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Tr7 engine oil preference

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AroostookTR7 Avatar
AroostookTR7 Keith Brown
Washburn, Maine, USA   USA
1980 Triumph TR7 Drophead "Geraldine"
I am interested in opinions regarding preferred brands or types of engine oil for a Tr7.

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Darth V8R Avatar
Darth V8R Vance Navarrette
Beaverton, Oregon, USA   USA
1980 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
In reply to # 1484659 by AroostookTR7 I am interested in opinions regarding preferred brands or types of engine oil for a Tr7.

Hoo-boy!

This will turn into another "Which way does the door pull mount on the door?" thread, amigo. Way to go, stirring the pot once again.

Oils have improved quite a bit since our cars were made. And the thinking on viscosity has evolved as well. Once upon a time, film strength was considered to be paramount in order to prevent wear. This meant higher viscosities with larger viscosity ranges over wide temperature ranges. So you had recommendations of 20W-50 or 10W-40 from the manufacturers,

Then it discovered that most wear occurs during startup, when the oil has not yet started to circulate. Additionally, to get wide viscosity ranges, a higher proportion of viscositizers had to be added, with degraded lubricity (i.e. increases friction and wear). So to improve mileage and reduce wear, narrower viscosity ranges and lower viscosities were recommended. This improves lubricity, reduces viscous drag, and allows the oil to circulate quickly on startup when wear is high. So now you get recommendations of 10W-30 or even 5W-30.

Complicating things is the reduction of ZDDP (a scuff inhibitor) in motor oils to extend the life of O2 sensors. This is possible because no one makes engines with flat tappet lifters anymore, they are all roller designs. So less scuffing resistance is needed for a modern motor, which does not help us Luddites who still run flat tappet motors.

OK, so what would *I* do? (Here is where the screaming and shouting begins - but remember, you asked for it!!) I run a more modern viscosity oil, 10W-30 to reduce startup wear and improve mileage. For a fresh motor I add break-in additive (i.e. ZDDP) from Comp Cams since modern oils do not have enough for break-in.

If you are in the camp that believes that there is not enough ZDDP in modern oils for even a motor that is broken in, you can add ZDDP at every oil change *or* use motor oil certified for diesel engines as it contains more ZDDP than gasoline engine motor oil. Diesels have much higher peak loads on the bearings than gasoline engines due to extreme compression and continuous operation under detonation conditions, so more ZDDP is needed to prevent scuffing.

Running a lower viscosity motor oil lowers the oil pressure, because it flows more easily. Not too worry as strictly speaking you want oil flow, not oil pressure. So accept the lower oil pressure as normal with the knowledge that wear has been reduced, not increased as you might fear. And remember that high oil pressure means wasted work, since it takes more work to pump that oil around. You free up a couple of horsepower (or kilowatts for those of you using that peculiar METRIC system).

If HP is a main concern, then full synthetics are the way to go, as they have better lubricity, film strength with wider operating temperatures and therefore free up even more horsepower. They are more expensive of course, but if you are racing or obsessed with getting that extra shot of power, well, they are the way to go.

OK, so what is your preference?

Vance



1980 Platinum Metallic TR8, navy blue interior
Bare metal respray, Crower cam, raised compression
ported heads, modified Zenith carbs, 0.060" overbore



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-09-13 10:45 AM by Darth V8R.

bowen6951 Avatar
bowen6951 Gold Member rob bowen
Fontana, California, USA   USA
Hi Keith,
I use Valvoline which I have for decades with good luck in both my Triumphs and in my '68 Charger (all flat tappet). My newer vehicles get synthetic again Valvoline. I favor 20-50 racing oil as it has a higher ZDDP level than other oils and change at 3000 miles. My 8 is just turning 5000 and debating whether to go to a synthetic oil in it. My older Harley leaked like a sieve on syn but was tight with regular oil. Like Vance said everyone has a different opinion, so find one you like and go with that. Thanks, Rob

P.S. I break in an engine with 30w non-detergent oil and everybody knows that is wrong, but it has worked well for me.

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AroostookTR7 Avatar
AroostookTR7 Keith Brown
Washburn, Maine, USA   USA
1980 Triumph TR7 Drophead "Geraldine"
Thank you for the feedback !
I will take your advise under consideration and post what I do.

Andrew1966 Andrew Ward
Abbotsford, BC, Canada   CAN
Is it true that adding ZZDP will cause damage to the catalytic coverters if you have them as I do.on my 1982 TR8

Darth V8R Avatar
Darth V8R Vance Navarrette
Beaverton, Oregon, USA   USA
1980 Triumph TR8 "Wedgie"
In reply to # 1485230 by Andrew1966 Is it true that adding ZZDP will cause damage to the catalytic coverters if you have them as I do.on my 1982 TR8

Andrew:

That and the slow death of O2 sensors due to contamination have been the reasons given for the industry wide change in ZDDP levels. I think it may have been mandated by federal regulations initially.

Way prior to the reduction, federal law required a warranty of 50,000 miles on all emissions controls, so the risk imposed by ZDDP was probably VERY low. I would think that if your car starts burning oil, that would be the real killer and not the ZDDP in the oil. But that is me.

I get tested every two years for emissions, and I ran extra ZDDP in my oil for quite a while to insure a trouble free break in. I pass with flying colors (like a fiftieth of the limit) so it isn't like ZDDP is the emissions equivalent of cyanide.

CATs are cheap and easy to replace, trashed lifters and cam lobes not so much. I would rather risk my CAT blowing chunks than my motor.

Vance



1980 Platinum Metallic TR8, navy blue interior
Bare metal respray, Crower cam, raised compression
ported heads, modified Zenith carbs, 0.060" overbore

Andrew1966 Andrew Ward
Abbotsford, BC, Canada   CAN
Thanks I will probably add ZDDP next oil change. Dont care about the CATS as there in no emissions testing in Canads anymore and if and when my front pipes need replacing my new stain less pipes dont have CATS anyway
I would however drill holes for my oxygen sensors so my ECU knows whats going on

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