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I have used Amsoil in all my bikes for the last 13 years with no problem. For an ester based synthetic, it's a great deal. For the Gs I stick to 10000km intervals.
 

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Let me share a story.....


About 4 years ago, I was a Kawasaki test rider for the new KLR. I was given the bike to keep for a full year to flog, draw some conclusions and write about them. An additional manufacturer decided to enter the testing and fray.....a oil blending company. They had just released a new 100% synthetic 10w40 and wanted a lot of real life use and lab testing. I obliged......

Here is what I learned..... The operators manuals for 2500 and 3500 pick up trucks are spot on. They provide standard service intervals and severe service intervals. And there is good reason. If a truck is being operated in high heat, lots of dust and pulling heavy loads, it needs attention much more often than a truck that never pulls a trailer and runs down the highway.

We should apply this wisdom and logic to our service intervals on our motorcycles.

The first 3,000 miles on the KLR were nearly all highway, with a lot of easy cruising. The next 1,500 miles were 7 days of my riding, pushing the bike off-road with a heavy load through some of the toughest trail that Colorado could throw at it. High mountain pass climbs pushed the engine temps to their limits and tested the clutch.

At the 3,000 mile OCI, the oil was solid in its viscosity and additives and TBN. It looked like nearly new oil.

We dumped that run of oil and did a fresh change for the trip. Upon coming home from the off-road trip and 1,500 miles later, the oil was dumped and tested and it was a disaster. 40wt had dropped to 20wt and there was little TBN left.

Same bike....same oil....same filter..... amazingly different results based upon riding conditions.

6 months later, just to test.... I did a similar trip as the 1,500 mile off-road, but ran Shell Rotella T6 5w40 Synthetic. (Because this has always been my 'go to' oil for nearly everything.) And the results were similar. Viscosity dropped to a high 20wt and the oil was thrashed. The next run....I went 5,000 miles on the Rotella T6, of mostly pavement and dirt road cruisers......and the oil tested out great.

Fellas....its all about riding style and riding conditions as to when someone should change their oil.

Granted.....its about the bike as well. If the bike has a wet clutch and shared sump with the tranny, the oil will go faster. On my 2005 GS and with my previously owned 2004 RT with a dry clutch and separate transmission sump......the bikes are very, very easy on oil and I have no issues going 6-8k miles on top shelf synthetic......and if I had to run 10k, I would not fret.


But when I ride my KTM 950 or my Yamaha WR426 in harsh conditions, they sometimes get an oil change at the 500-1,000 mile mark.

Just my two cents......
 

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I have used Amsoil in all my bikes for the last 13 years with no problem. For an ester based synthetic, it's a great deal. For the Gs I stick to 10000km intervals.
I don't believe that Amzoil is an actual ester based oil, PAO (Group 4) at best but more than likely a combination of Group 3 and 4 base oils, not that it isn't a good product.
 

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I will still experiment to see how close to horizontal the filter will be before dropping oil...worth a try.
It's REALLY horizontal. If I had to guess, I'd say 0 degrees to horizontal...I don't think it would hold more than a teaspoon without the oil running out.
What you could try is after draining the oil on the centerstand, putting her on the sidestand. You could probably put somewhat more oil in the filter without spilling, but I really don't think it would be a signifiacnt amount.
The filters--depending on whether you use OEM or aftermarket, like a Mobil 102 (think that's the number) only hold about 75cc, so you're not going to have much in there even if you try the sidestand.

Unless the laws of physics are suspended, I think you're looking at a frustrating mess.

T6 here, btw. ONe thing I really like about it, the T6 in the gallon jug, is that the gallon measure jug can be totally poured into the engine at refill and be right on the mark. IOW no necessity to measure along the way.
 

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I know this is an old thread but I'm coming up on an oil change on my new to me 2014 GS and I had been using Mobil 1 4t on my Tiger 800XRx. Is this acceptable to use on the R1200GS? I see MA2 as an oil spec and I know the Mobil 1 is MA. Any thoughts?
 

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Thoughts?

I'm not an oil engineer. I don't the the differences between MA and MA2. I couldn't tell you if it makes and difference or not. My book calls for SAE 5W-40 API SL JASO MA2. So I buy the cheapest name brand SAE 5W-40 API SL JASO MA2 I can find. I've not heard of an engine failure due to oil quality in a long time. That makes it easy to not obsess over oil.
 

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This is a good deal

I came across this sale while browsing on Amazon and ordered a case. Be sure to click on the $10 coupon box.

https://www.amazon.com/Castrol-06113-Power1-Synthetic-Motorcycle/dp/B008MISDII/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481212899&sr=8-3&keywords=castrol+5w40
That's a good deal!

