Red Line Oil & Catalytic Converters (good news)

Discussion in 'Oil' started by bobalu, May 20, 2011.

  1. bobalu

    bobalu Active Member

    I e-mailed Red Line customer service to ask if there was any risk to damaging my catalytic converter (2010 RK Classic) by using their V-Twin oil in the crank case. Zinc and Phosphorus, which are primary additives in most all synthetic motor oils, can possibly damage catalytic converters.

    Red Line responded to me in less than 24 hrs. (awesome customer service!) and I thought I would share their response here with you people:

    "Thank you for contacting Red Line Oil, the phosphorus level in our V-Twin Motorcycle Oil shouldn’t cause an issue with catalytic converter deactivation over the typical motorcycle lifespan and average oil consumption. If you are concerned the 20W50 Motor Oil would be a good choice with reduced phosphorus levels compared to the Motorcycle Oil but still substantial for anti-wear protection of your engine."

    So there you have it! No mention of the zinc though(?). Are there any petro-chemical experts out there that can chime in?
  2. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    I'm no petro expert and not really sure what your asking.
    If you are concerned about catalytic convertor life, then the oil you can use (zinc concentration) is really a function of how much oil is actually getting into the combustion chamber. Air cooled engines by their nature have a very wide operating temps. For the most part, it can be anything from 150* to 300* (head temp). Therefore, engine clearances have to be more than the design ideal. I would expect more oil useage in an air cooled vs a water cooled engine that has a near constant temp range.
    If you had a very tight water cooled engine, you could run a ton of zinc and the catalytic will last. If you have a loose/sloppy air cooled engine, even low concentrations of zinc will kill the cat.

    Zinc amounts have been pulled back in order for cats to last 150K miles in automobiles. Getting 150K on car engines these days is commom place. It is not common place on these bikes, so why worry. If you get 80K out of a cat on a bike I would say that is great.

    Don't forget that you can't be running piggy fuelers and expect cats to last either. Therefore I would not be concerned about zinc concentration unless I was also closed loop and stoich.
    Even running zero zinc oil at 13.0 A/F ratios will reduce cat life.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    IF you read the REDLINE report back.... You will see that the Normal Redline 20/50 That I use and have for years in my motors,,,, Has LESS and the V-twin oil has MORE..

    When I talked with Redline years back when they came out with the MORE additive for wear in their product It was Only in the 20/60 oil at the start...

    Then the label for V-twin 20/50 came about, They added More wear additives in the motorcycle oil at that time... and the EPA ALLOWS more additive for Our air cooled engines... NOT for water cooled motors... But who's
    there to stop you from using what you want..??

  4. bobalu

    bobalu Active Member

    If you read my post, the Red Line rep did not mention zinc at all in his response, which was one of the additives I asked him about. I was therefor asking if there was anyone who could offer any more information.
    Hope that clarifies things for you.
  5. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    I read your post several times. So you want to know what the specific level (PPM) of zinc there is in the oil?

    Most off road/racing oils will have Zinc levels in the 1250 range. Most high mileage/gas mileage oils, such as Castrol GTX and the like are usually in the 400-600 range. Valvoline makes a racing off road 20/50 that has levels in the 1250 range. Request a lab report of analysis. They should be able to provide it. All companies have them.

    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    Home > Motor Oil > 20W50 Motorcycle Oil

    20W50 Motorcycle Oil
    Designed for the latest Big-Twin motorcycle engines that specify 20W50 motor oil, including including Evolution, Twin Cam, and aftermarket engines of similar design
    Superior film strength through the use of ester base stocks for protection and ring seal
    Extended drain intervals over other brands due to higher quality basestocks and excellent dispersants

