[Healeys] Valvoline VR1 20W-50 Redux Redux

Bob Spidell bspidell at comcast.net
Wed May 10 17:07:53 MDT 2017

I was at my favorite local parts house today and noticed, as reported by 
others that VR1 is back on the shelf after mysteriously disappearing a 
year or so ago.  Good deal, I think, then I noticed the label is 
slightly different than the stock I bought a year or so ago; in 
particular, 'HIGH ZINC' is shown prominently on the front label (my 
stash doesn't).  Also, the 'new' stuff is rated SAE SJ only, whereas my 
bottles say 'EXCEEDS API SERVICE SGCD And All Pending API Gasoline 
Categories Exceeds API Services SN/SM/SL'  The cam makers generally say 
that SN and SM are not suitable for flat tappet engines (not enough zinc 
and phosphorous).  SN/SM--dunno about SL--are supposedly OK for engines 
with catalytic converters, which implies less zinc.

Anybody know for certain know what gives?  My theories are:

1) Valvoline pulled their stock and simply relabeled their product SJ to 
make it clear it shouldn't be used in cars with cats

2) The old VR1 WAS acceptable for cars with cats, implying zinc content 
of no more than 800PPM or so, and they have reformulated the oil with 
more ZDDP, which required the relabeling.  I hope this isn't the case, 
as I bought a boatload of it because it appeared to be an off-the-shelf 
oil with decent zinc and phosphorous content.

The plot thickens (it's now 20W-60).


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