Oil of choice? synthetic or regular? long trip questions als

Maintenance tips, questions and help.
sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Oil of choice? synthetic or regular? long trip questions als

Postby sikatrix500cc » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:47 pm

The bike ive been lookin at for a bit and am going to buy asap. The lady who is now 66 yrs old has had this bike since it had 5000 miles on it and it now has 28000. I asked her what her oil change habits were and she had it changed every 3000-4000 miles with Amsoil regular oil with the amsoil additive added at a local shop. So I guess it sbould be in really decent shape internally as she has been pretty much following the maintenance schedule in the manual. Its a 2000 vulcan en500. It has a decent side windshield, saddle bags, tool bag under windshield and a ”T-bag” that goes on the rear seat and straps to the sissy bar, which is also padded too. also has highway bar and pegs. She also installed a cigg lighter plug and a battery meter and a handlebar mounted cup holder lol. Its got a new rear tire, new oil and filter, plugs and chain all for $1600. Good deal eh?, Now all ill have to buy is a 17t front 40t rear sprockets, cruise control add-on, and a new front tire to match the back, and me and my buddy are going halfsies on a bluetooth intercom motorcycle kit fpund here... http://www.bikebone.com/page/BBSC/PROD/COM/SMH10D-01 .... And maybe like a tach and clock! But when it comes to oil what brand and weight do u use in your 500's? Also do u prefer regular oil, regular with additive, or synthetic or synthetic oil with adfitive? I was probaly going to use amsoil synthrtic with k&n oil filter. Any preference on oil filters too? Spark plug pref etc. Thanks in advance. Im going to be driving from west palm beacb florida to Eulania Georgia which is the half way point where im meeting my best friend that will be leaving the same time from winston-salem North Carolina. Once we meet there were gonna fill up and stop to eat and rest for 45min or so then drive just down to jacksonville Fl and stay at the big campground there called Kathryn Abbey Hannah Park for a night and half the next day. Then leave there head south and eere going to stay a day or two in Ginnie Springs campground and go kayaking there then back down to my place in WPB. He has a 1998 Honda Shadow VLX 600 and ill be on my 2000 vulcan en500, neither will have there spro,kets changed till we get back to wpb so how fast should we run the interstate? we kinda were talkin about it,and agreed on 65mph so the rpm wouldnt be so high that it would be uneconomical cuz I dont want to have to stop every freakin hr to get gas lol. So is 65 a good economical speed for the interstate? If u have any pointers for better gas mileage at a diff speed let me know. Also the tank being 4 gallons and getting,say 60 mpg I should get at LEAST 200 miles beforr im forced to go over to teserve? I think my buddies vlx 600 only has a 2.9 gallon tank and a 0.9 gallon reserve lol. So I dont ill have my watch my tripometer cuz theres no way id run outta gas before him lol. Is there any kind of fuel additive (lucas upper cylinder lubricant or seafom etc) that u would recommend I put in for my first full tank when I leave? I know to go by the legendary TCLOCS inspection before I leave. Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil/Fluid, Chassis and stands. It has a tool bag on the front under the windshield but what tools should I not leave for the trip without? Any other things I should bring? Like a tire plug kit, bottle of water for the radiator, quart of oil, tire pressure gauge, small amount of gear oil for the chain, some WD-40, duct tape, flashlight, can of air or whatever to fill tire after its plugged, maybe some extra fuses, bulbs, extra pair of spark plugs, some extra wire with electrical tape and wire stripper, cutter and crimper. Ill only have the small tool bag on front, two kinda big saddle bags, the T-Bag is pretty big and ill have my backpack. So what should I bring that I listed above and more if u can think of any. Im going to have several pairs of clothes, a decent sized tent, some snack and drinks, probably a laptop in the bags and im going to roll up my sleeping bag and put it behind my back and it front of the T-Bag with a bungie threw it strapped to the bike so I can lean back a little and stretch out putting my feet on the pegs on the highway bars and that will be nice with me being 5' 11” and 210 lbs. I wonder if im going to have to extend or raise the handlebars... Also has anybody lowered there vulcan en500's for any reason? Like better center of gravity, better miles per gallon or just too look cool? I believe the only other things im going too add to it are a nice High/Low beam HID headlight kit, K&N oem drop in air filter, and probly a bunch of chrome/LED Lights and things to make the en500 look just that much more sexier! :-) sry this is so kong just alot of questions and opinion asking. Thanks in advance guys!
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 778
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby Triangles » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:37 am

