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What to Know When Choosing a Fork Oil

Fork Oil – Which do I use?

We sell a good amount of fork oil in Sioux Falls thanks to some great motorcycle shops who know how to maintain the various units out there. But if you have a shop manual, the right tools and some patience give it a try!  Some units are very simple, quick and easy.

A fork oil’s number-one task is to deliver consistency. Consistent dampening despite temperature changes. Consistent rebounds despite different terrain. Consistent performance so you can ride or drive confidently.

Consistency.

What fluid would provide the best shock consistency?

Water.

Yes, water. But you don’t want to use it in your shocks for reasons you can probably guess, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

What shocks do

The shocks on your dirt bike, race car, ATV or other vehicle absorb abnormalities in the terrain and help stabilize the ride. They also absorb impact when landing a jump, taking some of the beating off the vehicle and your body. And they “load up” with energy when approaching a jump, helping you fly over whatever’s in your way.

The shock uses fluid to control dampening and rebound.

Say you’re riding your dirt bike and land a jump. The force depresses a piston inside the shock that pushes fork oil through calibrated valves. The fluid’s rate of flow through the valves influences the amount of dampening and rebound.

A thin fluid flows faster and results in quicker, springier shock feel. In contrast, a thick fluid flows more slowly and results in slower rebound and stiffer shock feel.

Fork oil viscosity matters

The fluid’s viscosity (often thought of as its thickness) influences how fast or slow the oil flows through the shock valves. If you prefer quick rebounds, use a lighter fluid. If you like slower rebounds, use a heavier fluid.

Buy AMSOIL Shock Oil

Easy, right?

Sure, if the viscosity of the shock oil never changes.

However, cold ambient temperatures increase the oil’s viscosity, resulting in slower rebounds. Then, after you’ve made a few laps and the vehicle’s heated up, the fork oil thins as it warms. That’s because fluids become thinner when they warm up. Think of molasses or honey. The warmer oil flows faster through the shock valves, leading to inconsistent shock feel.

H2O, no

That’s why water theoretically would provide the most consistent shock feel. Its viscosity doesn’t change between 33ºF (0ºC) and 211ºF (100ºC).

On a cold morning, after a long ride or on a blazing-hot day, water maintains the same viscosity provided it doesn’t freeze or boil. When was the last time you had a thin or thick glass of water? Hence, it would flow at the same rate through the shock valves, resulting in consistent feel.

Much more than flow, though

But the fork oil must do more than influence rebound and ride feel. It also must protect against wear and corrosion, two tasks at which water is notoriously bad.

The shock oil has to protect the shock tubes, seals and valves from wear as they constantly rub together. Minus good wear protection, the shock would tear itself apart in short order. Plus, the oil must form a layer on parts to prevent formation of corrosion. If corrosion starts, it won’t stop, spreading and depositing flakes of contaminant in the oil that act like sandpaper and scour metal parts until they’re worn out.

Look for a high-VI fork oil

Instead, look for a fork oil with a high viscosity index (VI). A higher VI indicates better resistance to viscosity changes throughout broad temperature swings. That translates into consistent shock performance and feel despite the ambient and operating conditions. And a consistent ride equals a more effective rider.

Points to consider when looking for fork oil

1) No standard viscosity

Your engine manufacturer recommends a specific viscosity of motor oil for best protection and performance. In the world of shocks, there are no universal viscosity requirements or recommendations. Each shock oil manufacturer is free to formulate its oils to whatever viscosity it deems appropriate. That means one brand’s “light” fluid could behave like another brand’s “medium” fluid, and so on.

2) Once you find a shock oil you like, stick with it

For the reasons listed above, avoid switching between fluids if you can. Once you have the proper suspension set-up for your body weight and riding style, stick with it. The shock oil is one of the biggest variables in your suspension tune, and messing with it can throw off suspension feel and your riding confidence.

3) Look at viscosity at 40ºC

If you decide to switch shock oil, compare the viscosity of the fluid you’re currently using at 40ºC to the same data for the new fluid. The closer the results, the more similar the oils will perform. Reputable manufacturers publish product data bulletins for their shock oils and post them online. If you can’t find a data sheet for the oil you’re considering, think twice before using it.

