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Thread: 2012 R1200RT 600 mi service with unapproved oil?

  1. #31
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    I agree completely with Mark and Ed.

    I've purchased a filter and the oil specified in the manual and have changed it to what is approved in the manual. The lesson learned about the dealer may not be that expensive in that it taught me to ask specific questions before having work done. It seems to me that if a dealer intends to do something different than what is specified in the manual, it should be explained to the customer prior to performing the work. That way the customer may make the decision to allow it or ask for documentation on the alternate choice. In this case, though I have searched the different owner's manuals for each year of the camhead engine in the RT, I can find no reference to 20W-50 being an approved oil for that motor.
    Charlie
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  2. #32
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crawfcj View Post
    I know, an oil thread, but help me out. Three weeks ago I took my new RT in for the 600 mile service. I assumed that turning your bike over to the dealer for service would result in the service being performed as prescribed by BMW. A couple of days ago I was reading the owners manual and looked over the approved/recommended oils for my new bike. I noticed that, unlike my previous '07 RT, 20W-50 was not listed as an approved oil for the new engine. However, "4 quarts BMW 20W-50 bulk" is what was listed on the invoice as being installed in my bike. If 20W-50 is still ok for the newer engines, why would it not be listed in the owner's manual? And if it's not, shouldn't I have been advised prior to service that the dealer was going to install a product different than that which is recommended?

    Should I drain what was put in there and install what's recommended? Am I obsessing about something not really important? I just am concerned about starting the bike on 20 degree mornings with heavy oil since cold starting is the most wearing thing on an engine.

    So, change the oil? Or get over it. I have 400 miles on the oil but the coldest days are still coming.
    crawfcj:

    You don't want to use 20/50 in cold weather. You don't want to use synthetic until 30,000 miles or until the engine completely stops using oil. I don't think 20/50 would hurt anything in the heat of summer or at a track day, but not for cold weather. It needs to flow.


  3. #33
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    crawfcj:

    You don't want to use 20/50 in cold weather. You don't want to use synthetic until 30,000 miles or until the engine completely stops using oil.
    The manual says 6K for synthetic. As far as stop using oil, it hasn't yet with over 15K on it. It's gotten better, but it still uses a quart every 3K miles, may be 3500.
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  4. #34
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponch1 View Post
    The manual says 6K for synthetic. As far as stop using oil, it hasn't yet with over 15K on it. It's gotten better, but it still uses a quart every 3K miles, may be 3500.
    Ya know, ya tell people, they don't believe you. Did you put synth in it? If you did, take it out and run non-synth. I'd change it again, with filter change again at 1500 miles just to make sure all the synth is gone. Then ride gently until it's warmed up, then use the revs a lot. How much oil it uses depends on how hard you run it. Harder = more oil (and rear tire) use short term but also means it's going to break in faster. Never flog it until it's fully warmed up. It's unusual for oil use to stop before 20K. If you run it hard all the time, it could happen, but it's unusual. Mine took about 25,000 but I had one change of synthetic when I should have.

    BMW car engines don't require break-in anymore. They use special synthetic from the start and the tolerances are so close out of the box. Water-cooled and very precisely managed. These engines are definitely not the same tech. It will be interesting to see what the new water-cooled boxers require in terms of oil and break-in.

    I'm waiting for the day when they put Valvetronic, direct injection and Dual-VANOS on these bikes....Yeeha!


  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    Ya know, ya tell people, they don't believe you. Did you put synth in it? If you did, take it out and run non-synth. I'd change it again, with filter change again at 1500 miles just to make sure all the synth is gone. Then ride gently until it's warmed up, then use the revs a lot. How much oil it uses depends on how hard you run it. Harder = more oil (and rear tire) use short term but also means it's going to break in faster. Never flog it until it's fully warmed up. It's unusual for oil use to stop before 20K. If you run it hard all the time, it could happen, but it's unusual. Mine took about 25,000 but I had one change of synthetic when I should have.

    BMW car engines don't require break-in anymore. They use special synthetic from the start and the tolerances are so close out of the box. Water-cooled and very precisely managed. These engines are definitely not the same tech. It will be interesting to see what the new water-cooled boxers require in terms of oil and break-in.

    I'm waiting for the day when they put Valvetronic, direct injection and Dual-VANOS on these bikes....Yeeha!

