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Burning Oil Smell from CamHead


Rogerl

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I just purchased a 2013 BMW R1200R with 1300 miles on it. When I stop at a stop light and there is a tail wind I get a wiff of burning oil. I only smell this when I come to a stop. When the bike starts up there is no white smoke that blows out the tail pipe and if I smell the exhaust I can not smell burning oil.

 

The bike has the BMW 15W-50 oil in it that was put in at the 986 mile service that was done 8/12/14. The oil level is currently in the middle of the sight glass. I have not ridden the bike enough to get any kind of oil usage. I looked over the bike and I do not see any place where oil is leaking and getting on the pipes. I pulled the primary spark plugs and they do not look oily.

 

I contacted the dealer about the oil smell and was told that this is normal for this engine during break in. Keep an eye on the oil level. I have a 2008 R1200R hexhead that I bought used at 1200 miles and I do not remember the oil smell on that bike.

Is this something that I need to be concerned about. The factory warranty is good until July 5th. Any information would be great.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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I would look for a left side cam chain tensioner leak, the camheads are notorious for this. The leak will drip on the exhaust. The tensioner is located at the base of the cylinder and behind (sort of) the left throttle body. You can shine a light in that area without removing the fairing.

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

On an RT, the positive side battery connector protector can fall down onto the collector and make a very similar smell.

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Morning Rogerl

 

Your oil smell might be from the exhaust but more than likely from a slight oil seep.

 

Chain tensioner is a good place to start looking as well as the rear of cylinder heads & oil fill cap area. Even an oil filter area seep can cause hot oil smell.

 

You really need to use a white paper towel or better yet a white glove & reach in on the engine sump rear porch (just under the front of transmission). If any signs of oil on that or signs of oil stains on rear of oil sump on rear of engine then take your bike to the dealer & get that inspected/written up.

 

Don't take a verbal "it's OK", or "don't worry it will go away". Get a repair order written up & into your records & into your hands.

 

You are getting close to your warranty ending so you REALLY NEED to get that hot oil smell identified & written up so you have some protection to get BMW to repair when it gets worse in the future (it probably will get worse)

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Dirtrider:

Thanks for the response. I will look over the bike more closely this weekend. I have ridden the bike some this week and if there is a leak it could show itself better. I will report back after the inspection. With it being a R1200R I do not need to take off the side panels to see the motor.

 

Roger L

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OK, tonight I took a flash light and looked over the engine and transmission and I see no signs of oil leaks. The bike has a chrome exhaust and there are no signs of oil on the outside of the headers, or pipes. Everything looks dry. I wiped around some with a paper towel and nothing.

I started the bike and there was no white smoke and the exhaust did not smell of oil. I let the bike idle for a few minutes and no oil smell. I reved the bike to 4000 and held it for a few seconds still no oil smell.

 

The next time I ride to work which is 30 minutes on the freeway I will check further for the oil smell when I get to work.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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Don_Eilenberger

The next time I ride to work which is 30 minutes on the freeway I will check further for the oil smell when I get to work.

 

Thanks

Roger L

Make sure it's not an environmental smell you're smelling - like riding past a refinery (sounds odd, but in NJ..) I've been fooled by smells coming from cars in the area, and even lingering smells in a line of traffic.

 

Take the long way to work instead.. :)

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I took the bike to my local dealer on Friday. I talked to the service manager about the burning oil smell. I made an appointment to replace the bad fuel strip and to have them look the bike over for leaks for the oil burning smell. This way it is documented and I have a warranty claim open. I also bought some oil and filled the oil to the top of the red circle on the sight glass so I can look at oil usage for the bike. I took photos of the sight glass and noted the miles.

My appointment is April 4th so I hope to get some riding in before then to see if the bike is using any oil.

 

I will keep you posted on the results.

 

Roger L

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  • 1 month later...

I filled the oil to where it was at the top of the red ring on the sight glass. I did this at 1481 miles on the odometer. tonight I was at 2247 miles on the odometer and the oil was near the bottom of the red ring on the sight glass. I put in 450 ml of oil into the bike and it came up to the top of the red ring on the sight glass where it was before. So I went 766 miles and used 450 ml of oil. From what I have read BMW says if the bike uses less that 1 liter of oil per 1000 miles the bike is within spec. I still smell the burning oil smell when I am stopped and when I get off the bike. It might be less than before.

 

When I took the bike to the dealer to have him look at it the bike had 1900 miles on it and the oil was about half way down the sight glass. The dealer said it was normal for a Camhead with this low of mileage and that the oil smell was normal as well.