Buy AMSOIL Shock Oil

Why Did We Reformulate Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil?

Why Did We Reformulate Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil?

Local Sioux Falls note: We are reposing this article from last fall as it is important to realize the changes coming and how these enhancements will only add to the performance on older vehicles too.

AMSOIL’s Signature Series likely already exceeds the future API specification which hasn’t rolled out yet and we know other larger competing lubricant companies are having issues with LSPI (read more below).

Simply put, we reformulated Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil to solve problems.

For all the derision heaped upon the internal-combustion engine, it remains our primary mode of propulsion. And, despite the gains of hybrids and electric vehicles, it will remain so for the foreseeable future.

One reason is the tremendous efficiency gains gas and diesel burners have made since the 1970s. The loud, proud cast-iron powerplants of yesteryear may still quicken your pulse when they roar past powering a hot rod or classic car, but they can’t match the fuel economy and reduced emissions of the engine likely powering the vehicle you drove to work today.

That’s due to the widespread use of turbochargers, direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and lightweight materials.

But, despite their many benefits, modern engines present several challenges, and it’s up to the motor oil to solve them.

Four little letters, one big problem

One of the biggest is low-speed pre-ignition (LSPI). If you read the AMSOIL blog, you’ve heard about LSPI by now. LSPI is such a big deal that it’s the driving force behind the next generation of motor oil performance specifications.

In a nutshell, LSPI is the spontaneous ignition of the fuel/air mixture prior to spark-triggered ignition. It occurs in modern turbocharged, gasoline-direct-injection (T-GDI) engines, and it’s another version of pre-ignition, which has been around since engines were invented. In this case, though, it occurs under low-speed, high-torque conditions and is much more destructive than typical pre-ignition.

Computers to the rescue

Automakers can program their vehicles to avoid operating conditions that invite LSPI. The problem, though, is that programming the engine to operate on that “ragged edge” that invites LSPI promises fuel economy gains of up to 10 percent.

With CAFÉ standards looming, automakers are eager to realize those efficiency gains.

But they can’t until motor oils hit the market that help prevent LSPI. Motor oil formulation plays a big role in fighting LSPI, so much so that the next generation of motor oil specifications requires oils to pass an LSPI test. The forthcoming API SP and ILSAC GF-6 specifications aren’t scheduled for introduction until fall 2019, however.

Some automakers have grown impatient and have requested that the API, which licenses ILSAC GF-5, supplement the current specification with an LSPI test requirement. That could happen as early as January, 2018.

General Motors is ahead of the game. Its proprietary dexos1® Gen 2 spec, introduced in August, includes an LSPI test.

An oil that solves problems

Which brings us back to Signature Series. We want our flagship motor oil to stand alone as the best motor oil in the world, and preventing LSPI is one prerequisite to achieving that goal.

So we subjected it to an LSPI engine test.

The result? Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil provided 100 percent protection against LSPI* in the engine test required by the GM dexos1 Gen 2 specification.

In short, the oil solves a major problem plaguing the industry right now.

But wait, there’s more…

What about the old standbys, like engine wear and extreme heat?

Here, too, Signature Series excels.

From the day your engine fires to life, friction tries to wear away bearing surfaces, cylinders, piston rings and other components. Left unchecked, it’ll render your pride and joy a gutless, wheezing shadow of its former self. Eventually, something can break completely.

We formulated Signature Series to deliver next-level wear protection. But we know you want proof, not promises.

In the API Sequence IV-A Engine Wear Test required for the API SN specification, Signature Series delivered 75 percent more wear protection than required**.

What does that mean for you?

An engine that lasts for years and delivers maximum horsepower long after you’ve made the final payment. To prove it, we installed Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil in a Ford F-150 with a new 3.5L Ecoboost engine to test its ability to protect turbocharged direct-injection engines from torque and horsepower loss during extended drain intervals up to 25,000 miles. Power sweeps were done at the beginning and end of the test to evaluate horsepower and torque retention. As the graph shows, Signature Series helped maintain engine performance throughout the 100,000-mile test.

