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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I created the following post on another forum to inform fellow riders that Shell Rotella Diesel oil had changed its formula and had become unsafe to use in sportbikes with wet clutches and thought of it beneficial enough to post here. That said I highly recommend that anyone with questions regarding motor oil and its usage in Sport bikes or automobiles to read this post. As always, questions or comments are appreciated! Enjoy!


--------------------Original Post-----------------------------
Shell Rotella Motor Oils (A diesel oil commonly used in sportbikes) are now API-SM rated (Previously held an API "SG" Rating).


What Does This SM Rating Mean?
-Lower Concentrations of ZDDP (Prevents wear, at the cost of environmental concerns)
-Lower Concentrations of Phosphate (Prevents wear, and protects metal)
-Addition of Wear Additives & Friction Modifiers
*Friction Modifiers cause wet clutch slippage in motorcycles

Ok, So What Does all THAT ^ Mean??
-Anyone whose bike has a Wet Clutch (95% of us) should consider discontinuing their usage of Shell Rotella/Rotella T Motor Oils, or any Automotive/Diesel oil with an API SM Rating/Sticker/Logo on the (back of the) bottle.


What Should I Use Instead?
1. Use what's recommended by your motorcycles manufacture at the minimum. Especially if you are unsure of which motor oil to use.

2. For Further Recommendations & Explanations please continue reading on...​
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What Do I Look for When Choosing Oil for My Motorcycle?


1. The Golden Rule: Synthetic Oil.
The single, most important thing you can do to extend the life of your motorcycle and obtain maximum performance from your engine is to use Synthetic Motor Oils. Synthetic oils are vastly superior than any alternative (IE: Conventional & Synthetic Blend Oils), and will outperform them in Every aspect.

There's many misconceptions when it comes to Synthetic Oil & its usage (Too many to debate) so all I'm going to say is this: Forget everything you've ever heard or thought you knew about synthetic oils, and just use them! NOW! I don't care if you have 30k miles on your bike, or you just picked it up from the showroom floor..just USE synthetics! Moto GP, Porsche, and Ferrari are all running synthetic oils, and so should you. Its not just about extending the life of an engine, its about making it run faster, stronger, harder, and more reliable during that longer lifetime!

*For the Anti-Synthetic Oil Naysayers: See the section entitled "Why Should I use Synthetic Oil" at the bottom of this page before any rebuttals are made.


2. NO API "Energy Conserving" Rating Label/Sticker.
Any oil labeled as "Energy Saving" or "Energy Conserving" should be avoided as they contain high levels of friction modifiers that cause clutch slippage in sportbikes, which leads to Clutch Failure.

Shell Oil Company puts it best when giving us this explanation:
"One last thing to consider is whether oil contains friction modifier additives. For improved fuel economy, passenger car oils have such an additive. But the wet clutch in your bike doesn't perform right with friction modifiers."

Here's an example of what you do Not want to use, note the "Energy Conserving" portion of the label:




3. Oil Weight (Viscosity)
There's 2 common weights used in motorcycles:

10w40
-For use with Outdoor Temps of Up to 100*F
-Most commonly used in liquid cooled, 4 cylinder sportbikes

20w50
-For use in warm climates, or where the outside temp exceeds 100*F
-Most commonly used in V Twin, or Air Cooled motorcycles...except during the peak of summer.​


What Else Should I Look For When Buying...

Motorcycle Specific Oil?

Any of The Following 3 Ratings:
JASO (See Note 1)
JASO MA/MA2 (See Note 2)
4T Designation​

Note 1: JASO (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization) designates the oil contains anti-shear additives which are necessary to prevent viscosity breakdown in engines with common sump/gearbox lubrication (Sportbikes).

Note 2: MA and MA2 are clutch performance ratings. MA 2 is the highest rating
available. Do NOT use JASO MB/MB2 Designated Oils, as they contain Friction Modifiers.


*Why Do Motorcycle Specific Oils lack an API Rating?*
Because no motorcycle specific oils contain the friction modifiers required to obtain an API rating...so don't try to get a bottle and compare it to your favorite automotive oil with an API-XX rating, because they are completely different monsters, and shouldn't be compared side by side. This is a Good thing.



Automotive & Diesel Oils For Use in My Sportbike?
1.Automotive Oils rated no higher than API SG (See Note 1)

2.Diesel Oils rated no higher than CF-4 (See Note 2)


Note 1: Oils with an API rating exceeding SG are not recommended. All SM rated oils (The most common automotive oil today) are NOT to be used, and can cause damage as they all contain friction modifiers. While not all SH, SJ, & SL rated oil contain Friction Modifiers, their manafactures are not required to state if they contain friction modifiers, and are therefore Not recommended.

