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I have to first say that I have always been impressed with Mobil 1 oil and have run it in ever car I own. I recently ran across an individual who is in our local HOG chapter and retired from Mobil. I asked him about Harleys and Mobil 1.

A little background I have run across several articles (American Iron Magazine, April 2000, for one) that tested Mobil 1 oil and Harley 360 oil in air cooled V-twin and came out with the recommendation that Mobil 1 tested out a little better than 360 did. I wanted to ask him to get his take on it.

Now this is what he told me regarding the MoCo and Mobil he said that: Harley had approached Mobil and worked with them for a time to developing a synthetic for air-cooled V-twins. Harley engineers were very impressed with how well the oil worked and ask the MoCo to sell Mobil oil under there label. However Mobil wanted a statement, on the bottle, that this oil was blended or refined by Mobil Oil. The MoCo didn’t want anyone’s name on the bottle. An ill-reconcilable difference occurred, a corporate impasse, the Harley Engineers plead with the MoCo to adapt Mobil’s synthetic but the MoCo refused to allow Mobil to put anything on the bottle indicating it was their oil. I looked at their 360 oil, and I couldn’t find a manufacture’s name on it and we all know that the MoCo doesn’t refine their own oil someone else is doing it. So this is what I was told and the reason Harley doesn’t recommend synthetic oil.

I was told that if I didn’t run Harley 360 oil it would void my warranty, I then checked a little further and found that if that was true; that you needed to use a certain product to maintain a warranty the manufacture would have to provide that product to you free of charge.

Now with that said I did decide to switch to Mobil 1 synthetic oil. I was told, again by my friend to use to ork for Mobil, the best oil to run in the new V-Rod was still the synthetic V-Twin 20W-50 Mobil oil. The only place I found to get it was AutoZone and good luck because I was told by the manager of the one in Manassas VA that it was their hottest selling oil and they can’t keep it on their shelves. Oh and it isn’t cheap, almost $8 a quart, yes that isn’t a typo eight dollars a quart, but given how much our engine cost it’s cheap insurance, in my opinion.

Now my take on it, I think - the engine seem to rev better and seem to run easier. I know for sure it shifts better; I used to have a thunk when I shifted from 1st to 2nd but now only a click. I haven’t really noticed if it runs cooler, but it seem as if the fans don’t come on as often. Based upon my back ground as a SCCA Tech Inspector, and knowing what the racers run - either Mobil 1 or Redline. And knowing Redline doesn’t have the detergents or additives needed for prolong street usage, Mobil 1 was by far recommended as the best oil for street use. I feel it was the best choice for me and I am very happy with it.

That’s my story and I am sticking with it, thanks,

Dave
 

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Just curious...specifically what additives are you saying Redline doesn't have and where can I find the information?
 

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mobil 1

It's fortuitous that this topic should arise today as I just purchased some mobil 1 yesterday but I haven't changed the oil yet. Maybe you could answer a couple of questions for me.
1. At what interval are you going to change your oil ?
2. Is synthetic oil subject to the degradation over the winter as regular
oil?
3. Because I wasn't aware that Mobil came in a V-Twin formulation I
purchased the 15w-50 with the red cap. Is that okay, or should I take
back? (approx $5 per quart)
(note concerning warranties: I'm in the automotive business and this is one of my areas of expertise. Use of any product such as this cannot outright void your warranty. If you have a malfunction that can be traced to the use of said product, then that specific repair would not be covered but your warranty remains intact. And, here's where they get ya, you are still obligated to follow the service intervals set forth by the manufacturer in the owner's manual in order to keep your warranty intact. The good news is that the reccommended oil change interval is 5000 miles (which seems a bit long) after the first 1000 mile oil change.)

Any insights or suggestions you have to offer would be appreciated.
 

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Friend of mine has been running regular Mobil One 15w-50 in his bike(95 Road King) from day one and swears by it. He changes own oil about every 3000 - 4000 miles and has service done pretty regular. Never had a problem with that oil. I have been running it from day one and have about 19,000 miles on bike and no problems. Ooh, that reminds me, about due to change it again.

Synthetic oils are widely used in racing and high performance/high dollar vehicles.

There is another thread on J&P Cycles - about oils - www.j-pcycles.com. Click on the forum section and go to tech talk. The topic is 'Oil Again' and about 300 postings have been done. Lots of comments from people about their experiences with different oils.

Will I continue to use synthetic oil in bike? Yep, and I also use synthetics in transmission.
 

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I agree with VA V-Rod. I started using the regular Mobil 1 in my bikes in 1977 and now use the motorcycle formula. The change in shifting ( with a common engine - transmission sump ) and quieter running engine is phenominal. The motorcycle formula has different additives because of the wet clutch, which autos don't have. I change the oil in all of my vehicles every year or 5K miles, whichever comes 1st.
I would urge you to visit their website :

http://www.mobil1.com/motorcycle/index.jsp

I also called their toll free # and spoke for a long time with one of their representatives who was very knowledgeable.

