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Help! XR600R oil level

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Ok so I can't seem to wrap my head around this issue.

I have a 97' xr600r that's been running very well.

I had an oil leak from the left crankcase and one from the oil filter. For about a month I just payed attention to the oil level and topped off when needed. The oil always stayed right near the upper level. I replaced the gasket/ring the other day and it's all sealed up nice now, no leaks.

 

After I drained the oil and filled with new, I first started by adding 1 quart, then let the engine run for about a minute, checked level (bone dry) then added 1 more quart, ran engine again a minute, then checked level and it was visible but really low. Then I added the other 0.4 quarts and it looked good. Drove around for a bit and checked level and it was like a half inch above the 'upper' line. So I drained a bit and then for the next two days it was a constant battle of starting the engine, checking level and adding or draining oil, never coming to right level.

 

Well today (the second day) I finally got the level to a good point. It was about a cm below upper level. So I drove it around to see if it's fine.. for the first 10 minutes it drove smooth and perfect, but after that it was rough. Drove around so my engine can get nice and warm (like 170 F) then checked again, it was still the cm. So I added a little bit oil, like 1/4 cup and repeated. When I checked this time it was about 1/2cm to upper line. So I did the same thing and added about 1/4 cup oil then drove around. When I came back home the oil was again like 1/2 inch above the upper line!

 

I really don't know what to do. I cannot seem to get the level right, how do I do this?

 

 

 

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The level will go up slightly when the oil expands as it heats up. Check the oil IMMEDIATELY after shutting the motor off or check it running. The check valve in the oil pump on these tend to leak and let the oil drain down out of the oil tank when the motor is off.

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Ok thanks guys.
Any advice on how to get the level on point?

I tried today, draining the oil, then filling a quart, then running engine for a couple minutes, then adding to halfway mark. Took it for a drive and warmed up. The performance was ok, but still not like it was before the gasket change. Also the level after driving was again about 1cm below the top mark. I know if I have the oil exact the performance is best. Too low oil and it just is too choppy and rough and too high level of oil makes me lose power and the engine works harder it sounds like.

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16 hours ago, JoeRC51 said:

Check the oil IMMEDIATELY after shutting the motor off or check it running.

Like Joe said, if you want to get it to the proper level, then always check it when the engine is consistently hot. If you pull in from a good ride (not just around the block) & its a cm low, top it up — best practice is to check this with the bike running or immediately after shutting off.

Don't worry about checking when you start the bike in the morn. Like Joe said, it may drain down past the check valve into the sump, but the oil is still there to start circulating when you start the bike. 

If you check the oil at different times than this, you may find it at different levels because of expansion, etc, but don't add (or remove) any at these times.

Like backwoods said, as long as you can see oil on the dipstick, you know you are not hurting anything.

Be consistent in when/how you check the oil, follow Joes method, & you should be good. 

Edited by CongoXR650L
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8 hours ago, BoaConstrictor said:

Ok thanks guys.
Any advice on how to get the level on point?

My advice is don't worry about it.  As long as you're at least 2/3 up the dipstick you're fine.  You have nothing at all to worry about as long as you don't let it get below the low mark on the dipstick.  Trying to get it to stay exactly at the full mark is a frustrating waste of time.

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My advice is don't worry about it.  As long as you're at least 2/3 up the dipstick you're fine.  You have nothing at all to worry about as long as you don't let it get below the low mark on the dipstick.  Trying to get it to stay exactly at the full mark is a frustrating waste of time.


I totally understand what you mean and this really makes me feel better to know I'm doing no harm.
However, harm is only part of my concern. My other concern is performance. I can totally feel a difference between that cm. I don't know maybe at the cm below it is actually fine performance wise, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

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Thanks CongoXR650L

Ok so I understand the checking method, but I'm having trouble figuring how much to add. Say I check and it's a cm below top level, how much would I need to add. This is where I have the most trouble...

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I totally understand what you mean and this really makes me feel better to know I'm doing no harm.
However, harm is only part of my concern. My other concern is performance. I can totally feel a difference between that cm. I don't know maybe at the cm below it is actually fine performance wise, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

Not to be blunt, but there is no way you are feeling a performance difference between add few cm of oil in the tank. It is impossible that it would have any impact on the runability of the engine.

The frame reservoir is just an external tank/cooler, if there is any oil on the dipstick it will run the same. If you have a perceived performance issue, it is most likely unrelated to the oil level.

Sent from my SM-G930V using ThumperTalk mobile app

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1 hour ago, BoaConstrictor said:

Say I check and it's a cm below top level, how much would I need to add.

Yea, the amount to add doesn't really have to be an exact science. If you check it when you're back from a ride, and its hot (& running, so the oil is circulating too), just add as much as you need right then to bring it up to the top line on the dipstick.

If you check it at another time after this, & oil is high on the dip stick, you don't need to worry, because you stick to your consistent routine - and add only if it's low when the engine is hot & running. 

I also agree with Backwoods that your performance variances are either perceived/subjective, or unrelated to your 1cm oil level variance. Hey, I always feel like my bike runs better after an oil change!  Lol. 

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18 hours ago, BoaConstrictor said:

Ok thanks guys.
Any advice on how to get the level on point?

