Whats the best oil?


45 replies to this topic
  • TimBrp

Posted April 14, 2004 - 01:42 AM

#21

Qadsan what is your feel on that Mobil "red cap" 15w30? Should I start using this. What is the best oil for 4 strokes? BelRay now makes "thumper" oil. I smoked my stock clutch on the 650 here in the NE woods in 800 miles with the spectro stuff.

  • qadsan

Posted April 14, 2004 - 06:10 AM

#22

SaltyWalrus,
Not all oils termed synthetic are the same and some will probably keep your engine cleaner than others. Heavy duty motor oils whether synthetic or petroleum base (unlike typical conventional passenger car oils) also contain special detergent & dispersant packages to minimize soot deposits. A top of the line synthetic with a good additive package will be the better overall product, but people have to decide what's good enough for them. Synthetics are great for extreme low & high temperature operation and for extended drain intervals, but our 650R engine oil temperature doesn't appear to run nearly as hot as some engines (i.e. older XR250R's, etc) and I certainly don't plan to run extended drain intervals since I'm running off road only. There's a good deal of shear going on inside our engines and that kills our oil much quicker than if it were used in the typical passenger car. Dirt is also a huge enemy for the people who mostly operate their bikes off road and those are both good reasons to change your oil per the manufacturers recomondations.

TimBrp,
I don't think anyone can honestly pinpoint the absolute very best motor oil for our 650R without doing tons of costly independant studies and even then people would question the results. Many have tried to do this with good intentions including magazines and it never quite works out the way they thought it would for various reasons.

Mobil red cap 15W50 is another fine choice and I wouldn't be worried about using it in any of my bikes. If you really want to know how well your oil is working for you, then send samples out to a lab for analysis every so often. An oil sample is a working history of your engine in operation. Oil that's been inside any moving mechanical apparatus for a period of time reflects the exact condition of that assembly. The oil is in contact with engine or mechanical components as trace amounts of metalic wear particles enter the oil and these particles are so small they remain in suspension. Many products of the combustion process also will become trapped in the circulating oil. The particles from normal wear and operation will mix with the oil and any contamination from the outside (i.e. sand, dirt, coolant, etc) also enters the oil, all of which can be indentified and measured so that the rate of wear can be determined. This type of information can also be used to identify patterns or certain components that might be failing. It also allows you to make changes to reduce wear & contamination. Depending on which lab you use and the amount of information you want back, the cost will typically vary from ~$20 to ~$70. Caterpillar also offers oil analysis in addition to Blackstone labs, Dyson labs, Amsoil, etc. Oil analysis on a dirt bike isn't as useful as with a diesel truck, but it still has enough value to allow you to determine just how well your existing oil is working (oxidation, fuel dilution, viscosity, TBN, etc) and whether or not too much dirt is getting into your engine, excessive bearing wear, etc.

It just depends on how far you really want to take this. The manufacturers have already spelled things out for us with their service recomendations and that should serve the bulk of riders very well as long as those schedules are followed. I don't know if your clutch was smoked due to the oil or not, but I would venture to guess that Mobil's redcap 15W50 would not be any worse than Spectro's product.

After you change or rebuild your clutch, make certain to clean the oil downtube screen after the first two oil changes. Also make sure to regularly check your clutch adjustment incase it vibrates loose or needs adjustment from wear. I know its tempting to have the clutch setup so you only have to pull it in slightly, but running it on the very edge like many of my friends do is asking for trouble in my opinion. As of this weekend, I have ~3,000+ off road miles on the stock clutch (so far so good - knock on wood :)).

  • SaltyWalrus

Posted April 14, 2004 - 10:52 AM

#23

Thanks Qadsan. One more question for you. Hate to keep hammering same topic, I know you posted a lot on it in past, but... Lets say I run Mobil Delvac for a couple changes, then throw in Mobil 15/40 synthetic red cap. """IF""" I notice an improvement in shifting (smoother), wouldn't this indicate to you that the synthetic offers improved lubrication and reduced friction? If so, seems that would add to engine longevity. Higher heat tolerance would reduce deposits around head/valves, auto decompression gizmo (hot spots). I have even read someone saying engine ran smoother on road at speed with synthetic!? Thanks. :) Oh...by the way...has anyone notice improved shifting with synthetics??? I am new with this thing. Still trying to figure out what to use.

