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Originally Posted by HawaiianTiger
We simply can't get break in oils here.

I suppose if you really wanted to, you could find someone willing to go to all the effort to ship via hazardous materials UPS. That is not likely.

I've searched this island for break in oil and no one carries it or even knows what it is. NAPA has a Lucas break in oil additive, and that's it.


you can't do amazon, bill?

https://www.amazon.com/Brad-Penn-Oil-009-7120S-Engine/dp/B002RF8IN2


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None of the retailers I've contacted will even ship here with UPS hazardous materials shipping. Even if they did, the added cost is astronomical, so I make do with what I can find locally.

Cheers,
Bill


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1974 Commando
1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
Antique Fans: Loads of Emersons (Two six wingers) plus gyros and orbiters.
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Hi HT, I see what you mean about shipping. They only ship oil ground shipping. Does that include island to island shipping? I don't know.

Some bike dealers on Maui are sellers of oils that they may be able to order for you. Also a few race shops in Honolulu area.

Looking on google maps shows some auto parts stores that supposedly sell oil brands that have break in oil. Napa at least. Could they order a case of Royal Purple break in oil the next time they order from the main land?

I've seen such bad results without break in oil in California I'm afraid to not use it.

Things popped up in the search... John Deer Tractor supply has break in oil also. It is demanded for all new motors by John Deer. All top ups during break in must be break in oil. However looks like it's only 5-30. But it may actually be thicker than straight 30 hot. John Deer web site has a section explaining why they demand break in oil.

Interestingly, comparing Torco TBO 40w break in with Mobil1 Vtwin 20-50. Cold the Torco is way thicker. However Vtwin gives 2-5# more oil pressure when fully heat soaked. Most surprised by that. Cold is about the same. Riding down the road is the same. But it hot the Vtwin stays thicker, or whatever, it gives more pressure. Being very mindful of idle rpm during tests.

The problem is friction modifiers are added to even cheap motor oils so it's a risk.

Lucas break in additive & the other brand additives are basically only zinc additive. They do nothing to stop the slipperiness of friction modifiers.

Interestingly pretty much all the aftermarket hot rod motor manufactures demand break in oil. Back when we were doing motors at the Mercedes dealer with cast iron blocks. Diesel or gas, Merecedes wanted their own break in oil used. If not used they had a very hard time breaking in. Sometimes never really did. We soon learned to sell break in oil to all the independents that purchased our motors. We sold hundreds.

Already in the late 70s it was found zinc ruined catalytic converters much faster than though. It was reduced. General motors as well as Mercedes had flat cam problems by the thousands. Friction modifiers were soon used which caused break in problems. Already by '84 we were 100% using break in oil to good results. Alloy bore motors are totally different & they don't seem to need break in. 300k there is zero ridge on these. The metal has like glass power & the rings run on only that.

I think its worth getting creative to get some break in oil.
Don





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As a bit of a follow-up on this subject I've looking around for oils that I can use, especially for break-in.
Here's a handy chart for API ratings that shows the progress in a timeline of oil specifications.
Note that oils don't necessarily get "better" with later classifications but just represent what automotive manufacturers have designed their products to use.
That means that in order to be compatible with ethanol, some additives can't be used and others become more useful.
Same applies for catalytic converters.
Also note that API rates older oils as "obsolete" which could indicate that they may not be available at all, or may not be available sometime in the future.

[Linked Image]API ratings

Hope this helps.
Cheers,
Bill


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1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
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Link to whole article: http://www.pqiamerica.com/apiserviceclass.htm

A more relative link for motorcycles: https://www.oilspecifications.org/articles/JASO_MA_JASO_MB.php

While listed as obsolete, they are referencing oils for automotive use. Many of these oils are still available. The most common one is API SG (or its cousin API SH) which were the last oils blended before they put in friction modifiers, and lowered the zinc and phosphorus levels as mandate from the Fed's. SG is the rating you will find on most non-synthetic oils blended for motorcycles. It still has the highest zinc and phosphorus content with the addition of friction modifiers. SJ, SL, SM blends will not have the zinc, or phosphorus, levels our engines require. You will find them labeled 4T, V-Twin or motorcycle oil. You will find that these oils will also be rated JASO MA2 which is of interest for those who have engine oil shared with the primary case.

