Bill Hoddinott - VA
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:51 am
 Subject: Long Mileage Test

Hi folks, we had a nice spate of sunny 70s weather here in Tidewater Virginia recently and I got my bike out for a hop, and to do the biannual oil change.

My '88, some will recall, got an '01 engine change a while back, at 87K miles, and at the moment the total mileage is 114K miles.

The '01 engine had 1700 miles when I put it in, so it is up to around 29000 miles now. When I installed it, I checked the valve tappets, and for an experiment, I decided to just run this engine and leave it alone, except for oil changes twice a year (about 4500 mile intervals).

So far it starts instantly in all weathers, with the essential use of the choke according to the air temperature, and has run perfectly, cruising nicely at 70-75 mph much of the time when I take it out, and giving 70 mpg of 87 gas all the time.

I have this theory that if any of the valve tappets tightened up enough to hurt anything, it would show up with poor idling or running, and the clearance could then be corrected with no harm to anything. So far nothing, it idles perfectly at the correct 1300 rpm. Likewise, the spark plugs have not been touched from the factory, and the hot and cold starting are perfect, with no indication of misfiring under full load or any other time.

I have been using 5w-30 ordinary car oil in the engine, only, year around including the tropical summer heat we have here, and seen nothing adverse from it, nor any indication of low oil pressure such as the oil light coming on at idle.

Now this is just an experiment, on MY responsibility, and I recommend YOU run your equipment by the Owners Manual.

One or two here grumble about my 'dogmatic' pontifications, but my authority arises from my 50+ years of continuous motorcycling experience. I run my equipment on the basis of getting the maximum of good service for the minimum cost, and I assume there are plenty of practical riders out there who want the same thing. So if something works for me in that line, I offer it to you assuming that if you do what I do, you will get the results I get. But hey, we're all free to do what we please with our own equipment. That's Freedom.
BrianM
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 12:30 pm
 Subject: At some time will you check the valve clearances...

Just to see for yourself and us? Or are you going to ride it and not worry about ever proving (to yourself more than anyone else) that your theory has grounds.

And that's more or less the method I've used, I just can't ever get much more than factory intervals before function starts to deteriorate... maybe I ride my bikes harder (actually, I'm pretty sure I do ~ no fun for me in just 'cruising', gotta be a full on attack of corners to gain my interest).

Brian
sonny
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:18 pm
 Subject: Interesting road test..and no clutch problems with the 5w30 oil ?

kiwi_outdoors
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:10 pm
 Subject: Us INTJ types can't resist it, can we; Being detail oriented and all that.

beaterbike
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 5:46 pm
 Subject: why would there be?

Obviously if it was energy conserving it might be an issue, but other than that why would thinner oil cause clutch issues?
Ian
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:26 pm
 Subject: Re: why would there be?

5W-30 oil IS ALWAYS an Energy concerving oil.
That doesn't mean that it WILL cause clutch issues on a bike that is in good mechanical shape.

I've used it in my Hawk GT, and it's done fine.
I rebuilt the clutch in that bike long before hand, with new stock friction plates, and just replaced the springs with aftermarket Barnett's, and never had a problem using the 5W-30 in the Hawk GT.

Ian.
BrianM
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 7:34 pm
 Subject: You really Like putting your foot in your mouth, don't you?

You've Already proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you're clueless when it comes to motorcycle mechanics. Stop posting like you Know something, and you'll actually retain the Privlidge to post. Or persist and have that privlidge removed... your call.
beaterbike
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:09 pm
 Subject: QUESTION MARK = ASKING A QUESTION if you couldn't tell

I have seen plenty of 5W30 oil that isn't MARKED as energy conserving. If being energy conserving is a different attribute than simply the weight of the oil (and, because there are 10W40 oils that are marked as conserving as well as ones that aren't, I believe it is), then why would 5W30 oil automatically be conserving?

If there is a film of oil between the clutch plates in all places, wouldn't the clutch be slipping anyway? Thinner oil should be easier to squeeze out from between the contact surfaces of the plates, so I would have thought that it wouldn't cause a clutch issue. If the clutch manages to not slip without any "hard" contact points, that really surprises me because for some reason I had thought that even the recommended 10W40 and up motor oil was a lubricant and a very good one at that.


As for clueless when it comes to motorcycle mechanics, notice that I was ASKING A QUESTION. There are these things called QUESTION MARKS that people put after after sentences when they are asking something as opposed to stating a fact. When I state that it's bad for a cold engine to be idling at 8k RPM, I don't use a question mark. When I ask why lighter weight oil would cause clutch issues, I do. I had assumed that the administrators of a reasonably large forum would be able to figure out what a question mark means, but I guess I was wrong.
bugsy
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:24 pm
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

Thanks for the info. I'd certainly think over 100,000 miles on one of these machines would qualify you to take some calculated risks in your maintenance approach, and we all might benefit from your report.
I've always had a dissatisfaction with most motorcycle maintenance regimens, especially valve adjustments. When Japanese cars with similar valve configurations of some years ago regularly would go a couple of 100k without maintenance, it's always been hard for me to understand why the valve adjustment/inspection interval should be so short on bikes. It also seems to me that with a bike that's been sold on every continent for 20-some years, you know the majority of them get no maintenance until they stop running. I >don't< ride mine into the ground - I use the performance when I need it or feel like it, but when I don't I'm quite happy to stay within striking distance of the legal speed limit at a cool 6,500 - 7,000 rpm. And I expect to do that on a lot of long trips and for a lot of miles with no drama. That's my kind of riding. I'll be quite pleased if I do as well as you.

