of seconds or even more, depending on the oil viscosity being used and the ambient air temperature, before a flow of oil reaches all the components. Before oil flow reaches the components, all you have saving your engine from wear or damage, is the remaining oil’s film strength. That makes it another very important reason why an excellent film strength is highly desirable.

When Amsoil refers to wear scar size comparisons on their website, they are referencing oil film strength test data. A couple of years or so ago, when Castrol Edge and Valvoline SynPower ads talked about their oils providing better wear protection than Mobil 1, they were referencing oil film strength test data. Pennzoil Ultra currently advertises that no leading synthetic oil provides better wear protection, and they also reference oil film strength test data. The bottom line is that oil film strength testing and the resulting data, is the “Gold Standard” in the motor oil industry, regarding wear protection.

There is no additional value to performing more “comprehensive” oil testing related to wear prevention. Because when an oil is thicker than a mere film, it becomes LIQUID oil. And LIQUIDS are INCOMPRESSIBLE, which of course is how hydraulics work. But, that refers to 100% PURE LIQUID with no air bubbles what so ever. And the nature of liquids being “incompressible”, is a basic FACT of Physics.

So, since liquid oil CANNOT be compressed, there can be NO metal to metal contact, THUS NO WEAR OR DAMAGE. This means that ALL oils when in “incompressible liquid form”, provide the SAME level of wear protection. And it does not matter if they cost one dollar per quart, or twenty dollars per quart. Nor does it matter how much zinc/phos is present.

For example, the normal flow of oil between the crank journals and rod or main bearings, is "liquid" oil. And the "liquid" oil in that hydrodynamic wedge is incompressible, just like any liquid is. For a crank journal to ever touch the bearings, the oil has to be reduced to only a film, and that film has to be PENETRATED. Because of course, to achieve metal to metal contact, and thus wear/damage, you have to go THROUGH the oil’s film strength to get there.

If conditions cause a flow of liquid oil to be squeezed out of the way, you are right back to being left with only an oil film, and the need for good film strength. And this is PRECISELY why we perform OIL FILM STRENGTH testing. The ONLY thing that separates one oil from another oil, in terms of wear prevention, is the DIFFERENCE between their film strength capabilities. So, if an oil has sufficient film strength capability, then you are good to go when it comes to wear protection, no matter how much zinc is present.

The tester used here, was never intended to reflect exactly what goes on inside a running engine. It was designed to test “oil against oil”, nothing else. So, the whole point of my “wear testing” was to test oils directly against each other, head to head, back to back, at a representative operating temperature. Then see how they stacked up against each other.

For example, if oil "A" has a 110,000 psi “load carrying capacity/film strength” (no matter how much zinc is present) in this test, and oil "B" has only a 65,000 psi “load carrying capacity/film strength” (no matter how much zinc is present) in this test, it’s not hard to understand the fact that oil "A" with its WHOPPING 70% HIGHER CAPABILITY, will provide a MUCH HIGHER level of reserve wear protection in a running engine as well (no matter how much zinc is present).

My testing performs severe torture testing on motor oil, which is much harder on the oil, than what the oil will ever experience inside any running engine. This is a dynamic friction test under load, and the test results are determined by the size of the wear scar. And how good an oil is at preventing wear, high zinc or low zinc, is determined in a fair and straight forward manner. The numbers come out how they come out, depending on the capability of the oil.

All of the oils are tested at a representative normal operating oil temperature of 230*F, to make the comparison meaningful. By testing in this manner, it absolutely shows which oils are better at preventing wear than others. This real world test comparison allows you to test a large number of oils EXACTLY THE SAME, under controlled and repeatable conditions, which you simply cannot do in a running engine. And you can see how they compare right away, without having to wait for 100,000 miles to find out what happened. With this testing methodology, you can quickly and easily distinguish between outstanding oils and merely ordinary oils.

The whole thing simply comes down to what is called "margin of safety" or extra reserve protection capability. Let's say the lowest ranked oil has a 20% margin of safety relative to your engine's needs, which means that the oil’s capability "exceeds" your engine's needs by 20%. So, you are in good shape and you will never see a problem. But, if something bad happens like an overheating condition, or an oiling condition, or a loading condition, or some parts heading south, or whatever, and your oil protection requirements increase to say 50% above your engine’s typical needs. Now you've just exceeded the oil’s capability by a whopping 30%, and your engine is junk. But, what if you'd been running an oil that had a whopping 70% margin of safety to begin with? In this case, when your engine’s needs went up 50%, but you still have another 20% capability above that. So, your engine would still live to fight another day.

