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Thread: Oil Analysis Update?

  1. #106
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    New Supplier for BMW's Oil

    A bit of new information regarding BMW's supplier of engine oil. I saw this letter posted on the Airheads list. Looks like Spectro is no longer the supplier of BMW's engine oil....it appears to be Shell now.

    ########################

    INTERCONTINENTAL LUBRICANTS CORPORATION
    February 15, 2013

    Dear BMW Dealer:

    Allow me to introduce myself. My name is David Miller, President of Intercontinental Lubricants of Brookfield, CT, manufacturer of Spectro Oils and, until recently, blenders and
    packagers of BMWMotorcycle lubricants. In 1985, BMW contacted I.L.C. to solve smoking issues with the two cylinder boxer engines in BMW motorcycles. I.L.C engineered an oil to resolve those issues, and began producing a line of lubricants exclusively for BMW using the highest quality base stocks and additives.

    That same approach towards product excellence continued throughout our relationship. We are proud that BMW dealers and shops have been satisfied with our products and partnership
    for many years. Unfortunately, for "corporate" reasons, BMW made the decision to consolidate all of its lubricant business with one supplier, for cars and motorcycles all around the world.
    BMW products you purchase in the future will not be the superior lubricants we have been supplying, but will be sourced from another supplier.

    We can't comment on or vouch for the BMW lubricants of the future, as we do not know their formulations or feed stocks, but we do know that the performance of Spectro lubricants will remain consistent to the products you have used in the past.

    We will be happy to provide you with our engineered line of Spectro products, which are indistinguishable from the BMW lubricants you have been using and selling.

    Please consider what we offer. For further information on how to obtain our products, please contact I.L.C. at (800) 243-8645.

    Sincerely,
    David Miller, President
    993 Federal Road, Brookfield, CT 06804 ? Phone: 203-775-1291, Fax: 203-775-8720
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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  2. #107
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Castrol is now the supplier of packaged on-the-shelf oils for BMW motorcycles.

    Their "specially formulated for BMW" 15W50 semi-synthetic is their favorite.

    Castrol also is or has been a proud sponsor of BMW automotive racing.

    As you read oil threads, always keep in mind the different meanings between "BMW Recommends" and "BMW Specifies".

    That is all!
    Last edited by PGlaves; 10-20-2013 at 01:15 AM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  3. #108
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Castrol is now the supplier of packaged on-the-shelf oils for BMW motorcycles.

    Their "specially formulated for BMW" 15W50 synthetic is their favorite. That is all!
    Picked up 4 litres of Castrol at my neighbourhood NAPA a few weeks ago. Whew!

    Just can't decide when to put it in.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  4. #109
    Superkraut typ181r90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Castrol is now the supplier of packaged on-the-shelf oils for BMW motorcycles.

    Their "specially formulated for BMW" 15W50 synthetic is their favorite.

    Castrol also is or has been a proud sponsor of BMW automotive racing.

    As you read oil threads, always keep in mind the different meanings between "BMW Recommends" and "BMW Specifies".

    That is all!
    I just noticed this at my BMW dealer today. Went in to pick up some 10w50 (API SG) for winter riding and they didn't have any, all the bottles were different from the old spectro made ones, and the 15w50 is now a blend and API SJ (it's also a semi-synth)... oh well

    Also, isn't Castrol a subsidiary of BP instead of Shell? I know on my Castrol Brake fluid it has a BP logo on the back.
    // 1975 BMW R90/6 (cafe'd) // 1957 BMW R60 (in pieces) // 1967 Aermacchi/H-D Sprint 250 SS (custom special) // 1973 VW Type 181 Custom SOLD )

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  5. #110
    . AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    Yes the 15W50 is now semi-synth... but to my astonishment they actually reduced the price. Was $13.xx retail and now I think it's $10.50.

    I will probably contact Spectro about the earlier products but just haven't gotten around to it yet.
    Anton Largiader 72724
    largiader.com bmwra.org

  6. #111
    Bluenoser
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    The Castrol RS10-50 full synthetic motorcycle oil is readily available up here and I get mine from Walmart. Should work fine in place of the 15-50 ( at least for the newer engines ) if you want to go the full sync route.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
    2013 DL650

  7. #112
    Registered User helmut_head's Avatar
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    Like to see.....

    It'd be realy nice to look at used oil samples, not just the new ones with artficial aging. Not sure how because we don't have an "official" airhead test fleet. I'd be willing to donate if it helps. I am a Valvoline Dino + a dash of Lucas high ZDDP build oil kinda guy.
    Helmut always wears a Helmet.

