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American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

  1. #1
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    American Big V-Twin Lube Thread


    I kind of know what I'm getting myself into here, but it's a fairly simple question...

    What are you all running for oil on your Harley's? Engine, trans & primary?

    Naturally the manual highly recommends Screaming Eagle SYN3 or Harley Davidson 360. But here's the thing that caught my eye: it says if those aren't available, use the weight of your choice but to *make sure designations for diesel engines*. A friend has been running it in his modded 96 Twin Cam for the past year and loves it. His bike also calls for diesel engine designation if not running the aforementioned lubes.

    I've also been told by a number of people that a lot of people just run that same oil in the transmission and primary as well.

    I'm looking into Klotz because I run that in my sled and I love the shit, and I have a local source. In reading what little is available on their site, it states it "meets and exceeds warranty requirements for compliance and protection" for the M8 engine, but I can't find any classification that says it's for diesel engines. And for shits & giggles, I'll be ordering their transmission & primary specific lubes. I like their protection promise, but how far will that fly if something goes horribly wrong after running it for 5000 miles?

    I don't need any more tips or instructions on HOW to change any of those fluids. Just picking to see what everyone's running. I'll take the different engine models into account as well. I'm also curious as to what your manual calls for.

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    Lifer jimmycapp's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Coconut

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  3. #3
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmycapp View Post
    Coconut
    Just toss some coconut oil in there and send it?

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    Lifer SwiftTone's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Rotella T6. Its "diesel" oil good for all bikes, so must be good for motors which call for diesel oil

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    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Don't Harley v-twins call for something like 10W-50 or 10W-60? Rotella T6 is 5W-40.

    I started using Mobil 1 15W-50 in my KTM (which calls for 10W-50). The clutch is holding up to the 160HP just fine. You can get that shit at any Walmart for $20.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    At one point I had convinced myself of a maintenance plan for this beast. I should have written it down. I think my plan was quality dino or semi-synth every 3-5k in the motor. Primary every other change. Trans every 4th.

    I am not using the HD branded oil. It is just too expensive for what it is.

    I bought a bulk order of Castrol Actevo 20W-50 semi-synth that was "V-Twin" (I read as air-cooled) compatible and had some positive reviews around the web. It split the uprights for value and quality. I have decided that a relatively heavy 20W-50 is a must with this massive air-cooled hulk. Unfortunately I am not aware of good, affordable full-synth options in this weight.

    Honestly I am not convinced it is that important. This is a low-tolerance motor with a lot of slop. Everyone I talk to says oil quality is less important than drain time and keeping it topped off.

    I think I have decide I will use the same stuff in the transmission as it doesn't use much and the drain frequency is low. Also I don't want to keep another product on my shelf.

    I'll be damned if I'm putting a high-cost oil in the primary though. That strikes me as silly as it is just a chain and some seals. It gets whatever is handy. Currently I'm working through some leftover light-weight full-synth from a european car I don't own anymore, which is actually a ridiculously high-quality oil. After that it will probably get rotella. I buy that in bulk too; it goes in all the water cooled bikes.

    Again, I'm not convinced it matters that much.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Harley calls for 20W-50 in all three components; engine, trans and primary on my 2014 103ci twin-cam.
    He has a Milwaukee eight I think. I am pretty sure they call for the same weights in that motor.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    FWIW I have found Mobil 1 20W-50 full-synth hard to find locally. It is expensive as well. IIRC close to HD branded oil I think.
    Other weights of Mobil 1 are cheaper and easier to source.
    I wonder if a 15W-50 is not close enough.

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    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Can someone explain viscosity in plain english to me? I know the first number is cold, second hot. But oil gets thinner as it gets hotter, does it not? How does viscosity go UP? Googling it didn't seem to help my non engineering brain.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    FWIW I have found Mobil 1 20W-50 full-synth hard to find locally. It is expensive as well. IIRC close to HD branded oil I think.
    Other weights of Mobil 1 are cheaper and easier to source.
    I wonder if a 15W-50 is not close enough.
    For what its worth I found Mobil 1 20w-50 at advanced auto this weekend. I put it in my MV track bike and they said they carry it in the summer months for us riders now.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    Can someone explain viscosity in plain english to me? I know the first number is cold, second hot. But oil gets thinner as it gets hotter, does it not? How does viscosity go UP? Googling it didn't seem to help my non engineering brain.
    https://bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-101/

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    Can someone explain viscosity in plain english to me? I know the first number is cold, second hot. But oil gets thinner as it gets hotter, does it not? How does viscosity go UP? Googling it didn't seem to help my non engineering brain.

    Think of it as two separate scenarios. The 5W part only comes into play to describe viscosity characteristics when cold. The second number only comes into play at 100C and has to be within that range. Oil does get thinner as it heats up. The rating systems only help to establish baselines at certain temps and numerous other factors come into play to describe behavior outside of those numbers.

