5W-20 oil


Technical information and Q&A applicable to all years and models of Goldwings
  • Sponsored Links
Post Reply
User avatar
tylers883
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue May 10, 2016 11:04 am
Location: Halifax, NS Canada
Motorcycle: 81 GL1100

5W-20 oil

Post by tylers883 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:25 am



Just wondered if any of you have some insight on motor oil.

I've noticed that there is a growing trend in my local auto supplies store to stock lighter weight motor oils such as 10w-20 and 5w-20. This is making it harder for me to find more traditional motor oils like 10w-30 and 10w-40. The reduced availability is translating to reduced availability of sale prices.

Anyway, this led me to do a little reading about the newer oils. As far as I can tell, a major factor toward creating these new oil is improved fuel economy in our new cars.

Frankly, for my 81 goldwing, I care more about protecting my engine, not fuel economy.

Everything in my old school brain tells me that the 5w-20 oils are bad news. I don't trust them.

If you know more about why they are good, can you chime in here?

special thanks in advance.

Tyler



User avatar
themainviking
Posts: 2848
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:59 pm
Location: North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Motorcycle: 2009 GL1800 AD

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by themainviking » Wed Jul 27, 2016 11:16 am

5W20 oils are formulated for the new standard of engineering in brand new (or brand new within the last ten years or so anyway) automobiles. The tolerences are tighter in the engines, so a thinner oil makes sense. The second reason for this is indeed, improved fuel economy. This creates no problems for these newer vehicles, but will NOT work for your bike. Your bike should have motorcycle specific oil, in 10W30, 10W40 or 20W50, in accordance with your owners manual. Motorcycle specific oil is recommended because your cluth is in the same bath as your engine, and so should not have friction modifiers in the oil.

Hope this helps
Viking
It ain't about the destination - it's all about the journey

ImageImage

harvey01
Posts: 844
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 7:14 pm
Location: Henrico, Virginia
Motorcycle: 2004 GL1800

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by harvey01 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:32 pm

Just want to echo what Mainviking said. Use the proper motorcycle oil called for in your owners manual. If you don't have an Honda owners manual or service manual you can get either one or both at www.helminc.com
harvey
Ride Safe and Ride Often

dnehasert
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:25 pm
Location: Mesa AZ.
Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 with Watsonian sidecar

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by dnehasert » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:35 pm

Many use Delo 400LE 15w40 or Shell Rotella 15w40 with good results. Though they are diesel oil they have all the ingredients needed on motorcycles. They also have synthetic oils but that's a waste of money on 30-40 year old motorcycles.

User avatar
Bluewaterhooker0
Posts: 788
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:27 pm
Location: Tampa, Fl
Motorcycle: 1997 Goldwing GL 1500 SE

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:14 am

I recently read an article by an "oil guy" that said that the sole reason manufacturers recommend 5W20 is for gas mileage. I can believe that, considering the role that government plays in the car manufacturers lives. If that is how they got the particular vehicle's specified to meet the CAFE standards, then that is what has to be recommended for use. Not that the watery oil is the best thing for the engine. It's just the best thing for mileage, and to a certain extent, the engines can handle it due to modern engine design specs. But for engine life, a heavier oil is wiser. Light weight oils, as I'm sure everyone knows, are a good thing on cold startups, as it provides better lubrication during that initial period of warmup. But, after that, that light weight oil is not so good. I'd stick with the 10W40 as specified by Honda. Living in Florida, I even tried some of the Mobil1 20W50 V-Twin Synthetic oil with unsatisfactory results. It made shifting a whole lot stiffer. The owners manual says it can be used in Florida type climate and temperature ranges, but I would not. The best luck I've had is with the Mobil1 10W40 Bike Specific oil. I tried the Rotella, and didn't care for it. Maybe because that oil starts in the 15W range, and caused the stiffer shifting I experienced with the 20W50. I'm partial to synthetics, so the only other oil I have used is the Valvoline 10W40 Synthetic Bike Oil. It was OK, but I lean toward Mobil1 for every other vehicle I own (6 cars and trucks), so I stuck with the Mobil1 for the bike as well.