  8. #113
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    HH -

    Not only do we not have a dedicated fleet for this, we have diverse users. The data would be all over the map. The best that could be done would be for an individual to do something like this for themselves and see how their standard oil change intervals match with oil degradation over time. But that would be different for each individual.
    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!

  9. #114
    Registered User helmut_head's Avatar
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    Yo Kurt, that's what I mean. The artificial aging test might be representative for some of us. But, for example, with different levels of fuel dilution (rings), soot build up, etc, different oils will give various results. Unless you run an entire matrix, but then what do you have? Which oil would one choose? Hmmm.....unless there is a true standout with every level of a good designed experiment.

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  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    HH -

    Not only do we not have a dedicated fleet for this, we have diverse users. The data would be all over the map. The best that could be done would be for an individual to do something like this for themselves and see how their standard oil change intervals match with oil degradation over time. But that would be different for each individual.
    I guess I have to put in my 2 cents worth:

    Here is what I would like to see:

    I would like to see some of the regular oils tested, i.e. ones that most of us would purchase at a local auto store where specialized motorcycle oils are not sold. I do understand that the special motorcycle oils are needed for those bikes with wet clutches, but the rest of us can still used regular automotive oils.

    Most of the testing I have seen center on an oil's [U]longevity[U], but since most of us change oil pretty often and often too soon, longevity is not the primary issue. How do the various popular additives help (or, not help) any oil's performance during its normal lifetime in a motorcycle? I.e. Lucas, Rislone, others?

    I would like to see oils tested for lubricity, i.e. its ability to lubricate at various temperatures and at various stages of it usage, let's say right after an oil change and then at a simulated, let's say, 2,000 miles.

    My third item on my "wish" list is to evaluate an oil's "body" i.e. an oil's flowability (which was the original meaning of viscosity). It is my suspicion that most of the oils today are too thin for its historic viscosity rating (due to pressure from the government to make oils "flow" more easily to obtain better gas mileages). How does an oil flow at various stages of its usable life, beginning, and then at a realistic mileage, again around a simulated 2,000 miles. And then, how does it "flow" at various temperatures, like when cold (simulating start-up) and then again at various degrees of temperature based upon simulated realistic riding temperatures present at various parts of the country. This is especially needed to know for non-water-cooled bikes, as air cooled engine's temperatures are so affected by ambient temps and various traffic conditions, like traffic jams or waiting for long lights, long idling, etc.

    I know that this is a "pipe-dream" request because the above type of testing would be very expensive, and probably could only be handled by an oil testing lab ... probably owned by an oil supplier which would then have a bias towards its own oil brand.

    Oh well. I would guess, however, that most of the brand name oils are plenty adequate as long as they are changed properly and filtered properly which, I would guess, most BMW owners already do.

    Years ago, I had seen testing like this on machines (not in actual cars or motorcycles) that measured torque and resistance (a smaller version, but like dyno testing). It was, however, done by an oil-maker and therefore their particular oil brand always came out as the "winner."

    Thanks for the sounding board!

    JC

  11. #116
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    Jimmy -

    As you finally conclude, these kind of "want to haves" are outside the normal range of possibility, principally from a cost standpoint. Maybe also as you suggest, for people who change their oil more frequently before these issues come to play. More than likely, we change our oil too often...that could be determined by doing personal testing of your own used oil to find the optimum time to change. Large fleets do this because they have to in order to minimize their costs for their business. But hey, how much does an oil change really cost in the grand scheme to us?? It's out hobby, not our business.

    My primary goal in doing this was to connect the dots to the past...testing of the very same nature has been done going back to 1999...I wanted to try and keep the number of variables down and just see if there had been much change. Especially since the switch from SG/SH oils was happening at the time and all the issues lowering of ZDDP. I don't think "the rest of us can still used regular automotive oils" is 100% accurate...in my opinion. There are some very bad choices of regular automotive oils out there for our bikes. They are enery saving, have very little ZDDP, and were designed to reduce friction in a tight tolerance engine...that our bikes are not. But there are some good automotive oils out there. You can get good motorcycle oils in the same run-of-the-mill autoparts stores. Good oil, easy to get, designed for our needs...what's not to like?

