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TOPIC: 6000 miles between oil changes??

6000 miles between oil changes?? 09 Sep 2019 20:46 #810615

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That’s what the owners manual for my 1990 zr550 recommends. I’ve been changing oil every 3K miles, but now I’m wondering if that’s overkill. Then again, I do thrash the poor thing pretty regularly...

1990 Zephyr zr550 B1
Factory Pro Stage 1 jet kit
zx550 cams
SPII ignition system
Kerker stainless steel race exhaust with 1.5" competition baffle
K&N Air Filter...
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6000 miles between oil changes?? 10 Sep 2019 06:53 #810632

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Probably overkill if you are using a high quality filter. Modern oils are much better than oils of old, especially if you are using a synthetic.
1982 KZ1000 LTD parts donor
1981 KZ1000 LTD awaiting resurrection
2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough

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Last edit: by TexasKZ.

6000 miles between oil changes?? 10 Sep 2019 09:34 #810643

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TexasKZ wrote: Probably overkill if you are using a high quality filter. Modern oils are much better than oils of old, especially if you are using a synthetic.


Yeah, that's what I'm gathering from googling. I think the older z's recommended more frequent changes, but maybe those would be fine with longer intervals as well given improvements in oil technology.

My bike is also burning quite a bit of oil at this point, 1/2 liter per 1000 miles, so I'm adding fresh oil to the mix pretty often. I could probably go even longer than the recommended interval, but I'd rather not chance it.
1990 Zephyr zr550 B1
Factory Pro Stage 1 jet kit
zx550 cams
SPII ignition system
Kerker stainless steel race exhaust with 1.5" competition baffle
K&N Air Filter...

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 10 Sep 2019 16:46 #810659

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I think that as oil breaks down it gets thinner and gets past the seals easier.
Are you burning or leaking?
What type of oil are you using?
78 KZ1000 A2A

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Last edit: by bluej58.

6000 miles between oil changes?? 10 Sep 2019 17:36 #810662

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I think your usage is within acceptable limits.
1982 KZ1000 LTD parts donor
1981 KZ1000 LTD awaiting resurrection
2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 10 Sep 2019 19:01 #810670

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I'd change it sooner than 6k unless you are using a high tech synthetic. I've got no real technical explanation for this opinion other than after changing the oil in my bike it feels smoother.

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 11 Sep 2019 07:05 #810692

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Not that I know anything about it, but I would have thought the longer intervals were more to do with better engine designs & improved mfg techniques. The Zephyr does have 4 rings per piston & maybe by then Kawasaki was able to make the cylinders & pistons n stuff to higher tolerances? Some KZs as early as at least 1983 had 4 rings, the 83 650-CSR for example. The first ZX600s had 4 rings & I bet just about every Kaw street bike since then.

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 11 Sep 2019 08:43 #810697

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A few quarts of oil and a filter is much cheaper than rebuilding an engine. I wouldn't go 6,000 miles between oil changes even though the manual shows that as the oil change interval. Ed
1977 KZ650-C1 Original Owner - Stock (with additional invisible FIAMM horn)

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 11 Sep 2019 09:08 #810700

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Kawasaki recommends an oil change interval of 6,000 km (3,728.4 miles) for my water cooled 2000 ZRX1100. It does have a three-piece oil control ring and tighter tolerances than your typical air-cooled four banger.
What I also find interesting is that if I follow the oil change intervals in the fsm on the miles listed rather than the km, the oil change interval varies from 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
1982 KZ1000 LTD parts donor
1981 KZ1000 LTD awaiting resurrection
2000 ZRX1100 not ridden enough

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Last edit: by TexasKZ.

6000 miles between oil changes?? 14 Sep 2019 11:48 #810836

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Depends on how long one is planning on keeping any vehicle. If you trade vehicles every 5 years, who cares? (I do)

The manufacturers only recommend what is enough, not what is best.

I plan for the long, long haul on all vehicles therefore I change oil every 3K miles on all, even though their recommendation may be 5K miles or even 7K miles....and use expensive synthetic oil at that.

.....recently changed valve cover gaskets in my 20 year-old truck and the rockers looked shiny pristine. Have seen same rockers in same other engines as old as mine and the rockers looked dark brown, full of thick sludge. I'll keep my 3K miles intervals and driving/riding same old vehicles.

