12K service today - Synthetic oil or no? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
View Poll Results: Switch to synthetic oil?
Yes 87 73.11%
No 32 26.89%
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post #1 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 9:08 am Thread Starter
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12K service today - Synthetic oil or no?

I'm having my 12K service today and wanted the general consensus on whether I should switch to synthetic or not.

Jacques
Dallas, TX USA
'05 K1200LT - '02 Suzuki V-Strom
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post #2 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 9:51 am
 
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On a technical matter you are seeking a consensus opinion? Not a good idea. Go with data, not anecdotal evidence.
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post #3 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:49 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixchard
On a technical matter you are seeking a consensus opinion? Not a good idea. Go with data, not anecdotal evidence.
richard ... are there data? i'd love to see it.
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post #4 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:02 am
 
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I don't know what data is available (mostly because i don't care about the oil in my bike), but just because I don't know does not mean there it is ok to assume that anecdotal evidence will sufice. That type of eveidence will provide nothing more than a feel good kinda thing( because 27 people uses Mitey Oil XRG200 and love it, I think I am also going to use it. ) It's sloppy thinking.

Now granted, it is possible that these 27 people have already done the research and their opinion on this matter can be trusted, but how do you determine this?

I think my assertion stands.
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post #5 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:12 am
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Everyone I spoke with said to wait till 18K to switch to syn oil. I just bought the wife a new car for Christmas and first oil change asked about oil, syn or no?

Toyota said NO, wait for some more miles. let engine break in. Dealer used a blend.

Something about syn taking longer to seat seals and valves and such.

.02

ps just did 24K service and syn oil is the slickest stuff I fooled with, could not hardly hold on to parts, with oil on my hands

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post #6 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:24 am
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My BMW dealer (Gina's, Iowa City) said OK to change at 6K miles. There's a lot antecdotal info out about whether the rings get seated if using synthetic oil when the bike is new....don't know for sure but some high test manufacturers suggest synthetic when the car is new. IMHO: your're totally safe at 12k.

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post #7 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:29 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixchard
I don't know what data is available (mostly because i don't care about the oil in my bike), but just because I don't know does not mean there it is ok to assume that anecdotal evidence will sufice. That type of eveidence will provide nothing more than a feel good kinda thing( because 27 people uses Mitey Oil XRG200 and love it, I think I am also going to use it. ) It's sloppy thinking.

Now granted, it is possible that these 27 people have already done the research and their opinion on this matter can be trusted, but how do you determine this?

I think my assertion stands.
i don't mean to put you on the spot with my question. it just seems there is nothing but anecdotal information regarding synth oil and its benefits. i wish some industry group would do research.

Motorcycle Consumer News ran an article a couple of years ago in which they evaluated oils, but their methods, IMHO, were flawed. they used techniques to emulate engine wear, not recreate it.

the only way to know for sure if there are benefits to synth is to do a double-blind study examining engines that use both synth and non-synth. maybe in a taxi fleet or something. to my knowledge no one has done it.
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post #8 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:34 am
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I'll be switching at 6000 miles. I really don't see the need to wait any longer. My bike has burned 0 amount of oil in five thousand miles proving to me that the rings are fully seated. That really would be the only reason I wouldn't switch. When I had my clc it took several thousand miles for the rings to seat on that bike as I burned a few quarts in that time period but they finally did seat before 6000 miles and I switch to synthetic and notice a very big improvement in how smooth the engine became. I don't expect the same improvement in the LT as I can't believe that this engine can get any smoother. I'm only switching because I truly believe in synthetic oil.
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post #9 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:35 am
 
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Regular Service Interval... than Regular Oil

If you are going to change your oil at regular intervals, as per manual, don't waste your money on synthetic. If you want to stretch out your miles between services then it might make sense to spend the extra money.
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post #10 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:53 am
 
