Big Sale Tomorrow!! (Tuesday the 24th of July)
As we will be closed Wednesday the 25th through the 29th come in now to save BIG!! Wholesale pricing for everyone. Stock up and save BIG tomorrow only.
Now available - The industry's most advanced diesel oils. 25,000 miles on Pickups. 60,000 miles for OTR Trucks!Learn more
Save big when we ship to you. We use Speedee Delivery which costs less than UPS and our AMSOIL price is less too.Learn more
Instantly restores performance to peak operation on all small engines. Stabilizes the effects of Ethanol too. SEMA peoduct of the year for 2012.Learn more
Total closeout on all motorcycle clothing. Men's and Women's at 1/2 price.Learn more
All motorcycle gloves 40% off while supplies last.Learn more
As we will be closed Wednesday the 25th through the 29th come in now to save BIG!! Wholesale pricing for everyone. Stock up and save BIG tomorrow only.
Marco Navarro asks on our Facebook page about break in oil, with attention paid to powersports engines. (Break in oil importance, drain interval on it, and applications. To include motorcycles and ATVs since life of engine is shorter and rebuilding occurs more often.)
Thanks for the question, Marco.
Let’s get to it.
Maintaining an engine is a constant fight against wear. Over time, wear not only results in expensive damage, it reduces compression, robbing your engine of power.
That’s why it can be tough to accept that “controlled wear” during a new or rebuilt engine’s break in period is critical to maximizing its power and longevity.
One of the primary reasons to break in an engine is to seat the piston rings, and that means allowing the rings and piston skirt to carefully wear down the peaks (called asperities) on the cylinder wall.
The images show what we mean.
Although a new or freshly honed cylinder appears smooth to the naked eye, it contains microscopic peaks and valleys. If the valleys are too deep, they collect excess oil, which burns during combustion and leads to oil consumption.
The sharp peaks, meanwhile, provide insufficient area to allow the rings to seat tightly. That means highly pressurized combustion gases can blow past the rings and into the crankcase, contaminating the oil and taking potential horsepower with it.
Breaking in the engine wears the cylinder-wall asperities, providing increased surface area for the rings to seat tightly. The result is maximum compression (i.e. power) and minimum oil consumption.
That brings us to the other primary reason to break-in an engine: to season, or harden, the flat-tappet cam. Flat-tappet cams can wear out faster than their roller-cam cousins, especially in engines modified with high-tension valve springs.
And cam wear is bad. Really bad. Worn lobes or tappets affect valve lift and duration, which reduces engine power and efficiency. In extreme cases, increased pressure can remove material from the lobes and deposit it in the oil, where it circulates through the engine and causes damage. Break-in helps harden the metal so it’s more resilient to wear.
That raises a critical question: How do we simultaneously allow controlled wear to the cylinder wall/piston rings while protecting the cam against wear? Those two tasks seem mutually exclusive.
The solution is to use a properly formulated break in oil that allows controlled wear at the cylinder wall/piston interface, but that also protects the cam lobes and tappets from wear.
How do we accomplish this black magic?
Most break in oils, including AMSOIL Break-In Oil, use conventional base oils. Compared to their higher-quality synthetic counterparts, conventional base oils result in a thinner, less durable protective oil film on engine parts. The thinner fluid film allows controlled wear at the cylinder wall/ring interface.
But what about the cam? Won’t it wear, too?
That’s where anti-wear additives come into play. ZDDP anti-wear additives are heat-activated, meaning they provide wear protection in areas of increased friction. In this case, it’s at the cam lobe/tappet interface. The additives form a sacrificial layer on the surface of parts, which absorbs contact and helps prevent cam and tappet wear.
As a rule of thumb, a good break in oil should be formulated with at least 1,000 ppm ZDDP. At AMSOIL, we take it a few steps further; our Break-In Oil contains 2,200 ppm zinc and 2,000 ppm phosphorus.
Another rule of thumb states you should season a flat-tappet cam by running the engine above 2,500 rpm for 15 minutes.
As for seating the rings, our testing has shown it can take as little as seven dyno passes. That time varies depending on the engine, ring tension, cylinder hone and other factors.
