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 Image EPA confirms ethanol causes damage !

The American Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that overheating and component failures can be caused by ethanol in fuel. A media release from the American Motorcyclist Association says that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has publicly acknowledged that ethanol in gasoline can damage internal combustion engines by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures.   The EPA statements are found in a rule proposal issued by the Federal Trade Commission regarding a new label for pumps that supply fuel blends high in ethanol.According to the EPA: “Ethanol impacts motor vehicles in two primary ways. First … ethanol leans out the [air/fuel] ratio (increases the proportion of oxygen relative to hydrocarbons) which can lead to increased exhaust gas temperatures, increased piston crown temperatures  and potentially increase incremental deterioration of emission control hardware and performance over time, possibly causing catalyst failure.“Second, ethanol can cause materials compatibility issues, which may lead to other component failures.” The EPA statements back the long-held position of the American Motorcycle Association, which has fought the distribution of E15 fuel blends in an effort to protect motorcycle and all-terrain vehicles from the damage that ethanol causes. “Now the EPA acknowledges that ethanol itself is harmful to emissions hardware and other components on all motor vehicles,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “It is time for the federal government to pause, take a hard look at this product and change its entire approach to ethanol in fuels.” E15 is a formulation that contains up to 15 per cent ethanol by volume. The EPA has proposed rule to roll back the requirement for wider distribution and use of E15 under its Renewable Fuel Standard. In Australia, the most common fuel blend that is sold in Australia is E10 – 10 per cent ethanol blended with 90 per cent petrol. E85 blended fuel with 85% ethanol is also slowly being adopted.  Within the EU, the use of ethanol in fuel is strictly restricted to E5, being just 5%.


The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries provides the following information which outlines the key reasons why vehicle manufacturers do not recommend the use of any ethanol/petrol blended fuels in vehicles made before 1986. Ethanol has a number of important chemical and physical properties that need to be considered in a vehicle’s design.

Carburettor Equipped Engines: Vehicles made before 1986 vehicles were predominantly equipped with carburettors and steel fuel tanks. The use of ethanol blended petrol in engines impacts the air/fuel ratio because of the additional oxygen molecules within the ethanol’s chemical structure. Vehicles with carburettor fuel systems may experience hot fuel handling concerns. This is because the vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol will be greater and probability of vapour lock or hot re-starting problems will be increased. As a solvent, ethanol attacks both the metallic and rubber based fuels lines, and other fuel system components. Ethanol also has an affinity to water that can result in corrosion of fuel tanks and fuel lines. Rust resulting from this corrosion can ultimately block the fuel supply rendering the engine inoperable. Water in the fuel system can also result in the engine hesitating and running roughly.

Fuel Injected Engines: In addition to the issues mentioned above for carburettor equipped engines, the use of ethanol blended petrol in fuel injection systems will result in early deterioration of components such as injector seals, delivery pipes, and fuel pump and regulator.Mechanical fuel injection systems and earlier electronic systems may not be able to fully compensate for the lean-out effect of ethanol blended petrol, resulting in hesitation or flat-spots during acceleration.Difficulty in starting and engine hesitation after cold start can also result.

Exhaust And Evaporative Emission Levels: Lean-out resulting from the oxygenating effect of ethanol in the fuel may affect exhaust emissions. Of more concern is that fuel containing ethanol can increase permeation emissions from fuel system components, particularly those that have aged for nearly 20 years. Therefore the increased vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol will lead to increased evaporative emissions.


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    New” Oils and “Old” Cars Don’t Mix

By Mark D. Sarine

Have you heard about the “zinc” problem with modern motor oils? Many classic car owners and racers have experienced camshaft failures due to modern motor oils. Even worse, be prepared for the “zinc” to change in motor oils again later this Fall.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of having your camshaft go flat due to modern motor oils, consider yourself very fortunate. As an owner of an engine parts warehouse, I’ve seen hundreds of perfectly good camshafts ruined by modern motor oils. So when I read about the “new” API SN motor oil coming out this Fall, I started talking to the engine builders we supply parts. The engine builders all said the same thing – car owners don’t much know about these modern motor oils and the problems these oils create in classic cars and race cars. Knowing about the Cruise News, I contacted Mike to see if he could help us spread the word – modern motor oils are not good for your classic hot rods and race cars.

Here’s the facts:

“Zinc” or ZDDP as it is commonly referred to in motor oils is a type of chemical called Zinc DialkylDithioPhosphate, and “Zinc” has been the most common anti-wear additive used in motor oils for the last 60 years. I just call it “Zinc” because it is easier to say and spell.

