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  #1  
Old 09-09-2012, 11:04 AM
lgajohnymac lgajohnymac is offline
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Default Oil consumption and sludge 40k miles

Original owner 2009, 44k miles now, always kept up with oil changes, running rotella oil in every change, valves are all at the bottom of clearance spec at checks at 15k, 25k, and 44k. Starting after the 38k oil change, I noted oil consumption at the 41k, and then additions before the 44k oil change. I added oil two times from 41k to 44k. Likely about a full quart between both additions. At the 44k change, I drained the oil and found a small amount of precipitants (a couple white larger pieces but no metal). When I opened the head to check the valve clearance I noted sludge build up in the oil deflector, but no build up on the visible parts of the head or in the oil pan when drained. I have not noted any loss in power, nor smoke at start up or oil burning odor while running.

Next week I will compression check both cylinders and maybe drop the oil pan to check the pan for more sludge. I write today in hopes that some of you great mechanics have some advice on the next steps.

If my compression is good, I plan to do nothing additional, but monitor the oil levels.
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  #2  
Old 09-09-2012, 11:20 AM
ScottyNeal ScottyNeal is offline
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Maybe the Rotella oil is not doing a good job?
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:07 PM
Sykes Sykes is offline
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Which Rotella? T6 or that other heavier one? I would always prefer using a motorcycle specific oil, as opposed to Rotella (which is approved, but covers a ton of other specifications too). I have heard that the Shell oils are great for low-revving diesels but may foam under hi-revving sport bikes.

What intervals do you run?
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:02 PM
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Last edited by AzItLies; 10-23-2012 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:08 PM
lgajohnymac lgajohnymac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzItLies View Post
lgajohnymac, other than the oil you're using, and that regular maintenance has been done (as you noted it has)...

there's not to much more than how the bike was broken in? It almost sounds pretty possible, from what you say, that's there's significant "blow by" passed the rings? causing the sludge?

Maybe some that are more knowledgeable re engine mechanics will chime in, but in all honesty, if you broke the bike in, how did you do it? It might help others to keep this from happening, assuming it was partly due to break in...

these things are so hard to tell though for sure...

Hoping for the best for you. If it is the rings, that's not that expensive to fix.
I had dealer do the initial servicing. Never had any issue since. Avoiding an oil discussion, which I don't think is relevant, as this oil brought the bike this far, I am seeking other possible items to check or feedback with similar issue at this mileage. I have about 1/3 of the miles on dirt roads, and I have seen sand in the airbox past the filter. I have not noticed a reduction in power. I am most concerned that the dirt passing the filter has caused a friction issue. And perhaps someone can chime in on telltale signs of motor wear at the early stages of contamination like one would see in an elevated debris operational environment.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:12 PM
lgajohnymac lgajohnymac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
Which Rotella? T6 or that other heavier one? I would always prefer using a motorcycle specific oil, as opposed to Rotella (which is approved, but covers a ton of other specifications too). I have heard that the Shell oils are great for low-revving diesels but may foam under hi-revving sport bikes.

What intervals do you run?
3kand other than moisture in the sightglass nothing abnormal.
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  #7  
Old 09-09-2012, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgajohnymac View Post
3kand other than moisture in the sightglass nothing abnormal.
Sludge is created when engine oil doesn't reach a temperature of 212F (100C) or more, often enough to evaporate moisture via the crankcase vent at bottom of airbox... You're using Shell Rotella T 15W-40? How many miles between oil changes?
Your thermostat may be weak... A Thermo-Bob radiator bypass would have ensured that the coolant circulating in engine reaches and stabilizes at proper temperature, thus allowing oil to to reach desirable operating temperature. Stock thermostat has a bypass hole instead.
Oil consumption may be caused by leaking valve seals, worn rings/cylinders, or possibly broken ring(s) if it started suddenly. Beside damage caused by sludge buildup, engine wear and strain is increased when running below optimal operating temperature.

