Oil type "survey": full synthetic vs. conventional and a few quick questions.
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Thread: Oil type "survey": full synthetic vs. conventional and a few quick questions.

  1. #1
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Post Oil type "survey": full synthetic vs. conventional and a few quick questions.

    Oh yes, this is ANOTHER DAMN OIL THREAD...lol.

    I need to learn more about FULL synthetic vs. conventional oil. I have done a fair bit of research on this topic and I do have experience with and some basic knowledge of both. I know there is a lot of BS misinformation out there concerning this topic, and that it has been discussed like...millions of times, so I just want to see some hard data (just the facts, plain and simple). Please answer the following questions/prompts as simply and directly as possible. I will include my own answer to each as an example. The more bikes you can answer all the questions for, the better, but if you want to do just one that's cool, or even do one now and come back and do more later (preferably edit your post to add another bike, instead of making a new post), anything will be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance.

    1.) Make, model, and model-year of bike (please answer all the questions for only one bike at a time. Example: answer them all in a row for your XR 400, then all in a row a second time for your Super Tenere)
    2.) Specific oil and viscosity used (and is it full synthetic or non-synthetic; not really interested in "semi-synthetic" oils)
    3.) Current miles on the bike
    4.) Does the engine leak or burn any oil (if it leaks, where from and how much? If it burns, how much [can be stated as ML per mile burned, or ML burned per 2k mile oil change, or whatever; estimate if you don't know]?)
    5.) New-engine break in procedure used (if you know; example: moto-man method, "ride it like I stole it", or by the factory service manual or owner's manual [keeping below xk rpm for first xxx miles or whatever])

    1. Suzuki DR 200 1999
    2. Conventional oil: Pro Honda GN4 10W40 4-stroke motorcycle oil
    3. ~21,000
    4. There was a moderate leak from the little weep hole on the base of the cylinder on the front side, but I "fixed" that externally and haven't seen a drop come out in like 3k miles. It does burn
    about 1.5 ML per mile.
    5. unknown

    1. Yamaha TW 200 2007
    2. Conventional oil: Yamalube 20W50
    3. ~15,000 miles (when parted out)
    4. Leaked severely from base gasket and head gaskets, leaked around the counter shaft, from the valve covers, pretty much everywhere... Burned like 2 to 2.5 ML per mile...
    5. engine broken in STRICTLY by the factory owner's manual

    1. Kawasaki Ninja 500 2007
    2. Conventional oil: Pro Honda GN4 10W40 4-stroke motorcycle oil
    3. 17,000 miles when sold
    4. absolutely no oil leaks at all, didn't burn oil (at least not enough to need to add any between 3k mile oil changes)
    5. unknown

    1. Kawasaki KLX 250S 2009
    2. Conventional Royal purple Break In 10W30 oil for break-in; Full synthetic oil at 600 miles: Royal Purple "Max Cycle" 10W40
    3. 5k miles (taken apart now due to unrelated problems)
    4. almost imperceptible leaks through filler cap and filter cover (IIRC this wasn't even really a leak but just residual oil squeezed out from tightening them down); burned about 1 ML per mile both during break in with conventional oil and after with full synthetic.
    5. ORIGINAL motor break in unknown (for head and bottom end); big bore kit break in: similar to moto-man: plenty of heat cycles, several shorter rides increasing throttle and RPM each time out, on and off throttle all the time (accel and engine breaking consantly)

    Again, please keep the answers as simple and straightforward as possible. I'm not looking to start another "flaming oil war" here, just want to get some data. I don't know if enough will answer to really give me anything worth while, but fingers crossed...thanks in advance if you do take the time to answer these.
    Last edited by kj7687; 02-03-2015 at 01:03 AM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  2. #2
    Senior Member vanillagorilla1's Avatar
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    I'll bite. I am no oil expert, but I do know when you maintain a machine with care it will pay you back in service..... I always use conventional for a break in then switch over for small engines. Some of the cars ive had are a little different. I will note that the motorcycles run cooler and quieter with the synthetic that I've noticed over some years. They also tend to shift a little smoother and have less oil drag and clutch drag when cold. Ive read that syntetic oil will take a little higher heat before breakdown, but I have no hands on proof. For me especially in motorcycles with such low volumes it's a no brainer. This is just a list of motorcycles, but I've done some other for equipment and other things. My go to break in oil is rotella t 15 40 diesel oil. It has a high zinc content and no additives that will fubar clutch function. I also have a cummins that runs this and Ive been happy with it there too. NEVER use a synthetic with friction modifiers that is not for moto use in a bike or you will be sorry. Your clutch will work like crap.