I have been using Amsoil in my H*rl*y-D*vids*on, but that thing runs so hot it's a virtual oil torture chamber. The other one is a AMF era shovelhead (all stock!) that wants SAE-60 oil, and Amsoil makes that, I use it. The R-bikes don't run that hot at all, so using a more pedantic brand of oil should be okay. The HexHead RT gets Castrol Actevo, lots of miles, 5000 mile oil changes, no issues. It's a Semi synthetic and a very good value.

My oil change intervals are the manufacturers recommended times/mileage.

Way back when I worked at a dealership as a wrench, we had tons of bikes through the shop, and I can honestly say the only oil related engine damage I saw was when the oil that was supposed to have been on a surface in the engine wasn't. Popular bikes were oil injected two strokes, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki. The oil tank would run dry the owner never checked it and didn't notice, then the engine would seize up. Some riders would run their four stroke bikes completely out of oil, we are talking 15,000 freeway miles on a 350, no service ever, the lack of oil would cause engine destruction. When I took the engine apart the oil had turned to a black un pumpable black goop in the bottom of the crankcase. These are examples of extreme neglect.

Penzoil back then had a nasty habit of foaming up with air if the engine was run at very high RPM's for an extended time, the oil pump would cavatate and stop delivering oil to the top of the engine. Very bad outcome. Also there was a very early brand of Synthetic, Eon, that although was labeled as a 10-40 was way to light, when the engine and oil warmed up the viscosity got so low the oil pump couldn't provide enough volume to keep the pressure up, engine damage resulted. To their credit both companies, came, saw and paid for the customers engine repairs-then studied the issue and corrected it.

My only word of advice make certain what you put into the crankcase is the right grade and viscosity.

Motorcycle oil seems to be a religion to some, but in reality if the grade and viscosity is right I'd hazard a guess you'd be okay. Although if using expensive oil makes you feel good, then you should use it, because "If it feels Good, then do it!"

John
 

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I know this is an old thread but I'm coming up on an oil change on my new to me 2014 GS and I had been using Mobil 1 4t on my Tiger 800XRx. Is this acceptable to use on the R1200GS? I see MA2 as an oil spec and I know the Mobil 1 is MA. Any thoughts?
Two problems with Mobil 1 oils and the liquid cooled GS motor is that Mobil 1 does not make the specified viscosity (5W-40) nor is the oil MA2 certified, the use of Mobil 1 10W40 4T for instance will probably have no adverse effect on the motor but if you are still under warranty it may cause problems with a claim if it should arise, another reason to use an oil with the exact specifications is that they are readily available and some are even very inexpensive.

While there are plenty of analogies of the lack of oil related engine failures there are plenty of other factors that using the wrong spec'd or poor quality oil can effect for instance; these BMW bikes are more like a car in terms of longevity and oil plays a role in the service life, the transmission is also lubricated by engine oil which has an effect on shift quality and longevity as well, I have around 50k miles on my 2013 and at first used Castrol Power 1 oil as recommended by BMW, I later switched to Shell Rotella T6 and noticed an improvement in shift quality, the last oil change I used Bel-Ray EXS full ester and can feel an even more significant improvement in the transmissions operation along with a smoother and quieter engine, I can't say for certain how any of these oils will do in the long run but I can't help but think that oils that make the engine/transmission run seemingly better/smoother may actually offer better lubrication as well.

With that said you could probably dump in the cheapest straight 30W dino oil you could find and run it 10,000+ miles per change and have your GS last a good long time.
 

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Tempest in a Tea Pot

As a veteran of untold oil threads it never ceases to amaze me why so many people think that one oil is so much better than another. I say that in the context we are talking about oil that meets or is close to manufacturers specs. That goes for change interval specs too. Something to think about. Have you EVER seen a case when oil that met or was close to spec causing a part failure? Have you ever seen any proof that shortening the change interval made the engine last longer? Have you ever seen engine analysis reports on what happens to oil if you go beyond recommended change intervals? (most that I have seen show you can extend oil intervals within limits without any impact) Last but not least, the majority of riders either sell or crash their bike way before the impact of whatever oil or change interval is used.
 

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I'm not sure this even qualifies as a full two cents - but I think if you've run your engine before the oil change to warm up temp, then change the oil, then start your machine (especially in a horizontal oriented configuration) there is plenty of oil on the cylinder and other 'rubbing' bits to cover the few seconds until the filter is filled and the pump is spraying fresh oil all over the moving parts again. It's not really a "dry" dry start.
 

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There is this nasty little factoid about Synthetic oil...

That is it doesn't cling to engine parts as well as non-synthetic during periods of non-use. Synthetic oil manufacturers have been working, and I suspect for the most part solved these problems. Going with a part synthetic/organic oil for the most part solved these issues. (it's not really organic, is it?)

The folks that make Synthetic oil quack about how great it is, but never really indicate what's so good about it. Why is it better than it organic brother? We do know that it is supposed less susceptible to heat, we know that it has a higher surface tension, but what else?

Now the question is just how good does it really need to be? The same motorcycles that come to us are sold around the world, especially smaller displacement models. Anyone know what kind of motor oil is available in China? How about Montenegro? How about Kuwait? Angola? Mexico? Panama? Issue is that motorcycles in some of these countries are used as daily transportation and for the most part are reliable while being under maintained in hostile climates.

As an engineer I can tell you this, if we want to keep our reputation we always go conservative in our designs. Not doing so is just asking for serious reliability problems when John C. Customer gets hold of the product then decides to really overdo it. Overdo it as to reprogram the FI, remove the rev limiter, install strait pipes, put in a much more radical cam, higher compression pistons and oversize valves, all this done and nothing was modified in the bottom end, right? Also, add limited slip rear differential and 18" wide slicks. But it holds together. This is the power of over-engineering! (Then the value engineering department gets on it and wants to skimp on everything!)

So, IMHO the reality is that super high performance motor oil in our bikes may be overkill. Something that is "good quality" most likely will never let us down, providing it's the right grade and weight and is changed on a regular basis.

And that's what I think.

- John
 

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My main idea is run a quality oil. Change it and the filter regularly. :smile2:
Concur!

Love reading Oil threads..always entertaining, and sometimes, even informative!

I just changed the oil out on my 15 R1200GSW. Had to phone around to find some. After describing what I needed to one "helpful" autoparts store person, he found what I was looking for.

He said they had Shell Rotella T4 for diesel engines! The person on the phone stated....it'll work...I put it in my bike!! :eek:

Umm...no thanks. I ordered what I needed from my local MC shop.
 

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I use Rotella T6 or Castro 4T every 3K because I like too change my oil between dealer visits and before dealer recommended maintenance. It's easy and therapeutic.
 

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I have come to the conclusion that if we oversimplify choosing the oil we use in our LC bikes it comes down to using a Group III (highly refined dino) or Group IV (PAO) many of which are mixed with Group V (Ester) oils, there should be little doubt that a real synthetic oil (Group IV and V) are generally going to provide superior performance then Group III oils which are not much better than modern standard dino oil (Group II).

95% of the oils that we use are Group III including the BMW Adventec, Castrol Power 1 and Rotella T6 and if you are paying more than $40 for 4 quarts of Group III oil you are paying way too much and can get a Group IV (Bell EXS or Ravenol 4T) oil for about the same money.

Any oil spec'd for these bikes is going to work well if changed properly at the recommended intervals along with a good quality oil filter and the engine should last a good long time but there are some subtle nuances that I have noticed when switching between Castrol Power 1, Rotela T6 and BelRay ESX, they all feel good right after an oil change but with the Castrol I notice fairly quickly that the shift quality deteriorates as the miles rack up and the oil is water thin when drained at the recommended 6k miles, with the BelRay I notice that the transmission shifts smoother and the initial valve train clatter on start-up is not as bad and for a shorter a period; maybe half a second vs. a full second with the other oils.

But to argue over which is the better Group III oil is kinda silly as they are all mid-level performers, if you want the best then you use a Group IV which you can buy for about the same or less than many Group III oils that we are using, the worst offender (least bang for the buck) generally being the BMW oil that the dealer sells.

IMHO if you do your own oil changes and are going to use a Group III oil you cannot go wrong with Shell Rotela T6 it is the easiest to find, the least expensive and matches ALL of BMW required specifications.
If you prefer to use a Group IV or V oil Ravenol 4T is full Ester (group V) and a great choice for the money: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OJHLEV4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Dry starts without oil in the filter.

I refer to previous comments regarding dry starts.
I have almost no concern about a lack of lubrication for the first few seconds with a dry oil filter. Starting the engine at idle speed imparts a relatively small load on engine parts and with modern oils, their surface cohesion is high enough to always leave a lubricating film. The exception would be if the oil was drained and refilled a very long time later (perhaps days or weeks).
For dry starts, I'm more concerned about the timing chains running without hydraulic tension than friction wear to any other parts.
 

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I would think that pre-filling an oil filter with oil during an oil change would help get the oil to all parts of the engine more quickly including the valve chain tensioners, although on the new LC engines pre-filling the filter is a pretty tough endeavor since the oil filter mounted vertically.
I pre-fill oil filters on my vehicles that I can simply due to the fact that it can't hurt anything and may actually help, I can't help but thinking about the old TV commercials that use to say "90% of engine wear happens at start-up".
I believe that modern oils stick to the inside of an engine better and also that PAO and Ester oils stick even better.
 

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..... pre-filling an oil filter with oil during an oil change would help .....
Same as you: I would always do this if I could do it without spill.

...... 90% of engine wear happens at start-up..... .
True. Startup usually refers to a "cold" startup without the oil at operating temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
thank you for the recommendation on the Ravenol 4T. in what group does Motorex 4T boxer oil fall, III or IV? that is what I presently use however I have noticed that shifting is not as good towards the end of the cycle.
 
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