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Oil sight glass replacement


SDCRJohn

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Since my 2000 R1100 RS is almost 25 years old, I am considering changing the oil sight glass, proactively. 
Has anyone here done this already, and can suggest how to complete the task successfully?

 

thanks.

John

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Take a spring loaded punch and center punch window till it cracks. Get a screwdriver in the crack you just made and pry it out.  Take a socket that is just a tad smaller diameter than new sight window, use it with extension and drive that sucker in! Easy peasy.

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dirtrider
3 hours ago, SDCRJohn said:

Since my 2000 R1100 RS is almost 25 years old, I am considering changing the oil sight glass, proactively. 
Has anyone here done this already, and can suggest how to complete the task successfully?

 

thanks.

John

Afternoon   John

 

Years ago it was easy, not so much any longer as the new replacement sight glasses are now (& have been for quite a while now)  actual glass lens. 

 

The older plastic lens sight glass is about impossible to find so unless you find a new old stock somewhere you will end up with the new difficult to install glass lens sight glass. 

 

Getting the old one out (assuming it is original & hasn't been replaced with a later glass lens one) is easy.  I usually just heat a screw then turn it into the old sight glass then pry on the screw (I actually use a dent puller) to remove the old sight glass. Some just drive a screwdriver in then pry the old out but this method needs to be done with care as it can score the sight glass bore in the engine case & cause other issues. 

 

Installing the new "glass lens" one can be a challenge (especially if you haven't installed one before) as the glass lens extends out to under the rubber outer ring so using a socket or piece of pipe to drive it in can & sometimes will break the glass lens. 

 

It doesn't take many new glass lens breakages to add up to having the dealer install the new sight glass as they have the special tools to do it correctly.  

 

In any case, if you do it yourself, use a driver that just fits in the engine block hole without much clearance with a flat contact area that only contacts the very outer edge of the new sight glass (if the driver has too thick of a wall (like most sockets) it can contact the glass lens then crack it driving the new sight glass in. 

 

I usually use brake clean as a lubricant to drive the new one in  BUT this method is for someone that has done a few  before as you need to work very quickly as brake clean evaporates quickly.

 

For people that work slower or haven't done the new "glass lens" install  before  then use Windex glass cleaner as a lube, it takes longer to evaporate so you have more working time  but it takes longer to dry out between the sight glass rubber & the crankcase.  

 

 

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BABABeemer
On 2/10/2024 at 11:26 AM, dirtrider said:

 

I usually use brake clean as a lubricant to drive the new one in  BUT this method is for someone that has done a few  before as you need to work very quickly as brake clean evaporates quickly.

 

For people that work slower or haven't done the new "glass lens" install  before  then use Windex glass cleaner as a lube, it takes longer to evaporate so you have more working time  but it takes longer to dry out between the sight glass rubber & the crankcase.  

 

 

Afternoon DR,

 

 Would O2 sensor safe RTV silicone sealer act as a suitable lubricant to get the sight glass in? It has a long working time and additionally could act as a leak preventative once it set up properly.

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dirtrider
8 minutes ago, BABABeemer said:

Afternoon DR,

 

 Would O2 sensor safe RTV silicone sealer act as a suitable lubricant to get the sight glass in? It has a long working time and additionally could act as a leak preventative once it set up properly.

Afternoon BABABeemer

 

Sure it would, but it could also help it slide out later while riding.

 

You want the rubber to be dry AFTER installation. So you need a lube that dries up & doesn't leave any slippery residue.  BMW had a service bulletin to not use motor oil as a lubricant.  

 

Some BMW tecs did use tire mounting lube but BMW later retracted that suggestion (they didn't say why but they probably had some issues).

 

If you could get it in dry that would be ideal but with that glass lens I seriously doubt you could get it in without breaking the glass. They are difficult enough to get in even with lube. 

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MichiganBob

After reading this feedback SDCRJohn, are you inclined to go ahead. The Beemers I had with oil sight glass never failed me.

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King Herald

Is this a job that definitely needs to be done after a certain age or milage?
 

I was told the HES will definitely fail around 50,000 miles. I chose to ignore the advice and mine did indeed dump me at the side of the road, at 62,000 miles.

 

Only ten miles from home, but a week after returning from a 4000 mile tour of Europe….

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dirtrider
10 hours ago, MichiganBob said:

After reading this feedback SDCRJohn, are you inclined to go ahead. The Beemers I had with oil sight glass never failed me.

Morning MichiganBob

 

Those older BMW 1100/1150 boxers had some sight glass issues. The plastic lens sight glass would become so yellow & clouded that riders couldn't  tell if there was any oil behind it or not.

 

There were also some cases where the sight glass rubber would degrade then the entire sight glass would pop out while riding, then dumping a crankcase full of oil on the riders L/H boot. 

 

I have also seen just the plastic lens pop out leaving the outer ring & rear baffle plate, again dumping oil out.  

