Burning oil.

I recently purchased a used 2002 426. It appears to be in great shape. I think it was well cared for. However, within a couple hours of riding, the oil level will drop from the top of the dipstick to the bottom. I wonder if it wasn't properly broken in and the rings aren't seated? I find it to have lots of power, although I don't have anything to compare it to. I have checked the valves and they are in spec. So I was thinking probably later in the summer when the valves need adjusting I could check the rings. Does anyone have any other ideas or could I do dammage consuming this amout of oil? Could it be something other than the rings with this amount of oil. It's not like I'm leaving a trail of smog either. It seems to smoke at start up and then not so much but the oil is gone. It's hard to know what's happening when I'm riding.

Thanks- and this is a great site!

Run a compression test or leakdown test (leakdown is more accurate). That will give you a ballpark idea of what condition your rings are in. If you're loosing oil and it's not leaking out anywhere then it sounds like in the least your oil rings are worn. Be sure you're running quality oil and changing it very frequently!

And yes burning oil can hurt the motor if it goes unchecked. You can build carbon on the valves and piston and in a worst case that can cause the valves to hang open at high RPM (they're heavier and the springs might not be strong enough to close them), and if the carbon builds up enough between the piston and valves then it can cause piston/valve damage as the two collide. This happened to my childhood truck. It finally built up enough carbon on one of the pistons that it bent a valve. You would have to let it burn oil for some time before this happened, but it is possible.

If it's smoking on start-up it probably is the valve seals..

not always but usually if the rings are bad it trails a blue fog...without knowing the history of the bike it would be hard to tell..generally you can squeek one good year on piston / rings depending on how much and how hard it's ridden.If the valve seals are bad the oil that lays on top when you shut'er down leaks past into the area between the seal and the seat of the valve and can even make it to the top of the piston and when you fire it up ..smoke...they are a tedious job to change and you do need a spring compressor to get the keepers off but it's pretty straight forward for one with the ability.

Does the exaust have a oil burning smell? or a sweet clean smell to it? This is usually the rings are worn, get the cylinder honed, and replace the piston and rings, the bike should be good for a long time.

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