Fights engine deposits

Engine deposits, too, do their best to sideline your vehicle. High heat can breakdown motor oil, leading to piston ring, piston crown or valve deposits, which erode horsepower and efficiency. In severe cases, your engine can fail altogether.

Heat is more prevalent in T-GDI engines. Turbos run on exhaust gases that can exceed 1,000ºF and can spin more than 150,000 rpm. The turbo’s center section contains an oil-lubricated bearing. The tremendous heat and stress turbos create can cause some oils to break down and form harmful bearing deposits, known as turbo coking. Over time, turbos can suffer reduced performance, or fail completely.

Again, Signature Series solves the problem of extreme heat. We challenged Signature Series to the GM Turbo Coking Test, which consists of 2,000 cycles of extreme heat soaks. An oil must limit the temperature change within the turbocharger to 13 percent or less to pass the test. Signature Series limited the temperature increase to only 3.6 percent, protecting the turbocharger 72 percent better*** than required by the GM dexos1® Gen 2 specification.

Signature Series controlled heat and minimized performance-robbing deposits on the turbo bearing and shaft surfaces.

And, lest we forget, the performance of Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil lets you extend drain intervals to 25,000 miles/one year if you choose, even in turbocharged engines.

With challenges to engine protection and performance mounting – and new problems cropping up – it’s vital we stay one step ahead.

That’ll help you continue to get the best protection and most years out of your vehicles.

BUY SIGNATURE SERIES SYNTHETIC MOTOR OIL

* Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 motor oil, in the LSPI engine test as required for the GM dexos 1® Gen 2 specification.
** Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 0W-20, in ASTM D6891 as required by the API SN specification.
*** Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30 in the GM turbo coking test.

World’s Most Powerful Outboard Motors Rely on AMSOIL

World’s Most Powerful Outboard Motors Rely on AMSOIL

Seven Marine, maker of the world’s most powerful outboard motors, has a saying: We move the people who move the world. The Germantown, Wis. company designs, builds and sells outboard motors that produce up to an astonishing 627 hp and power some of the fastest and most impressive watercraft in the world.

All that power places tremendous stress on their sophisticated motors, which is why they turned to AMSOIL synthetic lubricants as their factory- and service-fill lubricants after having previously used Mobil* products. We sat down with Eric Davis, Seven Marine Vice President, to get the story.

AMSOIL Magazine: What makes Seven Marine unlike any other manufacturer of marine motors?

Eric Davis: We build the most powerful outboards available on the market today. We use a completely different technological approach than any other outboard manufacturer by using the small-block supercharged V-8 out of the Cadillac* CTS V and applying that in its normal horizontal configuration under the cowl. And that really makes Seven Marine unique because all other outboard motors are vertically oriented. That means we can use the performance, quality and emissions advancements that are central to automotive engines and apply that to outboard motors for the first time. In addition, we pair the engine to a ZF* marine wet-disc-clutch transmission. We’re the only outboard that uses a transmission. Because of that, our motors don’t shift in the lower unit.

AMSOIL Magazine: What performance advantages does that design provide?

Davis: It allows us to optimize the lower unit with a twin-pinion, race-inspired design that’s smaller in diameter. That benefits us in high-speed-cruise fuel economy and top-speed capability. A twin-pinion also gives you a tremendous amount of durability.

So, when you use a horizontal crankshaft engine, go with a wet-disc-clutch transmission and finish with a twin-pinion lower unit, you really get an outboard that’s built completely different, which is how we’re able to deliver the amount of power and torque to the propeller that sets us apart from everyone else.

AMSOIL Magazine: Your most powerful motor produces 627 hp. On what type of watercraft are people using your outboards?

Davis: The vast majority of our applications are multi-engine, and the trend lately has been more quads than anything [using four engines simultaneously]. We address the market that’s called the ‘super consoles,’ so we’re talking about 40-plus-foot, centerconsole, off-shore boats. Four engines can be done using a boat as short as 43 feet and as long as 61 feet.

AMSOIL Magazine: Who’s buying your outboards?

