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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. Clump

    Clump Tele-Meister

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    I don't doubt your experience, but it would seem that HD disagrees - http://www.harley-davidson.com/store/syn3-full-synthetic-motorcycle-lubricant---sae-20w51-pa-12-62600005--1

    Specifically:
    [​IMG]
    Again, not doubting your experience, but mine is different and HD (who has to honor the warranty) thinks it's so dumb they recommend it.:rolleyes:
     
  2. khawk61

    khawk61 TDPRI Member

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    Does anyone else miss the panhead/shovelhead days when all you had to do was ask for a gallon of Hog Blood, and they set fout quarts of 60w Valvoline or Kendall on the counter?
    From what I can tell, no matter what you do now, someone is there to tell you it's a dumb thing to do.....
     
  3. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Syn3 and other automotive full synthetic oils, are not real synthetic oil. They are cracked hydrocarbon oils and use crude oil base stock. These blends are just more refined, with some synthetics added in. Syn3 is a BLEND, as I stated before. Don't believe everything you read as marketing hype from the Motor Company.

    True synthetic base stock oils are oils like Amsoil, Royal Purple, and Redline. They are made from true synthetic base stock. As I said before, you don't need synthetic oil in these engines, just use a good quality API rated petroleum oil designed for V-Twins. By the way, Syn3 is NOT API rated.

    Do you run motor oil in your car's transmission and rear differential? No?? Why not!! :lol:

    Here's the facts on H-D's deceptive marketing and what Syn3 really is.... I'm not an Amsoil guy but they present the facts on Syn3 correctly.
    the real "poop" on Syn3 oil... link

    In the primary, the clutch friction discs need oil with no friction modifiers. Use Redline MTL or any good Primary Oil, even ATF works well in there.

    The transmission gears, need gear oil designed for that application.... and good gear lube has excellent cling. We race with Redline Light Shockproof that works as a 75w140. We would never in a million years consider Syn3 in our race tranny. I've used Shockproof Lightweight in many street bikes. It just plain works. There are other good alternatives too.

    Like I said, do what you want. We fix them for those that haven't learned their lessons. :D
     
  4. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    by the way.... out at the shop yesterday, I was looking at 2 disassembled Twinkies. One failed because the forged flywheels/crankshaft went out of true and compromised the oil system.... because?? of the MoCo switching to a left side crankshaft roller bearing, instead of the tried and true tapered bearing. Dumb factory move years ago!

    The other one was a 95" build using the HTCC pistons and heads. One piston came apart and made a mess. Those pistons have been discontinued now and the build cannot be put back together the same way. Why? the MoCo realized they released a bad design. Now the customer has to go a different route. Probably a bullet-proof 117" build like mine with flat tops and the tapered left side crank bearing modification.

    Yep! we correct the mistakes of the Motor Company at their customer's expense.
     
  5. Shiro

    Shiro Tele-Meister

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    Bullet proof 117?? Really? Just what the guy needs in his bagger to carry his wife and stuff around on a HOG run. The other guy probably shifted the flywheels taking out the oil pump because of flaming burnouts, wheelies, and general abuse. No telling why a an old 95 kit came apart. I can tell you it wasn't because of what oil he had in it.
     
  6. Clump

    Clump Tele-Meister

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    Whatever. You obviously know more about this than I do. Not sure what resemble nice the automatic Trans in my car has to a HD Trans and my bike has nothing remote like a differential, otherwise good try.
     
  7. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    What?!? no comment on the left side roller bearing? :lol:

    That's why they shift, because the end play is not controlled. Somewhere around 2003 they changed over to the roller. They ran a tapered bearing for around 50 yrs and then changed it.... probably for easier assembly, at the expense of their customers.

    We can't tell why the HTCC piston came apart.... not much left of it. but it did make a dandy mess.

    Most of the bagger riders we know upgrade to 117's and 120's. Fully loaded, they now have adequate power. The typical 117 mild build makes 135 square with a broad, beautiful torque curve. Aside from the mandatory tapered crank bearing conversion, we use the 3 stage oil pump, which is how it should have been done from the factory instead of the as issued 2 stage. It needs the additional pickup in the cam case.

    I'm running the Axtell 117" flt top kit with the MVA heads and then the smallish Redshift 577 cam. Gatorman lifters, 3 stage pump, HPInc t/body and a good 2-1 pipe. Static compression is 10.5:1 and tuned. Oil has never gotten over 235*F in near 100*F heat. Good running big dumb motor.
     
  8. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Whatever. ;)
     
  9. Rokatt88

    Rokatt88 Tele-Holic

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    What???

    A 2 page motorcycle oil thread and no one has mentioned Shell Rotella???

    Praise God and pass the ammo cargo shorts!
     
  10. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Got a link to your shops site? I don't doubt you can build a V Twin motor(gotta' remember the technology is 100 yrs old) but the fact is that it's so easy to pick on the weak parts of a design after it's in use and the bugs pop up. Even though the big brains at HD screw up, (remember they have to compete in a world market) without them, you and a thousand other aftermarket parts manufacturers and vendors wouldn't have a pot to squirt in if they hadn't done all the work decades ago.

    I'm no expert but have owned a couple Sportys, a Shovel, Evo (all S&S) and currently a flathead. Just saying that compared to the competition like Victory or the new Indians (gag me please) the MoCo is the best game in town.
     
  11. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    The thing that is disheartening, is when they take a well proven part of the design that works correctly and degrade it, with an inferior new design. We know it's the bean counters doing it.

