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Oil change with a suprise

MT Wallet

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I decided to change my oil in my 2000 1100rt with 37,000 miles because I couldn't see any oil line at the top of the sight window. Much to my suprise when I looked in the oil I saw a lot of silver shimmering in the oil including some large flecks. There was no metal attached to the magnetic pickup on the drain plug. The bike has no knocks or rattles or other issues. I can't be sure the larger flecks weren't from a previous oil change that were already in the pan but, I did stuff the drain plug back in and so as to change the oil in two seperate catches. Anyone have any thoughts?

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Afternoon Richard


It might mean something or it might be nothing.


If your oil filter is/was working it should catch most of that metal flake.


I would imagine it is aluminum so it wouldn’t be stuck to the magnet.


You might recover your oil filter then CAREFULLY cut that apart, then stretch the filter media out and see what is in that. If full of sparkle you probably have issues inside the engine somewhere.


I would also recommend you install new oil then run it about 500 miles then do another oil change but this time into a very clean pan or better yet some into a clean glass jar. Then look for sparkle again, if found this time then send some of that clean oil sample to BlackStone labs for analysis.


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+1 on what DR said. And one more point.....If you have the typical cam chain rattle, it might be worth considering replacing your left cam chain tensioner. The chain can knock some aluminum scrapings off, if it gets loose enough. Good Luck.

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Just a note on Blackstone, other other companies that do oil analysis.


The universal averages and standards provided for comparison are based on what is to be expected when an oil sample is taken well into the life cycle, generally 5,000 miles. A sample at 500 miles may identify elements found at elevated levels, but your total oil report might be a bit skewed.


That being said, the analysis is very good at identifying elements, and if elevated, telling you what is the likely source.

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Evening eddd


Yes, in most cases it is best to wait a full oil change cycle before taking an oil sample but if there is an internal engine problem that might be too long of an interval and take the engine to catastrophic failure.

Oil sample won’t help if he can look through a hole in the crankcase and see the problem.


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I had a similar problem a while back. The cam chain tensioner and its bolt had abandoned ship, along with all the motor oil, on the interstate. I narrowly avoided seizing up the whole engine. Anyway, after having the oil and cam tensioner unit replaced, and the bike checked out, I rode it for maybe a couple thousand miles before I found the metal flakes in the pan. At that time, I had Mick Vallantine replace the rod bearings for $600. The left side was stiff, and had a melted spot in the bearing face. I've gone another 15 - 20K since. Oh, I also got the "it would be unethical for you to sell this bike without disclosing the problem..." lecture.


I don't want to scare you, but it's worth having a competent mechanic take a look. If there really IS a problem, but it still seems to run just fine, the fix may not be all that painful.

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Thanks for the responses thus far. I plan on riding it until I get a respectable amount of miles on the oil, minding the comments, no more than 500 miles. I'm impatient so it may be sooner. Unfortunately not this weekend. Snow in the several inch range with 50mph winds--the joys of living in N.D.! We flood too. So Elkroeger you got my attention with the "I don't want to scare you" Did you have metal shimmer in your oil before or just after your cam chain went? Indicators of trouble? I think my engine sounds good idling and reving. Kind of like my wife's sewing machine but smoother. The only question is how much engine vibration is normal at speeds 55 and above? If I have an indicator of impending doom engine vibration might alert me.

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