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My '98 Aspy with 127K miles drips oil when I come in from a ride. Would it be caused from using synthetic oil. I have read that on older engines if you change to syn. that it loosens everything and may cause leaks. It just drips but I don't even like drips.
 

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Digger,

I know you know what you are doing. As we can't see it, it's a little hard to be helpful.
Is it leaking at the plug?


If so, has the aluminum washer been changed or damaged.
 

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Funny you say that because I started running synthetic on my last oil change and have some dripage from both sides of the engine case now.
 

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Just changing to the correct weight synthetic oil should not cause an engine to leak. The oil is no thinner or thicker than dino oil, just better dealing with heat, cold, shear force and break down of the additive package; And it does not shrink gaskets either.
 

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What weight do you recommend for the 1200 Interstate?
 

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Good luck on the oil leak. I've been using semi synthetic for awhile on my 2000 wing but the last 3 oil changes been using Amsoil full synthetic and happy to say no oil leaks at all.
 

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What weight do you recommend for the 1200 Interstate?
You should use the weight oil Honda recommends for your area's temperature.

And...I must admit I was not absolutely correct on the synthetic oils not causing gaskets to shrink. I kind of jumped the gun, but I looked deeper in the subject, and this is what I learned....sorry about the misstatement.....sorry it is so long....
Back in the 70's and early 80's some synthetics were not blended correctly and caused engine oil leakage in some vehicles. Basically, the problem is that synthetic basestocks do not react the same way with seals and gaskets that petroleum oils do. PAO basestocks (the most common synthetic basestocks) tend to cause seal shrinkage. If the proper additives are not used, seals will shrink when using a PAO based oil, and leakage will occur.
Fortunately, oil manufacturers learned their lesson and reformulated their oil to contain the proper additive package which condition seals and gaskets to maintain their flexibility while also maintaining proper seal swell. In fact, the reformulation in most cases provides for better seal conditioning than most petroleum oils these days. Nevertheless, there is still a possibility of leakage if making the switch to synthetic - but only under certain conditions.
On older vehicles which have been lubricated with petroleum oils, seals and gaskets can begin to dry and crack. The reason you don't actually see leaks is because petroleum oils tend to burn off and leave sludge, grime and varnish on the inside of your engine. That's simply the nature of a petroleum oil's make-up. Therefore, some of the deposits end up around your seals and gaskets which actually plugs up the gaps which would have resulted in oil leaks.
The next obvious question is, "If synthetics have those special additives, why might they cause leaks in an older engine? Why don't they correct the problem?"
The "problem" is that there are also other additives that give a synthetic oil its detergency properties. In other words, there's other stuff in high quality synthetic oil which tends to clean out the sludge and deposits left behind by petroleum oils. Once these deposits are gone, the gaps around seals and gaskets become exposed and the oil might begin to leak in these areas.
It's likely that the additives will begin to lubricate the seals causing them to become more flexible and leading to seal swell which may plug those gaps over time. However there is no way of knowing how long it may take for this to occur or if the seals are already too far gone to be salvaged. If the problem doesn't correct itself, it is likely that the seals and gaskets would have to be replaced to prevent further oil leakage.
So, to wrap up. Petroleum oils can screw up your seals and gaskets and then fill the holes deposits to cover their tracks. Synthetic oils come in and begin to clean up the place. Once it's clean, the holes might be exposed, and the oil begins to leak. After a while the synthetic may be able to help the seals and gaskets regain their composure and stop the leaks.
 

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Chrisgl1800: I am impressed with the time and effort you put into checking things out. Anything well written is worth the read. By reading it I get a better understanding and my save me a bit of heartache. Rightly or wrongly I like to stay with the one oil until the motor needs a rebuild. If it dosen't need a rebuild I just keep using the same oil. Eric
 

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If it dosen't need a rebuild I just keep using the same oil. Eric
I guess that falls into the catagory of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".. I use the same approach..
 

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Thank you Chris it is a very informative piece you wrote! I guess I jumped the gun when I put Synthetic in rather than the Honda oil it was used to. My next oil change will be the recommended oil from the book so maybe the very slight leak will cease. I heard so many positives about synthetic I failed to investigate the older model bikes! Thanks again!
 

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Where is the bike leaking oil from? The seal by the shifter?
 

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Very slight from the shift side and brake side of the engine case!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Chris, this is somewhat the same thing I read somewhere. It may have been on Steve's site. I remember now it concerned cleaning things out to where the gaskets leaked. Well, I guess I will go back with the original oil...but now it doesn't guarantee that it will stop leaking since things are cleaned up. I like the thought that internally it is getting cleaner though.
 

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My 93 had had a 'Diet' of dino oil since I've owned it for the last 5 years.
I've heard the horror stories of seals leaking after someone switched to synthetic, never heard anyone say it leaked the dino oil after switching back.
rigginray6
Could be coming out the fill cap or dip stick, plus the shifter seal.
 

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Trikelady ask and I will also.
Is it dripping on the left side?, If so check around the shifting rod. That seal has been know to leak.
Mine leaked a while back, I took a wooden dole and tapped around all the way around the edge and reseated the seal, leak went away. The rubber seal seal can also leak a little, in which case the seal needs to be replaced, not a big deal either.
From the Northwest Corner
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just looked under it and the right side is totally dry, no signs of ever having a leak. But the left side is totally wet and has been for a while according to what I see. I haven't been able to deterimine yet if it is coming from the shifter but will keep an eye on it. I think I will take some brake cleaner and spray it down so we can start fresh with where the oil is coming from.
 

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Thanks for the info TL and Ron. It appears to be the seal at the shifter and the right was indeed the oil filler! They are so slight but it alarmed me because it never leaked a drop of oil! I posted a few months ago about oil coming from my final drive vent and that was just as you said over filling!
 
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