Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Oil Information and Posts

---Summary of what I am doing regarding motorcycle oil---
Using Mobil 1 Cycle in an '03 R6, '01 FZ1, '95 Vmax, '85 V65 Magna
Changing oil every 2+/-k miles or yearly.
Changing factory oil filter every oil change.
Never idle, never run low rpm's.
Never let the engine overheat; use a manual fan switch.
Never ride short trips less than 20 miles.

FZ1 Super Standard
A Modern  performer right out of the box.


[]  IowaZ Sitemap  []  IowaZ Vmax Sitemap  []  IowaZ V65 Magna Page  []  FZ1 Sitemap []
Last uploaded:  June 24, 2003

Motor Oil Primer Site 

Yamaha FZ1
Oil Information and Posts




Lets try to make some sense out of the oil issues regarding cycle oil or auto oil, dyno or synthetic----
Why do we have to use oil in our cycles?----
....Two basic reasons, to create a molecular layer between hard metal surfaces so they never come in actual contact as the friction created will "rub" off molecules or even chunks of metal and severe wear of the surfaces will occur.  Everyone knows that!!  The other major reason is as a coolant to carry heat away from hot spots in the engine.
....In a motorcycle the same oil that lubricates the engine is also bathing and removing heat away from the clutch, thus the term "wet clutch."  ....Cycle oil has to deal with more issues than in auto systems, including a variety of bearing types, clutch plates, gears, more power production per cc, more debris production.

What additives are in cycle oils that may make them different from auto oils?----
....Greater concentrations of zinc as it is an anti-wear and anti-oxidant element, which in theory protects things like the camshafts from the lifters.

....Silicon based anti-foaming compounds as the clutch plates and gear teeth tend to churn the oil and make it foam and froth.  In theory anti-foaming compounds keep the oil from bubbling (by reducing surface tension so the bubbles 'break') which causes cavitation of the oil pump impellor stopping oil flowing in the system by reducing surface tension of the foaming oil.

View through the site window of a GXS1000 during a dyno run to the rev limiter and back down; unknown oil.

....Motor cycle oils contain more sulfur as an extreme-pressure additive which lays down a barrier to prevent metal-to-metal contact.  Sulfur can get past piston rings and combine with condensation on cold engine walls and form sulfuric acid with can literally eat the engine parts up.  NOTE:  One of the best things to do with a cycle it to run it often and to run it long enough to literally "boil" the moisture and acids build up out of the system, which is probably at least 20 miles worth.  I try to never, never run my cycles less then 10 miles each start up and usually try for 20 or more.  It takes about 15 miles of normal running for the engine to fully heat up and the oil pressure to stabilize to its normal range and flow  I remember studying this issue in the mid 90's in regards to lubrication on the Max and Mag, but the issue of acid eating an engine up internally is a bit hard to believe or visualize. Then in the late 90's, during a special on the Oshkosh fly-in, a short insert article was a discussion by an aviation mechanic warning not to let airplane engine sit around in hangers and to run them consistently or acids would eat up the engine.  He proceed to take a small plane engine apart.  You had to see it to believe that kind of damage was occurring.   All internal parts in contact with the lubricants looked like they had been soaked in acid.  They were pitted and literally eaten up.  Now, I am not talking a little surface discoloration, I am talking metal parts dissolved.  The cylinder wall eaten all the way through in some places.  Run you cycles often and run them 20+ miles.  No short trips.
....Likewise anti-acid compounds are added to reduce the acid level build up.

....There is probably a great deal more metal flaking and general debris floating around in cycle oil.  If this "stuff" collects and forms sludge it can clog lines and interfere with lubrication and moving parts.  Detergents and dispersants are added to dissolve sludge and keep particals in suspension.  The oil filter will stop and collect the larger particles in its pores.

....Because many/most cycles tend to sit idle for long periods of time and then ridden very hard for short periods of time, good cycle oils have additives to deal with the use issues, as extreme-pressure additives, rust and corrosion inhibitors, sulfur, zinc di-thiophophate, and others.  Of course many of these additives are also in auto oils, but the concentrations are formulated differently in cycle oils by each company in an attempt to handle the differences in the way cycle engines are used and function.

What is the SJ rating?----
....This is an oil with about half of the zinc and phosphorous anti-wear agents removed and more friction modifiers (friction reducers) have been added, compared with the older standard of the SH oils. They were formulated to reduce the friction and increase gas mileage when the MTBE additive was placed in fuels.  MTBE was intended to reduce air pollution by lead, but in reality is poisoning the ground water.  These are the SJ or energy efficient oils.  The issue with SJ oils is that they are not nearly as good at reducing metal to metal contact, especially in extreme use/conditions.  In cycles SJ oils are thought to increase the wet clucth to slip and lead to valve-train and cam follower problems.
....The SJ oils specifically formulated for cycles counter the issues of anti-wear agent reduction and in theory are okay.  Auto oils for the above reason alone may not be nearly as good as correctly formulated cycle oils.  

Shifting and cycle oils----
....Cycle oil contain more sulfur compared to auto oils, and thus in theory offer  protection to the transmission area where there can be extreme pressures.  Remember sulfur increased the lubrication layer or barrier.  Thus cycle oils may shift smoother or less clunky compared to auto oils.  And for the same reasons, synthetic oils offer vastly superior lubrication and therefore shifting is often smoother and less clunky. 

Everyone uses multi-viscosity oils----
....I have used Mobil 1 auto 15W50, Torco syn. 20W50, Yamalube 10W40, Mobil 1 cycle 10W40.  The first number indicates at what weight the oil flows like at 0F and how it reacts to "thicken" or change viscosity at 212F.   The "W" stands for winter.  So Mobil 1 cycle 10W40 acts like a thin 10 weight oil at 0F and as a heavier 40 weight oil near normal engine operating temps.  Generally cycle engines are run in warm weather and the higher end weight of 40 or 50 is what one wants.
....It is thought that the wet clutch of cycles acts to shear or cut the polymers or "coils" of the multi-viscosity oils reducing their ability to remain "thickened" at the high temps of engine operations.  Thus the molecules are "cut" and 10W40 oil starts to act like 10W30 or lower, thus offering less protection at high temps. One line of thought is the shearing of the polymers happens rather quickly and within a few hundred miles or at least a couple of thousand the loss of viscosity reaction by the multi-weight oil is compromised.  Those concerned about this issue change oil often.  However, during oil change there are areas of the engine not getting sufficient lubrication.  There is another body of though that the less oil changing the better, as this is the time of 70-90% of all engine wear.  Two extremes of thought on the oil change issue.  Most of us fall somewhere in between.  We are not going to change oil every 500 miles, nor are we going to go 5-8k miles.  We usually change oil between 1.5-2.5k miles.  There are riders who say, this is a very good reason to use synthetics.  Superior lubrication, resistant to shearing, longer lasting, less need for frequent oil changes.  I tend to be in the synthetic group.  
.....Cycle oils in general tend to have tougher shear-stable molecules or polymers that resist shearing.   Assuming we trust and believe the company chemists.


Synthetic vs Dyno (pure petroleum) Oils----
....Synthetic oils are made from natural products of petroleum or plant oils.  They are formulated or made in the laboratory or factory.
....They are made in a way that the molecules are more stable at high temperatures.  
....Under very heavy use in hot weather in hard working engines like a cycle, poor or basic quality oil can get too hot and turn to a sludge.  Remember seeing the commercial on TV where they heat oils on a stove and form sludge, but not with the synthetic.  A syn. commercial of course.
....To make a long story short synthetics offer vastly superior lubrication and stability, however some riders are concerned that because of the high lubrication level, that slippage of the wet clutch will become an issue.  That has not been a problem on any of my present bikes ('85 V65 Magna, 95 Vmax, 01 FZA, 03 R6)  and all have had nothing but synthetic oil from the start.  A high number of the Vmax and SabMag group have used synthetic oil throughout the late '80's to present, as do now many of the modern performance level standard and sportbike riders,  without clutch issues.   And since all early Honda V4's had almost no oil getting into the upper heads, an owner/rider of one of these fossils would be very unwise not to be running synthetic, plus do an oil mod.  Since recent increase discussion of the orange o-ring and delivery elbow dampener becoming displaced on a certain number of Vmax's allowing backflow of oil into the pan and reduced to little oil flow into the engine, Vmax owners, IMO, need to be running full synthetic cycle oil to take advantages of its superior lubrication.   Yes, there have been reported cases of clutch slippage with synthetic oil in place.  However, one valid body of thought is that with good clutch springs slippage is not an issue with synthetic. Slipping clutches generally are the result of a combination of issues and not oil type.  I will continue to use synthetic in all of my cycles.

