Author Topic: is an oil change every 3 months necessary?  (Read 12986 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

mikejb1979

  • Scooter
  • **
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
on: February 13, 2008, 11:26:13 pm
HI, I'm a novice mechanic and learning as i go.  i use my Enfield Bullet Classic as a commuter to and from work except in inclement weather.  I'm noticing that it takes much longer than 3 months (7 or 8 months?!) to reach even 2000 miles (its a very short commute).  I plan on changing the oil every 2000 miles just for the heck of it but its been 7 or 8 months since my last oil change.  Is it ok to go that long without changing the oil as long as the mileage is low?  If i remember correctly, the owner's manual only mentions mileage intervals not the standard "3 months or 3000 miles whichever comes first".  Should I be changing the oil every 3 months even though I may have put only 100 or 200 miles on the bike?


Vince

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,693
  • Karma: 0
Reply #1 on: February 14, 2008, 12:37:32 am
They don't hold much oil, and the classic felt oil filter is not much use. With the mileage most people put on you would be safe to change the oil every 1,000 to 1,500 miles. Replace the filter every other change. At the very least, once a year.


birdmove

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 743
  • Karma: 0
Reply #2 on: February 14, 2008, 01:00:54 am
  How often on the trans oil and primary fluid? I've kind of gone by oil changes every 1000 miles on an air cooled engine.I might go 2000 on a water cooled.But on my 2005 KLR650, since I have such a short commute (7.5 miles each way), I've been changing it every 1000 in the colder weather, since it doesn't even get up to temp and burn off the water vapor on that short commute.
    But, of course, the Bullet is different since it uses seperate oil for the engine, trans, and primary (like a HD).Theoretically, that should be a good thing since you can use the best oil in each category, instead of having to use one oil to do everything.

    jon
Jon in Keaau, Hawaii


mikejb1979

  • Scooter
  • **
  • Posts: 19
  • Karma: 0
Reply #3 on: February 14, 2008, 01:29:48 am
I change  the trans oil and primary oil when i change the engine oil.  I think I'll go with the 1000-1500 mile oil change.  Just to get my hands in there and check on every thing (clutch cable, pushrods, chain lube, etc).  I'm just approaching 2000 miles since my last change and I pretty sure the last time I changed it was June/July '07.

And yeah, I checked the oil level today and i noticed some white gunk around the dipstick...that's gotta be water vapor from the cold weather, right?.  I live in Louisiana, so it gets down in the 30's or 40's for my morning commute.  Every once and a while it gets down in the 20's.  So, I'm riding in these temps and the water vapor must be mixing with the oil.  As soon as i saw that, i thought, yep...its been too long since my last change.  i may even lean more towards the 1000 mile interval.  I don't want to overdue it...spend time/money on unnecessary oil changes, etc.


cyrusb

  • Kept man
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,273
  • Karma: 2
  • Theres a last time for everything
Reply #4 on: February 14, 2008, 02:14:32 am
Also ,if your commute is really short  you probably never boil the moisture out of the oil ,especially if the weather is cool . That should change in the summer though...
2005E Fixed and or Replaced: ignition, fenders,chainguard,wires,carb,headlight,seat,tailight,sprockets,chain,shocks,fork springs, exhaust system, horn,shifter,clutch arm, trafficators,crankcase vent.


LJRead

  • Guest
Reply #5 on: February 14, 2008, 04:46:53 am
My bike has an interesting case of "no odometer".  I may be getting one eventually, but if not, was thinking a four monthly change would be about right.  The weather hardly changes here in the tropics day to night, and with my car, I probably do less than 4,000 miles per year, the bike maybe less.  So until or unless I get an odometer, four months should be about right.


Peter

  • Bulleteer
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
  • Karma: 0
Reply #6 on: May 01, 2008, 02:21:48 am
Your commute is too short for a Bullet.
It's probably less than 6 miles one way.
Oil changes are not going to make much of a difference.
Mine takes at least 15 miles to completely warm up.
Ride it once a week for at least 25 miles on the open road to boil the crap out of your oil and change  oil at the factory recommended interval. It'll be a very happy Bullet that way because you ride it regularly.

