Oil question

Lets hope this doesn't turn into a flame fest...

For most of it's life I ran Mobil1 gold cap in my 00 426 and was happy with it. I've been running it in my 06 and I'm having issues with a grabby clutch even though the clutch appears to be fine, so I'm looking to try something different. My first thought was to go with Amsoil, until the local dealer told me it was $10 a quart :thumbsup: But if it's really worth spending the $ I will.

My question- is there another less expensive oil I can pick up at somewhere like Napa that will perform well? I live in a small town so my choices are somewhat limited, but I'm sure they have some type of MC specific oil. I'm hoping to stop by on my way home tonight and see what's available before springing for a quart of Amsoil.

I have used Shell Rotella in the past and it has always worked very well and is an inexpensive oil. Change it often though.

Or you can sign up under the Amsoil preferred customer program and get oil shipped directly to you at a decent discount which is what I do for my bikes and vehicles.

The preferred customer route is a good idea but I need to get some fresh oil in before a ride this weekend. I've read that the shear strength on the Rotella isn't the greatest, but I suppose for a few hours it couldn't hurt anything.

Some napa stores carry the valvoline atv and motorcycle oil. A few also carry redline products. You could go with a diesel 15w-40 such as chevron delo or shell rotella.

My reason for wanting to switch oil brands is because I've been having issues with a grabby clutch since the bike was new. It was run on whatever Yamaha pours in for break in (only a few hours) and the rest of its 27.3 hours have been on Mobil 1 gold cap. I have pulled the clutch cover and inspected it before to find nothing, and decided to do it again tonight just to make sure there wasn't any unusual wear. What do you think?

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Looks purdy bad doesn't it? :thumbsup: I took a small pick and went over each of the inner and outer fingers on the clutch basket feeling for rough spots... there were maybe 4 of the inner fingers that had a minor rough spot in them. I got to looking real close and it looks like on the fingers where I felt a rough spot there are small circles cast into the clutch basket... I highly doubt these could cause any hanging issues. So... what next? Even though the oil looks pretty good still I'm going to change it and clean the filter before my next ride (this weekend hopefully) and see if fresh oil helps. If not, I'm going to dump the oil and throw out the one extra quart I have and switch to something else. Any thoughts/suggestions?

I went to the local Napa tonight on my way home and their selection was limited... they had a Valvoline synth oil (can't recall the name... Max something or other), Castrol GTX, and of course Delo diesel oil. I also have some Rotella T 15/40 diesel oil in the garage left over from my truck I could pour in, as well as a few more quarts of Mobil 1 gold cap. I'm planning on riding this weekend, so I think I'll change the oil and pour another quart of Mobil 1 in and see if the clutch still acts up. If it does I'll drain it and pour something else in. I'd like to stick to a quality synthetic if I can, so I may just have to bite the bullet and spend the $10 a quart. I've done a fair bit of reading on oil on the forums here and it seems that the diesel oils and other non-motorcycle specific oils just aren't up to the task of dealing with the clutch.

I've always heard that using a car oil like the mobil 1 gold cap will make the clutch slip not grab. So maybe it is something else and not the oil?? Is that the 15w/50 mobil 1 you are using? I think that is the only one that isn't energy conserving, but still the EC oils are supposed to make it slip

I've done a fair bit of reading on oil on the forums here and it seems that the diesel oils and other non-motorcycle specific oils just aren't up to the task of dealing with the clutch.

Not sure where you read that... The diesel oils such as Rotella are recommended by Rekluse, and I would imagine the engineers at Rekluse would know plenty about clutches.

FWIW, I used to run Motorex synthetic oil (with our Rekluses). I was having problems with the 250F's clutch grabbing... Rekluse told me to try some Rotella and the problem was solved.

I know you have a manual clutch, but i think you should give the Rotella a try. Keep in mind that your fibers have the Mobil soaked into them, so if the oil is truely your problem, don't be surprised if you have to swap out the fibers to eliminate the problem.

