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Thread: ON Magazine's article on oil?

  1. #1
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    ON Magazine's article on oil?

    Did anyone else read that article about oil in the most recent BMW ON magazine.

    I am going to stick my neck out here. I have a college degree, and nearly a Master's degree, and have had a great deal of experience mechanically, much of it on motorcycles.

    However, after suffering through that article 2x, I still don't understand a word of it, and further, I couldn't find one thing that helped me as a BMW owner to gage what oil would be best to purchase for my BMW or any other engine.

    Can someone interpret?

  2. #2
    jeepinbanditrider
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    Buy oil. Preferbly the slick kind. In a weight that is recommended for your engine (in my case 10-40 works just fine) pour into engine. Have a great day of riding. Change on a semi-regular basis.

  3. #3
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    What I recall from reading that article was the statement that "Oil is better than no oil and clean oil is better than dirty oil."

    As long as it meets the manufacturer's specs, buy what brand you like and change at recommended mileage intervals, or once or twice a year if you don't ride that many miles. Ride on, don't worry, be happy.

  4. #4
    X-Troller hexst's Avatar
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    I thought it was ironic to see that article after reading the Amsoil ad that the will financially contribute to the MOA for members buying their product.
    Knick
    F800GS
    Vespa ET4

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    Definitely a confusing article.

    Pretty charts and pictures though.

    Obviously a "Conclusions" or "Recommendations" paragraph would have been helpful in summarizing all that data. Too bad.

  6. #6
    jeepinbanditrider
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    You should be able to draw your own conclusions based on the article and the Charts. If I was going to be forced to choose one oil in that article out of the rest of them with the info provided, I'd choose the Mobil 1 or Rotella T based on avaliabilty, price and how performed in the testing.

    But honestly any of those oils listed are going to work and work well for the life of your engine. Think about the last time you heard of an oil related failure on a maintained vehicle

  7. #7
    Registered User kentuvman's Avatar
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    Let's acknowledge our Airhead moderator, Kurt 20744, for taking the time to do his homework and write the story. Writing a post here is easy - writing an article is not.

    There's so many posts about oil - for people who really want to know what the differences are, Kurt did a thorough job.

    Also agree that any oil is better than no oil.

    Most BMW's are the marvels of modern engineering - it's good to know all the specifics that allow our machines to operate to their maximum potential w/out doing long term damage to the components.

    My 2c
    Ken Tuvman
    Excelsior, MN
    K75s, R65LS, R60/5

  8. #8
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    ON Magazine's article on oil?

    Used my advanced technical degree to determine that the article implied: oil is good.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  9. #9
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    ON Magazine's article on oil?

    Seriously, I took it that the author was trying to say that there was no need to rant about oil. The tests show that in any non-commercial, non-racing application you will never know the difference.
    I took it as an oil thread killer. If you have a passion for a particular oil, buy that one. If you are money conscious buy the one on sale. If you perceive higher performance due to higher price, then by all means buy the highest price. But please buy the proper weight, change at manufacturers intervals, and ride on.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  10. #10
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    ON Magazine's article on oil?

    I am willing to bet lunch, that there is not a single person on this site who has had a verified engine oil related mechanical failure while following manufacturers recommendations. I do find the oil rants a fascinating read into human psychology.

    Never put an odd number of coins in a slot machine, and press the button on even pulls, pull the handle on odd pulls. The machines in the middle of a row pay better, and play during the bottom of the hour. Old quarters before states were imprinted win more often.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  11. #11
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbarbee View Post
    I am willing to bet lunch, that there is not a single person on this site who has had a verified engine oil related mechanical failure while following manufacturers recommendations. I do find the oil rants a fascinating read into human psychology.

    Never put an odd number of coins in a slot machine, and press the button on even pulls, pull the handle on odd pulls. The machines in the middle of a row pay better, and play during the bottom of the hour. Old quarters before states were imprinted win more often.
    I have a chemistry degree so I can understand a lot of the BS in oil threads just a bit better than the average guy. I am also a veteran of a zillion oil thread war on the COG, FJR, Triumph, and STN forums. What I've gotten out of them is there is absolutely no, nada, zilch scientific evidence to show that if you run close to the viscosity and API rating recommended by the manufacturer, that one oil is any better than another. I have also come to the absolute same conclusion as lbarbee on mechanical failures. The overwhelming number of motorcycles crash or are sold multiple times before any major engine failure. That is "overwhelming majority" not onesie twosies. Two things the author stayed away from was synthetic versus dyno and the real reason there are MC specific oils. A very smart thing to do, because it usually goes nowhere. Consumer Reports ran a test on taxi cabs which has disappeared from the planet, but lots of oil warriors have read it and know that it exists, actually measured wear by tearing apart engines and measuring components. Conclusion was that dyno or synthetic really did not show any difference. Why MC specific oil? Primarily because most, not all, MC's run their transmission and crank from the same oil, wet clutches too. Bottom line is if you have an air cooled R1200GS you can almost run vegetable oil (just a joke ), but there is no need to be finicky. That is why I don't care for the new tea kettle. The transmission will cause oil shearing breaking down the multi-viscosity oils much faster than where you have a separate transmission. Even though tests show that synthetics handle shearing better, you still don't see any tests that measure the impact of that. MC oils also deal with wet clutch slippage too. If API badge says energy conserving or you have an ILSAK starburst, don't use it because those oils "can" cause the clutch to slip. Best bet is to find an oil that makes you happy and go ride.
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  12. #12
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    After reading and participating in quite a few oil threads on different motorcycle forums over the years, I narrowed the oil argument down to the following for myself :

