BMW Motorcycle Oil analysis

Al

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Elizabethtown, Pa
That raises a question. I just spent $7 a quart for Mobil 1 10W-40 MX4T Motorcycle oil. I wonder what makes it supposedly better than say the regular 15W-50 Mobil 1. I have heard that the 15W-50 unlike conventional oils has no antifriction additives. Bob???
 

DNS

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Al, The Mobil 1 motorcycle oil may have higher levels of ZDDP or other antiwear additives. Currently BMWs are about the only motorcycles running catalytic converters, so in general, levels of phosporus and other chemicals that may harm a cat aren't a concern. Mobil 1 15W50 used to be (and may still be) an excellent oil for motorcycle applications. By the way, some Walmart stores are now selling the Mobil 1 motorcycle oil for about $5.00 a quart, not much more than the price of the auto oil.
 
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2,077
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Cordelia, CA
I've been running 15W50 Mobil 1 in my bikes for the past 15 years. Every once in a while, I'll try a "bike oil" unless it's synthetic, the transmission never shifts as well as long as with M1. Yamaha FZ series bikes have a built in oil change indicator. When they get hard to shift, it's time for a drain. Mobil 1 will go 5000 miles, before stiff shifting sets in. Conventionals go 1500-2000 miles.
 
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136
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The Dirty South
I wonder what model BMW motorcycle that was? As for moto oil, solid and objective info is hard to find. Most riders have swallowed the "you must use a bike oil in all bikes" thing hook, line, and sinker. As of yet, I haven't seen any hard evidence that moto oils are truly superior (or even different) from any $1.40/qt SJ car oil. Everyone knows the problems that supposedly happen when you run SJ in a bike. Yet nobody that I've ever spoken with has ever actually seen them happen. Go figure... [ June 13, 2002, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: richard612 ]
 

DNS

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Most of the problems with running SJ oil in bikes is from using oils with friction modifiers. This will cause clutch slippage in many bikes with wet clutches. Other problems are probably caused by using one of the lighter weight oils with insufficient levels of zinc and phosphorus for use in a shared engine/transmission arrangement. I managed to dig up some analysis data I found posted on the web for mobil 15W50 trisynthetic and the MX4T. The zinc and phosphorus levels for the MX4T are higher although the levels for the 15W50 are very respectable and higher than some motorcycle specific oils. Unfortunately, it looks like they have been significantly reduced in the new supersyn formulation Mobil 1 Tri Synth (auto) Boron_____109 Sodium____7 Moly_______11 Phosphorus____1190 Zinc______1485 Calcium____843 Magnesium______1720 TBN____10.32 visc.__17.3 Mobil MX4T Boron_________________231 Sodium______5 Moly_______5 Phosphorus_____1370 Zinc______1579 Calcium____2587 Magnesium_____615 TBN______9.99 visc.____13.7
 
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Cordelia, CA
The type SJ concerns were only somewhat valid for the lighter weight oils, the ones that were certified, "Energy Conserving," I suppose if you already had a marginal clutch, it might start slipping if you put one in, I have heard of that happening. But most watercooled bikes call for a 15W40 oil, so most people running car oil in their bikes, myself included, run 15W50. 15W50 is not Energy Conserving, and continues to have high enough levels of shear stability, so that the tranmission does not mind it. I think the SJ tempest was generated by bike oil manufacturers, who could finally point to a few figures to prove that their oil was better. Personally, I think it's all overblown.
 
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Cordelia, CA
quote:
Unfortunately, it looks like they have been significantly reduced in the new supersyn formulation
The SuperSyn additive is supposed to take the place of other wear additives, we'll see how it does.
 

DNS

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quote:
Originally posted by VaderSS:
quote:
Unfortunately, it looks like they have been significantly reduced in the new supersyn formulation
The SuperSyn additive is supposed to take the place of other wear additives, we'll see how it does.

Until there is some hard data on how well it holds up in a motorcycle transmission, I'll switch to the motorcycle oil after my supply of the SJ 15W50 rated oil runs out. I'm not willing to let my vehicle be the guinea pig.
 
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The Dirty South
Those friction modifiers are supposedly only in the lower weights anyway. As for being the guinea pig, I know MANY people who've already taken the plunge and found that SJ car oil works fine. Including me.
 

DNS

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quote:
Originally posted by richard612: Those friction modifiers are supposedly only in the lower weights anyway. As for being the guinea pig, I know MANY people who've already taken the plunge and found that SJ car oil works fine. Including me.
I was reffering to the SL car oil, I've been using the SJ for quite a while. Know anyone using the SL formulation in their bike?
 
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3,346
Location
Clarksville, Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by DNS: Al, The Mobil 1 motorcycle oil may have higher levels of ZDDP or other antiwear additives. Currently BMWs are about the only motorcycles running catalytic converters, so in general, levels of phosporus and other chemicals that may harm a cat aren't a concern.
Actually that the opposite is the big concern. There are a bunch of articles saying that there isn't enought ZDDP in auto oils for motorcycle use. I tell people it is the total additve package not just high doses of ZDDP. I have yet to see any analysis where the ZDDP is cut in half even, so I can't see the concern for the need for high level. There are several motorcycle rags (BMW MOA magazine, and MCN Motorycle Consumer News) who have done several tests on various oils. It really is a waste to read because most don't know what the hell they are talking about, though it scares a bunch of readers becuase of the hype they place on ZDDP and forget to look at the total package. What a shame.
 
