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Wrong Oil in my R1200ST - help!


jaytee

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Well, generally I think of engine oil as more or less engine oil so long as the viscosity is appropriate for the application.

 

So I got a great deal on some automotive engine oil and used it for my last oil change about 2000 miles ago. Recently I read that I had to watch the API desigation so I went back and checked.

 

OOPS!

 

I used: SuperTECH Universal Motor Oil SAE 15W-40 API Svc CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4 CF/SL, SJ

 

I have been told that I needed to use API Svc SF and that the use of SL or SJ can be cause to void the engine warrantee.

 

Now, I am out of warrantee, I believe (bike is 3.5yrs old, 15k miles) but I am worried I am possibly damaging the engine's long term reliability.

 

What have I done? and more importantly, what should I do?

 

All the wiki articles on engine oil are either too confusing or don't address the issue.

 

Thanks!

 

JT

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That oil is fine, you don't need to take any particular action. Just change it as normal at the next change interval.

 

You really don't need to get hung up on the API designation as it doesn't necessarily make an oil unsuitable. Do a forum search for one the rare oil threads and you will find out all you need to know.

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The oil designation has alot to do with the additive package. You don't have a wet clutch so you shouldn't have an issue.

 

BMW is trying to control what oil you use and that is how they try to do it... This change won't hurt you. I personally wouldn't use that oil long term. I would use Castrol 4T which is available at pep boys in gallons for about 15.00 ... It is motorcycle oil and matches the designation that BMW says to use.

 

Don't worry. If you think you would feel better, dump it out and change the oil .

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My warranty expired today. I am going to Castrol. I don't want to start an oil thread. I went to the Castrol web site and noticed they have 3 oils that say good on all Japanese and European bikes. The three types I saw were Castrol 4T, Castrol Activ 4, anc Castrol Racing 4. They seem to have the same ratings except the racing oil. Before I go to the local auto supply and engage the local teenager sales clerk, is there any real benefit difference in the 3?

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Ok, I did more research and discovered that the API designations are issued serially. In the case of SF --> SL --> SJ each designation is desigend to supercede the former. They are supposed to be backwards compatible as it were. The API SF that BMW requires was issed in 1988, and there have been several improvements in formulation since then, SL and SJ are the mroe recent ones.

 

Sooo... I guess I shouldn't panic, although this really was a good deal at $10 per gallon.

 

MAybe I'll use the other gallon I have or maybe I'll go back to the pricey bmw silver bottle.

 

JT

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My warranty expired today. I am going to Castrol. I don't want to start an oil thread. I went to the Castrol web site and noticed they have 3 oils that say good on all Japanese and European bikes. The three types I saw were Castrol 4T, Castrol Activ 4, anc Castrol Racing 4. They seem to have the same ratings except the racing oil. Before I go to the local auto supply and engage the local teenager sales clerk, is there any real benefit difference in the 3?

 

No. That said, I would avoid 'racing' oils as race engines get stripped and rebuilt at very short intervals and the 'race' designated oils do not need the longevity additives that road based oils do.

In my opinion, the only reason to go synthetic is if you live in hot climates where lane splitting is not allowed (such as Texas!), as synthetics have a better tollerance of high engine temperatures.

 

Andy

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The API SF that BMW requires was issed in 1988, and there have been several improvements in formulation since then, SL and SJ are the mroe recent ones.

 

I think the reason BMW and many other motorcycle manufacturers specify 'motorcycle type' or SG or SF ratings because the newer improved ratings had less additives to protect the engine but, were better for automotive catalytic converters. Zinc for cam lobes comes to mind if I remember correctly. If your bike was mine, I'd change the oil and sleep well there after.

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Here's a quote from Spectro Oils web sit concerning API ratings

 

 

Question:

 

Ive noticed changes in API ratings on automotive oils from time to time: SJ, for example. These are not always reflected in Spectro products. Why is this?

