Why Zinc-Based Oil is a Must…

Why Zinc-Based Oil is a Must When Changing Flat Tappet CAM and/or Flat Tappet Lifters in Your V8 Engine

Upgrading the camshaft (CAM) or lifters in a V8 engine can boost its power, but it’s crucial to consider proper lubrication during this process. This post explains why zinc-based oil additives are vital when making these changes.

Understanding flat tappet CAM and/or flat tappet Lifters Replacement

The camshaft controls valves, and lifters ensure their smooth movement. Changing them needs care and precision. Unlike roller lifters, flat tappet lifters mate and wear to a CAM’s specific lobe pattern.

The Role of Zinc-Based Oil Additives

Zinc and phosphate additives, like zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP), are essential for classic or high-performance engines like V8s because:

1. Reduce Friction: When you replace CAM or lifters, there’s more friction. Zinc additives create a protective layer on metal surfaces, reducing wear.

2. High Pressure Protection: Zinc additives prevent metal-to-metal contact, which is vital in high-pressure valve systems.

3. Break-In Help: New CAMs and lifters need time to fit perfectly. Zinc additives help them settle without premature wear.

4. Handle Heat: V8 engines get hot. Zinc additives prevent oil breakdown under high temperatures, maintaining good lubrication.

Consequences Without Zinc-Based Additives

If you skip zinc-based additives:

1. More Wear: New parts could wear out faster due to friction during the settling phase.

2. Lower Performance: Proper valve function is crucial for V8 performance. Inadequate lubrication could lead to reduced power.

3. Risk of Overheating: Zinc additives also cool the engine by reducing friction-generated heat. Without them, overheating becomes a risk.

4. Long-Term Harm: Over time, using oil without zinc additives could permanently damage CAM, lifters, and other engine parts, needing costly repairs.

We recommend a review of Comp Cams break in process here: https://youtu.be/re-VqHO3cH8

When upgrading CAM or flat tappet lifters in your engine, don’t forget zinc-based oil. It’s the key to a longer-lasting, efficient, and high-performing engine. Make sure your engine gets the care it deserves by using the right oil with zinc additives.

Dave working on the Baldwin Motion Corvette engine.

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