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Inconsistant Oil Level

Old 06-30-2012, 07:00 PM
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Inconsistant Oil Level

I searched to not avail, although I recall recently someone mentioning how the VTR will show a low oil level, and then you add oil and ride, come back and it shows over-filled. I've suspected it had something to do with the filter anti-drain back valve but it has occurred with several Purolator PL14610 & PL14612 filters, as well as the W-M ST7315 (I think that's the # for the longer one that now are discontinued; whatever). Maybe it has nothing to do with the oil filter but it is annoying if not also troublesome and a bit scary.

Anyone else experience this phenomenon and better, have a definite answer as to the cause? Inquiring minds need to know...
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:47 PM
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have you checked to see if gas is leaking into the oil,or water,thats the only way more fluid would show up.
the bike takes a full 4 quarts with filter change,a little less with out filter change.
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:02 PM
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The clutches hold oil and it drains down in about 5 mins of sitting... i alwaya let it sit for 5 mins after its run to check the oil...
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:24 PM
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Sometimes I can't get oil into the sight unless I let it run for a bit. Always let it run then sit before checking the level.
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:15 AM
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Mine is amazingly consistent, but i keep it on a rear stand and only check BEFORE taking it off stand for a ride.
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:55 PM
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I always check after its been run and warm if not hot after waiting a few minutes for "run down", of course tipping it over level. Since posting I changed the oil and filter early just to verify existing volume and fresh oil level. No spell of gas or appearance of water (coffee & cream color).

Old oil filled to near or slightly above prescribed volume in a 4 gallon jug not including filter volume. After changing oil & filter and running it briefly, the oil level still was about .3+ qts low after filling with 4.2+ qts (versus 4.1 due to slightly higher volume filter) but have not yet added more. I will run again longer and check once more and report back. Regardless of filter volume, after it is saturated and prescribed oil level is achieved, oil level should not vary as much as it has from one ride to the next given similar distances and rates/durations of hard running. Engine temperature does not fluctuate outside of expected values.

Checking on a rear stand tilts the level so reading is skewed, which it is slightly now due to higher than OE rear ride height setting which I've accounted for in my oil level assessments.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:07 AM
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I have come to the conclusion that whereas with over 72,000 miles my VTR "burns" about 1/2 qt per 3,500 miles traveled, the inconsistent oil level reading is due to shutting off the engine while on the side stand. If I stop and turn off the ignition while vertical, wait a minute, and then put it on its side stand, it accurately shows the oil level. I have now only tried this test twice and will continue to monitor the oil level after shutting down while vertical but I think this is the "answer".

Any related comments particularly as to why the aforementioned occurs?
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:33 PM
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I was recently unable to ride mine for about a month for a health issue. While I have never noticed my oil level to be high previously, after sitting on a center stand for a month, I checked the oil level before riding this morning and found the inspection window completely submerged in oil.

Something in the bike drains down very slowly?
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankenFine View Post
I was recently unable to ride mine for about a month for a health issue. While I have never noticed my oil level to be high previously, after sitting on a center stand for a month, I checked the oil level before riding this morning and found the inspection window completely submerged in oil.

Something in the bike drains down very slowly?
I would suspect that it would be the oil cooler but haven't done any tests to prove or disprove that idea.
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 8541Hawk View Post
I would suspect that it would be the oil cooler but haven't done any tests to prove or disprove that idea.



BINGO! That makes perfect sense to me.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CrankenFine View Post
I was recently unable to ride mine for about a month for a health issue. While I have never noticed my oil level to be high previously, after sitting on a center stand for a month, I checked the oil level before riding this morning and found the inspection window completely submerged in oil.

Something in the bike drains down very slowly?
1st of all, and I believe even per the VTR and most other owner's manual, the oil level should be checked while the engine is warm and shortly after it is shut off. As I said above, I recommend turning off the engine while the bike is vertical and then checking a couple of minutes later (of course while vertical).

As to a higher level reading, the oil cooler may slowly leak back down through its oil pump (the cooler is fed by & returns to the lower section of the oil pump which has its own rotor) but these type of pumps inherently act as a check valve. More likely causes are the oil filter anti-drain back "valve" leaking and oil running back down from both cylinder heads.

The only way to know with any certainty if the engine is over filled is to warm it up and drain the oil and filter into a catch pan and measure the volume. Spec'd volume with filter is 4.1 qts.
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