If you don’t have access to a dyno, follow the engine builder’s or manufacturer’s recommendations. If none are provided, consult the recommendations on the break in oil label. In general, run the engine under light-to-moderate loads for about 500 miles. Again, that duration is a rule of thumb, but break in shouldn’t exceed 1,000 miles. Then, drain the break-in oil, install the synthetic oil of your choice and commence driving.
An engine dyno provides the best method of determining exactly when the rings are seated. You’ll notice a boost in horsepower as the rings seat. Eventually, horsepower will stabilize once the rings are seated.
You can also perform a leak-down test. Another, albeit more time-consuming, method is to remove the exhaust headers and check for oil residue in the exhaust ports. Presence of oil shows the engine burning oil, meaning the rings aren’t completely seated. Once the oil residue is gone, the rings are seated.
Ask yourself a few questions about your motorcycle, ATV or other powersports application before using a break in oil:
Given the above challenges, we recommend breaking in a rebuilt powersports engine using the motor oil you’ve always used. Run it according to the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) new-engine recommendation, then change the oil. In short, treat it like a new engine from the factory.
For new engines, just follow the OEM guidelines. Typically they recommend a shorter interval for the first oil change to remove wear particles and contaminants from the factory. Then, change to the AMSOIL synthetic motor oil that’s recommended for your application and commence riding.
The primary difference between Dot 3 and Dot 4 is their respective boiling points.
I suspect I know your next question.
But first, some background. The U.S. Department of Transportation classifies brake fluid into four main categories:
DOT 3 is the most common type used in cars and trucks today. DOT 4, however, is gaining popularity due to widespread use of anti-lock braking systems and traction control, which benefit from DOT 4 fluid’s lower viscosity.
DOT 4 is compatible with DOT 3, but features a higher boiling point. DOT 5 is silicone, meaning it doesn’t absorb water. It’s not compatible with the other brake fluids and is used mostly in classic cars that remain in storage for long periods and need a brake fluid that doesn’t absorb water. DOT 5.1, meanwhile, is used in high-performance and heavy-duty applications due to its high boiling point.
So now we’re back to boiling point. What does it mean? After all, we’re not cooking this stuff.
Well, in the right operating and ambient conditions, you are cooking it.
Braking generates intense heat between the brake pads and rotors. Maybe you’ve seen a race on TV where the producers stick a GoPro under the car to show the brakes literally glowing red when the driver depresses the pedal. The intense heat can vaporize the brake fluid, causing it to become compressible, which leads to a spongy feeling when you apply the brakes.
Braking also places the fluid under intense pressure, potentially causing the fluid to boil. That leaves gas in the lines, which is compressible, leading to a soft pedal. In racing and performance-driving circles, this is known as brake fade, and it’s something drivers actively want to avoid. To drive as effectively and safely as possible, the driver must be confident that the brakes will perform on lap 10 as they did on lap one.
Brake fade can also come from the brake pad/rotor interface. The pads release gasses as well, which reduces contact between the pads and rotors. That’s why high-end rotors are slotted and drilled – to release gasses quicker, limiting fade.
Brake fade can affect nearly anyone. Descending a steep hill, especially when hauling a heavy load or towing a trailer, can generate tremendous heat if you ride or pump the brakes.
PRO TIP: Next time, downshift into a lower gear before descending a steep incline.
By the time you reach the bottom, your pedal may go nearly to the floor, making your heart rate go nearly through the roof.
If you like to toss your vehicle around a curvy country road for a little therapy, standing on the brakes going into corners can create sufficient heat to cause brake fade, too. If you get a little too zealous, you may end up going right through a corner and into the woods.
The fluid’s boiling point indicates the temperature at which the brake fluid vaporizes. The higher the DOT classification, the higher the boiling point, thus the better the fluid is at resisting heat. That’s why racers use DOT 4, not DOT 3, brake fluid.
The dry boiling point is determined using fresh fluid straight from a new container. The fluid’s wet boiling point is determined using fluid that’s been contaminated with 3.7 percent water, thus it’s always lower than the dry boiling point. Why would test administrators contaminate good fluid? Because it’s a reflection of what happens in the real world.
Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water (except silicone-based DOT 5 brake fluid). DOT 3 fluid, for example, can absorb up to two percent water every year. Moisture can enter the system when you remove the reservoir cap to add fluid, through worn seals and even through the rubber brake lines themselves. Thus the fluid’s wet boiling point is the number that more accurately represents what’s really going on in your vehicle.
Which makes it important to periodically flush the brake system and replace the fluid to remove moisture. Otherwise, not only will your brakes become spongy and unsafe, the moisture will slowly corrode metal components.
A good rule of thumb is to change the brake fluid every other year in passenger vehicles, and at least every year in racing vehicles. The AAA says 88 percent of motorists overlook brake maintenance, so you’re not alone if you haven’t changed brake fluid in awhile, like since you bought your vehicle.
It’s not too late to start, though. And when you do, check out our line of brake fluids for your vehicle. The easiest way to determine the correct brake fluid for you vehicle is to use our Product Guide.
Sioux Falls Webmaster note: AMSOIL’s Dot 4 outperforms it’s new 5.1 because the 4 is designed purely as a racing brake fluid where as the 5.1 id the latest for all uses yet still beyond the minimum standard.
Summer weather is finally here, at least for us in the northern half of the U.S. and Canada. The longest day of the year, June 21 – the summer solstice – has come and gone. As someone pointed out to me, we’re on the backside of long days here in Sioux Falls and they are only getting shorter. “Kind of depressing,” I said.
This can only mean one thing: we are losing precious minutes at the range to sharpen our skills. Whether you are a single-projective guy/gal sharpening your skills beyond 300 yards or you’re deep into the trap or sporting clays season, get out there and take advantage of the long days.
One topic of scrutiny and personal opinion is hearing protection. If you don’t wear shooting hearing protection, shame on you. Ask anyone in his or her elder years about hearing. You may have to speak up or repeat yourself, like I have to with my father. He or she will tell you long-term abuse of your ears is no fun in your golden years.
Unfortunately, everyone you talk to about the “best” hearing protection will give you a personal “best” answer. That’s why there are so many options for hearing protection. Wade with me into the deep end of the pond and we’ll cut through the “insider-baseball” information and try to simplify.
The end game with shooting hearing protection is decibel reduction. The greater the decibel reduction, the better.
What’s the threshold for protection? According to OSHA, a conversation is about 60dB and the threshold for pain is about 140dB. Anyone exposed to 85dB for more than eight hours must wear hearing protection. Exposure to about 110dB for just one minute can cause permanent damage.
What was the threshold of pain again? You got it – shooting a firearm without ear protection puts you in harm’s way.
Now that we know what our ears can take, what is the best way to help protect them?
When shopping for hearing protection, look for its Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).
Every product marketed to help protect your ears and reduce noise has this rating. The higher the number, the better. If the product doesn’t list the NRR, stay away from it. Most of the cheaper foam ear plugs offer decibel reduction in the low 20s to low 30s. That’s not bad for the cost.
But be careful – the NRR assumes the plug is seated completely in your ear. Ineffective seating is the largest issue with these plugs, and most people don’t use them properly.
Simple foam ear plugs are fine for inexpensively protecting your hearing (if used correctly). Quite frankly, though, I don’t understand spending $3,000 on a firearm and only $1 on a 10-pack of ear plugs. What costs more, good ear protection or the hearing aids you will be buying in your elder years?
If you are looking for the Cadillac of foam-insert ear protection, look for custom-fit ear plugs. They come with instructions to insert the provided material into your ear and wait. The material dries and forms to your ear. They provide their claimed NRR since they fit properly into your ear. Instead of about $0.25 a pair, they cost around $15 a pair. But that’s still cheap for what they do.
Looking for the best hearing protection available? Noise-canceling ear muffs are about the best you can get. They come in a range of qualities and prices, from about $20 to more than $100.
They electronically measure and dull sound in fractions of a second. Many allow you to hear a normal conversation while wearing them. When the bang goes off, however, they immediately compensate to protect your ears. You’ll find many brands out there with lots of options. Like to listen to music while shooting? Many options have you covered.
Although noise-canceling ear muffs are likely the best and most convenient, they are also the most bulky. Many people don’t like all that bulk at the side of their head as they shoot at the range or on the sporting clays course.