Does oil wear out?----
....Yes, the additives placed in the oil by the manufacture have a finite life-span and breakdown eventually from use, plus contaminate of combustion and from metal wear build up in the oil.
....How often the oil actually needs changed depends on many factors, but the primary issue is how the bike is used by the rider.  How fast and/or slow, how much weight is carried or pulled, hot or cold weather, dusty or clean air, engine tuning, gas getting into the oil, 
....The rider must make the best personal choice of when to change oil.  However, try to put the bike up for the winter with fresh oil.  

Can you run auto oil?----
....Sure, and probably get away with it, as most riders really do not ride to the extreme or keep their bikes that long before handing off any troubles to the next player.
....But should you run auto oil????  I have run Mobil 1 auto in the Mag until recently as at one time it was the best or only synthetic readily available, so in an attempt to save Honda's better idea and biggest cover up, any synthetic is better than the best dyno in a SabMag.  In recent years there have been changes in the amount of friction reduces and the additive package to auto oils and their use in cycles has become more and more debatable.
....If you review the above information again and think about the chemistry and have trust in the companies additive package you will not run auto oil.  You will run cycle specific oil of a brand from a trusted company of your choice.  I like Torco's line and also Mobil 1 cycle.
....Bikes like the R6, FZ, Vmax,  Magna are generally worked pretty hard and thus I will stick with cycle specific oil and trust what the manufacturers are saying.  

What am I doing regarding the oil issue?----
....Mobil 1 cycle is the oil of my choice right now because it has become available locally.  I have run Torco full syn, and would continue its use if available at the local stores.  Would I use cycle specific Yamalube or Honda oil.  Yes, but only if I could not get a synthetic cycle specific oil.  I would probably run an auto synthetic over a dyno cycle oil.  At this reference point in time I will continue to run Mobil 1 cycle as it is now readily available in some auto stores or WalMart (which will order it by the case for you).  You have to make the best choice for your situation.
....I change oil every fall as running several bikes they do not get high mileage in most years.  I will change about every 1.5-2k miles but using Mobil 1 cycle, I would not hesitate to run it 3-4k miles or more on a tour.  I change oil filters every year or every oil change, but would also not hesitate to go two changes of 2k miles, as filters apparently gain in efficiency as the pores start to close down a little at about 1/2 the mileage of an oil change of perhaps 2k miles, to nearly 3 oil changes, at which time the pores have closed down too much.  Of course pore closure depends on the health of the bike and riding conditions.  Most of us will change filters every time we change oil. 
....You can attempt to pre-load the oil filter with oil and there are also some other things one can do in an attempt to reduce metal to metal contact at oil change time.
....I never let my cycle engines idle at low rpms or at start up.  Keep the rpm's above 2.5k when possible to keep better oil movement in the system.  I start up and drive off as soon as the engine will stay running smoothly, and warm up the engine at low speed and load.  Idling at low rpm's is a low oiling time in various parts of the oiling system, at least that is the assumption of quite a number of cyclists.

xz11 list link info from Cycle News, auto vs cycle oils




To get various ideas and opinions, oil posts and ideas from various lists, with many coming from the Vmax and VFR lists, saved over the past several years (1997-2002)

....There is one simple rule to follow when selecting your oil for any motorcycle with a wet clutch. The oil you should use will carry an "SG"
rating. Mobil 1 for motorcycles, Honda oils, Amsoil, Castrol, Bel-Ray and a few others carry this rating. It is less important what brand you use vs. the compatibility with the wet clutch.

....I know everyone is going to do what in their mind is best, BUT my bike suffered a cylinder ring seal that failed to seat at 10,000 miles because of using syn oil since the first oil change..  Motorcycle motors are different than cars - in as far as I understand - due to the fact that car motors are pre-broken in on test stands.  Motorcycle engines are basically virgins the first time the dealer pushes that grey button.  Yamaha tech says that you should use "Yamalube 4" oil in the bike for the first 5000 miles to ensure that everything is broken in properly.  They then say to switch to "Yamalube R4".  I kind of tend to believe someone's advice in cases that cause them to lose money.  Yamalube R4 goes for about 2X's as much as Yamalube 4.
...Response....That's the same advice I got from several dealers. They said to go semi-synth R4 when it hits 5000 miles. I personally don't want to be the 1 in 1000 guy that has clutch or other probs because of full synth. Tons of people are running full synth with no probs, go figure?? I didn't buy a brand new bike to wrench on it or have problems. I want to be one of the guys in the 100,000 mile club.  You can also use Torco semi-synth, lotta guys say it's good. 
....Repsonse...I put the synthetic blend (Torco) motor oil in my stock max at 11,000 miles. Two of the areas that I wanted to change regarding my bike were: 1. Hit the 150 mph mark. 2. Have a cooler running engine. Immediately after changing the oil I did a pass at my usual undisclosed site.  About the time I suspected to hit around the 145 mph mark, I gazed down at the speedo.  Much to my surprize, the needle had just passed 150 and was still climbing.  Before my glance was over, the speedo registered 152 and I let off the gas.  I suspect I was right at or just over redline. Anyway it was still pulling!!!!  Can you say TORCO? The max has also been running cooooler since the infusion of Torco oil.  I do not do a lot of launches so I'm hoping when the clutch goes that I can curves.  I'm not planning on going back to regular oil due to the benefits I have just listed. .

....When it comes to oil levels, it's better to lean to the conservative side.
....Response....My question is: what is conservative? Is a high oil level conservative or slightly low conservative?  IMHO an oil level that is too high is worse for the engine than one that is not quite full enough.  The reason is cavitation.  The crankshaft can whip an overfull crankcase into a choclatey froth (an emulsion of oil and air) and can cause a loss of oil pressure (because the air is compressable).  As far as the light coming on goes, My bike does a bulb test during startup, and if the oil light doesn't come on during acceleration, I start tuning again. 

....Although my '85 Vmax did shift better with Mobil 1, my bike began to burn oil and has done it since.
....Response....More likely it's leaking: synthetic oil tends to leak more than regular oil, it seeps through gaps & stuff easier, because if it superior flow qualities.  

....These topics are frequently beaten to death on both of the big V-Max lists, but recently I found interesting articles by "a Chemist, retired from a major Oil and Chemical Company, after a career in the Quality Assurance of Fuels, Lubricants, and Chemical products. He and his wife both ride." The first article discusses motorcycle motor oil.  His recommendations may surprise you.  

....Synthetic doesn't congeal at leaky areas as well as dino oil.  If leaks show up when you switch to synthetic it doesn't mean they weren't there before you switched, they just do not show up as well. So you din't cause any damage and you can switch  back if you want, but I wouldn't. Some people believe that the synthetic may cause clucth slippage, but there are other solutions to fixing that. If you find that you clutch slips after you to go synthetic, going back to dino probably wont' fix it.
....You ought to fix the leak, your oil filter cap may need a new o-ring.  Your output shaft seal could be leaking but make sure you look around before you consider replacing it, it could be something else.
....I don't think turning that boot upside down is going to do you any favors.. It is just a dust seal and it probably will not hold any oil that gets inside of it. 

