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Discussion Starter #1
I am going through all these sites and I hear all different types of oils...

I was considering using 20W50 Castrol GTX for my engine?
Any suggestions on what could provide me with better protection for this newly rebuilt T120R 650?


I has about 500 miles on it since rebuild, I am changing today or tomorrow...and I wanted to get some input.

Any help would be great! Thanks! Tim Lynch
 

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Only use motorcycle oils in motorcycles. They are not designed for modern car oils. I see you are in Florida which would mean a 20/50 motorcycle oil would be your best bet in your climate region. Also, don't forget to install an aftermarket oil filter. www.britbike.com has tons of info.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Unfortunately, I do not have an oil filter, just baskets and gauze.

20W/50 Castrol GTX is recommended by the Haynes Manual..is this incorrect? anyone?

Tim Lynch
 

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I just told you to put MOTORCYCLE OIL IN YOUR MOTORCYCLE . Castrol GTX is a car oil. Your Haynes manual is not worth the paper it's written on, better use as toilet paper.
 

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Chill. The old Britbikes are actually more like CARS than MOTORCYCLES, as far as oil is concerned. Less so for the post 69 Triumphs, but still applicable. Cars have different oils for the different requirements of the engine. Engine oil, gearlube or ATF, depending on the shifting techniques, plus we have a primary drive with a clutch in it.
The 72 uses the same oil for the engine and primary, which I am not happy about, but if you use Mobil One or other top quality synthetic oil, such as Royal Purple (currently my choice) NON-ENERGY conserving oil (energy conserving oils have solids that can imbed in the clutch surfaces and impair function) of 10-30 wt, the engine and clutch will be very happy....too thick an oil in the engine slows up the oil, reduces it's ability to pull heat away from hot points. There is no reason to use 20-50, unless you have a very worn engine, and then the answer is a rebuild. The clutch will love the lighter oil. My 68 has a separate oil system for the primary, and I use synthetic ATF ( equivalent of about 15wt). Regular ATF would work too, I used it for the first 20k miles on my rebuild (But NOT in the 69 and later bikes!!!). I used GTX during that time, too. But since changing to synthetic, about 55k miles ago, I would never go back to that ***** that comes out of the ground, any more than I would go back to replacing the corks on my clutch plates or cast iron valve guides and GS valves in the cylinder head.
Gear oil is specific for the gbx, as it has high pressure additives that are needed in the hobbed gears of the old Britbikes.
"Motorcycle Oil" is for motorcycles where the oil has to do ALL those duties, and it's pretty advanced stuff. The modern wet-sump bikes have hobbed AND honed gearsets and tighter tolerances than your Triumph and the oil that feeds them also has to be light enough for the clutch and have a strong enough film strength to accomodate the engine.
So yes, there is motorcycle oil for modern motorcycles, but our old bikes can, and probably SHOULD use car oils. Just steer clear of the energy conserving oils for your engine to keep your clutch happy.
Royal Purple or Amsoil are top of the line. Next is Mobil One. You won't have to change the oil as often and you shouldn't have any oil related failures, plus your get better mileage and rwhp, with less wear and tear on your engine.
I used my 68 as daily transport for 11 years/85,000 miles since a full rebuild an it's still running strong.
 

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Mechanica is entitled to his opinion. There is no oil filter on a 72' T120 and I wouldn't fancy all those little metal particles getting into my crank bearings and wearing them out. This is another reason why I installed a Trident oil filter to my T120. Also, I wouldn't want a modern car oil with all it's detergents and lubrication additives to get into my engine and clutch. You are asking for clutch slippage and the modern detergents could well dislodge all sorts of nasty particles into your oil lines. But hey, don't listen to us bicker, go out and do some research on the web.
 

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Agreed, a filter is a ***** good idea, especially for an engine of unknown provenance. I had one on while running the GTX....but, when I did surgery on the filters after switching to synthetics...there was virtually no metal in them. None. So I took it off, mostly as an experiment. Here we are another 40 or 45K miles since removing it, and away we go. Even the rings are still nice and tight. I did change the seals a couple of years ago and changed the rocker box gaskets and o-rings to kill a leak. The inside of the head looked as if I had just rebuilt it and sprayed it with oil....NO burned on deposits or carbon.
PS, GTX is also loaded with detergents.
Something to consider if you live where there is some significant humidity is that synthetics are MUCH less hygroscopic and don't promote corrosion in the engine.
 

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I got a 70 TR6 go\round up resto and Don Hutchinson told me to use Castrol 20W50 GTX. he said he's never had a problem with it. We'll see!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think my head is going to spin off my body.

I put in Valvoline 20W50 4 stroke Motorcycle Oil about an hour ago.

Am I hosed?

http://www.valvoline.com/pages/products/product_detail.asp?product=76

This is a mind blowing....I really appreciate all the data. You guys obviously know a whole hell of a lot more than me...atleast when it comes to Engine Oil.... I am an Electrical Engineer!

Tim Lynch
 

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"and the modern detergents could well dislodge all sorts of nasty particles into your oil lines"

While Tim has no fitted an external filter to his T120 yet, in the event that he did wouldn't the higher detergent content of the oil work to his benefit? I was of the belief that we should avoid the detergent to avoid stirring up the contaminants that have accumulated over the years. However, with the addition of the external filter, that would trap the sludge and enable us to run a cleaner engine. Am I off in my logic?

