Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Winter is almost over here in MI and I am preparing for my first oil change on my 900 Custom (bought it last summer).

I'm just wondering what the users of this great forum prefer in their bikes?

Thanks for replies in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
Yeah, Can o' worms has been opened!

Here's my two cents;

1) Use a motorcycle-specific oil, or AT LEAST one that has the JASO-MA rating. Though, preferably, a motorcycle specific oil! They won't harm the wet clutch like some car oils will, and they will have additives formulated for the shared transmission oil, wet clutch, etc.

2) Use the weight the manufacturer recommends. Don't try to play chemist. Lots of people will tell you some blanket rules like "Always use XW-XX in certain temps" but every bike is different. Being an overhead cam engine, heavier weight oils can cause issues. Stick with 10W-40, which is what Kawasaki recommends for the 900. Stay away from oil additives and intentionally mixing oils (half this, half that). I'm not sure why people do that, but the oils have been formulated to work in a particular way by some well payed engineers. Adding stuff or mixing oils is not a great idea. Note that having a little oil left in the engine when you refill it with fresh oil is not 'mixing oils'. But I've seen a few folks who will use maybe 2 quarts of one brand and weight and a quart and a half of another brand and weight, intentionally, because they think it's better than using just one. Don't be tempted to play chemist. If you want to do that stuff, get a degree and start working for the engine oil companies!

3) Oil change intervals are more important than oil brands, IMHO. I would not exceed Kawasaki's recommended 7,500 miles, though you'd probably be better off to do it much sooner. Note that synthetic oil does not automatically allow you to go longer on oil changes. SOME synthetics are rated for extended drain intervals, but not most. Most synthetic oils are intended to be changed at the same intervals the conventional oils are. However they do offer better protection and better resistance to certain things.

As for me? I run either Valvoline Motorcycle Synthetic 10W-40, or Amsoil. About to switch to Amsoil as I can get it from our forum Amsoil dealer for about the same price as running the Valvoline (Amsoil Dealer Group is his name on here if you want to send him a PM). I change it every 5,000 miles. In theory I also wouldn't go more than 12 months without an oil change; but at 15-20k miles a year, that's not gonna happen anyway.

To dispell a couple common synthetic rumors;

1) You can mix, match, and switch between synthetic and conventional all day long. They are 100% compatible. Certain fluids are not compatible, so people assume ALL fluids are not compatible. Not true for engine oil. So if you're considering switching to synthetic; no- there's nothing you need to do. Just change the oil.

2) Yes, you can run synthetic in your 900. It's just oil. It has some advantages, but it's still oil.

Anything you choose will likely do just fine for the life of the bike. Lots of guys have 100k+ on inexpensive, motorcycle specific, conventional oils changed at reasonable intervals (before the 7,500 mile interval Kawasaki recommends).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
217 Posts
Wassup
I use Honda GN4 4-stroke Motorcycle oil, SAE 10w-40 SJ. It's at your local motorcycle dealer in 1 gallon containers. Why, the price is rite and fewer miss shifts. Change oil twice a year, or every 3000mi.
Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the reply guys.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Motorcycle.com Free App
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
96 Posts
Roman5.8 is spot on. As long as you are within Kawasaki's recommendations for weight (10W-40 motorcycle specific) and duration (<7.5K miles) you should be fine.

As for me, it's a trip to the dealership. I don't have a lift or garage and don't have any preference or allegiance to any brand. I just schedule a trip every March to the dealership and have it done. Then every 6K miles I make another appointment knowing that I will be between 7 & 7.5K when I finally get there later in the week. It's less hassle for me, they get a few bucks, I can be assured that the right oil is used and finally, I can ride the back roads and get a good 50+ mile ride in on the day of the change.

Side note: Not only do you need the blood, you need the air as well. Oil change time is also a good time to check/clean/replace your air filter. It's a little sooner that Kawasaki recommends, but if you've already got the tools out, why not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,131 Posts
A general rule of thumb to observe is to avoid any automotive oil that is rated at xxW30. You'll know which ones they are by the "sunburst" emblem on the label that says "energy conserving." There are additives in that kind of oil that are detrimental to motorcycle engines and transmissions.

I like Shell Rotella T/6 synthetic oil, 15W50. I can get it at Wal-Mart for about $23 a gallon. If you have a Cycle Gear store near you, they sell Castrol ActEvo semi-synthetic motorcycle oil. It's a blend of dino and synthetic oils and it works well. They have it in 10W40 and 20W50. Amsoil is great stuff, but unless you know someone who is a dealer and can get it at a decent price, I think it's too expensive.

As for oil change intervals, I try to change my oil every 3000 miles. Sometimes I go beyond that, but not far. I also change oil filters at the same time. I like the Carquest and Napa Gold series filters. They are actually a Wix filter. If you can find them, the Purulator "Pure One" series filters are very good, too. Manufacturer's brand oil, like Kawasaki, Honda, etc., aren't any better than store brand oils. And they may cost more, too.

