Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 21 Old May 6th, 2009, 8:02 pm Thread Starter
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Question Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

I know that this question is going to stir up a hornets nest but here we go.... I have been looking for a synthetic oil that is readily available on the road. I have read numerious posts about oil and many people say that they are currently running Mobil-1 15w50. I have read that BMW issued a service bulletin addressing API SJ oils stating that they were not approved for use in BMW motorcycle engines. BMW later clarified the SJ oil issue by stating that the SJ rating was acceptable, if the oil was additionally rated at SG and/or SH grades.

Many riders have stated that they have 40, 50, 70, or 100,000 miles on Mobil-1 15w50 with no issues....heck the BMW synthetic oil is 15w50. so the Mobil-1 sounds like a good fit, easy to find and easy on the wallet.

Here lies the rub....the Mobil-1 web site says that their 15w50 is SJ rated and additionally SM, SL, EC, CF no SG or SH API rating. Are riders just saying what the heck....they like Mobil-1 so they use it any way or am I missing something? Please lets stay on the Mobil-1 issue and NO Amsoil answers. Thanks, Steve
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post #2 of 21 Old May 6th, 2009, 9:16 pm
 
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

I am no expert and have to admit my eyes tend to glaze over when I read about the API service levels. Both the SG and SH status is "obsolete" according to the API and this may be the reason why M1 oil is not indicating these service level ratings on their oil.

There is an interesting write-up by Jeffrey P. DiCarlo on the Internet BMW Riders website - http://www.ibmwr.org/otech/oilreport.html if you have not already seen it.

I personally would not hesitate to use the M1 SJ rated oil without SG or SH, but then again I am beyond the warranty period.
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post #3 of 21 Old May 6th, 2009, 9:42 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

I read somewhere that when new oil classification comes out, that the new classification encompasses all the previous classifications. SJ would include the properties of SG, SH, and any other letters of the alphabet that came before. As for the SM, SL, EC, CF, I have no idea about that.

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post #4 of 21 Old May 6th, 2009, 10:05 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Hmmm, this could not possibly be another OIL THREAD!

I just buy whatever synthetic is on sale, throw it in with an OEM filter every 10K miles and fugghedaboudit.

Pushing 150K (130K on the first) on 2 LT's and everything is just fine... I think the brick is pretty tolerant.

One can only HOPE that the new LT engine does not REQUIRE $10.00 a quart "special" BMW oil and a $25.00 filter available only at your dealership with a $150.00 labor fee.

Yeah, its THAT crazy.


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post #5 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 11:15 am
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

I've been using BMW synth since day one, its 13 bucks/qt now!

So I'm heading back to phoenix from a job in NM a couple weeks ago on my 02 K12LTC with about 127k miles on it, planned on stopping into the dealer to pay for my K12S service and pick it up later when I could get a ride from home..

Well, 80 miles from the dealer, I dropped a cylinder. So I switched bikes, took the K12S and left the K12LTC there for diagnosis.

It passed compression, barely passed leak-down...they don't kow whats wrong with it yet but it doesn't sound real good to me. Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow.

Now this is just 12k miles past my last service (the big'un), dropped 3 grand to have a lot of stuff done (shock rebuild included, etc)..

I have to determine if this bike is worth fixing now, depends on what they tell me is wrong.

So, is BMW synth going to increase your bikes longevity? based on the above, I'm not so sure at this point.

I'd like to use a cheaper, more avail oil myself and Mobil 1 would be my choice.
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post #6 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 12:49 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

I have seen similar threads on this and other forums about the oil ratings. The best is the Harley one. Basically according to Harley only "Diesel" engine oil is good enough. At first they said only HD oil could be used, but changed that quickly when someone pointed out that if only the manufacturers oil could be used to keep the warranty in force, than the manufacturer had to supply it for free.

