Synthetic oil or non-synthetic


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
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tbeiler
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Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby tbeiler » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:16 pm



I purchased a Canadian 1986 GW Aspencade last fall, rode for a few hundred kms before winter storage. Now that spring has sprung in southern Ontario, I want to change the oil, the manual calls for anything from 10/30 to 20/50 depending on outside temperatures.
Anyone out there using synthetic oil, if so which brand and weight is acceptable to use in the older wings. Is it a good idea to run some seafoam through the old oil to clean out the gunk before changing. I have also seen some K&N oil filters for sale out there, anyone have experience with them? :mrgreen:



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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby themainviking » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:46 pm

I use Amsoil 10W30. I only use oil designed for motorcycles which means it must be JASO MA certified. This is to keep the clutches working. Any good grade of oil will be fine for your bike. Personally, I prefer synthetics because they don't break down as readily, and as an Amsoil dealer, I get them wholesale so I do not pay big. I think Amsoil, Castrol, Rotella, Mobil and Royal Purple all make a motorcycle specific synthetic, but some of the non synthetics are almost just as good for older motorcycles. A more important idea is to change often enough that you have clean oil most of the time. Never let your oil go over the winter unless you are continuously riding the bike.

If you use Seafoam in your bike, and if maintenance has not been a priority for the previous owners, you run the risk of developing gasket leaking. I would use it though, if you are planning on changing to synthetic, as it is highly detergent, and whatever dirt and sludge is in the engine will end up in the synthetic oil, so you would want the engine clean prior to changing to synthetics. Amsoil has a flush product of their own, although I like Seafoam also. If you are not changing to synthetic, I would not bother with the Seafoam in the oil. You could use some in the fuel. If you do change to synthetic, you should source oil filters designed for synthetic use, as they filter to a tinier standard so you can get your moneys worth out of the synthetics.

K&N are not known to be the best dirt catching air filters in the industry when they are in a clean state, but once they get dirty, they catch lots, and clog up. I would not recommend K&N for this type of motorcycle. I have one on my Harley because it doesn't really matter how much air it can take in when it cannot exhaust it anyway. I cannot open the exhaust ports large enough to keep up with the intakes. The Goldwing is much more efficient, so it needs to breath well. Honda filters are probably about the best you will find for the bike.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby SteveB123 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:51 pm

themainviking wrote:K&N are not known to be the best dirt catching air filters in the industry when they are in a clean state, but once they get dirty, they catch lots, and clog up. I would not recommend K&N for this type of motorcycle. I have one on my Harley because it doesn't really matter how much air it can take in when it cannot exhaust it anyway. I cannot open the exhaust ports large enough to keep up with the intakes. The Goldwing is much more efficient, so it needs to breath well. Honda filters are probably about the best you will find for the bike.


He was asking about K&N oil filters. ;)
Agreed on the air filters, though. I can't think of any engine, modern or otherwise, where the air filter is the restricting factor in power output.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby themainviking » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:23 am

SteveB123 wrote:
He was asking about K&N oil filters. ;)
Agreed on the air filters, though. I can't think of any engine, modern or otherwise, where the air filter is the restricting factor in power output.


Went back and looked and you are absolutely correct. As I know nothing about K&N oil filters, would the original poster please ignore what I said about K&N Air Filters.

Not sure what you are saying with your second statement. Are you saying that dirty air filters do not restrict air flow, and therefore fuel mix efficiency, or that it does not result in a restriction in power?
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby SteveB123 » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:10 am

themainviking wrote:
SteveB123 wrote:
He was asking about K&N oil filters. ;)
Agreed on the air filters, though. I can't think of any engine, modern or otherwise, where the air filter is the restricting factor in power output.


Went back and looked and you are absolutely correct. As I know nothing about K&N oil filters, would the original poster please ignore what I said about K&N Air Filters.

Not sure what you are saying with your second statement. Are you saying that dirty air filters do not restrict air flow, and therefore fuel mix efficiency, or that it does not result in a restriction in power?


No, I'm asserting that a "less restrictive" new air filter will only result in a power gain if the air filter is the highest restriction in the engine's breathing path. I believe it will more likely to be valve timing. Remember, any of these gains are likely to be PEAK gains (with the most airflow, obviously)...not neccessarily street useable gains.

Dirty air filters on a carb'd engine are always a bad idea.

OK, off topic enough. Back to our regular programming.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby themainviking » Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:46 am

SteveB123 wrote:I'm asserting that a "less restrictive" new air filter will only result in a power gain if the air filter is the highest restriction in the engine's breathing path. I believe it will more likely to be valve timing. Remember, any of these gains are likely to be PEAK gains (with the most airflow, obviously)...not neccessarily street useable gains.


Oh, okay. Yeah, I totally agree.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby tbeiler » Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:18 am

Thanks guys for the good info. I have already researched the K&N air filters and will definitely stay away from them. Yes, they may let more air through but also more particulates. I was asking about the K&N oil filters in original post, as one business in Cambridge, which I intend to visit this morning which sells the K&N oil filters as well as the EMGO oil filters. From what I have read so far, I think I will stay away from the EMGO products, especially the fuel filters. (And if the fuel filters have a quality issue, then I don't want to take a chance with the oil filters either). I think I'll definitely do the seafoam as well through the oil and gas tank, just to see if there is a difference. I also will buy a new set of sparkies, as I would like to take the old ones and modify them to create a bigger spark, just to experiment. Has anyone done the spark plug mod?
Thanks to all for the replies.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby moneypit » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:16 am

Mobil 1, R 4 T, 10/40 .. Awesome oil I run Mobil 1 in all my engines. In the past I ran a big cubic in. Ford motor in my sand drag truck each fall I would tear it down inspect and freshen it up . I ran Castrol 20/50 GTX oil, the rod and main bearings would show wear. I switched to Mobil 1 ran the whole summer and upon inspection of the bearings was amazed to not find any sighn of wear. After seeing that and seeing the increase in oil psi, I don't run anything else.

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby rodee71 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:19 am

Does Mobil 1 make a JASO MA compatible synthetic oil? I've never seen one myself, but I would use it if they do. I use Rotella T-6 full synthetic 5W-40 for both my bikes, from Walmart for about $22.00 and Honda-only oil filters for my 1100 and Mobil 1 M-1 filters for my 1500. Did the research on oil quality and Rotella synthetic showed the least amount of breakdown of any of the currently available motorcycle oils out there (no offense to the Amsoil dealer, but facts are facts, and this study was by a rider that had no dog in the fight, but only wanted to know if all the claims the oil companies were making were true...he is also the owner of California Scientific, the world leader in Neural Network based artificial intelligence. He also makes and sells aerodynamic accessories for motorcycles. He has a degree in engineering, and is currently doing post-graduate work in theoretical physics. dτ = √( Uμ gμνUν ) dt.) This link, http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html, is the benchmark for measuring oil efficiency, although it is a little dated if you look at the prices he shows for the oil. If you are serious about the oil you use and want to know the facts, you owe it to yourself to check out this site. You won't regret it. Your bikes will love you.

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Mh434 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 4:14 pm

Got to try to find some of these oils - around here, it seems like you can buy any oil you like, as long as it's Shell or Castrol :lol:

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Fri Aug 08, 2014 6:33 pm

Just Tuesday, I got into a long and drawn out discussion about motor oil(s) with a co-worker. The fellow I was in the discussion with often moonlights as a fuel delivery driver (big truck, CDL and all that, making fuel deliveries to gas stations). He has made friends with someone (can't recall the title of the gentleman) who has worked in the petrochemical world for 40-odd years.

The "debate" was all over the map... synthetic VS dinosaur oil... Heavy Duty Motor Oils (what I run in my motorcycles)... oil change intervals, TBN (total base number) which he claims is the only "number" a person needs to focus on when selecting an engine oil, which I disagree with LOL... and so on.

