Home Forums MGTD Kit Cars VW Based Kits oil?

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    edward ericson


    I’m posting this separate from Paul’s “engine trouble” saga but I wonder if it is related. Just reading up on the buzz regarding motor oil reformulations over the past 4-5 years and the different needs to “flat tappet” (aka solid lifter) engines such as ours, as well as air-cooled motors generally. Allegedly we want more ZDDP in our oil than MFGs are putting in there now. ZDDP, supposedly, is some kind of zinc-and-phosphorus compound that promotes a better oil “film” on high-wear parts. Supposedly it also kills catalytic converters on cars that burn a lot of oil, so it’s out.

    Maybe this is all old hat to y’all, but I figured I ask, since I just did my first oil change last month with a synthetic 10-30 (?) and thought I was doing good. If I was doing bad, someone let me know. Oil changes are easy; new engines are hard!

    Here’s a link I saw cited somewhere (maybe the Speedster Group). looks all sciency & stuff:


    Scott A Chynoweth


    ed just read your post.My brother has a 67 firebird and he runs rottela for diesel engines due to the non exsistance of the zinc additive.Not sure how long the zinc will be in diesel oils as I know they have been reformulating them with less zinc.

    On a side note however the cam is bathed in oil at  the bottom of the crankcase on a vw.So my thinking is the cam is never dry like it would be in a typical engine.

    edward ericson


    That could be good news. I’m hoping the spring pressures and tolerances inside my stock 1300 case are not as tight as in a well breathed-on ’67 Firebird. Still. We hot heat and flat tappets. I might look into a case of that Royal Purple. At 2.5 quarts a year that should last me till . . . what? 2015?

    Dale Schumacher



    I use Amsoil 20-50 full syn w/ high zinc formula – I buy it by the case.

    I do think that the full syn oil does cause our engines to drip a bit more.

    Brad Penn has a high zinc formula as does the Rottela brand.

    Most were designed for diesel engines in 20-50 weight, but work well for

    our engines. I think that 10-30 is too light and will cause you problems in

    the long run – you do need a high zinc oil for these engines.


    edward ericson


    Thanks, Dale. I’ll switch to a heavier stuff. 

    Mark Hendrickson


    Amsoil also makes a 20w-50 air cooled motorcycle oil that works great. Mobil 1 used to make a similar “V-twin” oil of the same weight that is now marketed via Harley dealers for a million $ a qt.

    The zinc packaged are still in Valvoline racing oils as well as a few others. ELF and Brad Penn (used to be Kendall GT).

    I personally use 20w-50 Royal Purple with the “SL” designation.

    These VW motors have the cams as the lowest point of the motor. They almost ride in oil. They do not suffer as much as the American V8’s and V6’s with flat tappet cams from the lack the ZDDp “Scuff Packages”. No problem with roller cams.

    Oil that is currently “SM” designation will soon have even less lubrication properties when the EPA mandates the new “SN” designation that eliminates the viscosity stabilizers and your oil turns to water in 2,500 miles.

    In the meatime, a good local performance shop is where I get my Royal Purple for $7.00 a quart…cheaper than Wal-Mart!

    Rotella no longer has the Zinc package…only oils marked “for off road use only” have scuff packages. Most of the Vintage race car crowd uses Brad Penn (Bradford, Pennsylvania), formerly Kendall GT.

    Pink MG40330.6017013889

    Paul Mossberg


    I use 20-50 weight oil.

    And add ZDDP from Eastwood:


    Paul Mossberg
    Former Owner of a 1981 Classic Roadsters Ltd. Duchess (VW)
    2005 Intermeccanica Roadster

    If you own a TDr and are not in the Registry, please go to https://tdreplica.com/forums/topic/mg-td-replica-registry/ and register (you need to copy and paste the link)

    edward ericson


    Endorsed by “Big Daddy;” that’s good enough for me!

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