....I hope this hasn't been hammered to death, when i got my bike there  were no oil leaks to be found, then i replaced the oil with high performance fully synthetic motorcycle oil, since then i am seeing  leaks from the cv boot exactly under the gas tank and from the gasket by the oil filter,  my question is- could the synthetic be seeping thru the gaskets and causing the leaks and should i replace it and did i cause any serious damage?? it is a 85 max

....My point was that if you have really tested something in a pretty scientific way. Then been able to pull engines apart to visually measure wear patterns, you are armed with proof that is beyond reproach.
Remember I'm refering to my race engines and many of my customers street and race engines, not motorcycles.
As a result I feel very confident in using the lubricants I use for these engines in their applications. Obviously I can't say other oils I haven't tested won't perform as well or even better, but I've reached a point where I don't need any better, so I'm sticking to it. With the bikes everyone who uses and loves the Synthetics may be going the better way, I can't comment from empirical evidence. I've just got an aversion to mineral based oils for the ring seal properties they produce compared to many synthetics, aside from cost. Frankly if you leave the synthetics in twice as long then the cost issue is not an issue anymore. Problem is our testing showed synthetics don't last longer than an average of 20%
more. You will find most proffessional Drag racers today will use the lightest synthetics their engines will survive with to maximise power output and performance. Their motivation is winning races not making engines live as long as possible. They have the budgets to replace parts a lot more frequently than self funded racers like me, so my motivation is obviously to perform but also to maximise component life. Therefore I use oils I believe give me maximum protection rather than maximum power. Things have to kept in perspective so rational decisions can be made based on what a consumer really wants to achieve with their oil choices. I'm sure we are in the minority Tyler but that doesn't make us wrong based on
our goals.

....I'm with you , I too come from a Automotive back ground, Street raced a Hemi Duster for a few years and 340 roller motor also,I myself like the Au 's been said before oil use is personal preference and experience.

....After changing to Mobil 1, the transmission seems to be a little harder to shift when stopped, making neutral a little harder to find.  That is interesting info on the X1R/Mobile. I noticed just the  opposite on the bike/transmission. For me .. changing to synthetic got rid of the dreaded "clunk" when starting the bike and shifting into gear the first time in the morning. I also felt like the usual "grinding" for lazy shifts disappeared too .. I assumed this was because of the lighter (especially cold) viscosity behavior of the synthetic, (if you look in the window .. you can see the stuff splattering and flying everywhere. I also think the synthetic is of great benefit after oil changes and sitting for long periods of
inactivity as this stuff circulates like "right now" ... Another thing I noticed on both bikes .. is that when starting cold w/ the old Castrol 20-50 .. it all disappears from sight in the "window" when first started .. with the synthetic .. you can see a level remaining at the bottom ... (indicating it is returning to the pan promptly to take another tour). Makes you wonder about windage drag but everything has a price I guess. IMHO as always ....

....So are you using X1R  ? Or another synthetic ? Which synthetic are you using ? How is the clutch fibre's holding up ? I believe that certain oils degrade the fibres or else make them too slippery such that the clutch slips a little... I am searching for the best bet for my beast...

If you are talking to me ... I have never tried XIR ... I have been using synthetic motor oil though. I am cheap and have been using the
Mobil1 15-50w (I think it is really intended to be used in automobiles .. but it is a lot cheaper than most motorcycle specific synthetics). I don't think it matters that much what brand is used and that has of course been the topic of many personal preference flame fests. I never lost any lever travel/engagement w/ I switched ... nor have I (to the best of my knowledge) suffered any slippage etc ... Oil is really for cooling in regard to the clutch plates .. I suppose if you stepped in to something w/ special "slippery" stuff additives or such you might be able to do something bad to the clutch .. but I simply have not had that experience. I "don't" bother filling any more than 1/8 inch from the top of the crankcase window .. as I have noticed it "will" disappear, (I assume .. though the crank vent into the airbox and out the tailpipe). Once I "got that message" ... I leave the air space .. and it all stays there until it is changed, (2-2.5K w/ an automotive AC oil filter via my Don-a-lator) .... Other than the loss of the "grabby" first shift in the mornings .. I really could not tell there was anything different in there at all, (except at oil changes ...
when I used to get the "clankity clank" until the oil circulated ... that does not happen with the synthetic). Of course ... I have a stock engine ... I am sure if there is anything going on you would be able to notice it much quicker than I (with your torque baby) ...

....There is really not a exact time to switch to syn. oil . It depends on how long it takes for the motor to seat  . Some engines do it in less than a 1000 miles some will not seat for 6000 miles . To be safe I would not change to a syn.oil until 6000 miles . If you are monitoring cyl sealing then do it when you get your highest readings .  Another way is to watch the color of the oil . Darkening of the oil is caused by carbon which comes from blow by . You will see that the oil will stay clear longer and longer . When the miles that equal coloring level off then the motor has seated as far as it will go then switch to syn .oil .

....If we changed the cheap oil every 1000 miles and the expensive oil every 7500 miles after a 100,000 miles the cheap oil engine would most likely look better at teardown.
....Response....I respectfully disagree with your assessment on two fronts: first, changing one's oil every 1000 miles is in itself causing undue stress and wear on the engine, because at startup, it takes almost a minute for the oil to get up to normal pressure.  That's a whole minute that the oil is not circulating sufficiently through the internals of the motor; second, a petroleum-based
oil is just simply not going to keep the motor clean, suspend harmful particles away from critical parts and circulate as quickly at startup than a synthetic oil. Not to mention that a cheap oil at K-mart is probably going to be an "auto" oil which is not going to keep your tranny very happy for very long.

....Sorry!!, but lubricity inside an engine, goes a lot deeper  than that....

..... article doesn't necessarly say what's the best oil for a motorcycle engine, but I think it does shoot holes in the "expensive motorcycle oil is the best" argument.  For what it's worth, I skip the moto-only oils and run either Shell Rotella or Mobil Delvac - both of which are severe-service oils that will pass any spec thrown at them.  And, you can get them for under $6/gallon (yes, I typed "gallon") at your local Walmart. 

.....I think everyone has been seeing the "best" oil debates for a long time .. and there are plenty of SG rated oils out there. I don't think
anyone will argue with the cold start benefits of a synthetic oil. I suspect this "declaration" is as typical as you would see from any oil manufacturer. I doubt that there is any evidence to prove that this oil "produces faster acceleration through all gears" or "superior transfer of power through the clutch" than any other oil of comparable viscosity ... (hopefully the FTC will ask them for substantiated research data as soon as a complaint is filed by a potential consumer or competitor). There are also several "studies" out on the web that reveal what specific brands of oil maintained their viscosity after some extended usage, (everything looked fine for the first 800 miles).

....I am sticking my neck out here because everyone has already agreed to lleave this sort of thing alone ... as it simply stirs passionate responses from myself and many others ... and to no good end. If you have had great success or extreme confidence in your choice of lubricants then by all means post ... however .. repeated posts or solicitations are irritating and simply cause more hate and contempt than normal.

.....I am glad you are using Castrol GMXPK or whatever it is ... I want to thank you for soliciting a response directly from the manufacturer and posting their Vmax specific reply .. I am sure many people appreciate the effort. However ... who on earth is "Van Leeuwen Enterprises" ??
If I was a vendor of this product and a "Castrol" marketing representative responded to a general inquiry ... AND terminated the response with a suggestion to patronize only two dealers, (Performance USA and Van Lewd Enterprises), I think I would be more than a little upset ... infact I would probably contact my Castrol Account Executive and complain ... while I canceled any pending orders. Did Mr. Baldwin respond with a title ?? Is he an AE, a territory manager, VP of the company ?? It would be nice to be able to refer to the man's title when asking their national Sales GM why anyone would respond in this manner ... I don't think I would purchase a product from a company who
allow anyone in their employee to respond to a public inquiry without affixing their title.

