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Thread: Burning oil; dealer says it happens, does it?

  1. #1

    Burning oil; dealer says it happens, does it?

    Hi All:

    I did search on this topic, but got six pages of responses that have nothing to do with my search.

    Last fall I bought a 2018 R1200RT with 5,400 miles. I put 600 miles on it and took it in for the 6k. I began to notice a puff a blue smoke when I start the bike, and the puff is larger if it has not been ridden in a while. After 1,500 miles since the 6k, the oil is showing about halfway down the oil check window.

    I called the BMW Motorrad dealer yesterday and he told me that this is normal and to not worry about it. He said some smoke and use oil, and others do not, just keep oil in the engine and I'll be fine.

    I told him this does not sound right, but he was insistent. I mentioned that I did not have this issue with my '15 wethead or my '97 R11RT or my '96 K11RS. He sounded annoyed when he told me again not to worry about it, that it happens with some and not with others and just keep oil in the case.

    Does this sound right you to you? Please weigh in.

  2. #2

    oil burning

    engines vary tremendously in their oil usage. Some use none, some much more than I am comfortable with and both are within manufacturer's specs. Your engine is not even broken in by my standards. I would vary loads and torque on a warm engine while riding and see what happens over the next several thousand miles. By BMW standards your engine is within spec on oil usage.

  3. #3
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainRyder View Post
    ...After 1,500 miles since the 6k, the oil is showing about halfway down the oil check window.
    What was the level immediately after the last oil change? It should not have been at the very top of the window.
    Halfway down is perfectly acceptable. There is also some visible change between hot and cold checks.
    level.png

    Lowering the level to the halfway point was recommended for the earliest Wetheads to improve shifting, though I think the transmission has since been modified a bit.

    My '06 used about six ounces/1000 miles until it was finally broken in around 19,000 miles. No drop in level over 6k intervals since then.

    Ride more, worry less.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    What was the level immediately after the last oil change?
    After the 6k it was at the top of the circle. Now 1,500 approximate miles it's half way down the circle.

    The 2018 has an improved transmission, one that does not go "clunk!" when selecting 1st gear. My wife notes that that lack of "clunk" always puts a smile on my face!

  5. #5
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    My ‘18GS will throw a “low oil” alert on the TFT when the level drops even a hair below the halfway point on the circle. At oil changes I will normally fill to 1/8” above the center point and ride it to the next change without issue. But, I do pack a 6oz bottle of oil in case the warning shows up. It’s not that I’m concerned about oil level-there is still plenty of oil onboard when the red warning appears. It’s just that the red warning splashed across the TFT is by design annoying as heck.

    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S-PD — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT — 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  6. #6
    BMW "boxer" engines will puff a little smoke when started if parked on the side stand. As the down hill cylinder cools vacuum can pull a little residual oil into the cylinder.

    Oil consumption on these models is extremely dependent of the manner in which the break-in was accomplished. Many owners of new motorcycles "baby" the engines in fear that they might damage something. This causes a partial break-in and some lack of sealing of the rings in the grooves between the piston lands.

    In addition, as noted in other replies over-filling the crankcase can cause early burn off of oil.

    Given that the consumption on the OP bike is within BMW's rather generous limits I would not expect a dealer or BMW to do anything. My advice would be to consciously consider break-in in riding the bike. That means that once warmed up the engine should be occasionally loaded with full throttle acceleration in the upper gears, and occasional runs through the gears with RPM to the red line in lower gears.

    Or as some glibly say, "ride it like you stole it."
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    That means that once warmed up the engine should be occasionally loaded with full throttle acceleration in the upper gears, and occasional runs through the gears with RPM to the red line in lower gears.
    That my friend is NOT a problem for me!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MountainRyder View Post
    That my friend is NOT a problem for me!
    Good. Then I suspect that after some more miles the oil consumption should go down. With the 1100 and 1150 engines it was generally observed that oil consumption leveled off at somewhere around 20,000 miles. I don't know what the experience has been with the 1200 motors but I suspect it is similar.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    I share this for what it is observation only, all engines are unique and different. My '11 R1200r would consume about half a site glass of oil between changes until about 25k miles, from then on she sits right where I filled it, 56k on it now and it pulls like a tractor. My '18 RT consumed less maybe a couple ounces from new to 5k before I traded it. The '21 RT hasn't got to the 600 mile oil change yet and hasn't budged from where it was when I picked it up.

