Oil question - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 30 Old May 25th, 2014, 9:44 pm Thread Starter
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Oil question

Ok, I am sure this has been answered but I looked and could not find it.

1999 K1200LT. 23K miles.

Do I have to use expensive motorcycle Oil when I do an Oil change or can I use any 20-50 Car Oil?

As far as I know the Oil in the LT is for the engine ONLY, not for the clutch and drivetrain also. So does this bike requires special Oil or will regular 20-50 Automotive Oil do the job and protect the engine??

Is there a definitive answer on this ?

Thank you so much.
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post #2 of 30 Old May 25th, 2014, 9:51 pm
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Re: Oil question

from the manuals...
"The current recommendation is as follows: Brandname HD oil, API classification SF, SG or SH; CD or CE suffixes are permissible; alternatively, brand-name HD oil. CCMC classification G4 or G5; suffix PD2 is permissible.

Not Approved: The API specification SJ is not approved for use in any BMW motorcycle. This latest API classification does not guaranty the required levels of wear protective additives such as Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, etc. as with most prior API specifications."
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post #3 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 2:48 am Thread Starter
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by cws View Post
from the manuals...
"The current recommendation is as follows: Brandname HD oil, API classification SF, SG or SH; CD or CE suffixes are permissible; alternatively, brand-name HD oil. CCMC classification G4 or G5; suffix PD2 is permissible.

Not Approved: The API specification SJ is not approved for use in any BMW motorcycle. This latest API classification does not guaranty the required levels of wear protective additives such as Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, etc. as with most prior API specifications."
Ok, what is HD Oil? Everything is HD (High Definition) nowadays. :-)

I think, as I recall, most Oils has SF and SG classifications.

So the Oil IS for the engine Only, not for the clutch or any other part ?

Thank you.
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post #4 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 6:52 am
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Re: Oil question

Yes, the oil is for the engine only. HD stands for High Detergent. Many of us use a high detergent diesel engine oil, typically grade 15W40 or 15W50. Look for a brand using elevated zinc levels.

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post #5 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 6:57 am
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Re: Oil question

The HD can mean whatever the manufacturer of the oil wants it to mean ie. High Detergent, Heavy Duty, etc. The oil in A K1200 motor is for the motor only. Transmission is separate and the clutch is dry. Any quality automotive 20/50 oil will work. Most BMW gear heads say you can use non synthetic for the first 24,000 miles for proper break in then if you want you can switch to synthetic. I prefer non synthetic Casrtrol 20/50 changed every 3K and I also change the final drive oil at the same time.
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post #6 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 7:11 am
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Re: Oil question

If you want to use a 20/50 that is of the correct rating, Castrol 4T is available and not too expensive. A well known BMW guru recommended it to me and I have used it with good results.

Ron
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post #7 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 8:25 am
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Re: Oil question

Yeah, Castrol 20W50 and change it every 3,000. Anything else and it may explode on you...........

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post #8 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 10:06 am
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by K100Dennis View Post
Yes, the oil is for the engine only. HD stands for High Detergent. Many of us use a high detergent diesel engine oil, typically grade 15W40 or 15W50. Look for a brand using elevated zinc levels.
I thought it was Harley Davidson!

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post #9 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 10:09 am
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Re: Oil question



This should be getting interesting...

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post #10 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 6:05 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by K100Dennis View Post
Yes, the oil is for the engine only. HD stands for High Detergent. Many of us use a high detergent diesel engine oil, typically grade 15W40 or 15W50. Look for a brand using elevated zinc levels.
Elevated Zinc levels?? And High Detergent Diesel Oil? How do I find if the oil has high zinc levels? I don't think it will say that on the back of the container. And use Diesel engine Oil?

Can you give me specific brands/recommendations, maybe things I can find at Walmart?

Thank you.
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post #11 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 8:32 pm
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Re: Oil question

A lot of racing oils have higher levels of zinc. They are designed for solid lifters in high performance engines turning higher rpm's. Like the LT motor

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post #12 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 8:50 pm
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Re: Oil question

I just bought Mobil-1 15w50 at Walmart. It says it contains zinc.
Rated SN, SM, SL
Where can you get anything rated SG anymore?

Doug B.
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post #13 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 9:06 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil question

Isn't Mobil 1 a synthitic Oil?

