Strange Issue #79: Loss of Oil Pressure when on Side Stand.

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Beater, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Beater

    Beater The Bavarian Butcher

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    The title pretty much sums it up. I haven't done anything to it yet ... except freak out.

    It's the Dobber. '85 R80 (now 100). Nothing modded to the oil delivery system. Oil at 1/2 full. 20K miles on the clock. Start up on center stand, oil light and charging light on at ignition. Start button, engine starts immediately with 1/2 choke. Runs for 15 seconds or so, choke off idles immediately. Charging light flickering (normal) and oil light off.

    I back the bike out of the garage, then I get off the bike to close the garage door, and put the bike on side stand. Close door, return to see oil light on. Turn off bike immediately. Freak out.

    After a moment, I sit on bike, start bike, oil light is off at idle. Bike behaves properly. Let it run for 20 seconds ... take quick lap around neighborhood ... Everything is normal. Run to friends house (1.5 miles away) pull in driveway, put bike on side stand, oil light comes on. Turn it off immediately. Freak out.

    I get off bike, scratch head. Curse. Go inside friends house. I have beer. We talk bikes (and oil light). His wife is most annoyed.

    After 20 minutes, go outside sit on bike, right it, turn on bike, oil light off. Go back home, pull in driveway, idle bike for 10 seconds, watch oil light intently as I slowly tilt bike onto side stand ... oil light comes on. Slightly less of a freak out.

    1. Has anyone experienced this behavior?
    2. Does anyone have an idea what is happening?
    3. Anyone know the fix?

    Right now, I'm thinking about simply changing the oil filter, and seeing what happens. It simply might be clogged ... with what is a whole other issue. :huh
    #1
  2. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I'm glad somebody brought this one up. I've never seen any discussion of this. I've always thought it was a bad idea to idle the engine on the side stand. I think I have done it once or twice when I was not thinking but always chide myself for being lazy. All I have to do is either put the bike on the center stand or turn the bike off. When I look at my bike parked on the side stand I don't think the oil will reach the pick up. So I just think it's not good. When I did it though my oil light did not come on and I know it works.

    You see the Harley guys doing this all the time. Does not mean it's a good idea for Airheads.
    #2
  3. robtg

    robtg Been here awhile

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    Pull the sump, the oil pickup may have fallen off, it happens.
    #3
  4. Beater

    Beater The Bavarian Butcher

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    Hummm ... Yes. That would explain the issue. But to counter that one I could fill the oil sump completely up, and it should change the level sufficiently to prove/disprove that.

    Now, that's the kind of thoughts I like.

    I never let it idle on the side stand longer than 30 seconds or so. Just long enough to close the garage, lock a door, etc. It shouldn't hurt the oil delivery system. However the one thing you should never do is leave it on the side stand for a long time (over 15 minutes). Oil will seep into the pistons and burn upon ignition. This will lead to carbon buildup and valve sticky-ness ... and other severely detrimental and engine killing events.

    The Harley guys do it for the rumble. And their engines drain fluids from the cylinders much more efficiently than a boxer styled motor.
    #4
  5. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar HoFmetalworks.com

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    Remove the sidestand:D
    #5
  6. robtg

    robtg Been here awhile

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    Every time the light comes on, the bearings are being destroyed. I wouldn't spend any time experimenting with oil levels.
    #6
  7. pommie john

    pommie john Long timer

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    On my race bike I have an oil pressure gauge. I have noticed that if the oil level is down to about halfway on the dipstick, the pressure drops during braking.
    I'm guessing that there's an oil surge that mimics what you're experiencing.

    Just to be sure I would drop the sump and check the pick up hasn't fallen off. If it's OK, fill it half up and see if the problem persists, then fill it right up and see if it goes away.
    #7
  8. bikerfish

    bikerfish flyfishandride

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    check the wires for the oil pressure switch, might be shorting when the bike is leaning over. I know it's a long shot, but at least it's cheap and easy to check.
    #8
  9. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar HoFmetalworks.com

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    I used to race a GSXR1100. All the air/oil cooled GSXR's will lose oil pressure when braking super hard. It was always disconcerting to lose oil pressure at 11'000RPM repeatedly, but never seemed to hurt the longevity of the motors. Still creeped me out every time I looked down, to see the light on though! :lol3
    #9
  10. Cogswell

    Cogswell Spudly Adventurer

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    I'll agree, don't idle the engine while on the side stand. Better safe than sorry.


    Mike
    #10
  11. fallingoff

    fallingoff Banned

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    ''I get off bike, scratch head. Curse. Go inside friends house. I have beer. We talk bikes (and oil light). His wife is most annoyed'' by beeater

    great line
    love it

    cheers
    #11
  12. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    I'll ditto Robtg-- loose (if not fallen off) oil pickup. Drop the oil pan and loctite the pickup bolts. If it's not the pickup, you've eliminated THE probable cause, and the oil pan needsa to be pulled periodically and the swarf inspected, anyway.

    --Bill
    #12
  13. Beater

    Beater The Bavarian Butcher

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    Alright. I think it's good to know I'm not the only one with 'paranoia issues'.

    Sumps gettin' dumped.

    *sigh*
    #13
  14. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Fred, before you do that...I think it's a good idea to check the oil pressure. Hot, it should be above 15psi. For kicks, you could swap out the sender....they have been known to go bad. My oil light has a habit of flickering if there is any moisture around the switch at all.
    #14
  15. bmwhacker

    bmwhacker Still on 3 wheels

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    You'll feel all better after the "Dump":lol3
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  16. Beater

    Beater The Bavarian Butcher

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    This might sound like a silly question ... but how does one quantitively check the oil pressure?

    I like this avenue as well.
    #16
  17. Cogswell

    Cogswell Spudly Adventurer

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    Attach the hose in place of the sending unit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Mike
    #17
  18. JonnyCash

    JonnyCash turd polisher

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    I'm glad you mentioned this. On my bike, which uses a small amount of oil, I find that I get the light flickering when braking, esp downhill, if my oil is below 1 1/2 liters on the dipstick. Because of this, I'm always adding a very small amount of oil to get it into the very narrow happy range between 1 1/2 an 1 3/4 liter. Certainly not a big deal, but it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who is experiencing this. I'd like to put a gauge on there sometime to know what's really going on. I've considered putting some kind of baffle in the oil sump to keep things from sloshing around as much. Anyone tried this?
    #18
  19. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    #19
  20. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

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    YEah, I never noticed it since that happened to me ::lol3
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