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Poll: Castrol Activ 4T 20W-40

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  • 1 Post By kusmaker
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Thread: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

  1. #1
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    Default Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

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    This is a mineral, SAE 20W-40, API SL, JASO MA2 oil.
    Price: Rs. 295

    First things you notice on the pack (see attachments above):

    1. Continuous protection even when the engine is off!

    2. Mechanic coupon inside!

    So, perhaps you mechanic is suggesting this oil for that Rs. 10 coupon that he gets. Read this review and decide for yourself if this is the oil you'd want or not. This review also dissects the first claim above amongst other things to help you make an informed decision.

    Diclaimer: All of this is my personal views and I've nothing to with Castorl or Yamaha or anybody. I'm fairly inexperienced and have tested this oil only on my Yamaha FZ-S, including a 1100 km long ride.

    I bought the oil and asked the Service Center guy to put it instead of the recommended Yamalube grade. Initially, he told me that I've to write a letter that it is being done by my choice and not by the Service Center, but then he agreed. This incident made me feel nothing but good about Yamaha as a brand.
    As soon as I came out of the Service Center, I felt the shifting very smooth. Which is very common after an oil change, I believe, and I thought it would go away soon, just like what happens with Yamalube. But it stayed, and this is one of the most likeable things about this oil.
    1. Smoother shifting: Both up-shifts and blipping-down-shifts. (Pros)

    I also felt the throttle response to be pretty lethargic. It seemed that the oil had no friction. I had to wait for the rpms to catch-up even for a slight twist of wrist.
    2. Poor throttle response (Cons)

    Now, I'm somebody who uses a lot of engine-braking. I prefer blip-down-shift and wait to slow down rather than rear+front brake. Though I don't get it right 3 out of 10 times, yet this is how I ride. With this oil, I feel I need to be less precise, and the revs just match making the shifts smoother. But what I do not like is that the engine braking is less. I slow down lesser than how much I used to with Yamalube.
    3. Less engine braking. (Cons)

    And this difference is so new to get used to. I felt like riding an entirely new bike. With Yamalube I used to chop off the throttle, and suddenly slow down with a engine-braking-jerk. But nothing here.
    4. So, smoother engine braking. (Pros)

    The bike is quieter in the city. For the same rpms, however, it is much louder on the highway, when the engine is hot.
    5. Less engine sound. (Pros/Cons)

    When you start to ride a bike, say in the morning, cold start, this oil still feels the same. Same smoothness, same sound. It feels like what Yamlube feels after getting real hot. The reason for this can be what they claim – This oil molecules cling to the engine parts even when the engine is switched off, providing a protective layer from the moment you start the engine. Other oils drain off engine parts when engine stop, leading to wear during warm up. And the most engine wear happens when your engine is warming up. This clinging action in Castrol Activ gives up to 70% wear reduction in comparison with other JASO MA2 oils.
    6. Continuous protection even when the engine is off. (Pros)

    Another reason for it could be that it heats up faster, reaches the optimum temperature quickly. I also took my FZ-S for a ride from Pune to Hyderabad (550 kms approx.) To do such a ride, usually, FZ-S needs to stop every hour because the engine gets real hot. However, this was not the case here. FZ-S could do more than 150 kms and the engine did not heat up as much, like when you start to feel it burning and smoking. You know what I mean.
    7. Keeps the engine considerably cooler. (Pros)

    Now to conclude the above 6 points, FZ-S has already covered quite many kilometres. So, I checked the oil. To my surprise,

    8. It did not turn as much black as Yamalube (Cons)

    9. It’s level was lower than expected (Cons)

    Which is bad. Because this shows that the oil evaporates/ gets consumed faster and catches less dirt (and hence protects the engine lesser that way). Considering the dust and dirt in India, oils should have sufficient surfactant additives I feel. The dirt that passes the air filter should be caught by the oil. Another thing that many of us Indians are particular about is mileage.
    10. Significant increase in mileage. From 40-45 kmpl in FZ-S to 50-55 kmpl. (Pros)

    But the some bike lovers seldom care about mileage. For them it is all about the horsepower. And the top-end. FZ-S isn’t well known for it’s top-end. And with this oil, it was slightly worse.
    11. Top speed was less than that with Yamalube. (Cons)

    Like everything, there are pros and cons here and I believe I’ve written enough to help you make an informed decision. Personally, I am not going to use this oil. Not because of any of the cons above, but because of these two, that I consider the biggest.

    12. Engine vibrations at higher rpms: (Cons)
    The oil does not seem to be dampen the vibrations of the engine at higher rpm. Initially, and still, I did not understand how engine oil and vibrations can be related. I found out that the reason for it could be that the oil may not be reaching certain parts of the engine at higher rpms (or higher temperatures). And the reason for it could be the viscosity of the oil does not go very well with what the engine is designed to work with. The vibrations were so much, over the handlebar, the foot-pegs, that riding for just half an hour would make my hands go numb. And FZ-S is known to be smooth and vibe-free. Sadly, this got me thinking about the following:

    13. “Exceeds requirements of API SL and JASO MA2 standards”

    It is a 20W-40 grade oil that claims this “Exceeds requirements of API SL and JASO MA2 standards”. Now you don’t exceed the requirements of API and JASO, you meet them. And when you do, you have a stamp by these organizations. If you don’t have a stamp, something’s fishy.

    PS: Please vote on the poll above this post
    Last edited by Nikhil Rathi; 05-24-2014 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Castrol review approved and moved to GBD section!

    Few things first:

    1. Avoid chopping off the throttle. It upsets the suspension, in turn affecting ground clearance and overall bike's stability.
    2. I presume (I might be wrong, correct me in that case) Yamalube comes in 10w40 or 15w50 grades only. So most probably, you have shifted from 10w40 Yamalube to 20w40 Castrol. Hence, you feel that the engine is quiter and the top end has reduced. This is because the oil is more viscous.
    3. But, then you say that your bike vibrates at higher RPMs. With a more viscous oil, the case *should* have been the opposite.

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Divya Sharan View Post
    Castrol review approved and moved to GBD section!

    Few things first:

    1. Avoid chopping off the throttle. It upsets the suspension, in turn affecting ground clearance and overall bike's stability.
    2. I presume (I might be wrong, correct me in that case) Yamalube comes in 10w40 or 15w50 grades only. So most probably, you have shifted from 10w40 Yamalube to 20w40 Castrol. Hence, you feel that the engine is quiter and the top end has reduced. This is because the oil is more viscous.
    3. But, then you say that your bike vibrates at higher RPMs. With a more viscous oil, the case *should* have been the opposite.
    1. So, how do you slow down without chopping off in emergency situations, like a group of buffalo crossing an expressway ! Do you like roll off smoothly with brakes?

    2. That is incorrect. Yamalube for FZ-S is 20W-40. FZ-S manual recomments 20W-40 and 20W-50 viscosity grades.

    3. I was unsure, and still am, about why the vibrations occur. Because like you said, noise and vibrations are damped by an oil in similar fashion. But this is what I experienced. The noise is less at normal city riding temperatures. It is more on the highways, though, when the engine is hot, at the same rpms. Thanks for pointing out, I think I should edit that to make it more clear.

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikhil Rathi View Post
    Attachment 145391 Attachment 145390First things you notice on the pack (see attachments above):
    Am I the only one or attachments needs to be reattached? I can't see them.Also, please mention Mineral, Semi-Synth & Fully-Synth along with oil make and grade.
    Last edited by SparKot; 05-21-2014 at 11:13 AM.
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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Very nicely explained man by clearing every point step by step, you are experiencing less engine breaking, it could be due to the reason,oil is getting hot faster and creating less friction in the engine, and hence the rolling distance has increased, but then there is negative aspect to it which is oil is getting thinner and will not lubricate engine properly, because of which you will feel more vibrations in the engine components and that vibration is transferred to whole of the bike particularly the handle and the foot pegs, in your 8th question you have said the oil level was low with this oil this can happen due to the thinning of oil, oil is getting thinner and hence evaporating or getting burnt by the heat generated by the clutch assembly and other moving parts.
    Last edited by kusmaker; 05-21-2014 at 12:31 PM.
    Nikhil Rathi likes this.

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikhil Rathi View Post
    1. So, how do you slow down without chopping off in emergency situations, like a group of buffalo crossing an expressway ! Do you like roll off smoothly with brakes?

    2. That is incorrect. Yamalube for FZ-S is 20W-40. FZ-S manual recomments 20W-40 and 20W-50 viscosity grades.
    Thanks for correcting me on the oil grade.
    Regarding chopping off the throttle, in an emergency situation, don't chop off the throttle, rather downshift and brake simultaneously and let both kinds of braking do the job.


    Tapatalk'd from my stupid phone!

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by kusmaker View Post
    Very nicely explained man by clearing every point step by step, you are experiencing less engine breaking, it could be due to the reason,oil is getting hot faster and creating less friction in the engine, and hence the rolling distance has increased, but then there is negative aspect to it which is oil is getting thinner and will not lubricate engine properly, because of which you will feel more vibrations in the engine components and that vibration is transferred to whole of the bike particularly the handle and the foot pegs, in your 8th question you have said the lower with this oil was low, this can happen due to the thinning of oil, oil is getting thinner and hence evaporating or getting burnt by the heat generated by the clutch assembly and other moving parts.
    Thanks man. That connects all the missing dots :-)

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by kusmaker View Post
    ...
    in your 8th question you have said the lower with this oil was low, this can happen due to the thinning of oil, oil is getting thinner and hence evaporating or getting burnt by the heat generated by the clutch assembly and other moving parts...
    Does that mean, the flash point of this oil is lower than the engine operating temperature?

    Data sheets apparently on Lotus server in UK:

    Castrol - PDS & MSDS Search

    http://msdspds.castrol.com/bpglis/Fu...PXE-8U4EB2.pdf
    Last edited by SparKot; 05-21-2014 at 12:51 PM.
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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by SparKot View Post
    Am I the only one or attachments needs to be reattached? I can't see them.Also, please mention Mineral, Semi-Synth & Fully-Synth along with oil make and grade.
    Reattached the images. Now showing.

    It is Mineral oil, SAE 20W-40, API SL and JASO MA2. Adding them in the post. Thanks for pointing out.
    Last edited by Nikhil Rathi; 05-21-2014 at 12:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Castrol Activ 20W-40 Motorcycle Engine Oil Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikhil Rathi View Post
    Reattached the images. Now showing.

    It is Mineral oil, SAE 20W-40, API SL and JASO MA2. Adding them in the post. Thanks for pointing out.
    It's not JASO MA2 unless it has JASO Logo with certificate#: they only claim so

    e.g.:

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    JASO(2011) standards are better than JASO(2006).
    Nikhil Rathi likes this.
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