Zinc levels....maybe I should give the bike a Multi vitamin pill everyday so it has the Zinc it needs.
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post #14 of 30 Old May 26th, 2014, 9:10 pm
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dvgb131 View Post
I just bought Mobil-1 15w50 at Walmart. It says it contains zinc.
Rated SN, SM, SL
Where can you get anything rated SG anymore?

http://www.castrol.com/en_us/united-...duct-page.html

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post #15 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 3:10 am
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Re: Oil question

I have just changed over to Rotella T6 5W-40 Synthetic having read the two posts below. I have used and still using in my Kubota tractor the Rotella T3 with awesome results. This for me is my oil of choice. Back home in the UK all my vehicles were on Castrol GTX 20W-50 with zero problems. Only thing I found with Castrol was it emulsified a lot in the valve covers (which means it's doing its job) and stinks when you get crankcase back pressure coming into the vehicle. In all my years as a mechanic. I can not say I have ever found engine failure from bad oil. However I will stay away for recycled oil, Husky and Mowhawk sell this stuff. So Castrol, Mobil, Valveoline, liquid Moly, Walmart Supertech (changed its name now) penzoil , quackerstate, Royal purple, Amsoil are all good. Don't think you can go wrong with any. But preference toward diesel oil is the way I would go hence the Shell Rotella.


http://www.shell.com/rotella/products/t6.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Rotella_T

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post #16 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 5:58 am Thread Starter
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chayside View Post
I have just changed over to Rotella T6 5W-40 Synthetic having read the two posts below. I have used and still using in my Kubota tractor the Rotella T3 with awesome results. This for me is my oil of choice. Back home in the UK all my vehicles were on Castrol GTX 20W-50 with zero problems. Only thing I found with Castrol was it emulsified a lot in the valve covers (which means it's doing its job) and stinks when you get crankcase back pressure coming into the vehicle. In all my years as a mechanic. I can not say I have ever found engine failure from bad oil. However I will stay away for recycled oil, Husky and Mowhawk sell this stuff. So Castrol, Mobil, Valveoline, liquid Moly, Walmart Supertech (changed its name now) penzoil , quackerstate, Royal purple, Amsoil are all good. Don't think you can go wrong with any. But preference toward diesel oil is the way I would go hence the Shell Rotella.


http://www.shell.com/rotella/products/t6.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Rotella_T
This is becoming more confusing for me:

You talk about tractors and other vehicles. I simply want to know about Oil for this bike (1999 BMW K1200LT), not a tractor or anything else.

And the link for the Rotella shell oil says it is NOT to be used with CAT converters.....I thought this bike has a CAT converter inside it for smog in California.

If you can tell me specifically about OILS for this bike, not for anything else.

I DO realize that you can use just about any Oil in cars. But I am asking about specific needs for this bike and if it requires specific oils to protect it.

Thank you.
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post #17 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 6:24 am
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Re: Oil question

Amsoil recommends 20-50 full synthetic. All you need to know, and meets all manufacturer requirements. My RT loves the stuff.

http://www.amsoil.com/shop/by-produc...?code=MCVQT-EA

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post #18 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 7:19 am
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW_forever View Post
This is becoming more confusing for me:

You talk about tractors and other vehicles. I simply want to know about Oil for this bike (1999 BMW K1200LT), not a tractor or anything else.

And the link for the Rotella shell oil says it is NOT to be used with CAT converters.....I thought this bike has a CAT converter inside it for smog in California.

If you can tell me specifically about OILS for this bike, not for anything else.

I DO realize that you can use just about any Oil in cars. But I am asking about specific needs for this bike and if it requires specific oils to protect it.

Thank you.
I provided a link to a castrol product designed for motorcycles and with the requisite SG rating. What more do you want?

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post #19 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 7:22 am
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Re: Oil question

Your BMW K1200LT has a car engine, essentially. There is no requirement for synthetic oils as there are no extreme temperatures within the engine due to the (almost) 4 litres of oil and an excellent water cooling system. Mineral oils are fine, just stick with the recommended viscosity rating. My reason for using the diesel engine oil is that some contain zinc levels around 0.13%, which is beneficial for lubrication of sliding components such as the cam lobes. Diesel engine oils rated for industrial engines are typically high detergent oils, beneficial fo keeping items such as starter sprag clutches free of sluge, provided the engine is constantly operated at normal working temperature. I am not particularly concerned about the preservation of the catalytic converter. In Australia we have Penrite oil, I use their HPR15 15W50 diesel oil. In the K100 I used Caltex Delo 15W40. My choice, my opinion, others may hold a different view.

