Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Shootdaroc
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Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Shootdaroc »



I have a 1995 GL1500 Aspencade with a Motortrike trike kit and 130k miles. I had a problem one day with the clutch slipping very bad about 4 years ago and thanks to GoldwingDocs I found that it was only a clogged return hole in the clutch master cylinder. I have always used Pennzoil or Honda 10W-40 conventional oil and have never had a problem since with clutch slippage until recently. In January I flushed the clutch and brake fluids and bled the lines. I decided to “treat” my bike to the often recommended Mobil 1 10W-40 High Mileage Synthetic Oil. The first time I took it out this year I experienced the clutch slipping 2 times as I ran her hard. The next time only slipping 1 time while riding easy. Yesterday I rode hard with friends and it slipped on most hard accelerations. I cleaned the return hole in the clutch master cylinder last night and just got back from a test run. It may have been better, but still slipped frequently (but certainly not always) as I took each gear to 4500-5000 rpms.

Is there any way that this could be attributed to the clutch flush & bleed?
I’m inclined to think the Mobil 1 synthetic oil is causing the slippage.
Should I put a can of Seafoam in with the Mobil 1 oil?
I have read on this site to try switching to Rotella T6 5w40 diesel oil.
Please advise as you guys are the very best!!


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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Viking »

I may be incorrect, but I think the high mileage version of Mobil 1 oils does not have JASO MA/MA2 certification, and so would not be for motorcycles. That said, in normal use, your clutch should not begin to slip as quickly as you describe if your oil has friction modifiers, which are what causes motorcycle clutches to slip due to improper oil for the purpose. Normally clutch slippage develops over time as the clutch plates glaze. You could try the Rotella T6 in a 5W40 to see if it changes anything, but from your description, I would think your problem lies elsewhere. Did you get a good bleeding and all the air out of your clutch when you flushed it? Also, you mention riding hard, and the bike is hauling a trike rear, so perhaps there are wear factors at play.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by AZgl1800 »

Viking wrote: Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:35 am I may be incorrect, but I think the high mileage version of Mobil 1 oils does not have JASO MA/MA2 certification, and so would not be for motorcycles. That said, in normal use, your clutch should not begin to slip as quickly as you describe if your oil has friction modifiers, which are what causes motorcycle clutches to slip due to improper oil for the purpose. Normally clutch slippage develops over time as the clutch plates glaze. You could try the Rotella T6 in a 5W40 to see if it changes anything, but from your description, I would think your problem lies elsewhere. Did you get a good bleeding and all the air out of your clutch when you flushed it? Also, you mention riding hard, and the bike is hauling a trike rear, so perhaps there are wear factors at play.
I made a personal call to the Mobil-1 Engineer responsible for that program.
he told me explicitly, that none of their products could be used in a Wet Clutch engine oil.

so, I did more searching, and came up with Rotella T6 5w40 which is compatible with Wet Clutches.

so, drain out the Mobile oil and throw out the filter.

pour in T6 5w40 and it will be fine.

I've been using it now for 5 years in my 2002, and it has never slipped.
Bill Ladigo Flyone called me one day, because the clutch on his new 1800 was slipping badly.
He had seen me talking about T6 5w40 and wanted to be sure that is what I was using.

He switched over to T6 5w40 and has never been happier.
His clutch stopped slipping.
~John

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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by blupupher »

M1 10w-40 is fine for wet clutch bikes.
No, it is not a certified JASO MA/MA2 oil, nor is it recommended by the manufacturer, but it does not have any friction modifiers, which is what is bad for wet clutches.

Rotella T6 and T4 are also not JASO MA/MA2 certified, it does "Meets the performance requirements of: ... JASO MA/MA2" per Rotella on the bottle and their website.
Meets ≠ certified
And before anyone says anything, here is a bottle of T6:


There are many that use M1 HM 10w-40 with no issues, and with the OP having done more than just an oil change, it is hard to just blame the oil.
There are also many that use Rotella 5w-40 T6 with no issues either. There are lots of non-JASO certified oils that are used that work, most all "diesel" oils are fine to use since they lack the friction modifiers that harm clutchest.
Heck, most "motorcycle oils" like Valvoline 4 stroke Motorcycle oil, Mobil 1 Racing 4T, and Castrol 4T are not JASO MA/MA2 certified, they all claim to "meet or exceed the requirements of" JASO MA/MA2.