 

I have looked the bike over and I do not see any signs of oil leaking. I will keep charting the oil usage to see if it changes. Is this "normal" or should I be talking more to the dealer? Any information would be great.

 

Roger L

Edited by Rogerl
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I filled the oil to where it was at the top of the red ring on the sight glass. I did this at 1481 miles on the odometer. tonight I was at 2247 miles on the odometer and the oil was near the bottom of the red ring on the sight glass. I put in 450 ml of oil into the bike and it came up to the top of the red ring on the sight glass where it was before. So I went 766 miles and used 450 ml of oil. From what I have read BMW says if the bike uses less that 1 liter of oil per 1000 miles the bike is within spec. I still smell the burning oil smell when I am stopped and when I get off the bike. It might be less than before.

 

When I took the bike to the dealer to have him look at it the bike had 1900 miles on it and the oil was about half way down the sight glass. The dealer said it was normal for a Camhead with this low of mileage and that the oil smell was normal as well.

 

I have looked the bike over and I do not see any signs of oil leaking. I will keep charting the oil usage to see if it changes. Is this "normal" or should I be talking more to the dealer? Any information would be great.

 

Roger L

 

I can't speak for anyone else, but that sounds like the oil usage I had when my 2012 R1200R was brand-new and at about the mileage you're at. As I have accumulated more miles (now at about 57k), I have noticed that I really don't burn oil anymore. Currently, I go from the top of the red ring to the middle of the red ring between oil changes at 6k miles.

 

If you've done a thorough search for an oil leak and found nothing; done your due diligence by researching and reading up on the topic; talked to the dealer; and asked around: might I suggest perhaps carrying an extra quart of oil with you (if you have the cases) and pile on some miles? Your baby might be getting mad at you for spending so much time in the shop :D

 

Seriously though, I hope you figure your problem out, but many people report the same type of issue.

 

Also, have you checked out http://www.r1200rforum.com/?Lots of us over there with plenty of experience specifically on the R1200R. Friendly people too. You might be able to get more specific advice.

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I filled the oil to where it was at the top of the red ring on the sight glass. I did this at 1481 miles on the odometer. tonight I was at 2247 miles on the odometer and the oil was near the bottom of the red ring on the sight glass. I put in 450 ml of oil into the bike and it came up to the top of the red ring on the sight glass where it was before. So I went 766 miles and used 450 ml of oil. From what I have read BMW says if the bike uses less that 1 liter of oil per 1000 miles the bike is within spec. I still smell the burning oil smell when I am stopped and when I get off the bike. It might be less than before.

 

When I took the bike to the dealer to have him look at it the bike had 1900 miles on it and the oil was about half way down the sight glass. The dealer said it was normal for a Camhead with this low of mileage and that the oil smell was normal as well.

 

I have looked the bike over and I do not see any signs of oil leaking. I will keep charting the oil usage to see if it changes. Is this "normal" or should I be talking more to the dealer? Any information would be great.

 

Morning Roger

 

Unless it is leaving oil spots under the bike when parked then I doubt you will find it using any oil from a slight oil seep. (basically you can't use sight glass oil level to confirm a slight oil seep)

 

If you keep smelling oil fumes when hot then it is probably seeping a little oil from somewhere. The question is: from where?

 

About all you can do now is keep riding the bike & not cleaning anything on the engine. Then go over the rear of engine, bottom rear of engine (above cat converter), & bottom & rear of transmission occasionally with a white glove or white paper towel.

 

As a rule-- if you are smelling oil from a hot engine but see no signs of a seep/leak then the seep is probably dripping on the cat converter or hot exhaust pipe & evaporating before it can drip & become visible. (can you visibly see any dark spots on the top of, or front of, cat, or on top of exhaust pipes?)

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Well I might have found my problem with the oil smell or maybe just a piece to the puzzle. I was poking around the BMW MOA forum and did a search for oil smell. I found the thread listed below. It was from a guy with a BMW 1200 GS that had the burning oil smell also. He seemed to trace the problem down to oil in the air box.

 

http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?70208-2012-R1200GS-quot-Burnt-Oil-Smell-quot&highlight=oil+smell

 

I took my air intake off and took out the air filter and found oil in the bottom of the air box. It took me a long time to wipe out all of the oil in the bottom. There are lots of nooks and crannies for the oil to get into. I also took off the black rubber hose that is on the bottom left side of the air box going to the left cylinder just below the air intake. I think that this is the engine breather hose. The hose had oil in it as well. I cleaned out the hose and put it back on.

 

I am thinking that with the oil in the air box the air going into the engine is picking up some of the oil and causing the smell. At least that is what I am hoping. If the weather is good I will ride it to work tomorrow and see what happens.

 

I will also keep an eye on oil in the air box to see if it comes back. What would cause oil to get in the air box other than over filling the engine? Currently the oil is just below the top red ring on the sight glass. The bike has BMW 15W-50 oil in it.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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That's very interesting. I have another thread going about Camhead cam chain tensioner bolt torque and since having the problem fixed that was producing drips on the ground, I'm still getting the occasional whiff of oil also. When the bike needs oil I typically fill it to the top red line of the sight glass. I'm wondering if that might be too much and should fill it to the dot and stop. Also, interestingly, I've changed dealers and the last dealer on an oil change would always fill to the dot. However, I just had the oil changed last week at the new dealer and they filled up the sight glass. Perhaps it's a little over full. Might have to check the air box. Thanks!

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I rode to work today and no oil smell when I stopped at work or at traffic lights. I am hoping that this fixed the problem. I will need more riding to make a final decision.

 

Roger L

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I have ridden to work (3) days, 55 mile round trip mostly freeway, and took a 20 mile ride on Saturday and I have not smelled the burning oil since I wiped out the oil from inside the air box. The bike is still consuming some oil but I will think it will do that until the motor it is broken in more.

 

On Saturday I took the bike into my workshop and gave it a thorough looking over for oil leaks and I could not find any. I took off the covers for the secondary spark plugs and everything was dry. There are not spots on the top of the catalytic converter. The bike has a chrome exhaust so it would be easy to see burnt oil spots. No oil is leaking anywhere.

 

I will keep an eye on the oil consumption and occasionally look in the air box for oil but at this point I think the burning oil smell is gone.

 

Roger L

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Svaha!Dean

My 2014 R12R, at 27,375 miles, still likes to drink oil but she is tapering off her consumption, unless I decide to run her at short bursts of high rev commute-style riding.

 

And, I found that it's way too easy to overfill when aiming for the top of the sight glass, therefore, I aim for half-glass when topping-off. I believe it was last month's BMW Motorrad Dealer magazine that had an article on the phenomenon of gaining three more horses by only filling to half-glass!

 

Good luck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some additional information:

I started smelling the burning oil again last week. I decided to take a look in the air box. There was some oil again in the air box and the breather hose from the valve head cover. I cleaned oil out of the hose and the air box. There was less oil this time but there was oil in the air box. I know for a fact that I did not over fill the oil in the bike. I have been watching it and when it gets low I fill it back up to the center or just above center of the sight glass.

 

Why do I have oil getting in the air box. It is coming in thru the breather hose. Is there something with the engine that is causing pressure in the crank case causing the oil to blow into the air box?

 

The bike currently has 3362 miles on it. I started monitoring the oil level since 1481 miles. Sine then I have put in 750 ml of oil. The current oil level is about 1/3 of the way up the sight glass.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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Some additional information:

I started smelling the burning oil again last week. I decided to take a look in the air box. There was some oil again in the air box and the breather hose from the valve head cover. I cleaned oil out of the hose and the air box. There was less oil this time but there was oil in the air box. I know for a fact that I did not over fill the oil in the bike. I have been watching it and when it gets low I fill it back up to the center or just above center of the sight glass.

 

Why do I have oil getting in the air box. It is coming in thru the breather hose. Is there something with the engine that is causing pressure in the crank case causing the oil to blow into the air box?

 

The bike currently has 3362 miles on it. I started monitoring the oil level since 1481 miles. Sine then I have put in 750 ml of oil. The current oil level is about 1/3 of the way up the sight glass.

 

Afternoon Roger

 

It is difficult to tell how much oil spitting into the vent hose is normal on a low mileage engine. Most BMW 1100/1150 bikes spit a little oil into the air box fro their entire life. BMW had the foresight to add a drain to the bottom of the air box on those.

 

At only 3362 miles you might still be getting a little extra blow-by past the piston rings.

 

You might try running your oil level a little lower (like half way between the sight glass center dot & the bottom)

 

You might also try a different motor oil as maybe your present oil is foaming a little more than another brand.

 

Also make sure that your vent hose is routed correctly.

 

 

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Dirtrider:

The bike has the BMW 15W-50 oil in it that is recommended in the owners manual. I am going to stick with the BMW oil since it is still under warranty. This coming weekend I am going on a 4 day bike trip thru the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia so I am hoping to get almost 1000 more miles on the bike to help break in the motor. I will keep an eye on the oil during the trip and document how much oil I use over the trip.