I tried today, draining the oil, then filling a quart, then running engine for a couple minutes, then adding to halfway mark. Took it for a drive and warmed up. The performance was ok, but still not like it was before the gasket change. Also the level after driving was again about 1cm below the top mark. I know if I have the oil exact the performance is best. Too low oil and it just is too choppy and rough and too high level of oil makes me lose power and the engine works harder it sounds like.

 

9 hours ago, BoaConstrictor said:

 


I totally understand what you mean and this really makes me feel better to know I'm doing no harm.
However, harm is only part of my concern. My other concern is performance. I can totally feel a difference between that cm. I don't know maybe at the cm below it is actually fine performance wise, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

 

:facepalm:     :lol:    :bonk:

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10 hours ago, BoaConstrictor said:

 

 


I totally understand what you mean and this really makes me feel better to know I'm doing no harm.
However, harm is only part of my concern. My other concern is performance. I can totally feel a difference between that cm. I don't know maybe at the cm below it is actually fine performance wise, but it doesn't feel that way to me.

 

 

As long as the oil is between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick,,with the bike upright off the sidestand and checked hot immediately after a ride,,you are good..

 

the performance issue you feel when the oil is down 1cm is in your head....unless air temperature has changed after you have screwed with draining the oil and refilling all these times...these air cooled bikes run quite different when cold or air temps change...

 

unless you think the extra cm of oil weighs too much and is slowing you down..????

 

:lol:

 

B

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12 minutes ago, brianhare said:

As long as the oil is between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick,,with the bike upright off the sidestand and checked hot immediately after a ride,,you are good..

Can you explain to me how you'll get a different reading with the bike upright versus on the sidestand?

I sure can't see how it makes any difference at all to what I see on the dipstick on an XR650L.  And my bike gives me the same reading even after sitting overnight, or even after sitting for a week.  If it were down after sitting, I would warm it up and check again, but it works perfectly well for checking that it has enough oil.

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The oil tank is so narrow that it's not going to vary the level reading unless the bike it leaning at a 45* angle.   :smirk:

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4 minutes ago, ScottRNelson said:

Can you explain to me how you'll get a different reading with the bike upright versus on the sidestand?

I sure can't see how it makes any difference at all to what I see on the dipstick on an XR650L.  And my bike gives me the same reading even after sitting overnight, or even after sitting for a week.  If it were down after sitting, I would warm it up and check again, but it works perfectly well for checking that it has enough oil.

If you let it run on the sidestand it can affect the reading,,,,,,,,oil goes to the left side of the crankcase and more oil has to go to the crankcase before it gets to the level of the screen..so the level shows low in the downtube,,,,,,,then you top it off and when it`s level again the extra oil in the crankcase is pumped out by the scavenging pump to the downtube and now is overfilled,,

the crankcase can take quite a bit of extraoil when not level...

if you shut it off after a ride,,put it on the sidestand and check it immediately then it probably will not be off much......but a lot of people let it run on the sidestand for awhile then check it..

 

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Ok so today worked out quite well. Yesterday after my last ride to warm up the engine, I came home and checked the dipstick to see it about 1/4 inch above the upper hole. I then eyeball drained it and called it a night.

When I went to check the level (cold) today the oil was at about 3/4. Interesting. So I start up and go for a ride, riding until my Xrs only oil dipstick tells me I'm about 200F, I then pull over, shut off engine and immediately check while siting on the bike straight. It was dead on the upper hole. I also wait a minute and re check. Still there. Rode around some more for a good long while and checked a couple more times. Each time, right on the spot. Drove well too. (I waited until it was 200F because that's the temp it always stays at unless I'm on the freeway, then sometimes it's up to 225F.)

As for performance, I know I'm not crazy about the lack of performance I get when I have the oil over filled. It revs different, idles different, runs choppier. I've heard others in this forum say the same.
But regarding it being 1 cm below I didn't say (or mean to say) that I had loss of performance but that it felt choppier, like what you would expect from an engine with less oil, just the sound of metal rubbing without lube. Perhaps there is an issue with my oil flow?

Now that the oil level was right on the money I will say that the bike overall feels better now than it did when I kept over and under filling it.

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1 hour ago, brianhare said:

If you let it run on the sidestand it can affect the reading,,,,,,,,oil goes to the left side of the crankcase and more oil has to go to the crankcase before it gets to the level of the screen..so the level shows low in the downtube,,,,,,,then you top it off and when it`s level again the extra oil in the crankcase is pumped out by the scavenging pump to the downtube and now is overfilled,,

the crankcase can take quite a bit of extraoil when not level...

if you shut it off after a ride,,put it on the sidestand and check it immediately then it probably will not be off much......but a lot of people let it run on the sidestand for awhile then check it..

 

Thank you for this very good explanation.  I shut it off while I'm still on it, so upright when it stops pumping oil.  So I'm not going to change my method.  Unless someday when I check it cold and it's low, then I'll have to make sure I warm it up and shut it off while vertical.

My KTM is touchy about how you check it's oil, which I find annoying.  I liked what Ducati did, at least in the 90's.  There was an oil sight glass, so you didn't have to unscrew anything to check the level.  I could even glance down there while riding, when stopped at a light with the engine running and if it was still above the low mark I knew I was good  But I remember not being able to keep one at the full mark for long.  All the ones I owned would burn oil or something until it got to the middle, then it would stay there for a few thousand miles.  I never quite figured out how it did that.

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