Oil is like religion, there is not a right answer, just what's right for you. I'll probably start some sort of flame war for saying this but, from what I've seen as a mechanical engineer the purpose of oil is to separate the metal parts and keep them from rubbing and wearing out and/or creating too much heat and melting. As long as you've got 10w40 to 20w50 in your engine you are good to go. The only practical advantage to synthetics is that they last longer so you can go longer in between oil changes. One thing to look out for is the starburst "energy conserving" logo. Those oils have friction modifiers that will harm your clutch. I've never seen a 10w40 or thicker oil with this logo so you're pretty safe. Also you "should" use an oil that is certified to the JASO-MA spec. More or less this spec means the oil doesn't have the "energy conserving" friction modifiers that will harm your clutch. Rotella 15w40 is very popular because it is practically the only nonmotorcycle specific oil that is JASO-MA certified. With all that said. I've never used "motorcycle oil" nor any oil that carries the JASO-MA logo. I've used Mobile 1 synthetic, Pennzoil Synthetic, and generic walmart oil. I would probably use Rotella, but I want to stick with 10w40 for maximum fuel efficiency. I religiously change my oil every 3k miles and use a higher capacity (and cheaper) car oil filter so I'm probably wasting my money on synthetics. My initial reason for buying the synthetic was to get 0w40 for winter riding which simply isn't available in regular oil. I've copied a list of compatible 3.25" long filters (stock is about 2.5") from this web site. Click this link to see the compatible 2.5" long filters. I disagree with this authors bias against Fram. I have a friend that worked for Honeywell (makers of Fram) and their testing and QA are second to none. I'm also going to guess that the walmart supertech filters are probably multisourced by the lowest bidder and the author of the article probably happened to get a good one. The few I've used were some of the lowest quality filters i've seen. I usually use Fram or one of the top 3 if I find them on sale.

Compatible 3.25" filters:

Purolator Pure One PL14610, about $6.
Mobil 1 M1-110, about $10.
Bosch 3323, about $6.
WalMart SuperTech ST7317,
AC Delco PF-2057
Auto Pro 2356
Autopride CF240AP
Baldwin B1402
Carquest 85356
Carquest Red B4620
Casite CF240
Castrol 7317
Champion Labs Ph2867
Defense Filters Dl7317
Deutsch D-370
Federated Filters LF240F
Fram Double Guard DG7317
Fram PH7317
Fram Tough Guard TG7317
Fram Xtra Guard XG7317
Group 7 V4610
Group 7 V4620
Hastings LF240
Mighty M4612
Motorcraft Long Life FL-821
Napa FIL1356
Napa Gold 1356
Parts Plus PH2867
Pennzoil PZ-109
Penske 7317
Powerflo SL14610
Powerflo SL14620
Pro Gauge PGO-4620
Pro Tec 164
Promotive PH4610
Pronto PO3593A
Purolator L14610
Service Champ OF-4622
Shell SH48
Shell SH529
Stp S-02867.
Valvoline VO50
Warner PH2867
Wix 51356

sheesh I told my self to not write a book on oil. I guess I failed.

