Oil Change Concerns - Too Much Oil?
I’m posting this information for all of the riders who contributed to the extensive discussion on the correct oil-fill-level for the 1700’s (and new riders who will encounter this “circumstance” at their first oil change).
As we all know, our manuals stipulate a refill volume of 4.5 quarts with filter change, approx. 5.5 quarts on an engine rebuild. For most of us (including me) our crankcase dipsticks do not reflect the “correct” oil level even when adhering to Kawasaki’s published procedures for checking oil levels AND a significant number of riders fill to 5 or 5.5 quarts at every change to accommodate the reading on the stick.
In this month’s issue of RIDER magazine’s TECH Q & A, a reader writes that he is concerned about reports that the 2006 Yamaha Road Star 1600 suffers from “valves sticking in the guides” and asks Andy McDonald (RIDER’S resident guru) about that situation.
Andy responds “… a call to Yamaha’s corporate office in Cypress, California, revealed that there were a few instances of valves sticking in their guides, but it was never a fault of the bike’s design. The primary problem is owners overfilling the oil tank, causing the excess oil to get pumped up the crankcase breather hose and into the airbox. From there, it is sucked into the combustion chamber and burned, causing oil carbon to pack the valve stems, eventually jamming them in the valve guides.”
Obviously, given engine design differences and specifications, who is to know whether this information is relative to our Vulcan’s in any way. It has, however, caused me to PAUSE based on my first oil change experience with my 1700. I have been and continue to be concerned for fellow riders who are filling to the 5-quart-plus level in an attempt to satisfy hash marks on the dipstick – a 20% difference between specified and actual.
My previous Honda’s and Yamaha’s used dipsticks instead of site-glass AND read correctly, consistently, when the manufacturer’s procedures were followed – there was no guess work. AND the specified refill oil levels (with filter change) were correctly reflected on the dipstick.
I firmly believe there is a general problem with the Kawasaki PROCEDURE (as written) for checking oil, not the oil volume specifications. I believe anything over 4.5 quarts over-fills the crankcase. I also believe that THAT condition is much more dangerous than being a half quart low in a system than uses over 4.5 quarts of oil. (My air-cooled Moto Guzzi uses just under 2 quarts, and 20% one way or another would probably damage my engine.)
Just food for thought. Ride safe.
Last edited by RickyTT; 07-02-2013 at 02:33 PM.
Reason: spelling error