Oil change/sight glass question

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martinjmpr
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Oil change/sight glass question

Postby martinjmpr » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:23 am

Just completed my first oil change on my new-to-me 2002 R1150R.

Wasn't able to change the filter because I didn't have the right sized wrench (I bought a generic one from an auto parts store, I guess I need the BMW-specific one?)

Anyway, otherwise the change went fine. Drained the oil, filled up via the filler on the left cylinder head.

Normally when I change oil on a bike I drain the oil, change the filter, refill the oil about 3/4 of the amount specified in the manual, then I start it up and run it for 30 seconds or so to circulate oil through the filter, and then I read the sight glass and top off until the sight glass is about half full (I do this to avoid over-filling the oil.)

However, I can see no oil in the sight glass. I started the bike, even took a short ride - not getting a low oil/oil pressure warning light. I put in 3+ quarts (I figured I'd need to subtract almost a quart to account for the fact that I didn't change the filter.)

It's been ~45 minutes and two short rides. Bike is on the center stand but I'm still not seeing anything in the sight glass.

This is my first BMW and my first boxer engine. Is this normal? I've got a big ride to Taos this coming weekend and I don't want to get halfway there and have my engine crap out due to insufficient oil.

Thanks in advance!
Martin AKA Zapp Branigan (on ADV)
Littleton, CO
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby Darius » Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:36 am

http://r1150r.org/board/viewtopic.php?t=6837

I use a BMW specific wrench.

Step 8. Add fresh oil. Using the funnel and your 4 quarts/liters - fill the oil fill with 3.75 quarts/liters. Don't sweat the exact measurement. Use about 3.75 quarts/liters. [3.75 quarts will probably do it just fine.]

A liter seems a lot to be in the filter.

After each ride I park on the side stand for 5 minutes, then center stand for 10 - 15 minutes, check the level and fill to just below the top. I have never seen the sight glass empty.

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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby towerworker » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:16 pm

Quite a bit of oil will stay up in the tank side oil coolers and will only fully drain out if the engine has been fully warmed up--20+ minute spirited ride. It doesn't take much oil to move the line in the sight glass from bottom of the glass to the top. As mentioned above I fill with 3.5 to 3.75 quarts and then ride a good bit and then put on center stand and wait a good 5-10 minutes before checking, and then add a few ounces at a time. These engines take a fairly long time to fully break in (you didn't mention how many miles on yours) and it's not unusual to see some oil consumption up to 25,000 miles or so.

Word of warning---When first starting bike -- let it idle 15-30 seconds and put in gear and ride off. NEVER let it sit and idle for long periods (45+ seconds). You can search this forum and find some horror stories of how folks have started the bike, got a phone call or some other distraction and walked away from the machine for 15 minutes and then they hear a sudden ugly sound and come back to find the sight glass has melted out of the block and all the oil drained out on the garage floor. And the motor is toast. If you're a veteran of air cooled bikes please forgive me for the 1st grade lesson. I'd rather tell you something you already know then omit something that you need to know.

One (well maybe two) words of warning--these unusual looking motorcycles are very addictive and can cause extreme anxiety when you're at home or work (and otherwise unable to ride). There is a popular opinion among some esteemed members of this board that the tankside radiators of the R contain antifreeze rather than oil (actually a very logical deduction since the terms radiator and antifreeze are very synonymous). I'll leave that particular subject alone for now. :roll:

edit--The author of the link -- MikeCam -- was a good friend who sadly is no longer with us. He was skilled and knowledgeable concerning the BMW. He mentions the type of oil filter PF-53 which is the AC Delco automotive filter. I started using the PF53 filter in 2003 on my first R ('03) and use the same on my current R ('04). About 100,000 miles worth between the two bikes. Totaled the '03 in 2007.

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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby riceburner » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:26 am

FWIW my bike with 96,000 on it still drinks about litre and a half between services. (I obviously mollycoddled it early in life).

