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Racing Oil 101

OIL TODAY VS. YESTERDAY

Today’s engine oils are not the same as they were even a few years ago.

Phosphorus and Zinc Reductionchart_zinccontent

  • Phosphorus degrades catalytic converters
  • Zinc & Phosphorus content unlimited before 1993
  • Phosphorus now limited to max 800 ppm (API SM / ILSAC GF-4)
  • Mandated for 10W-30 and lower – still occurring in higher grades
  • Diesel oils now limited to 1,200 ppm Phosphorus (Oct. 2006)

Increased Detergents

  • Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valves
  • Increased drain intervals – less waste oil

Lower Sulfur

  • Restricted Sulfur content

 

ZINC VS. DETERGENT

chart_zincdetergent

 

Detergent and dispersant additives “compete” against zinc in the engine because they are polar molecules as well. Detergents and dispersants clean the engine, but they don’t distinguish between sludge, varnish and zinc – they clean all three away.

Modern API certified oils contain higher levels of detergents and dispersants due to the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems on passenger cars and diesel trucks. The “old school” theory on engine break-in was to run non-detergent oils, and this allowed for greater activation of the zinc additive in the oil.

Joe Gibbs Driven BR Break-In oils utilize the correct balance of anti-wear additives and detergents, so you don’t need to buy expensive additives to try to “fix” a low zinc (ZDDP) oil.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

ZDP (aka Zinc) and Moly (MoS2) are polar molecules, so they are attracted to carbon steel surfaces where they react with heat, to create a sacrificial additive coating. The protective coating prevents metal to metal contact, which reduces friction and wear. Moly can withstand pressure up to 500,000 psi.

Detergent additives are also polar, so they “compete” against the Zinc and Moly.

Key Protection For:
Cams, Lifters, Push Rods, Wrist Pins, Distributor Gears, Bearings, Etc…

chart_polarsurface

 

WHY IS ZINC IMPORTANT?

As Load Increases, Lubrication Moves From Full Film (Hydrodynamic) To Boundary Lubrication. Zinc Provides Boundary Lubrication.

chart_oilfilm

PROPER LUBRICATION

The Right Oil

  • Proper viscosity and additives for operating temperature, RPM and load
  • There is no “magic molecule” that prevents engine failures
  • No amount of Zinc can fix bad geometry – lifters must spin

In The Right Place

  • The best oil sitting in the oil pan doesn’t help your camshaft
  • Oiling system design is critical to proper lubrication
  • Look into EDM hole lifters, piston oilers, valve spring oilers

In The Right Time

  • On time delivery is critical
  • Cold starts and Dry starts account for majority of engine wear – Multigrade oils dramatically reduce cold start wear

In The Right Amount

  • Proper oil flow is critical at all times
  • Oil is the lifeblood of an engine

WHAT IS OIL?

A quart of oil contains 2 things:

 

Base Oil

Roughly 85% of what is in the bottle is base oil. Most base oils come from crude oil. There are 5 differentxp1_small classes of base oil based on purity and source material.

  • Crude
  • Distillation Gases
  • Vegetable oils and Animal fats

Additive Package

Roughly 15% of an oil is the additive package, but that 15% plays a
big role in performance.

  • Detergents
  • Anti-Wear (Zinc)
  • Friction Modifiers (Moly)
  • Viscosity Modifiers

 

WHERE DOES OIL COME FROM?

Crude oil is fractioned by distillation into different “cuts” of oil and fuels. Engine oils come from the middle part of the tower, and are then refined by various methods to become base oil. The fraction of oil that becomes engine oil contains 3 families of molecules – Paraffins, Naphthas, and Aromatics.

