Help with oil selection

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by stevewillis, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    First, I don't mean for this to be another oil thread, and don't want to start up the long exhausted debate over which oil is best. I'm really just looking for some assistance with complying with the recommendations in the owner manual for my F700GS for engine oil for my 600 mile service, which I wish to perform myself as I am not located near a dealership. I thought this part would be easy...

    The facts:
    1. My owner manual recommends "BMW Motorrad High Performance Oil", with the specifications "SAE 15W-50, API SJ / JASO MA2".
    2. The same page of the owner manual states that "BMW recommends Castrol".
    3. Castrol does not appear to make a 15W-50 viscosity, at least not for the US.
    4. Castrol's application guide on their website claims the manufacturer recommends "Castrol Power RS Racing 4T 10W-40" for the F700GS, which contradicts my manual and looks suspiciously like what was recommended by BMW for the F650GS in the past.
    5. I am alone and afraid.

    I'm neither looking for the cheapest or fanciest oil. I just want a lead on a specific product I can grab at NAPA/Auto Zone/Wal-Mart, etc., and not worry about my clutch slipping and/or exploding. If it matters, I live in northern Arizona, and might see riding in temperatures of about 35-95 F.

    Thanks for your help, or apologies for doing this wrong, as the case may be.
    #1
  2. NCD

    NCD Dirty Hairy

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    630
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    This is what matters:

    "SAE 15W-50, API SJ / JASO MA2"

    The rest is contradictory marketing hoo haa.

    I buy Mobil 1 at Autozone. Half 10/40 and half 20/50 to make 15/45. Close enough. Chasing down 15/50 motorcycle oil is a pain. And I bet the Mobil 1 holds it viscosity better than any 15/50 you could find anyway.

    Oh god, what did I do. Oil thread!
    #2
  3. Jays-f800gs

    Jays-f800gs Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    300
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I bought Honda MC specific oil, because the Honda shop is close too me and it was $2.00 cheaper per quart then BMW oil.
    #3
  4. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    I use 10/40 works like a charm :eek:)

    Next time I'll try the full synthetic oil (BMW dealer in Rennes was using this for its engines)
    #4
  5. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

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    I have no particular feelings about Castrol vs. any other brand. I only meant to point out what a fool I was to believe that "BMW recommends Castrol" should imply that Castrol actually produces a BMW-recommended product. I thought it would be a quick stop at a parts store for whatever matched the spec. Little did I know the spec can only be blended from unicorn tears.

    The question I should have asked is: since 15w50 motor oil doesn't seem to actually exist (at least not from the brands carried by retail locations anywhere near me), what is the "right" move? I am becoming increasingly suspicious that this specification change from last year's F650GS is in fact a trap to invalidate my warranty.

    Mixing 10w40 and 20w50 is an option I wasn't even aware of. Thanks, NCD! This might lack a certain defensibility for potential warranty issues--I would hate to have to explain it, anyway.

    Loutre, I believe 10w40 is what is recommended for your bike anyway, no?

    Right now, short of mixing as suggested by NCD (this does appeal to me), I'm on the fence about just selecting 10w40 or 20w50 and moving on with my life. 10w40 has the advantage of being the one Castrol's website claims is recommended (again, dubious), and 20w50 might be a better match for my actual ambient temperatures in Arizona. The latter is pure conjecture on my part, and my reasoning is that I likely spend more time with temperatures at the upper range of the rating (90-95 F, perhaps), and little time starting the engine at anything below 45 F or so. Most of my riding time will be right in the middle, about 70 F.

    Sorry for another oil thread, but I did read the others, and most end suggesting to just obey the manufacturer's recommendation. I'm trying to, I swear!
    #5
  6. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

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    Yep that's what Hornig says too:

    SAE 15W-50:
    BMW R1200GS
    BMW R1200R
    BMW R1200RT
    BMW R1200S
    BMW R1200ST

    SAE 10W-40:
    BMW G650X *
    BMW F650*
    BMW F800*
    BMW R1100*
    BMW R1150*
    BMW R1200C & R1200CL
    BMW K1200*
    BMW K1300*

    But my BMW dealer, since it's summer, prefers to put 15w in it.
    #6
  7. Tor

    Tor Imported Norwegian Viking

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    Location:
    South Carolina
    Using M1 15W50 Gray Cap Synth. on the ST13 and the 8GS.
    #7
  8. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

