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Old 01-22-2013, 02:28 AM   #1
TINK OP
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Question Mobil 1 15W50 or Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W50 in my R100 Airhead?

I'm thinking I want to use Mobil 1 in my 1979 R100RT engine but not sure if I should use Mobil 1 15W50 (auto) or Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W50 (motorcycle)?

There's a lot of chatter over on the oilhead side, but search comes up with nothing on the airhead side about either Mobil 1 oils.

So, any airhead owners using Mobil 1?

If so, are you using Mobil 1 15W50 designed for cars or Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W50 designed for motorcycles?

I know the Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W50 has stuff in it for engines that have common crankcases for engine/trans/wet clutch, like my Honda's and Suzuki's have, but the airhead engine does not share it's crankcase with the transmission and it has a dry clutch so it seems that the Mobil 1 15W50 designed for car engines would be the logical choice here.

Then there's the whole 15W50 vs 20W50 thing...

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:39 AM   #2
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I'll dive in.......

You want an oil suitable for flat tappet OHV engines not fitted with catalytic converters.

Such oils come with plenty of ZDDP an additive used until quite recently in oils but taken out because it does not work well for catalytic converters.

I use a Valvoline VR1 20-50 oil marketed towards use in classic racing cars and bikes. It contains ZDDP. It's a mineral oil. API SL

Oils available in your country will vary and castrol 20-50 sold in Europe is probably formulated differently that Castrol 20-50 sold in the US.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:47 AM   #3
One Less Harley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasbmw View Post
I'll dive in.......

You want an oil suitable for flat tappet OHV engines not fitted with catalytic converters.

Such oils come with plenty of ZDDP an additive used until quite recently in oils but taken out because it does not work well for catalytic converters.

I use a Valvoline VR1 20-50 oil marketed towards use in classic racing cars and bikes. It contains ZDDP. It's a mineral oil. API SL

Oils available in your country will vary and castrol 20-50 sold in Europe is probably formulated differently that Castrol 20-50 sold in the US.

+20 on this!!!!!! From what I've experienced with Cast 20w50 auto oil in one old car, trashed cam and tappets, I will always use oil with ZDDP in old cars or the airhead!!! The ZR1 gets high marks, synthetic is not needed especially when changing oil every 3,000 miles. Yeah I know you can extend the oil change interval with synthetics, but I have problems getting past that...5-7,000 mile oil changes I just can't bring my self to do that!!!

But it's your bike and money do what you want....
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:39 AM   #4
georgesgiralt
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Hello !
Your bike has a separate gearbox. So it is more like a car than another bike. (there are some cars with the gearbox in the same box as the engine but they are the minority).
But, I for one, disagree with synthetic oil in an airhead (and in an oilhead too). These oils have trouble conforming to the maximal viscosity (the 50 figure). So they often fail when we need them : when it's hot and we ride hard... (you can check this by comparing the viscosity of hot 15W50 synthetic and 20W50 mineral oil. The latter being more viscous than the former... )
Last but not least, BMW warn against using API SJ and above oils in an airhead because these oils lack a lot of additives which are very useful in an airhead designed a long time ago with the metal of the era. Metals used in today's cars are very different.... so oil needs are very different too.
I would stick to a car oil from mineral base 20W50 viscosity rated API SF~SG or SH as BMW advised to use... And this will save a lot of money too...
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:23 AM   #5
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There is insignificant difference between Mobil 1 15w-50 and Mobil 1 20w50 currently available as shown by published graphs. i have been using Mobil 1 15w50 in seven of my air cooled motorcycles since it was available. I recently switched my 83 R100 over to it after a top end overhaul. This oil is a great choice and will do well in your BMW .Change your oil and filter at the prescribed intervals and ride knowing your motor is protected.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:47 AM   #6
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I'm a believer in the ZDDP additive for my Airhead. I have seen pictures of other rider's bikes that have pitted cam lifters and cam shafts. This is usually where the problem starts and a common factor when this is reported is the oil that was used. The most well intentioned think they are doing the right thing by using a motorcycle oil or using Synthetic oil. I stay away from motorcycle oil and Synthetics and I use an oil that I know has ZDDP in it.