I could continue go on. The reason this topic is so complicated is because every ear is shaped differently and everyone has his or her preference.
In the end, find something that combines comfortable with the highest NRR rating you can find. A brand I like has the slogan, “Protect it, or lose it.” I couldn’t have said it better.
As always, happy shooting…and be careful, especially with those ears.
Hi, race fans!
Your resident AMSOIL racing and events expert here with a breakdown of what Team AMSOIL has been up to “On the Track” and what’s to come in our “Staging Area.”
Indiana Sprint Week kicked off Friday, July 20 at Kokomo Speedway. In total, seven USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car races were held in nine nights with the finale held at Tri-State Speedway. In the end, Chris Windom was crowned Indiana Sprint Week Champion shortly after capturing June’s “Eastern Storm” title. He’s just the third driver to capture both in the same season.
Want to know what it takes to succeed in this die-hard world of racing? Check out the AMSOIL Signature Series episode featuring last year’s Sprint Week here.
The premier amateur motocross event in the world kicked off Monday, July 30 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The week started well for AMSOIL Factory Connection Honda as Jo Shimoda won Moto 1 of the 250B class.
Tune in to our social media channels to stay up to date on how the team fares the rest of the week:
Last year’s AMSOIL Expedition Colorado was such a hit that Brad and Roger Lovell are retracing their steps this year from Moab, Utah, back to Colorado Springs, Colo. And this time, they’re inviting you along for the ride. The Lovells will be planting prizes from their sponsors along the 615-mile course. After they finish the trip, they’ll release a GPS map with coordinates of all of the geocache locations.
Keep your eyes on the AMSOIL Community website Aug. 3 for the release of the route with coordinates of the prize locations.
Be sure to sign up for AMSOIL Signature Series videos sent to your inbox. Subscribers will get the video documenting this year’s expedition before it’s made public.
The 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally begins today, Aug. 3 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. As the Official Oil of Sturgis, the AMSOIL booth will be located on Main Street, just east of Junction Ave. AMSOIL will be offering oil changes at two different locations: Mad Dog Custom Cycles and X-Treme Bikes. Be sure to stop by our booth to register to win a $150 AMSOIL product gift certificate awarded each day.
Tune in to our Instagram Stories to see all the action live from the rally.
AMSOIL is the Official Oil of Carlisle Events and Hot August Nights. Carlisle Truck Nationals begins today, Aug. 3, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 5 in Carlisle, Pa. This celebration of trucks includes monster-truck shows, truck-themed competitions, a truck midway and more.
Hot August Nights begins Monday, Aug. 7 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. This week-long festival is dedicated to classic cars and rock n’ roll. Events include controlled cruises, an auction, drag races, autocross, drifting and more.
As always, stay updated on all the AMSOIL Racing and Events action through our social media channels.
Until next time, we’ll see you at the races (and events)!
AMSOIL ATV/UTV Oil Change Kits combine everything needed to perform an oil change on the most popular models of Polaris* ATVs and UTVs in one convenient package, including…
To find the correct ATV/UTV Oil Change Kit for your machine, consult the appropriate Product Guide.
Accessories equal weight. It’s common to burden your UTV or ATV with accessories designed to increase power or productivity, especially for UTV owners. Enthusiasts often add roof and door panels, a winch, a plow, skid plates and other accessories. Plus, how often do you haul a load of gravel or pull a trailer or other implement?
This all adds weight, and a good rule of thumb is that extra weight equals extra heat. Heat, in turn, causes lubricants to break down sooner, which places your engine and differentials at risk of wear.
Heat invites engine wear. The oil’s primary job is to form a protective layer on metal parts to keep them separated so they don’t rub together and wear out. High heat from the stress you place on your machine, however, can cause oils formulated for standard service to become thinner (lose viscosity). Oil that has lost viscosity can fail to develop an oil film of adequate thickness or strength to protect against wear.
Plus, high heat invites sludge and performance-robbing deposits inside the engine. Sludge can clog oil passages and starve the engine of oil, while deposits can cause the piston rings to stick or interfere with proper valve operation, leading to reduced engine compression.