I made the decision to run "regular" heavy duty motor oil(s) in my motorcycles several years ago, after reading an article written by a gentleman far more well educated in the business of oil than me. I used Rotella T motor oil in the crankcase of the motorcycle I was riding at the time, because the author recommended using an oil with a little Zinc in it for a motorcycle engine with solid lifters. I continued to use that same oil in everything I rode for several years. I was VERY pleased with how clean the inside of my engine remained, and of how I felt the engine performed (all wet clutch or "shared" sump applications) all around.

I tell you things like "how I felt" the engine performed, because I never spent the money to send out an oil sample for analysis from the crankcase of any motorcycle I've ever ridden. I also change my oil at fairly short intervals (usually 2500-3000 miles) and I change the filter when I change the oil. I'm not looking to put oil in and run it 20,000 miles. That's one reason I really don't care about the Total Base Number all that much. TBN proponents are generally looking to extend OCI (oil change interval) and I don't have any interest in that either.

To my way of thinking, selecting a synthetic oil for a shared sump motorcycle application is a personal matter. I have run synthetic in automobile and pick-up truck engines and have only GOOD experiences to relate in those applications. I also changed FILTER only, and topped off the crankcase level when running synthetic oil in my cars/trucks... something I won't do in my motorcycles. I used and loved Castrol Syntec oil, exclusively... not that I have anything against any other brand of oil... once they discontinued the sale of Syntec (yeah, I know they call "it" Edge now, but I don't think it is the same oil) I discontinued using Castrol, and started using other (Dinosaur) oil in everything. I will admit to having tried Mobile 1, and not being excited by it...

When compared to the cost of an engine overhaul, oil is cheap... even the most costly brands... I figure I can perform an oil change for less than $20 US, for oil and filter. It takes me like 20 minutes to get everything together, drain oil, change filter and refill oil.. So, it doesn't feel like a large investment of my time either.

I never paid attention to "motorcycle oil" and I'm sure there's probably a reason I should, but I can't imagine (other than warranty) there is any REAL reason to use it. Maybe someone will be kind enough to let me in on the secret. I have been scolded for recommending DELO 400 LE oil to other riders because it doesn't have the JASO MA rating... doesn't mean it doesn't meet the JASO requirements... just means they haven't tested it for that standard... and it seems to be working well for me. Again, I say it SEEMS to be because I haven't had it tested... The cost of analysis exceeds the cost of an oil change.

Anyway, I see absolutely no reason not to use synthetic oil in your motorcycle. I also see absolutely no reason not to run synthetic oil in your motorcycle. I'd be more inclined to use a synthetic if I were riding an air cooled V-twin because the synthetics generally can withstand higher temps without thermal breakdown. Since I ride a water cooled, thermostatically (temperature) regulated motorcycle, I am less inclined to worry about high temperatures effecting my oil.

One last blathering comment and I'll close. Years ago, people blamed synthetic oil for making their seals leak on their engines. I figure in a way they were right.. but it was not the fault of the oil that made their engines leak. One attribute of the Castrol Synthetic oil I loved was, it CLEANED like nothing I had ever seen. The first engine I used it in was a 1989 Chevy 350 with noisy lifters in it. I pulled the filter off and dumped a quart of Syntec in the engine. Within a day or two, the lifter noise was gone. I pulled the filter again, and dumped in another quart of synthetic... repeated the ritual once a week for five weeks, then I dumped the entire oil, changed the filter and refilled with all synthetic... The first time I pulled the filter after adding the initial quart of synthetic, there was so much varnish in the filter, what I dumped out of the filter resembled cottage cheese (except black as night) more than oil... each filter change, the amount of globs of varnish decreased, and when I finally drained the crankcase and refilled it with synthetic, the rockers (you can see 'em if you look) looked like brand new inside the valve covers... These people who blame the synthetic oil for "causing leaks" should be ticked off at whatever oil they used PRIOR to the synthetic for creating that garbage that builds up on seals and causes them to become brittle and fail... all the synthetic oil does is reveal how poorly the previous oil did its job... Yeah, you might see some oil at some places if the seals are hard, but if they're not working with synthetic, the failure was masked by deposits inside the engine that the cleaning qualities of the synthetic will quickly help to remove...

