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Thread: Rotella T4,T5, or T6?

  1. #21
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    Many (perhaps even most) of us run Rotella T4 exclusively in our motorcycles and have for years. It's a great oil. Far better than even the best oils they made in 1982.

  2. #22
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    I rode the bike to work yesterday. 24deg F at 6am when I got there. Bike did fine. The bike lurched when I kicked it down into first, clutch lever pulled in. But that’s typical in a literal cold start. Clutch function normalized after 5 minutes of riding. It’s only 5 miles to work.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich82GS750TZ View Post
    I rode the bike to work yesterday. 24deg F at 6am when I got there. Bike did fine. The bike lurched when I kicked it down into first, clutch lever pulled in. But thatís typical in a literal cold start. Clutch function normalized after 5 minutes of riding. Itís only 5 miles to work.
    Try starting with 1st engaged. It will overcome the viscous drag and avoid the clunk.
    Bit harder in starter and battery maybe.
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cipher View Post
    Try starting with 1st engaged. It will overcome the viscous drag and avoid the clunk.
    Bit harder in starter and battery maybe.
    That’s exactly what I did when I left work yesterday after the initial klunk. My battery and starter are strong, so no problem. But had to use some rear brake to keep the bike from moving forward.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by eil View Post
    Many (perhaps even most) of us run Rotella T4 exclusively in our motorcycles and have for years. It's a great oil. Far better than even the best oils they made in 1982.
    That last sentence is a key point to bear in mind. Compared to the rock squeezins peddled in leaky cardboard cans in the 1980s, today's lubricants are flying saucer technology. Avoid the stuff with friction modifiers (that's a little too flying saucer) and you're pretty much fine.

    Shell was kind enough to do the required homework or whatever to get MA/MA2 certification for Rotella (so we have it right there in writing it's fine for motorcycles), and it's fantastic bang for the buck, so that's what most of us use. I tend to use T4 in my GS since it gets changed every 2,000 miles. Synthetic 5W-40 T6 works great in a GS if you don't mind the minor added expense. And no, I've never once seen a clutch problem or a leak from using this or any other moto-appropriate synthetic. That old mechanic's legend was dead and buried in the '80s, but people keep digging it up for some reason.

    I also usually use T4 15W-40 in my KLR650, since it gets flogged mercilessly on the filthiest goat paths I can find, and so I change the oil even more frequently, usually about every 1,000 to 1,500 miles.

    I usually use the synthetic T6 in modern liquid-cooled bikes like my FJ-09 with longer change intervals. Basically, in my mind the synthetic is best used when there are longer drain intervals; it does hold up better than the standard, and so you can definitely tell a difference as you get to the end of the change interval. For example, shift quality doesn't deteriorate nearly as much with synthetic.

    YMMV, and everyone has a slightly different set of lubricious rituals that makes them happy. Follow your bliss.

    The overall point, as with many aspects of motorcycling, is to take assorted worries off your mental plate so that you can focus on survival and enjoyment. If you feel more confident in your machine's reliability by using fancy $20/liter unpronounceable elixirs, then by all means use them as long as your family doesn't starve. If frugality improves aspects of your enjoyment, then use T4; bang/buck is off the charts.

    The same goes for chain lube, tires, bearings, gaskets, and many other sources of endless circular moto-arguments. What qualities will bring you the best combination of confidence and joy? There's a range of perfectly rational answers, and lots of great products to choose from.

    There are some real wrong numbers to be aware of, though. As far as oil, things like friction modifier oils (10W-30, 5W-30, etc.) and "straight" oils (30W for your lawn mower) are contraindicated. As far as tires for vintage bikes, Kenda's products are known to be dangerously problematic, but everyone else makes pretty darn good tires.

    And if you peruse the "newbie mistakes" thread, you'll find that things like carb rebuild kits, petcock rebuild kits, aftermarket brake kits, and non-OEM gaskets and seals are a dangerous waste of money and time. For GS oil filters there are preferences but the filters themselves all seem to work OK. However, the o-rings are not provided or don't seal in most of the aftermarket filters, so caveat emptor (I always use OEM o-rings on the filter cover, changed out every fifth oil change or so). On modern bikes with a spin-on filter, K&N (the spot welds on the sheet metal "nut" are weak and cause leaks far too often) and Fram (terrible quality in general) are the only ones best avoided.

    As far as chain lube, the manual's advice to use 90W gear lube is badly outdated and horribly messy; most of us use a dry lube product like Dupont Teflon Chain-Saver. Chain maintenance preferences and rituals vary widely, so follow your bliss.
    Last edited by bwringer; 11-26-2021 at 12:17 PM.
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  6. #26
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    Just to add my $0.02, because there haven't been enough replies...

    I have used all of them (T4/T5/T6, that is) in bikes at some point with no issues. I have stabilized on 5W40 T6 now because I run it in my Duramax pickup so I only need to stock one oil between truck and bikes and I buy it in 5 gallon pails to keep the price as reasonable as possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
    I also usually use T4 15W-40 in my KLR650, since it gets flogged mercilessly on the filthiest goat paths I can find, and so I change the oil even more frequently, usually about every 1,000 to 1,500 miles.
    This is a very salient point. Beyond the better cold start and very high temp protection of synthetic one of its big advantages is the longer change intervals it allows. If you aren't taking advantage of this then a conventional oil may be a better choice from an economic standpoint. When I raced MX I ran conventional Walmart diesel oil in my 450 because I never ran it hard when cold, it seldom gets hot here so I didn't need the high temp protection and it was changed every 5 hours (or less) so longevity was of no issue.


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  7. #27
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    One additional bonus with T6 is that since it's synthetic it will hold up to high heat better than the T4 dino juice. Personally, I've never had a major problem but if you read enough you will finds posted experiences where guys have seen super high sump temps in their air cooled bikes and the synthetic will provide a hedge against damage in those situations. Regarding Rotella verses other diesel oils, I've been indiscriminate over the years having run various different types without issue.

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