Camshaft Failure, Car Oil the Cause!!?? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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Old May 13th, 2007, 7:23 am
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Camshaft Failure, Car Oil the Cause!!??

My faithful boxer started acting up at 65K miles. She was torn down and the lifters and camshaft were worn out.

I have always ran Mobil One (synthetic) 15w50 car type oil since day one. I've been told that a few years ago the EPA took some additives out of car type oil. These additives are necessary to motors with old fashion cams and lifters. But these additives were left in motorcycle specific oils.

The rest of the engine was in wonderful shape. The only concern was the cams/lifters, and of course (due to this) the oil pump.

Automotive type oil? Lemon lifters from BMW? You decide which caused the failure!

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Old May 13th, 2007, 7:38 am
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wolfstudios wolfstudios is offline
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Cool

Hi Warden, that looks pretty serious!
I have 106,000 miles on my 99LT and have used Mobil 1 - 15w50 for every oil change.
Maybe your oil pump has low pressure for some reason.
I believe the oil pressure has something like 75 psi.
Another reason the beemer cannot use a car type oil filter.

Wolf
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:04 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfstudios
Maybe your oil pump has low pressure for some reason.
IWolf
The camshaft in a boxer doesn't use/need the high pressure from the oil pump. In addition, the rest of the motor was in excellent shape. If the oil pressure had fallen, there would be more damage.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:19 am
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Car oil.

I would say car oil. Had that happen to a Honda VF1000 couple years ago, as I did the say, used car oil. I never did it again and never had another problem. Just me and my 02 cents worth.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:31 am
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I hate to burst your bubble, but i am sure you where warned or at least read enough articles on using the proper engine lubricants in your machine, and now unfortunately you are here on the forum asking why did this happen, well revert to your thread header, OIL, many argue it does not make a difference, many say it does, i guess you will not know because you chose the wrong stuff, or maybe you do know because you chose the wrong stuff, either way you used poor judgement and maybe saved 100.00 dollars in oil purchased from your local Wally World versus going to the dealer or ordering online, and you may want sympathy or answers to a ongoing problem. I feel you do not have room to argue your point of it was BAD BMW parts due in part because you used lubricants not intended for use in a motorcycle, I feel for you becasue you did have a major problem with your Machine, but for this is hard to swallow, but a excellent tool for EVERYONE on this board to learn from what you do not want to happen to you by taking decision making away from the Engineer's that designed the bike to run a SPECIFIC type of lubricant for your machine. Good luck Boss, I hope your new parts run on longer than these did.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 9:04 am
rkimmel2 rkimmel2 is offline
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Where?

Where in the BMW literature supplied with the LT does it state that MC specific oil should be used? Just thought I would ask.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 9:52 am
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'tis true that zinc and phos had to be lowered in auto oils as they can foul catalysts etc over time. Those are the primary EP (extreme pressure) additives used. Since bikes traditionally don't have cats, cycle oils were allowed to stay unchanged (for now) .

For an LT motor, I can't see the reduced level of ZDDP or phos being a concern, but for a boxer and the heavier load from cam to lifter, extra EP may be warranted. I use the Amsoil MCF (plenty of ZDDP) in every bike and never have had any issues.

The attached was done by Amsoil, so maybe a little slanted, but every independent analysis I've seen by individuals shows the stuff is first rate.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 10:37 am
dronning dronning is offline
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LT's brick motor should have no issues with auto oil - it's basically a small car engine.

RT's boxer - different story on operating temps etc.

From the Mobil website:


So how is Mobil 1 for passenger cars different from Mobil 1 for motorcycles? First, let's be clear about Mobil 1's overall benefits compared to those of conventional motor oils, whether for passenger cars or motorcycles:
  • Superior long-term engine protection.
  • Superior high-temperature stability.
  • Excellent low-temperature starting.
  • Outstanding engine performance.
  • Low volatility/low oil consumption
It's a little hard to generalize about the difference between Mobil 1 passenger-car motor oils and Mobil 1 motorcycle oils. That's because not all viscosities of Mobil 1 passenger-car oils have the same levels of zinc and phosphorus, and there are even greater differences among the three Mobil 1 motorcycle oils. In general, Mobil 1 motorcycle oils have:
  • Additive packages balanced differently for motorcycle engine and transmission operation. For passenger vehicles, fuel economy and emission system protection are higher priorities. These require low phosphorus systems and the use of friction modifiers.
Dave
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Old May 13th, 2007, 10:47 am
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Tough call. My 75 MGB had several lifters and lobes that looked like that in a 1987 teardown at 135K. The oils back then had plenty of phosor and zinc in them so it is really hard to say. Could have been a number of causes.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 11:17 am
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Looks like a cam bearing problem or oil supply problem.Been starving for oil in that area!According to the photos.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 1:37 pm
Morley Morley is offline
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Here are a couple articles that address the changes made to the engine oils and what can happen.
http://www.fordmuscle.com/blog/use-t...pet-cams/11295
http://www.compcams.com/information/...yID=1821071676

The biggest thing is that once a cam lobe starts to go, the metal it makes can end up jamming the other lifters in their bores and then they start to wipe out their respective lobes as well. The flat tappet lifters need to rotate in their bores as the engine runs and when they jam up things go from bad to worse in a hurry.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 1:48 pm
Morley Morley is offline
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funny you should mention Mobile 1...that's what I was using in my engine ever since breakin.
Are you planning on fixing it yourself? When I did my car's cam & lifter change I flushed the entire engine out with kerosene by filling with a gallon of kerosene and then using an oil pump priming tool, ran the kerosene through the engine for a few minutes. Drained the engine, refilled with kerosene and did it again. Drained it, changed filter, and filled with cheap oil, did the flushing twice more with cheap oil and changed filters again. Installed the cam & lifters and broke the cam in (per lunati's instructions). Drained the oil, changed the filter and from there I changed the oil & filter once a week for 3 months then once a month for 3 months. So far I haven't found any more metal particles in the oil. Boy you chould have seen how much I got out just doing the kerosene flushing.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 1:51 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dano0827
I hate to burst your bubble..... but a excellent tool for EVERYONE on this board to learn from what you do not want to happen to you by taking decision making away from the Engineer's that designed the bike to run a SPECIFIC type of lubricant for your machine.
Bubble still intact. The reason I posted this was, in-fact, to warn folks that one may not want to run late model car oils in their bike.

BMW did not give instructions, back then, to use bike specific oil. Mobie One WAS thought by many to be the best. I changed to Mobie One V Twin bike oil about 5K miles ago, after reading about the EPD taking out some additives. But I may have been too late.

In Airhead circles, it is rumored that the last boxers had bad lifters. However, this may be to many of them running car type oils. Big mystery!
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Old May 13th, 2007, 5:18 pm
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My guess is possibly a very cold start, followed by a too-rapid or aggressive drive-off, or oil run way too long between changes. Cams are lubricated by oil spray/fog & it takes a while for the fog to establish itself on a cold start. If the cam surface scores, it will not heal itself & the failure described will happen.

Ask many Lycoming aircraft engine owners.

Are you in an area of high corrosion? That could initiate it too.

BTDT
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:11 pm
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Some say that 4 oz. of this into a warm motor after every oil change goes a long way. Virtually impossible to destroy a valve train with this stuff floating around.

http://www.cranecams.com/index.php?s...s&lvl=2&prt=15
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:19 pm
Morley Morley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofitel505
Some say that 4 oz. of this into a warm motor after every oil change goes a long way. Virtually impossible to destroy a valve train with this stuff floating around.

http://www.cranecams.com/index.php?s...s&lvl=2&prt=15
I don't know that I'd use assembly lube in the oil system, but Comp does make a special addative for oil to use during the first 500 miles (and recommends its use for flat tappets with today's reformulated oils).
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:32 pm
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followed service schedule

Quote:
Originally Posted by niel_petersen
My guess is possibly a very cold start, followed by a too-rapid or aggressive drive-off, or oil run way too long between changes. Cams are lubricated by oil spray/fog & it takes a while for the fog to establish itself on a cold start. If the cam surface scores, it will not heal itself & the failure described will happen.

Ask many Lycoming aircraft engine owners.

Are you in an area of high corrosion? That could initiate it too.

BTDT
Always warmed the bike up. You about have to with an airhead. Always rode slow (low rpm) once under way. Always changed the oil at 2500 miles (even with synthetic, many told me I was wasting my money, as synthetic should go 5000 miles). Always kept the bike serviced per BMW instructions. Nearly all miles on this bike were highway at 5000 rpm.

