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Oil Consumption / Gas in oil

2033 Views 17 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  ihringert
Well, for those suffering from oil consumption / gas in oil, here is my data.

Over the previous 2897 miles, my V-Rod consumed 90 ozs. of oil. That works out to be 1.0 qts/1000 miles. Maximum usage rate was 1.4 qts/1000 miles, minimum usage rate was 0.8 qts/1000 miles. Without having graphed the data, I believe there is a very, very slight trend downwards in the rate of oil consumption.

The bike shows 220/165 psi compression and 8/6% leak-down (front cylinder/rear cylinder). I was concerned at the difference between the cylinders in regards to compression, but was told that one cylinder has an automatic compression realease and that the figures observed are within factory specs.

Oil analysis shows that I have 2.5% fuel in the oil (Blackstone Labs says <2.0% is normal). The 'SUS viscosity @ 210F' should have been 82-98 and the 'oil flashpoint' should have been >385, but mine was 71.7 and 335, respectively. All other oil analysis data are within Blackstone's recommendations.

From my observations (very sooty exhaust pipes, soot on the right saddlebag, soot on my girlfriend riding behind me) the bike is running rich. The technician said the plugs were a bit dark, but nothing excessive (I should have asked for the old plugs and had new ones put in). The technician told me that HD told him that '03 bikes running the 28 tooth ECM software will run rich -- reason unknown and solution unknown.

Since the oil change, oil consumption has SEEMED to drop, but with only 300 miles, I can't be sure.

I will continue to run normal HD 20W50 oil and see how the consumption rate behaves. Hopefully, there will soon be a downward trend in the consumption rate.
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Your analysis looks good compared to what mine was last fall.

Fuel was 6%
Visocity 60.6
Flashpoint 265
TBN 7.6 Good

I had 2748 mi on bike and 2147 mi on the SYN3 i pulled out. My Aluminum and Silicon was also very high at 41 but this is probably break in crud. I used 1 qt in the first 700 mi of SYN3 and ZERO after that???

All info was received from Blackstone.

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I'm wondering if there's any connection between 'high oil consumption' and 'gas in oil'.

I'm using a lot of oil, but don't have extremely high amounts of gas in my oil. o2man98, like Greenham, you seem to have lots of has in the oil, but very little oil consumption.

I now know that lots of gas in the oil can cause oil consumption, but it doesn't seem that the levels o2man98 and Greenham have in their oil is causing oil consumption. I have much less gas in my oil and very high oil consumption. I'm thinking that in our cases, the oil consumption and gas in oil are not related.
Three things

1) You might consider double checking the accuracy of your dipstick. I kept topping mine off to the full mark by following the instructions. When I changed the oil/fiter at 5K, I noticed after putting in the exact amount of oil and testing the bike on a short ride, when I rechecked the dipstick...it's reading was below the crosshatch indicating "add". Apparently, the dipstick is too short and I was adding 3/4 of a qt too much which was being siphoned off by the engine.

2) My plugs at 5K looked dark also. I believe this was due to my trying to top off the oil to the "full" mark and causing the "blow by" of the oil. At 10K, I'll check them again...if they are still dark, I'll put in the K&N high flow air filter.

3) I switched to Syn3 at 1,000 and used it again at 5K. Coupled with keeping the oil level at the "add" level (just below the crosshatch like when I changed the oil) and the 4K on the Syn3, oil consumption is now reduced to near zero.

Hope this helps your process.
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All this technical stuff is great and I truely hope you guys figure this one out. I'm on my third engine (original engine was rebuilt) because of this disappearing oil mystery. My new engine burns absolutely no oil after 1700 miles. I hope Harley will find out what's going on with my other engine after they disect it. Unfortunately, I have been told I will probably never find out what the cause was even if they do find it.