“Zinc” is a remarkable chemical that protects engine parts from metal to metal contact under heavy loads.

“Zinc” works by creating a film on the iron and steel parts in your engine. Unfortunately, “Zinc” also creates a film inside modern Three Way Catalytic converters. This “Zinc Poisoning” limits Three Way Catalytic converter life to around 70,000 miles.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that car manufacturers warranty Three Way Catalytic converters on new cars built since 2004 for 120,000 miles.  To achieve this goal, the car manufacturers worked with the American Petroleum Institute (API) to create new, lower “Zinc” oils that allow Three Way Catalytic converters to live for 120,000 miles.

These new “Lower Emissions” oils have extended catalytic converter life, but they have shortened the life of flat-tappet camshafts.

Not long after these modern motor oils with less “Zinc” hit the market, we started to notice an increase in flat-tappet camshaft failures. At first, it was the race engine builders, so we shrugged it off as some new “trick” the race guys were doing that caused the problem. Then we started to see stock flat tappet camshafts going flat.

Things got ugly really fast. Every camshaft company started researching the problem. So did the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association. Everybody wanted to know, why are cams going flat?

The answer was “Zinc”.

Lower “Zinc” oils work just fine in modern production car engines with overhead cams, and roller lifters. These modern engines don’t rev past 5,000 RPM.

Most hot rod and race motors have push rods, flat tappet lifters and rev beyond 5,000 RPM. These engines need motor with more “Zinc”.

The good news is that “High Zinc” oils are available.

If you have a classic car or race car, I highly recommend using the Joe Gibbs (or Penrite) brand oils.

We have seen a dramatic reduction in camshaft problems when our engine builders started using the Joe Gibbs brand oils. Since Joe Gibbs Racing is a NASCAR team, they are on top of all the latest advancements in technology, and they have developed oils that work. I’ve seen used parts from Joe Gibbs Racing engines that look brand new (even with over 600 miles on them).

If you’ve not had any problems so far, consider yourself very lucky. Switching to a “High Zinc” oil before the new API SN oils hit the shelves is like an insurance policy against having problems.

We like selling engine parts, but I hate seeing good parts go bad – Especially when they don’t have to.

by Mark D. Sarine


  ETHANOL BLENDED FUEL.(Thanks to Classic M/cycle Club of S.Aust)

What is Ethanol? Well in simple terms it is alcohol distilled from waste green vegetation, like sugar cane. Australia accepted this as a boost to the cane industry as well greening our fuel.

There has been much talk about Ethanol and it’s effects when added to our petrol

but no one wants to make an official statement, in fact no statements of any kind have been made officially that answer our questions, or in essence to help to solve the new batch of problems that have arisen from tampering with our petrol. You be the judge.

The oil refineries now only make unleaded petrol, so additives, like ethanol are added to boost octane ratings up from what is really the old standard petrol. Ethanol is not the only additive used for this purpose, just the cheapest, and the most common. Australia had a limit set at 10 % (E10) but many samples show near 20% is being used, with this being planned as a new standard.

Some of the problems we have heard about are listed below.

• Hard starting in damp weather.

• Water in fuel. Blocking filters.

• Poor economy in normal everyday use.

• Dissolves tank sealant.

• Plays hell with fibre glass tanks. Disolves them and the mess causes engine siezure.

• Corrodes metal fuel tanks causing petrol leaks

• If sitting for a couple of months, corrodes most metals.

• corrodes inside the fuel jets causing lean mixture, and blockages.

• Rots fuel lines and tap seals, fire danger in the shed.

• Has a short tank life of about a month, and unstable octane rating.
•Swells rubbers in petrol taps and eventually stops petrol flow
By Mark D. Sarine.


