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Zetec engine: oil weight question


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Those who attended the NJMP event last weekend know that I was able to measure my Zetec's oil level by looking at the amount of oil deposited on my pant legs and pedal box(:. Fortunately, it got better as the event went on, but never fuly resolved. I finally concluded that it was getting blown out of the breather vent above the pedal box and leaking down.

 

Anyhow, I am exploring various possible causes (aside from my overly pressurized Accusump, which I finally turned off), including that the 20w50 Redline oil may be too thick to flow freely at 6000-7000 rpms. And so it is getting forced out though the breather? BTW, my pressure was low 40's to mid 50's, after running 60's and 70's the first few laps.

 

So what weight oil are people with Zetecs running for sustained track use?

 

Norm said he runs a 10W30. Redline seems to recommend a 10W40, 1TurboFocus (A Zetec guru) runs Mobile One 20W50.My SVT Zetec was just rebuilt by 1TurboFocus and I changed out the break-in oil after 500 easy miles, just before the NJMP event, using the afore-mentioned 20W50.

 

Anyhow, my plan is to switch to 10W40, depending on what the experience of others is/was. I think the new Duratecs are built to closer tolerances than the Zetec so may run much lighter weight oil?

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Those who attended the NJMP event last weekend know that I was able to measure my Zetec's oil level by looking at the amount of oil deposited on my pant legs and pedal box(:. Fortunately, it got better as the event went on, but never fuly resolved. I finally concluded that it was getting blown out of the breather vent above the pedal box and leaking down.

 

Anyhow, I am exploring various possible causes (aside from my overly pressurized Accusump, which I finally turned off), including that the 20w50 Redline oil may be too thick to flow freely at 6000-7000 rpms. And so it is getting forced out though the breather? BTW, my pressure was low 40's to mid 50's, after running 60's and 70's the first few laps.

 

So what weight oil are people with Zetecs running for sustained track use?

 

Norm said he runs a 10W30. Redline seems to recommend a 10W40, 1TurboFocus (A Zetec guru) runs Mobile One 20W50.My SVT Zetec was just rebuilt by 1TurboFocus and I changed out the break-in oil after 500 easy miles, just before the NJMP event, using the afore-mentioned 20W50.

 

Anyhow, my plan is to switch to 10W40, depending on what the experience of others is/was. I think the new Duratecs are built to closer tolerances than the Zetec so may run much lighter weight oil?

 

Can't help you with sustained track use advice, but you have a similar Zetec setup and I use 5-30 Mobil1 for the street. My pressure however is typically much lower as well I'll maybe see 20 throughout regular operation. Maybe higher during WOT but thats rare during regular operation.

 

IMO First number is really "dealers choice" as 32 degree viscosity doesn't really matter for a track car, especially with accusump operating. So choices are really 30/40 or 50 so second number.

Edited by Vovchandr
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I finally concluded that it was getting blown out of the breather vent above the pedal box and leaking down.

 

Yes that would be right. My silver CSR had those symptoms for the first two times on track then I put a proper catch tank in. Even if you plan to fix the problem with oil weight then I would still have a catch tank to catch what (ultimately) little is blown.

 

While its not a zetec but it will provide a point of comparison - my 2.3L Duratec runs Castrol semi-synth 5W50 as recommended by Cosworth. On track I can blow out up to 1/4-1/3 quart a session....which I top up...and by the end of the day have effectively done a partial engine oil change.

 

In my former maroon zetec which was a fairly standard spec build, I was running 10W40 both for road and track.

Edited by Croc
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Ferdl:

 

What spec(size/mfg) oil cooler? In front or behind the radiator? As you note, we have same engine and Accusump. But I am getting much lower oil pressures than you, once warmed up.

 

My oil temps are typically 230-240, but pressure is 40-53 w/15W50. Yesterday I switched to 10W30 and my oil breather stopped spewing oil. Temps were the same, pressure dropped to 42-48 range at high RPM's. That was with aggressive street driving, not flat-out track driving. Only run your pressure level when engine is warming up.

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Hi Kitcat,

For what it's worth, my engine builder Paul Hasselgren tells us to run Mobil 1 15w-50 in both our Atlantic and Caterham Duratec's.

We have a dry sump and catch tank.

 

Best,

 

John

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Ferdl:

 

What spec(size/mfg) oil cooler? In front or behind the radiator? As you note, we have same engine and Accusump. But I am getting much lower oil pressures than you, once warmed up.

 

My oil temps are typically 230-240, but pressure is 40-53 w/15W50. Yesterday I switched to 10W30 and my oil breather stopped spewing oil. Temps were the same, pressure dropped to 42-48 range at high RPM's. That was with aggressive street driving, not flat-out track driving. Only run your pressure level when engine is warming up.

 

The oil cooler is the same as used on the Superformance S1 (10 row). It is mounted several inches behind the radiator but gets fresh air from an air scoop underneath the nose. My higher oil pressure may has to do with not having piston oil squirters in my engine block. My oil pressure switch is set to 30psi and only comes on when the gauge is below that - so the gauge seems to be accurate. What about yours?

