Best Oil for an LT - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 1:34 pm Thread Starter
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Best Oil for an LT

On the last oil change for my LT, I used Spectro Platinum 4 Full Synthetic 15w50. I was going to buy the BMW branded oil, but was informed by my dealer that they no longer had the full synthetic, as they had switched suppliers from Spectro to Castrol, and now only had the partial synthetic. Does anybody know why they don't have the full synthetic anymore? Does Castrol not make one? I ended up buying the Spectro, but was shocked at how expensive this stuff is anymore. It's about $18 a liter! It seems the last time I bought it before then it was about $10. Does anybody know where to get this at a better price? I want full synthetic because it is a hassle to change oil on this bike, especially now that the power center stand is in the way as well, so I want oil that I can get the longest life out of. What are people doing as far as oil change intervals with a full synthetic? I had used Mobil 1 on a previous LT, but seemed to use some oil with that and then had a seal go out at 70k, so I'm hesitant to use it again. I'm not even sure what it's going for nowadays. I've also heard that motorcycle specific oil has additives that the Mobil 1 does not, so I'd rather go with a motorcycle specific oil. I know that Mobil 1 makes a motorcycle specific oil, but it is for V twins. Who else makes a good synthetic for a MC?

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post #2 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 2:48 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Without getitng drawn into an oil debate, suffice it to say you don't need motorcycle specific oil (4T) for the K1200LT since it doesn't have a wet clutch and doesn't share the engine oil with the transmission. Follow the oil recommendation in the owners manual as far as specification and viscosity goes. Mobil 1 15W50 would be my choice in the Mobil range of products. That's as expensive as my budget will allow to go with engine oil for road use.

André Strydom
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post #3 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 3:44 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Regular oil has really jumped in price too - paid $5.00/qt for Valvoline, was expecting $3.50 but I'm old and haven't kept up.

"especially now that the power center stand is in the way as well"

I've never thought the power stand was in the way, especially since it is holding up the bike. You have to remove a plate with two bolts and two nuts.

I don't understand why they can't make an oil drain plug (for any vehicle) that doesn't get your hand covered in hot oil. My mower has a hose you connect first and it drains through it. I put "push and turn" drain plugs on the cars but still get hot oil on my hand. I've been removing just the oil filter cover but think I'll go back to removing the drain plug first.

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post #4 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 3:52 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by alabrew

I've never thought the power stand was in the way, especially since it is holding up the bike. You have to remove a plate with two bolts and two nuts.
I was thinking of the transmission drain plug when I said that. The oil drain plug is much easier. My mistake.

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post #5 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 4:48 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Many, many, many moons ago, a member of this community took his engine apart measured important parts and could not detect any ware; he was using 20W50 non-synthetic wit the proper rating BMW calls for. Don't remember if it was below 100K miles or above it.

For me its a Spring time ritual to change all of the fluids; switching to synthetic while changing every year not $$$ practical.

Bob

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post #6 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 5:20 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

I use Castrol 20W50 and change it every 6K miles. Runs like a top. Doesn't use any between changes. I'm not a big fan of synthetic. Personally I think it just costs more.........

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post #7 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 5:35 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT



We all know where this is headed!

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post #8 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 6:13 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Popeye likes Olive Oil.
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post #9 of 29 Old Aug 15th, 2013, 7:50 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Just a few things to consider - 1. To my knowledge no K12 engine has ever been compromised as a result of using any 1 particular engine oil. 2. "Synthetic" motor oils generally contain mineral base oils, so they are not technically full synthetics. Marketting=$$. 3. Oil change intervals need to be no longer than the makers recommendation, but typically they end up being shorter. It is the "feel-good" phenomenon. 4. Always install a new oil filter with new oil. 5 Consider any oil that typically contains elevated zinc levels. This additive is specifically for sliding componeents within the engine like our cam to tappet interface (no roller rockers). Many diesel engine oils still contain elevated levels of zinc additive. 6. Expect to see milky oil in the sightglass if the engine is operated repeatedly for short runs (less than 20 minutes in my experience). This is condensate forming in the crankcase. The K12 is not designed to be a short commuter. HTH, not intended to be an oil thread.