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Well, a quick run through Google indicates you are correct There is a real dearth of any reliable double blind studies in this area. Which makes one think the answer to the difference between using real or synthetic oil may be closer the answer in the classic debate 'Coke or Pepsi?'.
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post #11 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 1:12 pm
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Smile My choice is Synthetic, Your choice is your choice

Many different answers to an oil question as always. I have an 05 K12LT. At 1200km or 744 miles I put 20W50 mineral oil in, 5000 km or 3100 miles I put a semi synthetic oil in the crankcase. At 11000km or 6800 miles I installed a true synthetic PAO oil. I rode west from Ontario to Montana down to Yellowstone, experienced very hot weather and some fast riding which equals fast engine speeds. Changed oil after I arrived home, 10200km or 6300 miles on the oil. Oil level had dropped less than half of sight glass or 4 to 5 ounces.
Sent oil for analyses, TBN or Total Base Number of used oil was 6.8, about 60% of life of oil still remaining. New oil of this brand has a TBN rating of 11.
Most mineral oils are 7 or 8 and get used up much quicker. Reasons I choose a premium synthetic are: withstand high temperatures longer, oil molecules are uniform size = consistant layer of engine protection. Synthetics do not break down as fast as mineral oil and are free of impurities such as sulphur minimizing sludge build up. To me a little more cost is good value versus the advantages in the long run. There are valid tests that have appeared in a few motorcycle magazines, test done in accordance with SAE specs. Some may not agree, to me, oil is not oil. The choice is yours for sure. If you did not value your bike you would not have asked the question. The 2005 K12LT comes with synthetic in the rear axle and trans. from the factory when new. BMW cars come factory filled with synthetic in their engines when new.
Mike
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post #12 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 2:32 pm
 
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Mike,

I agree with much of what you say. For some recent results using standard oil ASTM test methods used on 26 different motorcycle oils, visit https://www.amsoil.com/lit/g2156.pdf .
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post #13 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 3:13 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 685ursus
Many different answers to an oil question as always. I have an 05 K12LT. At 1200km or 744 miles I put 20W50 mineral oil in, 5000 km or 3100 miles I put a semi synthetic oil in the crankcase. At 11000km or 6800 miles I installed a true synthetic PAO oil. I rode west from Ontario to Montana down to Yellowstone, experienced very hot weather and some fast riding which equals fast engine speeds. Changed oil after I arrived home, 10200km or 6300 miles on the oil. Oil level had dropped less than half of sight glass or 4 to 5 ounces.
Sent oil for analyses, TBN or Total Base Number of used oil was 6.8, about 60% of life of oil still remaining. New oil of this brand has a TBN rating of 11.
Most mineral oils are 7 or 8 and get used up much quicker. Reasons I choose a premium synthetic are: withstand high temperatures longer, oil molecules are uniform size = consistant layer of engine protection. Synthetics do not break down as fast as mineral oil and are free of impurities such as sulphur minimizing sludge build up. To me a little more cost is good value versus the advantages in the long run. There are valid tests that have appeared in a few motorcycle magazines, test done in accordance with SAE specs. Some may not agree, to me, oil is not oil. The choice is yours for sure. If you did not value your bike you would not have asked the question. The 2005 K12LT comes with synthetic in the rear axle and trans. from the factory when new. BMW cars come factory filled with synthetic in their engines when new.
Mike
Couldn't agree more with you Mike. Its also nice to see someone else doing oil analysis. It's really the only way to know whats going on in your motor and how well the oil you've chosen is holding up . So how about you guys who are on the fence prove it to yourself and spend a few bucks on oil analysis instead of waiting various "flawed" studies.
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post #14 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 3:42 pm
 
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Originally Posted by nplenzick
Couldn't agree more with you Mike. Its also nice to see someone else doing oil analysis. It's really the only way to know whats going on in your motor and how well the oil you've chosen is holding up . So how about you guys who are on the fence prove it to yourself and spend a few bucks on oil analysis instead of waiting various "flawed" studies.
you can analyze the oil all you want but you still have not proven cause/effect with respect to engine wear. that experiment, to my knowledge, has yet to be done. unless i missed it. maybe someone already did it but then declined to publish the results for whatever reason.