    I switched at 12K miles. The thing is, I moved to a very hot area or should I say it gets hot in the summer (110+). I had been using castrol 4T and now mobil 1.
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  6. #36
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    Odd how we have different experiences with oil use. I have run in 13 new BMW's since early '01. The worst oil user was 1/3 qt in the first 6k miles. I have gone from miami to nova scotia and back starting at 800 miles and added ZERO oil. I baby the bike for the first 50 miles then flog it hard till the 600 mile check. After that, I run it normally and I rarely add oil between 6k changes. I avg. about 35k a year and use BMW oil/20-50 on prior to '10 and 10-40 on later moto's. Used dino on the first 11 and now use syn after 6k on the last 1. Plan to switch at 6k on this one as well. I sure would not drain and refill twice to get rid of the syn. Ride the bike and enjoy.
    Marty Hill
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  7. #37
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    I don't baby my bike, in fact I've hit the rev limiter a few times, but it did have almost 50 miles on it when I bought it. The funny thing is, I bought my bike in November and it didn't start using any oil at all until May/June of the following year. I'll see if it tightens up in the next several thousand miles.
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  8. #38
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyhill View Post
    Odd how we have different experiences with oil use. I have run in 13 new BMW's since early '01. The worst oil user was 1/3 qt in the first 6k miles. I have gone from miami to nova scotia and back starting at 800 miles and added ZERO oil. I baby the bike for the first 50 miles then flog it hard till the 600 mile check. After that, I run it normally and I rarely add oil between 6k changes. I avg. about 35k a year and use BMW oil/20-50 on prior to '10 and 10-40 on later moto's. Used dino on the first 11 and now use syn after 6k on the last 1. Plan to switch at 6k on this one as well. I sure would not drain and refill twice to get rid of the syn. Ride the bike and enjoy.
    Marty:

    Your experience sounds normal to me. "Run it hard with dino oil and it will stop using oil". I've never "flogged it after the first 50 miles", I've waited until the break-in oil was out of it at 600, but it sounds like you've got the right formula. If I ever get another one, I'll try that.

    It's definitely not what BMW recommends, but it sounds to me like it works for you. My 2001 1150 came pre-loaded with oil from the factory. I saw it in the crate. I changed it out myself at 600 because the dealer had a wait list. It was definitely not normal oil. Smelled like kerosene or something. I think flogging the bike with this oil in it would definitely change things in the engine. I stuck to the manual's "no revs above 4,000 RPMS" or whatever it was. It took many more miles to break that bike in.

    I have had 3 different R bikes and broken them in different ways. I've never had oil usage like the OP either, but I did have more when I changed to synth too early and it didn't go away until I went back to dino oil and let the bike break in. Synth is slicker and it really seems to make a difference to the break in process.

    You're saying you've not used synth at all on many of your bikes? I'm saying don't use synth until the oil usage stops. I think we're saying the same thing!!!

    If someone has oil usage and wants it to stop and has synth in the bike and 15 thousand miles, I think the ship has sailed for breaking in the bike the way you do it. They have to remove the synth before the bike will break in. If they want to run out the oil for a full scheduled change, they can. If they want to wait, they can just wait a couple changes. But if they want to get going on the process, they need to flush out the synth. What is your problem with that?

    I do know many people who have put synth in before they should have. They continue to use synth and the bike never stops using oil. They think all BMWs use oil. Your experience is what should happen. That's why I said what I said.


  9. #39
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    I've owned four Kawasaki's before the beemer and switched to synthetic before 12K or 6K miles. They didn't use as much oil as the beemer (the last two not at all). It's not a game stopper and within what's allowable, but it's interesting.
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  10. #40
    Norm Norms 427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    They have to remove the synth before the bike will break in. If they want to run out the oil for a full scheduled change, they can. If they want to wait, they can just wait a couple changes. But if they want to get going on the process, they need to flush out the synth. What is your problem with that?
    Ponch has a 2009 RT and his manual has the "old" recommendation of not using synthetics till after 6000 miles on conventional oil.

    But, as stated earlier in this thread, Motorrad has removed that recommendation for the camheads in their manuals.

    I don't think it makes a nickel's worth of difference whether one uses conventional oil or synthetic oil in the camheads (unless you're doing track days where the oil temp can climb above normal or starting your motor in January in Fairbanks, Alaska).

    __________________

    To the OP, it's true that 20W-50 isn't listed as an approved oil in the camheads, but I think it's a minor detail and I wouldn't worry about it, no harm done. JMHO. These engines have a long history of running on 20W-50. I think Motorrad is just now getting around to fine tuning their recommendations on viscosity and synthetics. Technology never stands still and they, like all engineers, are constantly learning about how to improve their product.
    Now: '12 R1200RT Midnight Blue Metallic / '11 Ural Patrol 2WD ridden to Alaska / '09 KLR 650 / '05 HD Heritage Softail / '08 Harley Sportster 1200C / '85 Yamaha VMax bought new. I wasn't ready to say goodbye: www.shaunlunt.typepad.com

  11. #41
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Winter oil threads (and break-in threads) are always fun..

