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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys. I just ran up on a deal for a 95 polaris 400 2x4. The owners manual calls for tcw3 2 stroke oil. Since I'm a total newbee to the 2 stroke atv world, I'll defer to those smarter than I. What oil can I run in this bike that won't break the bank or smoke me out of the woods.
 

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2-stroke oil....

A little 2-stroke oil info:thumbsup:
First of all, two‑cycle oils (abbreviated 2T) differ from four‑cycle lubricants (abbreviated 4T) in the fact that 2T lubricants "must combust or burn" and are chemically altered to do so. Four‑stroke, 4T oils are designed "not to burn" or combust and have different chemistry profiles that inhibit consumption by the engine. It is therefore for those unique and completely opposite operating requirements that a classification needed to be assigned to differentiate the oils based on the engine design cycle (2 vs. 4 stroke). The NMMA (National Marine Manufactures Association) was the first to set the standards for two‑cycle oils (2T) beginning in 1960. Listed below is a timeline for the various ratings:

NMMA Ratings

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TC‑W (air cooled) -- 1960‑1988
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TC‑WII (water cooled) -- 1988‑1995
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TC‑W3 (water cooled/marine) -- 1992‑1996
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Recertified TC‑W3 -- 1996‑current

As you can see, we are currently under a "recertified" TC‑W3 classification for two‑cycle lubricants that was driven by some of the OEM's to improve detergency, lubricity and reduce ring sticking. All 2T oils today must meet the TC‑W3 rating to be OEM approved and maintain your warranty requirements set forth by the manufacture.

Back in the early 1990's, Japan as a major manufacture of two‑strokes, decided it needed it's own standard to rate and develop 2T oils for quality assurance purposes. The API (American Petroleum Institute‑USA) was the only automotive standard at the time. This standard did not meet the higher quality testing criteria for oils the Japanese desired as their testing methods were much more severe and wider in scope than the API's TA, TB, TC rating format. On July 1st, 1994, the marketing of JASO (Japanese Automobile Standards Organization) oil began worldwide. Being of a higher quality requirement than the USA API standard, this provided many developing countries the criteria to formulate and test their lubricants with. Figure 1 illustrates the JASO Standard of classification for 2T oils. JASO classification for 2T oils are FA, FB, FC, FC is the highest JASO rating. Most currently available 2T oils meet the JASO FB rating, only premium 2T oils obtain an FC classification.
 

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2-stroke oil....

:)Modern synthetics have advantages over most petroleum based 2T oils in the areas of high rpm protection, lower sub‑zero pour point, cleaner burning with less smoke, lower carbon deposits on pistons, rings and power valves. The most notable disadvantages of synthetics are high price, poor off‑season rust protection, irritating smell along with eye and respiratory discomfort due to the solvents used in manufacturing and loss of ring seal due to "glazing" of the cylinder walls with extended use. After several years of intensive research, we have documented that the use of synthetic 2T oils will in fact cause the cylinder walls to "glaze over" and cause "blow‑by" at the piston rings eventually resulting in a power loss. This will be evident when you remove a cylinder and find discoloration below the ring lands most notably on the piston sides. Our research has determined this begins around 1500‑1800 miles and worsens with continued use of synthetics. Why all the hype then about synthetics? And why do the manufactures urge you to use them?

The synthetic molecule by virtue of design is "chemically" superior to the petroleum molecule. The real benefit of a man‑made synthetic molecule occurs at extreme high RPMs. When the reciprocating loads and heat saturation limits reach engine component failure levels (10‑12,000+ rpm), synthetics provide the needed protection. This level of operation is rarely ever seen in snowmobiling today except in drag racing or full‑mod engines tuned for maximum performance. The disadvantages of synthetics, namely the unacceptable loss of ring seal with continued use, poor off‑season rust protection for the crankshaft bearings from ever present internal moisture and unpleasant exhaust fumes far outweigh the advantages. Most people expect when paying 30‑50% more for an oil to get something for their investment, not a loss of performance or an expensive repair bill when they lose a crank bearing at the beginning of the season caused by internal rust.

Manufactures insist on using synthetics because they lack the technology to blend a petroleum 2T oil that will burn clean and not cause pre‑mature power valve sticking. Cleaning power valves is a drag and the OEM's realize that most people would rather ride than spend time doing maintenance caused by a poor grade of oil. Blending oil is an art, a skillful balance of chemistry and component selection along with additives that perform in a predetermined manner. This art is referred to as "chemical engineering" and unfortunately do you rarely find a professional engine builder working closely and in conjunction with a qualified lubricants chemist.

Petroleum or mineral based 2T oils have more advantages than disadvantages: They provide superior off‑season rust protection because mineral oils are natural lubricants, not man‑made, they are affordable and provide good all‑around performance without destroying piston ring seal by glazing the cylinder walls. Their disadvantages are that they are not as clean burning as synthetics, and some will not provide the film strength in "extreme" high rpm load or heat conditions.

What would be the "preferred" two‑cycle lubricant is combining the best features of both mineral based oil and a synthetic with the undesirable traits chemically altered or removed to obtain the best of both worlds. This "hybrid" 2T formula would be an ultra‑pure, highly refined, superior quality base oil combined with an additive package that would offer all the benefits in film strength and cleanliness of a synthetic yet still be classified as mineral oil. The good news is this technology exists, yet very few people understand the importance and the balance of chemistry to make it a reality.

The higher solvent content in synthetics not only drive up the cost, but contribute to the typical "foul odor" and incomplete combustion based on improper solvent selection. The DI (detergency) portion of the formula controls the oils ability to minimize residue and build‑up on internal components. While the charts show what would be an ideal progression towards improved lubricant performance, the basic ingredients used in blending of 2T oils and the "closeminded" approach by most chemist has prevented technological advances in oil formulation. As engine technology improves so should the lubricants, this has not been the case with two‑cycle synthetics.
 

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2-stroke oil...

Ok guys. I just ran up on a deal for a 95 polaris 400 2x4. The owners manual calls for tcw3 2 stroke oil. Since I'm a total newbee to the 2 stroke atv world, I'll defer to those smarter than I. What oil can I run in this bike that won't break the bank or smoke me out of the woods.
Welcome to the forum:)

There is soo many good brands of oil....klotz is the worst.
Yeah, i've heard nothing but great things about Mobil-1 Mx2t, AMSOil 2000 synthetic , Maxima Castor 927(It's what I use), yamalube, belray, Motul 800... Just make sure you check the back of the bottle for the tcw3....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks 4 all the great info. Sounds to me like my best bet would be a natural oil since this atv is used manily for hunting and putting around with the kids and will probably never see extreme rpms. Thats fine by me since I can get the same stuff for my boat an a good price, and not have to worry about getting the two mixed up in the wee hours of the morning when heading out.
 

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Thanks 4 all the great info. Sounds to me like my best bet would be a natural oil since this atv is used manily for hunting and putting around with the kids and will probably never see extreme rpms. Thats fine by me since I can get the same stuff for my boat an a good price, and not have to worry about getting the two mixed up in the wee hours of the morning when heading out.
That's true....eyes half open stumbling through the dark garage:)
It's funny how I buy high protection oil and I take my trike apart every couple rides....I always take the head off and clean the top of the piston and dome.....It is amazing how a 2-stroke will foul plugs after there is carbon deposit build up.
 
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