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Switch to synthetic oil?

  • Yes

    Votes: 87 73.1%
  • No

    Votes: 32 26.9%
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having my 12K service today and wanted the general consensus on whether I should switch to synthetic or not.
 

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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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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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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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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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rixchard said:
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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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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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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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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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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685ursus said:
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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nplenzick said:
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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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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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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rixchard said:
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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rixchard said:
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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Ah yes, the first oil thread of the new year. Combined with a poll, no less. This oughta be fun. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
meese said:
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! :eek:

Anyway, thanks for all the input!!!
 
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