....I heard that motorcycle oil has some additive(s) in it to keep the oil from foaming because on a motorcycle there are gears meshing unlike in a car and if u use car oil in a bike u will have more foam than oil might be why some folks overflow oil all the time....
....Response....All motor vehicle oils generally have some type of anti-foaming additive. Excessive foaming is usually caused by overfilling the crankcase and allowing the crankshaft to beat on the crankcase oil .. aerating the oil in the sump. If you ever pull a side case off of the
Vmax engine .. you will not really have any oil come out at all or at best .. very little ... you can see the crank journals and rods and
you will note that when standing they well not be whipping up the oil.... A rear wheel drive car with the crankshaft pointing in the direction of the vehicle travel .. will have all the oil rushing to the rear of the crankcase and gets whipped by the rotating rod journals because it stands up against the rear of the block ... When hp is important you see all kinds of trap doors and scrapers to keep this off of the crank and to carry away the oil escaping from the journals .. when you are really serious you see dry sump oil pans .... (of course my '67 BSA was dry sump and it wasn't that serious .. I guess they just didn't need anymore hp loss than necessary). As far as gears meshing ... I can assure you that the overhead cam v8 in the crown victoria I got rid of last year had a lot more gear meshing going on than in the Vmax ... we have the secondary drive gears but as far as the transmission we are only talking about one pair of gears meshing at any particular time .... most cars have that too as they have a gear on the camshaft rotating the distributor ... etc ...
...Anyhow ... rotating parts that break the surface of the oil will cause the most foaming ... I don't think we have that problem .. I know that the Vmax will be glad to eject any oil that gets in it's way ...... right up the rubber hose .... I know at least one person who put a vacated glass fuel filter in the middle of this hose to eliminate that problem, (Max throws it up .. and then it drains back down). As I posted before ... since running synthetic .. I don't bother to fill closer than 1/8 inch from the top fill line anymore because if I do it will be gone by the next tank of gas ........... When I put it 1/8 from the top fill line ... it stays at that level until it is time to change the oil again.

....Thank you for contacting Mobil.....The full synthetic base stock technology we use in Mobil 1 products allows us to  limit or eliminate (depending on the viscosity grade) the use of polymers known as viscosity index improvers.  These polymers help conventional oils meet the requirements of multi-grade oils.  So they are good for low temperature/high temperature performance balance for conventional oils.  Unfortunately, they are also less shear stable than oil.  So at high temperatures and/or high localized pressures, the polymers tend to break down, resulting in loss of viscosity of the oil. Since Mobil 1 Motorcycle Oils use little or no viscosity index improvers, they are inherently more shear stable than oils with VI improvers. If you have any additional questions, you may contact us at our E-mail address: or by phone at 1-800-ASKMOBIL.

....Good points that you've made, but your motor will still benefit from using synthetic oil -regardless of whether you race or not - because synthetics bond with the metal and provide a constant layer of protection - especially critical at start-up when any measureable oil film has drained to the bottom of the oil pan.  Even if you change your petroleum-based oil every 100 miles, petroleum-based oil does not contain the polyl esters (crudely defined: magnetic particles) which form the protective oil film.  Also, petroleum-based oils will boil away quicker at higher temps and jel a lot fatser at freezing temps than synthetic oil.

....Even though I use synthetic oil, I still change my oil every 2500-3000 miles or so, because I'm not a fan of the "extended drain interval."  If nothing else, changing more often allows one to change the oil filter.

....But again, you're right - conventional oil will do the job.  But, will it do it better than the synthetic stuff?

....As far as burning more oil, I think this is due to switching to synthetic oil after your motor has become accustomed to burning conventional.  Because synthetic is so slippery, it manages to slip past rings that have been broken in on conventional oil.  That's why one should limit the miles driven to about 4000 or so on new machines before switching to synthetic.  Alow the rings to seat just enough to form a tight vacuum

....I thought it interesting that TC changed his plugs at his oil changes.  I was wondering how many miles people were changing their oil at.  I've changed mine 4 times in 4800 miles.  It really shocks me how fast the oil gets black, I mean really black.  I assume this is from clutch material. Or..... do I have another problem?

....I change oil every 2000 miles ..... I used to do it sooner ... In fact I am just coming up on another change .. This will be the third change on synthetic and the Don-O-Lator spin on adapter. I think the synthetic actually starts life darker than the 20-50 mineral I used to use, (which always came back out looking pretty clear). I have been using AC PF1177 filters ... but have been wanting to try one of those super-duper "synthetic" filters ....... The old "history" plugs are now finally starting to be re-cycled back into service, (they looked pretty new when pulled anyhow). Soooooooo ... I took the oldest sets, sandblasted them and moved them up for one more service cycle .....

....It really shocks me how fast the oil gets black, I mean really black. I assume this is from clutch material. 
....Repsonse....No, I don't think it has much to do with the clutch material. It's when you burn gasoline in an engine the by product carbon is collected by the oil and turns it black. This isn't a problem to worry about because it means your oil is doing one of the jobs it's suppose to do.
....Response, 2...I agree with that!!! If the oil gets black from clutch material, the screen on your oil pump will be clogged, that means, bearings shot to sh$t in a matter of seconds, ouch!!

......On a similar note, this may be of some benefit to some in colder climates or those able to ride in winter where winters are milder. I always keep a 2000 watt fan heater in my garage and put it directly under the Max oil pan for about 15-20 minutes before starting the engine in cold weather. The oil temperature is about 80-100 degrees F before start up and frankly there's no better way to help reduce engine wear at startup, which is when the main wear occurrs. This applies to any oil type even the synthetics. True the synthetics circulate more quickly from dead cold but I've never in 30 years of race engine building seen a synthetic protect engines better than the correct type of mineral or mineral with synthetic fortifiers. I know most won't agree, but we use a Shell brand 15-50w oil in our 500ci Pro-Stock engines. This is a mineral oil with certain synthetic additives that Shell includes in this primarily mineral oil. We do 50-60 passes at over 9000 rpm and the bearings come out like brand new. There is also absolutely no doubt in my mind that our ring seal and leakdowns are maintained for longer at higher levels with mineral oils such as the one I use. The best synthetics do add some reduction in friction and therefore horsepower but the gains in other areas, for me, outweigh the power gain. As far as Max is concerned, I use a Shell mineral oil also, which is the motorcycle equivalent of the oil I mentioned above. It is a 20-50w and has many of the automotive additives removed or modified to ensure smooth clutch and trans operation. Personally, mine has always had this oil, shifts great and clutch has always worked perfectly. I change oil and filter every 2000 miles maximum. Whenever I change oil I remove plugs, earth plug leads and crank engine for 25-30 seconds without load to get pressure to engine.

.....Darrin made a couple of nice points about oil that I should address:   When I change oil and filter (warm) I get pressure in 15 to 20 seconds at a dead slow idle. Why? All the oil hasn't drained back so the pump and passages are still primed. Also, there is a lot of residual oil laying about the cams and such so they aren't starved for a short while. That is why you want to change oil with the motor warm and not after sitting overnight or longer.

.....Petroleum oil holds particles in suspension just fine,,, they have "detergent" additives.

....The petroleum auto oil will lube the tranny just fine for 1000 to 1500 miles before being chopped up by the gears. I don't want to made everyone paranoid but guess what??? Synthetics get chopped up too,,, just at a little slower rate .

.....A while back I saw a article (MCN I think) about a guy with a 900cbr he commutes with. Had some UnGodly amount of miles on the thing (something like 150,000 or 200,000). Engine oil??? 79 cent castrol GTX changed every 1,000 miles. Far as I know the bike still going.

....Since you asked .. yes .. I have a problem, (although likely to be  mine personally), leaving oil in the bike for extended intervals.