As much as already been posted regarding oil, and still so much BS floats around.

The likely culprits in a case of a grabby clutch in an '06 are:

  1. Hardened friction plates
  2. Grooved (notched) basket/boss
  3. Slack in the primary drive cushion unit

Oil rarely has anything at all to do with it, and if a clutch grabs with one oil and not another, it's just in between not grabbing at all and grabbing with any oil. Mobil 1 EP will not interfere with the proper operation of a clutch as currently formulated. It will also make no difference whatsoever what oil is soaked into the plates already when you switch brands. The plates are either OK or they aren't.

"Car oils" other than those labeled "Energy Conserving II" (API ECII) will handle the clutch just fine, the problem with almost all of them is they don't retain their viscosity when used as gear lubes, simply because almost none of them were ever intended for that purpose, and weren't formulated for it.

With no offense to anyone in particular, as a professional mechanic, I spent 33 years correcting the work of engineers. Based on what I've seen, some of them do a great job, and some don't seem to know a great deal. For the most part, their opinions don't really impress me all that much, thanks.

"Car oils" other than those labeled "Energy Conserving II" (API ECII) will handle the clutch just fine, the problem with almost all of them is they don't retain their viscosity when used as gear lubes, simply because almost none of them were ever intended for that purpose, and weren't formulated for it.

642MX- this is what I was referring to when I said I didn't think Rotella and some of the other oils were up to the task, but I misunderstood it to be that the clutch was what was hard on the oil, not the gears.

02WR426Cali- the Mobil1 Gold cap is 15/50 and is not energy conserving. It worked great in my old 00 426.

gray- I inspected the clutch hub and basket closely and could not find any major flaws in either (see my post with the photos).

How would I check the friction plates for hardening, and what might have caused them to harden? I'm not a clutch abuser, I only use the clutch when taking off and when shifting up.

Slack in the primary drive cushion unit- I'll have to dive into the manual to see exactly what you are referring to here.

Thanks to all for the help so far!

How would I check the friction plates for hardening, and what might have caused them to harden? I'm not a clutch abuser, I only use the clutch when taking off and when shifting up.

Slack in the primary drive cushion unit- I'll have to dive into the manual to see exactly what you are referring to here.

Thanks to all for the help so far!

There's no test for hardening that I know of. It's just a kind of subjective observation. A "feel", if you like. Heat over time, wear, and age are the usual cause.

The manual shows the inspection of the drive unit for rotational slack on page 4-51. The driven gear actually pivots on the back of the basket, and is "sandwiched" between two sets of springs pushing opposite directions. The idea is that the springs absorb some of the shock from the engine before it gets transmitted to the transmission. If slack develops here. it can allow the clutch to catch and start rotating the basket before it encounters any resistance form the drive train. When the slack takes up, it is felt as a snatch, or grab, from the clutch.

Use Mobil 1 MX4T Motorcycle Racing oil it is made for Thumpers. The gold cap is car oil and has additives that most wet clutch systems do not like.

The gold cap is car oil and has additives that most wet clutch systems do not like.
That is not true.

So... I'm thinking a re-gear is in order. I'm going to try a 12t front first and leave the rear alone, then probably swap out for a 13/55 combo down the road. At least by running a 12t front for a while I can get some use out of the high dollar chain I put on the bike :thumbsup:

This is purely anecdotal and non-scientific, but I used to own a KLR250, I did regular oil changes with the recomended oil from the dealer, but from day one, the clutch had a grabby feeling and the plates would stick for the first few minutes of operation. I bought the bike new, so I was pretty sure it was something inherent to the bike.

After asking if others were experiencing this, was told on a KLR forum that these bikes "all did that" and that I should forget about it. Then, someone else said they had been using Rotella 5w40 full synthetic and their clutch no longer acted up.

