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Excessive oil use and vibration - 2004 R1150RT


Capt_Ron

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I may have a problem, maybe not. I thought I would post my observations here and get some feedback from some of the more technically inclined.

 

It started about 2 months ago with a trip to the local BMW shop for something or other. There she was…. a beautiful 2004 R1150RT. Took a test ride, didn’t seem to run quite as smooth as my R1100RT, but then it didn’t have 60K on it yet either. Give it time, I thought, it’s only got 18K on the odometer. Doesn’t pull right, and no surging like my 1100. They said it had just had the 18K service one, so I traded the 1100 for the 1150 and headed home (30 miles).

 

Couple of days later, I drove the bike 100 miles to my primary residence for the weekend. Did I check the oil? No! I should have. I should have checked it before I left the dealership. But I checked it before returning the 100 miles to Austin and couldn’t see oil in the sight glass. I added oil…..more oil…..more oil….for a total of 1 ½ quarts to bring the level to the center of the sight ring w/ the bike on the center stand. Now I’m grieving - what damage has this poor engine sustained? Starts OK, sounds OK. I call the dealership and the service mgr assures me that the engine is not harmed, everything is fine.

 

In the two months I’ve owned the bike now, I’ve put about 3000 miles on it. Just got back from a 5 day trip to west Texas. This machine uses more oil than anything I’ve ever owned. Before this bike, I had a 03 LT, a 2000 RT, and my wife has a 04 1150RS. None of those bikes use oil like this one. Besides the quart and a half I put into it the first week I had it, I’ve added about another quart of oil. I don’t know where it goes, but this is a thirsty engine.

 

In addition, there is a vibration to the engine that seems to be getting worse, or I’m becoming more sensitive to it. I notice it especially when I back off the throttle a little. Then last night when I started the bike up to move it into the garage, it ran rough and I could swear I heard more engine noise from the left cylinder than the right – like a very faint knocking sound.

 

Then to top it off, I notice oil leaking from around that big rubber seal between the drive shaft housing and the final drive unit attached to the rear wheel.

 

What’s the diagnosis, Doctor? Am I looking at huge trouble? What would you recommend?

 

Thanks for your time and consideration.

 

Ron

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Question 1.

Did they give you ANY type of warranty?

If they did, take it back and give them a list of your problems. If they did and it's run out, contact them and try to work with them on your issues.

From memory, I remember someone posting that BMW believes that using 1qt per 1000 miles is within normal bounds eek.gif

The knocking could be the LH cam chain tensioner (which I also had on my 03) and I did the R&R with the new type and it is now fine.

Also, vibration CAN be due to high oil levels (are you putting it on the sidestand first, letting the oil cooler drain back and then putting it on the centrestand?). I usually do the above and let mine sit overnight before checking but I do a quick check on the sidestand and if I see oil up on the sight glass its generally OK thumbsup.gif

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The knocking could be the LH cam chain tensioner (which I also had on my 03) and I did the R&R with the new type and it is now fine.

 

Can you tell me more aboutthe R&R on the LH cam chain tensioner. My 04 RT makes an awflow sound on the left side when starting sometimes.

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A quart in 3000 miles doesn't sound bad, but I agree with Philby about going back to the dealer where you bought it with the list of ALL the things you notice, just to check it out! If under warranty let them fix it! If not they may still want to help since it is new to you and they just sold it to you!

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No warranty. It was a consignment bike handled by the dealership. I will take it to them this week to see what they can do, maybe get one of their technicians to ride it, but I know its their busy season.

 

Using a quart of oil every 1000 miles seems excessive to me. I can see adding a little between oil changes, but 6 quarts! I would have entirely replaced the oil in the crankcase 1 1/2 times before I got to the next 6K service interval. Never had to do that with my LT. Just gave it a sip now and then to keep it at the right level.

 

I do appreciate your input. Any other thoughts?

 

Ron

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Yep, seems crazy, but some of these Oilheads use oil. Some say from out of round parts and some too easy break in. Bottom line is BMW says it's not an issue if burns up to a quart in 700 miles....BS I say, but it is what it is. I have a 04RT that burns 1QT every 800-1000miles - with 16,000 on the clock.

 

The cam chain tensioner eliminated the left side noise for me. I also did a TB sync and it's like a different bike....way smoother.

 

Good luck....Pat

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Philby,

 

I left it parked all day on the side stand in the garage. Went out this evening and set it up on the center stand. Gave it a few minutes and checked the oil level. The oil filled 3/4 of the sight glass. I believe it should be at the half mark which makes it over full. Is this enough too much to be a problem?

 

BTW, the increased noise in the left cylinder area is just recent. I've always heard the initial "clatter" on start up and everyone said that's normal. It disappears in a second or two.

 

Ron

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tom collins

most of them tighten up on the oil after 20,000 miles and get way smooth about 30,000. they take a long, long time to fully break in. some may argue with me on this point, but if the original owner rode it like a little old lady, this may be contributing to the oil situation. i would suggest riding swiftly, but not crazy. rev quickly but shift between 3500 and 4000. shift quickly. occassional rev outs to 6,000 several times a ride which should be easy if any traffic at all. the bike probably just needs several good work outs. i just did the 30k service with new tires last weekend - rides like a new machine and so much better than it did at 20,000 miles. uses about a quart for 2,000 miles which i am fine with.

 

tom collins

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3/4 sight glass isn't overfull and should cause no problems thumbsup.gif.

Sounds like your bike might just need an anal valve clearance and Throttle Body synch though grin.gif and, sorry to say, you generally won't get this from a dealer. My money is still on the LH Cam chain tensioner causing the noise thumbsup.gif

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3/4 sight glass isn't overfull and should cause no problems thumbsup.gif.

 

 

"I left it parked all day on the side stand in the garage. Went out this evening and set it up on the center stand. Gave it a few minutes and checked the oil level."

 

shouldn't the oil be checked whilst hot? That would bring the oil up to the top of the sight glass.

 

I'm curious to know what weight oil you are using, and if it is synthetic.

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My 2003 RT with 18000 miles still burns a quart every 1500 to 2000. The harder I've run it since I got it with 8000 too easy miles the better it has run and the less oil it has burned. I suspect it just needs to be broken in and run a little harder with revs up to red line on a regular basis. I noticed a better quiter running bike after I did the valves twice, throtle bodies, ran it hard regularily up and down the rev limit, stopped lugging it and changed the plugs to AutoLites 3923. Very sweet now with less vibration and more willing reving. These engines are so much different than I was used to, but a very nice difference once you get used to it!

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"I left it parked all day on the side stand in the garage. Went out this evening and set it up on the center stand. Gave it a few minutes and checked the oil level."

 

shouldn't the oil be checked whilst hot? That would bring the oil up to the top of the sight glass.

 

I'm curious to know what weight oil you are using, and if it is synthetic.

 

Seems I read somewhere that it was best to check the oil level with the oil at regular operating temp. I don't know what effect that would have on the level in the sight glass.

 

I've been using regular non-synthetic Castrol GTX 20W50 just because that's what has been handy wherever I've been. Most every station, parts store, or convenience store in this part of the world has this oil and I've now gone to carrying a quart in a ziplock bag in my side case. The way this thing is using oil, I was thinking today of rigging up an IV apparatus to hang a quart from and drip a steady supply into the crankcase (just kidding).

 

One BMW rider suggested to me today that the vibration I'm feeling may not be coming from the engine, but could be from the drive shaft, perhaps a bad u-joint.

 

Ron

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A lot of people recommend the GTX 20w50. I was curious if you were using an oil too thin or even synthetic (which will leak/burn more readily if you already have a problem).

 

The oil level does go down when the engine is cold.

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A lot of people recommend the GTX 20w50. I was curious if you were using an oil too thin or even synthetic (which will leak/burn more readily if you already have a problem).

 

The oil level does go down when the engine is cold.

 

I rode back from Zephyr to Liberty Hill, about 100 miles, this morning. Before I left, I checked the oil level on the center stand and it filled 3/4 of the sight glass cold.

Drove the 100 miles, stopped for fuel. While fueling, I let the bike rest on the side stand. Hung up the fuel nozzle and checked the sight glass. Completely filled with oil. Perched the bike up on the center stand and the glass was still filled with oil. I guess I have too much oil in there now. dopeslap.gif

 

Ron

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grin.gif

 

Let it sit a few minutes on the sidestand, then put it on the center for a few minutes before checking (all whilst hot).

 

Try to get 2 consecutive readings before adding oil.

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No warranty. It was a consignment bike handled by the dealership. I will take it to them this week to see what they can do, maybe get one of their technicians to ride it, but I know its their busy season.

 

Using a quart of oil every 1000 miles seems excessive to me. I can see adding a little between oil changes, but 6 quarts! I would have entirely replaced the oil in the crankcase 1 1/2 times before I got to the next 6K service interval. Never had to do that with my LT. Just gave it a sip now and then to keep it at the right level.

 

I do appreciate your input. Any other thoughts?

 

Ron

 

My R1100RT is like that. It uses between 1/2 to 1 quart per 1000 miles. I think that I was actually overfilling it when I first got it, and a lot of that oil I added went out the tail pipe. I allow keep it between the bottom and middle of the sight glass (I used to cover most of the sight glass). So, I think I'm down to 1/2 quart per 1000 miles. (Since I've yet to put 1 mile on my bike in six months, my memory is failing..) grin.gif

 

I figure that the city LEO's who rode it never got it up to freeway speed frequently enough to properly seat the valves. At 18K miles, your's is still a pretty "young" bike. As one on this forum one suggested, run it for an hour at 5000-6000 RPM, maybe in 4th at 75mph, and let it get good and hot.

 

But obviously, all the normal precautions should be followed first, i.e. check compression, etc..

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