Well... that's my 4$ worth.. To me, telling someone what kind of oil the *should* use is not what I'm interested in doing. Make yourself happy. As long as you match the oil to the conditions it will be required to function in, and you change it before it can't do its job anymore, I figure you and your engine will be fine.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby minimac » Sat Aug 09, 2014 6:52 am

Personally, I think it's more important to change the oil and filter at regular intervals than what oils are used. Oil filters, however, are quite a different subject. They are not all created equal and if a particular brand is prone to failure or doesn't excel at filtering, it's of no use. There are oils and then there are oils. Some contain zinc,which is a good thing for a bike. Some are better at "cleaning", which is also a good thing. Some dino oils are excellent. Some synthetic oils are better than others. The key is to do a lot of reading, make your choices, but change the oil and filter often. It's cheap insurance compared to the expense of major engine repairs.
I run a quality synthetic(Royal Purple) in my Goldwing and have never had any issues with the clutch or shifting, as some will say. I change my oil between 3K and 4K miles- more or less. When I use dino oil, I use Brad Penn. It's a little harder to find, but worth the effort, but Rotella and Delo400 seem as good. A good quality filter(are there are a few) and the drained oil isn't much darker than when it goes in.

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby billbob » Sat Aug 09, 2014 2:24 pm

My 98 se seems to like Delco400 and a wix filter . :D

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Fiberthree » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:22 am

I have only used synthetic in my Goldwing. This of off a spread sheet I have on my '99. On my next oil change I'm going to try the Royal Purple Synthetic. So far the my highest mileage has been with the Rotella. But I have heard that the synthetics drain off internal engine components faster than the mineral oils, and If you don't ride for long periods of time ( extended severe weather such as snow) and your engine sits, then it would be a good idea to run the synthetic blends or conventional motor oils.



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36.01 VALVOLINE
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35.27 MOBIL 1
34.86 QUAKERSTATE
34.58 AMSOIL
36.42 ROTELLA T6
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby bstig60 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:55 pm

I use Mobil 1 15w50 in my bikes. I usually change both oil and filter between 4-5000 miles. I am pleased with its performance in a wet clutch environment and I can run it year round. It has been my experience that any good quality motor oil, whether dino or syn, that does not have friction inhibitors in it will work well in bikes. Diesel oils like Rotella and Delo do not have them, so they work with wet clutches as well. I can understand why you guys in Canada run 5 and 10 weight oils, but I think a heavier oil is better suited to motorcycles in the lower 48, particularily farther south or in hot climates.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby AmsTech » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:27 pm

Gentlemen,
I just purchased a 2014 Gold Wing Demo here in Alberta, I will be switching it over to Amsoil Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 10w-30, using an Amsoil Motorcycle Oil Filter EaOM 103 and the gear drive to Amsoil 75w-90 Severe Gear Synthetic Gear Oil. With the Amsoil oil and filter I will Double the factory recommended drain interval to 8000 miles or 13,000 kms.
In the lower 48 I agree a 10w-40 would best but anything heavier like a 15w-50 would reduce the performance and actually create more heat.
I have used Amsoil products for close to 30 years, I am an AMSOIL Dealer and an Amsoil Factory Certified Tech.

