Synthetic Oil Affecting Clutch? - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-12-2018, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Synthetic Oil Affecting Clutch?

I just bought (today) a 2004 1600 Classic. The previous owner told me not to use synthetic, as he had it cause clutch slippage in the past. Has anyone else had this issue? Is he pulling my leg? Or is this valid and I should use regular oil? Or?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-12-2018, 09:48 PM
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I can't speak for the 1600 but I switched to synthetic on my 9 and saw better performance and smoother shifting.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 12:47 AM
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Synthetic oil isn't the issue, friction modifiers are. If the label says something about enhancing fuel efficiency, keep it away from your clutch.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 01:36 AM
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I read an article a while back about some synthetics viscosity levels and inhibitors. Been awhile and can't remember much of the article anymore. But I do remember that my decided fix for the problem was to get synthetic oil made specifically for motorcycles with wet clutches. It has worked for me so far, but it can cause some light oil leaks on some 1500's that may need patching up. Usually older ones that have a little more worn O-rings and fittings.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 02:47 AM
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well let's see... the previous owner tells you that the bike had clutch slippage when using synthetic, and you seem to think he was pulling your leg... What would be the harm to believe him and use recommended bike oil for a wet clutch bikes? Why the need to use synthetic?

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 03:00 AM
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another thing, since a Trade Panel ruling on the word 'Synthetic' printed on oil containers determined that 'Synthetic' on any manufacturers container is a 'Marketing term only', let us know what oil you are thinking of putting in your 1600 because not all oil jugs that say 'Synthetic' are actually synthetic. The consumer has to do their own oil chemical composition research on what's actually in the oil jug first before buying it thanks to the Trade Panel ruling. In other words... 'Synthetic' printed on oil jugs has no meaning whatsoever now.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 03:18 AM
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what I mean is this,, some guy said he uses 'Synthetic' oil in his wet clutch bike but is it real 'synthetic' or 'marketing synthetic'? because some oil companies print synthetic on their jugs but its actually group II base oil that's steam cleaned and does not harm to wet clutches, so when he tells you that synthetic is ok for your bike, and you go out and buy a jug of oil from a different manufacturer that says 'synthetic' on the jug and it really is Synthetic oil and your clutch starts slipping, do you see the confusion here? some oils that say synthetic are not and some that say synthetic actually will slip your clutch, so be cautious of who is telling you they use synthetic oil cause they may not actually know that it could actually be Group II dino oil that's marketed and sold as 'Synthetic'. Buyer beware.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 06:58 AM
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OK, the 1600 manual states to use: API SE, SF or SG class, or API SH or SJ class with JASO MA. And the viscosity to use is SAE 10W-40. As long as you abide by those specs, it makes no difference if its synthetic or not. And it will not cause clutch slippage. A good synthetic oil does not break down as easily as standard oil which is one reason why some folks switch over. But either is fine to use especially when we are changing our oil so often it seems.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 08:57 AM
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Just avoid any oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API seal. Those contain friction modifiers that will cause a wet clutch to slip.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 12:14 PM
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Suggest using oil which is JASO approved. These are approved for motorcycle use because they do not have friction reducing properties and contain metals which aid in clutch use. These are not necessarily motorcycle-specific oils. Example - I use Shell Rotella T6 5w-40 synthetic, basically an oil for trucks but is JASO approved. Other riders obviously have different preferences - this is NOT intended to start another motorcycle oil war!

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