Oil Analysis Update?
I realize this might become too big to handle, but I've been mulling over the idea of having another round of oils analyzed as it pertains to engine protecting for the Airheads. Obviously everyone's interested in ZDDP, but there are certainly other parameters to consider. My records show that Jeff DiCarlo presented something in the ON late 1999 followed by several updates by Matt Parkhouse in 2002 as well as 2009.
I work at a company that, along with a wide variety of contract research, does oil testing but mostly for big commercial clients. But I was thinking about asking for some guidance on doing something like this and getting the information published or at least presented here.
Any thoughts or suggestions? Maybe this would be something to do with the help of Matt...
I think I'd read it. :)
I realize you'll more than likely use your own facilities but if that's not viable I've had good luck with blackstone labs. They seem to maintain a database of historical averages by different vehicle/engine combos. I've no idea if they have anything related to airheads.
Excellent idea. Jeff DiCarlo did a good job. Those were very thorough tests and that might be a good model for a do-over.
If you get further I'd be glad to do a write-up for my bench wrenching column, and would also be glad to help pick candidate oils for testing.
I definitely planned to go back and read all the articles and approaches that were done before as part of the "homework". Chemical analysis of oil can get pretty far afield, so I'd want to focus on the things that affect the older engines the most. I don't know if this can be determined as part of these test, but I'd like to know where in the range of oil rating (say 20w50) the oil stands. IIRC, an oil can be blended so that it meets the minimum requirements of the range but it would seem with miles of use on the oil, the range could decrease down into the 20w40+ area. If you knew an oil was blended to be quite high in the viscosity range, then the possiblity exists that it was stay in grade for a longer period of time.
Narrowing the field of oils would certain be a chore and should be done properly. Obviously, there are many brands and viscosities. Owning three bikes (and a car) that really require the SG/SH oils, I've been sensitive to that and have paid attention when people mention one brand or the other and how good it is. On the /2 forums, Vech has been keeping up with oils that he recommends and we've found that critical elements, like ZDDP, have changed without the owners knowing it. My friend has a '66 R60/2 which has shed material from the lifter faces. He was using a Shell product IIRC, believed to have plenty of ZDDP, but the levels changed without him knowing it. He is know facing an engine overhaul. I'm going to be part of engine removal team!
[QUOTE=Dmftoy1;822851] I think I'd read it. :)
Yep, me too.
I think it was on a 911 Porsche site where I last saw extensive oil testing. I think their air-cooled engines have similar requirements to our Airheads.
[QUOTE=milo;823081] I think it was on a 911 Porsche site where I last saw extensive oil testing. I think their air-cooled engines have similar requirements to our Airheads.[/QUOTE]
Any chance to see a copy of that to get a sense of their direction...maybe something to build off of?
I thas been quite some time and I may be way oof base, but it seems like I ead an analysis some time ago and I concluded that the major differences between the oilds came down to Zinc content in BMW oil vs. less in the others. I was under the impression that the Zinc was needed.
I noticed a commercial last night showing a zinc additive.
Couldn't we just use "regular" oil and a Zinc additive?
[QUOTE=rogermansfield;823564]Couldn't we just use "regular" oil and a Zinc additive?[/QUOTE]
Search the Airhead forum, or the whole forum, for ZDDP. There have been many posts on the subject.
IMO, I'm not a fan of playing oil engineer and adding something to the base oil. That is what's done during blending and can be considered a science, at least controlled to a high level...nothing that I want to dabble in. I just don't know how the two items will ultimately combine.
So, I think the focus of any updated oil analysis will be using stuff that comes straight out of the bottles. Then everyone can make their own decisions about altering what they bought and use.
[QUOTE=20774;823113]Any chance to see a copy of that to get a sense of their direction...maybe something to build off of?[/QUOTE]
maybe this is the link? I read this awhile back and found it interesting
fwiw, I'd like to see an analysis on the Liqui Moly Racing 4T, what I use in my airhead and sold by BeemerBoneyard. It is SG rated, but also SJ & SL, and I hate when I see multiple ranges like that
That is a good reference...I've saved it...somewhere. I was thinking that we're more after the chemical makeup of various oils, especially the ones that everyone likes to us (within reason!) so we can see how well WallyWorld oil stacks up to the boutique oils. I, too, hate to see the multiple gradings...Snowbum's discussion of this warps my mind! Likely we'd have a range of dino and synth oils.
In the interest of not spending unneeded $ are there other org.(such as racer groups) that test oil already? I remember SCCA having done so every few yrs (a long time ago) for racers to know the oil choices.