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    This is also an appealing alternative. No issues with the wet clutch and non-motorcycle-spefic oil then, I presume?
    #8
  9. bimmer5891

    bimmer5891 Adventurer

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    BMW North America is now selling the oil they recommend in the owners manuals. For years BMW NA used Spectro oils for the US market. This has now changed and in the last few weeks the changeover to Castrol oils has started.
    #9
  10. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
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    Flagstaff, AZ
    I will gladly order the recommended BMW oil. Unfortunately, I don't live very close to a dealer, so I have to choose something off-the-shelf at a standard retailer to complete my 600 mile service if I want to ride this weekend.

    Do you have a part number for the correct oil? I've spotted at least two BMW-labeled oils in 15w50.
    #10
  11. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Location:
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    As of 03/12 BMW updated the permitted oils ...
    Here's the announcement:

    [FONT=&quot]See: [/FONT]
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    #11
  12. NAZDirt

    NAZDirt Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Madtown, WI
    Steve-
    Hit up NAPA on Butler AVE. They sometimes have supply on the shelf. They have ordered me Amsoil before in 15w50. Otherwise another rider here in town is a dealer and we place a yearly order for trucks/bikes.

    I have experimented with the different weights based on riding temp ranges we have and I've no ill effects. The only problem i had was the valve cover gasket leaking as soon as I switched to synthetic but that was an easy fix.

    Matt
    #12
  13. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    BMW ON magazine did a great write up a few months ago on oil that was very favorable to M1. It's nice to know since you seem to be able to buy the stuff everywhere and it's cheap compared to other full synthetics.
    #13
  14. shashankmittal

    shashankmittal Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Nashua NH
    #14
  15. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,800
    Location:
    Arizona--Land of the free and heavly armed
    Steve:
    I'm just a few miles south--(Camp Verde) of you,& I have been using Castrol Actevo x-4t 20w-50 semi-synthetic in my BMW F 658/800 GS--Also had it in my KTM 990 ADV Have never had an oil issue w/any bike I've used this in---I get it at Cycle Gear & it"s usually on sale also get the K&N filters there

    Just match the JASO & API numbers ( In BMW 650/700/800 case) JASO MA-2 API-SG and you're good to go.:deal

    All the "genius " rocket scientist oil experts on here will debate this forever, but truth is match JASO & API to Manufacturer specs and thats, it your done. so STOP worrying & go ride your protected.

    Oh! just another thought for ya--Castrol is available at any bike shop worldwide be it BF Egypt or WalMart down the street.
    Can't say that for Anzoil, Royal Purple or any of the other ZIp Zam 5,Panther Piss Super oils can ya?

    Jeff
    #15
  16. Flashdog

    Flashdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    957
    Location:
    NW in the Great Flat Sandy
    +1
    #16
  17. SOP Dirt-Rider

    SOP Dirt-Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    701
    Location:
    Port Orchard, WA
    I'm going straightohell as I am running Lucas full synth 20W50 MC oil. For shame. 54,000 miles on the C14, 15,000 miles on the KLR, 5 sets of tires on the YZ450F, and 6,000 miles on the '10 F800GS. All the proof I need is the pile of tires I'm racking up.
    #17
  18. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Thanks, all, for the excellent advice. I feel much better about my choice now. For this round, I went with the 10w40 Castrol their website claims is the manufacturer's recommendation, mostly because it creates the nicest paper trail of at least attempting to comply with BMW's recommendations. It is fully synthetic, and I suppose time will tell if that was a wise move for my 600 mile service, which I did at about 730 miles. Both bikes have been ridden about 150 miles since, with no immediately negative effects to report.

    I'll be better prepared for my 6000 mile service and revisit this thread to order something well in advance. I did this for my GS-911, K&N oil filters, etc., but though the oil itself would be the easy part.

    It was especially nice to hear from riders in my area. Thanks, NAZDirt and BELLSTAFF!
    #18
  19. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Flagstaff, AZ
    This is great advice, also, thanks! I frequent this NAPA, and they've been great for harder to find parts for my 1974 International Scout II (an entirely different hobby), but my experience has been that stuff that isn't on their website can't be ordered. I'll grab some Amsoil anytime I see it there and squirrel it away for future servicing.
    #19