.....Also the problem here is, synthetic oils have a tendency of absorbing moisture, which makes them NOT the best choice for long periods of
storaging. After a long conversation with our "In House" Engineer at work, he suggested to drain the synthetic oil for storage, and replace with regular inexpensive oil and filter. He also suggested to drain the oil while is cold (especially synthetic) so, all the particles suspended in it, will be
at the bottom of the oil pan.

....The Max/Venture motor is designed so that not all oil drains out through the drain plug.  Some oil is left in the motor.  My understanding is that some of this oil is left in the pan so that the oil pump does not lose its prime. In addition, oil is retained in the heads in the cavities which access the head bolts.  I assume the purpose of oil retention in the heads is to keep the cams lubricated.  Therefore, whenever there is an oil change, the new oil should quickly darken through "contamination" from the remaining old oil.  It is not a problem - oil color alone is not an indication of something being wrong with either the oil or the motor, particularly when the oil is fresh.

...It is not a problem - oil color alone is not an indication of something being wrong with either the oil or the motor particularly when the oil is fresh. Indeed.  Oil contains detergents to keep the engine clean, and it turns dark because those detergents are doing their job.  Seeing as how my oil turns dark after a couple hundred miles in any of my vehicles, I'm not about to worry about it. 

.....If you're really worried about oil breakdown, spend the money and have a sample analyzed after, say, 3000 miles or so.  If it's not showing any significant breakdown at that point, you might as well not waste your time and money changing it any sooner.  I not recommending extending intervals way out to 7500 miles or anything like that, just taking a reasonable approach to the whole process.

....Oil is darkened buy blow by . It is carbon

....All of the reading I have done on the subject suggests there is little or no difference between Mobil 1 motorcycle specific and automotive oil. As a result I am using Mobil 1 15w50 automotive oil with no problems so far (1k miles). Have I made a mistake? Do I really need motorcycle specific oil?

.....All of the reading I have done on the subject suggests there is little or no difference between Mobil 1 motorcycle specific and automotive oil. As a result I am using Mobil 1 15w50 automotive oil with no problems so far (1k miles). Have I made a mistake? Do I really need motorcycle
specific oil?
....Response....Probably not.  The people with the old Sabre and Magna V4's of Honda, including me, have been using Mobil 1 auto, for
years.  Those engines from '82-'86 had almost no oil getting to the upper heads and were/are eating cams for "lunch." Thus the group learned to run Mobil 1 for a reason. Extremely improved lubrication from synthetics.  And then the ones in the know do an oil mod to bring oil to the upper heads.  Mobil 1 saved the early V4's from early death, but of course did not correct the problem.  I run Mobil 1 in everything including the $100 mower.  I do not run Mobil 1 in the Max, since at the time I got the Max, I was studying the oil info online, about '95.  Lots of ideas, opinions, etc.  What caught my attention at that time was the concern about wet clutches being damages by slipping with synthetics.  I have had none of that problem yet, but it did concern me about slippage at the microscopic level with one out not sense until a clutch went bad.  Thus at that time I settled in on Torco full synthetic.  Why, no major knowledgeable reason, except they, like other cycle specific oils. advertised additives to handle the potential slippage problems of wet clutches, and Torco was producing oil for major racing concerns.  I still order it from Ernie, 10% off for VMOA.  He pays shipping.  Was about $6 per qt when I started so not $10, which has become a major concern, since one can buy Mobil 1 auto from Wally World for about $4.50 or less.  I only change oil once a year, so have stuck with Torco on the Max and Mobil 1 in the Magna.  Would I use Mobil 1 auto in the Max?  Yes, in a minute, no hesitation. Would I use Mobil 1 cycle specific in the Max?   Yes, but at the cost Mobil 1 cycle, I will stick with Torco.  One last word, you will not be making a mistake with Mobil 1 auto, unless you detect major slippage, and then just get it out and go back to some Yamalube or Honda dyno, or something to that effect for awhile.   Or try some cycle specific synthetic.  I would like to hear from someone that had slippage and then put dyno or cycle specific syn. in for a couple of changes.  You hear a lot of opinions.  They talk the talk, but not sure they walk the walk:  

...What it boils down to is do what you want, It's tough to make a convert on assumption. That is that unless you you have first hand knowledge and testimonials it's hard to see the advantages and benefits of going to a synthetic as opposed to staying with mineral based oil.
Will a vehicle using mineral oils last as long as a vehicle using synthetics, maybe or maybe not.  Let me explain... I have a buddy that owns a business the puts hard long miles on trucks and cars, he uses a popular brand of oil, mineral base multi viscosity which he changes religiously at 5,000 miles. the oldest vehicle has 400,000 miles on it the newest ( a 98 van) has already 58,000 on it. on the other hand I had a 89 ford mustang 5.0 which I used mobile delvac 1 ( this came out before mobile 1). It had 120k on it before it got totaled in a accident. I guess you could say the 400k truck lasted longer than my mustang . What I am trying to say is that every application is unique to the situation on hand. Being in the aviation field I come to test and evaluate many things. One of them was mineral oils versus synthetics. One of my customers owned a PA 28-235 ( Piper Cherokee), wanted to try a new aviation oil that came out, it was a 20-50w synthetic made by Phillips petroleum. He asked me would it be of benefit to switch to a synthetic oil, being it was new at the time I honestly told him I did not really know being it was a new product and prior to this nobody made a synthetic oil for aircraft use. Well It turns out that another customer who's aircraft I worked on owns a laboratory that performs spectral analysis of oil and other substances. Now that's all I needed to know, I convinced both parties that if I performed the maintenance at my expense we put the synthetic oil in the  airplane of the first owner A , after 100 hrs of operational hours the owner of airplane B will perform a spectral analysis of the oil. All said and done 100 hrs go by I drain the oil and give it to the lab to have it analyzed. The report was quite extensive however there were a few key items that was apparent of synthetics over mineral oils, shear strength, shear stability ( viscosity breakdown) which with mineral oils if you change regularly it is not a major issue. detergent additives are about the
same so that concludes that synthetics clean better ( that's why if you change your oil regularly you can switch to synthetics with out the possibility of desludging your engine) . However the shining light that was apparent with the synthetics was the ability of the oil to hold the dirt in suspension, synthetic oils can hold more contaminants in comparison to mineral oils before breaking down. Now come to think of it what was the claim to fame of the synthetics? Let see, use brand x synthetic oil and you don't have to change your oil for 25,000 miles (which I did do for the sake of science and found out from analysis the oil still had life....). Since then all I use is synthetic, my 84 jeep when I bought it had 102k miles on it, switched to synthetics now I have 210k on it, my taurus sho lives on mobile 1. My V-MAX? you guessed it mobile 1 moto.
.....Which leads me to my conclusion, my determining factors to use synthetic oils in my cars and motorcycles were based on comparison and analysis, and in my application I feel it necessary to it makes me feel good too. after all that's what's important! Also I would like to say is I am currently performing a test using synthetic oil in my Max. I performed the break in per the manual drained the oil and had it analyzed, ran 1k with mineral ( 1.5K total) had that analyzed, now I am putting the miles on  with the synthetic, I have about 2k on it (3.5k total) and change it when i get to nervous, shooting for 6k for analysis then 10k and so on. I'll keep you all posted with the results. P.S. I have the first oil change analysis sheet available from the break in period if any one wants to see it

.....Take a look at this site:  Good article from MCN with quotes like the following. "As can be seen from the figures, the best-performing oil of the group tested was Mobil 1 automotive oil, a fully synthetic product. In today's market, virtually all oils sold are to some extent para-synthetic, since even standard petroleum products usually contain at  least some synthetic-derived additives."

