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Former Vulcan Lady
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Discussion Starter #1
I did search the forum but I was overwhelmed by the amount of posts that came up so I thought I would throw this out there and hope someone has a good answer for me.

First off, I normally change my own oil every 3,000 miles with regular oil. I am thinking of going to synthetic. Here are my questions.

1. How many miles between oil changes with synthetic?
2. I have 1,500 miles since my last oil change. Normally I would wait to switch but I have an opportunity to have an oil change done at a shop, using synthetic oil, for $60. We are getting special pricing for members of our riding group. Would is be worth it to just get it done with only 1,500 miles at this price?
3. What positive changes can I expect with synthetic vs. regular oil?

My bike takes 3 1/4 quarts for an oil change.

All help is very much appreciated.
 

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Is it 2012 yet!!??
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538 Posts
Probably won't answer your questions very well, but here are a few thoughts. I've changed my oil 3 times since purchasing the bike new, and just changed it again this last weekend. Ended up going with Rotella T dino after reading a lot of posts on this forum, so far, performance seems great. I think I actually made a mistake with my previous oil change, I had used just plain 10-W30, and I noticed with my last couple of rides as things start to heat up here in Texas, that I smelled a kind of burning smell, almost like electrical burn. Don't know fir sure if it was my bike or just something on the road, but it happened on two different rides when I was riding it a bit hard and the air temp was in the upper-80's.

So I figured I needed to get a W-40 oil to handle the heat better, and went with the Rotella T since it's 15-W40, and considered the full synthetic which is 5-W40. We'll see how the 15-W40 goes, so far I don't notice the burning smell since the change. Full synthetic I would think would last closer to 5 or 6,000 miles, but I want to change the oil more frequently, so decided to go dino oil to keep the cost lower.
 

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Registered
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1. How many miles between oil changes with synthetic?
See if you can get Rich to respond. He has done a lot of testing and can be a lot of help.

2. I have 1,500 miles since my last oil change. Normally I would wait to switch but I have an opportunity to have an oil change done at a shop, using synthetic oil, for $60. We are getting special pricing for members of our riding group. Would is be worth it to just get it done with only 1,500 miles at this price?
If you do the oil change yourself you can do it for about half that cost. It only takes a few minutes and is very easy to do.

3. What positive changes can I expect with synthetic vs. regular oil?
Sometimes you will get a little smoother shifting and a little less noise from the motor but mostly the biggest advantage is the longer change intervals. I usual shoot for 5000 miles but if I am out on the road I have gone as long as 6000 miles between oil changes but like I said Rich can really help you here. He has done the test.
 

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Enjoying midlife Crisis!
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452 Posts
Oil put aside, if you can change your own oil, do you trust someone else with your motorcycle? At least if you do it yourself, you know exactly whats been done.


-Ersterhernd
 

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I did search the forum but I was overwhelmed by the amount of posts that came up so I thought I would throw this out there and hope someone has a good answer for me.

First off, I normally change my own oil every 3,000 miles with regular oil. I am thinking of going to synthetic. Here are my questions.

1. How many miles between oil changes with synthetic?
2. I have 1,500 miles since my last oil change. Normally I would wait to switch but I have an opportunity to have an oil change done at a shop, using synthetic oil, for $60. We are getting special pricing for members of our riding group. Would is be worth it to just get it done with only 1,500 miles at this price?
3. What positive changes can I expect with synthetic vs. regular oil?

My bike takes 3 1/4 quarts for an oil change.

All help is very much appreciated.

To pay someone else $60 to change your oil??? No way. I suggest you do some more diggin' on this website and find out what oils are preferred and pick one.

Positive changes? Not enough to warrant the higher prices, imo.

With only 1500 miles on your current oil, you have quite a long wway to go before you need to have it changed.
 

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if it's quality synthetic oil 60 is a fair price, that stuff is around 10 a quart! plus the filter and labor, not bad for sixty. You can get valvoline and do it yourself for around 25, it all depends on what you want to do.
 

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Patriot Guardian
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28,016 Posts
1. How many miles between oil changes with synthetic?
I run about 4,000, but have gone 6,000.
Now, this is on full-synthetic MC-specific Mobil-1 V-Twin and Amsoil MCV.
The other synthetics that I've tried (Several automotive and one MC-specific) did not hold their viscosity even at 2,000 miles, so I can not make an extended mileage recommendation on anything but the Mobil-1 and Amsoil products.
2. I have 1,500 miles since my last oil change. Normally I would wait to switch but I have an opportunity to have an oil change done at a shop, using synthetic oil, for $60. We are getting special pricing for members of our riding group. Would is be worth it to just get it done with only 1,500 miles at this price?
I do it myself for $50, that's using a Mobil-1 filter (M1-108 will fit the 900).

What oil are they planning to use? If anything other than M1 V-Twin, M1 Racing-4T, or Amsoil MCV or MCF, I'd do it myself. $60 isn't a bad deal if that includes labor and a quality filter (stay away from Fram/Pennzoil).
3. What positive changes can I expect with synthetic vs. regular oil?
Nothing glaringly obvious when riding.
Some people report smoother shifting, some don't. Some report reduced temperatures, some don't.
What I can guarantee is that you will get better cold-flow performance (better protection on cold starts), higher resistance to coking which will reduce sludge and varnish buildup, and better viscosity stability IF it is a good quality synthetic.
My bike takes 3 1/4 quarts for an oil change.
I think it's closer to 3.5

Here's my personal test results:
http://personal.linkline.com/rlockyer/oil/oil.xls

All but the V-Twin and MCV sheared down from 50wt to 30wt in 2,000 miles, including the automotive synthetics, which actually didn't do any better than Castrol GTX.
The two above oils had barely broken into the 40wt range after 6,000 miles.

I would not run a non-synthetic longer than 2,000 miles.
 

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IBA#34418
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6,332 Posts
I think it's closer to 3.5
The book says with filter 3.2. Without 3.0

And I have been running Amsoil for 22K miles on my 900 and no issues here. I use the Purolater filter for 6 bucks from autozone.

If you can get it done for 60bucks with labor included and a decent filter like Rich says that that isn't too bad a deal. Amsoil is getting close to 11 dollars a quart here in Ohio.

I usually change mine around every 3K.
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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11,774 Posts
I would definately change your own oil. Really easy and takes just a few minutes. Personally, I have noticed smoother shifting and quieter gearbox with synthetic oils. The main benifit would be longer change intervals, but I feel the engine, gearbox and clutches are better protected. High quality synthetics are far more shear-stable than the best conventional oils.
I am running Amsoil right now, but used Lucas M/C oil as well... Mobil-1 oil filter.
 

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i think the wix 51358 filter fits all vulcans, use 10w40 cause it's water cooled and does not run hot enough for 20w50 which is too heavy for water cooled bikes
 

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Super Moderator
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Is kawasaki full sintetic oil for vn900 better or the same as mobil one full sintetic 4 t motorcycle oil?
My opinion- about the same. The best is to try one and see if your bike likes it. If it does, great! Go with it. If it doesn't then try the other.

I know it sounds weird but different bikes like and dislike different oils. I've had some bikes that hated Mobil1 and others that liked it. It really is kind of a trial and error thing.

And I suggest you get you own engine oil testing done, I have for years using these folks (click link)-> Blackstone Labs. Their charts of my bike's oil have been extremely helpful in determining brand/type/weight of oil to use, oil change interval, etc.
 

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This is an older article, but is still an interesting read.


The surprising truth about motor oils




Quote from Consumer Reports article:
"We don't recommend stretching the change interval beyond the automaker's recommendations, no matter what oil you use. Engine combustion contaminants could eventually build up and harm engine parts."

Changing oil has more to do about contaminants in it, than the oil breaking down.
 

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Hello,

I own a Vulcan 900 / 2009 (32,000 km). Until December the bike was in South Africa and the previous owner was using Castrol Actevo semi synthetic 10W40. I'm in Tanzania, I can't find this type of oil here. My question is, I want to change the type of oil and I don't know if is better to go on full synthethic oil or to stick on semi synthetic.

My choices are:

Synthetic
1. Bel-Ray EXS Synthetic Ester 4T 10W40
2. Motul 7100 4T 10W-40

Semi synthetic
1. Bel-Ray EXP Synthetic Ester Blend 4T 10W40
2. Motul 5100 4T 10W-40

Thank you !
Jim
 
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