Oil level?? - Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Oil level??

Why is it so hard to check the oil on a Honda?
On the 2016 VFR1200X DCT when the bike is cold, the oil window is completely covered. Way above the top indicator. After an oil change by the Honda dealer; the next morning it is the same: the window completely covered. I drain what seems like a pint, and after idling the motor for a few minutes, the oil settles just above the top bar. The next day I drive the bike for 40+ miles ,and after it is cooled down, the oil window is completely covered.
On the 2018 Honda Africa Twin DCT when the bike is cold after a few days, the dipstick shows oil on the top bar (full). After staring the bike and letting the motor idle for more than five minutes, I stop it and wait. After 10 minutes, the oil level on the dipstick shows barely over the low bar.
How do you know what is the right oil level on a Honda Motorcycle?
(Also posted this on the Honda Crosstourer/ VFR1200X forum)
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geirvmax View Post
Why is it so hard to check the oil on a Honda?
On the 2016 VFR1200X DCT when the bike is cold, the oil window is completely covered. Way above the top indicator. After an oil change by the Honda dealer; the next morning it is the same: the window completely covered. I drain what seems like a pint, and after idling the motor for a few minutes, the oil settles just above the top bar. The next day I drive the bike for 40+ miles ,and after it is cooled down, the oil window is completely covered. On the 2018 Honda Africa Twin DCT when the bike is cold after a few days, the dipstick shows oil on the top bar (full). After staring the bike and letting the motor idle for more than five minutes, I stop it and wait. After 10 minutes, the oil level on the dipstick shows barely over the low bar.
How do you know what is the right oil level on a Honda Motorcycle?
(Also posted this on the Honda Crosstourer/ VFR1200X forum)
Is the bike upright (not on its kickstand) when you're checking the oil level? I wish we had oil window sight glasses for our ATs.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 04:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geirvmax View Post
Why is it so hard to check the oil on a Honda?
On the 2018 Honda Africa Twin DCT when the bike is cold after a few days, the dipstick shows oil on the top bar (full). After staring the bike and letting the motor idle for more than five minutes, I stop it and wait. After 10 minutes, the oil level on the dipstick shows barely over the low bar.
How do you know what is the right oil level on a Honda Motorcycle?
By following the guidance in the owners manual.

Checking the oil level on a cold bike is pointless.. it seems to have only succeeded in confusing you.
Its also pointless to compare the method for this bike with any other.

The manual for my 2018 bike says the following:

Quote:
Idle the engine for 3-5 minutes.
turn engine off and wait 2-3 minutes.
place bike upright on a firm, level surface.
remove dipstick and wipe clean.
insert dipstick so it seats, but dont screw it in.
check the oil level is between the lower and upper level marks.
securely install the dipstick.
I have made this easier by doing two things.

1. I had a centre stand installed when the bike was brand new.
2. rather than doing this check after idling the engine, i do it after a ride. Put the bike on its main stand, go inside, get changed, make a drink and after 10 minutes or so. check the level.

by making this my 'habit' there is a lower chance of getting it wrong by doing it in one way and then in another. Doing it consistently in the way i do it means there is a consistent result that i can rely on. I even do the oil check in the same place. The place where my bike is parked when not in use.

So far the oil level has not moved from the upper 1/3rd in any meaningful way.
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Last edited by Motobiker; 03-29-2019 at 04:30 AM. Reason: added a line for clarity.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 04:19 AM
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The key to checking oil level is time and temperature.
If you do it like Honda say you cant go wrong. Their method does two significant things . The engine is warm (not hot) and only 2/3 minutes have elapsed before checking. That will give an oil level that a dealer can easily check without having to take the bike for a ride to get it to working temp - he hasn't time for that.

If you check oil after a ride the oil is red hot and will drain quickly to the sump and oil wont 'hang up' on every engine component. It will also have expanded slightly due to being hot. Check a hot bike after say five minutes and you will get the max oil in the sump - quite different to the handbook method. If you drain your oil when the bike is at working temperature it runs out like water !
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by BigKev View Post
The key to checking oil level is time and temperature.
If you do it like Honda say you cant go wrong. Their method does two significant things . The engine is warm (not hot) and only 2/3 minutes have elapsed before checking. That will give an oil level that a dealer can easily check without having to take the bike for a ride to get it to working temp - he hasn't time for that.

If you check oil after a ride the oil is red hot and will drain quickly to the sump and oil wont 'hang up' on every engine component. It will also have expanded slightly due to being hot. Check a hot bike after say five minutes and you will get the max oil in the sump - quite different to the handbook method. If you drain your oil when the bike is at working temperature it runs out like water !
I have just gone outside and followed Hondas advice to the letter... and the level shown is exactly the same as my usual "post ride" method.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigKev View Post
The key to checking oil level is time and temperature.
If you do it like Honda say you cant go wrong. Their method does two significant things . The engine is warm (not hot) and only 2/3 minutes have elapsed before checking. That will give an oil level that a dealer can easily check without having to take the bike for a ride to get it to working temp - he hasn't time for that.

If you check oil after a ride the oil is red hot and will drain quickly to the sump and oil wont 'hang up' on every engine component. It will also have expanded slightly due to being hot. Check a hot bike after say five minutes and you will get the max oil in the sump - quite different to the handbook method. If you drain your oil when the bike is at working temperature it runs out like water !
If the dealer hasnt got time to take the bike for a warm up ride he shouldn't be in business, how does he know the bikes fit to ride & hasn't got any problems, part of every service or pre delivery is a short test ride to check the bike out
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 08:11 PM
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If you see oil on the dip **** (you are good to go)
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 10:41 PM
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I hope you guys aren't checking the oil level with the bike on its center stand. Placing the bike on the center stand keeps the bike upright but not leveled.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 03:32 AM
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Yes the dealer may take the bike for a spin, but it is likely to be just a short ride that wont get the oil as hot as a decent ride
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 03:41 AM
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I would imagine that anyone with a centre stand will use the centre stand when checking oil level. Its a two man job otherwise. As regards being level on the centre stand - yes the back end will be raised but that should have little affect on the level at the dipstick if the dipstick is somewhere near the centre of the crankcase.
Take a glass of water and tip it from side to side - the level will be high at one side and low at the other but at the centre there will be no change.
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