Cheers,
vksgeneric
Post Posted: Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:08 pm
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

bugsy wrote:
I've always had a dissatisfaction with most motorcycle maintenance regimens, especially valve adjustments. When Japanese cars with similar valve configurations of some years ago regularly would go a couple of 100k without maintenance, it's always been hard for me to understand why the valve adjustment/inspection interval should be so short on bikes.


I wonder what you mean by the "similar valve configuration". There are quite a few differences that I can think of that would affect the rate of wear. Higher RPM being one, with all the consequences like more valve openings/closings per unit of time, less time to transfer heat from the valves, etc. Regardless of valve "configuration", Japanese cars still need the same maintenance, even though they very well may survive for a couple hundred thousand miles without it. When I had the valve cover off my Honda Accord a couple of weeks ago, I did randomly check 4 valves on different cylinders. All were too tight. They still had some clearance, but way below the spec (fortunately adjusting valves on an Accord is trivial, I just need to get around to it). Once the clearance completely disappears, bad things tend to happen. Most of maintenance requirements have solid reasoning behind them.
bugsy
Post Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:26 am
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

well, I won't belabor this too much, but a couple of examples. I too had a Honda, an 87 Civic SI, with finger followers actuating the valves. I did not drive it conservatively. I checked it a couple of times in 130,000+ miles, with no wear discernible or adjustment required at either time. I also had a Mazda Protege with directly actuated valves, 16 valve head, that didn't even call for valve check as a normal maintenance item; clocked over 200,000 miles, mostly at 70 - 80 in the cut and thrust of New Jersey-Pensy turnpike traffic around Philadelphia. My BMW F650 motorcycle, same valve configuration, also water cooled, required valve check every 6,000 miles, and it needed it - I replaced shims at each check. 7500 rpm redline. Go figure.
In fact, I think the engine redline is not a very good indicator of valve stress - as I understand it, it's valve mass that's the critical issue, and our 4-valve 125 cc cylinders don't have very massive valves. How much time one spends at the redline may be a better indication. Still, as I mentioned I'm a moderate rider, and in those circumstances it seems to me I shouldn't have to expect a more stringent maintenance procedure for similar engine configuration. Maybe the manufacturers just figure motorcycle riders are more exuberant. They're probably right. Guess if I'm too dissatisfied I can just look for an old CX500 or Pacific Coast - they've got juice lifters.

Cheers,
cyclopathic
Post Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:58 am
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

Bill Hoddinott - VA wrote:
The '01 engine had 1700 miles when I put it in, so it is up to around 29000 miles now. When I installed it, I checked the valve tappets, and for an experiment, I decided to just run this engine and leave it alone, except for oil changes twice a year (about 4500 mile intervals).

I have this theory that if any of the valve tappets tightened up enough to hurt anything, it would show up with poor idling or running, and the clearance could then be corrected with no harm to anything. So far nothing, it idles perfectly at the correct 1300 rpm. Likewise, the spark plugs have not been touched from the factory, and the hot and cold starting are perfect, with no indication of misfiring under full load or any other time.

Bill, mine on '04 were adjusted only once, at 9K and I am presently pushing to 50K, need to check. At 9k they were a bit tight, esp exhausts, so I set intakes to .10 and exhausts to .15 (as you guest cheap fillers, nothing in between). After that I only checked them at 31K, were well withing limits.

I believe they must have improved valve seats, and with 14/41 gearing not that much time spent above 9,000RPM
vksgeneric
Post Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 1:41 am
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

What you say is quite interesting. I can't see a reasonable explanation to your observations, so I am obviously missing something fundamental, something that is quite different in bike versus auto engines. Not something I've heard covered in school either. The only somewhat relevant thing that I can think of is that some (all?) hydraulically actuated valves never need adjustment by design, but it does not sound like your Protege had one of those. I am really no expert when it comes to these questions.

As for the valve stress, I imagine the valve mass does have some effect, I do not know how much, so I did not really take that into account. What I was thinking of is that each time a valve opens and closes, it comes in contact with the seat, and there is some friction involved. Not much, but over millions or billions of iterations that causes the bulk of the wear. During the compression stroke there is further stress on the valve that promotes wear. However that pressure is probably roughly the same for any gasoline engine because the compression ratios for all gasoline engines are similar, the autoignition temperature and the pressure at which gasoline self-ignites (I do not know the proper word for that concept) do not change, and the ratio of the valve area to the valve seat area is probably similar for most valves (not quite 100% sure about the last statement, but that's my understanding). A third factor is that the valves will spend less time in a _completely_ closed position, thus having less of a chance to dissipate the heat (thinking about it, now I can see what you said about the valve mass. The lighter the valve, the higher its acceleration can be, and the quicker it can get from fully open to fully closed, thus, allowing for more aggressive cam design, and being able to spend more time in full contact with the seat).

