Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have heard different opinions, so lets hear some more. LOL

My bike has 3000 miles. Oil was changed before I bought it.

I have heard some people say to change oil every 1000 miles , others say every 3000 miles. Some say use synthetics , others say regular oil.

What opinions do some of you have. Money is not the consideration. Just want to do what is best without being stupid about it.

Also is it an easy DIY thing ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
life long debate starts in 5....4....3.....2......1......and go
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
It is an easy DIY thing.

And I think everybody can agree that you should change your oil.

Beyond that, you aren't going to get any useful information.

I bought my bike and put 3000 miles on it. Then I changed the oil to a dino. The old oil came out looking like dark chocolate syrup.

The shifting felt better after the oil change. 3000 miles later, I put in a synthetic. The dino oil came out looking very dark, but not quite black. I didn't feel any difference in performance or shifting.

I've got 4000 miles on the synthetic, and through the glass the oil looks clear and has changed to an amber color...I'll say it looks like iced tea.

What all that means...well, I'm just not sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
all preference really. on my cars i go eveery 5000 with a good non-synthetic (valvoline) with the bike i decide every 3000 with a good synthetic (castrol), but im also about to throw it on the dyno, shes gets premium and just got iridium plugs. but regular oil should be just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
I used reg oil for the first 4k for the break in, I switched to Rotela full synthetic in the blue bottle and wont do another oil change until I hit 10k unless I see dirty oil or something makes a weird noise. Rotela is under $20 a gallon at wally world and its the best synthetic out as far as I am concerned. All 3 of my bikes get the same treatment and my truck also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
742 Posts
ok.. first thing to note is you bought the bike "with the oil changed"... changed to what?

1st rule:
change the oil to your preference immediately upon buying.

2nd rule:
pick a good oil.

do a little research... there are TONS of threads about oil. do what you want to do but be smart!

3rd rule:
follow the guidelines for the oil

if it says change it ever 1K miles then change it... but what oil actually tells you to do that? :)

good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
742 Posts
oh and BTW...

AMSOIL is supposedly the SH!T for oil... it was what set the pace for stuff like Mobil 1... HD riders love AMSOIL, so if you can imagine an air cooled engine rider loving an oil for its properties... it has to be damn good for a liquid cooled engine! maybe even overkill! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
3rd rule:
follow the guidelines for the oil

if it says change it ever 1K miles then change it... but what oil actually tells you to do that? :)

good luck!
The manufacturer (Kawasaki) suggests to change the oil every 7500 miles. Yet a lot of people say every 1000, 3000, 4000.

I am guessing this is the same thing as car manufacturers. They suggest every 7500 miles also, but of course the oil change places say every 3000 miles.

The manufacturer would not want their engines wearing out and getting a bad reputation. They also wouldn't want their engines wearing out and having to replace them under warranty. So why would they suggest 7500 miles if engine life would be greatly improved by changing it every 3000 miles? The answer, they wouldn't.

I change my automobile oil every 7500 miles.. And I have done this with every vehicle I have owned. My Suburban had 274,000 miles when I sold it. I had an engine inspection done. The mechanic said the engine was like new with no sludge/build up/wear at all. Never had a single problem with any of the 18 auto's I have owned.

But I love my bike so I might play it a bit safer and also use synthetics. Just getting some opinions here :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
711 Posts
I do mine ever 3000 miles. I have tried from regular oil to full synt and to be honest I don't feel or hear any differenc between the two so why sepend more. Now running Rotella 15-40 regular. I have tried 20-50 with no luck, machine became noisier and that clunk was just too much. After 1000 miles on 20-50 I went back to 10-40 and all the noises went away.

Here is a list of my peferred:
Rotella 15-40 (very cheap and machine sounds very quiet)
Castrol Evo 10-40 (at some $6 per quart and works great as well)
Mobil 1 Racing 4t 10-40 (worked great but no difference between what am running now for much less)

I would stay away on these other ones:
Valvoline motorcycle oil 20-50 (the worst oil I have tried on my bike)
Mobil 1 Vtwin 20-50 (again made my ride way noisier than usual)

Filters:
If I don't get my hand on the stockers I get the Fram MC oil. I've been advise many times to stay away from vehicle filters as motorcycles don't run on high oil pressure as vehicles. I have also seen this same warning on some car filter boxes or websites. I once tried the Mobil 1 but again I don't see any difference between this one and the stuck one so why pay more.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
I've been told that oil changes color from heat, but it doesn't mean the lubricating quality has been compromised. My worry is contamination from gasoline and moisture mixing with the oil. I keep my air filter well serviced. The longer one goes without an oil change the more likely there will be contaminates in the oil. Changing more frequently than the manufacturer recommends can't hurt, provided the oil is recycled. Riding style would dictate how often to change, in my opinion. Short hops and city riding would put more contaminates in the oil I would think. I use K&N filters and others have recommended Wix. I prefer dino oil only because of my wet clutch. Can't really say the syn would cause the clutch to slip though. I'm not riding the bike overly hard which keeps the oil temperature down so will stick with dino.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,554 Posts
You're asking for preferences? EEK! *ducks, runs and hides*

Ask a mechanic who's been in the business for quite a while. :D Mine recommended an oil change every 3,000 miles (can sometimes stretch up to 4k or 5k with synthetic, but as a regular practice, he was against it). Oil choice then becomes your preference. WARS have been fought over this oil vs. that oil vs. wesson oil, so research those wars and decide for yourself. DO make sure, however, that you have all the JASO MA ratings and that there are no "friction modifiers" in the oil, as those are important things to watch for with a wet clutch system.

