KLR Cold Weather Oil Consumption Revisited

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by PTK, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. PTK

    PTK n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5
    Posted a couple of weeks ago about cold weather oil consumption on a 2008 KLR.
    Not to waste a lot of time, but the deal was that I changed the oil last fall prior to putting the bike to bed for the winter.
    Did wake it up for some below freezing rides, maybe 50 miles.
    Checked the oil view port and low and behold no oil was to be seen.
    It appeared that the bike consumed the entire 2.5L in a couple of very short rides in very cold weather.
    Today it's kind of warm in the Chicago area. maybe 55.
    I removed the oil drain plug and out flowed almost 2.5L of oil so clean you could drink it.
    No dirt, discoloration or water, just clean oil.
    So, regardless of what was visible in the port, the bike was full of good, clean oil.
    Refilled and looked at the port again.
    No oil to be seen.
    Closer examination yielded what appears to be a solid white film covering the entire port, blocking the view of oil.
    My best guess is condensation in/on the glass, but I'm not sure.
    I was going to attach a picture, but I guess it's not allowed.
    Just visualize looking in the port and seeing what appeard to be a solid layer of light, pure snow.
    Anyone else ever experience this?
    If so, how did you deal with it?
    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,767
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    I have noticed a pretty good film of white on the glass pretty regular.... especially after an oil change. not sure why, but seems to be pretty regular event at oil change & brand dosen't matter. I even asked a Shell rep at a seminar once how much water was in oil at manufacture... he said none. anyway, I knew it was condensation, the question is why. If I've ever had one fog bad enough where I couldn't see the oil I don't remember it... or I ignored it because I knew the oil was good.

    PS... not just on my KLR either
    #2
  3. D_A

    D_A Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,373
    Location:
    Central West NSW, Australia
    The Shell rep was being straight with you, there's no water in the oil, but there's water in the air that the crankcase breaths. As the motor cools in cold weather moisture will condense from the air that gets sucked into the crankcase. All you need to do to get rid of it is get the oil hot again and keep it hot for a while ie nice long ride.
    #3
  4. ADW

    ADW 'tard bike restos

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Oddometer:
    703
    Location:
    Rochester MI
    Agreed with DA. Nothing to worry about, once you get the oil good and hot you'll cook out that condensation and the sight glass will be back to normal. Mine did it once on my '08.
    #4
  5. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,298
    Location:
    South Texas
    Unless the oil gets up to at least 180 degrees it is not going to begin to burn off the water acidic blowby and gas by-products all of which are not good for the motor. Having a stock 160 degree thermostat also does not help warm the motor up in temps under 55 degrees. You have several options, go ride - a real ride and get the oil temps up! The other, invest in a T-Bob. That will bring your motors coolant up to temp within a mile which inturn will heat the oil sooner too.
    #5
  6. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,767
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    I am well aware of the temp needed to boil off the condensation & such. I just find it odd that I see condensation right after an oil change & almost never again over the next 3000 miles. that doesn't add up. it doesn't happen every time, but I have seen it more than a few times, and on other bikes, not just the klr. I know for a fact that the oil in our pipeline from Prudho has roughly 10% water content. it would seem like that would go away during distillation & processing but I have my doubts
    #6
  7. Rey & Vann

    Rey & Vann Garbanzo

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    185
    Location:
    Elma WA
    Tsotsie got part of it right. Go ride, get the temps up. Get rid of the condensation.

    Wonder what the boiling temp of all of those acidic ingredients of that acidic blowby is? H2S is -76F, SO2 is 14F, NO2 is 70F... That acidic stuff is gone pretty quick, and based on the meager amount of condensation that does get in there, from blowby or oil changing, even if it stays in there for a while, it isn't going to kill your bike...

    There are a gajillion KLR's and other bikes without perfect temp control that keep on running just fine without modding the cooling system. Somehow, Kawasaki got it right with this motor, the same with just about every other mass produced motor. Not perfect, but right.

    Go for a ride, get the condensation out of your bike that comes from putting cold oil in a warm bike. It'll go away and wont cause any significant harm. And it's the perfect story to feed your wife for a 2 hour jaunt!!!

    Or, I suppose that if someone were so concerned, save the money on the mod and warm the oil up in the oven before you put it in! :rofl
    #7
  8. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,298
    Location:
    South Texas
    I believe that you too only got part of your response correct! A major byproduct of normal combustion is H2O. I have heard of as much as a gallon of water per gallon of gas burned is produced. This source gets contaminated with the various acidic compounds and you of course know at which temp it would boil off at - somewhat above your other stated temps. This is the major cause of oil contamination. It repeats the process everytime you run the motor. Most of it going out of the pipe (initially as water then vapor), but some going down into the motor and oil.

    Now as for what might concern each owner and rider- that is their prerogative to decide how they manage the issue! Knowing why it is there is the beginning.
    #8
  9. Rey & Vann

    Rey & Vann Garbanzo

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    185
    Location:
    Elma WA
    A gallon of water per gallon of gas! You're making me want to dump all of my bikes now. In fact, any gasoline powered internal combustion machinery I own is doomed.

    My 1st point was, it's condensation. There are KLR's out there with 60k on them and they still have life left in them, regardless of all of the acidic fluids that get into the oil.

