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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings, All-

I know that the oil level is supposed to be between the two lines in the sight glass on the side of the engine when the bike is level.

However, when my dealer does an oil change on my bike, the oil is just barely touching the bottom line...I'd like it in the middle.

When I questioned him on this, he asked how I checked the level; I check it first thing in the day before I start it up, by holding it level and using a shop mirror to see the glass. He told me I was checking it incorrectly, that I should let the bike run for a couple of minutes and then check the level.

It doesn't say anything about this in my OM, and quite frankly, I've never heard of such a practice.

Is he right? What do my esteemed Vulcan brothers say?

Thanks for the help,
 

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Dealer sounds like a bone head,oil levels after running are a BMW thing, not Kawi. Holding the bike level and checking the level in the window(before starting) is the right procedure. I am astonished at the lack of quality and know how at so many dealers service depts. these days.
 

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Telly, quite frankly, I like your way. But I also see the your mechanics point. The oil will expand when it gets hot and will probably reach the middle. While your way may make it appear to be overfilled.

I think either way is a flip of the coin. I would prefer a little more and no it will not damage your engine, by adding a few ounces.

The air cooled twins run much hotter than these and the oil can expand alot and I always check my other bike hot, but the Vulcans are more like car engines with the waterbag and fan and from what I have seen from mine, run much cooler, so you won't have as much problem with oil expansion.

But experiment. Check it hot and cold.
 

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That's not what the book says HOWEVER for the 2000 and the 1700's I believe it IS more complicated.

Halfway in the sight glass. More makes more mist going out the PCvent less is not enough designed cooling mass.
 

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I know one thing they sure could of put that sight glass in a better spot,have to get on your knees to see it.I made a board jack like mrclean but mines not as tall so the tire still touches for checking the oil.When I want to clean rim I put a extra 3/4 board under it to spin wheel.

I put mine in the center of marks cold last time before it was to the top & was still getting oil in filter with extra hose.I think the low mark is fine as these bikes hold alot of oil,but then if you loose any its under.
 

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I did a little experiment.

You see I never checked my oil after doing the last oil change. 1500miles ago. I figured 3 quarts was enough with filter.

Drafted the wife to lay on the floor with light. Got a carpenters level and attached to bars. At level mine read between 1/4 and 1/2.

Then I slightly tilted it each way. I was too lazy to go and get my inclinometer but probably only 2 or 3 degrees. Boy what a difference it, changed it in the sightglass from almost empty to almost completely full.

The only way I can see you are going to get a really accurate reading is to do what I did with a level or bolt a front wheel chock to a concrete floor that is perfectly level.

Also, when you are riding there will be a little less oil in the sump, but around corners I can't believe that it won't be sloshing around side to side.

If exact oil level is supposed to be space shuttle accurate, it would seem the Kaw engineers would have put a dipstick in to check on the kickstand.
 

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Sit on bike, engine cold. Stand bike up to balance point. Use shop mirror on stick. Oil at or near top line. Start bike. Ride bike. Park bike. Repeat as necessary. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you, everyone. I am convinced that the dealership is filling it incorrectly, we seem to agree on the method for checking the oil.

I appreciate your comments on this matter.
 

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I have a mirror I keep in the right saddle bag. When I don't stand the bike up on the cheap jack I sit on it, level it and use the mirror to check the oil. I overfilled the oil this time, not to the top but close with the bike on the cheap jack. I wanted to see if I get any dripping out of the aftermarket/relocated PCV filter. Anyways, I had the oil as it takes 3.2 qt. if you change the filter and 3.9 if you drain at the screen like I do.

Here's the check procedure from the service manual:
Oil Level Inspection •Check that the engine oil level is between the upper [A]
and lower level lines next to the gauge [C].
NOTE
○Situate the motorcycle so that it is perpendicular to the
ground.
○If the motorcycle has just been used, wait several minutes
for all the oil to drain down.
○If the oil has just been changed, start the engine and
run it for several minutes at idle speed. This fills the oil
filter with oil. Stop the engine, then wait several minutes
until the oil settles.
 

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With all of the bikes I have had( and there have been alot) with sight glasses. I have always put the oil level at the half way point or just a bit above it. It has never failed me.
If having to wait on the oil to settle, then having the level between the marks whether it`s at 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 should be no problem. The oil doesn`t expand enough to make a significant difference. Main thing is just have enough in there to see it thru the sight glass. Now over filling will open up a whole new arguement about expansion, should we start that thread now?
 

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Guys,
on my 2007 Vulcan 900 Custom the manual say 3.1 quarts and on the bike right next to the Oil cap it says 3.2 (small sticker left of the cap on the frame). Last Oil change I did myself since most shops are closed or junk and the level was on top of the window. Not quite sure which one you have but worth checking it.
 

