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Hey guys....in Rabat and about to do an oil change but getting conflicting opinions from fellow overlanders. Please can someone tell me what oil I should put in. Synthetica/ semi synthetic 15/ 40...50 etc.
I've had this discussion so many times. Everyone seems to have a different opinion. Here's mine (based on a lot of reading and discussions over the years and running a number of XT600s over many tens of thousands of miles)
Synthetic is at best a waste of money and unless it is motorcycle specific you risk clutch slipping problems.
I've used semi synthetic or synthetic fortified for many tens of thousands of miles no problem.
If you're going to experience temps near zero degrees at any point, you should use 10W 40. Otherwise, 15 W 40 is probably better for higher temps.
Remember to measure the quantity your putting in carefully - you won't get the total quantity your putting in until the engine's run for a minute.
I don't get a good reading of oil level easily on my 4PT. I ride the bike round for five minutes, then come back and check the oil level is not overfilled. Then measure the quantity of oil drained, and refill with the same measured quantity of fresh oil, then ride round for 5 minutes before checking and topping up if necessary.
My reason for using semi, not synth, is that the synth is known to cause clutch slip in some bikes, with some oils, and the semi isn't.
If you know your bike has no problems running on any synth, or on a particular synth which you can always get you hands on, then there's no reason not to use it.
If you don't know that and you're in a place with a limited choice, then a semi is the safe choice.
If the only bike shop in town only has synth in stock, then use it. It will probably be fine, but if it does cause clutch slip that is nothing you can't live with for a few days until you find another oil.
Semi does degrade quicker, but so long as you change the oil at the correct intervals, this shouldn't be an issue.
The point of this post is to assist the OP in making a decision, the OP is never going to get universal agreement and a firm answer from a forum, but if people post their reasoning, at least then the OP can read it and decide for themselves what they agree with.
I concurr with Mark. Do not use Fully synthetic oil, use semi.
Synthetic buggers up the clutch.
You know that semi synth is a mix of "real" synth and dino oil right? For me that would be like taking my favorite , and mix a cupful of bud light in it
Google "oil myth" or something like that. Fullsynth is better on the paper. If youre bike dont like, fine. But that doesnt meen everybody else cant use it.
As to the clutch, I've got over 96.000km on totally stock and unopened engine, so it cant be totally bad, huh?
The main reason for me to run what i consider "the best" type of oil, is that I know its the most capable of handling high heat, which you can/will find in an aircooled engine. The 2nd most important thing for me, is that it takes longer to degrade.
I still change often, oil is cheap. A few extra bucks at the end of the year, saved by using what I consider a lesser oil, do me no good if my engine is blown. It would really suck for me to have any type of engine malfuction, it would have me wondering if a better oil could have done something about it.
I use the bike as my dayly commute, and for enduro-ish type of riding. I need it to be reliable.
I agree do NOT waste money on expensive synthetic oil. ANY good quality MOTORCYCLE oil is just fine including plain mineral oil. What is most important is regular oil changes - the more the better for the engine.
Mine get oil changes at 1,000 miles. Oil is quite cheap compared to fuel...
I put Semi-Synthetic in mine because I got a good deal. It was German made stuff. If it's good enough for the krouts it's good enough for me bearing in mind they are by far (in my opinion anyway) the worlds best engineers.
I have known of people who put car engine oil into their bikes with dire consequences - Don't do this unless in an emergency to get out of a temporary fix. Put the right stuff in at the earliest opertunity afterwards.
With an XT is always best to keep it simple - just like the bike.
Heh a friend of mine runss car oil in his suped up 1980-something xt600, with high compression piston,another camshaft and pumper carb. It pulls like no other xt. So, it can be done (I wouldnt, but still, some have had no problems)
The manual calls for oilchange at 6000km (4000 miles ish) and that was in 1990, with whatever oil was on the market back then, a good 20 years ago.
It seems funny that fullsynth is "too good" but then you change oil at 4 times the rate If you have full confidence using the oil you use, why change it so often, what do you expect to gain?
One would think that with the interval they wrote in the manual, they would be übercautios about the intervals, to avoid lawsuits and broken down bikes all over the world.
I know that my bike doesnt set the example of every bike out there, but its closing in on 100k km. If I vere to change oil at every 1000miles I could have bought a spare bike by now, if I instead changed at 6000km.
I do hovever change the oil at smaller intervals that the manual calls for, but not anywhere 1000miles, seems crazy to me.
For comparison: KTM 450exc have 15 hours serveinterval at race conditions, thats 15 hours of just over 100km/h. So youre close to ktm race engine serviceintervals, and they only have around 1,2ltr of oil, and puts out way more power than our engines.
I know I know, we agree to disagree, would just love to hear some of the thoughts behind the obsessive oilchanges.
I'm sure you're right, 1000 mile oil changes aren't really needed at all.
For someone without much technical knowledge of engines in general I remember my regular trusted bike mechanic (my best mate) telling me "the more often you change the oil, the better it is for the engine and it's likely to last longer". I have never forget that and therefore this is the reason why I do an oil change at 1,000 miles.
Personally I'd imagine it mainly depends on the environment the bike is ridden and the manner in which it's ridden.
I just err on the side of caution (plus I can afford to waste a bit of money). My XT's are afterall my babies and I love to pamper them. Neither gets much mud on it now and I never ride them when it's raining. I use the XBR500 in the winter months (when it's not too cold and my back allows).
Yes I know I'm a bit delicate these days.... My days of touring are at an end following a serious spinal injuy in 2003. My last long (medium) distance tour was Spain in 2002. I did once ride to Moscow in the 1990's and I have ridden throughout Africa too (most countries there). I dream of touring Russia on my XT's every night.... It's better than taking Propofol. and not so ruinous to your health...
I'm 48 year old "armchair expert" now (knackered/worn out ex bike cop) and freely admit to it..... lol
All the very best Jens. I always enjoy reading your posts...
Im now in Bamako, Mali, 3100miles down the road from Rabat and about to do my 2nd oil change. There is a limited choice here, the Total garage has 3 options:
1. Total Quartz 5000 20w50
2. Total Quartz 7000 15w50
3. Total Quartz 9000 5w40
I am leaning towards option 2 (7000). A fellow rider said the oil must say JASO MA on the bottle as this implies no clutch slip. None of these options has that code. Is this an issue or is that non-slip code rubbish?
Ah....JASO =Japanese Automotive Standards Ogranisation while API = American Petroleum Institute, so just different ratings. API have the S.. (sl) rating which is for Petrol engines and the C..(ce) which are for diesel engines. JASO break theirs into MA for a wet clutch and MB which is for dry clutch.
How do I know on the API rating whether my clutch will slip or not, or is it basically there is more chance of my clutch slipping on synthetic oil than semi synthetic and least possibility on Mineral?
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