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Thread: basic question...oil reading 12GS

  1. #1
    pgods
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    basic question...oil reading 12GS

    So, the bike is warmed up. I put her on the centerstand on fairly level pavement. Wait 5-10 minutes. I look at my site glass and I DON'T SEE ANY OIL within the red circle! I just had the oil changed less than a 1000 miles ago (synthetic).
    What am I missing -besides oil?

  2. #2
    Stuff2c
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    Just check it in the morning before you throw your leg over it and you're good all day.

  3. #3
    Registered User BernieEcht's Avatar
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    How to check the proper oil level.

    After a ride, I park the bike on the side stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, to let the oil drain down from the oil cooler. Then I put the bike on the center stand and after another 10 or 20 minutes, or the next morning read the oil level. It is real easy to get the oil caught in the cooler and then over fill the crankcase.
    Bernie Echt
    Jacksonville, FL
    2007 R1200RT Double Silver, 2000 R11RT sold (103K)
    MOA#92589, BMWNEF, BMW Outriders, BMW-RA, AMA

  4. #4
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    Also with less than 1K miles on it, it MIGHT (you didn't say how few miles...it's possible) still be clear enough to make you think that there is no oil in the sight-glass. I just had a dumbass-moment with this the other day when I was changing the oil in my GS. When running you should be able to see the top of the oil in the upper-half of the circle on the glass. Also don't forget that the oil capacity is 1.1 Gal, or 4 litres (not 4 quarts).
    Of course you also say that you "had the oil changed..." This is why I do it myself. I don't trust anybody else to do it to as anal a standard as I require.
    Bikeless for now...but not for much longer!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  5. #5
    pgods
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Veg View Post
    Also with less than 1K miles on it, it MIGHT (you didn't say how few miles...it's possible) still be clear enough to make you think that there is no oil in the sight-glass. I just had a dumbass-moment with this the other day when I was changing the oil in my GS. When running you should be able to see the top of the oil in the upper-half of the circle on the glass. Also don't forget that the oil capacity is 1.1 Gal, or 4 litres (not 4 quarts).
    Of course you also say that you "had the oil changed..." This is why I do it myself. I don't trust anybody else to do it to as anal a standard as I require.
    Moving forward I will be doing basic service on my bike ...thank JVBs 1200GS maintenence DVD!

  6. #6
    charleshickman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuff2C View Post
    Just check it in the morning before you throw your leg over it and you're good all day.
    pigods doesn't say how many miles are on the bike. I bought my 06 r1200gs with 700 miles on it. It had been a demo. I live in Huntsville, AL and picked it up near Cleveland, OH. I nearly ran the bike out of oil in 400 miles. The low oil light was coming on intermittantly while I was stopped in traffic. I stopped at the next gas station and added less than a qt. I understand that there is a low oil sensor and so I probably did not lose oil pressure.

    But still, until about 5k miles, it used some. Now very little, but I still (15.5K miles) compulsively check it whenever I get gas.

  7. #7
    mjuskiw
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    I asked the mechanic this question and the answer I got was to check it after a hard ride. And also just stay on top of it Ill look one morning it will be fine , the next it looks low ect. I use a small jug holds about .25 litres so I shouldnt overfill.

    I think the oil warning is pressure only : Im not sure if it will detect low oil levels. The two have to be connected but I think it actually senses pressure.

    Mine got very hot the other day and I saw the warning light. When I changed the oil (better safe than sorry not $$$) I got the full amount and the sight glass read full.

    mjuskiw
    akron Ohio

  8. #8
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Reposted from a similar post:

    My method is not only totally against BMW official policy, but much simpler.

    I simply ride the bike until warm, park it for at least 5 min on the sidestand, and look at the site glass. If it is completely full I ride. If it is showing any air, I add 8 oz and ride, then check again at the next stop.

    This method ensures all oil is out of any oil cooler, and you will never over fill it. The worst you will ever be is 8 oz low, which is fine on a bike with 4 quarts in it.

    This method has served me, and many of my friends, well for hundreds of thousands of miles without an issue.

    Again, it is NOT a BMW approved method! But it works for me!

    Jim

    PS I check my volume of fluid at nearly every oil change and have never come up more than 8 oz low, and never too much either.

  9. #9
    Registered User BernieEcht's Avatar
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    After the 5 minutes resting on side stand, do you lift the bike unto the center stand and then check, or do you check it leaned over on the side stand?

    Quote Originally Posted by JimVonBaden1 View Post
    Reposted from a similar post:

    My method is not only totally against BMW official policy, but much simpler.

    I simply ride the bike until warm, park it for at least 5 min on the side stand, and look at the site glass. If it is completely full I ride. If it is showing any air, I add 8 oz and ride, then check again at the next stop.