And to the OP, no, never put anything in your crank case besides motor oil. Seafoam, Marvel Mystery oil, etc is just asking for problems, all it does is dilute and thin the oil and reduce it's effectiveness.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Shootdaroc »

Took the M/C off the bike today and did a complete cleaning of the entire unit. Return hole is totally clear. Took it out for a test and could still get it to slip a few times when running her like a 1/4 miler!! Will get a new filter and try switching to Rotella T6 5w40 diesel oil. Didn’t think the M/C was the issue, but it needed to have a thorough cleaning anyway!! I’ll keep you posted.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Andy Cote »

It is possible that it needs new clutch plates. Trike kit at 130,000 and "I rode hard", "I took each gear to 4500-5000 rpms" and "running her like a 1/4 miler!!" :P Just sayin'.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Rednaxs60 »

The JASO standard is a good indication of a suitable oil for wet clutch applications. Your bike is pre-JASO standard - came out in 1999. Look for the API donut - it is called this, as well. The upper half of the API donut indicates the oil specification such as "SN", and make sure the lower half of the API donut is blank. This pic is of the API donut non-energy conserving - no friction modifiers or additives - disregard the oil specification:


This pic shows the API donut with the lower half filled in indicating friction modifiers are in the oil - not good for a wet clutch application:


Good luck.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by WingAdmin »

I wonder if the slipping that went on for a while when you had the clogged return hole either wore or glazed your clutch discs, and they are now in need of replacement?

I have been running the High Mileage Mobil 1 (with no friction modifiers) in my GL1500 for over ten years now, and the clutch has not slipped once, so I don't think that is going to be your problem.
That oil is an excellent oil for the GL1500, the engine and transmission really run well on it.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Shootdaroc »

UPDATE: Replaced the filter and switched to Rotella T6 5w40 diesel oil. Took her out and ran hard for the past 2 days. I'm happy to say that all power is going to the rear wheels and there is no clutch slippage whatsoever. Seems strange to use diesel oil, but I can't argue with the results!!

I agree as it was suggested, that it is possible that it may need new clutch plates soon and that is why the Mobile 1 didn't work well in my bike. I have a Trike kit which adds 400 pounds and also 130,000 miles on the clutch. I also use a Pingle electronic shifter and don't often use 1st gear as it will most often catch neutral on the way to 2nd, so I generally start off in 2nd gear and of course have to slip the clutch to do that.

I will say that the Mobile 1 and now Rotella T6 have now eliminated any clutch chatter that I would occasionally get when slipping the clutch to get moving. I haven't really noticed a difference in shifting, but the Pingle probably likes it LOL. Thanks again for all the advice!!
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by blupupher »

Shootdaroc wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 2:28 pm... I have a Trike kit which adds 400 pounds and also 130,000 miles on the clutch. ...so I generally start off in 2nd gear and of course have to slip the clutch to do that.
...
Ouch, that is not a good thing for the clutch for sure.
Last edited by blupupher on Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Andy Cote »

Thank you for letting us know the results.

The comment about the second gear starts reinforces my opinion that you need new clutch plates.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by WingAdmin »

Andy Cote wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:58 pm Thank you for letting us know the results.

The comment about the second gear starts reinforces my opinion that you need new clutch plates.
I suspect that having the clutch slip for some time years ago (due to the clogged return port), along with high amounts of wear from excessive clutch slip when repeatedly starting off a heavy trike in second gear have worn the clutch to the point that there is no longer enough friction material left to apply sufficient pressure. The added lubricity of synthetic oil has only exacerbated the problem. In either case, the solution is a new clutch.
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Shootdaroc »

I suspected that from the beginning and absolutely agree. If the Rotella allows it to work properly without slipping, I’ll get the clutch rebuilt next winter. Thanks again for all your input!! 👍
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Re: Clutch slippage after m/c flush and oil changed to synthetic

Post by Tim 1956 »

I was just emailing Castrol oil company they other day about how I've always used castrol 20w50 in my vehicles and motorcycle's over the past 46+ years and never had a bit of problems with it. I changed my oil again in my 94 1500i today and put 4 quarts 20w50 in it. Now castrol wrote this to me today. I've always been afraid to switch to synthetic oils for my vehicles or motorcycles. As they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." :D

Passenger car oils use friction modifying additives to reduce friction in specific areas of the engine such as the valve train and piston ring/cylinder. Friction modifiers react with metals forming a molecular layer that reduces friction between moving surfaces. In a typical motorcycle engine with an oil immersed clutch (wet clutch), friction modifiers may be absorbed on the clutch plates rather than on the metal surfaces. This can reduce the friction coefficient of the clutch plates and as a result the clutch will start slipping causing a loss of power transfer to the back wheel, overheating and increased wear.

The Castrol motorcycle line includes oil for 2 stroke, 4 stroke and V-Twin oils with a wide variety of viscosity ranges and oil types, including mineral, synthetic blend and fully synthetic formulations. This variety offers superior performance for all motorcycle rider demands and every type of riding condition:

Castrol Go! 4T (Mineral)
Exceeds API SG, JASO MA-2
Available in 10W-40 & 20W-50

Castrol Power 1 4T (Full Synthetic)
Exceeds API SL, JASO MA-2
Available in 5W-40, 10W-40 & 10W-50

Castrol Power 1 V-Twin 4T (Full Synthetic)
Exceeds API SL, JASO MA-2
Available in 20W-50

Castrol Act>Evo 4T (Part Synthetic)
Exceeds API SL, JASO MA-2
Available in 10W-30, 10W-40 & 20W-50

Castrol Power 1 4T oils are the ultimate motorcycle oils from Castrol for use in all consumer 4-stroke motorcycles that specify API SL and JASO MA-2 performance.


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