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Old 1st March 2008, 01:52   #1
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Default Engine oil grades

Dear All,
I would like to add some information regarding the engine oil grades

Firstly, the engine oils when they mean SAE 20W40 the numbers 20 and 40 aren't actually referring to any temperatures here they are actually Saybolt universal seconds its actually a unit of kinematic viscosity the details of which can be found in this link

Saybolt Universal Second - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Now a question might arise in your mind that the link isn't specifying any details about it being used as the designation for the SAE grading system. Actually now, Saybolt seconds are considered obsolete, but they have been used traditionally in the petroleum industry and are common in technical articles. Most of the web pages describe them as viscosity grades only.

As far as the gradings go in a multi grade oil, the grades 20, 30, 40, 50 are obtained from the viscosity readings at 212degree F (100 degree C) and for winter grades at 0 degree F(-18 degree C) used to see the pour point of the lubricant.

The Saybolt furol viscometer is the one that is used to test the oil you put in your car. Fural is an acronym for Fuel and road oil.

For a good lubrication the lubricant must actually make up a separating layer and not thin out. Infact it should be viscous enough to form this layer. Lower the viscosity greater the wear. The well known fact is that viscosity changes with temperature. Synthetic multi grade oil 20W40 basically will thin out more at high temperatures than the 20W50 oil(definitely not at 40 degree C).

the values preceding the "W"(meaning winter) are to be low especially at cold startup when the lubricant should be able to flow (thin) for this pour point depressant additives are used in the oils. So for approximate engine oil grade use the chart given by your vehicle manufacturer in your manual book. this link can also give you some information:
- Engine Oil, Car lover must read..

this is the best i could compile. hope most of you find it good as this is my first lengthy post or most worked upon thread and most importantly hope this isn't a repeat (i tried my level best with "search" although)

check these links for more information
Motor Oil Viscosity Grades Explained in Layman's Terms
The Engine Oil Bible

Last edited by rranjith_kum : 1st March 2008 at 01:55.
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Old 17th December 2009, 14:14   #2
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I have a Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi bought in Feb 2007 (LCD Speedometer) which has covered 15,400+kms.
Bajaj Auto Ltd. has Recomended to use Engine Oil "SAE 20W50 API SG with JASO MA or Superior" Grade.
I initially used Power 1 (10W30). But with that Oil, the Engine would give out Burning Smell when the bike was run for 2-2.5kms at speeds as low as 40-45kph.
So Two times I used MAK SAE 20W40 API SL JASO MA2.
Then I got opportunity to use Castrol Activ Xtra SAE 20W50 API SL JASO MA2. Now after running around 4,700kms with this Castrol Oil, the Engine Feels Smooth. I guess the Castrol took its Own Sweet Time to Get Adjusted to the Engine.
Now the Castrol Distributor in Solapur does not have this oil in Stock since almost none buys this 20W50 Oil for Bikes.
I searched many shops but none of them had 20W50 Engine Oil Specially made for Bikes. Instead all stocked 20W50 Oil for Cars and 20W40 for Two Wheelers.

I even Searched for SAE 15W50. But did not find it either.

Now Please tell me whether I should use "SAE 20W40 API SL with JASO MA2" against the BAL Recommendation of "SAE 20W50 API SG with JASO MA or Superior" Grade.
I know that 20W40 will not provide the same protection as 20W50. But I want to know, would the Greater API Grade compensate for the Lower SAE Grade?
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Old 18th December 2009, 15:04   #3
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Aren't there any Experts who could please answer my query?
Come On Guys, dont be so quiet. Please answer my query early since the replacement of Engine Oil of Pulsar is Pending.
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Old 18th December 2009, 15:16   #4
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First of all, what type of clutch has your bike got? If it is a dry type, you can use a 20W50 oil meant for cars without any issues. If it has a wet clutch, then you will need a bike specific oil. If it is not available in 20W50, use a 20W40 oil meant for bikes. I would recommend Shell Advance 4T 20W40.

Why don't you just take the bike to the authorized service point and tell them to change the oil? They will surely have Pulsar specific oil.
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Old 18th December 2009, 15:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoXLGrandDi View Post
I have a Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi bought in Feb 2007 (LCD Speedometer) which has covered 15,400+kms.
Bajaj Auto Ltd. has Recomended to use Engine Oil "SAE 20W50 API SG with JASO MA or Superior" Grade.
I initially used Power 1 (10W30). But with that Oil, the Engine would give out Burning Smell when the bike was run for 2-2.5kms at speeds as low as 40-45kph.
So Two times I used MAK SAE 20W40 API SL JASO MA2.
Then I got opportunity to use Castrol Activ Xtra SAE 20W50 API SL JASO MA2. Now after running around 4,700kms with this Castrol Oil, the Engine Feels Smooth. I guess the Castrol took its Own Sweet Time to Get Adjusted to the Engine.
Now the Castrol Distributor in Solapur does not have this oil in Stock since almost none buys this 20W50 Oil for Bikes.
I searched many shops but none of them had 20W50 Engine Oil Specially made for Bikes. Instead all stocked 20W50 Oil for Cars and 20W40 for Two Wheelers.