    20W50 Motorcycle Oil - quart - $12.95
    20W50 Motorcycle Oil - gallon - $51.95

    Fully-synthetic ester formula for passenger cars, light trucks, performance vehicles and marine applications
    Excellent wear protection and friction reduction across a wide range of operating conditions
    High detergency allows extended drain intervals and provides increased cleanliness
    Improved fuel economy and ring seal for more power
    Superior high temperature stability and oxidation resistance increases lubrication of hot metal compared to other synthetics
    High natural viscosity index (VI) provides thicker oil film in bearings and cams
    Less evaporation than other synthetics for improved efficiency and ring seal
    All products are completely compatible with other conventional and synthetic motor oils
    42504 - 20W50 Motorcycle Oil - quart
    42505 - 20W50 Motorcycle Oil - gallon
    42506 - 20W50 Motorcycle Oil - 5 gallon
    42508 - 20W50 Motorcycle Oil - 55 gallon


    API Service Class SJ/SG/SH JASO MB
    Viscosity Grade SAE 20W50
    Vis @ 100°C, cSt 18.6
    Vis @ 40°C, cSt 138
    Viscosity Index 152
    Pour Point, °C -45
    Pour Point, °F -49
    Flash Point, °C 254
    Flash Point, °F 490
    Zinc, %wt 0.25
    Phosphorous, %wt 0.21
    Molybdenum, %wt 0.05

    NOACK Evaporation Loss,1hr @ 482°F (250°C), % 5
    % Viscosity Loss, 30 Pass ASTM D6278 0
    ******** *********** *************
    This is what you asked for??

    shows Zinc, Phosphorous, Molybdenum...

    These above are in the V-twin oil AND in the 20/50 regular Blue label quarts I buy ,,, JUST not as much in the oil I buy(close says Dave) as in the V-twin SO said Dave the Redline Tech... long while back like I said earlier..


    BUBBIE Well-Known Member

    The connection between Red Line and American V-Twin motorcycles goes back to the early '80s. The past 30 years produced tremendous support for Red Line from experts in the racing and road bike communities, including the AHDRA Drags, AMA dirt track and road racing, and the performance and cruising scenes at Daytona and Sturgis. Legendary V-Twin builders like Bill Werner and Kenny Tolbert, respected tuners like Hal's Speed Shop, Dan Fitzmaurice's Zippers outfit, NHRA Champs like Matt Smith and Byron Hines rely on Red Line to control wear, make power, and increase reliability.

    The same principles apply to all of the popular bikes, from Panhead and Shovelhead, to Evos and the latest production bikes. The V-Twin challenge is obvious: air-cooled engines demand more from motor oil.

    What happens when you run lesser conventional oils, low-cost "synthetic" blends like Syn 3® or Royal Purple®, and PAO synthetics like Mobil® or Amsoil®? You find excessive wear in the cam journals and lifters due to shortages of antiwear additives.

    This photo illustrates the oil pump from a Twin Cam engine. You can see the wear on the g-rotor as well as in the oil pump body. This is better controlled by using Red Line's 20W50 Motorcycle Oil with more antiwear and stable viscosity. If this pump fails, not only will oil flow stop but a chunk of metal will likely junk the rest of the engine.
    This is in addition to premature main bearing, rod bearing, and valve guide wear (leading to oil consumption). Shorter valve spring life and lower spring tension due to high heat can be a result of low-cost base stocks. Lack of film strength also leads to excessive piston wear (including scuffing on the skirts). Lack of cleanliness causes carbon buildup in the ring lands. Combined with poor piston wear, you get lower ring seal and less power from your bike. Where the latest bikes feature EFI, most of the V-Twin market is carbureted—even when you nail the jetting, you'll get more fuel dilution with a carbureted bike and that challenges the film strength of lesser products.

    There are many benefits to running Red Line’s ester-based motorcycle oils. Unprecedented stability over a wide temperature range is due to an investment in only the best base stocks, a bountiful additive package of zinc, phosphorus, and motorcycle-compatible friction modifiers make it the ultimate protection for American V-Twins. High detergency levels combat the buildup of carbon that depletes ring seal. Decades of R&D have gone into this product, so that kind of detail cannot be summarized in a few simpleparagraphs. But, the best engine builders say it better than we can. Many times, the lack of wear in the parts tells the story for them.

    This photo shows the stock camshafts from a typical Twin Cam engine with 40,000 miles that was filled with the synthetic motor oil recommended by the manufacturer during scheduled maintenance at an authorized dealer. The dramatic wear on the lobes and a totally blue cam journal could be avoided with more antiwear and a more stable ester formula. Note that aftermarket cams will show the same wear and heat, but better oil solves these problems.
    Rob Schopf of Hal's Speed Shop says it best: "The engines we take apart after running Red Line motor oils simply don’t have problems. That’s why we recommend them."