Note 2: Most diesel engine oils packaged for retail sale are now including the comparable API S (Service) class rating alongside their C (Commercial) ratings for simplicity. This should make comparisons and finding a "safe" (albeit not as protective) diesel oil to use in your sportbike easier.​


When Using Automotive & Diesel Oils in Motorcycles Keep In Mind That You Will Have:

More Frequent Oil Changes
Because of the lack of shear additives, Automotive oils will lose viscosity (thickness) sooner than motorcycle-specific oils, requiring more frequent changes.​

More Overall Engine Wear
There is much less ZDDP additive (Zinc Dialkyl-Dithio-Phosphate) for anti-wear, due to automotive emmision requirements. There is less than a 1/4 the amount of ZDDP in SM (& 1/2 in SL) rated oil as in SG rated oil, by law.​

Additional Transmission Wear & Increased chances of Heavy Internal Corrosion
JASO requirements limits ash content to 1.2% (Rotella exceeds this limit). Why is this important? Sulfated ash means higher quantities of sulfuric acid content, which can eat away the lighter metal parts inside a transmission (Springs, pins, shift forks, etc) when moisture is introduced.​

A Lack of Detergents/Shearing Additives, & Higher Ash Content.

There are automotive racing oils that could be used as Motorcycle oils (Not recommended), like Valvoline's 20w50 Racing oil, as it has a higher than legal (For automobile use) ZDDP content (This is why it lacks an API rating) BUT that said it still lacks many additional motorcycle specific shear additives, and its ash content is much higher than a motorcycle specific oil (Causing additional & otherwise unnecessary wear on the internal components of a motorcycle engine). You'd be just as good grabing a motorcycle specific oil, even if its a non synthetic one for the same, or less cost than many automotive racing oils.​


*Why Should I Use Synthetics?*
I have just one reason to give you, and no conventional oil can even come close to touching this:

Film Strength

I'm not going to get very in depth here, but Film Strength determines how well an oil can "squeeze" between moving surfaces, and how well it will "Cling" once everything has been turned off and sitting for awhile. Think about it, if 90% of engine wear occurs at the turn of a key during engine start-up, then why wouldn't you protect against it? Only a Synthetic oil will provide you with a Film Strength that is capable of protecting an engines internals against harsh start up conditions. The film strength of Synthetic oil is nearly ten times that of which a conventional oil can provide..Amsoil or not!​




You can change your regular old dino oil as much as you want, But if it aint got it...you just aint gettin it!
 
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Thanx for that info. I'm a Rotella fan, been one since I first got the SV, the SV forum swears by it. I'll be checking labels when I get home.
 

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Won't switching to synthetic on an old bike cause oil leaks?
Where do these kinds of rumors originate and why does anyone ever believe them without actual proof? I think I'll start a rumor that putting sunflower seeds in your navel will make your dick bigger-right after I corner the market on sunflowers.:rotflmao
 

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Unless you have an aftermarket clutch. EBC and Barnett don't recommend 100% synthetic oils in their clutch kits. Kawasaki UK recommends semi-synthetic oil in all their street bikes. Full synthetic is okay for track days or racing if you have a stock oem clutch. Or if you have a dry clutch. SG, SJ, SL JASO MA/MA2 motorcycle specific oils are a safe bet.
 

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Thanx for that info. I'm a Rotella fan, been one since I first got the SV, the SV forum swears by it. I'll be checking labels when I get home.
Not to be a total contrarian, but my XJ750 has a very recent change with Rotella T in it. Presumably with the SJ labeling (though I can't be sure without being home).

I get zero clutch slippage.
 

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Long post for nothing...

Although I am no fan of Rotella, it has a Self-Imposed JASO MA Rating. Rotella can safely be used as well as any oil that has the proper ratings.

A motorcycle specific oil is always recommended BUT, an auto/diesel oil may be used IF it has an API SG Rating. A higher API Rating may be used AS LONG AS the oil carries a JASO MA or, better yet, MA2 Rating.

The Best isn’t cheap
Cheap isn’t The Best


Bob
 

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Not to be a total contrarian, but my XJ750 has a very recent change with Rotella T in it. Presumably with the SJ labeling (though I can't be sure without being home).

I get zero clutch slippage.
Same here MOBIL 1 15W50 API-SM, Car oil. Don't slip the clutch.
 

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I am not sure where the copy and paste by the OP came from but, although there is some correct information in it, it should be deleted for the bad content in it.

The Best isn’t cheap
Cheap isn’t The Best


Bob
 

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I am not sure where the copy and paste by the OP came from but, although there is some correct information in it, it should be deleted for the bad content in it.

