View Full Version : Which type of oil?

08-13-2001, 11:49 PM
I'm curious about which kind of oil I should or can put in my 400. It is alright to use motor oil for cars or do you have to use a motorcycle specific oil? I feel dumb for asking that, but out of personal convience it'd be eaiser to go a couple miles to an auto parts store or wal-mart to buy oil than to go into the next town where the delership is. Of course if it's going to mess up my engine I'd rather drive the extra miles rather than tear up my engine. Thanks for your help.

08-14-2001, 08:47 AM
OK, here is the deal. Go to your local Wal-Mart. In the oil section you will see some Mobil 1 synthetic motorcyle oil. Buy two quarts. End of story.:cool:

08-14-2001, 01:14 PM
Well put knighttime....:D :D :D :D :D

But ya forgot to mention the oil filter,,,,I'll let ya slide this time...

Order your filter from denniskirk, james lucky, or rockymountain atv,,,much much cheaper,,plus you can buy them in bulk and not have to worry about buying anymore for a long time...:D

08-14-2001, 06:12 PM
thanks rico. is there any specific brand or weight you prefer, if so why? god that sounds like an essay question from high school but i'm curious. thanks again:macho

08-14-2001, 07:21 PM
I use 15/50 Mobil 1 synthetic. You want to use the thicker oil since it breaks down easy. Especially in the summer time when it gets hot. In the winter i would run somthing a little thinner. I also use EMGO oil filters. You can get those from JC whitney for 1.99. I usually buy like 10 and that last me a long long time.


08-15-2001, 09:32 AM
Just buy the freakin oil from Wal-Mart and be done with it. The Mobil 1 synthetic motorcylce oil only comes in one viscosity!:grr

08-15-2001, 09:40 AM
The Mobil1 15w50 is different from the v-twin motorcycle oil, which is a 20w50 (i think). The 15w50 is about half the price of the v-twin, which runs $7.99 a quart. I have run both and had great results with either. I am running the v-twin stuff right now because it is so friggin hot in Texas. I have used it several rides now and it hasn't changed color at all. You can't go wrong with either of these. I'll change back to the 15w50 when the temps drop a little.

08-15-2001, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by knighttime
Just buy the freakin oil from Wal-Mart and be done with it. The Mobil 1 synthetic motorcylce oil only comes in one viscosity!:grr

...WORD! I'm running the same stuff and after you run the quad on a hot day, you can pull the dip stick out and actually see oil sticking to it. Unlike the other oils I've tried...


08-16-2001, 09:49 AM
Originally posted by FoxRacing400EX
thanks rico. is there any specific brand or weight you prefer, if so why? god that sounds like an essay question from high school but i'm curious. thanks again:macho

I use the mobil 1 V-twin synthetic 20w-50,,but it's hard on the wallet at 8 bucks a quart:mad:

08-16-2001, 08:19 PM
Owning a shop I hate to see folks running to walmart and buying their Mobil 1. A little history about Mobil 1. These guys decided to come out with a motorcycle specific oil because everyone else was doing it. Guess what they never sold it in a motorcycle shop, just auto parts and walmart. The next time you have a tech question ask the lady that stocks the oil shelves at walmart to solve your problems. The big money is not just for the oil but everything else you can gain at a shop. I personally recommend and use nothing but MAXIMA 15-50 full synthetic in all my 4 stroke machines. Thats the oil I use in my everyday shop usage. I have never had an oil related failure in a 2 or 4 stroke using maxima oils. I have personally seen the results of car oil used in motorcycles. Just recently I rebuilt a 98 VN1500 that had a mere 26k miles on it. The owner had never used anything but castrol 20-50. The oil cost him 1800 bucks. Oil is very cheap insurance. Buy the best and change it often. Oh and support your shop, theres a lot more there than just a bunch of eggheads trying to sell you a new quad, you may have to be smart enough to explore it. As for the oil filters I use EMGO, they are as good as the oem and a lot cheaper. You can check out cheap prices at the web site below.


08-16-2001, 09:17 PM
I like to support my local shops as well........I would rather pay 2.00 more per quart than stand in line at walmart.


08-16-2001, 09:20 PM
Anything from a department store would scare me!
I use strickly Amsoil

If you look at the wear scar test Amsoil puts out mobil 1 falls short to superior oils like amsoil.

Royal Purple is another fine oil!