    My prescription for breaking in a boxer:

    1. Do the 600 mile change with dino oil (the dealer used the BMW stuff IIRC.. forget the viscosity, but I could look it up..)
    2. Go for a weeks ride in West Virginia and along the Blue Ridge Parkway - sticking pretty much to the recommended 4k rev limit, but do a lot of downhill engine braking.
    3. At 3,000 miles in Asheville - add 1/2 quart of oil (again dino)
    4. When home at 6,000 miles, since the oil level hasn't changed significantly since topped off in Asheville - switch to BMW Synthetic.

    Continue riding. Uses about 1/4 quart (top of window to bottom quarter) between 6,000 mile changes. Well within the expected use from an air/oil cooled engine that is often run fairly hard (RPMs not necessarily speed..)

    Hey - guess what? My prescription pretty much sounds like what BMW described in their owners manual. Who'da thunk it?

    FWIW - the bike the R1200R replaced, a '94 R1150RS - always used oil (and buzzed.) The first owner was a very well respected BMW mechanic (and fellow Ambassador - HI JOE!), but I suspect he was a bit gentle on the bike since he resides in Florida, and that's probably where it was "broken-in".. IMHO, it's the pressure on the rings caused by using the engine as a brake on downhill stretches of mountain in WV that did the break-in for me. Helps push the rings against the cylinder walls making them good friends with each other. At least that's my theory. Plus it's just a whole buncha fun riding in West Virginia.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
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  12. #42
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norms 427 View Post
    Ponch has a 2009 RT and his manual has the "old" recommendation of not using synthetics till after 6000 miles on conventional oil.

    But, as stated earlier in this thread, Motorrad has removed that recommendation for the camheads in their manuals.

    I don't think it makes a nickel's worth of difference whether one uses conventional oil or synthetic oil in the camheads (unless you're doing track days where the oil temp can climb above normal or starting your motor in January in Fairbanks, Alaska).
    I live in AZ now and the summer temps are hard on everything. The bike was originally purchased and broken in in Iowa as was my last Kawasaki.
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  13. #43
    Insatiable Cruiser rtwiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ponch1 View Post
    I live in AZ now and the summer temps are hard on everything. The bike was originally purchased and broken in in Iowa as was my last Kawasaki.
    A lot of these new recommendations have to do with mpg and with BMW being able to claim better mpg on its newer bikes. Thick oil is not conducive to high mpg. All Euro bike builders are under a lot of pressure from the Greens and the EU to improve economy. This is likely the reason 20/50 is no longer on the BMW list as an approved oil. Doesn't mean it will hurt the bike. EPA seems to be less strict on motorcycles for now. I think it's because the percentage of motorcycle miles compared to the car miles in the US is much lower than in Europe.

    As far as I know, the Camheads use the same cylinders and blocks as the Oilheads and Hexheads. Same rings, cylinder lining materials etc. This may have changed in the water-cooled boxers that are coming soon, but so far as I know, break-in is still required on the Camhead engines and they will use oil until that process is complete...so I personally wouldn't change to synthetic until my bike stops using oil.

    In contrast to that, a lot of the newer car engines have very tight tolerances now. They use oil-pressure-fed devices, like Variocam on Porsche engines and Double-VANOS on BMW car engines. Both of those two technologies continuously vary the valve timing on exhaust and intake camshafts to maximize low end torque and high end performance. Porsche also has a valve-lift system similar to Honda's V-tech on its newest engines. Using heavy oil in those engines will cause problems because the Variocam will not work properly with oil that is too thick. Porsche recommends Mobil 1 0w40 in their engines from new. I think BMW is similar for their cars...and BMW cars do not have a break-in oil or any break-in procedures anymore.

    I don't think Camheads have any of that fancy oil-fed stuff except maybe a timing chain tensioner that works just like the older bikes' oil-fed tensioners work. I don't think an air/oil cooled motor should require thin oil to work because it's just not going to hold cylinder to ring tolerance like a well-contolled water-cooled motor. That means air/oil cooled engines using very thin synthetics would use oil.

    I think this is why Porsche went to liquid cooling in its 6 cylinder boxer motors in the mid-90s and why the newest BMW boxer motors are going to liquid cooling...to control the temperature of the cylinders better, allow them to work with the thinner oils, saving fuel and emissions, also to be able to make more power and precisely remove the accompanying heat that more power brings.

    I like the air-oil cooling system because it's so easy to service the bike. No anti-freeze to deal with when you adjust valves. If these bikes are broken in right, as Marty has done on 11 bikes, oil use should stop.