So, in the end, it just depends on how much margin of safety an individual is comfortable with for his particular engine combo. I'm one of those guys who runs a block, crank, pistons, rods, etc, that are capable of handling WAY more power than my weenie 800ish HP, 540 BBC will ever make. I simply feel better about having a LARGE margin of safety everywhere I can. And I'm the same way when it comes to the oil I run. So, I've chosen the oil with the highest wear protection capability, even though the oil with the lowest capability might work well enough under most circumstances. And that's whole point of all my oil testing, having the data to make an informed choice when it comes to choosing the best motor oil.

I did this testing only for my own knowledge, because there is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about motor oil. But, I do NOT sell oil, and I do NOT get paid by any oil company. So, it doesn't matter to me what oil people buy, or why they buy, the oil they buy. That being the case, I have absolutely no reason to try to make one oil seem better than another. On the contrary, I'm only interested in seeing how they TRULY differ.

So, there is no Snake Oil pitch going on here. And I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, I'm only sharing my test data results. People can embrace my data or ignore it. That of course is totally up to them. So, run whatever oil you like, but now you’ll have the data to see how oils rank, relative to each other.


NOW, ON WITH THE BREAK-IN OIL TEST DATA:

Let’s take a look at Lucas, Edelbrock, Royal Purple and Comp Cams Break-In oils. If you look at the marketing hype on the bottles, they generally say similar things. But, the two main points that stand out are along the lines of:

1. Ideal formulation for the break-in of rings, flat tappet lobe/lifters, etc.
2. Extra zinc for outstanding wear protection.

So, what’s wrong with these claims?

Break-In by definition means some level of initial wear, however small that may be, so that the parts can seat-in, run-in, or break-in, whichever term you prefer. Of course the desired end result is that critical components have nicely mated/matched contact interfaces. The hype for these oils, claims that they are formulated to facilitate that initial break-in wear, which means modest or low "load carrying capacity/film strength".

But then, the hype also claims that they provide outstanding wear protection that would PREVENT proper initial break-in wear, which means that they would have good or outstanding "load carrying capacity/film strength". These contradictory claims don't make any sense, because an oil cannot ALLOW wear and PREVENT wear at the same time. In fact, it is an oxymoron to claim that they can do BOTH things at the SAME time.

Oxymoron = A figure of speech which produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”

The bottom line is that they are claiming their oils are “wear preventing break-in oils”. It has to be one or the other, but NOT both. They need to pick a side, or better yet, just tell the truth about their products. But, apparently the Marketing/Advertising Departments/Agencies and/or the Oil Companies' tech folks themselves, have no problem misrepresenting their products.

A couple of other motor oils that come to mind that WAY overstated their capabilities, is the Kendall GT-1 High Performance oil and the Torco TR-1 Racing oil. Motor Oil claims seem to be among the worst when it comes to false advertising. So, one would be wise to never believe anything related to motor oil claims on the bottle or the website. Instead look for any independent test data that you can find. And this was one of the reasons why I decided to perform all the oil testing I've been doing this year, so that I can get to the truth about motor oil.

Back to the Break-In Oil.
On one hand, we want to prevent undue wear on flat tappet lobe/lifter interfaces, as well as numerous other areas, while on the other hand, allowing enough wear to quickly seat the rings. No oil can simultaneously allow wear "AND" prevent wear. Remember that rings are forced out against the cylinder walls by combustion pressure. So, can “any oil” no matter how well it prevents wear, actually "prevent" rings from seating promptly, considering the tiny contact area brand new rings have against the bores, and the resulting incredibly high contact area psi when the engine is running? And do we really "want" to prevent wear at the flat tappet lobe/lifter interface? Don't we want those surfaces to microscopically mate perfectly to each other? Of course there needs to be a bit of wear taking place to do that.

Should a so-called Break-In Oil be high zinc or low zinc? Does it even matter? Do people even have a clue what is in the Break-In oil they buy? Should it have a high "Load carrying capacity/film strength", or should it have a low value? Do you even need a so-called Break-In oil at all, or can regular oils work just fine for Break-In? Should we use conventional dino oil, or is synthetic also fine? Does that even matter?

From Professional engine builders all the way down to one-time-only shade-tree engine builders, everyone who fires an engine up for the very first time thinks they know what oil should be used for break-in. Of course people do not think the same, nor does everyone have the same level of experience, so a wide variety of oils end up getting used for break-in. Everything from traditional high performance high zinc conventional and synthetic oils, to diesel oils, to modern low zinc oils with and without aftermarket zinc added, to store-bought break-in oils, to oils with EOS, STP Oil Treatment, or Lucas Oil Treatment added, and every imaginable oil in between are used. Are some people right about what oil should be used, while the rest of the people are wrong? Or is it possible that everyone is right, because it just isn’t as critical as many people think? All these questions come up in a discussion about breaking-in an engine and the oil that should be used to do that.

