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Thread: Seating rings to cylinder R1100RT (break in engine)

  1. #1
    Free Wheelin'
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    Seating rings to cylinder R1100RT (break in engine)

    I just bought a 1996 R1100RT with 16,000 miles on it. I drove it home - about 800 miles and it used about a half quart of oil. I used to have one of these bikes some years ago and it barely burned oil at all. I stuck a finger into the exhaust pipe and it came back with a oily/greasy deposit. I bought the bike from a 77 year old man who was using 5/40 wt synthetic. My guess is that he switched to synthetic after the 500 mile break in period. Is there a procedure that will allow the rings to finish seating themselves at this point?
    Thanks, David

  2. #2
    Rally Rat
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    Here we go . . .

    I would go back to 10W 40 dino and beat the crap out of it hitting the rev limiter often and making the bike pull under load like up hills.

    My 2000 R1100 RT used about the same amount of oil at 130,000 miles.

    I took it apart to rebuild the motor and it still had the hone marks in the cylinders.
    Ring end gap was .020" which is out of spec but not much. All 3 ring gaps were lined up at the top.
    I had a valve job done which the machine shop told me it did not need. I supplied new guides anyhow.

    Just try to get it to break in.

    Ride it like you stole it. It won't hurt it anyhow.

    David

  3. #3
    Nickname: Droid
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    Monitor the oil level and ride the bike normally. Oilheads, especially the 1100's can go up to about 20,000 miles for breakin. Then the oil consumption will be nearly zero. My R1100RS has over ten times the miles on it and uses pratically no oil. But early on it used oil for sure.

    If it makes you feel any better, have a technician do a leak down test on the bike to confirm the rings, cylinders and valves are good. A compression test really only confirms what pressure the cylinder can produce but does little to indicate specifics of internal conditions. Your bike was only ridden less than 1100 miles a year so it spent MOST of its life sitting idle. Hopefully during all that time it was properly stored fuel wise as fuel degradation can cause problems with the fuel system, pump, filter, regulator, injectors, etc.

    Get the synthetic out of it (for now) and use the factory recommended oil as 5W40 is not the right oil, especially when you check it against the recommended SAE spec range. For the 1100 I recall the SG grade oils are better. Oil is a very personal choice, but the fact remains it should be the right viscosity range AND SAE duty cycle rating. Once my RS had broken in I switched to full synthetic and now at 170,000 miles it uses next to nothing for oil and the entire engine is original, starts easily, idles great, still runs strong, mileage is about 45 to 50.

  4. #4
    Free Wheelin'
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    Thanks

    Thanks for the reassurance. I actually put the dino 10/40 in yesterday and was going to steal my own bike today but it was raining all day. Not conducive to red line riding. I wonder if the old guy ever had the bike over 4K RPM. Or maybe it was all the American flag stickers all over the bike that put the juju on it. Like your attitude. Similar to mine. David

    Quote Originally Posted by DROOT153718 View Post
    Here we go . . .

    I would go back to 10W 40 dino and beat the crap out of it hitting the rev limiter often and making the bike pull under load like up hills.

    My 2000 R1100 RT used about the same amount of oil at 130,000 miles.

    I took it apart to rebuild the motor and it still had the hone marks in the cylinders.
    Ring end gap was .020" which is out of spec but not much. All 3 ring gaps were lined up at the top.
    I had a valve job done which the machine shop told me it did not need. I supplied new guides anyhow.

    Just try to get it to break in.

    Ride it like you stole it. It won't hurt it anyhow.

    David

  5. #5
    Left Coast Rider
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    Rather than "beating the piss" out of it you might try something slightly more scientific and likely to result in what you are looking for.

    Specifically, as has been suggested, ride the bike as you normally would. Do not labour the engine. Vary your speed. Occasionally and when the opportunity presents itself, select 3rd or 4th gear and wind the bike up to redline...and then shift up to 6th. Sustained heat and pressure are needed to seat your rings. This method has worked on every bike I have ever owned. Others' experiences may differ.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Free Wheelin'
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    Thanks again

    Truly I'm not abusive to my bikes. However there is a good chance the bike has never been ridden to it's potential. Some 3rd gear accelerations to red line will be performed. Changing RPM's while riding even at similar sustained speeds is a good choice. This bike has a lot of life left in it - I don't want to be adding oil all the time. Thanks, David

    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Rather than "beating the piss" out of it you might try something slightly more scientific and likely to result in what you are looking for.

