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I made a query on this forum or another (I can't remember which) last year regarding engine oils. I was told that regular automotive oils are not formulated to operate in an engine/transmission/clutch environment and will break down faster as well as not properly lubricate the clutch. That is why we use oils formulated specifically for motorcycles.

Was that the correct answer?
 

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Not that i know anything BUT a good quality oil like Quacker state. ShellRotella Will work just fine as long as you change the oil at the recomended milage. Its not so much the oil as the garbage the oil collects from combustion and is not filtered out. It turns into an acid and slowley eats away at things. Bearing babit being one of many.

Pat
 

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I thought I recognized the login name. Glad you found this forum. These guys know what they are talking about.

As far as I know (and I am waiting for confirmation) there is a distinct difference between the two types of oil mostly because of the oil being shared with the clutch.
 

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mjpliv wrote:
I made a query on this forum or another (I can't remember which) last year regarding engine oils. I was told that regular automotive oils are not formulated to operate in an engine/transmission/clutch environment and will break down faster as well as not properly lubricate the clutch. That is why we use oils formulated specifically for motorcycles.
***Was that the correct answer?***


mjpliv, you ask-- "Was that the correct answer?"..
No real straight forward answer.. There is some truth to what you read but the modern day auto/truck motor oil is way superior to what was available or speced out in years past so any of the new oil's are way better than what was needed on the older Wings.. The modern motorcycle engines are tested & speced out for the modern emission compliant oils so nothing lost there either..

What you read mostly applies to Harleys & other air cooled as those are air cooled & do run much hotter than the water cooled Wings.
As long as the oil you are using meets the OE spec you won't have any oil related problems.. Probably the biggest change in modern oil thinking is the use (well actually (non-use) of a 10-40 oil.. The higher the spread between the low & high number usually the less actual oil is in the mix & the more fillers & modifiers used.. Those fillers & non oil additives are prone to shearing as they go through gears & chains so the oil breaks down it’s viscosity much faster.. Most new cars & trucks warn specifically against using a 10W40 oil & opt for a 10-30 or some other low viscosity spread oil.

An added problem with the newer car & LIGHT truck oil’s is that they have some of the anti-friction additives either removed, lowered in quantity, or changed to less effective additives to keep from polluting the catalytic converter..

SO, where does leave us?
1)- Just use the modern car/light truck oil & change often (nothing wrong with that).. ANY of the modern emission compliant oils will work well as long as they meet the OE spec & are changed often..

2)-Use a modern diesel speced oil like 15w40 or 15W50 (usually a 15W oil is a diesel speced oil.. The oil’s rated for HD or diesel use still have a much better anti wear package due the higher bearing & cam loads on the diesel engines & don’t have conventional catalytic converter to worry about. In fact Harley recommends a diesel rated oil for replacement..

3)- Use a motorcycle or air cooled rated oil as those have a littlie higher resistance to high operating temperatures & better acid handling additives in them ( on all the tests I have seen, the motorcycle only oils aren’t that much better to justify the additional cost & in some cases aren’t even as good in certain cases. Just because the MoCo or oil company recommends it doesn’t always mean it is better, it just means the MoCo (or oil company) will make money on it & it will meet the minimum requirements of the engine design…

4)-Use a quality synthetic oil, preferably a long drain type (like Mobil 1).. Those synthetics use a much more precise base stock so have less polymers & viscosity improvers in them so are a lot better at shear resistance,, handle high operating temps better,, (usually) have superior additive packages in them, & do flow better at low ambient starting temperatures… The only down side I can see to using full synthetics in a wet clutch motorcycle engine is the possibility of the clutch slipping in extreme use conditions.. So far the feed back on this & other M/C sites seems to indicate this isn’t a big issue (at least for normal light duty usage)..

JDC
 

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The motorcycle-specific oil stuff in my opinion is just a bunch of hype, designed to line the pocketbooks of those who sell the stuff. It's not any better, and in some cases worse, than modern quality automotive oil.

For my liquid-cooled wing I use quality automotive oil. When I had an air-cooled bike I used synthetic because the air cooled bike ran hotter and cooler depending on conditions.

Most important is to change the oil often, synthetic or not.
 

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Pretty much everything said hereagreeswith the information I have read on the matter. The only real thing to avoid is oildeigned to improve gas mileage. As I understand the additives make the oil super slipper, which is great for gas mileage but bad for clutches. Good Luck
 

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Yep, like the famous line from the movie "Spaceballs"

'Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising!"

Hype sells when facts are in short supply. Heck, even with my massive electronic and mechanical knowledge, I dont mess with chemists, they are a special breed.
 
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