    Credit Harley-Davidson® with major improvements in their latest engine designs, especially in terms of cam plate design. H-D engineered a solution that removed the bearing setup, a great improvement. They also equipped the newer 96-inch engines (07-09) with a revised oil pump that scavenges 22% more oil, feeds 8% more than the older engines stock engines, and produces 8% more volume.

    "Time will tell in terms of wear on the new bikes," Schopf says, but these revisions produce a nice reliability gain. Regardless, there’s still damage to be done by selecting motor oil by price rather than all-out performance.

    Hope you get something out of this..I just copied it and posted it instead of a link..

    Red Line Synthetic Oil - V-Twin Engine Tech: Power, Protection, and Piece of Mind

  8. ckhismine

    ckhismine Active Member

    Well said. Any oil can harm a Cat if to much is getting in to it and it is unable to handle it.
  9. bobalu

    bobalu Active Member

    O.k., lots of confusion here so let me try and re-explain what I'm asking. :newsmile07: Sorry about the length.

    I'm not a tech-head, as you can probably tell, so you'll have to bear with me.

    Because Harley's are air cooled, they're right from the get go a different animal from car engines and liquid cooled metrics with respect to cooling issues. (I know this much :)). Being a v-twin design, even more so because of the rear cylinder running hotter than the front. Add to that the recent (I think only the past couple of years?) addition of the catalytic converter, and the heat management issue has to be a massive headache for the HD engineers.

    Now here's where my technical ignorance may creep in. I've read several articles about how zinc and phosphorus additives in synthetic oils can damage catalytic converters. I realize this is a long standing debate in the industry, and the articles I read are not motorcycle specific. I do know that the motorcycle specific oils have high levels of these additives, because thats what gives them their excellent wear and lubricating properties. I don't know if you need exhaust/oil blow by for it to be an issue, as some have suggested here, or if the normal combustion exhaust in a mechanically sound engine can be enough to cause a problem (over time). Maybe its just a normal issue and accounts for the standard service life of the average catalytic converter, I don't know. My question is about "premature" failure of the cat.

    Now, because of the nature of the air cooled v-twin design, the fact that Harley historically seems to have shunned synthetics, then slowly come on board (wouldn't the use of synthetics be a no brainer to keep temps down??), and the addition of a catalytic converter to an air cooled twin, I was just wondering if the high heat v-twin + catalytic converter + high levels of zinc & phosphorus = premature catalytic converter damage.

    Cats haven't been used in Harleys long enough to make any actual historical use conclusions. (ie: I 've used synthetics in my cat. equipped Harley for 12 years and no problems). And while I'm pleased to see the response from Redline (and I just received a similar response from Spectro, btw), they are obviously sales oriented, and likely wouldn't tell me not to use it unless they knew for sure that it would blow up my engine on contact!

    Please feel free to correct anything I may have misunderstood here. I'm just looking for a friendly discussion on the topic :) I've come to the conclusion that I'm going with a full synthetic in any event, and not even worry about the cat. converter issue.

    Sorry about the length guy's, ride on! :s
  10. Hoople

    Hoople Account Removed

    What is the warranty for EMISSION CONTROL DEVICES on a New bike.
    In the automotive world, emission control devices have a longer warranty than the straight 3/36 or 5/50 warranty that comes with a new car. Does the same LAW apply for motorcycles? Is the warranty for emission control devices on a HD longer than the 2 year warranty that comes with a new bike. Does an extended warranty cover the Cat converter or is the Cat looked at like a "wear and tear" item?

    If you think about it,, the warranty for a Cat should be mileage not time. Since the warranty on a new HD is unlimited mileage, can that be a loophole for the Moco.? It may be, I don't know.

    Do I believe a Cat will last 100K miles on a HD while using enriched zinc oil? Never in a million years.

    We need to understand what "expected life" is for a cat, before we can understand what pre-mature life is.