    Specifically, as has been suggested, ride the bike as you normally would. Do not labour the engine. Vary your speed. Occasionally and when the opportunity presents itself, select 3rd or 4th gear and wind the bike up to redline...and then shift up to 6th. Sustained heat and pressure are needed to seat your rings. This method has worked on every bike I have ever owned. Others' experiences may differ.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    Spec is 20W50. Not 10W40, and certainly not 5W40.
    Otherwise, you have a good plan to get this right.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  8. #8
    Nickname: Droid
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    Well, depending on the ambient temperatures where he is in Colorado, the 10W40 "may" be ok IF it is also the proper API duty rating per the specs in the owners manual. Most Olihead 1100's require a SF or SG rated oil, which contains the right amounts of ZZDP zinc additive. A pushrod style engine like the R1100 does better with scuff reducing oils which contain the zinc additives more common to the older SF and SG rated oils.

    The current crop of 10W40 oils most often do not contain sufficient zinc anti-wear additives. No matter what people argue about oils for the R1100, I keep going back to what Paul Glaves recommends, being that his wife's R1100RS has over 300,000 miles on it with no engine issues. Paul makes very good oil recommendations for the Oilheads that makes real sense. A search on motorcycle oil specifics commonly finds this (not just because of wet clutches either):

    Motorcycle oil

    The API oil classification structure has eliminated specific support for wet-clutch motorcycle applications in their descriptors, and API SJ and newer oils are referred to be specific to automobile and light truck use. Accordingly, motorcycle oils are subject to their own unique standards. As discussed above, motorcycle oils commonly still use the obsolescent SF/SG standard.

  9. #9
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    Correct range for 20W50 is 15 degs to 105 degs F, while 10W40 is spec'd for -20 to 40 degs F; both number sets are according to the charts in my Oilhead Clymer's. That first set of numbers looks like a somewhat normal temp range for most any day in May anywhere in CO. If you're riding in winter, yeah, 10W40 is fine. Otherwise... not so much.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  10. #10
    Free Wheelin'
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    Correct choice for engine oil

    I appreciate the discussion on the proper engine oil to use. SF and SG 20/50 I understand are petroleum based oils - correct? Are there other designations for the proper synthetic oils that I will switch to when the rings seat to the cylinders properly?
    PS I road the bike today about 200 miles. A spirted ride with no abuse. Up along the Mississippi River (I'm riding out of St Paul, MN right now) and into WI.
    Once again, thanks for the input and ancillary information that will help me get this bike down the road for years to come!
    David

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    Correct range for 20W50 is 15 degs to 105 degs F, while 10W40 is spec'd for -20 to 40 degs F; both number sets are according to the charts in my Oilhead Clymer's. That first set of numbers looks like a somewhat normal temp range for most any day in May anywhere in CO. If you're riding in winter, yeah, 10W40 is fine. Otherwise... not so much.

  11. #11
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    SG, SH, et al are service ratings that designate the oil's adherence to certain SAE standards, with primary variance being levels of additives (Zinc, Phosphorus, etc.). 20W50, 10W40 et al refers to the oil's weight rating, which is aligned to temp usage.
    Both standards are used for all oils other than that designed for Diesel usage- neither has anything to do with synth vs dino.