JMS
 

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More on Synthetic Oil.

I remember some years ago coming across an excellent Usenet FAQ regarding internal combustion engine lubrication. It has since moved and I can no longer locate it (see the excellent Gasoline FAQ for info about gasolines). However the main thrust of the FAQ was that synthetic lubricants are in virtually all cases superior to organic ones.

Synthetic lubricants were first developed during WWII as a means of preventing tank engines from freezing solid. This work was first started by the Germans, who suffered from a shortage of natural crude oil, and developed numerous synthetic petroleum processes.

The main reason that synthetics are superior is due to the greater uniformity of the lengths of the hydrocarbons making up the oil. This leads to prolonged service life, and greater resistance to viscosity breakdown.

To be effective in daily use, most automotive lubricants are "multi-weight" - an oil must not turn into a solid mush at low temperatures (such as when sitting overnight), but also must not burn off or vaporize at high temperatures. Synthetics, of which Mobil 1 is a leading brand, excell in precisely this property.

Another item dealt with in the Oil FAQ concerned additives, specifically those containing teflon, such as Slick 50 and other aftermarket products. The Oil FAQ was most specific in pointing out that most of the scientific claims made for such products were flawed, and that at best you were wasting your money on them. At worst you were endangering your engine by possibly creating blockages in the oil passages. I believe that it is important that whatever lubricant you choose for your bike, you stay away from those containing teflon.

I believe it is unlikely that H-D, or any of its engineering staff will ever endorse any product other than a Harley-branded one. At $8 per quart I figure it will be cheaper for me to change my oil every 2000 miles using Harley 360 oil, rather than every 4000-5000 miles using Mobil 1. I do, however, sincerley hope that Harley introduces a Harley-branded synthetic in the near future.
 

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How can we find out who makes the MOCO 360 oil? Does your friend know?
The HD oil was made by Sun Oil for a long time, but now is made by Citgo.

The story about HD and Mobil is true, the Mobil1 20W50 is the oil that was specifically developed for HD.

You might want to be careful with the automotive Mobil1 in the bike. I have talked to a fellow that worked on the motorcycle oil project. He rides a Harley. He used the 15W50 as opposed to the more expensive 20W50. Recently Mobil changed the formulation of the car oil, and he said he switched to the motorcycle oil as a precaution as at this time he is not sure that the new formulation Mobil1 car oil is adequate.

Redline actually has tho 20W50 oils, the racing 20W50 which is not recommended for street use, and the regular 20W50 which actually is much more adequate for extended drain intervals if that is what you are looking for.
In my opininon you use any of these oils for extra protection, not to extend drain intervals.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys,

Got one more for you regarding oils:

http://www.micapeak.com/info/oiled.html

As for additives, I was told Redline does have the anit-rust and detergents needed for street use. Because our cars and bikes and driven, parked over night or several days, then driven again maybe not be completely warmed up; condensation occurs in the engine and you need to have detergents to clean the engine and rust inhibitors. Now please remember I am an Accountant, not an engineer, but it looks like others are fairly well versed on this subject and I try to read everything I can on it. With that said Father was a Chemical Engineer and Sister is Mechanical Engineer, so I do get a little knowledge from them.

I was the way ward child went into accounting, but I'd love to be one of those corporate bean counters, I'd factor in the customer and what they want and the long-term effect.

As for changing intervals I am sticking with what the manual calls for, I figured I'd rather be save than sorry.

Dave
 

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HIPPO said:


In my opininon you use any of these oils for extra protection, not to extend drain intervals.
What about you Hippo, you seem to have a good handle on this, what do you use?

Here is Mobil 1's reasoning:
Q.
What about Mobil 1 V-Twin oil? How is that different from Mobil 1 for passenger cars?
A.
Mobil 1 V-Twin oil is designed for air-cooled, large-displacement bikes. Because of their design, these engines can generate very high localized oil temperatures and high overall bulk-oil temperatures.

As you know, a typical air-cooled V-twin's rear cylinder gets a lot hotter than the front cylinder – it's a matter of airflow. When it's hot out and you're stuck in traffic, the oil temperature in your bike climbs rapidly. Above about 250° F, conventional motor oil is going to break down. Mobil 1 V-Twin synthetic oil is good to above 300° F.

In addition, Mobil 1 V-Twin 20W-50 is a higher-viscosity grade than Mobil 1 15W-50 for passenger cars. And Mobil 1 V-Twin has no viscosity index improvers, so the oil is very "shear stable." Simply put, Mobil 1 V-Twin synthetic oil won't break down as readily as conventional oil.

