Anyone run 20w50 in the new 2010, 11???r1200gs

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by rockycraig, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. rockycraig

    rockycraig Been here awhile

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    The reason I asked is my dealer just service it and put 20w50 in my new 2011 r1200gs even though in the manual it recommends 10 w 40 to a max 15w40. He said he's been using this for 10 years, I live in PA and the winters get cold? Anyone have any experience with this, am I being to picky about this or what?????
    #1
  2. Skinny Moose

    Skinny Moose Adventurer

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    My dealer put 20/50 in at the 600 mile service, he said it was fine. At 3000 miles I swapped it to 10/40 and I`m planning on running that or 15/40 from now on. If I were you I`d run what BMW recommends.
    #2
  3. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

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    I wonder if the dealer noticed that the engine changed in 2010 ;-) and perhaps the oil should as well :huh
    #3
  4. Dewy_AU

    Dewy_AU Adventurer

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  5. Bob Herr

    Bob Herr Oilpatch University Graduate

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    Dealers put 20W-50 in my 10 and 11 bikes at the 600 mile services. Two different dealers. I can't tell it makes a difference. I have never had trouble starting my bikes even in 20 degree weather. I am just careful to let them warm up for a few minutes so the oil is circulating good. My brother in law was a John Deere Factory Service Rep for several years. He told me they always have an increase in spun bearings in the winter when people start tractors and rev them without proper warm up. May not be a valid comparison because I think the Boxer motor uses roller bearings. One of my pet peeves is people who start a motor and rev it up immediately.
    I have always believed that BMW went to the thinner oil and gadgets like the exhaust flapper so they could claim 5 more HP out of the new cam head engines.
    Have to be careful here as the oil thread Harpies will get us if we talk about oil too much - Bob.
    #5
  6. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    If your winters get cold, you want to go to a thinner oil not a thicker oil. In your case 10/40 would be better.
    #6
  7. Paul Mihalka

    Paul Mihalka Old Fart

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    "May not be a valid comparison because I think the Boxer motor uses roller bearings"

    BMW does not use roller bearings in the boxer motors since 1968 :D
    #7
  8. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    Could not agree with you more, i'm a big believer in warming a motor gently before riding, makes me cringe to see a cold motor revved. And your comparison of the boxer motor to tractor motors is justified in that the bmw motor does use plain shell/slipper bearings.:*sip*
    #8
  9. t6pilot

    t6pilot Been here awhile

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    Same situation in southern California dealers in orange and long beach recommend
    #9
  10. t6pilot

    t6pilot Been here awhile

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    Sorry
    Both dealers i'am familiar with in southern California recommend 20-50wt oil in all 1200gs bikes including 2010/2011 models
    #10
  11. Kenadian

    Kenadian Been here awhile

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    I have a 2011 and the dealer gave me 20w-50 oil that I used on my 600 mile service. I was using a lot of oil right up to my next service (6,000). I switched to 10w-40 at this service and the oil consumption went to almost nothing. I don't know if it is a coincidence, but there was a post a while back which explained that the thinner oil was scarped off the cylinder walls easier and burned less. I am a believer. I would guess that BMW has a pretty good idea what oil works best on their new motor. Dealer that are suggesting 20w-50 are likely habituated to using this oil. I guess time will tell if there is any long term difference in engine longevity using different oil than the recommended weight. Unless I see hard facts that prove a thicker oil is better, I will be a wimp and stick to what the manufacturer of the bike recommends.

    Ken
    #11
  12. dmac57

    dmac57 Long timer

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    Kevin Cameron did an article a while back explaining the various reasons to use the (thinner) manufacturer recommended oil. One of the reasons that I remember was that the flow orifices are smaller on newer-tech, tighter tolerance engines. Thicker oil doesn't flow as well through those openings cold or hot. Cylinder scrapage makes sense as well. As one of the OGs who always used 20W-50 in most everything (especially in the South and in the summer), going with lighter oil is a matter of faith, but so far (in the cars and the Triumph), no issues, and no untoward oil use. But, I'm sticking with the thicker stuff in the Airhead, and in the 1150, at least in the summer.