    Different weighting scales are used. The W ratings have to meet a certain flow (pumpability) limit at the prescribed temp and that changes with 0W, 5W etc... A 0W has to meet spec at -35 and a 5W at -30 if I recall correctly.

    The viscosity for the second number has to be within a certain range. A 30 weight has to within 9.3-12.5 cst at 100c for example to be a 30 wt. a 40 weight has to 12.6-16.3 cst at 100c.

    This is why you see people say some oils are "thinner" then others even though they might both be 5W-30s. One oil can be at the lower limit and the other near the higher yet both can still be called 30 weight.

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    Last edited by e30addict; 04-13-21 at 09:13 AM.
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jasnmar View Post
    Thanks! That's the explanation I have been looking for.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by jasnmar View Post
    That site is a rabbit hole! It used to be so much better years ago though. Now too many self prescribed "experts" posting have chased a lot of the truly knowledgeable people away.

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    Last edited by e30addict; 04-13-21 at 11:41 AM.
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by theducman View Post
    For what its worth I found Mobil 1 20w-50 at advanced auto this weekend. I put it in my MV track bike and they said they carry it in the summer months for us riders now.
    The Castrol I picked up works out to about $21/gal ($5.25/qt).
    Prices on Mobil 1 I'm seeing are 2x that.
    Castrol also has a full-synth that is still a few bucks cheaper than the Mobil 1.

    As I say, I'm not sure it matters that much in a Hardley Ableson. I've decided a full-synthetic is not necessary.
    I'd run the Rotella (because it is always the answer!) but convinced it is too thin for the air cooled Harley.

    I'm going to be interested in how the transmission shifts after the first change. (I haven't owned the machine long enough to do a trans flush/change.) Neutral is a bit of a bitch fo find sometimes right now. I would like that to be better.

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    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    I'll be running full-synth 20/50 as recommended by the manufacturer this change and use that as a baseline for future changes. It's always amazed me how people balk at spending an extra $20 for something that's recommended.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    It's always amazed me how people balk at spending an extra $20 for something that's recommended.
    penny wise; pound foolish

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    My manual doesn't say anything about requiring a full synthetic. HD 360 20W-50 is not a synthetic oil. It's a conventional dino oil.

    They have HD branded semi and full-synthetics available as well. Google suggests their oil has been made by a couple different manufacturers over the years.

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  19. #19
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    My manual doesn't say anything about requiring a full synthetic. HD 360 20W-50 is not a synthetic oil. It's a conventional dino oil.

    They have HD branded semi and full-synthetics available as well. Google suggests their oil has been made by a couple different manufacturers over the years.
    Yeah, I'm aware it's just branded with the Harley Hamburger.

    I'm gonna have to double-check my manual. I could've sworn it suggested running full synth.

    Either way, I guess I'll just run the Klotz for the next 5000 miles and report back.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    Yeah, I'm aware it's just branded with the Harley Hamburger.

    I'm gonna have to double-check my manual. I could've sworn it suggested running full synth.

    Either way, I guess I'll just run the Klotz for the next 5000 miles and report back.
    Regardless of what is recommended or required, there is no question that synthetics hold up to heat better then conventional oils. The only question is whether the price difference is worth the extra overhead in one's mind.

    In an air cooled motor I would think a stout oil would be beneficial. Then again, I run synthetics in my snowblower, so I'm a little jaded.

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    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Should have my Klotz stuff in today. Engine erl and Transmission/Primary lube. I get dealer cost on it, so I said fuggit and went for it. Also got an oil filter with a nut on the end so I won't have to fuck around with that next engine oil change. I KNOW I don't REALLY need to do the transmission this time 'round, but I may just do it to get into a groove.

    I'm ordering Metzeler ME888's Marathon Ultras tonight. Best price I found so far delivered is about $375. A lot of places are pretty similar in price, but a lot of those seem to be sold out at the moment.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    I think I may need a new rear tire this year. Kind of shocked how fast I am burning up rubber on this thing.

    Brake pads may be on the horizon too. I would like to have them "in stock" anyway. Anyone have any thoughts on pads for these bikes? I'm actually pretty pleased with how it stops now, on what I assume are stock pads.

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  23. #23
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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    75w-90 gear oil all around. Bigger numbers mean its better oil.

    https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/75w-90-oil

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    Last edited by PurplePackage; 04-21-21 at 01:01 PM. Reason: added link

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PurplePackage View Post
    75w-90 gear oil all around. Bigger numbers mean its better oil.

    https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/75w-90-oil
    What do YOU run that in? At the very least, I'm sticking with the 20/50 recommended. But I'm curious to know what you run that in.

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    Re: American Big V-Twin Lube Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoneman View Post
    What do YOU run that in? At the very least, I'm sticking with the 20/50 recommended. But I'm curious to know what you run that in.
    75w90 gear oil and 20w50 motor oil is pretty similar in viscosity.

    That said, the different chemical properties in some gear oils may not be compatible with components in your transmission. I'd research it way more before making a change like that.

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