How hot is too hot? (Oil)

Discussion in 'Sportster Models' started by The Rook, May 19, 2008.

  1. The Rook

    The Rook Member

    OK, for starters, I live in Arizona. It was 100 deg F outside today and my new oil temp gauge read 225 deg F after my 30 mile afternoon ride in rushhour traffic. The bike has a very noticable change when I ride in the Arizona sun. 225, is that too hot? I have searched the web for the answer with no luck(DAMN you Google).

    I'm riding a '96 Sportster 1200 with 40k miles.

    As always thank you in advance for your responses.
  2. R. Lewis

    R. Lewis Senior Member Retired Moderators

    Have you checked out the self-help section here ,also there is a oil poll thread started on here. What style/kind of oil you runnin in your scoot?
  3. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Contributor Retired Moderators

    I'm certainly no expert but I've read a lot of threads about engine temps, oil coolers, Stage One mods, etc. 225 sounds just fine for the conditions you describe, in fact, I'm surprised it's not higher.
  4. wildspirit97

    wildspirit97 Senior Member

    normal operation temp. is 240 to 280 on the head temp. according to my thundermax tuner. When I got her plugged in the oil temp dipstick reads about 225 when the head temp. is about 260. sounds about right for the new bikes.
  5. scottaudio

    scottaudio Member

    This was a question I posed to my dealer's service department a few weeks ago (Las Vegas HD). We are definetly hot here in the desert, and as a matter of fact, one of our favorite group weekend rides is out across Death Valley. Heat is the name of the game. Living here made me think about the possibility of needing the accessory oil cooler.

    According to the service department, the HD factory testing personnel run the engines in Arizona with boxes around the engines to prevent cooling air flow and run them down the highways in 115 degree heat to ensure the engines will take the strain.

    So, I asked about what oil temperatures are acceptable, as I had to buy the oil temp dip stick accessory (I love gauges!) and wanted to "calibrate" myself as to what indicates a problem. I run around 225 to 240 degrees F in the middle of summer and 112 degrees outside. The LVHD folks told me to be happy, don't worry about any accessory oil cooler unless I started seeing readings above 260F.

    I asked why HD offered the extra oil coolers if they really aren't needed, and their reply was simply because some people insist on having them, and HD is always ready to supply what the public wants to buy.

    My last question was about the need to stick with standard oil or go with the synthetic. Naturally, they think the synthetic is the way to go, but the heat testing is peformed with standard petroleum oil as is specified in the owner's manual.

    I can easily understand the reasons for going to synthetic, but I have also read the threads about new leaks starting where none were present before (synthetic is so slick it will find ways out of your engine they say). I just do not need that kind of leak or hassle, and the standard oil is working just fine for me.

    I have to give some kudos to the folks at LVHD for having 3 of their senior service personnel answer these questions as well as try to answer my question about spare current capacity in the alternator/battery charging system. I did finally have to go to HD HQ for that answer!

    Steve Scott
  6. glider

    glider Veteran Member


    The main difference in the synthetic oil is that it can withstand more heat before breaking down in hot conditions. After 250* the dino oil is degrading real quick where the synthetic goes on and on. As far as the leaking with synthetic, I feel IMO that this is due to the superior cleaning that it does inside the engine and no more.
  7. The Rook

    The Rook Member

    I'm running really lowgrade oil(I'm broke and on a budget). I'll be doing an oil change this weekend and putting in quality oil. Thanks again for all the replies.