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Discussion Starter #1
So it looks like I will be changing my oil again, but only have 8 miles on it so far. I believe I have a head gasket leaking between a coolant passage and the oil return. It isn't burning water, no smoke at all, and the antifreeze doesn't smell like exhaust. It is, however, running down the block and dripping off a couple of oil pan studs, so this tells me it must be the head gasket and not the timing cover. It will only be a couple of drops of water here and there though, so isn't major.

This brings me to my original question. I know it is too soon to put synthetic in it now, but how soon can I? Would 100 miles be too soon? Keep in mind that this isn't just a stock build, it is well north of 500 horses in a Cleveland, so it will wear much faster than a stock engine. 500 miles just seems like a really long time for a high performance engine.
 

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The coolant is probably coming from a head bolt. Did you use any sealant on the bolts that go into the water jackets? If not that's probably your culprit. As far as the oil, it's not really the mileage as much as how it is run and the heat cycles. The newer rings tend to seat quicker these days so I say if you put it through a few good heat cycles go ahead and switch to synthetic oil. Just my2Cents.
 

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So it looks like I will be changing my oil again, but only have 8 miles on it so far. I believe I have a head gasket leaking between a coolant passage and the oil return. It isn't burning water, no smoke at all, and the antifreeze doesn't smell like exhaust. It is, however, running down the block and dripping off a couple of oil pan studs, so this tells me it must be the head gasket and not the timing cover. It will only be a couple of drops of water here and there though, so isn't major.

This brings me to my original question. I know it is too soon to put synthetic in it now, but how soon can I? Would 100 miles be too soon? Keep in mind that this isn't just a stock build, it is well north of 500 horses in a Cleveland, so it will wear much faster than a stock engine. 500 miles just seems like a really long time for a high performance engine.
I have a 383 stroker i built for my suburban. When i put the truck on the dyno it showd it put out 425hp and 507lb ft torque. The truck now has 15,000 hard towing miles and the engine never gave me any problem with regular 10w30 oil. It was always a rule of mine not to put in synthetic oil in engines until at least 1000 miles. Also while breaking in any of my engines i built, i used heavy 15w40 oil with Lucas stabliser to make sure the bearings and rings seat properly.

So to sum up everything you should be fine to run your engine 500+ miles with regular oil as long as your not heavly beating on it. And if you do, use a heavy oil. (Ive seen to many times premature bearing failure due to improper broken in engines with light oil like 5w30 in a high output engine)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The coolant isn't comming from the head studs. Clevelands don't need sealant, all holes are blind. I did notice thought that the sealing bead on the high performance Fel-Pro head gaskets don't line up to well with the water jackets. A couple of them pass right through them. I may have to use a different type of gasket.

It will see its fair share of beatings, but I am running 20w-50 in it. My bearing tolerances are a little looser than factory, so I need the thicker oil anyway.
 

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Mike, Royce posted a very good article on how sythetics kill flat tappet cams systems very quickly. Granted if you went to roller rockers etc, it may be less of an issue, but I think it more related to the metals/temper of the cam that is needing the zinc (or substitue additives) to maintain the surface of the cam. I'd just stick with Valvoline VR1 or other racing oil that has zinc in it. The additives I have been buying are more than just going with racing oils anyway....especially if you watch sale prices at Autozone/O'reilly/etc. Every now and then I get the half price deal and buy them out. From everything I've read, it doesn't sound like there are any advantages to going synthetic other than reduced changes - which is fine for the DD/family truckster.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I completely agree with you about not running it in a flat tappet engine, unless you used ZDDPlus or the like. 2 points though 1) I plan on running Royal Purple, and it has the Zinc in it, and 2) my engine is full roller, even down to the thrust plate.

I would have to disagree about the advantages though. I remember back when I was 17 and built my first engine for the newly aquired Cougar. I went to the parts store, with a shop rag in my pocket, and spent 30 or 40 minutes in the oil section. I opened each and every different brand of oil and dipped my finger in them one by one (that is what the rag was for). I would first let it drip off my finger and see how well it would stick, then I would rub it between my fingers and see how slick it was. Believe it or not I even smelled them (Havoline smells horrible). At first I did all this with just the conventional oils. This is how I came to start using Valvoline oils, and have used nothing else ever since. They just look cleaner right out of the bottle, stuck well, was good and slick, and didn't smell putrid like others.

For Synthetics, I didn't really notice much of a differance among sythetics themselves, but they were much slicker than the conventionals and seemed to stick better. I believe synthetics do the job that they claim, maybe not as far fetched as some claim (8 times better wear protection? come on), but I do believe they reduce wear. It may not be enough to warrant the cost, but they do work.
 

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what, no taste test? did they charge you for all those bottles that you opened? hehe, the mental image of a 17 yo doing that in the store is killing me!

There HAD to be a point where a store employee came over and said, "Boy, what the HELL do you think you're doing?!!"

