RWD - ZDDP Oil Additive

Volvo RWD 444-544 Forum

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ZDDP Oil Additive 444-544

I've had my Volvo my whole life, and I've run many miles using whatever modern oils happened to be on the shelf at Autozone, with no additives and with only a very minor amount of valve train wear. I built an engine in the 90s, well after SF oil vanished, and put a six-digit number of miles on it. I'm pleased to say, the engine did not die from cam failure. The cam outlasted the engine I put it in, and was still perfectly usable on tear-down. Lifters looked fine. There was wear, don't get me wrong. It's hard to say if the wear might have been less if I had been using the "appropriate" oil, but let's just say it was NOT an unreasonable amount of wear and the system ran long and well.

Now. To understand that statement you should understand the conditions:

Factors reducing cam wear: I'm a sedate street driver who likes to rev low; I've got an overdrive so I don't leave it revved way up for hours on road trips; I change my oil long before it turns dark; I like to use full-synthetic oil which is quite slippery by non-ZDDP standards; I live in a moderate climate; I did a proper break-in on the cam, and used new lifters and all that good stuff.

Factors increasing cam wear: It was an Isky high-lift short-duration cam, running double springs and solid lifters. I never once used ZDDP, was always completely ignorant of this "important" issue, and never once gave any thought to this issue or how to prevent it. Full synthetic was used often but not always.

I think, given what I've experienced, I'm going to have to side with the "if you're not racing you should just use decent lubricants and not worry overmuch" crowd. The basic rule of camshafts is "don't screw up." That's all. Don't re-use lifters, don't ignore the break-in on a new one, don't go a zillion miles between oil changes, that sort of thing. And if you're revving it high and long, you might consider worrying about that.

Just my two cents. Plenty of people disagree, legitimately. A major engine rebuilders' association has put out a paper on this issue, so it quite clearly is costing some people their camshafts, but my cam is living proof that a lack of ZDDP is not a death sentence for a normal street-driven car. Look at your driving, decide whether you fit into the group that must take these kinds of precautions, and then choose freely.


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New ZDDP Oil Additive [444-544]
posted by  59445  on Thu Dec 22 08:01 CST 2011 >

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