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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:43 am Thread Starter
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oil chart

The oil chart for my '03 K1200GT indicates something that doesn't make any sense to me.

The chart specifies that 15W40 is only good up to 20, while 20W40 is good up to 30, and 15W50 is only good to 30, while 20W50 is good to 40.

One of the earlier owners of this bike installed a thermometer/probe in place of the oil filler plug, so I can easily see that regardless of whether the air temperature is 0 or 30, the temperature in the crankcase is 65 when the bike is warmed up. Additionally, the water temperature gauge reads near the center mark, regardless whether I've been on the road ten minutes or ten hours.

Since this water cooled engine doesn't change temperatures on the cylinder walls or valve train, due to ambient air temperature differences, why are the oil chart high temperature limits based on ambient air temperature? This bike doesn't depend on cooling fins on the head and cylinders, so why does BMW still use a chart that appears to be designed around that requirement?

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 1:38 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sloowpoke
The oil chart for my '03 K1200GT indicates something that doesn't make any sense to me.

The chart specifies that 15W40 is only good up to 20, while 20W40 is good up to 30, and 15W50 is only good to 30, while 20W50 is good to 40.
Are you sure that the "up to" number isn't really the "down to" number?

As in, temps "down" to 20, or 30 degrees or so.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 3:34 pm
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Maybe it's the lower viscosity numbers during cold starts that they are concerned about. Basically the lower pour point of the oil.

15W40 < 20W40 or 15W50 < 20W50

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 5:50 pm
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 7:45 pm Thread Starter
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Since I understood this to be an EU based forum, I was giving the centigrade temperatures and they are the upper limit temperatures recommended for the indicated oils. The question has nothing at all to do with cold engine operation.

Thanks for the link TxWhiteKnight, but that document doesn't address the question of why a water jacketed engine is treated as though it suffers from the same temperature variations as an air cooled engine.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 9:01 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sloowpoke
Since I understood this to be an EU based forum,
Well, there's your mistake.

We have a worldwide member base, lots of Aussies, a number of Europeans, a
South African or two, but I believe the majority of the people here are from North America.
I know that the forum owners are. The admins are. We do have a European moderator though, and he does seem to be one of our most mechanically knowledgeable too.

We do seem to be everywhere though.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 24th, 2010, 8:58 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sloowpoke
The oil chart for my '03 K1200GT indicates something that doesn't make any sense to me.

The chart specifies that 15W40 is only good up to 20, while 20W40 is good up to 30, and 15W50 is only good to 30, while 20W50 is good to 40.

One of the earlier owners of this bike installed a thermometer/probe in place of the oil filler plug, so I can easily see that regardless of whether the air temperature is 0 or 30, the temperature in the crankcase is 65 when the bike is warmed up. Additionally, the water temperature gauge reads near the center mark, regardless whether I've been on the road ten minutes or ten hours.

Since this water cooled engine doesn't change temperatures on the cylinder walls or valve train, due to ambient air temperature differences, why are the oil chart high temperature limits based on ambient air temperature? This bike doesn't depend on cooling fins on the head and cylinders, so why does BMW still use a chart that appears to be designed around that requirement?

regards,
Joe
I'm not sure about your figures or arguments. First I'm wondering if those temperatures are actually minus degrees C. Mistakes get made in typesetting. Have you confirmed them from another source?

Then you talk about the bike's oil temperature. When discussing oil/viscosity and temperature, whilst the running temperature is important at the high end, it's the cold start ambient temperature that is most important and that will be set by the lowest ambient likely to be reached when you start and run the bike - hence the 'W' or winter viscosity figure in the oil viscosity range. Look at this link and the cranking rpm table which is scary.

http://www.upmpg.com/tech_articles/m...ity/index.html

Another curious thing is the K bike's should be fitted with an 85 deg C thermostat measured at sea level (not 15 psi max the pressure cap can go to) which is fully open most of the time and if the fan comes on at 2/3rds gauge I'd expect the water jacket to be hitting the 90-100 deg C. Is your thermostat there and working or stuck open? Your bike seems unusually cool for Summer climate mixed riding, has lost a cylinder or you are riding it too fast to keep it cool!

I'm interested in the brand of oil temperature gauge because it seemed to me there was a big obstruction behind the filler cap, so I'm curious as to how they get their probe deep into the oil sump. And of course there's another issue, I would expect oil temperatures for this bike to reach over the 100 deg C mark when stalled in traffic and the fans coming on at 2/3 to before redline on the gauge. The oil cooler makes no difference when stalled in traffic either.

So, do you ever get the fans on since you say your bike is always just below mid gauge? The only time I noticed my temperatures unusually low was when I was experimenting with the timing. Gas consumption improved too, but when the static advance was out of spec. the bike wasn't such a good performer.



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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 24th, 2010, 10:33 am Thread Starter
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I'm not talking about cold temperatures. I'm not talking about an engine that isn't running right.

I was using the Clymer manual chart, since the chart in the BMW manual only goes up to 30C.

Regardless of which chart I look at, I see the recommendation for multi grade oils still calls for larger, high temp viscosity numbers, even though the insides of the engine will not be any hotter, when the ambient air temperature rises. Are those charts left over from the days when BMW only made air cooled engines?

regards,
Joe

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 24th, 2010, 10:47 am Thread Starter
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From the link you folks refer to...

Quote:
I can't tell you how many times I have heard someone, usually an auto mechanic, say that they wouldn't use a 5W-30 motor oil because it is, "Too thin." Then they may use a 10W-30 or SAE 30 motor oil. At engine operating temperatures these oils are the same.
He says the same thing I am saying. The high temperature in the engine doesn't change with ambient air temperature, when the engine is water cooled, so why call for a different, high temp viscosity figure?

regards,
Joe

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Last edited by sloowpoke; Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:59 am.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Apr 24th, 2010, 11:01 am
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It seems that you are looking for someone to agree with you, so, I guess to a point, I agree.

However, the hotter the ambient temp, the less heat can be taken out of the coolant by the radiator, the less heat can be transferred from the engine to the coolant.

It's probably a situation where the change in engine temp is fairly minimal with ambient air temp until the heat transfer capacity of the cooling system is overwhelmed at which point the engine and oil temp climbs rapidly.

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