Ok, so I just completely demolished my own argument about why the valves on a bike may need to be adjusted significantly more often than those on most cars. The only other thing that I can think of is that if you have more ignitions per unit of time in a higher RPM engine, the temperature will be higher, thus further promoting wear. The aluminum block may be able to dissipate the extra heat just fine, but the valves are not quite as fortunate. Of course, that doesn't explain your statement about your bike having a really low red line, and still exhibiting the need for frequent adjustments.

Interesting stuff to think about. Of course, I am way over my head here. I don't know anything about engine design, just like figuring out how things work:)
zed_zr
Post Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 4:06 am
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

I just did my valves, and at 6500 km (4000 mi), the intakes were a snug 0.003 before adjustment. Yours were snug at 9000 miles, and at 31000 were still OK. I wonder, is it possible that they come from the factory a bit tight?

Bill H., when you checked the clearance on your '01 engine with 1700 mi, what were the numbers?

BTW, I have seen 5W30 oil without the "energy conserving" designation as well...
cyclopathic
Post Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:36 pm
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

zed_zr wrote:
I just did my valves, and at 6500 km (4000 mi), the intakes were a snug 0.003 before adjustment. Yours were snug at 9000 miles, and at 31000 were still OK. I wonder, is it possible that they come from the factory a bit tight?
Most of valve sitting happens in first few thousand mi, I don't think extra 5,000mi would make such difference, I was just lazy about it.

I believe Kwak improved valves/seats and on other models the recommended interval is 2-3 times higher. Possibly they just didn't updated manuals to create no confusion, or perhaps it is written to cover the possibility of sinking valve seat; if you don't have one, it isn't problem? Either way it usually exhausts which need more attention, so if you ride alot and don't check it regularly it is a good practice to set them higher
Bill Hoddinott - VA
Post Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:07 pm
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

Don't remember what the clearances were at 1700 miles. Unremarkable I suppose.

I dunno if my 5w-30 oil is energy conserving or not. Probably is. The clutch never slips.
Bill Hoddinott - VA
Post Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:12 pm
 Subject: No.

Bill Hoddinott - VA
Post Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 1:30 pm
 Subject: Re: At some time will you check the valve clearances...

True that I don't beat my equipment real hard, because I want it to last. I do use the 9-11K range whenever I want maximum torque at full throttle for some reason - including just because I feel like it. But I never exceed 11K.

I have heard a few case histories where the valves had negative clearance, in other words were being held a tiny amount off their seats due to misadjustment of tappets or other reason. Just as SOON as the valves are not making solid contact with the seats, the compression will be going away or gone altogether, depending how much clearance there is, and you will know something is wrong. The engine won't run well or at all if the compression is not up to the minimum figure required. It is conceivable that the exhaust valves could get eroded or burned on their sealing faces as this negative clearance thing is developing, but I haven't seen any actual cases of this reported on this forum. It has been reported long ago that with air-cooled aircraft engines, where the heads and the valves run at super high temperatures anyway, a slightly leaking valve like this would get burnt on the face of it. Here we have a water-cooled engine where the head and the valves run much cooler, so it would seem the risk is not very great.

Part of my experiment here is to verify for myself that 5w-30 non-synthetic car oil lubricates adequately to keep wear away in the top end, and so far it has, evidently. I don't plan to check the tappet clearances unless I get some symptom of distress or engine malfunction, but I will when the spark plugs eventually show evidence of large gaps which will cause hot-starting problems; and I have to take the tank off anyway to replace the plugs.
M
Post Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 2:07 pm
 Subject: Here's Bill's full 100k report, for those who haven't read it before

http://forums.ninja250.org/viewforum.php?f=33
KawiDavis
Post Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 4:04 pm
 Subject: Re: Here's Bill's full 100k report, for those who haven't read it before

I found that a while back an spent the time to read all of them. It was quite worth it! Wink
Papaflynny
Post Posted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:14 am
 Subject: Re: Long Mileage Test

Hey Bill,glad to see you're still racking up the miles on your Ninja. Hopefully with proper maintenance I can also break the 100K mark with my N250. The difference will be that I consistently ride this bike hard and in a spirited manner. I usually never redline or abuse the bike but consistently run in the 8-12k rpm. range. Shifts are frequent with downshifts and trail braking taking its toll on tires, brakes and chains. The motor remains perfect with cams and internals still appearing new.
I've adjusted the valves 4 times in 20K miles and each time had to loosen a few to remain on the loose side of the specs.
As the valves tighten up they loose their ability to transfer heat, causing an increase in seat wear. I prefer keeping them dialed in and using synthetic lubricants in an effort to prolong engine life.
The friction modifiers added to energy conserving oils are not recommended for use with our wet clutches. Glad to hear you haven't had any issues.
Spark plugs are consumables and at $2 a piece replaced on a regular basis. I'm curious to see how well properly maintained N250's hold up in the years to come.

Always glad to hear your input.

Joe

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group