Monday, 8 October 2012

To oil or not to oil... Now there is a question...

Now for those of you who enjoy riding motorcycles, there is the extra pleasure of home servicing, getting your hands dirty and doing the jobs that your bike needs to stay healthy and happy. But with home servicing there is a down side, what do you do with the used engine oil? With a motorcycle like mine, the engine oil also acts as the gear box oil, it soaks the clutch plates and lines the bores. So as you can imagine, what comes out of the sump plug at the bottom of the engine is not the nice golden silky fluid that is poured in through the filler cap.

Now getting rid of used engine oil is fairly simple, as is joked about in the fabulous film (and book come to that, but I have not read it, so can't be fully sure) Fight Club, used engine makes a great lawn fertilizer! The truth though is that used engine oil is poisonous. The muck that comes out of an engine after a season of hard use is carcinogenic, it contains fragments of metal if you are unlucky and lumps of crank if you are really unlucky. It also contains the microscopic particles worn from your clutch plates and carbon particles from your cylinders, so yeah, it is pretty mucky stuff. On a serious note, really really do not pour this stuff into the environment, it is horribly dangerous to wildlife, it destroys habitats and dumping this muck out there will get you a massive, massive fine if you are caught!

So Carol and I set about an experiment, you see I had read on the internet that it was possible to use used engine oils to lubricate your chain, via the chain oiling mechanism, however with your oil full of nasty impurities who wants to spray that over the drive system of their pride and joy? So I made a filter, on the end of a funnel and we passed half a litre of dirty oil through the filter and then checked it to see what was left behind. The top filter contained the sort of detritus you find in old oil cans, but the bottom filter contained nothing but a soggy bit of oil that had not made it through. 

So the next step was to filter a little more and this is exactly what we did, so we ended up with close to five litres of filter old engine oil in a nice clean bucket! However, fitting in with our recycling ethos, the bucket was recycled too. The top was fitted into place and into this I added a little soap dispenser pump and promptly pumped a small sample out into a specimen bottle. Now you may be wondering why I did this, but lets carry on with what I did first before I explain it.

Taking the specimen bottle, I gave it a damn good shake and made sure that any nasties were held in suspension with in the fluid and then taped a very strong neodymium magnet to the side. I then sat it on its side and left it for a week. By doing this, I could then examine that part of the specimen bottle for ferrous particles by gently tipping it and leaving any bits stuck in the magnetic fields. 

Now you can ask if you have to why I did this? The answer my dears is to look for steel fragments, anything small enough to pass through the filters that could potentially damage my chain. After a week, the magnet was surprising in its complete lack of ferrous particles stuck to it. So that leaves us with a bucket of oil and a fairly clear idea that it is well filtered. 

My next step was to contact our old friends at Tutoro Chain Oilers, and ask their opinion and other than a few suggestions as to what may be useful additives, they say why not give it a try. So that leads me to this point and a question for you folks out there in Curious Adventure land. 

Do you think that used engine oil makes a good chain lube for use in your automatic chain oiler? Have you done it and does it prevent rust and keep your chain healthy or does it just spray a poisonous nasty mess onto you bike? So come on folks, don't be shy. Tell us what you think?


Tutoro Auto Chain Oiler as fitted to Sylvie

Tutoro Auto Chain Oiler as fitted to Noreen

1 comment:

  1. Interesting idea. Sounds good mechanically, the constant flow/loss of oil will wash away some of the crap that gets on the chain. Only two problems I can see are that technically, you are just pouring it into the environment (albeit very slowly and widespread), and you'll probably produce far more than you can consume. Your local council tip should have a waste oil tank, which reminds me about the many litres I have in old bottles under a bench...:S I also read of someone who put the oil out his guzzi straight into the premix for his bantam (2 stroke), great idea if you like decoking, buying new plugs and leaving a wall of smoke behind you!