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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All.

Getting ready to do my first oil change on my new to me '72 T210R.

This will be my first of many stupid questions, most likely.
The Haynes manual calls for 20w/50 Multigrade, Castrol GTX.
My question: is the same as regular car oil?

For some reason, I thought that older bikes required specialized oil.

Thank you in advance for the replies.

761340


761341
 

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Hi,
oil change on my new to me '72 T210R.
manual calls for 20w/50 Multigrade, Castrol GTX.
is the same as regular car oil?
You should not use car oil because:-

. your bike's crankcase vents to atmosphere through the primary chaincase, the oil in the primary must be the same as in the engine;

. the primary contains the clutch, and some of the friction modifier additives in car oil can cause the clutch to slip.

Pick a motorcycle 20W50 the container of which says one of the specs. it meets is "JASO MA2".

Otoh, much is made online of using a motorcycle 20W50 with an old API spec. like "SG" (modern car oil is up to "SN"?). This is because, after SG, the amount of a zinc-based additive called ZDDP was reduced, and ZDDP is supposedly necessary to lubricate the Triumph tappet type under pressure. Aiui from tribologists, there are other additives that work at least as well as ZDDP but don't bugger catalytic converters (or whatever the reason for reducing ZDDP) so whether you concern yourself with this particular requirement is up to you.

Haynes manual
Ime, Haynes manuals are very good ... as doorstops, under the short leg of wobbly tables, benches, etc. The original Triumph workshop manual is both free to read online and available on paper brand-new from Triumph parts dealers.

first of many stupid questions,
By-and-large, as the saying goes, the only stupid question is the one not asked. The main purpose of this Forum is to help owners of old Triumph motorcycles get them running and keep them running. So ask. :)

Hth.

Regards,
 

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Like the tyres that come on your bikes, oil companies make deals with motorcycle manufacturers to have their product in the "recommended" section of the owners manual. The best and only oil is motorcycle specific oil. In older bikes we (70s and earlier) use non synthetic dino oil. GTX is great but Valvoline, Lucas, and a few others make it. As stated 20/50 run for 2000 miles is fine.
 

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Hi Texas,
After the manuals were printed, the oil companies research and development departments continued to make oils better. In the 1990’s car oils became so good and slippery that you could not use them with wet plate clutches.
you could not use car oils in motorcycles with wet clutches.

A complete new range of motorcycle specific oils were developed without the stuff in them that made the clutches slip.

The Japanese oil standards implementation panel (JASO) introduced new standards to be followed.

on pre 1970 bikes the engine and primary oils were separate, on post 1970 bikes the breather system was changed so the engine and primary oils were mixed.

regards
Peg.
 

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the oil in the primary must be the same as in the engine;
although I am reluctant to contradict someone as knowledgeable as StuartMac I would like to point out that in the picture the op posted in the first post says to use 20w/50 in the crankcase during the summer and 10w/30 year round in the primary.
 

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Hi, Using the correct oil is wise, better oils can greatly extend motor life. As Stuart & Peg says the wrong oil will cause clutch slip. Yes it will I've had personal experience with this on more than one bike.

In the USA we have lots of choices for 20-50 motor oil. For '72 T120R I'd stick with 20-50 specific motor cycle oil wet clutch approved.

If you like Castrol 20-50 V-twin is great choice. This a synthetic. Synthetics can offer greater heat protection.
CASTROL POWER1 V-TWIN | WELCOME | CASTROL USA

Castrol Actevo is another choice of 20-50. Castrol Go T4 20-50 is a conventional oil 20-50.

A high zinc content can reduce cam & tappet & adjuster screw tip wear. It really does in real life.

I use Mobile1 v-twin 20-50. According to the spec sheet it has one of the highest zinc levels for motorcycle oils. I have observed the wear on this oil for several thousand miles in 2 bikes now. Indeed has reduced wear as I stated on both these bikes. The clutch works very well with this oil both old cork plates or modern friction plates.

The best oil debate goes on forever. So long as you use a motorcycle wet clutch approved oil 20-50 you can't be too far wrong. Some car oils do work good in our bikes. I won't recommend any as I just use wet clutch approved oils.

Specifically zinc coats catalytic converters. Then they don't work. That causes pollution. So they reduced zinc to bare minimum. This caused big cam wear problems. So they added friction modifiers to car oils. The friction modifiers causes clutch slip. I put Pennzoil car oil in my bike to "flush system" as I got it free at work. Only took 20 miles clutch slipped like mad. I didn't know it made a difference in real life. Drained it from frame, motor sump, primary. Filled with Mobil1 Vtwin 20-50. Did not take clutch apart. In 10 miles slipping was obviously greatly reduced. By 50 miles zero slip.

Dedicated Diesel oils used to be fine for our bikes. Had high zinc. Now... things have changed. New diesel motors have catalytic converters & zinc is being replaced with friction modifiers!!


650 twins were modified in 1970 so the primary oil level was self regulating. This meant the primary oil had to be same as motor oil as the motor oil is sent into primary case & then returned to tank or frame via the crank case. Earlier motors there was an oil seal to keep primary & motor oil separate. Each system had advantage/disadvantage. The later system sure works good even if it does collect some condensation. ATF F sure works good on '69 & older 650. Motor oil is a must on '70 & newer 650/750 twins.

So now you know the whys of what oil is for what years.
Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One final question on this topic... where do you all find the jaso-compliant oil, especially in the US? I am not seeing it at my usual parts stores.

