Valvoline 10W-40; 1,733 mi.; Kawasaki KLR650

San Jose, CA (USA)
I got one of my friends to do a UOA on his KLR650:  - Butler Labs Analysis:
Element | Virgin | This OCI
Cu          0          9
Fe          1         14
Cr          0          0
Ni          0          0
Ti          0          0
V           0          0
Ag          0          0
Pb          0          2
Sn          0          0
Al          0         15
Si          4          4
Na          3          2
K           0          1
Mo          0          7
B           0         11
Ba          0          0
Ca       2884       2027
Mg         10         12
Mn          0          0
P        1164        723
Sb          0          0
Zn       1311        839

TBN          Unk       7.5
Soot                   0
Sulf                  17
Oxid                  34
Nitr                  25
ZDDP                  -0.09
Visc SAE      40      20
Visc cSt      15       9.2 (both at 100 degrees C)
PQ             5       7
AntiFreeze   Neg      Neg
Fuel Dilute  Neg      Pending
Water        Neg      Neg

From what I can figure out, it looks like the engine's doing OK but the tranny is very unhappy and that's where the Cu and Fe/Al are coming from. The Zn is getting used up trying to protect the gears. The oil is a thick 20-weight. Yikes! Soot is fine, but sulf/oxid/nitr are high and the ZDDP has been used up--the oil's toast. The soot/sulf/oxid/nitr/ZDDP interpretation is new to me. Butler doesn't include them in my analysis results, but my buddy got them on his. I was able to find one oil analysis company who suggested the following guidelines: soot < 20 sulfur 10 - 15 oxidation < 18 nitration < 14 Do these levels seem reasonable as cut-offs? Also, for the ZDDP reading, I take it anything negative means all the ZDDP has been used up and all that's left are the degraded remains/byproducts? See this Noria article for reference. On the plus side, the PQ shows very low when considering that the virgin oil starts out at 5. Also, my buddy's got much better Si levels than I do. It turns out he uses a NoToil air filter and oil, while I use a Uni with Maxima filter oil. If my Si levels don't drop down to around his levels I'll switch to a NoToil and see if it does the trick for me. My recommendation was to go 800-1000 miles on his current fill of Valvoline and then retest. I'm not hopeful that it'll last even that long, though. I think he needs to switch to an HDEO or a synth with few/no VIIs if he wants longer OCIs. What say y'all?
ZDDP reading starts at -0.01, IIRC. Don't know what the cut-off is supposed to be. I'd have him switch to Rotella 5W40 if budget permits, or at least a 15W40 HDEO.
Cedar Park, TX
give me 3 Centrum's and i can wizz thicker than that oil!!! tell him to put it a bread bag in the pantry -> its TOAST! thanks for the UOA!!! i'd highly recommend Shell Rotella T 15w40 or Exxon Superflow 20w50. your temps in San Jose should allow that to be used year around.
Cedar Park, TX
yeah, that makes a "tad" bit of difference living in ND. SRT or Exxon Superflow 10w40 for sure. my havoline 10w40 uoa should be here any day now to determine if that is a valid choice as well.

Blake Sobiloff

Thread starter
San Jose, CA (USA)
I should have noted my buddy lives in North Dakota, and he rides year-round, so cold weather performance for a different oil is relevant. Fortunately, he has a heated garage so that helps quite a bit. I think he could get away with an HDEO, but he's got more of this Valvoline already in the crankcase so I'll have to try to convince him to switch at the next OCI.
Kitsap, WA
Not that it means anything, but I know a klr600 that went 56000 mile on 3 oil changes and no valve adjusts. When I was doing his valves everything looked suprisingly good on the top end.
Calgary Canada
Just trying to understand the comment about the transmission not liking the oil due to high copper/AL and FE. Last time I had my yamaha FJ1200 transmission apart, it consisted of about six gears, two shift forks and two spindles that they all rode aluminum or copper...I'll buy the FE though (as in cast iron gears). Oh yeah...and a slotted shift cam thingamajigger. All the parts were cast iron or machined and hardened steel of some kind. I don't think the clutch basket was aluminum or copper either. Not meaning to sound disrespectful, just eager to learn what I'm missing here.
So. IN
Most contamination of that sort, in a shared sump motor, is from the clutch and tranny. Basket is most likely aluminum, and the plates can harbor various contaminants. I'd say moly and boron from previous oil.