Thursday, 25 September 2008

He Says – The Bad Organ.

For years I have heard about this legendary product the Scott-oiler, a automatic motorcycle chain oiler. It had the reputation of being a life saver. Made chains go 20-30k miles instead on 15k miles. I wanted one! Well Anubis came with one. I was truly pleased, and it worked great when I was not commuting or travelling, those few nice weekends that I could get out on the bike when it was warm and sunny and all was dry and nice. I was a pleasure rider only. Well all that changed after our first tour on Anubis. We were in Spain and the dam thing stopped working. I though it was just me and my naivety about the working of it. So I learned and a dark feeling grew in my stomach.. but every one else loves em.. I must be wrong.

Then we moved houses I was no longer 1 mile from work .. I get to ride every DAY!! Yay!. Within a week the Scott oiler stopped working. I adjusted it .. it worked.. a few weeks passed it stopped .. I adjusted it .. it worked .. spring hit .. it stopped working…..this pattern repeated it self for the next several months. We travelled again and it did not work at all.. I started to believe that I was right and every one else was wrong. We for 3 weeks travelled though Romania.. the Scott-oiler failed.. my chain was eaten because I did notice until we were too far from anywhere I could get spray on lube for several hundred more miles. The result: Scott oilers don’t work…But how, everyone loves them?

Well now I know … Scott-oilers work just fine.. Just not for all weather riders like overland tourers or even commuters.

Most riders get on there bike when it is warm and sunny and all is nice and dry. Warm and sunny and all was dry and nice. So the environmental conditions are always similar. Scott-oilers are no good for overlanders, they are designed for “similar condition rides".. AKA Fair weather riders.

When the environment is hot the oil is thinner so you drip fast (your tank can go dry in a day). When cold the opposite (oil gets thick and drips too slow = not enough on the chain). When wet your chain is washed of oil too quickly. When cold and wet you run a dry chain (because it drips slow and gets washed off). When hot and wet you get a dry chain and an oily tyre, and off-road you get a nice grinding paste. We (tourers) ride in way to many conditions and need to adjust the drip rate far too often (like several times a day).

I have taken the Scot-toiler off Anubis. I had the feeling that I was removing a cancerous organ. I hated it. It did do two things great: leak oil on my garage floor and give me headaches. It never worked well. I feeling of relief came over me as I sealed the m5 vacuum nipple hole, and ripped out the oily tubing. Now that it has been off for a couple of weeks I also believe that the Scott-oiler messed with my vacuum system (which it “ran” off) enough that it effected performance and fuel economy.

HOWEVER, I love the idea of a feed system so that the chain stays nice and lubed all the time, without (too much) daily checking.
I just installed a new system called pro-oiler ( the concept is much easier (in my mind to deal with).. it is a little 12v pump that pumps the oil at the rate you chose..(nothing attached to your engine at all.. just a 12V power feed) and they have it set up so that the pump is disabled when the wheels aren’t moving so you dont waste oil either. The nicest part is there is a control (on the dash/handle bars) where you can instantaneously (and as frequently as you want), adjust the drip rate for all the conditions that we may face. You can chose from OFF (0 drips/min) to environmental terrorist rates. They have also programmed an off-road setting (which may be 2X the environmental terrorist rates (I don’t know). This gives you the control that is needed, for rides that are not warm or sunny or all dry and nice. It is not as hands off as the Scott-oiler claims to be, but the added control is IMHO the point.

The one thing (so far) that I did not like about the pro-oiler was the oil tank was smaller then I would have liked (175ml), but with their help (information) I modified the Scott-oiler’s 500ml touring tank (which I already had) and that gave me lots of oil… So lets see how it all goes. So far my engine seems smoother and the chain is nice and lubed.