    honda crb600 f2 '91 (sold)
    syntetic honda 10-40 (gold bottle) (3K changes)
    30k miles before I sold it (2012)
    didn't consume oil that I could ever tell and didn't leak a drop anywhere
    original owner broke in meticulously per the manual

    ducati monster m800s
    synthetic motul 15-50 (3K changes)
    12k miles
    doesnt burn oil. slight weep around starter on bottom of engine. Its on the fix it list, but you have to pull stator cover to have access.
    dont know the break in

    1982 honda silver wing GL500
    synthetic castrol 4t 10-40 (moto specific oil) (3K changes)
    25k
    no oil consumption or leaks
    I wasn't alive for the break in of this bike!

    GY6 based scooter (built to the hilt)
    synthetic castrol 4t 10-40 (1K changes)
    15K!!!
    slight case leak (I suspect more due to shitty chinese parts)
    gentle break in with conventional then swapped to syn.

    93 tw200
    castrol syn 4t 10-40 (1k changes)
    14k on bottom end 3k on top end
    no leaks or measurable consumption
    ridden easy on conventional then swapped over
    93 tw. running like clockwork
    225 6 speed complete!
    82 honda gl500 silver wing. sold to a new home 11-24-17
    03 ducati monster 800sie. full rebuild and a danger to the public Hidden Content for sale

  3. #3
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    The info you provided is exactly what I'm looking for, definitely helpful. Thanks for the feedback! Hopefully more will chime in here. I want to do everything in my power to minimize oil consumption and leaks in future vehicles, especially since I'm planning on buying brand new next time if at all possible. Want to see what kind of break-in is most likely to minimize oil burning... Like I said I've done plenty of research on this subject but every other person has the opposite answer from the last guy, hence my quest for no-BS hard data
    Last edited by kj7687; 02-03-2015 at 01:25 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

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  5. #4
    Banned qwerty's Avatar
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    Yes! Use oil.



    Peterb likes this.

  6. #5
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Indeed I shall!

    Quote Originally Posted by qwerty View Post
    Yes! Use oil.
    Lol Qwerty. I know you too well man. As soon as I saw that you had posted in this thread, I figured you'd have made some kind of smart comment like this haha. From what I do know, I'd say you are right for the most part. But there ARE differences in oils...and they do (sometimes) matter. Anyway it's just as well, as it doesn't look like I'll really get any more responses here. I guess next time if I want participants I have to offer you guys a freakin cookie or $5 Bass Pro Shops gift card! ;D
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  7. #6
    Senior Member TWROG's Avatar
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    Ill add another. Ive had many bikes over the years, Ill leave them out because I just cant remember the specifics But I will say that since the 90s any shared sump (clutch and engine) bike Ive had Ive used Shell Rotella. As mentioned before it has a high zinc content which is good for the engine and plays nicely with your clutch. Its relatively cheap and can be had anywhere. As to synthetics vs conventional, back when I had a diesel with oil bypass filtration cost WAS a big deal because it took 16 quarts of oil. So for a couple of years at every change I took an oil sample and had it analyzed at Blackstone Labs. Oil analysis is the ONLY way to tell how your oil is doing besides a tear down of the engine. ANYTHING else is opinion.........nothing more. Over those couple of years half synthetic half conventional, there was no difference wear on the engine........NONE. If you go to Blackstones FAQ section on their site one of the questions asks, since Blackstone has tested MILLIONS of oil samples..........what do you recommend? Synthetic or conventional? Their answer is telling.

