Suzuki DR650 Lubrication Page




Suzuki DR650 Lubrication Page


Suzuki DR650



Lube it or lose it.  Properly lubricating your engine and moving parts on your bike is what's going to allow you to get the most miles or kilometers out of your bike.  And lubrication can be as simple or as complicated as you like.


Engine Oil

Suzuki recommends the use of 10W/40 motor oil for per and post 1996 DR650s.  In a pinch, you can use regular car motor oil, but since most regular motor oil has “friction modifiers” as well as other modifications (see engine oil and additives below), you may start noticing some, or even a lot of clutch slipping.  When this happens, it will be time to change the oil, then change or at least clean the clutch discs.  To avoid clutch issues, one should use and oil with a rating of JASO MA or JASO MA2.  Much more information on oil options is covered below.


Recommendations by Suzuki:


DR650 Oil Chart

Suzuki recommended oil grades for all DR650s


Engine Oil Reference (1990-1995):


Engine Oil Reference (1996-):



Drain Plug Magnet

At your next oil change, you upgrade would include the addition of  a magnet to your drain plug. 


Magnetic Drain Plug

Magnetic Drain Plug


This collects metal debris in you oil and allows you to remove it when the oil is changed out.  There are a couple of aftermarket plugs that will fit.  They generally have smaller diameter and thicker bolt head.  This means you don't have to find a 21mm socket to do an oil change, but it may need to be shaved down since it will protrude below the underside of you engine unlike the stock plug that sits flush in the indentation made for it.  You can also add a new extended skid plate under the engine to protect your plug and engine underside.


Riders have modified their drain plugs by machining out a hole on the end of the plug and epoxying a magnet in it.


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Oil Filters


Stock Oil Filter


The stock OEM oil filter seems plenty sufficient but there are aftermarket "high performance" and reusable filters available.


K&N Oil Filter

K&N KN-137 Oil Filter (1990-2009 DR650)


One such filter is the K&N Oil Filter.


Cleanable Suzuki Oil Filter

Cleanable Suzuki Oil Filter


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Oil Filler Cap

Oil Filler Cap


The stock oil filler cap can break if put on too tight.  It can be replaced with a stock on or a fancy aftermarket one.


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Engine Oil Ratings and Additives

Lubrication can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.  If you want to make it complex, continue reading.  If you want to make it simple, skip to the end of this section, or just by the overpriced oil your dealership sells you.




Viscosity is the measure or how thick and oil is and how well it will flow.  The lower the viscosity and lower the number, the thinner it is and the the faster it will flow.  High viscosity oils are thicker and will flow more slowly than a lower viscosity at the same temperature.


The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) uses the J300 viscosity classification system they developed in 1911 to grade oil viscosity based on their standardized ranges of centistokes (cSt mm²/s) at 100°C (212°F).  Oil is given a grade of 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60.  The higher the grade number the higher the viscosity.


Comparative Viscosity Classifications


On single or mono grade (weight) motor oils, the presence of a "W" designates that its viscosity is rated and tested at a winter (0°F) temperature as well as meeting the minimum viscosity at 100°C (212°F).  A grade SAE30W oil at winter temperatures would act like a grade SAE30 oil at higher temperatures.  These winter grade oils include SAE number 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, 20W, or 25W.


Single grade oils are only suitable for a narrow temperature range.  Single grades without a "W" are intended for warmer temperatures and the grades with "W" are suitable for winter temperatures.


Multi-weight oils such as 10W-40 use special polymers called viscosity index improvers (VIIs) in the oil to allow for the oil to behave like two separate weight oils at hi and low temperatures.  For example, a 10W-40 oil has the viscosity of a grade 10 oil at low temperature and the viscosity of a grade 40 oil when hot.  Basically, the polymers are coiled up when the oil is cold and do little to the oil's viscosity.  At higher temperatures, the polymers uncoil and increase the relative viscosity of the oil.


For multi-weight oils, the first number designates the cold crank grade.  A 0W oil is tested at -35°C (-31°F), a 5W at -30°C (-22°F) and a 10W is tested at -25°C (-13°F).


Note that transmission and gear oils are graded differently that motor oils and the grade numbers are not interchangeable.



API Service Classes
Around 1968 the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American Petroleum Inst (API) created a new simplified oil rating system.  The first letter was either an "S" (service or spark ignition aka gasoline engine) or a "C" (commercial or compression ignition aka diesel engine).  The second letter originally went form "A" to "E", with a for ultra light-duty oils and an "E" rating for extreme-duty oils.  An "SE" rated oil was the toughest oil you could get for your bike or car.  But with "advancements" in motor oil technology, more rating levels (SF, SG, ...) were added and the old rating system became obsolete.  Many of these new modified oils will prolong the life of a regular car engine, but may have a significant detrimental effect on motorcycle engines, clutches, starters, etc.


Petrol Engines
Category Status Service
SM Current For all automotive engines currently in use. Introduced in 2004, SM oils are designed to provide
improved oxidation resistance, improved deposit protection, better wear protection, and better
low-temperature performance over the life of the oil. Some SM oils may also meet the latest ILSAC
specification and/or qualify as Energy Conserving.
SL Current Introduced in 1998.  For all automotive engines presently in use.
SJ Current Introduced in 1996.  For all automotive engines presently in use.
SH Obsolete For model year 1996 and older engines.
SG Obsolete For model year 1993 and older engines.  AKA 1989 warranty approved, MIL-L-46152D.
SF Obsolete For model year 1988 and older engines.  AKA 1980 warranty approved, M2C153-D, MIL-L-46152B/C, 6048-M, 6049-M.
SE Obsolete For model year 1979 and older engines.  AKA 1972 warranty approved, M2C101-C, 6136-M (previously 6041-M Rev.), MIL-L-46152A.
SD Obsolete For model year 1971 and older engines.  AKA MS (1968) and 1968 MS warranty approved, M2C101-B, 6041-M (before July 1970).
SC Obsolete For model year 1967 and older engines.  AKA MS (1964) and 1964 MS warranty approved, M2C101-A.
SB Obsolete For older engines. Previously MM or Inhibited oil, minimum duty.
SA Obsolete For much older engines with no performance requirement. Previously ML or Straight mineral oil.



Diesel Engines
Category Status Service
CJ-4 Current Introduced in 2006 for high-speed four-stroke engines. Designed to meet 2007 on-highway exhaust emission standards. CJ-4 oils are compounded for use in all applications with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 500ppm (0.05% by weight) - with possible exhaust and emission issues with 15ppm+ sulfur fuel. CJ-4 oils exceed the performance criteria of CF-4, CG-4, CH-4 and CI-4.
CI-4 Current Introduced in 2002 for high-speed four-stroke engines. Designed to meet 2004 exhaust emission standards implemented in 2002. CI-4 oils are formulated for EGR and diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4, CG-4 and CH-4
CH-4 Current Introduced in 1998 for high-speed four-stroke engines. CH-4 oils are specifically designed for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content up to 0.5% weight. Can be used in place of CD, CE, CF-4 and CG-4.
CG-4 Current Introduced in 1995 for high-speed four-stroke engines. CG-4 oils are specifically designed for use with diesel fuels ranging in sulfur content less than 0.5% weight. CG-4 oil needs to be used for engines meeting 1994 emission standards. Can be used in place of CD, CE and CF-4.
CF-4 Current Introduced in 1990 for high-speed four-stroke naturally aspirated and turbo engines. Can be used in place of CD and CE.
CF-2 Current Introduced in 1994 for severe duty, two stroke motorcycle engines. Can be used in place of CD-II.
CF Current Introduced in 1994 for off-road, indirect-injected and other diesel engines including those using fuel over 0.5% weight sulfur. Can be used in place of CD.
CE Obsolete Introduced in 1987 for high-speed four-stroke naturally aspirated and turbo engines. Can be used in place of CC and CD.
CD-II Obsolete Introduced in 1987 for two-stroke motorcycle engines.  AKA MIL-L-2104D/E.
CD Obsolete Introduced in 1955 for certain naturally aspirated and turbo engines.  AKA DS and MIL-L-45199B, Series 3, MIL-L-2104C/D/E.
CC Obsolete Introduced in 1961 for all diesels.  AKA DM and MIL-L-2104B, MIL-L-46152B.
CB Obsolete Introduced in 1949 for moderate-duty engines.  AKA DM and Supplement 1.
CA Obsolete Introduced in 1940 for light-duty engines.  AKA DG and  MIL-L-2104A.



Other Rating Systems



Friction Modifiers

"Friction modifiers” were added to SG rated oils to extend the life of auto engines and increase fuel economy.  These may be appropriate for some bikes, but bikes that have a wet clutch (sump clutch bathed in engine oil) will be negatively impacted by these additives which may damage the clutch, back torque limiter and starter system (if you have one).



Energy Saving and Energy Conserving (EC) Oils

Any oil labeled as "Energy Saving" or "Energy Conserving" should be avoided at all costs as it most likely contains high levels of friction modifiers that would have a detrimental impact on a motorcycle. 


Energy Conserving II in Rating Doughnut

"Energy Conserving II" in Rating Doughnut


Energy Conserving weight oils:


Non Energy Conserving weight oils (still check the back of the container):



Zinc Dialkyldithiophosphates (ZDDP)

Zinc and phosphorus were added to oil to protect cams and lifters and to protect motor oil from oxidative breakdown and to prevent the formation of sludge and varnish deposits.  It was typical to have 0.12% to 0.15% levels of ZDDP in SG rated oils.  This was later (SH+) replaced with molybdenum to prevent fouling of catalytic converters and some SL oils have as little as 0.05% levels of ZDDP.  Unfortunately molybdenum doesn't perform as well as ZDDP, especially in the high rev, hotter running motorcycle engines with limited oil reserves.


If you are racing bikes, then the higher levels of ZDDP will be necessary to protect your bike's engine, but it is debatable if it is really needed in a regular use dual sport.  You'll need to be the judge on this issue.



Rust Inhibitors

These were also reduces with newer oils.



Oil Additives - Big List

Engine oil additives include:



Diesel Engine Oil

CJ-4 is a 4 stroke diesel rated oil often used in Harley-Davidson bikes. 


CJ-4 Diesel Rated Oil

CJ-4 Diesel Rated Engine Oil

Since this is a diesel rated engine oil, it lacks many of the undesirable additives used in SH+ rated gasoline engine oils and instead has higher amounts of extra buffers and detergents.  Many riders use 15W40 diesel engine oils to avoid the additive mess, but other riders feel that this is too thin for summer riding in air cooled bikes like the DR650.


"Plus" in Rating Doughnut

"Plus" in Rating Doughnut


Diesel engine oil also comes in "Plus" which is formulated to provide a higher level of protection against soot-related viscosity increase and viscosity loss due to shear in vehicles powered by diesel engines.  This higher shear stability is exactly what you need for motor oil that is also lubricating the bike's trasnmission.



Oil and the Transmission

Unlike a car, a bike's transmission is lubricated by the same oil that lubricates the engine.  Supposedly, the cogs in a motorcycle transmission can shear the large viscosity increaser chemicals in multi-viscosity motor oils and degrade a 10W40 oil into a 10W30 oil in around a thousand miles.  If this is true, there is a good argument for frequent oil changes (every 1,000 miles) or use of synthetic oil.  That said, the 4,000 mile interval recommended by Suzuki is probably more than adequate.



Racing Oil

These are not intended for street (vehicles with catalytic converters) and often meet SG requirements and have higher levels of additives, like ZDDP.  Some of these often work well in motorcycles.  Some contain low levels of detergent

 and are therefore not recommended for street use.



Synthetic Oils

There's a lot to be said about synthetic oils.  The lubricate better, withstand high engine heat better, don't degrade like regular multi-viscosity mineral oils and cool engines better due to its consistent small molecular size.  They also cost more and may be impossible to find if you need to add a little on a journey far away from home.


Also of note, some of the newer synthetic oils have added "friction modifiers" which may be problematic with wet clutches.  Good luck.


"Synthetic" oil also means different things in different parts of the world.  In the US, the term "synthetic oil" is used a little more liberally and can be used to describe API Group III oils with synthetic additives.  In much of the rest of the world, only API Group IV or possibly Group V oils are considered true synthetic oils.


API Oil Groupings:


Perceived Synthetic Oil Benefits:



Mobil Delvac 1 Synthetic Oil

Delvac 1 Diesel Engine Oil

Delvac 1 Diesel Engine Oil


This may be found at your local truck stop and is used for big rigs with long oil change intervals (150,000+ miles - for truck engines with good filters and separate oil for their trannies).  Note that the container is gray and not black.  And unlike Mobil 1 and Redline which contain Molybdenum Disulfide, Delvac 1 reportedly doesn't. 


This oil is recommended by many riders and seems like this should work fine in a DR650 just fine.  Mobil-1 SUV and Shell Rotella T Synthetic (blue container) are reportedly also outstanding truck/bike oils.



Bottom Line

Motorcycle engine oil can be found in many places other than the dealership for a reasonable price.  If you stick with that, you should be fine.  If you want to use a motor oil designed for cars or diesels, make sure it is not an "Energy Conserving" oil, which should be marked on the API rating doughnut.  If you have a good selection on motor oils where you live, then find one with a JASO MA or MA2 rating which means it's a high friction oil suitable for a DR650's wet clutch.


If you love your bike and have extra money to burn, then go with a synthetic oil such as Mobil Delvac 1, Shell Rotella T Synthetic or the over hyped pyramid marketed AMSOIL.



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