Fork oil, what is the difference from motor oil? - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Question Fork oil, what is the difference from motor oil?

I noticed some time ago in the Clymer manual that it warns against mixing used fork oil with motor oil if it is to be recycled. I do not recall this ever being mentioned on any threads I have read here. Does anyone know what the difference is between these two oils?

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 07:03 AM
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I've read where some have used olive oil as fork oil. You never know just what was used unless you put it in there.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 01:42 PM
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I have not heard anything about mixing the two oils as regards to recycling it. I always figured any impurities in the motor oil get cooked out when they re-refine it.

I mixed my oils when I recycled them so I hope it does not create a big problem, but the incredibly small amount of fork oil present would seem to be a minor concern...unless EVERYONE rode bikes and dumped fork oil in their re-cycled motor oil.

And, what do they do with that recycled oil anyway?


You should not use anything other than fork oil in your forks. I know some have suggested using ATF fluid , (that being an old post we do not want to return to...lol) because you can not be sure of an oils "weight", and even fork oils from diffrerent makers labeled 15w for instance can differ.
90 percent of the fork rebuilders use Bel Ray fork oil because over time they know what to expect from it.

As for the differences between motor oil and fork oil, the way they measure the "weight" is completely different, and fork oil has additives to keep it from "foaming" , plus other additives directly needed in the fork enviroment. ( stuff to keep it stabilized when cold and hot and shaken, stuff to prevent rust and protect rubber seals, etc...

I think a call to a place that recycles oil might shed more light here of course.......

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 05:26 PM
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Here where I work, we sell the oil from the trucks. In it goes engine oil, trans oils (synthetics and regular), addetives that have been added to the oil. It is all hauled off in the same tank. Some time anti-freeze gets mixed in.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-20-2008, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I was just curious about why you couldn`t use motor oil in the forks, and KM answered that pretty well.

I know the used oil is re-refined as niterider mentioned, and used in many products. The more impurities and foreign substances there are would require more processes and time and therefore be more costly to produce. But I don`t know what those chemicals would be in fork oil. I do know this nr, that they really do not like anti-freeze in the mix.

Going a little off topic, my second cousin owns a small fleet of a dozen or so highway tractors that haul crude oil from the well sites to terminals. 15 or 20 years ago he had two 45 gallon (55 US gal) drums of used motor oil he wanted to dispose of, and just dumped them in a tanker full of crude oil. A couple of days later he got a call from the refinery company wanting to know if he knew how used oil got mixed into the crude, so he told them. They said in the future if he had used oil, to call them and it would be picked up, but under no circumstances was it to be mixed with crude again. I don`t know just exactly how big a problem it caused, but they did not want it to happen again.

Thanks for weighing in on this, I have been enlightened.

Gordon

1991 VN 750 -"Cosmic Lady" or "Bad Girl"?
Purchased May 16, 2008
Approx.19,300km (12,000 miles)

H-D windshield
Relocated R/R
MF-AGM battery
Fiamm Freeway Blaster horns
F&S luggage rack and engine guard
Kury Offset Hiway pegs
July 13, 2016, Riding on the DARKSIDE now, Classic Radial 165/80-15


TOP TEN THINGS A NEW RIDER/OWNER SHOULD DO. Click on link.
https://www.vn750.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9127
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 02:03 PM
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Up here they will pick up used oil by the 55 gal (US) drum for free, but if it has any impurities (antifreeze) they charge $500 per barrel. I believe they sell the used motor oil to companies who burn the oil for heat or to be used in the coal power plant. The antifreeze clogs up the jets and means they have to shut down the heater to service the machine.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2008, 02:08 PM
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also...antifreeze is harder to separate from the oil than water.
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