Dipsitck dry - or what is the minium oil amount needed for the engine to survive?:)

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Sumi, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    So here is the deal:

    I've been overlooking the regular maintenance on my 950 ADV lately.. And by regular I mean daily:) So I've came out of the habbit checking the oil level after every ride (it's dark and cold outside when I get home, and yeah.. blabla). Anyway, when I checked it today (properly!), the dipstick was dry.. After a mini heart attack, I've filled it up with half a liter, and now it is at the 1/3rd of the stick..

    So my question would be: is it possible that engine damage occured?
    I can't hear any unusual sounds from the engine, shifting is perfect, and the oil light wasn't flickering or on (if this even means anything in this situation) so I suppose it survived.. Does anybody have an idea about the minimum oil amount required to avoid engine damage? If my calculations are correct, I had about 2-2.2L in the system.. but I guess I can't be sure about any damage until an oil change / valve inspection..

    Thanks for the answers!
    #1
  2. crofrog

    crofrog Long timer

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    Don't sweat it.

    Chris
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  3. MAXVERT

    MAXVERT OG on da OC

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    No problem.
    As long as there was some oil in the dry sump tank your
    motor was getting enough oil.
    I'm not sure how much oil is still in the tank with motor running
    but at just a half a liter low there was plenty.
    Don't worry about engine damage there will not be any.

    If you are riding along at, let's say 4,000 rpm and you hear the cam chain
    rattling then I would worry.

    Max
    #3
  4. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    Thanks!
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  5. TheMuffinMan

    TheMuffinMan Forest Ranger Magnet

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    This.

    If you're burning that much oil you might want to check your front intake throat, if it's oilly then your balance shaft seal needs replacing (easy).
    #5
  6. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    I'm not burning that much.. It's just I haven't checked it for the last 1-2-3k (don't know exactly) miles:)
    #6
  7. David37

    David37 Been here awhile

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    I think your engine should be okay, give your 950 a present and change the oil.
    #7
  8. TcRulz

    TcRulz Been here awhile

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    Hey Sumi my 03 950A only holds 750mls in the sump with the rest being held in the oil tank and lines (2.25lts) so you were a long way from being in danger:D.
    #8
  9. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    It's on the todo list:thumb

    That's the kind of answer I wanted to read:) Thank you!
    #9
  10. Deepc

    Deepc Been here awhile

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    05.5 950A w/ 18,000. I've been running into the same issue. I check my oil once every two weeks or so when commuting around town. Lately I find the oil level at 1/4 from max regardless if I have filled to 1/2 from max a few days before. Balance shaft seal? Front carb throat shows little to no residue. I do get a little smoke out of the exhaust at startup but it goes away after 10 seconds or so. Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    JB
    #10
  11. Sumi

    Sumi Long timer

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    As for the smoke on startup: I also have it (white smoke for me), and I believe it's water deposit (building up overnight, when the exhaust is cooling) in the exhaust turning into steam.

    As for the oil: As I've read, if the balancer shaft seal is leaking, it consumes way more oil than 1/2->1/4 on the dipstick in a few days, and the air filter should be really oily beneath the crank vent. So I guess your bike is behaving normaly.. Mine would consume roughly about 0.5-1l oil / 1k miles.. This is when riding steady @ highway speeds.. Interestingly it doesn't consome any oil at slower speeds..
    #11
  12. geometrician

    geometrician let's keep going...

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    They'll run pretty low as long as the pump doesn't cavitate from sucking air up instead of oil.

    I have LC8 customers that are constantly worried about their oil levels and some add oil every ride to keep it "full". I've watched mine carefully (bought used at 13,000 last year now at 28,000) and notice (some of?) these engines set the oil tank level where it wants, and I now check/fill it to that point. I learned that after several rides where I'd start full and check it at fuel stop/etc and it would be back at it's "happy" point- which is towards the lower 1/3 of the dipstick with my engine. I've replaced the balancer seal, checked all the breathers, elbows & lines and there are no obstructions; it seems the crankcase venting, timing & pressures just wants a bit more air in the oil tank. Since I didn't buy this bike new I can't say how it was treated before (or which KTM-problems it started with! :huh)

    Suzuki TL1000's have an oil separator I might expirement with that looks like it would fit on our bikes, along with some extra oil tank/valve cover ventilation. I'm considering larger diameter lines to slow/spread the pulses down & allow the vaporous oil to drop out of suspension. I've never owned a motorcycle that consumes this much oil and I hate wasting it when it's so damn expensive!

    That isn't enought time in Deepc's description to heat the moisture up & cause vapor to appear at the tail pipe. Moisture vapor begins to appear after 10 seconds and continues until the volume of the mufflers/headers heats up enough to evaporate everything.

    As for the balancer seal & shaft they leak more as they wear so it's not a constant- true they usually get replaced once things are messy/bad.

    General 4-stroke troubleshooting says visible smoke upon startup indicates your valve guides, valve stems or valve stem seals are worn. The initial smoke is is from the "extra" oil stored between the stems & guides at engine shutdown and is quickly consumed. Of course induction/overlap will attempt to draw oil from them as the engine continues to run but the overall distance the oil must travel down this space is mitigated by the viscosity & surface tension of the oil- it has to travel 1-1/2-3" (depending on head design) along the length of the valve stem/guide interface, whereas at the cylinder/piston interface it only has to travel a 1/4" to 3/8", as well as having to seal combustion pressure. Here's where thicker/better quality oil helps older engines quit burning oil.

    When a 4-stroke continously smokes piston/cylinder/ring sealing at issue. This is easily seen at night in the headlight beams of someone behind you when accelerating from idling from a stop light. During the red light oil builds up in the cylinder head & exhaust when pressure/temperature/cam overlap effects are lowest. I always tell my riding buddies when I see it because it can be really faint if things haven't progressed far.

    One more reason to ride to the pub together :freaky
    #12
  13. Deepc

    Deepc Been here awhile

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    Thanks Geo, I will replace the balance shaft seal asap. As for the smoke at startup, I'm concerned that the mechanic I used to check/adjust my valves didn't actually perform the work I paid him $400 to do. When I picked up my bike he told me that all valves were in spec at 18,000 miles. I bought the bike used with 7,000 miles and the previous owner had no maintenance records. He stated that he never had the valves checked. I believe I am the 3rd owner.
    #13