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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend we rode 700 miles to WCR & back. Today I checked the oil and saw nothing in the glass. So I added some. Then some more. And more. And still nothing. I'm up to a whole quart of oil (1500mi since last change) and I'm beginning to think I'm an idiot and just overfilled the bike.

Three Questions:

1. Is there an easy way to determine if the glass is indicating 'completely full' or 'completely empty' without draining all the oil?

2. Is it possible that my dealer overfilled my bike, and 1500 miles of riding hasn't brought the level down into the glass yet?

3. What should I do?
 

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Three Questions:

1. Is there an easy way to determine if the glass is indicating 'completely full' or 'completely empty' without draining all the oil?
Have you tried looking at it on the side stand?
2. Is it possible that my dealer overfilled my bike, and 1500 miles of riding hasn't brought the level down into the glass yet?
You bet it's possible. Did they charge you for 4 qts? I put 3 1/2 in when I change
3. What should I do?
Try draining a leetle out.



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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
grifscoots said:
Three Questions:

1. Is there an easy way to determine if the glass is indicating 'completely full' or 'completely empty' without draining all the oil?
Have you tried looking at it on the side stand?
Yes, no change at any angle.

grifscoots said:
2. Is it possible that my dealer overfilled my bike, and 1500 miles of riding hasn't brought the level down into the glass yet?
You bet it's possible. Did they charge you for 4 qts? I put 3 1/2 in when I change
I'm not very confident about this dealer (shoulda been tipped off by their location in a strip-mall). If I drain it and the thing goes to another color, I'll post a negative review in the "dealers" section.

grifscoots said:
3. What should I do?
Try draining a leetle out.
OK, will do. But I was hoping to avoid draining the oil because I have only 1 quart of the BMW good-stuff left. If I need more than that to fix it, I'll be upset. Unlike most of the members, my LT is my ONLY mode of transport. (I'm a purist now)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, ok... next question

Okay, that particular problem is solved. But it leads me to another question:

4. What is the potential damage from riding an LT for 1500 miles with approx 1/4 quart of oil above the top of the sight glass? :mad:

Thanks.
 

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I am not the expert, but there shouldn't be anything to worry about. You might get some blow-by out the vent tube, and it really depends where that leads to - sometimes (like a car) the air box. A lot of bikes vent to the atmosphere.
Probably the only thing that happened was a little loss of horsepower.
 

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midwilshire said:
Okay, that particular problem is solved. But it leads me to another question:

4. What is the potential damage from riding an LT for 1500 miles with approx 1/4 quart of oil above the top of the sight glass? :mad:

Thanks.
If you were a quart or two over full you might have and issue. With just a pint over? I really doubt you have a problem.

"Just ride it!" :)
 

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Two concerns - well major concerns - I know of:

Frothing and Hydro-lock.

Frothing is when the con rods and crank shaft whip the oil up into a nice, creamy goo that doesn't flow nicely.

Hydro-lock is when the oil can't get out of the way of moving parts fast enough to allow the part to move.

Both are bad - both would give almost imediate results - bad results.

If you've fixed the oil level and have no other symptoms, time to ride :thumb:
 

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midwilshire said:
OK, will do. But I was hoping to avoid draining the oil because I have only 1 quart of the BMW good-stuff left. If I need more than that to fix it, I'll be upset. Unlike most of the members, my LT is my ONLY mode of transport. (I'm a purist now)
The oil you're draining off isn't 'bad', you can add some back to fine tune the level. I think I'd drain it all, then add back 3 and a quarter quarts, allowing for what's left in the filter.

On a ride to Alaska a couple of years ago I overfilled mine by about a half a quart after continuously mis-reading the sight glass (side stand, centerstand, k-bike, oilhead confusion). The only thing I noticed was a new "tick'a, tick'a" sound at 3500 RPM. I didn't realy know I'd overfilled it until I was getting ready for the next oil change and read the book. Damn. Sound went away after the next oil change, and I assume it was related to the overfill. When mine is about a quart low I hear more mechanical noise. Hard to describe, but it's been a lot more reliable than the sight glass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great! Thanks for the responses, guys. I'm comforted to hear there should be no issues, but I still think it's bad service for my dealer to overfill the thing.
 

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Michael,
It was nice to meet you at wcr. The LT's site glass is a bit different then most cycles. I always end up waiting a couple of hours so that the oil film has dimished from above the actual oil level. Its easier to see through the lens to the reflector. I had topped off my oil to the top line before I left for wcr. I was incredibly amazed to find I had used NO oil in the 4121 miles. I checked the level on the center stand in the same spot in the garage. I think about 3500 of those miles were pretty hard miles too.
 

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I'm careful about noting the oil level in the sight gauge each time I change the oil. I'll put in three quarts and then add incrementally until the level is at the mid-point in the glass with a full oil filter. This weekend I'm doing a 6000 mile change and the original level hasn't moved. I haven't used any oil at all. Bike has 60,000 miles.
 

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I wonder.. if your dealer "filled" the motor to the top of the sight glass I think it is noteworthy.. =) I've heard more about folks not having enough oil...

I would expect problems with the "oil control" rings at bottom of the pistons would also be a concern with "over fill". However, your "overfill" this time should have no latent issues.

This is one "benefit" for doing your own wrenching... you get to "know" these things about your "baby".
Just ride it!
 

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midwilshire said:
Okay, that particular problem is solved. But it leads me to another question:

4. What is the potential damage from riding an LT for 1500 miles with approx 1/4 quart of oil above the top of the sight glass? :mad:

Thanks.
Anecdotal answer: I bought a slightly used R1100RT in '98 and left a week later on a ride. After 400 miles, I looked at the sight glass for the first time - nothing. Being in the boonies, all I could find was car oil. It took about 3 quarts to bring it back. No ill effects were ever observed thereafter.

Anecdotal answer 2: I rode the crap out of an old Honda 360-CL in college and overheated the cylinders enough to score them badly on a 300-mile trip. The results were obvious- rough idling, low power, etc. If the engine is running well, you probably didn't damage a thing.
 

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Don't be amazed, Brian. A well-running and properly broken-in engine shouldn't use any oil between changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
sanjaun2 said:
I had topped off my oil to the top line before I left for wcr. I was incredibly amazed to find I had used NO oil in the 4121 miles.
It was nice to meet you there, Brian. But I think your GPS is off... I'm pretty sure there was a shorter way home for you. ;)

(okay, i'm just envious)
 

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The final solution??

midwilshire said:
1. Is there an easy way to determine if the glass is indicating 'completely full' or 'completely empty' without draining all the oil?

At least I think it works well. Stop the bike - put it on the center stand with the engine running. Observe the sight glass (which will be empty) then shut off the engine and watch the oil rise. :D
 
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