08-17-2001, 08:33 AM
I understand how motorcycle shops would not like people buying oil at Wal-Mart. But tough luck. This is the USA and competition rules. I've found that the motorcycle shops around me have a bad selection, inflated prices, and I personally don't need some technician explaining to me what oil I need to use, its just not that difficult to figure out.:cool:

But I do like going to motorcycle shops and I do give them business.

08-17-2001, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by knighttime
I understand how motorcycle shops would not like people buying oil at Wal-Mart. But tough luck. This is the USA and competition rules. I've found that the motorcycle shops around me have a bad selection, inflated prices, and I personally don't need some technician explaining to me what oil I need to use, its just not that difficult to figure out.:cool:

But I do like going to motorcycle shops and I do give them business.

no flame intended here...........I have done shopping in PA for many things...........I don't remember any shopping experiences that were pleasant :o

08-18-2001, 07:32 PM
I have to agree with Knighttime on this one too. Personally, I dont like to be dependant on other people telling me what I should run when I can just do the research myself. Some of the shops in our local area (wont same the name) are absolutely horrible! One example:

I walked into this shop to the parts/service counter to pick up some oil changing items. They were confused when I asked for the o-rings and the crush gaskets. I had to take the parts/service guy out to the showroom to show him where they went....(This next statement was a kick in the *ss)....he began to ask me "have you flushed out the cooling system?" I gave him a strange stare. He proceeded to show me that the 400EX was liquid cooled and pointed to the oil cooler, thinking it was a radiator!!!! I turned around and just left....I went to another dealership where I bought my quad to buy the items I wanted. This is a TRUE story...

Just one example of why I dont walk into ANY local shop and ask for advice unless I KNOW the guy. If not, I'll do it myself everytime.

Also I would like to add, I DO order ALL my parts through my dealer (the one I bought my quad from)....Whenever possible, I DO support my local dealer.

Sorry for the rant....do not take it as any kind of flame...just had to get it off my chest ;)


08-18-2001, 09:13 PM
vwvr6,i know what you mean.back when i bought my warrior i eventually bought a pipe for it and wanted to rejet.i went to the dealer where i bought the quad and asked for a few sizes up and down from stock and the lady at the parts counter asked me what size was stock.:huh well i couldn't say for sure because i was new to the quad.she ended getting pissed at because i didn't know the stock size jet and told me she couldn't help me because she didn't know what size it was either:rolleyes: so i picked up a service manual off the counter right in front of her and showed her what size it was.:grrhonest to god,this was the owners wife and only counter person they have for as long as i can remember.it was the only yamaha shop within 30 miles or TRUST ME,i would have gone elseware.:mad:

08-19-2001, 02:20 AM
yeah while my friend just got a 99 yz 400 3 mounths ago and he wanted to change the oil so he asked the guy for oil for it cause it was his first bike...the guy gave him like the lightest oil they had and now i'm replacing the crank for him cause the rod berring is now horribly shot and frozen...i never ask for advice...then i got this gold card for my 400 and i get free service at my dealership.everytime i get it done i end up connecting the crank case breath tube,airfilter and boots cause they are retarted or sumthing...when i pointed it out when i went to oick it up the manager said #@!*^%*@# and walked away

EX 80
08-19-2001, 08:33 AM
I use honda gn4 now, i bought AMS 20w-50 V twin oil. Would it damage anything if i still kept the ams in the cold weather?

08-19-2001, 09:21 AM
Personally with our weather where I live, I am changing my oil back to a lighter weight. I guess you could leave the 20-50 in, but make sure you allow enough time for the oil to warm up.


08-19-2001, 06:49 PM
Mobil 1 15w-50 is probabley the best for a 400ex.

08-19-2001, 09:13 PM
Thats a matter of opinion.
The fact is ams or royal purple is better.

You would also be better running the 10 40 in the winter.

08-19-2001, 09:57 PM
Yeh probabley but i'm gonna run the 15- 50 to see how it is. If it isn't what's a good 10-40. I don't want to go back to the junk honda oil.

08-20-2001, 06:41 AM
I wouldnt worry about it too much. If you store your quad in a heated garage...dont sweat it. Even if it is outside, just let it warm up a bit. Synthetic oil warms up to operating temp faster than conventional oil in most cases. In other words, if the 10-40 and the Mobil 15-50 were both say 30 degrees, the 15-50 would still protect better than the conventional 10-40 at lower temps. This is just from what I have read...not dealing with quads but high performance cars.


