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Mobil 1 Examined
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Mobil 1 Examined

There are two basic varieties to Mobil 1. The lighter viscosity oils are marked "energy saving" or words to this effect; and are "SJ" rated oils. These oils have lower levels of zinc and phosphorous, and should not be used in your Venture.

Mobil has introduced a specific Mobil 1 for motorcycles, which costs more than twice as much as the previous Mobil 1 SH 15w-50 used by many Venture riders. The Mobil 1 SH 15w-50 has been superseded by Mobil 1 SJ 15w-50 "Tri-Synthetic Formula". Jeffrey P. DiCarlo wrote an article for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America News in their October newsletter.  The article publishes the results of oil samples submitted to an independent testing laboratory for zinc and phosphorous level measurements. The laboratory used was National Tribology Services, Inc. of Peabody, Mass. A Rotrode Filter Spectroscopy was used to measure zinc and phosphorous levels in the samples submitted. The number of samples and how they were purchased was not disclosed.

Zinc and phosphorous are prime anti-wear additives, which provide metal-to-metal protection. This is of particular importance to motorcycles such as the Venture, which use motor oil in their gearboxes. When the new SJ oil grade was introduced in 1996, phosphorous levels for 0W-20 through 10W-30 (Mobil's energy-saving grades) were required to be reduced from 1200ppm (parts per million) to less than 1000ppm maximum. The 15w-50 oils were not required to meet this level. One stated purpose of the reduced phosphorous level is to reduces catalytic converter contamination. Following is a listing of test results for Mobil 1 oil:

Phosphorous zinc
Mobil 1 SH 15w-50 1095ppm          1427ppm
Mobil 1 SJ 15w-50 1058ppm    1348ppm
Mobil 1 V-Twin 20w-50 1084ppm  1377ppm
Motorcycle oil
Mobil 1 10w-30`(energy saving) 835ppm 955ppm

In the author's opinion, the additive packages in Mobil 1 SH and SJ 15w-50 and the new motorcycle oil for phosphorus and zinc are almost the same.

Rey Kirkman


Last update: 03:20 PM Sunday, September 26, 2004

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