The warranty is up on July 7th so I want to see if there is a problem before that.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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Another Update:

I just returned from my 4 day trip in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. We covered 1171 miles in the 4 days. I used 1 liter of oil during the trip. I ran the bike pretty hard hoping to get the rings to seat. The oil consumption seemed to slow down as the trip went on. I am going to keep an eye on the consumption over the next week. I am also going to go to the dealer and talk to them about the oil consumption. The warranty is up July 7th. I want to get this documented so if the bike continues to use this kind of oil I want BMW to do something about it. My previous Hex Head had 60,000 miles on it and on a trip like this I would add oil once over the trip. It was not fun having to look at the oil level at each gas stop.

 

Roger L

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Svaha!Dean

My '14 R12R (28.7K miles) likes to play hide-n-seek with oil. On several occasions I've topped-up in the morning to half-glass and when I put her away in the evening she's showing me full-glass ... naughty girl.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I stopped at the dealer on Saturday to discuss the oil usage from the trip. My dealer felt the oil usage was high and suggested that I contact BMW customer service for a proposed solution. I called BMW customer service today and talked with a very pleasant lady about the oil usage problem. She agreed that the oil usage was high and told me to make an appointment with my dealer to have the motor looked at. My appointment is July 18th. I will keep on documenting the oil usage until then. When I called the dealer to make the appointment the service manager said that he discussed the problem with his lead tech and he found some tests that can be performed to try to find the problem with high oil usage. We will see what happens. I hope that they can find the solution to this. I LOVE the bike but can not live with that kind of oil usage.

 

Roger L

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That is good news coming from BMW. Hopefully they will make good on what ever problem they find. Keep us informed.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Well I just picked up the bike this evening. The dealer performed the tests on the oil consumption checklist from BMW and everything was "within Spec" and nothing was done to the bike. I created a spread sheet for the oil usage and the average oil usage of the bike is a liter of oil per 1,500 miles which is well under the 1 liter per 1000 Kilometers that is within spec for the R motor. The bike has 6,477 miles on it so I will continue to chart the oil usage over the next oil change. I just changed the oil and put in the BMW Advantec 15W-50 oil. I will see what happens. I am going to try to keep the RPM's around 5,000 to see if I can get the rings to seat.

 

Hope for the best

Roger L

Edited by Rogerl
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Well I just picked up the bike this evening. The dealer performed the tests on the oil consumption checklist from BMW and everything was "within Spec" and nothing was done to the bike. I created a spread sheet for the oil usage and the average oil usage of the bike is a liter of oil per 1,500 miles which is well under the 1 liter per 1000 Kilometers that is within spec for the R motor. The bike has 6,477 miles on it so I will continue to chart the oil usage over the next oil change. I just changed the oil and put in the BMW Advantec 15W-50 oil. I will see what happens. I am going to try to keep the RPM's around 5,000 to see if I can get the rings to seat.

 

Morning Roger

 

It's not so much the engine RPM's at 5k to seat the rings, at 6500 miles it will take engine load & unloading to continue seating the rings.

 

Try to keep loading (rolling the throttle on) & unloading (rolling the throttle off) at higher RPM's to hasten ring seating.

 

You don't need to do this continually but try to do some WOT accelerations & long downhill decelerations each time that you ride the bike (after getting engine warm of course).

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Dirtrider:

Thanks for the information. There is a fairly long hill not far from my house. Every night coming home from work I will plan to go down the hill and let the engine do the deceleration then turn around and go up the hill in a lower gear to keep the RPM's above 5,000 and we will see what happens.

 

Thanks Again

Roger L

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Don_Eilenberger
Dirtrider:

Thanks for the information. There is a fairly long hill not far from my house. Every night coming home from work I will plan to go down the hill and let the engine do the deceleration then turn around and go up the hill in a lower gear to keep the RPM's above 5,000 and we will see what happens.

 

Thanks Again

Roger L

I'd strongly suggest a nice week long ride in West Virginia and some parts of Virginia. I can suggest a bunch of excellent break-in roads for an R1200R - I've broken in two of them there. East-west, west-east are best. Put Google into terrain mode and look for the biggest lumps in the earth, then look for small two-number roads that cross the lumps.

 

Do 1,000 miles of this and your oil consumption will greatly decrease (really!) I finished breaking in my 2nd R12R this spring in that fashion. I got it with 2,000 miles on it. At 12,000 it was still consuming some oil. Now at 18,000 miles - oil use has decreased to minimal (probably less than 1 liter per oil change.)

 

My last R1200R - at 87,000 miles did a NJ to CA to NJ trip last year. Basically used no oil for the entire 7,500 mile trip. It's new owner reports to me pretty regularly - now at around 110,000 miles it still is using no oil.

