Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

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schrader7032
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by schrader7032 »

A guy recently posted on the BMW MOA forum about fluid analysis labs around the country. He's a fluid technician for Shell Oil who does this sort of work for the company. He mentioned googling fluid analysis and finding places to do the work. He did mentioned specifically "Analysts Inc" in Marrietta, GA. Probably costs $15 for a fluids analysis report.

I work for a research company who also does oil analysis on contract to other clients. A number of years ago, I "slipped in" a couple of different quarts of fresh oil for analysis. I had been using Quaker State 20w50 oil at the time and wanted to see how it compared to BMW's oil. At the time, there were several articles written for the BMW MOA magazine about similar analyses for a wide range of dino and synth oils. I wanted to see where Quaker State fit in. It was interesting...it convinced me to switch to BMW's oil.

Oil analysis can be quite valuable, either for look at base properties or looking for unwanted elements that might signal an internal engine problem.

Kurt in S.A.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

EuroIron
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by EuroIron »

it's valid and I consider it very informative

my guess is that MOST of the bmw speculation crowd will still continue to be more heavily prodded to dig deeper

by the addition of every single piece of gratuitous chrome bolt on gee gaw you can put on a Earls bike

and other truly non-substantive items

maybe some cool BMW signed caps for your inner tube valve stems

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schrader7032
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by schrader7032 »

my guess is that MOST of the bmw speculation crowd will still continue to be more heavily prodded to dig deeper

by the addition of every single piece of gratuitous chrome bolt on gee gaw you can put on a Earls bike

and other truly non-substantive items

maybe some cool BMW signed caps for your inner tube valve stems

:?: I'm not sure I see where you're going with this... :?:

Kurt in S.A.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

EuroIron
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by EuroIron »

nowhere

just an observation based on what I see and have learned

still baffled as to why anyone would think they need a "nerf" bar on a solo bike and try to convince me it's actual purpose is to get the bike up on the center stand....... that and several other little quips I find most amusing

you didn't happen to see that horrible R50/2 fetch 15K the second time on ebay did you? the one with the electric motor wire wheeled cases and brake backing plates

nothing rational about that at all.....

btw........ doing the tranny and final drive juice is a good idea too

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schrader7032
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by schrader7032 »

...OK...just trying to keep up!

BTW...I thought this was a no farkle zone? :wink:

Kurt in S.A.
Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

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Peter
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by Peter »

Good idea in my opinion, also included the other juices as suggested final drive, gearbox etc. I have worked for both ExxonMobil and Komatsu and this form of fluid analysis is standard practice at most service intervals. It provides the best early warning system.

My suggestions is to ring BMW corporate and ask their recommendation as to who is best able to provide the service, often the lab will send you the sample bottles to fill and a return express airbag or similar. If BMW are unable to recommend then ask the oil companies like Shell or Exxon.

What you need is not only the analysis but more so the interpretation of the analysis, i.e. the results of the oil analysis may for instance state that engine oil contains xyz parts per million of copper but what does this mean in real terms, is it high or average and if it is high what are the likely causes.

Let us know how it goes, should be very interesting.
R42, R12, R51/3, R69S

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Peter
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by Peter »

P.S if anyone has a few spare I would love a set of the "cool BMW signed caps for your inner tube valve stems"
R42, R12, R51/3, R69S

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niall4473
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by niall4473 »

Hi all,
Sorry to intrude upon this erudite discussion, but it seems to me that no-one has answered Haole11s' question although Peter got close, its knowing what the traces in the oil relate to and comparing them to previous results and looking for trends that gives an answer. Having worked in engineering maintenance all my adult life I know a little about this and have used it myself, though with steam turbines, not bike engines.
Yes its a very useful tool, but only if you have the knowledge to interpret the information you get back. IMHO one sample is meaningless and if you're changing your oil as often as you should in one of these bikes, then if you can pick up a trend that leads you to believe that your mains are on the way out in the lifetime of one oil change, then you would be better off listening to the steel band playing a gig in the motorgehause. If you want an analysis of new oil in order to choose a brand then OK but taking a single sample to determine the level of wear in a bike motor is like taking a photograph of your bike, sending it to a mechanic and asking him whether that noise at 6000rpm is valve float or small end ring. My own personal advice would be either :- dismantle the bike, measure everything, and assess the state of each component, OR ride the damn bike, carry out proper maintenance at the correct intervals, and worry when it starts to knock or squeal then deal with it. Honestly these are some of the toughest bikes ever built and will go on for years, but if you're going to ride them then they will wear out, and if you're not, then they're just ornaments. Riding a bike and preserving its originality at the same time is an oxymoron.

incidentally;
still baffled as to why anyone would think they need a "nerf" bar on a solo bike and try to convince me it's actual purpose is to get the bike up on the center stand....... that and several other little quips I find most amusing
EuroIron, whats a nerf bar when its at home?
Oil is always cheaper than metal

Allan.Atherton
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by Allan.Atherton »

... its knowing what the traces in the oil relate to and comparing them to previous results and looking for trends that gives an answer. Having worked in engineering maintenance all my adult life I know a little about this and have used it myself, though with steam turbines, not bike engines.... On my navy ship, we would send off oil from the turbines and reduction gears for analysis, and it was the trend that counted. For instance, after a few years, it was normal for the oil to have high concentrations of metals. As long as the increase was slow and steady, it was normal. A big jump of one metal or another might indicate a problem. A single snapshot analysis did not tell you enough to make a decision. The capacity was hundreds of gallons and the oil was normally only changed in when the ship came in for overhaul every few years.

EuroIron
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Motorcycle Oil Analysis - Spectrographic Analysis

Post by EuroIron »

they always had "bmw" caps at the dealership but I am sure I have seen them at some of the aftermarket retail parts stores

nerf bar..........

not sure what Han's called them, perhaps it had sidecar in it's name, but just a loop over the rear fender whose only possible use on a bike with only a solo seat is nothing...

well maybe could bungie cord the neighbor's cat to it

intended use is for an assist handle when a hack is attached

especially nice on a hack machine that doesn't have reverse gear

try using one to get one of these bikes on the center stand

race bikes had them so the pusher had a handy place to to latch onto the bike being started


bike new to you.......... do or don't know the history and you want a better idea of what is there other than how the fluids look and smell

analysis is a great benchmark

now let me expand on that.........

most speculators and enthusiasts couldn't give two sheats about such truly substantive info, when have you ever seen a vintage BMW advertised giving truly useful blueprint and benchmark information?

like actual valve seat widths....... compression and leak down numbers

no you just see "Sew and Sew built my engine" and that is good enough for most who are more interested in how shiny a bike is as opposed to the unknown and therefore cannot be disclosed reality that the engine likely only had the 45 degree seats lapped and no throating or topping cuts........ and it leaks down 20+% because it does not have modern rings, instead of an easily attainable 2%.......... which also is a much more desirable number to have as far as a benchmark since small changes are easily recognized

a decent engine can run a long time at 20% and at a change virtually unmeasurable........... can just as easily become an oil pumping pig

I think a book could be written on the rationale and mindset of vintage BMW enthusiasts and it would be a very interesting read

now go take a look at the R50 I mention, objectively process the info included as well as what all pertinent has been omitted....... and ask how could any rational person ........

well you'll figure it out but I could certainly fill volumes with similar examples

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