Funny thing is, the bike ran great!! I only caught the problem because when I checked the valves, I would rotate the motor, to check again, and would get a different reading.

By the way, this failure is rare in a airhead engine.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:32 pm
HarvRead HarvRead is offline
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cam Failure

This type of failure in Air-head boxers has been well documented where other than SG rated oil (car oil) was used. I've read articles in the MOA news, and other Lists about it. I haven't heard of it with K's or Oilheads. Basicaly, the problem is that the airhead motor has the world's longest (and therefore heaviest) valvetrain! So it was your fault. But we still feel sorry for you.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 8:48 pm
TimVipond TimVipond is offline
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In 1995 car, truck and motorcycles oils were about the same. In 2007 they are very different. I'd suggest contacting BMW and Mobil, explain your situation and ask what they think. They may each want some parts and oil samples to evaluate. As always, read very carefully what your owners manual says. If they specify only API SF SG SH, do not use SJ, SL, SM. They are backward compatable for autos, but not motorcycles. If they specify JASO MA, then use an oil that specifies JASO MA. If they specify SAE 20W50, do not use 15W40. Manuals before 1998/1999 do not specify JASO MA, because that spec was not yet introduced, so on older bikes, contact the manufacturer to determine what oil specs are needed.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 9:58 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarvRead
This type of failure in Air-head boxers has been well documented where other than SG rated oil (car oil) was used. I've read articles in the MOA news, and other Lists about it. I haven't heard of it with K's or Oilheads. Basicaly, the problem is that the airhead motor has the world's longest (and therefore heaviest) valvetrain! So it was your fault. But we still feel sorry for you.
Harv,

Last August you wrote:

"I had the 15-50 Mobil 1 (car oil) tested last year, and the zinc plus phosphorus were right up there with the best motorcycle specific oils. So if you are out of warrantee, you can use it. I have, for 150,000 of my 222,000 miles. Which proves nothing. My opinion? the main difference between the 15-50 car Mobil 1 and the 20-50 motorcycle specific Mobil 1 is the profit margin."

Even my aircraft guy recommitted using Mobie One in the airhead.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 11:55 pm
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I don't see the need to rip some guy who has had some bad luck. Secondly there are a lot of non BMW bikes that will never see 65k no matter the oil. Sometimes sh1t just happens, even to the best of us. My guess is that anyone who takes the time to change his own oil and spends the extra money to buy synthetic doesn't abuse their machines.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 3:56 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrovarious
I don't see the need to rip some guy who has had some bad luck. Secondly there are a lot of non BMW bikes that will never see 65k no matter the oil. Sometimes sh1t just happens, even to the best of us. My guess is that anyone who takes the time to change his own oil and spends the extra money to buy synthetic doesn't abuse their machines.
My cam went out at approximately 30k miles. It was pitted on one of the lobes. I use nothing but bmw synthetic oil. As stated above shit happens!
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Old May 14th, 2007, 4:35 am
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by dano0827
I hate to burst your bubble, but i am sure you where warned or at least read enough articles on using the proper engine lubricants in your machine, and now unfortunately you are here on the forum asking why did this happen, well revert to your thread header, OIL, many argue it does not make a difference, many say it does, i guess you will not know because you chose the wrong stuff, or maybe you do know because you chose the wrong stuff, either way you used poor judgement and maybe saved 100.00 dollars in oil purchased from your local Wally World versus going to the dealer or ordering online, and you may want sympathy or answers to a ongoing problem. I feel you do not have room to argue your point of it was BAD BMW parts due in part because you used lubricants not intended for use in a motorcycle, I feel for you becasue you did have a major problem with your Machine, but for this is hard to swallow, but a excellent tool for EVERYONE on this board to learn from what you do not want to happen to you by taking decision making away from the Engineer's that designed the bike to run a SPECIFIC type of lubricant for your machine. Good luck Boss, I hope your new parts run on longer than these did.
My cam went out at approximately 30k miles. It was pitted on one of the lobes. I use nothing but bmw synthetic oil. As stated above shit happens

Dano states that is just can not be. If you use the factory stuff, even though the factory does not make the lubes and just orders them to their specs., then failures have to be a spoof. "Wally-World" lubes are not made from quility companys, so where does the special lubes come from? Companies will put your label on their stuff when you buy enough of it.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 5:22 am
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Is Oil Killing Our Bikes?