If there's been some updated analysis recently, I've not seen it. But my concern would be the different outcomes needed for air-cooled bikes made in the 60s thru the 80s/90s (/2 and Airhead eras) versus what a water-cooled car needs that was manufactured since 2000 and which undergoes relatively frequent overhauls (if raced). Racers need to reduce frictional losses...not something we're that concerned about on our bikes.
I've read through the focused discussions starting with what Paul Glaves announced in the June 1999 ON about BMWs service bulletins at the time API ratings were changing from SG/SH to SJ and cautioned against their use (possibly a warranty issue). SJ oils dropped the ZDDP content (to no more than 1000 ppm) in favor or less harm on catalytic converters but the bulletins seemed to indicate that if the bottle indicated continued adherence to SG/SH, it might be OK to use. I can't see how you can meet SJ but still have the higher ZDDP levels (typically >1200 ppm) in SG/SH. Jeff DiCarlo followed up this with his analysis in October 1999. That article is on the IBMWR webste:
I have also read the four updates done by Matt Parkhouse that first showed up in 2002 and the last was in 2009 (two articles that year).
My next door neighbor is an AMS oil independent distributor and I got a hard copy of a pamphlet ("A Study of Motorcycle Oils", second edition, June 2009) which is on the web if you google it. As you can imagine, AMS oil comes out with top honors but the pamphlet does describe a whole range of tests that were performed...some which we could repeat.
My thought was to update the analyses that had already been done in order to see what oils have changed formulation and to investigate new oils that are now offered. All of the ON analyses have been limited to anti-wear (ZDDP) and anti-corrosion (Ca/Mg etc.) These tests are somewhat easy to do using a spectrograph process measuring the oil vapors when they are hit with an arc.
The AMS oil pamphlet has other tests that I would like to see but are probably very costly:
- viscosity grade -- where does an oil stand in the spec range for a 40w or 50w oil
- wear indicator (4-ball) -- measures the oils ability to minimize wear in metal-to-metal contact. Unfortunately, it appears that there's no direct relationship between zinc levels and minimizing wear.
- volatiliy -- how much of the additive package burns off over time
- acid neutralization -- this helps prevent internal damage over time due to build of acids. This seems like it might be good for bikes that are not ridden that often or stored in winter. It is a strong point for synthetics which is part of why they suggest longer drain intervals when using synthetics.
These tests would require substantial time and money. I plan to discuss some of this with co-workers and get some recommendations for important tests.
Then the hard part will be to get a selection of oils to test. To some degree we should draw from past tests to monitor if there's been any changes. But at the same time, there are many "favorite" oils with varying prices, some you have to buy over the web, some you can get at the local store. I'd want to focus on oils that are labeled SG/SH as well as demonstrate differences in protection if you go beyond this rating.
[QUOTE]...a 911 Porsche site where I saw extensive oil testing...milo[/QUOTE]
Here 'ya go:
It looks like the Rennlist discussion was centered around each individual sending their oil into Blackstone Labs for an analysis of their oil. I didn't see a cross-the-board analysis of 10-15 different brands.
The presented above for LN Engineering was written from a Porsche standpoint and just answered questions about oils and additives. There's some oil testing but it's not very extensive. Their bottom line is what our needs to be: you want some minimum ZDDP and it doesn't recommend ZDDP as an additive. It also goes on to say that more of a good thing is not necessarily better...excessive ZDDP can result in increased wear not to mention fouling plugs and other critical sensors (O2 sensors on cars, etc.)
This is 3 years dated now but it's good information. I would like to see it asked again to all oil companies regarding their current blends.
[I]Oil Recommendations for Flat Tappet (Solid Lifter) Cam Engines
February 22, 2009
Thank you for contacting Castrol,
Castrol Syntec for Classic Cars is only available in the 20w-50 grade.
The latest API SM/ILSAC GF-4 category calls for reduced Zinc and Phosphorus levels to allow extended catalyst life in current model vehicles. There appear to be field issues associated with the SM/GF-4 oilÔÇÖs level of antiwear in the classic car engines known as flat tappet cam engines. The current late model passenger car engines are not flat tappet cam engines and have no reported field issues related to the level of antiwear chemistry in the SM/GF-4 oils.
Product Recommendations for Flat Tappet (Solid Lifter) Cam Engines:
Castrol Syntec 20W-50 (Recent reformulation identified by ÔÇ£Recommended for Classic CarsÔÇØ text on back label) (min Zn = 0.12 = 1200 ppm)(full synthetic)
New Motorcycle Products
Castrol Power RS GPS 10W-30, 10W-40 and 20W-50 (min Zn = 0.12 = 1200 ppm)
Castrol Power RS R4 10W-50 and 5W-40 (min Zn = 0.12 = 1200 ppm)
Castrol Power RS V-Twin 20W-40 and 20W-50 (min Zn = 0.12 = 1200 ppm)
Castrol Consumer Relations[/I]