Who does long oil change intervals?

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yticolev

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For forty years, I have been very comfortable with 25,000 mile intervals on the cars I've owned. Anecdotally, no issues at all, although I do use premium synthetic media filters. Before them, I simply changed the filters between changes. I like the lowered cost, hassle, and reduced environmental cost.

Now to my 2012 NC700X standard transmission, gently ridden - 69 mpg lifetime. It has an 8,000 mile recommended interval, the same as the hybrid car I bought last year and for which I will continue my usual practice. The big difference to my mind is the NC has a wet clutch using the same engine oil. No experience with that. Last change I used full synthetic 0-20 Rotella T6 with the proper motorcycle certifications - I think from a suggestion in a thread here. I'm sitting at 11,000 miles since then. Does the clutch make a real difference in oil life or usability? Can the clutch suffer damage or should I change oil if there is a hint of slipping?

I don't want to get into a big debate about following manufacturer's recommendations, or the benefit of even shorter change intervals (might be unavoidable of course on any thread about oil). Interested in hearing from those with technical knowledge about the differences between the oil environment in cars versus motorcycles with wet clutches, and those who have actually gone longer than the recommended interval on purpose.

Thanks!
 

MZ5

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The gearbox is a major difference from other automotive applications. Gears are hard on oils in a different way than engines are. The clutch isn’t especially ‘hard’ on the oil unless you slip it a lot.

I have a little bit of analytical data on the condition of my NCX’s oil at 10k miles. It is in good condition and it is surprisingly clean (based on particle count). That said, you and I ride in very different climates, and we use different fluids (and I bet filters), so the fact that mine tests well at 10k doesn’t tell you about yours at 10 or 20 or however-many-thousand.

I note that you seem to have typed that you use Rotella T6 0w20 in your NCX. Are you certain that’s what you put in? I was not aware of a Rotella T6 0w20 product.
 

dduelin

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No 0w20 oil meets Honda's or any motorcycle wet clutch specification of JASO MA. Period, end of story. 0w oils use high loads of friction modifiers that are death to wet clutches. Once they slip and glaze the friction plates they are not recoverable and will slip until replacement.

Cars have a separate transmission from the engine that allows separate optimal lubricant use in both engine and transmission, motorcycles share engine and transmission lubricant. Transmission gears chop up the long polymer strands of multi-viscosity engine oil and drastically reduce oil service life compared to a car. Shared lubricant is the biggest difference in oil change interval between cars and bikes and you shouldn't compare them.
 
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yticolev

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You are right, I was looking at the 0-20 specified for my car. The Rotella T6 is indeed 5-40. I was going to buy it today, but all they had was 5-40 and that didn't look right. It was! as I found out when I got back home.

I forgot about the transmission. Yup, big difference when engine oil is shared with transmission and clutch. It remains hazy to me how that might impact oil longevity, and how I should adjust change intervals but your post does shows more stressors on the oil in motorcycle use. Good to hear that the clutch is not a big factor, at least with MA/MA2 oil.

I was already thinking about 12,000 miles as a reasonable interval. 50% more than recommended, but I think between Honda's no doubt conservative recommendation based on the shorter oil life of standard oils, it will be OK with synthetic oil and a better filter.
 

Rapturee

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K+N 215 oil filter, Shell Rotella T6 5-40wt, 8k intervals. No hassle really even with having to remove the Skid plate each time. I want to see 100k on mine so it's cheap enough IMHO.
:{)
 

rippin209

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I go 10,000 miles between oil changes and every 20,000 miles I change every fluid on the motorcycle and do the valve check/adjustment (easier to keep track of that way) I'm just under 90,000 miles right now.

Only problems one had mechanically was one of my forks leaking (before I installed gators) and I've replaced both the water temp sensor and the air temp sensor.

I'm still on the original clutch and my engine performs like the day I got it.
 

yticolev

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I wouldn't have thought wet clutches wear out. Isn't the friction provided by the oil? I've never had a clutch wear out, a couple vehicles over 200,000 miles. And those were normal dry clutches.
 

TacomaJD

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I wouldn't have thought wet clutches wear out. Isn't the friction provided by the oil? I've never had a clutch wear out, a couple vehicles over 200,000 miles. And those were normal dry clutches.