here is how to derive meaningful data:

take a fleet of identical autos (or bikes) driven in nearly identical ways. make the fleet as large as you can. maybe a fleet of new york taxi cabs, fer instance.

use synth oil in half the fleet and dino juice in the other half. change the oil/filter at identical intervals. don't tell the cabbies which cars have which oil.

then, after 100,000 miles or so, print out maintenance histories and disassemble engines to check clearances.

the results might show a significant improvement in reliability and wear thanks to synth oil. or it might not. but at least you would have meaningful data. anything else is speculation.
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post #15 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 3:51 pm
 
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Actually, a few years back, there was an independent study done by Chevron Inc. supplied to their Oil Jobbers. It compared Chevron brand Dino oil to various other brands of oil both Dino and full Synth in engines that were torn down at a specific mileage (don't recall) and inspected for the affects in regard to both wear and sludge build-up. It was supposed to show that Chevron's oil was not only supposed to provide a better break-in but reduce sludge build-up....All at a reduced cost over name brands and synthetics. Items such as seals and ring seats were items of close scrutiny.
I don't recall the exact dialogue but one of the conclusions reached was that engines that ran Dino oil from the start compared with the engines that ran Synth from the start was that the former showed better signs of ring & seal seating. Other than this, the engine with the chevron oil and the engines with the Synth oils were very close in overall cleanliness and wear characteristics compared to the other Dino oils.
This test info was not supplied to the public. Just to distributors for sales and marketing purposes in the industrial market.
I believe this shows it's a good idea to wait. Just how long is still anybody's guess. Especially in a BMW engine...but I think 6,000 miles should be plenty of time for rings and seals to be properly seated. Especially if you haven't babied the Hell out of her.
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post #16 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 3:53 pm
 
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Why should I get off the fence? It makes no difference to me which oil is in the bike. and so far you have not produced a compelling enough reason for me to care. So my oil shows a 6.8 instead of an 11. Do those numbers say my engine is going to blow up
or do they say I might get a .00xyz% boost in performance and increase engine life by .0xyz%. If it is the former then you have my attention , if it is the latter.. well who gives a f***k? Not me that's for sure.

One final thing who said anything about flawed studies. Which flawed studies are you refering to? How are they flawed? Show me the beef!
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post #17 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 4:07 pm
 
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Originally Posted by rixchard
One final thing who said anything about flawed studies. Which flawed studies are you refering to? How are they flawed? Show me the beef!
the study was by Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) ... and they measured things like sheer resistance, viscosity ... a bunch of engineering things. but they measured all that stuff in the laboratory. they did not bother to actually measure wear in a running engine. let's face it ... to do it right is a LOT more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

if memory serves (i no longer have the issue) the result of the MCN study is that there is no significant advantage to running synth oil. but like i said, that study is flawed, IMHO. you can find a link to back issues here:

http://www.mcnews.com/mcn/

i trust MCN because they do not accept advertising. i'd be very leery of research underwritten by an oil company or even an industry magazine. there are millions of dollars at stake.
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post #18 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 5:00 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixchard
Why should I get off the fence? It makes no difference to me which oil is in the bike. and so far you have not produced a compelling enough reason for me to care. So my oil shows a 6.8 instead of an 11. Do those numbers say my engine is going to blow up
or do they say I might get a .00xyz% boost in performance and increase engine life by .0xyz%. If it is the former then you have my attention , if it is the latter.. well who gives a f***k? Not me that's for sure.

