Author Topic: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.  (Read 24467 times)

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Offline HondaMan

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The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« on: March 29, 2013, 07:33:14 pm »
Good ol' Don Garlitts to the rescue: he has put up a website that helps you understand the "zinc issue", and why so many 'modern' oils are making these SOHC4 bikes hard to shift, idle, and leak oil.

Check it out here: http://www.zddplus.com/

Here's another, from Hotrod mag, which illustrates one reason why Diesel oils are helpful to us now:
http://www.hotrod.com/pitstop/hrdp_0702_pitstop_zinc_oil_additive/

Rislone, long a great supplier of excellent products for old Detroit iron, has some, too: http://barsproducts.com/blog/the-straight-scoop-on-zddp-zinc-additives

and here's a picture of their product, found in most auto parts stores:
http://www.barsproducts.com/catalog/view/22-engine-oil-supplement-with-zinc-treatment-4401?gclid=COrp0O-2o7YCFfA-Mgod5xYAnQ

Bottom line: oils with a later rating than "SF" types have too little zinc for our engines, and after "SJ" they have too much detergent. Less zinc makes for grabbing clutch plates and noisy top ends (and cam wear) while more suds makes foam and transmission gears that refuse to slide sideways when you try to shift. In a nutshell, this is the story.

I don't wish to promote an 'oil thread' mentality here that argues which oil is someone's favorite, but rather hope to dispel the mysteries, instead. PLEASE don't start posting about "my favorite oil", but instead use this info to help yourself FIND the right oil.

This stuff will be included in my upcoming "SOHC4 Performance Handbook", too.  ;)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 08:06:40 pm by HondaMan »
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 09:57:19 pm »
Hi Mark,

I'm having a grabby clutch issue and this thread popped up in my research.  Great info as always. 

One item of note: The Rislone product you reference (item#4401) has been replaced by item number 4405. The only difference according to the tech I spoke to on their help line is the newer product is more concentrated so you use less per treatment. However, the company web site and the bottle of the newer version state that it is NOT for use in motorcycles with a wet clutch. I verified this with the technician and he in fact verified it with his boss. His boss also stated the the old version was also not recommended for use with a wet clutch motorcyle which I know contradicts what you were told by Rislone as you said in your old friend rebuild thread. Thought I'd pass this info along. Hope it helps but I don't think it does.

David B
DB

Offline kammery

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 05:19:05 pm »
Not looking for any particular brand . When going to the auto parts store . What  ratings should someone look for on the label or should oil for the 4 cyl just be bought from Honda ?

Offline Greggo

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 05:46:32 pm »
Thanks for the info Mark!

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2013, 10:21:27 pm »
Not looking for any particular brand . When going to the auto parts store . What  ratings should someone look for on the label or should oil for the 4 cyl just be bought from Honda ?

I haven't seen Honda's latest oils, will try to check them out soon. Their "Hondaline" oils of the late 1970s were a disaster, which brought me to the time in 1980 when I tore my 750 down, thinking it was worn out. I found out it was not, but the dark ash (looked like charcoal ash) that completely lined the inside and STAINED the cases black, had partially plugged the oil passage to the countershaft, final drive bearing, and the oil jets in the head. I was stunned at the time. When I took the cases to the local shop to get their 'ideas' on why this was so, and if they had seen it before, one cocky wrench there told me I didn't know what I was doing with oils and it was clear that I used Pennzoil (his words). So, I walked back out to the car and carried in the half-case of Hondaline 20w50 I had left and told him he could have it, as I didn't use this Pennzoil anymore, myself...I never did go back into the shop, even though I wanted to buy the CBX on their floor.

The main thing to look for now, at the minimum, is a low-detergent moniker (one is "racing" oils) or "severe duty" ratings. Some of the 'severe duty' oils are nothing more than normal oils with MORE detergent, and those advertise themselves as "sludge cleaner" oils, too. Those should be avoided: one good example is the common Castrol "anti-sludge formula" oils in the bright green bottles. In less than 100 miles, a 750 gearbox I know about became so stiff that it 'lost' 2nd and 3rd gears to half-shifts tht would not complete, regaining them after Valvoline 20w50 Racing Oil was installed instead.

