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> Car Oil In Motorcycle Engine
Fallingwater
Posted: April 06, 2011 01:55 pm
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Around here, bike oil usually costs twice to three times as much as car oil. I've read up on this issue, and the main problem seems to be that bikes use the same oil on the clutch, which can cause problems with car oils because they lack certain additives meant to prevent clutch slippage.

There are people who say that car oil in a bike will make it rough, destroy your clutch and summon demons from hell, but none of those people seem to have had this actually happen to them. In contrast, I've read of plenty of people using car oil in their bikes with no problems whatsoever, even after tens of thousands of kilometres.

Considering that my bike's engine is a relatively mellow 650cc with 70 hp, and not one of those 600cc screamers with more than 100hp, I'm seriously thinking of getting half-decent car oil from the supermarket and using that.

Your thoughts?


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MacFromOK
Posted: April 06, 2011 11:52 pm
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If the oils are similar weight, it probably won't matter. The main pitfall (that I know of) is if additives/detergents in automotive oil are harsh enough to affect the glue that bonds the friction surface to the clutch plate(s) in your particular bike. This could explain why some have no problem and others do.

The new super synthetic multi-weight oils may also affect slippage. But since some tractors and heavy equipment use standard motor oil (usually 30W or 20-40W) in both the engine and transmission/hydraulic systems, automotive oil in general shouldn't cause a slippage problem.

With a dry clutch, there shouldn't be a problem at all unless a heavier oil is used. Otherwise, I'd check with a bike shop or someone who has used it in your particular model, rather than just assuming it will work from general info.

If it's still under warranty, using anything other than the recommended oil may void the warranty though.

My two cents. beer.gif


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CWB
Posted: April 07, 2011 07:48 am
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yep ... the warranty requirements first .

i wouldn't trust the things that bike owners say ... especially if it is not a general consensus .
going to a forum dedicated to such matters would be a good idea but the problem there is almost like the "electronic forums" ...
you will run into people that will tell you that caps in series "add up" . dry.gif


how often do you have to change the tranny/clutch oil ?
it may be a case of being penny-wise and dollar foolish .
figure out how much it actually will cost you per mile to run the good stuff .


it is getting harder to find "non-detergent" oil around here .


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tekwiz
Posted: April 07, 2011 07:44 pm
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Mac covered most of it, but another consideration is temperature capability. Air cooled engines run hotter than liquid cooled, & this might require a higher temperature oil.
NEVER ever put Slick50 into a bike!! The stuff will ruin the clutch by coating the plates with teflon, & this will cause major slippage that can only be fixed by sanding or replacing the plates after the engine has been throughly flushed. nono.gif
Realistically, how much would you save in a year anyway? You can't be using much more than a couple of liters per.


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Fallingwater
Posted: April 08, 2011 12:56 am
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Never even heard of "slick50"...

Also, my bike's engine is liquid cooled.


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CWB
Posted: April 08, 2011 09:30 am
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*somewhere* there should be a recommended/compatible listing for non-proprietary or manufacturer branded oils for use in the machine .
face it , manufacturer/specialty branded oil many not be available in BFE .

many years ago i used valvoline "high performance" oil in my road bikes .
it worked just fine .

ps ... yesterday the radio in the G6 told me it was time to change oil . dry.gif


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Fallingwater
Posted: April 08, 2011 11:10 am
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Well, I got some fully sinthetic car oil that people have reported successfully using for years and tens of thousands of kilometres on Suzuki SV650 bikes with no damage whatsoever to the clutch or transmission. The SV650 has very similar engine size and power to my own bike (Kawasaki ER-6F, aka Ninja 650R), with the only real difference being engine configuration (V2 versus I2), so I'm confident.
If I notice clutch slippage or weird behaviour I'll just dump out the oil and replace it with proper bike oil.


