Winter weight oil - Harley Davidson Forums

General Harley Davidson Chat Forum to discuss general Harley Davidson issues, topics, and experiences.
Sponsored by:
Sponsored by:

Winter weight oil

Closed Thread
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-08-2012, 10:54 AM
GARY DYER's Avatar
Outstanding HDF Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,997
Thanked 106 Times in 89 Posts
Default Winter weight oil

OK, I've searched and can't find an answer. All I can fine is storing for the winter.
In the past I've changed to 10-40 motorcycle oil for riding in the winter(Chicago). I'm going to change my oil tomorrow, but the temps are still in the 50's today and back to the 60's in a few days. Will changing to lighter weight oil harm the engine in the short time interval before it starts going into the 30's and below? I usually ride every Sunday - as long as the roads are dry and free of salt.
I'm also thinking on just staying with the 20-50 and warming the engine somehow before going for a ride. Which is a little more of a PITA then just switching oil.

What say you all?
Old 10-08-2012, 12:07 PM
Fast Aire Fast Aire is offline
Former Sponsor
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 865
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

In the owners manual it should say when to switch over to 10-40 oils. I know guys that live in the colder areas & they go to Mobil 1 15-50 auto oil for the winter then swap it out to M1 VTwin 20-50 for the summer. I think you would be ok to stay with 20-50 until its stays at 40 or below outside. It gets cold here in Reno during the Winter & I stay with the 20-50 oil all year long.
Old 10-08-2012, 07:58 PM
ronherman's Avatar
ronherman ronherman is offline
Senior Rider
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: st. pete fl
Posts: 318
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

i am hearing of people using straight 50 weight in florida for the winter? any recommendations?
Old 10-08-2012, 08:19 PM
RLE's Avatar
RLE RLE is offline
Senior Rider
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Hutchinson, Ks.
Posts: 472
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

On our trucks at work we put a magnetic oil pan heater on em when it gets super cold. But it dosent magnetize to the oil pan on my street bob. I am thinking about making a steel bracket that somehow bolts to the bottom of the pan that I could stick it to. An hour plugged in and the cases would likely be too hot to hold youre hands on too long, these things get pretty damn hot, not dangerously though.
This in no way answers youre oil question, just an idea im gonna give a shot this winter to solve running thick oil in cold weather.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:45 PM
Notgrownup's Avatar
Notgrownup Notgrownup is online now
Extreme HDF Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Snow Hill, NC
Posts: 13,687
Thanked 247 Times in 210 Posts

If you are using synthetic oil 20w50 should be fine...might be a bit harder to start but ok... 10w40 would be ok also but i would rather use 20w50 and warm up the bike a bit longer.
Old 10-08-2012, 08:59 PM
Jim Kraft's Avatar
Jim Kraft Jim Kraft is offline
Outstanding HDF Member
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Middle of Kansas
Posts: 2,796
Thanks: 0
Thanked 6 Times in 5 Posts

Originally Posted by ronherman View Post
i am hearing of people using straight 50 weight in florida for the winter? any recommendations?
I would think straight 50 would be a little hard starting in the winter. It would be good for summer, but I would use 20-50 for winter. My book says hard starting below 50 deg. for straight 50.
Old 10-08-2012, 09:10 PM
logdon17 logdon17 is offline
Senior Rider
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 478
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

For the love of god it isnt a spaceship. In the 6 years I have owned my bike, I run the HD Syn3 20-50 year round and have never had any problems/issues in cold weather. Dont overthink this, i would worry alot more about your battery in the cold.
Old 10-08-2012, 09:11 PM
Trucky911's Avatar
Trucky911 Trucky911 is offline
Road Master
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Belleville Mi. / Pikeville Ky.
Posts: 1,209
Thanks: 0
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

I use Mobil 1 15w50 all year. Works well in hot and cold weather...

Old 10-08-2012, 09:20 PM
Shredding rubber Shredding rubber is offline
Outstanding HDF Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Right about the middle
Posts: 3,451
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

If you plan on riding in winter conditions I suggest a 5w-50. Castrol makes one as does mobil. Because of the spread the oil will shear faster so shorten your drain intervals.
A 15w-40 is liquid enough to pour at -25c so if you cannot find a 5w-50 then I suggest a diesel oil such as rotella. I'd use conventional simply because you need longer warm up times which will cause fuel dilution in the oil which will necessitate shorter oil change intervals and a synthetic doesn't pay off using it at a shorter drain interval.
A 10w-40 will also work fine. The 10 indicates it's thinner at start up,getting to the moving parts faster than a 15w-xx or 20w-xx.
No way would I use a 20w-50 in the winter unless you will be starting it in a heated garage. At -15c that stuff will not pour,which will accelerate wear at start up significantly.
Even a 0w-40 would be great. The 0w means it will flow fast at start up and the 40 means it acts as a 40 grade when up to operating temp.
A euro spec oil would work great. They are far more stout than it's north American counterparts and would accept a longer drain interval.
Old 10-09-2012, 08:42 PM
V2Evo96's Avatar
V2Evo96 V2Evo96 is offline
Road Warrior
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 1,945
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

Very basic thinking here but--

When you shut off the engine aftere a ride the internal components that we want to have oil are coated, and I believe oil will cling to these components for a very long time.

When I start the engine I see oil pressure immediately -- low initially for a second or two, but nonetheless present.

My theory is that even if the oil is a bit heavy when cold, the clinging oil will provide some protection to those internal components that need it, while the pressurized oil is commencing rapid circulation.
To aid this process when cold, the filter bypass will be open to provide immediate circulation without having to 'squeeze' more slowly through the filter media.

Have I gone nuts or does the above have some validity? Would be great to hear from a lubrication engineer on this!

I would never run oil heavier than 15w-50 in our winter which is not really cold-- just very cool at around 40-45F worst case-- average 55-60F for ~~3 months.
Closed Thread

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Running 15-50 oil in the Winter FurryOne Softail Models 45 11-08-2014 10:09 AM
Changing Oil for Winter Storage rlj50 Touring Models 11 11-10-2012 12:10 PM
Undiagnosable EVO Oil Leak TerryFXST Evo Classic Models 111 06-30-2011 07:29 AM
Change oil before winter storage or in the spring? Scotchdrinker Touring Models 26 09-11-2008 05:42 PM
Lucas Oil gilmour68 Oil and Oil Related Topics 3 05-30-2007 11:24 PM

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:40 PM.

  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: