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The OIL help many have wondered about?

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  • The OIL help many have wondered about?

    I know it's that dreaded topic nobody wants to talk about, but I found this to be interesting and helpful... From Wikipedia concerning Shell Rotella T. Quotes. "The 15W-40 Rotella T with Triple Protection oil has approximately 1200 ppm of zinc and 1100 ppm phosphorus at the time of manufacture." "Though marketed as an engine oil for diesel trucks, Rotella oil has found popularity with motorcyclists as well. The lack of "friction modifiers" in Rotella means they do not interfere with wet clutch operations. This is called a "shared sump" design, which is unlike automobiles which maintain separate oil reservoirs - one for the engine and one for the transmission. Used oil analysis (UOA) reports on have shown wear metals levels comparable to oils marketed as motorcycle-specific." "Both Rotella T 15W-40 conventional and, Rotella T6 5W-40 Synthetic both list the JASO MA standard." "When Rotella T6 was revised for the API specification(for use in spark ignition engines), its Zinc levels were effectively reduced. Higher(content) Zinc Additives(ZDDP) are required for flat tappet engines and cartridge bearings, which In previous formulations Rotella T6 had desirable levels of Zinc(ZDDP)."

    So, from the Wikipedia site... T4 is likely still an acceptable alternative, while the synthetic T6 no longer contains high enough levels. I will add my opinion that T4 seems to start out with only adequate levels, but would lose effectiveness with time and miles... I would think that shorter distances between changes would make good sense. I'm NOT trying to start anything, but only to relate something that has been a subject of discussion before, and because many do like to use T4 as a much lower-cost alternative to $8, $9 and $10 a qt. V-twin bike oil. I can sympathize. I hate paying that kind of money for motor oil, too. So, my only other wonderment would be this: Who here uses T4 exclusively, and for how long, and do you have any comments to add for or against its use?

    And, please fellas, none of the bull crap would ya? This is a serious topic for many. I've always sprung for the Amsoil 10w-40 for my R*s, but we all know there's a lot here who would gladly go with a lower cost alternative, if they learned they had no reason for fear. Thanks.

  • #2
    "The 15W-40 Rotella T with Triple Protection oil has approximately 1200 ppm of zinc and 1100 ppm phosphorus at the time of manufacture.”

    I’ve never considered 1200 ppm to be a sufficient level of protection. As stated, it starts out doing its thing, but the additive is sacrificial and is used up during the duration it’s in the engine.

    Unless I plan to change the oil every 2,000 miles, which I don't, I just dole out the extra cash and get the Mobil 1 V Twin synthetic which contains more than enough ZDDP.

    Folks that want to puss out on buying what’s known to be acceptable levels of protection for FT cams are the ones that’ll tell ya that these engines are supposed to sound like paint shakers.

    Mine is quiet as a mouse. All I hear are spur gears whirring in there.


    • #3
      BR, that was my point exactly, as I stated further... "I will add my opinion that T4 seems to start out with only adequate levels, but would lose effectiveness with time and miles... I would think that shorter distances between changes would make good sense." I don't know if you missed that, or not. My purpose in posting was only to inform with some verifiable info, rather than random opinion. And, FWIW, worth, I've only run the Amsoil for many years, and all 3 of mine sound like the jack-hammer pooching the sewing machine, or, as you put it, a paint shaker! But, all that noise is country music to my ears!

      Does anyone else actually have an R* this is quiet as a mouse... and, by chance, are all the quiet ones due to running Mobil 1 V-twin synthetic? Is anyone running the Mobil 1, but would say there's is noisy? This, too, would be good info to know!


      • #4
        I copied and pasted this on the FB side, too. I'm genuinely interested in hearing from others about their knowledge and experience, as it could certainly be helpful to a good many... especially anyone who would say, "Well, shoot, if T4 is good... T6 must be BETTER!"


        • Lucky
          Lucky commented
          Editing a comment
          Many people cannot or do not want to be on FB.
          If you know how to get off of FB Please let me know.

      • #5
        I've used Amsoil mobil 1 and Castrol all full sybthetic vtwin specific oils. All seem to work fine and actually Castrol was the quietest. I don't equate perceived quietness with protection....just an observation. I have three vtwin bikes now and this year I am trying Quicksilver V twin synthetic in each one....and son far so good. My white bike has about 1000 miles on it with this oul and sounds/feels/shifts perfect. Since I ride about 6-7k miles a year total among 3 bikes I change oil every season and may only have 2-3k miles on any one. $24 for a gallon of Quicksilver and get NAPA Gold or premium filters (same as Wix/Wix PRO) on sale for $5-7.50 each. Makes for a cheap oil change and from what I have seen Quicksilver meets everything we need including zinc/zddp levels (just not API certified). If my bikes start feeling or sounding or ifting weird I'll switch back to Amsoil (I can get it for about $39 delivered per gallon jug).

        2 2000 Roadstars and a 2001 Vstar 650 with a sidecar.


        • #6
          While I totally agree with the reasoning in your post, I sometimes doubt the source..
          not all those who wander are lost......


