BMW R1200RT/R1250RT forum

BMW R 1200RT => General Discussions => Topic started by: BruceInMass on 2020-10-05 01:51:11

Title: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: BruceInMass on 2020-10-05 01:51:11
I just bought a 2011 R1200RT and had it shipped up to my home in Massachusetts from Florida. The bike is super clean and only had 4,600 miles on it. I’m the 3rd owner, the first put about 3,200 miles on it, and the guy I bought it from had it for 8 years and only put about 1,400 miles on it. It has the original Metzeler tires on it, but after 10 years it’s time to replace those. [size=78%]The Florida dealer said the last time they say the bike was for an oil change in 2017.[/size]

Naturally I changed the oil and filter right away. The oil I drained looked and smelled “normal” as far as I can tell. Even though I added the specified amount of oil, the oil level sight window didn’t register anything, so I added a few more ounces and still nothing. In fact the window is cloudy, a brownish color. I’ve since put on about 300 miles and it’s still the same.
Can anyone guess why and what I can do to fix it?
Thanks,


Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-05 07:24:17
Did you make sure that the engine was up to the correct operating temperature before the oil change? By that, I mean did you go for a run out beforehand? It's generally held that simply letting the bike run whilst stationary won't get it hot enough - most owners haven't got the patience! - which means that when you drain the oil, the oil cooler retains its capacity as the thermostat remains closed. This in turn means that, when you refill with new oil, there's every chance you've overfilled it.....so, you may well be looking at a very full sight glass....ie looking through the lovely, new, brownish oil and not seeing what should be the silver backdrop of the glass, which is what usually enables you to see the oil level (brown against silver).
Overfilling isn't the end of the world, in extreme cases it could end up in the airbox, I suppose....in any case, it's a damn sight better than not having enough in there! You could perhaps take the filter off and empty it, then refit it and start the engine....see what happens in the sight glass then.
Pete
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-05 10:41:51
Seeing what should be the silver backdrop of the glass, which is what usually enables you to see the oil level (brown against silver).

(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161030/09c8bbb2ba6034b0dae7d2ef8f791561.jpg)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-05 10:48:50
In fact the window is cloudy, a brownish color.

Does the sight glass look like this one.
(http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads22/DSC_0956a1388185052.jpg)

Or this one which is overfull.
(https://i.imgur.com/yFyoTCk.jpg)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-05 11:51:05
Which means that when you drain the oil, the oil cooler retains its capacity as the thermostat remains closed.

I didn't know that the oil cooler has a thermostat. That'll explain why the oil level should be checked "only after a lengthy trip."
"Then wait five minutes for the oil to drain into the oil pan."

Recently had the oil & filter changed on my Camhead at a BMW dealer. The oil level is above the top of the sight glass. I queried this, was told that a measured quantiy (4 l) of oil was used. If this is added to the quantity held by the oil cooler, then it's too full. The dealer didn't take the bike for a "lengthy trip" and re-check the oil level after 5 mins. I was told it'll be ok and won't blow up!

Why can't BMW come up with an oil level when the engine is cold. It would be much easier that way to check the oil level before setting off, much like tyre pressures!
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: scunny12 on 2020-10-05 20:01:32
Now we get into the argument of should tyre pressures be checked cold or hot. Bike manual says one thing, my car manual says the opposite!
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: simbo on 2020-10-05 20:25:34
Where's the 'Thermostat' that retains oil in the oil cooler??
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-05 20:55:14
Haynes manual 2.50 Oil thermostat 26 The oil thermostat is located in the top of the crankcase on the right-hand side, below the flange for the oil cooler feed pipe.

#14
(https://www.ascycles.com/DesktopModules/ETK_Fische/etk/Images-GIF/dbvis-8044274813358762894.gif)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Graham88 on 2020-10-05 21:01:38
Thermostat will only control flow to the cooler, not from it.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-05 21:09:31
These photos are of a Hexhead GS but the same as a Camhead RT.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/t/tpierce0000_R1150GS_IMG_0683.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/t/tpierce0000_R1150GS_IMG_0685.jpg)

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/advrider-photobucket-images/images/t/tpierce0000_R1150GS_IMG_0688.jpg)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: simbo on 2020-10-05 22:02:35
Interesting stuff.  :)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-05 22:34:20
Thermostat will only control flow to the cooler, not from it.
Hmmmm. It might not 'control' oil coming from it, but when the engine's properly hot, the thermostat is open.....switch off, filter and drain plug removed.....thermostat's still open, oil drains out of engine and cooler I would've thought. I can't see why else the BMW-mandated method is as it is. I'm all ears if anyone knows different though!