  • BWB63

Posted April 14, 2004 - 03:33 PM

#24

There is a guy that is on the XR650R Yahoo group that works for a test lab for oil. He did a brake down on a bunch of oils and all the major sythetics. It came down to being Red Line Synthetic was by far the best. If I remember right it was like 40% better at stopping wear then the next and that was Mobil 1 Red Cap which was way out infront of the next then it all started to get closer apart. I'll look to see if I can find the report.

  • AZ Thumpdaddy

Posted April 14, 2004 - 05:31 PM

#25

Mobil MX4T is the juice for me. $8 a quart but why not? Piggies need good lubrication too!

  • qadsan

Posted April 14, 2004 - 07:18 PM

#26

Mobil Delvac 1 is group IV synthetic with a full commercial additive package. Mobil 1 red cap definitely does not have as stout of additive package as Delvac 1. The fact that one oil allows a gearbox to shift smoother than another oil definitely does not mean it lubricates the engine better. There could be many reasons why an oil allows a bike to shift smoother including any number of things in the additive package, but the requirements for smooth shifting gears is a whole lot different than making sure the oil is doing its job in regards to bearings, piston rings, cam lobes, gears, etc. If you really want a better oil, then look to some of the custom blends that will run $100+ per gallon. While they'll provide better protection than what you can buy at any auto or motorcycle parts store, you have to decide what's good enough for you in your given application. How much over kill do you want because that's what it comes down to. Unless you're doing regular oil analysis, you're simply guessing as to how well your oil is working and how much life it has left, etc.

When Federal Mogul (a large manufacturer of engine bearings, pistons, connecting rods and other engine parts) studied over 7,000 case histories of bearing distress and engine failure, they didn't find any specific engine oils to be the cause of a single failure. They did however find that dirt was by far the number one cause of engine failure follwed by insufficient lubrication (not enough oil volume I believe), etc. I don't remember all the details, but the point is that changing your bike's oil in a timely manner goes a long ways toward keeping your bike healthy.

As far as Red Line being the best, I wouldn't put much faith in that. For every report that says Red Line is the best from some so-called expert, there will be many more reports that show other oils as being the best. How can you believe any of this unless you do all the work yourself because even the experts disagree on what products are the best. One of the big things that seperates Red Line's products from others is that they use high concentrations of moly in many of their products unlike Amsoil, Mobil, Chevron, etc. You'll never find the 'best' oil because there will always be someone else who believes their product is better and what's the best one day may not be the best tomorrow. Focusing on whose oil is the best is plain silly in my opinion and only creates heated & pointless discussions no matter how many facts and myths are thrown into the mix. Finding an oil that does the job well is sensible and there's many good choices out there. Our 1980 XR80 has been used and abused from kids learning to ride and adults that are way to big for this bike, but it has well over 20,000 off road miles on the engine running a petroleum based oil and it still runs fairly well. What more can I ask from that oil when the bike has held up so well, especially when this bike doesn't even have an oil filter? If I always ran a top of the line synthetic in that bike, what more would I have gained from it? I paid $350 for that bike used in 1981 from a swap meet and I've had people offer me $500+ for it as is last year, but I'll probably give it to my grand kids one day.

Powroll (www.powroll.com) is a company that specializes in four stroke motorcycle performance and they've done their own set of expensive destructive engine testing with various oils in their own controlled environments with brand new engines in order to find what oils provided the best protection for their customers. They tested passenger cars oils, motorcyle specific oils, synthetic & petroleum based varieties, etc, and their results conclusively found that one particular petroleum based oil outperformed every single oil they tested including all the synthetics they tested, so they made a deal with that oil company and sell that particular oil as their own brand with a different label. They probably don't want me to say this, but what they're selling under their brand name is Shaeffer Micron Molly Racing Oil that's been relabled as their own oil. Before you start wondering who Shaeffer is, they've been in the oil industry for over 100 years when developing lubricants for things like covered wagons, various machinery, etc. They definitely produce a quality product, but they too are big on Moly for anti wear and friction modification like Red Line and a few other specialty companies. Shaeffer also serves the trucking industry along with many commercial applications. I wouldn't hesitate to use Shaeffer's products in my bikes, but there's many good choices out there.

There's a ton of marketing with oils and every company want you to think they offer the best product. Not everything you read is fact and sometimes can be misleading. Just look at all the oil additive companies that sponsored races and provided convincing demonstrations and supposedly had independant tests done to prove how well their products worked. Some companies even had professional racers, engineers, scientists and or celebraties endorsing their products. Many of these companies sold millions of these types of products before the federal trade commision investigatged them and found their products to be misleading to consumers. The same thing has happened with spark plugs and spark plug wires, etc. Be careful of what you read here or anywhere from anyone. If you want to know for sure how well your oil is working for you, then get on an oil analysis program and get the facts for the oil that's being used in your bike for your specific application.