....Response.....I'm thinking there's a period in there somewhere? ROFL Nothing wrong with the synthetics the way i read it, except for the price. "Synthetics are superior lubricants compared to traditional petroleum oils." Synthetics can run longer then your typical dinosaur juice. You will have to decide if their high cost is justifed in your application.  "Synthetics can be run two to three times the mileage of petroleum oils with no problems. They do not react to combustion and combustion by-products to the extent that the dead dinosaur juice does. The longer drain intervals possible help take the bite out of the higher cost of the synthetics." Now, you cant go switching back and fourth from synthetic to fossil oil, this would create a vase amount of sludge witch will cause a problem. Do your home work, pic your oil and stick with that brand for the life of your ride, weather it be your bike, lawn mower or car. Synthetics exceed manufacture's  requirements in many cases. Chemicals are good. Do your homework, you will find the same information i did. I personally use Kendal GT-1 (dinosaur juice) @ $1.48 a quart, i buy by the case and change the oil at 12 to 1500 miles :p   Its a bonding thing i have with my bike...LOL
....I have read several articles regarding motorcycle oil vs. automotive oil. I only ever read one where a scientist actually compared his own bike
with his own car, and actually measured viscosity and lubricating properties of both motorcycle and automotive oils, synthetic and natural. His findings were that there is no significant difference in the oils formulated for cars or bikes. Synthetic is better than natural, and bikes do break down oil sooner than cars (shearing forces in the tranny are to blame). I do recall that one of the more expensive bike oils was the poorer performer when compared to auto oil.
.....In my humble not waste your hard earned $$ buying specially formulated motorcycle oil when they cost 3x as much as auto oil. All that is important is to change the oil often and keep it clean. Use the viscosity recommended. I had a Yamaha XJ1100J that I put over 100,000 km on the dial and it never saw anything but automotive oil. I religiously changed the oil and filter every 3,000 km and I never had an oil related problem. When I sold the bike three years ago, the engine was still strong and did not burn a drop. My '97 Vmax is being treated in similar fashion...22,000 km so far with no problems.
......The main difference between a bike and a car is that a bike's oil also lubes the tranny, and has to put up with the shearing forces associated with gears. That puts stress on the oil which causes viscosity to break down over time. Changing the oil often solves the problem and has the added benefit of keeping the engine clean.Save your $$, use auto oil.

....Motorcycle Consumer News did an excellent comparison of Automotive Oilversus Motorcycle Oil.  Turns out the demands of the two are actually quite different and therefore formulated quite differently.  
rsepower Junkie

....Milky oil is generally caused by water contamination. I generally change the oil immediately if it starts to look this way. Black oil is caused by soot contamination caused by combustion by-products. It isn't generally harmful. 
....The things to watch for in your oil are glycol contamination, high silicon, and wear metals such as aluminum, iron, chromium, and lead. These can't be detected by visual examination but can be found by an inexpensive spectroscopic analysis of your oil. Since the cost of this test is only slightly less than the cost of an oil change, though, it's probably not useful for extending change intervals. It will, however, give you lots of insight into the condition of your engine. 
.....If you want really detailed information, you can get a wear debris analysis done. This test is rather expensive , but it will give you information about the size distribution and shape of wear particles in your oil. This will let you determine whether the high iron in your oil is due to normal transmission wear or abnormal cylinder wall wear.

.....Oil isn't changed only because it loses viscosity, or because it breaks down. it is critical to change the oil every 2-4000 miles for the simple reason that oil gets contaminated by running. first, water collects in the oil sump from condensation that forms inside the engine every time it cools down. more often than not, we do not get to ride the bike far and hard enough every time it is started to fully allow the water to evaporate through the breathing system. second, gasoline and many combustion byproducts are absorbed into the oil continually when the bike is running, and these contaminants do not, and cannot, evaporate that easily--they stay, and make the oil mixture acidic, which in turn attacks engine internals--hence the wise idea to change the oil before letting the bike sit for long periods. also, these contaminants, like the water, ruins the oil's lubricative qualities, and mucks with the multi-viscosity abilities of the oil. > 
....*** Yes, I asked him off-list if that's what he really did, or was it a > 'typo'. That's what he really does. wow-- > Uses full synthetic, tops off with > fresh oil at filter change, to compensate for the amount lost in filter > change. His technique makes a lot of sense. As you rack up mileage the > engine will naturally generate particles that need to be filtered out. yes, but most of the contaminants that collect in the oil do not get caught by the filter. > But most don't do this. If you change oil every 3000 miles or so, there is > no advantage to using a full synthetic, just costs more. sorry, i disagree again--synthetic oils (the good ones) are inherently more temperature insensitive than dead dino soup, and have much higher tolerances for heat without losing viscosity and all other important lubricative qualities. important to note that synthetic oils aren't synthetic--they are only synthetic in the sense that highly refined petroleum products are manipulated and mixed in certain ways to create a superior oil. they don't "make" it from scratch. given how cheap it is to change oil every 2-3000 miles, and given that good, fresh oil is the very lifeblood of an engine, i feel that frequent oil changes are WELL worth it! k great site for info on oils--my e-mail address has no connection.....

.....> sorry, i disagree again--synthetic oils (the good ones) are inherently more > temperature insensitive than dead dino soup, and have much higher tolerances > for heat without losing viscosity and all other important lubricative > qualities. important to note that synthetic oils aren't synthetic--they are > only synthetic in the sense that highly refined petroleum products are > manipulated and mixed in certain ways to create a superior oil. they don't > "make" it from scratch. > *** Oops - time to correct some misinformation. Chemically, something is "synthesized" when you take small molecules and chemically "engineer" it into a larger molecule with a very particular functionality. "Synthetic" oils like Mobil 1 use base fluid which truly is "synthetic", and are so well engineered for lubrication that they normally require little , if any, polymer for viscosity control. Thus they don't change viscosity over time from polymer shear. Conventional 'dino' oils use a base fluid which was engineered by Mother Nature, and mixed in with all kinds of other stuff which has come to be called 'crude oil'. Second, there is much engine laboratory test data by large companies that *shows* (not suggests) that for normal oil change intervals, like 3000 miles, conventional, dino, non-synthetic oils protect as well as full synthetic oils. Sorry if it clouds anyone's perceptions, but that is fact. It make you feel better to use a full synthetic, changed at 3000 miles, but it will not prolong the life of your motor in normal use.(Retired oil and fuels chemist)

.....Only after an engine has achieved it's correct operating temp.  Cold starts are where the synthetic will outshine a conventional oil.  Do your own test with any engine with an oil pressure gauge.  See which oil comes up to full pressure sooner under cold conditions.  If the tests were to include multiple cold starts as would be typical in real life I am sure the synthetics would outshine conventional oil by far.

