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What all gets wrecked when you run the engine out of oil?

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I'm embarrassed by my extreme negligence, but I left for a long ride this morning without bothering to check the oil (and I'm coming close to oil change time).  :facepalm:  After about 60 miles of lots of full throttle uphill running, the engine started to lose power for about a quarter mile, then finally died completely.  At the time I had no idea what had happened,  But I thought more about it and figured out that it must have been a lack of oil, based on the symptoms. :cry:

 

So I've already figured out that I'll have to take the engine completely apart to see what all got wrecked in there.

 

Can any of you who are experienced in this sort of thing let me know what all is likely to be damaged in there?

 

What all do I need to check?

 

What sort of modifications should I consider while I'm in there?

 

I'm already considering a 2nd gear swap if it's that far apart.  I don't want to bump up the compression by much, if any, preferring reliability over power.  I'll be seriously looking at that clear tube sight-glass modification to the upper frame.

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The top end always goes fiirst. Your cam is probably toast as well as one or more rockers. Depending on how bad the meltdown was, you may also have gouged up the cam journals in the head. I would start off by pulling the valve cover off and taking a look at the valve train.

 

Mine suffered a similar fate this spring. I just put the engine together from the 2 and 5 gear inplant. The oil screen on the bottom of the frame oil tank got plugged up with shop towel lint and starved the engine of oil. I got away with a fragged camshaft and one ground up rocker. Everything was OK. I had only put about 100 miles on a new set of rings, so I went ahead and pulled the jug to make sure that the cylinder was not gouged up. At 100 miles, the rings were not yet worn in so I did not rering it when I put it back toegther.

 

Once you check out the valve train, I would pull the jug to see what the cylinder looks like. If it is bruised, it will be a good excuse to go big-bore. The bottom end should be OK. The crank rides on roller bearings so it will run longer without oil than the top end. I would be a little converned though about the rod. That's easy to check though when you have the jug off... just pull a clip and push out the piston pin to take a look.

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going up in compression does`nt equate to a short engine life by the way.........

 

You can go up in compression sligjtly and go with a larger bore and go years and years,,the NX650 2nd gear is well worth doing..

 

You need to pull the head and cylinder....the cam/rockers are the first to get eaten.......but if you actually lost power then that means you had a seizure....the piston most certainly had a meltdown........

 

Have a proper valve job done while apart......grind the valves and seats.....and new seals..

 

start ripping it apart boss.......let`s see pictures.that will tell the story..

 

B

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Dont feel to bad because you had a brain fart! I forgot to oil back in trans on my 88 CR500 one time was in 89 I think. Was riding A-Open in Fla Hare Scrambles 2hr race. Would you belive it did practice and to 1/2 way through last lap! Then it lost 5th gear of corse had to also replace 3rd and 4th gears too! Oh BTW still got 1st place!

 

Yes cam and rockers first to go! You can go with 675 piston with just bore job keep comp 10to1 max. If you open case and do 2nd gear do 5th too!

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I highly recommend the kickstart mod. My battery and electrical on my bike has been acting up for a while and it is nice to give it a kick when the battery is a bit drained. 

 

If you've read the kickstart thread you know you need the XR 600R countershaft. Pretty easy if you are opening the cases for the gear mods. I was an idiot and bypassed the gear swaps when I did the kickstart mod. Def regret it now.

 

The new countershaft runs around $100 and depending on your mileage and way you ride, Dave would certainly express concern over the teeth on that countershaft. Replace it with a brand new one, slip on the kickstart idler gear, run the 650R sprocket, do the gear mods.

 

I recommend the JE 102mm piston. I believe it is 10.5 : 1 and still runs off 89 octane. Also, I had to have the cylinder lapped down since I warped it and even that extra compression (however slight or large it is) does not affect it's ability to not knock on 89 octane. However, I do usually put in 91 octane just to be sure lol.

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I suffered a similar fate a couple years ago as you guys know but I got lucky in that the whole valve train was fine. All it really needed was an overbore and new piston / rings.

 

My seizure was similar to yours as I recall. However, the loss of power only lasted about 10 seconds or so before the bike finally died all together. It then wouldn't start for a few minutes but fired up after that. How exactly did yours behave once it died?

 

Also different I think were the conditions. I was riding in about 30 degree F ambient air during late winter and had not been riding for more than 5 minutes before going WOT in 5th on the highway. Once I drained the oil nothing came out of the frame spout and only about 1/2 Litre I would say came out of the engine drain bolt.

 

I'm thinking with the higher ambient temps and longer riding time you are prob in a worse situation than I was. Luckily, if I was able to rebuild the whole engine with all but zero experience working on bikes I'm sure you've been lurking on the forum long enough that this will be a breeze!

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I highly recommend the kickstart mod. My battery and electrical on my bike has been acting up for a while and it is nice to give it a kick when the battery is a bit drained. 

No thanks!  I've owned 15 kick-start motorcycles and I specifically got the XR650L because it had the magic button to start it.  A kick start does not solve any issue that I've had with the bike in the six years that I've owned it.

 

 

My seizure was similar to yours as I recall. However, the loss of power only lasted about 10 seconds or so before the bike finally died all together. It then wouldn't start for a few minutes but fired up after that. How exactly did yours behave once it died?

It behaved as if it were very dead.  I tried hitting the starter a couple of times and tried bump starting it at about 20 mph, and I began hearing sounds out of the engine that I hadn't heard before.  I will not try turning the engine over again before I can open it up and see what has happened inside of it.

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man, this really sucks. 

Well, just as others said, you are going for an overhaul, which may get expensive depending what you want to do with the cylinder (bore or replace).

 

for everyone, is there a mod for oil pressure indicator for the pig? or something similar? I try to check the oil every ride, but it is easier said than done. 

