As far as I know, there is no "Energy Conserving" category any more. A trip to Walmart yesterday and I could find no such marking on any brand or weight of oil in the API donut. Many of them have "Resource Conserving" and it looks like that is the new category, and not the same as the former "Energy Conserving". Does that mean that oil bearing the the Resource Conserving mark is also bad for wet clutches ? I can't find anything that recommends one way or another.
Good info, thanks.
Resource Conserving is a new specification that basically extends the Energy Conserving seal. It does get kind of complicated but here it goes. One is always best off using a JASO-MA oil, as specified by your manual, with a wet clutch. That said, just because an oil is Energy Conserving, or now Resource Conserving, doesn't mean it will absolutely damage a wet clutch. Only that if it has such a label and it is not JASO-MA rated it might. How it gets to the "Conserving" level and if it will damage your clutch depends on what additives are used to meet the "Conserving" requirements. What we do know, and this is almost all anecdotal, is that, if an oil is NOT "Conserving", it is highly unlikely to contain additives that "Conserving" oils might have that will damage a wet clutch. If the oil is "Conserving" Then it may or may not, and one might never know. Further to this, if the oil is JASO-MA rated as per your manual, it most definitely will not contain additives that will damage your wet clutch.
I recently read an article in one of the magazines I subscribe to, and it was from a motorcycle school. Not following general motorcycle wisdom, they decided to save money on oil, so they bought automotive oil for their fleet. Now we all know that the clutches on learning motorcycles get horribly abused. The net result was that they started replacing clutches. Thinking it was just an age thing, they began to discover that the frequency they needed to replace clutches for any given bike in the fleet increased substantially. Upon inspection though, the stack height was still within spec and not too far off of new. Luckily the steels could be conditioned and the fibers re-used with a simple wash and the right oil. Maybe not good as new, but more life anyway. So maybe the added abuse, in combination with the automotive oil was the cause, I don't know, and nor did the guy writing the article. But to him the evidence was clear, and it mirrors what we've been told for a long time.
So, long story short, if you want to be 100% sure you have the right oil for your wet clutch, use what the manual specifies, or something equivalent. If one strays from that, well then one is open to new experiences.