Pete
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Graham88 on 2020-10-05 22:46:47
Cold thick gloopy oil will stick to everything, every crevice especially with horizontal cylinders - if there is no oil pressure moving it on then it will lurk all around the motor including the cooler. Warm thinned oil is much more compliant with gravity. The LC method is the same.
I would also suggest the volume of oil in the cooler is actually pretty small, but in any case it doesn't sound very German to start a cold engine with a quantity of oil 'locked' away from the coal face until the engine heats up.

Start a cold engine and shut it down, the oil pan will look empty for a few hours maybe even a day but eventually it will fill back up.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-05 23:07:27
Cold thick gloopy oil will stick to everything, every crevice especially with horizontal cylinders - if there is no oil pressure moving it on then it will lurk all around the motor including the cooler. Warm thinned oil is much more compliant with gravity. The LC method is the same.
I would also suggest the volume of oil in the cooler is actually pretty small, but in any case it doesn't sound very German to start a cold engine with a quantity of oil 'locked' away from the coal face until the engine heats up.

Start a cold engine and shut it down, the oil pan will look empty for a few hours maybe even a day but eventually it will fill back up.
Not sure what point you're making really. Why would cold oil stick 'especially with horizontal cylinders'?

Even if there's only a small amount of oil in the cooler, it needs to come out at oil-change time....which is why the correct procedure is what it is. Unless somebody knows differently, of course...... :)

Pete
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Graham88 on 2020-10-05 23:31:27
The point i am making is that the oil cooler and the rest of the engine will empty if its cold or hot, just at a different rate, whether that is relevant or useful is up to whomever, but it is factual nonetheless. The notion that oil is locked away somehow, isn't.

The horizontal part is very important forgive the analogy but if you take the lid off a tin of room temperature treacle and lay it down on its side (or horizontally, or even upside down) it will take a long time to empty but if you heat it up and repeat it will empty a lot quicker. The procedure is the same for an LC model which doesn't have a cooler, which also implies that heating up is not really connected to the cooler.  ;)
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-05 23:53:37
The point i am making is that the oil cooler and the rest of the engine will empty if its cold or hot, just at a different rate, whether that is relevant or useful is up to whomever, but it is factual nonetheless. The notion that oil is locked away somehow, isn't.

The horizontal part is very important forgive the analogy but if you take the lid off a tin of room temperature treacle and lay it down on its side (or horizontally, or even upside down) it will take a long time to empty but if you heat it up and repeat it will empty a lot quicker. The procedure is the same for an LC model which doesn't have a cooler, which also implies that heating up is not really connected to the cooler.  ;)
How can oil drain from the cooler if the thermostat is closed? I'm not being argumentative, I'm intrigued! And, if heating up isn't connected to the cooler, what function does the thermostat have?  ;)

I was querying your use of 'especially' in respect of horizontally opposed engines. It matters not what the cylinder layout is, surely.....

Pete

 


 
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Graham88 on 2020-10-06 00:11:05
Im not being argumentative either, love a good debate!
The thermostat opens to allow pressurized oil up and into the cooler ad the outlet of the cooler will drop back into the pan by either oil pressure or when the engine is off then gravity, the system is unlikely to be vacuum locked due to the diameter of the pipe although the reduced surface tension from hot oil will help... even when cold the surface tension will break in time and allow air up and oil down. The purpose of the thermostat is the same a water thermostat in a car, if the engine is cold don't try and cool it down.

I would propose that horizontal does mattter because oil pools and the colder it is, the higher the surface tension and the wder and higher the pool. In my example of a horizontal treacle tin, when it stops dripping I guarantee you will still get three table spoons out of it by either scraping it out or heating the tin. But an upside down tin will only give you three tea spoons.

Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Robbertq on 2020-10-06 07:52:41
I read somewhere a procedure for my 2012 bike. Put the bike on the sidestand for 10 minutes after it is used (warm) so the oil cooler can drain, then use the centre stand wait again 10 minutes. Now the oil cooler is as empty as possible and the oil level is at it’s maximum.   


On my bike I see a difference in the oil level if i’ve used the sidestand so it sound a valid procedure to me.


