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Gone
5th November 2006, 02:58
I've read that you can use 20w50 oil in your Harley as long as it is rated SG or better. I've also read that you should only use cycle specific oils. Which is closer to the truth?

Right now I have some quarts of Penziol 20w50 in the garage with an SL rating and wondered if that is considered within specs (I prefer Valvoline, but couldn't find it in 20w50 weight). I was just wondering if I should just return it for a different oil.

Trout
5th November 2006, 03:02
Which is closer to the truth?

The truth is...

If you change your oil regularly, then your engine will last a long time.

chrishajer
5th November 2006, 03:04
In the Owner's Manual, there is an oil recommendation. H-D recommends a diesel rated oil, CF-4, CG-4, CH-4 or CI-4 and starting with 20W50, then 15W40 and finally 10W40.

The newest automotive rated oils are different enough that H-D does not recommend them for use in your motor.

Oil is religion to some, so you will hear from both sides. In a pinch, I would use a diesel rated oil (like if I were down a quart and on the road somewhere) but otherwise I would use a V-Twin rated cycle oil. Just my opinion.

--Chris

Gone
5th November 2006, 03:41
If you change your oil regularly, then your engine will last a long time.I believe oil is the lifeblood of an engine. It's the most important thing to keep maintained. IMO

The newest automotive rated oils are different enough that H-D does not recommend them for use in your motor.
Not, that I don't believe you but I would like to read why, and what 'newest' constist of. I know that the ones that aren't rated to cover SG and SH would be inadequet.

Gone
5th November 2006, 04:02
The newest rated automotive oils (such as SJ), now contain friction modifiers that may not work well with wet clutches (potential for slippage) and have reductions in certain anti-wear additives (for emissions). Also, motorcycle specific oils contain additives to perform better in transmission service. That said, the single most important criteria is to keep your oil clean, i.e. regular oil and filter changes. There are many, many motorcycles with very high mileage (100,000+) that have used automotive oil entirely - and MOST motorcycle warranties are not void with such use.

Gone
5th November 2006, 16:50
thanks for the info.

chrishajer
5th November 2006, 17:42
I believe oil is the lifeblood of an engine. It's the most important thing to keep maintained. IMO


Not, that I don't believe you but I would like to read why, and what 'newest' constist of. I know that the ones that aren't rated to cover SG and SH would be inadequet.
Don't believe me: this in the Motor Company's recommendation, in your Owner's Manual. I was just repeating it. And I think you have it exactly backwards on the SG and SH rated oils: H-D does not want you using the latest SAE rated oils since they have an inadequate amount of [something - I have no idea what.]

In Dec 1996, H-D published a Service Bulletin M-1065 that covered the new formulation SJ rated oils. Here's what they said:

This new SJ oil is designed, among other things, to improve fuel economy in water-cooled automotive engines. SJ oil has been formulated for water-cooled engines normally operating with oil temperatures less than 200° F.

[snip]

If it is necessary to add oil between oil changes and Harley-Davidson oil is not available, use an oil certified for diesel engines.
Whether or not you believe the Motor Company is up to you.

--Chris

chrishajer
5th November 2006, 17:48
I've read that you can use 20w50 oil in your Harley as long as it is rated SG or better.

Where did you read that? [source?]

I think if you said something like "better than SG but less than SJ" it would be true. Better than SJ is a no no according to H-D, since 1996.


Right now I have some quarts of Penziol 20w50 in the garage with an SL rating and wondered if that is considered within specs (I prefer Valvoline, but couldn't find it in 20w50 weight). I was just wondering if I should just return it for a different oil.
In your Owner's Manual, you will find the oil recommendation and can make your own determination on whether or not it's within spec according to the manufacturer.

--Chris

Takingabreak
5th November 2006, 18:07
The dirty little secret for all manufactures these days is, in a warranty failure(Like a Engine or transmission) Oil samples are sent in for analysis. If the oil does not match what they require(Formula, not by brand) then they can reject the warranty claim.

Yes, there is a Law on the books(Federal) that states if a manufacture require there manufacturer's own Filter or oil brand to be used to maintain the warranty, then it must be provided for free, thus why the New BMW's have free oil changes for the warranty period.

Try to think of it this way.....

