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Discussion Starter #1
First and foremost, this thread is a continuation of a discussion that began in another thread. If you weren't following along and want to catch up go to http://www.gixxer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301097 and you can read what has already been discussed.

Second, this is meant to be a civil discussion (and has been thus far) so I will not reply to any posts that are full of insults and ignorant rants. And now on to the topic at hand.

Even though this is a motorcycle forum, I will reference certain facts/standards in the car industry that are relevant to this topic. I am and have been a GM technician for over 10 years so I will reference many GM standards as I have access to the documents that specify those standards. First would be the use of synthetics and synthetic blends.

Most auto manufacturers have began shifting to the use of synthetic or synthetic blends in lubricants including, but not limited to, motor oil. This shift, in fact, started several years ago. Sometime in the '90's GM began recommending synthetic oil in corvettes. Starting in 2004 with the introduction of the "high feature" V6 in the Cadillac CTS and then other Cadillac vehicles, those engines required synthetic oil. Starting in 2008 GM introduced a standard in all Cadillac vehicles requiring the use of synthetic oil. In fact, not only was synthetic oil required, but not even all synthetics meet GM's standards. Starting in the 2011 model year GM now has a standard for all of their vehicles that requires an oil that is at least a synthetic blend that meets their standard. The same thing has happened with their gear lube and Dexron VI trans fluid. I know other manufacturers have also done the same thing but I am less familiar with the specifics.

These standards are important to the conventional vs. synthetic debate as obviously these manufacturers have their reasons for these requirements. I know that not all of these reasons are just to make their products last longer as there are other factors such as environmental concerns etc... But these manufacturers do not stand to profit from what type of oil we use so that fact itself does indicate there is some sort of an advantage to the use of synthetics.

That's all for now as it's getting late for me. But, I'll be back tomorrow to continue.

Phil
 

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I recently bought a 2011 Vette, and I was quite surprised to find out that I didn't need an oil change until ~11k miles it turned out by the indicator. Turns out they still use the Mobil 1 Full Synthetic but it's "new formula" meets the new standard for oil changes as far apart as 15k miles. I'd say that's a pretty compelling argument for synthetics. I wonder if this new standard is a standard applicable to bikes? Is there an oil to run in a sportbike that can extend the time between oil changes? Saving a great deal of money and I imagine doing less damage to the environment.

http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Oils/Mobil_1_5W-30.aspx
 

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kman...

It goes beyond just being "synthetic" as their are not only different base stocks but, different grades of base stocks.

I think you will find that you should look at an oils Performance rather than just composition. The reason is, even as we speak, new oils are being developed and the companies are being Very secretive. I know for fact that for the last couple years "Exotic Synthetics" were being experimented with and being tested in vehicles. I also know that they have been experimenting with ways to possibly make a Petroleum oil funtion more like a synthetic than faux synthetics such as Castrol SynTec, Rotella, etc... do now.

As for your Vette, only M-1 Extended Performance is a 15K oil and you cannot take the oil change to 15K under warranty unless that is the OEM recommended interval or the OLM says the oil is good for that length. Also remember, the OLM has no idea what oil is in the engine. It is taking readings from the computer for driving habits and conditions. For instance, The harder you mash the throttle, the lower the mileage.

The base stock is not the sole reason an oil drain can be extended. The composition, blends and additives all effect this and most oil companies have their own formulations of each. All oils are not alike.

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The standard Mobil 1 is rated for up to 15k miles now, yes depending upon your vehicle manufacturer's standards, and meets the Dexos1/GL-5 standard. For 2011, Corvettes OLM calculations are set for this standard and the manual has a supplement for this year that states to use Dexos1 rated oil and follow the OLM which is a longer interval than standard, for my first (and only so far) oil change, it was ~11k miles. Nothing changed in the car other than the oil and the calculations used for the oil life monitor. In fact, I wonder if this is related to a government regulation requiring longer oil life. I know several parts of the standard relate to emissions equipment.

So, I wonder, if you forget about the warranty but still care greatly about your engine, is there an oil that you can run longer in a bike, past 4k miles? And is the bike industry going to have to comply with the same regulations as cars are? I'd love to just have to change the oil in my Busa once a year because you have remove the fairings on it to change the oil and it's a PITA and is expensive.
 

