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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks!

Taking off on my trip to South America next week!!!! Wow!

Anyways; quick question about oil. My '05 DL650 has 31,200 miles on it. In April; I changed the oil thanks to enumclaw (on this forum; and my first oil change I've ever done!); and I believe we got the levels right. We did this around 28,500 give or take a few. 10-40 Synthentic.

It's now around 3K miles later; and I noticed that my oil level (checking on perfectly level ground and balancing the bike one armed so it's upright on both wheels); is slightly below halfway between the low and high level marks. I have not added any oil at this point.

Ok you knew I was going to ask some questions:
1) Is this a problem? From my research (such as: http://www.stromtrooper.com/v-strom-service-maintenance-questions-discussions/2163-dl650-oil-consumption.html; it appears as though some V-Stroms have some oil burn between changes; especially if putting high RPMs on the bike for long distances (i was riding about 80Mph to portland and back these last few days).
2) How severe (if at all; would this problem be)? I'm kind of paranoid especially as I'm setting out on a 15-20K mile trip.
3) Without inciting a oil thread war; it seems like 15-40 would be an OK oil to run at warm temperatures (I plan on being in warm places on the way down). I put synthetic in this time but I plan on doing dino oil the whole way down as I am guessing that will be easier to obtain than synthetic stuff. Does this sound reasonable?
 

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If it's halfway between low and high at 3K miles that is fine but you don't say where it started after the oil change. Every bike burns some oil and it does not sound excessive. Where are you located in the Seattle area? I want to ride up to Alaska next summer and need to ship my bike up there from Florida. I'd ride it but don't have the time luxury. It sounds like you have a great adventure planned and I will bookmark the site.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If it's halfway between low and high at 3K miles that is fine but you don't say where it started after the oil change. Every bike burns some oil and it does not sound excessive. Where are you located in the Seattle area? I want to ride up to Alaska next summer and need to ship my bike up there from Florida. I'd ride it but don't have the time luxury. It sounds like you have a great adventure planned and I will bookmark the site.
I believe the it started just below the high indicator at the oil change though I could be wrong. I'm pretty confident that's where the level was at.

I'm just paranoid and am thinking of all the stuff that could go wrong before it does.

I'm in Capitol Hill; but after this next week; I'll be a nomad!!!
 

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I believe the it started just below the high indicator at the oil change though I could be wrong. I'm pretty confident that's where the level was at.

I'm just paranoid and am thinking of all the stuff that could go wrong before it does.

I'm in Capitol Hill; but after this next week; I'll be a nomad!!!
Since you were checking the oil level by balancing the bike as upright as possible by yourself... This could be the reason for difference in oil level. If you had a centre stand and both checks were done level on the centre stand, then you could confirm some oil consumption...

Being that your trip will be 15 - 20k miles. I assume you will have a few more oil changes thrown in there somewhere, right?
Synthetic, non-synthetic.. doesn't matter... mix and match, use one or the other or both as you wish...

Don't worry about the engine, as long as there is oil at the appropriate level in it... For a trip that long, be aware about other things like tires, clutch cable, chain and sprockets, maybe wheel bearings too... these are more likely to give you issue over your engine...

Richard
 

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I'd change The oil and filter again right before you leave and carry a spare filter. Oil is easy to find a long your way, but a filter might not. I'd try to change the oil at 5K to 6K mi intervals. You'll know when the oil starts loosing it's lubricating properties when the shifting becomes very poor and notchier than normal.

You should always check you oil level with the bike on a centerstand if possible. Checking the level by nealing and holding the bike upright is a very inaccurate science. Just a little lean either way can make for very different readings.

I'd wish you luck on your trip, but I think a prayer is more in order.
 

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Since you were checking the oil level by balancing the bike as upright as possible by yourself... This could be the reason for difference in oil level.
Richard

Exactly . . . even the slightest tilt one way or the other significantly affects the reading in the sight glass.