 

I'm a fan of Castrol Edge TWS 10W-60, but that's another whole story (you can find it at Audi dealers - it's used for the R8..)

 

I wouldn't be overly concerned with your bike. Not enough miles on it, and probably a lot of those miles have been on fairly flat roads (I've ridden in Ohio..)

Edited by Don_Eilenberger
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Don:

I took a 4 day trip thru West Virginia this spring. We took RT 16 from Marietta, Ohio all the way thru Marion Virginia. On this trip the bike used 1 liter of oil in 1100 miles. I am a short shifter typically shifting around 4000 RPM. I did this with my previous 2008 R1200R and it used almost no oil. Everyone is telling me that the R motors like the RPM's so now I am taking the gears up to 5,500 RPM to shift. I think that I need to ride the bike a little harder to get it broken in.

If you have a list of roads in West Virginia that are good I would like to see it. There are a lot of real nice roads in West Virginia.

 

Roger

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I have been reading this post for a while, and ignoring a little voice in the back of my head. I too, have been thinking I detect a faint burnt oil smell on my 12 R1200GS. I've only had it for a couple weeks, and have 1450 miles on it. Got it with 1065. (one thousand sixty five) :) 375 miles and the oil level in the window has dropped maybe 3/8". I know this engine is far from broken in, but I tend to shift at lower RPM's partly from knowing how I used to ride, and a bit of respect for my older bikes. What does the higher RPM shifting, and the prolonged drop in RPM's during descceleration have to do with break in? Not questioning the process, just trying to understand.

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Don_Eilenberger

Almost anything 2 lane that goes east/west will be fun. State 250 is an east/west that goes through a number of tight passes in VA, and stays interesting in WV.. 33 is pretty spectacular between Brandywine and Seneca Rocks, then 28 going south, down toward Green Bank (stop for the free tour at the National Radio Astronomy Center - it's a good one) which joins 92, and eventually meets 66 is all good. The Inn at Snowshoe isn't a bad place to overnight. Rooms are pretty reasonable and there is an acceptable restaurant/bar on the premises. Cass is also worth visiting.

 

You could continue north on 219 from Snowshoe, and take off west on WV-15. Small twisty 2 lane east-west road, eventually comes out on WV-4 near Sutton.

 

Problem here - ALL the roads in WV are great - some are just greater than others. I'm never bored riding in WV - and I do it a few times a year now.

 

Anyway - these roads are often best done in 2nd and 3rd gear. I rarely get into 4th on them. 2nd for really tight twisties, 3rd for almost everything else. You can easily do 55mph in 3rd gear and the bike/engine becomes very responsive as the RPMs wind up. Nice thing is - it's also excellent for seating the rings.

 

Oh - to answer your questions about why ride this sort of area.. keeping the RPMs up gives more ring/piston travel per mile on the engine, meaning the rings will "seat" (which involves some wear) faster in both time and distance. The downhill parts usually involve some engine braking which pulls a vacuum on the cylinder, which in turn pulls the rings tight against the cylinder wall - also helping bed them in.

 

I've found even on bike that seemed to be chronic oil burners - if the engine isn't worn out, doing some enthusiastic riding involving a wide range of speeds on the engine seems to do them a lot of good.

Edited by Don_Eilenberger
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What does the higher RPM shifting, and the prolonged drop in RPM's during descceleration have to do with break in? Not questioning the process, just trying to understand.

 

Morning 2manybikes

 

It's not so much the higher RPM's as it is the acceleration/deceleration process that helps the rings seat better.

 

The throttle roll-on's (or increased engine loading) cause the rings to push harder into the cylinder walls as the higher cylinder pressures push the rings out tightly against the cylinder walls.

 

Then the deceleration process unloads the rings slightly allowing them to sort of float a little in the ring groves. That then allows anything (like scraped off junk) to dislodge from the ring sealing area.

 

The main idea is to do this early in engine life BEFORE the cylinder walls glaze up as that glazing is difficult to remove by just riding.

 

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Thanks for the clear explanation. Sorry for the delayed response, our internet service has been worse than usual for the last few days. I also did not mean to hijack the thread, just hit close to home!

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Update:

It has been 513 miles since the last oil change. I put in 300 ml of oil into the bike last night. That works out to 1,710 miles/liter of oil. I check the oil level in the bike every night after I drive home from work which is 28 miles and mostly freeway. I do notice that if the temperatures are above 90 degrees and there is stop and go on the freeway the bike will use more oil. Last night it was 93 degrees with high humidity and there was some stop and go on the freeway coming home. When I checked the oil when I got home it was down maybe a ¼” on the sight glass from what is was the night before. Is this possible? If so why?

