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  #1  
Old 3 Aug 2008
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XR650R - oil's not well?

I'm hoping someone with some engine tech knowledge might be able to shed some light on my following problem:

I have a 2007 XR650R that has now covered around 15,000 miles since October 2007.

It has been ultra reliable, other than the fact it has always used (a significant amount) of oil when used at higher speeds on the road - typically constant throttle stuff at 60mph+, ie. on autoroutes/motorways.

Used off-road, minor roads on the trail etc. it hardly uses any oil, but when you do have to blitz a few miles on a constant throttle, it starts to drink at quite an alarming rate - coming back through Europe last week it was typically 100ml per 100kms... which is quite frankly, shocking!

It doesn't seem to be smoking, although I notice the crankcase breather pipe is weeping oil after a heavy session. But it must be burning it, otherwise where the hell is it going?! It's like a bloody two stroke quite frankly!

I did have a similar problem with the bike initially (first 3000 miles), which was eventually traced to a leaky/burnt exhaust valve, all of which were replaced (along with the piston and rings) under warranty...

I know the US websites/forums say that this is a trait of this bike (it is afterall essentially a race engine) particularly when used on the highway - and can often affect certain examples, but I seem to have got a particularly juicy one...

So........... any ideas?

JennyMo xxx
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  #2  
Old 3 Aug 2008
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I can't really help with your problem, but I was wondering what sort of oil change intervals you were sticking to on long trips?
I'm looking at getting an XR for doing some fairly long trips with a mix of road and dirt use - the 600 mile service interval seems a bit excessive for this sort of riding.
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  #3  
Old 3 Aug 2008
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Hi Mark - I agree, I think the 600 mile interval refers to a bike used for competition/hard play riding (Honda's intended use?)...

I tend to change the oil and filter on my 400R every 1000 miles, and it's been faultless for over 22,000 miles now... but even that is a bit impractical for distance traveling?

Around Europe this summer, I covered 6000 miles and changed the oil and filter 4 times on my 650R - which basically worked out around every 10-14 days.

The first time was at 2800 kms, and the oil was like water admittedly, the rest I tried to chance around 1800-2200kms, so on average 1200-1500 miles,ish...

I read on an American website about a guy who fitted an extra oil tank to his XR250 project bike (it was in a CRF frame so he used the space where the radiators would go for a tank and oil cooler) - I guess it would be feasible to add an extra litre or so capacity to the 650R using a custom oil tank (I'm sure GMEX or someone could fab. something suitable) - although space is a bit tight for mounting it - as I think the main problem is that the limited oil capacity means it gets hot and thin quickly... (still shouldn't burn at the rate it does in my bike though!)

Hope that helps...

Jen xxx
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  #4  
Old 3 Aug 2008
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JMo

There are 7 of us with XR650R's with varying mileages on but the highest is 34,000 kms which has included motorway, backroads and off road in Europe, Morocco, and UK trail riding and it does use a bit of oil at constant motorway speeds but nothing excessive like yours. He has kept pace with me on a KTM 950 at 80mph on the motorway in 30c plus heat on motorway to Italy without excessive oil consumption. (15 45 gearing is more relaxed on the motorway than what we use for say trail riding or desert in Morocco)

Sorry i can't help with your problem but more to say that they all don't do it. Good luck with sorting yours.

We all use semi synthetic oil, not full synthetic oil if that is of any relevance.
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  #5  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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Jen,
My XRR consumes also quite a bit of oil when cruising at high speed on a steady throttle, although perhaps not as much as yours. My engine is still quite new, it’s got around 5K miles, and there’s no smoke either from the exhaust. When I rode the entire length of the Baja peninsula last year, the engine used a little oil on the leg down south, which comprised 90% trail riding (a combination of rocky and sandy tracks in the mountains and desert, and occasionally on the beach) but nothing really unusual for a big thumper. However, on the leg north back to the US border, it was 80% highway at constant high speeds, and at every fuel stop I had to add a fair bit of oil. On the north-bound leg, over a 1,000 miles, I had to add more than 1L (fully synthetic). Although I found the oil consumption quite high, I was not overly concerned since it only occurred at constant high revs/loads.

I have had similar experiences with my other thumpers, particularly the XT’s, which are notorious for their excessive oil consumption without anything being wrong with the top end, especially when ridden in hot temperatures. Also my KLR consumed significantly more oil on the high-speed return leg to Melbourne via highways than on the leg up to Ayers Rock via the sandy/muddy tracks. On long trips across Africa my wife’s XT350 was mostly riding at full load to keep up with my R80G/S, and its oil consumption also resembled that of a two-stroke. Nevertheless it never missed a beat and I only overhauled the top end when it had 85,000 kms.

If your XRR’s oil consumption is also excessive at lower engine loads, you should take off the head and cylinder and inspect the rings, piston, valves and valve guides. Before dismantling the top end, you could start with a compression test, as a leaky valve might well be a cause. However, a compression test will not reveal a leaking valve guide or a problem with the lower piston ring (the oil scraper).