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 14 Sep 2019 13:56 #810842

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Being air cooled motors, the oil is used for lubrication, but also for some amount of cooling too. If you spend a lot of time in stop and go traffic, city traffic, or run your bike hard, I would change oil more often than what that manual suggest.

In all the Kawasaki motorcycles I owned or had as demos I NEVER ran the oil and filter more than a 1,000 miles before I changed it. Most of my friends that still have Kz's in their collection would never think of running more than a 1,000 to maybe 1,500 miles before they change it!!!!! The factory Porsche shop manuals for the air cooled flat 4's and 6's (356, and 911 models) recommend the oil be changed at 1,500 kilometers. Which is a bit less than 1,000 miles I believe!!!!

This is the Spectro oil I have been running since back in 1986. My Kz1000 motors show ZERO wear on cams, shim buckets, or cam bearings!!! On my GSXR750 motors, ZERO wear on the cam lobes and the rocker arm pads!!! Which are a major wear problem on that type of motor.


Good $hit Maynard!!!!
1972 H2 750 Cafe Racer built in 1974.
1976 KH400 Production Road Racer.
1979 Kz1000 MK. II Old AMA/WERA Superbike.
1986 RG500G 2 stroke terror.
1986 GSXR750RG The one with the clutch that rattles!

Up in the hills near Prescott, Az.
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Last edit: by Dr. Gamma.

6000 miles between oil changes?? 14 Sep 2019 14:16 #810843

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Dr. Gamma wrote: .................... In all the Kawasaki motorcycles I owned or had as demos I NEVER ran the oil and filter more than a 1,000 miles before I changed it. ...........


Thank you! I was beginning to think I was the only one who changed the oil & filter in the KZ that often. Ed
1977 KZ650-C1 Original Owner - Stock (with additional invisible FIAMM horn)
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Last edit: by 650ed.

6000 miles between oil changes?? 14 Sep 2019 14:44 #810844

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Bob is the Oil guy has a great forum where lots of guys get oil analysis performed on their used oil to see how much metal there is from wear as well as a look at the break down of viscosity and acid buffers. Main take away from this is that most guys change their oil too often (including me.) Changing the oil before it's starting to break down and the acid buffers are gone is basically a waste of money and it won't reduce engine wear one bit. Personally I'd rather run a high ZDDP oil and leave it in the crankcase longer than change a cheaper oil more often. That said, I run diesel oil in my bikes and they seem to like it fine. I don't think KZ's are particular about oil for the most part so we got that much going for us.

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6000 miles between oil changes?? 14 Sep 2019 14:48 #810845

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650ed wrote:

Dr. Gamma wrote: .................... In all the Kawasaki motorcycles I owned or had as demos I NEVER ran the oil and filter more than a 1,000 miles before I changed it. ...........


Thank you! I was beginning to think I was the only one who changed the oil & filter in the KZ that often. Ed


Fresh oil and filter is cheap insurance in my book. I like to keep the inside of my motors as clean as when they were new!!!! I can't believe some of the KZ motors I have seen. They had that very same awful brownish color like the inside the valve covers and heads of a small block Chevy with 150, 000 miles on it!!!!
1972 H2 750 Cafe Racer built in 1974.
1976 KH400 Production Road Racer.
1979 Kz1000 MK. II Old AMA/WERA Superbike.
1986 RG500G 2 stroke terror.
1986 GSXR750RG The one with the clutch that rattles!

Up in the hills near Prescott, Az.

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Last edit: by Dr. Gamma.

6000 miles between oil changes?? Yesterday 18:07 #810900

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Always changed my oil every 1000 . Always run them hard cheep insurance .
Gpz 750 turbo The one I ride
Gpz 750 turbo Not finished
Gpz 750 turbo Not started
Gpz 550 1981
Gpz 550 1983
Bunch of other junk

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6000 miles between oil changes?? Yesterday 19:00 #810908

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I used to change mine about every 10th pass down the 1/4 mile track. I don't really remember why I did that, but my motor never had issues of any kind back in that day. I always used full synthetic for that purpose as it definitely made a difference in over all performance ...

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6000 miles between oil changes?? Today 07:30 #810923

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A number of years back Consumers Reports tested oil change interval in a fleet of NY city taxi cabs. Severe duty. Some cabs got 3000 mile changes and others 6000 mile changes and there was no difference in wear after 60k miles. This test also showed that there was no difference in wear comparing the 20 different oil's tested. Good factual information. The XS11 site has a copy of this article in case anyone wants more info.

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Last edit: by Nessism.
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