Author Topic: Oil level question  (Read 453 times)

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dexterkane

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on: April 01, 2021, 09:48:22 am
So very close to buying a 2014 GT 535 this weekend (my first Enfield). Found a cheap one which needs some love, but I'm in the mood for a summer project. Major service and a good clean up should get her to a decent state again and that's within my technical abilities.

My one major worry is the oil level. The current owner has done zero maintenance in the last year and oil the level looked a bit on the low side. I now know how to properly check the oil level on Enfields which will be the first thing I do when I go back.

My question is this: If it is below spec, how low is likely to cause any lasting damage? I'm not prepared to risk buying something with engine damage.

I'm thinking about taking some oil and a measuring jug with me so I can work out how low it's been running if needs be. In the end, It may just be a case of letting the bike warm up a bit more before I check the oil level, but I'm sure you can understand why I want to know the deal before I commit to the project.

Thanks!



Bilgemaster

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Reply #1 on: April 01, 2021, 12:25:53 pm
Welcome Aboard! I'm sure someone will be along directly who's more familiar with your adoptive Conti's 535 engine. I'm afraid I only own an old Iron Barrel Bullet with its primitive yet nuance-free dipstick that likes it best about ½ to ¾ of its nominal "Full" line. No sight glasses or factoring in the phases of the moon or tide tables for us!

You say the oil level in the sight glass "looked a bit on the low side". From descriptions of the art of reading those flakey UCE oil levels like this thread, https://forum.classicmotorworks.com/index.php?topic=21411.msg239743#msg239743, I'd guess that if you see ANY  oil in the sight glass it's likely OK enough to start. Sure, there could be a host of other issues with that bike, but if you see any at all in there, then the oil level shouldn't be so catastrophically low as to trash the motor if you started it to try to get a proper reading, as well described in that earlier thread.

If it has been sitting for more than a month or so, pulling the spark plug and squirting a teaspoon or two of oil or Marvel Mystery Oil into the bore wouldn't be the worst idea, and it would also give you a chance to examine the spark plug's condition--often a good indicator of the motor's overall happiness. Just be very careful not to overtighten it when putting the plug back in, and maybe dab a little oil onto its threads. Also, if you have a compression guage handy, testing the compression before and after adding the oil to the cylinder may reveal worn rings (if the compression rises markedly after adding the oil).

Anyhow, best of luck in your prospective purchase!
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 12:40:32 pm by Bilgemaster »
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


Richard230

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Reply #2 on: April 01, 2021, 02:20:49 pm
Sometimes I look at my oil level sight glass and see no oil and other times I look at my sight glass and see that the oil level is completely above the top of the glass. Likely the best way to check oil level is to follow the recommendation in the owner's manual: Run the engine to warm it up, place it on the center stand, turn off the engine, let it sit for a minute or two and then check the oil level. When I spend the time to do that the oil level is in the center of the glass.  ;)
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM Duke 390, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


axman88

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Reply #3 on: April 01, 2021, 04:58:31 pm
As other's have said, the oil level in the sight glass is notoriously variable.

I am of the opinion that an engine's condition can largely be ascertained by careful listening.  I carry one of these gadgets along with me on every vehicle assessment.  https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lisle-Mechanic-s-Stethoscope-in-Grey-LIS52500/306763901

Even if you don't know what to listen for, I've found that pulling out one of these gadgets and holding up my my index finger in a nonverbal request to be undisturbed, will get the seller to suddenly start talking, revealing everything they know about the condition of the vehicle, before I can discover it with science.

There are some videos on Utube covering how to use these gadgets, and what to look for in a used vehicle.  Neglect isn't good, but there's worse things in my opinion, especially if the mileage is low.  I'm not fond of "customization" for example.

Although values haven't gone up yet, my opinion is that those 535s will become the most collectible of the RE singles.  They were only made for a few years.  I'd jump on it if the price is right, especially if it's yellow or green.


dexterkane

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Reply #4 on: April 03, 2021, 08:34:26 pm
Well I bought it. Actually thought something was wrong with it at first it was vibrating so much but that was me not shifting at the right time. What crackers machines these singles are. Kind of terrible yet addictive at the same time. I can definitely see the appeal!

In the end when I checked it the oil properly the sight glass was totally black, which made me assume there was more than enough oil to get home without anything terrible happening and I was correct. Will be doing a change myself asap.

Thanks for the advice! Sure I'll be racking your brains again soon :)



axman88

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Reply #5 on: April 04, 2021, 06:01:09 pm
Well I bought it. Actually thought something was wrong with it at first it was vibrating so much but that was me not shifting at the right time. What crackers machines these singles are. Kind of terrible yet addictive at the same time. I can definitely see the appeal!

In the end when I checked it the oil properly the sight glass was totally black, which made me assume there was more than enough oil to get home without anything terrible happening and I was correct. Will be doing a change myself asap.
Nice, and a smart purchase decision in my opinion.

Hope you take some pictures of your new 535 and post them in the Continental GT section by way of introduction.



dexterkane

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Reply #6 on: April 04, 2021, 11:25:48 pm
Yeah will give a her a bit of a spruce up and service first! Already looking heaps better after a good clean and ACF 50. Spark plug and filter are good, have improved chain tension but needs replacing. Brakes need a good clean, possibly a rebuild at some point. Started lubing some of the pivots. Oil needs changing. Started debadging all the extra decals and hideous tank protector today. Engine needs a good polish. Getting closer to figuring the electrical gremlins.

Considering a respray as metalic paint would look great, feel like I'm riding a banana at the mo. Tail tidy to sort out that clunky back end as well.

Hopefully won't be too long til she's back to her former glory and ready for a photo shoot :)


Bilgemaster

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Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 12:17:41 am
Welcome to the Horde of the Archaic! You mention, "Actually thought something was wrong with it at first it was vibrating so much but that was me not shifting at the right time". That may as well be, but a common cure for EXCESS vibration across all models of single is to loosen the engine mounting bolts and head steady just a bit, run it at idle just a couple of minutes, and then retorque everything properly. You see, at the factory they just sort of hoinked those bolts on with the engine shoved into the frame any which way. Loosening and retightening those mounts may help it find a "mellower" center. There's plenty in the Forum Archives on this procedure. Another upgrade to consider is replacing all the cables with high quality and heavy-duty Barnett ones. They do cost just a little more, but are definitely worth it. There's a reason new Enfields came with a free spare set of cables: they're excrement. In the meantime, you'd do well to at least carry a few of those suitable screw-type cable barrel stops in your tool pouch to get you home if one pops. Just for ready reference, here's a wide selection of those useful doodads: https://www.ebay.com/itm/122238831080

And yeah, let's see a few pix!
So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


dexterkane

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Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 07:17:54 am
Welcome to the Horde of the Archaic! You mention, "Actually thought something was wrong with it at first it was vibrating so much but that was me not shifting at the right time". That may as well be, but a common cure for EXCESS vibration across all models of single is to loosen the engine mounting bolts and head steady just a bit, run it at idle just a couple of minutes, and then retorque everything properly. You see, at the factory they just sort of hoinked those bolts on with the engine shoved into the frame any which way. Loosening and retightening those mounts may help it find a "mellower" center. There's plenty in the Forum Archives on this procedure. Another upgrade to consider is replacing all the cables with high quality and heavy-duty Barnett ones. They do cost just a little more, but are definitely worth it. There's a reason new Enfields came with a free spare set of cables: they're excrement. In the meantime, you'd do well to at least carry a few of those suitable screw-type cable barrel stops in your tool pouch to get you home if one pops. Just for ready reference, here's a wide selection of those useful doodads: https://www.ebay.com/itm/122238831080

And yeah, let's see a few pix!


This is super helpful thanks, likely some excessive vibration going on in that case. Think I'll probably need a larger torque wrench that what I have for for this.

I'll get some snaps up asap bit of a mess at the mo as I'm still decal removing.