Last edited by John Healy; 11/27/18 11:52 pm.
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a few years ago i found SA motor oil at a convenience store-- a super cheap mystery brand.

i can still buy SB for my air compressor

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JH great article on seizures in the current VB!! If more here would join TIOC they would have all yours and Kevin's great tech articles to keep them informed. I remember back in the late 80's at Turners Corner GA. your very informative tech seminar on modern oil and piston seizure. Thanks for all you do. regards Geoff TIOC #6

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That 'oil specifications' article has got me confused. It talks about JASO MA1, JASO MA2 and plain JASO categorizations, with various data each must conform to. Fair enough. But then it suddenly throws in JASO MB without any explanation!

If I understand what you're saying correctly, John, even the JASO rated oils that are marketed as motorcycle oils fit for wet clutches, will potentially be harmful to our old Triumph engines because they don't contain sufficient zinc & phosphorous? This is something owners of old Triumphs need reminding of every time oil questions come up, I think, especially if the risks are significant.


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Tigernuts, Motorcycles don't have cats. yet anyway. So if it is rated for them it probably has zinc and phosphorous.

A lot of thread was devoted to break in oil. And that is because it sounded to me that BAZZ was about to break in his engine and I thought he should be aware of the oil issue with breakin before he did. Breakin is a specific case, for our bikes. After that use what you will but be aware of the clutch issue. So, JASO MA1 will be just fine.

I use a boutique oil. Spectro, because the buffers they use for acid, and detergent which keeps the bad stuff in suspension, so that it does not turn into a clinging acid or cake. And the additive for viscosity are a better quality, although those additives are more expensive. I bought a ton of it. But when I run out, I will switch to John's choice. A pure synthetic does not have to worry about these additives. But the only real synthetic I know of is Mobile 1. All the rest are not. Their base oil is made from gas, and so has less dead dino stuff, but still has some.

But this stuff does not matter really, because if the bike is stored in a NE climate, one is going to change the stuff anyway. That is because of the water from condensation. So even if your choice of oil is good to go, for more TIME, because time is the factor with these additives, not just miles, you have to dump it after storage. It is more of a pain with the filter.


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Originally Posted by Tigernuts
That 'oil specifications' article has got me confused. It talks about JASO MA1, JASO MA2 and plain JASO categorizations, with various data each must conform to. Fair enough. But then it suddenly throws in JASO MB without any explanation!


According to the link below, MB lubricants may induce clutch slippage in motorcycles and must only be used in scooters.

https://www.lubrizoladditives360.com/understanding-jaso-ma-and-mb/

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"MB lubricants can be formulated with friction modifiers to contribute to greater fuel economy in Automatic Transmission (Scooter) applications."

Let's put this simply: Modern, non-synthetic, 4T, V-twin and any other non-synthetic oils marketed today as motorcycle oils will have listed on the container one, or two as applicable, standards that they have met. The most important is the API rating indicating the lack of friction modifiers and the zinc and phosphorous level required by our older engines. These are API SG, and its cousin API SH (they are both made to the same standard, but SH is held more closely to these standards). Oils made after API SH have reduced zinc and phosphorous levels and friction modifiers to improve fuel efficiency.

Important to engines where the clutch shares engine oil are the JASO MA ratings: MA1, MA2.
Important to scooters that have automatic transmissions is the JASO MB rating.

www.lubrizoladditives360.com/understanding-jaso-ma-and-mb/

Basically in the early 1990's the Big 4 Japanese took on the American Petroleum Institute, and the US government concerning problems they were having with mandated oil standards. They were complaining that oils blended after SH did not protect internal engine parts, including transmission parts in motorcycles that shared engine oils. They were also having clutch and break-in problems.