08-20-2001, 12:03 PM

Dont get me wrong, Im not saying Mobil is a bad oil, just not as superior as some others like amsoil.
A lot of guys on this site use mobil 1 with great results which speaks for itself.
Go to this web site and see the facts for yourself.

08-20-2001, 12:08 PM
try this,

08-20-2001, 02:02 PM
...notice that site is "An Independent Dealer of Amsoil oil".....just looks like the typical sales pitch you see on TV for all those "magical" oil additives....any good marketing team can make anything look good. I would look for an independent testing facility....someone who does NOT sell any products....just tests them.

Personally, the fact that Porsche and many other high performance cars (race cars included) come from the factory with Mobile 1 is enough reason for me. I'm sure those engineers know a bit more than we do. :)


08-20-2001, 02:17 PM
I use Mobil 1 15W-50W w/ no problems and is readily available at Walmart 7 days a week.

And I wouldn't bet $10 that the lady stocking the shelves at walmart knows less about quads than some of people at some of the shops. LOL

I patronize my dealership on a regular basis but I wouldn't trust them to do anything that isn't covered under warranty.

Nuff Said.


08-20-2001, 02:20 PM
I'm a mobil 1 user also,,in all my trucks and 4 wheeler but I'd bet those engineers at porsche, ferrari, and whoever else probably got their degrees out of a cracker jack box so what do they know...:D :D :D :D :D

08-20-2001, 02:24 PM
LOL...so what if they got it out of a Cracker Jack box! Its still a diploma isnt it??? ;) :D


08-20-2001, 07:36 PM
Check out motorcycle oil page gives some interesting comaprisons. Amsoil was the first synthetic oil on the market in 1972.

Regards,Motorcycle Oil Page (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/motorcycleaps.htm)

08-20-2001, 08:32 PM
synthetic 1,
Cant open the link????????????????
Anyone else able to get in?

08-20-2001, 08:40 PM
In response to your claim that its just another sales pitch.
Dont you think harley, mobil 1, and all the other subpar products used in there documented test would be filling the court rooms with lawyers sueing the pants off amsoil if the test werent even close to the truth.
come on.

08-20-2001, 09:58 PM
There are ways of conducting tests to get a required result without fudging any numbers...it happens ALL the time with those Infomercial products.... Now I'm not saying they did that, but there are MANY other oil tests out there other than the one they conducted on their website. Also, notice that ALL the other oils were 20-50 and the Mobil 1 was 15-40....Hmmmm why did they do that???? Lets make that test equal and then post the results. Like Rico, I run Mobil 1 in all my engines....never missed a beat. Now dont take this the wrong way, Amsoil is a VERY good oil, but I'm just saying Mobil 1 does a GREAT job protecting your engine too.

How much is Amsoil per quart?


08-21-2001, 05:51 AM
about 8.00 a qt.

08-21-2001, 06:14 AM
The tests employed by Amsoil are independent standardized test designed by an organization called ASTM (American Standards for Testing Methods) they are scientifically replicatable. If the results were manipulated or "fudged" or not accurate I am sure you would see law suits abound.

Viscosity: Think of W as winter not weight. The number associated with the W is indicative of how "pumpable" the oil is at colder temperatures and the second number describes the viscosity of the oil at operating temperatures. So a 5W-30 and a 10W-30 will behave the same way at operating temps. With a true synthetic you need not switch viscosities between seasons, the pour point characteristics of a 100% synthetic 20W-50 will easily suffice. Also, the the "heavier" grade oil you use doesn't equate to better protection. Look at the new 2001 Honda and Ford trucks and cars, the require a 5W-20 viscosity grade. The thinner viscosity translates into better fuel economy great wear protection. Look at the ASTM testing between the 10W-40 Amsoil and 20W-50, same resulsts: Tests (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/motorcycleoilpage.htm)


08-21-2001, 06:56 AM
Ok, you missed my point about the tests. I'm not saying they posted "false results" but, if they did a certain test UNDER a given condition, the result could be different each time. That is NOT false advertisement, as long as you can back up the test and perform it again, UNDER THOSE conditions...thats what i meant by fudging the numbers, because in my eyes, that SHOULD be false advertisement. So, why isnt Castrol Syntech one of the BEST oils out there???? Their advertisement on TV says it beat out ALL the other oils...well, according to your tests, it didnt... See what I mean.... too many different ways of testing oils.... Thats why I igonore most of these "internet" testing results....I'd rather base my pick on real world results. When I pull the dipstick, I like to see oil on it and not dripping like water (after running it in a HOT aircooled bike). I like to open up my engine after a few years and see it nice and clean without sludge all over the place...Mobile 1 has given me these results. Also you claim that 5w-20 protects very good.... you could not PAY me enough for me to put a 5w-20 in my 400ex... she'd eat that up for lunch. If you have looked through this site, you would know what most 400EX's will eat up any oil that is 10w-40 on a hot summer day. I want to see more test...lets see the breakdown temp, residue tests...etc. Notice how the Mobile 1 performs ALOT better now being 20w-50 rather than 15w-40. :)

Oh, are you employed by AMsoil? Just wondering....


