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Too much oil??


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...so I get my box 'o stuff from Beemer Boneyard---Wow!! everything I need for my 24K service: filters, oils, spark plugs...and every possible crush washer and little rubber seal!! I don't have to read every oil posting to figger out which magic stuff to use in my bike...it's all in this box: the best Liquid Moly oils the Germans could come up with (Like the ShamWow guys says, "the Germans make good stuff").


I take the bike out for a quick warm-up, park it on the center stand, and pull the drain plugs. Then I get out my assortment of funnels to fill 'er back up again. I have a huge collection of tubes, hoses, bottles, beakers, and measurers to make sure I get the right amount into the right places, and try to minimize the inevitable spilling and dribbling all over the engine. As I open up the CAREFULLY PACKAGED boxes of various fluids (thanks Mike!!), I noticed that each bottle comes with it's own little no-spill tube attached to it, that actually FITS into the filler hole!! AMAZING!!! It's one of those "why-didn't-someone-think-of-this-sooner" moment!!


So I'm enjoying pouring the big jug of motor oil into the engine, spill-free, when I happen to notice that it contains 5 litres. By the time I realize that a litre is about a quart, and the bike only holds 4 quarts, I see that the oil site window is already full--beyond the "dot" and above the circle. D'OH!! STOP POURING!! I run the engine for a few minutes, hoping that the fluid level will go down, once it circulates and fills the new oil filter. Nope, still over the "circle"--no air showing.


So now what? There's about half a quart left in the jug, so maybe the engine has "a little" too much in it. Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? If so, what is the best way to bring the oil level down to the "magic dot" in the site glass? Or should I just ride the darn thing and not worry?


--smarter now, in Utah

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if it was me, I would just slightly loosen the drain plug and slowly release enough oil to make it right. Then retighten. there is always a chance the crush washer will not seat, but you will just get a little oil sepeage, and if that happens, well New oil change. If it holds you are good to go.

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NO, don't ride it. There is too much oil. I would try carefully unscrewing the drain plug.

Could be a little messy but I have done it on other bikes.

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Not trying to be a smart a$$, but why would running the engine allow 5 liters to fit where there should be 4?

Get a clean catch container and open the drain plug and slowly let some oil out. Repeat until the oil level in the site glass is on the red dot in the middle of the glass.

If you let out too much, no problem you drained it into a clean container. Pour it back into one of the bottles and pour into engine until level is on the red dot.

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Morning Ken


You aren’t the first person to do that. The crankshaft in the BMW boxer is quite a bit above the oil level so not a lot of problems riding with it slightly overfull. It just decreases the crankcase air volume slightly so you might end burning that excess off a little faster than normal.


To make it right you really should drain a little out.


In most cases the easiest way to remove excess oil from the BMW boxer is to simply unscrew the oil filter and drain that. Then reinstall finger tight and run the engine, if still overfull drain the filter again. Once the level is correct properly re-tighten the filter.


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Too much oil is not a good thing. It may blow back and make a mess at the bottom of the air filter housing. What I would do is put under the drain plug the half empty oil can with a funnel, loosen the plug and let it drip. When the oil can is full, tighten the plug. The motor takes 4 quarts. That puts the oil level to the top of the window. That is correct. That the correct oil level is the red dot at the center of the window is unsubstantiated folklore.

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I have a wild, but crazy story about an overfilled engine. Two years ago, my riding buddy and I took off for a ride from central NC to Alaska. Before leaving town, my buddy took his 1200 GS to his dealer for oil/filter change and other routine maintenance. His bike always used about a quart between changes, so he carrys a quart with him on road trips.


Well, we rode the 5,000+ miles to Anchorage, checking oil along the way. His sight glass was full when we left home; it was full when we got to Anchorage. He wondered if the motor had stopped using oil on the trip.


Since the bikes had over 5,000 miles on the bikes getting there, and since we still had a lot of riding to do, we changed oil ourselves. Trip to Wal Mart to get the Mobil 1 and a stop at the dealership in Anchorage to pick up filters. All went well.


When the oil was drained out of his GS, we noted that the container the oil was caught in was pretty full on his bike and less full with mine (a 1200 RT). So, we measured the amount of oil drained from his motor.


It was over 5 quarts! We have no idea how much oil the dealer put into the motor, but with normal consumption being a quart per roughly 5,000 miles, we figure the dealer installed maybe 6 quarts!


We noted no evidence of leaks or any sort of damage. Fuel mileage was down just slightly from normal, but we were riding pretty fast across Canada and on the Alaska Highway, so the reduced mileage may be due to higher average speeds.


He still has the bike, and it runs just fine and has no evidence of any kind of problem with the engine.


Given this true story, I'm not sure a quart overfill has any effect on the engine. If I hadn't seen it for myself, I'd not believe it, but what I described is what happened.


As to the dealer, and I won't divulge who, this was the 3rd significant mess-up involving his bike; he doesn't carry it there for service anymore. I wouldn't either!


Would I intentionally overfill an engine? No; foolish to do that. But I don't think it necessarily causes a problem on the 1200 engine.


Just wanted to share this weird experience involving overfilling a 1200 engine.

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Afternoon Siman


As you can see the crankshaft is WAY above the oil level so overfilling it a little really shouldn’t be much of an issue. The chain can carry a little oil up but not like on other engines where the crank throws can froth the oil from contacting an overfull crankcase.


Probably the biggest issue is loss of internal crankcase transfer volume.




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Hi, my name is Bob..(Hi Bob)... I need to confess that I overfilled my 1200RT once, not that long ago. I loosened the drain plug over a catch pan, and achieved top of the red line status with only an oily finger or two. No big deal. No harm, no Foul...


The crush washer did not leak. I felt right with the world of BMW again.

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You don't need to remove anything if you are only at 4.5 qts as your note says. That's only very slightly above the top of the sight glass and no where near high enough in the motor to cause any problems.

Dirtrider's photos tell the story.


Not sure at what level you'd get problems in the R1200 motor but its somewhere above 5 qts. Have seen others "overfill" motor more than you reacting to an oversensitive oil level sensor without any issues.


I used to run oil levels a 2-4 oz above the top of the sight glass during motor break in to extend the interval for addition- was never an issue. Now broken in, motor uses no oil during normal service interval (that I also don't worry about extending a couple thousand miles since most of my riding is higher speed- not stop and go.)

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