    Ah, the million dollar question. We are an independent lab, so we don't make recommendations. It has been our experience that oil is oil, and either petroleum or synthetic-based oil will work well for just about any engine.
    So qwerty is right, use oil.........and youll be just fine

    Back to the bikes and your info. Since bike use such a small amount many say its cheap insurance. Its not, it actually expensive because your not getting anything from the extra cost. It does however give peace of mind, I fall into the peace of mind category, but only for my sportster

    1.) Harley XL1200X "48" 2011
    2.) Brad Penn - Penn Grade 1 20-50 (not the motorcycle oil, sorry its semi-synth) in the engine. Mobil 1 gear oil 75-90 in the primary
    3.) 11000
    4.) No leaks, no oil burn
    5.) I just rode it The only thing I didnt do was really get on it for the first 500 miles.

    1.) Kawasaki KZ650 1977
    2.) Shell Rotella 15-40
    3.) 28000
    4.) No burn. The only leak is from the added oil cooler which I took off this winter. Never kept track of how much, enough to piss me off
    5.) Unkown

    The TWs Ive only had for a week or so

    Ill add one more, my 2001 Scotts riding mower, 20HP briggs V Twin engine. Its used to maintain my 4 acre property. 6 or 7 years ago it started falling apart (the mower not the engine). Got to the point I told myself once the engine craps out Ill buy another mower. For the last 5 or 6 years I have not changed the oil. It does leak oil, I check it every few weeks or when the engine starts making a funny noise. Ill top off the oil with oil Ive drained from my other engines. Its still going strong and I have a feeling it will continue to go strong until Im too old to mow my own grass

    So yeah, Im with qwerty, use oil.........youll be just fine
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    1) 2003 TW200
    2) Mobil 4T
    3) ~9000
    4) No leak nor burn
    5) factory recommended break-in first 500 miles on factory supplied oil.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
    2006 TW200 "Nibbler", a.k.a. “Mr.Gizmo"
    Hidden Content All Things Considered I’ld Rather Be Motorcycling

  9. #8
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    I switch to full synthetic on all new motors I buy at the first oil change interval. I don't believe in any of the hype about dino oil during the first 2,000 miles being any better for brake in and I have never had an engine go bad from using full synthetic right from almost the start. Lots of new vehicles and bikes come from the factory with full synthetic. It is slicker, does not burn until very high temps and stays much cleaner over the time it is in the motor. As long as you are paying the bills then you get to use what ever oil you feel comfortable with. Mobil 4T racing for MCs with wet clutches has worked great in all my TWs.

    GaryL
    Be Decisive! Right or Wrong just make a decision. ​ The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn't make a decision.

    Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
    If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

    1987 Yamaha BW350 Big Wheel
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  10. #9
    Senior Member kj7687's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies people; keep 'em coming!

    TWROG: I see your point, and am inclined to at least partially agree. To be fair though, that lab did say this before "suggesting" that any oil is fine: "We are an independent lab, so [we don't make recommendations]."



    Last edited by kj7687; 02-04-2015 at 12:28 PM.
    KJ, just KJ, ok.


    Current rides:
    2004 GMC Sierra 1500, 1999 Toyota 4Runner

    Past rides: 2015 Yamaha XT 250, 1997 Suzuki DR 200, 2007 Honda Ruckus, 2007 Yamaha TW 200, 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 500, 2009 Kawasaki KLX331S; 1994 GMC Sierra 1500, 1987 Nissan Pathfinder, 1992 Acura Integra, 1986 Honda CRX, 1989 Jeep Cherokee, 1994 Chevrolet Astro Van, 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit, 1984 Jeep Cherokee

  11. #10
    Senior Member Xracer's Avatar
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    From my 05 Harley Ultra to the 03 Dub it's Mobil 1 4T. No oil leaks after 48k on the pig or 16k on the dub. My 08 KlR with 20k only uses oil if I run it above 4800RPM. As thats about 80MPH it does not use much.

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