They absolutely do wear out. Every time you start off from a stop and the clutch goes from being disengaged to engaged, there is a period of slippage, and slippage = wear. Just because there is oil in there doesn't mean it's immune to wear. The wet clutch in my 2006 Vulcan Nomad 1600 with 25k miles on it currently slips if throttled hard in 5th gear.... it's on the to-do list to install a new clutch in it when I get caught up on the 4,000 other things I have to do besides that.
 

dduelin

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I wouldn't have thought wet clutches wear out. Isn't the friction provided by the oil? I've never had a clutch wear out, a couple vehicles over 200,000 miles. And those were normal dry clutches.
I agree wet clutches generally do not wear out in general use but they often require early and unnecessary replacement for two reasons. One, riders abuse the clutch by slipping it to keep rpms up in a higher gear when a lower gear should be selected and two, because of incorrect oil use. JASO MA ensures the oil does not have large amounts of friction modifiers added and is not going to damage the clutch. FMs lower friction coefficients for better gasoline mileage in AUTOMOBILES & TRUCKS. Molybdenum is often used in friction modifiers, hence the use of the catch-all warning for motorcyclists "don't use oils with moly added or don't use oils carrying the description "Resource Conserving" on the oil container. FMs can allow the wet clutch to slip, overheat, and glaze the friction plates. Always look for the label certification JASO MA, along with API SG or higher, and the correct viscosity. 10w40 car oils carrying JASO MA may meet all three, but most car oils are now 0w20, 5w20, 5w30 and will have Resource Conserving on the container. Diesel oils of 15w40 or 5w40 might have JASO MA but since 2016 diesel oils generally have lost API rating for gasoline engine use.

Automatic transmissions in cars and trucks mainly use an oil filled torque converter that does use oil or automatic transmission fluid to create the hydrostatic friction necessary to connect the engine's power to the transmission & drive wheels. Honda used a torque converter in the CB750A in the the late 1970's but other than that evolutionary dead end, torque converter automatic transmissions are not used in motorcycles. They are heavy and large and don't fit well into motorcycles.
 

ld_rider

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For forty years, I have been very comfortable with 25,000 mile intervals on the cars I've owned.
A company like Blackstone will do an oil analysis and give you reliable quantitative and qualitative data as to how long to stretch out your OCIs. I'm pretty sure if you are actually interested in technical knowledge that would probably be the place to start. Otherwise I have a "hunch" this thread will go sideways pretty quickly ;-)

I've used Blackstone Labs for my Ford 7.3 diesel. Motorcycle | Blackstone Laboratories
 

yticolev

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I'd rather not try to do my own long term oil analysis. Other people's data and experience will provide a better guide now. I might send my oil off anyway, but I don't get the idea that the data includes OCI recommendations, or how well the oil is still working. More about metals in the oil which is a bit indirect.
 

TacomaJD

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I'd rather not try to do my own long term oil analysis. Other people's data and experience will provide a better guide now. I might send my oil off anyway, but I don't get the idea that the data includes OCI recommendations, or how well the oil is still working. More about metals in the oil which is a bit indirect.

I'd just stop changing the oil. Such a waste of money. :cool:
 

MZ5

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For those interested in the small details, the wet clutches like those in our bikes actually slip continuously. It's a very small amount, but the drive and driven plates are in constant motion relative to one another. That alone puts a small amount of wear on them, but indeed that alone would take a _very_ long time to wear them out if you don't purposely slip them much and ride mostly on the highway (so you're not starting from a stop or shifting much).

Another small detail is that _many_ people use the term "friction modifier" incorrectly. Generally I find that people mean friction _reducers_ when they say modifiers. In fact, friction _modifiers_ are regularly and normally used in JASO MA oils. They _modify_ the frictional characteristics of the fluid such that it will meet the MA spec (or one of the sub-parts). Without friction modifiers, the fluids would generally be unsuitable for wet clutch use.
 
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showkey

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I'd rather not try to do my own long term oil analysis. Other people's data and experience will provide a better guide now. I might send my oil off anyway, but I don't get the idea that the data includes OCI recommendations, or how well the oil is still working. More about metals in the oil which is a bit indirect.