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If you ride your Busa like a "Sport Bike" you should probably be changing at 2000 which is considered "Severe Service Limits". If you have a K&N filter, maybe less.

Through Analysis, to verify results, I go 8000 on my Yamaha, 18,000 on my Wing and 10,000 on the Harley.

The Yamaha could go further but that is all the miles it gets in a year. The Harley could go further if I took the lowers off and I didn't pull a trailer loaded with oil.

My Cummins diesel will be at least 22,000 but will verify with analysis as it will probably go further.

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Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Sorry for the lapse in time guys. With summer setting in things are getting chaotic at work, not to mention the fact that I have a baby on the way. Anyhow, back on topic, I am a little more cautious when it comes to drain intervals. I KNOW that with most common conventional motor oils the oil life monitor will take you far past the limits of the oil.

(Note, the content below is based on my personal experience with "typical" off-the-shelf oils both synthetic and conventional excluding oils such as Royal Purple and Amsoil as I do not service any vehicles that use it)

I currently have a 2010 Equinox equipped with a 2.4 liter ecotec engine in the shop with 14k miles on it that I am replacing the balance shaft chain and tensioner on. The owner has been going by the oil life monitor and is currently in for their second oil change. The dramatically stretched chain is not a direct result of the extended drain intervals AFAIK (a service bulletin applies to this model for issues with the chain rattling but the engine design has been around for a decade and this is a NEW issue), but I am inside the motor and see how nasty it has already gotten.

The oil life monitor is still at ~20% and the oil in the engine is mobil conventional (I am not sure exactly of the type as it used to be mobil clean 5000 but that is now discontinued and we buy our oil in bulk stored in large tanks) that meets the standards GM has for this and most other pre-2011 vehicles. (I know this because their first oil change was done at my shop and as a dealer we do make sure the oil we use meets GM's set standards) The oil has is very thin and black in appearance similar to diesel oil, and smells very burnt. The engine is already beginning to develop black varnish on the interior as well.

For me that is just unacceptable for an engine with 14k miles. The owner is not knowingly neglecting their engine as they are following the owner's manual recommendations. But, technically the engine is still being neglected as the oil has clearly broken down and has been so for a considerable amount of time. This is something I see in most engines I perform repairs on AND on a regular basis.

Now, as far as synthetics and especially synthetics designed for extended drain intervals this is less of an issue. There are clear differences that can be seen between the engines using synthetic oil vs. conventional. Still, I find it hard to believe that at least most common synthetic oils can endure the intervals suggested by both the oil companies and auto manufacturers. I do see the differences between engines using synthetic oils and conventional, but not enough to justify the even longer drain intervals. From what I have seen personally, even properly rated synthetics will break down before the oil "needs" to be changed according to (again) both the oil manufacturer and the oil life monitor.

Burn-off is also an issue I see with both synthetics and conventionals when going an extend amount of miles between changes. It seems that once the oil has been in the engine for a certain amount of miles it begins to burn-off more rapidly. The engine may go a certain amount of miles without burning any noticeable amount of oil and then once past that point it will begin burning oil. Many newer engines I see burn a significant amount of oil once past a certain mileage anyway. But, engines that have the oil changed regularly at closer intervals burn significantly less or no oil at all. Again, the difference between synthetic and conventional is very evident in all of these scenarios. But, the synthetics still aren't completely "immune" to the same issues they just perform significantly better.

The bottom line;
Under "real world" conditions synthetics do perform noticeably better than conventional oils in every aspect. However, under these same "real world" conditions, none of the oils I see used regularly will last as long as the oil life monitoring systems indicate. Nor will the "extended mileage" synthetics last the mileage the manufacturers claim. All of this is taking into consideration the auto manufacturers recommendations of changing the oil at least once a year regardless of mileage. Because the vehicles I have based these observations on do accumulate these mileages in under a year's time.

So, based on personal experience with the types of oils indicated above, I do not personally recommend exceeding 3k miles on conventional oil and 5-6k on synthetic. Again, this excludes less commonly available oils such as Amsoil and Royal Purple (which is becoming more readily available, but not popular among the "general" public) and any other "exotic" oils.