A replacement engine for your Sporty runs 5000.00 plus labor.
There are Automotive oil filters that will spin on your engine(search the net, you will find the info quickly enough) and you can use Automotive oil.
The oil may save you like 1.00 a quart, the the filter may save you, if you get the budget one like 5.00.
So every oil change you will save(Assuming 3 quarts) 8.00 bucks a oil change.
That means you will need to do 625 oil changes to save the amount of money it would take to replace your engine.
If you do your changes every 3000 mile(Like everyone should) that means you will need to ride 1,875,00 miles, or 75 times around the earth to save that 5,000 dollars.

Look, you invested all this money into a really nice bike, at this point what is 8 bucks to save your warranty and help your engine last longer?

Gone
5th November 2006, 22:04
I've read that you can use 20w50 oil in your Harley as long as it is rated SG or better. Where did you read that? [source?]
http://www.heavydutycycles.com/sjoila.htm It even goes so far as sayin' you can use SJ as long as it is the proper weight which doesn't have the reduced friction modifiers.

In your Owner's Manual, you will find the oil recommendation and can make your own determination on whether or not it's within spec according to the manufacturer.
Don't have one yet, I'm ordering it with some new tires. This forum is a wealth of knowledgable people, and I figured I'd get the best source of truth here until I could get the info in black and white.

As for the savings vs. cost of engine replacement, I was just wanting to get the most facts I could and then make an educated decision on the oil. If it was okay to use then I'd use it to top off. I'm just a half quart low to quart low, and don't have any HD oil. On my oil changes I'm gonna use HD filters, but I think I might order a case of amsoil instead of HD oil.

Again thanks to everyone for their information, I really appreciate your time and knowledge.

cantolina
5th November 2006, 22:41
I used regular 20W50 oil in my oil bag during breakin, but in general, I like to use a good V-Twin synth oil all around....

I NEVER would use regular oil in the primary.....friction modifiers are BAD for the wet-clutch....

Redline is my favorite, but I have used Amsoil recently....

All in all, I'd say stick with the V-Twin oil...

Too much at risk for too little a money difference, IMHO....

chrishajer
6th November 2006, 03:35
his forum is a wealth of knowledgable people, and I figured I'd get the best source of truth here until I could get the info in black and white.

I think you will find the best source of opinion on this forum, at least about oil.

--Chris

thunderpaw
6th November 2006, 14:14
I think you will find the best source of opinion on this forum, at least about oil.

--Chris
This is true...;)

Kim

mark883
6th November 2006, 14:37
Oil discussion is much like the proverb: "Opinions are like (body orifice) - everyone has one"

My orifice's opinion is the only truly critical oil is in tranny/clutch of the sportster. You could use any (modern) swill of the proper weight in the engine, the variable is, how often will you be willing to change it. I prefer a quality diesel rated 20w50 - Havoline makes a very good one - for about $1.50 a quart, run for 2500mi in my EVO softail. I use Mobil 1 15-50 in my Sporty. Oil Anal-ysis says the Havoline additive package is better than HD 360 dino oil.

Gone
7th November 2006, 00:46
"Opinions are like (body orifice) - everyone has one"
... and nobody thinks theirs stinks. That's how I've always heard it.

Buried in most opinions is a grain of truth. You just have to sift through alot, and draw your own conclusion. It's kind of a combination of these two proverbs:
The only dumb question is the one not asked.
Ignorance is curable, stupidity goes on forever.

After all this discussion I've decided to use my old fry-daddy's oil. The bike won't last long, but boy it'll smell good once it's warmed up. :p

kballowe
7th November 2006, 14:19
Well, it is true that motorcycle oils contain generous amounts of phosporus and zinc, in the form of ZDDP (as do diesel oils). The newest automotive oils (SL, SM) have virtually removed these two additives, as they are harmful to catalyic converters. Most manufacturers agree that these additives do little for the newer overhead cam style engines so it is a non-issue in the automotive world.

Your HD has a push-rod engine and the lubrication requirements are slightly different. Do a search on the web for "tappet wear problems". There are several good articles from hot-rod magazines. Basically, they say that (starting in 2000) there was an unusually high incident of cam and tappet wear and the bottom line is that is was traced to the formulation of the new oils. Many of the classic car buffs have switched to diesel oil which still contains the phosporus and ZDDP additives and this appears to have solved the problem.

Now I realize that this is an automotive example, but it could be food for thought.

Take a look at the additive packages and you'll see that the motorcycle specific oils are very close in formulation to diesel oils.