          • #7
            I put T4 in my 1100 and since our riding season is short in the great north the last I chk my oil was 20K and yes thats a long time and shame on me for running it 400 hours on a oil change but changing the filter every season works. I plan to do oil changes a lot more but things happen to stop that and it slip by. my 1100 run good and now enjoys fresh oil. i would like to put a bigger filter like a spin on car filter instead of those baby filters but i have not found a converter to move from a metric thread of 20x1.5 mm to a filter with more flow.


            • Duke
              Duke commented
              Editing a comment
              The flat tappet cam with hydronic lifters is where you need high Zinc oils. I beleave that the 1100's do not use lifters.

            • grubsie
              grubsie commented
              Editing a comment
              You are correct Duke. The 1100's run cam chains with overhead cams.

          • #8
            Originally posted by Lug Nut View Post
            I've used Amsoil mobil 1 and Castrol all full sybthetic vtwin specific oils.
            Amsoil and Mobil 1 vtwin both have adequate zddp and also wet clutch safe. The Castrol V-Twin oil has a zddp level ranging from 1140 to 1200 so you are starting at the minimum level required for flat tappet engines like the Rotella. So the Castrol is an oil that falls into the "should replace it in shorter mileage spans". With that being the case...Is it really less money to save a couple of bucks up front, only to have to change the oil much more frequently than oil with higher zddp to begin with?

            Just because an oil is says it's for v-twins does not mean it has the required zddp level for flat tappets. You have to remember, Yamaha's pushrod engines are the only modern day motorcycles that use flat tappets. Everyone else uses roller tappets that do not require high levels of zddp. Just went through this on Fb where someone posted about using Lucas motorcycle oil in their Roadie. All their bike oils run 1058 zddp across the board except their straight 50w which is 1548 zddp. Not a good idea to use straight 50w for and everyday bike. Anyway, I got blasted by several people.for speaking up. Stuff like, "Lucas is good oil", "been using it for 40 years and never a problem" and on and on. I agreed with them that it is good oil, just not the correct oil for flat tappet engines. Just couldn't get through to them.

            Where did you find the data for the Quicksilver oil? I looked everywhere and couldn't find it.

            Just an aside. Something I read from Questcap a while back on here was about when looking at a roadie for sale, ask the seller what oil he has been running. His tip stuck with me and for good reason. There have been a few R's that I have looked at and walked away from when I didn't get an answer I was hoping for.


            • #9
              While I'm no fan of the R*'s $50 oil change, I simply accept it as a necessity of owning a R* and consider it insurance for not spending *much* more on engine repairs. But if you insist on saving a few bucks on oil changes, the only possibly solution I could safely recommend is using an MC oil plus a zinc additive such as Lucas OIl TB Zinc Plus Engine Break-In Oil Additive. As the name implies, it's intended for engine break in, but can also be use to raise the levels of ZDDP in any oil. Adding 4oz, of TB Plus to 4.9 quarts of any oil would raise the ZDDP level to 1900ppm. So you could use 3oz. for 4 quarts of MC oil and get roughly 1425ppm ZDDP, which is plenty for the R*'s flat tappet cams.

              At approximately $13 for a 16oz bottle of TB Plus, you could get 5 oil changes. That's $2.60 per oil change. Walmart has Valvoline 20w50 MC oil for $17.09 +tax for 4 quarts.

              That's about $20, plus the cost of a filter, per oil change with more than enough ZDDP.

              Click image for larger version  Name:	10063_EngineBreakIn_800x950.jpg Views:	0 Size:	40.9 KB ID:	75367


              • Spydr
                Spydr commented
                Editing a comment
                You can still get Valvoline V Twin?
                I used nothing but since I bought the bike 80K miles ago.
                Since 2018, I can't seem to find it Anywhere. Not even online.

              • Ironman
                Ironman commented
                Editing a comment

              • Ironman
                Ironman commented
                Editing a comment
                Sorry, Spydr. You wrote "Valvoline", but I had "Mobil" in my head.

            • #10
              80,000+ miles on 2003 R*. Sounded like farm machinery since the first time I cranked it. Per suggestion of many many posts I have used Mobil 1, Amsoil, Rotella 10w40, several M/C specific oils, and so on .... Still sounds like farm machinery. But it just keeps on chugging along and always brings me home. Amazing how many years the oil threads have run. Where is Odo when you need him?


              • Spydr
                Spydr commented
                Editing a comment
                Pretty sure Most of us miss Odo.

            • #11
              So, the whole point of my original post... IF you want to cheap out on oil, the only one I know of, that might work out just fine for our R*s seems to be Shell Rotella T4... and, DON'T go with the T6 thinking if T4 is good, T6 must be better, just because it's synthetic... Shell DID reduce the level of ZDDP in T6 a while back, and it is NO LONGER acceptable for use in our bikes!

              And, if there's any advice to go along with it... You might want to shorten the change intervals to every few thousand miles or so....


              • Questcap
                Questcap commented
                Editing a comment
                Hunh? Whattayamean called me out?

            • #12
              Someone had quicksilver independently and it had right at 1200 ppm zddp. I also bought a couple bottles of additive to add to my 3 bikes insurance...2 16 ounce bottle for $24 delivered....should do 8 oil changes ....should last me almost 3 full seasons for all 3 bikes....and I'll still use Quicksilver synthetic vtwin ($24 per gallon) and NAPA filter


              • #13
                Little dated, but good info for knowing how to analyze the oil. Does not include the outboard oil.



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