Like Mobil 1 MX4T, Mobil 1 V-Twin has high levels of phosphorus/zinc and the same high-temperature detergent technology for superior wear protection and engine cleanliness, even at elevated oil temperatures.

With Mobil 1 V-Twin oil, you can go the full length of the manufacturer's recommended oil change intervals with ease.

Mobil 1
 

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Blah blah blah blah....I'm stickin with Redline in all three places.

I just love getting the facts from those reknowned oil experts Mr. "I was told...." and Dr. "I've heard...."
 

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LOL, long story.

For as long as I can remember, as far as engine oil, I used BelRay EXS. I really like the feel of engines with this oil. Problem is that the price has been going up and it got to the point where it got ridiculous and customers started to bit(h. The company also has a bit of an attitude problem.

On my own bike I started to use the Mobil15W50 car oil (mainly to see what if anything happened), and in the customer bikes the Mobil 20W50 motorcycle oil or the RedLine, reason being that if something were to happen due to totally unrelated causes I did not want to hear about it.
Keep in mind we are primarily a machine and engine building shop that does work for other shops as well as a contract R&D shop, and only service bikes as a favour so to speak, customers we have built engines for and their friends, guys we ride with and the ocasional good looking lady. Lately it is getting out of hand, so we may have to cut it down a little, and we don't stock large quantities of parts other then hard engine parts.

Now the Mobil car oil changed so to me it is no longer a option. Since I keep the gearbox and primary RedLine I decided the oil discussions were taking too much time, so I decided just to keep RedLine stuff and if they did not like it they can bring their own. No one has yet.

So, if the question is what I use right now, the answer is RedLine, but it is by no means the only answer, there is more then one way to go.

I usually change the engine and primary oil on the bikes at 5K, but if on a trip I have no reservation running it until I get home.

When they speak of localized high temperatures they are much more specific then "rear cylinder". The top ring on these engines runs real hot, and there are significant advantages to running a good synthetic oil, in particular one with a ester or diester base. This is the reason for choosing RedLine over Mobil, even though I suspect the base oil in the Mobil motorcycle oil is not the same as in the car oil. They call the formula trisynthetic, meaning they use 3 different base oils and this is confirmed in their tech literature. I suspect the percentage of ester base in the Mobil motorcycle oil is higher then in the car oil, I can't prove it but it sure feels like it.
Both the Mobil1 motorcycle oil and the RedLine are very good oils.
 

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Actually it doesn't matter. All this stuff is made to a spec and pricepoint.

If for whatever reason you don't want to use synthetic, you can probably do a lot worse then HD oil.
People keep talking about air cooled engines, the oil doesn't know what cools the engine, it just knows how hot it gets. The real significant difference is that it is a roller crank engine. Due to the close fitments on the crank there is no way in the world parts can run on a hydrodynamic wedge and there is metal to metal contact by design. The oil's ability to transfer heat and the additive package has requirements that are not found on a plain bearing engine. If you are willing to give up the much higher ability to tranfer heat a diester base synthetic provides, then you would be well advised to stick with HD oil.
 

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Are there any Virginians or Marylanders out there that have seen the Redline oil products in stock on a shelf somewhere?

Thanks again HIPPO. I remember you bringing up the diester based oil topic before. I started reading up about it (on my own) and found it to be a fascinating subject.
 

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Land of Ice and Snow

Up here in the land of ice and snow, I never reach the 5,000 mi. mark, and I end up changing the oil yearly instead of based on mileage. That would leave me to believe that I'm better off sticking with HD purely based on cost. However, I have always had problems with loud shifting and I suspect the cold weather/ weather is a part of that. Cox 9000, check out Redline for a mail dealer.
 

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Based purely on cost you would be best off going with used oil from your neighbors Winnebago.

I draw the exact opposite conclusion for someone who only changes yearly. Changing all 3 fluids takes a grand total of about 5 quarts in a Softail. Redline products (or pick any good synthetic), which I trust to continue to protect my bike, even if it gets very hot, much more than any dyno oil are maybe an extra $4 a quart. $20 a year is cheap insurance. Anything over 2000 miles a year and you are at less than a penny a mile.

If the bike gets hot in June and you cook the dyno oil, you would be running less effective oil for the entire rest of the season.

I don't see synthetics as a way to extend change intervals (they get dirty just as fast)....I see them as more likely to protect the bike for the entire interval than dyno oils.
 

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Logical, well I suppose as long as I'm at the neighbors siphoning off the gas every night, I could probably skim a couple of quarts of oil a week too. Poor Bastages, they'll probably take the old girl in for engine rebuild and miss the whole camping season. hee hee.
 

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As long as you have him somehow convinced to run 93 octane in his motorhome....I see no problem with your plan.
 
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