 

Thanks

Roger L

 

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Don_Eilenberger

Roger - you're falling victim to the OCD oil level checking that many BMW owners seem to fall prey to.

 

Suggestion: Forgeddaboutit for a week.

 

Just ride to work and home for an entire week and DON'T CHECK THE OIL OBSESSIVELY!

 

Before you leave the first day - in the morning - before the engine gets hot or is even started - check the oil level. If necessary top it up to the center of the window.

 

Go to work.

 

Ride to work all week, resist the temptation to make small adjustments to the oil level. Try not to even look at the window.

 

On Saturday morning - check the oil level before starting the engine. If it needs topping off - now you'll see it.

 

The oil level can vary more than 1/4" just due to changes in ambient temperature. Chasing the fill like you're doing will drive you nuts.

 

You want to check it at the same place under the same conditions. I've found in the AM before starting the bike works well. If there is oil in the window then (bike on centerstand obviously) - all is good in the world and you can go for a ride. This is the best way I know of to get a repeatable measurement.

 

The engine holds 4 liters of oil. That's as much as a modern BMW 4-cylinder turbocharged car engine. If you were down 1 full liter, the oil pickup would still be safely picking up oil from the sump and the oil pump would be pumping it through the engine. Worrying about 200-300cc's - well - it's silly. Resist.

 

BTW - unlike the human body a motorcycle engine doesn't sweat - so higher humidity has no effect on cooling or oil level/use. You're obsessing.

Edited by Don_Eilenberger
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Don:

Who me to obsess over things like oil usage or transmission noise. :) I will take your advice and just check the oil once per week. I have been running the bike harder, Shifting above 5,500 RPM, and doing more engine braking trying to force the engine to break in. I have been watching the oil level hoping for the best. I think that this is going to take a while.

 

 

Thanks

Roger L

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Update:

It has been 513 miles since the last oil change. I put in 300 ml of oil into the bike last night. That works out to 1,710 miles/liter of oil. I check the oil level in the bike every night after I drive home from work which is 28 miles and mostly freeway. I do notice that if the temperatures are above 90 degrees and there is stop and go on the freeway the bike will use more oil. Last night it was 93 degrees with high humidity and there was some stop and go on the freeway coming home. When I checked the oil when I got home it was down maybe a ¼” on the sight glass from what is was the night before. Is this possible? If so why?

 

Afternoon Rogerl

 

That is very possible as the BMW 1200RT has an alloy engine case so it expands & contacts based on the engine temperature. That means that a slight variance in oil level can be observed due to engine temperature.

 

Don has a good point on checking the oil level cold after it sits all night. That is not the most accurate way to tell how much oil (total) is in the BMW 1200 engine but it is probably the most constant way of getting a back to back oil level reading.

 

So once you have the correct oil level set after an oil change then look at it cold the next morning & use that (cold) level as the basis for your oil use measurements. Just keep in mind that the cold level is not the BMW checking method so if it is high or low cold DON'T add any more oil, just use that cold reading as a day to day comparison gauge.

 

Also be darn sure to park your bike in the very same place facing the same direction every night & allow the same time on the side stand before placing on center stand. (in fact when I use the cold method for oil usage comparison I leave the engine running when I put on side stand down & dismount, then with the engine still running put the bike on the center stand--THEN I turn the engine off)-- that makes day to day repeatability much more constant.

 

Also--never add oil to a BMW 1200 engine with only one reading (unless there is an oil puddle under the bike) if you see it low one time just wait until you see it low a couple more times before adding oil.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

I checked the oil level last night, a week since I checked it last, and it was 3/4 up on the sight glass. Just where it was last week. I was rather happy. I was getting ready to go on a ride tomorrow so I was checking the tire pressure. I leaned over and peaked at the oil level and it was half way down the the sight glass. I was shocked. That far in one day? How could that be.Then I remembered I sat in over 2 miles of stop and go traffic due to construction going to work this morning. Could that caused the bike to use that much oil? The temperature was in the low 70's this morning.

 

Roger L

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Update:

I checked the oil level last night, a week since I checked it last, and it was 3/4 up on the sight glass. Just where it was last week. I was rather happy. I was getting ready to go on a ride tomorrow so I was checking the tire pressure. I leaned over and peaked at the oil level and it was half way down the the sight glass. I was shocked. That far in one day? How could that be. Then I remembered I sat in over 2 miles of stop and go traffic due to construction going to work this morning. Could that caused the bike to use that much oil? The temperature was in the low 70's this morning.