One final thing who said anything about flawed studies. Which flawed studies are you refering to? How are they flawed? Show me the beef!
No, 6.8 or an 11 in values that where quoted in the previous post will not say if your engine is going to blow up but the values in aluminum, chromium, iron, copper, tin, nickel, potassium, and silicon ( to name just a few) can indeed tell you if your engine is going to blow up or wear out prematurely.
As for flawed studies, you show me a study from Chevron that say's dino oil is the best thing in the world and I'll show you a study from Amsoil that says deferent. I for one I'm suspicious of independent studies. Are they really independent? Where are they getting their money to do there studies?
What I'm suggesting is don't take my word for it or anybody else's but to spend a few $$ and do an oil analysis. Then you'll know what works for you.
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post #19 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 5:13 pm
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Ah yes, the first oil thread of the new year. Combined with a poll, no less. This oughta be fun.

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post #20 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 5:20 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
Ah yes, the first oil thread of the new year. Combined with a poll, no less. This oughta be fun.
LOL

I actually didn't intend for this to be the typical oil thread and thought by posting it as a YES/NO poll it would have been clean and simple. Man, was I wrong!

Anyway, thanks for all the input!!!

Jacques
Dallas, TX USA
'05 K1200LT - '02 Suzuki V-Strom
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post #21 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 6:33 pm
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For the record, my '02 has been running synth for several years now. But then at nearly 70K I'm well past any break-in concerns.

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post #22 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 6:52 pm
 
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One of the members on this board changes his oil every 15,000 miles and has over 300K miles on his bike. He uses synthetic. After reading that, I switched to synthetic and only change my oil at the 12K services. I commute 95 miles every day here in the San Francisco Bay Area and most of it is highway (I 280). I don't have the luxury of a nice big garage to do my own work, so in order to save on the high maintenance costs, I'm going this route.

From what I've heard, the synthetic holds up a little better for those who choose longer service intervals. I know the bmw cars go around 15k between changes (car adjusts the interval based on driving habits). It's interesting how the recommended service intervals increased so much at BMW once they offered the free maintenance programs for their cars. The engines didn't change much during that period. The only change seems to be in using synthetic oil. It appears that BMW (Autos) has recognized the advantages of synthetic.

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post #23 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 6:55 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBandit
you can analyze the oil all you want but you still have not proven cause/effect with respect to engine wear. that experiment, to my knowledge, has yet to be done. unless i missed it. maybe someone already did it but then declined to publish the results for whatever reason.

here is how to derive meaningful data:

take a fleet of identical autos (or bikes) driven in nearly identical ways. make the fleet as large as you can. maybe a fleet of new york taxi cabs, fer instance.


use synth oil in half the fleet and dino juice in the other half. change the oil/filter at identical intervals. don't tell the cabbies which cars have which oil.

then, after 100,000 miles or so, print out maintenance histories and disassemble engines to check clearances.

the results might show a significant improvement in reliability and wear thanks to synth oil. or it might not. but at least you would have meaningful data. anything else is speculation.
Kbandit - is this close enough? 60,000 miles on 16 New York City Taxis. http://www.pecuniary.com/synthetics/.../taxitest.html
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post #24 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 7:00 pm
 
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Originally Posted by vstromboli
I'm having my 12K service today and wanted the general consensus on whether I should switch to synthetic or not.
I waited until 18,000 and switched my LT to synthetic.

I switched my '01 Isuzu Trooper to Mobil 1 at the first oil change. It has the same type of valve train as our LT's and the visible cam lobes, lifters and engine interior all look as clean and "new" as they did over 119,000 miles ago. My dad, a retired 38 year GM mechanic, will use nothing but synthetic. My own experiences, my dad's recommendations, and the cost of an engine vs cost of oil are good enough for me.