.....Oil isn't changed only because it loses viscosity, or because it breaks > down. it is critical to change the oil every 2-4000 miles for the simple > reason that oil gets contaminated by running. The oil gets contaminated, but typically not by running. I go through dozens or hundreds of oil analysis reports in a week, and I see what happens to engine oil. The ONLY times I call for a short oil change (less than 500 hours on most of our equipment) is when there's glycol contamination, gross fuel dilution (greater than three percent), or reason to suspect dirt ingestion by the engine. Granted, most of the samples are for diesel engines (it's not worth the $8 per sample to do our small vehicle fleet unless there's a reason to suspect a problem), but the same principles apply. 
......> first, water collects in the oil sump from condensation that forms inside > the engine every time it cools down. more often than not, we do not get to > ride the bike far and hard enough every time it is started to fully allow the > water to evaporate through the breathing system. "We?" Speak for yourself! The shortest rides I take are commuting to work, which is 40 miles of highway running each way. My recreational rides are much longer. This is PLENTY of time for the condensation to evaporate. 
......> second, gasoline and many combustion byproducts are absorbed into the oil > continually when the bike is running, and these contaminants do not, and > cannot, evaporate that easily--they stay, and make the oil mixture acidic, > which in turn attacks engine internals--hence the wise idea to change the oil > before letting the bike sit for long periods. also, these contaminants, like > the water, ruins the oil's lubricative qualities, anf mucks with the > multi-viscosity abilities of the oil. It is the breakdown of the viscosity index improvers that cause the loss of multi-viscosity properties. These break down largely due to shear loads in the gears (largely in the transmission and cam drives in a VFR). However, synthetic oil requires far less VI improver due to the fact that the base stock can be controlled very tightly. Since it depends less on the VI improver, breakdown of the VI improver has less of an impact. This is the reason that synthetic oils are recommended for extended drain intervals. > yes, but most of the contaminants that collect in the oil do not get caught by > the filter. 
....The primary contaminant that is of concern in your VFR oil is dirt. This is caught by the filter. Glycol, fuel, and combustion byproducts won't get caught, but if you don't blow a head gasket, have carbs dripping excessive amounts of gas into your intakes, or let your air filter get in bad shape, you're probably OK for extended drain intervals. If you do use your VFR primarily for short trips, it may be a good idea to drain the oil more frequently. > > But most don't do this. 
.....If you change oil every 3000 miles or so, there is > > no advantage to using a full synthetic, just costs more. > > sorry, i disagree again--synthetic oils (the good ones) are inherently more > temperature insensitive than dead dino soup, and have much higher tolerances > for heat without losing viscosity and all other important lubricative > qualities. important to note that synthetic oils aren't synthetic--they are > only synthetic in the sense that highly refined petroleum products are > manipulated and mixed in certain ways to create a superior oil. they don't > "make" it from scratch. I disagree with both of you. :-) I run synthetic in my VFR so that I can get the benefits of longer drain intervals. However, I also use synthetic oil in my wife's Jeep, and change it at the normal manufacturer-recommended intervals. This is because she frequently makes short trips when the engine is cold, and I like the fact that synthetic oils have better cold-flow properties. Besides, I like to be able to say, "Yes, dear, I use the best oil on the market for your truck." :-) > given how cheap it is to change oil every 2-3000 miles, and given that good, > fresh oil is the very lifeblood of an engine, i feel that frequent oil changes > are WELL worth it! With Mobil 1 and a Honda filter, it costs me roughly $20 to change oil. It's still cheaper than tires or fuel, but that doesn't make it cheap! :-) In short, I think I'll stick with 5000-6000 mile oil change intervals.

....> I wonder what your thoughts are on a once a year oil change with yearly > mileage right at 10,000 miles? I've been running Mobil 1 for 4 years and > just went and opted for the Mobil 1 MX4T since they've changed the > formulation of the regular Mobil 1 to this Tri-Synthetic stuff. I feel > comfortable that the oil will hold up for 10k miles fine. Just wonder about > leaving it in the crankcase for a whole year. Typically, the bike will not > sit idle during the winter for more than 2 weeks at a time w/o at least a > 30-60 minute ride to keep things in good order. What'cha think? As long as your air filter is in good condition (e.g., not dumping lots of dirt into your engine), I don't see why you'd have a problem with that. The only thing I'd worry about is the possibility of getting some contamination of the oil early on in the year, and running oil with dirt, iron, or glycol in it for the rest of the year.

....> Perhaps the biggest advantage of a synthetic is that it flows easier when > cold. Since most (typical) engine wear is caused during startups (after the > oil has drained down) and there is no oil pressure an oil that flows sooner > than latter is a GREAT advantage. *** I admit that I don't know anything about engine design. But my own observation, in doing valve-clearance checks of a number of different motorcycles, is that not all oil drains down. (In fact, according to my VFR service manual, about 0.7 quart of oil remains in the motor after an oil drain and filter removal.) Instead, as you manually rotate the engine to reach TDC, the cam lobes immediately get 'oily' again, even if the bike has been sitting several days. Which leads me to conclude that part of engine design is to create small 'reservoirs' of oil throughout the engine to provide oil immediately, while the oil pressure is being established at start-up. Or, the lines remain full of oil and begin to deliver immediately. I agree that most wear occurs during initial cold running, but I understand it is because the engine is cold, not because it starts up without oil (i.e. metal-to-metal). It is well established that oil lubricates more effectively at engine operating temperature. I also agree that a good advantage of a full syntehtic is that it flows better when cold, which is pretty important in very cold climates. But a good advantage is also that it degrades much more slowly than a 'dino' oil, and you should feel comfortable extending your normal drain interval to 5000 miles or more. From the single point of view of engine wear and engine longevity, there are enough examples of motorcycles going 200,000 miles and more on just plain old dollar-a-quart oil changed every 3000 miles or so that *no one* should fear loss of engine life by using a less-expensive conventional oil. If anyone wants to argue that point, they need to provide data to support any claims.

.....wrote: > > >Not true. Bearings (Plain as in your VFR) need to ride on a constantly > >renewed film of oil much as a toboggan rides on snow. The wear occurs if the > >oil can't flow fast enough to replenish this thin layer. > > > >Steve > > True, constantly replenished oil flow is better for your bearings than > bath conditions but the bearings do not lose all their oil overnight if they > are drawn cup bearings or something similar. In that case a small pool of > oil settles in the bottom of the bearing cup (outer race) which is usually > the load zone and supplies some initial lube at start up. Although I don't > know much about engine design I would be more worried about piston lubrication > at start up. As always correct me if I'm wrong...... Something to keep in mind is that the Babbit metal in plain engine bearings is designed partly to be tough enough to withstand metal-to-metal contact without undue wear. For long-term operation or heavy loads you need to have oil pressure, but for lightly-loaded startup conditions the light oil film that's left behind is sufficient to prevent wear.
.....Then why does most engine wear occur during cold start conditions?

.....Perhaps the biggest advantage of a synthetic is that it flows easier when cold.  Since most (typical) engine wear is caused during startups (after the oil has drained down) and there is no oil pressure an oil that flows sooner than latter is a GREAT advantage.  If only for this reason you should use synthetics.  Of course all the other reasons just add to the benefits.

..... The above link came from my brother on the RG500 list. The author's name would be familiar to old time list members, from 4-5 years ago.  Without wanting to start an oil thread, the article is clearly written, and written by someone who knows what he is talking about.  BTW, if you think you spend too much money on motorcycles, sit on the RG500 list for a while, we are onlybeginners .....

.....This test  was printed on the 2nd or 3erd issue of Motorcycle Consumer News back in 1994, Dr. "Woolum's" opinions and tests are exactly the same of 1994. Most of the people who had some experience with motorcycle oils can tell you Spectro" and "Golden Spectro" oils are crap, as well as the Honda HP-4 and the Yamalube. There is NO evidence ANYWHERE that can show and prove using automotive oil will damage, seize or ruin your motorcycle engine, BUT there is enough evidence showing that synthetics are far superior than petroleum based oils.

Notes above were generated in late 2001 to mid 2002.  Notes below will be worked up in 2003.

Oil Notes 2003

Restated  from Sportrider June 2003

What does oil do for the engine??
...Lubrication is the main purpose, serving as a molecular layer of protection between metal surfaces.
...Oil acts as a dispersant holding damaging particles of metal and debris in suspension to be removed and collected in the oil filter.
...Oil additive molecules chemically react with the corrosive products of combustion to include a variety of acids.  Sulfur molecules in fuel, released by combustion will react with oxygen and water molecules to for sulfuric acid which can literally eat into the metal engine parts exposed to the acid if not neutralized or if the engine sits around and is not run up to normal operating temperatures for sustained periods to help 'burn' off the acids.  Chemically functional oils will have the correct levels of calcium, magnesium and/or boron to neutralize acid production.
...Oil cools hot pots in the engine that water based coolant passages do not/cannot reach.  Water coolant generally deals with the hottest parts of the engine such as the cylinders and cylinder heads.  Many of the internal engine components depend on oil for not only lubrication but for cooling.  Of course good lubrications reduces excessive frictional heat production.  The transmission and clutch relay heavily on oil to keep their temperatures even and regulated as excessive expansion of the gears and plates  can cause clearance related problems .
...Piston have become thinner for weight reduction, and the compression ratios have increased.  Oil cooling if vitally important to the underside of the piston. 
...Oil is exposed to extreme engine temperatures in the modern motorcycle engines thus thermal stability of the oil is very important.