As far as freeway cruising speeds, on every Japanese MC I've ever ridden the speedo has read 5-10% slow. Not a big deal in the city, but on the freeway it's annoying. On my bike 70 indicated is about 65 actual. The discrepancy just gets worse the faster you go. For best fuel economy I usually go with the speed of traffic in the right lane(unless of course they're going slower than I want to be). This is usually about 70 to 80 indicated. I'm guessing this is about 65 to 74ish actual. Much above 70 and FE really drops off. going 80 indicated you might only get about 120 miles out of a tank where at 70 indicated you might get 150. These are ball park figures from my experience over the last 4 years. Two things I do to be safe on the freeway is avoid having a car in the lane next to me. The logic being if there is no car next to me they can't change lanes into me. On a tangent I did have a chevy suburban try to change lanes into me from the left lane. The guy never even looked. I blew my 139db Stebel Nautalus air horn which scared the bejeebus out of the sleeping woman who was riding shotgun. He went back into his lane and when I saw the woman beating the driver it brought a smile to my face. I did have a paved shoulder and my throttle as alternatives if he hadn't gone back into his lane. Some times with heavy traffic as was the case in my story above it's not always possible to keep an empty lane next to you. The second thing I do on the freeway (stop and go traffic/traffic jam) to be safe is never have my bike in a position to be splattered against the back of the vehicle in front of me should the jack ass behind me be texting or otherwise not paying attention and plows into traffic ahead. This also gives me a path to GTFO of the way in a hurry if I need to. I used this once in a traffic jam on I-75 when I heard screeching tires looked in my mirror and saw the side of a mustang coming at me very fast. I'm not sure what happend because I never looked back, but I was 5-6 cars ahead on the shoulder in what seemed like 0.25 seconds. I had to pull over and check my underwear :) You might consider a tail light flasher. I have the "Back off XP" from Signal Dynamics. I replaced the tail light with a Brighter than stock LED. When I hit the brakes the light flashes 5 times then stays on.

I'm 5'-9" and on longer trips I sometimes stretch my legs without stopping by leaning forward and putting my feet on the passenger pegs. This probably looks pretty ridiculous to other drivers but it helps. I'm hoping handle bar risers will help me be able to lean back a little. I plan on making my own if I ever have any free time to do so.

Aside from the factory tool kit the only thing I'd take would be some chain lube and a tire pressure gauge. Although I've usually got someone that can get what I need and come rescue me should my bike ever leave me stranded. Dupont multipurpose lube is a great chain lube. I get it at Lowes.
ImageImage

sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby sikatrix500cc » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:56 pm

Lol ur horn blast that made the woman make a puddle in the surburban seat then beat the driver made me laugh pretty hard lol. When I had my ninja 650r id just rev to red line and theyd jump everytime! So hilarious! I almost got side swiped a few times on the 650r and had to lay it down one time. The only day I didnt wear my tightly stitched riding jacket that blue black and white from bilt and got some nasty road rash on my left shoulder, the people at the hospital were pulling pebbles out of my shoulder lol not fun also had a charlie horse so bad on the back of my left leg that it was super white and making the skin bulge so much I thought it was my bone lol. But anyways the guy never stopped. And thanks fir that oil filter diag cuz the bigger capacity means more cool oil and lubrication for the engine. I used Mobil one synthetic the advance performance one in all my cars with lucas synthetic oil stabilizer so I love mobil.,and never had an issue with fram either. So do you think that $1600 is good price for that 2000 vukcan en 500 with all that stuff on it? Anything I should pay better attention to when I go look at it for oroblems? And what you think about that bluetooth comm. System? I wear a full face BILT race styke helmet that matches my jacket and gloves.
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby sikatrix500cc » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:45 pm

This has nothing to do with my questions but I thought ud appreciate it as much,as me.triangles!!
Image

Image
Attachments
Brochure-Vulcan-1991-back.jpg
Brochure-Vulcan-1991-back.jpg (278.72 KiB) Viewed 6267 times
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby sikatrix500cc » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:33 am

Are all 2000 kawasaki vulcan 500 ltd? Like in that year (2000) did they only come as LTD or do they also come standard EN500? i was wondering what my RPM's and MPG would be around 65-70 mph on stock gearing with me being 6ft. And 215lbs, full saddle bags, small under windshield tool bag, i'll have a full backpack also and a large T-BAG as she called it and i kinda looks like this... http://www.tbags.com/detail.aspx?ID=117&SelectedCat=4 .... Ill post a pic of it, and the bike also has a quite large windshield on it too. Has highway bars and pegs also but idk if those affect gas mileage. Also idk if it matters but it has 36,000 miles too. Im just wonderin about the rpm and mpg cuz when i get it im takin a trip to meet my buddy in eulonia Georgia. Its a 390 mile 6 hour drive from lake worth FL to Eulonia GA. And i gotta figure how many im probaly gonna have too stop for that distance since it has no fuel gauge and no tach lol. Any pointers for long distance riding?
Image

Image
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 778
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby Triangles » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:06 pm

I'm fairly happy with the bluetooth thing I got off fleabay for less than $100. Search "Bluetooth interphone"

All '97+ vulcans are the LTD and all are identical except for paint color.

