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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been investigating my choice of oil for the next service interval. I have decided to change to Amsoil. I have found out after some investigation that using their motorcycle specific oil would affect the catalytic converter so I will be buying their car specific oil. Recently BMW changed their recommendations from 10-40w to 20-50w , although I know that the viscosity index and, as such the operating ranges are different does anyone know exactly why they have changed their recommendation? Is it due to better performance and starting etc?

Dave
 

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Depends on temperature

Right now here in Oklahoma It's over 100 degrees. Hence the 20 W 50

But for you . I think 10W40 would be the norm. I'm thinking it's not quite as hot there as it is here...

John
 

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Discussion Starter #3
John
Speaking to a rep at Castrol UK today he says that in his native country of Australia they run 10-40w in 50c without problems. From what I have read a 10-40w will cool an engine better than 20-50w.
Dave
 

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Dangerous2 said:
John
From what I have read a 10-40w will cool an engine better than 20-50w.
Dave
Never heard that one before. It may be better on a cold start 10 vs 20 at start up.
 

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Dangerous2 said:
I have been investigating my choice of oil for the next service interval. I have decided to change to Amsoil. I have found out after some investigation that using their motorcycle specific oil would affect the catalytic converter so I will be buying their car specific oil. Recently BMW changed their recommendations from 10-40w to 20-50w , although I know that the viscosity index and, as such the operating ranges are different does anyone know exactly why they have changed their recommendation? Is it due to better performance and starting etc?

Dave
Amsoil motorcycle oil should not affect the catalytic converter. The Amsoil warranty should pay for parts and labor should the catalytic converter be damaged earlier than normal. The Amsoil motorcycle oil is the older API SG SL/CF formula and should have more zinc and phosphorus compared to API SM formula, yet has less than Golden Spectro, Mobil 1 motorcycle, Royal Purple and Maxima. However, the Noak Volatility of this oil is only 3.89% for the 20W50 (MCV) and 6.44% for the 10W40 motorcycle oil (MCF). So very little oil should be passing into the exhaust carrying very little catalyst poisoners. I don't use any noticeable amount of oil in my K1200LT with 12,000 mile oil changes, so feel very minimal amount of metals are going to the catalyst. Lot's of good motorcycle oil info on zinc, Noack and much more at http://www.amsoil.com/lit/g2156.pdf .

The Amsoil 20W50 (ARO) and 10W40 (AMO) car oils are recommended for motorcycles and might be API SL or SM (best to check the label and with Amsoil) so may have similar or about 30% less metals in them. Noack Volatility is 6.7% and 6.5%, so a little more volatile. These are still very low when compared to many oils testing in the 7-12%.

To affect the catalytic converter, you have to burn a lot of oil containing high levels of metals to poison the catalytic converter. I don't think I've heard of one be poisoned on the K1200LT. But a good reason to avoid API SM oils with high Noack Volatility weight%.

If you choose the AMO, Amsoil recommends changing it at up to 6,000 miles for the LT, and up to 12,000 miles or once a year for the their motorcycle specific oil. For me this is important, for others it might not be.

My 2006 owners manual says you can use 15W40 oils up to 86F and 10W40 oil up to 68F. However it does list 10W40+ "special" oils to be used at temps -4F to over 86F. I would think Amsoil's group IV PAO oils would be in this class. 10W40 should give better fuel economy, better extremely cold weather starts, and more power. Most of the new Honda motorcycles are now recommending 10W30 instead of 10W40, and in some cases recommend it for the older models as well.

I may also switch to the 10W40 Amsoil motorcycle oil for the winter temps when my warranty expires in a year, but it is 102F here today so will stick with the 20W50 for now. Let us know how it works for you.

Can you reference where you read about BMW changing oil viscosity recommendations?
 

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I've seen the chart in my manual and often wondered why they even make this chart for us to go by. The LT is a liquid cooled engine and runs pretty much at the same temperature whether it's 25 degrees or 100 degrees. I can see having a lighter oil for cold start ups but that would be the only reason. On the other hand, an air cooled motor will run at a temperatures that vary according to the air temperature and should have an oil that matches the outside air temperature. Anyone have an answer?
 

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Lower cold weather viscosities such as 5W or 10W has less resistance to flow when starting a cold engine in very cold temperatures and allow less wear at startup. As the oil warms up, it will thin out depending on the oil temperature and the viscosity. In cold weather you may notice your engine may never exceed mid range, but in hot weather, the temperature may go near maximum especially when idling. If the oil becomes too thin at extremely hot temperatures, an SAE 30 oil may be too thin to provide adequate protection, where an SAE 50 may thick enough for protection. However in most multiweight oils, it would take a lot of polymeric viscosity improvers to provide an ideal 5W50 weight which could make the oil shear down to a 30 weight under extreme conditions. A 20W50 would have fewer or perhaps no viscosity improvers to shear less to a lower viscosity. This is why they recommend the smallest spread between the multiweight oil in the recommended temperature range.

Hope that helps.
 

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TimVipond said:
Lower cold weather viscosities such as 5W or 10W has less resistance to flow when starting a cold engine in very cold temperatures and allow less wear at startup. As the oil warms up, it will thin out depending on the oil temperature and the viscosity. In cold weather you may notice your engine may never exceed mid range, but in hot weather, the temperature may go near maximum especially when idling. If the oil becomes too thin at extremely hot temperatures, an SAE 30 oil may be too thin to provide adequate protection, where an SAE 50 may thick enough for protection. However in most multiweight oils, it would take a lot of polymeric viscosity improvers to provide an ideal 5W50 weight which could make the oil shear down to a 30 weight under extreme conditions. A 20W50 would have fewer or perhaps no viscosity improvers to shear less to a lower viscosity. This is why they recommend the smallest spread between the multiweight oil in the recommended temperature range.

