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Thread: Oil level changed

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  1. #1
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    Oil level changed

    I changed the oil in my 1150 GSA and got the level in the middle of the window. I use the center stand to park it on overnight and to change oil. The level stayed correct for several rides. I came home and parked and used the side stand for a few hours but still came back and put it on the center stand that night. I happened to check the oil next day and there was none in the window. I started it up on the center stand and ran it for a short time and shut it down thinking parking on the side might of made this happen, no luck none in the window after overnight drain down. So i put the level back to half in the window. Go for a 100 mile ride and check the oil and the level is to the top of the glass. I am not making this up but wonder what is the correct way to get the level where it needs to be?

  2. #2
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    If you changed the oil and filter and put back in four quarts, the oil level is fine. The difference in real oil level from the top of the window to the bottom is about a pint. Don't fret it, it's just a characteristic of the Oilhead engines, that oil gets held up in the cooler sometimes and can give the "appearance" of low oil condition.

    Even if your bike was running a true pint low it would not affect a thing. But now you have it running a pint high, and will probably register at the top of the sight glass consistently.

    My RS has been doing this for all 170K on it and I've had no problems at all. Simply watch the trend of the oil level and you'll find it averages out to the true oil level in the engine.
    Woodenshoe to Cheesehead

  3. #3
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Mine (and maybe all Oilheads) does this too. If I ride till fully warmed up, park on the sidestand for 10 minutes and then put it on the centerstand, the reading is consistent and correct.

  4. #4
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    Mine (and maybe all Oilheads) does this too. If I ride till fully warmed up, park on the sidestand for 10 minutes and then put it on the centerstand, the reading is consistent and correct.
    or as the head mechanic at a BMW shop tells us, fill it up with 3.5 litres, and simply check it on the centre stand when you get home from a ride, while it is still hot, then don't worry about it. Of course being a nutter, I check it the same way as Roger 04 RT does.

    I actually fill it with only 325ml and it levels off at the centre point of the sight glass. In the past when I've thought that it was low and topped it up, it goes to the top of the sight glass after the next ride.

    It is a lot easier to consistently read the oil level on my '87 K!
    Last edited by Paul_F; 05-03-2013 at 12:45 PM.
    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
    BMW Rider
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    The engine needs to be at full operating temp before going through the oil level routine. I personally have never used the side stand as part of the oil level routine. I put in about 3.75 quarts and ride it for a good 15 to 20 minutes and then park on the center stand and check in the morning. Make sure prior to the change the engine has reached operating temp and then drop the oil. My 3.75 seems to be pretty much the gospel. If I'm on the road during rest stops I will let the bike sit at least 15 minutes and then eyeball the level not necessarily for accuracy but just to verify it is appearing in the window. For accuracy I alway check after the bike has been on the center stand overnight.

  6. #6
    Jack Herbst
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    Why in the hell can't BMW fiqure out a way to check the oil without laying horizontal to the ground> I am a bit long in the tooth and laying down to check oil hurts. The underneath sight gage is absolutely dinasuar engineering.

    Jack
    "All my life I wanted to be somebody. Now I realize I should have been more specific."

  7. #7
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaherbst View Post
    Why in the hell can't BMW fiqure out a way to check the oil without laying horizontal to the ground> I am a bit long in the tooth and laying down to check oil hurts. The underneath sight gage is absolutely dinasuar engineering.

    Jack
    Would you prefer a stick that screws in?
    You'd have to wipe it clean, then put it back in to check the level.

    Another solution would be to glue a piece of an old CD to your right boot, makes a pretty good mirror.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    oil dance

    Generally speaking, a broken in oil head does not use any oil (although they will sometimes show a little oil smoke on start up if parked on the side stand). Before they break in they may use up to 1 quart per 1000 miles per BMW.
    If you have a minimum of 25,000 miles (i.e it is 'broken in'):
    1. Change the oil, using the correct amount of oil as per the manual
    2. Ride
    3. After 1000 miles, ride the bike, put on the side stand. Have a beer. Put bike on centerstand and check oil level. If you see ANY oil in the sight glass, have a beer.
    4. Ride
    5. Repeat (3) until you see no oil. Add 4 ounces of oil, have beer.

    Alternatively, and what has worked for me for the last 180,000 miles on the RS, and 88,000 on the RT:
    1. Change oil, using correct amount.
    2. Ride.
    3. Park bike on sidestand
    4. After 1000 miles, and before starting bike for the first time for the day, after bike has been on the side stand for a while, look at sight glass. If the oil fills, or almost fills, the sight glass, ride, else add 6 (or so - the exact amount doesn't really matter) ounces of oil, then ride.

    An oilhead isn't too finicky about the oil level being exact. Overfilling is probably worse than running a half quart low.

  9. #9
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    sight glass

    "The underneath sight gage is absolutely dinasuar engineering"
    As currently seen on certain Hondas, Kawasakis and other dinosaurs.

  10. #10
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    Mine (and maybe all Oilheads) does this too. If I ride till fully warmed up, park on the sidestand for 10 minutes and then put it on the centerstand, the reading is consistent and correct.
    +1 been doing it this way for 239,000km and get consistent results as well.
    IMO the oil cooler must drain and won't if the thermostat is not open (5 bars)
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    It's all about the details.

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