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Which motor oil in your Harley?


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#1 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted May. 18 2017 - 07:19 AM

Which oil do you use and why fellas? 

 

The reason why I ask is time before last I let the dealer change my lubes.  What they used went the recommended full 5,000 miles.  The last time I changed it myself and went with Mobil 1 V Twin which is crapping out now at about 3,000 miles.  Now keep in mind on an air cooled bike, that type of thing is hard to judge.  Depending on weather and riding conditions, the engine oil can see vastly different temperature conditions.  This change saw more humid hot conditions and less highway miles.  Man is this not so much an issue on radiator bikes. 

 

Which primary and transmission oil do you use?

 

My Street Glide is a 2014 so rated to use engine oil in the transmission and primary.  Though the Mobil 1 started out with a little slippage, its settled in very nice now.  The bike is rated to use specific transmission and primary lubes too.

 

How often do you change?

 

On this change, I'm going before the recommended 5,000 miles at least on the engine.  I've seen a noticeable pressure drop at temperature, about 3-4 psi and if you have ridden air cooled bikes a while you can tell by a sound change.  The manual on my bike calls for a crank case change every 5,000 and transmission and primary only every other change.  Just as a FYI on the change in current lube, it does fine at lower ambient temps, smooth as hell, but noticeably loss of performance at hot temps. 

 

What I am thinking about doing is change the crankcase now, Amsoil, then change again at the scheduled time all three and going with Redline.  Then I will be back on track with the miles thing.  Thoughts?

 

Thanks,

 

Tj




#2 OFFLINE   devil duck

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Posted May. 18 2017 - 10:18 AM

http://www.royalpurp...cle-engine-oil/
I used HD oil for the longest time before I changed over to Royal Purple. I'm sold on their products.


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#3 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted May. 18 2017 - 11:46 AM

http://www.royalpurp...cle-engine-oil/
I used HD oil for the longest time before I changed over to Royal Purple. I'm sold on their products.

Royal Purple s another Class V oil like Reline.  Best I can tell, the class Vs are a major improvement over the IVs to the point some companies like Amsoil won't even test them or if they have won't publish it. 




#4 OFFLINE   MnP4me

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 01:42 AM

I've used HD Syn 3 in all my Sportsters, motor and transmission. Change it at the same 5k and 10k intervals. Never had any issues with it. I like being able to use it in the tranny too. It costs a little more, but I do the work myself and save on labor charges.


Edited by MnP4me, May. 20 2017 - 01:45 AM.



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#5 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 08:30 AM

Did the interim change, engine only, to Amsoil.  Level is dead nuts on and it was, at temp, right back where it should be on oil pressure.  

 

What this tells me is indeed the Mobil V Twin crapped out on me about half way to the scheduled oil change. 

 

I still don't know why.  The bike did see a lot of high temps last season.  Above 90 with a high humidity at slow speeds and/or stop and go is a killer on air cooled bikes.  My bike even 100 degrees highway speeds with its factory oil cooler does just fine, but under those no air conditions the engine temp can jump as high as 220 degrees F. My bike does have the automatic one cylinder shutdown for over temp which, though enabled, didn't kick in.  Its got an indicator when it does and as you can imagine a Harley running on one jug is quite noticeable.  Plan is still to run the Amsoil the next couple of thousand miles then change all the oils to get them on the same schedule. 

 

Good news and quite impressed is there was zero shavings on the magnetic tip on the oil plug.  I mean none.  The used oil was dark but not dirty.  It just apparently overheated and broke down.  It is something the Amsoil is rated specifically for and higher than Mobil 1 V Twin. 

 

Prior to this monster, my last two bikes were water cooled.  Even at extreme conditions and at the scheduled mileage change the Mobil 1 V Twin was still in great shape.  Air cooled is harder.  Years ago on the inlines, man you couldn't go miles at all on oil changes.  Those side by side jugs got damn hot and back then there was no such thing as synthetic oil.  Late 70s early 80's I use to use Valvoline 20-50 racing oil.  It was the cats meow.  Then Valvoline changed their formula, went away from PA crude and started adding cracked coal oil.  I then switched to Castrol GTX, which btw still gets rating almost but not quite rivaling the synthetics.  Synthetic I switched to Mobil 1 then later Mobil 1 V Twin.  Now it looks like I'm switching again.  My gut tells me the HD oil outperformed the Mobil 1 V Twin in this 103 cu in air cooled monster. 

 

I don't know who makes Harley oil for sure.  I do know its sp0ecifically formulated to meet their specs and who has changed over the years.  I suspect its Amsoil these days because like the bike washing chemicals they private label, the Harley shops carry both brands.  When I bought the Amsoil i put in, I bought the oil from Harley.  Another example, Harley sales both S100 cleaning products and their own private label and they are the same company.  In the case the cleaning stuff, the Harley branded stuff is less expensive.  Oil, however the Amsoil is. 

 

Let me get some more saddle time on the Amsoil and I'll let you know how its doing.  It may take a while.  Temps will be high today here but then we're in for a cool spell.  I should be able to tell by pressure variances. 

