G2156 - A Study Of Motorcycle Oils - Synthetic Warehouse

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A Study ofMotorcycleOilsSecond EditionAMSOIL Power Sports Group June 2009, AMSOIL INC.

Table of ContentsOverview.3Purpose.4Method.4Scope.4Review Candidates.5Physical Properties, Performance Results and Prices.6SAE Viscosity Grade (Initial Viscosity - SAE J300).6Viscosity Index (ASTM D-2270).8Viscosity Shear Stability (ASTM D-6278).9High Temperature/High Shear Viscosity (HT/HS ASTM D-5481).11Zinc Concentration (ppm, ICP).12Wear Protection (4-Ball, ASTM D-4172).13Gear Performance (FZG ASTM D-5182).14Oxidation Stability (TFOUT ASTM D-4742).16Volatility (Evaporation) (ASTM D-5800).17Acid Neutralization and Engine Cleanliness (TBN ASTM D-2896).18Foaming Tendency (ASTM D-892).19Rust Protection (Humidity Cabinet ASTM D-1748).20Pricing.21Wet-Clutch Compatibility (JASO T 904:2006, limited review).22Scoring and Summary of Results.23Conclusion.25Appendix A.26Affidavit of Test Results.26References.272

Editor’s Note: At the time of its original printing in December 2005, the A Study of Motorcycle Oils white paper representedthe most comprehensive study of motorcycle oils ever published. The document served to educate hundreds of thousands ofreaders on the complex dynamic of motorcycle oil and motorcycle operation. The paper revealed, through an exhaustive seriesof relevant industry tests, that the motorcycle oils available to consumers varied greatly in quality and in their ability to performthe functions of motorcycle lubrication.This second edition printing maintains the same scientific approach and includes the same testing protocol. Additional oilswere tested, and some of the original oils tested differently than they had initially, indicating formulation changes. It shouldbe noted that while some oils tested more poorly than they initially had, others showed improvement. Whether or not thisimprovement can be credited to the data revealed in the original publication remains a matter of speculation. In any case,as motorcycle oils continue to improve, consumers will benefit.OverviewMotorcycles have long been used as a popular means of general transportation as well as for recreational use. There arenearly seven million registered motorcycles in the United States, with annual sales in excess of one million units. This trendis unlikely to change. As with any vehicle equipped with an internal combustion engine, proper lubrication is essential toinsure performance and longevity. It is important to point out that not all internal combustion engines are similarly designedor exposed to the same types of operation. These variations in design and operation place different demands on engineoils. Specifically, the demands placed on motorcycle engine oils are more severe than those placed on automotive engineoils. Therefore, the performance requirements of motorcycle oils are more demanding as well.Though the degree may be debatable, few will disagree that a difference exists between automotive and motorcycle applications. In which area these differences are and to what degree they alter lubrication requirements are not clear to mostmotorcycle operators. By comparing some basic equipment information, one can better understand the differences that exist.The following comparison information offers a general synopsis of both automotive and motorcycle lacementLubricantReservoirCompression Max. HP@ HP perRatioRPMC.I.HondaAccordAutomotiveWatercooled183 cu. in.Single, engine cooled281 cu. in.Single, engine only9.4:1239@4,750.85Dodge RamL/D TruckWatercooled345 cu. in.Single, engine rformanceWatercooled366 cu. in.Single, engine only10.9:1400@6,0001.1Honda CBR1000 RRMotorcyclePerformanceWatercooled61 cu. in.Shared - engine &transmission11.9:1153@11,0002.5BMW R1200 RTMotorcycleTouringAir & Oilcooled71.4 cu. in.Separate - engine& transmission11.0:1110@7,5001.5H/D RoadKingFLHRSIMotorcycleLarge BoreAir cooled88 cu. in.Separate - engine& MotocrossWatercooled27.1 cu. in.Shared, engine &transmission12.3:147.2@8,7001.7There are six primary differences between motorcycle and automotive engine applications:1. Operational Speed - Motorcycles tend to operate at engine speeds significantly higher than automobiles. Thisplaces additional stress on engine components, increasing the need for wear protection. It also subjects lubricatingoils to higher loading and shear forces. Elevated operating RPMs also promote foaming, which can reduce an oil’sload-carrying ability and accelerate oxidation.2. Compression Ratios - Motorcycles tend to operate with higher engine compression ratios than automobiles.Higher compression ratios place additional stress on engine components and increase engine operating temperatures. Higher demands are placed on the oil to reduce wear. Elevated operating temperatures also promote thermaldegradation of the oil, reducing its life expectancy and increasing the formation of internal engine deposits.3. Horsepower/ Displacement Density - Motorcycle engines produce nearly twice the horsepower per cubic inchof displacement of automobile engines. This exposes the lubricating oil to higher temperatures and stress.3