Fork tubes would be a concern on a higher mileage bike. I learned the hardway it doesn't take much in the way of pitts and scratches to require the inner fork tube be replaced. That price sounds about right. You could spend a few hundred more and find one with fewer miles. Also, I'd want to know how old the tires are. Rubber hardens (and therefore less grip) with age. Taken care of these engines go 100K miles plus.

Drive till you run out of gas, then flip to reserve, you have 30-40 miles to find a gas station. 120mi min out of a tank if you're haulin or have a strong headwind. at 60-70 you should get 140ish miles out of a tank. Windshields dont affect mileage much since if it doesn't hit the shield it hits you.

hope some of this makes sense, i need sleep.
ImageImage

sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby sikatrix500cc » Mon Feb 06, 2012 3:24 am

So it being,2000 it is and LTD. is that good or bad? Lol and the front forks are 6 months old. And the rear tire was brand new. It has ok tread on the front and doesmt look hhard or dry rotted so idk. And cool aboit the bluetooth., Sleep? Whats that? Being a insomniac I dont sleep but maybe 3 dayts a week... It sucks man, I just sont get tired. And 140 sounds pretty good for range. Means ill only have to stop 2 maybe 3 times to get up there. His vlx 600 has 2.9 gallons so thats gonna coming back down lol.,once we get back were both getting bigger sprockets for the front and 40t rears for better mpg and lower rpm's. On our first tank when we leave our houses were putting,high test fuel with a cap full of additive ( what kind would u suggest) to clean it up good. I gotta sunoco down the street thats got I believe 100 octane gas. Ill,probaly get that to aid the additive in cleaning out the crap and carbon build up. I heard that lucas upper cylinde lube inthe gas works good to rid carbon from the engine. The PO used standard oil with amsoil additive. Is that good? Can I convert it too synthetic? Whats your views about lucas's fueel, oil additive and gear lube for motorcycles? I used to the lucas oil stabilizer and upper cylinder in,all the vehicles and my old sailboat diesel and they worked phenominally well. I saw a guy run lucas in a generator motor for an hour, drain all the oil, and run it fir another hour bone dry. It was nuts but I was sold right there. In my cars it increased my mpg a bit and the engine quieted wayyyy down. My dad did use the lucas uoper cylinder lube in his gokdwing 1800 and it didnt like it very much. He went and filled up with high test and it fixed it lol is there a way to clean the carbon more thoroughly than using gas additives? Wonder if they make a spark booster like msd does for gas to better spark. My dad wants to know if you can tell him if he can go darkside with his 1992 kawasaki vulcan 88 1500cc bike. and if u can suggest a brand and tire size for him. I kniw its not a 500 but I figured id just,toss it out for suggestions.
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

sikatrix500cc
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:32 pm
I ride: 2000 Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Location: West palm beach florida
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby sikatrix500cc » Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:30 am

But it turns out the lady (that is in south america) heard from one of her friends that the guy sellin the 500 for her that i wanted for $1600 has been sold not sure if it has but idk. I was slowly saving to get it but not fast enough i guess. But the lady wants to keep talkin to me and be my pen pal and tell her about the rides i do in the future and send pictures and stuff. Shes 66 years old and loved her 500 but couldnt ride it there cuz she said the pot holes are too bad and most could swallow a vw bug haha. but she used to drive hers from wpb, fl to leesburg which is a good 200 miles on the 500. which is impressive considering her age. Shed strap the T-bag to the sissy bar and roll up a towel put a bungie cord threw it and strap it to the bike behind her but in fron the the bag for back support and shed lean back and put her feet on the highway bar/pegs and cruise all the way there. smart lady haha... anyways since the bike is probaly sold i got a few open for suggestions im lookin at now.... http://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/mcy/2812016824.html http://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/mcy/2810947997.html http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/mcy/2804161473.html or http://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/mcy/2829136454.html ..... If i cant find one i truly like do you guys know how good the bigger vulcans are? the 750, 700, 800, 900, 1500, 1600... i want it to be at least as fast as the 500 but i dont think anything under 900 would cut it lol. what u guys think?
Thanks,
Will aka "sik"

