OT: Motorcycle engine lubrication
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  1. #1
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    Default OT: Motorcycle engine lubrication

    Here's a motorcycle issue for the group. A friend took her bike to have the basic maintenance done. Remember the thread about doing work ourselves? Well, the POS mechanic couldn't be bothered to make sure he put the 3 quarts of oil in before finishing the job. So my friend who is not mechanically inclined, a very new rider and didn't have any idea of how to check oil level blissfully rode about 30 miles before the engine started knocking. She stopped and got one of our group to trailer the bike home and then I trailered it to mechanic shop #2. After 3 weeks of having the bike they started the engine, heard it knocking and pronounced it damaged and needing to be replaced. I mentioned that she said the Oil Pressure light never came on and the mechanic said "motorcyle oil pressure sensors aren't like the ones in cars so that can happen". Which sounds like complete BS to me. Also her belief that the oil pressure light wasn't on. I trailer it to my place, replace the filter and put the 3 frickin' quarts in. No particles in the oil that I could see. Knocked quite a bit until the pressure built up but then ran fine. I drove it a mile or so and just makes a little noise. There are very small metal particles in the oil filter.

    2005 Suzuki Boulevard, 800cc engine.

    Obviously the best option is to sell the bike for whatever $ and buy another for $2500 but this is for a teacher with minimal spare money. Is it likely the the only damage is to rod bearing shells and maybe rings? Replacement engines are around $800 on eBay.

    So, anyone been in this situation before?

    Thanks
    Steve
    PS - And this is why I try to do as much of my own work as possible.

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    My first thought is that the mechanic is responsible for this. However I have a feeling that's probably off the table. Next best bet is replace the engine with a low mile unit

    You could see how the bike runs out but I'd bet money the motor was damaged. It in all likely hood it's gonna quit running/ lock up sooner than later.
    Good luck, Hodge

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    He is responsible but I rarely hear stories where the business steps up and does the right thing.

    Looking to buy a low miles unit and swap it in. Lucky for her our riding group has a number of folks who can do the swap. We just might make a day long party out of fixing it for her.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    He is responsible but I rarely hear stories where the business steps up and does the right thing.

    Looking to buy a low miles unit and swap it in. Lucky for her our riding group has a number of folks who can do the swap. We just might make a day long party out of fixing it for her.

    Steve
    A similar issue happened to a fellow that I knew. He took his 1973 Harley cruiser to the local Harley dealer to have a new main gear installed in the transmission. They did that part of the repair successfully but neglected to put any oil in the primary case.
    He made it about 50 miles or so and then the engine seized because the primary chain had basically turned into an iron bar.

    The dealer did pay to repair the damage however since it was clear that it was their mechanic's fault. They had to replace the engine sprocket and spring cushioner as well as the clutch basket, plates and so forth. Probably about $500 worth retail at Harley prices.

    If your friend changes engines, in most states you would need to have the new engine numbers added to the title.

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    I would just run it. It may be a bit noisy but it's not going to quit running or seize up. Just run it till the rods start hammering which may well never happen. More likely you could have some damage on the cam journals as most times there is no bearing shells, the cam runs on the head. Those journals can be scored and beat all to hell and as long as the cam is not seized solid it will be fine. I got a four cylinder OHC bike going for a guy. he ran it out of oil and one of the cams locked up for lack of oil. This guy had no money, asked me to look at it because the starter would not crank it over. Putting it in 4th gear and bumping it back and forth I could see the Ignition rotor moving a bit. Popped the cam cover off and I could see signs of heat on the Journal caps. I removed them and sure enough there was metal transfer to the cam. I polished the cam journals to get the aluminum off. then I scraped the high spots off the journals and caps and put it back together and woo hoo the starter works now! I put some oil in it and it has run for over 10,000 miles, bit more mechanical noise but so what.

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    ^ +1 on this. Just run the thing, don't worry yourself to death over nothing.

    Go up one weight on the oil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman109 View Post

    If your friend changes engines, in most states you would need to have the new engine numbers added to the title.
    Got a feeling that is one state and you are in it. Engines numbers haven't meant jack shit since the '30s. During WWII Ford had assembly lines to rebulid V8s for those who could get ration stamps to get one. They didn't even have titles then so what did they do?

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    Well, I can't speak to the repair, but I will say I was almost killed by a Kawasaki H1 seizing up on a twisty mountain road back in July of 79.
    Yes, a 4 stroke is different, but is it worth any risk at all?
    At the very least, someone should make sure the mechanic's boss and/or customers know he can't count to 3.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdmidget View Post
    Engines numbers haven't meant jack shit since the '30s.
    Except for Sportsters

    Quote Originally Posted by NRDock View Post
    Well, I can't speak to the repair, but I will say I was almost killed by a Kawasaki H1 seizing up on a twisty mountain road back in July of 79.
    Two-strokes usually seize when you shut off. They depend on the air flow under the piston for cooling and to lube the rod bearings and piston skirts. Everything is fine until you shut the throttle, then no air = no cooling and no lube, piston sticks.

    Different problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Except for Sportsters


    Two-strokes usually seize when you shut off. They depend on the air flow under the piston for cooling and to lube the rod bearings and piston skirts. Everything is fine until you shut the throttle, then no air = no cooling and no lube, piston sticks.

    Different problem.
    2 strokes will most definitely seize while riding.... been there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRDock View Post
    Well, I can't speak to the repair, but I will say I was almost killed by a Kawasaki H1 seizing up on a twisty mountain road back in July of 79.
    Yes, a 4 stroke is different, but is it worth any risk at all?
    At the very least, someone should make sure the mechanic's boss and/or customers know he can't count to 3.
    What he said in spades. Given she is a novice rider why take a chance. Even if doesn't shut down whenever I wouldn't trust it any further than the corner store, certainly not riding long distance anywhere off the beaten path.
    Hodge

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    She's screwed now. You put oil in it and ran it 30 miles? Where is your case against the shop? It's got oil in it, it's running.Would you take that liability in this case?

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    Yeah...any shop that's actually in business can afford a $2500 hit. Force them to take the bike, whole, and give her 'replacement value' in cash. Life's too short to do anything other.

    As for bikes and repairs...nothing is sadder than a Harley rider who 'takes his bike in to get the oil changed'. That's like saying 'I have a man-gina'. I have one such friend....they routinely nick him $250 to change the oil and 'clean the air filter'. Not to mention they are closed on Mondays due to that weird tradition bike shops have so they can stay open Saturdays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdmidget View Post
    Got a feeling that is one state and you are in it. Engines numbers haven't meant jack shit since the '30s. During WWII Ford had assembly lines to rebulid V8s for those who could get ration stamps to get one. They didn't even have titles then so what did they do?
    He lives in California, what do you expect?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dualkit View Post
    He lives in California, what do you expect?
    Did they move central NC ? It's getting so you can't keep track of anything these days ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Except for Sportsters


    Two-strokes usually seize when you shut off. They depend on the air flow under the piston for cooling and to lube the rod bearings and piston skirts. Everything is fine until you shut the throttle, then no air = no cooling and no lube, piston sticks.

    Different problem.
    Why do you think the problem only resides for two strokes? It is one of the most common modes of high rpm engine failure for 4 strokes as well, but not for the same cause. On a 4 stroke the instant you shut the throttle, the cylinder vacuum causes huge con rod stress as the piston changes direction at TDC without the cushion of compression very often causing rod failure and engine destruction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    Why do you think the problem only resides for two strokes? It is one of the most common modes of high rpm engine failure for 4 strokes as well...
    Seemed unlikely that a lady schoolmarm and new rider would be cranking that v-twin harley wannabe up to 12,000 rpm but could be, appearances can be deceptive ...

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    My feeling is that if she isn't riding cross country alone and is on a budget is to do frequent filter changes and change the oil at least once more. At the final fill use the highest quality oil that meets the specs for viscosity etc.

    An engine with some damage may run for many thousands of miles if attention is paid to lubrication and keep an ear out for noise getting louder.

    It's not an ideal situation, and motorcycle engines are more complex than old style auto engines but an aunt had a 60s vintage Chevy that a mechanic forgot to add oil during an oil change and it lasted for many years after and was driven daily. It was knocking when she got it home but my grandfather filled it and then changed oil and filter again after a few miles.

    It's amazing what abuse some engines can stand if quick action is taken after running dry on oil. A neighbor had a lawnmower that seized after they let the oil go low and while it was hot I yanked the plug out and squirted in penetrating oil. After I got it spinning again I kept periodically pulling the rope while it cooled. A similar thing happened with a neighborhood kid who let the oil tank on a small 2-stroke run dry. Same deal, except this time I squirted in Tap Magic (a trick I learned from a high school shop teacher) and we got the engine to move. I gave it a squirt of light oil and then had him work the kick starter to pump out excess oil before replacing the plug. He pushed it home, refilled the oil tank, and rode it for months before trading up to a larger bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdmidget View Post
    Got a feeling that is one state and you are in it. Engines numbers haven't meant jack shit since the '30s. During WWII Ford had assembly lines to rebulid V8s for those who could get ration stamps to get one. They didn't even have titles then so what did they do?

    Yeah, lots of states were looser on titles and engine numbers in the early days. With the advent of the computer and cooperating states, the picture is probably changing.

    There is a big theft problem on high end motorcycles like Harley, Honda and the other big companies. I could imagine that the authorities would frown on changed engines or modified motor numbers any more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Seemed unlikely that a lady schoolmarm and new rider would be cranking that v-twin harley wannabe up to 12,000 rpm but could be, appearances can be deceptive ...
    I'm curious Emanuel why you thought it necessary to to bring the OP's oil dilemma into a reply to your off topic incomplete reply?


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