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Thread: No Synthetic Oil Until 10k??

  1. #1
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    No Synthetic Oil Until 10k??

    Gonna change the oil & filter on my new RT soon, as well as a valve adjustment. I have heard some say that it is best to wait until after 10K before using synthetic oil. I could not find anything in my manual. My only guess is that non-synthetic oil helps to promote a better break-in. Can anyone confirm or deny this?? I have used Mobil 1 V Twin Synthetic on my HD and it peformed well, but the Boxer is a new bread for me and I want what is best for it. Any preferences?
    Jim Mock
    2008 R1200RT (The Blue Mule), R90/6 (New to me)
    MSF RiderCoach
    "Spring loaded to the riding position!"

  2. #2
    NOMADICBOB
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    Synthetic Oil After Break-in??

    I waited until 16K miles on my R1150, maybe I was too easy on it during break in, but it took that long before oil consumption went to almost zero, then I knew the rings were seated. With the Nikasil lining on the cylinder walls in the BMW, it does take longer. Then I use Amsoil 20W-50 motorcycle oil summer and winter; I don't ride when it's colder than 40 degrees F. I have used Castrol Actevo in the past with excellent results also. My experience with BMW's has been the engine will always outlast the rest of the bike, the electrics, the final drive, etc. frustrate the h... out of you. And the scarcity of dealers... I hear a Honda in my future calling me....

  3. #3
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    I think the decision is still out on using synthetic during break-in.. since all BMW cars use it now from new, apparently the car side thinks it's OK. If you're going to sweat it - wait until the engine stops using any significant oil (less than 500cc's between changes) and then switch to synthetic. I changed at my 6,000 mile service, and the bike uses about 150-200cc's between 6k changes (not enough to bother adding oil..) It's at 17k miles now (1 year old..)

    You should note that BMW oil has different specifications for extreme wear/pressure additives than most commercially available oils, dino or synthetic. BMW oils are generally rated API-SG/SH, which was the last rating before some of the extreme pressure additives were removed from car oils to help prolong the life of catalytic converters. That said - analysis I've seen shows that many "heavier" oils, (15W-50) with newer ratings than SG/SH - DO have the older levels of the extreme pressure additives since the EPA didn't require the heavier oils to remove them.

    I use BMW oil while the bike is under warranty. It would avoid any discussion with BMW about oil induced engine damage if there was an engine problem. It would simply be a non-issue. There might not be a problem with using other oil, including the V-Twin synthetic, but I'd rather not be in the situation of having to prove it if I needed to make a warranty claim. (And yes - I know ALL about Magnusson-Moss act - and I'm sure it applies, but I don't want to have to prove it.) BMW at one point issued a notice (SIB) to the dealers stating that use of oils other than SG/SH rated would be considered a reason to deny engine warranty coverage. Using their oil puts that concern to rest for me. Once my warranty is up - I can return to using standard Mobil-1 15W-50 oil (I have 4 gallons sitting in my oil cabinet..) as I've used on BMWs for years.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

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    Thanks for the explaination Don. You hit on every one of my questions. I noticed the other day that the bike had used some oil, and I brought it back up. I am going to start a log in order to track consumption & mileage. I guess I better get to the BMW dealer and have some ready for the break in period. I am absolutely comfortable with the consumption if it is expected, so no worries here. Excellent point regarding the warranty period. I will use BMW specific oil once I change to synthetic. I am assuming that there is a BMW synthetic product....correct? Thanks again for the info, I am going to get my first experience adjusting valves this weekend, and am looking forward to it. Just like the old days with a solid cam in a SB Chevy! LOL
    Jim Mock
    2008 R1200RT (The Blue Mule), R90/6 (New to me)
    MSF RiderCoach
    "Spring loaded to the riding position!"

  5. #5
    Rally Rat
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    Many of us (my '05 R1200RT included) seem to stop 'using' oil around the 8 - 10,000 mile range.

    As long as a warrantied bike is going to be serviced at 12,000 miles anyways, that seems to be a good time to switch to synthetic if so inclined.

    That's what I did (also on the recommendation of my BMW Master Tech), and ever since, I have not used any fluid and the bike manages heat better than dino oil.

    Enjoy the RT!

  6. #6
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    I have gone to BMW synth in the K1200Ses at the 600 mile check. I used to wait a few thousand miles, but no oil consumption so thought I might as well. Seems fine. No oil consumption on the 2400 mile trip out to WY and back. K bikes, eh?
    R1200GS LC Rallye
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  7. #7
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leadfoot View Post
    Thanks for the explaination Don.
    Snip..
    I am assuming that there is a BMW synthetic product....correct?
    Yup.. a 15W-50, a bit pricey, but.. what the heck it's for my bike..
    Thanks again for the info, I am going to get my first experience adjusting valves this weekend, and am looking forward to it. Just like the old days with a solid cam in a SB Chevy! LOL
    Except the dual-valve adjustment.. but it is rather a fun job to do actually (if you're not doing it for a living..)
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

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    Thanks Don, and contributors! Looks like I am on the right track. I was wondering when I got the RT if I could perform service like I have on my HD since new, now I am confident with things. Just need to use some good common sense and have fun.