LOL . . . without a center stand, checking the oil is almost a two person job.

When I want to really make sure on my oil check, I have my wife hold the bike upright and use a small hand level on the gas cap while I squat down and try to get my 60 year old eyes to focus on that small spot on the side case.

When I'm checking it by myself, I'm satisfied if it shows anywhere in between the lines. I figure any other variation is my feeble attempt to keep it level while I'm squatted down.

I don't think mine's ever used any oil in 22,000 miles.
 

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Having the oil level drop half the window in 3000 miles is not bad at all for a bike doing high speeds. When I ride west with 75mph speed limits covering over 3000 miles, I take a quart with me to keep it topped off. When I ride east with no more than 70mph limits over 2000 miles, I don't. The only time I exceed 3500 miles between changes is if I do up to 5000 miles on a single trip.
 

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If you checked the oil after oil and filter change without running the engine first, you will get an artificially high level. Once you run the engine the level will drop back to its actual level because the filter is now full of oil. Thought that might have been the case since your new to oil changes.
 

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20W-50 oil works fine in our engines in warm weather, and likely offers more protection in very hot weather. It probably also gets consumed more slowly.
 

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I put 112 miles a day M-F on a K4 Wee, and 100 miles of that is at 70-74 MPH GPS. I burned 350ml in 3,000 miles, and coming from a 09 KLR that was making the same commute, all I can say is, "What a great bike!"

Now, the KLR is great too, but that is not it's forte.
 

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I'd change The oil and filter again right before you leave and carry a spare filter. Oil is easy to find a long your way, but a filter might not. I'd try to change the oil at 5K to 6K mi intervals. You'll know when the oil starts loosing it's lubricating properties when the shifting becomes very poor and notchier than normal. [/]

I would change it before ride and maybe even take two filters ...but I do not have any bash plate.
Have a great time!!
 

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checking on centerstand with FE lowered.

I have gone back to also checking level off the stands. I have my front end dropped about 20mm (tubes raised) and rear lowering links 3/4.

Becasue the front tubes are raised, when on the centersand (sits with front tire on ground) it give a higher than normal reading in sightglass. For me with bike off the stands filled to top F lines will equal a reading above full and sight glass totally buried on my centerstand.

Mine uses some oil slow (I think mostly high speed like GW) so when it starts to drop for example a reading on my centerstand of half way between lines would be on low side off the stands. I found the change in angle from only 20mm dropping makes a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the advice guys. I added about 100ml of oil today which seemed to bring it to the top point level wise. I'll be changing the oil in San Diego. I think 100ml in 3000 miles ain't bad at all; and I feel very much reassured.

Having been riding for less than a year; I definitely have some noob moments. Thanks for being patient with me!
 

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David, don't sweat 100 ml, or +/-1/2 psi in your tires. There will be greater concerns needing your skills, and there will surely be moments that will make you forget all trivialities.

Do enjoy your trip.

btw, I find my "on my knee(s) balancing the bike back and forth through the tipping point while holding the bike by the crash bar, looking at the window and making sure the bike doesn't fall on me oil-level-check" method works fine for me. Keep the sidestand down in case it overbalances the other way and it helps if the front wheel is pointed straight ahead.
 

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Checking the oil by balancing is more dependable than on a center stand. It is easy to feel the point where it does not tip and that is vertical. "Vertical" on a center stand is only as good as the ground is "level" which is rarely the case. Best to pull it up from the right side, feel for level and then kneel down and look with a light hand on the bar. It will be level and accurate as a bubble level could make it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Checking the oil by balancing is more dependable than on a center stand. It is easy to feel the point where it does not tip and that is vertical. "Vertical" on a center stand is only as good as the ground is "level" which is rarely the case. Best to pull it up from the right side, feel for level and then kneel down and look with a light hand on the bar. It will be level and accurate as a bubble level could make it.
You want to read from the bottom of the bubble (meniscus I believe) correct?
 
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