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Thread: ON Magazine's article on oil?

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmylee View Post
    The question for most, however, is "but what does all this me to ME"? Probably one of the confusing issues here is that MOST, if not all, of the test oils performed well within the scope of what most of us need the oil to do. Thus, we all can leave basically saying that "my particular oil is the best." I doubt that anyone was convinced by that article to change anything.
    Jimmy -

    I attempted to answer this in this post; did you see it?

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...l=1#post863540

    I indicated what my motivation was. First, the new article was an extension of the past two...essentially the same data was presented, although I did add some "farkles" because I like doing that. Second, it had been over 10 years since the last time oils had been looked at in our organization...had anything changed? Third, these oils were all the ones people have been touting on various forums. For me, I wanted to see how they really looked on paper. In my estimation, most faired well, but some really didn't look so good.

    As for convincing people, that's for each individual to decide. For me, I'll probably switch from using BMW's petro oil to Spectro's brand. I can find it locally and it's even cheaper...and better to boot! I decided it was better for me.

    As for more in-depth testing, define for me the "top selling oils". That can't really be defined...that's another whole thread! You mention another brand doing some tests. You're probably referring to the June 2009 AMSOIL pamphlet that can be found on-line. They did a ton of testing and I applaud them for it. Much bucks, though. And yes, it did show that AMSOIL was pretty much the best of the bunch. Some of the oils I tested were in that same article, including AMSOIL.

    The testing I did (and Matt and Jeffrey in the past) were done independently with no vested interest. There are other on-line tests and discussions...done at different times by different labs using much different oils. What I present represents a snapshot in time of most of the oils that we use.

    As you said, most of the oils performed well in this limited testing. I could have included car oils which would show up poorly...but we already know that, so no need to do it. So, in the end, it really comes down to using a quality oil and changing it often. If the article can point out there's an equivalent oil that is better in some aspect and it might be more easily found in your area and it cheaper, that's a win-win-win!
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
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  2. #47
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHEWBACCA View Post
    Consumer Reports ran a test on taxi cabs which has disappeared from the planet...
    Here ya go:

    http://www.xs11.com/xs11-info/xs11-i...july-1996.html

    Over the years, I've read the CU test a number of times, and don't find it particularly helpful, since the tested taxi engines were running almost constantly, at full operating temperature.


    Kurt: thanks for all your work on the article: you're a brave man.

    What I took away from your article was that (from Table 3) only five oils tested match, or come close to, having the levels of zinc and phosphorous recommended by LNengineering, and I have a lot of respect for these guys.
    Rinty

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

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    Over the years, I've read the CU test a number of times, and don't find it particularly helpful, since the tested taxi engines were running almost constantly, at full operating temperature


    I think that constant running at full operating temperature (not sure exactly what that temperature is, did you mean maximum temperature?) is a good test of any oil.

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    Taxi's?

    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    Over the years, I've read the CU test a number of times, and don't find it particularly helpful, since the tested taxi engines were running almost constantly, at full operating temperature


    I think that constant running at full operating temperature (not sure exactly what that temperature is, did you mean maximum temperature?) is a good test of any oil.
    Not really. While it may lend some information on longevity, it can't take into account starting over and over in the normal life of an oil change, and also the variation that may occur due to outside temperatures. If an engine is already warmed up it normally will run at the same running temp due to the water thermostat, with the only exception that I am sure there is a "tolerance" on the thermostat that allows a small temp variation.

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    I didn't say I believed it was or could be the ONLY test of an oil, but extended running at high temperature does have some bearing to how we run our bikes on hot summer days whether on an interstate or city stop and go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    Over the years, I've read the CU test a number of times, and don't find it particularly helpful, since the tested taxi engines were running almost constantly, at full operating temperature