 

 

Morning Roger

 

Probably not-- Don't do anything until you get 3 low readings in a row. If it is still showing low after the next 3 rides THEN address it.

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Don_Eilenberger
Update:

I checked the oil level last night, a week since I checked it last, and it was 3/4 up on the sight glass. Just where it was last week. I was rather happy. I was getting ready to go on a ride tomorrow so I was checking the tire pressure. I leaned over and peaked at the oil level and it was half way down the the sight glass. I was shocked. That far in one day? How could that be.Then I remembered I sat in over 2 miles of stop and go traffic due to construction going to work this morning. Could that caused the bike to use that much oil? The temperature was in the low 70's this morning.

 

Roger L

 

Roger - you're obsessing again.. remember what I said above:

 

If there is oil in the window then (bike on centerstand obviously) - all is good in the world and you can go for a ride.

 

Go for your ride.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Update:

I went for a 325 mile ride today with a friend. We went thru the hills of southern / central Ohio. The oil was a little below the circle in the sight glass when I left When I got home I checked the oil and it was ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SIGHT GLASS. I put 450 ml back into the bike and it was not up to the point where it was when I left. The oil consumption work out to be 725 miles per liter WOW.

I am using a spread sheet to track the oil usage and the bike was averaging 1650 miles per liter usage before the trip. The bike currently has 8710 miles on it.

 

Since the 6000 mile oil change I have been riding the bike more aggressively. I have been shifting at or above 5,000 rpm. I have been doing dynamic braking when I can. There is a hill just down the street from where I live. Every night when I come home from work, 25 miles on the freeway, I ride to the bottom of the hill using the dynamic breaking of the engine as I go down then turn around at the bottom and come up running the engine to at least 7,000 rpm before I shift. I can get to third gear before I am at the top. I am doing this to try to break the bike in to lower the oil usage. Still nothing has worked.

I am VERY unhappy about the oil usage of this bike. I has a 2008 Hex Head with 60,0000 miles that used very little oil.

 

PLEASE someone give me some hope that this problem will resolve itself. I keep telling myself that the motor is still new and needs broken in but it is getting old.

 

A VERY DISGUSTED Roger L

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My 2012 fully broke in at around 18,000 miles. I switched to full synthetic at around 22,000 miles. I did not have a oil consumption rate like yours but I noticed blue smoke from the exhaust at first then that slowly dissappeared over time. My consumption at first was concerning but not an issue during break in period. I was assured by the dealer not to worry about it. Give it more miles and do not use synthetic oil until after breakin.

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The oil I am using in the bike is the BMW Advantech 15W-50 oil in the bike. This oil is a semi-synthetic oil. I would like to try a conventional non-synthetic oil to see if it would help with the break in but the owners manual calls for 15W-50 oil and I can not find a 15W-50 in non-synthetic. What oil did you put in your 2012?

 

Roger L

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The oil I am using in the bike is the BMW Advantech 15W-50 oil in the bike. This oil is a semi-synthetic oil. I would like to try a conventional non-synthetic oil to see if it would help with the break in but the owners manual calls for 15W-50 oil and I can not find a 15W-50 in non-synthetic. What oil did you put in your 2012?

 

Roger L

 

Morning Roger

 

Even if you could find a dino 15w50 you probably don't want to use that. It takes a LOT of polymers (polymers are not lubricants) to stretch the viscosity range of dino oil to go from 15w cold to (50w equivalent) hot.

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I live in south Florida. My dealer recommended using 20w/50 until break in. Even though not on the list for camhead engines it worked for me. I used Castrol 20w/50 petroleum based AKA Dino oil. Then I switched to Mobil one 15W/50. I'm just stating what I did through the break in process. I noticed boxer engines do not break in the same. Just use what's recommended. You still have low mileage. Keep riding.

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Not sure if this is going to make you feel any better, but, I have a 2011 RT Camhead with 35k and it used oil, not as much as yours, up until about 32k. About two quarts every service (6k). It still uses a bit of oil but I've found a direct correlation between how hard I ride the bike and how much oil it uses. If I'm out cruising around or on an extended trip with moderate use, I use little, to no, oil. I start hotting it up on the twisties and running it hard i'll use more oil.

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Don_Eilenberger

Since the 6000 mile oil change I have been riding the bike more aggressively. I have been shifting at or above 5,000 rpm. I have been doing dynamic braking when I can. There is a hill just down the street from where I live. Every night when I come home from work, 25 miles on the freeway, I ride to the bottom of the hill using the dynamic breaking of the engine as I go down then turn around at the bottom and come up running the engine to at least 7,000 rpm before I shift. I can get to third gear before I am at the top. I am doing this to try to break the bike in to lower the oil usage. Still nothing has worked.