FWIW here is some info from Mobil 1 regarding their own durabilty tests:
http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/...fact_sheet.pdf
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post #25 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 7:08 pm
 
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The bike probably doesn't care one way or the other, as long as it is slippery. It all comes down to whatever makes you sleep better, I sleep better with synthetic.
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post #26 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 7:24 pm
 
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Kbandit - is this close enough? 60,000 miles on 16 New York City Taxis. http://www.pecuniary.com/synthetics/.../taxitest.html
EXACTLY. thanks very much.

now if we could only replicate it in an independent lab.

sorry, but i just don't trust corporate research of this type. i've seen it from the inside for too many years.
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post #27 of 45 Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 8:11 pm
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Just had mine changed out to synthetic with the 12,000 mile service. Runs fine....


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post #28 of 45 Old Jan 24th, 2006, 9:42 am
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Bought a used 2002 with 98xx miles. At 9000 miles the owner switched to synthetic oil and I will keep it in there. Used it in the other bikes and in the cars.

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post #29 of 45 Old Jan 24th, 2006, 1:15 pm
 
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I switched mine to synthetic at 6,000 miles and have run synthetic for the next 124,000 miles doing engine synthetic oil changes every 12,000 miles whether it needed it or not.
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post #30 of 45 Old Jan 25th, 2006, 8:49 pm
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Synthetic-no

I bought a K100rt with 14K in 1990. In '93 I tried synthetic. At the end of Bikeweek in Daytona, I had to push start it. The starter would spin but the motor would not turn over. You must know part of the starting parts are inside the crankcase. BMW told me that the synthetic will get too slick for the starting mechanism to engage. I switch back to real oil and have had no problems since. IF you don't know already, discuss this with your BMW mechanic or read the repair manual to see if this is still true. Been there, done that.
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post #31 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 1:16 am
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synthetic

Check out bobstheologocal oil guy site, ive switched to royal purple syn max in everything at12000 miles, I decided to change every 8000 to make it worth the cost, if you read about syn oils on this site you will learn that syn oils do not break down like pet base types and just because it looks dark does not mean its lost its lubrication characteristics...matthew
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post #32 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 7:35 am
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You are absolutely correct...as a long time Mercedes diesel owner, I can tell you that the oil in them goes dark in about a half mile! My '87 turbo diesel just turned 306K miles on mostly Mobil 1.

Dave
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post #33 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 3:09 pm
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I have heard from 2 BMW dealers now that you should not change to Synthetic until 18K ....
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post #34 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 3:45 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davek100rt
I bought a K100rt with 14K in 1990. In '93 I tried synthetic. At the end of Bikeweek in Daytona, I had to push start it. The starter would spin but the motor would not turn over. You must know part of the starting parts are inside the crankcase. BMW told me that the synthetic will get too slick for the starting mechanism to engage. I switch back to real oil and have had no problems since. IF you don't know already, discuss this with your BMW mechanic or read the repair manual to see if this is still true. Been there, done that.
Starter Sprag clutches on BMWs are a known issue. I had mine fail on the LT at about 100,000 miles. It was not because of oil being too slick (used synthetic from 18,000 miles), but the fact that the sprag clutch assembly acts as a small centrifuge, and a slight buildup of carbon film between the ends of the sprags and the cage causes the sprags to stick in the released position. After I took mine out, saw almost no wear, and could have cleaned it up really good and put it back in. I already had the new sprag cage assembly though, so put that in.

Synthetic oil will NOT cause a sprag clutch to slip due to being too slick.

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post #35 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 6:15 pm
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I am always amazed by folks who tell you to wait until 12K miles or 18K miles or whatever to do the switch to synthetic when so many vehicles come right from the factory with synthetic oil including all Porsche cars, the new Corvette, all Aston Martin cars, many models of Mercedes Benz, the Cadillac XLR, the Dodge Viper and the new Ford Mustang Cobra-R, just to name a few. The only maker that specifically recommends against synthetic is Mazda for their rotary engine vehicles only, including the RX-8. All that stuff about leaks and rings needing to set is a myth.

Dave
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and Pawleys Island, SC
2002 K1200LTC
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post #36 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 6:57 pm
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The two dealers that advised me to not switch to synthetic are:

1) Foothills BMW in Lakewood, CO
2) BMW of Denver in Aurora, CO


When I visit a dealer and pay them money to service my bike, I usually take their advise unless it is way out there. This to me doesn't sound way out there.

