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Home Repair And Restoration

Scottoiler Guide

Guide Date - 08 January 2017

By Bob Northern

Like many motorcyclists I have in the past bought a used machine which was fitted with a Scottoiler and like many motorcyclists I've dismissed it and relished the removal of the unit and it’s assorted “junk”.  One day however I purchased a bike with a properly fitted and functioning Scottoiler, the previous owner gave me half a bottle of the special blue Scottoil and so I rode the bike and topped up the Scottoiler reservoir as necessary. After a couple of thousand miles I realised that I had neither adjusted or lubed the chain and examination showed that the chain was moist with oil, properly tensioned and remarkably clean given the wintry conditions - I was converted.

Since that day I've run a Scottoiler on every machine I’ve owned, not doing so seems like utter madness to me now.

The Scottoiler system consists of the main unit called the VTV (I think) and an assortment of pipes and fittings. The system functions by using the vacuum generated in the inlet tract of the engine to open the valve in the VTV and thus allow oil to flow down the delivery tube to the chain. Therefore it is necessary to mount the main unit to the bike, route the oil delivery tube to the chain and route the vacuum tube to somewhere in the vicinity of the cylinder head. Let’s look at each in turn:

VTV - mount as close to vertical as possible as the system relies on gravity to deliver the oil. Mount the VTV as close to the rear sprocket as possible, the reason for this is that it takes less time for the oil to flow from the VTV to the chain which makes it much easier to check correct function and see the flow of oil change in response to settings on the flow rate dial. On my FX650 I’ve mounted the VTV on the swingarm as shown. Initially I was concerned that the VTV would be shaken to pieces by the undamped movement of the swingarm, but I can report no problems after extended off-road abuse.

The scottoiler VTV or bottle mounted to the rear of Bob's swingarm

Oil delivery - The oil flows from the VTV down a small bore pipe, I've found the best delivery arrangement is to use the metal bracket type mount attached under the rear spindle nut. The metal bracket can be bent to offer the delivery tube to the sprocket at a suitable angle. A small jubilee clip or cable ties (as in this case) secures a white plastic tube to the metal bracket and the oil delivery tube is an interference fit inside this tube. Finally, a very small diameter delivery quill pushes into the oil delivery tube. The quill is the part that rubs on the sprocket and delivers the oil.

The quill is a very tight fit in the delivery tube, but the delivery tube is a more loose fit in the white plastic tube, therefore the delivery tube can be pushed in or out of the white plastic tube to set the quill at the correct distance, which is just sliding across the face of the sprocket. The quill is designed to wear down over time and they are sold in packs as replacements.

There are fancy dual sided, spring loaded and other contraption style delivery ends around, all of them unnecessary as the simple single sided quill is all you need. Oil delivered to one side of the chain makes its way across to the other side (as is oil’s way). The more contrived delivery methods are more prone to be delicate and get in the way of wheel removal or chain adjustment.

The quill, or little pipe from the scottoiler feeding oil to the rear sprocket

Vacuum Take-off - On a multi-cylinder bike there are usually vacuum take-off points provided for balancing the carbs / throttle bodies. Scottoiler supply a range of spigots in different threads to suit your bike’s take off points. The spigot screws in and the vacuum pipe attaches with the supplied right angle connector. The right angle connector contains a brass filter mesh of the sort often seen in pneumatic fittings and serves to protect the engine against any debris being sucked in from the Scottoiler and also to dampen the vacuum pulses to protect the Scottoiler’s vacuum valve.

Fitting can be more difficult on a single. On my G650X Country I drilled and tapped a hole in the throttle body (after removing it from the bike obviously).  On my FX650 there is a vacuum hose which runs from the engine side of the carb body to the fuel cut-off valve on the right hand side. Adding a T piece in this pipe allowed the standard Scottoiler right angle connector to be used.

The T piece fitted to Bob's vacuum pipe allowing operation of the scottoiler

I adjust the oil flow so that the chain always looks moist. At that rate the reservoir will need filling every 400 miles or so.

A note on oil. I use the genuine Scottoiler oil as it's not expensive and it's what works with the oiler. The oil is blue and I think this is deliberate, occasionally you will get a dribble of oil on the floor under the front sprocket cover. The blueness of the Scottoil confirms that the oil on the floor is Scottoil and is not indicative of O/P shaft seal or worse O/P shaft bearing failure.

A properly fitted Scottoiler is a thing of joy. On a recent weekend off-roading in Wales I rode a total of 700 miles including many green lanes, on a 650 single and didn't need to adjust or lube the chain.

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Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed said :-
Many thanks to Bob for this post. I am still a Scottoiler virgin. I was wondering if anyone has experience wiyh similar products?
09/01/2017 07:37:25 UTC
Bob said :-
I tried the original squashy and the later push-button Lubeman oilers. Of the two the squashy one was more robust.
The Tutoro looks OK too, but you can't beat the fit and forget option of the Scottoiler!
09/01/2017 15:09:12 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've seen the ones where you give the button a quick squish from time to time Bob. I have a friend who swears by his. Did Scottoiler do an electrically operated one, I seem to recall hearing of such a thing.
09/01/2017 16:01:33 UTC
Bob said :-
Yes, there's a fancy electronic controlled version. I think it's double the price and I can't see the extra complication is worth it.
09/01/2017 19:18:57 UTC

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