It took the better part of 10 years to make their case. In the end they went to their own standards group in Japan, Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO), who's testing confirmed their claims, did the API finally agree to change the API rating for motorcycle oils back to API SG (and its cousin SH). They also addressed the clutch issue with the JASO MA ratings.

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One positive indication that you can go by is if the blender of the oil, is willing to completely disclose that is in the oil, instead of just saying, proprietary. I was able to do this in the case of Spectro. Brad Penn was a close second.

Another thing you need to be aware of is that oils get blended in huge bulk and then just thrown in different bottles. In other words what was in the bottle may not be what is in the next bottle.

Boutique or small blenders have more control over this consistency.

I have notes on the spectro, but I don't know where they are. I remember I was impressed with what I will call the buffers they used, to prevent acid from products of combustion. And it does seem that our bikes run dirty as far as carbon goes. That is just from my observation of how soon the oil turns black. So Spectro used if I remember correctly a calcium something or other rather then a something of other. The calcium blank was much more expensive to use but lasted longer and performed better.

But I am getting in the weeds here with this, since we change it so frequently.


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I have +10 pistons in my 1969 triumph tr6c.
Were +10 pistons variable many years ago?

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Triumph supplied +010" pistons as a spare part. As the bore seldom cleaned up when boring at +.010" after market suppliers seldom made them, but started their oversizes at +.020". Triumph seldom bored the cylinder at right angles to the crankshaft. So when boring on a modern boring bar from the crankcase flange the bore would seldom clean up at +.010".

Also they were know to grade cylinders and pistons. When they reached the limit of plus size of standard pistons they would bore the cylinder to +.010" and use it in a new motorcycle. As a dealer we would occasionally get a new bikes with +.010".

As an anecdote, if you are going race your Triumph the first thing you do is square the crankcase cylinder mouth so it is parallel to the crankshaft center line. Then bore the cylinder so it is also parallel to the crankshaft center line.

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This is what I've been using in my Honda and for Triumphs, especially the later ones.

[Linked Image]Lucas20-50oil

There are some manufacturer brands, Torco and Spectro oils available from the local Harley dealer, but you know how that goes. There's an additional 25% markup of everything in their high dollar building.

I'm wondering if this oil could be used a break-in oil despite the fact that it is a synthetic. By the way, they have another version of this oil in dino oil with the same ratings.

It's a bit cheaper.

This stuff costs 50$ or so to do an oil change so the extended oil change interval is the only thing that makes this in the least way reasonable to use. I'm going for a 4 thousand mile oil change on the Honda. The Triumphs usually don't go that far in one year so get changed with less mileage.

Cheers,
Bill


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Some great advice and knowledge on here!


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John thank you for the reply and the information about +10 pistons.
Always a pleasure to read you posts!

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Hi All, What an interesting subject. How does the synthetic oils such as Mobil1 v-twin 20-50 fit into this?

I can say after working at car dealerships for almost my entire working life, motor oil matters. The difference in wear rate of cam shafts & followers, (meaning flat tappet, not roller followers) was absolutely astounding. Poor oils would flatten cams in 40k miles, while good oil cams would go over 300k miles. This on the exact same motor type with proper 5k oil changes & genuine oil filters. It pays big dividends to use the best oil. Castrol GTX 20-50 back in the 70s & 80s was just horrible for cam wear, even with spray oilers right to lobes. That was touted by many including me to be the best oil you could get. Were we wrong! No wonder Triumph had such cam wear issues.

Problem is what is best? The only way to know is look at the spec sheet. If it's not listed on the sheet which many don't/won't post it, you can email tech department.

For our bikes it seems phosphorus around 1600ppm & zinc around 1750ppm. The relationship between phosphorus & zinc is important too. Also too much can become corrosive. Car oils tend to be about half these amounts. Looking at manufature's spec sheets, what we consider premium motorcycle oils tend to be close to these amounts. But you'll get some surprises as to how low some of the well thought of oils actually are.