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sherlock ohms
Posted: April 08, 2011 11:51 am
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why not just use the 'proper' oil in the first place?.. if you contaminate your friction material, you're gonna be facing big bills. Synthetic oils are laden with friction modifiers which are specifically designed to not wash away with a simple oil change. If it permeates the clutch, yer pretty well screwed, either through (embarrasing) clutch slip, or (embarassing/dangerous) clutch grab..(yeah i know, ..ironic but true).

btw.. 'people have reported'..etc. ???..surely you don't consider that to be research... ? tongue.gif

..gawd, i'm on a roll now rolleyes.gif .. engine size and power are irrelevant. try putting a Dexron type ATF in a Honda (auto) transmission..it's funny as long as somebody else is covering the repair cost.. laugh.gif ohmy.gif huh.gif sad.gif


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tekwiz
Posted: April 08, 2011 09:58 pm
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Yep, flushing incorrect oil & replacing it with the right stuff won't help any clutch problems. That requires costlier measures.
Slick50, BTW, is a popular oil additive in N America. It consists partly of teflon nanoparticles, which supposedly plate themselves onto the moving parts & drastically reduce wear. Makes sense, as teflon will smear under extreme pressure, without losing it's lubricating properties.
I use it to lube the machines in my shop, especially on sliding ways.
One thing you never do with the stuff(other than clutches) is put it in a brand new or rebuilt engine before the break in period is over. If you do, the engine will never break in. This is what convinced me that it's well worth it's price. wink.gif


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Fallingwater
Posted: April 21, 2011 11:02 pm
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In the end I decided to trust my own instinct, and I've been using it for a while now with the car oil. Everything's fine and dandy, no clutch slip and no power loss (that I can feel) even under maximum acceleration. Seems to behave exactly as before.
I'll report again in a few hundred kms.


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Jimthecopierwrench
Posted: April 22, 2011 02:15 am
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Huh. Seems as though I've never looked up the reccomended oil for any bike I've had (79 KZ1000, 83 KZ1100, 75 GL1000) or serviced regularly (75 KZ750-2 84 CB650) - All wet multipack clutches - 4 air, 1 liquid cooled. The goldwing went 20 years. All on whatever brand multigrade SFH 10 W 40 was cheapest at crappy tire. Never had an issue. not saying do it - just sayin' None of those bikes were ever new or valuable either though.

QUOTE
why not just use the 'proper' oil in the first place?..
Valid point. I rode year round and commuted but most people only do enough milage for a yearly change - the price difference can't be that much, and it's not like its a 25L catarpillar oil pan. If we're talking 100 miles from nowhere well then margerine is better than no oil, but don't really see the point otherwise.

QUOTE
NEVER ever put Slick50 into a bike!!
They market a bike variation.

QUOTE
Slick50, BTW, is  ... which supposedly
Used to swear by the stuff because some old timers did but i'm no longer convinced. True that I can't do a proper controlled test and the data table is exceedingly small - only 2 engines torn down to look, only 1 of them owned new and broken in myself - but the obsrved internal condition of the last example makes me pass the stuff by now as probably won't hurt anything but not worth the $50.

I'd like to see an engine fabricated with two seperate oiling and return circuits run a hunnerd thousand miles - one slicked - and see the differences between cylinders and journals.


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GPG
Posted: April 22, 2011 03:06 am
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If the oil meets the service standard letter for your engine, it should be ok. Consult the owners manual for this. Don't use polymer or moly additives.
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CWB
Posted: April 22, 2011 12:26 pm
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i remembered another oil that i used over the years :
castrol gtx .
i used it in both the dirt and road bikes .

it has a nice green color to it ... easy to spot the leaks !
laugh.gif

@ SO :
atf ...
that reminds me of the gal that took her car to a "lube shop" and had the lube changed in the punkin (at their recommendation) .
the thing wouldn't make it around the block .
... *something* about the lube requirement differences between "posi-trak" and "limited slip" differentials ...


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MacFromOK
Posted: April 23, 2011 02:18 am
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QUOTE (CWB @ April 22, 2011 06:26 am)
*something* about the lube requirement differences between "posi-trak" and "limited slip" differentials ...