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post #10 of 29 Old Aug 16th, 2013, 7:12 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

I saw mobil 1 15/50 in a 5 gal jug for like 22 bucks at ol' Sam Waltons place

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post #11 of 29 Old Aug 16th, 2013, 10:25 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by alabrew
Regular oil has really jumped in price too - paid $5.00/qt for Valvoline, was expecting $3.50 but I'm old and haven't kept up.

"especially now that the power center stand is in the way as well"

I've never thought the power stand was in the way, especially since it is holding up the bike. You have to remove a plate with two bolts and two nuts.

I don't understand why they can't make an oil drain plug (for any vehicle) that doesn't get your hand covered in hot oil. My mower has a hose you connect first and it drains through it. I put "push and turn" drain plugs on the cars but still get hot oil on my hand. I've been removing just the oil filter cover but think I'll go back to removing the drain plug first.
Just the other day I bought 3 quarts of Castrol 20w50 4T and it was $5.99 a quart at Auto Zone. They often have it on sale for as low as $3.99 but no luck this time.

Chris Ehlbeck
2002 BMW K1200LTE Toscana Green Retired with 85,391 miles
2014 BMW R1200RT Quartz Blue Metallic

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post #12 of 29 Old Aug 18th, 2013, 10:29 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by rattler50
I use Castrol 20W50 and change it every 6K miles. Runs like a top. Doesn't use any between changes. I'm not a big fan of synthetic. Personally I think it just costs more.........
+1

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post #13 of 29 Old Aug 18th, 2013, 3:03 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

I like oil on my hoagie instead of mayo!
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post #14 of 29 Old Aug 20th, 2013, 2:03 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknightga6
Just the other day I bought 3 quarts of Castrol 20w50 4T and it was $5.99 a quart at Auto Zone. They often have it on sale for as low as $3.99 but no luck this time.
But do those oils have zinc in them like is recommended for MCs?

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post #15 of 29 Old Aug 20th, 2013, 2:32 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Castrol ACT>EVO Extra 4T 20W50 has about 1,030 PPM zinc and 1,000 PPM phosphorous. Mobil 1 15W50 has about 1,300 PPM zinc and 1,200 PPM phosphorous, and Valvoline VR-1 20W50 has about 1,400 PPM zinc and 1,300 PPM phosphorous. Mobil 1 V-Twin has 1,600 PPM zinc and 1,750 PPM phosphorous.

The 4T oils are suitable for motorcycles with wet cluthes and where the transmission shares the engine lubricant. Mobil V-Twin is also suitable for wet clutches. Zinc and phosphorous are not indicated purely for motorcycles. Heavy duty oils for diesel engines also have high levels of these compounds, as does engine lubricants for many other applications.

The K1200LT doesn't have a wet clutch and the transmission doesn't share the engine oil and therefore doesn't require 4T oil. It also doesn't have roller cam followers and reportedly may benefit from oil with elevated levels of zinc and phosphorous. Since high levels of phosphorous could prematurely poison the catalyst, a reasonable compromise seems to be an oil with levels of zinc and phosphorous in the 1,200 - 1,400 PPM range.

André Strydom
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Last edited by andres; Aug 20th, 2013 at 2:51 pm.
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post #16 of 29 Old Aug 20th, 2013, 3:07 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

15w50 full synthetic from Napa, their brand and their oil filter, cheaper than Mobil 1, works fine.

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post #17 of 29 Old Aug 20th, 2013, 3:36 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldan2
15w50 full synthetic from Napa, their brand and their oil filter, cheaper than Mobil 1, works fine.
Don't know if it's still the same, but Napa oil was supplied by Valvoline. I quit using it long ago. 3 oil related failures in car motors.
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post #18 of 29 Old Aug 20th, 2013, 3:42 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Well yeah you had 3 oil related failures. You have to put the oil IN the engine for it to be effective!

No charge for this advice Frank. You're welcome.

Loren

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post #19 of 29 Old Aug 21st, 2013, 12:20 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa1200lt
Well yeah you had 3 oil related failures. You have to put the oil IN the engine for it to be effective!

