Very hot weather, Havoline 20W50, Harley 1340cc

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Aug 4, 2004
wytheville, va
I got my second UOA back from Blackstone via email this afternoon for my 1994 Harley Davidson Low Rider. Engine is an air cooled 1340cc model, and is in stock configuration.

I had wondered just how a dino oil might be expected to hold up under extremely hot (relatively speaking
) riding conditions.

This run had near 2400 miles on the OCI, and somewhere between 800 and 900 of those miles were put on in temperatures above 95 degrees. On one particular day the temperature was 102 degrees in Danville, VA, and the engine became so hot that it pre-ignited when I tried to shut it off at a Sheetz convienience store. It ran on for three or four seconds before shutting off. Very hot indeed...

I thought I had added about 4 ounces of Valvoline Synpower to the oil as a top up at about 1500 miles. I say "about 4 ounces" because I didn't precisely measure it. It may have been closer to 2 ounces. The only truly noteable effect I can see in the UOA which might be credited to the VSOT is that the moly number is up from before. ZDDP wasn't affected at all--and in fact seems to have dropped a touch, possibly because those elements were being used to a greater degree in this hot weather run--or possibly because of testing accuracy and/or the different batch of Havoline. Too many possibilites to know for sure...

I think any reasonable person would agree that the Havoline 20W50 (standard dino car oil) acquitted itself very well in this situation. I wouldn't have been able to stand it much hotter than it was on the particular days I mentioned. There was a fair amount of idling in traffic at lights, but whenever idling seems excessive, I always shut the engine off until traffic begins to move again.

The oil sheared, once again, to a 40 weight, but that was expected. My concern was that it might shear even more.

From the numbers presented by Blackstone, it would be hard to conclude that the Valvoline Synpower Oil Treatment, in such a small amount as I used it, has actually done much of anything. Again, ZDDP hasn't been boosted (unless you wanted to argue that it was boosted then "used up"), and other additives which the VSOT is presumed to have in spades aren't showing up to any large degree--except for the afformentioned small bump in moly. This isn't an indictment of VSOT, it is more or less to simply say that I probably added less of the VSOT than I originally believed. The Sodium went from 1ppm to 2ppm, and VSOT has over 20ppm of Sodium, so it did leave its mark there also I would guess. Tin went up from 1ppm to 2ppm, but the VSOT has 2ppm of Tin in it. Looks like Magnesium got a little nudge courtesy of the VSOT perhaps...

Here's the report... Note Universal Averages, which are certainly higher than my numbers, and deriven from shorter OCI's (under 1700 miles according to Blackstone).


Needless to say, I'm sticking with the Havoline 20W50. And I plan on getting another case before it goes off sale at Advance Auto. Under 13 bucks a case until the end of August.

Edit: I don't know how to convert these numbers with code. If someone knows how to do that, please re-copy them in a reply...


[ August 29, 2005, 08:42 PM: Message edited by: fuel tanker man ]

engine became so hot that it pre-ignited when I tried to shut it off at a Sheetz convienience store. It ran on for three or four seconds before shutting off. Very hot indeed...

ouch! if it does it again turn the key back and drown it with the choke for asecond and turn it back off. Some of it's from the fuel getting so darn hot in the tank, usually when it's low.
Thanks for doing the report Dan. Everytime I read one of your posts I think harder about switching my bike to Havoline.

I was hesitant to use my bike as a guinea pig for this test, but after learning as much as I could about oil (thanks mostly to BITOG!
) and after learning that most oils are 9 parts marketing to 1 part science, I figured "what the heck."

I did use Mobil 1 "redcap" with no problems, but I never did a UOA. I figured that since I could get three quarts of Havoline 20W50 for less than 5 bucks, I could use the twenty dollars I saved off the Mobil 1 to do a UOA and see if the Havoline was up to the task.

I ran these two UOAs to 2500 and 2400 miles respectively, but my plan now is to drain at 2000 miles, and change the oil filter every other drain. I will do one more UOA on this bike in the future, and it will be the one which will have 4000 miles on the oil filter, and 2000 on the oil. That will tell me (mainly by looking at the insoluables) if the oil filter is capable of filtering for the 4000 mile run. I think it will be, as these filters were designed to go 5000 miles when HD was recommending 5000 mile oil changes.

I'm not 100 percent sure I'm going to skip changing the oil filter every other time, so that notion could change. We'll see.

Thanks for the interest...

Thanks Dan..I've sent your info to some riding buddies..What was your oil pressure at idle on those hot days?? Did you have motor heat stress noises?? Thanks
I don't have a pressure gauge, just the idiot light. It never came on at any time, so I assume the pressure was acceptable.

Other than the pre-igniting episode, I didn't see or hear anything out of the ordinary.

Cool....the oil pump only needs 3# of pressure to keep the lite off..the 25-60 Rev Tech oil I've been using stays at 15# of pressure under the same conditions you went thru..maybe next summer I'll run the Havoline and get some idea of what the pressure is doing..I have ran Castrol in the past and the pressure stayed at 10# at idle in heat..I assume the Havoline will do about the same..I'm liking the 25-60 in this heat..the Delo 15-40 didn't like the heat at idle but ran well at speed and slow moving..the only other problem with it was that I went thru a qt of it at 1500 miles..I've got a little over 2k on the Rev Tech and added a 1/2 qt the other day..I've got about 45k on the bike since I had the motor freshened up..
Also dont forget, Harley engines are designed for flow rate not pressure. They have roller bottom ends and flow of oil helps lube better then pressure. Havoline might lube better because of this.
hey fuel tanker man???
did you ever find out what the changes were to the newley packaged havoline 20w50???? I realy doubt they would mess with the 20w50 to much.
It's posted here in some places... more moly, I'm pretty sure. Zinc and phos on the 20W50 is still pretty robust... I'm sure it's plenty safe to use in your Harley--possibly even better than the old Havoline. :)

I'm still using the Havoline (but it's in the form of Chevron Supreme 20W50). I still change the filter every time, I have not tried doing it every other time, but my try that this summer to see how it does.

I have not yet tried the new Havoline 20W50, but suspect it will be excellent as well. It's a group III oil and seems to really cut the wear metal numbers, perhaps even more than true synthetics do.

Is this the havoline 20w50 with the API SM rating? I couldn't find another on their website. It says Havoline with deposit shield on the bottle.

I have a buell xb9 that I want to try it in.
I just started using the 20w 50 havoline. It would be nice to pay $3 a quart for an oil with low metal wear numbers.
After my next oil change I will send a sample to the lab.

**fuel tanker man, it's been 4 months since last post on this thread. Are you still using the havoline oil? Have you had any more samples tested?
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