Here's a good link and has a lot of nice charts. It's a fairly large .pdf file so you might want to pass if you're on dial-up.

www.trustmymechanic.com/motor-oil-bible.pdf

thescreenman
7th November 2006, 17:35
Hows this one.Let harley do the change,then at your next change keep the old oil and filter.If the bike blows up put the old oil and harley filter back on.Passes test.But thats not honest is it.How much they charge for a $20.00 oil change speaking of being honest?Use motorcycle oil from the auto store.My ol bike i use regular oil but that was what you use back then,i dont know about new types of rubber rings or gaskets that may fail ,but im sure if its made for a motorcycle by a name brand its covered today.

myrl883
7th November 2006, 18:06
Overall, I think Jeffytune said a mouthful. His analogy makes perfect sense - you spent alot (presumably) of money on the machine, don't be cheap when it comes time to service it.

Take care of it, it'll take care of you. Mine's 15 years old, has 33k on it, and honestly runs as well as the day I bought it. Regular maintenance goes a long way - no pun intended.

btw - About our orifices - I've always heard the saying ended by "...and they all stink."

Roadster_Rider
7th November 2006, 18:07
Mobil 1 V-twin for my crankcase, and M1 75w/90 syn gear oil for my tranny/clutch.

Gone
12th November 2006, 02:55
Well I went and got HD 360 @ $4.95/qt. I know that oil is made for my harley. I'll just keep what it already has in it. I'll just keep a few extra quarts around so I don't have to worry about in between changes.

kballowe
12th November 2006, 04:11
One of the guys in our Chapter has an Ultra with 94,000 miles on it. Went to high school with this guy..... He uses nothing but HD regular 20-50 in the crankcase and Formula+ in the other two. All of the service is done at the local dealer. Another fella has a Heritage Softtail with 80-some thousand miles on it. Same deal, except that he has his crankcase changed at 2,500 (with filter) at the same dealer. The Softail guy's wife rides a Sportster right along with him. They just finished a ride to the west coast - Chicago - east coast and back to Missouri. Yep, both running regular HD oil. Man, that's a long haul on a Sportster, ain't it?

Last week I ran into a fella on an Electra Glide Classic with 72,000. He just got it out of the shop for some new cam chain tensioners. Not a failure, just preventive maintenance. He has his serviced at the dealer every 5,000 miles - just like the HD manual recommends.

These may be exceptional examples, or maybe not. I don't know. I always ask the riders how many miles they have on their bikes, and what oil they use. I'm coming up with more and more reasons why regular HD oil works very well in our bikes.

Certainly, you can buy better oil, but do we really need it? Me? Hell yes I run synthetic. M1 V-Twin 20W-50 in the crankcase and M1 75W-90 in the transmission on my BTs. V-Twin in my Sportster but Formula+ in the transmission/primary.

Running synthetic oil makes me sleep better at night. Maybe I'm just a victum of marketing. :doh

Devine
14th March 2007, 02:02
I know this is an old thread but I figured I comment on it. I put Pennzoil 20W-5O in my O4 custom last fall before I stored it for the winter. Started it up for the first time this year last weekend. Checked the oil before running it and it was a bit low. After riding it around the block the oil was foaming and was slightly high on the dip stick. Read an article from heavy duty cycles that the foaming is not a good thing for an engine! Plan on changing the oil out before I run it next. Going to try mobil 1 15W-50. Just a recommendation, Don't run Pennzoil 20W-50.

sprtrjl
14th March 2007, 02:31
I'll never understand threads like this.

If you looked in your owners manual or service manual and it told you what to use why would you second guess it? I'm sure the Engineers hired by Harley didn't just pick the oil ratings at random. Do you think they might have done some testing on oil breakdown, lubricating/cooling qualities etc.? Do you think they just throw that owners manual in the deal so they can charge more for the bike? Just read your friggen manual and use the weight and ratings recommended for your air-cooled, V-twin bike!

Devine
14th March 2007, 02:43
I did use the recommended oil type, just not HD oil. I don't feel like I have to be held ransom to only harley products. Of course their going to recomend their products. Thats one of the main ways they and every other company makes money.

woodbydesign
14th March 2007, 02:49
I sold My Buell and the guy is coming to get it. I have an oil problem. It all came shooting out of the oil cap. Motor is not breathing and pressure is building up in oil tank. Where is the breather on my 1999 bUELL S3 THUNDERBLOT? Please help if you can.

sprtrjl
14th March 2007, 04:12
I did use the recommended oil type, just not HD oil. I don't feel like I have to be held ransom to only harley products. Of course their going to recomend their products. Thats one of the main ways they and every other company makes money.

