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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
FWIW:

I occasionally get oil reports just to assure everything is OK inside the engine. Recently I did a long trip to So. Cal. and rather than short change the 5k mile intervals I normally use, I decided to let it run and ended up with 7700 miles on the oil so I did a report on it. It's attached.

Basic summary, everything was fine even at 7700 miles. Kawasaki schedules oil changes at 7600 mile intervals and it seems to be about right. I do use full synthetic Mobil 1 4T oil.
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Summary:
"KEN: Wear metals look great. The universal averages for this type of engine are based on just under 4,000 miles on the oil. You ran longer and got better-than-average metals -- that's excellent. This engine is wearing with the best of them! The slightly thin viscosity is no problem at all, and the small amount of fuel dilution didn't hurt anything, either. No other contamination was found, and insolubles read very low, showing low levels of oxidation and excellent oil filtration. This all adds up to an excellent report! We'll look forward to building trends."
 

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Kenors, unless I'm mistaken, this is not as if it's the bikes first oil change, right.....?

Isn't this at least oil change 5 or 7, with at least 5000 miles on each oil change? Not a new engine, by any means.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The mileage is in the report but for the summary the mileage was 62570 miles.
 
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Woulda been interesting to see the TBN to know at about what mileage the base is used up. There's nothing wrong with the viscosity and metals that would dictate a need to change the oil even at 7700 miles. Most people change their oil too early on both cars and motorcycles because the oil co's have brainwashed us into believing the 5k change in the name of profit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don't think it's the oil companies at all who "brainwash" us to change oil too often. More often than not it's people like me (old farts) who remember 50 years ago when what used to come out of our bikes after 1k-2k miles was like dirty dishwater. I don't have any reports from back then but I'm sure that oil was full of metals and dirt and it was obvious to the naked eye that the viscosity was way too low. Even more recently with my VFRs running Golden Spectro GS4 semi-synthetic 5k mile intervals was about the limit based on reports. Metals and dirt were reaching the point where higher wear levels were occurring, sacrificial agents were about used up and viscosity was was getting too low. Full synthetic extended that to 6500 miles or so.

As for TBN, I just went back and looked at some of my old reports and TBN use to be included. I see they now have an added fee to get that test. Maybe next time.

Maintenance also depends somewhat on your philosophy. I treat the machine like I'm going to own it forever. I once had an on-line discussion with a guy who *NEVER* changed oil or filters, lubed a chain, or did any other maintenance on a bike other than an occasional wash and *NEVER* had a failure. Turns out every 2 years he traded it in with 10-12k miles on it for a new bike. Hard to argue with that if that's your modus oporandi.

Part of the reason for the higher mileage report was an Alaska trip coming up next month. Knowing the oil will be fine for a full 8k miles brings peace of mind since that oil will probably have >8k miles on it when I get back.
 

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I once had an on-line discussion with a guy who *NEVER* changed oil or filters, lubed a chain, or did any other maintenance on a bike other than an occasional wash and *NEVER* had a failure. Turns out every 2 years he traded it in with 10-12k miles on it for a new bike.
That's not too bad of an idea considering how quickly these bikes depreciate with or without farkels or maintenance. It just has to look good on trade in.

Once you have that turn over cycle built into your costs, and you're ok with forking over $3k-$4k/24 months, it's workable.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Kenors, do you have a mileage figure in mind? Some figure where you say, "Thats enough..new bike time?"
I sorta do. Usually at ~100k miles I start looking around. But anything new has to do something for me that my current ride doesn't. My '87 VFR700 only had a bit over 70k miles on it when the '90 VFR750 caught my eye as being a bit better for 2 up riding. I had 102k miles on my '90 VFR when the '98s came out. I took the '90 in for service and showed my wife a new '98 they had on the floor. She said "Happy Birthday!" and grabbed a poor salesman!

That '98 VFR had 125k miles on it when a low miles '99 caught my eye on CL. That bike met a left turning car (I did not, phew!) at just under 40k miles. That same week another '99 showed up with 4334 miles on it. It sat in a garage most of it's life. The 9 year old bike looked showroom new. I got it home and went over it and did virtually everything on the lists presented on the maintenance thread but somehow it still felt like old tech. That bike didn't make it to 100k before the '11 N1k showed up. That one was totaled as you know and 2 weeks later a great deal on a new '14 appeared.

So in about 3 years or so maybe I'll be looking for something new. So far nothing that's been added to the Ninja line makes me want to go new. IF Honda came out with a ~500#, 125HP, 75'#, VFR I'd probably be all over it, 100k or not. If the N1k smoothed out the I4 and added a centerstand I'd be on it as well. 6 dimensional traction control? Meh. Smart phone interface? Meh. I read the reviews, I visit dealers from time to time but mostly, I just ride...
 

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Kenors, have you ever lost an engine on any of your high mile bikes, or come across anything that appeared to be an oil related failure?

I remember your Ninja getting totaled. I remember it bothering you as you really liked that bike.....something to do with a roundabout?...maybe? I remember it as being something way beyond your control. Anyone would have crashed under the circumstance.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Never had an oil related issue. Never had a bike that used a drop of oil. Never had a 4-stroke bike that smoked. Since 1988 never had a plug issue.

I totaled my 2011 Ninja through momentary inattention. Farm country road I'd ridden dozens of times, slight left hand curve with some gravel due to gravel driveway, on the outside of the curve was a mailbox, field full of Canadian Snowgeese to the right. 35-40 mph, glanced at the geese, when I looked back I'd drifted to the outside of the curve and into the gravel, grabbed a handful of brakes just before hitting the mailbox post. According to my buddy my "glance" lasted 3-4 seconds. It's all on me. Distracted driving without even a device!
I did really like the '11 but getting the new '14 with bags 2 weeks later (for less than insurance paid me for the total of the '11) really helped ease the pain. :)
 
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The thing I keep seeing is folks switch to the more expensive longer lasting full synthetic and still do a similar shorter then recommended mileage cycle every 3 or 4 thousand, I think defeating the purpose of the longer wearing products,,. If you like changing oil and filters you might just as well use the regular oil IMHO,,!!