Reidlake

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Reply #9 on: June 06, 2021, 12:18:05 am
I think you made a great choice with this purchase. I wanted to buy a similar model in the past, but they pulled back due to the many issues of the car and it was not only the oil level. There were some serious engine issues that a good friend of mine was able to discover after I called him in. I think you should look at the top questions when you choose a car in general as a buyer. You can avoid some serious mistakes like miles that were not counted correctly or overpay for something that's not worth the money you are about to give.


tooseevee

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Reply #10 on: June 07, 2021, 01:00:20 pm
I think you made a great choice with this purchase. I wanted to buy a similar model in the past, but they pulled back due to the many issues of the car and it was not only the oil level. There were some serious engine issues that a good friend of mine was able to discover after I called him in. I think you should look at the top questions when you choose a car in general as a buyer. You can avoid some serious mistakes like miles that were not counted correctly or overpay for something that's not worth the money you are about to give.

           Car? What car?
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Bilgemaster

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Reply #11 on: June 07, 2021, 03:23:26 pm

This is super helpful thanks, likely some excessive vibration going on in that case. Think I'll probably need a larger torque wrench that what I have for for this.

I'll get some snaps up asap bit of a mess at the mo as I'm still decal removing.

Apologies for the belated response, but you're very welcome! Enjoy that bike and take care of it! I expect those sporty old Contis will hold their values really well, since they ain't making no more of them.

One other thing: You mention getting a "larger torque wrench". In fact, you might do better looking into finding a smaller  one, like with a ¼ inch drive, which might be gentler on those notoriously dodgy Enfield threads and fasteners. Hell, my old Iron Barrel Bullet has rocker cover nuts that want no more than 4 foot-pounds, or less than "orangutan finger-tight". Some service manuals say to give 'em 5 pounds, but you do so at your threads' peril. Thing is, some of your larger ⅜" or ½" torque wrenches don't even measure that low.

If you've got a Harbor Freight nearby, one of these quarter inchers here may help you keep out of trouble and the Helicoils aisle of your local automotive supplies joint: https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-drive-click-type-torque-wrench-63881.html:


Currently asking $19.99, it goes on sale pretty often. In addition, you might be able to knock another $5 off with one of these "immortal never-expiring coupons", since it is a "Pittsburgh Pro Ratchet" and all: https://www.hfqpdb.com/view_coupon/17525. You may need to have a kind heart-to-heart with the store manager like I did though, since Harbor Freight's largely shed the whole "Coupons Thang". I especially miss those freebies...even the little blue "puck lights".

So badass my Enfield's actually illegal  in India.

(Legal enough to pass muster if they don't look too closely in Woodbridge, Virginia, where the buses don't run at night, holidays or weekends and I'm a contender for 'Village Idiot')


zimmemr

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Reply #12 on: June 07, 2021, 09:50:11 pm
Apologies for the belated response, but you're very welcome! Enjoy that bike and take care of it! I expect those sporty old Contis will hold their values really well, since they ain't making no more of them.

One other thing: You mention getting a "larger torque wrench". In fact, you might do better looking into finding a smaller  one, like with a ¼ inch drive, which might be gentler on those notoriously dodgy Enfield threads and fasteners. Hell, my old Iron Barrel Bullet has rocker cover nuts that want no more than 4 foot-pounds, or less than "orangutan finger-tight". Some service manuals say to give 'em 5 pounds, but you do so at your threads' peril. Thing is, some of your larger ⅜" or ½" torque wrenches don't even measure that low.

If you've got a Harbor Freight nearby, one of these quarter inchers here may help you keep out of trouble and the Helicoils aisle of your local automotive supplies joint: https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-drive-click-type-torque-wrench-63881.html:


Currently asking $19.99, it goes on sale pretty often. In addition, you might be able to knock another $5 off with one of these "immortal never-expiring coupons", since it is a "Pittsburgh Pro Ratchet" and all: https://www.hfqpdb.com/view_coupon/17525. You may need to have a kind heart-to-heart with the store manager like I did though, since Harbor Freight's largely shed the whole "Coupons Thang". I especially miss those freebies...even the little blue "puck lights".

I bought one of these on a whim, and have been pleasantly surprised at how well it works. I also have a 1/4 drive Proto that I used for diesel injector pump and automatic transmission work and the Harbor Freight clicker seems to be just as accurate. Being a Harbor Freight tool your results may vary. But mine works really well.