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Thread: 2012 R1200RT - another oil question...

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    Fun Handle corn5909's Avatar
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    2012 R1200RT - another oil question...

    Okay - so at the risk of starting a thread that goes out of control;

    My bike is going in for 6000 mile service - I asked what type of oil they are using. Answer: "Castrol 20-50." My owners manual does not recommend that weight. All recommended weights are lighter although my understanding from flipping through the threads on this site are that all modern boxers up to 2009 or so seem to use the 20-50. I'm no engine guru - but aren't there consequences to using a heavier oil than recommended? Like not getting enough flow though the bearings etc.? I'm not TOO worried about it since I'm in Las Vegas and its 90 degrees at 6AM... but still.

    Anyone point me to a tech article or the correct thread addressing this if its an old topic?
    Corndogg
    2012 R1200RT
    "She's expensive, impractical, mercurial, restive, and certifiably schizophrenic; and I'm madly in love with her." 2006 K1200R

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    I asked this same question when I bought my "newer" RT model. All three of the dealers I spoke to said they continued to use 20W50, not the "lighter" recommended weight suggested in manual. It's a guess, but assume either will work. If I rode year round, meaning in cold weather, I'd go with the lighter weight, but I'm typically in warmer air so go with the 20/50 dealer puts in. At 6,000 on my current '13, I'll go to 15W50 syn.
    '14 R1200RT
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    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    FWIW, i just googled 'bmw motorcycle recommended oi'l

    "Enemy fighters at 2 o'clock!...Roger, What should i do until then?"

    2010 r1200r, 2009 harley crossbones, 2008 triumph/sidecar, 1970 norton commando 750

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    2011 R1200RT ka5ysy's Avatar
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    Using a straight SAE 50 would cause you problems with starting etc., until it gets hot. 20W50 is a multigrade oil that changes viscosity based on operational temperature. This happens because the oil is designed with specifically engineered polymers in the oil. There is no problem using 20W50 or even going to 5W50 if you want. 5W starts in very cold weather and any other time are easy on the starter and the battery.

    I happen to use Amsoil 20W50 in the RT and it works fine in all my riding situations.
    Doug, 2011 R1200RT Polar Metallic
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    OP's question is based on BMW's "newest" recommendation for latest RT engine (as in the 2013 Owner's Manual)...20W50 is no longer listed as a recommended weight...they now list: 5W40, 5W50, 10W40, 10W50 and 15W50 depending on expected ambient air temperatures.
    '14 R1200RT
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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    It's only when starting the engine that "20" is significant.

    You really care most about the 2nd number and 50 is 50.

    Unless you're parking your bike outdoors in really cold weather, the difference between 10 and 20 is insignificant.

    You should worry more if the oil your dealer uses is not synthetic. Don't let them do that. And, if you're truly concerned about performance at temperature extremes, it's synthetic without a doubt.

    And, 20W-50 isn't in the manual because Castrol doesn't have this variety in its synthetics lineup.
    Kent Christensen
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    oil question

    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    It's only when starting the engine that "20" is significant.

    You really care most about the 2nd number and 50 is 50.

    Unless you're parking your bike outdoors in really cold weather, the difference between 10 and 20 is insignificant.

    You should worry more if the oil your dealer uses is not synthetic. Don't let them do that. And, if you're truly concerned about performance at temperature extremes, it's synthetic without a doubt.