08-21-2001, 07:07 AM
Castrol didn't name names. That is the difference. I wasn't recommending 5W-20 for that application, I was using it as an example to deter people away from thinking that heavier grade oils translates into better wear protection. I think Mobil 1 is a good synthetic oil and I think it is a much better choice than using a petroleum. However, I am just pointing out that Mobil 1 is not the best syntehtic available. Check out this article about synthetic motor oil as they relate to motorcycles (This happens to be more Harley specific) Thought you might find it interesting:

Article (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/articles.htm)

08-21-2001, 07:26 AM

Do you guys have a data sheet similar to this? http://www.mobil1mcoil.com/datasheet.htm

Also what do you guys recommend for ATV use? We need something that will work with our transmissions and clutches too. Any data on that?


08-21-2001, 09:01 AM
All this arguing! I just use Johnson's Baby Oil.

08-21-2001, 04:16 PM
No, this is not fighting. I just want some UNBIASED facts...thats all. Everyone is always asking what is the best oil, so I figured I might as well research this thing to the end. :)


08-21-2001, 04:41 PM
Eric, Thanks for the questions.

Amsoil's motorcycle lubricants (20W-50,10W-40) are both wet clutch compatible.

20W-50/10W-40 Motorcycle Oils (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/motorcycleoilpage.htm)

10W-40 Data (http://www.amsoil.com/products/amf.htm)

20W-50 Data (http://www.amsoil.com/products/amv.htm)

0W-40 Information (http://www.amsoil.com/products/aff.html)

Preferred Customer Pricing Per Quart/Retail Price
10W-40 $4.45/$5.70
20W-50 $4.90/$6.40
0W-40 $5.00/$6.35


08-21-2001, 04:53 PM
Thanks for the info Dave...


08-21-2001, 06:06 PM
If you have any questions about the information on either of the data sheets let me know. How far is Lancaster PA away from Butler?

08-21-2001, 06:57 PM
about 5-6 hours away....

09-18-2001, 08:04 PM
hey has anyone heard of , or used spectro oil? two shops in my area recomended it ,, if you have heard of or used it what do ya think? I may put it in my 400.......:confused:

09-18-2001, 08:36 PM
I broke my 400 in on spectro 10 -40 with good results. Then I switched to Amsoil 20 - 50 with good results too so far.
According to the Amsoil test data Spectro is one of the lower quality oils.
Heck I dont know I think this stuff has been beat to death and in my opinion any oil is good if you dont mix sand in with it.

09-26-2001, 03:56 PM
Much argueing about oil. I would like to throw a few ideas out to see how much fun all this is . David the Amsoil advocate should clarify some of his statements.( He's right,by the way.) Don't by more viscosity than you need! You are giving away free horsepower and not gaining anything. Check out the SAE web site for more oil tech.Society of Automotive Engineers. Don't run synthetic oil until your engine is completely broken in or your rings will never seat. Change often no matter what you choose to run. Buy from your dealer if He Earns Your Business! Not because of any other reason!He must have KNOWLEGEABLE help, decent selection,and reasonable prices.If we don't support our dealers,they won't be around to sell us our new toys.And finally has anyone tried Red Line synthetic.Many pro race teams run their products with great results.They also have a great web site.Please don't forget about the front and rear differentials on the 4X4 models. Synthetic gear lube works great there.

09-27-2001, 06:50 AM

A while back you said you were getting some good spec sheets from mobil 1. I was just wondering if you ever got them yet...if you did....whats it look like? Thanks...


09-27-2001, 08:20 PM
Now that you mention it, no. I will call them and find out whats up? It may be in the mail????
I'll post as soon as i get something.


09-28-2001, 06:30 AM
Ok, thanks!


