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Discussion Starter #1
I've been checking my oil level often. Since the first time I checked I've not been able to see anything but black in the window. I've tried leveling the bike but nothing changed. The only thing I can figure is I've put too much oil in and the oil level is above the window or the window has darkened for some reason. I'm coming up on 3,000 mi. since I got the bike and will soon do an oil change. I'd rather not change the oil right now because I've got an overnight camping trip planned for the next two days and I want to get an early start.

By the way, when I look down the filler hole, the oil is clear and doesn't look dark at all.

Is there some trick I'm missing or am I doing something wrong.

Thanks,

John
 

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How are you checking the oil John. It's very important to follow Suzuki's instructions and do the 3 minute idle with the bike on the centre stand, then let it stand for a further 3 minutes. Then WITH THE WHEELS ON LEVEL GROUND OFF THE CENTRE STAND, hold the bike upright and look at the sight glass window. It should read right on the top full mark for it to be right. Unless you check it this way you will always get a false reading. Ignore the Suzuki workshop manual on this and only do it the way the Owners Manual says (as outlined above). The wheels MUST be on level ground with the weight of the bike on them, not the centre stand. If you are not used to doing it this way you will find it a bit strange to start with. It requires a knack which I outline in another thread which I don't have a link to hand yet. But it's easy when you have done it a time or two and if you put the sidestand down while holding the bike upright, it will prevent you dropping the bike away from your during the check. Of course, you can get someone else to help if you prefer.
 

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QM is spot on. I use an inspection mirror that I got at AdvanceAuto. It helps if you illuminate the area. You might make sure that your sight glass is clean. I know that, for some reason, mine always gets a coating of black crud that pretty much obscures the viewing. BTW, I think when you look in the fill hole you are seeing a thin film of oil on the exposed parts. At 3K I would expect the oil to appear pretty black.
 

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If you can actually see the oil level by looking through the filler hole
then it's well over full it takes less than 2qt so may be worth doing that
change just to be sure, some will give dire warnings about over filling
but wile you cant beat getting it right it's better over than under but
if you can see the level in the filler it is a good bit over and if you have
a long trip with high speed coming it would be better being sure, oil is
the life blood of the engine.
Possibly someone thats used to filling industrial engines as filled it were
you fill till its level with the filler hole.
 

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It will apear all black on the window if level is above the window. It would look clear if brand new oil and engine not run much, but it does not take long to get black looking.

Tilt the bike to the left and see if you can see the top of the oil level. My guess is you have it too full.

I do not worry about if it is on the ground or on center stand (very little difference in level). As far as I am concerned, if oil is near the top level mark or above it and near the top of the glass when on the center stand - it is OK even if you have not run the engine first.

That said, I do run engine forst and wait a bit when making a final check.

There is very little oil difference between the top level and mid way (a few ounces). But, I strive to keep it near the upper level line or slightly above when on the center stand.
 

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Yes, you are right Paul. But remember it will vary from bike to bike depending where the suspension setting is at. It makes a huge difference to the reading if you check the bike with the suspension on setting 1 or 2. Then do the same on suspension setting 5+. With the engine forming a dynamic part of the suspension it has to be on the wheels to get an accurate reading with the engine being run first. No good leveling the bike on the centre stand either, that's not how it works as some on here seem to do, even chocking the front wheel to level the bike. It gives a completely false reading of substantial quantity. The level doesn't have to be spot on of course as you suggest, but it must be within the upper and lower lines and preferably at the upper. If you don't check an individual bike properly, from experience I can tell you the level can show full or more than full. But when done properly as per the owners manual, the oil can be on the lower line or even below it depending what the suspension setting is. Can't stress that enough. Owners of some of the 400's that I service are amazed when I show them how little oil they have in their engines when I do a check in front of them to show them how it's done. Just saying that each bike could be set up differently so there is no general rule that you can apply other than doing it properly as per the owners handbook. Your method may work for you but for someone else it may leave them seriously short of oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all,

After going though the procedure as outlined by QM, I was able to determine I had too much oil -- as suspected. I emptied about a quarter cup to get it down to the full line.

It's been like that for about 1,000 mi. Is there a chance I may have done some damage? I rode about 300 mi. today and didn't notice any difference.

Thanks again,

John
 

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If it was going to do anything it would leak oil from seals or blow oil
from breathers if you have no leaks or signs of oil burning I would not
worry, may be worth checking the air filter as if oil as been blown out
of the breather it may have contaminated the filter.
 

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Bike on its wheels, on level ground = same thing as on centerstand WITH A 2x4 UNDER THE FRONT WHEEL. Then you can see the window directly. Change it to be sure. It's only 2 qts......
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again,

As someone who knew next to nothin' 'bout scooters two months ago, this site has been an amazing fount of information.

