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Thread: Successful Proof of Concept Test - Oil Flow Gauge

  1. #1
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Successful Proof of Concept Test - Oil Flow Gauge

    Thinking about this kept me up last night so I thought I'd give it a try today.

    For those of you who feel compelled to check for oil flow to your head after an oil and filter change (I am not one of those), here is something that would provide a positive visual indicator of oil flow.

    I drilled a hole through a socket head bolt and found a piece of vinyl tubing that kind of fit into the socket.

    100_5511.JPG

    100_5514.JPG

    Here is it installed on the engine.

    100_5507.JPG

    Here is the proof of oil flow. This oil drains back down when you shut the engine off.

    100_5510.JPG

    While this first generation prototype was successful to prove out this concept, it is less than ideal. If you want to try this out and have a more practical and functional gauge, here is what I suggest. Cut the head off of a longer bolt and drill a smaller hole through it than I did above. (Unfortunately my wobbly drill press is not up to this assignment). Then jam two nuts together and push on a vinyl tube as shown below. I would also suggest using an o-ring on the engine side of the bolt so you aren't tempted to overtighten it getting it to seal and potentially stripping the threads in the head.

    100_5517.JPG

  2. #2
    Senior Member jtomelliott49's Avatar
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    Very nice work, and generous, as you don't feel the need for your own purposes. If this were Twitter, you would have millions of followers! As it is just our little forum, I suspect you only have a couple hundred thousand followers!!!! lol
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    Senior Member Ski Pro 3's Avatar
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    Maybe a priming bulb like this would work if the thread size were right.

    jtstdub and Smitty Blackstone like this.
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    Senior Member TopPredator's Avatar
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    That's interesting Brian after seeing your experiment I'm concerned. Have owned my TW now for over a year and have changed the oil four times. I was recently reading the shop manual and noticed the bleed screw. With that said of course I have never bleed the oil in the head after changing the oil. My question is, does it matter and doesn't the oil drain out of the head every time the motor is shut off? How many miles would a person expect to get out of a set of rings on a well maintained TW?
    Last edited by TopPredator; 09-27-2015 at 05:39 AM.

  6. #5
    Senior Member GaryL's Avatar
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    I have always been under the impression that the bleeder bolts purpose is to allow us to bleed any air that could get in the oil channels out. Just like a hydraulic brake system, air in the lines could cause a blockage. For me the process of cracking the bleeder bolt and seeing oil flowing gives me peace of mind that all is working as designed.

    Initial start up is probably the most damaging moments to our engines health. All the oil that lubricates the head does drain back down when we turn the engine off. Upon start up and depending upon the outside temperature and the viscosity of your oil it could take a while to get the needed oil flowing to your head. I have to wonder if something like that primer bulb if it could be designed to manually pump a shot of oil to the head just before we fire the engine up could possibly help our engines to go longer? Many years ago when we all had 2 cycle dirt bikes an old mechanic told me a good practice after storing the bike for the winter was to remove the plug a give the cylinder a shot of Marvel Mystery Oil on the top of the piston and work the piston up and down a few times before firing up the sitting engine. I followed his advice and must admit I was never sure if it did any good but was always sure it did no harm other than fouling the plug in the beginning. I think the piston and rings sliding against a dry cylinder wall that might have a glaze of light rust would be detrimental.

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    Senior Member grewen's Avatar
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    GaryL you are totally right about initial start being the most damaging time for a motor! many years ago I saw ads for external electric oil pumps you could install to give oil flow before start up. sounded like a great idea, but I never did see one. I think that using synthetic oil is very helpful to a cold engine as it flows a lot faster than normal oil
    Last edited by grewen; 09-30-2015 at 10:24 PM.
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    Member Cipher's Avatar
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    Did an oil change on my tw about 1800 kms ago. Floated the valves doing 120 kph about 15 minutes after I was done. Been great since!
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    Junior Member sharphook's Avatar
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    A squirt of sea foam under spark plug is the medicine if bike is cold or stored for a few weeks!!

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    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    Why would squirting a detergent under spark plug be beneficial?
    I could see how a squirt of a lubricant like Marvel Mystery Oil prior to storage could help maintain a oily film during subsequent start up, but do not understand the Sea Foam idea.
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  11. #10
    Senior Member admiral's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    Thinking about this kept me up last night so I thought I'd give it a try today.

    For those of you who feel compelled to check for oil flow to your head after an oil and filter change (I am not one of those), here is something that would provide a positive visual indicator of oil flow.

    I drilled a hole through a socket head bolt and found a piece of vinyl tubing that kind of fit into the socket.

    100_5511.JPG

    100_5514.JPG

    Here is it installed on the engine.

    100_5507.JPG

    Here is the proof of oil flow. This oil drains back down when you shut the engine off.

    100_5510.JPG

    While this first generation prototype was successful to prove out this concept, it is less than ideal. If you want to try this out and have a more practical and functional gauge, here is what I suggest. Cut the head off of a longer bolt and drill a smaller hole through it than I did above. (Unfortunately my wobbly drill press is not up to this assignment). Then jam two nuts together and push on a vinyl tube as shown below. I would also suggest using an o-ring on the engine side of the bolt so you aren't tempted to overtighten it getting it to seal and potentially stripping the threads in the head.

    100_5517.JPG
    I like your solution. Posting mine here in addition to a couple other spots in case people run across these older threads.

    The No Mess Oil Galley Bolt Method of Checking Oil Flow.

    Note: The oil moves into the tube slow as the TW's Oil Pump is low pressure so don't worry about oil squirting out the end of the tube. You'll have plenty of time to kill the engine. Also make sure you push the splice somewhat snug into the oil galley hole so it stays or you can hold it with one hand and operate the starter/kill switch buttons with the other.

    I finally took a picture of the clear tube to see the oil flow from the oil galley bolt after changing the oil. I use a small drip irrigation splice and put a section of clear plastic tube at the end. I then remove the oil galley bolt, push the plastic splice in the oil galley hole, start the engine and watch for the oil to appear in the plastic tubing. As soon as I see the oil I hit the kill switch. I remove the tube once the oil has drained back into the head then re-install the oil galley bolt.



    The splice I use.
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