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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I changed the oil in my 05 LT for the 6000 mile service. When I changed it for the 3000 miles, I used the BMW oil from the dealer. First thing I noticed is the bike ran rough. I thought it would go away but it never did. My gas mileage went from a consistent 44 mpg to 38 mpg. I changed the oil last weekend with Castrol 5W30 per recommendations on this site. I road to work today since it was 60+ degrees here in the DC area and my gas mileage went right back to 44 mpg. What gives with this BMW oil?
 

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Huh?!

CW3PWR said:
What gives with this BMW oil?
I have over 10 oil changes using BMW oil...so the quick answer is NOTHING. But to answer your question with a question...What did you do wrong at 3K?!
 

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CW3PWR,

Your BMW dealer may offer two or more different oils. 10W40, 15W50 and 20W50 in either synthetic and/or petroleum oils, so make sure you use the one recommended for your K1200LT which is the petroleum 20W50 for a minimum of 6,000 miles and then your choice of the 20W50 synthetic or petroleum after that. I would not use a 5W30 oil as it is not recommended for the K1200LT and you might void your warranty.

Overfilling or underfilling can cause performance problems, so make sure you read the oil level correctly as described in the owners manual.

Probably most riders use the BMW oil without complaint.
 

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Thin 5W30 is for autos.

Maybe you are tired and wrote that instead of the 15W50 or 20W50.

You do anything else other than change the oil and filters?

When I got ready for the 12K, I ordered 2 valve cover gaskets, and two spark plugs--force of habit.

Been looking for some place to chrome my gass tank. ;-O

Bob
 

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Two?

BecketMa said:
Maybe you are tired and wrote that instead of the 15W50 or 20W50. [snip] ...and two spark plugs--force of habit.
Speaking of "being tired". Or...does your LT have the "RT Option"? :)
 

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Your BMW should have had BMW oil in it from the dealer. It shouldn't be the oil that affected the mileage. If all you did was change the oil you shouldn't have affected the mileage either. What else did you do at that time?
 

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You might be on to something. I had Castrol 15-40 in mine, last week the dealer replaced my oil pan & refilled with whatever they use. I noticed right away it was running ruff, didn't say anything cause it didn't make any sense to me Figured I just needed to run it & put in fresh gas but, that didn't work, it is still running ruff. I'll be changing to Royal Purple at my next change, that's what I always ran in my other bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's what I'm trying to figure out. I did the oil change by the manual including torques and changed the crush washer etc. etc. I measured the oil (3.8 US Quarts) per the manual in a clear plastic cup before putting it in. I noticed that I had a little air bubble in the top of the site gage so overfill wasn't an issue. Everything seemed to go fine but the bike just ran rough and my fuel economy went down. I am not a mechanic and a simple oil change can take me an hour or so because I recheck everything. As soon as I changed the oil last weekend, it ran smoother and my fuel economy today was 44 mpg, just like it use to be. Got me???
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'll have to recheck the viscosity when I get home but I remember is was a thinner oil. I read some of the many threads and opinions before I purchased it for the change and made sure that it meet the requirements in the manual, I believe it was an SJ. I did nothing different. I had half a tank of gas in it so it wasn't bad fuel. It is amazing to me that a simple oil change made such a big difference. These BMW bikes are finicky.
 

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CW3PWR said:
I'll have to recheck the viscosity when I get home but I remember is was a thinner oil. I read some of the many threads and opinions before I purchased it for the change and made sure that it meet the requirements in the manual, I believe it was an SJ. I did nothing different. I had half a tank of gas in it so it wasn't bad fuel. It is amazing to me that a simple oil change made such a big difference. These BMW bikes are finicky.
WARNING!
SJ oils are NOT approved by BMW for motorcycle use. Service bulletin here:
http://www.gunsmoke.com/scot/k12/sj_oil.html

I am in the camp that says your oil change was NOT the reason for the mileage change, or engine running roughness. It just cannot happen. There HAD to be something else that changed, for whatever reason, not just the oil type. Over the years I had LTs I ran BMW dino, BMW synthetic, Golden Spectro synth, and Castrol synth, never one iota of difference in mileage or engine smoothness.
 

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If you got your LT new, it came with regular BMW oil.

Over a few years, many people on this site have used different types and brands of oil, and not had an effect like the one you have encountered.

Don’t have any ideas about your experience.

Glad your LT runs better.

I swear. Mine runs faster after I wash and wax it. ;-)

It does run better during cool wx though.

Bob
 

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I can't seewhere a different brand, viscosity or type of oil would make a difference you could notice in how it runs. Viscosity might make a difference in fuel mileage. Any chance you overfilled it with oil? That would account for the difference you noted.

Over filling with oil is bad, almost as bad as running it very low. Oil level get high enough so the crankshaft makes contact with it and it foams, causes, among other problems, excessive crank case pressure, foamed oil and who knows what else.

Be careful as to the API oil classification. Use the wrong stuff and if it contributes to an engine failure, BMW might void the warranty. Consult your manual and use oil of the proper API classification and weight for the temperature range. Doubt it will care or make much of a difference as to brand/synthetic/dino/red/blue or whatever. Just use good stuff. Recycled don't count.

You just spent how much on a premium German made motorcycle and now you want to save how much on a quart of oil? Oil, tires and brakes are just a couple of maintenance items I don't pinch pennies on.