Oh that story made me LOL!
 

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LOL - Well, Clance I'll have to agree Halvoline does smell like the south end of something walking north! ;>) maybe I just need a better hobby!

I have 255K on my DD --- nothing but plain ol off the shelf valvoline 90% of the time. Never spent the extra $ synthetics --- but I don't winder up to often either. I would think that once you have consistent cylinder pressure and the rings have seated you could go synthetic on a roller motor. Why not?
 

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You know, the modern oils are so superior to 1970 oils that they practically are a couple of notches better than using plain old oils spec'd for the Cleveland back in the day.
I'd use the standard oil of your choice and just keep an eye on it for consumption.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It was quite an adventure Clance. I knew most of the guys that worked there, so they were talking to me just about the whole time. They didn't care that I was opening them. One guy did ask what the hell I was doing though. After I told him, he said "Oil is oil man, just pick one already". I laughed and continued my methodical experiment.

I know what you mean about the daily driver thing Mike. My truck has 216,000 on it and has never seen sythetics. Then again, it is a diesel that will last north of 600k, plus it redlines at 3300 rpm.

I see your point Andy, and you are probably right. Synthetic oil may not have a huge advantage, but if there is some advantage I would like to take advantage of it. I know I claim that my build is temporary, but the reality is more than likely that it will be more of a Local Hero type build, where it will be rebuilt when it needs it and not just because. I am sure I will have this engine in there for several years, and will likely only see one oil change a year, so the extra expense isn't that big of a deal.

I guess this whole thread was a little premature. I still have to tag and insure it and get a set of tires, plus now I guess I have to tear the top end back off for head gaskets, AGAIN. Either way, I still wanted an answer. I may just hold out unil around 4 or 500 miles.
 

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I would say that 500 should be fine. You're going to be shearing the oil molecules at a higher rate due to stresses and rpm.
If you want to go synthetic, I say go for it.

I found an oil I really like made by Motul for HD products. No clutch additives to worry about since it's HD, but synthetic protection and heat resistance too (good for the v8 cars). It's called Twin-Syn.
http://www.amazon.com/MOTUL-TWIN-SYN-20W50-QUART-2900QTA/dp/B000VJNX68

Motul oils are very very good, imo. The stresses seen by bike engines are similar to performance engines, so I look closer at the additive packages.
You can buy it by the case and keep it around the shop for the bike and the Clevo, if you like it.

I started using it on BMW airhead twins and it works fine for them. Started using it in the 5 liter powered shop truck with no problems (60k miles later).
Good stuff, imo.
 

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I don't have any experience with synthetic myself but an old coworker decided to switch his old v8 over to synth and when he did, it found leaks that otherwise weren't there with conventional. Try it out though, u can always go back if u don't like it. Have u cut any oil filters open that you take off your car? I inspect my race engine filters, for peace of mind (& I'm more particular with a race engine). P.s. big bucks for oil these days, wow.
 

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I have tried syn in my wife`s vehicle (05 Mazda Tribute V6) and my 2 trucks, (Dodge 318 & Ford 6.0 diesel) all vehicles I notices a slight sweating|leaking of oil past some of the gaskets (weren`t there b4), I guess its just because it flows better or something.
Switched back to Dino in the Tribute, with regular changes it runs the same and fuel mileage is same.
I sold the Dodge and now run Shell T5 10W30 syn blend in the diesel, it does run ALOT quieter than the Motorcraft Dino oil tho and Way cheaper at $11.50gal on sale!!
When I get the Coug back on the road I`ll most likely run a good 10W40 or 20W50 Dino oil.
 

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The coolant isn't comming from the head studs. Clevelands don't need sealant, all holes are blind. I did notice thought that the sealing bead on the high performance Fel-Pro head gaskets don't line up to well with the water jackets. A couple of them pass right through them. I may have to use a different type of gasket.

It will see its fair share of beatings, but I am running 20w-50 in it. My bearing tolerances are a little looser than factory, so I need the thicker oil anyway.
If I recall correctly, the head stud holes of a windsor are also blind. I ran in to an issue when I first got my engine rebuilt where it leaked out of a head bolt, all I did was bull the bolt out, an seal it, and the leak stopped. I would try sealant in the holes before going as far as to put new gaskets on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I recall correctly, the head stud holes of a windsor are also blind. I ran in to an issue when I first got my engine rebuilt where it leaked out of a head bolt, all I did was bull the bolt out, an seal it, and the leak stopped. I would try sealant in the holes before going as far as to put new gaskets on it.
I actually got it figured out, guess I should have updated this a little. It was leaking from the back side of the water neck and running down the gap between the head and block and back along the same gap and that is where I was seeing the drips. It was getting in the oil through the dipstick tube. I had put an o-ring on the tube, but didn't have it seated real well. After fixing the leak I put a pressure tester on it, ran it up to 30 pounds, checked it 4 hours later and was still at 30 pounds, so I am golden.
 
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