I even Searched for SAE 15W50. But did not find it either.

Now Please tell me whether I should use "SAE 20W40 API SL with JASO MA2" against the BAL Recommendation of "SAE 20W50 API SG with JASO MA or Superior" Grade.
I know that 20W40 will not provide the same protection as 20W50. But I want to know, would the Greater API Grade compensate for the Lower SAE Grade?
Please use 20W50 only. 20W40 should not be used. 20W50 oils are available here... but not as easily as 20W40. Try to obtain it from the distributor of the respective company in your area. Gulf has also come out with this grade.... contact them to ask them where you can get it. Else ask someone coming from some other city go get it, etc. Beware of spurious oils. I believe even Veedol and Motul have 20W50 bike oil.
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Old 18th December 2009, 20:15   #6
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The need of an oil meeting JASO MA itself indicates that the bike has a wet clutch.
Normal oil used in cars if used in bikes can cause the clutch to slip as they are immersed in oil. Hence , the need for an oil that prevents the clutch from slipping.
Therefore, bikes with wet clutch need to have oil that is rated JASO MA.
The Jaso grades range from MA/MA1/MA2/MB.
MA has the highest friction and MB the lowest.

Shell Advance is JASO MA 20W40 API SF.

I would recommend
MAK4T 20W50 API SJ JASO MA.
MAK 4T

MAK oils from Bharat Petroleum are very good. I use them.
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Old 18th December 2009, 20:21   #7
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@Gansan All bikes in India (Bikes Manufactured in India) are equipped with Wet Clutch. So the Engine Oil of Cars would not be suitable for use in bikes.

@Raccoon

Yes, I will definately stick to the BAL Recommendations.
I enquired at Gulf Area Sales Manager. He advised me to use Gulf Pride 4T Plus SAE 20W40 API SL saying that 20W40 is just 5% Less Efficient than Gulf Pride 4T SAE 20W50 API SJ. But I told him that I cannot use Lower Grade than BAL recommended.

I enquired at another Shop who can provide me Motul SAE 15W50 Bike Oil. Even if it cost me Rs.350-400/- for 1 Liter, it would be worth it. I would use it. The shop owner has promised me to deliver the Oil by tomorrow evening since he does not have stock.

Lets see if he can give me that oil.
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Old 19th December 2009, 04:14   #8
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Oh my god !! Indigoxl you dug open my old thread.
Actually after creation of this thread I used to look for any new posts after some time I stopped it and the thread was lost completely

I am extremely sorry for a late reply
See I will try to answer your questions as much as possible, regarding the 20W40 and 20W50 the rule is very simple, under high temperatures which will probably occur in your air cooled engine, the 20W50 oil will still retain a comfortable film of lubrication compared to your 20W40.
I would say never ever try to compromise with those digits. Your engine is designed by proper engineers and not some mechanics who say "chalega saab". Fix to the manual. Its good to see that you are very adamant. I feel engine oil is one of the important things.

See never ever mix match car oils to bike and vice versa. I could see that you are already against that practice, now a days oils have become so advanced that they are really sort of specifically blended to serve the purpose.
And JASO MA indicates that it is bikes and for wet clutch. rkguru pointed this out perfectly. JASO is Japanese Automotive Standards Organization, a Japanese two wheeler manufacturers consortium including Yamaha, honda, suzuki and as previously mentioned MA or MB refers to the friction, higher or lower respectively. MA was later split into two MA1 and MA2.
Please use an oil which has both of the standards.
In an API standard the "SG" is a old one, the first letter S is for service and the next letter specifies real grade. I guess it started from A, but never seen such oils, but then these grades are based on international pollution policies etc., and always a newer grade will not perform better. Actually API is more for Automobiles but still motorbike users have to be careful because some ingredients in like Zinc and Phosphorous in SG are lesser in percentage in SL, this is not that good for your bike as they are the primary anti wear ingredients in your oil. SL grade was developed to prevent the catalytic converter fouling in cars. So make a right decision.
I see hardly much people buying in such a way and some not even bothering to maintain their engines.
you Pulsar is a lucky one
Hope that I was of some help

Last edited by rranjith_kum : 19th December 2009 at 04:19. Reason: added few puctuation and made it readable
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Old 19th December 2009, 12:28   #9
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Thanks Ranjith. But I dont think that SL Grade will harm the Engine which is recommended to use SG or Superior.
Since SL is Superior to SG, the former would perform better than latter.