    I think that constant running at full operating temperature (not sure exactly what that temperature is, did you mean maximum temperature?) is a good test of any oil.
    BMWCCA's Roundel magazine published a mfg's test that was about the new(at the time) Mobil-1 syn oil that just happened to use an E-30(1980's BMW car) as the test car. The car went for like a million plus miles? & it was done on a dyno type treadwheel situation so no cold starts or road vibration, cannot remember much else as pretty long ago. I recall being impressed with both the car & the oil as few components failed in the time it ran 24/7. The tests was also indicative of how hwy miles are much kinder to vehicles than TAXI cabs ,as an e.g., since that just came up as a poor test of oil. Stop & go driving is a tough situation for any vehicle in many ways. Sitting in traffic with poor airflow is a temperature factor, huh?
    There are some reasons why we keep track of # of cold starts in aviation engines.
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  7. #52
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    I read the oil aricle before i was finalized for publication. I thought it presented good information in a useful way. Once you begin with the notion that it is all about additive levels the data presented is valuable. Back when SJ rated oils were first marketed, BMW sent out a service bulletin advising dealers that SJ oils were not suitable for BMW motorcycles and that SG rated oils should be used. Later models called for SH rated oils. That benchmarks at about 1200 ppm. As the anti-wear additive levels were reduced in light viscosity car oils (but not always in heavy viscosity car oils) it was a guessing game as to what might be suitable. Jeff DiCarlo did the first article. Later Matt Parkhouse did another article. Both tested the additive levels with an emphasis on the parts per million of anti-wear ZDDP (Zinc and Phosphorus). This was a followup testing to see what the additive levels are currently in a variety of popular oils.

    My biggest take away was that Castrol GTX has as much anti-wear additive as their 4T Four Stroke Motorcycle Oil. They are comparably priced but GTX is easier to find. You can take your favorite oil or two and see how they compare with others. You can compare higher priced oils and lower priced oils and see how they compare.

    I am not sure what more anybody needs unless you just want to know what the best oil is. And to that question there are at least a dozen plausible answers.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  8. #53
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Since 2010 BMW no longer makes engines with "flat tappets" do they?

    Where's the hue and cry on the car side of things? I don't keep track of all brands--just BMW and Mercedes--but there's zero/zip/nada concern there about zddp, etc.

    The saddest thing in my mind is that while BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, VW, Audi all publish oil requirements for their cars that you can find printed on bottles of motor oil, BMW does no such thing for its motorcycles. It may come as a surprise to some, but SJ, SH, etc. are USA ONLY things and for me something I completely ignore, as for my car I'm looking for MB 229.51. Any bulletin, then, that comes from BMW referencing the USA standards comes solely from BMW USA I'd venture, and since that's the bunch that once brought us Texaco #10 grease, I'm inclined to ignore 100% of what they publish.

    I can never figure out which BMW bikes this is all about. Since BMW's mostly until now have had separate engines/transmissions, they're pretty much like cars. K-bikes are really like cars, most of which are also watercooled. They don't have tappets and do sprag starter clutches require zddp? My old R100RS had pitted lifters at 50K miles using Castrol 20W-50 GTX long before there was any talk of reduced zddp.

    I rather doubt also there's much discussion of zddp in Europe and in any event when it comes to BMW I'm pretty inclined to keep track of what's happening in Europe and to ignore, again, anything from BMW USA.

    BMW recommends Castrol and I use Castrol Power RS Racing 4T, which AFAIK is the same as the European recommendation Power 1 Racing 4T, the USA being a little more sensitive about the use of "1" I assume. It's labeled "made in USA from domestic and imported components" and that makes me happy because I conclude the USA components are the packaging, which is quarts rather than liters.

    Me, I'm completely ignoring any discussion related to zddp and instead simply following manufacturer recommendation. Again, it's disappointing BMW fails to produce a specification, but in the meantime I follow the recommendation provided in Europe, where BMW states on its website ...
    BMW recommend Castrol oils as they are co-engineered with our BMW motorcycle engineers. Use of the incorrect oils or products can lead to premature wear, poor performance and incorrect operation of engine parts, clutch, gearbox and axles. Please refer to the Castrol Recommended Oils Guide.
    http://www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk/media/...66_low_res.pdf
    Kent Christensen
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    .... My biggest take away was that Castrol GTX has as much anti-wear additive as their 4T Four Stroke Motorcycle Oil. They are comparably priced but GTX is easier to find. ....
    Paul, That was my biggest surprise. As far as the tests conducted are concerned, it seems that they are identical (within confidence ranges given the limited number of samples).

