Choosing the right 2 stroke oil for my vintage PWC

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Sep 4, 2014
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Hi there everyone, first post here. I've lurked for a while, found loads and loads of excellent information (at times like now, too much ), which led me to create this topic. I recently acquired a vintage watercraft called a "wetbike." Some of you are probably familiar with the machines. It first debuted in the Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me." Anyways, I want to give as much background info as possible, to help anyone reading this help clarify for me which oil will be best to run given my situation and the machine's history. The machine is in excellent condition. The cleanest I have ever seen outside of a new one. It came from the original owner, and had always been garage stored. Not to mention the fact that it has low hours on it. When the bike arrived, he sent me the oil he'd run ever since he's finished the "break-in" procedure for the motor. He always ran Yamalube 2R, the pint bottle he sent me says it is a "semi-synthetic." Looking now, it doesn't look like that's really even meant for pwc's? I doubt I need the high rpm breakdown protection it offers. Still, I went to my local dealer (no parts stores carried the Yamaha), and was going to just purchase more of the same, but their bottle of 2R made no mention of any synthetic content. So much so that they didn't think I had the same product. Came back the next day, with my bottle, and they say it is the same stuff, but after having the seed of doubt placed in my mind, I began researching 2 stroke oils. What a can of worms that has been. crazy I've read the long SeaDoo article on 2 stroke oil, a number of statements on here, etc. With the combinations of personal uses, facts on certifications, and other things, I've come away as confused as ever. It seems the TCW-3 certification is what I should look for. Yet others say that is nearly meaningless, as it's the very base certification. I believe ashless detergents are used in TCW3, as opposed to API-TC (low ash) yet nowhere in the owners manual does it requre a specific rating for the oil that I can still find on a modern oil (no surprise, I guess). I have a few other questions as well, like whether a 2 stroke oil has to be smoking signficantly to be burning well, or if it can burn cleanly (without much smoke) without that implying that there is significant amounts of carbon being built up on the engine's internals. I have many friends with these machines, and I know they all run cheap oil, saying (possibly correctly), that the oil quality has improved so much since the 80's (given time, r&d and technology improvements), that even Walmart oil is better than most of the midgrade oils around back then. Still, though, considering the machine has had nearly 25 years of "synthetic blends" used in it, I want to see what I can do to continue the trend. The o.o. also sent me an extra bottle of Yamalube 2W that he'd gotten a few extra of for a friend in case of emergency. I read this was designed for the catted machines, and burns well, but still needs the ring free (can't remember why at the moment)+ fuel additives over time. Yamalube seems to have a good name. Many like it. What I don't like is the many claims that the use of ring free is necessary, due to what the oil does to the motor. I've heard good and bad of Amsoil and Redline. Some seem to be die hard fans, others enemies. I read on here that Amsoil isn't certified TCW3, and maybe another of the cert's, so not sure where to go with that. Lucas doesn't seem to be liked universally, and there are a dozen other brands or more. While I mention more "requirements" I need the oil to meet, availablility would be nice. I know Amsoil can even be bought at BestBuy grin but I have a somewhat unfavorable opionion of it from all the things I've heard. The blend of oil I'm considering most right now is Penzoil XLF, which seems to be in good standing. It's a synthetic blend. The full synthetc, at $50/gallon, is a little hard to swallow. And I can't imagine it tastes good either. cool But let me give you details on the machine. -Oil is Premixed into the fuel. -The engine is a outboard powerhead, a Suzuki DT-60. Nearly bulletproof, if the carbs are clean. -The compression ratio is 6:1:1. -Due to the pump design, it runs at a lower WOT rpm than modern skis (which also causes a large speed sacrifice). The "limiter" cuts in at around 5800 rpms. -For oil recommendations, it says it needs any "NMMA (BIA) certified oil, run at 50:1. The original owner always ran 40:1. because he liked the idea of a little extra protection, he felt the synthetic part of the oil allowed it to run well doing so, and it never fouled plugs. -I have about a 2000 foot idle zone I have to creep in and out of en-route to the lake. I don't have a tach installed yet, but I would estimate the idle/high idle at not much more than 1500 rpms, so I don't want to run an oil that will cause me to foul plugs when I'm not at full speed. This is a TON of info, sorry to overload anybody, I just wanted to get it all out before I forgot. And to add to the info overload, here are a few oil "tests" (I don't know all the elements of a good test) that I found to reference the other day: http://bassboatcentral.com/oilreports1.htm http://www.legendperformance.com/media/2StrokeAnalysis.pdf http://www.wdarc.org/articles_files/2%20stroke%20Oil%20Test.pdf Thanks for the help! Please educate me further, and if I left anything out, just ask!
 
