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20W Oil Alternative
#771252 04/16/19 10:13 pm
Joined: Jan 2006
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Gary E Offline OP
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I had a gallon of 20w oil for years. It's used up. Now that 20w oil is practically impossible to find, what is a suitable alternative for the primary chain?


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
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Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771258 04/16/19 11:10 pm
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Gary :
a lot of guys use and like ATF .....personally i dont ......i tried it and it seemed to make the primary more noisy.....i just recon its too light.

in my a65 and a10 i use 20/50 (which some will say is too heavy) ...... only draw back of that is that you have to clear the clutch from sticking if its has sat for more than a few days.......not realy an hardship.

on the plus side it makes the primary quieter. Ive looked in the filler hole when its running and it sure splashes about well so i cant help thinking its better for the chain.


straight SAE 30 shouldnt be hard to get ? if you dont like the 20/50 idea.

Only one i really would avoid would be those modern synthetics

Last edited by Ignoramus; 04/16/19 11:21 pm.

"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771260 04/16/19 11:39 pm
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You can get 20 weight fork oil. Dont know how that differs. I would think that might be non detergent with minimal friction modifiers. Never tried it. I use ATF. Never thought about the primary noise.


keep your "oddies" lubricated, and carry a dime
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
nert #771264 04/17/19 12:00 am
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Gary E Offline OP
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Originally Posted by nert
You can get 20 weight fork oil. Dont know how that differs. I would think that might be non detergent with minimal friction modifiers. Never tried it. I use ATF. Never thought about the primary noise.


Yes, ATF at 10W is too thin for me. Fork oil is non-detergent. I haven't been able to find any 20W in my area. Amazon doesn't show it either.

Last edited by Gary E; 04/17/19 12:04 am.

1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Ignoramus #771265 04/17/19 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
Gary :
a lot of guys use and like ATF .....personally i dont ......i tried it and it seemed to make the primary more noisy.....i just recon its too light.

in my a65 and a10 i use 20/50 (which some will say is too heavy) ...... only draw back of that is that you have to clear the clutch from sticking if its has sat for more than a few days.......not realy an hardship.

on the plus side it makes the primary quieter. Ive looked in the filler hole when its running and it sure splashes about well so i cant help thinking its better for the chain.


straight SAE 30 shouldnt be hard to get ? if you dont like the 20/50 idea.

Only one i really would avoid would be those modern synthetics


I would probably not use the 20/50 as the clutch on this machine already has a habit of sticking.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 Cyclone Competition Build
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771273 04/17/19 3:43 am
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Tractor Supply perhaps. I have an old Dayton (Champion) compressor that requires it.

Haven't finished my gallon yet. I had better have a look myself.


Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771275 04/17/19 5:39 am
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I gave up on finding 20W after trying every place in town and just went to 30W in the T100. Works great. Probably helps that I did a complete replacement of just about all the parts not long ago so basically a new clutch.


Cheers, Wilf


"It's about the ride..."
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Wilfred #771283 04/17/19 9:20 am
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I have used 20W fork oil in the primary case for a number of bikes for over 20 years now without problems I am now using it a 1963 A65 and a 1956 A7 here in the UK I use Silkolene oil which I buy on eBay.

Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771287 04/17/19 10:59 am
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There is no reason not to use a multigrade 20W-40 for instance.
IT is 20W oil with fortifiers and will probably never get hot enough to reach full operating temperature.


Bike Beesa
Trevor
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
BSA_WM20 #771289 04/17/19 11:35 am
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Originally Posted by BSA_WM20

IT is 20W oil with fortifiers and will probably never get hot enough to reach full operating temperature.


My sentiments exactly, another option is to use SAE 30W break in oil, this has no friction modifiers in and found it quite good for this application. (you can also get 20-50 break in oil)


Now let’s all have a beer beerchug

68’ A65 Lightning “clubman”
71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
67’ D10 sportsman (undergoing restoration)
68’ D14 trials (undergoing transformation)

Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771309 04/17/19 5:20 pm
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70 and up Triumphs share engine and primary oil so most people are using 20w/50 in the primary. Those year Triumph and BSA clutches are identical. Just be sure and use a motorcycle specific oil that is suitable for wet clutches. I've used Valvoline 20w/50 Motorcycle for years with no clutch issues.


1978 Bonneville T140E
1974 Trident
1970 BSA Thunderbolt
1971 Norton Commando
1972 Norton Commando
1973 Norton Commando
1974 Norton Commando
2018 Kawasaki Z900RS


Everything will be alright in the end. If its not alright, its not the end.
Re: 20W Oil Alternative
Gary E #771312 04/17/19 6:08 pm
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I also use 20W50 in the primary without issue, just make sure its the 'classic' variety without friction modifiers.


1968 A65 Firebird
1967 B44 Shooting Star
1972 Norton Commando

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