The 20w50 Racing oil from Valvoline is a low-detergent type. However, their excellent seal lubrication additives also tend to make the sealant in the OEM Honda gaskets wash out over time, causing weeping gaskets. If the gaskets are replaced with a non-soluable sealant, this oil can be of help.

I am finally getting to the tail end of a VERY long project at work that has had me tied up all day and night since May. I'll soon be getting back onto this trail, once I get some sleep?
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline Bill/BentON Racing

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2013, 03:56:25 pm »
Zinc Dithoiphosphate sure helps. ZDP,zinc,whatever,it's in every "Nascar oil" and probably most all race oils. A sacrificial additive that as it gets used up polishes the metal surfaces, thus eliminating the "microscopic asparaties" in the surfaces. Will indeed reduce friction, and smooth up a sticky gearbox. BG Products sells a oil additive, part #116,called EPC, that is made for motorcycles and treats up to 4 qts. Lots of bike shops carry it, Good Luck, Bill
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Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 11:23:59 pm »
Zinc Dithoiphosphate sure helps. ZDP,zinc,whatever,it's in every "Nascar oil" and probably most all race oils. A sacrificial additive that as it gets used up polishes the metal surfaces, thus eliminating the "microscopic asparaties" in the surfaces. Will indeed reduce friction, and smooth up a sticky gearbox. BG Products sells a oil additive, part #116,called EPC, that is made for motorcycles and treats up to 4 qts. Lots of bike shops carry it, Good Luck, Bill

Thanks, Bill, I'll check it out!
BG stuff is tops, in my view. I use their MGC in my car differentials, and even I don't believe how much difference it makes there. In my motorhome, just adding it added almost 10% MPG (+1 MPG) to the big box on the highway. When it only gets 10 MPG, that's a lot. Their BG44 is the best tuneup for my cars, better than anything short of a full valve job.

If those guys have a zinc additive, I'll be testing it out, you can bet! :)
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 07:34:51 pm »
Hi Mark,

I'm having a grabby clutch issue and this thread popped up in my research.  Great info as always. 

One item of note: The Rislone product you reference (item#4401) has been replaced by item number 4405. The only difference according to the tech I spoke to on their help line is the newer product is more concentrated so you use less per treatment. However, the company web site and the bottle of the newer version state that it is NOT for use in motorcycles with a wet clutch. I verified this with the technician and he in fact verified it with his boss. His boss also stated the the old version was also not recommended for use with a wet clutch motorcyle which I know contradicts what you were told by Rislone as you said in your old friend rebuild thread. Thought I'd pass this info along. Hope it helps but I don't think it does.

David B

Hi, David!
I read your post a while back, just now got my camera back to take a shot of the bottle, posted below. This one states clearly on the bottle the part number 4405 you're talking about. But, on the back of the bottle it says, among other things, "...for classic cars, motorcycles, tractors...and all racing applications." Normally, this verbage indicates both low detergent and high zinc, which is ideal for our engines and clutches. Somehow, this doesn't fit with what that fella said?

The detergent in modern oils is the #2 problem we face, as its sudsy nature causes lube loss in the transmission. It also attacks the glue that holds the clutch corks in place. The 'old' Rislone has a dispersant in it, which is moly-sulpher based (I think that's the combo) that does not attack the goo in gasket sealants, which is likely why it got to be so popular in the older engines: it won't make them leak, like STP will. (The solvent in STP that purges the bearings and replaces them with it's own 'stuff' also deposits itself tightly to the cork, ruining the plates - and dissolves the Honda head gasket sealant).

The zinc part is vital, and has become quite an industry of additives lately: I just came from the auto parts store and they have no less than 6 different zinc additive products on the shelf now with this same Rislone stuff.