Also in our Xylo E8 (ABS), I used Reliance Relstar SAE 15W40 API CI-4 as against M&M Recommendation of Mahindra Maximile SAE 15W40 API CH-4.
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Old 19th December 2009, 13:20   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoXLGrandDi View Post
@Gansan All bikes in India (Bikes Manufactured in India) are equipped with Wet Clutch. So the Engine Oil of Cars would not be suitable for use in bikes.

@Raccoon

Yes, I will definately stick to the BAL Recommendations.
I enquired at Gulf Area Sales Manager. He advised me to use Gulf Pride 4T Plus SAE 20W40 API SL saying that 20W40 is just 5% Less Efficient than Gulf Pride 4T SAE 20W50 API SJ. But I told him that I cannot use Lower Grade than BAL recommended.

I enquired at another Shop who can provide me Motul SAE 15W50 Bike Oil. Even if it cost me Rs.350-400/- for 1 Liter, it would be worth it. I would use it. The shop owner has promised me to deliver the Oil by tomorrow evening since he does not have stock.

Lets see if he can give me that oil.
The Gulf distributor does not have 20W50? Strange. Why don't you try contacting Motul? They are very responsive. And Motul mineral stuff is made in India. The price should not be that high... you will most likely get it at around Rs. 200 or so. Try going higher up, if you can't get it from dealers/distributors.

Has BAL made any recommendation about the API grade? If yes, do not get an oil below that grade.
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Old 19th December 2009, 13:46   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkguru View Post
The Jaso grades range from MA/MA1/MA2/MB.
MA has the highest friction and MB the lowest.
But nowadays all 2 Wheeler 4 Stroke Engine Oils come with JASO MA2 Grade.
Does it mean that I cannot use JASO MA2 Oil in place of JASO MA Oil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkguru View Post
I would recommend
MAK4T 20W50 API SJ JASO MA.
MAK 4T
MAK oils from Bharat Petroleum are very good. I use them.
Even MAK 4T 20W50 is unavailable in Solapur (at Bharat Petroleum Pumps). Only MAK 4T 20W40 is available with them.
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Old 19th December 2009, 14:06   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoXLGrandDi View Post
Thanks Ranjith. But I dont think that SL Grade will harm the Engine which is recommended to use SG or Superior.
Since SL is Superior to SG, the former would perform better than latter.
Well I already mentioned the the difference with respect to ingredients in both oils, I think the difference plays a marginal role but still the choice is all yours

JASO MA2 oil is good, used for high revving bikes. MA which had a DFI (dynamic friction characteristic index) of about 1.45 - 2.5 was later split into MA1 (1.45-1.8) and MA2 (1.8 - 2.5). So considering your case MA2 will serve the purpose.
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Old 19th December 2009, 14:10   #13
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what are the consequences in using 15w40 as opposed to 20w40?

Last edited by D.V.R : 19th December 2009 at 14:19.
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Old 19th December 2009, 14:20   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.V.R View Post
Is there any hary in using 15w40 as oppossed to 20w40?
No ! I dont think so, I have already explained this in my first post. 15W40 more suitable for colder regions. I dont know whether there is any significant price difference
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Old 19th December 2009, 16:53   #15
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There is no harm. The recommended oil for Alto is MGO 20W40, but the chart in the owners' manual recommends 10W30,15W40,20W40 and 20W50 as suitable, depending upon the temperature prevailing in the area where the car is used.

Come to think of it nobody makes 20W40 anymore, except PSU oil co's. Castrol and Shell make it only under the MGO label. I am using Shell Helix super 15W40 for my Alto right from the first service.

AFAIK the first number (winter grade) should be equal to or less than the recommendation, while the second number should be equal to or higher than recommendation. And of course, the API grade too should be equal to or exceed the recommended one.

I am talking of car oils. The same should hold good for Motorcycle oils as well. The recommended oil for my Splendor is Servo super 20W40 multigrade as per the manual. And it was used for the few of services. Then as soon as Hero Honda 4T+ (10W30 SJ / Jaso MA) oil was introduced, switched over to it from around the 6000 KM mark. Now 10 years/80,000 KM later, the bike is still going strong, engine unopened till date.

Last edited by Gansan : 19th December 2009 at 17:04.
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