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JTK

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I've been out of the PWC world for a long time, so really don't have anything to add in regards to the best outboard 2-stroke oil. I will agree though that a Suzuki DT-60 is an beast of a 2cyl! Really good engine. Back in the day, I used to buy gallon jugs of Itasca synthetic marine 2-stoke at Walmart for cheap at the time. Nothin' is cheap anymore! lol. My first PWC was a ~1989 Sea Doo, back in the early 1990s, then had a new 1994 Yamaha Pro VXR, then a new 1997 Kawasaki 750ZXi. Fun. Miss those days.
 
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when I researched 2 stroke oil for my Seadoo and Yamaha I found nothing but good info on the Pennzoil XLF and if I weren't an Amsoil dealer I would happily use that in my ski's but I decided to use Amsoil Interceptor oil. its real close in price and should be a great oil. personally i would run 50:1 ratio based off what a great mechanic once told me about ratios and they effect actual fuel burn rate. good luck with wetbike, hope you have great times riding it
 

GreatLakesGuy

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Thanks JTK! They are indeed stout motors. Interesting bit for you; I read that Itasca was made by Quaker State. And for a brief time, Quaker State was part of Penzoil. Not sure though. Thanks for the input Arctic. Amsoil interceptor and dominator I have heard quite a bit of. I forgot to mention Evinrude oil. I heard that was the only oil that you wouldn't need to run a carbon deposits cleaner with. I looked on their website, and it says it has some kind of carbon combustion cleaner already in it, which could be why. Then again, every manufacturer may say something like that, so I don't know. I was about to go get the Penzoil from Wally World, but now I'm curious if the Evinrude is really worth pursuing. Or something else.
 
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I've been running strokes for a long time. First, IMO, synthetic 2stroke oil is a waste of $$ and actually worse for the engine than Dino. Here's why, synthetic 2stroke burns cleaner than Dino, but it also clings to metal less. Synthetic 2stroke was developed because of exhaust valve use became the norm in 2 stroke engines. Dino oil would gum up the valve bad. Then the guillotines wouldn't open and close properly and you would get a large reduction in performance at WOT. Not to mention a few engine designs would get hot spots in the cylinder because of the valve being stuck shut. About 8-10 yrs ago, there was some issues with snowmobiles crank bearings getting rusty, and eventually wiping out the crank, with a very well known 2stroke synthetic oil. The oil film wouldn't stay on the crank over summer storage and the bearings would get some rust. Look up some high end 2 stroke engine builders, you will see most if not all recommend Dino 2 stroke oil. I use Mystic oil for my 2 strokes because it's cheap and easily available where I'm at. I use it in my stock and mod engines. I would obviously research any oil I buy, but if it's over $25 a gallon, I'm not buying it.
 
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Btw tcw-3 is a marine oil because it ashless hence less pollutants in the water. That's the only difference in it and regular. You are not "stuck" to TCW-3 for your engine, which was made before the EPA mandated tcw-3 oil for water vessels anyway. Also mystic does have a tcw-3 oil, which is the same as the oil I use minus the ash. I have used it in my sleds just because I bought the wrong jug. No diff in running or performance.
 
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Also, oil smoke has nothing to do with oil performance. It's just how much oil is being used. A 32-1 oil ratio will smoke more than a 50-1 ratio. Modern engine are oil injected, some electronically, and can be as lean as 125-1 at idle. And even 50/60-1 at WOT. This is 150+hp engines at 8200 rpm.
 