P.s. In the user manual only the centre stand is mentioned
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-06 08:02:42
Hmmmmm.....again!  :)

There are numerous cases of owners overfilling with oil, this very thread may well be another! If I drain my engine when it's cold, and feel free to ask me how I know this(!),I get a certain amount of oil out. If I drain it when it's hot, I get that same amount + x out. Where does that x come from and why isn't it accessible with a cold engine? And, if the correct procedure isn't followed, why do we end up overfilled?
Pete
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: jackronner on 2020-10-06 08:40:33
To tell whether the brownish color is actually oil which has filled past the upper level of the sight glass, simply run the engine for 15 seconds or so while the bike's on the center stand.  The sight glass should then show almost entirely the light aluminum color.  After a couple of minutes, check again to see if the darker color is rising.  If so, then the brownish color is the oil (not a discolored sight glass) and if it eventually fills up past the top of the glass, then you've over-filled it. You can then t[/size]ry removing some oil .  You could do this at the filler hole, using a clear flexible hose and sucking it up and emptying it into a clean container, or the messier way of the oil drain plug.  I believe it would take a significant over-fill to present any real problems.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: milleplod on 2020-10-06 08:54:53
"You could do this at the filler hole, using a clear flexible hose and sucking it up and emptying it into a clean container, or the messier way of the oil drain plug".

I simply took the filter off on the one occasion, many years ago, when I overfilled my ST. There's not much extra oil that comes out of the housing, just empty the filter, re-fit, carry on.....


Pete
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: beemerboy9 on 2020-10-06 09:17:43
Does the sight glass look like this one.
(http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads22/DSC_0956a1388185052.jpg)


Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window


What is the reason for the appearance of the first sight glass?
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-06 09:52:51
What is the reason for the appearance of the first sight glass?

Photo taken from this thread, http://forums.pelicanparts.com/bmw-r1100s-r1200s-tech-forum/789064-oil-level-indicator-replacement.html

It's worth a read, sounds similar to the experience of the OP, low miles, little use without regular oil changes.

The bike is super clean and only had 4,600 miles on it. I’m the 3rd owner, the first put about 3,200 miles on it, and the guy I bought it from had it for 8 years and only put about 1,400 miles on it. The Florida dealer said the last time they say the bike was for an oil change in 2017.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-06 10:32:03
Can anyone guess why and what I can do to fix it?

See above post, change the sight glass.

This thread may be helpful, /index.php?topic=4301.0
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-06 11:41:01
I read somewhere a procedure for my 2012 bike. Put the bike on the side stand for 10 minutes after it is used (warm) so the oil cooler can drain, then use the centre stand wait again 10 minutes. Now the oil cooler is as empty as possible and the oil level is at it’s maximum.

I like this theory, when I get home from a ride, I put the bike on the side stand on the drive before putting it on the centre stand in the garage, then I check the oil level.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-10-06 16:52:07
If the oil drains down as described above, it's no wonder they rattle on start up until the oil pressure is restored.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2020-11-14 10:05:22
This video, (provided by a.n.other),  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-esc1h3Q7E explains about the oil thermostat and why the oil level should be checked following a ride with the bike up to normal operating temperature, then letting it stand for a while so the oil drains out of the oil cooler back into the sump.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-06 21:59:18
I'm now a believer in the oil thermostat theory. Been out and done 150 miles today, the oil was at the top of the sight glass with a cold engine before setting off. Stopped at a pub which is only a mile or so from home. The bike was stood for a couple of hours before I set off home. Once home, the bike was on it's side stand for a good time while I had a shower. The engine was not up to the normal working temperature and the oil is now only showing half way up the sight glass. Will be interesting to check it again in the morning.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: jackronner on 2021-10-07 00:00:23
I think one issue to be initially disposed of (easily) is whether your sight glass is permanently stained, preventing the "sight" part.  Try draining your new oil into a clean oil pan until (or if) you can see the top level of oil lowering within the glass, then put it back in the machine.  If it never happens, then your glass may be irretrievable stained.  Also, I've found it very difficult to find a level surface anywhere anymore, and have taken to bringing a level glass with me.  If the surface is biased, even a little bit, towards the left side, it will give you a false reading, often totally filled with oil. The reverse is true if biased to the right, and may cause you to over-fill.  I believe that a front-to-rear tilt isn't an issue, since the level will simply rotate in the glass to compensate.  G'luck.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-07 12:22:47
Will be interesting to check it again in the morning.

Checked this morning and the oil level is still showing around half way up the sight glass, adding additional oil would result in it being over full.

This now explains why, in the Rider's Manual, it says, "In order to ensure that the engine oil level is read correctly, check the oil level only after a lengthy trip."

