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OK, first post. I know this works for a 2011 400 and could come in handy for other sizes and years. I don’t like trying to balance a 500 pound motorcycle with one hand while kneeling to see the oil level window so I devised the following.

1) Throw a chain, it doesn’t have to be heavy duty, over a garage beam or hang it from a hook secured to a ceiling truss, letting equal amounts of chain hang down to handlebar length.

2) Attach a couple rings to the chain so they just have room to slip over the handlebar grips.

3) At that point you should be able to push the motorcycle front or back a little to remove the slack from the chain and the cycle should be able to stand up about perfectly straight with no center or side stand and hands free.

Because you leave very little slack in the hanging chains once the rings are over the grips the cycle will hardly lean especially after pushing it forward or rearward. Now you can easily bend down to look at the oil window without holding onto the cycle. Once it’s balancing there’s very little weight on the chain and parts so nothing has to be too heavy duty. Very slick and easy. It's the Snow Dog Sling.
 

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Much easier to purchase wheel chock or make DIY one at home. Safer also.
 

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Don't 400s come with a center stand?
 

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Re-engineering something that does not need re-engineering. The engineers designed the sump and view window/dip-stick so you check it on the center stand with the back wheel slightly raised. With the back wheel on the ground it will skew the level slightly. Plus too much work to build a garage with a beam to throw that chain over. I'd just put it up on the center stand and be done in less time. YMMV.
 

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Snow Dog- Welcome to the Forum! :)

I went through this with my 400 as well. Just put it up on the center stand, the reading is almost identical to the reading you'll get trying to hold it up. :cool:
 

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I use an extendable inspection mirror I got a Walmart for $3. Just sit on the bike and hold the mirror. Simple quick and the mirror has a 100 other uses.
 

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On a level surface, put the bike on the center stand. Check the oil level. If it is at least at the mid-point, take it off the center stand, start it up, and ride. The difference between a center stand reading and a 'holding it vertical' reading is a nit. And not worth the time or contortions (or risk) of holding the bike up while taking a reading. I applaud the efforts to find a cure - but there is simply no disease.
 

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I and others have posted about this issue previously but it's worth repeating. I am talking about the 2007 models onwards, not the earlier dipstick versions. The problem is that if you don't follow the Suzuki owners manual method (NOT the workshop manual method) of checking the oil level on it's wheels after running the motor, letting it stand etc etc you will get a wrong reading, almost for sure. The level may just be a little different from where it should be, or it may be a huge difference and below the lower line if you then check the level again with the bike on it's wheels. I've proven it over and over as have others on here. When a Burgman comes into the shop for service the first thing we do it check the oil level with the owner. I've hardly ever seen one that is set correctly, and often there is too little oil in the engine. Owners, who often haven't ever read the owners manual seem to think it's ok to do it on the centre stand. It isn't. When we ask owners how they do it, they say on the CS so we educate them. Sometimes the level is way too low done that way but the owner says the level is fine on the CS but just haven't realised that's the wrong method of checking. And for the record...ALL current Suzuki's, bikes or scooters must have the oil checked with the bike on it's wheels, as laid down in the owners manuals. If you have been checking the level on the CS and you reckon your level is ok then fine. It may be fine, or not. If you have never carried out a proper check then how will you know. There are so many variables that come into play if you don't do it right and some owners don't understand those variable leading them to ride around with too little oil or too much. As these engines carry so little oil it's important to get it right! If you are a new owner it's vital to not take short cuts by using the Centre Stand for the oil check as you may not know enough about certain variables that come into play. Here is a brief overview of the variables below.

Firstly, there is a correlation between the oil level and the position of the engine unit as it swings up and down. That's why Suzuki asks you to check the level with the bike on it's wheels ON LEVEL GROUND as it takes away the guesswork and nulifies the variables to almost zero and allows you to check the oil level with the engine largely in it's natural running position. On the centre stand the engine hangs low which increases the oil level that you will see. How much it increases is dependant on where the suspension level is set at. A soft low setting will be different to a hard high setting. All this affects how low the engine unit will hang on the CS. It can make quite a difference. As much as going from full to under the lower oil level line on the window. Some folks say that it make little if any difference. Well it may not for them because through luck they have got it right or they are estimating the level because they have done the level check correctly on one occassion and found they can estimate the level on the CS because they immediately checked the CS level after doing it right. Their suspension setting also may be set to a position where the difference between CS and on it's wheels is not so much. But you cannot depend on that. The oil window will usually show as overfull if the engine level is correct when the bike is on it's CS, but on it's wheels the level will show correct or overfull still or even not full enough. Again depends where the suspension is set. It could go completely the other way depending on suspension setting and still be way way too low. The best way to be sure is do it right! It's easy to balance the bike for most folks. Just run the bike first for 3 mins on the CS as per the owners manual. Let the bike stand for 3 mins, put the sidestand down and the handbrake on, and then stand on the right side of the bike near the engine/rear. Hold the bike upright. Bob down on your right knee while facing slightly towards the front of the bike. I normally put my left hand on the seat and my left knee up against the bike to steady the bike at this stage. You can then lean down, turn your head and look across at the window and easily see the oil level. Make sure to rock the bike slightly towards you and away from you while watching the oil level to enable you to see the correct highest level. Top up if required. Done! Takes 7 mins to do including the running and standing time of the engine. It's just practice. I did it a dozen times a day as you always finish a service by checking the level with the bike on it's wheels. You cannot rely on measuring the amount of oil you get out of the bike and putting back the same amount to get the level right. Or by just draining and putting in the amount Suzuki says in the book expecting it to be right. Depending on where your suspension is set you will get differing amounts of oil out of the engine each time.
 