Davis: By the time you find out what they’ve done or what they do, they’ve touched your life in some way, shape or form. We use as a corporate tag line, ‘The Power to Move Those Who Move the World,’ and that really came from the fact that our customers are exactly those people, whether it’s the northern hemisphere’s largest onion farmer or the family that owns the third-largest grain distributor in the world – all kinds of people like that. They have truly amazing stories.

AMSOIL Magazine: How do they use your outboard motors?

Davis: It varies a lot. In general, they use them for transportation. They’re moving great distances, and what makes the applications unique for Seven Marine is that they’re trying to traverse those distances at high-speed cruise. They use the applications for everything from island-hopping to poker runs to deep-sea fishing. We have customers in the Gulf of Mexico who are running 150 miles to fish the rigs, so they’re cruising three hours at 50 mph to get out there and fish. We have people in Alaska 150 miles from civilization. Generally speaking, they’re covering great distances at pretty good clips.

AMSOIL Magazine: Why did you choose AMSOIL synthetic lubricants for your engines and transmissions?

Davis: When you’re trying to deliver the most luxurious experience for the customer and deliver the most performance at this level of power, you really have to have the best of everything to make sure it works properly. And you have to be confident that you have the best lubricants to ensure you’ve got the ultimate in durability. AMSOIL, on the engine and transmission side, has been the best products we can find. That allows us to be confident that when we do a factory-fill and recommended servicefill with AMSOIL, that you’re going to get that same factory performance day-in and day-out.

AMSOIL Magazine: What did your own test results tell you about AMSOIL products?

Davis: When we started doing oil sampling from dyno testing and looking at the performance of the oil and its degradation, the AMSOIL results were superior than what we were using before [Mobil products]. We’re endeavoring to build the absolute best world-class products we can and innovate in the marine industry, so we prefer to have an oil that we feel is as innovative and technologically advanced as the engines that it’s going into, and that leaves us with AMSOIL

In Sioux Falls review our marine 10W-30 and 10W-40 4-stroke oil for the big blocks, the new Mercury 25W-20 and several 2-stroke oils for injection units both OEM and our famous HP Injector formula and the 45 year old 100:1 outboard pre-mix.

And our best seller – the highly stable and water resistant Marine Gear Lube 75W-90.

The 3000 Mile Oil Drain Fails To Address The Real Issue

The 3000 Miles Oil Change Interval Doesn’t Address Oil Quality

When people say to me they change their oil at 3000 so not to take any chances that dirt could be causing damage or the oil could be getting “bad”, I say to them, why not change every 50 miles then?? I’m sure the oil is still good but as you said, why take a chance?

Let’s look at the top reasons for engine failure which relate to the oil.

#1 is lack of lubrication. Nothing to do with dirt but a poor quality non-synthetic even low quality synthetic made from Group III base stocks (There are over 80 different quality levels for a Group III oil thus lower prices – this does not fit the scientific definition of synthetic) can and will leave deposits OR lose viscosity early on both causing lack of lubrication.
#2 – Overheating – Often the damage done after a engine overheats is caused by the heat being too intense for the oil to hold its properties. An AMSOIL product would have prevented this especially in air cooled (V-Twin bikes or marine) and in the new trend of turbocharged engines. The coming LSPI issue will demand the oil be at least a 100% synthetic quality. It’s designed for temperatures beyond these issues.
So changing oil every day will not prevent the above. Any overheating event or the list of reasons which cause a lack of lubrication cannot be addressed by the 3000 mile oil change. Only by the quality of the oil. AMSOIL also adds performance and for the difference in price per quart is less than the cost of a cup of today’s coffee so the solution for protecting your investment is here!! And has been for 45 years.

Quality Oil Filtration is a Must but still only part of the issue

I couldn’t find the study as I was writing this but Federal Mogul published research that “dirt” in oil was actually a minor part of failure while things relating to lubricant quality were. Acids or loss of TBN was a much more severe issue. Corrosion and storage was a far greater contributor to reduction in engine efficiency and ultimately failure.

Mild quality oil filters solve the dirt issue for up to 10,000 miles but you still need an oil which can fight contaminants caused by fuel or advanced wear over the years (such as starting with a used vehicle which you don’t know the history of). AMSOIL addresses the contaminants with their advanced additive packages and are willing to cover that with a guarantee.

