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Thread: 96 K11 LT oil and coolant question

  1. #1

    96 K11 LT oil and coolant question

    Best coolant and best oil for this bike is what I am looking at. It has always run bmw oil and knowing the previous owner bmw coolant. I tend to think that the bmw coolant might be right but I am also thinking about castrol 20-50. I have used Amsoil in the past and BMW wants the same for theirs or amsoil. I used to run shell rotella in the blue jug on past bikes. I am in Florida and this bike is hot 5 mos of the year. Coolants are orange gold blue..interesting..looking for some guys smarter than I for this question. There is plenty of wisdom on this forum..thanks

  2. #2
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    SW Iowa
    I used Castrol 20-50 dino oil in all of our bricks. The brick engine is not very fussy about what oil you throw into it.
    For coolant I used Havoline Extended Life because it meets BMW's requirements. If I lived close to a dealer I might have used the BMW packaged coolant.
    Last edited by Lee; 02-24-2014 at 05:18 PM. Reason: spelling
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Northern Front Range, CO
    Coolant needs to be compatible with aluminum systems. Oil needs to meet specs; 20W50 is correct weight for nearly all temp ranges (20-105F is the 20W50 range), and then whatever the S_ spec is (SF, SJ, whatever).
    Brand matters not at all.
    Because it is a dry clutch, the oil does not necessarily need to be m/c specific. Something like Mobil1 15W50 is just fine, as long as it meets the other specs.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  4. #4
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    It goes beyond simply "compatible with aluminum engines," and BMW coolant is probably the best bet. Or some coolant where the manufacturer SPECIFICALLY STATES it's the BMW formula. That will probably come from Europe, too, and be called Pentosin.

    I wouldn't get as excited about motor oil and it's good to know that the USA (maybe Canada, too) is the only country in the world where "BMW oil" is sold at BMW dealers. You don't use the same motor oil in your transmission, so basically you have a car engine.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  5. #5
    Still plays with trains. tinytrains's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Torrance CA
    My K75 has run 25 years and 71K miles on plain old green Prestone. Clean as a whistle inside.

    As for oil, it ran 65K miles on Castrol GTX 20W 50. The last two oil changes I switched it to Castrol 20W 50 4T motorcycle oil after learning about ZDDP levels in new automobile oils. It has never seen synthetic and does not use any noticeable oil between changes. At this age, I would be reluctant to try synthetic. Best leave well enough alone.
    1988 K75 Low Seat
    2009 R1200R Roadster

  6. #6


    I got the castrol 20/50 and bmw coolant and distilled water..thanks

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