I might have learned the hard way

Discussion in 'Oil' started by SteveM, May 9, 2011.

  1. SteveM

    SteveM Member

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    OK, so here's my story and I hope this won't turn into another oil war. Last fall I changed all the oils in preparation for the long winter ahead (I like to have clean fluids when it will sit for extended periods) I drained out all the syn3 (The warranty had just ran out) and I put M1 15-50 in the engine as I could not find the M1 v-twin 20-50, M1 syn ATF in the primary as I had read all the benefits of ATF in there on another site prior to finding this one and M1 75-140 gear in the tranny. I got to put around 500 - 600 miles on her before she went into hibernation for the winter. Yesterday I decided to change them all again to be fresh for the season ahead and I was a bit concerned about the oils I had previously put in. This spring I have probably only put on around 100 miles so far so the fluids had less than 1000 miles on them. Here's what I found. The M1 15-50 was black as tar and appeared to have a silvery sheen to it. That's pretty scary! The filter did not seem to have an excessive amount of crud in it so maybe I'm just being paranoid but it looked like oil that had not been changed for 15,000 miles. Now here is the really scary part. The ATF in the primary had metal filings and yellow plastic bits in it. So I pulled the primary outer case off to have a look. The sprockets are showing significant wear and the adjuster shoe is worn about 1/3 the way through. I only have 12,000 miles on the bike so that seems significant to me, I know there was nothing out of the ordinary in any of the oils I drained last fall. I guess what I'm saying is ATF is not good for your chain case regardless what some of the "experts" on the other site say. Here I learned it might be bad and you all were right! Thank you!!! I hope I caught this one in time but that remains to be seen. I'll drain them again after about 600-700 miles and have a look. Oh yea, Yesterday I put in M1 v-twin 20-50 and in the primary I had planned to put in atf but that plan changed so it got the only other oil I had that might work, its Valvoline 20-50 blend but she'll get HD Chain case oil on the next change.
    Just wanted to share this to help warn others that IMHO, ATF in your primary is a bad idea.
    Ride safe!
    Steve
     
  2. glider

    glider Veteran Member

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    Steve

    Synthetic oil in the primary isn't the best choice, just a straight 10-30 or 10-40 oil with no energy conserving label will be a better choice. ATF is for automatic transmissions and does little to help you in the primary of these bikes as you found out.

    The reason for the color of the oil is that the synthetic oil will clean out the internals in quick time as they are supposed to do. After another change you will see the difference.

    Oil Suggestions For Harleys - Harley Davidson Community
     
  3. JBC2565

    JBC2565 Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum. The link below is for a "complete" oil change. This will allow you to get more of the oil out. I have the puck you screw into oil filter (different than this link. Sold by rogue chopper I think. Search for it on forum under complete oil change). I usually get an additional 22-26 oz of oil by doing this. It will keep the oil looking cleaner longer by getting this "leftover" oil out of the crank case.

    Softail Oil Change - Harley Davidson Community

    Another good link. The tool I have is near bottom of page Rogue chopper scavenger system.

    Complete Oil Change (softail) - Harley Davidson Community
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  4. SteveM

    SteveM Member

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    Yea, I do intend to get that blend out of the primary asap. I just put that in as I figured it was better than ATF and needed something to get her going. I live in the sticks and my truck is down with its own problems right now and I needed my bike to get to town.

    I feel a bit better about the engine now. I'll see how it goes and hopefully it'll clean up. I just figured the 15-50 didn't hold up to the heat as well as the 20-50 v-twin does. The Primary is what really made my heart sink. I think I may just put in a new adjuster the next time I open it up.

    Thanks man!
     
  5. dbmg

    dbmg Experienced Member

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    Thanks for sharing for it shows the importance of using the proper and specific oils in the 3 holes.
     
  6. wilks3

    wilks3 Junior Member

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    What did the different oils look like when you drained out the Syn3?
    What does engine sound like now?
    I think I would put in new adj shoe now.
    wilks3
    :USA
     
  7. SteveM

    SteveM Member

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    The syn3 that came out was dark but still somewhat transparent. I think the M1 15-50 I had in there may have been burnt from the heat. I'll see what this oil looks like when I drain it. I have also installed a Thundermax ecm so the heat is drastically reduced. As for the new shoe, I'll be picking it up today. I'll probably swap it out tonight. I know I need to get that Valvoline oil out anyway as its shifting really hard with that in it.

    Thanks for all the input! This site is the best :D
     
  8. IBA Harley

    IBA Harley Active Member

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    IMHO... maybe it's best to follow the manufacturer's recommendation. I realize that's heresy...
     
  9. wilks3

    wilks3 Junior Member

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    SteveM, I, as well as others here, run the Mobil1 15W50 in the engine with no problems.
    I will run this in the spring,fall and fresh for winter storage. I recently changed to Lucas Synthetic 50wt oil made for V-Twin air-cooled engines. I'll run this in the summer and the engine has never sounded better.
    Syn gear oil in trans for sure, Redline Shockproof Heavy is good and there are others too.
    Primary, there are plenty of very good suggestions here. I run the Mobil1 4T10W40 syn oil, it is ok for wet clutch use.
    wilks3
    :USA
     
  10. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

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    Steve, sorry to hear of your problems with the ATF, there have been many posts on this