Type of oil to use in the tropics

Discussion in 'Technical' started by fj craig, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. fj craig

    fj craig Member

    Came across a article a while ago which sugested that the best oil to use for a bike in the heat is comercial grade truck oil 20/50 for air cooled and 10/40 water cooled. Something to do with the lack of additives which MC gearboxes break down turning semi syth into sh** within 1000Km. The guy seemed to know what he was writing about and wasn't plugging any particular oil company and as it,s cheap I'm thinking of giving it a go in my fj1200.
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  3. mbox999

    mbox999 Ol'Timer

    I was asking at Tiger Motors about whats best for my Tiger Boxer 250Rs and they said the Motul 10W40 (synthetic)is very good Oil and thats what i use.
    So far no problems except that one time where i drove without oil ...:-(
  4. Tubber

    Tubber Ol'Timer

    Car oils have a lot of friction modifiers in them which can have a detrimental effect on wet clutches. Some multigrades such as 10W60 also have a lot of extenders in them which can break down after being used in bike engines. On the FZ-1 owners association website there was a guy running Shell Rotella in his bike and sending it off for analysis every few thousand miles. Results he was getting back were all good. All this crap about changing oil every 3000km was maybe relevant 40 years ago with mineral oils that were unstable and could be used for frying chips in but with modern synthetic oil my opinion is you are throwing money down the drain.
  5. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    Agreed. Can safely go to 8000Km interval with a good diesel rated synthetic. Half that for regular stuff.

    And yes, avoid the very wide range multigrades in a bike as the VI additives they use are not lubricants, just thickeners that will fracture in the gearbox pretty quickly. A 15W/40 turbodiesel oil fits the bill perfectly in a bike. Whether to use synth or not just depends on how often you want to change it.
  6. Marknutley

    Marknutley Member

    Read that aromatheraphy oil is very therapeutic but I find I get a skin rash from it occasionally.

    Baby is pretty good, but personally I always go for coconut oil when getting an oily massage.

    Hope this helps you out Craig.
  7. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    In HDs in Thailand i have used Pennzoil Gold for diesel pickups fpr years with no problem its handles the extra heat of an aircooled motor up to 230c ..car and bike oils for watercooled engines wont handle the heat as well as diesel oil.

    in my ducati I use either 10-40 motul synthetic or Mobil1 10-50 synthetic.
  8. sinclair1969

    sinclair1969 Ol'Timer

    Late last year, The Honda Motor Company changed its commercial engine oils they have for sale in their motorcycle outlets in Thailand so that now you can only get the 10-30 viscosity range. Before this, you could buy a single grade oil 40W that offered sufficient protection and, if I remember correctly, a 15-50 multi-grade oil.

    I am seriously concerned about this change, and the effect this thinner oil may possibly have on engines during long distance driving. The first question must be, why did the company change its engine oil specifications in this way? Was it because they wanted the engines to last less so they could sell more motorcycles in the long run? I asked a very knowledgeable motorcycle mechanic here in Bangkok, and he gave me the following answer: Honda did this because they felt the other oils did not provide enough safe lubrication to the upper part of the engine, i.e. to the cylinder heads and valves. I don't really believe this.

    Volumes could be said on the topic of engine oils for cars, trucks and motorcycles. The issue is complex and simple at the same time, and a lot of misconceptions are all around. Believe me, it is very rare to find a person who understands these issues in any depth in repair shops, garages and especially in gas stations that do oil changes. Most of the people involved in this line of work do not have any concept of viscosity, additives, mineral oil and synthetic oils. As this is a topic that I am profoundly interested in and could write about at length, I will have to restrict myself in order to prevent this from becoming too involved or too boring.

    I believe in the following principles when it comes to engine oils for all kinds of vehicles:

    "The most important single maintenance activity is to change the oil and filter on the engine-maker's schedule."

    "Engine oil should be changed at 100 hour intervals."

    "Oil collects moisture from condensation in the sump and is the repository for the liquid by-products of combustion. These by-products include several acid families that, even in dilute form, attack bearings and friction surfaces. No commercially practical filter can take out these contaminants. In addition oil, in a sense, wears out. The petroleum base does not change, but the additives become exhausted and no longer suppress foam, retard rust, end keep particles suspended. Heavy sludge in the filter is a sure indication that the change interval should be shortened, because the detergents in the oil have been exhausted."