Posi-track is just GM's version of a limited slip differential. Viscosity shouldn't matter much on mechanical limited slips, but super-slick synthetic oils and teflon (or similar) additives certainly could.

Viscous differentials are another story, but they operate in a sealed unit inside the housing (lol, "punkin?") that holds a special fluid separate from the gear lube. beer.gif


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draget
Posted: April 23, 2011 05:24 am
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Why not just buy the right oil? Surely a bike uses so little? I might spend $100AUD a year on two oil changes for my Audi A4 with high grade fully synthetic oil, so how much can it cost to change bike oil? If it has a third as much oil and even if it costs three times more, $100 is still nothing every year....
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CWB
Posted: April 23, 2011 10:18 am
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@ mac :

the woman involved in this is my brother-in-law's mom .
this happened many a moon ago ... man , almost 40 years or so (!) .
i wish i could remember the exact make/model of vehicle , it was not an old vehicle (then) .
she called up and had a talk with my brother-in-law ...
it was shortly thereafter that we were high-balling it to where she was (with the pickup and tow chain) .

when we got to the lube place my brother-in-law had some "investigative conversation" with his mom , manager and an employee ... he is ex-army airborne special forces , so you can imagine the increase of intensity as the situation progressed .
it was about 6 miles to the lube place from where she lived
the vehicle was running "just fine" before she brought it in , she had just been on by the house to visit before heading down to drop the car at the lube shop and walk across the street to do some shopping ... she did not mention any problems with the vehicle
the manager "suggested" that the lube in the rear-end also be changed as it was "old"
she picked up the vehicle after it was ready and started to drive home
she traveled about a block and noticed that the car acted "funny" ... it didn't want to move and became progressively worse in quick order .

the gist of it is that we hooked onto the car and towed it to the dealer .
the mechanics found that there was a problem with the rear-end related to the change and type of lube .
i do not recall if any new parts were installed .
my brother-in-law's mom filed suit against the lube shop for repairs and won .


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MacFromOK
Posted: April 23, 2011 10:27 am
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Interesting. I'd liked to have had a "look-see" at what actually transpired. I've worked with some pretty wormy "mechanics" (to use the term loosely) at times. biggrin.gif


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Fallingwater
Posted: April 25, 2011 08:02 pm
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A small update.

My bike doesn't have a dip stick, just a plug - you check the oil level by tilting the bike so it's upright (it's usually standing on its side stand) and looking at a small round window on the side of the engine block. So I did that the other day, and found this on it:

user posted image

I've no idea what that congealed crap is. I of course immediately thought it was due to having the wrong oil in and that I'd have to replace it, but I couldn't do it right then because I had an urgent 150km trip to take. The bike had behaved perfectly fine up until that moment, so I chanced it and everything went fine. While traveling I kept (somewhat nervously) checking the window, and the smear gradually disappeared. This was three days ago, and it hasn't come back since. Bike keeps running smoothly with no problems whatsoever, clutch and all.
Weird.
As the problem seems to have disappeared on its own accord I'm not planning on re-oiling the engine after all, but I'm still curious as to what that stuff is.


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MacFromOK
Posted: April 25, 2011 10:28 pm
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It looks like moisture, which turns to a cream-colored light-gooey substance when mixed with oil. I'd change oil again soon as possible, and do it while the oil is hot so sludge/etc. drains out while still suspended. A slight amount of moisture can occur through condensation, but it may also indicate a cooling system problem (so keep an eye on your coolant level).

It's also likely that different detergents in your "new oil" has broken up existing pockets of crud, which definitely needs to be removed. Note this is often the case when changing brands of oil in any engine, and is not unique to your situation.

In any case, I strongly recommend you change oil and monitor it closely for a while. Oil is always cheaper than repairs. beer.gif


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kl27x
Posted: April 26, 2011 12:33 am
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All I ever used in any of my motorcycles is Rotella 5W40 synthetic truck oil. I am under the impression that truck oil is safe for a motorcycle wet clutch. It's the recommended weight (actually 10W40, but 5W40 is better, right?), and it's even cheaper than car oil.

