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Thread: Help! - Noise after oil change

  1. #1
    Delaware.Dave
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    Unhappy Help! - Noise after oil change

    I have a 1999 R1100RT with 20,000 miles. I've owned her for a year and a half. At times, the previous owner(s) had used both regular and synthetic oil. On this change, I used Castrol Power RS GPS 4T, 20w-50 semi-synth.

    In the 400 miles since the oil change, I noticed a "chirping" kind of noise coming from the engine while under load (say, in third gear, 40 MPH, and roll on the throttle). I hear it also when riding over a bump and rough road. Everything else seems normal.

    If I rev the engine at a stop, the noise occasionally happens at the higher rpms. I believe I may be hearing the noise both from the side of the engine and through the exhaust.

    It doesn't sound like a "spun bearing" to me, but I can't identify the noise. Obviously, I don't want to damage anything, but the closest BMW dealership is 100 miles from my driveway.

    Whatcha think? Any constructive advice would be appreciated. TIA.

  2. #2
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delaware.Dave View Post
    I have a 1999 R1100RT with 20,000 miles. I've owned her for a year and a half. At times, the previous owner(s) had used both regular and synthetic oil. On this change, I used Castrol Power RS GPS 4T, 20w-50 semi-synth.

    In the 400 miles since the oil change, I noticed a "chirping" kind of noise coming from the engine while under load (say, in third gear, 40 MPH, and roll on the throttle). I hear it also when riding over a bump and rough road. Everything else seems normal.

    If I rev the engine at a stop, the noise occasionally happens at the higher rpms. I believe I may be hearing the noise both from the side of the engine and through the exhaust.

    It doesn't sound like a "spun bearing" to me, but I can't identify the noise. Obviously, I don't want to damage anything, but the closest BMW dealership is 100 miles from my driveway.

    Whatcha think? Any constructive advice would be appreciated. TIA.
    When you say "chirp," can you be more specific? Mechanical/non-mechanical sound?

    The reason I ask is that an old or improperly-tensioned alternator belt can chirp when it slips on the pulleys.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  3. #3
    Delaware.Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by mneblett View Post
    When you say "chirp," can you be more specific? Mechanical/non-mechanical sound?

    The reason I ask is that an old or improperly-tensioned alternator belt can chirp when it slips on the pulleys.
    I know what you mean, mneblett. It's hard to describe in words, what you hear on the bike. The way I would characterize it is like a chirp of rubber. It's quick, not a long rubbing noise. It's not rhythmic, like a bearing, nor metallic, like a broken clamp or fairing.

    It's linked to rpm rev, and can be most easily duplicated by selecting 3rd gear at about 40mph, and rolling on the throttle. That produces a series of chirps like I described. Strangely, it also is occasionally heard when riding over a bump.

    I've wondered if it's the timing chain tensioner, since I suspect the sound coming from the left side of the engine. It will be original, as is the alternator belt. I tried to record the sound, but all I got was wind noise. I will say that this second time today I went out on the bike to identify the sound, the noise was less, and harder to reproduce.

  4. #4
    Enjoy the ride!
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    Could just be pinging. My bike '02 did the same (while using premium gas), then I installed a booster plug and it went away. My bike might have been running lean.

  5. #5
    Delaware.Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisZ View Post
    Could just be pinging. My bike '02 did the same (while using premium gas), then I installed a booster plug and it went away. My bike might have been running lean.
    Nope, it's not pinging. I know that sound, and that wouldn't happen going over rough road anyway.

  6. #6
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    Just for laughs

    Check your alternator belt condition. My 04 Adventure did it and I finally got tired of hoping it wasn't something really bad and asked the dealer about it and they were happy to replace the 6 year old belt. No more noise.

  7. #7
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    I would bet on the alt. belt. My R1150R used to do it, then for some reason it quit doing it.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  8. #8
    Delaware.Dave
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    Maybe it's the alternator belt. The bike only has 20,000 miles on it, but it is 13 years old now, so I'm going to replace the belt tomorrow. I ride the bike daily when the weather is nice, so I don't see a reason to put it off.

    I'm debating replacing the left cam chain tensioner, as long as I have the side cover off.
    Last edited by Delaware.Dave; 09-25-2012 at 11:27 PM.

  9. #9
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delaware.Dave View Post
    I'm debating replacing the left cam chain tensioner, as long as I have the side cover off.
    That's not a debate - just do it. If its the old style one, you'll have to sooner or later.

  10. #10
    Delaware.Dave
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    Okay, You know how one thing leads to another...

    I replaced the alternator belt due to age as much as mileage. I figured it was the safest thing since it's my daily rider. At the same time I installed the updated cam chain tensioner and the bike starts and runs quietly, idles like a solid, quality engine. Glad I did it.

    The tires were spent too and I replaced the aged Z6s with Z8s. A new set of tires always makes anything feel good, so I'll have to break them in before I can give a ride report.

  11. #11
    Delaware.Dave
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    Well, I've put 700+ miles on the bike since a new alternator belt, upgraded left cam tensioner, and new tires (Metzeler Z8), but I still have the noise that I first described. The BMW technician heard the noise also, but said it was the fairings squeeking, "give it a few hundred miles". That's not what's happening.

    It's hard to locate the sound since I hear it when moving. I bought the $3 engine stethoscope from Harbor Freight, and I don't ear the noise from the cylinder heads when reving the engine. While riding, I definitely hear the noise through the exhaust. It's the same sound, at the same times, as before.

    Has anyone had the catalyst or baffles break loose in the exhaust system? This metallic, squeeky, rattle makes me think that may be the problem. It's not constant, but occurs when the engine is reved, or lugged at a lower speed, or occasionally or bumps.

    Other than this, the bike is running like brand new. Any advice is appreciated.

  12. #12
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Check the rubber iso-mounts at the front of the muffler. I've never ridden with them dmaged to know what it would sound like, but when I was disassembling my bikes to build one the first time, I found one of the mufflers had both iso-mounts torn in two and the mounting hardware was loose.

  13. #13
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    Ride it in the rain and see if it still does it or wash it and take it for a spin. Maybe the water will lubricate the problem and make it go away for awhile.

  14. #14
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    While it seems unlikely, you might want to change the oil and filter again. Maybe the relief valve in the filter isn't working correctly, or the label on the oil can was marked incorrectly. If that doesn't fix it, I would concentrate on a loose part.

    In spite of the problem occurring after an oil change. It sounds more likely it is something loose, and not necessarily a more serious mechanical problem. You might want to take the tupperware off the bike and go around the entire bike looking for a loose bolt or loose part.

    Also check the front shock bolt. These need to be greased periodically. After the grease wears off, it will squeak. At 20k it might be time.

    If you have a BMW club nearby, you might want to visit them. Let them ride it and take a crack at the source of the problem.

    Odd noises can often fool you. With my ear plugs in I can hear the tackiness of the tires sticking to worn concrete when it is hot. Can't hear much else, but I can hear that quite well.

    Chances are that it isn't anything serious, but it will probably drive you crazy not knowing what it is. I had a squeaking problem 25 years ago on an Airhead. Finally, I gave up trying to resolve the squeak. A year later I found it. And, once it was found, it was so insignificant and trivial. And, it came from the back of the bike when the squeak sounded like it was from the front of the bike. Sooner or later I am sure you will find it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delaware.Dave View Post
    the bike starts and runs quietly, idles like a solid, quality engine.
    I think the problem is that someone replaced your engine when you were asleep. Oilheads are supposed to sound like a bucket of bolts at idle. They only sound good at WOT.

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