4. Variable Engine Cooling - In general, automotive applications use a sophisticated water-cooling system to control engine operating temperature. Similar systems can be found in motorcycle applications, but other designs alsoexist. Many motorcycles are air-cooled or use a combination air/oil design. Though effective, they result in greater fluctuations in operating temperatures, particularly when motorcycles are operated in stop-and-go traffic. Elevated operating temperature promotes oxidation and causes oils to thin, reducing their load carrying ability.5. Multiple Lubrication Functionality - In automotive applications, engine oils are required to lubricate only theengine. Other automotive assemblies, such as transmissions, have separate fluid reservoirs that contain a lubricantdesigned specifically for that component. The requirements of that fluid differ significantly from those of automotiveengine oil. Many motorcycles have a common sump supplying oil to both the engine and transmission. In such cases,the oil is required to meet the needs of both the engine and the transmission gears. Many motorcycles also incorporate a frictional clutch within the transmission that uses the same oil.6. Inactivity - Motorcycles are typically used less frequently than automobiles. Whereas automobiles are used on adaily basis, motorcycle use is usually periodic and in many cases seasonal. These extended periods of inactivity placeadditional stress on motorcycle oils. In these circumstances, rust and acid corrosion protection are of critical concern.It is apparent that motorcycle applications place a different set of requirements on lubricating oils. Motorcycle oils, therefore, must be formulated to address this unique set of high stress conditions.PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to provide information regarding motorcycle applications, their lubrication needs and typicallubricants available to the end user. It is intended to assist the end user in making an educated decision as to the lubricantmost suitable for his or her motorcycle application.MethodThe testing used to evaluate the lubricants was done in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)procedures. Testing was finalized in May 2009. Test methodology has been indicated for all data points, allowing for duplication and verification by any analytical laboratory capable of conducting the ASTM tests. A notarized affidavit certifyingcompliance with ASTM methodology and the accuracy of the test results is included in the appendix of this document. Fivedifferent laboratories were used in the generation of data listed within this document. In all cases blind samples were submitted to reduce the potential of bias.ScopeThis document reviews the physical properties and performance of a number of generally available motorcycle oils. Thoseareas of review are:1. An oil’s ability to meet the required viscosity grade of an application.2. An oil’s ability to maintain a constant viscosity when exposed to changes in temperature.3. An oil’s ability to retain its viscosity during use.4. An oil’s ability to resist shearing forces and maintain its viscosity at elevated temperatures.5. An oil’s zinc content.6. An oil’s ability to minimize general wear.7. An oil’s ability to minimize gear wear.8. An oil’s ability to minimize deterioration when exposed to elevated temperatures.9. An oil’s ability to resist volatilization when exposed to elevated temperatures.10. An oil’s ability to maintain engine cleanliness and control acid corrosion.11. An oil’s ability to resist foaming.12. An oil’s ability to control rust corrosion.Individual results have been listed for each category. The results were then combined to provide an overall picture of theability of each oil to address the many demands required of motorcycle oils.4

Review CandidatesTwo groups of candidate oils were tested, SAE 40 grade oils and SAE 50 grade oils. The oils tested are recommendedspecifically for motorcycle applications by their manufacturers.SAE 40 GroupBrandViscosity GradeBaseBatch NumberAMSOIL MCF10W-40Synthetic11631 231Bel-Ray EXS Super Bike0W-40SyntheticAF 25940607Castrol Power RS R4 4T5W-40Synthetic14/02/28/C7011996Honda HP410W-40Syn / Petro Blend7KJA0001Lucas High Performance10W-40Syn / Petro BlendNone indicated on containerMaxima Maxum 4 Ultra5W-40Synthetic1608Mobil 1 Racing 4T10W-40SyntheticX10C8 4967Motul 300V Factory Line10W-40Synthetic04611/03235M1Pennzoil Motorcycle Oil10W-40PetroleumHLPA418968/04237 21:00Pure (Polaris) Victory20W-40Syn / Petro BlendLT7 2 239Royal Purple Max-Cycle10W-40SyntheticICPMO4701Spectro, Platinum SX410W-40Synthetic16290Suzuki, 4-Cycle Syn Racing10W-40SyntheticHLPA358224/01106/03:47Torco T-4SR10W-40SyntheticPSPAG-L96296Valvoline 4-Stroke10W-40Petroleum0148C2Viscosity GradeBaseBatch NumberAMSOIL MCV20W-50Synthetic11678 253Bel-Ray V-Twin10W-50SyntheticAF22311106BMW Super Synthetic15W-50Synthetic17233Castrol V-Twin20W-50Syn / Petro Blend19/05/06 6003206Harley Davidson HD 36020W-50Petroleum0932C0798 1242Harley Davidson SYN 320W-50Synthetic0021000248Honda HP420W-50Syn / Petro Blend7IJA0001Lucas High Performance20W-50SyntheticNone indicated on containerMaxima Maxum 4 Ultra5W-50Synthetic28107Mobil 1 V-Twin20W-50SyntheticX04D8 4967Motul 7100 Ester20W-50Synthetic02610/A/83243Pennzoil Motorcycle20W-50PetroleumHLPA429090/07237 23:15Royal Purple Max-Cycle20W-50SyntheticICPJ25705Spectro, Platinum HD20W-50Synthetic16785Suzuki 4-Cycle V-Twin20W-50Syn / Petro BlendHLPA351478/01096/10:34Torco V-Series SS20W-50SyntheticL90974 LRU1G SAValvoline 4-Stroke20W-50PetroleumB268C2SAE 50 GroupBrand5

Physical Properties, Performance Results and PricesSAE Viscosity Grade (Initial Viscosity - SAE J300)A lubricant is required to perform a variety of tasks. Foremost is the minimization of wear. An oil’s first line of defense is itsviscosity (thickness). Lubricating oils are by nature non-compressible and when placed between two moving componentswill keep the components from contacting each other. With no direct contact between surfaces, wear is eliminated. Thoughnon-compressible, there is a point at which the oil film separating the two components is insufficient and contact occurs.The point at which this occurs is a function of an oil’s viscosity. Generally speaking, the more viscous or thicker an oil, thegreater the load it will carry. Common sense would suggest use of the most viscous (thickest) oil. However, high viscosityalso presents disadvantages. Thicker oils are more difficult to circulate, especially when an engine is cold, and wear protection may be sacrificed, particularly at start-up. Thicker oils also require more energy to circulate, which negatively affectsengine performance and fuel economy. Furthermore, the higher internal resistance of thicker oils tends to increase the operating temperature of the engine. There is no advantage to using an oil that has a greater viscosity than that recommendedby the equipment manufacturer. An oil too light, however, may not possess sufficient load carrying ability to meet therequirements of the equipment.From a consumer standpoint, fluid viscometrics can be confusing. To ease selection, the Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE) has developed a grading system based on an oil’s viscosity at specific temperatures. Grading numbers have beenassigned to ranges of viscosity. The equipment manufacturer determines the most appropriate viscosity for an applicationand indicates for the consumer which SAE grade is most suitable for a particular piece of equipment. Note that the SAEgrading system allows for the review of an oil’s viscosity at both low and high temperatures. As motorcycle applicationsrarely contend with low temperature operation, that area of viscosity is not relevant to this discussion.The following chart identifies the viscosities of the oils before use. The purpose of testing initial viscosity is to ensure thatthe SAE grade indicated by the oil manufacturer is representative of the actual SAE grade of the oil, and that it is thereforeappropriate for applications requiring such a fluid. The results were obtained using American Society for Testing andMaterials (ASTM) test methodology D-445. The fluid test temperature was 100 C and results are reported in centistokes.Using SAE J300 standards, the SAE viscosity grades and grade ranges for each oil were determined and are listed below.SAE 40 GroupBrandIndicatedViscosity GradeMeasured Viscosity@ 100 C cStAMSOIL MCF10W-4014.45YesBel-Ray EXS Super Bike0W-4014.13YesCastrol Power RS R4 4T5W-4012.95YesHonda HP410W-4013.75YesLucas High Performance10W-4013.56YesMaxima Maxum 4 Ultra5W-4012.67YesMobil 1 Racing 4T10W-4013.98YesMotul 300V Factory Line10W-4013.03Pennzoil Motorcycle Oil10W-4015.24YesPure (Polaris) Victory20W-4014.60YesRoyal Purple Max-Cycle10W-4013.51YesSpectro, Platinum SX410W-4014.61YesSuzuki, 4-Cycle Syn Racing10W-4014.72YesTorco T-4SR10W-4015.60YesValvoline 4-Stroke10W-4015.22Yes6SAE ViscosityRange for40 Grade12.5 to 16.3Within GradeYes

SAE 50 GroupBrandIndicatedViscosity GradeMeasured Viscosity SAE Viscosity@ 100 C cStRange for50 GradeWithin GradeAMSOIL MCV20W-5020.56YesBel-Ray V-Twin10W-5016.95YesBMW Super Synthetic15W-5017.88YesCastrol V-Twin20W-5018.49YesHarley Davidson HD 36020W-5020.50YesHarley Davidson SYN 320W-5020.38YesHonda HP420W-5017.58YesLucas High Performance20W-5017.75YesMaxima Maxum 4 Ultra5W-5015.69Mobil 1 V-Twin20W-5021.04YesMotul 7100 Ester20W-5017.94YesPennzoil Motorcycle20W-5020.69YesRoyal Purple Max-Cycle20W-5020.09YesSpectro, Platinum HD20W-5019.26YesSuzuki 4-Cycle V-Twin20W-5019.82YesTorco V-Series SS20W-5021.05YesValvoline 4-Stroke20W-5018.18Yes16.3 to 21.9NoThe results show that all of the oils tested except Maxima Maxum 4 Ultra 20W-50 have initial viscosities consistent withtheir indicated SAE viscosity grades. Those oils consistent with their indicated SAE viscosity grades are appropriate for usein applications recommending these grades/viscosities.7

Viscosity Index (ASTM D-2270)The viscosity (thickness) of an oil is affected by temperature changes during use. As the oil’s temperature increases, its viscosity will decrease. The degree of change that occurs with temperature is determined by using ASTM test methodology D2270. Referred to as the oil’s Viscosity Index, the methodology compares the viscosity change that occurs between 100 C(212 F) and 40 C (104 F). The higher the viscosity index, the less the oil’s viscosity changes with changes in temperature.While a greater viscosity index number is desirable, it does not represent that oil’s high temperature viscosity or its load carrying ability. Shearing forces within the engine, and particularly the transmission, can significantly reduce an oil’s viscosity.Therefore, oils with a lower viscosity index but higher shear stability can, in fact, have a higher viscosity at operatingtemperature than one with a higher viscosity index and lower shear stability.Ambient temperatures can also effect an oil’s viscosity. Oil thickens as outside temperatures decrease, leading to pumpability and circulation concerns. Oils with high viscosity indices function better over a broader temperature range than those withlower numbers. This is important if equipment is used year round in colder climates.Results - Viscosity Index, SAE 40 70160elcaLuResults - Viscosity Index, SAE 50 lalVvo-Tlinwein4StrokeBhEXSPerSuperbiceke10041108

Viscosity Shear Stability (ASTM D-6278)An oil’s viscosity can be affected through normal use. Mechanical activity creates shearing forces that can cause an oil tothin out, reducing its load carrying ability. Engines operating at high RPMs and those that share a common oil sump withthe transmission are particularly subject to high shear rates. Gear sets found in the transmissions are the leading cause ofshear-induced viscosity loss in motorcycle applications.The ASTM D-6278 test methodology is used to determine oil shear stability. First an oil’s initial viscosity is determined. Theoil is then subjected to shearing forces using a test apparatus outlined in the methodology. Viscosity measurements aretaken at the end of 15, 30 and 90 cycles and compared to the oil’s initial viscosity. The oils that perform well are those thatshow little or no viscosity change. Oils demonstrating a significant loss in viscosity would be subject to concern. The flatterthe line on the charts below, the greater the shear stability of the oil. Each SAE grade was split into two or more groups tomake the charts easier to reference.Results - Viscosity Shear Stability SAE 40 Group 115SAE 4014468713111 AMSOIL MCF3242342 Polaris Victory565 Motul 300 V3 Spectro Platinum SX4465Mobil Racing 4T5OUT OF INDICATED VISCOSITY GRADE126 Honda HP 4711SAE 30Viscosity - cSt @ 100 C32177 Royal Purple Max-Cycle881098 Lucas High Performance0 Cycles15 Cycles30 Cycles90 CyclesSAE 40 Oils Tested in Group #1Polaris Victory 31AMSOIL MCF4Mobil Racing 4T7Royal Purple Max-Cycle2Motul 300 V5Spectro Platinum SX4Honda HP 46Lucas High Performance8Results - Viscosity Shear Stability SAE 40 Group 214SAE 4015761411221312111 Pennzoil Motorcycle2435343552 Bel-Ray EXS34 Castrol RS R4OUT OF INDICATED VISCOSITY GRADE675Suzuki Syn RacingMaxima 4 Ultra6SAE 30Viscosity - cSt @ 100 C166 Valvoline 4-Stroke77 Torco T-4SR1090 Cycles15 Cycles30 Cycles90 CyclesSAE 40 Oils Tested in Group #21Pennzoil Motorcycle 24Castrol RS R46Valvoline 4-StrokeBel-Ray EXSMaxima 4 Ultra5Torco T-4SR793Castrol RS R4

Results - Viscosity Shear Stability SAE 50 Group 121.52119.518.511 AMSOIL MCV132SAE 50Viscosity - cSt @ 100 C20.52642 Pennzoil Motorcycle17.515.514.513.53434OUT OF INDICATED VISCOSITY GRADE5SAE 4016.56543BMW Motor OilRoyal Purple Max Cycle5 Maxima 4 Ultra665Lucas High Performance0 Cycles15 Cycles30 Cycles90 CyclesSAE 50 Oils Tested in Group #11AMSOIL MCV2Pennzoil Motorcycle3Royal Purple Max Cycle4BMW Motor Oil5Maxima 4 Ultra6Lucas High PerformanceResults - Viscosity Shear Stability SAE 50 Group 22120.5111 Mobil V-Twin222 Torco V Series SS19.518.5SAE 50353317.53 Suzuki 4-Cycle V-Twin416.515.514.513.544SAE 40Viscosity - cSt @ 100 C21.5OUT OF INDICATED VISCOSITY GRADE54 Bel-Ray V-Twin55Valvoline 4-Stroke0 Cycles15 Cycles30 Cycles90 CyclesSAE 50 Oils Tested in Group #21Mobil V-Twin2Torco V Series SS3Suzuki 4-Cycle V-Twin4Bel-Ray V-Twin5Valvoline 4-StrokeResults - Viscosity Shear Stability SAE 50 Group 320.518.5SAE 5019.54315.514.513.56311322517.516.5121 Spectro Platinum HD2 Motul 7100 Ester3Harley-Davidson Syn-3645465OUT OF INDICATED VISCOSITY GRADESAE 40Viscosity - cSt @ 100 C21.54 Harley-Davidson HD 3605 Honda HP-46 Castrol V-Twin0 Cycles15 Cycles30 Cycles90 CyclesSAE 50 Oils Tested in Group #31Spectro Platinum HD2Motul 7100 Ester3Harley-Davidson Syn-34Harley-Davidson HD 3605Honda HP-46Castrol V-Twin10

The results point out significant differences between oils and their ability to retain their viscosity. Within the SAE 40 group,40% of the oils dropped one viscosity grade to an SAE 30. Within the SAE 50 group, 53% dropped one grade to an SAE40. Many of the oils losing a viscosity grade did so quickly, within the initial 15 cycles of shearing.In order to meet motorcycle oil standards JASO T903:2006 and ISO 24254:2007, SAE 40 oils must not shear below 12cSt in 30 cycles and SAE 50 oils must not shear below 15 cSt in 30 cycles. In the test, no SAE 50 oils fell below 15 cStat 30 cycles. Maxima 4 Ultra and Lucas High Performance, however, fell below the 15 cSt limit prior to 90 cycles. In theSAE 40 group, Royal Purple Max-Cycle, Lucas High Performance, Torco T-4SR and Valvoline 4-Stroke fell below the 12cSt limit in 30 cycles, while Honda HP4 fell below the limit in 90 cycles.The importance of shear stability cannot be overstated. This same test is used to evaluate heavy duty diesel engine oilssubjected to service intervals as high as 50,000 miles in Class 8 trucks.It should be noted that no correlation exists between the viscosity index of an oil and its ability to minimize shear. In the SAE40 group, for example, the Lucas High Performance had the second-highest viscosity index, yet performed the worst when itcame to viscosity retention in the face of shearing forces. The AMSOIL MCF, on the other hand, had a significantly lowerviscosity index, yet placed first in the area of viscosity retention.High Temperature/High Shear Viscosity (HT/HS ASTM D-5481)Shear stability and good high temperature viscosity are critical in motorcycle applications. How these two areas in combinationaffect the oil is measured using ASTM test methodology D-5481. The test measures an oil’s viscosity at high temperature undershearing forces. Shear stable oils that are able to maintain high viscosity at high temperatures perform well in the HighTemperature/High Shear Test. The test is revealing as it combines viscosity, shear stability and viscosity index. It is importantbecause bearings require the greatest level of protection during high temperature operation. Test results are indicated in cetipoises (cP), which are units of viscosity. The higher the test result, the greater the level of viscosity protection offered by the oil.Results - HT/HS, SAE 40 VFC0M30ILulMotOSMAar3.0oke3.2Results - HT/HS, SAE 50 n4.011

Zinc Concentration (ppm, ICP)Though viscosity is critical in terms of wear protection, it does have limitations. Component loading can exceed the load carrying ability of the oil. When that occurs, partial or full contact results between components and wear will occur. Chemical additives are added to the oil as the last line of defense to control wear in these conditions. These additives have an attraction tometal surfaces and create a sacrificial coating on engine parts. If contact occurs the additive coating takes the abuse to minimize component wear. The most common additive used in internal combustion engine oils is zinc dithiophosphate (ZDP). Asimple way of reviewing ZDP levels within an oil is to measure the zinc content. It should be noted that ZDP defines a groupof zinc-containing compounds that vary in composition, quality and performance. Quantity of zinc content alone does not indicate its performance. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that oils with higher concentrations of zinc provide better wear protection. Additional testing must be reviewed to determine an oil’s actual ability to prevent wear. The wear testing further in this document reflects the general lack of correlation between zinc levels and wear protection. Due to this lack of correlation, zinc levels are not included in the scoring and summary of results contained in the review.The tables below show the levels of zinc present in each of the oils. Results were determined using an inductively coupledplasma (ICP) machine and are reported in parts per million.Zinc levels varied widely in both the SAE 40 and 50 groups, ranging from as low as 996 ppm to as high as 2,209 ppm.Results - Zinc Levels, SAE 40 3001,27815001,57017001,41719001,793Parts Per Million21001,1062,2092300Results - Zinc Levels, SAE 50 00EstHeronTodarcoHVP-4-SeriesSS600MaxParts Per Million200012

Wear Protection (4-Ball, ASTM D-4172)The ASTM D-4172 4-Ball Wear Test is a good measure of an oil’s ability to minimize wear in case of metal-to-metal contact.The test consists of a steel ball that sits atop three identical balls that have been placed in a triangular pattern and restrainedfrom moving. All four balls are immersed in the test oil, which is heated and maintained at a constant temperature. The upperball is then rotated and forced onto the lower three balls with a load measured in kilogram-force (kgf). After a one-hour period of constant load, speed and temperature, the lower three balls are inspected at the point of contact. Any wear will appearas a single scar on each of the lower balls. The diameter of the scar is measured on each of the lower balls and the resultsare reported as the average of the three scars, expre

3 Editor's Note:At the time of its original printing in December 2005, the A Study of Motorcycle Oilswhite paper represented the most comprehensive study of motorcycle oils ever published.The document served to educate hundreds of thousands of readers on the complex dynamic of motorcycle oil and motorcycle operation.The paper revealed, through an exhaustive series

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