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post #20 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 7:32 am
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Re: Oil question

I knew this was going to happen, another out of control oil thread!
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post #21 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 7:34 am
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Re: Oil question

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Originally Posted by norton View Post
I knew this was going to happen, another out of control oil thread!
Always does. People ask for advice and then either ignore it or challenge it.

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post #22 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 7:52 am
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Re: Oil question

This is from one of the MANY oil threads. I use Mobil1 15w50

"I agree with Morley - the key issue is the amount of anti wear additives to protect the camshaft lobes.
The Mobil 1 website states: "Mobil 1 15W-50 is formulated with SuperSyn, an extra high-viscosity synthetic fluid, plus extra anti-wear additive to provide extra protection for severe service applications. Mobil 1 15W-50 is recommended for high performance vehicles including turbocharged and supercharged engines where a thicker oil film is desired. Mobil 1 15W-50 is also recommended for older valve train designs that may benefit from a higher level of anti-wear normally not required for newer generation vehicles. Mobil 1 15W-50 will also provide better anti-wear protection for higher valve spring tensions in certain racing engines."
A Virgin Oil Analysis (VOA) indicated the following:
Silicon: M1 15W-50: 9ppm
Boron: M1 15W-50: 228ppm
Sodium: M1 15W-50: 13ppm
Magnesium: M1 15W-50: 43ppm
Calcium: M1 15W-50: 2464ppm
Phosphorus: M1 15W-50: 1193ppm
Zinc: M1 15W-50: 1315ppm
Molybdenum: M1 15W-50: 90ppm

The 1315 ppm of Zinc and 1193 ppm of phosphorus are the key numbers which indicates it has lots of anti wear additive.

For comparison BelRay EXL 20w50 (non synthetic SG rated) has 1151 ppm zinc and 1042 ppm phosphorus.

The Mobil 1 15w50 looks good to me"

15w 50 looks good to ME...

And if you feel the need for motorcycle oil this is from the Mobil1 web page

"Question:
Is Mobil 1 Suitable for a BMW Motorcycle?
There is always lively debate on BMW motorcycle message boards regarding which brand and weight of motor oil should be used. Can you recommend Mobil 1 motor oil for a 2003 BMW K1200GT? BMW recommends an HD oil with API classification SF, SG, or SH. Bike has separate gearbox (SAE 90 GL5), and is ridden generally above 45F with oil changes every 6000 miles? Thanks!
-- Patrick Maguire, Westminster, CO
Answer:
We offer Mobil 1™ V-Twin 20W-50 motorcycle oil which meets the performance requirements of API SG and SH. Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W-50 is an advanced performance, full synthetic four-stroke motorcycle oil designed to provide unsurpassed outstanding levels of performance demanded by today’s high performance motorcycles. We do recommend checking your owner’s manual for the appropriate viscosity."

2009 BMW K1200LT "Shelly"
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post #23 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 8:06 am
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Re: Oil question

What will happen if you mix a synthetic oil with a natural one? For instance you need to top up the oil in the bike, and they differ.
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post #24 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 8:18 am
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Re: Oil question

copied from about.com

According to Mobil Oil, it should be fine to mix oils. This manufacturer states it would be unlikely anything bad would happen, such as a gel forming from an interaction of the chemicals (a common fear), because the oils are compatible with each other. In fact, many oils are a blend of natural and synthetic oils. So, if you are low on oil, don't be afraid to add a quart or two of synthetic oil if you are using regular oil or even regular oil if you are using a synthetic. You don't need to rush right out and get an oil change so you'll have "pure" oil.

However, it is not recommended to routinely mix oils because the additives in different products may interact or the oils may become destabilized by the mixture. You may reduce or negate the properties of the additives. You'll lose the benefits of the more expensive synthetic oil. So, adding regular oil to your special synthetic oil will mean you'll need to get your oil changed sooner than you would have otherwise. If you have a high performance engine, it's possible it will be displeased if the (expensive) additives can't work the way they are supposed to. This may not damage your engine, but it won't help its performance.

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post #25 of 30 Old May 27th, 2014, 8:32 am
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by peschel View Post
What will happen if you mix a synthetic oil with a natural one? For instance you need to top up the oil in the bike, and they differ.
they sell semi synthetic which is a mix


funny oil thread re cat - not just LT riders get carried away with oil
http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showt...tic-Converters

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post #26 of 30 Old Sep 13th, 2015, 10:51 pm
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Re: Oil question

Back from the dead,

Valvoline 20-50 racing, Bottle says not for extended use with a catalytic converter. Code for contains zinc.
Road diesels now use cats, I believe the zinc has been pulled from Rotella.