While I stick to the manufacturers recommendations, I am willing to bet any high grade oil will work on any of these bikes as long as it's changed often enough. I just started using the synthetic oil and gear lube sold by beemerboneyard.com. It meets all the BMW specs and is much cheaper than any of the other oils out there. It's still too early to tell, but my guess is it will be just fine.
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post #7 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 12:56 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

As Lee mentioned above:

Motor Oil Guide

Quote:
...For automotive gasoline engines, the latest engine oil service category includes the performance properties of each earlier category. If an automotive owner's manual calls for an API SJ or SL oil, an API SM oil will provide full protection. For diesel engines, the latest category usually - but not always - includes the performance properties of an earlier category.

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post #8 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 4:12 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Mobil 1 15W-50 is $6.99 per quart at Chandler, AZ, Target (Right by Chandler Shopping Mall) I have been using MOBIL1 15W-50 instead of Amsoil 20W50 last couple of oil changes and I did not see any difference summer time. Winter time it seems be slightly better with Mobil1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ldbikin
I've been using BMW synth since day one, its 13 bucks/qt now!

So I'm heading back to phoenix from a job in NM a couple weeks ago on my 02 K12LTC with about 127k miles on it, planned on stopping into the dealer to pay for my K12S service and pick it up later when I could get a ride from home..

Well, 80 miles from the dealer, I dropped a cylinder. So I switched bikes, took the K12S and left the K12LTC there for diagnosis.

It passed compression, barely passed leak-down...they don't kow whats wrong with it yet but it doesn't sound real good to me. Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow.

Now this is just 12k miles past my last service (the big'un), dropped 3 grand to have a lot of stuff done (shock rebuild included, etc)..

I have to determine if this bike is worth fixing now, depends on what they tell me is wrong.

So, is BMW synth going to increase your bikes longevity? based on the above, I'm not so sure at this point.

I'd like to use a cheaper, more avail oil myself and Mobil 1 would be my choice.

Matt Kas

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post #9 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 4:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

After reading what I could find about API SJ, SH, SG oil I think I found not the answer but AN ANSWER????

The Oil Guide oil grades are not just for the listing of better, modern oil but also more environmentally compliant oil and one thing that may affect BMW's decisions are the two words used in the oil guide "Automotive engines" The LT engine although similar is not an "automotive engine".

Modern Engine oils (API SJ, SL, SM) have fallen pray to environmental compliance!!! Many modern oils have reduced levels of an important friction reducing additive called zinc dithiophosphate or ZDDP. The reduction of this chemical in oil was based on the fact that zinc, manganese and/or phosphates reduce the effectiveness and eventually damage catalytic converters and introduce minute amounts of pollutants into our atmosphere.

The reduction of zinc dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in the oils with API SJ, SL, SM affects friction and wear in high pressure (EP) friction conditions. ZDDP and other extreme pressure additives are surface modifiers. They modify bearing and journal surface characteristics to allow lubricants to develop more "oiliness" (an old term) or lubricity and reduce the tendency to scuff and gall under heavy load lubrication situations. Camshafts in high speed engines definitely fit this category due to the high velocities and accelerations required to open and close valves many times per second.

This is not as big an issue for modern cars as they are engineered to operate with the modern oils like 5w20 that lubrocate with less ZDDP. Environmental compliance is being directed by the EPA on the auto industry and thus the engine oil industry. Automotive oils drive the entire engine oil industery so many of our favorite old school brands of oil may now no longer be as motorcycle compatible as we think?

Motorcycles tend to reach higher RPM's under excelaration then their car counterpart, even the modern high reving smaller auto engines. The LT's engine was designed prior to 1996 and the engine was designed around the use of oils with ZDDP and other friction modifiers. The LT's engine is built to very tight tolerances and friction modifiers may very well be necessary, who knows?

I think that the engineers at BMW are somewhat old school even when it comes to modern synthetic oil. They are not willing to compromise on oil thus their requirement for SJ synthetic oils to also meet the obsolete SH or SG requirements.

Will Mobil-1 15w50 oil advirsely effect my LT, most likely not but BMW is not willing to accept that risk so they stick to their requirement for SJ oil to also meet the obsolete SH or SG requirement thus ensuring more friction reducing additives.