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby bstig60 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:26 pm

Perhaps in Canada 10/40 is enough protection, but in a lot of the lower 48 it isn't. I rode 5 days thru + 100 degree farenheit temps last July. The highest was 112 degrees. I don't think 10/40 oil would have done the job. Many use 20/50 oil in Air cooled engines, I use that in my ATV's, one is water cooled and the other air/oil cooled. I have yet to see any issues caused by the oils I use. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to engine oils. I use what works well for me and would expect you and others to do the same.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Big Blue UK » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:05 am

bstig60 wrote:Perhaps in Canada 10/40 is enough protection, but in a lot of the lower 48 it isn't. I rode 5 days thru + 100 degree farenheit temps last July. The highest was 112 degrees. I don't think 10/40 oil would have done the job. Many use 20/50 oil in Air cooled engines, I use that in my ATV's, one is water cooled and the other air/oil cooled. I have yet to see any issues caused by the oils I use. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to engine oils. I use what works well for me and would expect you and others to do the same.


I am inclined to agree, I only ride in nice weather now I am retired. When I first set out on the Wing the gear changes are smooth and sweet, when the engine gets up to normal temperature the changing starts to get clunky. I do not know what oil was in the /wing when I bought it at 8,000 miles, but it was a lot better than the recommended 10/40 I put in. Think I will try something else as I am changing the oil in a day or two, before I start going long distances, but what oil I am unsure.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Big Blue UK » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:06 am

Big Blue UK wrote:
bstig60 wrote:Perhaps in Canada 10/40 is enough protection, but in a lot of the lower 48 it isn't. I rode 5 days thru + 100 degree farenheit temps last July. The highest was 112 degrees. I don't think 10/40 oil would have done the job. Many use 20/50 oil in Air cooled engines, I use that in my ATV's, one is water cooled and the other air/oil cooled. I have yet to see any issues caused by the oils I use. Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to engine oils. I use what works well for me and would expect you and others to do the same.


I am inclined to agree, I only ride in nice weather now I am retired. When I first set out on the Wing the gear changes are smooth and sweet, when the engine gets up to normal temperature the changing starts to get clunky, as if the oil is too thin. I do not know what oil was in the /wing when I bought it at 8,000 miles, but it was a lot better than the recommended 10/40 I put in. Think I will try something else as I am changing the oil in a day or two, before I start going long distances, but what oil I am unsure.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby f1xrupr » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:05 am

I use 20w50 Royal Purple car oil-runs quieter, shifts way smoother. Started shifting way smoother instantly after switching! I saw a multi oil bearing test on YouTube, and the Royal Purple was vary impressive!
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Big Blue UK » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:23 am

I put Mobil Super semi 10/40, I rang the Goldwing dealer who serviced the trike when it was imported, who informed me they use Shell Advance AX7 semi 10/40, so I am going to give that a try.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Mh434 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:47 am

When I went looking for oil a few weeks ago, I wasn't holding out much hope, as selection in my area can be very limited. Happily, I was able to find Rotella full-synthetic motorcycle-rated oil, surprisingly inexpensive to boot. Bike seems to run fine with it, so I guess it will be my go-to oil for the bike.

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Hoosier Jack » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:47 am

I still have some popcorn. Oil threads are entertaining.




I was wondering about what kind of tires I should use. ;)

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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby redial » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:23 am

I was wondering about what kind of tires I should use. ;)


Round ones seem to work well on your year and model.

But getting back to oil; oil are like underclothes, some will rub you the wrong way, and some will be excellent, for you. We all have our preferences, and some prefer less expensive. There are pros and cons for whatever oil you use, but just make sure it is suitable for the engine, the temperature range, and the type of duty it is to perform. If you are stressing the limits, then you may have to change more frequently; but normally, do not waste your hard earned cash by changing too frequently.
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Re: Synthetic oil or non-synthetic

Postby Wingrider44 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:40 am

I'm so glad to have found another oil thread. I figured that everyone felt that this horse has been totally beat to death. But I guess not.

I agree.....forum entertainment at it's finest. :D :D :D

Oh, by the way, I run oil in my bike and change it and the filter every 3 to 4 thousand miles. This has worked outstandingly for me over the last 40+ years of motorcycle riding. Not once have I had an oil related problem. Of course, YMMV.


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