VALVOLINE VR-1 RACING MOTOR OIL
Valvoline VR-1 Racing Motor Oil is a family of race-proven lubricants formulated to provide high load carrying characteristics,
minimum foaming and maximum resistance to thermal degradation. Exclusive chemistry reduces internal friction and
enhances power output under extreme service conditions. Valvoline VR-1 Racing Motor Oil is recommended for engines
burning gasoline and full or partial alcohol fuels in track and street service. Valvoline VR-1 Racing Motor Oil is for use in any
car, light truck, van, or SUV where API SN is recommended(see proper viscosity grade below).
Valvoline VR-1 Racing Motor Oil is not recommended for use in wet clutches( use Valvoline 4-Stroke Motorcycle Oil).
The Valvoline VR-1 Racing Motor Oil
The #1 selling Racing Oil of all time and race track proven.
Protects against high-temperature deposits for a cleaner engine.
ZDDP additive provides tough anti-wear protection.
Enhanced with fricition modifier to improve horsepower.
Formulated with enhanced anti-foam system.

Approvals/Performance Levels Viscosity Grade/Other
API SN/SM/SL - - - - - - 20W-50
API SH * 10W-30 20W-50
API CD/CF * 10W-30 20W-50
Test 10W-30 20W-50
Vis @ 100C (cSt) 11.5 20.5
Vis @ 40C (cSt) 77.0 181.8
Viscosity Index 143 132
Spec Gravity @ 60F 0.8722 0.888
Density (lbs/gal) 7.27 7.39
Total Base No. 8.5 8.5
Flash COC (C) 212 248
Pour Point (C) -33 -24
CCS cP (C) 6200(-25C) 8000(-15C)
MRV TP-1 cP (C) 20,000(-30C) 27,000(-20C)
Noack % off @ 250C <15 <15
Sulfated Ash 1 1
Zinc/Phosphorus 0.14/0.13 0.14/0.13
Calcium 0.210 0.210
Sodium 0.049 0.049

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post #27 of 30 Old Jan 28th, 2016, 4:19 pm
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Re: Oil question

The reason you want to use an oil designed for motorcycles is because motorcycle engine oil does not contain the friction modifiers of a passenger car engine oil. In addition, motorcycles have a tendency of sitting much longer in many regions than cars do.
Motorcycles are prone to rust from storage, humidity and short drives. Rust can cause major damage such as roller bearing failure, wear, compression loss and blow-by. Good rust protection, however, comes by design and is not natural to motor oils. So get a good one for your investment. I personally use Amsoil, it's been good to me. Spend the few extra dollars for good lubrication protection on your investment. It's cheaper in the long haul.

Just to add more relevance to the Amsoil plug (not an add by any means, just knowledge) here is what they recommend.

Engineered for use in motorcycles that require 15W-50 or 20W-50 motorcycle oil, including those made by Harley-Davidson*, Buell*, KTM*, Ducati*, Aprilia*, BMW* and Triumph*. Do not use where an API GL-4 or GL-5 gear oil is required.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by nykee; Jan 28th, 2016 at 4:33 pm. Reason: Add relevant information
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post #28 of 30 Old Jan 28th, 2016, 7:34 pm
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by nykee View Post
The reason you want to use an oil designed for motorcycles is because motorcycle engine oil does not contain the friction modifiers of a passenger car engine oil.
The context for the above info is for motorcycles with a wet clutch that shares the engine's oil bath. That is not the case on the K1200LT, so the above is moot.
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post #29 of 30 Old Jan 28th, 2016, 7:37 pm
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by nykee View Post
Just to add more relevance to the Amsoil plug (not an add by any means, just knowledge) here is what they recommend.
Hope this helps.
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post #30 of 30 Old Jan 29th, 2016, 9:29 pm
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Re: Oil question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ICT Rider View Post
The context for the above info is for motorcycles with a wet clutch that shares the engine's oil bath. That is not the case on the K1200LT, so the above is moot.
What I have been told by experts is that in the quest for the last 100th of a mpg, the automotive industry has removed certain anti-wear elements natural or previously added, from motor oil that are very desirable in high-revving motorcycle engines, and good motorcycle oils (Amsoil, Lucas, others) retain these chemicals or elements. I assume zinc is one but not the only one.

I don't understand why someone would buy an horrendously expensive motorcycle and then want to cheap out on motor oil. No offense meant, but that's my take on it. I won't even change brands in my old 150,000-mile, five-dollar SUV. That may be part of the reason it's still running like a sewing machine.
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