  • JetPilot

Posted April 15, 2004 - 05:00 AM

#27

Very interesting post and thanks for the information Qudsan. I have always used Mobil 1 synthetic, I wasnt aware that Mobil had a better synthethic you talked about - "Mobil Delvac 1 is group IV synthetic with a full commercial additive package." About how much is the Delvac 1, and where can I get it ?
____________________________________________________________________________________
"NO FEAR" If you have no fear, you didnt go as fast as you could have.

  • SaltyWalrus

Posted April 15, 2004 - 05:13 AM

#28

Thanks, Qadsan. I knew you were the man to ask. I didn't even know delvac was a synthetic (even though a have a gallon jug sitting in my garage). I assumed it was conventional as it is not overly expensive. I just found this Mobil Delvac link. http://www.mobil.com...lvac1_5W-40.asp Thanks! I think that will be my oil. Only question, why is it so inexpensive?

  • qadsan

Posted April 15, 2004 - 08:57 AM

#29

I get my Delvac 1 (different than Delvac 1300) for a little less than ~$22 / gallon from Empire Oil. They also sell Mobil's MX4T four stroke oil which is similar to the Delvac 1, but MX4T has more boron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, phosphorous. MX4T is a bit more expensive, but it too is an excellent choice along with many other oils in my opinion. Delvac 1 can sometimes be found at truck stops and you can also buy it on the internet from placss like Avlube at:
http://store.avlube....nfacsizcol.html (Delvac 1)
http://store.avlube....1mx104cyc1.html (MX4T)

Here's a link to Empire Oil's locations in SoCal, which is where I pick mine up from.
http://www.empireoil...ations_home.htm

Mobil also has their new full synthetic SUV 5W40 oil out, but I have no experiences with it to know what's inside, how well it works, etc. At some point in time, I may try some out and send samples out for analysis, but I want to stay commited to the Delvac 1 for a solid 5,000 off road miles with some sampling along the way to see how it performs. Caterpillar DEO 5W40 is another interesting choice and I believe it's simply Delvac 1 repackaged under the Cat name. The higher end oils do get expensive, but I don't feel there's anything wrong with a top notch petroleum based oil with a good additive package. I was really happy with Delo 400 for many years and I know plenty of people who use it successfully in all kinds of equipment. We're just not driving our vehicles nearly as much as we used to and I'm not nearly as mobil as I used to be, so I'm opting to extend my drain intervals in some of my on road vehicles with a good synthetic and I'm also giving it a good try in my off road vehicles as well. I was also impressed with the viscosity differences between Delvac 1 & the Delo 400 based on my own tests with a Visgauge and I know its performance won't be any worse than the Delo 400 I was using for many years :)

  • ineedmyspeed

Posted April 15, 2004 - 12:56 PM

#30

My brother has a 1987 250x quad. I can't begin to tell ya all the abuse both he and I have put it through. Then theres the fact that he leaves at our Mom's house and when all the grand kids visit they ride it and they really abuse it by not knowing how to ride.

He's never had to go into the engine, he's never had any clutch problems. (Original clutch)

Along with both his quads, all the units ya see in my signiture, my goldwing, ninja, seca and lawn mowers etc.

castrol 20w-50

in the bikes, as soon as it starts getting pretty dark, but a little before black, I change it, regardless of hours. Depending on the type of riding and heat, etc., it varies on how much use I get between oil changes.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • CharlesD

Posted April 16, 2004 - 05:55 PM

#31

For what its worth , i have read on another forum that the new mobil 1 "Truck and SUV" oil is in fact delvac1 . I personaly dont know this for a fact but specs look the same and they talked to a mobil rep and he said it was the same stuff. they decided to badge it as mobil 1 instead of Delvac 1 cuz most people have never heard of delvac 1 and mobil 1 already has a good name. Makes sence to me i guess :) I saw it at walmart today for $4.77 quart. its about time they had it actually available at more places. now if you could find amsoil , and redline that easy that would be nice.