    And, 20W-50 isn't in the manual because Castrol doesn't have this variety in its synthetics lineup.
    My manual and dealer. says 10-40 in my 2011 R1200RT,

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    As is typical with any oil related thread question (or any thread question for that matter)...many answers are not really related to the question - as asked. And opinions vary as I use only 0W5 however, I live only seven miles from Santa's house at the North Pole. 10W40, 15W40, 10W50, 15W50, 20W50 or even 7.125W43.250 will most likely keep the engine going till it is traded or crashed...hopefully the former rather than the latter.
    Last edited by Motodan; 08-01-2013 at 12:44 AM.
    '14 R1200RT
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    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    I asked this same question when I bought my "newer" RT model. All three of the dealers I spoke to said they continued to use 20W50, not the "lighter" recommended weight suggested in manual. It's a guess, but assume either will work. If I rode year round, meaning in cold weather, I'd go with the lighter weight, but I'm typically in warmer air so go with the 20/50 dealer puts in. At 6,000 on my current '13, I'll go to 15W50 syn.
    Motodan:

    I would seriously NOT use synthetic at the first oil change. Assuming you have a hex-head and not one of the new water-cooled boxers. Use 20/50 dino oil until at least 20,000 miles. Oil use will be excessive for the life of the bike if you put synth in at the start.

    Also, don't change the original oil early. It's special oil to help this break in process. It smells like kerosene and shoe polish had a baby. I changed mine at 600 because I was going on a long trip and the dealer was too busy to take care of it. I had their blessing for the trip. Got the rest of the service done when I came back. Smelliest oil I've ever seen!

    I know you want "the best" for your new bike, but there are lots and lots of threads on this subject. No one, and I mean no one wears out a boxer engine by not putting synth in the engine but plenty have put synth in too soon and have engines that use a bunch of oil. Synth is great for very high and very low temps. I use it in my boxer, but mine is well broken in at 78K miles. I just completed a 3500 mile trip on my '05 R1200RT and used 4 oz of oil. Lots of I-80 droning at 80mph, some canyon carving and even some dirt. The farkles have advanced, but these motors are still the same.

    Air and air/oil cooled boxers need the rings to seat and wear in a bit. Synthetic is too danged slick and it just won't happen. In fact, during this first 20K of use, make sure that the oil AND THE ENGINE are warm....That means about double the time it takes for the bike to come to temp on the gage. Then, don't be afraid to FLOG it, especially when you are near an oil change. Really give it the spurs, use many different RPMS etc. Work it.

    I think these new water cooled boxers may work more like K-bikes and newer cars, where you can use thinner oils and have little or no break-in, but I'm not sure about it yet. R bikes without water cooling are different. They are terrific engines, but owners need a bit of tribal knowledge to get the best out of them. I love my RT and intend to run it a looonnnng time. Enjoy!
    Last edited by rtwiz; 08-01-2013 at 03:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    Motodan:

    I would seriously NOT use synthetic at the first oil change. Assuming you have a hex-head and not one of the new water-cooled boxers. Use 20/50 dino oil until at least 20,000 miles. Oil use will be excessive for the life of the bike if you put synth in at the start.

    Also, don't change the original oil early. It's special oil to help this break in process. It smells like kerosene and shoe polish had a baby. I changed mine at 6,000 because I was going on a long trip and the dealer was too busy to take care of it. I had their blessing for the trip. Got the rest of the service done when I came back. Smelliest oil I've ever seen!

    I know you want "the best" for your new bike, but there are lots and lots of threads on this subject. No one, and I mean no one wears out a boxer engine by not putting synth in the engine but plenty have put synth in too soon and have engines that use a bunch of oil. Synth is great for very high and very low temps. I use it in my boxer, but mine is well broken in at 78K miles. I just completed a 3500 mile trip on my '05 R1200RT and used 4 oz of oil. Lots of I-80 droning at 80mph, some canyon carving and even some dirt. The farkles have advanced, but these motors are still the same.

    Air and air/oil cooled boxers need the rings to seat and wear in a bit. Synthetic is too danged slick and it just won't happen. In fact, during this first 20K of use, make sure that the oil AND THE ENGINE are warm....That means about double the time it takes for the bike to come to temp on the gage. Then, don't be afraid to FLOG it, especially when you are near an oil change. Really give it the spurs, use many different RPMS etc. Work it.