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Mystic Full Synthetic 2 Cycle Oil Got tired of buying genuine SeaDoo $50 synthetic for my two rides. I picked up 4 gallons for less than $90 at my local oil jobber Kamp Oil in Grand Rapids. Don't know where you are in Michigan, but you can use the Mystic website to find your local dealer. Link
 
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OK, I`ll bite here. some people know of me in the jetski/boat/performance/mod/rebuild/rehab world. with that said: your on the right track to read up and do your research. True, oils, base stock, additive packages have all evolved since the wet bike came out. you would still be fine using a TCW-3 or API-TC Jaso updated 2 stroke synthetic or synth blend. I have run Seadoo`s XPS oil years ago, the cost factor against what other brand good oils that were out made the seadoo oils cost prohibitive. What most people don`t know is Seadoo oils were made by Castrol for their proprietary blend, but now have switched vedors and the jury is still out of how the new oil will affect the older 2 stroke engines. The old XPS oil was amber and the new oil is red in color... Yahama 2W is indeed needed for the high temps of the Cat convertor, BUT it is still a very good oil. True also that when used in a power valve engine you have another guillotine cleaning or 2 during a busy season. The Yamalube 2S I believe was primarily for street bikes and sleds is also a very good oil and I would not hesitate in continuing to use it. as far as Amsoil, I`ve also read where on sleds during the down time the cylinder and reciprocating assy`s are dryer than other oil brands. I also question the validity of the claims as I`ve used Interceptor for years in the ski`s and 2 stroke boats and continue to use in in my personal twin Rotax Challenger 1800. I`m running 40:1 as well... I recently posted a thread voicing my concerns and asked for a comparison between the Interceptor and Legend brand 2 stroke oils but further info is like comparing apples to oranges after viewing the Legends Video`s on the manufacturers web site. I have had very good results using the Mystic 2 stroke oil in the ski`s and boat, oil injected and pre mix applications. So My choices without hesitation for me would be Amsoil Interceptor Mystic synthetic or blend Yamalube 2s or 2w in a pinch I have purchased these oils online at a decent price. Amsoil from being a preferred member.> http://www.amsoil.com/opportunity.aspx Mystic from> https://www.mystiklubes.com/do/category/ENGINE_OIL_BP and Yamalube > http://www.domo-online.com/Outboard-Motor-Oil/yamalube-c-4/ I`ve never had the need to run a ring free product, but I do add Marine Stabilizer for Ethanol fuel with every fill/tank. My machines get run as much as I can/allow for a season and then properly stored. one thing to note is if you know you are going to be a few weeks in between ride is to fog the engine with a good engine store or fogging oil such as CRC. I have never exeperienced an oil related failure just from using a specific brand of oil. Good luck, continue to read up and choose what works for you. You may want to scroll through some jet ski/watercraft forums to read up some more... just remember, most responses will be of opinion rather than fact. just sift through the nonsense... note: I wouldn`t think you need a performance racing type oil per say, bc your high rpm is pretty low compared to most jet ski`s. My boat with twin 787`s maxes out at 7000 rpm for example. or I should say with the current impeller and the soft rev limit is close by. if a few dollars more is not a concern, then maybe I`d try the Legends brand oils which is pretty close to you I believe. Traverse City MI. http://www.legendperformance.com/
 
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There's a gentleman I associate with at my work who has 1800 hours on a couple mercury outboards using supertech tcw3. He owned a fishing guide service four a couple years after we retired. The ST oil was in that motor from the time Warranty allowed it to be. Not much help here but I thought I'd throw it out there
 
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No need to over think this. Go with a current JASO or ISO rated lube at 32:1 or 40:1 and enjoy! The Mystic/Citgo, Injex and other lubes out there will give you years of service. FWIW, for years Yamalube was made by Citgo- in fact they even shared the same MSDS. I believe there has been a change in manufacturers, but have only seen one PDS from another manufacturer since and it's darned hard to dig up. Also if it helps your decision any, the Citgo Sea and Snow is the same product as the Citgo outboard formulation they sell. The only difference is the label; so if you end up choosing Citgo, choose whichever is cheaper.
 