(I'm referring to the original post topic.)

You don't have to use HD oil! But why go to an oil that is specifically designed for a car?

There are plenty of oils designed for an air cooled V-twin that meet the weight and S.A.E. rating required by HD.

gusotto
14th March 2007, 04:43
I did use the recommended oil type, just not HD oil. I don't feel like I have to be held ransom to only harley products. Of course their going to recomend their products. Thats one of the main ways they and every other company makes money.

__________________________
R&D...........
So they can be sure of getting the correct oil to their customers.

I don't know why people think they are being held "ransom" to Harley products because you can go and buy anyones product, making sure the product is for a MC. It's a free country.

So many are CHEAP! They want to save a little bit on some oil of probably an unknown application.
I.E. auto oil in a motorcycle.

If they guess wrong, an engine rebuild isn't cheap.

Sportster1200
14th March 2007, 05:11
I'll never understand threads like this.

If you looked in your owners manual or service manual and it told you what to use why would you second guess it? I'm sure the Engineers hired by Harley didn't just pick the oil ratings at random. Do you think they might have done some testing on oil breakdown, lubricating/cooling qualities etc.? Do you think they just throw that owners manual in the deal so they can charge more for the bike? Just read your friggen manual and use the weight and ratings recommended for your air-cooled, V-twin bike!

The same engineers who pick the shit ass tires that come stock?

or

The same engineers who designed the stock seats?

or

the same engineers who designed the bottom triple trees that crack after 3000 miles

or

the same engineers that designed the wobble in the newer rubber mounts?

or

the same engineers that said synthetic oil caused "bearing skate"

I would trust the backed up with real world facts from people on this board than the pr people at a public company.

That's probably why he asked the question. Smart guy.

Kong

bmcdonau
14th March 2007, 05:28
I'll never understand threads like this.

If you looked in your owners manual or service manual and it told you what to use why would you second guess it? I'm sure the Engineers hired by Harley didn't just pick the oil ratings at random. Do you think they might have done some testing on oil breakdown, lubricating/cooling qualities etc.? Do you think they just throw that owners manual in the deal so they can charge more for the bike? Just read your friggen manual and use the weight and ratings recommended for your air-cooled, V-twin bike!

I'm with you on this one. Your owners manual says not to use something and a web site says its okay? Sorry, I'm not using it.

BTW the internet article referenced says Harley doesn't market a synthetic oil when in fact it does.

Gone
14th March 2007, 05:50
Your HD has a push-rod engine and the lubrication requirements are slightly different. Do a search on the web for "tappet wear problems". There are several good articles from hot-rod magazines. Basically, they say that (starting in 2000) there was an unusually high incident of cam and tappet wear and the bottom line is that is was traced to the formulation of the new oils. Many of the classic car buffs have switched to diesel oil which still contains the phosporus and ZDDP additives and this appears to have solved the problem.
www.trustmymechanic.com/motor-oil-bible.pdf

Cam and tappet wear doesn't apply on the H-D's of the past 50 years.........

CBAS5
14th March 2007, 06:17
Wait....what exactly is the rating that they recommend? The owner's manual lists which diesel oils ratings are acceptable in an emergency, but they never list which rating is recommended. They only recommend harley-davidson oil.

So what is the rating they recommend? I sure can't find it published.

Gone
14th March 2007, 06:34
All the panic over oil. If the oiling system is functioning properly and the oil and filter is changed on a regular basis using SAE rated oils, there will NOT be an oil related failure. Millions of bikes and cars worldwide with extremely high mileage (good luck finding "motorcycle oils" or even SAE rated oils in many foreign countries) continue to prove that clean, decent oil, is 99.9% of the battle. The vast majority of internal wear is caused by outside particulates such as dust and sand sneaking inside the engine. Heavy marine gearboxes transmitting thousands of horsepower recirculate the same tank of filtered oil for hundreds of thousands of miles between oil changes - fifty years later when the ship is scrapped out, these same gearboxes look just like brand new. Maintain the oiling system mechanically, change oil and filter regularly, make sure there are no air leaks or poor fitting air filters that allow outside debris inside, don't severely overheat the engine or badly abuse it, and 200,000 miles is a piece of cake on today's machines. If you feel the urge to send $10 per quart on oil and change it very 1,000 miles, by all means do so. But don't expect your engine to run 400,000 miles while the person who uses cheaper oil and changes it every 5,000 miles get's 200,000 miles. If the cheap oil does not allow metal to metal contact and is changed frequently enough to keep it clean of harmful particulates and acid formation - it's done all it can do in protecting your engine.