The Best isn’t cheap
Cheap isn’t The Best


Bob
well... put up another for us :thumbup
 

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well... put up another for us :thumbup
Pure.... Plain....Simple... The second paragraph has all the information necessary to purchase the right oil for your bike.

Although I am no fan of Rotella, it has a Self-Imposed JASO MA Rating. Rotella can safely be used as well as any oil that has the proper ratings.

A motorcycle specific oil is always recommended BUT, an auto/diesel oil may be used IF it has an API SG Rating. A higher API Rating may be used AS LONG AS the oil carries a JASO MA or, better yet, MA2 Rating.


You can also look at http://bestoil4you.com/files/MC_Oil_Study.pdf if you are looking for technical information on the top Motorcycle Specific oils.

The Best isn’t cheap
Cheap isn’t The Best


Bob
 

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I am not sure where the copy and paste by the OP came from but, although there is some correct information in it, it should be deleted for the bad content in it.

The Best isn’t cheap
Cheap isn’t The Best


Bob
The only bad part in that great study, is the recommendation to use Diesel engine lube oil (that is too much detergent additivated). The rest is perfect, IMHO. It doesn't matter if it is copy/past. It is the greatest compilation on ZX forum. How dare you wish its deletion? Your propaganda do not get to the foot of the O.P. Show us a better material and then ask for its deletion.
 

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* note to self* get sunflower seeds, and set aside some "me" time.

On the subject of car oil, Ive been using castrol GTX for about 10 years and never had a problem. But if you are scared and you are a nerd you better do what the manual tells you and pay 15 a quart for the same stuff in a pretty bottle....from what Ive read, unless you are using super high priced oil like spectro the amount of additives are negligible.
And castrol GTX (non synthetic) has outperformed even high end synthetic motorcycle oils. Thats just my view and opinion, plus its fun to see closed minded people freak out when you change your oil with "car oil"

Oh by the way, the government would never lie either, so you can believe them too!! LUL:rofl
 

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* note to self* get sunflower seeds, and set aside some "me" time.

On the subject of car oil, Ive been using castrol GTX for about 10 years and never had a problem. But if you are scared and you are a nerd you better do what the manual tells you and pay 15 a quart for the same stuff in a pretty bottle....from what Ive read, unless you are using super high priced oil like spectro the amount of additives are negligible.
And castrol GTX (non synthetic) has outperformed even high end synthetic motorcycle oils. Thats just my view and opinion, plus its fun to see closed minded people freak out when you change your oil with "car oil"

Oh by the way, the government would never lie either, so you can believe them too!! LUL:rofl
Nice Burn out!
So hammer,
Before using the Mobil 1 car, I've used Castrol GTX for a long time too, in a Honda XL 250, I had between 1982 and 1989, pretty dino API SF. By 1990, I've changed to sinthetic Mobil 1 10W60 SF car oil on my XL600 and subsequent bikes. I'm with Mobil 1 since 1990, now is SL 15W50 for me, but a good sinthetic Castrol car oil is a good call too ...
Stick to the manual if you will.
 

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One possibility not aborded in this thread is the Aviation oil.

In case someone is wondering about aircraft oil usage in bikes ... Has anyone ever looked at aviation oils like Aeroshell W100, Exon semisinthetic 20W50 and others ?

For the guys, particularly those with old design air-cooled engines (Customs and so) wondering about aviation oil and fuel. Here it goes.

Not recommended because:

Those propeller piston engine airplanes still use leaded fuel and are of an older design so wonders if the oils they use are of an older blend (with more ZZDP and Phosphorous)? Not particular true.

Aircraft oils are poorly suited for automobile or motorcycle engines. They are poorly added and majority still are sigle grade (SAE40, SAE50 weight) and self presents with words like ashless dispersant on its bottle as being a huge advance.

Among other things, the bromide salts used for lead scavenging are corrosive as hell and those engines suffer accordingly.

Further, they are not made for medium to high RPM engines and contain little or no anti-foam agents. Aircraft engines run from idle of 700 rpm to a redline 2,400 rpm, a few goes at 2,700 direct drive, because drive prop shaft spin get its limits for tip blade speed to be in subsonic range.

I would stick to oils made for cars or motorcycles for those reasons.:rofl
 

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Annnd the purpose of that post was what? :headscratch
To clarify NOT to use aviation oil?
Good point.:thumbup
Damnit, I just got a barrel of Airplane oil from a friend at the airport, I figured it would be fine in my motorcycle since it was oil after all. What a waste :angry





:rolleyes
 
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