Many oil claim high zinc but how high? That is the problem. To some 900 is high.

Mobil1 v-twin 20-50 according to the data sheet updated Oct. 2018 states 1600 & 1750. On the bottle it says SJ on front, then on the back says SJ SH SG CF. Going back 5 or 6 years it used to have JASO rating also, but that's been gone a long time now.

Some of the manufacture's sheets are 8 years old. In USA the EPA is constantly demanding changes in "hazardous" materials so is wanting to limit phosphorus & zinc. So it's important to look at current product sheets, not obsolete ones.

I doubt Mobil1 would allow rings to break in. I've seen very poor break in with Valvoline motor cycle oil also. Many break in oils have very high zinc so zinc doesn't seem to be the cause of not breaking in. But I don't know that for sure. Even Brad Penn & Lucas recommend their break in oils.

The zinc on Lucas Motorcycle 20-50 is 1058. Lucas Racing 20-50 is 3132. Drag racing oil 6795! Is that too much for street use? Lucas break in oil is 3634.

Kind of hard to know what oil to use. We have to do our research & do our best. Try to not let brand recognition sway you. Study the sheets & make you best guess.

Of course if your primary shares engine oil, it must be wet clutch compatible. That's limiting to a degree.
Don


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Quote
How does the synthetic oils such as Mobil1 v-twin 20-50 fit into this?


After the running in period is complete and you are considering the best oil to use in a sliding cam follower over cam engine you are best following test results on a similar engine.

Here is a link to some pertinent information.

https://www.accessnorton.com/NortonCommando/follower-scar-oil-tests.25898/

There is a link to the data in the 50 pages but here it is direct.

https://www.accessnorton.com/Oil-Tests/NortonOil.php

If you have an engine where the clutch shares the engine oil you are going to need careful selection as the test assumes the engine oil is not shared.

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Originally Posted by TR7RVMan


For our bikes it seems phosphorus around 1600ppm & zinc around 1750ppm. The relationship between phosphorus & zinc is important too. Also too much can become corrosive. Car oils tend to be about half these amounts. Looking at manufature's spec sheets, what we consider premium motorcycle oils tend to be close to these amounts. But you'll get some surprises as to how low some of the well thought of oils actually are.

h.
.
Don


I'm interested in how you arrived at the ZDDP necessary for Triumphs...When these bikes were new, what was the ZDDP content of oil most riders used? What the was ZDDP of the oil recommended by Triumph?


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The Access Norton oil test info looks extremely detailed and expertly researched. The problems are (a) I don;t understand it! and (b) almost all the oils tested aren't available in the UK.

I don't understand why an oil with very low heat from friction wouldn't be better than one with a higher heat from friction value but a higher load value? In my small brain, as long as minimal friction is occurring, that's what matters more than anything else, surely?

Interesting nonetheless, and it seems that the expensive Motul 10/60 i used this summer (to try to minimise oil-burning loss - which it did, to a certain extent) may have been bad for cams & followers if the ZDDP content isn't high enough - and neither was the almost as expensive Silkolene Comp 4 20/50 I used last summer?.

What does the "BGMOA " suffix mean on several of the oils in these tests?

Last edited by Tigernuts; 11/29/18 1:05 pm.

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Originally Posted by Tigernuts


What does the "BGMOA " suffix mean on several of the oils in these tests?



https://www.bgprod.com/catalog/engine/bg-moa/

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Hi Don,

Why don't you look into the content of the Mobil 1 stuff. Isn't that the stuff JH uses on his Vincents, and sees no cam wear?