User avatar
WingAdmin
Site Admin
Posts: 18002
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:16 pm
Location: Strongsville, OH
Motorcycle: 2000 GL1500 SE
1982 GL1100A Aspencade (sold)
1989 PC800 (wife's!)
1998 XV250 Virago (sold)
2007 Aspen Sentry Trailer

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by WingAdmin » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:43 am

Bluewaterhooker0 wrote:I recently read an article by an "oil guy" that said that the sole reason manufacturers recommend 5W20 is for gas mileage. I can believe that, considering the role that government plays in the car manufacturers lives. If that is how they got the particular vehicle's specified to meet the CAFE standards, then that is what has to be recommended for use. Not that the watery oil is the best thing for the engine. It's just the best thing for mileage, and to a certain extent, the engines can handle it due to modern engine design specs. But for engine life, a heavier oil is wiser. Light weight oils, as I'm sure everyone knows, are a good thing on cold startups, as it provides better lubrication during that initial period of warmup. But, after that, that light weight oil is not so good. I'd stick with the 10W40 as specified by Honda. Living in Florida, I even tried some of the Mobil1 20W50 V-Twin Synthetic oil with unsatisfactory results. It made shifting a whole lot stiffer. The owners manual says it can be used in Florida type climate and temperature ranges, but I would not. The best luck I've had is with the Mobil1 10W40 Bike Specific oil. I tried the Rotella, and didn't care for it. Maybe because that oil starts in the 15W range, and caused the stiffer shifting I experienced with the 20W50. I'm partial to synthetics, so the only other oil I have used is the Valvoline 10W40 Synthetic Bike Oil. It was OK, but I lean toward Mobil1 for every other vehicle I own (6 cars and trucks), so I stuck with the Mobil1 for the bike as well.
This is true. Car manufacturers live and die by CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) numbers. I have owned a car that was specified to use 5W20 the year it was made, and the following model year they changed it to 0W20 - same exact car, same exact engine, absolutely nothing changed except the numbers in the owner's manual and on the oil cap. Solely because they needed to get the mileage numbers up in order to help fix their CAFE problem.

User avatar
Bluewaterhooker0
Posts: 788
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:27 pm
Location: Tampa, Fl
Motorcycle: 1997 Goldwing GL 1500 SE

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:04 am

WingAdmin wrote:
Bluewaterhooker0 wrote:I recently read an article by an "oil guy" that said that the sole reason manufacturers recommend 5W20 is for gas mileage. I can believe that, considering the role that government plays in the car manufacturers lives. If that is how they got the particular vehicle's specified to meet the CAFE standards, then that is what has to be recommended for use. Not that the watery oil is the best thing for the engine. It's just the best thing for mileage, and to a certain extent, the engines can handle it due to modern engine design specs. But for engine life, a heavier oil is wiser. Light weight oils, as I'm sure everyone knows, are a good thing on cold startups, as it provides better lubrication during that initial period of warmup. But, after that, that light weight oil is not so good. I'd stick with the 10W40 as specified by Honda. Living in Florida, I even tried some of the Mobil1 20W50 V-Twin Synthetic oil with unsatisfactory results. It made shifting a whole lot stiffer. The owners manual says it can be used in Florida type climate and temperature ranges, but I would not. The best luck I've had is with the Mobil1 10W40 Bike Specific oil. I tried the Rotella, and didn't care for it. Maybe because that oil starts in the 15W range, and caused the stiffer shifting I experienced with the 20W50. I'm partial to synthetics, so the only other oil I have used is the Valvoline 10W40 Synthetic Bike Oil. It was OK, but I lean toward Mobil1 for every other vehicle I own (6 cars and trucks), so I stuck with the Mobil1 for the bike as well.
This is true. Car manufacturers live and die by CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) numbers. I have owned a car that was specified to use 5W20 the year it was made, and the following model year they changed it to 0W20 - same exact car, same exact engine, absolutely nothing changed except the numbers in the owner's manual and on the oil cap. Solely because they needed to get the mileage numbers up in order to help fix their CAFE problem.
I've never seen 0W20, but I bet it pours like water. Scary that the manufacturers would recommend something like that, without some caveat stated in the manual explaining their position. 95% of the driving world would have no idea, and just follow the "cap" specs. I've never followed the 5W20 recommendation on my vehicles. Always done 5W30 if I expected to be in some freezing climates on a trip, or 10W30 here in the 'oven' known as Florida :-)