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Thx Ferdl. My Accusump kicks on when oil pressure drops below 30. I tried using a 50 psi valve and since pressure was frequently below 50, all that did was flood the engine with oil, which then poured out of the breather vent all over everything.

 

I am starting to believe 42-49 (my on-track operating range) is sufficient. I replaced the oil pump when I had the engine rebuilt earlier this year (due to oil pressure of 42-49). But the rebuild changed nothing, except I lost abt 10% power and spent a considerable sum of $.

 

I will add an oil cooler. My X-flow had one mounted low on the front of the radiator but there was more room in front of its radiator than in the Zetec. So I will likely mount like yours, a coupla inches behind the radiator.

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My electrical valve for the Accusump is simply wired parallel to the fuel pump and so stays always open while engine is running. In case it is half discharged the oil dip stick shows „full“.

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My Accusump has an off/on switch. So when the 2 qt Accusump tank is full, I can shut it off and the oil stays put. If I switch it on, the psi valve releases the extra oil when psi is below 30 (like on start up or extreme cornering) until psi increases, at wh/point the oil is returned to the Accusump tank. Better to just have a dry sump, but $$$.).

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I run DT 40, which is a 5w 40 synthetic. I have a catch can and the Birkin wet sump. Oil pressure runs over 60 psi on track. I have redline set at 7500 rpm and the shift light comes on at 7250. I don't collect much in the catch can on a track day.

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You may find the attached copy of Ford recommendations interesting. In September of 2009, I had one guy too many tell me that Ford has such tight tolerances that SAE 5W-20 was the only oil that works.

 

So, I contacted the biggest Ford dealer in England, and asked what viscosity is required to support the warranty in the 2.3 Duratec Focus. He told me 0W-40. I asked about 5W-20, and after a long pause he said with his British accent, “But sir, 5W-20 is not available.” Then he told me who to contact to get the attached recommendations.

 

Although the 2.3 Duratec had been in Europe for a couple of years, it was new in the U.S. I called my local Ford dealer and asked what viscosity grade is recommended. They had not yet received a Focus with the 2.3, so he had to look it up and call me back. When he did, he verified SAE 5W-20.

 

My contention is that thin oils have a lot more to do with fuel economy than wear.

Engine Oil Scan.PDF

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Thx Blaine. I suspect your mpg theory is correct, tho thin oils also add a bit of hp. In the super competitive C stock Auto-X category, where I ran my Miata 25 years ago, thin oil AND low oil were hp tricks as each added a few ponies. With all else being equal, that was deemed to be an advantage (Not for me, I was too slow to be helped....). What do you run in your 2.0 Duratec Birkin?

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i have used 15W-40, but I have 10W-30 in it now. If I were going to use it on the track, I would probably use 20W-50. Not all engines response to thinner oils with more power. In those engines, I think a better ring seal produces enough more power to overcome the additional drag. I know it sounds like heresy, but I have seen some engines make more power on mineral oil, which wets out the metal a little better than synthetics. But those are extreme engines.

Honda is experimenting with 0W-12 and 0W-8 grades in their quest for better fuel economy.

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Thx Blaine. I suspect your mpg theory is correct, tho thin oils also add a bit of hp.

 

Mike, as fate would have it, a stock car racer pointed me to this dyno testing.

https://crateinsider.com/oil-testing-data-by-hendren-racing-engines/

 

What stuck out for me was the oil generating the highest torque and hp numbers was the thickest of those tested (loaded test?). They compared an SAE 10W-40 with SAE 0W-20s and 10W-30s. A stock car crate engine may have no relevance here, but it does support my claim that there is more to it than reducing viscous drag.

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That is interesting and seems counter to conventional wisdom. Although my highly stressed, 4.0 BMW V8 used 10 quarts of 10w60. Maybe they knew something? The hp differences here are pretty minuscule, tho every pony counts.

 

Perhaps the difference in the test is in the additives put in by the oil mfg, not the weight? Best test wld have been different weights from same mfg. My mechanic swears by Schaeffer oil, which rated 2nd best in the test, next to the Klotz (wh/I have never heard of). I would have loved to have seen Redline oil tested. This seems like a great topic for Grassroots Motorsports Magazine to explore.

Edited by Kitcat
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Per a thread on a Camaro forum, Chevrolet recommends 15w50 for track use of ZL1 Camaros because the thicker oil doesn't slosh around as easily and the engine will, therefore, be less likely to experience oil starvation in high-G track sections. I hadn't thought of that issue. They recommend changing back to 0w40 for road use after every track event (right:)).

Edited by Kitcat
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Kitcat - since you are so focused on lubricants right now, have you ever tried the 'Passion' brand?

 

 

http://www.usa7s.net/vb/attachment.php?attachmentid=15685&stc=1

 

Amazon has a 55 gallon drum on sale at $2170. Gets great reviews (I just finished crying with laughter).

https://www.amazon.com/Passion-Lubes-Natural-Water-Based-Lubricant/dp/B005MR3IVO?th=1

 

Probably useless in a Zetec but certainly would improve the speed of the driver.

71YpZJG9l3L._SY679_.jpg

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