What is the API?
...The American Petroleum Institute (API) licenses engine oil industry standards and test oils for these standards and labelling.
...The goals of the auto industry has been aimed at lowering levels of friction to obtain higher fuel economy and also to deal with emissions related issues, to meet ever stricter government standards.  The API works with the auto industry in an attempt to promote better mileage and fewer emissions.
...Until a few years ago the motorcycle industry followed the ever changing API oil designations used for auto oils.  The designations for auto oils became a problem when the SJ designation on oils lowered maximum levels of some additives used to reduce metal-to-metal friction. (Note: the SJ has been change to SL designation.)
...The maximum phosphorous content has been lowered from 0.12% to 0.10% due to its negative impact on catalytic converters.  The phosphorus get passed through the engine during combustion and does damage to the oxygen sensors and converters.  The oil standards get changed every few years as the auto manufacturers attempt to keep up with demands, and the EPA requirement that emissions-related parts be covered under warranty for seven years.

What is the JASO?
...The Japanese Auto Standards Organization (JASO) developed tests for motorcycles rather than rely on the API specs dedicated to autos only.
...JASO offers two levels of oil certification MA for high friction applications and MB for low friction applications.  
...There will be a number above the MA or MB in the box with a certification number on it if legitimate.
...The motorcycle manufacturers felt that the lower levels of phosphorous and the introduction of more friction modifiers to increase fuel economy in autos was not the best thing for motorcycle engines.
...Phosphorous is an important anti-wear component of oil and reducing is level was thought to impact on the wear of transmission gears as motorcycles share engine oil with the transmission gear box.
...It was thought that increased levels of friction modifiers could cause issues with slipping clutches, and even reduce the effectiveness of back-torque limiting devices that reduce wheel lock-up on downshifts.
...JASO's standards include a test designed to measure the oil's effect on clutch lock-up, plus heat stability and other factors related specifically to motorcycle engines and transmissions.

What is 'Sport Riders' advice?
...If the bikes manual calls for API SG oil, use that designation.  Do not use a higher API designation oil such as API SL, as it will contain less of some additives such as phosphorus, and may contain other additives that yield higher fuel economy in an auto but could possibly be a factor in inducing clutch slippage.
...One can be safe selecting JASO labeled oil since it has passed a series of test developed by the motorcycle industry.  At this point most manuals do not mention JASO oil ratings, but one can rely on them.

What are base stocks that oils are formulated from?
...80-90% of the volume of motor oils is a base oil mixture to which additives will be added.
...The base stock can be either totally petroleum-based, semi-synthetic or full synthetic.
...Petroleum bases are refined from crude oil.  They offer good properties but are not as heat resistant as synthetic bases.
...Synthetic oils are a product of chemical reaction to produce the desired base lubricant.

What are the API  five groups of oil?
...Group 1...solvent frozen mineral oil...least processed, used in non-auto applications but some may find way into low-cost motor oils.
...Group 2...hydro-processed and refined mineral oil...most common of the petroleum oils, standard component of most auto and cycle engine oils.
...Group 3...start as group 1 oils, processed for more heat stability, now called synthetic but many argue they are not true synthetics,  being the lowest cost 'synthetic'  to produce the group has grown due to lower production cost and similar performance to traditional synthetics of group 4 and 5 although they usually do not perform like group 4 and 5 oils...examples; Castrol Snytec auto, Motorex Top Speed.
...Group 4...Polyalpholefin or POA synthetic oils...most common full synthetic oils...usually offer big improvments in heat and stability over group 3, produced in large quantities so inexpensive for full-syn oils, being wax-free they have high viscosity indexes (meaning a low temperature pour point) so often require little to no viscosity modifiers...examples; Amsoil and Motorex Power Synt.
...Group 5...Esters...plant and/or animal fatty acids are converted into esters or diesters which are used as the base stock...esters are polar like a magnet thus actually cling to metal surfaces, which in theory offers much better protection on metal-to-metal surfaces than even Group 4's polyalphaolefin's (PAO's) which do not have the polar a base stock esters act as a superior solvent inside the engine meaning cleaner operation....ester base stocks are expensive companies using them only fortify their oils with esters...examples; Bel-Ray EXS, Rorco MPZ Synthetic, Torco Maxum 4 Extra...Motul 300V uses 100% ester as a base oil, thus being one of the most expensive oils.

What are the basic oil additives?
...Additives make up 10-20% of an engine oil's content.
...Detergents and Dispersants...keep foreign material in suspension so the oil filter can remove them...including metal, dust, carbon deposits...thus oil filter efficiency is a serious topic of discussion.
...Corrosion Inhibitors...prevents oil from deteriorating under the chemical attack of free radicals or oxidation.
...Acid Neutralizers...react with and 'absorb' acids created during combustion which can pit and eat way metal surfaces...examples; calcium, magnesium, boron...look for the TBN or Total Base Number, the higher the TBN the acid protection and longer the oil should last in this capacity.
...Anti-wear agents...protect from metal-to-metal wear...often the most discussed group...examples; phosphorous and zinc...includes friction modifiers as molybdenum disulphide (moly).
...Other motorcycle oil additives...viscosity modifiers, antirust components, foam inhibitors, which are important due to the high rpm's in cycle causing air bubbles and cavitation (the oil pump impeller is just spinning in air/oil bubbles and not pumping a column of oil into the motor, this oil starvation of the bearing and metal surfaces).

What does Viscosity mean?
...Viscosity is the resistance to flow measured at the freezing point of water (32F or 0C)...the lower the number the 'thicker' the oil acts, thus 10W is thicker than 20W, than 30W on single grade oils.
... Most people now use multi-weight oils, where the first number indicates viscosity at 32F and the second number viscosity at the boiling point of water (212F or 100C)...oils 'thin' as they become hot, thus a 10W40 oil acts like a 10W oil at freezing and 40W oil at 212F. 
...To overcome the natural 'thinning' as oil heat up large complex polymer molecules that 'swell'  are used as viscosity modifiers, the result being the oil thins less.
...Synthetic oils have naturally high viscosity and do not thin at much which means they are better suited for a wide range of temperatures and conditions associated with motorcycle use...synthetic oils have reduced to no viscosity modifiers which are some of the first additives to 'wear-out' in engine oil...synthetic oils hold their viscosity longer.
...Using a thicker oil or higher viscosity than needed can actually harm an engine as engine oil passages and galleys may not be large enough to allow thicker oils to flow as well and penetrate as far into the engine as necessary which could mean some level of lubrication starvation.
...Synthetic oils will have a higher film strength and adhere longer to metal surfaces.

Do synthetic oils cause clutch slippage?
...No, it is usually not the issue...slippage is caused by a number of things as spring pressure, age, clutch plate material/condition.
...On a bike where clutch slippage is occurring oil selection may have to be more selective or the clutch serviced.
...Moly used as a friction reducing additive in auto oils is often blamed for clutch slippage, but alone is generally not the problem.
...There is no simple answer to clutch slippage.  If slippage occurs upon trying a different oil, then the oil may well be a factor on that specific bike and will have to be experimented with. 
...Marginal clutches are usually the ones that start slipping, many having weakened springs and the problems just revealed by synthetic oil due to its superior lubrication properties.

In the next issue Sportrider will give an evaluation of numerous oils.



View through the sight window of a FZ1 during a dyno run to the rev limiter and back down.
Oil type/brand unknown.

Motor Oil Primer Site 

Use the FZ1 Sitemap  to navigate all of the FZ pages.

 []  IowaZ Sitemap []   IowaZ Vmax Sitemap  []  IowaZ V65 Magna Page  []

Click for Hannibal, Missouri Forecast  Click for Fayette, Iowa Forecast

Any reproduction of this site or it's contents requires express written consent.

 Send Email