This is a long article but it is well worth reading. The implications are worrying.
OIL IS KILLING OUR CARS & M/Cycles!        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, including Motor Cycles.
Next call: To a major camshaft supplier, both stock and performance (Crane). They now have an additive for whatever oil you are using during break-in(running in ) so that the camshaft and lifters won’t fail in an unreasonably short period of time. They also suggest using a diesel rated oil on flat tappet engines.
Next call: To a racing oil manufacturer that we use for the race cars (Red Line Oil). Their response: “We are well aware of the problem and we still use the correct amounts of those additives in our products”. They continued to tell me they are not producing API approved oils so they don’t have to test and comply. Their oils were NOT the “new, improved and approved” ones that destroy flat tappet engines! “We just build the best lubricants possible”. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it, New-Approved but inferior products, but it seems to be true for our cars.
To top this off: Our representative from a major supplier of performance and street engine parts (EPWI) stopped by to “warn us” of the problem of the NEW oils on flat tappet engines. This was a call that the representative was making only because of this problem to warn their engine builders!
“The reduction of the zinc, manganese and phosphates are causing very early destruction of cams and followers”. They are recommending that, for now at least, there must be a proper oil additive put in the first oil used on new engines, beyond the liberal use of molydisulfide assembly lube(Molybond).
They have been told that the first oil needs the additive but remain skeptical that the first oil is all that is necessary. Their suggestion is: Use diesel rated oils such as Delo or Rotella that are usually available at auto stores and gas stations.
This problem is BIG! American Engine Rebuilder’s Association (AERA) Bulletin #TB2333 directly addresses this problem. I had a short discussion with their engineer and he agreed with all that I had been finding.
Next phone call was to a retired engineer from Clevite, a major bearing and component manufacturer. First surprise was that he restored older British Motor bikes. The second surprise was that he was “VERY” aware of this problem because many of the old bikes had rectangular tappets that couldn’t rotate and are having a very large problem with the new oils. He has written an article for the British Bike community that verify all the “bad news” we have been finding.( I am looking for that article…Bob C.)
Comp Cams put out “#225 Tech Bulletin: Flat Tappet Camshafts”. They have both an assembly lube and an oil additive. The telling sentence in the bulletin was “While this additive was originally developed specifically for break-in protection, subsequent testing has proven the durability benefits of its long term use. This special blend of additives promotes proper break-in and protects against premature cam and lifter failure by replacing some of the beneficial ingredients that the oil companies have been required to remove from the “off-the–shelf oil”.
Next question: Now what do we do? From the camshaft re-grinders (DeltaCam) “Use oils rated for diesel use”, Delo (Standard Oil product) was named. About the same price as other quality petroleum based oils. They have the ZDDP we need in weights we are familiar with.
From one camshaft manufacturer (Crane): “use our additive” for the first 500 miles.
From General Motors (Chevrolet): add EOS, their oil fortifier, to your oil, it’s only an 8-ounce can (This problem seems to be something GM has known about for some time!). The additive says for break-in only, some dealers add it to every oil change.
From Redline Oil: Use our street formulated synthetics. They have what we need! Early in 2007 they will be supplying a “break-in oil” specifically for our cars.
From Castrol: We are beginning to see a pattern emerging on older cars. It may be advantageous to use a non-approved lubricant, such as oils that are Diesel rated, 4 Cycle Motorcycle oils and other specified diesel oils. They will be supplying “new oils” specifically for our cars in early 2007.
For you science buffs: ZDDP is a single polar molecule that is attracted to Iron based metals. The one polar end tends to “Stand” the molecule up on the metal surface that it is bonded to by heat and friction. This forms a sacrificial layer to protect the base metals of the cam and tappet from contacting each other. Only at very high pressures on a flat tappet cam is this necessary because the oil is squeezed/wiped from the surface. This high pressure is also present on the gudgeon pin (wrist pin) in diesel engines, therefore the need for ZDDP in all diesel engines.
Second part of the equation is Molybdenum disulfide (Moly). The moly bonds to the zinc adding an additional, very slippery, sacrificial layer to the metal. I found out that too much of the moly will create problems; lack of this material reduces the effectiveness of the ZDDP. The percentage, by weight is from .01 to .02%, not much, but necessary according to the chemists. ( Moly also bonds to other surfaces like crankshafts and camshafts giving greatly reduced friction)
Now there is no denying that there is a problem, lack of ZDDP (Zinc Dialkyl DithioPhosphate) in modern oils kills at least our cams and tappets. There seems to be no known alternative. Our cars are a small percentage of the total market and BIG Corporate, the American Petroleum Institute and possibly governments have made decisions that are detrimental to our cars. This problem isn’t going away.