Sportster1200
14th March 2007, 07:01
All the panic over oil. If the oiling system is functioning properly and the oil and filter is changed on a regular basis using SAE rated oils, there will NOT be an oil related failure.


Amen Brother!,

Intelligence and practicality rears it's head for a change. Refreshing, ain't it!

Kong

CommandoRoadster
14th March 2007, 07:27
I have done a lot of research on this subject,and have done a couple of long posts on British bike forums.I'll spare you that (but,only because I don't have time right now:D) Here are some interesting links:
http://www.xlrator.com/personal/oil/default.asp
http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/

:chtwo
Cheers
Bruce

kballowe
14th March 2007, 12:57
Wait....what exactly is the rating that they recommend? The owner's manual lists which diesel oils ratings are acceptable in an emergency, but they never list which rating is recommended. They only recommend harley-davidson oil.

So what is the rating they recommend? I sure can't find it published.


There's the rub. HD wants you to use their oil but the container tells you absolutely nothing about it. It just says that it's "Genuine Harley-Davidson" oil. Look at a bottle of Formula+. It will tell you that it's good for your Harley, but won't tell you the viscosity or the SAE/API grade.

Personally, I find that a bit strange, and annoying as hell. That reason alone makes me want to use anything but "Genuine" Harley-Davidson oil.

kballowe
14th March 2007, 13:02
I sold My Buell and the guy is coming to get it. I have an oil problem. It all came shooting out of the oil cap. Motor is not breathing and pressure is building up in oil tank. Where is the breather on my 1999 bUELL S3 THUNDERBLOT? Please help if you can.


Sounds like you have too much oil in there. I'm not familar with your Buell, but I know that the big twins will blow out the oil cap when there's too much oil in there and the oil will come out the breather tube. Pull your air filter and see if there's any oil in there.

HD must be sensitive to this.... my '07 Dyna has an oil plug that screws in, so I guess IT won't be "popping out" anytime soon. :D

sprtrjl
14th March 2007, 17:48
I would trust the backed up with real world facts from people on this board than the pr people at a public company.

That's probably why he asked the question. Smart guy.

Kong

This thread just got a lot more rediculous!
You think the PR people are the ones that make maintenance recommendations?

Yeah I'd just throw out all the engineering that went into designing your Sporster and do what ever you want to it. Safety and reliability are not an issue when you are manufacturing a product to be sold to the public. Who cares about liability?

If it's on the INTERNET is has to be true! Not sure I want to stake my safety and reliability of my bike based on public opinion.

What ever dude, you can run vegetable oil or 90 weight in your bike. It won't affect the way mine runs.

Sportster1200
14th March 2007, 18:26
This thread just got a lot more rediculous!
You think the PR people are the ones that make maintenance recommendations?

Yeah I'd just throw out all the engineering that went into designing your Sporster and do what ever you want to it. Safety and reliability are not an issue when you are manufacturing a product to be sold to the public. Who cares about liability?

If it's on the INTERNET is has to be true! Not sure I want to stake my safety and reliability of my bike based on public opinion.

What ever dude, you can run vegetable oil or 90 weight in your bike. It won't affect the way mine runs.

Wake up and smell the coffee. Decisions in a large public company are made based on risk assessment - not what is best for the consumer. The only liability they care about is what fits into their risk model. This descision includes PR people. That is why HD was so against synthetic oils - until they managed to make a deal to market it themselves. I never said to base your decisions based on public opinions or that if it is on the Internet it is true.

What I did say was "I would trust the backed up with real world facts from people on this board than the pr people at a public company." There are people on this board whose actual income and livelihood depend on their knowledge of the Sportster and others who have as much knowledge and engineering information regarding the Sportster as any HD employee.