    My second point was don't worry about the inevitable. There will always be condensation that develops when you put cold oil into a warm motor on a humid day. Worry about all of the "acid" or don't, who gives a crap. It's going to be there whether or not you want it to be.

    I have yet to hear ANYONE on this board or any other have any kind of engine damage or failure due to acidified oil that didn't maintain their bike or other vehicle in a manner consistent with the manufacturers direction.

    Personally, and its only my lame ass opinion, the only engine mod truly worth doing is the doohickey. And idle mixture screw access... other than that, anything else is adding complexities that simply increase failure possibilities. For most of the places I ride my KLR, I'm not willing to improve the odds of failure. Maybe the OP doesn't ride the same way I do or you do.

    My 3rd point was... Ride more. It beats driving!

    Nothing personal Tootsie, OP had a simple question and the whole acidified water in the oil that can only be remediated with the Thermo-Bob muddies the water, so to say... whether or not that will make the KLR a wonder bike is purely subjective.

    Tapatalk 2 submission.
    #9
  10. rwf

    rwf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    West of OKC
    My KLR did this when I had it for sale. I would start it in the morning and ride to the front yard and put a for sale sign on it, back in the garage each evening. After 10 days had a lot of condensation on sight glasss. Riding to work one day cleared it up.
    #10
  11. PTK

    PTK n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5
    Thanks to all for the constructive input.
    It's been truly helpful.
    PTK
    #11
  12. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,298
    Location:
    South Texas
    You have a creative imagination, drawing conclusions from substance clearly not intended. Read my last paragraph; "Now as for what might concern each owner and rider- that is their prerogative to decide how they manage the issue! Knowing why it is there is the beginning."
    #12
  13. joexr

    joexr Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,022
    Knowing why it is there is the beginning."[/QUOTE]
    Warm air on a cool surface. Just like condensation on a cold glass.
    #13
  14. Rey & Vann

    Rey & Vann Garbanzo

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    185
    Location:
    Elma WA
    Warm air on a cool surface. Just like condensation on a cold glass.[/QUOTE]

    And a toilet tank... :D

    And I'm not trying to trivialize Tsotsie's position on acidic compounds in blowby gases, I'm just trying to point out that the amount of acidic waterborne compounds that remain in the oil in a KLR, and any other bike, are trivial.

    And I'm not knocking the Thermo-Bob either.

    I'm knocking complicated and expensive solutions to trivial problems, as well as complicating a simple question with a complex answer that can instill someone to then seek out the expensive (unnecessary) solution for a virtually non-existent problem.

    "Wonder what the boiling temp of all of those acidic ingredients of that acidic blowby is? H2S is -76F, SO2 is 14F, NO2 is 70F..."

    Those temps are science, I did not make them up. And 1 pound of water is the approximate by-product of burning 1 gallon of gasoline, so more like 1 pint of water per gallon of gas, not a gallon of water to a gallon of gas.

    In my most humble opinion, Get Out and Ride More! Or, :freaky more beer! Just don't sweat the small stuff (pun intended).

    Best regards to all.
    #14
  15. wayne_l

    wayne_l Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    meadow lakes
    i have a 2012 klr and a 2001 im from Wasilla Ak and n short trips where engine just get up to warm running temp and turned off mine would do this ..But when i run to Denali park and back it would clear up and not do it again till i started short trips again ..

    Ride it and fall in love with her ... put her up wet !!
    #15
  16. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,467
    Location:
    North Slope of the Flint Hills
    Had the same issue on my '06 this winter after it sat a while. It was due for service so I changed oil and coolant, just in case there was any of one finding its way into the other. Both were clean so I rode it 40 miles or so, with temp in the low 30s. The sight glass never did clear up until the next time I rode, at which time the ambient temp was in the 60s. I'm assuming that even a 40 mile ride wasn't warming it up enough on that cold day. At any rate, it's a bit of a PIA to not be able to check the oil level (probably pretty unnerving on an '08 :lol3), but otherwise not something I'll worry much about again. I'm sure someone out there has figured out how to remove the sight glass and replace it with a tube and dipstick made from plumbing parts and a tongue depressor.
    #16
  17. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,298
    Location:
    South Texas
    Extensively documented over decades by such groups as the SAE, and the design of automotive cooling systems, are the affects of accellerated wear in overcooled motors and oil not reaching proper operating temperatures. The ideal temp (but not always practical) being close to 212F.

    The white paste is an indicator of oil temps (and motor) not reaching their ideal temps as illustrated n the case of McB's 40 mile ride in the 30's. A stock 160 thermostat in the KLR might be passable in warmer temps, but below 50F is, in my opinion, inadequate. Probably the cheapest design compromise on Kawa's part. By running a 195F thermostat (In a T-Bob since Dec 08) I have never had a white residue in approaching 50K miles in an 08. My choice. Some riders partially cover the radiator to try raise the temps.
    #17
  18. KickStart1

    KickStart1 Lurking,with intent

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    277
    Location:
    Marshall,Minnesota Scandinavian Prairie Ghetto :)
    Just a couple of strip's of Duct Tape,on the front of the Radiator will bring up the temp in cold weather. :D:D:D Cheap and easy or a small piece of Cardboard etc,duct taped in front of Rad.Do not forget it as you will run a little warm as Temp's get above 50 or so :D:D:D:D main thing is,is it's cheap and easy
    #18