As far as temperature, I thought that was covered by the oil weight. As long as the numbers cover the recommended span (i.e. 5W40 should work about as well as 10W40 at the high end, but it should actually be slightly better for a cold start, because of the presence of some shorter chains?)

I also use a car oil filter. I found one with the same threading, but it's 50% longer for more filter area and higher flow rate.

My bike is 20 years old with 34k miles on it, and it runs like a top.

Random tip: if you ever let your battery sit for too long, and it gets sulphated, forget the electonic desulphators. Mix up some near-boiling distilled water and epsom salts, dump out your battery, and pour this stuff in. After several months spent honing the skill of push-starting my bike (no fun on a hot day!), I finally tried this epsom salt thing. It works almost instantly. I just charged it overnight, and it's been like new, ever since.
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Fallingwater
Posted: April 26, 2011 04:08 am
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QUOTE (MacFromOK @ April 25, 2011 10:28 pm)
It's also likely that different detergents in your "new oil" has broken up existing pockets of crud, which definitely needs to be removed. Note this is often the case when changing brands of oil in any engine, and is not unique to your situation.

Isn't this what the filter is there for?

Anyway... after mulling on it for a while, I recalled that in the past, when I had bike oil in the engine, it already happened that there was whitish stuff there. Quite possibly several times (I've owned the bike for 4 years). I just assumed condensation or something; it's clear to me now that it can't have been simple condensation, or the oil woulda washed it away.


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MacFromOK
Posted: April 26, 2011 05:04 am
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QUOTE (Fallingwater @ April 25, 2011 10:08 pm)
Isn't this what the filter is there for?

It only filters the tiny stream of oil that's being pumped thru the oil passages. Filtered volume is quite small, which is one reason that sludge deposits can accumulate so easily in the crankcase.

Also, there's usually a valve in the system that bypasses filtering when the oil is cold or the filter becomes sufficiently restricted with trapped crud.

Some industrial engines (mostly stationary) actually use a bypass oil filtering system that allows filters to be changed without shutting the engine down. These only filter oil that isn't being pumped thru the passages (some really old vehicles used this method as well, and some had no filter at all). But I digress...

Your call. beer.gif


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sherlock ohms
Posted: April 26, 2011 10:22 am
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QUOTE (kl27x @ April 26, 2011 10:33 am)


Random tip: if you ever let your battery sit for too long, and it gets sulphated, forget the electonic desulphators. Mix up some near-boiling distilled water and epsom salts, dump out your battery, and pour this stuff in. After several months spent honing the skill of push-starting my bike (no fun on a hot day!), I finally tried this epsom salt thing. It works almost instantly. I just charged it overnight, and it's been like new, ever since.

wow .. i raised this subject some time ago, but without testimony.. so it is a feasible practice?..handy to know.. (also you managed to circumvent my problem with fitting the alka-seltzer tablets through the cell openings..) rolleyes.gif laugh.gif


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kl27x
Posted: April 27, 2011 10:05 am
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Yes, this worked very well for me.

I tried a DIY electronic desulphator. Left it on for a week or so. Couldn't tell any difference. I brought the battery inside to recharge it, several times. But it would die again within a week.

Then I tried the epsom salt thing. Battery has been fine for about 3 months, now. It still starts up on the first touch, and I only ride my bike once a week, on average.

I got the epsom salts from the grocery store pharmacy. It comes in a little milk carton filled with little white balls. Like baby white chocolate Whoppers? smile.gif Cost me 2 dollars. It's pure magnesium sulfate, BTW. I don't believe Alka Seltzer contains any of this! Per Google, Alka Seltzer is aspirin, sodium bicarb, and citric acid.
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CWB
Posted: April 27, 2011 12:14 pm
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yeah ... i think the alka-seltzer thing is bogus .
just like those videos on youtube that say/show that you can make "glow sticks" from mountain dew soda .


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