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Thread: Zetec engine: oil weight question

  1. #1
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    Default Zetec engine: oil weight question

    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?
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitcat View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Vovchandr; 07-05-2019 at 07:24 PM.
    2001 Caterham Superlight R

  3. #3
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    Dec 2013
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    I run 5W40 full synthetic oil in my 190hp Zetec. Oil temps stay with oil cooler below 250F with oil pressure at higher rpm at 80psi. Also using Accusump so trackdays are no problems.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitcat View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Croc; 07-06-2019 at 02:01 AM.
    Mike
    2010 Caterham CSR with Cosworth 2.3 Duratec
    2018 Caterham 420R with 2L Duratec 210hp at Donington UK
    1975 BMW CSL Group 4 (restoration - engine and dry sump install time)
    1977 Holden Torana "A9X" (awaiting restoration)
    1985 Holden Commodore Group A (restoration - engine rebuild)
    1982 Ferrari 400i (will repaint to original color in 2020)
    1965 Ford Mustang Fastback "Holman Moody"
    1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth WRC (fettling after long period of storage)
    1990 Range Rover 2 door Classic

  5. #5
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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.
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  6. #6
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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

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitcat View Post
    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?

  8. #8
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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.
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

  9. #9
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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“.

  10. #10
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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 $$$.).
    '97 Caterham Super Sprint, 1700 Crossflow-sold
    '09 Birkin S3, Duratec-sold
    '03 Caterham Zetec track car

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