Peter


geoffbaker

  • Guest
Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 02:31:25 am
In a different thread, I've been testing engine temperature using a cylinder head temperature meter. These engines run hot. - I've seen it at 385 after an hours ride on a warm day. That means you're best of changing oil frequently... at higher temperatures it breaks down more rapidly. Synthetic might be adviseable.
Of course, this does not apply to primary and transmission.


Peter

  • Bulleteer
  • ***
  • Posts: 143
  • Karma: 0
Reply #8 on: May 01, 2008, 02:39:55 am
You need to measure head temp somewhere else. With the sensor at the plug you are measuring the temperature of the plug body more than anything else. (colder plug higher temp reading, funny thing)
But about the frequent oil changes because of particle contamination, who am I to argue about that, having spliced an oil filter into the rocker feed line myself.
In any case, inserting one ride of decent duration per week is just fine to keep oil change intervals as recommended.

I will change my opinion if head temps are really that high. 

Peter
« Last Edit: May 01, 2008, 03:00:04 am by Peter »


Thumper

  • Psalm 23
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,066
  • Karma: 1
  • Classic Wannabe
Reply #9 on: May 01, 2008, 12:25:32 pm
If i remember correctly, the owner's manual only mentions mileage intervals not the standard "3 months or 3000 miles whichever comes first".  Should I be changing the oil every 3 months even though I may have put only 100 or 200 miles on the bike?

You should perform maintenance according to the schedule in your Owner's Manual.

My guess is that it specifies an oil change every 3000kms. It is not a problem for that to take longer than 3months.

Matt


dewjantim

  • Grease Monkey
  • ****
  • Posts: 430
  • Karma: 0
Reply #10 on: May 04, 2008, 01:13:38 pm
I change the oil  and filter in my RE at the first of every riding season. Seldom change the primary oil in anything, as long as there is enough in there to lube the primary chain is what really matters. Never have to lube the drive chain, thanks to the duck-bill breather tube....... Happy thumpin'........Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!


RAKe

  • You'll Never See a Motorcycle Parked In Front of a Therapist's Office
  • Bulleteer
  • ***
  • Posts: 213
  • Karma: 0
Reply #11 on: October 25, 2008, 05:47:09 am
Many years...many miles...many (good-running) vehicles...I've developed a system over the decades, and applied it to both bikes and trucks.  I change my oil according to the vehicle odometer.  In the days when I used carbon-based oils, every 2500 miles on the odometer (X,000, X2,500, X5,000, X7,500) I change both the oil and filter with high-quality lubricants--the Consumer Reports scientists evaluate Valvoline to be the best, and that works for me.  But a number of other brands are also highly rated.

Now that synthetic lubricants have become readily available, I run them exclusively, but I allow 5000 miles between oil changes.  I focus on the quality of the products I use, and now that my racing (and hellraising) days are over, my vehicles hold up extremely well using my system.  I have also learned that synthetics are vastly superior to carbon-based oils in every possible respect, and definitely worth the extra cash.  Enough said?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 05:03:50 am by RAKe »
196? Triumph 500 (basket case), 1968 BSA 650 (ran, but needed work), 1976 Triumph T140V 750 (ran well -- sometimes), 2004 Harley-Davidson XL883C, 2007 Harley-Davidson FXDB


The Garbone

  • Shade Tree
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,978
  • Karma: 0
  • User Complaints: 22
Reply #12 on: October 25, 2008, 02:42:53 pm
I agree about synthetics.  I am running Mobile 1 in mine and 750 milessince the last change it is just now starting to change color. 
Gary
57' RE Crusader 250
67' Ford Mustang
74' Catalina 27 "Knot a Clew"
95 RE Ace Clubman 535
01 HD 1200 Custom
07 RE 5spd HaCK

* all actions described in this post are fictional *


ace.cafe

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 14,297
  • Karma: 0
  • World leaders in performance/racing Bullets
Reply #13 on: October 25, 2008, 03:19:10 pm
I buy cheap oil, and change it very often.