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It much simpler to use stand alone front wheel chock, it stand straight on itself and just lean down and view the oil level window or sit on bike and use inspection mirror.

I verify oil every time bike go out and adjust every time oil level between half and full, this normally represent additional 75-100 ml.
 

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Wow! I didn't think of the changes in engine position as the swing arm moves. Another good reason to have the 650.
 

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Or, you could just look through the sight glass while on the center stand like 1000s have done for 1,000,000s of miles successfully. : )
 

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What QM said...

I went through cerebral manifestations on this issue. Built my own front wheel stand. Just so I could check it ON ITS WHEELS.

But the final answer was, that telescopic mirror :) Stows in an old sock, in the glove box. Also, I stuck a little level on the dash so I would make sure it's straight side-to-side. Easy, cheap, oh- and it's cheap.
 

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Thanks QM - I always come away smarter after I read your posts! I agree that an owner should benchmark the difference between the by-the-book method the CS method. Once that differential is understood, one can factor that into a CS reading. If, for example, my CS reading is a "quarter of a window" higher than with both tires level, I know oil to the full line means I have a 3/4 full with the bike on the ground - which is fine by me. If I was obsessed with always keeping the level at the full line, I'd be wise to use the book method. But I'm only concerned with maintaining oil at or above mid-point to the 3/4 level, so checking on the CS works for me. Maybe I'm just lazy or a klutz. I must also confess that the 10% speedo error doesn't bother me either.
 

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I have no doubts QM is correct but wonder how many 400s will be dropped and bikes or people hurt doing this rather than centerstand method?
 

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Me just have idea to simplify this procedure:

- Place bike on center stand
- Measure distance between tire that is up and ground.
- Ex: if this distance is 2 in. divide by 2 = 1 in.
- Make wood or other material support of 1 in.
- Place support under wheel that touch ground.
- Now both front and back pretty equal and balance.
- Now read oil level.
 

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I and others have posted about this issue previously but it's worth repeating. I am talking about the 2007 models onwards, not the earlier dipstick versions. The problem is that if you don't follow the Suzuki owners manual method (NOT the workshop manual method) of checking the oil level on it's wheels after running the motor, letting it stand etc etc you will get a wrong reading, almost for sure. The level may just be a little different from where it should be, or it may be a huge difference and below the lower line if you then check the level again with the bike on it's wheels. the bike on it's wheels[/B], as laid down in the owners manuals.
I have a little bit of confusion here. Are you stating Suzuki's post 2007 workshop manual is wrong?
I also don't understand your statement: The level may just be a little different from where it should be, or it may be a huge difference and below the lower line, if you then check the level again with the bike on it's wheels. the bike on it's wheels, as laid down in the owners manuals. What exact amount in liters, quarts, ounces or milliliters are we talking about as being a huge difference that would be missed when checking the oil level on the center stand vs on the tires.
 

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Thank you QM
 

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Before you ask, the answer is "yes, I'm retired. And I do have this kind of time on my hands"

I just observed the oil level window in four different ways, and recorded my observations on the attached doc. These are strictly visual estimations, no precision tools were used. The red line represents the oil level. My AN400's preload is set at 3.

1. On center stand: note- the F/L markers appeared level with the ground. (I would have expected them to angle up toward the front.)

2. CS and one support under the front tire with rear slightly less elevated (Cherie's suggestion): F/L markers are angled upward

3. CS with front supported to where rear tire is on the ground. F/L markers still angled upward, too close to #2 to tell the difference.

4. No CS, bike held vertical (by me): The F/L markers appeared level with ground, but I couldn't get a good visual angle and hold the bike at the same time. Likewise, the slightest tilting from 90 degrees had a dramatic effect on the oil level reading. My best estimation is that the level was slightly above midpoint - let's say 3/5th full. And the line was level with the ground. Unless you are sure you are holding the bike nearly perfectly, I think there is a considerable margin for error. However, I'd have to say that since the markers, oil level line and ground are all in parallel - this is the most accurate method, provided the bike is exactly perpendicular to the ground.

Conclusion. I will continue to check my level with the bike on the CS. I think the midpoint of the oil level line is extremely close to the bike-on-ground line. And if this midpoint is above the midway point between F & L I'm good to go.

Would be interested if someone else tries this experiment and reports back. Or tell me where my analysis could be wrong.
 

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