10-02-2001, 11:19 AM
I use valvoline semisynthetic 10-40 and i found that wix filters makes filters for the 400ex and they come with a new rubber o ring for about 4 bucks

10-26-2001, 11:41 PM
Does the Mobil1 15-50 synthetic say "motorcycle oil" on it, or is it just regular car oil?

because I can find mobil 1 oil, but none of them say anything about motorcycles. I looked at Wal-Mart and a few auto parts stores.

10-29-2001, 06:23 PM
no you have to get the moto type at a auto zone or simular outlet.
By the way I just switched from amsoil to mobil 1 10 40 moto type and found my 400 to run hotter and noticable less power!
I will switch back to amsoil next spring!

Adam F
10-30-2001, 11:29 PM
im gonna go for Amsoil. I know lots of guys who swear by it for their cars/trucks. BTW, I just bought a 300ex tonight, and asked about changing oil. I asked where the oil filter was, he said " I think you dont have an oil filter, just a "screen" Geez. I found out by reading the manual, something he obviously diddnt do.

10-31-2001, 12:26 AM
O.k., so you've all convinced me to use this Amsoil stuff(which i've never heard of until today). So which kind do I use for my BRAND NEW 400EX?? The 4-stroke formula? the motorcycle formula? 0W-40? 10W-40? 20W-50? WHAT KIND?? I don't have any problems with using ONE grade in the winter, and ONE grade in the summer, but which one is which? I live in Washington, PA. So it is cold in the winters and hot in the summers just to give you an idea of what I"m looking for. Also, my quad is stored in a un-heated garage. Please help and clarify for me!!!!!!!! I've been wondering these questions for a very long time and can't get a straight answers. Thanks

10-31-2001, 06:18 AM
I would use our 0W-40 Four Stroke Oil all year long. A good synthetic has a high viscosity index which means the oil's viscosity remains stable during extreme temperature fluctuations. In fact, viscosity index is a very important characteristic that one should focus in on when examining lubricant product data sheets, (the higher the number the better)
OW-40 Four Stroke (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/4stroke.htm)

Changing viscosity grades to accomodate seasonal changes comes from a petroleum frame of reference. It is not neccessary with a synthetic. For instance, I use a 0W-30 grade oil in my wife's 98 Dodge Intrepid. (I change it every 30,000 miles by the way) Many people's first reaction is that because it is a "0" that means it is to thin and that it will not provide adequate wear protection. The number associated with the "W" is indicative of the cold cranking characterisitcs of the oil. Think of W as winter. The second number "30" is indicative of the way the oil will behave (viscosity) at operating temperatures. Hence, a 0W-30 and a 10W-30 share the same viscosity once the vehicle reaches operating temp. Our 10W-30 motor oil has a pour point of -54 degrees, and certainly would be sufficient for cold temperatures. However I use the 0W-30 because it provides me with the best fuel economy. It flows more readily during the brief period of time from start up to operating temperature. This equates to less friction and drag. *By the way, 2001 Ford and Hondas spec out a 5W-20 motor oil for all climates.

OW-30 (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/0w30.htm)

5W-20 (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/xl7500_5w20.htm)

If you would like for me to send you a catalog go to the link below and fill out the requested information. Please specify that you want ATV related information. Or you can call us at 1-800-782-3264 and request a catalog.

Catalog (http://www.synthetic-solutions.com/catalog.htm)


David Reid

10-31-2001, 03:50 PM
All of this is very interesting and from what I can see the overall accepted view is that a synthetic is better than a standard oil. It looks like a coin flip and a preference issue between the Mobil 1 and the Amsoil, with both products doing a very good job for those that use them. I have a new 400ex, 250ex and Yamah Warrior, we have gone through 2 tanks of gas over the past 2 months so I would assume (but asking anyway) that I can now safely change the oil and filters and go to a synthetic oil with no breakin problems.

I took the bikes to the dealer today for the initial 10hr check out and was floored when they told me it would cost $120 plus parts for each bike!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, I told them that I would rather do the work my self and just have them address the few minor items that the warranty would cover, such as broken flag mount weld on the 250ex and a reverse engagement issue with the warrior.

This looks to be a good forum, thanks for helping educate this old timer.

10-31-2001, 03:59 PM
synthetic1, Thanks for you help! It was GREATLY appreciated!! I ordered the catalog and info and will be purchasing products in the near future. thanks again.

what about the best oil filter for my 400ex??

11-01-2001, 05:56 AM
Need some help locating a part #. Can anyone out their give me the oil filter part # they are using for their 400EX? I saw where Liltazz was using a Wix. A Wix part # would be perfect.