This particular topic does relate to motorcycles somewhat, but obviously there are several motorcycle specific oil brands that I have no experience with. But the basics are still there. Synthetic is better, and I recommend keeping drain intervals reasonable.
 

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Phil,

Whether conventional or Synthetic, all oils are not alike. From Base Stocks and Grades of Base Stocks to the additives used, specific quantity of additives and proprietary additives that are used.

I had a customer a couple years ago that wanted to switch to AMSOIL. The oil light was flickering and the stick showed sufficient oil. I went to drain the oil and the oil came out in chunks and blobs. Enough so where it clogged the hole in my drain pan and I had to stick my fingers in extremely hot oil to clear it so it wouldn't overflow the pan.

When I questioned the owner, the response was "If AMSOIL can go 25,000 miles, any oil can.

Today, AMSOIL has several basic oils, OE recommended mileage oil, XL 10,000 mile oil and Signature Series 25,000 mile oil. These are not hard and fast limits as in a vehicle such as a Turbo Mitsu EVO, you'll be lucky to get 10,000 out of the Signature Series.

Vehicles such as Toyota, which GM uses some of their engines, have sludge problems. Some Honda's, a couple of Dodge's and Turbo'd Subaru's which cannot go past 3750 regardless of oil.

The higher the mileage capability of the oil, the more expensive it is to produce.

The oil in my Diesel will go 22,000 instead of the 7500 recommended. But it is also $8.00 per qt. The one oil filter is $18.85 and those are Dealer cost. But with 3X the mileage, it comes down to close to half the cost per mile of running other oils and filters.

I hope this made sense.. I am beat and headed to bed.

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Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
All duely noted Bob. That is why I purposely excluded Amsoil from the contents of that post as even with the different oils used commonly on the vehicles I service some may hold up better than others. But, none of them hold up to the extent expected of them. So with the exception of oils such as Amsoil and any other more "exotic" oil that I may not know of and have no experience with long-term, I prefer and recommend to keep drain intervals shorter than what is considered "normal" these days. If I had a "pool" of vehicles running Amsoil I would post my honest opinion on those as well. But, I don't so I am basing my statements and recommendations on "common" off-the-shelf oils like mobil, shell rotella, quaker state, havoline, valvoline, pennzoil, etc..... I hope that I have made that point adequately clear for all readers so as not to cause confusion. Again, this is based on experience with vehicles that I make repairs to requiring me getting "inside" the engine and that I have an extensive service history available to see.
 

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Yes, I noticed that you excluded AMSOIL and I appreciate you doing that and letting people know you have no personal knowledge of vehicles using it.

Although it was and still is a battle about Synthetic vs: Petroleum, it needs to be taken to nothing but Performance instead of Base Oil composition. AMSOIL has been the leader in Oil Performance Technology Since 1972.

Technology is advancing, "Exotic" Synthetics are being experimented with and so are ways to attempt to make Petroleum, Hydro-Cracked oils perform better which is why we want to aim towards looking at Performance instead of composition.

I was beat last night and up early to hit the road south for the weekend so I forgot to attach the pics of my drain pan.

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Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bob, that sludge is literally a drop-in-the-bucket compared to some of the vehicles I have seen. So, I do know where you are coming from there. And that further illustrates what I was getting at.

My basic point in that post was purely about drain intervals. Although, I did point out that there is usually a noticeable difference when synthetic oil is used vs. conventional. I was mainly trying to point out that I highly disagree with basing your oil change intervals on an oil life monitoring system. These systems use an algorithm that does a lot of "estimation" and has no way to actually test the state of the oil nor do they know what type of oil is in the engine. I also disagree with the claims regarding drain intervals by the majority of oil manufacturers making extended life oils. Based on experience with vehicles that I have access to the service records for. The majority of the time the oil goes long past it's limits and breaks down severely when the customer follows the oil life monitor or the claims of "certain" oil manufacturers. Again for clarity, this only applies to the commonly available "off-the-shelf" oils I spoke of earlier.

I have seen and do believe that commonly available oils ,conventional and synthetic alike, can go past the old 3 month/3k mile standard. But, not to the extremes that are regularly suggested these days. And without actually analyzing the oil I don't believe it is worth the gamble to go to such extremes.

