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Thread: Oil Analysis Update?

  1. #91
    Bluenoser
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    So to summarize, depending on ambient air temp, looks to me like any of these 15/50 or 20-50 oils in the test will work fine. They are all above the 1200 ppm zinc level that BMW specs. Everybody has their favorite oil, just like ice cream.

    I probably would stay away from using the oils with low TBN numbers unless I saw a used analysis on the oil.

    Its interesting to see the Harley Oil ( I think Citgo blend ) numbers. Harley puts this oil in all their bikes engine, primary & transmission coming out of the factory except the CVO models, these ones get their synthetic oil. As others have noted looks like this stock oil would work fine for those that are on the road and can't find their favorite brand.

    So are we any wiser. Let the debate continue.
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  2. #92
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    Thanks for doing this, Kurt. What I want to know is what oil YOU are going to put in your bike with all this newfound knowledge!

  3. #93
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    Ha! Good question!! I'm a dino man, and have been using BMW's oil for a while now. I was glad to see that BMW and the Spectro 4 compared so close since they're made by the same company. I was a little disappointed to see that BMW's version didn't rate as high within the range of a 50w as compared to the Spectro brand. The TBN's for both oils are the lowest of the petro oils...that's disappointing.

    I like the healthy zinc and phosphorus of either of these two oils. I think I'm going to switch to Spectro 4 now that I've found a local source...and it's cheaper!!

    For synthetic, the Mobil 1 V-Twin and Redline sure seem like good choices all the way around.

    I sent off a new sample of Golden Spectro 4 for testing. I think something is wrong with my sample...I mentioned the seal was broken. GS4 ranked much better than that when test by Jeffrey and Matt previously. Could be that the formulation has changed...
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  4. #94
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    Just in case anyone was wondering why oil additives are needed: the additives (specifically ZDDP) are anti-scuff protection for the cam and lifters for airhead engines (or any flat tappet engine). Here is a technical article I thought was pretty good describing the cam lubrication and tactfully describing the lack of protection from modern engine oils: http://www.aera.org/ep/downloads/ep1/EP012008_8-16.pdf
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  5. #95
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    For Harleys, at least - two conventional oils that show excellent numbers in used oil analysis are the Genuine Harley-Davidson HD360 20W-50 and the Valvoline VR-1 20W-50.
    Havoline 20W-50 comes in a close second.

    www.bobistheoilguy.com

    Lots of used oil anslysis for lots of vehicles, and they also have a used oil analysis section for motorcycles.

    BTW: There is a virgin oil analysis section that may or may not provide some of the information that you're looking for.
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  6. #96
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    The Harley oil results are rather mediocre if you check the previously posted values for ZDDP. It is the best petro oil for TBN which might make it good from a "used" oil analysis standpoint. But it really falls down with the ZDDP blending.

    As for the VR-1 oil, it's middle of the pack for ZDDP although it's TBN value is better than some.

    Virgin oil analyses have been done and shown on the web...but it didn't have the range of oil types that I think we tossed around here. It just made more sense to do the test for "our" oils and represents a single snapshot right now.

    I decided to retest one oil (Spectro Golden4) and have received the results. I'll be updating the plots and my article once I get some comments back on what I've written.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  7. #97
    Registered User melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    The Harley oil results are rather mediocre if you check the previously posted values for ZDDP. It is the best petro oil for TBN which might make it good from a "used" oil analysis standpoint. But it really falls down with the ZDDP blending.
    I'm not surprised--Harleys all have roller cam followers and therefore do not need the ZDDP like Airheads do.

  8. #98
    Superkraut typ181r90's Avatar
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    Kurt,
    Could you explain a little bit more about the viscosity chart. Basically what I'm getting from it is that the redline indicates the actual viscosity of the product at 100C, so the BMW (MOA02) tested really is acting as a 30 weight, while shell Rotella (MOA07) is acting around a 36 weight. Sorry if this is sorta a braindead question, that's the only chart I have trouble following. I assume a higher redline is better?
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  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typ181R90 View Post
    Could you explain a little bit more about the viscosity chart.
    Sure...I think I've addressed it better in the article. Oils are blended with viscosity improvers so that it falls within a range to be called a 50w or a 40w oil. That range is given in the upper left of the figure. The measure is the amount of oil that will flow through a specific orifice over a period of time at 100 deg C. A 50w oil can be anywhere within the 21.89 to 16.3 range. Over time, the viscosity improvers break down and the actual value of the oil within this range will drop. It's an easy leap to say that if an oil starts out near 21.89 when new, then after a normal use cycle in the engine, it stands a better of chance of still being within the range and rated as a 50w oil, giving you the protection you need.

    As for the red line, I'm showing the oil's "percent of grade" which is simply the viscosity value from the testing lab interporlated to where it falls between the top and bottom range. So, taking BMW's petro oil (MOA02), the lab returned a value of 18.22. Thus 18.22 falls at the 34.3% level between 21.89 and 16.3. This "percent of grade" is plotted against the right-hand axis. On the other hand, Shell Rotella (a 15w40) oil had a viscosity rating of 15.6 which is at the 81.8% level between 16.29 to 12.5. It rates very high within the range for a 40w oil.