As Towerworker said - you need to let the HOT oil drain down from the rads.

Also - I think the filter does hold a fair bit of oil so just top up (AFTER a ride) and get the level into the site glass.

Oh - also MAKE SURE the bike is level. If you've no panniers or top-box on then the bike 'should' site on the main-stand with both wheels off the ground - that's level.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby gregor » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:07 am

As above. Getting the oil warm enough to open the radiator valve is part of it. My level is now around half way up the glass after a few ride outs. Planning to do around 1000miles next weekend and will carry about 330ml in a plastic bottle in case of a top up in the deepest Scottish Highlands. From previous experience I expect a bit of loss. Nothing to be gained from filling the sump more- indeed the oil goes faster IIRC.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby Darius » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:39 am

towerworker wrote:Word of warning---When first starting bike -- let it idle 15-30 seconds and put in gear and ride off. NEVER let it sit and idle for long periods (45+ seconds). You can search this forum and find some horror stories of how folks have started the bike, got a phone call or some other distraction and walked away from the machine for 15 minutes and then they hear a sudden ugly sound and come back to find the sight glass has melted out of the block and all the oil drained out on the garage floor. And the motor is toast. If you're a veteran of air cooled bikes please forgive me for the 1st grade lesson. I'd rather tell you something you already know then omit something that you need to know.

A good friend, a very experienced and skilled BMW technician, shudders when he hears of a running R motor on a bike that isn't underway. It is why he, and I assume most shops, have large fans so they can run the bikes for short periods while working on them. His advice is to start the bike and immediately ride at low RPMs. Since he suggested that several years ago, I begin to ride a few seconds after starting the bike, as soon as I no longer need to hold the high idle lever and the bike is high-idling in the "automatic" high idle position. I also turn the motor off after a minute or so when stuck in traffic, sooner on hot days.

towerworker wrote:edit--The author of the link -- MikeCam -- was a good friend who sadly is no longer with us.

I am saddened to hear this. I never knew or corresponded with MikeCam, but have used his instructions for 8 years. They are a major reason I am a lifer on this board.

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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby martinjmpr » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:39 am

Alright, well, I rode in to work this morning (about 13 miles.) Bike ran fine, no issues, no warning lights, no funny sounds.

It's occurred to me that maybe I filled the oil up too much and the reason I'm not seeing a "line" in the sight glass is because the oil is filled all the way past the top of the glass.

Hre's a pic from this morning before I started the bike:


Image

Looks pretty amber to me - I guess that could be oil (I'm so used to the dirty oil that was in there I was used to seeing a much more obvious sign of oil.)

At this point I'm going to figure that if there was an issue it would have manifested itself by now.

And for those who are asking, the bike has about 55,000 miles on it and I think it does burn a little bit of oil. The previous owner told me that I should park it on the center stand whenever I could because if I parked it on the side stand, oil would pool in the "downhill" (left) cylinder. At home it sits on the side stand because of where it parks in my garage but I always let it sit upright for about 5 minutes before I start it.

And thanks for the tip on not letting it idle. I'd never heard of that before! What's the issue, does the sight glass actually melt? Seems like a design flaw...
Martin AKA Zapp Branigan (on ADV)
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby Darius » Tue Sep 02, 2014 1:22 pm

Your sight glass looks empty to me. I strive for the proper amount of oil, but prefer to err on the too much is better than too little side of engine oil measurement. The down side of too much is less expensive to repair than the down side of too little.

I've heard and follow the park on center stand advice. I've also heard that parking on the side stand causes no harm, pooled oil in the downhill cylinder is quickly burnt after starting the bike.

The idle issue is overheating. Even though the bike has oil coolers, there is no fan, the bike is air cooled. No movement = no air flow = no engine cooling. I'll defer to the more technically proficient on this board, but suspect if the sight glass blows out due to over heating there are far greater and expensive to repair engine issues.