Most of the "cheap" store-brand oils are the same/similar as the expensive oils, but you don't pay for the marketing costs. They are API rated oils that are good.
In any case, since it's cheap, I change it about every 300-500 miles.
Doesn't really have enough usage to break the oil down in that time, it's always fresh and clean, and doesn't cost much.

My rule is change it often, and avoid any concerns about how long the oil will last in a hot engine. No matter how good the oil is, it gets combustion acids and other contaminants in it, and I prefer to get those out on a regular basis.

So, I do the cheap oil changes often.

My 2 cents
Home of the Fireball 535 !


REpozer

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,275
  • Karma: 0
  • Royal Enfield Let the good times roll.
Reply #14 on: October 25, 2008, 10:26:50 pm
I changed oil at 300 miles and 1000 miles later.Since I operate in cool /wet  environment,I noticed that  a vapor oil sludge( white  oily paste) developed on the inside of my rocker covers. I change from 20w-50 fossil oil to 15w-50 synthetic , to see if that makes any difference. If not I may go with the ace.cafe method ,( buy cheap and change often). Ive used that method on my cars for years and have never an oil related problems. All my cars are old with high miles.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2008, 03:20:03 am by REpozer »
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)


Superchuck

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
  • Karma: 0
Reply #15 on: February 01, 2011, 10:15:25 pm
To reawaken this thread:

Above, a few people mentioned using synthetic oils in the Bullet.  On the other hand, it's written in many other threads that it's a cardinal sin to use anything but a non-synth oil in these bikes.  I'll be getting my Electra AVL (first bike ever) next week, new, and am doing some research on the break-in period. 

Did I maybe read to use strictly non-synth oil only for the break-in period?  Or is there no difference? 

Also, before I knew I was getting a RE, I was reading up at other locations about the various break-in methods... I'm up on the standard slow and varied break-in for these bikes, which I plan to do, but I have one question regarding the 'motoman' method:

Motoman method says do your first oil change at only 20 miles.  Is this because using that method you'd shave all the metal filings out of your cylinder so quickly, and that doing it the methodical patient RE way, it'll take 300 miles to produce that many filings/contaminants?

Again, I'm going to take it slow and steady with the break-in, but I want to make sure I'm doing oil changes frequently enough.  Is it harmful to do your first oil change at, say 100 mi, as opposed to 300?  Is there any need to, or am I being overly cautious?

Many thanks,

Chuck


UncleErnie

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,533
  • Karma: 0
Reply #16 on: February 01, 2011, 11:14:20 pm
Getting sick of me yet? 

My opinion is the first change at 300 is fine.  Do it sooner if you want.
NON-synthetic oil is preffered because you WANT some wear.in the beginning.  You're getting parts to fit together the way they want to. 

Again- my opinion from experience;  bikes like this don't even like synthetic oil.  Some people use it, but if you change your oil often enough, it's also kind of a waste of money.  Go crazy and use a blend of motorcycle-specific oil.

I've been using Rotella-T, but I'm bending to per pressure around here (my house- not the foums) and will be using either Golden-Spectro or Motul from now on.  I use thos in my other bikes, so I may as well be consistant, anyway.
Run what ya brung


REpozer

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,275
  • Karma: 0
  • Royal Enfield Let the good times roll.
Reply #17 on: February 02, 2011, 12:11:35 am
I have used 20w-50 dino car oil, 15w-50 syn (Mobil One),

 Currently using 15w-40 diesel truck engine oil, and 1000ml 15w-40 in my primary, 90w gear oil in the tranny, 10w-30 in the front forks.
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)


Superchuck

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
  • Karma: 0
Reply #18 on: February 02, 2011, 02:00:00 am
Cool, thanks both of you for the info, and UncleErnie, I'm trying to learn as much as possibly as quick as possible- so thanks for always answering!

