Is there a best time to switch to synthetic oil?

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Is there a best time to switch to synthetic oil? I've heard that you can use it in a brand new bike from day one. I've also heard wait until 4000 miles or so, until the engine is "fully" broken in before switching to synthetic, and everything in between! I tend to believe that you can use it from day one, since several bike/car manufacturers use it as their factory fill, and other than the ring/cylinder seal, today's engines don't need thousands of miles to break in, like they used to in the past. Am I correct?
 
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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
I would change it to synthetic when I replaced the factory fill.
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Any time you want to change I always read i have herd can run syn oil in a brand new engine at the first start up.
 
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If you are talking off the shelf from Walmart synthetic, you can change it anytime you feel like. A couple of the boutique synthetics instruct you to wait from 1-3k miles to start using their product. They are worried about ring seal. Of course those are real synthetic oils.
 
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Originally Posted by sloinker
If you are talking off the shelf from Walmart synthetic, you can change it anytime you feel like. A couple of the boutique synthetics instruct you to wait from 1-3k miles to start using their product. They are worried about ring seal. Of course those are real synthetic oils.
Which brands suggest waiting that long to use their product?
 
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Originally Posted by Jgelack
Originally Posted by sloinker
If you are talking off the shelf from Walmart synthetic, you can change it anytime you feel like. A couple of the boutique synthetics instruct you to wait from 1-3k miles to start using their product. They are worried about ring seal. Of course those are real synthetic oils.
Which brands suggest waiting that long to use their product?
Red Line, Bel Ray, Miller's among others last time I checked. I would tend to stay away from an oil that has higher, >15%, ester content until you know you have good ring seal. Why tempt fate. Q: CAN I BREAK-IN MY ENGINE ON RED LINE MOTOR OIL? For performance engines, we recommend using conventional 10w30 motor oil to ensure proper piston ring seating. We recommend using this oil in combination with our Engine Oil Break In Additive, which features the antiwear chemicals necessary to protect valve train components like camshafts, rollers and tappets. Though most conventional oils are missing the important antiwear components that you find in Red Line's synthetic motor oils, the conventional oil is not as slick as Red Line and will allow the piston rings to seat more quickly. If you allow 1500 to 2000 miles in a street engine or 20 to 30 minutes on the dyno at low rpm, the rings will have had sufficient time to seat and the high initial break-in wear will have occurred. For new road cars, always follow the manufacturer recommendations and initial oil change recommendations for break-in.
 
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Originally Posted by Jgelack
Is there a best time to switch to synthetic oil? I've heard that you can use it in a brand new bike from day one. I've also heard wait until 4000 miles or so, until the engine is "fully" broken in before switching to synthetic, and everything in between! I tend to believe that you can use it from day one, since several bike/car manufacturers use it as their factory fill, and other than the ring/cylinder seal, today's engines don't need thousands of miles to break in, like they used to in the past. Am I correct?
I like to put about 2000 miles on with non-synthetic, so it's the 2nd oil change when I go to full synthetic. Break-in OC #1 at 600 miles with non synthetic, then OC #2 at 2000 miles with full synthetic.
 
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I had a very old bike that developed quite a bit of leaking gaskets after switching my M1 bike oil. Haven't experienced that any other time, though.
 
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Thread starter
Originally Posted by sloinker
Originally Posted by Jgelack
Originally Posted by sloinker
If you are talking off the shelf from Walmart synthetic, you can change it anytime you feel like. A couple of the boutique synthetics instruct you to wait from 1-3k miles to start using their product. They are worried about ring seal. Of course those are real synthetic oils.
Which brands suggest waiting that long to use their product?
Red Line, Bel Ray, Miller's among others last time I checked. I would tend to stay away from an oil that has higher, >15%, ester content until you know you have good ring seal. Why tempt fate. Q: CAN I BREAK-IN MY ENGINE ON RED LINE MOTOR OIL? For performance engines, we recommend using conventional 10w30 motor oil to ensure proper piston ring seating. We recommend using this oil in combination with our Engine Oil Break In Additive, which features the antiwear chemicals necessary to protect valve train components like camshafts, rollers and tappets. Though most conventional oils are missing the important antiwear components that you find in Red Line's synthetic motor oils, the conventional oil is not as slick as Red Line and will allow the piston rings to seat more quickly. If you allow 1500 to 2000 miles in a street engine or 20 to 30 minutes on the dyno at low rpm, the rings will have had sufficient time to seat and the high initial break-in wear will have occurred. For new road cars, always follow the manufacturer recommendations and initial oil change recommendations for break-in.
Originally Posted by sloinker
Originally Posted by Jgelack
Originally Posted by sloinker
If you are talking off the shelf from Walmart synthetic, you can change it anytime you feel like. A couple of the boutique synthetics instruct you to wait from 1-3k miles to start using their product. They are worried about ring seal. Of course those are real synthetic oils.
Which brands suggest waiting that long to use their product?
Red Line, Bel Ray, Miller's among others last time I checked. I would tend to stay away from an oil that has higher, >15%, ester content until you know you have good ring seal. Why tempt fate. Q: CAN I BREAK-IN MY ENGINE ON RED LINE MOTOR OIL? For performance engines, we recommend using conventional 10w30 motor oil to ensure proper piston ring seating. We recommend using this oil in combination with our Engine Oil Break In Additive, which features the antiwear chemicals necessary to protect valve train components like camshafts, rollers and tappets. Though most conventional oils are missing the important antiwear components that you find in Red Line's synthetic motor oils, the conventional oil is not as slick as Red Line and will allow the piston rings to seat more quickly. If you allow 1500 to 2000 miles in a street engine or 20 to 30 minutes on the dyno at low rpm, the rings will have had sufficient time to seat and the high initial break-in wear will have occurred. For new road cars, always follow the manufacturer recommendations and initial oil change recommendations for break-in.
Thanks for that information!
 
