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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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.
 

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I just did my first oil change and ran into the same situation.

I did however check my oil and refilled to the same level on the stick. Like others, it took a little over 5 quarts to get back to the same level.

I was and am still concerned about the level.

That said, when I drained my oil, my pan supposedly holds 7 quarts of oil. The level in the pan was so high, I had to be VERY careful not to spill it as I took it to my recycle container.

I thought mine held that much because I rocked the bike and got more oil out of it than Kawasaki thought I would. I sort of felt like they intended the drain plugs to be removed and let the oil drain without moving the bike to get the excess out.
 

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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 air box. 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.”
Well I have been putting 5 qts of oil in my Voyager for 4 years now and haven't had any come up in the crankcase breather hose. I think you're going overboard on worrying about too much oil being added. It only makes since to fill it to at lease the 1/2 way hash mark. :)
 

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When I check my oil in my 2010 Nomad, I go by the manual which states to run a cold engine at idle for about ten minutes if its fairly warm outside, and not to rev it, then check it.
Does anyone know if you get a different reading if you check it after returning from a ride and waiting a few minutes for the oil to settle?
I thought this would show a differnet level because of something about the oil filter oil flow?
I never really understood the differences.
Thanks, Eric
 

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ridgeman, I think if you re-read that procedure it is stating when changing the oil to ensure that you run it to warm it up. The not reving it is to prevent damage should you not have oil pressure following a change (filling the filter, etc.). My 2009 manual states that after a ride let the bike sit for 2-3 minutes after shutdown to let the oil settle.

Last oil change (1st for my Nomad) it only took 4.3 quarts and is full. I know I drained almost all of it becuase the dipstick is clean as a whistle when I check oil level - no discoloration from old and new oil mixing.
 
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