>>>If you think this may or may not be a problem for motorcycles read this link about the impact modern SJ, SL, SM oil is is having on classic cars! Bad, effects!!!<<<

http://www.ttalk.info/Zddp.htm

Last edited by SteveL; May 7th, 2009 at 8:10 pm.
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post #10 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 4:49 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Interesting article.

What is more interesting is that starting 05 Model year by optimizing the engine control electronics more horse power was available out of the same LT engine. That means, the engine will work under tougher conditions to produce more horse power whereas, the oil to cool it down was downgraded. Overall, the adverse effect will be multiplied and the engine will be even more stressed. Am I correct?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveL
After reading what I could find about API SJ, SH, SG oil I think I found not the answer but AN ANSWER????

Modern Engine oils (API SJ, SL, SM) have fallen pray to environmental compliance!!! Many modern oils have reduced levels of an important friction reducing additive called zinc dithiophosphate or ZDDP. The reduction of this chemical in oil was based on the fact that zinc, manganese and/or phosphates reduce the effectiveness and eventually damage catalytic converters and introduce minute amounts of pollutants into our atmosphere.

The reduction of zinc dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in the oils with API SJ, SL, SM affects friction and wear in high pressure (EP) friction conditions. ZDDP and other extreme pressure additives are surface modifiers. They modify bearing and journal surface characteristics to allow lubricants to develop more "oiliness" (an old term) or lubricity and reduce the tendency to scuff and gall under heavy load lubrication situations. Camshafts in high speed engines definitely fit this category due to the high velocities and accelerations required to open and close valves many times per second.

This is not as big an issue for modern cars as they are engineered to operate with the modern oils like 5w20 that lubrocate with less ZDDP. Environmental compliance is being directed by the EPA on the auto industry and thus the engine oil industry. Automotive oils drive the entire engine oil industery so many of our favorite old school brands of oil may now no longer be as motorcycle compatible as we think?

Motorcycles tend to reach higher RPM's under excelaration then their car counterpart, even the modern high reving smaller auto engines. The LT's engine was designed prior to 1996 and the engine was designed around the use of oils with ZDDP and other friction modifiers. The LT's engine is built to very tight tolerances and friction modifiers may very well be necessary, who knows?

I think that the engineers at BMW are somewhat old school even when it comes to modern synthetic oil. They are not willing to compromise on oil thus their requirement for SJ synthetic oils to also meet the obsolete SH or SG requirements.

Will Mobil-1 15w50 oil advirsely effect my LT, most likely not but BMW is not willing to accept that risk so they stick to their requirement for SJ oil to also meet the obsolete SH, SG requirement thus ensuring more friction reducing additives.

If you think this is a problem for motorcycles read this link about the impact this is having on classic cars!

http://www.ttalk.info/Zddp.htm

Matt Kas

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12 Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive Pearl White

Laguna Niguel, Southern California (South Orange County)
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post #11 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 5:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Perhaps it all comes down to the fact that German motorcycle engineers are just as finicky and picky as cats?
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post #12 of 21 Old May 7th, 2009, 10:23 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonygret
I have seen similar threads on this and other forums about the oil ratings. The best is the Harley one. Basically according to Harley only "Diesel" engine oil is good enough. At first they said only HD oil could be used, but changed that quickly when someone pointed out that if only the manufacturers oil could be used to keep the warranty in force, than the manufacturer had to supply it for free.

While I stick to the manufacturers recommendations, I am willing to bet any high grade oil will work on any of these bikes as long as it's changed often enough. I just started using the synthetic oil and gear lube sold by beemerboneyard.com. It meets all the BMW specs and is much cheaper than any of the other oils out there. It's still too early to tell, but my guess is it will be just fine.
You hit it with the "diesel oil". The old specs had zinc and phosphates in them, which were lubricants. The new EPA "mandates" said they had to lower zinc and phosphates in the engine oils, so they removed them altogether. I found this out after the engine I built for my car ground off a few cam lobes. It turns out that flat tappet cams NEED the zinc and phosphates for lubrication. Of course the oil mfg's never told anyone they removed these things. Now flat tappet cam mfg's reccommend Shell Rotella-T oil for your engine. The same oil used in big deisel's
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post #13 of 21 Old May 9th, 2009, 8:06 am
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Personally, I'm leery of using a synthetic on my LT. I think if a seal is going to fail, it will fail faster with a synthetic, as they seem to find their way out easier on account of their unique physical properties.