I have 33k mi on my '04 and still burn about ¾ litre every 3k miles.

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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby CycleRob » Tue Sep 02, 2014 2:54 pm

martinjmpr,
Your engine oil is definitely overfilled, especially when you admitted you put 3+ quarts in without removing the oil filter. That is the most common mistake new OilHead owners make. The way to test it easily is to put a 3/4" to 1" thick board or solid object underneath the left side centerstand foot after you tip the bike towards its right side just enough to insert the board/object. You should have a helper on the other side to assist and observe. That lean over should show you the top of the oil level. If it does not, then you have a serious overfilling problem!! Either way, you must drain away the excess oil so it is not blown into the airbox by the crankcase venting system, destructively oil soaking the paper oil filter and overflowing out the airbox drain hose onto the garage floor. Removing excess oil is easiest to do when the engine is cold as possible, like leaving it outside on one of those colder Colorado nights. Then, when you brush clean off before you remove the drain plug it will flow out very slowly into your clean container, showing how much has been drained out. Remove and thread in the drain plug, just 2 or 3 drainplug turns each draining, until you see the oil level at "center red dot". Between trial draining sessions, wait a few minutes for the cold oil to settle enough to show it's true level. My guess is you will "recover" about .7 quart of excess oil . . . that can be used to top off later ONLY to the center red dot!!

Here is a very simple set of instructions on how to perform the neatest, most thorough, perfect OilHead oil change:

1--Prior to draining, the engine MUST be HOT !! To ensure it is, wait for the completion of a 1/2 hour plus ride in the summer. When you touch the right oil radiator's top hose connection metal pipe fitting, it should be too hot to touch. That is the pass/fail test that removes all doubt about if the engine is hot enough. In colder weather or when the finger touch test is not hot enough that you must "let go of it", use the transmission to maintain 4,000+ RPMs for the last 10 minutes of that ride to the oil change location.

2--Put the bike on the side stand for 15 minutes to allow both radiators to drain into the sump. After that 15 minute draining the engine will still be somewhat hot.

3--Put it on the centerstand and remove the oil filter first, then the drain plug. This is better because if you drop the filter wrench or the very hot oil filter, it will not splash into the nearly full oil drain pan and make a mess. Doing the filter first means either the filter, wrench or both will fall into an empty pan for easy recovery. It also allows you to center the very lightweight empty drain pan under the oil filter location, minimizing the mess or miss during the sloppy drip drain. Moving a full drain pan so you can remove the oil filter second is asking for a big spill.

4--**Supplemental** Tip the bike both ways at least 5 clock minutes of an angle onto just 1 centerstand foot holding it there for a few seconds, then pausing on both centerstand feet down-n-level, to remove small residual oil pools. Do it 4, 5 or 6 times until the (quite satisfying) supplemental dripping sounds diminish. I frequently let the bike drain overnight inside the garage to get that final "mouthful' of dirty oil out. I consider overnight, breeze free sheltered draining as necessary for the FD and tranny oil drains.

5--Re-install the drain plug. A new drain washer is always preferred but not absolutely necessary IF the drain plug is properly tightened WITHOUT further crushing displacement of the Aluminum washer. I mention this only because the drain washer can be misplaced/lost or be a forgotten purchase and that should not cancel the oil change procedure.

6--**Supplemental** Slowly fill the new oil filter with oil. It won't take much and it needs soak time waits between fillings to be topped off. You can overfill it until almost covering the exposed external steel parts and not spill any until installed if you have a steady hand and good judgement. Since 90 percent of engine wear has been determined to be caused by engine starting where there is no oil pressure, it is only common sense that a full oil filter is better than an empty one.

