Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
643 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any data on when oil starts to break down?

Manual says oil change @ 7,500 miles which seems way too long to me. I read somewhere that oil starts to break down after being exposed to heat and shearing forces etc. and may appear to be clean but has lost some of its protective lubricating properties.

I am thinking filter and oil change as follows: Dino oil every 3k and synthetic every 4k. I would really like to know if there is some data out there that indicates when oil starts to break down to the point where protection is degraded. Would like to base my oil change interval on some relevant fact.

Example if oil starts to degrade after 50 hours then I can determine that based on an average speed of 40 MPH oil should be changed at 2,000 miles.

Perhaps I am overthinking this but I recall back in the early 70s oil change on my bike was every 1,000 miles. Small capacity and oil then was not what it is today. But 7,500 seems way too long for an oil change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
Oil Change Frequency

I don't have any scientific data myself but based on years of experience I believe if your taking long rides, like I do, the oil could be changed more often. I use synthetic and still change every 3-4000 mi. and the oil looks pretty dirty at that time. Granted oil formulation has come a long way as well as engine design but consider the beating motorcycle oil takes I agree that 7,500 is too much. There are some very intelligent people on this forum and I dare say somebody has more accurate info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
847 Posts
Woild Bill & oil chg.

Bill, the info available to me indicates the greatest break down in most oils happen during the first 1500 mi. there are several independent tests out there as to whether motorcycle oil is any better than reg. automotive etc. of the tests I've seen Mobil 1 seems to have the highest remaining viscosity after 2,000 miles. 10-40 being recommended for liquid cooled engines. I am sorry but I don't have the gray matter to be of more help, but if this is a true test then 7,500 miles is pushing it a bit seems like. On the other hand I haven't seen any blown engines due to oil failure, maybe we're hooked in the past somewhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
If Kawasaki is rec. 7500 miles then I think that the breakdown of the oil is probably not a limiting factor.

I do know that when you change the oil, all the dirt trapped in the oil comes out, and that's mainly why I don't go 7500 miles... More like 1500, but running Rotella T6 at $5 a quart makes changes painless.

I'd rather spend $45 and change my oil 3 times in 7500 miles with a good synthetic than spend $45 and change it once with a good synthetic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,089 Posts
If Kawasaki is rec. 7500 miles then I think that the breakdown of the oil is probably not a limiting factor.

I do know that when you change the oil, all the dirt trapped in the oil comes out, and that's mainly why I don't go 7500 miles... More like 1500, but running Rotella T6 at $5 a quart makes changes painless.

I'd rather spend $45 and change my oil 3 times in 7500 miles with a good synthetic than spend $45 and change it once with a good synthetic.


OEMs risk a big hit to their reputation and exposure to high warranty costs if they make bad maintenance recommendations. If they say (first of) 7500 miles or 12 months is OK you are all but guaranteed there is some cushion in that number.

For myself, once per year is optimal. Ends up being about 5000 miles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
163 Posts
modern oil can go 10,000 to 15,000 I change the oil filter every 3,000 oil at 9,000 I use synthetic AMSOIL 10W40.
I bet the oil is pretty dirty at 9,000 when it comes out. Like I said, I don't change it every 2000 miles cause I'm worried about the oil breaking down, I change it to get the dirt and sludge out of the engine.

Might not make one bit of difference but it makes me feel better. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
I plan on just following the specs in the manual. Every 7,500 miles.

My exception to that is a change at the beginning of the season regardless of mileage (unless < 500). I then do another change as soon as I hit the next 7,500.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,089 Posts
I plan on just following the specs in the manual. Every 7,500 miles.

My exception to that is a change at the beginning of the season regardless of mileage (unless < 500). I then do another change as soon as I hit the next 7,500.


The change interval is every 7,500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

I always change mine before winter storage then that's the oil I run until next change (which is generally the next winter storage date ~12 months later).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
The only way to know for sure is with your oil and your use and to have it tested. Here are results of my Amsoil 20w50 motorcycle oil that I had tested by Blackstone. They claim it should be fine for 5,000 miles. I currently have over 32,500 miles on my 07 Classic with no mechanical problems other than a stator replacement. I ride in high heat conditions at 100+ degrees quite a bit and feel like I need good protection from my oil while riding at 75mph in this heat. This oil had 3,053 miles on it riding in 100 to 105 degree weather in July and August in Southern Utah near Las Vegas. This is why I run 20w50 in the summer months but switch to 10w40 in the fall and winter. I ride hard and need to trust my oil. The way I ride I can't bring myself to run cheap oil especially in these conditions. I couldn't run any oil for over 5,000 miles in these conditions and still sleep at night but that is personal choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
The change interval is every 7,500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

I always change mine before winter storage then that's the oil I run until next change (which is generally the next winter storage date ~12 months later).
True, I left out the Or 12 months part since the only way my bike would ever go 12 months before hitting 7.5k would be because I CAN'T ride. I've always left eh oil in the bike over winter and change it outs soon as I start riding in the spring.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
643 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Dirtwiz,

Thanks for the report. I think your oil is being stressed pretty hard with 100F + air temps and 75 MPH cruising speeds, so the 5,000 miles was reassuring.

My understanding is that all synthetic oils use the same base lubricant and that it is the additives that makes the difference from one brand to another.

My guess is any oil that meets the rating requirement is OK to use with a change every 4,000 - 6,000 miles or so. These are cruisers not racing machines.

Most of my riding is secondary roads at 45-65 mph in 60-85F temps. Other than frequent full throttle for the stop light to cruise speed the engine dosn't get a much of a work out.

This thread has been interesting with change intervals ranging for 1,500 - 15,000 miles. We are a varied group arn't we!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
114 Posts
I change my oil and filter every 5000km with synthetic.
Most of my riding is at 110kmh.
The way I see it is Oil and filters are cheap compared to being towed and engine/trans repairs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
643 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I change my oil and filter every 5000km with synthetic.
Most of my riding is at 110kmh.
The way I see it is Oil and filters are cheap compared to being towed and engine/trans repairs.
5000km = 3000 miles. Certainly no harm is doing a syn oil/ filter change that frequently but I am or sure there is any benefit either.

The test Dirtwiz had done indicated the Amsoil he was using (100F 75mph riding conditions) was good for 5,000 miles.

I will stay with syn change every 4000 miles unless there is some compelling technical reason to change earlier.

I do like the K&N filter, having that 17mm nut on top sure makes filter change easy.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top