Valvoline VR1 brew, 1994 Harley Low Rider

Not open for further replies.
Aug 4, 2004
wytheville, va
I deviated from my usual oil in my HD this time around. I normally use Havoline 20W50, but this time I tried a mix of Valvoline VR1 racing oil. In the three quart sump, I put two quarts of VR1 20W50, and one quart of VR1 straight 60 weight--figuring it would be more shear stable in the hot temperatures of summer. I ran the oil 2751 miles, with no additives of any kind.

Here is the report:


I did not use any make up oil with the VR1, and I actually ran it a bit farther than the previous Havoline runs. Considering those two points (I did use some make up oil with the Havoline OCI's) I think the VR1 has acquitted itself very nicely.
The two previous UOA's shown on the chart were both Havoline, the most recent one had about 4 oz of Valvoline Synthetic Oil Treatment added about half way through in lieu of a top off with more Havo 20W50.

And yes, as Blackstone confirms I'm very blessed to have an engine that is wearing this well.

The VR1 add pack seems a bit lacking, however. (A common complaint of Valvoline oils). While the ZDDP is pretty good, there isn't much of anything else to rave about in there. Valvoline says not to use this oil in a wet clutch system--implying deceptively (it would seem) that there is a lot of moly in there. There's hardly any, at 25 ppm.

Nonetheless, the oil did the job--and did it very well. Who needs additives?

I'm a bit surprised that it sheared to a 40 weight (a heavy 40, albeit). I would have thought that the 1 quart of 60 weight would have held it to a 50 in the end. The 20W50 started out at around 21 cst viscosity in virgin form. But the wear metal count is very impressive, and that is the main and most important consideration.

I've put Havoline back in there for the fall, but I wouldn't hesitate to use the VR1 blend again if I found a good price on it. All in all, the Havoline is still king in my book, as it's about half the price of the VR1 and much easier to find.

But my hat is off to the VR1 in this application, and considering that it's low on moly (which unnecessarily scares some folks with wet clutches) I think it's a viable choice in just about any motorcycle that can use a good, heavy oil.

Thanks for posting those results Dan! I think i'll give the Havoline a try this fall when i switch out my oil. Hopefully i'll remember to get a sample off to Blackstone labs so we can compare notes on havoline and engine wear.
Nice zinc phosphorus levels there. I wonder if you could run a much longer OCI with Redline. Redline will have about 1600 zinc and 1400 phosphorus. That and the ester in Redline make it ideal for an air cooled bike, IMO.
interesting results.

when i tested VR1 20w50 (june 2005) my uoa showed a susvis of 90.3 and a flashpoint of 465F and my moly was a 2, boron 0 and calcium at 2053. so i think you are seeing residual havoline in your report.
sunruh... you may be right about the residual Havoline. I hadn't considered that, but it makes sense--especially in view of the most recent VR1 20w50 VOA on the board.

whenever i do a "test". i do a flush run for several hours to get the residual out using the new. then i run the "real" test and send in the uoa.
I think the wear metal count is most important--at least that's what I look for. There is apparently some residual moly, and perhaps another element or two present in small quantities that do seem to indicate that there is probably a small amount of Havoline in this VR1 sample. I put Havoline back in the engine after this run, so I can't get a second UOA on the VR1...

Remember too that we are assuming that the VOA of the VR1 recently placed on file here is accurate. Seems strange that my UOA here would have about 40 percent more ZDDP than that VOA shows the VR1 20W50 to have...

It could be that the add pack in the VR1 which was sampled by Blackstone for a VOA had settled to the bottom of the container, and was present only in part in the sample sent in. Just a thought...

The small amount of leftover Havoline would have the effect of lowering the VR1's viscosity by a tiny bit, and altering the chemistry pack to a negligible degree, but the wear metal count is always the final arbiter of whether the oil succeeded or failed at protecting the engine.

This all said, I don't believe that the Havoline residue could be responsible for the healthy ZDDP content here, and must assume that the VR1 has adequate amounts of zinc and phosphorous. As mentioned elsewhere, it could be that the 20W50 has a lower ZDDP level than the straight 60 weight--I don't know.

Perhaps we'll see a VOA of the VR1 60 weight oil at some point in the future.

Harley's dry sump system is notorious for holding quite a bit of old oil in the lines. Also, some always remains in the engine where it can't be drained.

I can tell you from experience that a good half quart of old oil remained in my Sportster the first time I changed the oil. That's why I did two oil changes in order to get all of the factory fill out, and to get as much fresh Rotella T in.
Not open for further replies.