    This method ensures all oil is out of any oil cooler, and you will never over fill it. The worst you will ever be is 8 oz low, which is fine on a bike with 4 quarts in it.

    This method has served me, and many of my friends, well for hundreds of thousands of miles without an issue.

    Again, it is NOT a BMW approved method! But it works for me!

    Jim

    PS I check my volume of fluid at nearly every oil change and have never come up more than 8 oz low, and never too much either.
    Bernie Echt
    Jacksonville, FL
    2007 R1200RT Double Silver, 2000 R11RT sold (103K)
    MOA#92589, BMWNEF, BMW Outriders, BMW-RA, AMA

  10. #10
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BernieEcht View Post
    After the 5 minutes resting on side stand, do you lift the bike unto the center stand and then check, or do you check it leaned over on the side stand?
    Always on the sidestand. Otherwise you would have a bike overfull.

    The distance between the top of the red ring and the top of the window is 8 oz, and when you see air in the window, on the sidestand, there is about 8 oz lower than completely full.

    Jim

  11. #11
    Registered User TomR1200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimVonBaden1 View Post
    Always on the sidestand. Otherwise you would have a bike overfull.

    Jim
    Are you sure? My rider's manual says to check it with the bike "vertical". It also says the distance from the bottom of the red ring to the top of the red ring is 16oz.

    Cheers, Tom

  12. #12
    Kool Aid Dispenser! jimvonbaden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TR250Tom View Post
    Are you sure? My rider's manual says to check it with the bike "vertical". It also says the distance from the bottom of the red ring to the top of the red ring is 16oz.

    Cheers, Tom
    Like I said:
    My method is not only totally against BMW official policy, but much simpler.

    I simply ride the bike until warm, park it for at least 5 min on the sidestand, and look at the site glass. If it is completely full I ride. If it is showing any air, I add 8 oz and ride, then check again at the next stop.

    This method ensures all oil is out of any oil cooler, and you will never over fill it. The worst you will ever be is 8 oz low, which is fine on a bike with 4 quarts in it.

    This method has served me, and many of my friends, well for hundreds of thousands of miles without an issue.

    Again, it is NOT a BMW approved method! But it works for me!

    Jim

    PS I check my volume of fluid at nearly every oil change and have never come up more than 8 oz low, and never too much either.

    Absolutely if you are uncomfortable with using my method, do the BMW oil check dance.

    Personally I find lifting my heavy pig up on the centerstand for an iffy evaluation of actual oil level not worth the effort when my way works more consistently!

    Furthermore, I said the top of the red ring to the top of the sight glass, not top of the red ring to the bottom of the red ring is 8 ounces!

    The distance between the top of the red ring and the top of the window is 8 oz, and when you see air in the window, on the sidestand, there is about 8 oz lower than completely full.
    Jim

  13. #13
    chfite
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    I find the oil level on my R12ST to vary a bit. I ride the 100 miles to work, park on center stand, check level after 5 minutes and it may be at the bottom of the ring. The next morning, I ride home, put it on the center stand, check it after 5 minutes and it will be at the dot. I don't add oil, unless it shows low at home. When I add it, I add only to the dot. The next morning at work it may show at the top of the ring.

    After 20,000 miles, the oil consumption has dropped from 1-1/2 quarts between changes to currently less than a quart. I reckon that I am not using much oil daily, maybe 1/2 ounce, and ride it if oil shows in the circle of the sight glass.

    My bike is light and easy to put on the center stand, anyway.

  14. #14
    Registered User soffiler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BernieEcht View Post
    After a ride, I park the bike on the side stand for about 10 or 15 minutes, to let the oil drain down from the oil cooler. Then I put the bike on the center stand and after another 10 or 20 minutes, or the next morning read the oil level. It is real easy to get the oil caught in the cooler and then over fill the crankcase.
    The above is what I do, and seems to be the "conventional wisdom" contrary to BMW's official method (engine warm, straight to centerstand). Apparently the BMW method is prone to variation, and a few minutes on the sidestand mostly eliminates this variation. Works great for me.

    If/when it drops down near the bottom of the red circle on the sight glass, add some oil. Otherwise it's useless to try to make small oil level adjustments - if you can see oil, RIDE IT.
    Steve O. - MOA #122171
    '05 R12GS, '76 CB200 (wife's)
    '91 K100RS, '87 Honda CBR1000 Hurricane, '84 Yamaha FJ1100, '85 Honda VF500F, '76 Yamaha RD400, '82 Honda XL500... and more

  15. #15
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Darn, I'm happy they fixed this with the Roadster

    With the low mounted oil cooler - the level is always easy to read (and very repeatable).. put it on the centerstand, wait 5 minutes - read the level in the window. If you read it in the AM - it will appear about 1/8" lower since the oil has cooled off and contracted in volume a bit. It's about as easy and repeatable as oil readings on a K bike.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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