A little clarification needed - please!
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Thread: A little clarification needed - please!

  1. #1
    Junior Member bigwilly's Avatar
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    A little clarification needed - please!

    Hi folks.

    Sorry for the somewhat stupid question (again), but I'm pondering something and need some experts to chime in.

    How should I use my sight-glass for oil level?

    My manual says when changing the filter (which I did on the first service on my new bike) to fill with 1.1L. If I do this, run the bike and check top-end flow, then turn it off, the level is nearly full on the sight-glass when upright - great. However, if I go for a ride (and everything warms up) and check the level with the bike upright on flat ground, the oil is above the full line, filling the sight-glass.

    My manual says when checking oil, I should warm the bike up for several minutes then leaving it a couple of minutes, then check. Does this mean not riding it, and not getting it up to full operating temperature? I've come from a dip-stick world, where the space between too much and too little is about 2 inches, and you always check it HOT.

    Should I only perform the sight-glass check when the engine has been running for a max 5 mins? And therefore disregard the level when it is at operating temperature?

    If anyone's got any words of wisdom, it would be much appreciated. I'm sure I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, I'm just curious!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Hot or cold will make little difference, however, you will need to run it for a few minutes to make sure the fresh oil is soaked into the fresh filter, and has reached all parts of the engine. Then switch off, wait another couple of minutes for the oil to settle, and then take your sighting

    Subsequent visual checks can be made with either a warm engine or a cold – makes no difference – it’s just when you change the filter that it really matters

    One thing I have noticed, is that if the bike is not exactly level, on both the horizontal and vertical, you will get a false reading

    Found that one out parked on gravel one day, and noticed the sight glass was full – fearing a stuck needle on the float had filled the crankcase with gas. It was fine, just an uneven surface, the front tire was downhill from the rear

    How this plays out when you have an ATV tire on the back is worth considering, but just like the dip stick, it will have a high and a low level, so as long as you’re in-between the two you’re going to be OK ……
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  3. #3
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    I just use one US quart. That's equal to .95 liter. That explains why I see the level at the top mark and you see it filling the sight glass. Not a problem for the engine, but since you have to break open another bottle to put the 0.1 liter in, just use one liter from now on.

    Purple is right, even a slight off level reading will be thrown off.
    Rocky
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Fred's Avatar
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    What might help is noting the oil level under the varying conditions mentioned soon after adding the correct volume of fresh oil. Then days, months, whatever, later you can note the level when cold, hot, not level, etc with what you remember from similar circumstances when you knew the correct volume was installed.
    These engines seems to show some tolerance for excessive amounts of oil. I have inadvertently overfilled my poor bike at camp due to irregular parking and then gone for a ride only to remeasure later discovering an over-filled condition. Yet the crank didn't whip the oil into a mouse like froth. Similarly I have returned from 150+ top gear mile road ride finding the post ride oil level below the recommended range, also without noticeable damage.
    2003 TW200 "Betty Boop"
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  6. #5
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    whip the oil into a mouse......


    Last edited by RockyTFS; 02-24-2019 at 04:41 PM.
    Rocky
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

  7. #6
    Junior Member bigwilly's Avatar
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    Thanks folks - appreciate the help.

    I guess I just over-filled it by a touch on my first oil change.

    So hypothetical oil change time... Would you recommend draining the oil (when warm), installing new oil filter (or cleaning existing one), then adding the 1.1L in full straight away? Or add 1L then check and top up if necessary? Presumably there's no ambiguity by adding the full amount straight away, especially with a new filter?

  8. #7
    Senior Member RockyTFS's Avatar
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    Drain old oil.....wash filter with kerosene.....add 1 liter fresh oil....button it up and go ride 1,000 km, then check it. Do this over and over and maybe by 50,000 km you might have to add a bit between changes. These are among the simplest Otto cycle engines ever devised by man.
    Smitty Blackstone and grewen like this.
    Rocky
    2018 TW200
    2014 BMW R1200GS LC

  9. #8
    Junior Member bigwilly's Avatar
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    Lesson learned - will do!

    I think coming from a bike that holds 3L of oil to one that's about 1L got me questioning myself - thanks for all the advice!

  10. #9
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    No worries mate – that’s what we’re here for

    The difference between 1 and 1.1 is negligible, so start with one litre and work up if that works for you – it’s no biggie

    The original filters are infinitely re-usable, so do so wherever possible. We have had instances of the wrong filter cropping up in the right box (mostly in the USA), so always compare the old with the new. Personally, because of this, I don’t trust anyone else to change my oil filters on the TW. I maybe being paranoid, but we’ve had too many top ends trashed on here through that happening

    Continue to question anything and everything – it’s how we learn …...
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