Mobil 1 is the only PAO to my knowledge. A Pao means no dinosaur stuff. I Pao means viscosity change is more under control. With a PAO it should be theorically possible to not change all the oil in the filter in the fall, but to simply pour the oil in the filter if you have one, and then kick with plugs out, until clean oil comes out, and then kick some more with finger over return hole until you get clean oil to rockers and down to bath the cams, and then you are done. Change in the spring because of condensation only, but you won't have to change the filter again too. And you won't have to pull rocker box covers and squirt oil down there. Forgot, oil down spark plug holes also required. You might also have to pull rocker covers in the spring and squirt oil in there before kicking to bath the cams.

I am lazy, and yankee. I like to spare the rocker box gaskets, and effort, and leaking in the spring. I will spend the extra money for the Mobil1 in order to avoid the other.

But at this point in my life, I may have a life time of Spectro at hand. The rep came from my town, so I trust the info, or I can go beat on his door, and I got quantity discount too boot.

Always shake the oil bottles well. The good additives can settle out.

In the 70's and 80's I always used Castrol too, because Manual said to. Crap the damage I have done to my bike by trying to do the right thing is astonishing. Witness over tightening the primary, and breaking my trans.


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The 6 month warranty.... Hmmm....

Thinking about that I bought my '73 Tiger new Dec. '73. The dealer prep was terrible. They didn't do the service bulletins to carb. Pretty much every thing was loose or didn't line up. It leaked all the oil out of primary the first night. I'm sure no oil was in primary on sales floor....

Soon blew head gasket. No way would I have dealer do anymore work. They would have really messed things up. No doubt.

The 6 month warranty DID NOT do Triumph in!! Triumph did themselves in by poor machining & assembly. If the dealer across town reworked motors before sale & they were ok then, that's proof Triumph didn't do right to themselves, the dealers or the customer.

While the basic design of these motors might have been thought antiquated by then & really they were, but when properly machined & assembled they work at least quite decently. There is excuse for the way many bikes were assembled. They worked piece work which may or may not have anything to do with it. At the end of the day the fish sticks from it's head down & factory did not demand quality of product. I worked as tech at Harley Davidson of Oakland CA in 70&71. It was exactly the same with Harley. Not a design fault, but poor machining & workmanship. A prayer & bailout finally saved Harley. Sadly it was too little too late for Triumph. I often ponder what would have happened if production had moved to Small Heath.

Interesting Harley took forever to pay dealer warranty & then pennies on the dollar. They just put a sticker on bikes that wouldn't run or work. Dealer had to fix it. We called them Bozo stickers after Bozo the clown. Maybe the Harley dealer network was a little stronger so many dealers were able to survive. Our shop was always very busy as we had a fairly wealthy clientele. Customer pay work was plentiful & parts sales were very strong. Seems Harley had a larger spread between dealers too.


Back to the fish sticks from its head down. The root problem is BSA refused to look to the future. They sabotaged themselves & of course Triumph as they owned Triumph.


My dealership head fish stunk too! I later found out that is pretty much how they messed up all the bikes including the Hondas they sold. No yelp back then.


Just think if the lemon law was active back then...
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Originally Posted by TR7RVMan
The 6 month warranty.... Hmmm....

Thinking about that I bought my '73 Tiger new Dec. '73. The dealer prep was terrible. They didn't do the service bulletins to carb. Pretty much every thing was loose or didn't line up. It leaked all the oil out of primary the first night. I'm sure no oil was in primary on sales floor....

Soon blew head gasket. No way would I have dealer do anymore work. They would have really messed things up. No doubt.

The 6 month warranty DID NOT do Triumph in!! Triumph did themselves in by poor machining & assembly. If the dealer across town reworked motors before sale & they were ok then, that's proof Triumph didn't do right to themselves, the dealers or the customer.


LOL! When I bought my 70 in 2009 and removed the swing arm, I found a hard blob of grease about the size of a piece of chewing gum!!! No lubrication ever for 39 years. Speaks poorly of factory, dealer, independent mechanic and two previous owners. The guy I bought it from saved receipts of service. I think the standard regarding oil back in the day was filthy old oil was better than no oil at all.

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