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Thread: Engine Oil Level

  1. #1

    Engine Oil Level

    Good morning- for the life of me I canít determine whether my engine oil level is correct (see attached photo). I changed the oil and added 4 quarts of oil, after I took a 250 mile trip I saw a low level in the sight glass (bottom line). I added 1/2 quart and saw the level at the sight glass midpoint. I rode another 250 miles home and saw the level at the bottom of the glass. So I added oil and waited for the level to rise, it didnít. After reading the thread about riding then stopping and parking it on the side stand for 10 min then reading it while on the center stand, I rode it last night and did this...the attached photo shows the level (or not).

    Is it completely full? Or empty? I miss my airhead dipstick!

    Thanks for your help!
    Charlie
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Charlie P.
    1992 R100R
    1996 R1100GS

  2. #2
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Get a friend to watch the window as you tilt the bike both ways.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  3. #3
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    Oil Level

    I also have a sight glass issue. I have always taken the bike in for oil changes and last time I noticed the oil level was at the top of the sight glass. It is really difficult to level the bike by myself. I place boards under the kickstand to get it close without endanger tipping the thing over.

    I added slightly less than 4 quarts which is the stated capacity with a filter change and the oil level seems to be at the top of the sight glass. I am debating draining a bit back out but wanted to see what others have done. If the bike truly holds 4 quarts then I know I haven't overfilled.

    HELP......Bob

  4. #4
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    1996 R1100RT Oil Level

    I have a level garage floor so putting it on the center stand gets it level. I just changed my oil and filter, added oil per the manual and after a few minutes, looked at the sight glass. It was right at the bottom. I started the bike, let it idle for a bit, turned it off and let it sit for 10 minutes and it was again close to the bottom. After it sat for 30 minutes it was at the center line on the sight glass and after a couple hours it was at the top of the sight glass. So, it appears to take a while for all the oil to drain from the top of the engine, so you get an accurate oil level in the sight glass. I was glad I didn't add extra oil. Just something to consider.

  5. #5
    They call me Gort scootrp125x's Avatar
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    If that is the nice clear, clean new oil you see in the sight glass and it is to the top of the circle then you are full. It can be difficult to see the new oil but it is very clear to see through the sight glass after you drain the oil so you probably have a full sight glass. For many years I always filled mine to the top of the sight glass and I always had some oil seepage out of the oil filler cap. I replaced the gasket around the cap but it didn't seem to help. The plastic cap and gasket don't seem to be a very tight fit. Finally I read somewhere that filling my oil to the dot in the center of the sight glass was actually the full reading. I have been filling it to the dot since then and my seepage problem around the filler cap went away. I hope this helps.
    Mark
    04 R1150RT

  6. #6
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    This is a topic that comes up often for oilheads. There is one and only one repeatable way to check your oil level. The BEST time to check it is when you get home from a ride and the bike has five bars showing on the temp side of the RID. When you arrive put the bike on the sidestand and walk away for five minutes. Come back, put it on the center stand and take a look at the sight glass. The perfect lever is in the MIDDLE of the sight glass, and not the top. Even if you fill it to the top it will just end up in the middle anyway if it is not an oil burner. This is due to the way the oilhead motor tosses oil around in the crankcase and those motors do not like more than the middle of the sight glass. The excess oil ends up in your air box and can be drained by removing the drain plug on the left rear of the air box.

    Reasons:
    One is that if the bike is not completely warmed up no oil is circulating in the oil cooler because the thermostat (yes there is an oil thermostat) has not opened yet. This traps the oil in the oil cooler and if you fill the bike like that the next time it does get warm and the thermostat opens that oil will now drain down into the sump the next time it is on the sidestand and you end up with too much oil.

    Two (much like the above) is that a lot of folks put 4 quarts is not realizing how much is lurking in the oil cooler and then it comes down and joins the 4 quarts. And now you are over filled.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  7. #7
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgbbob View Post
    I also have a sight glass issue. I have always taken the bike in for oil changes and last time I noticed the oil level was at the top of the sight glass. It is really difficult to level the bike by myself. I place boards under the kickstand to get it close without endanger tipping the thing over.