7--VERY IMPORTANT. Add ONLY 3.75 quarts. That is 8 ounces left remaining in the 4th bottle. Re-install the oil fill cap and walk away! COMPLETELY IGNORE ANYTHING the oil window is showing you for the next week. You'll have to trust me on this. The oil level sight window was designed to read accurately ONLY when the oil coolers have drained back into the sump. As the oil thermostat is controlling the oil flow to the oil coolers like it should, it'll make the oil window tell lies to you when the engine is not run enough to get the engine HOT. It will show NO OIL in the window until a proper hot engine shutdown on the side stand occurs. Just IGNORE IT because it is absolutely lying!! When a proper hot engine shutdown, 15 minute side stand cooler radiator drain and centerstand delayed oil level check is made, you will find it at . . . . . . . center-red-dot!!

8--Stop worrying about the stupid oil level being near the upper-red-circle full !!!! Adding oil 5x per oil change to maintain fullness is absolutely crazy/paranoid and annoyingly uninformed. Because of its low left cylinder design, you will be encouraging the engine to use more oil, that will create excessive carbon deposits and eventually it will ping on premium gasoline. Ideally it should never be fuller than "center red dot." I always waited for the level to drop to lower red circle (3+ quarts remaining) before adding ONLY 8 ounces . . . bringing it back to "center red dot." That was necessary only once per oil change after the engine was fully/finally broken in at 18,000 miles of conservative adult riding.

FYI, if you only added 3 quarts oil from empty it would barely show in the bottom of the oil window -but- there is still a more than adequate oil level to safely take an all day ride.

.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby martinjmpr » Tue Sep 02, 2014 3:22 pm

Rob: Thank you for the comprehensive instructions. FWIW I think I only put around 3 quarts in. I know there's about a quart left in the gallon/4 liter bottle.

OK, since I rode to work today, I went outside to the bike. It's been sitting on the center stand for about 6 hours.

Sight glass looks like this:

Image

Then I went ahead and put it on the side stand. My thought was that if the oil was UNDER filled, then putting it on the center stand should show some oil in the glass. It's hard to see because of the shadows but this is what I see:

Image

It's tough to see because of the shadow but does that look like it's now showing a "line?" If so, does that mean the oil was underfilled rather than overfilled?

I left it on the side stand, I'll check it again at the end of the day before I ride to the club meeting.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby sbnruhen » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:13 pm

You can, if you have long enough arms, or neck, watch the glass while starting. If overfilled I believe the level should drop past the window as she starts up. Unless I suppose, it is way overfilled... (I had a similar is she over or under filled anxiety experience when I bought my R1150R this spring, she was overfilled).

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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby P_Jensen » Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:09 am

I would doubt that the filter holds any where near a quart, maybe a half of a quart. I would add about a 1/4 of a quart and see if it comes up in to the bottom of the window. If so I would add additional oil slowly (it takes a while for it to drain in to the sump from the cylinder head) until is just under the halfway mark and the check after a ride as described above.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby gregor » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:31 pm

No idea how you have got that wavy dark line. I'd expect one parallel to the surface of the earth. As per my reply on the other thread, halfway up the sight glass after a run. No higher.
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby riceburner » Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:19 am

Martinjumpr.. you need to check the oil when the it's HOT. not 6 hours after a ride.


Now I can see the pics i'd say you're underfilled, but CHECK with a HOT engine first - 30 minutes riding at least, park it on the side stand for 5 minutes, then put it on the centre stand for 5 minutes (make sure it's absolutely level), THEN look at the sight glass.

If you can see the metal backplate with the holes in it (see your first picture*) it's UNDER filled. If you can see darkness (perhaps coloured) then it's over full, but probably not by a lot.



*That first picture (reproduced below), see the shadows just outside the red ring? Those are holes in the metal backplate 'beyond' the sight glass. The backplate is there to provide a contrast with the oil.

Image
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Re: Oil change/sight glass question

Postby gregor » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:16 pm

Martinjumpr,
Did you get your oil level sorted out?
It is a PITA, having changed my oil and filter recently, and I hope all is well.
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