 

BTW, Digital information on a vehicle is some damn high tech stuff and I have grown to understand why these new Harley's cost as much as a car.  They have more high tech shat on them than a car.  Some of this stuff is amazing.  My bike, for example, will even compensate automatically without reprogramming the air to fuel ration for exhaust changes, within limits of course.  Buying exhausts use to be slap it on there, adjust the carb.  Now its read the exhaust pipe manufacturer info, match up your year and engine, then see if it needs a reprogram or not.  A lot of riders are oblivious to this stuff.  I have a riding pal that only uses ethnol free gas and changed his pipes probably three times without a reprogram, runs some Vance and Hines now, and man you can smell the gas coming out the exhaust when he romps on it.  One set of pipes I forgot the branding, his pipes use to get so hot, he'd have to pull over and let them cool.  It takes a little more knowing what you are doing these days but it still beats having to screw with the damn carbs all the time.

 

I'm finding out oil isn't much different.  Need to give it some thought and its not conventional thought.  These are some state of the art machines these days and there's a reason the new Harley's, despite being air cooled, are going high mileage before rebuilds.  I have a buddy, a real saddle nut, that puts over 300,000 miles on his Harley's with only one rebuild.  Amazing for an air cooled machine. 

 

Tj




#6 OFFLINE   devil duck

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 09:18 AM

Temperature was the biggest (of course protection also) reason I made the switch to RP in the Diesel. I have seen a drop in trans temp and the engine. She seem to run smother also. Like I said in the other thread, HP diesels (air cooled Harleys) make some serious heat. In the pulling world and Dyno trucks, Amsoil and RP are the go to oils. You start making serious power, 1,000 plus, and you better have something that can take it.
Setting on the interstate stuck in a traffic jam and it's 95° out your air cooled Harley is suffering (along with you) I think you will like the change to the Amsoil.
O you are correct about the Harley oil and Amsoil being one in the same, according to the mechanic at Cool Springs Harley.


#7 OFFLINE   Snake46

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 09:19 AM

TJ, thanks for the "here's something to worry about"..I am so ignorant mechanically (one of many areas), I only know I have always used Amsoil in my '09 Heritage and have all three changed when I take it in every 2500-3000 miles..
I suggested an oil cooler addition to my '01 1200 Sportster and the mechanic (different shop) talked me out of it, so I just cruise along thinking HD has it under control..


#8 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 09:44 AM

TJ, thanks for the "here's something to worry about"..I am so ignorant mechanically (one of many areas), I only know I have always used Amsoil in my '09 Heritage and have all three changed when I take it in every 2500-3000 miles..
I suggested an oil cooler addition to my '01 1200 Sportster and the mechanic (different shop) talked me out of it, so I just cruise along thinking HD has it under control..

I rode TX for ten years.  An oil cooler would be nice.

 

IMHO, Best type is one with an electric fan that kicks on by temperature switch.  I'll check later today on which brand the guys I ride with use.  It works almost like a radiator in that the fan doesn't kick on unless the bikes hot like in stop and go traffic and keeps their bikes below the 200 mark.   My factory is a standard airflow.  It works great as long as I'm moving.  Harley Tour bikes, a cooler comes standard equipment.  They're low profile no fan but makes a hell of a difference on the highway. 

 

They're actually easy to install.  They come with a plate for where your filter screws in that has the hose connections.  The electric fan ones are a bit more involved.  They need wired. 

 

All this said, my years in TX all I did was stay on top of the engine temp, pulling off and letting her cool down when needed.  Like Devil posted, old school is if its cooking you, the engine is cooking.  What an oil cooler means is simply more saddle time.

 

Sorry I don't have a solution for your head being fried.  We use to pull into road side rests, let the bikes cool, while we stuck our heads under a faucet.  :hysterical3:

 

Humidity is the big thing.  E. TX, oh wow, 90/90. West TX 100/below 40 not so bad.  Low humidity and sun, your head will cook before the bike. :laugh:

 

Tj




#9 OFFLINE   Snake46

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Posted May. 20 2017 - 11:05 AM

I rode TX for ten years.  An oil cooler would be nice.
 
IMHO, Best type is one with an electric fan that kicks on by temperature switch.  I'll check later today on which brand the guys I ride with use.  It works almost like a radiator in that the fan doesn't kick on unless the bikes hot like in stop and go traffic and keeps their bikes below the 200 mark.   My factory is a standard airflow.  It works great as long as I'm moving.  Harley Tour bikes, a cooler comes standard equipment.  They're low profile no fan but makes a hell of a difference on the highway. 
 
They're actually easy to install.  They come with a plate for where your filter screws in that has the hose connections.  The electric fan ones are a bit more involved.  They need wired. 
 
All this said, my years in TX all I did was stay on top of the engine temp, pulling off and letting her cool down when needed.  Like Devil posted, old school is if its cooking you, the engine is cooking.  What an oil cooler means is simply more saddle time.
 
Sorry I don't have a solution for your head being fried.  We use to pull into road side rests, let the bikes cool, while we stuck our heads under a faucet.  :hysterical3:
 
Humidity is the big thing.  E. TX, oh wow, 90/90. West TX 100/below 40 not so bad.  Low humidity and sun, your head will cook before the bike. :laugh:
 
Tj


Reckon I should talk with my current shop about an oil cooler with fan..don't know which is hotter, the V twin or my debit card!
Thanks for the info..