The trend today is to lighter weight oils to decrease drag, which increases mileage. Most of these seem to be the “Energy Conservation” oils that we cannot (should not) use.
Redline oil and others are suggesting a 3,000-mile break-in for new engines! Proper seating of rings with today’s lubricants is taking that long to properly seal. Shifting to synthetics before that time will just burn a lot of oil and not run as well as hoped. The “Energy Conservation“ trend was first led by automakers to increase mileage numbers and secondly because the ZDDP and other chemicals degrade the catalytic converter after extended miles, increasing pollution. Most of us don’t have catalytic converters and the mileage gains are not that significant.
Many oil companies may have products that will continue to function well in our cars. Castrol, Redline, Valvoline, Mobil, Shell, Amsoil and others have now commented on my original article and are making suggestions. Some companies are offering short lists of “acceptable” oils, others just one. One company has responded without any substantive information in a two-page “bulletin”. By their account all their oils are superior and applicable. This is typical of many companies.
Some oil manufacturers are pointing to metallurgy, blaming poorly built cams and followers. This may have some validity but the bottom line is that there has been a big increase in failures with products that have been on the market for many years but are now having greatly increased failures. To me the bottom line is, if the lubricants are working there is no contact between surfaces, it shouldn’t matter what the materials used in the products are, within reason.
On “modern” production cars, stay with the manufacturers’ suggestions. For any car produced before about 1990 the owner needs to be aware that the factory suggested lubricant may have changed and may not be applicable. Flat tappet, stock, performance or modified may be affected. MGBs from 1975 to 1980 must choose to sacrifice the cam or the catalytic converter as an example of how difficult the decisions are becoming! Yes, there is more! Castrol does understand our dilemma and is actively looking into what it can do to support our cars. We can soon expect to see products from them with specific application to classic cars. Red Line will be offering a “break-in” oil soon after the first of the year. Shell’s Rotella will be good until about June or July of 2007 ?? with possibly nothing after that date. Delo (Chevron) will also be questionable after the new “CJ-4” standards come in the middle of 2007.
Now the important information: Oils that may be correct for our cars today: (As reported by manufacturers by 31st December 2006, NOTE: many have changed their recommendations over the last three months!
Castrol: Syntec 5W-40, Syntec 20W-50, Grand Prix 4-Stroke Motorcycle oil in 10W-40 and 20W-50, TWS Motorsport 10W-60*, BMW Long Life 5W-30* *= full synthetic, available only at BMW dealerships.
Red Line: 10W-30, 10W-40 (Synthetic oils)
Valvoline: VR-1 20W-50 (Conventional oil)
Amsoil: 20W-50(TRO), 10W-40(AMO), 15W-40(AME) & 20W-50(ARO)
Mobil: Mobil 1 5W-30 and 20W-50 (Synthetic) Chevron: Delo 400
Shell: Rotella
What we are doing at Foreign Parts Positively has been difficult to determine but with few options left, the following is what we are forced to do. Some of our choices have been based on the manufacturer’s willingness to help and specific reports. This list will change in the next months with Castrol and Red Line adding products just for our cars. Break in: Delo 400 30W (A break-in oil will be available from Redline soon!) Conventional oil: Valvoline VR-1 20W-50 Synthetic: Red Line 10W-30 in newer engines, 10W-40 on older engines. Break-in is now 3,000 miles (using Delo 400 30W) before changing to running oil. Oil change interval: 1 year or 18,000 miles with Red Line synthetic 1 year or 2,500 miles with conventional oil (Valvoline VR-1) 20W-50).
Thank you to Castrol, Redline, Christiansen Oil, Valvoline, Mobil, Shell, Standard Oil and Amsoil for input. We’re sure this subject will continue: Please forward any new information on this subject you may encounter.
We have received some very interesting material from “Mr Moly” that may be putting molybdenum disulfide (MoS) into this discussion. It seems that ZDDP plus MoS is the best from the oil companies’ opinion but MoS by itself may be beneficial. Some racers swear by it. The literature seems to support “Mr. Moly’s” position.
Update 20th February 2007: In North America Castrol will have a “Classic” 20w-50 Syntec on the market in April for us. Meantime Red Line Oil for synthetic and Valvoline VP-1 20w-50 for conventional seems our only choices.
19th February 2007: In North America Castrol will have a “Classic” 20w-50 Syntec on the market in April; meantime Red Line Oil for synthetic and Valvoline VP-1 20w-50 for conventional seem to be the only choices. Keith M. Ansell, Foreign Parts Positively, Inc. 360-882-3596 Castrol UK (Andy Griffin, Castrol Technical Support) said in an email dated 21st February 2007: We are currently looking at whether there is a need for a specific formulation for the US market for their older engines – in the UK we are fairly well covered by the Classic grades ( and GTX High Mileage as a basic 15W-40 mineral ), and I have had no reports of problems here with premature wear of older engines.
Your Comments please
Might help others.
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