    I'm surprised that the various dealers aren't going with BMW spec on viscosity. (Bad) habit, maybe? Reminds me of how often VW dealers overfill the oil--they either don't look the spec up on the different models, or don't notice that the bottles are liters, not quarts.
    #12
  13. EJ_92606

    EJ_92606 Rider

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    The one concern I have about sticking with the BMW spec of 10w-40 is that someone said that it should not be used with ambient temps > 86F. Not sure if this is in the manual or not, but plenty of desert riding out here is in temps that exceed 86F.
    #13
  14. AZuwere

    AZuwere Been here awhile

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    Dealer put 20W50 in at my 600 mile service. Never noticed that weight isn't in the manual until you guys started talking about it. Makes sense in Phoenix I guess.
    #14
  15. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    Dealer put 20w50 Spectra in for 600 mile service on 2011 and I will be changing that back to Castrol 10w40 tonight. Rode the bike twice since I got it back and I have noticed I can hear the engine in the mornings before it gets warm. Never heard that with the 10w40, it purred! 20w50 and a cold motor now ticks and taps until warm. 54-58 degrees in the am. Have even noticed it slightly in the afternoon when temps are 80+ just not nearly as noticeable as in the am.

    What do the dealers know that BMW does not? No where does it mention 20w50 for a recommended oil.


    Engine oil
    Engine oil, capacity max 4.0 l, with filter change
    of products recommended by BMW Motorrad and generally admissible viscosity classes
    Castrol GPS SAE 10W-40 ~-20 °C
    SAE 5W-40 ~-20 °C
    SAE 5W-~50 ~-20 °C
    SAE 10W-40 ~-10 °C
    SAE 10W-~50 ~-20 °C
    SAE 15W-~40 ~0 °C
    Engine oil, quantity for topping up max 0.5 l, Difference between MIN and MAX
    Oil grades Engine oils of API classification SF or better. Engine
    oils of ACEA classification A2 or better.
    #15
  16. GeorgeinVA

    GeorgeinVA Beemers Uber Alles

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    Next time you are a a dealer pick up a bottle of BMW 20W50 "Recommended for all BMW motorcycles" is on the back. I have bitched about that since 1999 when they introduced the F650. Communication is very important. This is a clear example of inconstant messaging. BMW needs to fix the labels!
    "Recommended for all BMW motorcycles after 1970" is on 5W40 synthetic, another oil that is NOT recommended for any pre twin spark F650.
    I am not trying to start something with you, just showing where one might get the idea you can use 20W50.
    #16
  17. Kenadian

    Kenadian Been here awhile

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    Been doing it for years. HABIT
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  18. kimzx1000r

    kimzx1000r Been here awhile

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    Agreed I can see that it could be confusing. But I will say I do not look on the oil bottle for information concerning a particular motorcycle, I would look in the manufacturers service manual and a motorcycle shop that reads the bottle before the manual would be a concern for me.
    #18
  19. MotoRyder

    MotoRyder n00b

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    A little off topic but still relevant. I have been using synthetic oil in my Ducati Monster M750 and was wondering if synthetic oils were recommended for my R1200GS engine. So I emailed the Seattle-Area BMW dealer, Ride West BMW, to ask for their recommendation:

    Interested to know if synthetic oil can be used in a 2007 BMW R1200GS, and if so, what is recommended ??
    What engine oil is sold there at the shop for 2007 BMW R1200GS motorcycles ??

    Their response:
    BMW only recommends using synthetic engine oil after ample engine break-in, usually about 12k miles or so.
    The synthetic oil BMW sells in the US is a 15W-50 by Spectro, the standard 10W-40 is for (Pacific) Northwest weather and 20W-50 grade for hot weather.

    =>> BTW -- the BMW Oil Recommendation = Castrol Actevo GP 4T 20W-50.
    #19
  20. dmac57

    dmac57 Long timer

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    I'd certainly understand the concerns about 10W-40 in ambient temps of >85-90 degrees F. I don't know what the engineers would say, but my oldskool head would want something heavier, particularly under sustained/heavy load. BUT, dealers making that swap without any concrete instruction or reason other than their own bias is annoying at best.
    #20