#10 OFFLINE   Snake46

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Posted May. 31 2017 - 07:51 PM

Talked with a different mechanic today..been working on bikes for a lot of years in the Austin area. His opinion: if it's stock and not spending a lot of time in stop and go traffic, which I don't, don't really need it. Pretty much what the guy said about the Sportster..maybe he's counting on the engine rebuild!


#11 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted Jun. 01 2017 - 09:37 AM

Talked with a different mechanic today..been working on bikes for a lot of years in the Austin area. His opinion: if it's stock and not spending a lot of time in stop and go traffic, which I don't, don't really need it. Pretty much what the guy said about the Sportster..maybe he's counting on the engine rebuild!

Well people don't expect folks to put a lot of miles on a Sportster. 

 

On the other hand, ALL of the Harley Tour bikes come factory equipped with oil coolers to extend engine life due to heat. An average oil cooler, moving, will lower your engine temp by 30 degrees which on an air cooled bike can take from above 220F to under 190F.   The good news is on a Sportster, you can get away with a small one and aftermarket, it wouldn't be that expensive adding only minutes to an oil change to install.  They just use a plate between your oil filter and engine that has two nozzles, two hoses, and you clamp the coil to your front frame, typically down low so it doesn't look like a radiator.  The Harley Sportster model is $229 and it mounts up high on the side of the frame and $329 for the low mount.  That's without transition plate.   Me, I'd buy just the transistion plate then use a $80 aftermarket

 

You know how folks can be on Harley's.  They buy $650 Jeggs oil coolers for Sporsters. 

 

I did ask, the one the guys use the most is a brand called "Ultracool" which the entire kit including transition plate is $459.  That's a chrome electric fan unit.  Man is it neat, its plug and play.  The switch is built into the transition plate and has a standard Harley aux plug for the power.  The fans mostly don't run until the temp gets too high then its like a radiator in a car. 

 

Another popular type is a dual fan that mounts where your horn is on a bigger Harley.  It simply blows wind over the engine when stopped.  I'm sure it works but I just don't care for them.  They change the looks of the bike too much and when that fan cuts on, its like its on your lap.

 

Tj




#12 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted Jun. 01 2017 - 04:03 PM

Oh yeah, forgot to mention.  There is one more very inexpensive oil cooler option out there targeted at Sporsters specifically.  The Billet oil cooler.   Its simply a chrome cover with air fins for your oil filter.  It slips right over it.  Its a pretty simple concept.

 

Its not a real oil cooler that drops on average the temp by 30 degrees but the forums and reviews I've read say it will drop it on average about ten degrees. 

 

The cost is like $40-$50. 

 

 

 

Amsoil Update

 

So far so good on the Amsoil.  You can tell it performs differently than the Mobil 1 V Twin in how it reacts to heat.  There's very little pressure change from cold to hot, only 3 psi.  Its the same delta P higher RPMs vs idle, 3.  I'll have to see how it lasts but new right out of the bottle it performs better than the Mobil 1 V Twin new out of the bottle.  That btw is the big sell on the ester based oils like Royal Purple and Red Line, how much better they perform hot.

 

Tj




#13 OFFLINE   Snake46

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Posted Jun. 02 2017 - 08:44 AM

I no longer own the Sportster..traded it in when I bought the Heritage back in '09..had a little over42,000 miles. It's the Heritage I asked the latest mechanic about.
Continued good luck with the Amsoil..all I've ever used.


#14 OFFLINE   TomJefferson

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Posted Jun. 02 2017 - 09:03 AM

Ah Heritage, that's the bike the guys i ride with that use the Ultra-cool.  Yep, so far, very impressed with the Amsoil. 




#15 OFFLINE   bamashooter

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Posted Jul. 24 2017 - 08:05 PM

I've always used Mobil 1 "car" oil in my 2003. 

 

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#16 OFFLINE   Steelborn1

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Posted Jul. 24 2017 - 08:15 PM

Pouring good oil in a Harley just seems like a waste of good oil............









I kid, I kid. We Jap bike guys can't help it.


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#17 OFFLINE   devil duck

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Posted Jul. 24 2017 - 08:29 PM

Pouring good oil in a Harley just seems like a waste of good oil............
I kid, I kid. We Jap bike guys can't help it.

Lol, I get it, lmao. That would be like putting minute rice in a Jap bike instead of the store brand.





















;)

Edited by devil duck, Jul. 24 2017 - 08:30 PM.



#18 OFFLINE   Steelborn1

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Posted Jul. 24 2017 - 09:07 PM

Lol, I get it, lmao. That would be like putting minute rice in a Jap bike instead of the store brand.
;)


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#19 OFFLINE   Rico 05R

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Posted Jul. 24 2017 - 09:39 PM

Another vote for the Royal Purple Max Cycle 20-50.


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#20 OFFLINE   robton62

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Posted Aug. 17 2017 - 04:20 AM

I use Amsoil synthetic. Expensive but my bike seems to like it.







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