I am not sure how old you are or how long you have been around HD's but their reputation (along with most major manufacturers of motor vehicles) is not stellar when it comes down to it. Any one who bllindly trusts HD to do what is right for the consumer should revisit some of the threads on this board. I would trust what NRHS or some other individuals on this board over any info the factory provides.

I am glad you are running whatever the manual says you should run. If that makes you happy - great. The purpose of a forum is for people to share experiences and ideas.

Cheers!

Kong

sprtrjl
14th March 2007, 20:43
my original post said: I'll never understand threads like this.

If you looked in your owners manual or service manual and it told you what to use why would you second guess it? I'm sure the Engineers hired by Harley didn't just pick the oil ratings at random. Do you think they might have done some testing on oil breakdown, lubricating/cooling qualities etc.? Do you think they just throw that owners manual in the deal so they can charge more for the bike? Just read your friggen manual and use the weight and ratings recommended for your air-cooled, V-twin bike!
you came back with:


The same engineers who pick the shit ass tires that come stock?

or

The same engineers who designed the stock seats?

or

the same engineers who designed the bottom triple trees that crack after 3000 miles

or

the same engineers that designed the wobble in the newer rubber mounts?

or

the same engineers that said synthetic oil caused "bearing skate"

I would trust the backed up with real world facts from people on this board than the pr people at a public company.

That's probably why he asked the question. Smart guy.

Kong


I'm not sure where your problem lies. I did not say you had to use HD oil! I don't understand why going with the MOCO recommended weight and SAE rating oil is a problem if you aren't running a racing engine.

Most everyone here thinks you should buy the service manual for your bike. If you are not going to beleive anything in it why bother.

Do you use the torque specs, spark plugs,oil filter,tire size, tire pressures,fuel that is recommended by the engineers for your bike (even with upgrades or replacement parts)? Or do you just guess, grab 4 plugs off the shelf @ walmart and throw them in, don't worry about the gap, heat range, clearance. Hell may as well put as much air as the tires will hold in them, Some engineer just made it up anyways. If it doesn't work out then you will have some real experience to share with the other forum members.

Oh and since you asked, I've been working on and with vehicles for 37 years as a mechanic, service consultant, and Asst service manager in a Chev. dealership. I have been riding and servicing my own bikes since 1974.
Good Luck, Ride Safe!

CBAS5
14th March 2007, 21:15
I'm not sure where your problem lies. I did not say you had to use HD oil! I don't understand why going with the MOCO recommended weight and SAE rating oil is a problem if you aren't running a racing engine.

The problem is that they have a recommended weight listed, but there is no API rating listed for normal use. Only in emergency situations when there isn't any harley oil available. Their recommendation is to use Harley-Davidson oil. That's all it says about that. The rating they list is HD 360, which doesn't help you choose a suitable API rating. So what should you run if you don't want to run harley oil?

justdrew
14th March 2007, 21:43
for my end of hibernation/winter flush.
Figger I'll get her warmed up, dump the old stuff, put the cheap stuff in the oil hole and drive it for a half an hour or so before draining the case again....
After which I'll pour in my own choice of voodoo ambrosia miracle dyno synth whatever lubricant....

sportysrock
15th March 2007, 04:42
for my end of hibernation/winter flush.
Figger I'll get her warmed up, dump the old stuff, put the cheap stuff in the oil hole and drive it for a half an hour or so before draining the case again....
After which I'll pour in my own choice of voodoo ambrosia miracle dyno synth whatever lubricant....


What about your pre-winter flush, didn't have time? You should get any deposits out before it sits a long time.

racerwill
15th March 2007, 04:52
good advice jeffytune.....

Ww

sprtrjl
15th March 2007, 05:31
The problem is that they have a recommended weight listed, but there is no API rating listed for normal use. Only in emergency situations when there isn't any harley oil available. Their recommendation is to use Harley-Davidson oil. That's all it says about that. The rating they list is HD 360, which doesn't help you choose a suitable API rating. So what should you run if you don't want to run harley oil?

Ok my manual says if it is necessary to add oil and HD oil is not available use an oil certified for diesel engines. Acceptable diesel engine oil designations include: CF-4 , CG-4, CH-4,CI-4.

The preferred viscosities for the diesel engine oils, in decending order are:
20W50, 15W40,10W40. Then it has a chart that lists preferred viscosities for different temps.