 

A few also popped out in cold weather shortly after the rider rode off. I'm not really sure why but possibly due to the cold oil with the crankcase vent being restricted with thick cold engine oil allowing crankcase pressurization. 

 

I used to carry an expanding rubber freeze plug that fit the sight glass opening. I never needed it on my own motorcycle but used it a couple of times on other BMW 1100/1150 motorcycles that were on a ride that I was on. 

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14 hours ago, BABABeemer said:

Afternoon DR,

 

 Would O2 sensor safe RTV silicone sealer act as a suitable lubricant to get the sight glass in? It has a long working time and additionally could act as a leak preventative once it set up properly.

 

As a temporary lubricant for installing anything rubber, like hoses, seals, etc, P-80 by IPC is really good.  Working time is 20 minutes to several hours depending on the product, after that it is gone like it was never there.  The "P-80 Grip-It" might be the best choice for a sight glass: "P-80 Grip-It has low viscosity. It is formulated to leave a fine tacky residue on the surface to provide cling to the assembled parts. The estimated minimum dry time is approximately 20 minutes."

 

The best part is that you can get a free sample from IPC: https://www.ipcol.com/request-assembly-lubricant-sample/

 

Also, the little sample tube they send will do about 20 sight glasses even if you are sloppy with it.  It works great on oil seals, too.

 

image.thumb.png.37c2dcc6712994f478a07ba1d785748f.png

 

I'm not affiliated with IPC in any way other than as a very satisfied customer and personal witness to how good this stuff is.

 

Lowndes

 

 

image.png

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11 hours ago, MichiganBob said:

After reading this feedback SDCRJohn, are you inclined to go ahead. The Beemers I had with oil sight glass never failed me.


This morning, I am on the fence. I think if I could locate a plastic version, I would feel more confident to tackle this.

 

John

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dirtrider
24 minutes ago, Lowndes said:

 

As a temporary lubricant for installing anything rubber, like hoses, seals, etc, P-80 by IPC is really good.  Working time is 20 minutes to several hours depending on the product, after that it is gone like it was never there.  The "P-80 Grip-It" might be the best choice for a sight glass: "P-80 Grip-It has low viscosity. It is formulated to leave a fine tacky residue on the surface to provide cling to the assembled parts. The estimated minimum dry time is approximately 20 minutes."

 

The best part is that you can get a free sample from IPC: https://www.ipcol.com/request-assembly-lubricant-sample/

 

Also, the little sample tube they send will do about 20 sight glasses even if you are sloppy with it.  It works great on oil seals, too.

 

I'm not affiliated with IPC in any way other than as a very satisfied customer and personal witness to how good this stuff is.

 

Lowndes

 

 

Morning  Lowndes

 

What is the working temperature of this product?  Will it give up it's grip at high crankcase temperatures? Will hot motor oil effect it? 

 

You really want rubber to clean alloy when all is done & evaporated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, dirtrider said:

Morning  Lowndes

 

What is the working temperature of this product?  Will it give up it's grip at high crankcase temperatures? Will hot motor oil effect it? 

 

You really want rubber to clean alloy when all is done & evaporated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good question.  

 

What temps would the sightglass see in normal or "extra normal" use, other than a meltdown??

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dirtrider
1 minute ago, Lowndes said:

Good question.  

 

What temps would the sightglass see in normal or "extra normal" use, other than a meltdown??

Morning  Lowndes

 

It can see oil temperature & that can go as high as  225°f  (or even higher) in some cases.  

 

The new  official  BMW  sight glass install procedure is pretty direct in saying to use "brake clean" as other lubricants can cause the seal to pop out.  

 

Brake clean is the best but you need to work pretty darn fast using brake clean. 

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1 hour ago, dirtrider said:

Morning  Lowndes

 

It can see oil temperature & that can go as high as  225°f  (or even higher) in some cases.  

 

The new  official  BMW  sight glass install procedure is pretty direct in saying to use "brake clean" as other lubricants can cause the seal to pop out.  

 

Brake clean is the best but you need to work pretty darn fast using brake clean. 

 

DR 

I just requested sample an asked them about handling heat and residue.  It didnt like my email so I went through contact them. Not sure on time line on their response.

 

RF

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Redfoxx,

 

I submitted the question at 8:48 AM to IPC and got a reply from Jennifer Sun, PhD, R&D Manager at 9:41 AM, asking for clarification.

 

I replied at 10:02 AM so we'll see what they say.

 

Lowndes

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I checked the temperature stability of Polyethylenimine.  Google says Polyethylenimine degrades from 140-160°C (284° - 320°F).

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11 minutes ago, Lowndes said:

I checked the temperature stability of Polyethylenimine.  Google says Polyethylenimine degrades from 140-160°C (284° - 320°F).

 

When it degrades, I wonder if it becomes slimy, if not I would not think it would effect it, the oil window, should still be held in by the rubber seal material and friction?

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dirtrider
8 minutes ago, Redfoxx said:

 

When it degrades, I wonder if it becomes slimy, if not I would not think it would effect it, the oil window, should still be held in by the rubber seal material and friction?