    Oil companies can blend to whereever they want in the range. Blending to very high within the range costs more money but might make a better oil. Using an oil that just barely qualifies as a 50w oil might not be such a good idea as it will degrade over time and likely fall out of the 50w oil range. The Liqui Moly was around the 25% value which was the lowest of all the tested oils.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  10. #100
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    Quote: " It's an easy leap to say that if an oil starts out near 21.89 when new, then after a normal use cycle in the engine, it stands a better of chance of still being within the range and rated as a 50w oil, giving you the protection you need. " That statement is an assumption not a fact.

    I don't think it is that easy to draw this conclusion from any of the oil tests that where done. One might think that is what happens but without actual used oil analyses it is not factual to draw this conclusion. For example there are many used oil samples that show MOB 1 Vtwin actually increased its viscosity.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
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  11. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleman2 View Post
    Quote: " It's an easy leap to say that if an oil starts out near 21.89 when new, then after a normal use cycle in the engine, it stands a better of chance of still being within the range and rated as a 50w oil, giving you the protection you need. " That statement is an assumption not a fact.

    I don't think it is that easy to draw this conclusion from any of the oil tests that where done. One might think that is what happens but without actual used oil analyses it is not factual to draw this conclusion. For example there are many used oil samples that show MOB 1 Vtwin actually increased its viscosity.
    Yes, it is an assumption but it seems logical to me. If you have plenty of viscosity improvers in the oil and they get damaged over time, then more VIs gives you more time. Possibly the quality of the VIs has something to do with it. But all things being equal in a specific engine, more VIs seems to equate to an oil that maintains its weight grade rating over time. IMO from what I've read.

    True, used analysis would be the only way to determine how this aspect might actually play out. Probably quite difficult for the average person to hold all the variables to the same in order to assess multiple oils...only engines in a test stand at some test lab is the way to do this. There are ASTM tests that could do this - I'm aware of the Wear Protection test, the Oxidation Stability test, Volatility (or evaporation) test, maybe others that can give a better indication of long term performance of an oil.

    I don't see how it is possible for an oil to INCREASE in viscosity over time...seems to me it can only degrade or stay the same, not get better. If an oil company can do that, they should be advertising that 'till the cows come up!!
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  12. #102
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    quote: " I don't see how it is possible for an oil to INCREASE in viscosity over time...seems to me it can only degrade or stay the same, not get better. If an oil company can do that, they should be advertising that 'till the cows come up!! " Quote

    If you do some searching on VOA's of this oil you will find higher viscosity numbers on some tests of this oil. The increase in viscosity is actually a bad thing as clearances in the engine etc are designed for a certain viscosity. So thicker is not always better. I've used the MOB 1 Vtwin oil for years in my oilheads and Harley with good results. Not knocking the oil just stating what I'd observed.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
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  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleman2 View Post
    If you do some searching on VOA's of this oil you will find higher viscosity numbers on some tests of this oil. The increase in viscosity is actually a bad thing as clearances in the engine etc are designed for a certain viscosity. So thicker is not always better.
    Can you explain what VOA is? I'm not sure I really understand what you're pointing out. If the bike calls for a 20w50, the oil will be blended to give a 50w at the required temperature. As I said, there's a range of values they use in their testing to determine when they've reached the level to be called a 50w. I don't imagine that an engine really cares whether it is at the top or bottom of the viscosity range for a 50w...I suppose the thickness (or ability to flow) might change but likely not so much as to make a difference. But an oil will degrade over time. If the new oil is already at the low end of the viscosity range, it is possible that the actual performance of the oil could drop into the high end of 40w over the oil change cycle. Just considering that you put in a 50w and the oil is behaving as a 40w, that can't be good. OK, maybe the difference in viscosity in real terms between a low 50w and a high 40w might be small, but I personally wouldn't take the chance.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  14. #104
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    Sorry it's UOA, used oil analysis, fingers don't always work right. Many of the UOA of Mob 1 vtwin 20-50 I have seen have exceeded the unit averages for the 50 weight oil. The one I'm looking at in front of me shows a cst @ 100C of 23.87, oil had 5000 miles on it. The normal averages are for between 16.5-21.8. In this particular oil sample the viscosity thickened, not got thinner as one would suspect.

    Without a UOA on a oil, you have no idea how the viscosity or any of the wear items, which is shown in the TBN numbers are going to end up. As a general rule, dyno oil doesn't hold together as long as synthetic, but that in both cases depends entirely on the quality of the additive package. In most cases that's why one oil is more expensive than another. There are no free rides.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
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  15. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycleman2 View Post
    Without a UOA on a oil, you have no idea how the viscosity or any of the wear items, which is shown in the TBN numbers are going to end up.
    That is correct...knowing the specs on the oil going in, you can do a UOA and see where things are over time. One of the oil engineers here at work said that when the TAN (total acid number) equals the TBN, then it's time to change the oil. TAN should be near zero with new oil and TBN is at its maximum.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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