Thank you.
 

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Cycle Gear, Various motorcycle shops. Online lots of sellers also. Oriellys often stocks Mobil1 v-twin. Car Quest/Advance auto parts has vtwin also in my area.
Some Walmart stocks various bike oil. Just call around. Price can vary wildly for same brand/type. So shop around Most modern bikes tend to use 10-40 so they don’t stock as much 20-50.
Mobil1 Vtwin is not Jaso rated. Used to be. I can promise you current Mobil1 Vtwin is good with clutch even though they don’t seek Jaso rating.

Don
 

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Hi Texan
Usually they have a picture of a motorcycle on the bottle, or are marked 4T.
motorcycle shops, a version Mobil 1 fully synthetic was developed for Harley Davidson owners, 20/50 it is labeled 20/50 V Twin. Only available in the USA some of the USA Meriden Triumph owners have seen good results from it.

Just one thing though, they recently dropped the Jaso ma certificate from their bottles, although they still state it is suitable for wet clutch.

you can get it in Walmart.
Edit: hah hah, I just read Don’s similar post.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for this info. Will definitely check these out. I do not have a walmart in my area, but may have to make a trek if that is the only option.
Thanks again.
 

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although I am reluctant to contradict someone as knowledgeable as StuartMac I would like to point out that in the picture the op posted in the first post says to use 20w/50 in the crankcase during the summer and 10w/30 year round in the primary.
What’s the point in contradicting someone who is right?

That advice in the book, about primary case oil makes no sense for a 1972 bike.
 

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What’s the point in contradicting someone who is right?
My mistake and my apologies to StuartMac and thanks to Tritn Thrashr for pointing that out.
That advice in the book, about primary case oil makes no sense for a 1972 bike.
Regardless if that manual was correct or in this case incorrect I do believe a '72 is among the models included in it. I based my comments on that. Had I fully read the attachment StuartMac's post I would have kept my mouth shut.
 

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In the USA, you do have the Mobil 1 that Don refers to and it will be the best for the bike. I am experimenting with 10/40 synthetic 4T oil at the moment so i can start up easier with a bad leg. Not had any negative issues with it and runs fine with no new oil leaks or burning. In your case, stick with that Mobil V twin product as it is designed for air cooled engines. I did use a Valvoline race oil for some time as it has extra zinc. In actual fact, i get very little wear as long as i use a good quality oil and filter plus change the oil at 1000 miles.
As said, stay clear of the car oils which have friction modifiers or the clutch may slip.
 

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My mistake and my apologies to StuartMac and thanks to Tritn Thrashr for pointing that out.

Regardless if that manual was correct or in this case incorrect I do believe a '72 is among the models included in it. I based my comments on that. Had I fully read the attachment StuartMac's post I would have kept my mouth shut.
I’m sure no apology is expected.

Triumph (and Haynes) have yet to apologise for not updating the book!
 

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Hi, Back in the early days it was found the “structure” of Pennsylvania oil was better & reduced wear better than Texas. or western region oils.
Now who knows where the base stock of modern oils comes from. Who is parent company of the oil. Penngrade certifies its source.
Working at the same dealership for 35 years using various oils, if you think oil doesn’t really matter you are very mistaken.
All modern motorcycles come with catalytic converters. So far I don’t know of any motorcycle emissions inspection programs. I expect they are coming to California at least. I expect zinc will be removed from motorcycle oils as well. What may save us is motorcycle sales are so low the EPA is not too concerned at the moment. Electric is the future (or some other non fossil fuel), so they are just waiting out the time until bikes are sent scrap yard. I held smog test/repair license for over 44 years. It was a disaster for diesel truck owners when their modified trucks fell under inspection & California started actually enforcing the rules. Smoke standard was a killer for hidden modifications. Lots of $$ was spent returning motor to standards.
Government only cares about emissions. They want old vehicles off the road!! They pollute way too much even perfectly tuned.
Interesting oil makers are no good about sharing zinc levels. I don’t know why. I feel it’s worth the trouble to spend a few hours researching if you care.

Riding bike with pressure gauge is most interesting. Comparing Torco break in oil 40w to Mobil1 Vtwin 20-50.
Cold start 40w is much higher idling & reving. 5-20# higher. Fully heat soaked 40w was 3-5# lower at idle & 5-10# higher at 2000 ish. 3800-4000 fairly close heat soaked as relief valve was bypassing.
20-50 heat soaked 100f day after 60 miles continuous riding 19-20# @ 1000 rpm idle.
Many use 20-50 in preunit as well.
Don.
 

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One final question on this topic... where do you all find the jaso-compliant oil, especially in the US? I am not seeing it at my usual parts stores.
That's weird.

All of the auto parts stores around here (Minneapolis) stock good selections of Motorcycle oil.

However, it's often in separate section of its own — often labeled "Powersports Oil" or somesuch.
 

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Beware of modern oils that have detergents in them. Triumph and BSA have a sludge trap in the crank rather than a proper filter system. Most modem oils have a detergent that keeps sludge in the oil for the filter to remove it. These oils will wash out the sludge trap putting the solids in oil, ok if a filter is fitted, potentially damaging if you do not.

Find an oil specially for old engines unless the engine has been apart, sludge trap cleaned and an oil filter fitted.

Read this by a UK insurance company that specialises in classic bikes. Choosing the right oil for your classic bike | Footman James


John
 
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