Now, let’s take a look at component quantities of these Break-In Oils, from the Lab Tests performed by ALS Tribology in Sparks, Nevada.

Lucas 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 4483 ppm
phos = 3660 ppm
moly = 3 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 1104 ppm
TBN = 5.9
This oil has by far, the highest level of zinc/phos I have ever come across. It has way more than twice the amount of zinc that begins to CAUSE wear/damage. Because of that, the extremely low level of TBN, and the extremely low level of detergent, this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

Comp Cams 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 3004 ppm
phos = 2613 ppm
moly = 180 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 4234 ppm
TBN = 14.7
This oil also has by far, way too much zinc/phos. It has way more than enough zinc to begin causing wear/damage, rather than prevent it. Because of that, this oil also should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

Edelbrock 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 1545 ppm
phos = 1465 ppm
moly = 4 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 3452 ppm
TBN = 10.6
This oil is manufactured for Edelbrock by Torco.


Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
zinc = 1170 ppm
phos = 1039 ppm
moly = 0 ppm
total detergent/dispersant/anti-deposit build-up/anti-sludge = 3184 ppm
TBN = 9.8

As you can see above, there is absolutely no consistency at all, between the Break-In oils that these various Oil Companies blended. These oils are all over that place and bouncing off the walls. We see zinc from 1170 ppm to 4483 ppm. We see phos from 1039 ppm to 3660 ppm. We see detergent levels from 1104 ppm to 4234 ppm. And we see TBN values from 5.9 to 14.7. WOW!!! These oils couldn’t be much more different, and yet they are all aimed at the EXACT SAME Break-In oil market.

So, let’s take a look at the wear protection these oils actually provide, and see how they rank according to their “Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength". And this will tell us once and for all, what the Oil Companies would not, and that is, whether the oils are formulated for wear protection or to facilitate initial break-in wear.

*** The higher the psi result, the higher the “Load carrying capacity/Film strength”, and the better the oil is at preventing wear. The psi value is determined by the testing “load” being applied over the “area” of the wear scar that is created on the test specimen, as the test is being performed. So, you end up with “pounds” of force being applied over the wear scar area in “square inches”. Or in other words, pounds per square inch, which of course is just shortened to psi.

*** All oils were tested at 230* F (representative of actual running temperature).

*** Multiple tests were performed on each oil, and those results were averaged to arrive at each oil's final value shown below. The repeat test results of each of these oils had the closest re-test values of any group of oils I've tested to date. All the oil's psi values were within 2.4% or less, of their previous tests.

*** Test Result differences between oils of less than 10%, are not significant, and oils within that range can be considered approximately equivalent.

*** All oil bottles were thoroughly shaken before the samples were taken. This ensured that all the additive package components were distributed uniformly throughout all the oil in the bottle, and not settled to the bottom.

1. Edelbrock 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 69,160 psi
zinc = 1545 ppm

2. Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 62,931 psi
zinc = 1170 ppm

3. Comp Cams 10W30 Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 51,749 psi
zinc = 3004 ppm

4. Lucas 30 wt Break-In Oil, conventional
“Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 49,455 psi
zinc = 4483 ppm

Anyone who has followed my previous oil tests, knows that the wear protection capability psi values produced by these Break-In oils is quite low overall. Only the Edelbrock and Royal Purple oils made it into the MODEST PROTECTION category (60,000 to 75,000 psi), while the Comp Cams and Lucas oils managed only the UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION category (below 60,000 psi). In comparison, the highest wear protection capability oil I've ever tested is the 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM, which has a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of 115,612 psi. That Pennzoil provides a whopping 67% greater wear protection capability than the top ranked Edelbrock Break-In oil here.

But, now we finally know that because of their low wear protection capabilities, these Break-In oils are formulated only to facilitate initial break-in wear, and are NOT formulated to provide a high level of wear protection. Of course it was impossible for them to be capable of both things at the same time, in spite of their advertising claims. And without the type of dynamic wear testing performed here, we would have never known what these Break-In oils were truly formulated for.

Every oil test I've done this year, proved time and time again that the level of zinc has nothing to do with an oil's wear protection capability, nor its ranking against other oils. And we've seen it yet again here, that high zinc levels do NOT provide better wear protection. In fact, the super high zinc Lucas oil, ended up in last place in wear protection capability for this group, and overall it also ended up in last place by ranking 64th out of the 64 oils I've wear tested so far. Motor oil wear protection capability is determined by the base oil and its additive package "as a whole", and NOT by how much zinc is present.

And no one can complain that my test equipment and test procedure do not allow high zinc oils to perform at their highest level. Because here are some high zinc (over 1100 ppm) conventional, semi-synthetic, and full synthetic oils that I’ve tested previously. And they all had test results over 90,000 psi, which put them all in the “OUTSTANDING PROTECTION” category.


10W30 Lucas Racing Only, full synthetic = 106,505 psi
zinc = 2642 ppm
phos = 3489 ppm
moly = 1764 ppm


10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil = 103,846 psi
zinc = 1669 ppm
phos = 1518 ppm
moly = 784 ppm


10W30 Valvoline VR1 Conventional Racing Oil (silver bottle) = 103,505 psi
zinc = 1472 ppm
phos = 1544 ppm
moly = 3 ppm


10W30 Valvoline VR1 Synthetic Racing Oil, API SL (black bottle) = 101,139 psi
zinc = 1180 ppm
phos = 1112 ppm
moly = 162 ppm


30 wt Red Line Race Oil, full synthetic = 96,470 psi
zinc = 2207 ppm
phos = 2052 ppm
moly = 1235 ppm


10W30 Amsoil Z-Rod Oil, full synthetic = 95,360 psi
zinc = 1431 ppm
phos = 1441 ppm
moly = 52 ppm


10W30 Quaker State Defy, API SL (semi-synthetic) = 90,226 psi
zinc = 1221 ppm
phos = 955 ppm
moly = 99 ppm


Back to the Break-In Oil.
Folks who have used these Break-In oils in high performance flat tappet engines without a problem, were able to do that even though these oils provided only minimal wear protection. So much for flat tappet engines requiring a high level of wear protection during break-in. Most likely these folks "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection, from what the bottles and/or websites claimed. But, now we know that the hype about great wear protection was nothing more than a snake oil pitch. These oils are formulated only to facilitate initial break-in wear, by having low levels of wear protection. And this is fine if that is what you are looking for in a Break-In oil. But, buyers should at least be told what they are getting.

It's a similar situation where many people have also gotten away with using low zinc oils with aftermarket zinc additives added into those oils, for breaking-in high performance flat tappet engines. They were able to do that with this oil concoction that also provides only minimal wear protection capability. These folks also certainly "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection, from what those zinc additive bottles and/or websites claimed.

I tested the zinc additives "ZDDPlus" which added a whopping 1848 ppm zinc when added at the recommended quantity, and "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" which added 573 ppm zinc when added at the recommended quantity. Each zinc additive was tested in two full synthetic oils and one conventional oil. And in EVERYONE of the six test oils, the wear protection capability DROPPED SIGNIFICANTLY.

The "ZDDPlus" caused a drop of about 25% on average, and the "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" caused a drop of about 34% on average. The oils with the "ZDDPlus" ended up having a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 58,855 psi on average. And the oils with the "Edelbrock Zinc Additive" ended up having a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 51,930 psi on average. That puts them into the UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION category (below 60,000 psi). So, the wear protection capability of these oil concoctions, was right in the exact same range as the Break-In oils tested here. Oil Companies have always said to NEVER add anything to motor oil, because doing that will ruin an oil's carefully balanced additive package and its resulting chemical properties. And they were absolutely correct, because that is precisely what the test data showed.

It's also a similar situation where many people have used Diesel oils, for breaking-in high performance flat tappet engines without a problem. They were able to do that with Diesel oil even though these oils also provide only minimal wear protection capability. These folks also certainly "thought" they were getting outstanding wear protection. But, I tested 13 different popular conventional and synthetic Diesel oils, including the "OLD" Rotella, and they had a "Load carrying capacity/Film strength" of only 72,408 psi on average, putting them in the MODEST PROTECTION category (60,000 to 75,000 psi). This wear protection capability puts them right at the upper range of the Break-In oils tested here.

To summarize, the Break-In oils, the low zinc oils with aftermarket zinc added to them, and the Diesel oils, all provided about the same level of modest to undesirable wear protection in gasoline engines. And that makes all of them suitable for use as Break-In oils, if you are looking for oils that don't provide too much wear protection for brand new engines fired up for the first time.

This also points out that all the effort people go to with any of these motor oils, in order to prevent wiped lobes in High Performance flat tappet engines, is often misguided, since these oils DO NOT provide the wear protection that most folks "thought" they did. Since wiped lobes don't really happen all that often in correctly built engines, even when using these oils with minimal protection capability (high zinc or not), it strongly suggests that when wiped lobes do occur, it is likely caused by cam/lifter material and/or heat treat problems and not because of the oil used.

Many people probably have a gut feeling that whatever Break-In oil you use, should not be overly protective against wear, so that components can break-in quickly. That's why you often hear people say to break-in an engine with conventional oil, then later switch to synthetic. After all, during the first few minutes of running, a brand new engine is not typically subjected to high loading anyway.

But, then the flat tappet guys often want to have max protection against wear to avoid wiped lobes. So, they will then often choose conventional oil with high levels of zinc, "falsely believing" that will help increase the oil's wear protection. But, as mentioned many times before, "wear testing" and "lab testing" has ALWAYS shown that the level of zinc does NOT determine an oil's wear protection capability. No more than the level of gas in your tank determines how much HP your engine makes.

Now keep in mind that whether an oil is conventional or synthetic, does NOT determine an oil's wear protection capability any more than the level of zinc does. Out of the 64 oils that I've wear tested so far, synthetic oils ranked from 1st to 58th. And conventional oils ranked from 5th to 64th. So, as you can see, they are mixed all along the ranking list. The bottom line is that viscosity, the amount of zinc, and being synthetic or conventional, are NOT what determines an oil's wear protection capability, which might affect the break-in of a new engine. Again, the wear protection capability is determined only by the base oil and its additive package "as a whole". So, is the particular oil chosen for break-in, even a factor at all?

We've only covered the "lower end" of the spectrum of Break-In oils to use, if you don't want too much wear protection, in order to facilitate break-in wear. But, since things just aren't that simple, let's also take a look at the "upper" end of the spectrum of Break-In oils. Consider the following facts.

Countless thousands of brand new cars have come off the production line, factory filled with full synthetic motor oil. We've seen this for years in both domestic and import Performance Cars. Perhaps the most commonly known is the full synthetic 5W30 Mobil 1 that comes in High Performance GM vehicles. Also the Ford GT Sports Car of a few years back, as well as Ford's current Supercharged Shelby GT500 Mustangs, come factory filled with full synthetic 5W50 Motorcraft oil.

That full synthetic 5W30 Mobil 1, API SN oil ranked 3rd out of the 64 oils I've tested with a “Load carrying capacity/Film strength" value of 105,875 psi. And the full synthetic 5W50 Motorcraft, API SN oil ranked 6th out of the 64 oils I've tested with a “Load carrying capacity/Film strength" value of 103,517 psi. Both of these oils were in the OUTSTANDING PROTECTION category (over 90,000 psi). Now, with the extremely impressive wear protection capability provided by these oils, if any oils would interfere with proper break-in wear, these oils would be the ones to do it. But, that is simply not a problem, and of course these vehicles all come with a normal factory warranty.

SUMMARY:

Now, we have seen that engines, even High Performance flat tappet engines, are commonly broken-in with NO issue, using any of the various "minimal wear protection" oils mentioned above. They don't have ring seating issues, nor do they generally have lobe/lifter issues.

We have also seen that High Performance factory engines, both 2 valve and 4 valve, are commonly broken-in with NO issue, using various "high wear protection" oils. They also don't have any issues with ring seating, and of course no issue with lobe/lifters either.

CONCLUSION:

People will have strong opinions about what they believe and what they have experienced. But, the bottom line is that the "facts" and the "test data", have shown that any oil, with either "low wear protection capability" or "high wear protection capability", can be used for break-in with NO issue.

If you wondered how those factory full synthetic oils with "high wear protection capability" and how any other synthetic or conventional oil with "high wear protection capability", can still allow proper break-in, here's the answer. Newly manufactured parts will have a surface that "microscopically" looks like peaks and valleys. The loading on those tiny little peaks, will be EXTREMELY high, because the load is not spread out across the whole surface. And no motor oil made by man can stop those peaks from being worn down, thus leaving a smoother surface that will distribute the load more evenly across the whole surface. And that in a nutshell, is what happens during break-in wear. So, we CANNOT stop break-in wear, no matter how hard we try. And that is a good thing, because we WANT that initial break-in wear, so that our part interfaces are nicely mated to each other. That way they can support as much load as possible without failure, when we press the loud pedal.

At the end of the day, I have no real world test data and no real world running engine facts that would cause me to RECOMMEND a certain brand or type of oil to use for Break-In. Nor do I have any real world test data or real world running engine facts that would cause me to NOT recommend a certain brand or type of oil to use for Break-In. You can just basically grab whatever you have handy and you will be hard pressed to go wrong. So, what this means is that all the people who use a wide range of oils for break-in, from Pro's to newbie's, are all "correct". The bottom line is that choosing an oil for breaking-in an engine is simply not as critical as many people think. This stuff is simply NOT Rocket Science.

