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Motorcycle oil versus automobile oil?

Discussion in 'Mechanical & Technical' started by beansbaxter, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Everything I've been told and everything I've read said as long as it meets the same specs with the whole SJ/SH or whatever, then it's all good. I haven't had a problem so far and most importantly, I was able to afford a 'burger on the way home with the saved $$$ :mrgreen:

  2. And you are just now figuring this out??? :nana

    Long Long LONG time ago, I used to run expensive "motorcycle" oil in my bikes... but then I read many chemical analysis/comparison reports about the whole thing and saw the light!

    These days, I just run car oil and change it frequently.
  3. Only "a burger" I'd have full meal deal, of course one of my MC almost couldn't be damaged-other haven't ridden more than .5 mi.
    But , yes couln't see that $$$ made for MC oil when most doesn't even have a rating. SG, SJ...

    Attn: BEANS you should make this a sticky
  4. done.
  5. That article is still a decent read. However, it failed to take into account newer API standards. You can read up on those here, but here's the short of it:

    If your motorcycle has a wet clutch, chances are you should not use API SL, SJ or SM oils. Those oils have friction modifiers in them that can cause your clutch to slip. The exception is bikes that specifically state, in the owner's manual, they require one of those grades of oil.

    Straight from the horse's mouth:
    Think before you buy. Is saving $10 on an oil change now worth spending an afternoon putting in another $100 in parts?
  6. I run cheap oil but change it very often. I would rather change my oil three times more often than run the expensive stuff. As far as the friction modifiers go I accidentally put some in my bike but never had any clutch slipage, even at the drag strip. Don't use synthetic oil in a bike that is still being broken in because the rings won't seat, and don't use it in a high mileage motor because non-synthetic oils make the old seals swell and seal better.

    That's my .02
  7. I found another article with more up todate information. You would be surprised how oil standards/ratings have changed in the past 15 years.

    I plan on switching to Rotella synthetic (a diesel oil) after my box of GTX gets used up. This is a cheap oil with high shearing properties, exactly what a motorcycle needs. Skip to the lower half of the article if you are not interested in learning.
    Quadzilla1 likes this.
  8. Rotella rocks!!
    I've just started using it in my FZR with no negative affects (It's not like I didn't know about it, just hadn't tried it till now).
    Chevron makes a comparable product in their Delo 400 series.
    I'll still use Kendall over either one of those though (when I can get it) - they have a decent 15-40 that my motor seems to like :mrgreen:
  9. Mobil 1 15w/50 (red cap). :clap
  10. As for wet clutches... it's easy, just get the oils that are not labeled as friction reducing on the the little circle label. 10-40 pretty much never has it.
  11. I just one tablespoon of sand for every cup of water. The sand adds some thickness and color. My bikes run great! :nana
  12. Jafar

    Jafar Retired Admin

    i've found no evidence of slippage in the oil i run.

    the oil says:
    Recommended where the following are

    and i've never had a problem with slippage. its a full-synth and i put it in after about 2400miles. a friend of mine has been using it for years on his FJR and never had a clutch problem. over 75k on his FJR with the same clutch.
  13. i have to add my .02 cents to this thread.

    being a rider for a bit over 27 years and having been a motorcycle tech for 23 of those years i have put car oil in ever single bike i owned even till this very day.

    i have had bike see upwrads of 60k on the clock with castrol gtx, i have had one honda cb650sc see a bit over 100k on its clock using car oil.

    not one bike ever seen a clutch failure from any of the oil i used. most of those oils contained some sort of friction modifiers. any clutch failures on my bikes were due to pure abuse on my own part.

    to this very day i now run shell rotella t synthetic which carries an api rating of cl4-plus along with some of the s series ratings. my busa now has 17k on the clock of pretty hard riding. the clutch is still in perfect condition.

    while it is possible for friction modifiers to ruin a clutch, it is more likely that your clutch will be worn by natural causes long before any friction modifier ruins it.
  14. There's a guy on page .Scootr He is a oil tester and formulatior. He Does'nt work for any oil company, hes got over 20 years in the field and says mobil 1 15w 50 or 20w 50. If you send him a sample of your oil he can tell many things about your motor. I've talked and argued with him many times. The man is a oil god . Mobil it is. Look it up.He can list the chemical name and precentage of all 88 elements mobil or any other oil is made up of.Search oil test on good stuff
  15. Jafar

    Jafar Retired Admin

    yup, the oil i use is full-synth car oil, too.
  16. These are highlights from a article I found about the differences in car/moto oil. Yes it's dated but is still revelant.

    Since the introduction of catalytic converters in automobiles, the best anti-wear agents have been limited by law to the amount that can be used in automotive oils, but are present in greater concentration in motorcycle oils."

    "Fact - Phosphorous deteriorates the catalyst in converters and is therefore restricted to a very small percentage in automotive oils. Phosphorous is also an essential element in one of the best anti-wear agents, ZDDP (zinc dialkyldithiophosphate), which is a primary component in such over-the-counter engine additives as STP Engine Treatment."

    * There is no doubt that the synthetic or synthetic blends are far superior to a pure petroleum oil, Just make sure it's designed for a motorcycle.

    * The absence of zinc and phosphorous from automobile oils is for the preservation of catalytic converters. These are both extreme pressure additives that are a necessary part of motorcycle oils.

    The final decision is yours. You may not have a problem now and feel quite content using automotive oils. But three independent magazines and the motorcycle manufacturers are all warning us that we could experience expensive problems down the road.

    As for my 23 year old bike with too many NLA (no longer available) engine parts, I'm not taking any chances for the long run, motorcycle oil only for me.

    link to article
  17. Jafar

    Jafar Retired Admin

    i'll have to research ZDDP.

    the other, very significant, thing to remember about the difference between a car and motorcycle is that the oil you put in a motorcycle to protect the engine is also lubrication the transmission--not so in a car. just think how much shearing happends in a tranny. thats also why your bike shifts better when you change the oil.
  18. the good old bike vs mc oil argument.

    heres one for you guys.

    i been wrenching on bikes professionaly for a bit over 23 years now. i have owned so many bikes in my past i cant even list them all on a peice of notebook paper.

    every bike i owned i put good old car oil in. not one ever suffered an oil related failure. some of them saw well over 60k in mileage. almost all of them had the piss ran out of them and not one ever suffered from clutch failure that i was not the cause of.

    ever single report or argument i have seen concerning car oil in bikes has not shown one real life test. well i am here to tell you that here stands over 23 years of real live testing on well over 50 bikes.

    if it makes you feel good to spend $10 bucks a quart on super high grade oil then be my guest. $2.99 castrol gtx was the diet for many of my old air cooled z motors that i ran the piss out of. i currently run shell rotella t synthetic in my busa. just recently i checked my valve clearances at 20k and there was not one single sign of wear on the cam bearing faces. not bad for a bike that has the piss ran out of it on a daily basis. why i am willing to bet the thing will go at least 50,000 on this oil with no problems.

    come to think of it, ill bet 50% of every bike i have ever worked on had car oil in it. i dont recall seeing any damage i can relate to use of car oil. i have seen damage from neglect and lack of oil or lack of oil changes but not one that we could point the finger at lets say a damaged bearing and say "yep that was the cause of car oil"

    so to answer the question is bike oil better than car oil? maybe. maybe they do put mystery snake oil in it for the tranny. will running car oil in your bike hurt it? hell no. i thnik i am living proof of it.
    Black bobber likes this.
  19. what is this??
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