Last edited by invader; 09-09-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:26 PM
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Last edited by AzItLies; 10-23-2012 at 01:15 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-09-2012, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgajohnymac View Post
I have about 1/3 of the miles on dirt roads, and I have seen sand in the airbox past the filter. I have not noticed a reduction in power. I am most concerned that the dirt passing the filter has caused a friction issue. And perhaps someone can chime in on telltale signs of motor wear at the early stages of contamination like one would see in an elevated debris operational environment.
Any dirt and fine sand past the air filter definitely is an additional reason for your problem. It causes accelerated wear on cylinders, pistons and rings. Oil is also contaminated leading to increased overall engine wear.
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:48 AM
Mt. Versuvius Mt. Versuvius is offline
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I just got back from a trip across Labrador (very dusty from passing vehicles) and my air filter was a mess. Had to remove the whole airbox and give it a good clean, as I would not have been able to reinstall the air filter without dislodging all kinds of dirt. My brother said his V-strom's filter was surprisingly clean, except for the bugs. He mostly rode in front on this part of the trip, and he would de-clutch whenever a vehicle went by, so bike was idling until the dust settled. I hope you keep us informed what you find out, lgajohnymac.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:34 AM
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If cylinder bores are worn/damaged, they can be repaired, replated and honed. A new cylinder block is $742 from Part Shark. New pistons and rings, cylinder base and head gaskets, valve seals and springs, inspect valve guides and valves... Actual power loss is gradual, and excessive oil consumption will lead to further problems. Also, pistons and rings, etc should be inspected before catastrophic failure occurs. Renewed power would be quite noticeable.

http://www.langcourt.com/page4.html

Four cylinder replate & diamond hone (aluminum or cast iron) is $384.95, so a twin would be about $200 ~ $250.

Last edited by invader; 09-10-2012 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:13 AM
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Not to hijack the thread but how many miles are normal people getting out of these engines? Are they 100K engines? Less? More?

Anybody successfully boring and sleeving them bigger without issues? Does anyone make a big bore sleeve and cylinder kit? Is there room?

Again, sorry for the hijack.
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  #13  
Old 09-10-2012, 05:27 PM
lgajohnymac lgajohnymac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invader View Post
If cylinder bores are worn/damaged, they can be repaired, replated and honed. A new cylinder block is $742 from Part Shark. New pistons and rings, cylinder base and head gaskets, valve seals and springs, inspect valve guides and valves... Actual power loss is gradual, and excessive oil consumption will lead to further problems. Also, pistons and rings, etc should be inspected before catastrophic failure occurs. Renewed power would be quite noticeable.

http://www.langcourt.com/page4.html

Four cylinder replate & diamond hone (aluminum or cast iron) is $384.95, so a twin would be about $200 ~ $250.
Thanks for the feedback, I will update with the compression check and oil pan inspection this weekend. Can anyone chime in on sludge deposit patterns? I could not find any in the head itself except for the oil deflector. Would it be worthwhile to remove the side cover and check the clutch area for sludge, or would the oil pan tell me more? Anyone ever cut open a filter to look? I was thinking a hack saw would work.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:03 PM
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The oil pan would hold most of any deposits. No need to remove clutch cover. You can cut your oil filter open with hacksaw if you like, as others have... Most of the sludge will collect up high in the oil deflector area.

Last edited by invader; 09-10-2012 at 11:19 PM.
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  #15  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post
Not to hijack the thread but how many miles are normal people getting out of these engines? Are they 100K engines? Less? More?

Anybody successfully boring and sleeving them bigger without issues? Does anyone make a big bore sleeve and cylinder kit? Is there room?

Again, sorry for the hijack.
With regular maintenance and upkeep, it can run 100K without major repairs.

Cylinders cannot be oversized, and there are no replaceable sleeves. No room, and no available oversized pistons.

There are high compression forged aluminum pistons available. Stock cast aluminum pistons are lighter, which is a good thing... Also, forged aluminum pistons are fitted with more tolerance (piston to cylinder clearance) to allow for their higher expansion rate upon warmup. It's easier to screw up the break-in with forged pistons, and still end up with an oil burning engine.

Last edited by invader; 09-12-2012 at 06:57 AM.
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  #16  
Old 09-17-2012, 08:56 AM
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If you've been using the same oil since new, and you haven't experienced any obvious "sludge" buildup or oil consumption, then something fundamental has changed. Root cause analysis is needed, then resolution...