Just change your oil regularly and you'll be fine. Oh, and another thing I go by is I always change the oil after the bike has sat all winter. I think there is enough chemical action that goes on to justify getting rid of the old oil that has sat that long. Up here, that's just about 5 months, which is long enough, IMO, to justify the cost of an oil change.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,620 Posts
A general rule of thumb to observe is to avoid any automotive oil that is rated at xxW30. You'll know which ones they are by the "sunburst" emblem on the label that says "energy conserving." There are additives in that kind of oil that are detrimental to motorcycle engines and transmissions.

I like Shell Rotella T/6 synthetic oil, 15W50. I can get it at Wal-Mart for about $23 a gallon. If you have a Cycle Gear store near you, they sell Castrol ActEvo semi-synthetic motorcycle oil. It's a blend of dino and synthetic oils and it works well. They have it in 10W40 and 20W50. Amsoil is great stuff, but unless you know someone who is a dealer and can get it at a decent price, I think it's too expensive.

As for oil change intervals, I try to change my oil every 3000 miles. Sometimes I go beyond that, but not far. I also change oil filters at the same time. I like the Carquest and Napa Gold series filters. They are actually a Wix filter. If you can find them, the Purulator "Pure One" series filters are very good, too. Manufacturer's brand oil, like Kawasaki, Honda, etc., aren't any better than store brand oils. And they may cost more, too.

Just change your oil regularly and you'll be fine. Oh, and another thing I go by is I always change the oil after the bike has sat all winter. I think there is enough chemical action that goes on to justify getting rid of the old oil that has sat that long. Up here, that's just about 5 months, which is long enough, IMO, to justify the cost of an oil change.
Just FYI...

The Purolator PureOne filters specifically state 'Not for powersports applications'. There's a debate over why or what or who or this that and the other thing; no need to get into that. BUT, for the benefit of anyone who is reading, just be aware that Purolator says you should NOT use PureOne oil filters on a motorcycle.

Also, I tend to stick with 40 weight oil (xxW40). Being an overhead cam engine, the heavier 50 weight could potentially cause issues with the top end, especially on cooler days. Synthetic oils can handle the heat better so even if you have an occasional super hot day, a 40 weight will be fine. It's a liquid cooled bike, if the coolant is maintained (flushed every other year or so), you should have no issues. That's up to you, but that's just my opinion. Kawasaki's recommendation for 50 weight oil is when the AVERAGE temperature is above 95F, not when "Once in a while it sometimes hits 95F". AKA severe conditions. When it's cooler, the xxW50 can be too thick for the top end. "Cooler" here could mean 85 degrees, and certainly below.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
I use the Shell Rotella Synthetic 5W-40 Motor Oil. I like the w40 for the reasons Roman states. I dont go over 3500 miles between changes and always do the filter at that time. Also I my K&N air filter then too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
I use Shell Rotella 5W-40 synthetic along with Baldwin B1400 oil filter. Change at 4000 km (2500 miles). I change oil in the Fall when the bike is put away. Come spring I hit the road and the routine starts all over. Works for me. Bike shifts perfectly and is a pleasure to own and ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
487 Posts
I've used Shell Rotella 5W-40 Synthetic and my clutch slipped.
My bike Likes the Shell Rotella 15W-40 Dino. In Summer I use 20W-50 dino usually the Kawasaki brand, my bike likes the thicker oil, less noise, better shifting. Bosch 3300 filters.

Like others have mentioned, you'll get a different answer from all most everyone who posts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
695 Posts
As expected, it will be AMSOIL for me.

I don't say the things I do about AMSOIL to sell it. I sell AMSOIL because I can say the things I do.

AMSOIL saves money due to its extended drain capability, helps save the environment due to the extended drain, an AMERICAN Made Product, cools the engine better, cleans the engine better, seals the engine better, lubricates better, smoother shifting, easier to find neutral, fewer false neutrals, better fuel mileage, More HP and less wear.

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
As expected, it will be AMSOIL for me.

I don't say the things I do about AMSOIL to sell it. I sell AMSOIL because I can say the things I do.

AMSOIL saves money due to its extended drain capability, helps save the environment due to the extended drain, an AMERICAN Made Product, cools the engine better, cleans the engine better, seals the engine better, lubricates better, smoother shifting, easier to find neutral, fewer false neutrals, better fuel mileage, More HP and less wear.

Bob
I'll give Amsoil a try at my next oil change. Heard good this about it.
10W-40 Advanced Synthetic Motorcycle Oil (MCF) is this what i should use?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I go Kawasaki Oil, Kawasaki filter. Usually runs me $35-40 for an oil change that I do myself. I figure they designed the shit a certain way for a reason. In all my years of selling auto parts I have always said the same thing "Silly to skimp a few bucks on fluids in engines and transmissions that cost thousands to replace."
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top