    Everyone, Are Paul and I missing something? For example, might the 4T Four Stroke Motorcycle Oil have additives that means it has superior performance over time than the GTX? If so, what would they be and how do we identify them? What data is there about the performance of any of these oils over time?
    Mark

    Current - 1974 TR5T : 1993 R100R : 1994 R100RT ~ Past - 11# 1970s BSA/Triumph Singles & Twins : 2# 1970s CZ 125s : 1# 1985 BMW R65 : 1# 1976 Moby X7

  10. #55
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    All the oils tested where virgin samples, no testing was done on used oil. As I understand it BMW's recommendation for flat tappet engines, they recommend a 1200 ppm of zinc. From what I remember of the article or the web version just about any of the oils tested meet that standard.

    Oil threads are a bit of a mugs game and everybody has their favourite brand & weight. If you want to educate yourself about oils then I suggest you go to the Bob's the Oil Guy site.

    There are several newer oils in the 5-50 & 10-50 Range put out by Castrol that are a semi & full synthetic that would work fine if all your seals & gaskets where in good shape and of the newer style. In fact BMW recommends the Castrol Power RS Racing 4t 10-50 in their racing rocket. That's a shared sump so if it stands up to that then I think you could use it just about anywhere.

    The bottom line is follow the manufactures recommendations/specs based on ambient temps, change the oil & filter at the recommended intervals, and you will have no oil related problems. This is not rocket science
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinty View Post
    Here ya go:

    http://www.xs11.com/xs11-info/xs11-i...july-1996.html

    Over the years, I've read the CU test a number of times, and don't find it particularly helpful, since the tested taxi engines were running almost constantly, at full operating temperature.
    .
    Thanks for the link; however, that does not look like the article I read. It might be a summary of the one I am referring to. That article was much longer and had actual measurements of bearings and had pics too. It had a complete section on the summary of synthetic versus petro which was very controversial at the time. The taxi engines were running stop and go, which is way more destructive than average mix of bike or car usage. IMO "full operating temp" is a red herring. The test I saw was months and I believe at least a year long. Temp averages out and your bike gets up to and maintains full temp very quickly. The bottom line for me is that an oil analysis of crap in the oil and a boat load of other oil attributes does create a set of indicators, BUT they DO NOT show actual WEAR. For example, I mean something like the bearing loses 0.010 mm with Oil A in X miles, not there is 100ppm of bronze in the sample. That isn't an indicator, that is hard, cold data.

    All that being said, I do not believe that there is ANY data that is slam dunk positive that ANY oil will make your bike last longer, PERIOD!!! Pick an oil that meets or exceeds the manufacturers API rating and has the "hot" viscosity rating, change your oil at close to the recommended change interval, change the filter, go ride. The only time this requires any thought is when the tranny, crank and/or clutch use the same oil.
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  12. #57
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    We all owe Kurt a big thanks for taking this on. Brave soul indeed! Shame that no good deed seems to go unpunished!

    One thing is for certain; no amount of discussion will ever put to rest people's opinions on oil. Kind of amazing when you step back a bit and think about how much this basic commodity has permeated every aspect of our lives. No wonder opinions abound!

    The taxi comments are very interesting to me because they do not really reflect what I experienced. I owned two cabs in Edmonton AB circa 1978 - 1981. Both Buick LeSabres. Rented one out and drove the other on the night shift. Best "flexible hours" job ever! Anyway, we changed oil regularly using nothing special other than one trick I picked up from a million mile taxi cab owner. He taught me to use 4 liters of oil and 1 liter of ATF with every change. The high detergent content and high temperature durability of ATF keeps a big 8 clean and allows the oil to reach it's intended locations with ease was the theory. And it works.

