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Thread: Oil level check (instrument panel) not working.

  1. #1

    Oil level check (instrument panel) not working.

    Hello everyone. I have a 2015 R1200 GS Adventure with almost 40,000 miles on the odometer and there is (or rather there was) the facility to check the oil level by clicking through the left hand control buttons when the engine is at running and at operating temperature; side stand is up, and the motorcycle is on level ground. The oil level is in the middle of the circle in the window, when I checked it at a fuel stop, so I know it is correct, but when I rode my motorcycle yesterday, I could not get the oil level check to come up on the display. I scrolled through every menu. It used to show up after the current date display. I am wondering if anyone else has encountered this issue and is it an easy fix, or does it need someone to go deeper into the engine? I would be grateful if anyone has any good ideas about what might have caused this issue, or if they have suffered with the same problem. I always check the oil level manually before and after a ride and only (rarely) add any (if it is needed which it generally isn’t) after waiting for the level to settle down as per the instructions in the manual, but this dashboard check is supposed to work, so I would really like it to do what it is supposed to do! Thank you.


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  2. #2
    Registered User TRJeff's Avatar
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    in neutral?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by TRJeff View Post
    in neutral?
    Yes, in neutral. I have seen the oil level display before and used to look at it every now and again when I was stopped at traffic lights. It was working and I know how to access it, but it just isn’t appearing as an option at the moment...


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  4. #4
    Ain't technology wonderful. Sometimes I long for a dipstick. Don't ask about the time I used a moly engine oil additive rendering the sight glass useless for two oil changes.
    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/

  5. #5
    Yes, technology is great when it works. This feature has been working fine until the last trip and I can (and do) check the oil by looking in the window. I just like everything to work as it is supposed to, and since this is something that it has, I want it to work as intended! If there is a bad sensor in there, my concern is that should something else go wrong I might not get a warning until it is too late. I was hoping to get this fixed myself rather than spend a fortune at a dealer. Anyone have any ideas?


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  6. #6
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XMET View Post
    the engine is at running and at operating temperature; side stand is up, and the motorcycle is on level ground.
    How long do you let it idle before cycling through the menu?
    My manual says to let the bike idle ten seconds before checking.
    I don't remember if the display doesn't show, or it shows with dashes if checked too soon.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  7. #7
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    As you and others have said, technology is great when it works, but unfortunately, that isn't always. With BMW and other manufacturers, I've found that both tire-pressure monitors and oil-level sensors can be intermittent and sometimes even wrong. My 2014 VW Touareg 3L TDi like the R1200/R1250 has the misfortune of not having a dipstick. The diesel also has no sight-glass to make matters even worse. I've never had it read low, but I have had it read high and when it does, the display tells me to have the dealer remove some of the oil. Yeah, like someone put some extra oil in it overnight on me. I've also got a Lincoln and a Mustang whose sensors always seem to work fine, but perhaps I'm just lucky with them.

    Bottom line, reports of these sensors not reading and reporting are common enough to believe that it is a something one is just going to have to accept. Replacing the sensor is $200 for it plus more for labour, so not worth the bother in my book.

    Also, you need to remember that on the R1200/R1250 the sensor is just a Go / No-go reading. It does not tell you if your oil level is full or empty, just that it is either at least one-drop above or below the sensor spot (where that spot is I don't know but suspect it is at the bottom of the fill mark. Personally, I would prefer not to start off on a 500+ mile day with the oil level 1-drop above the minimum level. I prefer to keep my oil level between the 50% and 90% points on the sight glass and use it.

    I understand that you, like me, would much prefer to have the sensor working properly, it makes checking so much easier, but they simply are not reliable in my experience.

    My process is that for each of the three non-dipstick, sight-glass only boxers that I've had, I have identified where the oil level is on the sight-glass when the bike is hot and cold and both on the side-stand and on the centre-stand. At my first oil change I put the level at approximately 1/3rd up the sight-glass using the manual's directions for checking the hot oil level. Then, I add oil until it is about 95%-98% up the range on the sight-glass when both hot and cold. This usually means that using BMW's manual procedure they read between 45%-60% on the sight-glass (basically in the middle). I don't want the level to go above the top of the sight-glass because then you can't identify an over-fill situation. My process allows me to get ready in the morning and check the oil level when the bike is cold before I start the bike as part of a simple process of looking at oil level, tire tread and pressure. Everyone is different in what they want and what they wish to do. This works for me.

    As for checking the oil every day, I try to but often forget if the bike, like both Wetheads that I've had, uses virtually no oil. In over 50K neither required topping up between scheduled oil changes. That is/was different with my Oilhead, Airheads, Ducati and Nortons, they get checked before each ride due to consumption that sometimes requires topping up.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  8. #8
    Thank you to everyone who replied to me. I have just been to the dealer to have a new tyre fitted. At the same time I asked them to take a look at this issue and they needed to reprogramme the computer so that it would “learn” the sensor. A very simple fix. Some type of glitch caused it to drop off the computer. At the same time, I had a new tyre pressure sensor fitted because the old one was just about dead. The oil level is correct, and with the engine at temperature, running, on level ground and having been running for at least a few minutes, with transmission in neutral, etc., I now have a reading (OIL LVL OK) so everything is working as intended. I always check tyre pressures with a known good gauge and I always check the oil through the sight glass after a trip, with the oil warm and so I know I have plenty in there for the next trip.

  9. #9

    XMET Glad you got it sorted

    I too adhere to the same service and maintenance practices as yourself. I understand the need for all the technology you paid for to work as advertised. As a former cobra pilot, every time we ran up the helicopter we would go through a full weapons check whether we were shooting or not... (most likely not, gunneries were minimal due to budget cuts in the 90’s). At the time, as a young pilot, I felt it was a wast of time and effort, but later I came to understand that “exercising the systems” as we called it had numerous benefits to both machine and operator.

    Again, glad you got your bike sorted. Life is too short to ride frustrated.
    R. Reece Mullins Ebony R1200RT (Gretchen)
    MOA # 143779
    MOA Charter Club #5 #364 #100
    BMW MOA Vice President

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangerreece View Post
    As a former cobra pilot
    WOW. That is awesome... a chopper pilot. Thank you for your service Reece. I was Army MI but I know my job was never as exciting as a pilot.
    2015 GSA

  11. #11
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    ???

    So which models of BMWs do not have dipstick or sight glass on them?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by EUGENE View Post
    So which models of BMWs do not have dipstick or sight glass on them?
    I think they all have either a dipstick or a sight glass. I am not aware of a dipstick since the airheads but I am only really familiar with the K bikes, Oilheads, and some F bikes since 1994 models.
    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/

  13. #13
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I think they all have either a dipstick or a sight glass. I am not aware of a dipstick since the airheads but I am only really familiar with the K bikes, Oilheads, and some F bikes since 1994 models.
    K1200 wedge-K engines (2006 and later), and K1300 models are dry-sump engines and use a dipstick in the under-seat oil tank. Checking oil level is to be done with engine at normal operating temps, and temp does make a difference on the reading. These bikes are also equipped with a level sensor in the tank and must be at operating temp before accepting that reading. There is also a sight tube attached to the tank, but I suspect not many owners use that to check oil level.

    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

  14. #14
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider View Post
    There is also a sight tube attached to the tank, but I suspect not many owners use that to check oil level.

    Best,
    DeVern
    I always used the site tube and never used the dipstick.
    On trips the long tube made it handy to check the oil when parked on the sidestand.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

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