How do you check your engine oil level? - BMW R1200GS Forum : R1200 GS Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-Jan-2020, 03:33 PM (898) Thread Starter
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How do you check your engine oil level?

I have owned several R1200/1250GS'. I have just discovered the correct procedure to check the engine oil level and what a palava that is! I have always checked the level by looking at the sight glass before a ride. If it was showing anywhere between midway and full I assumed it was ok. Incidentally, I have never had to top up between services and the oil level indicator on the dash would always show 'ok', on the odd occasion it bothers to show anything other than 'dashes'.

What one is actually supposed to do is travel for at least 18 miles. Stop and leave the engine ticking over until the radiator fan comes on, turn off the engine and then wait for five minutes before checking that the oil is between the minimum and maximum level on the sight glass with the bike in a upright position. If at the lower level add 0.8 litre of oil to bring it up to maximum.

Why such a song and dance? Why not have it so the level can be checked when the oil is cold?

I think I will continue doing what I have always done!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-Jan-2020, 04:19 PM (930)
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I don't know about the GS but my K1600GT would pop up a warning on the dash when it got a half quart low.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-Jan-2020, 06:12 PM (008)
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I don’t use the center stand, so I have a mirror that is placed to the side of my bike. Since they say you need to check the level while it is hot, I check my sight glass in the mirror (while the bike is level) after letting everything drain (5 min?). What you might try is to check the sight glass while it is hot as a reference point (full), then let the engine cool overnight. Then when the engine is cold and level, check where the level is when it’s cold.

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Last edited by Mark_M; 12-Jan-2020 at 07:34 PM (065).
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-Jan-2020, 06:14 PM (010)
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My operators manual just says switch it off at operating temperature and wait 5 minutes. After you do that the first time you know where it should be when cold for future checks.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-Jan-2020, 07:46 PM (073)
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I do much the same as Maturerider. Pretty much if you can see any oil when cold, then all is well.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 13-Jan-2020, 01:57 PM (831)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maturerider View Post
I have owned several R1200/1250GS'. I have just discovered the correct procedure to check the engine oil level and what a palava that is! I have always checked the level by looking at the sight glass before a ride. If it was showing anywhere between midway and full I assumed it was ok. Incidentally, I have never had to top up between services and the oil level indicator on the dash would always show 'ok', on the odd occasion it bothers to show anything other than 'dashes'.

What one is actually supposed to do is travel for at least 18 miles. Stop and leave the engine ticking over until the radiator fan comes on, turn off the engine and then wait for five minutes before checking that the oil is between the minimum and maximum level on the sight glass with the bike in a upright position. If at the lower level add 0.8 litre of oil to bring it up to maximum.

Why such a song and dance? Why not have it so the level can be checked when the oil is cold?

I think I will continue doing what I have always done!
Like you and Pterodactyl, the cold method is what I have always done. Seems to work fine.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 13-Jan-2020, 02:13 PM (842)
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My gauge works pretty well, though sometimes a little finicky. Well enough that it requires no acrobatics or timers as were required on my prev 1150 or 1200 roadsters
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 15-Jan-2020, 04:21 PM (931)
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So, is the warning indicator insufficient to rely on for accurate info (do I need oil or not)?
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 16-Jan-2020, 05:33 AM (481) Thread Starter
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The problem I find with the oil level display is that I do not often have 'My Vehicle' screen showing (where this function is displayed). One of the best time to check the oil display is waiting at traffic lights. The engine has to be up to temperature, bike upright, no brakes, stands in the up positions and a wait of at least 10 seconds. I must remember to scroll from one of my more used screen displays to 'My Vehicle' on the approach to the lights. Hopefully the lights don't turn green before the display show either 'OK' or 'LOW' otherwise dashes will continue to show.

I assume the low oil level warning light will only show after the above procedure has been carried out. If not, obviously it would not be necessary to carry out the above check regularly or even to look at the oil level sight glass. It would be nice to know?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 16-Jan-2020, 09:41 AM (653)
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Originally Posted by Lunasea2 View Post
So, is the warning indicator insufficient to rely on for accurate info (do I need oil or not)?
My low oil indicator was coming on all the time and the level was fine. A software update seemed to fix it for now. Just look at the site glass.
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