    I think these new water cooled boxers may work more like K-bikes and newer cars, where you can use thinner oils and have little or no break-in, but I'm not sure about it yet. R bikes without water cooling are different. They are terrific engines, but owners need a bit of tribal knowledge to get the best out of them. I love my RT and intend to run it a looonnnng time. Enjoy!
    Gee...you didn't have the required first service oil change? It is actually required according to BMW's own service schedule and would put your warranty coverage in serious question should there be an oil related problem.

    I appreciate your input, but I'm fairly well versed on BMW bikes. I sold them off and on since 1988 and have owned about 30 of them...over 8 RTs since '96. My reply to the OP was partially tongue-in-cheek. However, as this thread shows, an oil thread is a thread to no where. I wouldn't get to hung up on all you've read and heard about oils...synthetics included. Isn't it interesting that Harleys can use synthetics from the get go? That some expensive High Performance air cooled cars (Porsche for one) come with syn oil from the factory? There are a lot of stories out there and most show up on the internet on a regular basis...enjoy your RT.
    Last edited by Motodan; 08-01-2013 at 02:02 AM.
    '14 R1200RT
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    Closing thread...

    Thank everyone. Ive done enough reading on this subject now that my head hurts. So, long story short - I live in a hot climate and its a low mileage bike, so I'm going to stick with conventionals at whatever weight the shop recommends. If its 20W50, so be it. When I get up towards 20K and move back to a cooler climate, I'll consider going to 10W40 synth since its easier to find at backroads service stations.

    Cheers all - keep "it" off the pavement.
    Corndogg
    2012 R1200RT
    "She's expensive, impractical, mercurial, restive, and certifiably schizophrenic; and I'm madly in love with her." 2006 K1200R

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    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    Motodan:

    I would seriously NOT use synthetic at the first oil change. Assuming you have a hex-head and not one of the new water-cooled boxers. Use 20/50 dino oil until at least 20,000 miles. Oil use will be excessive for the life of the bike if you put synth in at the start.

    snip

    but plenty have put synth in too soon and have engines that use a bunch of oil. Synth is great for very high and very low temps. I use it in my boxer, but mine is well broken in at 78K miles. I just completed a 3500 mile trip on my '05 R1200RT and used 4 oz of oil. Lots of I-80 droning at 80mph, some canyon carving and even some dirt. The farkles have advanced, but these motors are still the same.

    Enjoy!
    I have always put synth in at the 600 mile change and never used any oil. K's R's whatever. I think if your bike burns a lot of oil, you are either doing something to contribute or just the luck of the draw on tolerances or quality control. I had a '78 from new and it used a quart every 750 miles. I didn't do anything different as to oil than on any other airhead I owned back then. My dealer had a '78 made at the same time and I used three quarts going to Oregon from IL and he didn't add any oil all the way out. Go figure. He suggested I change my oil when we were out there like he was doing and I replied "I already did...on the way out here.".
    We don't fill to the top of the window, but only halfway up the window. And measure that when hot after sitting 10 minutes. We too just went 4600 miles (R12GS '12) and used about 4 oz. My wifes '08 GS used about 4 oz also. She has 20W50 synth in the GS and I have 15W50 in mine. I was kind of intimidated by the new recommendations. Although, I figure they are mostly for fuel economy in the cars, trucks, and motorcycles to appease the government.
    I figure if dino causes more wear for break-in then it would wear the engine out in 100K miles...and it doesn't. So I don't think there is a whits difference in them except that synth flows better when cold and has more anti-acid in it. Wear is probably enough the same that it doesn't matter which you use after the 600 mile change.
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    [QUOTE=rtwiz;891500]Motodan:

    I would seriously NOT use synthetic at the first oil change. Assuming you have a hex-head and not one of the new water-cooled boxers. Use 20/50 dino oil until at least 20,000 miles. Oil use will be excessive for the life of the bike if you put synth in at the start.

    Also, don't change the original oil early. It's special oil to help this break in process.