No charge for this advice Frank. You're welcome.

Loren
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post #20 of 29 Old Aug 21st, 2013, 6:21 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Follow the manufactures recommendation, change it regularly and it doesn't matter. The minute differences are insignificant.

If you get oil on your hands, you are not following this forums recommendations. Loosen the 3 screws that cover the filter slowly and let it drain. Removing the plug is not necessary. Rarely hear of engine failure because of the "wrong" oil.

Back to the popcorn.....

Dano
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post #21 of 29 Old Aug 21st, 2013, 12:10 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
Follow the manufactures recommendation, change it regularly and it doesn't matter. The minute differences are insignificant.

If you get oil on your hands, you are not following this forums recommendations. Loosen the 3 screws that cover the filter slowly and let it drain. Removing the plug is not necessary. Rarely hear of engine failure because of the "wrong" oil.

Back to the popcorn.....
Took your advise a couple of weeks ago. No problems doing as you stated above. All's good!

Back to the popcorn...

[B]It STILL don't make me no nevermind![/B]

Last edited by DaFish; Aug 21st, 2013 at 12:33 pm.
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post #22 of 29 Old Aug 21st, 2013, 1:18 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanDiver
If you get oil on your hands, you are not following this forums recommendations. Loosen the 3 screws that cover the filter slowly and let it drain. Removing the plug is not necessary. ....
Dang, I must really be messing up because I end up looking like a oil rig worker when I'm done.

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post #23 of 29 Old Aug 21st, 2013, 1:54 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

As you loosen the three screws, let one drop slightly more than the other two and the oil will start to drain. Leave it for 10 minutes and most will have drained. Finish removing and unscrew the filter and drain. The plug can come out, but there won't be any oil there! Maybe a drop or two...

Add oil to filter, replace, finger tight and replace the three screws with the large O-ring. Replace oil.

I always cover the floor, under the bike with newspaper, have a bag of cat litter very handy and lots of old rags and a few disposable bags. Dick says to use puppy diaper pads!!

Dano
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post #24 of 29 Old Yesterday, 8:22 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Great insights on the 4T grade identifier....
Though I have had wet clutches previously before my LT., I did not know about the 4T designation.

So, I guess I won't be needing the rest of that Mobile 1 case of 4T....Grrr….
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post #25 of 29 Old Yesterday, 8:54 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by MH-King View Post
Great insights on the 4T grade identifier....
Though I have had wet clutches previously before my LT., I did not know about the 4T designation.

So, I guess I won't be needing the rest of that Mobile 1 case of 4T....Grrr….
Zinc is your friend. Lots of Zinc for the old flat tappet type of valve train. Mobile1 V-Twin or the 15W-50 or the like.

Gordon
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post #26 of 29 Old Yesterday, 10:00 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

2000 LT 213,000 miles

I change oil and final drive every 5000 miles (easy to remember)

I have used Mobil 1 15-30w since 55000 miles.

I buy it in 5 quart containers at Walmart.

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post #27 of 29 Old Yesterday, 10:23 pm
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by davebullock View Post
2000 LT 213,000 miles

I change oil and final drive every 5000 miles (easy to remember)

I have used Mobil 1 15-30w since 55000 miles.

I buy it in 5 quart containers at Walmart.
15W30 or 15W50? I have not seen a Mobil1 15W30 but I do use the 15W50 as it has the added Zinc needed for the LT valve train. The 20W50 V-Twin has a additive package with more Zinc than the 15W50 but packs an additional cost so up to you if you want to spend the extra for the higher zinc additives. I keep a quart of the V-Twin on my bike to add if I ever need it or if someone else does on one of those noisy bikes.

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post #28 of 29 Old Today, 7:56 am
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

sorry-15-50W is correct.
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1964 Vespa 175 w/sidecar (homemade by neighbor) SOLD
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Re: Best Oil for an LT

Quote:
Originally Posted by MH-King View Post
Great insights on the 4T grade identifier....
Though I have had wet clutches previously before my LT., I did not know about the 4T designation.

So, I guess I won't be needing the rest of that Mobile 1 case of 4T....Grrr….
What’s wrong with the 4T oil?

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