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R1100RT - Oil Level: How do I get an accurate reading?


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I have a new-to-me 2000 R1100RT-P and am checking the oil level every time I ride so I get an idea of the bike's oil consumption. After 1000 miles or so, the oil was in the bottom 1/3 of the sightglass. I added 200ml, which brought it into the upper 1/3, then took a 30 mile ride. The next day, it was back down into the lower 1/3. I took another short ride. The next day it was OVER the full mark (without adding anything).


I know to chech the oil on the centerstand, engine cold, etc.. Is there some way that the oil tends to pool on one side of the engine or another, some special way to tilt it, a special song to sing, or chant (I saw that thread) to chant? Should I not worry about it until be bike is reduced to a smoking pile of burnt metal on the side of the road? What gives, Oilhead Guru's?

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Probably the most common recommendation is, with the bike warm, park it on the sidestand for a few minutes to let the oil drain out of the oil cooler. Then put it on the centerstand for a few minutes and check the oil.


I generally put the bike on the sidestand for a little bit after I return from a ride (while I'm getting my gear off, etc). Then I put it on the centerstand and that's how it stays parked in the garage. With this method, the oil has drained out of the cooler and it is easy to check the oil level before a ride.

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There is a dance that some of the more anal of the owners do to check their oil. I find it ridiculous however.


Here is what I do. Bike on side stand, sitting overnight after a good ride (more than 30 miles in this cooler weather). If you can see oil in the sight glass you are good to go. I usually add 1/2 quart when I can start to see a level in the glass.


Tracking oil consumption on these bikes is problematic at best as, as you have observed, there is no real consistency to the reading given by the glass. Start out by changing your oil, if your cheap use any 20w50 dino oil you can find. Shell Rotella 10w40, available in gallons from NAPA is perfectly acceptable. Mark the level of oil in the bottle and when you are done, set it aside. Prefill your new oil filter and pour the remainder into the crankcase after installing the filter. You will now have the exact amount of oil (3.75l) recommended by BMW for an oil change. Go ride for 1000 miles and, when you get back home, repeat the oil change, dumping the used oil back into the marked container, don't forget to dump the filter in there as well. The difference in level will tell you, close enough your consumption. This will be pretty accurate so long as you vary the riding over that 1000 miles to account for most of your normal riding patterns.


Or, you could do what I said in the beginning, see oil on side stand? go riding.

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Santron, you will find much discussion and amusement surrounding this topic. As you are an oilhead owner, you should check this link.


For a more practical approach, the BMW holds a lot of oil. Some recommend -- if you normally park on the sidestand -- not to worry until you can't see oil. Then put the bike on the centerstand and fill to the dot. Fill slowly, wait, and check often; the oil drains down somewhat slowly, and it's easy but not fatal to overfill to the top of the sight glass. The sight glass is more easily visible than on other bikes I've owned, but a flashlight still helps in the garage.

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