I tried it and the transformation was amazing. Have since started using Rotella on all my street and dirt bikes. I have read that Rotella's qualities are as good as most JASO oils and better than many. More importantly, I've read many testimonials from folks who've run Rotella for years in both street and dirt bikes with good results.

This guy, who strikes me as someone who's learned a lot about motorcycle maintenance over the years, convinced me of Rotella's basic goodness:

http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html

I use it, I like it.

This guy, who strikes me as someone who's learned a lot about motorcycle maintenance over the years, convinced me of Rotella's basic goodness:

http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html

I use it, I like it.

I know a lot of people who use it too.

The article is a generally good one, but it's also old.

You should send off a sample of your used oil sometime. When the results come back, check out what the measured viscosity was at 200 degrees.

Valid points, all...

I used to have a link to a real, scientific comparison test of various auto and motorcycle oils (that helped convince me that Rotella was fine for M/C use), but can no longer find it. It too, was kind of old,though...2002, IIRC.

I'm also aware that Rotella has a slightly higher than allowed ash level, according to JASO standards. But I still think it is a better choice than some M/C-specific oils.

To your point about the age of that article: I felt confident using an oil that has historically worked well in bikes, because my motorcycles have tended to be old-tech, rather than state of the art. My KLR was basically an early-80s design, and my current DS bike, a DR-Z400 is an late 80s -early 90s design. My street bikes are also pretty old-school.

Your late model YZs may have much different metallurgy and performance parameters... So your point is well taken.

One thing that I do recall about that test article was the shear-stress results were scary for some oils. Resistance to shear is critical in bikes because the same oil lubes the engine, clutch, and the gearbox. Among the motorcycle-specific oils, a couple did very poorly in that comparison...One in that category was an oil that is very popular among bike owners...And I will only say the brand has the initials BR.

I wish I still had the link to that test.

In researching oil -- and you could spend weeks, even months doing that -- some truth comes to light. One fact is that there are a ton of oil producers and sellers out there and all are claiming that their product is best. But they are trying to sell you something.

What impressed me is that Shell is not marketing to motorcyclists. I've read a number of questions posed to them and answers from Shell engineers on a couple of oil forums. They are very low-key about their oil's suitability for bikes.

I've read no outrageous claims from the people at Shell...but it is clear they believe Rotella will work well in bikes. And when I've read their posts on these forums, they are always careful to state that Rotella does have higher ash content than JASO allows.

So...The question is are oils not specifically made for bikes suitable for use in them? I concluded from reports of people going 30, 40, 50k miles using oil like Rotella and Delvac in street bikes that they are OK for that application. I've even read reports of good experience with Rotella in crotch rockets that are regularly used on road courses.

But to your point -- that doesn't mean they will work well for a late-model YZ that gets the beejeezus run out of it on an MX track...

If the test was the one commissioned by Amsoil, the link to it is here:

http://www.amsoil.com/lit/G-2156.pdf

This is the newest edition, done in 2009, with different players. A trend you can see if you remember some of the older tests is that a larger number of the oils tested are passing the D-6278 test than in the past, which means that refiners/blenders have realized this is an important issue.

Remember, all you have to do to find out whether an oil holds up or not is to test it out of your own bike.

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/motorcycle.html

Update: I changed the oil (used Mobil 1 again since I have some in the garage) and re-geared to a 12t front sprocket and the clutch grab and squeal went away... until the oil got about 3-4 hours on it. I think I still have 1 quart of the Mobil 1 left but I'm going to find a different use for it and try some Amsoil or some other MC specific oil.

It's not your oil. M1 R4T is absolutely excellent.

Your clutch is at fault, and while Amsoil or something else, or even new M1 may help for a while, the problem is still there.

It's not your oil. M1 R4T is absolutely excellent.

Your clutch is at fault, and while Amsoil or something else, or even new M1 may help for a while, the problem is still there.

I'm using Mobil 1 gold cap auto oil, not the MC specific Mobil 1.

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