I use a good quality dino with the correct API spec, and change it religiously every 3k miles.

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post #14 of 21 Old May 12th, 2009, 5:49 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Castrol Syntec 20-50w is SJ. Cheaper too.
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post #15 of 21 Old May 12th, 2009, 6:58 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Well, here's another opinion from another hornet...

My '03 LT had synthetic in it when I bought it, so I keep using Mobil 1 from Walmart. After paying the price for BMW synthetic once, well, ya'll know the story. I checked the records that came with the bike. The previous owner paid $120 for his first dealer oil change at 6K miles. You gotta be kidding me.

Anyway, I keep using Mobil 1 - all my mechanical engineer friends laugh at me. Oh well.

My question is why does everyone use 15W-50 in a liquid-cooled engine? I use Mobil 1 10W-30. My factory manual doesn't specify an oil weight. Wonder why.

Read this when you get bored: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=136052
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post #16 of 21 Old May 12th, 2009, 9:40 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DasBoat2003
Well, here's another opinion from another hornet...

My '03 LT had synthetic in it when I bought it, so I keep using Mobil 1 from Walmart. After paying the price for BMW synthetic once, well, ya'll know the story. I checked the records that came with the bike. The previous owner paid $120 for his first dealer oil change at 6K miles. You gotta be kidding me.

Anyway, I keep using Mobil 1 - all my mechanical engineer friends laugh at me. Oh well.

My question is why does everyone use 15W-50 in a liquid-cooled engine? I use Mobil 1 10W-30. My factory manual doesn't specify an oil weight. Wonder why.

Read this when you get bored: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=136052
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post #17 of 21 Old May 13th, 2009, 5:11 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

X2?

Quote:
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post #18 of 21 Old May 13th, 2009, 6:07 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Because synthetic oil is a whole lot better than it has to be (over dino oil). According to mechanical folks, if you change dino oil at the recommended intervals, there is no performance or engine wear difference.

I guess synthetic oil just makes us feel better.

My personal, but non-technical opinion is the best oil is that which is easiest for an engine pump and that which flows the best, especially at cold temps. That's why I choose 10W-30 over 15W-50.
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post #19 of 21 Old May 13th, 2009, 6:11 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DasBoat2003
Because synthetic oil is a whole lot better than it has to be (over dino oil). According to mechanical folks, if you change dino oil at the recommended intervals, there is no performance or engine wear difference.

I guess synthetic oil just makes us feel better.

My personal, but non-technical opinion is the best oil is that which is easiest for an engine pump and that which flows the best, especially at cold temps. That's why I choose 10W-30 over 15W-50.
I tend to assume that the company that designed, manufactures, sells and warranties a given piece of equipment might just know more about it than me. So, I generally use the lubricants recommended in the owner's manual assuming they are reasonably available to me.

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post #20 of 21 Old May 13th, 2009, 6:51 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morley
You hit it with the "diesel oil". The old specs had zinc and phosphates in them, which were lubricants. The new EPA "mandates" said they had to lower zinc and phosphates in the engine oils, so they removed them altogether. I found this out after the engine I built for my car ground off a few cam lobes. It turns out that flat tappet cams NEED the zinc and phosphates for lubrication. Of course the oil mfg's never told anyone they removed these things. Now flat tappet cam mfg's reccommend Shell Rotella-T oil for your engine. The same oil used in big deisel's
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

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post #21 of 21 Old May 13th, 2009, 9:18 pm
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Re: Mobil-1 15w50 is SJ rated but no SG or SH API rating....what gives?

Yes, good info.

My apologies for going down the viscosity path when the original question was if API ratings SJ, SM etc. are inclusive of the earlier ratings (SF, SG, SH,) or different altogether. I'll ask people who should know API rating details and try to report back.

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