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Thread: Oil Level

  1. #1
    http://www.rd400racer.com rd400racer's Avatar
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    Oil Level

    Well, Sunday was my 52nd birthday, and when asked what I wanted I said just to be left alone to work on my bike that day.

    So I embarked on my first ever valve adjustment of my (new to me) 94 R1100RS.

    I read every article I could find and watched all of the videos on youtube. Two strokes are my thing, but a monkey can work on a 2 stroke. I felt I had the mechanical ability to do this project with no problem and thanks to all of the excellent information out there it went without a hitch (almost).

    I figured since I would have the bike apart might as well do the oil change and new plugs so I would know exactly what is in there.


    Anyway, finish the project and feel pretty good about everything. Actually, I had a blast....felt like I really accomplished something. First time ever getting into a 4 stroke engine. Felt so good about it that I'm going to try to adjust the valves on my air-cooled Ducati.

    I had changed the oil on my short-lived 1100RT so I know the procedure and what to watch out for as far as over-filling goes. Even let the bike sit for hours to check the level. Had it perfectly on the dot and then let it sit overnight just to verify. Next morning...perfect. Bike runs like a champ.

    Now here is the issue. I've been riding for 3 days to work. Last night I center-stand the bike just for another double check and the oil level is full in the glass. WTH?! Sat overnight...this morning, I can just barely see a line at the very top of the glass. So now I'm completely paranoid to the point that I'm ready to pull it into the warehouse where I work and drain out a little oil.

    What the heck is going on and should I be so paranoid?


    On another note, it was thanks to the comments that I have read here that gave me the confidence to do this project and the excellent tutorials available. So thanks to all of you.
    http://www.rd400racer.com/

    2001 Ducati Monster; 1996 R1100GS; 1985 RZ350; 1977 RD400

  2. #2
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rd400racer View Post
    I read every article I could find and watched all of the videos on youtube.
    You missed reading some stuff about sight glass levels.

    should I be so paranoid?
    No
    There's a time lapse video around here somewhere that shows the sight glass level changing. Anywhere in the circle is OK. If it bothers you to the point of distraction then drain some out.
    Careful if you do it after riding to work, one guy did that at the side of the road and dropped the plug when the hot oil hit his fingers. Then way too much came out.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  3. #3
    Motorcyclist patiodadio's Avatar
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    I think its the position of the crank in the oil pan, stopping where the lobes are in the oil takes up more space, raising the oil level.


    .
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  4. #4
    RK Ryder
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    Unlike my K where the oil level is always consistent, this is not with case my R1100. Sometimes it's right in the centre, at other times, at the top, and sometimes, oh my, barely at the bottom of the sight glass. Remembering to place the bike on the side stand for 20 or so minutes after riding, before putting it on the centre stand (usually) gives me the result that I want. (but not always)

    Whenever I've been concerned and added just a drop, then usually the next day, the sight glass is overfilled.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  5. #5
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patiodadio View Post
    I think its the position of the crank in the oil pan, stopping where the lobes are in the oil takes up more space, raising the oil level.


    .
    The crank lobes do not dip into the oil.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  6. #6
    http://www.rd400racer.com rd400racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    Unlike my K where the oil level is always consistent, this is not with case my R1100. Sometimes it's right in the centre, at other times, at the top, and sometimes, oh my, barely at the bottom of the sight glass. Remembering to place the bike on the side stand for 20 or so minutes after riding, before putting it on the centre stand (usually) gives me the result that I want. (but not always)

    Whenever I've been concerned and added just a drop, then usually the next day, the sight glass is overfilled.
    I feel your pain Paul!

    I pulled the bike into our warehouse 2 hours ago. I just went out and checked it and now it is one dot under the middle dot


    I give up. I'm just not going to fret about it too much.

    And I'm sure not going to add any
    http://www.rd400racer.com/

    2001 Ducati Monster; 1996 R1100GS; 1985 RZ350; 1977 RD400

  7. #7
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    The crank lobes do not dip into the oil.
    ... on any engine.

    If they did, they'd whip the oil into foam and you'd have no oil pressure.

    This is the danger of overfilling.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  8. #8
    Motorcyclist patiodadio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    ... on any engine.

    If they did, they'd whip the oil into foam and you'd have no oil pressure.

    This is the danger of overfilling.
    Thanks for the correction, a mechanic told me that and it made sense to me. I looked at some cutaway pictures of the boxer engine and see that the crank lobes could not touch the oil in the bottom of the engine. So, back to the question, why the different oil level readings in the sight glass ?
    ________________________________________
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  9. #9
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    different levels most likely due to inconsistent draining from the oil cooler and its associated lines- sometimes not at all, sometimes partial, sometimes complete. that, and consumption.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
    Bill Lumberg 175781's Avatar
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    I drove myself to distraction over this on my R1150RT. I've actually had a consistent read for over a week, then had the oil level go up. During this process, I learned that leaving the bike on the sidestand was the cause of that occasional dramatic puff of smoke upon startup. More to the point, I learned that no combination of sidestand/centerstand would produce long term consistent oil readings, and that I needed to worry about something else.
    R75/6, 2004 R1150RTA.

  11. #11
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    The reason for different results is because the oil cooler circuit has a thermostat in it and oil gets trapped in the oil cooler when you park your bike on the center stand. If you use the center stand even if the oil is hot it is highly unlikely that all the oil will drain out of the oil cooler.

    To check the oil level and get consistent results is easy:

    1) Go ride the bike until the oil is hot. (Five bars on the RID)
    2) Park the bike on the _sidestand_ and wait for FIVE minutes. (Or just leave it sit all day...)
    3) Put the bike on the center stand and check your oil level. You are now looking at the actual level.

    This will tell you consistently every single time exactly how much is _really_ in there!

    Oil changes made easy:
    USA: Pour four quarts in when you change your oil AND filter. Done!
    Canada: Pour in 3.75 liters when you change your oil AND filter. Done!

    Don't even worry about the level until you check it as per above.
    Last edited by Happy Wanderer; 09-27-2012 at 05:56 PM. Reason: clarity
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  12. #12
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    different levels most likely due to inconsistent draining from the oil cooler and its associated lines- sometimes not at all, sometimes partial, sometimes complete. that, and consumption.
    Agreed 100%.

    What I've done is follow the same procedure every time I check my oil.

    1. Oil is checked after a ride when its hot and the oil cooler is hot.
    2. Turn off bike and leave on side stand for 5 minutes.
    3. Put bike on centrestand and check level.

    Using this method I always get a consistent reading. Keep in mind that as your oil cools overnight, the level will go down. Oil, like everything else in the world, expands when its hot. On my bike, cold, the level is a little more than halfway up the glass. Hot, its closer to the top of the red ring.

    YRMV but it works for me.

    Edit: Dammit, Happy Wanderer beat me to it!

  13. #13
    Nickname: Droid
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    Oil level variance is a characteristic of these bikes. If you know the oil amount put in (like four quarts at an oil change), and you don't notice any leaks, or that the engine is not smoking (all the time, especially whenever you back off the throttle), then don't worry about the variance and simply ride more.

    Not saying you obsess about the oil level, but some people certainly do. And they waste more time obsessing about the oil level than riding and enjoying the bike. Some people claim "I know my bike only uses "X-ounces" per 3,000 miles." Ok, sure, you go on thinking like that if you need to obsess about it. Because I doubt you can even measure that amount of oil accurately. Again, ride more.

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