  • qadsan

Posted April 16, 2004 - 08:17 PM

#32

Some of the information I've seen so far indicates you might be correct CharlesD about Mobil's SUV & Delvac being the same, but I'm still not 100% sure about this because some info shows that Mobil's SUV oil has much less boron than Delvac 1. Delvac 1 and MX4T have similar amounts of boron which is a key ingrediant for protecting our engines. Not too many oils I've seen use Boron like Mobil does with their MX4T & Delvac 1, but I plan to send samples of their SUV oil in for analysis sometime later this year.

  • CharlesD

Posted April 18, 2004 - 05:35 AM

#33

yea , all the oil stuff could drive a person nuts. would be nice to know for a fact what oil was absalutly the best for a certain application then just use it and be done with it :) slim chance of that happening any time soon. non of the oil people would go for it , they all like to tell you theres is the best. such is life i guess.

another thing that would be nice is if someone made a nice oil bypass filter for our bikes so maybe you wouldnt have to change the oil every couple hundred miles i have a hard time believing the oil is actually going bad that fast, as it is just getting dirty ? but what do i know , and yea i know , where would you put it ?

i think i am going to forget about it for now and go for a ride ! :D

  • XPLRN

Posted April 22, 2004 - 12:09 PM

#34

I've been searching the TT forums for oil related info and found this post quite interesting. I'm riding a smaller XR, 1998 2.5/2.8 , stock they don't have a oil cooler on them like my older wet sump '86 XR 2.5 did. I guess Honda changed their approach to cooling oil in the wet sump vs. dry sump lubrication.......maybe the larger quantity of oil in the dry sump system didn't warrant a oil cooler.....at least until they bumped the displacement to 400 C.C.'s .

Anyways referencing this thought from 'qadsan'

Some of the information I've seen so far indicates you might be correct CharlesD about Mobil's SUV & Delvac being the same, but I'm still not 100% sure about this because some info shows that Mobil's SUV oil has much less boron than Delvac 1. Delvac 1 and MX4T have similar amounts of boron which is a key ingrediant for protecting our engines. Not too many oils I've seen use Boron like Mobil does with their MX4T & Delvac 1, but I plan to send samples of their SUV oil in for analysis sometime later this year.




I remembered that MCN(Motorcycle Consumer News) had done a "Motorcycle Oil Investigation Update" in their February 2003 issue. I went and referenced that article to try and understand what the deal with boron in the Mobil oil was all about. They didn't test the Delvac 1 oil but they did a 'heads-up' comparison between the Mobil 1 15-50 red top synthetic oil and the Mobil MX4T "motorcycle specific" oil.

The boron content between the two oils appeared on MCN's charts to be within 200-300 PPM(Parts Per Million)of each other. Soooo if the Delvac 1 is about equal to the MX4T then it's real simular to the "regular" Mobil 1 15-50 oil in that additive amount. However I don't know which oil additive is in fact a "key ingredient for protecting our motorcycle engines". It looks like Mobil thinks it is the addition of Magnesium.......read on.......

The biggest difference in additives between the Mobil 1 15-50 and the MX4T was the addition of Magnesium. MX4T has about 600 PPM and the Mobil 1 15-50 has less than 100 PPM.....barely showed on the graph. I'm wondering what the Magnesium level in the DelVac 1 oil is?? I also wonder what Magnesium actually "does" that makes it the desirable additive to the MX4T oil??

The Mobil 1 rated a TBN(Total Base Number)of around 12.2 or 12.3 vs. the 9.4 or 9.5 TBN of the MX4T oil. The TBN is the measure of the oil's ability to counteract acids in the crankcase.

Also on the Heat Stability/Aging the Mobil 1 15-50 was higher than the MX4T. The Mobil 1 15-50 was almost bumping the 95% line and the MX4T oil was only about 1 to 2 percent at the most lower(that graph is in 5% incements).

I do reccomend finding and reading that MCN article(February 2003) on oil if you want to learn more. Here is their summary of the Mobil auto vs. motorcycle oil comparison(they did others also).

Quote from MCN; "At least in Mobil's case, the claim that their motorcycle oil is "different" can be sustantiated, as it contains a heavier-duty additive package. However, their automotive oil still posts a higher TBN than their bike oil, while costing nearly half as much."

Sounds like 'qadsan' is on to something with the Mobil DelVac 1 oil. I do wish that it had a higher viscosity rating(5-40 vs. 15-50 of the Mobil 1) since sometimes we have some pretty substantial triple digit temps here in Arizona. I couldn't find the DelVac 1 at any of the 4 local automotive parts stores I searched, however I'm going to keep searching locally. I ended up going with the Mobil 1 15-50 at Wallie World(Wal-Mart) for $3.88 a quart yesterday. I figure that price is sorta in line with the DelVac 1 and I'll be changing it on a regular basis anyways! :-)

Happy 'XPLRN' !