I happen to use the Rotella T6 Full Synthetic 5w40 (now that they've achieved the JASO MA rating) at this time, although I've tried several different oils, both dino and synthetic. The Rotella, for the price and performance, fits my "preference". Amsoil, though costly, seems to be a good option as well. The only oil that I would NOT recommend would be Valvoline's 20/50 for motorcycles, as my bike became a horribly noisy beast.

In short, be prepared for a million opinions, and choose what you're comfortable with. Dig out some research on the internet, too. There's plenty of folks with oil test specs they've posted out there as well. GOOD LUCK!

(BTW, lots of great discussion in these very forums, and at www.bobistheoilguy.com as well)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
441 Posts
As stated Kawi recommends every 7500 miles. I prefer every 5000. I never make it to 5000 but I come close. I prefer to use Kawasaki 10w40, non synth. My problem with that oil is that non of my local Kawi dealers (multi line dealers) stock it. So that means it is at least a 40 mile ride one way to get some. No big deal though, I mean who hasn't taken a 60 mile bike ride for an ice cream cone?

I also use Kawi filters. I plan to buy multiple oil filters on eBay. sure I might have to buy 6, but I will get a better deal even with shipping and they also fit my Nomad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
There was a thread somewhere i believe in the VN750 forum that went in detail about filters and the Kawi filter was deemed the best for its filtering quality as well as keeping the oil flowing free at the same time. Might be a few bucks extra, but thats nothing compared to the feeling that you have the best there is and enjoy the ride.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Oil change at 3000 miles debunked

For what it's worth, I only put a couple of thousand miles a year on my bike, but I do change the oil once a year even though Kawasaki recommends a 7500 mile interval. I've used Amsoil since the first service at 600 miles and after that I've changed it just before I hang up my riding gear for 2 or 3 months during the winter.This schedule flushes out any moisture and acids that may be present in the used oil and gives the engine and transmission nice clean oil for the layup. No moisture and no acids equal no internal corrosion and a happy bike. My bike shifts very smoothly and I don't suffer from any of the engine/tranny noise maladies that other Vulcan owners complain about. I believe that engines get noisy with 20w-50 oil because the normal 5w-30 or 10w-30 oils used these days have very good lubricating properties and the bearing and other moving part clearances remain small for a long time. The 20w-50 oil may be to thick to penetrate the smaller clearances and doesn't setup the required film between the parts resulting in a noisy engine. Just my theory based on what I know about fluid mechanics and experience with cars and bikes for 35 years.

Here's a link to a NY Times article regarding oil change intervals for cars. I believe the same holds true for motorcycles.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/your-money/11shortcuts.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=oil%20change&st=cse

Unleaded gas has gone a long way in cleaning up combustion and keeping contaminants out of engine oil. And the oils we use, especially synthetics, have been improved immensely in the past decade or two. Oil turns brown from contaminants, mostly ash - some from gasoline combustion and some leftover from the oil's refinement process, that burn or char from heat. That's a simplified explanation but should give you an idea of what's going on; it's what makes oil turn dark. The oil itself really isn't burning, but some of the additives wear out and they can add to the dark color and make the oils thicker as the miles pile up. Synthetics have less ash to begin with so they stay lighter longer and the additives in them last longer also. So the 7500 mile interval from Kawasaki is very reasonable, especially with synthetics. I have owned several BMW automobiles that came with factory service for the first 50k miles, the service interval was every 15k miles and they used Mobile 1.

I have only used motorcycle grade oil in any of the bikes I have owned, and this has been since the mid 70's. The oil in my 900 lubricates the engine and transmission and therefore the clutch. Motorcyle specific oil has special additives for the clutch which other oils do not. I spent thousands of dollars on my bike when new and once a year I will spring about $75-$90 for an Amsoil oil change and filter. I think that's cheap insurance. I'm not sure of diesel oils like Rotella, either. I used Rotella in my boat that had Cummins turbo diesels and never had any issues. And with a diesel engine, once a year you'd have the oil analyzed to tell you if it was running right. That was expensive, 2 engines with 16 quarts of oil each and 2 filters per engine. I didn't want to get stuck on the water then much as I don't want to get stuck on the road now. It doesn't hurt to change the oil in your bike more often, but with regular inspection of fluids you should be able to get by with Kawasaki's 7500 service interval without a hitch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
441 Posts
I just have to say that the Candy Lime Green Custom is still one of the sexiest bikes AND is why I have a VN900 today.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
I'm just looking to see where the bodies are buried. I already KNOW who won this battle...(nobody.)

Short Answer (FWIW): Change whenever you want up to the manufacturers spec. Unless you plan to put 150,000 miles on the bike, it's not going to really matter, and even then 99.44% of the time, it's not going to really matter.
Use any oil you want, provided it does not contain friction modifiers. (Any MC oil, and probably Rotella qualifies.)

Good riding!
:cool:
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top