Afternoon  RF

 

Personally I would just stick with what I know for sure works and what BMW recommends in a service bulletin. That is brake clean. 

 

 

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Personally, I would not replace the sightglass.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

 

Also, personally, I wouldn't want any brake cleaner getting into my engine oil.

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dirtrider
1 hour ago, Lowndes said:

Personally, I would not replace the sightglass.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

 

Also, personally, I wouldn't want any brake cleaner getting into my engine oil.

Morning Lowndes

 

Personally, I would not replace the sightglass.  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".--  Yes, that would be desired but on some old 1100/1150 boxers with severely yellowed or browned sight glass lens, if you want to be able to read the oil level then you need to replace it as some of them are so bad you can't see through them.

 

Also, if the rubber around the  sight glass is degrading (some get that way) or crumbling then you either replace it before it pops out or do it after it pops out while riding. Just a life choice thing.  

 

Also, personally, I wouldn't want any brake cleaner getting into my engine oil.-- I hear you, I don't want ANYTHING getting into my engine oil. Most do change the engine oil or drop it before installing the sight glass but even if the oil it left in the engine you don't spray a bunch into the engine. It evaporates very quickly. More than likely a person will need to use something like brake clean to thoroughly clean the sight glass pocket in the engine case anyhow so why not just use it as lubricant.

 

It IS the BMW recommended  product to use to install a sight glass so if BMW is OK with it so am I. And without a lot of testing we really don't know if brake clean is any better or worse than that P-80 Grip product getting into the engine oil. 

 

 

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I've learned from experience that using a non chlorinated brake clean is less harmful to plastic and rubber. It still has volatile chemicals but a better choice. In reference to this topic non chlorinated brake clean has a longer evaporation drying time than chlorinated brake clean. How much longer drying time depends on what you are using it for. In this case it might make a difference depending how fast you work. 

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23 minutes ago, Lowndes said:

Nothing wrong with that sight glass, SDCRJohn, it's your oil that needs changing!!

Really? I just changed it 500 miles ago…

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What I did some time ago to my '93 R1100RSL which was drill 4 small holes 90 degrees apart carefully on the raised metal edge around the sight glass then install lock wire through the holes as shown in the photo.  CIMG1136.thumb.JPG.2d49854bb7f478cc3b38d9af1e820fac.JPG

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It just looks kinda dark.  Could be the brand of oil that is normally darker.  But your bike is way too clean.

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Jim Moore
9 hours ago, JamesW said:

What I did some time ago to my '93 R1100RSL which was drill 4 small holes 90 degrees apart carefully on the raised metal edge around the sight glass then install lock wire through the holes as shown in the photo.  CIMG1136.thumb.JPG.2d49854bb7f478cc3b38d9af1e820fac.JPG

I did the same thing, but I just ran the wire from one bolt to another bolt, across the face of the sight glass. 

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3 hours ago, Jim Moore said:

I did the same thing, but I just ran the wire from one bolt to another bolt, across the face of the sight glass. 

I like both of these ideas, especially, if your sight glass looks “Ok”.
But, if the sight glass lets go, ie, exits the sight glass bore, will the wire(s) prevent the glass from completely releasing from the bike?

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14 hours ago, SDCRJohn said:

Really? I just changed it 500 miles ago…

 

What are you using for oil, because that looks really dark.  I got 1000 miles on my oil looks like the picture with wires, I am running AMSOIL Metric full synthetic 15w-50. 

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21 minutes ago, Redfoxx said:

 

What are you using for oil, because that looks really dark.  I got 1000 miles on my oil looks like the picture with wires, I am running AMSOIL Metric full synthetic 15w-50. 

Golden Spectro 20/50 synthetic blend. 
it could also be from the lighting in my garage, as the left jug was shadowing the glass.

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1 hour ago, SDCRJohn said:

I like both of these ideas, especially, if your sight glass looks “Ok”.
But, if the sight glass lets go, ie, exits the sight glass bore, will the wire(s) prevent the glass from completely releasing from the bike?

I think it would be somewhat difficult for the sight glass to get past the lock wire and the wire does keep pressure on the glass assembly.   Also, I think if anything it will prevent a rapid all over the place oil dump so much better than nothing and easy to install.  

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3 hours ago, SDCRJohn said:

Golden Spectro 20/50 synthetic blend. 
it could also be from the lighting in my garage, as the left jug was shadowing the glass.

 

SDCR

I used to run that in my Wing, never remember it being that dark.  On my BMW I can normally pretty much see through the oil for a long time. I guess I would keep an eye on it. Your site glass looks clearer than mine, my BMW turns 22 in June.

RF

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dirtrider
7 hours ago, SDCRJohn said:

Golden Spectro 20/50 synthetic blend. 
it could also be from the lighting in my garage, as the left jug was shadowing the glass.

Evening SDCRJohn

 

That color is probably due to the discoloration of your old plastic lens sight glass. When they discolor everything inside looks darker. 

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