  • SaltyWalrus

Posted April 23, 2004 - 05:02 AM

#35

Found Shell Rotella full synthetic mixed fleet at Wally World for ~ $12.88 per gallon. Since I can't find a convenient local source for the Mobil Delvac 1, I am considering this oil or the Mobil 1 15-40 red cap as my oil of choice. What do you think of the Shell Rotella, Qadsan?

  • CharlesD

Posted April 23, 2004 - 05:36 AM

#36

just a though on the Rotella "full synthetic" I've read that its not synthetic but dino oil put through some "new, special"
stage 3 hydrocracking or something like that. may want to do your own research on it and see if i am wronge. again i am not swearing by this , just i read it somewhere. so no stack of bibles please :D
if true that seems like alot of money for dino oil. :)

  • qadsan

Posted April 23, 2004 - 08:21 AM

#37

I think the Rotella T products are another good choice for our bikes and the T-Synthetic is priced affordably and easily obtained. Shell also advertises it as being acceptible for motorcycles at the following link...

http://www.rotella.c...lt.php?rowid=81

Boron stems from either Sodium Di-Borate or Potassium Triborate. When used in the right concentrations, it's a multifunctional additive that works as a clutch friendly FM (Friction Modifier), an AW additive (especially with aluminum), a detergent, anti-oxidant and anti-corrosive additive.

Magnesium (usually magnesium sulfonates and succinimides) I believe is primarily used as a dispersant and is one of the base metals that forms the alkilinity (Total Base Number) in combination with calcium. They form soaps that lift and trap sludge and other carbon particles as a molecular aggregate which suspends the carbonaceous particulates until you change your oil.

  • RJB

Posted April 26, 2004 - 05:36 AM

#38

Thanks, Qadsan. I knew you were the man to ask. I didn't even know delvac was a synthetic (even though a have a gallon jug sitting in my garage). I assumed it was conventional as it is not overly expensive. I just found this Mobil Delvac link. http://www.mobil.com...lvac1_5W-40.asp Thanks! I think that will be my oil. Only question, why is it so inexpensive?



Any reason you would want to run an oil designed for diesel engines in your bike? I'm just as confused as the next guy as to which oil - and I work for an oil company - time to seek out one of the lab guys

  • qadsan

Posted April 26, 2004 - 06:59 AM

#39

Actually, the oil I use is not a diesel specific oil. It's a commercial grade mixed fleet oil designed for both gasoline and diesel engines. Some of the reasons I use a commercial grade mixed fleet oil are:

* They do not have friction modifiers that are bad for wet clutches.

* They're typically designed with top quality commercial base stocks just as many motorcycle oils are.

* They typically have stout barrier additive packages (like motorcycle oils do) unlike conventional passenger car motor oils designed specifically for CAFE requirements.

* They're designed for high temperature & high shear operation just like motorcycle oils. In fact, take a look at the JASO-MA standard designed for motorcycles and you'll see they use a diesel injector in their test for shear.

* It's more convenient & cost effective for me to buy a few dozen gallons or a 55 gallon drum of the same oil as long as it performs well in all my equipment (cars, trucks, bikes, buggy, etc).

* Oil analysis tells me just how well the oil is working and comfirms my results.

  • slip

Posted April 26, 2004 - 10:09 AM

#40

I think the Rotella T products are another good choice for our bikes and the T-Synthetic is priced affordably and easily obtained. Shell also advertises it as being acceptible for motorcycles at the following link...

http://www.rotella.c...lt.php?rowid=81

Boron stems from either Sodium Di-Borate or Potassium Triborate. When used in the right concentrations, it's a multifunctional additive that works as a clutch friendly FM (Friction Modifier), an AW additive (especially with aluminum), a detergent, anti-oxidant and anti-corrosive additive.

Magnesium (usually magnesium sulfonates and succinimides) I believe is primarily used as a dispersant and is one of the base metals that forms the alkilinity (Total Base Number) in combination with calcium. They form soaps that lift and trap sludge and other carbon particles as a molecular aggregate which suspends the carbonaceous particulates until you change your oil.


Thanks for the link. This has convinced me to give Rotella a try. :)





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