I going with the the theory Honda did all the research...........then Honda choose OCI with a large safety margin.
Long term oil analysis and development of trend line would take the bike’s entire life and then might not have enough data to make a conclusion. Not mention the cost .........
 

ld_rider

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Companies that do oil analysis typically make their OCI recommendations using data extrapolated from thousands of similar samples sent in by customer that have collectively covered millions of miles together with the specific results from your own sample.

Measurements include current viscosity, % of fuel and coolant in the oil, % of water, etc, and between 20 and 25 different elements (measured in PPM) including metals used in bearings. For example: an increase from say, 10 ppm of copper (a bearing material) to 50ppm indicates serious wear.

An engine's oil can be considered the "blood" of the engine, and the benefit is that an analysis can act as an early warning system alerting you to potential problems. Every large fleet owner does periodic oil analysis and it is required in some industries. We had a spectrometric oil analysis done periodically on all our aircraft engines for these reasons.

Personally, I think the real advantage of the analysis for most consumers is that it is the only reasonable way to determine if the oil in your engine is still "good to go" for thousands of more miles and is not contaminated. The advantage for commercial fleet owners is more about reading the results to determine engine wear and potential failures, and not necessarily about extending OCIs.
 
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Jt105

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I’m usually an annual oil change guy because I don’t hit the 8000 mile mark in a year. I have seen a number of oil reports (on here and on Bob is the Oil Guy website) that shows that the oil still has life in it after 8000 miles. I haven’t seen any reports from people stretching it beyond 8000.

If I knew I was taking a long trip I would use a quality synthetic oil and not worry about going over 8K to maybe 10K miles. Otherwise, I’ll save a few dollars and use what’s on sale. I currently have Honda GN4 in the crankcase now. Reports show that even the Dino GN4 still has life after 8000 miles.

JT
 

TacomaJD

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I’m usually an annual oil change guy because I don’t hit the 8000 mile mark in a year. I have seen a number of oil reports (on here and on Bob is the Oil Guy website) that shows that the oil still has life in it after 8000 miles. I haven’t seen any reports from people stretching it beyond 8000.

If I knew I was taking a long trip I would use a quality synthetic oil and not worry about going over 8K to maybe 10K miles. Otherwise, I’ll save a few dollars and use what’s on sale. I currently have Honda GN4 in the crankcase now. Reports show that even the Dino GN4 still has life after 8000 miles.

JT
That is the way I look at it. It seems every forum for different brand bikes always has some that are die hard Rotella fans but I've seen nothing to convince me to run anything other than GN4 and for 8k-ish mile intervals.

I've been changing oil in my Vulcan Nomad with cheap conventional oil every 3-4k miles, but that's only because it seems to use a little bit and I don't want to stretch it too far and it get low before I notice it. Easier to change it and refill to normal level. Doesn't leak or smoke, just usually comes out a little shy of what I put in it, also factoring in what's left in the filter.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

yticolev

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I've ordered a Blackstone test. I didn't realize it, but for an extra $10 they do an additional TBN test that measures the level of additives still left in the oil. This is an indirect measure of probable oil life and they then will recommend a change interval in general terms. Hopefully just a one time test will set reasonable parameters going forward. I'll post the results but it may be a month or two before I get it, depending.

I'd still be interested of course in the experiences of anyone with extended oil change intervals on the NC.
 

MZ5

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It'll be interesting to see your analysis; please post it.

And while you're at it, please disregard Blackstone's commentary section. That seems to be an attraction for many of their customers, but the comments themselves are frequently _so_ far off the mark it's just ridiculous.
 

MZ5

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I doubt I posted it here, but these are the results from a 10k-miles analysis of mine in late 2015, with about 35k total on the bike at that time.

Fe 11
Cr 0
Pb 2
Cu 4
Sn 2
Al 8
Ni 1
Ag 0
Si 16
K 0
Na 16
B 7
Mg 86
Ca 2274
Ba 0
P 1761
Zn 2253
Mo 634
Ti 0
V 0
Fuel (neg)
Anti-freeze (neg)
Water (neg)

Visc (100C) 8.9 cSt
 
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