Old Wing Man
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:51 am
Location: Bismarck, Arkansas
Motorcycle: 2000 Goldwing SE

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Old Wing Man » Sun May 21, 2017 11:46 am

I would never use xxW20 oil in any vehicle regardless of what the OEM said. They only care about their CAFE numbers and not your engine. Here in the south, I use Shell Rotella T6 in 5W-40 which is good for year round use. It is also good for anything that I own from lawnmower, motorcycle, truck, car, boat and diesel tractor. Being that, I only have to buy one oil for everything rather than what I was previously using that required 5 different oils.
Most of my uses only require yearly oil changes so it isn't a big money drain to use full synthetic.

billbob
Posts: 236
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:30 pm
Location: columbia tennessee
Motorcycle: 2005 Honda gl1800 goldwing

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by billbob » Sun May 21, 2017 8:18 pm

I have used 15w40 wt. oil in all my wings and they shift great . Never had a problem with that wt. of oil.

Old Wing Man
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:51 am
Location: Bismarck, Arkansas
Motorcycle: 2000 Goldwing SE

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Old Wing Man » Mon May 22, 2017 9:17 am

I suppose folks that ride in below freezing weather might have a problem with 15W or 20W oils but I don't find it a problem shifting in freezing weather because my bike is on its center stand in my shop.

User avatar
minimac
Posts: 436
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:25 am
Location: Oswego, NY
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
2006 Burgman Executive
2007 Yamaha Majesty
2006 Yamaha Morphous

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by minimac » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:13 am

tylers883 wrote:.....my local auto supplies store to stock lighter weight motor oils such as 10w-20 and 5w-20. This is making it harder for me to find more traditional motor oils like 10w-30 and 10w-40. The reduced availability is translating to reduced availability of sale prices.

....Frankly, for my 81 goldwing, I care more about protecting my engine, not fuel economy.
"Quality oil doen't cost-it pays" used to be an advertising tagline. The same was true then, as it is now. Especially if you're concerned about engine wear. Besides, it's not like you're putting in 5 or 6 quarts of the stuff!

Old Wing Man
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 7:51 am
Location: Bismarck, Arkansas
Motorcycle: 2000 Goldwing SE

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Old Wing Man » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:12 am

I don't understand your statement about using quality oil. There is no issue of quality when using 10W-40 rather than 5W-20. I agree with the poster who doesn't care about mileage just taking care of his engine. The one and only reason a manufacturer specs. 5W-20 oil is to get that extra MPG that a super light weight oil would give due to a bit less impact resistance with the crank hitting the light weight oil in the pan. Federal mandates require OEM to have an average between all their models that they would rather get by modifying the oil rather than better their designs, it is much cheaper that way. They don't really care if you get 300K just as long as you get past the 100K or warranty period. If your engine starts using a lot of oil, then you buy a new car which is good for them.

I prefer to have the extra thickness of oil in the engine when hot to protect the bearings and rings from wear than to have 1 more mile per gallon. I use full synthetic oil in my equipment (all of my equipment), not because of the extended mileage I get between changes because I usually change yearly rather than by mileage but because of the better wear resistance that I get.

User avatar
minimac
Posts: 436
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:25 am
Location: Oswego, NY
Motorcycle: 1993 GL1500 Aspencade
2006 Burgman Executive
2007 Yamaha Majesty
2006 Yamaha Morphous

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by minimac » Thu Jun 08, 2017 3:38 pm

Old Wing Man wrote:I don't understand your statement about using quality oil.....

