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Don, I'm certainly not trying to pick a fight or question your judgement. I really value your opinion on all matters concerning these old beasts we love. However, I am getting a bit confused by what I perceived as you advising against running a 40 grade oil in a Triumph. I was running it last summer in straight grade( Valvoline VR1 40) and I recall you recommending against 40 grade due to lower of oil pressures. How is Rotella 15w-40 T4 a better choice? I run that in my 1955 Farmall 400 tractor, but it never sees over 1500 rpm. BTW, I am now running Mobil 1 V twin 20-50 and early indications are I'm going to have more oil on the floor than with the 40 grade Valvoline last summer. Looking forward to your reply. Robert, AKA Happyfeet
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Hi Happyfeet, No offense taken! I make mistakes all the time. Never hesitate to question anything I say or do.

I'm very sorry if I've caused you inconvenience or problems.

Regarding Rotella 15-40 I didn't intend to recommend it. I just meant it was a good oil. Some riders I know use. Triumph recommends 20-50 for the most part.

Regarding VR1-40 I have no experience with that oil. I have found on other 40w straight grade oils the oil pressure on a heat soaked motor at idle is lower than with most 20-50 oils. In my region Central California it's often 100f+ once we leave the San Francisco Bay area. My feeling is the extra thickness when hot of 20-50 is better. Also I found 40w to give much higher pressure cold than 20-50. Too thick of oil may not allow proper lubrication either. The idea of 20-50 is to give better lubrication at both low & high ambient temperatures.

Regarding oil leaks from synthetic oils, some people report that. I've not personally experience that. We did not experience that at work when factory demanded full synthetic oil & we switched over to it.

I looked at Valvoline website. VR1-40w shows not found. Puzzling as it is for sale on Amazon etc.
VR1 20-50 looks like very good oil. I don't know how it would effect clutch.

What if you run the bike on Mobil1 V-twin until next change, then go back to VR1 of your choice & see what happens? I'm interested in differences on oil consumption also. I don't know how bad the leaks are which could skew results.

Another question, has bike gotten new leaks, or is it, existing leaks are worse? Will going back to VR1 reduce leaks to prior level?
Don
 

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The VR1 20/50 or 20/60 is good in the Triumph. I used it for 2 oil changes but i would be choosing the V-twin oil as it is possibly more suitable to very hot air cooled engines.
 

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My rocker oil feed has quite a lot of oil supply. Maybe why the valve gear and guides are still original.
It will be interesting to see how hot the oil is in the frame tube after a long ride. 53C is as high as i can get it. I might measure again now i have removed the oil cooler to see if it will get higher. Judging by todays ride with a pillion, it is still cool running.
The head and cylinders get very hot.
I was always under the impression that these old motors suffered chronically from hot running, possibly because of the amount of heat we can feel emanating from the engine when stationary on a warm day. This goes back to early 1970s when I had my first Triumph a 1968 Trophy. Fast forward to the 2020s, we can now measure surface temperatures with cheap infrared sensor and with my 1973 T140 Bonneville, I've never seen my oil over 70 degrees on a warm to hot day (say 30 degrees Centigrade). Measurements taken on the frame (oil tank) and on the rubber hose connecting my under-mounted oil filter to the engine. Interestingly, I see that Rolls Royce Merlin engines had a upper limit oil temperature of 90 degrees Centigrade, but oils have improved a lot since then obviously. Another aside, BMW airheads (ie R80) run very high oil temperatures, mine was often over 115 degrees Centigrade.

As for cylinder head temperatures, I often see around 120 - 130 degrees centigrade on my T140, its pretty much the same on my 1981 Yamaha XV1000. Crankcases are usually around 100 - 110 degrees. So, I no longer worry about my Triumph being a hot running motor.
 

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Don, I have only owned my bike for just over a year, the overall condition is excellent and almost all original equipment, including spark plug leads and paint. My 79 T140E has about 10,000 miles on the speedo and while no guarantee, I would say if pretty close to actual. I de-coked it last summer and honing was easily visible on the cylinder walls. I have replaced every gasket and seal on the engine and gearbox. About the only thing I could do to further to combat leaks would be splitting the case and resealing it. I am aware that these old heaps are prone to leaking but I did have it down to a very minimal amount before I put it up for the winter. I ran Valvoline VR1 40 grade last summer. I have since added a Matao oil filter kit and am presently running Mobil 1 V Twin 20-50. I am definitely seeing more leaks already this spring than I was seeing last summer. The bike was stored in a non-climate controlled garage along with my other vehicles. Anything could happen but I think the synthetic 20-50 finds its way out of the system more readily than the conventional straight 40. I still have a supply of VR1 so perhaps next oil change I will switch back and take notes on leaks and oil usage .
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Hi All, Did a 70 mile ride today. Route home was 30 miles after 30 minute lunch break. Tested oil temp when I got home. I couldn't measure oil tubes with my temp gun. It couldn't focus good enough. I tested oil with gun. Said 160f. That was way too high according to my finger. While wife wasn't looking got meat thermometer. The lowest scale it has is 130f. Looking at needle I would guess oil was about 110f from needle position. It moved a good ways, but not to 130. Ambient was 62f. Steel return oil tube at motor junction block is way hotter than feed tube.

On same route 105f day frame will be too hot to hold finger. Oil tank of 650 is very close to same, but slightly less. Too hot to hold finger.

Interestingly the feed pipes are very similar..... So frame is cooler at bottom than top. Way cooler. Next time I do city ride I'll put thermometer in oil with motor running & see what it is. Finger on side of oil frame during riding I can feel much difference in temp depending on conditions. John didn't ride today. Next week we'll try again.
Don
 

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Hey Don, I gave my bike a 0 minute ride a couple of days ago. All side covers were very warm to the touch but maybe not too hot to touch. Previous rides I had parked the bike on the side stand and had oil drips in different locations. (See above comments) After this ride, I parked it on my center stand and only one drip and the oil drip is much smaller. I've noticed this trend before I "fixed" my oil leaks that used to be embarrassing, at least in my book. So the experiment continues...
 
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