I also believe that at least PART of the reason for the big push to continue to extend oil drain intervals is pressure from environmental agencies such as the EPA and possibly some government officials. But that is getting a little off-topic.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, I noticed that you excluded AMSOIL and I appreciate you doing that and letting people know you have no personal knowledge of vehicles using it.
I do not have any long-term results to base any opinions on when it comes to Amsoil. But, I have used it in my last 2 motorcycles exclusively. The problem with getting long-term results is I got rid of both of those bikes when they had around 8k miles on them. I have only owned cars that were purchased with over 100k miles on them so I use synthetic oil that I get for free at work. I also do not know of any people that use Amsoil in vehicles that I service. Thus I do not have any true experience to base an opinion on. I do, however, feel that Amsoil is a good product and will use it in vehicles that are worth the added cost. I also used to keep a current dealer account to purchase Amsoil at a good price when I used it regularly.



Although it was and still is a battle about Synthetic vs: Petroleum, it needs to be taken to nothing but Performance instead of Base Oil composition. AMSOIL has been the leader in Oil Performance Technology Since 1972.

Technology is advancing, "Exotic" Synthetics are being experimented with and so are ways to attempt to make Petroleum, Hydro-Cracked oils perform better which is why we want to aim towards looking at Performance instead of composition.
I understand what you are saying and I agree. But, I do not feel that there are currently any conventional oils readily available for purchase that can compare to even a lower quality synthetic. I may be wrong though, that has happened once before lol.
 

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I havent dealt with motorcycle oils yet (just did my first oil change on the gixxer), but ive been working on cars for the last 5 years, and have a pretty good understanding of oil itself, when i tried using Synthetic in my car, the first thing i noticed is that it burnt off alot faster, Note this is Castrol syntec vs/ Castrol GTX high milage. i noticed with the sythetic though that at 3500miles when i drained it its "feel" was better than the conventional. it seemed to retain its viscosity better and didnt smell as burnt. I couldnt justify continues use of it because it burnt off quite rapidly in my car and because i kept refilling it with oil more often that could explain why it seemed to hold up better.
 

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J... Although Castrol SynTec is agood oil, it is a Hydro-Cracked formula. Again, good oil but, they could use a much higher quality Base Stock even withing the Hydro-Cracked Group III that it is classified in which, in my estimation may be part of the burn off problem.

Rotella, most Mobil "Fully Synthetics" are the same basic Hydro-Cracked products. Some are better than others as, just for numbers sake, Castrol may use a 218 Base stock, Rotella may use a 220 and Mobile may use a 222 and other companies may use a 232.

That is why some in the Industry are trying to get away from simple labels such as "Synthetic" as they are not all alike. Look at the Performance of the product. Unfortunately, it is hard to keep up with due to the fact that the Castrol GTX you use today, is not the same GTX that was on the market 2 years ago. Just as Rotella has reformulated 3 times in the last 2 years. Once to meet new Standards and at least once to address problems such as foaming.

I am not picking on either oil, they are both respectable products.

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Bob
 

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Phil,

I have seen engine failures myself due to people not changing oil properly. The sludge in that pan was even after a flush was used to break it down.

I look at it like this. The old saying with a business is: Location, Location, Location... With a vehicle it is: Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance.

I believe in using nothing but the highest quality products which, regardless what some say, pay in the long run. I even used AMSOIL SSO 0W-30 and the EA Series filter on my Rat pickup. Why ? I like the fact that I could, and did, go 1 year (35,000 mi) and just change a filter at 6 months and the extra MPG.

In my Cummins Diesel, I run our 5W-30 HDD oil with the EA filter. With this combo, I should be able to hit 22,000 on a change instead of the OEM recommended 7500. Of course, I will verify this through analysis.

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Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I look at it like this. The old saying with a business is: Location, Location, Location... With a vehicle it is: Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance.
You have hit the nail right on the head. A good part of the problem with engine failures nowadays is the vehicle owner. Generally, most owners think that because modern vehicles have such advanced computer control systems it is not necessary to check the oil or perform other simple forms of maintenance. This is ESPECIALLY true with owners that know their vehicle has a low oil level indicator. The general concensus among these owners is that the advances in auto technology alone allows the practice of longer drain intervals as well regardless of what oil they use. To the general puplic oil is oil so-to-speak. With the right oils and proper maintenance there is no problem with longer drain intervals. But, this is generally not the case with most owners. Therefore, a lot of engines suffer from some kind of failure that is due to the lack of proper maintenance. These owners tend to blame these failures on the vehicle manufacturer when there is no problem with the design and manufacture of the engine. Proper maintenance practices have been thrown out the window by many owners due to the general concensus that the highly advanced computer systems used in modern autos will tell them if attention is needed. The problem is the fact that by the time the car alerts you of something the damage is already done.

