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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 isnít) 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 isnít 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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    May 2003
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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

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