When queried with a BMW dealer, I was told at an oil & filter change, they just put in a measured quantity of 4 litres. This assumes that the engine is up to normal operating temperature and all the oil is drained out, including that contained within the oil cooler.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Arnes RT on 2021-10-08 19:19:28


Good logical read; thank you David for the excellent oil drain-down explanation.



Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Grumpy on 2021-10-19 23:47:10
I just did a search on this forum about oil levels.  There are two pages worth of threads that mention this issue. 
The longer I own this thing the more I shake my head.  If an owner can't figure out how to check an oil level properly (and this pig burns oil like no modern motorcycle ever should meaning oil levels must be checked often and accurately) then it seems to me there is an engineering/design issue or at least a complete disregard for the customer by BMW.
BMW makes a nice-looking bike and the low CG is appreciated, but it's designed like a 1950s era John Deere tractor (farmers called them a two-popper) without the ease of maintenance and repair the tractor has.
My apologies to the BMW fans out there, but I regret the purchase of this bike and I'm stuck with it for the foreseeable future, at least until something major goes wrong with it (and I'm guessing that will happen eventually, based on what I've read).
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-20 10:29:03
On a Camhead, there is an oil level indicator which appears as a "Tick" next to the word "Oil" when it is selected on the BC.

This photo is showing _ _ _ , the engine needs to be up to temperature, running & in neutral. The engine temperature (RHS column) needs to be around 50%.


(http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/attachments/rt-series/102426d1459968502-r1200rt-oil-level-sensor-oil.jpg)

The practice of checking the oil level after a decent ride out before putting the bike away would seem a good policy. Then you are good to go for next time out.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-20 15:31:23
This pig burns oil like no modern motorcycle ever should.

My Camhead has used 1 litre of oil in 5,600 miles. What kind of oil consumption does your pig have.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Grumpy on 2021-10-21 04:16:05
My Camhead has used 1 litre of oil in 5,600 miles. What kind of oil consumption does your pig have.
Looks to be about 1\2 liter (500mil) at about 1200 miles. Dealer mechanics shrugged his shoulders and said "that sounds about right". I haven't seen it myself but the mechanic said BMW says a quart per thousand miles is acceptable.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-21 09:45:19
BMW says a quart per thousand miles is acceptable.

US quart = 0.946 litres
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Grumpy on 2021-10-21 13:54:56
US quart = 0.946 litres
Close enough that I sometimes use them interchangeably. I topped off the bike using metric scale on the container, the mechanic discussed in imperial measure so I stayed with that in my comment.
Regardless of the system used to measure, it's way more oil use than is acceptable for a modern engine.  I've had two strokes that didn't use much more oil.
I have begun to park it on the centerstand and next oil change will try 15-50 wt dino to try and mitigate the usage. But it's not likely that will help much.
My Japanese bikes never burned any oil and boxer engines don't have to either. I drove a Subaru with a boxer engine for ten years and never had to add an ounce of oil between changes.

Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-21 16:24:44
Next oil change will try 15-50 wt dino to try and mitigate the usage.

What viscosity oil is in the bike at the moment and how may miles has it done. The 15W50 Motorex Boxer oil is Synthetic.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: Grumpy on 2021-10-21 18:33:36
What viscosity oil is in the bike at the moment and how may miles has it done. The 15W50 Motorex Boxer oil is Synthetic.
Advantec Pro 15-50: I think that is a semi-synthetic.  BMW branded from the dealer.  1500+ miles on this oil change but had to add 1/2 liter at about the 1200 mile mark.
I misspoke on the 15/50 for the next oil change, should have said 20/40 dino. The dealer suggested that.
Dealer also warned me away from using full synthetic as they claim to see a lot of seals leaking when switching after so many miles using dino.  With all the other issues on this bike, I didn't want to risk seals leaking as well so stayed away from the synthetic.
Title: Re: “NEW” 2011 RT, question on oil level sight window
Post by: David. on 2021-10-21 19:54:04
Dealer also warned me away from using full synthetic.

When the Camheads first came out in 2010, the BMW dealer recommended oil was Castrol Power 1 Racing 10W-50 fully synthetic.

I was given a copy of this Castrol leaflet when I bought my 2010 RT, BMW_lubricants_POSTER-2.pdf (motorcycleinfo.co.uk) (https://motorcycleinfo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BMW_lubricants_POSTER-2.pdf)

Since then, the oil spec. has been downgraded to 15W-50 semi-synthetic.

The Hexheads used to run on 20W-50 mineral oil, 20W-40 is an interesting viscosity range. BMW do a 20W-50 "Classic" mineral oil (dino).