The only points I'd suggest are:

• Always prime an engine, making sure that oil is coming out of all rockers, right before first fire.

• Use a thinner oil such as 5W30 or 10W30, rather than something thicker. Because thinner oil will flow quicker/better. And flow is lubrication. Also quicker/better flow will get oil to all components sooner which is very important for cold start-up. And the quicker/better flow of thinner oil, will also carry away heat quicker/better than what thicker oils can. Remember that engine internal parts are DIRECTLY oil cooled, but only INDIRECTLY water cooled.

• And the last thing is to change the oil soon after initial break-in, to get rid of all the contaminants that will be present right after first firing a brand new engine.


For your convenient reference, here is the COMPLETE RANKING LIST of the 64 oils that I’ve “Wear Tested” so far. The list includes traditional High Performance high zinc oils, modern low zinc oils, Diesel oils and Break-In oils:

• The higher the psi result, the higher the “Load carrying capacity/Film strength”, and the better the oil is at preventing wear. The psi value is determined by the testing "load" being applied over the "area" of the wear scar that is created on the test specimen, as the test is being performed. So, you end up with "pounds" of force being applied over the wear scar area in "square inches". Or in other words, pounds per square inch, which of course is just shortened to psi.

• All oils were tested at 230* F (representative of actual running temperature).

• Multiple tests were performed on each oil, and those results were averaged to arrive at each oil's final value shown below.

• Test Result differences between oils of less than 10%, are not significant, and oils within that range can be considered approximately equivalent.

• All oil bottles were thoroughly shaken before the samples were taken. This ensured that all the additive package components were distributed uniformly throughout all the oil in the bottle, and not settled to the bottom.

• All oils are full synthetic unless otherwise specified.

• All oils are suitable for street use unless otherwise specified.

• Lower ranked oils are not necessarily bad. They simply don’t offer as much reserve wear protection (margin of safety) as higher ranked oils.


Oil categories for gasoline engines:

• Over 90,000 psi = OUTSTANDING protection

• 75,000 to 90,000 psi = GOOD protection

• 60,000 to 75,000 psi = MODEST protection

• Below 60,000 psi = UNDESIRABLE protection



********** OUTSTANDING PROTECTION Over 90,000 psi ************


1. 5W30 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM = 115,612 psi
I have not been able to find this oil with the latest API SN certification. The bottle says, “No leading synthetic oil provides better wear protection”. For once, a product’s hype turns out to be true.
zinc = 806 ppm
phos = 812 ppm
moly = 66 ppm

2. 10W30 Lucas Racing Only = 106,505 psi
zinc = 2642 ppm
phos = 3489 ppm
moly = 1764 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

3. 5W30 Mobil 1, API SN = 105,875 psi
zinc = 801 ppm
phos = 842 ppm
moly = 112 ppm

4. 0W30 Amsoil Signature Series 25,000 miles, API SN = 105,008 psi
zinc = 824 ppm
phos = 960 ppm
moly = 161 ppm


******* 10% below number 1 = 104,051 psi ********


5. 10W30 Valvoline NSL (Not Street Legal) Conventional Racing Oil = 103,846 psi
zinc = 1669 ppm
phos = 1518 ppm
moly = 784 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

6. 5W50 Motorcraft, API SN = 103,517 psi
zinc = 606 ppm
phos = 742 ppm
moly = 28 ppm

7. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Conventional Racing Oil (silver bottle) = 103,505 psi
zinc = 1472 ppm
phos = 1544 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

8. 10W30 Valvoline VR1 Synthetic Racing Oil, API SL (black bottle) = 101,139 psi
zinc = 1180 ppm
phos = 1112 ppm
moly = 162 ppm

9. 5W30 Chevron Supreme conventional, API SN = 100,011 psi
This one only costs $4.29 per quart at the Auto Parts Store where I bought it.
zinc = 1018 ppm
phos = 728 ppm
moly = 161 ppm

10. 5W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 99,983 psi
zinc = 1042 ppm
phos = 857 ppm
moly = 100 ppm
titanium = 49 ppm


11. 20W50 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 96,514 psi
zinc = 610 ppm
phos = 754 ppm
moly = 94 ppm

12. 30 wt Red Line Race Oil = 96,470 psi
zinc = 2207 ppm
phos = 2052 ppm
moly = 1235 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

13. 0W20 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy, API SN = 96,364 psi
zinc = 742 ppm
phos = 677 ppm
moly = 81 ppm

14. 5W30 Quaker State Ultimate Durability, API SN = 95,920 psi
zinc = 877 ppm
phos = 921 ppm
moly = 72 ppm

15. 5W30 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 95,717 psi
zinc = 818 ppm
phos = 883 ppm
moly = 90 ppm
titanium = 44 ppm

16. 10W30 Joe Gibbs XP3 NASCAR Racing Oil = 95,543 psi
zinc = 743 ppm
phos = 802 ppm
moly = 1125 ppm
NOTE: This oil is suitable for short term racing use only, and is not suitable for street use.