How do you know?

Note while that AMSOIL does back their oil for longer intervals, this is clearly stated for engines which are in normal operating condition and have not been modified. For modified engines, neglected ones or those with a good number of miles over 100,000 they do list severe service categories or one can always get our KIT-02 oil analysis kit and go from there.

Just use better oil and find out what you are missing!

AMSOIL use will tilt the scales of a nations fleet replacement statistics. Imagine that. Just from changing brands of oil.

The 3000 mile oil change interval excuse is much like arguing one brand of cigarettes is more healthy than another.
Use AMSOIL and unlock the full potential of your drive train!! Find out what others already know – AMSOIL is all about performance!
Ches Cain – AMSOIL Direct Jobber

Exploring Causes of Motor Oil Consumption

What Causes Motor Oil Consumption?

amsoil marketing ed newmanEd Newman|

 

Everyone who owns a vehicle knows you need to regularly check the oil level. (Note: If you do not know this, you’d better go check your oil. and Check your tires too!!

Sioux Falls drivers check often for signs of oil consumptionA certain amount of oil loss is normal due to motor oil volatility – that is, boil-off due to the high-heat conditions inside an engine. I once attended two days of training at a quick lube (part of a major oil company chain) wherein they showed how their conventional oil lost up to 30 percent of its weight and their synthetic only 12 percent in a volatility test. It drove home the message I’d already adopted that synthetics were more resistant to oil consumption than conventional oils. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are even more resistant to volatility. (Read about AMSOIL performance in the NOACK Volatility Test.)

Volatility isn’t the only reason you need to replenish your oil supply now and then. The problem of abnormal oil usage is far more complicated and, in fact, most of the causes are mechanical, not lubricant-related at all.

One of the major causes is engine leaks. An AMSOIL technical service bulletin titled “The Reasons for Motor Oil Consumption” says:

Some of the many points where external oil leaks may occur include oil lines, crankcase drain plug, oil-pan gasket, valve-cover gaskets, oil-pump gasket, fuel-pump gasket, timing case cover and camshaft bearing seal. No possible source of leakage should be neglected because even a very small leak can cause extremely high oil consumption. For example, it has been estimated that a leak of one drop of oil every 20 feet is approximately equal to a loss of one quart of oil every 100 miles. One way to check for external leaks is to road test the vehicle with a large piece of light-colored cloth tied under the engine. Oil on the cloth will indicate a leak, which should be traced to its source.

I recently burned a lot of cash trying to get an oil leak fixed. The first task is accurately locating the source of the leak. The problem may be front or rear main bearing seals, worn or damaged main bearings, worn or damaged connecting rod bearings, worn or damaged camshaft bearings, worn crankshaft journals, distorted cylinders, worn ring grooves, cracked or broken ring lands, problems with the wrist pins, clogged oil passages or even unequal tightening of bolts.

Sometimes a defective cooling system can cause engine overheating, which may result in localized hot spots in some of the cylinders that can lead to scuffing and scoring of cylinders, pistons and rings, resulting in high oil consumption.

If you really want to sink your teeth into it, causes for oil consumption can include too much oil in the crankcase, worn or broken piston rings, improper valve timing, incorrect oil pressure, piston slap, an internal gasket intake breach, spark knock, aftermarket performance chips and modifications, lugging engines, inappropriate operation of overdrive, leaking turbocharger seals, a restricted air intake and fuel dilution.

In short, few things are as simple as they might initially appear. When all is said and done, however, even though there may be multiple reasons for oil loss, in a mechanically sound engine it boils down to one: oil volatility. In this matter, synthetic motor oil provides better resistance to oil consumption. If you have a mechanically sound engine, you should be using synthetic oil to reduce oil consumption and to protect your investment. In addition to reduced oil usage, synthetics can reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

During my three decades of writing about oil, I’ve always recommended a synthetic solution.

Local note: From our Sioux Falls store staff we hope you enjoy Ed’s blog. We will be posting more from his decades in the industry. It’s our quest to serve and inform Sioux Falls drivers and auto enthusiasts to the highest degree and always provide products which not only out perform but solve problems just the same.