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Another old chestnut - rotary oil

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Another old chestnut - rotary oil

Posted by mark_lepkowski at December 15. 2016

As a recent convert to rotaries - an IP2 - I would be grateful for any views on oil. Having had a long term interest in rotaries I know that Shell Rotella was  the recommended oil but is no longer available. Silkolene Classic 2T pre-mix synthetic 2 stroke oil seems to now be the preferred replacement, though I also read somewhere that synthetic oils must not be used in rotaries.

Having trawled through various oil suppliers’ websites, there is at least one alternative to Rotella, namely Morris Ring Free DD 40 which appears to be exactly what Rotella was - low ash engine oil with detergent designed for use in 2-stroke diesels and specifically recommended for Detroit Diesels. It is available in 25 litre drums at well under half the equivalent price of Silkolene.

Has anyone experience of using this Morris oil in their rotary?

And does anyone know if the Rotary Owners Club is still going? There are current topics being discussed on the forum which I’ve tried to join a number of times but nothing happens.

Re: Another old chestnut - rotary oil

Posted by Chris Grimmett at December 15. 2016

We are approaching Christmas and it is good to see that there is no shortage of chestnuts.

I can't help with the Morris equivalent to Rotella as probably I have a sufficient supply of the Shell product to outlive either me or the IP2.

Richard Negus advised the use of Silkolene Comp 2 Premix and it must work as the machine using it has done a good few miles without blowing up (yet).  This oil too is no longer available but Fuchs Lubricants told me that Silkolene Classic 2T Premix is now the current product replacing the former one.  I have not tried it yet as my Comp 2 supply is still OK for a while.

I have been around too long to know better than to engage in web-based oil debates but low ash oil for diesel engines looks to be in the right area.  I am sure somebody will be on here very soon telling you more and if you are very lucky, they might actually own a rotary and have used some of the products being discussed.

[was it you that once had a very striking (bright yellow?) Commando that appeared in Roadholder?]

Re: Another old chestnut - rotary oil

Posted by Tony Duffield at December 16. 2016

I work in an industry that use Detroit Diesel 2 stroke generator engines, our engines use Shell Rotella DD+40, this oil is still available in bulk and 208 litre drums, not very biker friendly I know.

In 2014 I used up my stash of Rotella and "found" a supply of Castrol Tection DD40, which is also designed for Detroit Diesel 2 stroke engines, I checked the Tection data sheet found that it compared with Rotella and since then I have been using Castrol Tection DD40 in my Commander, I have not seen the Tection oil in anything other than 25 litre drums but to be honest have not had to look, having covered many thousands of miles I have not had any issues with excessive carbon build up, so as far as I am concerned the Castrol Tection oil is OK.

Any oil specifically designed for use in Detroit Diesel 2 stoke engines engines and is low ash is good to use, my advice would be to always compare the new oil data sheet with Rotella, as long as they compare the oil should be OK.

Using an oil designed for use in heavy industry or marine applications is unlikely to be sold in small quantities hence why Rotella is only available in large quantities, if this is a problem for you then you should look for an oil that you can buy off the shelf like the oil recommended by Richard Negus.

When switching oil manufacturers and/or grades on our ships I always check that the new oil is compatible and miscible with the old oil, you do not say what you currently use, in any case make sure that either all of the old oil is removed from the bikes tank and system or check that the new oil is OK to mix with the old.

Re: Another old chestnut - rotary oil

Posted by tim_harrison at December 16. 2016

I have done 50,000 miles on my Commander without an engine rebuild mainly on Rotella. The exception has been when in Spain where you can quite readily buy an equivalent. I get my Rotella from David Cameron, Secretary of the Rotary Owners Club who has purchased a large drum on behalf of members. I know that other members use alternative equivalent low ash straight 40 oils without any problems.

The semi synthetic Silkolene Classic 2T oil is probably better if the bike is only used occasionally as it will stick better to the internals and is therefore more likely to leave a residue when left for a period of time.


Re: Another old chestnut - rotary oil

Posted by mark_lepkowski at December 19. 2016

Thank you all for your input. The bike is currently running on Rotella and I was given about 3 or 4 litres when I bought it, so once that starts running out I'll decide what to top it up with.  I plan to ride the bike from Spring until the Autumn but not through Winter, so I like the thought of Silkolene coating the internals for the Winter lay up.


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