The True Difference Between Motorcycle Oil and Automotive Oil

To some people, changing the oil in your car is just like changing the oil in your motorcycle. Just drain out the old oil, install a new oil filter, and pour in the desired amount of new oil and your done. So when it comes time to change your motorcycle oil, why can’t you use the same oil that you use in your car? Motorcycle oil and automotive oil look and feel the same so how could there be a difference between the two?

Automotive oil looks pretty enticing at $3 a quart but any experienced motorcycle rider knows that using automotive oil in motorcycles causes serious damage. In automotive vehicles, the engine is always separate from the clutch and transmission so they have separate oils for each. In automotive engine oil, there is more of what is called “friction modifiers” to help lessen the amount of friction on engine components and improve fuel economy. Of course, improving fuel economy has always been the main goal of the automotive industry making friction modifiers a necessity for all automotive oils.

These friction modifiers that are added to automotive oils are what cause serious damages when used in motorcycles. The friction modifiers clog the clutch plates in a motorcycle’s transmission causing serious clutch slippage and disabling the motorcycle. You see, for motorcycles to be as compact as they are, they have to combine their engine and transmission into one casing. This means that everything is lubricated by only one type of oil including the valves, piston, transmission, and clutch.

Motorcycles require very little and/or no friction modifiers to help improve clutch friction and to prevent clutch slippage. But to make up for this lack of friction modifiers, motorcycle oils use higher levels of anti-wear additives such as ZDDP, also known as phosphorous, to limit engine friction and wear. Since motorcycle oil has extra anti-wear additives and is lubricating so much more than automotive oil, you can expect to pay anywhere from $9 to $15 a quart.

To some people, both oils look and feel the same but now you know the facts of each. So the next time that you decide to change your motorcycle oil, go straight to your local motorcycle dealer and buy only high quality motorcycle oil designed specifically for the type of motorcycle you own. Make sure that you change your oil periodically to keep it fresh and clean to ensure a long life for your engine, transmission, and clutch.

1950 Allard J2 – The Best of Mid 20th Century Euro-American Automotive Engineering

If you have been looking for a stunning sports car that exemplifies the best of English and American technological innovation and design the 1950 Allard J2 tops the list. These cars were produced during the 1950s and they were incredibly popular during this time period. What was even more amazing is that the cost of these cars was quite moderate. These cars enjoyed a popular appeal in both Europe and America when they were first produced and still today they are one of the most highly sought of older sports car models. This roadster was only produced as a limited series of 99 vehicles between the years 1950 and 1951.

The J2 Allard gave a driver an impressive amount of speed and performance and the handling was smooth enough to make them suitable for highly experienced or novice handlers. When the 1950 Allard J2 was put onto the racing circuit the sporty vehicle quickly earned first place listings in race courses on both continents. Sebring and Bridgehampton were only two of the places where this little speedster earned its reputation. Today these well built coupes are perfect specimens to be used on road rally courses and of course the cars are highly desirable by people who only want them placed in show competitions.

One of the best known construction features of the 1950s Allard J2 is the split I- beam axle used in the front end design. This gave the cars that fiercely distinct elongated nose; but it also made it possible to attach the special telescopic shock absorbers and heavy coiled springs that created an exceptional ride. There was a track rod at the rear of the split axle design and it was fashioned from three separate sections. In addition there were two idler arms at the rear and two radial arms which were also attached to the axle beams. To give the vehicle additional stability and suspension assistance there was a de Dion axle connected to the axle at the rear with the same style of coils and telescoping shocks that were used at the nose assembly. The incredible power of the J2 Allard in 1950 was made possible by a special Ford torque tube which was very much different from what other similar speedsters were using.

When the very first of the 99 1950 Allard J2 vehicle models were being rolled off the assembly line they were made with the souped up V8 Mercury flathead engines. These engines gave the cars incredible power and speed but as the racing legend of the Allard J2 models grew the increased need for even better speed was a must. This need was answered by installing new V8 engines in the Allard vehicle line including the Ardun OHV flathead and the Chrysler Company’s powerful Hemi V8 model.

The chassis of the original 1950 J2 Allards all had exceptionally deep sides and these were interconnected with four big bore tubing assemblies. The cars transmissions had more bracing than just the four large diameter tubes and this gave the vehicle outstanding stability but still the overall weight was quite light. This made these roadsters one of the speediest sports car designs on the road.

The lightweight bodies of the 1950 Allard J2 sports coupes were constructed from featherweight aluminum sheets that were molded and then attached with specialized bolts and fasteners. The fasteners were designed for quick and easy release and together the bolts and fasteners made stripping the car easy and fast. This meant that if the cars needed to be worked on by a mechanic, upgraded, or repaired it could be done in the shortest time frame possible. Even road, in-house or mechanical testing on the vehicle was able to be accomplished in unusually fast turnover times due to the innovative engineering and design of the cars.

There were some specific 1950 Allard J2 vehicle models that were only built for competition on the racing circuit. These powerful workhorses were equipped with the strongest V8 engines and tanks designed to hold 40 gallons of racing fuel. You could always tell one of these cars because the place the spare tire is mounted is not at the tail end of the car but on the side midway between the driver cockpit and forward fender.

A J2 Allard in 1950 was an amazing machine with some superior statistics including a 331 cc Cadillac V8 engine. This powerhouse could knock out 300 horsepower without flinching, and remember this was almost 60 years ago. The automotive engineers were forward thinking and highly innovative when it came to creating power and speed for the 1950 Allard J2 cars. In addition to a 331cc engine the Allard used triple, double barrel carbs and meticulously designed camshafts that combined to deliver some of the most powerful roadsters of the mid 20th century. Sports car enthusiasts pay dearly whenever they have a chance to purchase one of these rare cars from the 1950s.

Today’s Automotive Engineer – A Technology Guru With Connectivity Solutions

Technology gurus are hiding in a variety of places these days. Say, for instance, the automotive industry.

The automotive industry has produced some of the most advanced and user-friendly technologies publicly marketed in recent years. We can now not only operate our cars without keys, but we can also map our next trip, download information from our desktops onto a “carputer,” assess the state of the vehicle, watch movies, arm a security system inside and out and be alerted when others are in our blind spots.

Take, for instance, an entry-level map-based integrated navigation radio, which uses a flash-based secure digital card color map database to provide high-performance navigation. A single, state-of-the-art navigation kernel and map data compiler used in the European market help shorten Original Equipment (OE) innovation cycles, and a range of options allows for entertainment and ease-of-use features. Integrated into a single unit, a map navigation system can be used in parallel to the audio system.

Such a system can include AM/FM radio, navigation tools, playback mechanisms like compact discs and MP3s, and connectivity options for portable electronic devices. Of course, customers can add nearly anything a techy heart could desire, like a digital tuner, USB, touch-screen interface, voice recognition, steering wheel control and audio codec options.

And that’s just the basic model. Touch-screen navigation radios are full-featured audio and navigation systems in one unit, using onboard computers that interact with the Global Positioning System (GPS), vehicle sensors and a DVD-map database. Such personal travel assistants minimize travel time, make travel more convenient and increase peace of mind. Benefits include multiple functions in one compact unit, the ease of a touch screen, voice prompts, entertainment options, state-of-the-art navigation, the ability to remap locations if the driver misses a turn and intersection views for detailed maneuvering guidance.

Active safety systems, like active night vision, lane departure warning systems and infrared side (blind spot) alerts, are other excellent examples of automotive engineers’ ability to connect advanced technologies in a manner that makes the driving experience both safer and more enjoyable.

Active night vision uses near-infrared headlamps to illuminate the road scene ahead and displays an enhanced image in the vehicle. This system provides high-beam visibility without blinding oncoming traffic. Components of the active night vision system can be shared with other safety features, such as a lane departure warning system.

When lane departure warning systems utilize a camera, the camera can also be used for multiple features, such as active night vision, pedestrian recognition, rain sensing and intelligent headlight control. The lane departure warning system uses a monocular camera mounted behind the windshield to track lanes in front of the vehicle. Accompanying software estimates lane width and road curvature, and determines the vehicle’s heading and lateral position within the lane. When the driver strays from his or her own “dotted lines,” an audible, tactile or visual alert is issued. According to an automotive magazine, ninety-five percent of all vehicular accidents involve some degree of driver behavior — such as swerving. Systems like lane departure warning provide hope of reducing the approximately one hundred deaths that occur every day on American roadways, as reported by the Public Broadcasting Service in 1995.

Side (blind spot) alerts provide the same hope. These systems help drivers be aware of vehicles in side blind spots when changing lanes and making turns. Sensors integrated into mirrors, taillights and side fascia measure the adjacent lane temperature over time to detect if vehicles are entering the side blind spot. If detected, the system provides visual indications within the mirrors. If this proves ineffective and a turn signal is activated anyway, an audible alert follows. These warnings give drivers more time to react and, hopefully, help avoid the more than 200,000 lane change accidents that occur every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It’s amazing how easily they hide those geniuses of technology. We never hear their names, see their faces, or even, in most cases, acknowledge they exist. Yet it is the knowledge, safety and connectivity solutions of automotive engineers that are helping save lives and helping make sure the rest of us don’t get hopelessly lost on the way to that next great adventure — at least not too often.

Mike Trudel, Freelance Writer.

V8 Cars – Some Wonderful History of the Mighty V8 Automotive Engine

Have you read the latest Wheel’s magazine? The January 2010 edition has a wonderful section on the wonderful history of the V8 engine that we know and love today. I will share some of the hi-lights from the magazine as well as my own personal comments, so read on…

The automotive vee-eight as we know it had its birth with our friend Henry Ford with the arrival of the ‘L-Head’ flat head vee eight of 1932. We must remember that he was not responsible for inventing the 8 cylinder engine in the V format as we know and love. But he was responsible for ensuring that it was available to the masses, ie the likes of you and me! It was pretty basic and simple, no complicated overhead valves or the like, hence the term ‘flathead’.

A company called Duesenberg, back in the 20’s had a straight 8 cylinder engine and this was probably the first mass produced 8 cylinder automotive engine (it also had fancy overhead cams and multi-valves!). Unfortunately the company did not stand the test of time.

Some suggest that the longest ‘living’ V8 engine is the 6.75 litre V8 belonging to our British friends Roll-Royce and Bentley. Based on an American design it was released in the 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (as a 6.2 litre with OHV and 90 degrees V angle). Later it was enlarged to its current size of 6.75 litres and continues in production today inspiring Bentleys.

Of course technology has allowed the V8 to develop just like all things automotive and we now have every V8 arrangement possible across the automotive spectrum. Usually only limited by our imagination (and our wallet). Turbocharging/supercharging, direct injection, mulit-variable valve technology along with massaging of the engine ancillaries are all available on your Ferrari down to your humble home grown Falcon or Commodore.