Do what you feel comfortable with.. I'll wait until 18K..
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post #37 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 7:22 pm
 
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The two dealers that advised me to not switch to synthetic are:

1) Foothills BMW in Lakewood, CO
2) BMW of Denver in Aurora, CO
I've been told it has to do with the hardness and smoothness of Nikasil and the time it takes for new rings to seat against it. I too chose to be safe and wait until 18K.
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post #38 of 45 Old Jan 26th, 2006, 10:14 pm
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My dealer( Hermys's Port Clinton, Pa) said 6000 miles and Bobs BMW I believe recommends to all their BMW customers to switch at 6000 miles.
Old myths die hard, if your bike isn't burning any oil ( or very, very little) your rings are seated.
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post #39 of 45 Old Jan 27th, 2006, 8:04 am
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Morocycle oils - Tested in Sport Rider Magazine 2003

Sport Rider Magazine did a 2 part test on motorcycle oils in 2003. I have the printed copies. Most of the article appears to be on the webpage.
This article kind of put it all together for me. Amsoil met all of Amsoils claims. Of all the oils it seems to excell in all of the critical categories. I have been using Amsoil since. In addition Mobil shows up well and Mobils motorcycle formula is not the same as the automotive formula. Readers can decide for themselves - You get what you pay for in most cases; except maybe when you purchase manufactures branded oil >expensive.

http://sportrider.com/tech/146_0310_oil/

This link will open part two of the article. At the bottom of the page click on part one.

Mike McIntosh
2005 K1200LT, 2008 K1200S
1998 K1200RS-sold May 2006
BMWMOA,BMWRA
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post #40 of 45 Old Jan 27th, 2006, 10:45 am
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I change every 4-5 thousand but use sny due to the heat here in Texas. If I lived in a cooler summer climate I would probably use Dyno.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans

Jerry P. Hatley
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2007 R1200RT (Betty Lou)
2009 Harley Roadglide (sold)
2007 Goldwing (sold)
1999 BMW K1200LT (sold)
2004 Harley Ultra Classic (sold)
2002 Harley Ultra Classic (sold)
1998 Harley Roadking Classic (sold)
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post #41 of 45 Old Jan 27th, 2006, 11:08 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nplenzick
My dealer( Hermys's Port Clinton, Pa) said 6000 miles and Bobs BMW I believe recommends to all their BMW customers to switch at 6000 miles.
Old myths die hard, if your bike isn't burning any oil ( or very, very little) your rings are seated.
There must be something to it or they wouldn't have us wait that long.
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post #42 of 45 Old Jan 27th, 2006, 11:10 am
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Jerry,
Why don't you try an oil analysis at least one time. You may be throwing perfectly good oil away.
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post #43 of 45 Old Jan 30th, 2006, 3:16 pm
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I started using synth in my LT at about 10K and in my GS at about 3K. 2 reasons:
1) I like to ride when it's cold out and the dino stuff is like jelly at startup below freezing while synth is nice and thin.
2) I hate changing oiul. What a mess. With synth I only have to do it every 12K or so.
your choice. I don't think it makes any difference if you keep changing your oil often and never ride when it's really cold.

~~~~~~~~~
Fascinating.
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post #44 of 45 Old Jan 30th, 2006, 3:35 pm
 
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using synth in my lt

i usk in germany before 2 weeks? end the unswear is ufter 10.000 k you can use synth oil but for ever .its mean that you cenote use mineral oil again
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post #45 of 45 Old Jan 30th, 2006, 6:17 pm
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You can use mineral oil again if you want.....you can even mix synthetic with it if you want. There are many oils on the mareket that are synthetic blends. Not a problem.

Dave
Monkton, MD
and Pawleys Island, SC
2002 K1200LTC
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