User avatar
Triangles
Site Admin
Posts: 778
Joined: Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:35 pm
I ride: '94 Black Cherry Vulcan 500, '06 Candyfire Red Vulcan 500 LTD
Location: Toledo Ohio
Contact:

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby Triangles » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:28 pm

My opinion is that oil is oil. Synthetics last longer, but I change my oil frequently enuff that it's a waste of money for synthetics. There's no reason not to switch to synthetic or back. BEWARE OF OIL ADDITIVES!!! Many contain friction modifiers that while they may be good for your engine they are VERY BAD for your clutch!!! I view most addatives as snake oil. I don't know much about the lucas stuff, but I imagine it would be bad for your clutch. About the only "snake oil" i've used is Seafoam. But I really haven't used it on my bikes. It's good for cleaning out a carboned up engine. Feed it directly (slowly!) into the air intake on a hot engine, then shut off the engine while its fogging, Let it sit awhile for the seafoam to work it's magic, then start it up again and feed it a little more seafoam and run the engine till it stops fogging.

The 700 and 750's are the same except displacement. More low end torque, but the 500 has more high rpm power and can easily beat either. They are lower maintenance than the 500. I don't know much about the others.

There's a darkside forum out there that I can't remember what the URL is. Maybe burkbuilds could chime in and let us know. They might be able to give you info on running darkside.
ImageImage

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Oil of choice? synthetic or regukar? long trip questions

Postby burkbuilds » Tue Feb 07, 2012 10:05 pm

I've put over 15,000 miles on a BF Goodrich T/A Radial on the rear and I'm very happy with it. Just going by my tread wear so far I should get 25 - 30,000 miles out of

this tire. It did take about 1,500 miles for it to "break in" and start flexing enough when you lean so it no longer felt like you had a flat spot in the upright position and

an "edge" when you leaned. If you put a lot of miles on a bike it is nice not to have to change tires every six months or so, and at about $70 it's a lot less expensive to

buy than a MC tire.

I wouldn't lower a 500, I scrape the kickstand a lot as it is, I don't think it would be ride-able for me at 235 lbs if mine was lowered.

Oil, my general philosophy is to stay with the same oil an older vehicle has been using. Sometimes switching from conventional to synthetic can give you some

problems because the synthetics are by nature "high detergent" and will dissolve stuff that may have built up inside your engine freeing it up to cause potential

problems. You sometimes hear someone complain that they started using synthetics in an older engine and it started to leak oil. That is generally because the

conventional oil had built up deposits over worn out seals and the synthetic dissolved the solids exposing the old seals which then leaked, but I don't believe the

synthetic is causing damage to the seals, only dissolving the old deposits and exposing already worn out seals, but either way, you then have to replace them or put up

with leaking oil. I've never heard of anyone having problems switching the other way, from synthetic to conventional. I personally run Shell Rotella in everything I own

from lawnmowers to my wife's Nissan Cube, my 1981 F-100 and both my motorcycles.


I've never had a problem with a FRAM filter or a Motorcraft or any major name brand, however, I've had a "store brand" filter strip off while hand tightening it, and

upon examination I found it only had three complete revolutions to the threads, so I always check to see that it has way more threads than that before I put any filter

on anything I own. I change my motorcycle oil every 2,500 miles and my filters every other oil change.

As for comparing other bikes to the 500, I've got a 750 Vulcan and I really like it. Handles the curves better than the 500, has a lot more low end torque and I like the

sound of the V twin. It also has self adjusting valves and shaft drive which are both nice to have and rare to find on anything below about 1500 cc's anymore. The

500 gets significantly better gas mileage, runs smoother at highway speeds and has a slightly larger gas tank for fewer stops. When I run about 65 mph I go about

155 miles before I hit reserve on the 500. You won't harm the 500 by maintaining a higher speed, but your gas mileage will drop off significantly the faster you go

above 65 -70 mph. I prefer the 500 on the long trips and the Interstate and the 750 in the mountains and twisties and around town. They are both great bikes but

they are very different. If you get a chance, ride them both and several other bikes until you find the one that you like to ride.

Good luck. :D


Return to “Maintenance”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest