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Harley Davidson and Motor oil, what grade do you use?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by JamesVRoy, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. JamesVRoy

    JamesVRoy Tele-Holic

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    For those of you that ride, I've got an 02 Road King Classic and am wondering about the grades you use. My manual calls for 10W40, for the coming winter at least here in New England but the local dealership only stocks 20W50. I checked the Amsoli site and they also recommend their (synthetic) 20W50 for Harleys (actually can be used for all three fluids: motor, tranny and primary). Have the specs changed since my manual for '02? Is 20W50 the new new be-it-all?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  2. Tesla_HV

    Tesla_HV Tele-Afflicted

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    I am in New England as well. I use Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motor Oil for my 2010 Fatboy.
     
  3. Freejack

    Freejack Friend of Leo's

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    10W40 for the Hayabusa here in Colorado. I will say that in the coldest weather, if I don't ride it regularly it'll be hard to very difficult to start. It'll crank until doomsday but something is keeping it from catching. Once it warms up enough or if I put a space heater in the garage, it'll start and of course if I ride it often (at least every other day), it starts regardless of the temp (in general; I had to walk home one time but I think it was a weak battery as well :) ).

    Carl
     
  4. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I have 2 v-twins... both heavily modified and... one, is very high strung, being based on one of our race motors. I use Twin Power 25W60 in both at $8/qt. I change them out at 2500 miles + filter. These days, I pretty much only ride when its above 50*F.

    I've NEVER subscribed to recommendations for the same oil in all 3 holes.

    I use a good 75w140 in the trans and plain old primary oil in the primary.... or you can also use ATF in primary case too. You do not want to use oils with friction modifiers in there, they play hell with the friction plates.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  5. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    During the summer, 20w50 for my old Yamaha Seca here in Northern New Mexico.
    10w30 the other three seasons.

    Steve
     
  6. olefudd

    olefudd Tele-Meister

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    20/50 Castrol GTX year round here in Nebraska in my 94 Electra Glide.
     
  7. Tazz3

    Tazz3 Friend of Leo's

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    My brother uses the Harley oil they sell at the dealer ship it costs the same as regular oil.
     
  8. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    The 20-50 spec started with the Evo motors I believe. I run straight 60 wt. in my flathead WL and used the same in a '75 Sporty. 60 wt. is getting harder to find so I'll opt for 50wt. if need be.
     
  9. Norton72

    Norton72 Tele-Afflicted

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    I've always used Castrol GTX 20-50W in my Norton and in my Evo. About 35 years all together. I did use the Harley oil when I first got the Evo, but it's way expensive.
     
  10. JamesVRoy

    JamesVRoy Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the responses. I'm thinking about the Synthetics now and will likely go with a 20w50. I looked for the Mobil 1 online and though Walmart lists it they don't seem to have it or drop ship to any of my local stores. I haven't looked in the local auto stores yet though for anything. We have an amsoil rep that sponsors the event I shoot at in the summer and may arrange to get a few quarts off him if he gets back to me. Have also been looking on Amazon and they have a few affordable options too, like Lucas which appears inexpensive.

    Amazon.com: Lucas Oil 10702-PK6 High Performance Synthetic 20W-50 Motorcycle Oil - 1 Quart Bottle - pack of 6: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PDwTg%[email protected]@[email protected]@51PDwTg%2B8fL

    Amazon.com: Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motocycle Motor Oil - 1 Quart (Pack of 6): [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@41iZNJ-FVkL

    Amazon.com: Royal Purple (06316-6PK) Max-Cycle 20W-50 High Performance Synthetic Motorcycle Oil - 1 Quart Bottle, (Case of 6): [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51aT3cvqM4L
     
  11. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Synthetic motor oil is pretty much a waste of money in an air cooled v-twin.
     
  12. 1962guitargeek

    1962guitargeek Friend of Leo's

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    20w50 Kendall when I was riding...year round, save for the occasional snowstorm and hurricane.
     
  13. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    How so? I thought it made my twin cam run a bit cooler in high temps.
     
  14. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Have you ever had your TC tuned by a knowledgeable tuner? If not, the stock ECU map is quite lean, to pass EPA requirements. The downside to this is, they run hot. When tuned properly, the oil should not go above 240*F, even in the worst of conditions.

    I have 2 v-twins, one is a TC. It's a 117" motor, at near 11:1 static compression and tuned. The oil on the hottest summer days has never been north of 235*F. Normally it's 210*F. By the way, I get 40mpg, when my right hand behaves. :lol:

    I recommend changing oil and filter in the v-twins at every 2500 mile interval. Thus, synthetic is not a benefit there and if the oil never goes above 235*F, that is another unused feature.

    Just use a good oil to the current v-twin API rating. I happen to use Twin Power 25w60, since I'm a warm weather rider these days. $8.00/qt.
     
  15. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was told NOT to use synthetic oil in a vintage (i.e. - old) motorcycle.
    As it would leak through the engine seals like a sieve.

    Not 100% sure IF that is true?
    But wasn't gonna take any chances to prove that theory....wrong.
     
  16. Shiro

    Shiro Tele-Meister

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    Funny. Must be why Harley Davidson ships its 35K plus CVO's direct from the factory with Synthetic oil. They love paying warranty bills.
     
  17. Shiro

    Shiro Tele-Meister

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    That's pretty much true. It will get out of places that Petroleum base won't.
     
  18. Shiro

    Shiro Tele-Meister

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    When Birth Certificates on a new bike are done at the dealer at the time of set up, Digital tech will not even start recording info until the bike reaches 325 degrees. The new HD oil filters filter down to 30 Microns. The oil (Pet base or Syn) does not break down, but it does get dirty. Changing oil @ 2500 miles is a waste of money. If you have an old shovel running Pet base go along with the Old schools guys or feel their wrath!!
     
  19. Clump

    Clump Tele-Meister

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    I use HD Synthetic in my 2010 Street Glide. I like that you put the same oil in all 3 holes. I used in my 2005 before. No trouble with either.
     
  20. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Their Syn stuff is a blend from Citgo, i.e. Venezuela national petroleum company. It's not the greatest. I don't like it and certainly don't subscribe to using it in all 3 holes. That's just dumb!

    Good petroleum oil is cheap and yes, change it every 2500 miles, with filter. Synthetic is a big waste of money and everyone nowadays gets sucked into the synthetic oil hype. Don't need it for longevity or higher temp ratings in a air cooled v-twin.

    Digital tech is measuring head temp, not the oil temp. In a properly tuned twin cam, the oil temp should never exceed 240*F.

    We've been servicing and racing v-twins for over 30 years.... we may have learned a thing or two over the years. Our Pro Mod race motor is a Twin Cam.... 120" running mid 8's in the 1/4. We tried Bel-Ray synthetic in it once... that was a mistake, we never could get the rings to seat. We run nothing but petroleum oil in it now.

    We've also torn down countless broken street Harley motors that were using Syn and the cross hatch was never broken through to seat the rings. This is not how a motor should be.

    Do what you want but I'm simply saying synthetic is not needed in these engines.
     
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