    There are certainly a whole range of tests that can be done...if one has the money. To echo what you said, this type of testing has been done by oil manufacturers with what appears to be a slant towards their product. I received the AMSOIL test pamphlet from my neighbor which let me read and understand some of the testing options out there. That pamphlet is here (among other places):

    http://www.dualies.com/downloads/fil...0-%20g2156.pdf

    There is a big world of testing and we've all mentioned the huge matrix needed for that...and it still might not satisfy everyone. But we're not pushing our oil to the extremes and likely really shouldn't. I personally want some kind of safety factor built into the oil I use and the change frequency...small price to pay for a long term relationship with my bike(s). For most everybody, it comes down to a basic set of guidelines: clean oil is better than dirty oil and dirty oil is better than no oil. My choice is to make the best decision I can with oil and worry more about my tires!!
    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!

  12. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylee View Post

    I would like to see some of the regular oils tested, i.e. ones that most of us would purchase at a local auto store where specialized motorcycle oils are not sold.
    ....I do understand that the special motorcycle oils are needed for those bikes with wet clutches, but the rest of us can still used regular automotive oils....

    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    ...You can get good motorcycle oils in the same run-of-the-mill autoparts stores. Good oil, easy to get, designed for our needs...what's not to like?

    ...

    This is thankfully the case. All the Auto Zones, Advance Autos, Checkers, etc I've been in carry specific motorcycle oil. (Along with VR1 20-50 for my Airhead)
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  13. #118
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    Kurt,

    All of your points are well taken, and have already been discussed by you and me previously. I just presented my wish list.

    I already do purchase my Motorcycle oil from AutoZone so I am aware that they do sell oil particularly for motorcycles!

    I do think however, that Lucas has alternatives that meet all the needs we would have - on both our old motorcycles and the newer ones. Some, when added with regularly sold oils, will actually still be less expensive, AND add the additives you mention are missing from modern oils (ZDDP).

    I think the Amsoil test was the one I read many years ago, and I believed it until I talked to an engineer from Exxon/Mobil and he pointed out some descrepancies in Amsoil's conclusions and in the description of their base stock for their synthetic oils. I suspect other mfg's. also do the same thing (including Mobil).

    My previous comment was just a wish list wanting someone at an independent testing lab could run a scientific test that would give reasonably informative, accurate information that would help us in the "real world" which would be helpful. I.e., "how does it help ME to know this?"

    I also am not demeaning your conclusions in any way, helpful information, but pretty much the results of chemical analyses as opposed to testing mechanically on a physical test machine, or better, right in motorcycles and then analyzed for wear-ability and lubricity and break down at certain stages.

    Just my opinion!

    Thanks,
    JC

  14. #119
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    Jimmy -

    Understand...all of this discussion about oils is pure opinion because I don't think any of us slept at a HIE last night or are oil engineers!! In that vein, my opinion about oil additives is that I don't like them since I'm not an oil engineer. How do we really know what will happen when the two products are combined? Sure, the supplier of the additive has gone through some tests to hopefully verify that it won't do any harm or that it will combine in a way they can predict. Every oil brand? Even then, oils are different (albeit slightly) from batch to batch. Enough to change the results of the additive tests? Likely not...but you never know. That's why I choose to buy the oil with the additive package already built in. I think it was Matt Parkhouse who wrote in one of his earlier articles for his oil analysis that there might be an upper limit to the amount of ZDDP that can be added. Just because some is good, a lot might not be.

    Use a quality oil, change it often, and the engine will love you for it!!
    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!

  15. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    Jimmy -

    Understand...all of this discussion about oils is pure opinion because I don't think any of us slept at a HIE last night or are oil engineers!! In that vein, my opinion about oil additives is that I don't like them since I'm not an oil engineer. How do we really know what will happen when the two products are combined? Sure, the supplier of the additive has gone through some tests to hopefully verify that it won't do any harm or that it will combine in a way they can predict. Every oil brand? Even then, oils are different (albeit slightly) from batch to batch. Enough to change the results of the additive tests? Likely not...but you never know. That's why I choose to buy the oil with the additive package already built in. I think it was Matt Parkhouse who wrote in one of his earlier articles for his oil analysis that there might be an upper limit to the amount of ZDDP that can be added. Just because some is good, a lot might not be.

    Use a quality oil, change it often, and the engine will love you for it!!
    You make my point. That is why I think testing needs to be done on them as well.

    However, Rislone (which has zinc added) has been around for dozens of years, and Lucas has a reputation second to none, including motorcycle racing, and has been tested extensively on Harly Davidisons! I don't think they are selling products that haven't been tested and don't perform. And certainly, I am SURE that their use could not be detrimental in any way to our "loving" machines, especially the older ones. For example, Lucas' oil stabilizer is designed with properties to help it "stick" to the engine parts so that the oil provides lubrication when the engine is just started. Worth a look . . . and a test!

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