.... I use full synthetic oil in my equipment (all of my equipment), not because of the extended mileage I get between changes because I usually change yearly rather than by mileage but because of the better wear resistance that I get.
Exactly the point. Better quality, better wear, better longevity, and ,as a bonus, usually better mileage.

User avatar
Rednaxs60
Posts: 1221
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1985 GL1200 LTD, 2008 GL1800

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by Rednaxs60 » Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:23 pm

When looking at the oil designation, the 5W is for a winter start and is really not relevant over 35-40 degrees F. Once the engine is up to operating temperature the 20 rating is what is relevant. This is the same no matter what oil you use. Not much difference between a 0W and 5W oil.

Synthetic or mineral is a personal choice. A friend of mine who changed his oil every 2 months because of commuting distances could not justify the added cost. For a person changing the oil maybe up to 3 times a year (driving 12 months), synthetic may be prudent.

Using synthetic in a 30 plus year old bike can be worthwhile, especially when you see such low mileage/kilometer numbers on a bike of this vintage. I know people who have taken various equipment apart for whatever reason after having used synthetic oil regularly/religiously and the internals exhibit very little wear.

Over on Classic Goldwings, Ed Belanger (1954-2015), did a dyno test on his 1200. Here is his thread albeit a few years old, but with graphs, etc. http://www.gl1200goldwings.com/gl1200/s ... 2#pid44852

I thought it was a good presentation regarding the benefits of synthetic over mineral oils.

I prefer synthetic over mineral and when I can buy synthetic for the same price as mineral, synthetic always wins. Right now I'm using Rotella T6 5W40 synthetic. The 1200 is a high revving engine and synthetic can be a benefit because of this. My son-in-law had a CBR 600 a few years back and I convinced him to change to Amsoil because the bike ran hot when city riding. When he changed the bike ran significantly cooler and he discerned this from the number of times the rad fan did not kick in compared to when he was using mineral oil.

Amsoil is a big promoter in Sturgis every year and have made converts of many HD riders. Since the HD is known for its heat generation, Amsoil promotes the oil because of this.

Just a few thoughts on this.

Cheers
"When you write the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen"

Ernest

User avatar
bstig60
Posts: 949
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:14 pm
Location: Nevada City, CA. Rockledge, FL.
Motorcycle: 2003 GL 1800
1999 GL1500AC ASP Sold
1999 Virago XV1100LC
1994 Time Out Camping Trailer for Sale
Luggage Trailer
Contact:

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by bstig60 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:01 am

I use 5w20 synthetic oil in my Jeep GC. The oil has friction modifiers in it so it is not advisable for wet clutch systems. I use 15w50 Mobil 1 full synthetic in my 1500 for the past 3 years with no problems. It does not have friction modifiers in it. Not MC Specific oil. I get it at Walmart. I will be changing to this oil in my 1800 before my trip next week. I don't expect it to perform any differently in my 1800 than it has in my 1500. I also use the same oil in my XV1100 Virago and the engine runs much cooler that it did with dino oil. BTW: I run this 5000 miles in my Goldwings before changing oil and filter.
Bill

User avatar
golden highway
Posts: 362
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Motorcycle: 1987 Interstate
1998 Aspencade

Re: 5W-20 oil

Post by golden highway » Sun Jul 09, 2017 6:29 pm

I use what the manufacturer recommends and never have a problem. I run my cars 250,000 to 300,000 miles on whatever the recommended oil is. Some were 10/30 5/30 5/20 and yes 0/20 I can't complain to the manufacturer if I have an oil related failure and wasn't following their recommendations. I drive a lot so I have driven a lot of vehicles to high mileage.

My GL1500 gets 10/40 just like the manufacturer recommends. I am using Moble one now. It does seem to hold up better than the others I tried.



Post Reply