    At the beginning was the question whether you can use automotive oil in motorcycles. Way back in the past, you could. There was only one kind of engine oil. After automotive oils were changed for a variety of reasons, like friction reduction, catalytic converter compatibility etc, they found out that the lack of certain additives could be a disadvantage in motorcycles and motorcycle specific oils were created. That also helped sales and marketing of the oil companies.

    Some arguments for motorcycle specific oils did not apply to certain motorcycle brands, e.g.: wet clutch compatibility for motorcycles with dry clutches (BMW, Ducati), transmission compatibility for motorcycles with seperate engine and tranny (BMW, HD).

    The only factor that remained valid (for me) was the fact that most automotive oils have reduced ZDDP levels and that could pose a problem with the flat lifters in most of my motorcycles. Much to my surprise, I found out, however, that certain weight automotive oils were exempt from the ZDDP reduction, like Mobil 1 15W40 and 20W50.

    All of the above considered, I use Mobil 1 15W40 automotive oil (which is significanlty cheaper than the Mobil 1 motorcycle oil) in my 1997 R100S, my 1990 K1 and my 1999 R1100RT. ( I will let the dealer do the oil change on my K1600GT)
    I use non-synthetic Castrol GTX in all my Hondas and Kawasakis (unit motors) and Agip synthetic in my Ducatis (just because it has always been in them).
    In the HDs, I use Shell Rotella.
    My choice of oil is mainly driven by economic reasons within certain limits imposed by technical considerations

  13. #13
    Registered User toooldtocare's Avatar
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    Oh..another oil thread on an another oil article

  14. #14
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    For those that didn't see/read what lead up to this, go back to this thread:

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...nalysis-Update

    The main purpose of the article was to extend similar articles done in 1999 and 2002 in ON. I used similar oils to those previous tests and included new ones.

    I intended not to provide a recommendation...just present the numbers and let owners make their own decisions. No one tells you what tires to buy or which grocery store to shop in. Most of us will do the research and make an informed decision. About the only recommendations that might be read from the article are: buy a quality oil and change it often (enough!); make sure there's a good amount of ZDDP; ensure that the viscosity index is good and will hold up under your application (Airheads don't have common oil with trannys or clutches, so that's less of a concern for us); consider the ability of the oil to counteract the acids produced by have a high base number. There are a ton of ASTM tests that can be done to go deeper into the quality of oils. Very, very pricey though!!

    larabee: while this person is not on this list, I have seen the effects on an engine when the amount of ZDDP is allowed to go too low. A friend and I rode our /2s to Missisippi for Vech's rally in 2009. He has a '65 R60/2. Same basic engine design as the Airhead. Upon return, he changed oil only to find silvery flakes in the used oil. We decided to pull a jug. The cam follower faces were shredded...that was the source of the flakes. He had been using a previous good oil with lots of ZDDP...a Shell diesel truck oil IIRC. Somewhere along the way, they changed the forumlation of that oil, dropping the ZDDP. The result is a motor that needs a complete overhaul. Followers for sure, but the slingers in the bottom of the engine will be full, not to mention all of the cavities and galleys (such as they are in that motor). Hopefully the cam lobes will be fine and not need a new cam.

    My opinion is that oil is very important...probably the most important part on the bike. I wanted to know what some of the differences are. It's amazing what people don't know about what's inside the bottle. I was really dumbfounded when I went to buy the quart of Harley oil and all I got was shrugged shoulders. If I were a discerning customer, I probably would have turned around and gone to another place. I kind of expect the people who are supporting my bike to know at least something about the products they sell and support.

    I apologize if the article and graphs are confusing. I'm an engineer and write accordingly...I'll never write a novel! Some of these presentations I use all the time in my reports, so they come natural to me. If I can help with something, let me know.
    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!

  15. #15
    Registered User jad01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kentuvman View Post
    Let's acknowledge our Airhead moderator, Kurt 20744, for taking the time to do his homework and write the story. Writing a post here is easy - writing an article is not.

    There's so many posts about oil - for people who really want to know what the differences are, Kurt did a thorough job.
    +1. Here is the link to the thread Kurt started as he was developing the analysis criteria for the article, in which he solicited input from this forum: http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...t=oil+analysis

    I appreciate the work as it presents real data from which I can make more informed decisions when selecting an oil. Additionally, this well-considered effort represents an independent analysis that does not rely on manufacturer supplied data, which is valuable from the standpoint of eliminating bias. Good work!
    Jim
    '78 R80/7 and '84 R100RS (Blues Brothers), '86 K75C (Icy Hot)
    '90 and '93 Red Mazda Miatas ("Jelly Bean" and "Red Hot")
    '96 Giant Upland (big Kendas & freshly greased bearings!)

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