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Thread: Oil sight glass replacement?

  1. #1
    heckwood
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    Oil sight glass replacement?

    My oil sight glass is clouded and distorted - like something got onto the glass and partially melted it. Very strange and I'm not sure how it happened. Obviously I need to replace it in order to check my oil level. Before I start tearing it apart, how involved is the project? I'm guessing that it's just a plug threaded into a hole. How do I grab the plug? How tight should it be? Any help would be appreciated. BTW - it's a '99 R1100S

  2. #2
    Hi heckwood:

    If the sight glass is warped you need to change it immediately. Some people have had it pop out and empty the crankcase then wreck the engine.

    I haven't changed one but I've read how. It is a friction fit and can be removed by pushing a screwdriver into the center and yanking it out. The new one goes in with a suitable cylindrical object such as a large socket.

    The whole sight glass thing makes me nervous and I'd almost rather have a dipstick.

    Look here: http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....ferrerid=31621

    Good luck,
    Mike

  3. #3
    Registered User awagnon's Avatar
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    You can also take a heated nail and melt a hole in the center of the site glass, then screw a sheet metal screw into it and pull. Tap the new site glass in with an appropriate sized socket or wooden dowel. Be sure to clean the surfaces first and do not use any type of sealer. A new site glass runs around $26 when I bought mine a year ago.
    Al - Ogden, Utah
    Boxer bikes, boxer dogs, and letterboxing.
    2004 1150RT and 2018 Triumph Tiger 800xrx

  4. #4
    glennhendricks
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    Should replaceing the sight glass be a PM?

    Should one consider replacing the sight glass at some interval?

  5. #5
    Registered User awagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennhendricks View Post
    Should one consider replacing the sight glass at some interval?
    No, not in my opinion. But I carry a spare with me on the road. Some people carry an appropriately sized expanding "freeze plug" for emergency repairs (much cheaper than a spare site glass). Occasionally they fail all of a sudden, but not often enough to replace the site glass unless weeping oil or cloudy.
    Al - Ogden, Utah
    Boxer bikes, boxer dogs, and letterboxing.
    2004 1150RT and 2018 Triumph Tiger 800xrx

  6. #6
    On the Road
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    A little preventative Maint I did and I hope it works.
    I scrubbed the whole thing down with hot soapy water then when dry I ran a small hi temp bead of silicone around it and smooth it out a bit wiith my finger.

  7. #7
    Aspiring Profligate Jeff488's Avatar
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    Seems as though an enterprising person could machine a groove for a circlip and that would prevent the porthole from blowing out.
    Maybe use an o-ring to seal it?
    '08 BMW R1200RT
    '08 Suzuki DL650 "Screaming Yellow Zonker"
    Looking for Ed Sanders' Truck Stop.

  8. #8
    Registered User awagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff488 View Post
    Seems as though an enterprising person could machine a groove for a circlip and that would prevent the porthole from blowing out.
    Maybe use an o-ring to seal it?
    Isn't that what BMW did on the R1200 engines?
    Al - Ogden, Utah
    Boxer bikes, boxer dogs, and letterboxing.
    2004 1150RT and 2018 Triumph Tiger 800xrx

  9. #9
    Original Oilhead guitardad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awagnon View Post
    Isn't that what BMW did on the R1200 engines?
    Yep, that's exactly what BMW did with the hexhead engine. Supposedly, you'll be warned by oil seeping out around the sight glass, before it goes completely. I didn't see that with mine. Replacing the glass is easy - it's just a press-fit into the hole in the block. a 30 mm socket - same size as the locknuts for the swingarm and final drive pivots - is the right size to press in the new glass.
    Chaz
    The skill of effective coaching lies in asking the right questions.
    2013 R1200S {Name TBD} 2016 S1000XR "Raquel"

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by glennhendricks View Post
    Should one consider replacing the sight glass at some interval?

    I've been told my BMW tech to change it out every 5 years or 50,000 miles. Or just push your thumbnail into the rubber and see if it's still soft. It's easier to change it at home during and oil change than on the side of the road. Even if you carry a spare you've got to replace the oil.

  11. #11

    Shiny new sight glass

    I just replaced mine. It's 12 years old and has 64,000 kM and showed some discolouration so I'm not thinking it's an "interval" replacement but more of a "service limit" replacement. Part of my trip prep. Going to Deals Gap in September.

    The old one cracked into about 6 pie shaped pieces on being tapped with a screwdriver/hammer. A (curveball)stone could have done that easily!

    The new one went in easy just like guitardad said.
    Cost me $42 though.

    I feel much better now!
    I even used a smiley!

    Mike
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Deals Gap was great, I nearly did a wheel stand or what ever its called when you brake really hard when I saw killboy and his mega camera. I thought dang that guys got some big radar gun....and like the good I always slow when I see the radar guns just to be polite. Make sure you come from the south so killboy can get a nice shot of the sight glass.

  13. #13
    Registered User
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    sight glass

    The procedure I used:
    drill small hole in center of sight glass - don't worry about any little bits getting inside the crankcase. They will just stay inside the sight glass.
    insert wood screw into hole
    pull on wood screw with pliers till it comes out
    wipe down the hole in the engine
    push new sight glass into hole.
    place wooden block over sight glass and tap into place with mallet.

    Do NOT use any sealant or lubricant when putting the new sight glass in.

    BTW - putting silicon or whatever on the outside of the sight glass is not gonna do nuthin' except look funny. If the sight glass decides to depart the premises like it did on Chaz's RS, the silicon is not going to help one bit. There is a tremendous amount of pressure inside the crankcase. The design of the rubber on the outside edge of the sight glass keeps the pressure from pushing the sight glass out (or pulling it in).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by flars10 View Post
    There is a tremendous amount of pressure inside the crankcase.
    How much? I would think there is little to none in the sump. Any/all would be on the outlet side of the pump to push it though and gravity drops it back down.

    Only reason I mention this is I'm going to do my site glass here at the next oil change.

    I also hear yay and nay to adding any kind of "silicone/grease/sealant" prior to replacement. I'm in agreement w/ you on that aspect. Clean it up... Push it in.
    Only, I'll use a socket and tap it in...

  15. #15
    There shouldn't be any crankcase pressure to speak of. Any more than about 10PSI would pop the sightglass out. If there is pressure it's due to blowby from worn rings and a blocked crankcase vent.

    Clean the seat with Jagermeister if you don't want it to leak.
    Use any British beer if you don't care!

    Mike
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

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