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Thread: Oil low: 2005 R1150RT-P

  1. #1
    FMaxwell
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    Oil low: 2005 R1150RT-P

    Hello all. I purchased a 2005 R1150RT-P with 11K miles on it. I bought the BMW to replace a Ural that was totaled on 8/31 when a young driver turned in front of me.

    Unfortunately, the accident left me with a fractured collarbone which was repaired with a plate, so I put off getting the BMW on the center stand (using just my left hand) to check the oil until today, 700 miles later.

    The oil did not show in the sight glass. I added one full quart (Red Line 20W50 motorcycle oil) and that put it just above the center line of the sight glass.

    Oil light never came on. Oil temperature was normal. Bike ran fine. Still seems fine, though a tiny bit quieter (as I'd expect after adding a quart of oil). I'm guessing that everything is fine, but I'd feel better if I heard from anyone with similar "oops" experiences.

  2. #2
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    please do yourself a favor and do a search on the best procedure to correctly read the oil level. you may well have over-filled it, possilby by enough to require some removal
    then again, it might be fine. but the methodolgy needed is different on these bikes from others.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  3. #3
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    To save you some time, ride the bike to get it nice and warm, a good 20 mins or so, then put it on the center stand and read the oil level after a few minutes. The longer you wait, the higher the level goes as it drains down. I usually read the level after I'm done filling up with gas.

    If you were truly that low, that low level warning should have come on. Mine comes on when I'm about at the 1/3 level on the sight glass. I have an R12RT, so I admit I don't know how the low oil warning works on an 1150.

    Still, I doubt you did any harm if it was low, or at least not any immediate harm.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  4. #4
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    '05 1150 does not have a low oil warning function. Just the red light if pressure is lost or drops very low.

    The drill is to wait till oil has drained down before checking it. It can take a while. Some folks put it on the side stand for a little while, then on the center stand.

    If you have a willing assistant the center stand isn't needed. Just sit on the bike anbd have that willing assistant get down and look at the sight glass.

    It is unlikely you did any damage. You didn't lose oil pressure. I wouldn't recommend running a quart low but it is not likely to do any harm inless you are stuck in traffic in very hot weather and the oil breaks down.
    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

  5. #5
    FMaxwell
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    Thanks!

    I got home after a 1/2 hour ride, put the bike on the side stand as I took off my gear, shut the engine off, waited a couple of minutes, put it on the center stand, and went in the house. I came out about 15 minutes later to check the level and added oil. Started it, ran it for a few minutes, and then shut it down. Checked back in about 1/2 hour and oil was in the middle of the sight glass again.

    Compared to checking the oil level in my Rotax-powered Buell 1125CR, the BMW is simple.

    I'll probably change out the oil this weekend and use up my Mobil 1 V-Twin two quarts along with some Spectro or Motul synthetic MC oils. I need to use up the odd lots I've collected, which are all top-notch oils. Since the BMW is a lot less picky about oils than my Buells, it seems like a good way to freshen the oil while letting me use up the unopened remainder quarts of oil.

  6. #6
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    leave it on the sidestand for about 10-15 minutes before moving it onto the c-stand. oil needs to drain out of the cooler and lines, and that does not happen immediately. too quick a move and you could easily be overfilling it.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  7. #7
    FMaxwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    leave it on the sidestand for about 10-15 minutes before moving it onto the c-stand. oil needs to drain out of the cooler and lines, and that does not happen immediately. too quick a move and you could easily be overfilling it.
    Thanks. Checked it this morning before leaving for work and it was just over 1/2 way up the sight glass -- just like last night.

    I'm a bit confused. Are you saying that the oil does not drain out of the cooler and lines when the bike is on the center stand?

    Can't I just come home, put it on the center stand and then check the level after I have dinner or in the morning before I take the bike out?

    I'll feel better when I put in fresh synthetic oil this weekend.

  8. #8
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    When it comes to checking oil, you'll find a lot of magic involved. Try it both ways and see if there is a difference. I bet you find a 5 minute drain on the center stand gives you about the same reading as any other method. Certainly close enough to know if you are in the window.

    My RT will vary quite a bit. When cold, overnight, the window is full (can't see the oil--over the top). Ride it and look immediately, it's below half. Wait 5 mins, it's about 1/2 to 3/4, overnight, back over the top again.

    Don't turn it into a complicated process and it will be fine. Measure it hot, after a few minute drain down period, shoot for the center to mid top of the window, and you'll be fine.

    Hey, at least you found out your low oil sensor isn't broken!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  9. #9
    Left Coast Rider
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    Why has no one mentioned the special tool, DVD of the proper checking procedure, or the training course for the "willing assistant" ?

    Yes, I'm kidding.