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No thanks!  I've owned 15 kick-start motorcycles and I specifically got the XR650L because it had the magic button to start it.  A kick start does not solve any issue that I've had with the bike in the six years that I've owned it.

 

hahaha it is not that you need to use the kickstart.. it is the fact that you are one of very few that have it ;) lol

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If anybody wants to know how low you can let the oil get and the bike still runs - apparently half a quart.  That's all that was in mine.

 

The piston is wrecked with about two square inches of the rear piston skirt missing.  I'll have to go in deeper to find all of the aluminum from that.  I don't see any other damage at this point besides the piston and cylinder.  Which doesn't mean nothing else was damaged, but the head is fine.

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I'm embarrassed by my extreme negligence, but I left for a long ride this morning without bothering to check the oil (and I'm coming close to oil change time).  :facepalm:  After about 60 miles of lots of full throttle uphill running, the engine started to lose power for about a quarter mile, then finally died completely.  At the time I had no idea what had happened,  But I thought more about it and figured out that it must have been a lack of oil, based on the symptoms. :cry:

 

So I've already figured out that I'll have to take the engine completely apart to see what all got wrecked in there.

 

Can any of you who are experienced in this sort of thing let me know what all is likely to be damaged in there?

 

What all do I need to check?

 

What sort of modifications should I consider while I'm in there?

 

I'm already considering a 2nd gear swap if it's that far apart.  I don't want to bump up the compression by much, if any, preferring reliability over power.  I'll be seriously looking at that clear tube sight-glass modification to the upper frame.

Full throttle low oil runs usually take out the piston first while sustained low oil cruising usually takes out the cam and rockers. Full throttle overheats the piston which can't transfer the heat out thru oil to cylinder action and increased friction. Cruising failure lets the piston stay cool enough to keep chugging along with just the small amount of splash lubrication till the oil starved and not splash lubed cam and rockers fail. You analyzed this failure well. For reliability a slightly higher compression piston is a good thing. The higher cylinder pressures will keep a cleaner cylinder as long as jetting is corrected. I just did an L with the medium compression JE, Mikuni flat, K&N, desmogged, Hotcam and FMF Q4. It's like a completely different bike. It clearly runs better on 91 or better octane but in an emergency could get along with reg. Starting is easier and power is an easy 12-15hp over stock. Not to mention response is a world better than the CV. The owner likes it so much he's treating me to all expenses paid Wyoming hunting trip. So much faster and powerful that you end up using less throttle for any given situation. WFO is what kills these things built or not. Believe it or not porting can improve reliability. WFO causes such low intake cylinder pressure that oil gets pulled past the rings. Anything that lets more air into the cylinder will reduce that low pressure on intake stroke and thereby reduce pulling oil up. Building a reliable motor has to balance or optimize these things rather than just increase intake capacity. You can go too big. There you have it, go longer by going faster.

Edited by valvesrule

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Looks like I may as well include the photos in this thread, to answer the question of what all gets wrecked.  Except that I won't know for sure if there is more damage until I split the cases.

 

The camshaft looks great:
XRcam_zps5a1f3a0d.jpg

A little something in the center cam journal, but everything looks good in there too:
XRcamJournals_zps2ce1feaa.jpg

The cylinder looks like it will need to be bored out a little ways:
XRcylinder_zps17eec10b.jpg

And the piston is totally fried:
XRpiston_zpsf5cd8669.jpg

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Valve train looks good, do you plan on swapping in a different cam? Also the NX650 2nd gear is a killer mod, great for the dirt.

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I'm going to wait until I know the full extent of the damage before deciding what else to do.  The gear change is more likely than the cam change.  It will be another month before I have to make that decision.  (Vacation will get in the way for the next three weekends.)

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If anybody wants to know how low you can let the oil get and the bike still runs - apparently half a quart.  That's all that was in mine.

 

The piston is wrecked with about two square inches of the rear piston skirt missing.  I'll have to go in deeper to find all of the aluminum from that.  I don't see any other damage at this point besides the piston and cylinder.  Which doesn't mean nothing else was damaged, but the head is fine.

So what you are saying is since your last oil change, it went down 1.5 quarts?

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So what you are saying is since your last oil change, it went down 1.5 quarts?

Most of that toward the end, because I had checked it a few months back and didn't have to add much to top it off.

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If you can check the play in the crank rod and it is not out of the service limit maybe you don't have to open the cases. It would be cheaper and a lot less time to flush the cases with some oil a bunch of times and Also open the clutch cover and clear the filter screen. Seems like you can get away with just a bore and new piston.

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I really wish I did the 2nd and 5th gear swap being inside there. The 2nd gear I get over because I only ride on the road and like getting it up to 45 50 mph in a pinch in second. The 5th gear is miserable above 60 mph though...

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You're going to want (or not) to check the scavenging side of the oil pump for damage. A new oil pump is ~$120. There is a pick up screen, but there's a chance something that could damage the pump slipped through.

 

Unless I could account for all the piston pieces, I would want to split the case halves and make sure it's all out. Besides time, you're only out the cost of a case gasket after getting that far apart.

 

I just used a stock compression Wiseco piston for my rebuild. It was for the XR600R engine, but you'll get the idea from the picture. It's not the type with all the valve reliefs and that jazz.

 

0802141306.jpg

Edited by Onederer

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I need to see if anything was damaged under the crank, so I will definitely split the cases.  I might have to replace the connecting rod anyway, so that means some work on the crankshaft.  The wrist pin is pretty tight in there, so there is a chance the top of the rod is damaged.

If I were to buy new 2nd and 5th gears, where is the best place to get those?  Can I just order them from the local Honda dealer or local bike shop that has access to genuine Honda parts?

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