Maybe I'll try this next: I'll call the Rislone hotline several times, and get a consensus? These kinds of answers sound like the ones I get from industrial PLC tech hotlines: one guy says, "yes, do this" and the next one says, "no, that can't work"...
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2013, 08:01:09 pm »
Yep, that's exactly what the tech comformed with his boss & told me Mark. "Don't use with a wet clutch" is what they said. Doesn't make much sense to me. As I understand it a dry cluch isn't very common so that would be a BIG exception. The only reason I called them in the first place was to confirm that the new product number was the same stuff you were using.  I was thinking the same thing: you gotta call several times to see if there's a consensus.  Make sure you call an odd number of times so you don't get a 50-50 split.   :D  I ended up using The ZZDPlus product you also listed.

http://zddplus.com/products/zddplus-oil-additive/

DB

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2013, 08:33:54 pm »
Yep, that's exactly what the tech comformed with his boss & told me Mark. "Don't use with a wet clutch" is what they said. Doesn't make much sense to me. As I understand it a dry cluch isn't very common so that would be a BIG exception. The only reason I called them in the first place was to confirm that the new product number was the same stuff you were using.  I was thinking the same thing: you gotta call several times to see if there's a consensus.  Make sure you call an odd number of times so you don't get a 50-50 split.   :D  I ended up using The ZZDPlus product you also listed.

http://zddplus.com/products/zddplus-oil-additive/



I've used the "old style" Rislone in my cars for a while, it REALLY makes a nice difference in oil PSI and smoothness. My cars all have well over 200k miles on them (some well over 300k) and they like this stuff like I like Iced Tea in July. :)

I'll track this down this week: I'm ready to fire up my brand-new 750 soon, and would like to use it (or the other ZDDP stuff) this time around, after break-in. After the troubles I was having with my gearbox before teardown, I was sure it had too-loose bearings, losing oil PSI and causing sideways-slide drag: now I am 100% convinced it is the lack of zinc that was causing the troubles, because the clearances were actually quite good. The witness marks in the shifter drum show where the fork's pins had worn through the old zinc coating that the Castrol XLR had clearly deposited there, and the newer oils in the last 6 years (after I ran out of XLR) had not replenished. When I dropped in the Mobil 1 Diesel 15w50 and the shifting smoothed out immediately (compared to using the Castrol 4T 20w50 we now have), I suspected as much: but, alas, the synthetic and our paper gaskets don't get along very well, and I was getting tired of washing the oil weep off every engine part twice a month. Then I tried the Mobil 1 "V-Twin" oil, but before I got to work the following Monday (15 miles total) I could not reach 2nd gear, had to skip to 3rd from 1st. I tried that for 3 days before changing it back to Mobil 1 15w50 Diesel, but it never fully recovered. I think that one trip with the V-Twin crap cleaned off the last of the zinc in the grooves.

I have a new shifter drum in it now, an NOS K4 drum that has the improved 1-N-2 shift to help find Neutral on a hot day. I just know I am going to miss the faster 1-2 shift of my old K1 drum...but then, I think I just found a NOS K1 drum in my collection, so if I am REAL unhappy, I'll pull the engine back out next Fall... :D

Either way, I have to break in a new drum.
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline Retro Rocket

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2013, 08:49:08 pm »
With all the oil threads on the forum and the sh1t fights that usually ensue, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to make a list of oils, with zinc,  to save rummaging through endless fights, I mean threads  ;D to find out what oils are best, a list of brands of additives would be good as well.... ;)  Just a thought...
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Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2013, 08:51:43 pm »
With all the oil threads on the forum and the sh1t fights that usually ensue, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to make a list of oils, with zinc,  to save rummaging through endless fights, I mean threads  ;D to find out what oils are best, a list of brands of additives would be good as well.... ;)  Just a thought...

I hope to find out some of that this winter. The manufacturer's websites are no help (already been to many of them on my lunch hours), so I will have to find ways to contact their engineers. Since I do "engineer-speak" pretty well, I can usually get their candid opinions. ;)
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2013, 08:55:58 pm »
With all the oil threads on the forum and the sh1t fights that usually ensue, I am wondering if it would be a good idea to make a list of oils, with zinc,  to save rummaging through endless fights, I mean threads  ;D to find out what oils are best, a list of brands of additives would be good as well.... ;)  Just a thought...

I hope to find out some of that this winter. The manufacturer's websites are no help (already been to many of them on my lunch hours), so I will have to find ways to contact their engineers. Since I do "engineer-speak" pretty well, I can usually get their candid opinions. ;)

Excellent... ;)
750 K2 1000cc
750 F1 970cc
750 Bitsa 900cc
If You can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2013, 09:41:50 pm »
Yeah, no kidding. That's awesome! I'd love to have a HondaMan analysis and recomendation of 2013 oils.
DB

Offline hazardus320

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2014, 04:06:45 pm »
Did some reading on the zinc oil additives and stumbled across a couple good resources that you guys may want to check out.