Mine likes the cool dense air also. Been in the high 60's past few days, almost feels like spring. We'll pay next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, I'm home and have the right info...

OK, I really didn’t intend for this to be one of those oil threads that goes on for weeks. I am finally at home and was able to grab the .2 quarts that I have left from last weekends oil change and did some homework as to the grade and viscosity problems. You guys really have me concerned about my oil selection now. My 2005 Service Manual ($120 ouch!) states the following for the oil (page 00.42)

Note:
Replace oil and oil filter at least once a year. If the
motorcycle is ridden only for short distances or at
outside temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), this task
must be performed every 3 months or every
3,000 km (1,800 miles) at the latest.

Operating fluids:
Brand-name HD oil, API classification SF, SG or SH;
suffix letters CD or CE are permitted; alternatively,
brand-name HD oil of CCMC classification G4 or
G5; suffix PD2 is permitted.
Do not add any additives or use longlife engine oil.

Engine oil capacity:

For filter
change..........3.6 l (6.34 Imp. pints/3.80 US quarts)
Quantity of oil between
MIN and MAX
marks.......... 0.80 l (1.40 Imp. pints/0.85 US quarts)


And this is what I purchased based on a recommendation I found on the site someplace. Maybe it was the old site but I can’t find it anymore.

Castrol SAE 5W-40 full synthetic. “Specially Formulated to meet the needs of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.” Almost $6.00 per quart.

I wasn’t keen on the 5 weight but hay it was cold out there and 5W-40 seemed like a good spread. I went to the Castrol Web Site www.castrolcandada.com and found this info on the SAE 5W-40:

SAE 5W-40:
The most recommended grade in today's new cars. Exceeds all car and light truck manufacturer's warranty requirements for the protection of gasoline, diesel and turbocharged engines where API SL, SJ, SH (I have a winner here), CF or CD is recommended. Exceeds European ACEA: A1, ACEA: A5, ACEA: B1, Corvette GM 4718M, VW T4 and all requirements of ILSAC GF-3 for API Certified Gasoline Engine Oils and meets Energy Conserving Standards. Also meets Japanese valve train wear and engine protection requirements for Porsche, Volvo, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

Information concerning the performance, viscosity grade and energy conserving properties of an oil can be found within the API Service Symbol, also known as the "Donut". This symbol displays the API (American Petroleum Institute) Service rating, a two-letter classification that identifies the quality level of the motor oil and the type of vehicle it is suited for. The first letter "S" indicates the oil is appropriate for "spark ignition" or gasoline engines. The first letter "C" indicates the oil is intended for "compression ignition" or diesel engines. The second letter in each category indicates the performance level of category. For the "S" categories, the performance level increases as the categories go through the alphabet. However, the same is not true for the "C" categories as the types and intended application range for diesel vehicles vary greatly. It is important to refer to the owners' manual for appropriate performance recommendation.
In the center of the donut will be the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) viscosity classification. The bottom of the donut is reserved to convey the energy conserving properties of the oil as determined in a standard industry test.

What I have learned. I believe that the type of oil in the bike can make a big difference in how it runs and its fuel economy. I am not sure how the BMW oil I used at the 3000 mile change effected these but I am sure that the oil I have in there now is agreeable to the machine because it is running much better than it use to, my fuel economy is back to 44 mpg and my rear view mirrors don’t shake when I’m at idle.

I hope that the information in the thread has been useful and thank you to everyone who tried to keep me straight on the oil question.

Patrick Rader
Manassas, VA
05 LT
 

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I would have never believed it & can't explain it but, the only thing the dealer did was replace the oil pan & refill with there oil. The first thing I noticed when I got on it to leave the shop was the rough idle.
 

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Question - was your bike on the side stand or centerstand when you check the oil level? If on side stand then it is possible you were over filled when straight up. Just a thought.

Glad things are better now.
 

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<“Specially Formulated to meet the needs of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.”>

All of those are cars.

The rumor I heard was that the 5W oils were developed for autos to increase EPA mileage.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Centerstand

Steve_R said:
Question - was your bike on the side stand or centerstand when you check the oil level? If on side stand then it is possible you were over filled when straight up. Just a thought.

Glad things are better now.
Since I think it's a cool novelty that I have an electric center stand, I use it all the time. I also noticed that I get a little black smoke when it sits on the side stand for any length of time so I figured oil leaks into the Cylinders. When the other cage is out of the garage, I can do this cool trick were I can spin the bike around with hardly any resistance at all. Just push down a little on the luggage rack and push with one hand and it spins right around. My garage is really smooth concrete and after spilling all the used oil out of the bike on the last two oil changes, it's pretty slick. Of course the center stand will probably snap someday and the bike will crush me but that will have to be another thread.

Patrick Rader
Manassas, VA
05 LT
 

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Discussion Starter #19
BecketMa said:
<“Specially Formulated to meet the needs of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.”>

All of those are cars.

The rumor I heard was that the 5W oils were developed for autos to increase EPA mileage.

Bob
I plan on changing it as soon as it gets wam - March.
 

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... I road to work today since it was 60+ degrees here in the DC area and my gas mileage went right back to 44 mpg.

Was it colder between the oil changes when you noticed the milage drop. Outside air temp can have a big effect on mileage. The colder it gets the worse the mileage.
 
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