"Sludge" is a somewhat generic term for sticky black matrix deposits in the engine.
There are a few types of sludge. One is inorganic sludge. Comes from contamination by fine particles of metal, sand, dust, etc. that are dropping out in slow spots in the engine, forming a sticky, black matrix deposit with oil, or components of the oil.
Another type of sludge is formed when a contaminant causes a chemical or mechanical reaction (an example of a mechanical reaction is a stable oil/water emulsion, looks like chocolate mousse) with the oil or one of it's additives, which overwhelms the additive package in the oil you are using, causing it to fail. This can be caused by localized high heat, water, anti-freeze, or some other contaminant - organic or inorganic.

Deposits can also form on a localized hot spot, as oil can "cook" onto a hot spot and cause a deposit buildup over time - but this type of deposit is usually quite hard.

Whatever the type, if you are seeing sludge, then somthing is overwhelming the dispersant additive in the oil - what causes contaminants to stay in solution so they can be carried along and filtered out in the oil filter. Once the dispersant additive is overwhelmed, it fails, and contaminants - "sludges" - drop out of the oil, and typically can be found in areas of the engine with lower-velocity oil flow, places where oil can form "eddies," or areas of cooler temperature. Of course, it is also possible that there is so much sludge forming in the engine oil that it is also overwhelming the oil filter, causing it to bypass, and cease filtering anything... but I would think that would be rare, without other more serious symptoms. Like an engine siezure...

(Once a contaminant or sludge is present, the tendency for an oil to foam is increased. Once foaming starts, lubrication efficiency drops, and the tendency to form sludges increases... adding to the original problem...)

Do not confuse sludge with shiny black surface deposits on surfaces in your engine. Many (most) corrosion inhibitors in oils and fuels are nitrose-amines (think Shell Nitrogen Enriched! Gasoline), which adhere to metal, forming blackish protective films. But very thin and hopefully uniform.

If it were me, I'd do what you did, first try to determine what has changed, about my air filter, riding habits, type of dirt typically encountered, etc. More difficult to determine, maybe the manufacturer has changed the formulation of your oil... that happens all the time. The specs don't change, but the base stock and the additive package can change, and they typically don't call ya up and let ya know...

I'd change oil and filter more often for a couple of changes. Switch to a cheap oil, run it for a few hours, change it out hot hot hot - repeat. Try to flush the crap out.

And again, if it were me, I'd change my oil manufacturer, maybe even my filter manufacturer. Go for the big filters. Just to see. I'd switch to a different brand for a bit, see if anything changes. Maybe even a car oil for a couple thousand km, one designed for a higher-mileage vehicle - the additive packages in these types of oils have a very agressive detergent/dispersant pack.

These are simple to try, and I'm sure most would have thought of them. Anything more advanced would need a disassembly and a mechanic - and I'm not one.

Just my opinion. I do have some experience in the manufacturing side of oils and additives, but I don't know everything...

Last edited by visitor zero; 09-17-2012 at 09:38 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-17-2012, 08:41 PM
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The engine should be smoking out of the exhaust if the rings are bad..Should be noticable at this rate..
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  #18  
Old 09-30-2012, 01:16 PM
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How's about a leak-down test. That should end the speculation about cyclinder wall damage. You never said how you broke in your engine. Easy like the manual says or MotoMan style? It would be interesting to find out.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:19 AM
lgajohnymac lgajohnymac is offline
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The engine should be smoking out of the exhaust if the rings are bad..Should be noticable at this rate..
No noticable smoke. I even warmed it up for the compression check in the garage. But I did smell oil burning, however that was after an oil change.

Oil lfilter was fairly clean when cut open, I could not see any sludge in it. I did not remove the pan, as I wanted to compression check prior to removing too much. I got the right cylinder checked and total compression was 105-110 psig with the throttle wide open. Service manual specs it at 178-217 (fairly sure about the lower spec from memory). The dang adapter for the hose to the gage stayed in the spark plug threads and I was out of time to check the left cylinder. So as soon as I can get out that adapter, I will warm up and check the left cylinder.

So it seems there will be more to investigate. I would speculate that the poor air filter was never meant to be dusty conditions often. And or that the valve clearance being at the bottom of the spec/slightly out most of its life contributed to the oil consumption.
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  #20  
Old 10-19-2012, 01:11 PM
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I was using 5W-40 synthetic car oil (Castrol) and switched to semi synthetic 10W-40 motorcycle specific oil and noticed a big improvement in shifting smoothness. I don't know why this is but even with now 5000miles on the bike since my last oil change it is still shifting much smoother than it was with the Castrol 5W-40 synthetic car oil.
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