I am VERY unhappy about the oil usage of this bike. I has a 2008 Hex Head with 60,0000 miles that used very little oil.

 

All the "dynamic" braking (I'm guessing this means engine braking, using the compression of the engine as a brake) can add to your oil consumption. Engine braking pulls a very high vacuum on the intake and the cylinder. That vacuum can pull oil past the oil control ring.

 

High RPM use also can increase oil consumption - the rings don't seat as well so more oil can remain on the cylinder walls and get burned off during the firing cycle.

 

As far as assuring you it will get better - I can't do that. It might not. It is above BMW's usage point where they consider there is a problem with the engine (last time I looked that was 600 miles/liter - sounds absurd - but there you are..)

 

I owned a 2014 R1150RS that had two flaws. It liked to drink oil, and it had a buzz in the engine that made it almost unrideable. I kept it for only about 20,000 miles - and was never able to make either problem better (it had about 50,000 miles on it when I traded it in on my first R1200R.)I grew to hate that bike and rode much less because of the hate. It wasn't a case of inadequate break-in, the first owner of that bike was a very well respected BMW shop owner and mechanic. He knew how to break a bike in, and had the resources to do anything to it that needed doing.

 

There are always assembly tolerances on engines - ie - allowable variances from "ideal or perfect" clearances. In most cases the engines will work just as designed if the assembly tolerances are a bit off ideal - but if enough of them stack up in the same engine, you can end up with an oil-burner, or - in my case - an oil burner that also had a buzz in the engine.

 

FWIW - both my R1200R engines were pretty well broken in by 15,000 miles. Oil consumption dropped, and continued to drop with miles until the first one required no oil top-up between 6,000 mile changes by the time it got to 40,000 miles. It continued that way until I sold it at 97,000 miles, and AFAIK - it's still that way with the 2nd owner. My current '12 R1200R - at around 19,000 miles might take 250cc of oil between 6,000 mile changes. That amount has been decreasing and I expect it to continue to decrease.

 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.. if the use - when ridden "normally" isn't what you find acceptable it might be worth considering a different bike just so you don't get pissed off at it every time you get on it.

 

Good luck!

 

 

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PLEASE someone give me some hope that this problem will resolve itself. I keep telling myself that the motor is still new and needs broken in but it is getting old.

 

 

Afternoon Roger L

 

We would IF we knew WHY it is using oil.

 

If it is due to the rings not fully seated in YET then there is hope your oil usage will improve with miles traveled.

 

If your oil usage is due to a kinked vent hose or engine venting problem them it probably won't get any better by itself.

 

If it is using oil due to crankcase overfilling then it might get a bit better if you allow it to operate at the low end on the sight glass (I see that you are still putting in oil after just one oil level check)

 

If you need to add oil after each check (makes you feel better) then ONLY add 1 ounce per day. Then check it again after the next ride & if STILL low then add another ounce, then check it again after the next ride & if STILL low add another ounce. (never fill to proper level on sight glass in one filling as it is REAL EASY to overfill that way)

 

You might also see how much oil that you have in your air filter box (if a lot there then maybe a crankcase venting problem)

 

If not a lot of oil in the filter box then remove both lower spark plugs for inspection-- on engines that use a lot of oil the lower spark plugs are usually pretty nasty looking & covered with black goo.

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Tonight I opened up the air box and found that there was some oil inside. I took a paper towel and wiped it out. Below is a photo of the paper towels I used to wipe out the air box. I looked at the hose going from the air box to the left valve cover and there were no kinks.

 

air%20box%20rags.jpg

 

I then took out the secondary spark plugs. Below are the photos of the spark plugs. The plugs are black with carbon but they are sooty and dry not wet and oily.

 

spark%20plug%20left.jpg

 

 

spark%20plug%20right.jpg

 

Before my last trip I would go an entire week without looking at the oil level. I would check the oil level on Friday. I ride 250 miles per week. I could go 2 weeks, 500 miles, before needing to add oil. I would usually add about 300 ml of oil which is a consumption rate of 1 liter per 1666 miles which is high buy way below the BMW limit of 1 liter per 600 miles.

I will be going on a (4) day trip thru West Virginia starting Thursday. I will ride the bike aggressively and see what the oil consumption is. I will take (2) liters of oil with me and document what the oil consumption is.

 

Thanks

Roger L

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