I'm thinking that Ace's method mentioned on the first page sounds like a good idea... cheap oil, changed often.  I'm figuring out here that RE's don't necessarily need specific babying, they are motorcycles after all, but it really helps (you almost need to) know the in's and out's of your specific bike and just take it all in stride.


Ice

  • Hypercafienated
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,753
  • Karma: 0
  • Ride In Paradise Cabo, Don and Ernie
Reply #19 on: February 02, 2011, 03:15:04 am
Just make sure your oil has enough anti wear additives in it and you will be fine.
ZDDP is the common name for the Zinc, Phosphorus stuff in oils API rated SL and earlier.

 Some diesel specific oil like Rotella (last I heard) have it, motorcycle oils have it and many *A-hem "racing" oils have it.

Bob is the oil guy website is wealth of info.
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/cms/
No matter where you go, there, you are.


baird4444

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,167
  • Karma: 0
  • 2003 ES 500... 38,416 miles, I'm done
Reply #20 on: February 02, 2011, 02:54:20 pm
A good number is 1,500 miles for the oil change. I use this as a guideline but if
it is looking pretty bad I'll change it earlier.  I think regular oil changes are more
important than what kind of oil...  yes the additives have changed so in the long
run one specific oil may be better than the other; and I stress LONG run.
Heat is the killer of oil so be kind to your Bullet....
I have added a piece on the recent change in motor oil that affects us.
Must be cabin fever...  the return of the oil thread!!  - Mike
'My dear you are ugly,
 but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly'
 - Winston Churchill


Superchuck

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
  • Karma: 0
Reply #21 on: February 02, 2011, 03:06:57 pm
Thanks again, and Ice, I'll check out bob the oil guy's site too before I pick up some oil today... stocking up on all my maintenancing gear before I pick up the bike next Thursday.


Ice

  • Hypercafienated
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,753
  • Karma: 0
  • Ride In Paradise Cabo, Don and Ernie
Reply #22 on: February 03, 2011, 12:22:12 am
Thanks again, and Ice, I'll check out bob the oil guy's site too before I pick up some oil today... stocking up on all my maintenancing gear before I pick up the bike next Thursday.

Great fun innit ?  ;)

 Of course you have to post a pic of the bike,,,,and then the you mods you make
 ( you know you're going to)  ;D



No matter where you go, there, you are.


REpozer

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,275
  • Karma: 0
  • Royal Enfield Let the good times roll.
Reply #23 on: February 03, 2011, 12:32:18 am
A good number is 1,500 miles for the oil change. I use this as a guideline but if
it is looking pretty bad I'll change it earlier.  I think regular oil changes are more
important than what kind of oil...  yes the additives have changed so in the long
run one specific oil may be better than the other; and I stress LONG run.
Heat is the killer of oil so be kind to your Bullet....
I have added a piece on the recent change in motor oil that affects us.
Must be cabin fever...  the return of the oil thread!!  - Mike
Great article on the new oil. I'll be sticking with the truck oil for a while longer.
2008 AVL Classic Bullet in British Racing Green
REA # 84 ( the first time)


single

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,507
  • Karma: 0
Reply #24 on: February 03, 2011, 04:03:11 pm
I change oil about like Ace does.If the oil is getting dark,I change.I use STP as they claim to have "enough" ZDDP ,1/2 of a container.Put the other 1/2 in a container of oil for the next change.I use diesel truck oil.15w40.I also put a little marvel in there.Feel like a chemist.Jolly uses very little oil and is usually still fairly clean looking at 500 miles.


Superchuck

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
  • Karma: 0
Reply #25 on: February 03, 2011, 05:10:10 pm
Actually yeah, I can't wait to blow a couple hundred bones on supplies and tools... started another thread here with my checklist, just to make sure I'm getting everything/ not getting needless things.