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3,346
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Clarksville, Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by richard612: I wonder what model BMW motorcycle that was?
They are all of the R1100 variety, all but mine are RT's and mine is a roadster model. The all share the same engine, known as the "Oilhead" R259 engine.
 
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3,346
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Clarksville, Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by Terry: msparks what weight/type of amsoil was used in the data you posted above?
I was using the 10w40 AMO/AMF. I have 2 analysis going so far for that. Also note that some data is missing. I can get the full report to you if you are interested. I keep telling the guy who posted it to add all the data. IE. he posts the Mg which most of the cheaper oils rely on for a dispersant, whereas amsoil use the more expensive Ca.
 
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3,346
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Clarksville, Tennessee
quote:
Originally posted by DNS: [QBIf ZDDP isn't important, then why does Amsoil contain relatively high levels of zinc and phorphorus?[/QB]
That's not the point the point is its the whole package. I believe amsoil contains the amount of ZDDP necessary for their extended drain interval, and anti-wear properties. If other manufacture have more or less oh well. Its the end result that matters.
 

DNS

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quote:
Originally posted by msparks:
quote:
Originally posted by DNS: Al, The Mobil 1 motorcycle oil may have higher levels of ZDDP or other antiwear additives. Currently BMWs are about the only motorcycles running catalytic converters, so in general, levels of phosporus and other chemicals that may harm a cat aren't a concern.
Actually that the opposite is the big concern. There are a bunch of articles saying that there isn't enought ZDDP in auto oils for motorcycle use. I tell people it is the total additve package not just high doses of ZDDP. I have yet to see any analysis where the ZDDP is cut in half even, so I can't see the concern for the need for high level.

If ZDDP isn't important, then why does Amsoil contain relatively high levels of zinc and phorphorus?
 
BMW boxer engines (the OILHEAD version) are merely glorified lawnmower engines resembling half of an old VW air cooled 4-cylinder engine but fitted with some rather interesting cylinder construction. The cylinders on oilheads are aluminum WITHOUT steel sleeves. Nikasil, a process of depositing nickel, silicon carbide on the aluminum cylinder walls is used in place of costly sleeves. This provides several benefits; 1- Cylinder walls are not wear items in the oilhead engine. 2- These cylinders cool better than steel lined cylinders. 3- Reliable, long life ring to cylinder wall sealing. What this design does NOT like is detonation due to low octane fuels or poor engine tune. Also, valve spring pressures are rather low for the solid tappet valve train design in this engine. Therefore cam faces are not under high shear and surface friction as in other engine designs. As a result, oils with low ZDDP levels provide adequate lubrication of critical valve gear. The remainder of the engine is very robust and is lubricated using a two-pump design; one for the lube circuit, the other for the oil cooling circuit (remember, this is an air/oil cooled engine). As a result, oils that tolerate high heat without viscosity breakdown are desirable. High levels of ZDDP are not required. These engines are 3-way CAT equipped so, high levels of ZDDP are undesirable as this additive can render the CAT inoperative. The oilhead design also utilizes a separate gearbox that is lubed with GL-5 hypoid gear oil in its own reservoir. Finally, the clutch is an automotive design, again, much like the old VW 4-cylinder design and suffers only when the rear engine seal fails and wets the dry clutch, necessitating a change. Given that the engine lube oil must lube only the internal engine parts, this simplifies the task of the engine oil considerably, leaving the owner with a number of choices for engine lube oil. My BMW boxer, a 2001 vintage R1150GS has a factory recommendation as follows; Engine oil grade: brand-name HD oil for four-stroke spark-ignition engines, API classes SE, SF, SG; combination with CC or CD specification. The recommended OCI is 6000 miles for normal operation. Viscosity recommended is 15W-50 for temperatures here in the Houston, TX area. Given these requirements, BMW boxer owners have a wide range of oils to choose from. I have run Mobil 1 15W-50 EP auto oil in my boxer ever since the factory fill was changed. My engine uses no oil, routinely gives 42-43 MPG commuting and the engine stays clean and quiet. With 35,000 miles, I have yet to begin UOAs. I use Mobil 1 due to availability, tolerance for heat as well as price.
 
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1,115
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Sugar Land, TX
Or you can run AMSOIL MCV synthetic motorcycle oil and EaOM filter warranted for 12,000 miles or 1 year whichever occurs like I did on my 2000 K1200LT for the last 80,000 miles of it's 137,000 miles. I had run Mobil 1 synthetic motorcycle oil before, but it darkened the sight glass so I could no longer see the oil level. With the AMSOIL it cleaned the sight glass, ran cooler, got better gas mileage and used less than a quart of oil per 12,000 mile oil changes and for less than I was paying for the Mobil 1. I figure if Mobil 1 was coating my sight glass, it was probably doing the same to my engine.
 
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