 

Answer:

 

The API American Petroleum Institute quality assurance system is driven by the automobile manufacturers. When API had SG as its highest quality level, it was good for both motorcycles and automobiles. However, when the API went to SH quality levels, changes occurred. Lubricant manufacturers added friction modifiers to increase fuel efficiency and decreased the allowed levels of zinc and phosphorous in these oils. These were concessions to the automobile manufacturers and were a step backward as far as lubricant performance in motorcycles and, in particular, Japanese models was concerned.

 

Why? Increased levels of friction modifiers can detrimentally affect the clutch and starter systems in some Japanese motorcycles. Decreased levels of zinc and phosphorous are not advised for highRPM, highoutput motorcycle engines which run hotter and have small lubricant reservoirs compared to automobiles. The API SJ rating, for example, further increased friction modifier treat levels to improve automobile fuel efficiency. Zinc and phosphorous were further limited, as well. All of these steps are in the opposite direction of how a premiummotorcycle lubricant should be formulated. Therefore, Spectro Oils do not have the SJ rating on them for the reasons stated above.

 

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Well, generally I think of engine oil as more or less engine oil so long as the viscosity is appropriate for the application.

 

So I got a great deal on some automotive engine oil and used it for my last oil change about 2000 miles ago. Recently I read that I had to watch the API desigation so I went back and checked.

 

OOPS!

 

I used: SuperTECH Universal Motor Oil SAE 15W-40 API Svc CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4 CF/SL, SJ

 

I have been told that I needed to use API Svc SF and that the use of SL or SJ can be cause to void the engine warrantee.

 

Now, I am out of warrantee, I believe (bike is 3.5yrs old, 15k miles) but I am worried I am possibly damaging the engine's long term reliability.

 

What have I done? and more importantly, what should I do?

 

All the wiki articles on engine oil are either too confusing or don't address the issue.

 

Thanks!

 

JT

 

 

 

Jaytee, you just can’t tell that much from the API designation.. You really need to look at the oil specs of the oil in question..

 

I can’t find the specs on that particular oil but with a Commercial rating (CI-4, CH-4, CG-4, CF-4) that means it is Diesel rated so in most cases that would have plenty of ZZP type additives to be perfectly fine in your BMW..

 

Most of the later API emission rated engine oils that people say are so harmful to the precious BMW do not carry a Commercial (diesel) rating as they don’t contain adequate anti scuff, anti wear, & other helpful additives.. In most cases the light duty emission rated motor oils are offered in the modern car viscosities like 5W30, 10W30, 0W20.. The thicker oil’s like the 15W40 are not meant to be used in modern emission class cars so a lot of them are not de-additivized yet..

 

Twisty

 

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Tony K -- glad I could brighten your wednesday! ;)

 

Twisty1 -- So it sounds like because this is a multi-purpose oil of the correct viscosity and has both a gasoline and diesel rating that I shouldn't have to worry too much?

 

I know its an oil quesiton, and I know the likely outcome of any contentious thread about oil, but really what I am trying to ask is: Am I ok using this oil or is there some reason I should be concerned and switch it asap.

 

I am all about peace of mind so long as it isnt just spending money that makes no difference.

 

Thanks for all the input, guys...

 

JT

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Tony K -- ~I know its an oil quesiton, and I know the likely outcome of any contentious thread about oil, but really what I am trying to ask is: Am I ok using this oil or is there some reason I should be concerned and switch it asap.

 

I am all about peace of mind so long as it isnt just spending money that makes no difference.

 

Thanks for all the input, guys...

 

JT

 

JT,

 

Did a little research on your SuperTECH Universal Motor Oil (15W40)

 

That oil really doesn’t look too bad,, especially for the price..

 

TBN=9.02__ Phosphorus= 1179__ Zinc=1226___ Moly=0___ Boron=0..

 

Those are actually pretty good numbers & every bit as good as the older API SG or SH..

 

As long as it doesn’t (or isn’t) changed to meet the new Diesel emission protection specs it should be a decent oil for your BMW boxer.. The numbers are much better than the new formula Rotella-T triple Protection..

 

Twisty

 

 

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