    "Most manufacturers are quite specific about the type and brand to be used. Multigrade oils (e.g. 10W-30) are not recommended for some engines, because it is believed that they do not offer the protection of a single weight types."

    (Quotations from Paul Dempsey: Troubleshooting Diesel Engines, 3rd Edition, TAB Books, Division of McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1995.) (You should not let it trouble you that this book is about diesel engines as what I quote is true in general of all engine types used in all kinds of motor vehicles).

    The bottom line is that I am not convinced that multigrade oils such as 15W-40 or 15W-50 offer the same level of protection as a single grade 40W does. Especially in Thailand. If you look at the tables recommending suitable oil thickness and viscosity to outside air temperatures, you will see that for the climate and temperatures prevalent in Thailand, 40W is the recommended engine oil thickness, given the average temperature in the country.

    You may say, yes but the multigrade oil will act as 40W when that is needed. I say no, I am not sure and I am not convinced of that. First, the multigrade oil is made multigrade by additives and thickeners. It will never protect your engine as well as a single grade 40W oil in hot temperatures, especially not when it has been used let's say for 50 hours or more.

    Is fully synthetic oil better than mineral oil? I am not convinced of that either. Research has shown that the long molecule chains in synthetic oils start to break down sooner than the shorter molecules in original mineral oil, and once this process is under way, the synthetic oil is much worse than mineral oil and does not offer the same degree of protection.

    Let's look at some situations. With an outside temperature of 29-33 degrees Celsius, such as is common in Thailand, why would you need an engine oil that goes from 5W-40? All you need is the W40. Anything thinner than this is just going to make your engine wear down all that sooner. Offering oils such as 0W-40 for sale is just ridiculous in a sub-tropical country. Yes, if you live in Ontario, you will need a thinner oil for start-ups in close to zero or sub-zero temperatures, but how often do you have that kind of situation in Thailand? The answer is: Never.

    In my opinion, real knowledge about engine oils is not common, and especially rare among engine oil sellers and distributors in Thailand. Most of them are very ignorant on this topic. About all that many of them "know" is that one kind of engine oil is more expensive than another, and so therefore it must be "better". That is pure bullshit, of course.
  9. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    OK I will stir the pot a little. I firmly believe that if you use ANY quality brand oil, of a reasonable viscosity, you will not have any oil related problems in a modern day engine. I use brand name 4T designated oils here. I figure if the oil manufacturer designates it for motorcycle use, it does not contain any additives that should affect the clutch or gearbox. I personally haven't seen anyone recommending a straight weight engine oil for a gasoline engine in many years.

    Out of curiosity, is there anyone here that has suffered a failure of a modern day motorcycle engine that they can directly attribute to using an inferior motor oil? :think:
  10. sinclair1969

    sinclair1969 Ol'Timer

    I agree that engine oil manufacturers would not put harmful products on the market and they can be trusted, but still I feel it suspicious when Honda changes from 15-W40 to 10-30W. Why use a thinner oil in a subtropical country?

    The last part: I have never known this to happen, it certainly has not happened to me and is not likely to.
  11. sinclair1969

    sinclair1969 Ol'Timer

    Shell Rimula Diesel Oil comes as a single grade oil and as multi grade oils. What kind do the mechanics actually use?
  12. Franz

    Franz Ol'Timer

    For my old bikes I use mineral oil 20W40 from Castrol, for the FJR 10W40 fully synthetic either Yamalube or Motul, for the Focus 15W40, never had any problems with all, rgds, franz
  13. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    Obliviously, Australia rarely gets as hot as Thailand, but in Sydney we do see 35 and 40 degree days in Summer (plus cold winters).

    I (and many others riders) use Delo400 (Havoline/Caltex/Chevron Brand) in both my air cooled and water cooled bikes (XR250 and KLR650)... never had any problems, apparently there is Delo400 and Delo400 Premium (aka Delo400LE)... you want the straight and cheaper Delo400...

    I can't see what is available in Thailand, as the chevronthailand.com website doesn't seem to work from here... Here in Australia, (Caltex) Delo 400 is SAE 15W-40.


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