OIL IS KILLING OUR CARS!!!!!
By: Keith Ansell, Foreign Parts Positively, Inc.
About a year ago I read about the reduction of zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in the oils supplied with API approval that could affect sliding and high pressure (EP) friction in our cars. The reduction of these chemicals in supplied oils was based on the fact that phosphates reduce the effectiveness and eventually damage catalytic converters and introduce minute amounts of pollutants into our atmosphere.
A couple of months ago I had a member of the Columbia Gorge MG Club bring a totally failed camshaft and lifters back to me that had only 900 miles on them!! I immediately contacted the camshaft re-grinder (Delta Cam) and asked how this could happen. They were well aware of this problem as they were starting to have many failures of this type. In the past, the lack of a molybdenum disulfide camshaft assembly lubricant, at assembly, was about the only thing that could create this type of problem. My customer has assembled many engines and had lubricated the camshaft properly. Then the bad news came out: It’s today’s “modern” API (American Petroleum Industry) approved oils that are killing our engines: Meaning all flat tappet (cam follower) equipped engines, as used in all BMC products, all British Leyland products, most pushrod engines prior to 1980, early Volvos, American high-performance engines and many others.
Article from the March 1971 issue of Car & Driver Magazine remembering the TR3. The article was titled: “The Unlikely Tractor” with the sub-title “Out of desperation Triumph mated an unimaginative British Saloon with, of all things, a tractor engine and the resultant issue went on to become one of the world’s most popular sports cars.”
It was an evil sounding, raucous little bastard that would lure you into a corner all cozily understeering the way you’d expect from a car with 2-liters worth of good stout cast iron way up front, then throw up its hands and bumble off backward.
There was nothing delicate about it, either. None of your clipping daisies with a knockoff. You drove it like a USAC Sprinter, all elbows and shoulders, and when the weird harmonics set in at 3700 revs and it gave off that hairy chested bellow, it sounded ready to take on any Super Car in town. All 100 advertised horse-power of it.
Strangest of all, it never quit running. Somehow, electronics not withstanding, the flat top pistons kept popping up and down and the valves kept clattering away mile after mile after mile.