Since compression equals power, over time your engine can make less power, limiting your ability to ride or work as effectively as possible. Eventually, deposits and sludge can wreck the engine completely.
Shift to better performance. The story is similar inside the transmission, differential and front drive. All the extra weight and stress of hard work and performance riding concentrates intense pressure on gears. The lubricant coats the gear teeth during operation, guarding against metal-to-metal contact and wear. The added stress, combined with high heat, can break the fluid film and literally squeeze the lubricant from between the gears, leading to wear. As with the motor oil, high heat causes the lubricant to thin, which negatively affects wear protection.
Upgrade to synthetic lubricants. So what’s the solution? Ride more conservatively? Haul lighter loads and work less?
Never. Upgrade to high-quality AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, differential and transmission fluid, front drive fluid and other lubricants, especially if you’ve modified your ATV or UTV for greater power or productivity. AMSOIL synthetic ATV/UTV lubricants don’t contain the impurities inherent to conventional lubricants, meaning they deliver better performance and last longer. Their naturally tough base oils resist extreme heat and maintain a strong protective film better than conventional products.
Think of synthetics as just another performance upgrade. You don’t think twice about dropping a few hundred dollars on a snowplow or work trailer. Over the course of your machine’s life, the few extra dollars you spend per oil change or transmission/differential service is a drop in the bucket by comparison.
*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.
It depends on what you want to accomplish. But, first of all, check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle manufacturer recommends one instead of the other.
If you want to ensure removal of nearly all the old transmission fluid, then have your transmission flushed.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
The benefits are self-evident: all the old, dirty fluid is replaced with fresh, high-quality fluid. (And, as you can see in the image, new transmission fluid is preferable to old fluid). As a result, your transmission should run cooler and receive maximum protection against wear to clutches, gears and bearings. It should also shift consistently and crisply since the new fluid will provide the correct frictional properties (old fluid loses its frictional properties over time).
Not only that, but performing a flush helps clean the transmission. Sludge and other contaminants can accumulate in the fluid due to extreme heat breaking down the fluid. These contaminants circulate throughout the transmission before lodging in the filter. Before the filter can safely capture the contaminants, however, they can lodge in the narrow fluid passages inside the valve body, leading to poor shift quality.
Performing a flush also allows you to use a flush additive to help clean the transmission and more effectively remove accumulated sludge and other contaminants.
For one, it’s more expensive. And some people warn against performing a flush on a transmission using old, dirty fluid. The flushing procedure may direct the fluid in the opposite direction of normal flow, which may increase the risk of dislodging debris and causing it to settle somewhere it shouldn’t. Since the way each shop performs a flushing procedure varies, you can’t know for certain.
A typical flushing machine uses hoses that connect into the transmission cooling lines. It drains the old fluid and holds it inside the machine while replenishing the transmission with new fluid. Unlike a simple pan drop, a flushing machine removes just about all the old fluid, including the fluid inside the torque converter.
Since the procedure uses new fluid to perform the flush, it requires several quarts of new fluid beyond the transmission’s final capacity. Those extra quarts are where most of the added cost lies.
If you have reservations about a flush, go with a pan-drop instead. While it reduces the risk associated with flushing old, dirty fluid through the transmission, a pan-drop also has downsides.
I can tell you from experience that a pan-drop can be a bigger job than you think. You may have to remove plastic splash guards or metal skid plates to access the transmission pan. In case you haven’t been under your vehicle in a while, plan on encountering rusted, stuck bolts if you drive in wet, snowy conditions. Don’t be surprised if you crack a splash guard in one or two places as you try to remove/reinstall it.
Some vehicle manufacturers install a drain plug on the transmission, similar to a motor oil drain plug. This allows you to easily and cleanly drain some fluid from the transmission minus the hassle of removing the pan. Again, though, you only get a third to half the fluid out.
You can then drive the vehicle for a while, then drain the fluid and change it again. Do this 2-3 times and you’ll remove nearly all the old fluid and perform a sort of poor-man’s transmission fluid flush.
Bottom line: Visit a pro and have the transmission flushed for best results and least hassle (unless your vehicle manufacturer specifically warns against it in the owner’s manual). But, if you have reservations about dislodging debris due to old, dirty fluid, a series of pan drops works just as well.