Matt
 

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Nope, Matt, you're right on. With a filter, you want to get the gunk out of the engine and into the filter....that's it's job. But.........with synthetic oils, you don't have nearly the amount of wear particles or the burnt carbon bits to remove in the first place. Plus, all 60s and later Britbikes have centrifugal filtering in the crankshaft. BSAs and Triumphs have sludge traps, and Commandos have a large space in the flywheel where stuff is trapped. If you run air filters and synthetic oil, you won't clog up the sludge trap.
Synthetic oil is an engineered product. Mineral oil is a natural product with a lot of fiddling about to make it useful. Why use 50s technology when you can have modern stuff. Got tubes in yer Ipod? Nope. If you love your bike, fill it up with Royal Purple and be done with it. If you're the worrywart type, change it every 5K miles. I let it go for at least 7K and sometimes longer. When it had a few leaks, I just topped it up when needed....that for about three years without a change. Go to the Amsoil site and see what they are doing to a big rig....last I saw, it was over 400,000 miles without a change with regular oil testing.
In 1992, I bought an '85 BMW K100RS from a friend who was on the way to the airport. The guy he thought was solid on the sale bailed on him. I gave him a grand for a very nice bike. The bike had a K&N filter in place of the stocker, and the hot air from the radiator cooked my right thigh. I changed to Castrol Syntec (my fave of that time) and two things happened. My leg wasn't cooking and the idle rose by 200 rpm. This on a computer controlled bike with NO other changes. I was sold. My Norton and my Triumph both got Synthetic and I have never looked back.
 

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Relax,Twlynch, you did fine with the Valvoline motorcycle oil. Yes there is stuff in there you don't need, like additives for the gearbox, and clutch, on modern rice-burners, that run common oil in the transmission, primary, and engine, however there is stuff in there you do need, such as zinc, and other metal solids, that protect your bottom end, and valve train. Modern "energy saving" automotive oils do not contain these important ingredients. Modern car engine bearing material is designed to cope with energy saving "low drag" oils, so do not unduly suffer.

Back when that Haynes manual was written,over 20 years ago, Castrol GTX was a perfectly suitable oil for your bike. At that time , Castrol, Pennzoil, Valvoline,et al, were all SD, or SE rated oil. Now they are all at least SH rated. The higher that second letter, the lower the "drag" and hence, the less zinc, etc. These energy saving oils are federally mandated for use in automobiles, and the older SD-SE rated oils are no longer available. The Haynes manual has never been updated to reflect these, and other, changes in technology over the years. This is only one of the reasons they are referred to as birdcage lining, or toilet paper, or other similes.

The bottom line is, do not use modern petroleum based
automotive oil in your motorcycle, except in an emergency( any oil is better than no oil).

I see no reason to use petroleum oil at all, but if you do, use racing oil(my choice for petroleum), which does not have to conform to SF and above ratings, 4 stroke motorcycle oil, or fleet oil, such as Shell Rotella.

:chug:
 

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I've used 20/50 Castrol for two decades on various Brit bikes with no oil filter. Change oil every 1000 miles or sooner. I also use it in my Craftsman push lawn mower for 22 years with no ilo filter. The lawn mower shows no sign of regret. If your bike may share primary/engine oil, I also have used Castol for the pimary with no more than a sticky clutch at start up. "Motorcylce oil' can be defined in two ways. One: A jap bike shares engine,primay and tranny, but they also have a filter. 2: HD mc oil uses engine oil that does not circulate with their primarys or tranny, similar to old brit bikes.The bottom line, I would be more concerned about retorqung the headbolts and re adjusting the tappet clearance than I would about the oil. The bolts have lost the proper torque as the heads 'bed down'. That leaves less clearance for the tappets.
If your bike has a seperate primary, try ATF. I started using it in my 59 with great success. One thing you don't want to do is put mc oil in a car. Give M.A.P. out of Florida a call for their advice on all of this discussion. You may consider their oill filter kit. I know I am, but I do not think it is that necessary. I would still change oil at short intervals.
Also, the badmouting about the Haynes manual is exagerated. The Clymer manual however is s better manual, and gives the same recommendations.

Don't forget to retorque the geadbolts. Check clearancxes befor and after. You will notice a difference.
 

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tim ... whenever an oil issue comes up , its like "pandoras box"...lol......i use 20w 50 castrol in my 72 bonnie 4 years without a hitch...as for the oil filter....i made a paper one fit (stp)..i made my own modified base plate, that bolts on the bottom of the frame..so now i can use a stp oil filter, if you want ill send you some pics .....tom
 

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i agree with mecchanica,synthetic oil is the best for our bikes
and iuse it butit's a bad choice for the running in because it's too good!!i explain..running in need a average oil (castrol gtx for exemple)to makeitself (excuse my english!!!)
when it rebuiltmy first motor 13 years ago i thought it was a good idea to run synthetic.!i made a carefull progressive runnin inon two thousand miles and ithought it was ok!!the bike was running fine but one day at a steady 5000 rpm ihad a beginning of piston seizure(not to bad but a worn piston and a slightly bent rod,the left one of course!!!)
when i dismantled the cylinder i was surprised to see that the honing of the cylinder was still visible ,almost new!!!
next motor i'll bed in will run mineral oilfor two thousand miles then iwill revert to synthetic oil :it really protects your
motor!!!
ben
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think I am going to run this valvoline 4 stroke oil, then switch to Amsol....well until I change my mind for the 8th time.


Thanks for all the info!
 

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Castrol GTX may have been 20/50 when the Haynes manual was written, but the GTX I have bought lately (for older engines it says on the container) is 15/40.
 
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