    Now if I can stop riding long enough for a cold valve adjustment.....

    Thanks gain
    Jim Mock
    2008 R1200RT (The Blue Mule), R90/6 (New to me)
    MSF RiderCoach
    "Spring loaded to the riding position!"

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by leadfoot View Post
    Thanks Don, and contributors! Looks like I am on the right track. I was wondering when I got the RT if I could perform service like I have on my HD since new, now I am confident with things. Just need to use some good common sense and have fun.

    Now if I can stop riding long enough for a cold valve adjustment.....

    Thanks gain
    I've said often, and repeat again, at least 90 percent of the work you do on any motor vehicle is just solid fundamental mechanics. Good shop practice. Much of the other 10 percent needs only a good manual for specifications, torque values, etc. A small amount is sufficiently model specific that special fixtures or diagnostic tools are needed. Most owners need not go there at all, ever. But if you can change oil in your lawn mower you can change oil in a BMW.

    p.s. It's actually harder on the lawnmower I used to have - before I moved to 12 acres of rock and cactus, but not grass, in the Texas Big Bend.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  10. #10
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Smile

    When BMW of Orlando performed my 1,000mile service I was told that it was best to put 10>12K miles on my bike before using synthetic oil. Looking at the oil level sight glass indicates almost no "loss" of oil over the last 5K miles. When the time comes for synthetic oil in the motor I will replace the drive shaft & transmission fluids with synthetic lube. Ride Safe

  11. #11
    There are two factors at play here. The obvious one is the sealing of the face of the rings against the surface of the cylinder. A good fit here happens pretty quickly.

    The second critical area of sealing is behind and under the rings, where combustion pressures push the rings outward toward the cylinder walls and downward in the groove against the piston land just beneath (toward the crankshaft even if it is on its side) each ring. Here, a modest buildup of varnish completes the sealing process.

    This takes some time/miles. Today's manufacturing processes normally shorten the time this takes, but good sealing doesn't happen out of the box.

    The best rule of thumb is to wait until oil consumption has tapered off. My R1150R consumed over 3 quarts of oil in the first 600 miles, and another 2 quarts in the next 1000. It dropped of sharply at about 3000 miles and began using an insignificant amount at about 8000 miles. This varies a lot bike to bike and rider to rider. I followed OEM guidelines through the 600 mile service but didn't baby it even then, and certainly not thereafter. Now at about 90K miles it takes no added oil between 6000 mile changes.

    Voni's R1100RS was similar in its consumption behavior. Her RSL and S were purchased used so I don't know the early consumption history on them. Her RS at 345K miles takes a dab, say a cup between changes. Her R1100S at 90K uses more than that.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  12. #12
    I changed the oil on my R1200R at 4400 miles (my dealer service was done at 1000 miles). I put in Mobil 1 20w-50 "V-Twin" (had a hard time getting past the name) . I have 8800 miles now, and the oil level is still above the half mark on the sight glass. It was about 1/16" below the top after my change, so that is about a pint usage in 4400 miles.

  13. #13
    Registered User TomR1200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swall View Post
    the oil level is still above the half mark on the sight glass. It was about 1/16" below the top after my change, so that is about a pint usage in 4400 miles.
    I'm confused here, I thought the distance between the top and bottom of the ring was 1/2 quart (i.e. one pint). If you went from near the top to the 1/2 mark, isn't that just 8 ounces (one cup?)

    I'm disappointed with my R1200R's continuing oil use. In the 1500 miles since the 6K dealer service, I've made it a point not to add any oil, since I was told by the dealer that most people who think their bike uses oil are actually overservicing and blowing out the excess. But I have gone from 3/4 of the sight ring to 1/4, which I calculate (perhaps incorrectly?) as 8 ounces used in just 1500 miles. There are no visible leaks.

    I do ride fairly hard, with occaisional nudges against the rev limiter, but it looks like it's not going to seal any better than this. I was careful with the motor when I first got the bike, but it was a dealer demo, so I guess the test rides took their toll. Pity to have to watch the level closely, but I still figure the motor will outlast the rest of the bike.

    I plan to switch to synthetic this fall, at around 9K.

    Cheers, Tom

  14. #14
    Jeez Tom, you're right. I'm using less oil than I thought!

  15. #15
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TR250Tom View Post
    I'm disappointed with my R1200R's continuing oil use. In the 1500 miles since the 6K dealer service
    Cheers, Tom
    That's not too bad...like about a quart in 6K. BMW used to have as a limit on oil consumption of 700 miles to 1 qt. I had one of those once. Still put about 93K miles on it.
    Some twin owners have said that they have gone as long as something like 30K miles before the oil consumption went down (I don't know from what...).
    R1200GS LC Rallye
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

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