This first one just goes into more detail about the ZDDP:
http://www.drivenracingoil.com/news/dro/training-center/articles/zinc-in-motor-oil/

This second one is a chart of Mobil 1 oil products listing the Nominal Phosphorus Level, and Nominal Zinc Level for each of their products:
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Files/Mobil_1_Product_Guide.pdf


Offline hsas.69

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 07:59:21 pm »
Anyone ever get an answer about the rislone and wet clutches?
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78 CB550 K4

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2015, 08:49:15 pm »
Anyone ever get an answer about the rislone and wet clutches?

There are 2 Rislones out there, it seems. Fortunately, they are labelled on their bottles: one type says, "Not for use with wet clutches" and the other one does not mention it. I used this "other one" for a year with great results. I think this might be where the confusion started. I found the "other one" at O'Reilly's here, while Auto Zoo has the "bad" one, locally.

Since I got some of the little bottles of ZDDP additive (5 ounces) that are perfect for these oil changes, I use them now, instead. I also recently switched to Bel-Ray Mineral Oil for off road bikes, which specifically notes "more zinc" on their bottles, in 20w50 EXL type. The difference is stellar, and my new favorite. It ain't cheap, but overall matches a 'proper' motorcycle oil by-the-quart-plus ZDDP additive, in cost.
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2015, 10:47:49 pm »
So just to be clear, you are NOT adding a 5 oz  bottle of zinc additive to the Bel-Ray oil, is that right Mark?  If not, is there a down side to adding one for good measure?
DB

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2015, 02:08:07 pm »
So just to be clear, you are NOT adding a 5 oz  bottle of zinc additive to the Bel-Ray oil, is that right Mark?  If not, is there a down side to adding one for good measure?
If you have the Bel-Ray EXL Mineral oil, no extra zinc is needed. While it takes a lot to 'over-zinc' oils, eventually it can cling to the cork plates in the clutch and cause them to slip until it washes away. If this happens, just change the oil again WITHOUT zinc added, and the new oil will absorb it back out of the plates, in most cases. Either way, it takes about 200 miles for the process to happen (or un-happen).
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2015, 07:28:57 am »
Awesome.  Thanks Mark!
DB

Offline mgzych

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2015, 09:59:04 am »
How about "TB Zinc-Plus" from Lucas Oil?  Is it comparable to ZDDPlus?  Ok to use in our wet clutches?  Or do other components of the formula pose a problem?

http://lucasoil.com/products/engine-oil-additives/engine-break-in-oil-additive-tb-zinc-plus

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2015, 11:15:06 am »
How about "TB Zinc-Plus" from Lucas Oil?  Is it comparable to ZDDPlus?  Ok to use in our wet clutches?  Or do other components of the formula pose a problem?

http://lucasoil.com/products/engine-oil-additives/engine-break-in-oil-additive-tb-zinc-plus


Others here who used the Lucas stuff lost their clutches to slip, much like using STP does. It sticks too well to the cork plates and won't slide off when the clutch is released.

It's good stuff for engines, just not for clutches.
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

Link to Hondaman Ignition: http://forums.sohc4.net/index.php?topic=67543.0

Link to My CB750 Book: https://www.lulu.com/search?adult_audience_rating=00&page=1&pageSize=10&q=my+cb750+book

Link to website: www.SOHC4shop.com

Offline Bill/BentON Racing

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2015, 08:45:28 am »
Anyone building engines, thus is in everyone I build along with their 45 or 60 % moly, Bill
Engine prelube loaded with zinc. K
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Offline David B

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2015, 09:14:18 am »
The bottle of honey is used as an octane booster, right?  Old racing trick I'm told.

 ;D
DB

Offline HondaMan

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Re: The story of Zinc, and why SOHC4 engines need it in oil.
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2015, 09:27:07 am »
BG stuff is great, if you can find it!
The demons are repulsed when a man does good. Use that.
Blood is thicker than water, but motor oil is thicker yet...so, don't mess with my SOHC4, or I might have to hurt you.
Hondaman's creed: "Bikers are family. Treat them accordingly."

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