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Motorcycle Oil and Filters

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Engine oil

Executive summary: The commercial grade oils are clearly superior to the mass market oils. For the best protection in your bike or car, use Shell Rotella Synthetic, available at Wal-Mart in blue containers for $13 / gallon. For the best petroleum oil you can buy, get Shell Rotella T, Mobil Delvac 1300, or Chevron Delo 400, about $7 / gallon at any auto parts store. On the back of most oil cans is a circular stamp with the certification. Avoid oils that say "energy conserving" in the bottom half of the donut. These oils contain friction modifier additives that could cause clutch slipping over time. All XXw-20 and XXw-30 oils are energy conserving, and should not be used in your motorcycle. 10w-40 oils should not be used in a motorcycle that runs the engine oil through the transmission. Don't buy any oil additives like STP or Slick-50. Here's several pages All About Oil justifying these conclusions.

I use Rotella-T Synthetic 5w-40 in my ST1300 and DL650.

The Recommended Synthetic Oils
Shell Rotella Delvac 1 Mobil-1 SUV/Truck AMSOil AMF Golden Spectro Motul 5100 Mobil-1 Mobil-1 MX4T
Shell Rotella
Synthetic
5w-40
Delvac 1
Synthetic
5w-40
Mobil-1 SUV/Truck
Synthetic
5w-40
AMSOil AMF
Synthetic
10w-40
Golden Spectro
Synthetic
10w-50
Motul 5100
Synthetic
10w-40
Mobil-1
Synthetic
15w-50
Mobil-1 MX4T
Synthetic
10w-40

The best synthetics are: (in no particular order)

Mobil-1 automotive oils all contain small amounts of moly - about 100 to 200 ppm. This can cause clutch slippage in some motorcycles. I've only heard of this being a problem in Honda Shadows.

For temperatures below -40, I strongly recommend either Mobil-1 0w-30 or the Canadian Shell 0w-40 Rotella. At these temperatures, your car is your life. Using cheap or incorrect oil is risking your life.

For temperatures below -55c, -65f, stay home. Really.

The Recommended Petroleum Oils
Chevron Delo 400 Delvac 1300 Shell Rotella
Chevron Delo 400
15w-40
Delvac 1300
15w-40
Shell Rotella
15w-40

The best petroleum oils are: (in no particular order)

If you live in another country, you'll have to do a bit of research to decide on an oil. Generally, any oil certified for use in a late model Volkswagon or Mercedes turbo diesel is a good choice. Another good idea is to go to a truck stop and ask the truckers about brands. Rotella is marketed all over the world, but in other countries it's called Rotella or Rimola or Helix Ultra, and the formulation may be a bit different, depending on local climate and preferences. It will likely also be a lot more expensive than it is here.


Oil Filters

Executive summary: There are highly significant differences between different brands of oil filters. Most modern Japanese motorcycles use the same oil filter as the Mazda V-6. For the best protection in your bike, use Mobil-1 M1-108 / M1-110 oil filters, $12 at AutoZone; or Purolator Pure One PL14612 / PL14610 filters, about $6 at Pep Boys. Next best, use Bosch 3300 / 3323 filters, about $6 at AutoZone, or SuperTech ST7317, about $2 at Wal-Mart. Here's several pages All About Oil Filters justifying these conclusions.

If your bike uses a different filter, the best resources to quickly find a part number are my x-ref page, and the tables at AMSOil.com and K&N.

I use Purolator Pure One PL14610 filters in my ST1300.

The Recommended Oil Filters
Mobil One M1-110
Mobil One M1-110
available at AutoZone, $12.
PureOne PL14610
PureOne PL14610
available at PepBoys, Fred Mayers, PartsAmerica.com, $6.

ST1300 Honda oil filter, $6.99 delivered. $12 at your local Honda dealer. Normal quality. I recommend this filter only in the sense that it will maintain your warranty in the clearest possible fashion. I understand that some people strongly prefer the manufacturer recommendations and OEM parts. I don't use these filters in my bikes.

Oil Filters that fit most Japanese bikes have 20 x 1.5mm threads, 14 psi by-pass valve, anti-drain back valve, gasket diameter approximately 2.3 inches, O.D. approximately 2.75 inches, length approximately 2.5 to 3.5 inches. If you have room, I recommend the longer filters.

Motorcycle Filters.
None are recommended.
  • AC Delco PF2135
  • AMSOil SMF103
  • Carquest 85358
  • FRAM PH6017A
  • Honda 15410-MCJ-000
  • K&N KN-204, about $13. Metric nut on end for easy removal.
  • NAPA Gold 1358
  • Purolator ML16817. Imported, not made by Purolator.
  • STP SMO 07
  • WIX 51358
Recommended filters.
All have superior
filtering.

About 2.5 inches long.
  • Purolator Pure One PL14612, about $6.
  • Mobil M1-108, about $12.
    Made by Champion.
  • Bosch 3300, about $6.
    Made by Champion.
About 3.25 inches long.
  • Purolator Pure One PL14610, about $6.
  • Mobil 1 M1-110, about $10.
    Made by Champion.
  • Bosch 3323, about $6.
    Made By Champion.
  • WalMart SuperTech ST7317,
    about $2. Made by Champion.


Air Filters

A dyno review of after market air filters. Stock paper filters cost less, filter better, and make the same power.