    I suggest you do some reading on the subject to be best informed.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    Free Wheelin'
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    Oil used in 1100

    I'm actually riding near St Paul. I picked up the bike in Muncie IN and rode it here to visit friends and that is when I noticed the oil usage. Since changing the oil to 10/40 petroleum based oil I rode 200+ miles yesterday with no appreciable oil usage noted at the sight glass. A possible alternate theory to not being broken in is that the oil viscosity was so thin and that contributed to the oil use. Anyway, thanks for the best response of the lot. The fellow who mentioned "pressure" also hit a cord. The cylinder pressure aids in expanding the rings against the cylinder walls providing friction for the seating of the rings. Are there other oil designations for synthetics or do you advocate using the SF and SG petroleum based oils for the life of the bike. Thanks again, Daivd

    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Well, depending on the ambient temperatures where he is in Colorado, the 10W40 "may" be ok IF it is also the proper API duty rating per the specs in the owners manual. Most Olihead 1100's require a SF or SG rated oil, which contains the right amounts of ZZDP zinc additive. A pushrod style engine like the R1100 does better with scuff reducing oils which contain the zinc additives more common to the older SF and SG rated oils.

    The current crop of 10W40 oils most often do not contain sufficient zinc anti-wear additives. No matter what people argue about oils for the R1100, I keep going back to what Paul Glaves recommends, being that his wife's R1100RS has over 300,000 miles on it with no engine issues. Paul makes very good oil recommendations for the Oilheads that makes real sense. A search on motorcycle oil specifics commonly finds this (not just because of wet clutches either):

    Motorcycle oil

    The API oil classification structure has eliminated specific support for wet-clutch motorcycle applications in their descriptors, and API SJ and newer oils are referred to be specific to automobile and light truck use. Accordingly, motorcycle oils are subject to their own unique standards. As discussed above, motorcycle oils commonly still use the obsolescent SF/SG standard.

  13. #13
    Nickname: Droid
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    Definitely SG or older oil spec, because the newer API ratings don't provide adequate Zinc additive to critical wear areas like the push rods and rod followers in the oilhead engine. Both dino and synthetic oils come in the SG grade and 20W50 viscosity. Dino or synthetic are both totally adequate with the right API rating. Don't assume that SM grade oils with "anti-wear" additives are adequate. The SM and newer grade oils use other anti-wear additives that are not sufficient for air-cooled motorcycle engines. Since the oilhead engine is over 65% air-cooled it needs the protection of zinc (ZDDP).

    I have only used SG grade oil in my 94 RS Oilhead, now at 172,000 miles with no issues. Paul Glaves advocates SG grade oils, and Voni Glaves's 94 RS has over 325,000 miles on it. That to me seals the deal right there.

    Recent issue of the BMW ON magazine had a very good review of current oils, worth looking it up.

  14. #14
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50132 View Post
    Are there other oil designations for synthetics or do you advocate using the SF and SG petroleum based oils for the life of the bike. Thanks again, Daivd
    Oil is good. No oil is very bad. Following is what I advocate but there are myriad choices for you to adopt and defend to the death. Buy in-spec oil and change it as required and you won't go wrong.

    http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...duct_Guide.pdf

  15. #15
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    I built engines for 30+ years and averaged about 500 a year. Mostly diesel but a whack of gassers for friends and a couple dozen airheads and about 6 oilheads to date and way too many bricks and bricklets to count. In that time, I've had a few that didn't seat rings and were oil burners. Any new engine likes a few seconds of oil pressure then you pour the coals to her. She'll either blow up or seat the rings in a few minutes.
    New engines like the crappiest, cheapest oil you can find for break-in. It causes the asperities in finished cylinders and rings to break off real fast due to friction. Hence, the complaint fuel economy sucks during the first 50 hours or so of break-in. If they aren't broken in by the 5-6 hour mark, you are hooped.
    I've tried whacking them with Bon-Ami through the intake at full throttle. Works almost half the time but nothing quite like watching your relatively new rebuild puke it's guts out the exhaust.
    All my engines got the cheapest oil we could find until they hit about 500 hours and after that we started looking at protecting the life of the engine.
    Crappy 10w30 for 50 hours has brought a few back as well. Regardless, if she's an oil burner, your choices seem limited to living with it, try the cheap oil route, push Bon-Ami or similar through it or do what I always think was the best; pull it apart, re-do the hatch and new rings.
    On an oil head, pretty simple and pretty cheap in my thoughts.
    1997 R1100RT (Restored Basket Case) , 1981 KZ 440 LTD (Restored Basket Case)
    1986 K75S(the beutch), 1993 K1100RS (blown engine), 1997 Chev Short Box (4x4 with an LT1)
    "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."

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