On a related side note, the vehicles that I normally service have many different oil level monitoring systems and some have none at all. Some engines will have an oil level sensor that alerts you when the oil is about a quart low (multiple engine designs with 4.25-6 quart capacities). Others will not alert you until it has passed 2 quarts low (multiple engine designs with a range of 4.25-8 quart capacities). Some will not alert you until the level has gone 4 quarts low (these only have a 6 quart capacity !). And again, some engines still do not have a low oil level indicator at all. This is why it is still important to check your oil level regularly as some engines will have been driven with the level dangerously low before the owner gets any kind of message on the dash that something is wrong.

I believe in using nothing but the highest quality products which, regardless what some say, pay in the long run. I even used AMSOIL SSO 0W-30 and the EA Series filter on my Rat pickup. Why ? I like the fact that I could, and did, go 1 year (35,000 mi) and just change a filter at 6 months and the extra MPG.

In my Cummins Diesel, I run our 5W-30 HDD oil with the EA filter. With this combo, I should be able to hit 22,000 on a change instead of the OEM recommended 7500. Of course, I will verify this through analysis.
I totally agree with the importance of using the highest quality products available. This is where the difference in oil drain intervals and engine longevity becomes significant. I personally prefer to use high quality products and still stay on the safe side by changing my oil often even if it is not considered necessary. I would like to think that my maintenance practices have been a major factor in owning several vehicles over the years that have gone far past 200k miles without needing major engine repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So this thread has gone quiet for a while now and I just wanted to say that any other oil related questions or comments are more than welcome. I didn't want for this to just be a conversation between Bob and I. Have a good day and stay safe everyone,

Phil
 

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shell Rotella t6=
API CJ-4, CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, C4, SM, SL, SH; ACEA E9; Caterpillar
ECF-3, ECF-2; Cummins CES 20081; DDC 93K218; Ford WSS
M2C171-E; JASO DH2, MA; Mack EO-0 Premium Plus; MAN 3275;
MB Approval 228.31; Volvo VDS-4

Rotella triple protection
API CJ-4, CI-4 PLUS, CI-4, CH-4, CF, SM,
SL, SJ, SH; ACEA E9, E7; JASO DH-2, MA;
Caterpillar ECF-1A, ECF-2, ECF-3; Cummins
CES 20081; DDC 93K218; Deutz DQC
III-05; MACK EO-O Premium Plus; Ford
WSS-M2C171-E; MAN 3275; MB Approval
228.31; MTU Category 2; Renault Trucks
RLD-3; Volvo VDS-4

If it has the certifications required how can it be bad?? maybe i am just un educated hence the post it just seems to make since for a motorcycle standpoint how can the motorcycle specific oils be any better?
 

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If it has the certifications required how can it be bad?? maybe i am just un educated hence the post it just seems to make since for a motorcycle standpoint how can the motorcycle specific oils be any better?
The "required" are minimum specs set forth by the OEM. The law says they must publish "Minimum" requirements just as it does for fuel.

Will Rotella work ? Yes.

Are there better oils out there ? Absolutely.

Premium M/C Specific oils will have Anti-Rust and corrosion additives esigned for short periods of storage, Anti-Wear additives for the transmission and some will also have clutch performance additives to give them a higher JASO Rating of MA2, the highest clutch performance rating available today.

Check out the link in our Sig for M/C oil tests

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Bob
 

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Has anyone had any experience with repsol oil? or how about redline? in cars redline is supposed to be up there in performance? Im wondering what the best oil is because im about to do an oil change.
also, does royal purple do motorcycle oil?
 

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RP is one of the oils I would stay away from due to shear in a M/C application.

I don't know about Redlines M/C oils but I can tell you I sell AMSOIL to Redline sponsored race teams in other fields.

The Best isn’t cheap
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Bob
 
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