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It doesn't take long to get rings seated, you come back from your first ride a running it up the RPM scale and down the RPM scale and they've pretty much done what they're going to do. For that matter if the bike is "new" from the dealer, if it has gone on any test rides you know it's already been run hard. Even with 10 miles on it. Chances are if you have ever taken a bike on a test ride you have done that. Keep in mind if it's a brand new engine, it isn't just the pistons and rings and cylinder walls that are breaking in, gears are breaking in, the valve train is breaking in and everything in between is breaking in. But with respect to the thing we think of most that would be the piston rings mating to the cylinder walls. The key is to keep them under load whether acceleration or deceleration. That expands them out against the cylinder walls and pulls oil up under deceleration which is greatly appreciated by the rings and cylinder walls in the initial miles. I would run a conventional oil or factory fill because the first OCI will be short. After that switch to whatever you want. Not sure if you are going to be breaking in an engine, but that is my regimen when I've installed pistons and rings and it's trouble free.
 
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Understanding synthetics means more refining to remove less desirable elements from crude until what's left is mostly higher-performing uniform molecular structures. Waxy stuff had to go because it made oil congeal at winter temperatures. Aromatics had to go because they lost viscosity too rapidly when hot. Unsaturates had to go because they were vulnerable to heat-driven gumming and sludging. So armed with that crude knowledge you see there is nothing about the oil to interfere with break in... [Linked Image from i.imgur.com] [Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
 
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It doesnt matter when you "switch" to synthetic its all just oil with the same old standard ratings whether synthetic or conventional, Its just oil. Good post above mine and why I prefer and lean towards conventional, I dont live in a cold climate and some of that "wax" that is refined out, actually helps prevent wear. Over the last many decades the oil makers figured out how to make up for the loss of that "wax" with new additives, yet to this day or within the last decade you will see some High Performance engine makers suggested a Semi Syn instead of full. I suspect for this reason but couldn't care less. :o) I dont agree with the viscosity statement. Loss of viscosity occurs in both types of oils just as easily. With that said Mobil 1 and Amsoil seem to add something to their oil (or is oxidizes) as it thickens up so loss of viscosity doesnt really take place however, if you use these oils in a bike without a shared sump, viscosity will actually increase to an out of spec value. Not exactly ideal for an expensive oil at the same time, with all all these discussions are now like splitting hairs.
 
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Greece
This would be my opinion as well. I would change the oil till the 1000 miles about a handful of times, the earlier the mileage the sooner, expanding the OCI's as approaching the 1000 mark. The state of the break in process can be evaluated by the collection of metal particles in the oil catch pan or on a magnet. Once they reduce considerably the process comes to the end.
 
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Originally Posted by alarmguy
With that said Mobil 1 and Amsoil seem to add something to their oil (or is oxidizes) as it thickens up so loss of viscosity doesnt really take place however, if you use these oils in a bike without a shared sump, viscosity will actually increase to an out of spec value. Not exactly ideal for an expensive oil at the same time, with all all these discussions are now like splitting hairs.
Agreed. I ran Mobil 1 V-Twin 20w50 in my ZRX 1200 shared sump for a little over 5,000 miles last riding season. Changed it out last fall. Viscosity fell in the middle of 20w50 range. With that said, one of the reasons I ran the oil was to see if it would increase viscosity in a shared sump but it didn't. That being the case, I can't say that's a bad thing, the oil did what it should have done. For $10 a quart oil when it stays where it should with respect to viscosity over a 5,000+ mile oci, I consider that a really good oil. Mobil 1 10w40 4T basically did the same thing over a similar oil change interval the riding season before. Going to be hard to switch from either of those based on experience and analysis.
 
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Yes, it seems Mobil 1 and Amsoil is a good motorcycle oil for shared sumps. I never used either when I owned the Yami and Suzuki as for the miles I rode and the climate I am in, was perfect at the time for two in season oil changes and 1 before winter oil change (I also rode on warm winter days of 60+ degrees. For this reason I used conventional as I changed every 3000 miles +/- 500 miles as you could feel the change in shifting and just thought I rather do that then run the same oil longer, pretty much the cost would be the same. I actually do the same now with my Road King and the Mystic JT8 semi. Though of course without the shared sump there is no difference in shifting. Changing my oil takes, I think less time then washing the bike and much, much rather change the oil! So I find it satisfying. For the first time ever, right now, I am running a full synthetic oil in a motorcycle as my Mystic JT8 supply was getting low and preferred to use it for my boat oil change ... Its also an experiment to see, prove or disprove that some claim a synthetic oil will run cooler then conventional, although I can only compare to the oil temperatures of the semi syn JT8. For goodness sakes, hopefully soon we will get our overdue 95 and higher degree days and a hard long run to the beach to test that theory out. The oil I am running is Mobil 1 15/50 automotive oil, slightly out of spec according to the HD owners manual as Mobil 1 clams only an outdated CF rating, HD calls for a CH4+ (and why I use the Mystic JT8) but I know its all good and fine. So far no change in noises or anything out of the unusual ... sort of ... will see in time, if it runs nice with my lately less time to ride its possible to maybe see if the Mobile 1 15/50 would be worth it just so I can change only 2 times a year IF, IF I dont get more riding time in.
 
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