TRUTH ABOUT TEMP
Q:When I got my driving licenses, back in dino-time (oil-wise), I learned the engine wasn’t really warmed up until oil temperature had reached 60 degrees Celsius/140 degrees Fahrenheit. Is this still true? (Or was it ever?) On my Guzzi the oil-temp meter often doesn’t reach that temp until 6 to 8 kilometers, however on my water-cooled Ducati, the “cold” indicator (cooling media)
goes out after just 2 to 3 kilometers.
A:Today’s tolerances, materials, and lubricating oils are all much better than in the past. Operating temperatures somewhat outside of the ideal aren’t much of a concern for modern production engines anymore. If your engine runs on the cool side, watch for moisture not getting evaporated out of the crankcase. Water makes a very poor lubricant. If your oil ever seems even slightly milky, change it. If your engine oil runs very hot (say more than 230 degrees Fahrenheit), consider running full synthetic oil and perhaps adding an oil cooler. Excessively high oil temperature will cause carbon buildup in the engine’s hottest places such as piston ring lands and exhaust valve stems/guides.
Also, when oil is excessively heated, its lubricating ability breaks down, which of course will accelerate engine wear. A properly functioning liquidcooled Ducati is less likely to suffer oil-temperature extremes than an aircooled Moto Guzzi, and if the latter is vintage, the crankcase breathing might not be as effective, leading to more moisture buildup if you take a lot of short trips in cool weather where the oil might not get up to a high enough temperature to evaporate the water. Solution? Ride farther and faster!