Hope that helps.

the man knows his oil!

I'd stick with 20W 50, MOTORCYCLE oil as well...I am not certain whether the manufacturer talk about "automotove oil can cause damage to motorcycles" is true or hype, but I don't want to chance it personally. But in theory, why would ANY oil potentially cause damage to a cat converter unless you were burning large amounts of oil (and therefore had something seriously wrong) anyway?
 

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10w40

I run 10W40 Quaker State in every vehicle I have except the LT. I use 20W50 QS in it. It has always served me well. I doubt if there is much difference in it. I'd trust either one........JMHO
 

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Pete - I haven't heard of any catalytic converter replacements done on motorcycles, so I agree and think it is rare except in a case like you describe.

But for a bike with a catalytic converter like ours, would you rather have an oil like Golden Spectro American 4 with Noack Volatility of 9% and zinc of 2162ppm, or an oil like Lucas with a Noack Volatility of 3.8% and zinc of 907ppm. You can guess which will make the catalytic converter last the longest, but maybe Golden Spectro will be fine for those who don't rack up the miles. But there are tradeoffs and Golden Spectro outperforms Lucas in other tests. Overall I think Amsoil has the better overall test results, but is not the best in every single test. You just have to pick and choose which test results are important to you.
 

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Repsol makes a 10W50 oil if you are concerned about having the proper weight as that would cover any BMW requirement and it is a motorcycle specific oil.
 

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Here in Pennsatuckey, I run 20-50 summer, and 10-40 winter.

Have in all the bikes I have owned and that I ride year round.
 

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TimVipond said:
Lee - which oils and what have you noticed?
I ride when it is 20-30* out and have been out in the teens a fair bit.

As far as notice not sure what you mean.

I am very fussy about warm up and I don't care what anyone says, motors need to get warm and that includes oil. When it is 30 outside my Harley would have sat at idle 10 minuets at least, until I finished with outer garments, got all plugged in gear wise, and situated and stuff. I would then ride 16 miles in semi-city, stop and go traffic to work, and still only saw 170 or so on the oil temp.

And that was a Rev Performance 98" Nikasil jugs, forged pistons, Speeds Cam 615/585 lift, 10.8 compression.

What that taught me was that in the cold it takes a pretty good amount of time to heat oil, and in my opinion the Tranny would take much longer. That build is a cooker for an old style Big Twin.

So I warm the bike up a long time and ALWAYS used a full synthetic in my tranny. I also like synthetic for it's ability to cling on parts and pretty important in a gear box and now a FD also.

I have found no mater what flavor, synth or dino, the 10-40 was a good Winter oil and a good compromise for the thinning at start, and protection while running.

In the 98" after I got past 2000 miles (their recommendation for life time warranty on the Nikasil jugs to stay in force) I used strait 60W Amsoil Racing in the summer and 10w40 Winter. That 60W will quiet down that front exhaust valve a bit on a Harley, but wont cure it :)

A 5 W anything wont give me full warm protection IMHO, and 20w50 ain't going nowhere fast at 20-30 degrees.

Just think they are realistic weights for my area of the US where we have 4 distinct seasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks to everyone for the replies. Here are a few answers to some of the questions posed by this post:

· Newf- I’m not sure where I read that a 10w-40 will cool an engine better than a 20w-50 but looking at it logically could it be because it is less viscous?

· Tim- I have consulted Amsoil directly and they advised that you do not use their Motorcycle specific oil if you have a catalytic converter, by the way the tech I spoke to had never heard of a motorcycle with a catalytic converter. As for where did I here that BMW changed their recommendation as to which weight oil to use, this came from my BMW dealer who had been instructed by BMW to change the weight when servicing.

· Petevandyke- The Amsoil dealer in the UK said that it may take 60,000 miles for the catalytic converter to become contaminated but it will happen if you use the motorcycle specific oil.

Dave
 

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Dangerous2 said:
· Tim- I have consulted Amsoil directly and they advised that you do not use their Motorcycle specific oil if you have a catalytic converter, by the way the tech I spoke to had never heard of a motorcycle with a catalytic converter. As for where did I here that BMW changed their recommendation as to which weight oil to use, this came from my BMW dealer who had been instructed by BMW to change the weight when servicing.

· Petevandyke- The Amsoil dealer in the UK said that it may take 60,000 miles for the catalytic converter to become contaminated but it will happen if you use the motorcycle specific oil.

Dave
I am checking with Amsoil to get the official word on using motorcycle oils with motorcycles with catalytic converters. Amsoil is growing at a huge pace, has a lot of new people, and someone who does not know that many motorcycles have catalytic converters may be in error when he/she advised not to use their motorcycle specific oil.

Do you have the name of the person you spoke to? Was it male or female? Did you call the Amsoil technical line, or an Amsoil Dealer?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Tim

I rang their technical line. A male answered, I don't recall his name.

Dave
 

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Was it the tech line in the US? I want to track this down and get the best answer from Amsoil. In 2002 and 2003, 20% of all motorcycles sold have catalytic converters. It is estimated that 50% will by 2010.
 
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