    I sold my share in good old #75 with ~1,430,000 KMS on the original engine (454 cu in). That is close to a million miles. It ran on the fleet for many more. #99 (455 cu in) only made it to 536,000 KMS because my hapless day driver used to pile her smokes on the dash shelf right in front of the idiot lights and never noticed a bright red OIL light blinking at her after smacking a manhole cover and making a small hole in the oil pan. The next hole was a very large one where a rod went through shortly thereafter. Put a junkyard motor in it and life went on. Oh yeah, I fired the day driver the day it happened.

    The fellow who taught me a thing or two about lubricants was still driving his Chevy Impala when I sold out and quit the business and his car with an original engine (350 cu in) had over one million miles on it (1.6 million KMS!) The motor was dismantled by a local GM dealer because he could not believe this was happening. Even more incredible is they put the bottom end of the engine back together with the SAME BEARINGS. It did need a valve job...

    The point of my rambling here (from actual experience) is that maintenance and clean oil changed regularly is probably more important than the brand of oil as long as it meets manufacturer's specs. I have never believed that racing oil is needed for anything BUT racing nor do I think that changing your oil more frequently than recommended is necessary or beneficial.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

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    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Wanderer View Post
    We all owe Kurt a big thanks for taking this on. Brave soul indeed! Shame that no good deed seems to go unpunished!

    .
    I don't think anybody here, not even the author of the original post, said or thought that Kurt had not made a great contribution. And nobody chastized him for doing a lousy job. I don't think ( I hope) Kurt took it that way.

    Those who thought they had to run to his defense (even though there wasn't an attack) took this whole thread to a complete new level, one where it did not belong to begin with.

    I think, it is beating a dead horse to continue adding to the therad and I will step away.
    Just one thing as far as engine longevity is concerned:
    Of course, your engine will not last 500,000 miles if you don't change the oil. But the most important thing that makes engines last long is temperature. Keeping your motor away from high operating temperatures will increase its life.
    Adding oil coolers, maybe larger radiators and thermostats that open earlier are a great help. Even running the heater in the summer will add miles to the engine. There is enough hard evidence about this out there. Both from lab tests and the real world.

  14. #59
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Thank you Kurt.... Good info.
    Kevin Huddy
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  15. #60
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    But the most important thing that makes engines last long is temperature. Keeping your motor away from high operating temperatures will increase its life.
    Adding oil coolers, maybe larger radiators and thermostats that open earlier are a great help. Even running the heater in the summer will add miles to the engine. There is enough hard evidence about this out there. Both from lab tests and the real world.
    I'd doubt the accuracy of this.

    The most damaging "heat" factor is actually lack of it, i.e. the effects of running just after start and until the engine warms up. In any event, if there's any concern about heat, both not enough and perhaps excessive heat, the answer is ALWAYS synthetic motor oil.

    For the 247 Airheads, BMW determined the only models requiring oil coolers were R100s. The R100GS didn't get a cooler thermostat mostly, I think, because there wasn't room for one. In any event this was the bike most likely to see high rpms combined with low ground speeds. IMHO this cooler ought to be covered if riding in town in winter.

    For any Airhead, heat is a factor pretty much only when rpms are high, as obviously more fuel is being burned. The thermostat-equipped Airheads hardly ever circulated oil through the oil cooler and did so mostly during high speed highway runs and almost never in city driving. Yes, this conflicts with some possible conventional thinking, but that thinking is usually derived from experience with water-cooled cars, where at slow speeds the water pump and radiator fan both run slowly. This is irrelevant and apples/oranges when compared to the aircooled BMW.

    The real culprit were the "big valve" heads fitted to R100 engines, as these were simply inadequately cooled and subject to warpage. Note that when R100s returned following the aborted "last edition" notion, the big valve heads didn't.

    I've not seen anything in print from BMW as regards Airheads, but owners of Oilheads are cautioned not to idle the motor more than 15 minutes. Police, who would regularly idle longer get electric fans behind the oil cooler. In any event, this is a significant chunk of time and indicates pretty good air cooling capability. Again, when idling little fuel is burned and little heat is generated and the engine does radiate away heat despite no vehicle motion.

    Repeating, there is little reason at all not to use synthetic motor oil but there is simply no logic at all in not using it if one is concerned about motor heat.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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