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Vanishing Engine Oil

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I have a 2006 S model. I follow the usual drill for oil level inspections; start it up drive around for 10 minutes, stop for 5 minutes and check the dipstick. I don't see any areas where the oil may be leaking and I don't think think it burns much. Every 500 miles or so the oil level is super low, like I need to add 8 oz to get the oil level to midpoint on the dipstick. 

 

Has anyone experienced this or can guess what is happening? 

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I have never measured the drained oil. I still have the OEM oil breather box. Is there some reason why I would have enough oil and not be able to read the level on the dipstick?

Yeah, there is a ball check valve that holds the oil in the frame but it tends to leak. Some worse than others I guess. The oil drains right back into the engine once you shut it off.

Sent from my XT1650 using ThumperTalk mobile app

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55 minutes ago, ohiodrz400sm said:


Yeah, there is a ball check valve that holds the oil in the frame but it tends to leak. Some worse than others I guess. The oil drains right back into the engine once you shut it off.

Sent from my XT1650 using ThumperTalk mobile app
 

So it is possible to not be losing oil and not be able to check the level accurately?  Is it fixable? If not, how do I monitor the oil level? Just drain it frequently and ignore it between changes?

Edited by Fishdiver

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So it is possible to not be losing oil and not be able to check the level accurately?  

From what I've read, yes, but I haven't personally experienced this phenomenon. Hopefully Noble, Eric, William1 or someone that knows more about it will chime in and can explain it further.

 

Sent from my XT1650 using ThumperTalk mobile app

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Fishdiver said:

So it is possible to not be losing oil and not be able to check the level accurately?  Is it fixable? If not, how do I monitor the oil level? Just drain it frequently and ignore it between changes?

Do a proper oil change to make sure your level is adequate, and from then on check your level AFTER you ride. Seems counter intuitive, but on bikes that 'sump' it is the best way to go.

DO use high quality motorcycle specified oil and do change it 5x more often than you do your car.

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Unless the anti drain valve is outright gone it won't drain much oil in a few minutes so your losing oil , One way to check that is when you have oil touching the dipstick , wait 1/2hr and recheck it , if the anti drain valve is really bad by then there wouldn't be any oil left in the tank . If the first time you checked the oil was hot , it will be maybe 1/8-1/4" lower due to the oil cooling and bubbles settling out but it won't be significant .

So if it's not leaking than it's burning it . Are you running high speeds/high rpms all the time ? 2000miles between changes isn't horrible , many people go that long and more , I generally go 1500 to 2k myself depending how it's been used .

 

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3 hours ago, Fishdiver said:

Yep, I check after riding too. Sounds like I need to change oil more often. Been riding 2000 miles between changes. 

That's not bad if it's all street and at least a Group IV synthetic.

If there isn't oil under your bike, it's flowing back to the sump.

Edited by Bermudacat

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8 minutes ago, Clogan2 said:

Does it read "FULL" on the dipstick if you check it shortly after an oil change? If so, and it check low after riding xxx miles, that points to burning. 

You will be a little 'over full' in the tank immediately after an oil change. The extra will stay in the sump after you start it up.

Consumption shouldn't be very high with a synthetic. If consumption seems high, first try running some Marvel Mystery oil to get the varnish out of your rings.

Edited by Bermudacat

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On 9/2/2017 at 2:10 PM, jjktmrider said:

Unless the anti drain valve is outright gone it won't drain much oil in a few minutes so your losing oil , One way to check that is when you have oil touching the dipstick , wait 1/2hr and recheck it , if the anti drain valve is really bad by then there wouldn't be any oil left in the tank . If the first time you checked the oil was hot , it will be maybe 1/8-1/4" lower due to the oil cooling and bubbles settling out but it won't be significant .

So if it's not leaking than it's burning it . Are you running high speeds/high rpms all the time ? 2000miles between changes isn't horrible , many people go that long and more , I generally go 1500 to 2k myself depending how it's been used .

 

.

I use this bike almost entirely on dirt. It is revving high most of the time. If I wait any time at all after turning off the engine I don't see any oil at all on the dipstick. Should I measure it immediately after turning off the engine for the most accurate indication of oil level?

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43 minutes ago, Fishdiver said:

I use this bike almost entirely on dirt. It is revving high most of the time. If I wait any time at all after turning off the engine I don't see any oil at all on the dipstick. Should I measure it immediately after turning off the engine for the most accurate indication of oil level?

Checking immediately and no oil? To me this sounds bad. The oil level procedure is to warm it up, kill it, wait 3 minutes and check dipstick with the bike level.

I'd recommend changing it with a full 2 qts and measuring what you you drain out.

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21 minutes ago, HansLanda said:

Checking immediately and no oil? To me this sounds bad. The oil level procedure is to warm it up, kill it, wait 3 minutes and check dipstick with the bike level.

I'd recommend changing it with a full 2 qts and measuring what you you drain out.

Just changed the oil. The amount I drained was fine. If I check the level IMMEDIATELY after the engine is turned off I get a reasonable reading. Anything more than a few minutes and it shows nothing. Is there any way to monitor the oil level on a bike with a bad check valve other than frequent oil changes?

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 "If I check the level IMMEDIATELY after the engine is turned off I get a reasonable reading. Anything more than a few minutes and it shows nothing. Is there any way to monitor the oil level on a bike with a bad check valve"

Yes.  Since drain-back seems to be the problem, check the oil level immediately using your procedure above.  The only reason to wait 3 min is for the foam to dissipate, but if you follow the same procedure your results will be consistent which is more important. Other than drain-back being annoying, it really is not hurting anything.  As long as both oil pumps are working normally, the oil will always be in the correct place when the motor is running doing its job. For a pure dirt bike oil changes about 500 mile intervals are called for. Mixture of street and dirt, 1000 miles.  I prefer Rotella T6 synthetic over Rotella T4.  Some people say it is the same thing but I disagree. T4 is probably fine if it is changed often enough.  I would not run T4 2000 miles.

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