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....What's one more?

With the rainy weekend here, I've spent more time than I probably should have researching the Camhead engine and what to feed it every 6,000 miles. As has been noted, The Mothership changed the oil spec when the Camhead was released (no more 20W-50 recommended). Were it not for the fact that they still recommend a 5W-50, I'd speculate that the revised valvetrain doesn't play well with a heavier oil, but that's obviously not the case. Still, the warmest-weather oil recommended (>32*F) is a 15W-40, which indicates that the tolerances are tight enough that the 40wt is more than sufficient in high-heat environments. The 10W- and 15W- numbers are for cold-start, and the 10W is good down to 14*F......It's so rare I ride when it's colder than that, it's not worth changing grades.

So it's my opinion that 10W-40 is the go-to oil for Camheads. I don't believe there's any issue to running 20W-50, especially in warmer climates, however you may see better gas mileage with the lighter oil.

Where I'm finding conflicting information is with the transmission and final drive. It would appear that any decent GL5 gear lube will work just fine, but there's (oddly) not a lot of talk about varying viscosities. Again, given the service intervals, I doubt that either is truly crucial, but I'm genuinely shocked there isn't more of a consensus on what to use. I'm leaning towards a 75-140 in the gearbox and 75-90 in the FD (synthetic, of course), though I'm curious as to what other people are using.
 

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A few comments
1) Any R1200 with the OEM battery will start better in cold/cool weather with synthetic oil lighter than 20W/50 dino. The 15W-50 BMW syn is noticeably better and lighter grades better yet. Reason is the OEM battery is a mediocre and marginal design that can't deliver optimal current in colder weather. The preferred replacement in the US is the Odyssey PC 680 which starts the bike better, lasts a lot longer, and is cheaper by 40% but there are many other good choices from Westco, Yuasa, and others- all substantially less $ the BMW one.
2) 75-140 in the gearbox is recommended by various dealerships, mostly in places with hot summer weather. A lighter grade is what comes in the bike. The biggest differences you would notice are increased drag on the gears which improves shifting a little bit (but not nearly as much as an exact technique) and allows the rear to rotate faster if jacked off the ground in neutral. No negative impacts I know of in the gearbox but not suggested for the FD.
3) Re the FD, most premature failures seem to originate from bad fitting parts or seal leaks not caught soon enough by the owner. Best preventatives are regular inspection, frequent lube changes looking for wear bits in the oil and a good magnetic plug to pull wear bits out of the oil. I change mine with every rear tire change as it is less than a 5 min job but every 12-15K miles should work about as well. Remember the fill volume is a very small 180 ml. not much volume for debris to "get lost" in. The R1200 "big hole" FD has several design improvements over earlier versions and the most recent years have a larger bearing as well- so far they look better than their predecessors but there have been a number of early failures- especially when the factory was calling them "lifetime fill"- talk about an obvious fantasy....
 

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I have been following the oil threads and do not mean to add fuel to the fire, but when Bob's did my 600 miles service they used 20W-50 dino. This is my 1st boxer and went with the dealers recommendation. The bike rans great with no issues so far and I will probably stick with the 20W-50 dino until I do the 18,000 mi and then switch to synthetic.

75W90 is running in the FD.
 

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The dealership here also uses 20W50 dino. When asked why, I was told they had always used it and it worked well. They had no answer when I asked why it was not a recommended oil for the 2010 and later RTs. I am not sure what real difference it will make but I have decided to use the oils recommended in the owner's manual. I assume that the people who designed and built the bike know more than those who fix it. I understand others may have a different opinion. Purely subjective but when I changed oil for the first time myself, I used 10W40 and the bike seemed to run better.
 

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I've always used 20-50 dino in the engine 'cause that's what the dealer recommended. In the relatively moderate northern California environment I live in there's not a huge driver to go to a lighter oil.

And I use BMW 75-90 in both the gearbox and the final drive. Again, dealer recommendation. Why not the 75-150? I have a liter of the 75-90 and I haven't used it all up yet.

I figure that there are two important decisions I need to make for lube - is there enough, and is it clean? I change engine oil and filter every 6k miles, final drive 12k and tranny 24k. Pretty easy to remember, it's all on 6k units, it's just which service I do on that particular weekend.

JayJay
 

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TWheels said:
The dealership here also uses 20W50 dino. When asked why, I was told they had always used it and it worked well. They had no answer when I asked why it was not a recommended oil for the 2010 and later RTs. I am not sure what real difference it will make but I have decided to use the oils recommended in the owner's manual. I assume that the people who designed and built the bike know more than those who fix it. I understand others may have a different opinion. Purely subjective but when I changed oil for the first time myself, I used 10W40 and the bike seemed to run better.

My dealer, Bob's, stated they used the 20W-50 because of the hot and humid DC summers in combination with heavy traffic. I not sure what I'll switch too when I go with synthetic but I did fid it interesting that of the 6 different oils listed one was SG rated and the other SF. That tells me SF or higher is preferred.
 

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10W-50 is still on the recommended list ... at least reading a rest-of-world owners manual.

And, if the concern is heat the answer is synthetic. Same when the concern is cold.
 
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