Finding affordable oil for 1972 Chevrolet 1500

my truck calls for se type oils . hard to fine oils for older autos without paying out the nose,the ones with zinc protection.know of any?

You don’t need an oil with Zinc protection.

Any modern oil will be fine for that engine. Just stick with the recommended weight - probably 10w-30.

Agree. Oils are backwards compatible. The important thing is not to get to thin a grade (like 0W20) since that will likely result in oil consumption.

A friend owns a Ford F-150 truck from that era and tows a 5th wheel camper . I recommend a 15W40 heavy duty truck oil for that. If no towing a 10W30 of the shelf oil will be OK. Today’s oils are very much better than those form the 70s.

So, any off the shelf oil of the right weight will do! And they will be cheap.

You have a stock engine, right? Just use what you can get at Walmart, etc.

John, how long have you had this truck ? If you just recently acquired it the list of different oil it has had in it might be very long .

I have seen 15W40 highly touted as the go to oil for older flat tappet engines on various classic truck forums. I feel sure it’s at least as good as the best that was available and recommended by GM in 1972.

I get oil with the zinc additives for my flat tappet collector cars from


You could use oil for diesels, such as Rotella T4, but even these have lower levels of zinc&phosphorous than your flat tappets should have.
Of course the alternate solution is installing a roller cam.

Per this article in Hemmings

Lots of conflicting advice on this subject. If you are concerned about wear then add a $2.88 bottle of STP oil additive at every oil change to your easily available, low cost, modern SM or SN rated oil.

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Just curious: How many folks here have direct knowledge of an engine damaged because of the use of modern oils?

I’ve heard the zinc thing but really I’ve never had a problem. You can get Mobil Super on sale with a rebate now that brings it down to about $1.34 a quart. Hard to find anything cheaper than that for a quality oil.

@texases Not to my knowledge. But years ago when BMW started selling cars in volume in the US they made little adjustment in their owners manuals other than translating them into English.

So, the oil specified was 20W50 Castrol or equal, a good oil for driving 100 mph on the German Autobahn, but a lousy oil for an owner in Minneapolis who wants to start his car in January.

Many engines burned out through lack of proper lubrication.

This became a nasty lawsuit and I believe Castrol’s scientific explanation won out over German arrogance.

That’s the only misapplication of an engine oil I recall.

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Had my 72 nova and 71 f100 till 1992, and never worried about it. rust killed them.