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I have no idea what some of you are talking about.

It specifically states in my owners manual to start the bike, and let it run for a few minutes before checking the oil. There is also a sticker just left of the oil cap as Berlin had mentioned, that indicates the amount of oil needed after an oil change (for both when just changing the oil, and changing the oil+filter).

The reason this is done is because you want the oil to get on top of the heads and all the moving parts, and still know you have oil left in the sump so the engine doesn't starve when its running. There always needs to be ready supply of oil. Your oil level may be between the marks when sitting all night, but it could very well drop below the bottom mark once the oil pump has pushed the oil all around the engine.
 

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So i am having trouble seeing the oil in my sight glass. SO my owners man says 3.4 its a 2006 Vulcan Classic. Is this what I should go with???
 

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When I change the oil, I also change the filter. I start and warm the engine until the cooling fan turns on. Then I drain the oil and remove the filter. I let it drain for 30 minutes, sometimes moving the bike from side to side to maximize drainage. I put the new filter on then fill with oil. I fill with 4 quarts. Then after a few minutes, I check the sight glass to see a bubble at the top. I know this is slightly over filling it. I could cut back on the 4th quart, since there is a quantity scale on the bottle and be consistent with that. Historically, I have overfilled just slightly, with no ill effects. I know crankshaft foaming is possible with over filling, but this is slight over filling. There have been no ill effects. Each rider should do what they feel is best.
 

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So why slightly overfill my 900? There are several reasons. Many racers slightly overfill their crankcases, which they do to avoid ANY possibility of oil starvation during a race. They are well aware of crankcase windage (a mixture of oil mist and vapor being churned by the crankshaft and con-rods) and it's influence on internal engine drag. They are also well aware of the dangers of a crankshaft dipping into the oil when it's too full and generating foam, which fills oil passages with air bubbles, thus creating the very oil starvation they were trying to prevent. I also like maximizing the amount of anti-wear and anti-corrosion additives available during the normal oil change interval.

Filling with oil too full is bad, for the above stated reasons (and others including hydro locking). Slightly overfilling can be good, as long as you don't overdue it. However, I do have the crankcase ventilation problem, with very slight amounts of oil running from the bottom of the air cleaner. However, I will NOT adjust my oil level to try and correct this very minor problem, that a quick wipe of a rag can take care of, at the end of a ride.
 

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So why slightly overfill my 900? There are several reasons. Many racers slightly overfill their crankcases, which they do to avoid ANY possibility of oil starvation during a race. They are well aware of crankcase windage (a mixture of oil mist and vapor being churned by the crankshaft and con-rods) and it's influence on internal engine drag. They are also well aware of the dangers of a crankshaft dipping into the oil when it's too full and generating foam, which fills oil passages with air bubbles, thus creating the very oil starvation they were trying to prevent. I also like maximizing the amount of anti-wear and anti-corrosion additives available during the normal oil change interval.

Filling with oil too full is bad, for the above stated reasons (and others including hydro locking). Slightly overfilling can be good, as long as you don't overdue it. However, I do have the crankcase ventilation problem, with very slight amounts of oil running from the bottom of the air cleaner. However, I will NOT adjust my oil level to try and correct this very minor problem, that a quick wipe of a rag can take care of, at the end of a ride.
Racers do a lot of things that street riders shouldn't do. They also expect to rebuild their engines on a regular basis because some of the things they do have adverse effects on their engines. Will what you are doing adversely affect your engine? I dunno. All I'm saying is that your logic that because racers do it so it must be ok for street bikes is faulty.
 

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So why slightly overfill my 900? There are several reasons. Many racers slightly overfill their crankcases, which they do to avoid ANY possibility of oil starvation during a race. They are well aware of crankcase windage (a mixture of oil mist and vapor being churned by the crankshaft and con-rods) and it's influence on internal engine drag. They are also well aware of the dangers of a crankshaft dipping into the oil when it's too full and generating foam, which fills oil passages with air bubbles, thus creating the very oil starvation they were trying to prevent. I also like maximizing the amount of anti-wear and anti-corrosion additives available during the normal oil change interval.

Filling with oil too full is bad, for the above stated reasons (and others including hydro locking). Slightly overfilling can be good, as long as you don't overdue it. However, I do have the crankcase ventilation problem, with very slight amounts of oil running from the bottom of the air cleaner. However, I will NOT adjust my oil level to try and correct this very minor problem, that a quick wipe of a rag can take care of, at the end of a ride.
Comparing what takes place with a racing engine which turns thousands of RPMs more than a VN900 does or ever can and often operates on the edge of self destruction does not seem logical, but then it's your bike and you obviously can think and do as you wish.
 
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