  10. #10
    FMaxwell
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    I think I should be fine just parking on the center stand in the evening and checking the oil in the morning before heading out again.

    Now if you guys want to see an ugly oil check procedure, here's the official Buell procedure for a hot oil level check on their 1125R and 1125CR bikes:

    Oil Level Hot Check
    Perform engine oil HOT CHECK as follows:

    1. Ride motorcycle for approximately 10 minutes. Ride at
    least 5 miles (8 kilometers) to ensure the oil is hot and
    the engine is at normal operating temperature. Readings
    taken with colder oil could lead to an overfull engine condition.

    2. Stand the motorcycle upright (not leaning on sidestand)
    on a firm level surface. An uneven surface will produce a
    false oil reading.

    3. Idle the motorcycle for three minutes. Shut off the motorcycle.

    4. See Figure 1. Loosen the dipstick.

    5. Wait for 3-4 minutes after shutdown (with vehicle still
    upright) before reading the oil level, or false readings
    may result.

    6. Unscrew and remove dipstick from oil filler hole. Wipe
    dipstick clean.

    7. Insert dipstick into oil filler hole, screwing dipstick in
    completely.

    8. See Figure 2. Unscrew and remove dipstick and note oil
    level. An indicated oil level between MIN and MAX (measured
    after performing steps 1 through 7) is acceptable
    for safe engine operation. Oil should be added in 3.4 fl.
    oz. (0.1 L) increments, depending on how far the level is
    from the MAX reading. Confirm oil level by repeating
    steps 1 through 8.

    NOTE
    If the oil level is at (or above) the OVERFULL mark, drain oil
    at 6.8 fl. oz. (0.2 L) increments until the oil level is between
    the MIN and MAX marks on the dipstick. Repeat steps 1
    though 8 to confirm proper level.

    9. Hand tighten dipstick into oil filler hole.

    As written, it looks like you have a one minute window in which to make the reading. I own an 1125CR, so compared to that, the BMW R1150RT-P procedure is a joy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmaxwell View Post
    Thanks. Checked it this morning before leaving for work and it was just over 1/2 way up the sight glass -- just like last night.

    I'm a bit confused. Are you saying that the oil does not drain out of the cooler and lines when the bike is on the center stand? yeah, pretty much.

    Can't I just come home, put it on the center stand and then check the level after I have dinner or in the morning before I take the bike out? as long as you're willing to ignore the oil left in the cooler and associated lines, that is a fine procedure.

    I'll feel better when I put in fresh synthetic oil this weekend.
    may i suggest that you run an experiment?
    try it your c-stand only method one day, and then the next, take it out for your normal ride, and do the side-stand/center-stand dance (at least 10 mins on sidestand) and check in the morning on c-stand. if there's a disparty in level, you will know that it was your reading procedure that caused the variations.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    FMaxwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    may i suggest that you run an experiment?
    try it your c-stand only method one day, and then the next, take it out for your normal ride, and do the side-stand/center-stand dance (at least 10 mins on sidestand) and check in the morning on c-stand. if there's a disparty in level, you will know that it was your reading procedure that caused the variations.
    I'll do that and report back. Not real quickly, but before too long. Trying to take it easy until the surgeon who put the plate on my clavicle gives me a green light to resume normal activities.

  13. #13
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Great idea. I'd like to hear your results.

    Funny thing is I kinda follow this procedure on my RT because I fill the bike with gas on the side stand, then pop it on the center stand to check the level. But I'd still like to see how much of a difference you see with the two methods.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  14. #14
    Bill Lumberg 175781's Avatar
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    I have an RTP one year older than yours. Oil readings can fluctuate wildly, or remain constant, even with the same shutdown and check routine being followed. Usually, draining on the sidestand for 5 minutes, then placing on centerstand (or vertical with a rider), results in an accurate reading. But I can go for days with almost no oil showing in the glass, but then it will read halfway up the glass a few days later.
    R75/6, 2004 R1150RTA.

  15. #15
    FMaxwell
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    Quote Originally Posted by 175781 View Post
    I have an RTP one year older than yours. Oil readings can fluctuate wildly, or remain constant, even with the same shutdown and check routine being followed. Usually, draining on the sidestand for 5 minutes, then placing on centerstand (or vertical with a rider), results in an accurate reading. But I can go for days with almost no oil showing in the glass, but then it will read halfway up the glass a few days later.
    Well, I'm not surprised when you have the primitive 2004 model rather than the cutting edge 2005 bike I have.

    I'm hoping that I can come up with a method that allows me to go to bed at night and then get an accurate reading in the morning. I don't know if BMW engineers were hoping that the oil was in the cooler and lines, or had drained down into the crankcase, when reading the oil level.

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