I'd like to know how much ZDDP is in the oil that Chas BMW uses. He's on top of stuff but I don't know where to get these figures. How does it compare to BMW Brand motor oil? BTW that's what I use because I'm sure it has enough ZDDP in it. Of course BMW has different oils for their different vintage bikes. They have one specifically for Airheads. And it's Dino Oil. It's 20W50. I really like something a little cheaper though.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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I love Mobil 1 and have not run anything else in any of my motorcycles (or vehicles for that matter). But I've read enough now about airheads and the reasoning to go with "older" dino oils with higher ZDDP contents that I have been swayed.

I found this interesting response from Pennzoil while searching info on oils. It gives PPM (part per million) ratings on various API oil ratings (SH, SJ, SL, etc).

http://xs650temp.proboards.com/index...y&thread=14648
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backdrifter View Post
I love Mobil 1 and have not run anything else in any of my motorcycles (or vehicles for that matter). But I've read enough now about airheads and the reasoning to go with "older" dino oils with higher ZDDP contents that I have been swayed.

I found this interesting response from Pennzoil while searching info on oils. It gives PPM (part per million) ratings on various API oil ratings (SH, SJ, SL, etc).

http://xs650temp.proboards.com/index...y&thread=14648



Well if you want the best of both worlds try 1 guart of Valvoline VR1 20-50 1900 or so ppm Zddp and 1 quart Rotella T 15/40 maybe 1300 ppm zddp mixed......ah wtf......xsjohn
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:05 AM   #9
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Is this the first oil thread of this winter season? Took a while didn't it?

But I don't have a dog in this fight, since I just use BMW 20w50, but I thought the ratings for motorcycles were API/SAE SJ and JASO MA. I'll verify what's on the BMW bottle when I get home tonight.

*EDIT* well, whaddya know, it's SG
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
TINK OP
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Castrol 4t

Now for something completely different...

What about Castrol 4T, anyone using this? It's an old school mineral base SG oil.

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TINK View Post
Now for something completely different...

What about Castrol 4T, anyone using this? It's an old school mineral base SG oil.

TINK
That's what I use. Meets BMW specs and is available everywhere.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TINK View Post
Now for something completely different...

What about Castrol 4T, anyone using this? It's an old school mineral base SG oil.

TINK

It's really quite simple. API spec SG, 20w-50. It's an air cooled engine, with it's much larger clearances at piston/cylinder compared to liquid cooled engines so 20w is better than 15w. ZDDP is exceedingly important, so some research may be needed for this as even some 'bike' oils are now using reduced ZDDP additive.
As much as I'm a strong proponent of FULL synthetic oils, I think that extending oil changes because it's synthetic is misguided. Synthetics don't break down near as fast as non-synthetics, but, they get contaminated just as fast with acidic byproducts of combustion sneaking past the bigger clearances of an air cooled piston rings. Changing the oil more often using less expensive non-synthetic oil is by far a better way to go.
If only there was available a 20w-50 diesel spec oil [api spec CC -CD], which has very high ZDDP, but most all are 15w-40, too thin for an airhead on a hot summer day.
BTW, I use Castrol 20w-50 bike oil, api spec SG.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:01 AM   #13
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Go to your BMW dealer and buy BMW oil. When Castrol lowered their zinc content like all the other oils I switched to the BMW 20/50. I have put over 100k on an R100 motor and every bike I build I use BMW oil without any problems. The one exception is breaking in a new motor and that is another topic.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:08 PM   #14
pommie john
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From Mobil's website.
The 15-50 is recommended for flat tappets, but the V-Twin 20-50 has even more ZDDP.


http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...duct_Guide.pdf
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:54 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by pommie john View Post
From Mobil's website.
The 15-50 is recommended for flat tappets, but the V-Twin 20-50 has even more ZDDP.


http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...duct_Guide.pdf

Came here to post this.
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