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Firstly, that Suzuki engine require an ashless oil not a low ash oil like many above are recommending. Any TCW-3 oil will do fine as that is actually a very high standard. All use a group III base IIRC
 
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Originally Posted By: Srt20
I've been running strokes for a long time. First, IMO, synthetic 2stroke oil is a waste of $$ and actually worse for the engine than Dino. Here's why, synthetic 2stroke burns cleaner than Dino, but it also clings to metal less. Synthetic 2stroke was developed because of exhaust valve use became the norm in 2 stroke engines. Dino oil would gum up the valve bad. Then the guillotines wouldn't open and close properly and you would get a large reduction in performance at WOT. Not to mention a few engine designs would get hot spots in the cylinder because of the valve being stuck shut. About 8-10 yrs ago, there was some issues with snowmobiles crank bearings getting rusty, and eventually wiping out the crank, with a very well known 2stroke synthetic oil. The oil film wouldn't stay on the crank over summer storage and the bearings would get some rust. Look up some high end 2 stroke engine builders, you will see most if not all recommend Dino 2 stroke oil. I use Mystic oil for my 2 strokes because it's cheap and easily available where I'm at. I use it in my stock and mod engines. I would obviously research any oil I buy, but if it's over $25 a gallon, I'm not buying it.
I agree 100% with the above comments. I would add that 2-stroke oil is hydroscopic and absorbs/attracts moisture, so it is not good for storage uses
 
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Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Firstly, that Suzuki engine require an ashless oil not a low ash oil like many above are recommending. Any TCW-3 oil will do fine as that is actually a very high standard. All use a group III base IIRC
Why does it require an ashless oil over a low ash oil? It's my understanding that cool running 2 cycle engines that are operated at one throttle setting for hours on end (outboard boat motors) were what drove the need/development of ashless lubes to cure plug and port deposits. Something like what the OP has would run with lots of varying throttle and shouldn't care one way another which lube is used.
 
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Originally Posted By: The_Eric
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Firstly, that Suzuki engine require an ashless oil not a low ash oil like many above are recommending. Any TCW-3 oil will do fine as that is actually a very high standard. All use a group III base IIRC
Why does it require an ashless oil over a low ash oil? It's my understanding that cool running 2 cycle engines that are operated at one throttle setting for hours on end (outboard boat motors) were what drove the need/development of ashless lubes to cure plug and port deposits. Something like what the OP has would run with lots of varying throttle and shouldn't care one way another which lube is used.
Its a low output engine (60hp) with ample cooling capacity and no power valves. It is basically and outboard motor power-head in a watercraft. Has no need for a low ash oil that would be used in a hotter running engine. Outboard motor oil is what it uses. Most outboard motors run a varying throttle settings, and that is not a factor in whether they need a low ash oil.
 
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we need pics of this wetbike! This whole 2 stroke oil will drive you crazy. When my royal purple 2 stroke ran out, I went with the PZ blend from AAP. gallon jugs with a discount. was found on the discount racks at times. Saved 10$ off of 3 gallons... won a few gallons of the high end merc stuff too... was quite the mix in the tank at the end... Boat seemed to like the RP best but still ran well with the others... Better plan would be to find eth free gas!! Locate station, fill some gas cans with the premix and roll! little shot of seafoam and stabil won't hurt either.. frequent plug changes and a fuel filter too!
 
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Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Originally Posted By: The_Eric
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Firstly, that Suzuki engine require an ashless oil not a low ash oil like many above are recommending. Any TCW-3 oil will do fine as that is actually a very high standard. All use a group III base IIRC
Why does it require an ashless oil over a low ash oil? It's my understanding that cool running 2 cycle engines that are operated at one throttle setting for hours on end (outboard boat motors) were what drove the need/development of ashless lubes to cure plug and port deposits. Something like what the OP has would run with lots of varying throttle and shouldn't care one way another which lube is used.
Its a low output engine (60hp) with ample cooling capacity and no power valves. It is basically and outboard motor power-head in a watercraft. Has no need for a low ash oil that would be used in a hotter running engine. Outboard motor oil is what it uses. Most outboard motors run a varying throttle settings, and that is not a factor in whether they need a low ash oil.
I see- I thought that it was a bit of a different critter. I'll have to revisit my research that lead me to why ashless oil was created. I probably missed something. Most of my interest at the time centered around snowmobiles and their requirements.
 