    I just had a boat engine, 4.3l V6, rebuilt this last winter, the engine builder put it on his dyno for about 20 minutes after rebuild to seat it in and warm it up, we then proceeded to do 5 dyno runs to redline, I was cringing, he was giggling. He builds hundred of professional race engines each year and insists all his motors are run in this way and are good to go.

    I agree with Paul's assessment, you don't need to baby new engines, not saying you did, but probably good chance your going to be fine.

    Good luck and keep us informed.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  10. #10
    Thank you jandhumphreyme, PGlaves, GTRider, lkraus and khafner

    I appreciate your views.

    I know that the oilheads would act like this, but for such a finely engineered machine like our waterheads? It confuses me. I don't have similar issues with my BMW cars nor with any other machine I've owned. But, there you go...

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    Once in a while my 2018 RT smokes on start up. Seems like the longer it sits, the more it smokes. I was unable to ride for a few weeks this spring and the other day when I started it, it filled the garage with a thick haze. On the other hand the oil level does not drop much between 6,000 mile changes, I don't add oil.
    From the only real Fargo, ND!

  12. #12
    Addicted to windshields Realshelby's Avatar
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    My Oilhead did use some oil. More around locally, less running it hard down the road at high speed. Typical of those Boxers.

    That is NOT typical of a Wethead. These don't use oil from day one. This is the first one I have heard of. I have gone over 7000 miles on oil changes more than once and it was only down a couple ounces from when changed......

    I would document how much it is using. Yes, run the Hell out of it to see if it will seat the oil rings. Typically manufacturers won't do much unless oil consumption is a quart in 1000 miles. More or less, but I would find out what BMW's standards are on that for the bikes.

  13. #13
    Registered User LFarling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realshelby View Post
    My Oilhead did use some oil. More around locally, less running it hard down the road at high speed. Typical of those Boxers.

    That is NOT typical of a Wethead. These don't use oil from day one. This is the first one I have heard of. I have gone over 7000 miles on oil changes more than once and it was only down a couple ounces from when changed......

    I would document how much it is using. Yes, run the Hell out of it to see if it will seat the oil rings. Typically manufacturers won't do much unless oil consumption is a quart in 1000 miles. More or less, but I would find out what BMW's standards are on that for the bikes.
    I have to agree and was hesitant to reply so.

    I have never used a drop of oil on either of my boxer motors the 15 RT and now the 17.5 GS. Never. I would not accept that and would have traded or sold it if it did. If a motor is using oil it is a problem, period.

    Again I am not talking a puff of smoke from sitting on the side stand but using oil at some of the rates people have quoted, I could and would never live with.

    I have built a few Harley motors and some V8's back in the day so have a fair understanding of them.

    I would agree to try some aggressive high RPM/Speed/Distance running. It may help seat the rings for you.

    Since I never seen the cylinders off a new wethead I have no idea if they are Nikasil coated or not? I had always thought they were but have no idea as I have never seen a new one. At any rate if so then you have hope of bedding those rings in as Nikasil is very hard stuff.

    It could be why some have said into 19-20K for it to stop using oil?

    Me, I have never had any problems seating rings. I never have babied any of the new bikes I bought and never had one use oil. Including the 88" Harley I took to 98" with Nikasil cylinders.

    I mean it could be anything from valve seals to piston rings could have spun and allowing blow by.

    The other thing is checking the oil proper and I dont mean to insult.

    Motor hot up to temp, level ground, on the center stand, 5 mins exactly from turning off the motor to checking the sight glass. I hate this and would love a tradition dip stick but it is what it is. I run mine half to two thirds of the circle, NOT the entire sight glass, that circle is your guide.

    Let us know what you find out. A leak down and compression test is not that big of a deal and that will tell you the story pretty well.

    The best thing to do is get a leak down and a compression test done.
    Lee
    2017.5 R 1200 GSW

  14. #14
    Registered User
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    My 14 wethead RT has never used any oil, unlike my 02 oilhead RT. It too stopped, I can't remember when but thinking about 30k. That bike needed higher RPM for use, below 4k wasn't good. I learned to do the side-stand dance when parked, let it rest on the side-stand for 10 minutes before putting up on center-stand. It made a different on the oil level and smoke on start up. The wethead doesn't have that issue. My oil level seem to be the same doing the dance or not and no smoke.

  15. #15
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Realshelby View Post
    That is NOT typical of a Wethead. These don't use oil from day one. This is the first one I have heard of..
    I agree, this is the first wethead I heard of using a noticeable amount of oil.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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