Also, I never noticed any gas smells from my oil. My '03 is completely stock.
Very interesting. I just checked the oil again Sunday after an all day ride from the Monterey Penisula up through San Jose, Los Gatos and down through Santa Cruz. The oil was exactly at the top of the "add" mark and just at the bottom of the "cross hatches" of the full area. This seems to once again provide evidence that the dipstick is incorrect since this level is precisely where it was after changing the oil and filter about 480 miles ago with the exact amount of oil called for in the manual.

Also, the first time I changed the oil at the 1K, I added more than the manual called for to bring it up to the top of the "cross hatches" and then kept checking and adding oil to keep it up to that level (following the manual's procedures to the letter). Which dealer up there did the warranty work for you? I'll be up there mid Sept. for www.airraces.org
I noticed the same thing on my dipstick. It went down rapidly until it hit the bottom of the cross hatches. However, don't let that fool you. If you run it at that level, you will find you will need to add more oil than what the dipstick indicates. I think it may have something to do with the way the bottom end was designed. You might find the oil level will disappear just as fast once it gets down a little lower beyond the cross hatches. Mine did. I've let mine go so low as to not register on the dipstick.
ihringert said:
I've let mine go so low as to not register on the dipstick.
And you've been through how many engines?
And the reason it went so low was Harley told me not to add any oil. I took a trip (about 2,000 miles). Came back and took it directly to Harley and they couldn't believe it. I did remain in contact with Harley during this trip and was told there is at least 2 quarts left in the engine when it doesn't register on the dipstick and not to worry. Maybe I'm paranoid but I'm sure this didn't do the engine any good.
I own a 2003 'never used oil.I beleive you should be in the buy back zone .DOUGHT THAT HARLEY WILL ARGUE WILL UNCLE SAM. BEST OF LUCK
Like I said, 1700 miles on new engine and not a drop of oil lost. It was a pain dealing with Harley but they did come through in the end. I have a love hate relationship with the bike, but deep down I really do like her and wouldn't think of replacing her.

I've unfortunately become very, very familiar with my V-Rod's dipstick. My bike doesn't have a "natural" oil level that it settles into (or if it does, it's way below the 'add 1/2 quart' markings). Like ihringert's old motors, my bike will just keep eating and eating oil. I do concur that 4.5 qts. fills my dipstick to just BELOW the cross-hatched area when the bike is cold.

I'm going to just religiously document and track my oil consumption (thank goodness the local dealer down here is willing to help). If it doesn't improve significantly by 10,000 miles, I guess I'm going to have to become that proverbial "squeaky wheel".

Thanks everyone.
The dealership measured oil consumption of 0.8 qts/1000 miles. They said that HD won't do anything unless the consumption is above 1.0 qts/1000 miles AND there is a problem with compression/leakdown.

Since my engine has good compression/leakdown numbers, and I'm below the 1.0 qts/1000 miles, I was told that the V-Rod uses a new ring material on nickel-silicon bores, so it may take a long time to break in. I've seen similar behavior with BMW's I've owned and recieved the same recommendation from HD that I've heard from BMW -- go on the highway and run the bike hard.
This seems to make sense, since during the first 2500 miles I was at or above the 1qt/1000mi. It has dropped off considerably, and is more like .5qt /1000mi, and I have 6900 miles on her now.
FYI - Original engine used about 1 quart per 500 miles. Rebuilt after 6400 miles. The rebuilt used about 1 quart per 1000 miles (slightly less if all hiway miles). This engine was replaced at about 14,000 miles. Harley also recommended to me running the crap out of it. I did or at least as much as I dared to (scared the crap out of me a few times). I've got many many miles on her running down the hiway in second gear.
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I've just been running a gear lower than I normally do. Visions of red-line in 2nd gear on the highway have me laughing hysterically. I thought I was running the bike hard! I guess it worked since you're no longer consuming oil.

Bugged the hell out me running it like that. Got many strange looks from cagers I passed on the hiway. Keep in mind, Harley asked me to run the crap out of it and said don't worry if you blow it up or something bad happens to the engine. Not many get an opportunity like that. By the way, that didn't work. The engine was replaced and a new engine put in. This one doesn't burn any oil.
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