    Regardless, synth oil is not yet required exclusively on camhead bikes. I would use dino oil until oil use stops. I would change out synth and in fact try to flush it out some way if I wanted oil use to stop soon. I'd do that safely by changing to dino oil with filter, then changing again to dino oil after a few hundred miles. When the synth is out and the residue from the synth is gone from the surfaces of the cylinders and rings, the bike will start seating its rings. Warm it up fully and then flog it. Eventually, oil use stops or nearly stops. Only then would I use synthetic.

    Another point for folks with new bikes who are not used to the BMW way... Don't top up your bike until it's down to about 1/4 showing on the window and always be mindful about the way you check the oil in the window. Oil can be trapped up in the engine. That can give a false "low" reading in the window.

    I've always done it this way. After a ride long enough to fully warm the motor, park the bike on level ground on the side stand. When the bike is cool, put it on center stand for a minute or two and check the level before starting. If you check the same way in the same place, you will not have the problem of false low readings. If you find a low reading that doesn't make sense. Don't fill the bike, just ride it and check again later. Chances are the missing oil will magically appear. A lot of guys complaining of bad oil use top their bikes up to the top of the window and add oil the minute it's not at the top anymore. What often happens is that engine vacuum causes an over-full engine to dump excess oil into the air box. The owner thinks he has low oil and over-fills again. I'd recommend that anyone who matches this description...You know who you are if you read this, check the bottom of their air box for oil.

    I've never heard of anyone losing an engine from low oil in a boxer. I have heard of many problems from people over-filling because of false low reading in the window or just general compulsive behavior related to having a slick new bike and wanting to give it the very best care.

    The BMW electronic oil-checker came out in '05. It was a brand new things on my bike, the very first version. You have to fill mine to the top of the red circle in the window to keep the little "check" indicator from going on. This is something I never ever did on my other two bikes...I filled them to 3/4 and topped up if they got down to 1/4 or less. My '05 bike is generally in a constant state of "check light" on and me doing the idle on level ground at operating temperature check and passing the test...but the check light still comes on. It's "normal" for an '05. It can drive a left-brained perfectionist batty.

    Not sure how later bikes' electronic oil-checkers work. Hopefully, this check light is less sensitive. At any rate, don't just add oil every time this check light comes on. READ THE MANUAL...at least read the little Rider's Manual booklet. It covers the oil-checking procedure. Don't overfill and don't be in a hurry to top up. My bike uses more oil when it's that full. Keeping it 3/4 or 1/2 of the window seems to end some oil consumption for me.

    Hope some of this helped someone out there. This is my best knowledge of the subject. If someone knows something better than this, I'm happy to hear and learn.


  14. #44
    Norm Norms 427's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    A lot of these new recommendations have to do with mpg and with BMW being able to claim better mpg on its newer bikes. Thick oil is not conducive to high mpg.
    A 10W-50 oil will start easier with less engine wear than a 20W-50 in cold weather. I'm uncertain about any gains in MPG unless it's just for the first mile or so till the viscosity gets thicker.


    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    As far as I know, the Camheads use the same cylinders and blocks as the Oilheads and Hexheads. Same rings, cylinder lining materials etc., ... break-in is still required on the Camhead engines and they will use oil until that process is complete...so I personally wouldn't change to synthetic until my bike stops using oil.
    I believe they are the same cylinders and rings. But I do understand that if something has worked for you then you would naturally want to stick with it. And that's Ok.



    Quote Originally Posted by rtwiz View Post
    I don't think an air/oil cooled motor should require thin oil to work because it's just not going to hold cylinder to ring tolerance like a well-contolled water-cooled motor. That means air/oil cooled engines using very thin synthetics would use oil.
    Air cooled engines have looser tolerances than liquid cooled engines, but they can still benefit from a thin 10W-xx oil for easier starting and less initial engine wear. Engines have their greatest wear at start-up. But when 10W-50 and 20W-50 oils get hot they are both operating nearer the "50" viscosity end of the spectrum, so the oil use should be the same when warmed up.

    _____________________

    FWIW, my 2012 RT has been using synthetic since the 600 mile change and only recently did I switch to dino in the last oil change. In 11,600 miles since new it has used .922 Qt which = 1 Qt per 12,500 miles usage, 90% of which has been with synthetic. I'm very happy anytime I have a motor that uses only 1 Qt of oil in 10,000 miles or more.
    _____________________

    Wintertime oil threads ... we gotta do something when the roads are too icy to ride.
    Last edited by Norms 427; 02-06-2013 at 01:07 PM.
    Now: '12 R1200RT Midnight Blue Metallic / '11 Ural Patrol 2WD ridden to Alaska / '09 KLR 650 / '05 HD Heritage Softail / '08 Harley Sportster 1200C / '85 Yamaha VMax bought new. I wasn't ready to say goodbye: www.shaunlunt.typepad.com

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