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Castrol LHM questions - Shimano brakes


Craig Armstrong
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Hi guys,

So I've searched and found that you guys suggest Castrol LHM as the cheap alternative to shimano mineral oil.

 

Unfortunately from the 4 stores I went to, I couldn't find it. I eventually found Total LHM+. From the data sheet, it's 18cs at 40 degrees, as opposed to 20 on the castrol. I figured that's close enough. Especially since they're advertised as being for the same thing.

 

But here's my concern, from what I could find of the shimano oil, it's about 8cs at 40 degrees.. Why the discrepancy?

 

I fear that I got it all wrong, and I wasn't supposed to be looking at LHM+, but LHM... If that's a thing.

 

So, is it supposed to be LHM+ or LHM.

If LHM+ is right, is shimano really 8cs vs 20 on the castrol lhm?

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Its just an hydraulic oil. Shell tellus Oil S2 15 will also do the job but you may struggle to find in a small pack than a 20L.

castrol LHM was generally recommended because its available in a 500ml for power steering top up

 

Chevron/Caltex Rando HD 10 could also be an option

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Why not just **** k with Shimano oil, sure other things can work but it's kind of an important item to try and skimp on, like what's the warranty on Shimano brakes cause its def done the moment you use other oil.

 

Believe it or not, I've actually found it kind of difficult to find Shimano oil at bike shops. And the one or two that have it on the shelves charge so much that its actually cheaper to just have them bleed your breaks than to buy a bottle. 

For example: https://www.cyclelab.com/product/shimano-mineral-oil-50ml

That'll last you probably 1 set of brakes. At my LBS, I can bleed my breaks for R80 a side. 

 

In any case, its not like Shimano oil has some magical properties that no other oil has. Its just a matter of finding a cheaper oil that has the same properties. 

Edited by Craig Armstrong
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https://www.cwcycles.co.za/product/shimano-mineral-oil-hydraulic-1l

 

Lifetime supply for 300 bucks.

Just dont switch to another brand.

 

Well one issue is that I'm not in Cape Town, so incl. shipping it'll be R400 for that bottle.

Yes, R400 isn't absolutely unaffordable, but if there's another oil that's the same thing, but for R100 per litre, why wouldn't I buy it? 

 

I don't believe that the Shimano sticker gives it any special properties. If someone has done the research to work out that Castrol LHM or some other oil is the same thing, then I'd rather buy the oil thats 1/4 of the price. 

Edited by Craig Armstrong
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Well one issue is that I'm not in Cape Town, so incl. shipping it'll be R400 for that bottle.

Yes, R400 isn't absolutely unaffordable, but if there's another oil that's the same thing, but for R100 per litre, why wouldn't I buy it?

 

I don't believe that the Shimano sticker gives it any special properties. If someone has done the research to work out that Castrol LHM or some other oil is the same thing, then I'd rather buy the oil thats 1/4 of the price.

It's your bike and potentially your life. According to your own original post they are not the same thing and as I presume none of us studied chemistry it's a bold statement to say the sticker does not give it special properties.

 

Personally, after having spent 50k on a bike, the last place I am going to try and scare pennies is on safety equipment.

 

Heck, Seth ran baby oil in his brakes and said it worked but it was not as good as the proper stuff, but that was baby oil. I have seen a few other do it with mixed results and those really are anecdotal and have no real scientific basis.

 

If you believe it's good enough, it really is up to you and you alone.

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Well one issue is that I'm not in Cape Town, so incl. shipping it'll be R400 for that bottle.

Yes, R400 isn't absolutely unaffordable, but if there's another oil that's the same thing, but for R100 per litre, why wouldn't I buy it?

 

I don't believe that the Shimano sticker gives it any special properties. If someone has done the research to work out that Castrol LHM or some other oil is the same thing, then I'd rather buy the oil thats 1/4 of the price.

Well if it is only for saving money, I believe olive oil will also do the job.

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Why not just **** k with Shimano oil, sure other things can work but it's kind of an important item to try and skimp on, like what's the warranty on Shimano brakes cause its def done the moment you use other oil.

 

 

The warranty is done the moment you service the brakes yourself....

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Its just an hydraulic oil. Shell tellus Oil S2 15 will also do the job but you may struggle to find in a small pack than a 20L.

castrol LHM was generally recommended because its available in a 500ml for power steering top up

 

Chevron/Caltex Rando HD 10 could also be an option

 

Thanks so much. Just the article I needed!

 

 

 

 

you may also want to consider AeroShell Fluid 4.

 

Properties to consider include:

Operational temperature range (consider that brakes can get very hot and the boiling point of the fluid is important

Oxidation temperature

water content spec (wwater boils before the oil does but all oils will have some entrained water

Edited by DieselnDust
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Shimano mineral oil is very thin, at 8 cSt, and has a high viscosity index, which means it doesn't get as thin when heated as other oils. This combination makes it quite expensive to produce. (Not justifying their markups, but it is a factor).

 

There are quite a few generic brake oils on the market which are well cheaper than Shimano in the little bottles, but if you buy the Shimano stuff by the litre it's not that much more than the substitute stuff.

 

LHM is about twice as thick as the OEM oil, so it causes issues with lever return. You could probably try an HVI shock oil - but at about R 300 / l you're not going to save much. ISO 10 hydraulic fluid would also be fine, but as mentioned above you'll battle to find it in quantities under 20l. And check the data sheet to make sure the VI is somewhere around the 300 - 400 mark or you'll have issues with fade.

 

If you are going to use LHM it doesn't really matter what brand.

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