GreatLakesGuy

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I really dropped the ball on responding to this, sorry to everyone who replied; I did read everything, I just didn't reply. Looks like there are lots of oils that will work. I'll still experiment with this next summer a little, but the advice I'm getting seems to clear up that there is no 1 clear answer. I guess that's the way it is with most "what oil do I run questions.." grin
Originally Posted By: PaleRider
you would still be fine using a TCW-3 or API-TC Jaso updated 2 stroke synthetic or synth blend. Yamaha 2W is indeed needed for the high temps of the Cat convertor, BUT it is still a very good oil. True also that when used in a power valve engine you have another guillotine cleaning or 2 during a busy season. Yamalube 2s or 2w in a pinch
Got it. By a "guillotine cleaning," do you mean I'll need to run ring free in it? If that's the case, I'd rather run something that won't require that. By "in a pinch," do you say that because of the additional cleaning they will require, compared to other oils? Any coments on 2R?
Originally Posted By: The_Eric
No need to over think this. Go with a current JASO or ISO rated lube at 32:1 or 40:1 and enjoy!
The manual actually calls for 50:1 after break in (25:1), but the original owner always did run 40:1 in it to be safe, and never fouled a plug in 25 years, which I find amazing. Though it didn't get tons of use, so maybe that's a factor... smirk
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
Firstly, that Suzuki engine require an ashless oil not a low ash oil like many above are recommending. Any TCW-3 oil will do fine as that is actually a very high standard. All use a group III base IIRC Its a low output engine (60hp) with ample cooling capacity and no power valves. It is basically an outboard motor power-head in a watercraft. Has no need for a low ash oil that would be used in a hotter running engine. Outboard motor oil is what it uses. Most outboard motors run a varying throttle settings, and that is not a factor in whether they need a low ash oil.
Thanks for that!! ^^ No ash, not ashless, I've read a hundred explanations of the differences and still hadn't gotten to a conclusion. Since TCW-3 is ashless, I guess that will be my golden ticket on what to look for. I may try the Penzoil XLF, I was recently finshing off the 2W it came with. Interesting info here: guess I won't run the full synth version of the penzoil.
Originally Posted By: Srt20
First, IMO, synthetic 2stroke oil is a waste of $$ and actually worse for the engine than Dino. Here's why, synthetic 2stroke burns cleaner than Dino, but it also clings to metal less. Synthetic 2stroke was developed because of exhaust valve use became the norm in 2 stroke engines. Dino oil would gum up the valve bad. Then the guillotines wouldn't open and close properly and you would get a large reduction in performance at WOT. Not to mention a few engine designs would get hot spots in the cylinder because of the valve being stuck shut. About 8-10 yrs ago, there was some issues with snowmobiles crank bearings getting rusty, and eventually wiping out the crank, with a very well known 2stroke synthetic oil. The oil film wouldn't stay on the crank over summer storage and the bearings would get some rust. Look up some high end 2 stroke engine builders, you will see most if not all recommend Dino 2 stroke oil.
 
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GreatLakesGuy

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As far as pictures go, here's one I got when it was in route to me. I honestly haven't taken any since, even though I did wax it. I've been trying to figure out how to take care of the scuffs and marks that occurred during shipping. Which has been a nightmare. Carrier didn't have legit insurance, guy who set me up with the whole shipment "no longer works here," and all kinds of nonsense like that. This picture does some injustice to the bike. When I get it ready for winterizing and wax it, I'll take some better pictures of it. The red really isn't faded at all and is in excellent shape overall, minus the places where it was dinged. I had one of this color before, and it was pink. This is about an 8.8/10 before they messed it up (other side and front). But I owe a pic, so here it is:
 

CT8

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Originally Posted By: Srt20
Btw tcw-3 is a marine oil because it ashless hence less pollutants in the water. That's the only difference in it and regular. You are not "stuck" to TCW-3 for your engine, which was made before the EPA mandated tcw-3 oil for water vessels anyway. Also mystic does have a tcw-3 oil, which is the same as the oil I use minus the ash. I have used it in my sleds just because I bought the wrong jug. No diff in running or performance.
There are may be biodegradable ratings on the oil but the ashless additives leave less deposits on lower rpm and sustained rpm engine operation. The new oils are really good. If the engine has the exhause thingies cleanliness is important though. I remember them on motorcycles.
 
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