Thanks all,

John
 

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Bike on its wheels, on level ground = same thing as on centerstand WITH A 2x4 UNDER THE FRONT WHEEL. Then you can see the window directly. Change it to be sure. It's only 2 qts......
Huge respect mike, but no. It completely alters the dynamics of the engine/swing arm position. Doing it that way can give a big overead and makes you think the oil level is correct when in fact if you then do it properly, it's at the bottom line in the sight glass, or below the minimum level depending where your suspension is at. Again that may work for you but I'd be surprised if your level was actually correct. They don't hold much so it's good to get it right. Done your way all the oil goes to the back of the sump, instead of finding the correct running level when it's on it's wheels with the weight of the bike on them. This is where some folks go wrong. To be sure you get the correct level the bike must be on it's wheels. Leveling the bike with chocks at the front causes the engine to drop down meaning the engine is not in the normal running position.
 

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Oops :shock: Good point, I will recheck my assumptions. Perhaps concoct a holder for the front wheel so I can check properly :) A chance to use power tools!
 

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Making my own stand
Or
A trip to Harbor Freight.... Hmmmmm :D
 

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Again be careful. It lifts the front of the bike. I don't use my motorcycle stand for any oil checking on the Burgman 400's. It alters the level of the bike from the normal running position. That and the differing suspension settings that owners use then makes it impossible for me to carry out a proper oil level check before or after service. So I always check using the owners hand book method. The reason I check the oil before a service is to make sure the bike has not been run with too little oil. If it has I inform the owner or allow them to see the level before they go. That way I'm covered, and cannot be blamed for any engine damage through incorrect oil level being applied to their bike afterwards. I've found too often many owners are not checking their oil correctly on the Burgman 400 K7+ bikes and simply don't know it's either below the minimum level, or well over the full mark. I know I keep banging on about this stuff but you'd be amazed how bad this problem can be with some owners I've encountered. Right, not saying anymore about this now. I'm sure you're well fed up with me!...
 

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Wouldn't worry about it that much if it was so critical the roads would be
littered with bikes and scooters seized or pouring oil from every joint,
in fact the in the workshop manual step 1" keep the motorcycle upright
with center stand" this is when doing a oil change it then gives the warm
up 3 min thing like the owners book but at no point does it tell you to take
it off the center stand, that you are thinking of a stand to hold it vertical
shows you are aware of the difficulty in getting it vertical every time and
there is much more scope for getting it wrong by not getting it vertical
that way than on the center stand.
 

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Hi Ralph, Ok one last point. As I mention in many of my posts it's not too critical regarding where the oil level is at. But here's the thing. The oil must be between the upper and lower lines for best engine life and to avoid engine damage. Doing it the way many folks on here propose and/or have been doing can/will lead to oil levels either below the minimum or well above it. And the thing is, because they don't check properly with the bike on it's wheels, they won't know it's wrong. They will believe it's right as many of my owners do who bring their bikes in for service to me. There are many variables with these bikes when checking the oil. Suzuki GB say to disregard the genuine Suzuki workshop manual for the oil check routine. It's wrong for the routine check but was intended for use only after an overhaul and then the owners manual should be followed once the engine has been run and at all other times. The Haynes Manual (like the Suzuki Owners handbook) for the Burgman 400 is the only manual that states the correct way to do the oil check with the bike held upright on it's wheels. ALL current model Suzuki bikes must be checked with the bike held upright on the wheels after following the Suzuki Owners Handbook instruction first. Heck many Suzuki bikes don't even have a centre stand. If the oil level is a little below the minimum level the bike will still run. But you are increasing engine wear exponentially. It's not going to seize unless its well short of oil. But clearly not a good situation. The only way to get it right is to check the bike on it's wheels after doing all the things in the owners manual first ie: running for 3mins then standing for 3mins on the centre stand, then placing bike on wheels, as this eliminates the variability of suspensions settings etc etc. The main problem is often folks get their info from forums on stuff like this and don't actually read the owners manual. And as we can see misinformation spreads like wildfire over and over again. I've tried all methods of checking the oil on customers bikes and rarely get an accurate result unless it's checked with the bike on it's wheels.

The final point to mention (yep the actual final point!) here in this thread is the amount of oil you get out of a Burgman 400 at service is also variable depending on what suspension setting you have your bike set to and whether you use the centre stand to drain the oil as per the workshop manual or the sidestand as per the owners manual. The Suzuki figures mentioned on the side of the engine and in the manual are for guidance only and are approximate values, not the actual amounts needed in many cases. On the center stand I measured exactly 1.47 litres of oil came out of my bike including the oil in the filter housing. So only putting in 1.3 litres of oil as per the owners handbook leave the engine short of oil at the bottom line of the sight glass. Thats with my suspension set on position 5. With it on a lower setting less oil comes out. So you can see you cannot rely on just putting in the amount advised by Suzuki. Again many variables. And again too much said about all this by me. But folks need to know this stuff. Check on wheels is the only way to get it right. Thanks guys....
 
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