So at any rate there is info in the owners manual. I don't have my service manual right now I loaned it to a buddy. So I can't quote from there. But the original question was can I use 20W50 auto oil in my my Sportster. The owners manual has all the information needed to make that decision. But why go out of your way to use auto oil when the right oil is on the shelf beside it?
You are not going to save enough money to go through the worry. This is just another oil thread and oil has been abused more here than anywhere. I'm through with oil threads. I don't think I'll ever post to one again.

Come on spring , I'd much rather read/talk about the rides we taake and the good times we have.

Peace, sprtrjl

CBAS5
15th March 2007, 06:05
Ok my manual says if it is necessary to add oil and HD oil is not available use an oil certified for diesel engines. Acceptable diesel engine oil designations include: CF-4 , CG-4, CH-4,CI-4.

The preferred viscosities for the diesel engine oils, in decending order are:
20W50, 15W40,10W40. Then it has a chart that lists preferred viscosities for different temps.

That's what mine says and the service manual says something similar. However, that tells you what to use in an EMERGENCY. What should be use regularly? The only thing it says about that is use harley-davidson oil.

Gone
15th March 2007, 06:14
Wake up and smell the coffee. Decisions in a large public company are made based on risk assessment - not what is best for the consumer. The only liability they care about is what fits into their risk model. This descision includes PR people. That is why HD was so against synthetic oils - until they managed to make a deal to market it themselves. I never said to base your decisions based on public opinions or that if it is on the Internet it is true.
What I did say was "I would trust the backed up with real world facts from people on this board than the pr people at a public company." There are people on this board whose actual income and livelihood depend on their knowledge of the Sportster and others who have as much knowledge and engineering information regarding the Sportster as any HD employee.
Kong

Hallelujah!!! You hit it on the nose. There are DOZENS of perfectly acceptable oil brands and formulas that work perfect in H-D's and any other internal combustion engine. Manufacturers settle on an acceptable product which THEY can market under their label. And 90% of engineering decisions are NOT based on sound R&D, but through reading technical papers and manufacturing specifications (AKA wild claims). Did H-D do R&D on their engines? Of course? Did they select any "special" oils during the thousands of hours of testing? No way. They picked whatever "suitable" grade oil was in the barrel at the time, with whom they have a contract. Next month that H-D Citgo oil might be bottled by Texaco, or Citgo might drop a preferred additive by .2% to keep EPA happy and save $.05 per barrel. It will meet certain H-D requirements but it won't be the same oil formulation. Whether it's H-D or Mopar or Ford, you can regard their specifications just like Mil-specs. The acceptable products meet a "range", be it red bearing grease, tan bearing grease, or blue bearing grease. All three are very different if analyzed, but all three meet the specified basic Mil-spec requirements and are completely interchangable in any equipment calling for that Mil-spec.

kballowe
15th March 2007, 13:55
Here's another opinion.... from the "Frequently Asked Questions" at Blackstone Labs (the oil analysis people)

What's the best oil to use?

Ah, the million dollar question. We are an independent lab, so we don't make recommendations. It has been our experience that oil is oil, and either petroleum or synthetic-based oil will work well for just about any engine.

Come on, you're holding out on me. I should use synthetic, right?

Buddy, you should use whatever you want. Synthetic oil won't guarantee a longer engine life any more than my eating organic food will guarantee I'll live until I'm 90. We here at Blackstone generally use regular petroleum-based oil because honestly, it works just as well for us.

opiate9680
15th March 2007, 18:00
Here's another opinion.... from the "Frequently Asked Questions" at Blackstone Labs (the oil analysis people)

What's the best oil to use?

Ah, the million dollar question. We are an independent lab, so we don't make recommendations. It has been our experience that oil is oil, and either petroleum or synthetic-based oil will work well for just about any engine.

Come on, you're holding out on me. I should use synthetic, right?

Buddy, you should use whatever you want. Synthetic oil won't guarantee a longer engine life any more than my eating organic food will guarantee I'll live until I'm 90. We here at Blackstone generally use regular petroleum-based oil because honestly, it works just as well for us.

BINGO! Case closed!

78ironhead
26th September 2015, 00:59
My harley gets harley oil. Or you can use any air cooled engine oil, just change it every 2500 miles. But i like to stick with the same brand of oil for the life of my engines.

bustert
26th September 2015, 03:23
never run a drop of so called cycle oil, never an issue. 150k+ miles on one is proof in the pudding.