Ive decided on full synthetic every 10,000 Km or 6200 mi. and not a day earlier and don't loose any sleep over that interval schedule,,.

As far as the dealer recommended Maintenance, you can quickly spend the value of the bike on what they recommend,,. Case in point is my $1140.00 CAD=$870.00 USD valve check today,,.
 

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Lag, I'm guilty of that. I believe many of us have such well defined seasons. I look looking at my maintenance books, and a year and a half has gone by, with few miles on either bike.

So, I make the decision to change the oil. My wal mart had several brands and price points. The last time I bought oil, it was 5.95, per quart, for the regular motorcycle approved oil and 7.95 for a quart of the highly rated, fully synthetic. Meaning I save about 8.00, all in, by not buying the top of the line oil. Really, that's what I should do. No sense wasting money. You know how that story ends. I buy the good stuff, hoping this season will be different and I do get to use it for the extra miles its capable of.

That's the sample I should send in. The one with 2500 miles, and a year and a half time. I wonder how one of those would be?
 

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Good point RC,,,,,,,,,,,,I put on 25000 Km's last season so that = 2.5 oil changes,,. Were I putting on less then 10,000 Kms per season I might likely revert to an annual oil change just prior to parking the bike for the season,,.
My car oil has been in for 2 years due to low Km's,,. It still does not meet the recommended mileage from the dealer, probable change it out shortly however I'm not big on doing dealer recommended maintenance right on schedule and so far its never hurt me,,.

I'm just curious what others have paid for there Valve adjustments?
 

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When you said, "Valve adjustment" I remembered an article I saw in rider magazine, from 2014. It was in their question and answer section and the questions were answered by a motorcycle mechanic. What made his answer interesting was him going down a list of the bikes that made it into his shop, after an owner, or mechanic, tried to check the valve clearance. I wish I still had a copy of it. Interesting because he was 100% wrong. You don't avoid maintenance because something could go wrong. Yet, he made very good sense in what he was saying.

The response ended as follows: "I know if I owned a 1400 Concours, after the initial inspection I'd seriously pretend it had hydraulic lifters."

He went down the list of problems he has seen. Stripped fasteners, damaged cams, oil leaks, bent valves, timing that was not correct. Pieces dropped into the engine. The list was huge, and the damage was severe.

His next entry was problems regarding bikes that never had a valve adjustment. That list was nothing. He had a massive list from people who caught the tight valve "just in time", but no examples of a problem when that "just in time" valve was never discovered. He was talking about japanese street bikes....not dirt bikes, or machines from Italy.

Im sure the labor charge is 5-6 hours, if not more.

For me, I think I'll do it , myself. I have a manual. Also, after paying my taxes, I realize my time is worth damn near nothing. While I may be able to justify the time needed to do this adjustment, Im not sure I can justify a shop doing it for me. Here's a nice companion to the manual. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3Q_M1K-FbrLOEdFUXgwVTFSRUE/edit
 

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RC,,,yes 5 hours labour at $120.00 Cad. I don't have a scanner but here's the breakdown?

Shop supplies 34.50
RingO 6x 6.54
Gasket Head 1x 43.58
9 NKG Iridum SP Plug 4 x 17.95
Gasket Spark Plug 4 x 14.64
Coolent per liter 2 x 5.99
Shim exchange 13 x 12.95

Total parts $428.01 plus 120/hr = 600.00 = $1028.00 plus tax
Looks like they did a throttle body synch as well in the 5 hours,,.
Only question I have is what in H are "Gasket Spark Plug 4 x 14.64"
 

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I believe instead of head gasket it should have said head cover gasket and what we commonly call valve covers. Most engines with spark plugs that go through a valve cover has a gasket or set of gaskets in the cover not part of the valve cover gasket for the spark plug holes. Ours are part number 11061-0104.
 
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The last Blackstone report I got was on my 300 ninja race bike. That bike gets it's neck wrung to death, runs leaded race fuel and gets changed every 6 hours. My main question was if 6 hours was about right or if I could go longer or should change sooner. He said I could probably go 8.

My sample had high Aluminum content, which he chalked up to a "fact of life for race bikes", implying it's on it's way to a rebuild about twice fast as a normal street bike. It's generally piston wear.

My lead content was 400+ due to race fuel, which unfortunately masks bearing wear.

I use Mobile 1 4T too. Strange my molybdenum was so much higher at 89. It's an oil friction modifier that I suspect is added in Mobile 1 and molybdenum is depleted as life goes on. My oil numbers at 6 hours were all in range at the bottom while yours were under range, showing that your oil was beginning to break down.

Interesting to compare a 6 hour race bike with a super long term oil report.
 

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Zach, sort of un related, but what was your valve adjustment schedule like? I'm sure if the oil is wearing at a faster amount, things like valve adjustments would, too?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Zaph, Thanks for the comparison post. It indicates extreme ends of the spectrum of engine usage vs oil life characteristics.
You're right about molybdenum. It's a "sacrificial" lubricant. Back before they were adding it to oils I was adding it with every oil change on the recommendation of a mechanic due to my high mileage motorcycle usage. Putting 100k miles on a bike back in the '80s was a little more unusual than it is today and synthetic oil with good additives for motorcycles was still in the future.

I have to say there's nothing like an oil analysis to indicate what's going on inside your motor.
 
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