17. 5W20 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 95,543 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD
NOTE: Oil numbers 16 and 17 were tested weeks apart, but due to the similarities in their wear scar sizes, their averages ended up the same.

18. 5W30 Castrol GTX conventional, API SN = 95,392 psi
zinc = 830 ppm
phos = 791 ppm
moly = 1 ppm

19. 10W30 Amsoil Z-Rod Oil = 95,360 psi
zinc = 1431 ppm
phos = 1441 ppm
moly = 52 ppm

20. 5W30 Valvoline SynPower, API SN = 94,942 psi
zinc = 969 ppm
phos = 761 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

21. 5W30 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 94,744 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

22. 5W20 Mobil 1, API SN = 94,663 psi
zinc = 764 ppm
phos = 698 ppm
moly = 76 ppm

23. 5W20 Valvoline SynPower, API SN = 94,460 psi
zinc = 1045 ppm
phos = 742 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

******** 20% below number 1 = 92,490 psi ********

24. 5W30 Lucas conventional, API SN = 92,073 psi
zinc = 992 ppm
phos = 760 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

25. 5W30 O'Reilly (house brand) conventional, API SN = 91,433 psi
This one only costs $3.99 per quart at the Auto Parts Store where I bought it.
zinc = 863 ppm
phos = 816 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

26. 5W30 Red Line, API SN = 91,028 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

27. 5W20 Royal Purple API SN = 90,434 psi
zinc = 964 ppm
phos = 892 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

28. 10W30 Quaker State Defy, API SL (semi-synthetic) = 90,226 psi
zinc = 1221 ppm
phos = 955 ppm
moly = 99 ppm

29. 5W20 Valvoline Premium Conventional, API SN = 90,144 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


************ GOOD PROTECTION 75,000 to 90,000 psi **********


30. 30 wt Castrol Heavy Duty conventional, API SM = 88,089 psi
zinc = 907 ppm
phos = 829 ppm
moly = 56 ppm

31. 10W30 Joe Gibbs HR4 Hotrod Oil = 86,270 psi
zinc = 1247 ppm
phos = 1137 ppm
moly = 24 ppm

32. 5W20 Pennzoil Ultra, API SM = 86,034 psi
I have not been able to find this oil with the latest API SN certification.
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

33. 15W40 RED LINE Diesel Oil, API CJ-4/CI-4 PLUS/CI-4/CF/CH-4/CF-4/SM/SL/SH/EO-O = 85,663 psi
zinc = 1615 ppm
phos = 1551 ppm
moly = 173 ppm

34. 5W30 Royal Purple API SN = 84,009 psi
zinc = 942 ppm
phos = 817 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

35. 20W50 Royal Purple API SN = 83,487 psi
zinc = 588 ppm
phos = 697 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

36. 20W50 Kendall GT-1 High Performance with liquid titanium, (conventional) API SN = 83,365 psi
zinc = 991 ppm
phos = 1253 ppm
moly = 57 ppm
titanium = 84 ppm

37. 5W30 Mobil 1 Extended Performance 15,000 mile, API SN = 83,263 psi
zinc = 890 ppm
phos = 819 ppm
moly = 104 ppm

38. 0W20 Castrol Edge with Titanium, API SN = 82,867 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


******** 30% below number 1 = 80,928 psi ********


39. 15W40 ROYAL PURPLE, API CJ-4 /SM, CI-4 PLUS, CH-4, CI-4 = 76,997 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

40. 5W30 GM's AC Delco dexos 1 (semi-synthetic) API SN = 76,501 psi
zinc = 878 ppm
phos = 758 ppm
moly = 72 ppm



**************** MODEST PROTECTION 60,000 to 75,000 psi ************


41. 5W30 Royal Purple XPR (Extreme Performance Racing) = 74,860 psi
zinc = 1421 ppm
phos = 1338 ppm
moly = 204 ppm
NOTE: This particular bottle of oil was just opened, but was out of a 3 ½ year old case.