Bike photos will come soon...

Mods, the first thing I'm going to try to do is replace the lollipop mirrors with bar-ends but I've read a bunch of threads on that and with the issues I've seen I'll be doing a lot more research before jumping into that project.

Thanks for all the engine oil suggestions too.. i'm going to tally up all the kinds i've heard around here and the most common one gets to go in my bike.  I'm totally new to riding so there's not a lot of customization i'll be doing right away... whatever's tried and true seems like a good course of action to me.

Chuck


mikail gransee

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 518
  • Karma: 0
Reply #26 on: February 09, 2011, 01:52:10 am
I change  the trans oil and primary oil when i change the engine oil.  I think I'll go with the 1000-1500 mile oil change. Quote]

How do you change the trans oil? I heard that it is a thick paste like junk and should not be messed with? ??? ::)
« Last Edit: February 12, 2011, 12:09:14 pm by mikail gransee »
-"ONCE YOU STOP CONTRIBUTING, YOU BEGIN TO DIE",   -ELENOR ROOSEVELT

1999 Enfield Bullet
1977 Yamaha xs360 TD
1978 Yamaha xs 400 D
2005 Yamaha YZF 600R
2007 Honda CBR 1000RR


The Garbone

  • Shade Tree
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,978
  • Karma: 0
  • User Complaints: 22
Reply #27 on: February 12, 2011, 03:04:58 pm
I changed out the trans fluid on my cars every 60k for automatics and 150k for standards...
Gary
57' RE Crusader 250
67' Ford Mustang
74' Catalina 27 "Knot a Clew"
95 RE Ace Clubman 535
01 HD 1200 Custom
07 RE 5spd HaCK

* all actions described in this post are fictional *


GreenMachine

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,155
  • Karma: 0
Reply #28 on: February 12, 2011, 03:53:40 pm
that sounds about right...
Oh Magoo you done it again


viczena

  • Grease Monkey
  • ****
  • Posts: 361
  • Karma: 1
Reply #29 on: January 13, 2021, 10:04:30 am
Heat is the killer of oil so be kind to your Bullet....

No. In this case the Bullet engine does not get warm enough. An engine oil should have at least 80 Ctg. !00 Ctg is better. A synthetic feels fine at 120 Ctg. The Bullet most often does not even reach 80 Ctg. So Water does not evaporate and forms an emulsion with the oil, which leads to clogged oil passages and a bad lubrication of the parts.
www.enfieldtech.de
Harley CVO EGlide, Boss Hoss 502, BMW 1200 RT, Harley Panhead , Harley Davidson &Marlboro Man Bike BD2, Royal Enfield Trials. And some more.


AzCal Retred

  • Chennai Wrencher
  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,747
  • Karma: 0
  • Laissez le bon temps rouler! Fresno, CA
Reply #30 on: January 14, 2021, 04:32:01 pm
Re: Ace @ # 13:
I'm in agreement with the short change/low buck oil strategy.
Back when I was putting a lot of miles on my 1995 Toyota P/U (20K - 35K) yearly, I noted that a "standard" oil maintained good idling pressure numbers for maybe 700 - 1000 miles max. The synthetics were better at perhaps 1,200 - 1,800 miles before idle pressure levels dropped off. The variable was the oil bond integrity. All good at speed, but you could see a change had occurred.
Tossing the paltry quart every 500 miles or so gets rid of water (& resulting acids) and crud making it past the OEM Play-Skool filter. Waaay cheaper than replacing a crank or valve gear.
A brace of 1999 Bullets: 1 Red Deluxe, 1 Green Standard. Also, 1 wee orphan 1956 Fire Arrow project.


zimmemr

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,352
  • Karma: 0
Reply #31 on: January 21, 2021, 04:42:37 pm
I'm just throwing this out to add to the general conversation and maybe provoke a little alternative thinking on oil changes.