    Early Twinkies had the cam bearings fail. Stupid $0.10 difference in bearing cost. Then the early Twinkie valve stem seals were junk, had to switch them to Viton, until the geniuses at the MoCo caught on. The left side crank roller bearing takes the cake though. They still haven't corrected that. Makes the motor easier to assemble by the dullards but makes it fragile for the user. I can't tell you how many hundreds of these we've had to repair.

    I did a pro street muscle bike custom build 5 years ago. We built the frame and everything else. Tons of billet machining on the 2 milling machines and lathes. The only H-D part I used was a battery and it failed in year 4. I went and got another one, just to keep them in the build. This bike has a street detuned version of one of our race motors. 60 hrs in just porting and flowing the heads. I had it out today and it is just flat out amazing! A streetable 9 second 1/4 mile bike. Pulls the front wheel up at will with a twist of the throttle. Race clutch, open belt drag primary, big gearing, it makes 150+ hp and 145 ft-lbs torque all on a 580 lb scooter. Had to go with a Shinko Stealth R003 rear tire to get it to hook.

    Here's the shop.... If you're in the area, stop by and see us.
    Shop link....


    Here's the build bike mentioned above....
    [​IMG]


    Here's one of our drag bikes... this one is the pro modified.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Nice looking builds! Are you familiar with a motor builder from PA named Magaro?

    Truer words regarding bean counters were never written. Replacing a tapered bearing design that has withstood decades of use/abuse in thousands upon thousands of engines cannot be justified.
     
  13. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I use what ever I can wring-out of my Beard after a Burger & Fries.
     
  14. JamesVRoy

    JamesVRoy Tele-Holic

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    I went with the Amsoil synthetic 20w50, just in the motor and changed it Saturday, $9.50 a quart and the guy delivered it. Had it out for a ride yesterday and don't know if its psychological or not but it seems a tad smoother. The tranny and primary were changed in the spring when I had the bike in with all the fluids with conventional of some sort. I don't have any plans at this point to use Amsoil in all three but the skid bearing issue posted in the link about the Syn-3 seems worth noting (though I'm not that much of a gear head to really know what all that means).
    This oil is a least adequate for me for the rest of this riding season and to sit all winter until/if I consider changing it again next spring.

    PS, very cool looking bikes 64strat
     
  15. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    About 7 years ago, we were running the pro mod at Union Grove at an AMRA event. (#1 qualifier with an 8.73, lost in the final due to pilot error)

    One particular Street Outlaw bike caught my eye that weekend.... it was sort of a rat rod but was really quick. I remember it having a PA mc plate and if I recall correctly, it had a Mike Magaro engine in it, 120" iirc. It was running low 9's with no wheelie bar. I came up to the start line for one of it's passes. It had a great launch! Two things came out of that experience.... I was told by them it was using Ultima heads and secondly, a Shinko DOT approved drag tire. Both utilized on my build. Ported big twin Ultima heads rock! and the Shinko Stealth R003 allows me to hook my power to the street. I don't think Mike was there though, so didn't meet him but saw firsthand his handiwork. ;)
     
  16. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Amsoil synthetic is a good product. You are truly getting what they advertise. We don't carry Amsoil... but I'm not aware of any motor issues with using it.

    There are several roller bearings in the Twinkie motor. Bearing skid is when the rollers fail to rotate within the bearing race. This is a very bad thing. Using a petroleum based motor oil guarantees they are always rotating. A good thing. :D

    One thing we know for sure, using a synthetic motor oil inhibits seating the rings and cutting the cylinder wall crosshatch from the final honing step. If you're stubborn about wanting to use a synthetic oil, make sure you run the engine for a couple of thousand miles with dinosaur oil first. :lol:

    Again, I remain in the camp of using a good quality API tested and rated petroleum based motor oil, designed for air cooled v-twins.... and change it at 2500 mile intervals, oil is cheap! ....engines are not.
     
  17. JamesVRoy

    JamesVRoy Tele-Holic

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    I don't know what was used before I got it, just bought it last November with 20K on it. Its an 02 and I believe I'm at least the 3rd owner. Its possible its had a variety of oils in it over time but I had the cam shoes done this summer and they said they were only partially worn and it appears to have been well maintained. So whatever they had in it at least it looks like it has been serviced regularly. I had it dyno tested too for kicks at an event last June and they said it all looked excellent (in more technical terms than I can understand and repeat). At that time they mentioned checking the cam shoes as a precaution because they're evidently an issue on that motor for several years.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. 64Strat

    64Strat Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Being an '02, yours is the last of the Twinkies, that came with the left crank tapered bearing. That's a good thing!

    Is yours injected? or carb'ed?

    I eliminated the chain shoes and went cam drive gears on mine. The only requirement is the crank runout needs to be in spec. The redesigned hydraulic tensioners are better. You should inspect your inner cam bearings to be sure the original INA bearings are gone and the much better Torrington's are in there.
     
  19. JamesVRoy

    JamesVRoy Tele-Holic

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    Mine's injected. They replaced the two inner cam bearings as well, don't know what brand.

    [​IMG]

    One of the rocker box gaskets was leaking so I had them replaced. They also found a cracked y-pipe and broken exhaust mount that had to be replaced also. Got it all done at the same time
     
  20. brenn

    brenn Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a 2004 Softail Standard. I use Mobil 1 synthetic 20W50 (V-Twin), since Amsoil prices increased by about 50% at my local dealer. 20W50 seems just about universal for Harleys.
     
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