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Author Topic: Engine oil for older (3 box engine bullet: Flat tappet) & API ratings & JASO MA  (Read 1664 times)


  • Neophyte
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I am having 2 two bullets Std 350 (C.I. 3 box engine) & Machismo A350 (AVL 3 box engine).
Till now I use car engine oil in my bullets, for C.I. 20w 50 & for AVL 20w 40 with latest API rating available.

 During googleing for JASO MA certified oils for bullet (old 3 box only), I came to know the API rating consideration is very important while choosing and oil for bike/ car.
Due to pollution norms API has reduced drastically the ZINC & PHOSPHORUS contain in API SJ and above rated oils & this is harmful for old flat tappet engine. There are many articles on internet for this matter but all are limited for 0w 30 to 10w 30 SAE grades. Mostly modern petrol engines are having recommended lube of SAE 10w 30 grade & for diesels it is 15w 40.

Now as the older bullets are having flat tappet concept at two places (top and bottom of tapped rods), my problems (actually confusions) are as follows:
1.   What about the SAE 20w40/50 grade with API SJ or higher ratings for ZINC & PHOSPHORUS (anti wear compounds)? Is there no limitation from API in these grades for ZINC & PHOSPHORUS? Or I should search API SF/SG (as specified in Owner’s manual) grade oil for such SAE viscosity?

2.   Should I go with JASO MA/MA2 certified oil with API SL ratings to compensate anti wear compound? But in this case there is loss of friction modifiers benefit for enhanced life of piston barrel. 
As traditional anti-wear compound are limited by API in SJ and above ratings, what JASO certified oils are adding as anti-wear compound?
What are the merits & de-merits of using a JASO certified (with API SF or higher) oil in old bullets?


  • Grand Gearhead
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Do a search for "engine oil comparison for motorcycles" and it should bring up a link for www.oil-tech.com/amsoil-pdf.../motorcycle-oil-comparison.pdf.
Down load the PDF File and you will pretty much find all tose technical answers you're searching for.
2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
2011 Black Classic G5 (RIP)
I refuse to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death


  • Grand Gearhead
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  • "But it's a dry heat here in Arizona
In the meantime, if you don't want to buy a motorcycle specific oil you might try to find some Shell Rotella diesel engine oil.
It still has the zinc/phosphorus compounds in it for the engine and it is wet clutch friendly if you also want to use it in the primary drive.
It's only negative is that it is a simple dino oil rather than being a synthetic oil.

IMO, the best oil to use is a JASO rated oil that is made for motorcycles and avoid all of the latest ASI oil grades that are made for the latest auto engines.
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary


  • Neophyte
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Do a search for "engine oil comparison for motorcycles" and it should bring up a link for www.oil-tech.com/amsoil-pdf.../motorcycle-oil-comparison.pdf.
Dear Bare
There is an error message on above link. If you already have that pdf file please attached.


  • Superfly and
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I run diesel motor oil 15w-40 in my AVL 500 engine and primary. Lots of zinc

Also use it in my 4 Cly Mazda and  ( ford probe) and in my 1984 Ford F150 4x4 ;)
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)

High On Octane

  • Grand Gearhead
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  • Go Fast & Look Good Doing It
The Rotella T does work well, and as said contains zinc.  But if you still want to run a synthetic oil instead of conventional/dino oil, then you should use Mobil 1 or Castrol synthetic oil, 15W-40 or 20W-50 depending on the time of year, and add some BG MOA to it.


I speak with the sales reps personally on a weekly basis and the MOA is amazing. AND contains a lot of zinc phosphorus.  I saw my rep do demo with it on a steel brake system and with the MOA the brake couldn't stop the wheel.  Really good stuff.
Scottie J  ~  Bulldog Kustoms Denver  ~  1958 Enfield/Indian Trailblazer - The Blackhawk