Brad Penn Racing Oil's full...
Brad Penn Racing Oil's full line of motorsports lubricants are refined from 100 percent Pennsylavnia crude oil. Courtesy of Brad Penn
Regardless of the type of oil you choose to run, Speed and Glady agree that you should remain consistent with your brand choice. "The worst thing you can do to your motor is change your brand of oil regularly," says Speed.
"You shouldn't mix oil brands because each brand is typically formulated with a select balance of additive systems that are unique," adds Glady.
Different oils and lubricants have different additives that can, at the very least, compete with one another and in the worst case scenario cancel each other out. Remember when you drain the oil from your engine the internal components that were exposed to the additive package still have those additives on their surfaces.
Speed says, "Be consistent with a good quality brand, and change the filter regularly."
In addition to buying a race specific oil, you can also use a conventional oil and then buy a zinc additive to put into the oil, thereby boosting the zinc levels to the necessary 1,500 ppm that Glady spoke of. Richard Iskendarian of Isky Racing Cams says, "As far as oils go, we highly recommend the Brad Penn Racing Oil and Joe Gibbs Racing Oil. However, if customers prefer to use other oils without a high zinc content, we recommend a product called ZDDP Plus which replaces the EOS that GM discontinued about the middle of last year. The ZDDP Plus will take a sub-par oil and boost the zinc levels considerably. However, you should not add the ZDDP Plus to Brad Penn or Joe Gibbs as these already have generous amounts of zinc already." That would upset the balance Glady spoke of.
Pro Plasma Nitriding from...
Pro Plasma Nitriding from Comp Cams provides an additional layer of protection to flat-tappet cams. Courtesy of Comp Cams
Comp Cams just introduced a new surface treatment available on all their products, Pro Plasma Nitriding. The process treats a narrow band of 1.5 to 2 thousanths deep on the surface, thereby increasing its hardness by about 15 pts on the Rockwell scale. In a nutshell, it eliminates any type of break-in problems.
The origin of Pro Plasma Nitriding is interesting to say the least. "Years ago we'd sell a lot of the 2300 Pinto cams," says Scooter Brothers. "Everybody here used to laugh about them and call them boomerang cams because they always came back with flattened lobes. Then somebody got this wild hair to try nitriding them. So we sent them to a place in Michigan. Once we started nitriding them, all of a sudden we didn't have any more problems."
With the rise of the sport compact movement, the Pinto cams and similar designs found a new home, and with the increased business the guys at Comp decided to buy their own machine and Pro Plasma Nitriding was born. "It's the closest thing that I've ever seen that enables me to say it absolutely stops the problem. I hate to say 100 percent assurance that it won't go flat, but knock on wood I haven't seen any probelms."
Synthetic oils are all the rage, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are good for racing applications. "The lubricity of synthetics is too much for a break in process," says Dick Glady, who recommends a break-in specific oil when firing up that new engine for the first time. And while they have their place in the industry, you don't need to run a full synthetic in your race motor. In fact, Brad Penn's synthetic blend oils have only 10 percent synthetic base stock. They've found that percentage is optimum in delivering better oxidation stability on the top end.
At the end of the day, if you're running a flat-tappet cam motor (and there are a lot of you out there) you owe it to your racing program to choose the right oil for your application. If you're building a motor, you need to use a good racing assembly lubricant, the proper break in oil and finally a good racing oil, like one of the brands mentioned here. Don't hesitate to contact the manufacturer of the oil or the cam as they will be more than happy to answer any of your questions. Remember using the proper oil may be the easiest thing you can do to prevent an unwanted cam failure.