Paraffins: Good VI, preferred molecule
Naphthas: Low VI
Aromatics: Very Volatile

Base Oil Choiceschart_oilprocessing

  • Group I, II & III are mineral oils (Crude Oil)
  • Group IV – PAO Synthetic (Distillation Gases)
  • Group V is everything else   (Animal fats and Vegetable oils)

 

SYNTHETIC VS. MINERAL

The difference between synthetic and mineral oils are the structure of the molecules and the purity of the oil. Refined crude oil contains complex mixtures of different molecular structures and saturates (Nitrogen, Sulfur and Oxygen). There is no way to select only the best materials from this mixture. Thus mineral oils contain both the most suited materials and the least suited materials for an engine oil. Synthetic oils are man made, and have tailored molecular structures with predictable properties. Because of this, synthetics can have the best properties of a mineral oil without the un-desired materials. Synthetic oils have two unique advantages over mineral oils – lower traction coefficients and higher oxidation stability. This translates into improved energy efficiency – less friction –  and longer drain intervals.

chart_templimits

chart_synadvantage

APPLICATION SPECIFIC

Oil is Not One Size Fits All

To achieve maximum lubricant performance, an oil must be formulated to meet the specific need of the application.

The choice of oil for any application should be guided by the following operating conditions:

  • Speed
  • Load
  • Temperature
  • Service Interval
  • Equipment Design
  • Operating Environment

 

STREET OIL VS. RACING OIL

Modern Engine Set-Ups

  • Low RPM (Low Load – Less Need For Anti-Wear)
  • Overhead cams (No Flat Tappets or Push Rods – Less Need For Anti-Wear)
  • EGR Valves (More need for Detergents)
  • Extended Drain Intervals (increased detergents & acid neutralizers)
  • Modern engines built to use modern oils in order to achieve cleaner emissions

Race Engine Set-Ups

  • High RPM (High Load – More Need For Friction Modifiers)
  • Flat Tappet cams and Push-Rods – More Need For Anti-Wear
  • Short Drain Intervals and EGR valves – Needs Fewer Detergents

chart_racingvsstreet

 

ADDITIVE CLASH

Additive clash occurs when two different additive chemistries interact antagonistically resulting in dips in protection. The high levels of detergent in API oils can contribute to Additive Clash.

Typical Break-In Procedure:

chart_additiveclash

Three different lubricant chemistries working against each other.

Joe Gibbs Driven System Approach:

chart_jgdsystem

Matched lubricant chemistries working together to provide sustained protection.

Establishing an effective anti-wear / EP film in an engine is not unlike painting your car. Think of this system ofassembly grease followed by break-in oil and then synthetic oil like the primer, sealer and base color of automotive paint. It makes a difference when you apply the right products for the job in the correct order!

 

chart_system

WHAT IS VISCOSITY?chart_viscosityflow

 

  • Viscosity is a measure of flow. Oil viscosity is generally thought of in terms of SAE grades, like 15W-50.
  • An oil’s flow rate increases as temperature increases.
  • SAE grades are ranges, not an exact measurement of an oil’s flow rate.
  • The number before the W is measured at -22F. The Number after the W is measured at 212F.
  • Kinematic Viscosity measures the exact flow rate of an oil at both 100F and 212F degrees.

SAE GRADES

SAE grades are only measured at 212F. The number before the “W” in a 15W-50 or 0W-30 is a cold cranking index that is measured at -22F.

chart_saegrades

OIL CLEARANCES

Wider Bearing Clearances Require Higher Viscosity Oil To Maintain Hydrodynamic Oil Wedge

chart_clearances

OPERATING VISCOSITY

The “Operating” viscosity is the Centistoke flow rate of an oil at the operating oil temperature of an engine. Some engines run low oil temperatures, and other engines run extremely high temperatures. Low viscosity oils work well in low temp applications, and high viscosity oils work well in high temp applications. The SAE Grade viscosity of these oils are very different, but the operating flow rates are very similar.