(Oil thread Alert!)

Very Interesting article on changes in oil formulation and cam wear:

Recent newsletter from my local BMW chapter had an interesting article titled Is Oil Killing Our Bikes? This maybe where it came from.

http://mgcc.org/Files/Oil%20Killing%20Engine.htm
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Old May 14th, 2007, 7:10 am
TimVipond TimVipond is offline
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I was looking in this report http://www.amsoil.com/lit/g2156.pdf for a possible explanation for those using BMW oil, with some reporting problems and some not. I believe all the BMW oils are made by Castrol.

The BMW full synthetic motorcycle oil tested well in the report (#3 out of 16) . The Castrol synthetic blends did not (#15 and #16 out of 16). They tested poorly in Viscosity Index, Viscosity Shear Stability, Zinc levels, Oxidation Stability, last in TBN (acid neutralization), last in rust protection.

This data may suggest that if you are going to use BMW oil, make sure it is the motorcycle oil and that it is 100% synthetic. I would not feel comfortable using the BMW sythetic blend or petroleum oil.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 9:13 am
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I believe that the face of the lifters has a "hardened" coating on it to prevent wear. Once this coating is gone the lifter will spall very quickly as the softer material wears and also wears the camshaft. If the hardened coating is not perfect it will tend to wear off the face of the lifter. The pictures tend to indicate that the face of the lifter failed first and caused the camshaft wear.

Dano0827's comments are both incorrect and unneccessary. They tend to indicate a lack of knowledge and understanding of modern mettalurgy and contribute nothing helpfull to the discussion. I am sure that both the manufacturer of the oil and the camshaft and lifters would be interested in examining the poarts to determine what caused the hardened face to wear so quickly.

My opinion only YMMV


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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:03 am
Tat_n_Telle Tat_n_Telle is offline
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I always believed the only reason "auto" oils weren't supposed to be used in motorcycles was because they could adversely affect the operation of the clutch, IF it were a wet-clutch type bike. Other than that, if the proper oil (grade and viscosity) were used, you should be okay.

When I worked as a Chevy technician, we went through a long period of low-mileage camshaft/lifter failures in the V8 engines. It turned out that whoever was making the cams wasn't using the correct process to harden the lobes. The failures had nothing at all to do with oil.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 11:20 am
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Looks like Mobil heard the news about the "older" valvetrain designs. They're bringing back the good stuff. That being said, I bet a letter to them may be of some use with regard to compensation. Worth a try since they changed it and are now changing it back. Gotta be a good reason.

http://www.mobil1.com/USA-English/Mo...1_15W-50_.aspx
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Old May 14th, 2007, 4:55 pm
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Motorcycle oils & cassette style engine/transmission

One difference between Mobil 1 15w-50 and motorcycle oils like Mobil 1 Racing 4T 10W-40 engine oil is that the motorcycle oil is designed to the proper frictional characteristics necessary for wet-clutch engine/transmission systems.

Last I checked my LT I did not have a Japanese cassette style engine/transmission system so Mobil 1 should be fine for the engine. I would not use it on my Honda CBR1000RR.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 6:20 pm
TimVipond TimVipond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomandmelanie
One difference between Mobil 1 15w-50 and motorcycle oils like Mobil 1 Racing 4T 10W-40 engine oil is that the motorcycle oil is designed to the proper frictional characteristics necessary for wet-clutch engine/transmission systems.

Last I checked my LT I did not have a Japanese cassette style engine/transmission system so Mobil 1 should be fine for the engine. I would not use it on my Honda CBR1000RR.
Other differences between the Mobil 1 15W50 and the 20W50 Mobil 1 motorcycle oil is the motorcycle oil uses the API SH formulation and flashes at 518F, while the car oil uses API SM formulation with lower metals and flashes at 442F. So base oils and additive package seem to be very different between the two.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 8:34 pm
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Red face Thanks!

Howdy All Y'all!

Thanks for all of your responses. I may have learned something here! This was my intent anyway.

Better check your camshafts!

Peace Out, Man!
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