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1979 Honda GL1000
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How can I tell the difference between synthetic an non-synthetic oil. I recently bought a 1979 GL1000, and the previous owner had no idea what type of oil was being used. I read that it is not good to mix these types. I downloaded an owner's manual so I would like to use the originally recommended oil but I want to make sure it does not have synthetic in it now. Any help--and don't say "they taste different" ?.
 

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Probably won't be able to unless you send a sample to a lab. The synthetic, semi-synthetic and mineral based oils of today can be mixed, but generally if you use one and like the "feel" of the oil, you stick with it. Don't worry about what the PO used. This bike needs a good quality, high detergent oil with no friction additives or modifiers. Use an oil that has an API donut that has the lower half blank:
API-CK-4-Donut-non-energy.jpg

The present oil spec is SN I believe. Don't worry about JASO spec oils, this bike was produced a long time before this spec came out in 1999. It certifies that the oil has no friction modifiers in the oil. JASO MA is suitable for your bike, as is JASO MA2. JASO MA2 standard targets motorcycles with catalytic converters.

If you don't ride a lot, a synthetic oil may be right for you especially if you only do one oil change a year - my preference is synthetic. If you put on a lot of miles, maybe stay with a mineral oil primarily for cost and changing the oil quite often.

The oil standard in the owner's manual has been long superseded.

Pick a good oil and use. Run through a tank of gas, change oil and filter, and should be good to go.

Good luck
 

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I don't worry about what "used to be used",
I just buy Rotella T4 or T6 to fit the weight range.
The synthetic will help to clean out the old oil where it hides when not used.

for my 1800, I use T6 in 5w40.
the reason is the 2002 has the "suspect" ADG, or Alternator Drive Gear shearing problem.
IMO, it is from folks starting up their bikes, and roaring off into the wind before the oil gets warm.

for me, I push the start button, and don't touch the throttle until the idle returns to normal.
114,000 miles and no issues 'yet'.
 

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1979 Honda GL1000
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Discussion Starter #9
Probably won't be able to unless you send a sample to a lab. The synthetic, semi-synthetic and mineral based oils of today can be mixed, but generally if you use one and like the "feel" of the oil, you stick with it. Don't worry about what the PO used. This bike needs a good quality, high detergent oil with no friction additives or modifiers. Use an oil that has an API donut that has the lower half blank: View attachment 321785
The present oil spec is SN I believe. Don't worry about JASO spec oils, this bike was produced a long time before this spec came out in 1999. It certifies that the oil has no friction modifiers in the oil. JASO MA is suitable for your bike, as is JASO MA2. JASO MA2 standard targets motorcycles with catalytic converters.

If you don't ride a lot, a synthetic oil may be right for you especially if you only do one oil change a year - my preference is synthetic. If you put on a lot of miles, maybe stay with a mineral oil primarily for cost and changing the oil quite often.

The oil standard in the owner's manual has been long superseded.

Pick a good oil and use. Run through a tank of gas, change oil and filter, and should be good to go.

Good luck
Thanks, good idea.
 

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1979 Honda GL1000
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Discussion Starter #10
Call the previous owner and ask how much he paid for it or if he bought the best, or the best bargain. :)
The previous owner has not been able to answer several questions about the bike including this one about what type of oil was being used. He did no work on it himself and had no receipts/work orders from a garage he used.
 

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1979 Honda GL1000
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Discussion Starter #12
I don't worry about what "used to be used",
I just buy Rotella T4 or T6 to fit the weight range.
The synthetic will help to clean out the old oil where it hides when not used.

for my 1800, I use T6 in 5w40.
the reason is the 2002 has the "suspect" ADG, or Alternator Drive Gear shearing problem.
IMO, it is from folks starting up their bikes, and roaring off into the wind before the oil gets warm.

for me, I push the start button, and don't touch the throttle until the idle returns to normal.
114,000 miles and no issues 'yet'.
thank you for the advice.
 

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Thanks but I'm writing about the oil that is in the engine now. The previous owner doesn't know what was put in by the garage. Hard to believe but that is what he says.
then get a can of Sea Foam, pour 4oz into the crankcase, and ride the bike for many miles, 50-100 and drain the old oil out.
pour in your favorite flavor and ride on.
 

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What do you care what's in there now?

The first thing to do when you get a NU 2 U bike is change the oil, the coolant and all the filters. And with older 'Wings that list should include the timing belts.

Personally, I'd add tires to that list, too.
 

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Back in the last century it was common for people to think if you used a certain brand or type of oil in an engine you could never change to another or it would ruin the engine, it was never true.
 

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How can I tell the difference between synthetic an non-synthetic oil. I recently bought a 1979 GL1000, and the previous owner had no idea what type of oil was being used. I read that it is not good to mix these types. I downloaded an owner's manual so I would like to use the originally recommended oil but I want to make sure it does not have synthetic in it now. Any help--and don't say "they taste different" ?.
You really don't want to put the original oil in the bike. Today's oils are so much better that the technology they had in 1979. Lubricate better, withstand heat better and last longer. Give it a treat. :)
 

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Just make sure that you dont get too thick of oil, 10w40 or 15 w40 is fine, either synthetic or not. Nothing bad will happen by changing from one to the other. I made the mistake of putting 50w in once, was to thick and starter would skip, because roller clutch wouldnt get a grip when trying to start. Someone earlier said if you werent going to ride much then use synthetic. If you needed to change more than once a year then go non- synthetic.
 

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How can I tell the difference between synthetic an non-synthetic oil. I recently bought a 1979 GL1000, and the previous owner had no idea what type of oil was being used. I read that it is not good to mix these types. I downloaded an owner's manual so I would like to use the originally recommended oil but I want to make sure it does not have synthetic in it now. Any help--and don't say "they taste different" ?.
If you drain the oil well, your not mixing are you. I swapped form regular oil to synthetic. No problem
 

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If you couldn't mix the 2 there wouldn't be part synthetic oils.
 

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How can I tell the difference between synthetic an non-synthetic oil. I recently bought a 1979 GL1000, and the previous owner had no idea what type of oil was being used. I read that it is not good to mix these types. I downloaded an owner's manual so I would like to use the originally recommended oil but I want to make sure it does not have synthetic in it now. Any help--and don't say "they taste different" ?.
Another note. If you use synthetic oil, you will see a better performance in your shifting
I noticed the synthetic oil stopped the "bang into gear" when I shifted from neutral. I would recommend going with a good synthetic.
 
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