 When I initially started working on CL&P equipment we used 10W40 conventional oil throughout the fleet which at the time probably numbered right around 10,000 pieces, including cars, trucks (up class 8) heavy equipment, and a variety of odd ball stuff related to the utility business like large (2000KW and up) generators, core borers, track machines etc.

At the time we changed the engine oil and filter every 30 days on small vehicles and every 90 days on large stuff. During that time which was over 10 years, we had virtually no oil related failures. Over the years we reexamined our service schedule and eventually arrived at schedule of changing the filters every 90 days and the oil once a year, regardless of mileage. We used full synthetic 20W40 Mobil Delvac 1, and we used it everything. During the 20 or so years that we used that schedule we had virtually no lubrication related failures.

Which method was right? I can't say. If anything  our equipment was over maintained, oil was checked just about every time a vehicle was used, for certain it was checked every time the vehicle was fueled or came into the shop for any reason, even if it was just to replace a signal bulb, and the drivers knew that if the engine popped they'd be without "their" truck until it was fixed. So by no means would I consider the way we did things indicative of how anyone else should do them. But it does offer some indication of how good modern oils and engines can be.

I use full synthetic in my road bikes, and change it at the recommended intervals, which usually works out to 2-3 changes a year.  In my
 off road bikes I run conventional oil and change it after every hard ride or after three easy ones. My cars get full synthetic /high mileage and I change it every 5K. Again I'm not recommending any particular regime here, it's just what works for me.


Nitrowing

  • Bulleteer
  • ***
  • Posts: 184
  • Karma: 0
Reply #32 on: January 21, 2021, 06:34:11 pm
All ,y vehicles get the same schedule;
Filter @ 5000 miles
Oil & filter @ 10'000 miles
No wonder we no longer have a motor industry


axman88

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 837
  • Karma: 0
  • Vintage Motorcycle Fan
Reply #33 on: January 22, 2021, 11:42:10 pm
Tossing the paltry quart every 500 miles or so gets rid of water (& resulting acids) and crud making it past the OEM Play-Skool filter.
That's interesting!   First I heard of this idea.   You are saying that draining off a quart from the bottom of the oil pan will take the worst of the contaminants with it?  Is this because the water and acid and what not are heavier than oil?

If so, would the best strategy be to drain cold, or stick with my standard procedure of getting the oil good and hot for low viscosity draining?

On the Enfield, which of the drain plugs would be the get the best result from this technique?


zimmemr

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,352
  • Karma: 0
Reply #34 on: January 23, 2021, 12:36:02 am
One thing I haven't seen anyone here mention is oil analysis. On some of our equipment we would periodically send out a sample of the oil to be tested. Typically we'd get a report back within 24 hours that would advise us on the condition of the oil, as well as the condition of the engine, which they determined by the metal content of they found in the oil. Generally with a recommendation as to how many hours the engine had left before it needed rebuilding.

In some circumstances we'd send the sample before we changed it, some of our equipment held 50 quarts, to determine if the oil actually needed changing. If it didn't we run for another set number of hours, then sample it again.

We used our local Cat dealer for it, but I suspect a quick internet search would turn up dozens of labs that do it for a minimal fee. Once you have a baseline established you'll know exactly when to change the oil and filter.


Karl Fenn

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Karma: 0
Reply #35 on: February 22, 2021, 11:32:54 pm
Modern synthetic oils don't need to be changed as much as mineral on the old brits l only used to change every 4,000 miles, the best thing is change once a year if it has not done the mileage, if you get a white substance around the filler neck this indicates you are not burning the moister from the engine due to low mileage.


Karl Fenn

  • Grand Gearhead
  • *****
  • Posts: 959
  • Karma: 0
Reply #36 on: April 17, 2021, 03:47:59 pm
It has identicle characteristic on the GS 650, those bikes like a long run, no good doing a tinker to your local shops, you have to burn the moister out of the oil it's just the way they breath.