Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register :: View Members
Pages: 1
Send Topic Print
Recommended Oils for Your Savage (Read 3337 times)
Serious Thumper

Hobby is now

Posts: 12645
Fayetteville, NC
Gender: male
Recommended Oils for Your Savage
08/08/12 at 17:19:25

This thread will be edited as new information becomes available.

Our Savage motorcycle uses an antique flat tappet split rocker system to actuate the valves.  Modern oils, motorcycle and car oils, are now formulated for catalytic converter equipped, roller tappet, fuel injected systems --
oil in general no longer has the levels of ZDDP necessary to support your 1987 designed Suzuki Savage.

There is still debate as to the true minimum needed ZDDP level for getting the best life out of the antique Savage cam and split fork rocker tappet system.  The current debated number is somewhere between 1,200 and 1,850 ppm of ZDDP with only the lesser number being available locally in a oil product without requiring the use of a mail order ZDDP booster (or a mail order oil).   Most of us boost the Rotella products as that is the least cost way to get up to the higher ZDDP levels.

The key thing here is for you to use the recommended high ZDDP oils (and a ZDDP booster as you do need it) as all of the currently bottled locally available "motorcycle oils" have abandoned the old Savage engine and are now formulated to meet the needs of modern catalytic converter equipped fuel injected motorcycles.  

Not following these recommendations may shorten the service life of your valve train and your valve guides.


1)   Locally available at Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, O'Reilly, or Walmart.
2)   Contain a minimum of 1,200 ppm of ZDDP (or have more)
3)   Contains no inorganic moly or other "known slipper" energy star compounds to make your clutch slip  
(note: we are forced to accept up to 70ppm of organic moly as we really have no choice -- all the synthetic bike oils have some organic moly in them now, including the approved ones on this listing)
4)   Reasonable cost, less than $8.00 a quart for the dino products and less than $12 a quart for the synthetic products.
5)  A history of successful list use in the Savage motorcycle.

So far the Recommended list for local purchase stands at:

                     (pricing comes from Walmart)

Dino        -- Rotella T Triple Protection 15W40             $12.99 a gallon  
                                                                            ($3.25 a quart)

Synthetic -- Rotella T-6 5W40                                     $21.99 a gallon
                                                                            ($5.50 a quart)

Synthetic -- Mobil 1 Racing 10w40                                $9.97 a quart

Synthetic -- Mobil 1 V Twin 20w50                                $9.97 a quart

We will add more oils as they become available and prove out by VOA and list testing.

ZDDP Boosters: 

link to booster mix table

Since there are so very few suitable oils any more we will also list the Recommended ZDDP boosters that the mgf. recommends for use in wet clutch motorcycle engines.   Most of these wet clutch friendly ZDDP boosters will require you to internet order them as they are not stocked locally.  

Please note:  Lucas ZDDP booster which is stocked locally is not recommended by Lucas for use in wet clutch motorcycle engines.  
Ditto for Rislone ZDDP booster, Rislone won't recommend it for use in wet clutch motorcycle engines.
Both products contain long chain polymer ester thickeners which are bad for wet clutch function.

Redline Break In ZDDP Booster    $14.95 for 16 ounces   Specs are at  
Free Amazon Prime shipping is at

Eastwood ZDDP booster (and also their other brand name ZDDPlus).  These appear to be the same product by the same manufacturer, but generally the Eastwood brand name sells a few dollars cheaper and sometimes you can get free shipping on it from Eastwood.  

Check both brand names for the best pricing.

order here
or here  
or ZDDPlus


We realize folks are going to have to get on line to source Savage compatible oils and boosters.  AMAZON.COM has the best prices seen so far,  so we list the appropriate Amazon oils here along with a notation if they are able to be shipped for free under Prime.   We also know this Prime free shipping comes and goes according to whether there is stock on hand at your nearest Amazon owned warehouse, so PLEASE watch your shipping charges as you check out for any unplanned surprises.

IF YOU WANT A REAL "overkill" SUPER-OIL (way way beyond reasonable needs all by itself)
Redline 10W40 Motorcycle Oil  is $10-$14 a quart here (the price varies month on month from Amazon when bought by the case).  

This  motorcycle oil whups everybody on ZDDP by like twice over, so don't be looking for a measly mere JASO rating on it.  

Specs are here  
Free Amazon Prime shipping is at

To save yourself hassles, please carry all questions to the following Rubber Side Down thread called "RECOMMENDED OILS AND BOOSTERS".  
This tread remains locked until edited by a moderator.

(link follows)
Back to top
« Last Edit: 04/01/13 at 03:56:39 by Dave »  

Former Savage Owner
  IP Logged
YaBB Moderator

Posts: 17889
Camp Springs, Kentucky
Gender: male
Re: Recommended Oils for Your Savage
Reply #1 - 10/14/15 at 03:59:17
I just found this information that helps to explain what ZDDP does, and why we need it.

ZDDP is a single polar molecule that is attracted to Iron based metals. The one polar end tends to “Stand” the molecule up on the metal surface that it is bonded to by heat and friction. This forms a sacrificial layer to protect the base metal of the cam and tappet from contacting each other. Only at very high pressures on a flat tappet cam is this necessary because the oil is squeezed/wiped from the surface. This high pressure is also present on the gudgeon pin (wrist pin) in diesel engines, therefore the need for ZDDP in diesel engines.
Second part of the equation is Molybdenum disulfide (Moly). The moly bonds to the zinc adding an additional, very slippery, sacrificial layer to the metal. I found out that too much of the moly will create problems; lack of this material reduces the effectiveness of the ZDDP. The percentage, by weight is from .01 to .02%, not much, but necessary.
Back to top

Someday I will be old......But not today!

  IP Logged
Pages: 1
Send Topic Print

« Home

« Home
06/20/24 at 12:18:00

General CategoryTechnical Documents/Reference › Recommended Oils for Your Savage » Powered by YaBB 2.2!
YaBB © 2000-2007. All Rights Reserved.