chart_viscositytemp

VISCOSITY MODIFIERS

  • Polymer based oil additive – makes multi-grade oils possible
  • “Shrink” under shear forces
  • Shear forces in race engines are greater than in production engines
  • Prone to permanent shear loss under extreme pressures
  • Adds friction modifying and dispersant functions

chart_viscosityloss

chart_viscositymodifierschart_oilformulations

SHEAR EFFECT

Description Valvoline VR1
Racing Oil
Valvoline VR1
Racing Oil
SAE Grade 20W-50 20W-50
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 179.5
Viscosity @ 212F 20.4 13.2 -7.2
Viscosity @ 300F 7.8 5.1 -2.7
Viscosity Index 133
Description Mobil 1 15W50
Extended Performance
Mobil 1 15W50
Extended Performance
SAE Grade 15W-50 15W-50
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 127.5
Viscosity @ 212F 17.7 10.5 -7.2
Viscosity @ 300F 7.2 4.4 -2.8
Viscosity Index 15.4
Description Joe Gibbs XP6 Joe Gibbs XP6
SAE Grade 10W-30 10W-30
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 115.0
Viscosity @ 212F 16.4 12.1 -4.3
Viscosity @ 300F 6.4 4.7 -1.7
Viscosity Index 154
Description Joe Gibbs XP3 Joe Gibbs XP3
SAE Grade 10W-30 10W-30
No Shear With Shear Change
Viscosity @ 100F 73.8
Viscosity @ 212F 12.0 8.9 -3.0
Viscosity @ 300F 4.9 3.6 -1.3
Viscosity Index 158

DRAIN INTERVALS

Chemical Identity XP3 Drain, 500 laps, Darrell Lanigan XP1 Drain, #18 Car, Atlanta Xp1 Drain, #11 Car, Atlanta New XP1 New XP3
ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS
Aluminum % .0081 .0004 .0005
Chromium % .0020 .0004 .0005
Copper % .0020 .0018 .0025
Iron % .0079 .0007 .0006
Lead % .3064 .0812 .0847
Silicon % .0052 .0023 .0014
Titanium % .0232 .0001 .0001
KINEMATIC VISCOSITY
Viscosity @ 40C cSt 76.1 51.3 51.5 50.0 73.8
Viscosity @ 100C cSt 11.9 9.1 9.1 9.1 11.9
Viscosity Index 152 160 161 165 158
Remarks No Loss No Loss No Loss
GASOLINE FUEL DILUTION
Dilution %wt .46 .24 .26
FTIR, OXIDATION AND NITRATION RESULTS
Oxidation 2.47 0.09 0.19
Nitration 0.42 0.05 0.05
Remarks Little to none None None

OPERATING COSTS

By changing your filter every 100 laps and topping off the oil tank, you are able to increase the drain interval. As a result, the operating cost of oil goes down.

Initial Fill 100 Laps 200 Laps 300 Laps 400 Laps
Wix Filter 19.99 19.99 19.99 19.99 19.99
Valvoline VR1 (8 quarts) 39.92 39.92 39.92 39.92 39.92
XP6 (8 quarts) 115.92 14.49 14.49 14.49 14.49
Oil + Filter Total (500 laps)
Valvoline VR1 20W-50 59.91 59.91 59.91 59.91 59.91 $299.55
XP6 15W-50 135.91 34.48 34.48 34.48 34.48 $273.83
Savings $25.72

Valvoline VR1 20W-50 – $4.99/qt – Prices from Jegs.com 1/20/08 | XP6 $14.49/qt

BREAK-IN OIL

Save Cams, Save Time & Save Money!

  • Joe Gibbs Break-In oil has 2,800 ppm Zinc – Double the Zinc of Rotella!
  • No More Mixing – Joe Gibbs Break-In oil does not need any GM EOS!
  • 5 quarts of Break-In oil costs no more than Rotella plus GM EOS!
  • Less Detergent for Better Ring Seal!

 

HOT ROD OIL

Cost Effective Protection!

  • Joe Gibbs Hot Rod Oil Provides More Zinc Than API Oils
  • No More Mixing – Joe Gibbs Hot Rod Oil Requires No Additive
  • Unmatched Rust & Corrosion Protection
  • Excellent Cold Start Protection – Less engine wear
Charles

About Charles

Inventor and developer of IMS Retrofit and IMS Solution, Charles Navarro is an owner and CEO of LN Engineering – manufacturer of Nickies™ Performance Cylinders and Sleeves. he's also a co-owner of Bilt Racing Service.