    Sorry but can't let this one slide. I have run in 7 new 1200GS's. I have drained and replaced the oil at about 800 miles with 20-50 synth and on my cam head with 10-40 synth. I have averaged about 40k miles on each except the new one which has only 10k on it. None have burned oil/I have never added more than 1/4 qt between 6k mile oil changes. I run them in very hard from mile 10 which may be the reason. This is fact! Many if not most manufacturers now ship new motors with synth in the engines/no idea what BMW uses on their bikes.
    Marty Hill
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    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    Gee...you didn't have the required first service oil change? It is actually required according to BMW's own service schedule and would put your warranty coverage in serious question should there be an oil related problem.

    I appreciate your input, but I'm fairly well versed on BMW bikes. I sold them off and on since 1988 and have owned about 30 of them...over 8 RTs since '96. My reply to the OP was partially tongue-in-cheek. However, as this thread shows, an oil thread is a thread to no where. I wouldn't get to hung up on all you've read and heard about oils...synthetics included. Isn't it interesting that Harleys can use synthetics from the get go? That some expensive High Performance air cooled cars (Porsche for one) come with syn oil from the factory? There are a lot of stories out there and most show up on the internet on a regular basis...enjoy your RT.
    ...dan:

    If you're thinking Porsche, you're thinking wrong. They haven't been air cooled for years. Before when they were air cooled, they had break in requirements. I have an '06 Cayman S and it uses thin 0w40 synthetic from new...but it's water cooled.

    Very interesting that air-cooled Harleys can use synth from the get-go. I'm not familiar with Harley break in requirements or lack of them, but BMW twins are not Harleys.

    You can, of course use synth in your hex head or oil head after the 600 mile service...but your bike will consume more oil. If you want it to be tight, you need to break it with dyne oil and it takes quite a while. The number of miles required depends on how you ride it. 20,000 miles is not too long for most riders. If you put synth in right away, it will never break in and will use oil for its life.

    My oil WAS changed at 600, but I DID IT, (I wrote 6,000. My mistake. It's been corrected.) because the dealer was too busy (Spring of '05). After my oil change and 300 mile trip, I took it in with about 900 miles and they did the other things required. They told me I could do the change it at 600 only after I assured my tech that I was capable and that he could inspect the bike after the trip.

    BMW warranties are worth spit anyway. Very capricious and inconsistent coverage, but I did nothing to void mine. My point was that the break-in oil smells and is different than normal motor oil. That's why it must be changed at 600. The break in oil is supplied at the factory and shipped in (or with?) the bike. It's made to help seat the rings. Not trying to say that it's OK for anyone to ignore the first service.
    Last edited by rtwiz; 08-01-2013 at 03:43 PM.

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    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=martyhill;891599]
    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    Motodan:

    I would seriously NOT use synthetic at the first oil change. Assuming you have a hex-head and not one of the new water-cooled boxers. Use 20/50 dino oil until at least 20,000 miles. Oil use will be excessive for the life of the bike if you put synth in at the start.

    Also, don't change the original oil early. It's special oil to help this break in process.

    Sorry but can't let this one slide. I have run in 7 new 1200GS's. I have drained and replaced the oil at about 800 miles with 20-50 synth and on my cam head with 10-40 synth. I have averaged about 40k miles on each except the new one which has only 10k on it. None have burned oil/I have never added more than 1/4 qt between 6k mile oil changes. I run them in very hard from mile 10 which may be the reason. This is fact! Many if not most manufacturers now ship new motors with synth in the engines/no idea what BMW uses on their bikes.
    Marty:

    If you're flogging them with the break-in oil in, that might explain the success in sealing the engines. I've been following BMW guidelines for the first several thousand miles. I don't run through as many bikes as you, but the ones I've had have all taken a while to stop using oil. They have to stop consuming oil before you change to synth. That's my point. If you have a good way of breaking in new boxers and making them seal up before the 1st change, please share it.

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