42. 5W40 MOBIL 1 TURBO DIESEL TRUCK, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4 and ACEA E7 = 74,312 psi
zinc = 1211 ppm
phos = 1168 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

43. 15W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE, conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM, “Load Carrying Capacity/Film Strength” = 73,520 psi
zinc = 1519 ppm
phos = 1139 ppm
moly = 80 ppm

44. 15W40 MOBIL DELVAC 1300 SUPER conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4/SM, SL = 73,300 psi
zinc = 1297 ppm
phos = 1944 ppm
moly = 46 ppm

45. 15W40 Farm Rated Heavy Duty Performance Diesel, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF/SL, SJ (conventional) = 73,176 psi
zinc = 1325ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 2 ppm

46. 15W40 SHELL ROTELLA T conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CH-4, CF-4,CF/SM = 72,022 psi
zinc = 1454 ppm
phos = 1062 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

47. Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 Nitro 70 Racing Oil (semi-synthetic) = 72,003 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

48. 0W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 (semi-synthetic) = 71,377 psi
zinc = 1621 ppm
phos = 1437 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

49. 15W40 “OLD” SHELL ROTELLA T conventional, API CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4,CG-4,CF-4,CF,SL, SJ, SH = 71,214 psi
zinc = 1171 ppm
phos = 1186 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

50. 10W30 Brad Penn, Penn Grade 1 (semi-synthetic) = 71,206 psi
zinc = 1557 ppm
phos = 1651 ppm
moly = 3 ppm

51. 15W40 VALVOLINE PREMIUM BLUE HEAVY DUTY DIESEL conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SM = 70,869 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

52. 15W50 Mobil 1, API SN = 70,235 psi
zinc = 1,133 ppm
phos = 1,168 ppm
moly = 83 ppm

53. 5W40 CHEVRON DELO 400LE, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, SL, SM = 69,631 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD


******** 40% below number 1 = 69,367 psi ********


54. 30wt Edelbrock Break-In Oil conventional = 69,160 psi
zinc = 1545 ppm
phos = 1465 ppm
moly = 4 ppm

55. 5W30 Motorcraft, API SN = 68,782 psi
zinc = 796 ppm
phos = 830 ppm
moly = 75 ppm

56. 5W40 SHELL ROTELLA T6 synthetic, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, SM, SL = 67,804 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

57. 15W40 LUCAS MAGNUM, conventional, API CI-4,CH-4, CG-4, CF-4, CF/SL
= 66,476 psi
zinc = 1441 ppm
phos = 1234 ppm
moly = 76 ppm

58. 15W40 CASTROL GTX DIESEL conventional, API CJ-4, CI-4 Plus, CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4/SN = 66,323 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

59. 10W30 Royal Purple HPS (High Performance Street) = 66,211 psi
zinc = 1774 ppm
phos = 1347 ppm
moly = 189 ppm

60. 10W40 Valvoline 4 Stroke Motorcycle Oil conventional, API SJ = 65,553 psi
zinc = 1154 ppm
phos = 1075 ppm
moly = 0 ppm

61. Royal Purple 10W30 Break-In Oil conventional = 62,931 psi
zinc = 1170 ppm
phos = 1039 ppm
moly = 0 ppm



********** UNDESIRABLE PROTECTION Below 60,000 psi ***********


62. Torco 10W40 TR-1 Racing Oil with MPZ conventional = 59,905 psi
zinc = TBD
phos = TBD
moly = TBD

******** 50% below number 1 = 57,806 psi ********

63. 10W30 Comp Cams Break-In Oil = 51,749 psi
zinc = 3004 ppm
phos = 2613 ppm
moly = 180 ppm
This oil has by far, way too much zinc/phos. It has way more than enough zinc to begin causing wear/damage, rather than prevent it. Because of that , this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

64. 30wt Lucas Break-In Oil = 49,455 psi
zinc = 4483 ppm
phos = 3660 ppm
moly = 3 ppm
This oil has by far, the highest level of zinc/phos I have ever come across. It has way more than twice the amount of zinc that begins to CAUSE wear/damage. Because of that, the extremely low level of TBN, and the extremely low level of detergent, this oil should be used for only a very short time, as a Break-In oil would suggest.

540 RAT

WHy did you not include Ams Oil in your testing? You seem to have everyone else in there.

GregGood
Expert
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Posts: 632
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:18 pm

Re: Break-In Oil “Wear Test” and “Lab Test” Data

Post by GregGood » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:49 am

My Lubrication Handbook describes break in with ZDDP oil as chemical micropolishing, not wear.

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