    I added slightly less than 4 quarts which is the stated capacity with a filter change and the oil level seems to be at the top of the sight glass. I am debating draining a bit back out but wanted to see what others have done. If the bike truly holds 4 quarts then I know I haven't overfilled.

    HELP......Bob
    Welcome to the forum Bob.
    If you don't have a center stand, have a friend sit on the bike while you check the level.
    You could also try a mirror taped to the end of a stick.
    What bike do you own?
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Welcome to the forum Bob.
    If you don't have a center stand, have a friend sit on the bike while you check the level.
    You could also try a mirror taped to the end of a stick.
    What bike do you own?
    Voni travels by herself a lot. Voni never puts her bike on the centertand unless it is a dire emergency. She has checked her own oil on her R1100RS dozens of times, astride the motorcycle using a simple cosmetics compact mirror.
    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 GTRider's Avatar
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    I just sit on the bike normally, then reach down and snap a picture with my cell phone. No dirty knees that way...

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

  10. #10
    Gerard jagarra's Avatar
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    I my case when I changed the oil and filter added 4 liters of oil and it was not showing in the glass after I started the bike and let it sit for awhile. The next morning when I came out and checked it the level was sitting right in the middle of the glass, couldn't be more centered. Today after ridding it yesterday, and sitting overnight it shows the glass filled, so it grew in volume?
    1994 R1100RS-(5/93)-,1974 R90/6 built 9/73,--1964 Triumph T100--1986 Honda XL600R

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jagarra View Post
    I my case when I changed the oil and filter added 4 liters of oil and it was not showing in the glass after I started the bike and let it sit for awhile. The next morning when I came out and checked it the level was sitting right in the middle of the glass, couldn't be more centered. Today after ridding it yesterday, and sitting overnight it shows the glass filled, so it grew in volume?
    They trap oil in unpredictable ways. The side stand then centerstand when hot routine spelled out in an earlier post is the most time tested reliable way to avoid trapping oil in the cooler.
    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/

  12. #12
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagarra View Post
    I my case when I changed the oil and filter added 4 liters of oil and it was not showing in the glass after I started the bike and let it sit for awhile. The next morning when I came out and checked it the level was sitting right in the middle of the glass, couldn't be more centered. Today after ridding it yesterday, and sitting overnight it shows the glass filled, so it grew in volume?
    Four liters is too much oil. Read the other comments about the oil thermostat and oil trapped in the oil cooler. If youíre really using liter containers, not quarts, put 3.5 liters in for an oil change with new filter. This will get you a settled level near the middle of the sight glass. 3.75 will get you to the top. Add the amount specified in the manual and close it up. Donít look at the sight glass until you ride it enough to open the thermostat and then check it after riding. Park, side stand, take off gear, center stand, check oil level.
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by happy wanderer View Post
    This is a topic that comes up often for oilheads. There is one and only one repeatable way to check your oil level. The BEST time to check it is when you get home from a ride and the bike has five bars showing on the temp side of the RID. When you arrive put the bike on the sidestand and walk away for five minutes. Come back, put it on the center stand and take a look at the sight glass. The perfect lever is in the MIDDLE of the sight glass, and not the top. Even if you fill it to the top it will just end up in the middle anyway if it is not an oil burner. This is due to the way the oilhead motor tosses oil around in the crankcase and those motors do not like more than the middle of the sight glass. The excess oil ends up in your air box and can be drained by removing the drain plug on the left rear of the air box.

    Reasons:
    One is that if the bike is not completely warmed up no oil is circulating in the oil cooler because the thermostat (yes there is an oil thermostat) has not opened yet. This traps the oil in the oil cooler and if you fill the bike like that the next time it does get warm and the thermostat opens that oil will now drain down into the sump the next time it is on the sidestand and you end up with too much oil.

    Two (much like the above) is that a lot of folks put 4 quarts is not realizing how much is lurking in the oil cooler and then it comes down and joins the 4 quarts. And now you are over filled.
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  14. #14
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    Site Glass

    On mine if site glass looks full while bike on center stand start bike up run a bit shut off than check the oil cooler should be full so level showing on glass should be down to dot

  15. #15
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    Msrock 10506 has it right on. Change your oil & filter and then add 3.5 liters. It works perfect.

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