You might ask my riding buddy gaspipe (username on both HU and Advrider.com) for his view on your problem. He has done a lot of off-road traveling with his XRR (TAT, Continental Divide, Baja, Copper Canyon) and is very knowledgeable when it comes to engine/bike technology.

Jen, is there any chance of you emailing/PM-ing me a copy/scan of your 3-part TAT travelogue that was published in TBM? My guess is that TBM has exclusive rights to your story and doesn’t want any infringement on their rights, but since I live in Thailand, I’ve got no access to EU bike magazines and I would love to read your story.
Cheers!
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  #6  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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My DR650 just gone into major oil consuption after head removal!

Hi Guys,
I have a DR650se whic normaly never consumes oil but I am also now consuming about 1ltr/1000kms after removed the head to get out a damaged spark plug. I think it must be the valve steem seals, will a comprestion test show this before I remove the top end again?

Thanks
Ben
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  #7  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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Hi Jen

Just a thought but have you ever ran your 650 with out any oil in the engine? Silly question but some (silly) people do when they do oil changes and forget to put the oil back in. I think this is your problem.

Thank you

Pat
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  #8  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyRider View Post
However, on the leg north back to the US border, it was 80% highway at constant high speeds, and at every fuel stop I had to add a fair bit of oil. On the north-bound leg, over a 1,000 miles, I had to add more than 1L (fully synthetic). Although I found the oil consumption quite high, I was not overly concerned since it only occurred at constant high revs/loads.
Hi Gypsyrider - yes, this is pretty much the scenario I get - it's fine at low/trail speed on/off throttle riding, just on the highway it drinks... I had a similar situation last year in th California, after 1000 miles, less than a litre of oil came out of the sump when I changed the oil! Mind you, the bike was also down on power/compression and it turns out that was a burnt/leaking valve (sorted under warranty). Since then I've always checked the oil level at the end of every ride.

So far the performance has been fine, so as you say, it might just be a combination of hot weather (it was 47°C in Morocco this July!) and thinning oil... but if your riding buddy has any more ideas, I'd love to hear them...


Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyRider View Post
Jen, is there any chance of you emailing/PM-ing me a copy/scan of your 3-part TAT travelogue that was published in TBM? My guess is that TBM has exclusive rights to your story and doesn’t want any infringement on their rights, but since I live in Thailand, I’ve got no access to EU bike magazines and I would love to read your story.
Cheers!
I'll see what can do - it's pretty long (11 pages each issue), but I happen to have just ordered a scanner on-line, so will endeavour to scan the pages and see how it turns out...

Many thanks again,

Jenny xxx
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  #9  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatHorne View Post
Hi Jen

Just a thought but have you ever ran your 650 with out any oil in the engine? Silly question but some (silly) people do when they do oil changes and forget to put the oil back in. I think this is your problem.

Thank you

Pat
Aha ha... bonk (that is the sound of my head falling off, not my valves dropping x)...

Erm, yes well, there might have been such a scenario early in it's life, but it's had new valves and a piston since then anyway...

xxx
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  #10  
Old 6 Aug 2008
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Quote:
So far the performance has been fine, so as you say, it might just be a combination of hot weather (it was 47°C in Morocco this July!) and thinning oil... but if your riding buddy has any more ideas, I'd love to hear them...

Jenny xxx

I think your right the oil is getting to thin with the high temp have a look at the possibility of using a thicker oil either 10W50 or 10W60.
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  #11  
Old 7 Aug 2008
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FWIW, I reckon XRs are nice and quirky.
Martin's never used oil, but occasionally refused to find compression when kicking. one time he had to be tow-started. typical oil change interval was 3000km.

my first one rarely used oil and I couldn't say if it was road or trail - it was random. it once used a litre of oil in 300km and remainder was gloopy so I changed it (near Bamako) and it was fine. Tim and I did 20000km together. it never had starting problems.

Tim's never used a drop and the second oil was in there for more than 15000km.

my second one uses more oil than the first one, but never guzzles it so I just check it daily and change it every 6-7000km. this one sometimes refuses to find compression.

with the exception of that day in Mali, the oil is always fine when it comes out - we ride for fun rather than without mercy! I don't know why others get watery oil out unless fuel is getting into it. Martin got chocolate sauce after drowning his in a river.

Ben "silkie" - if your DR is suddenly burning a lot of oil after lifting the head, I'd suspect you lost a dowel or seal and remove the head. to check valve seals, check for smoke when you shut the throttle after sustained revs eg 3000rpm for a minute or two.
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  #12  
Old 14 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
I'll see what can do - it's pretty long (11 pages each issue), but I happen to have just ordered a scanner on-line, so will endeavour to scan the pages and see how it turns out...
Thanks a lot beforehand, Jen, I really appreciate the effort. Take your time to scan the pages, no need to rush, as I'm currently travelling (in San Francisco, CA for the moment). I look forward to reading your TBM article on your TAT trip when I get back to Thailand in a few weeks.

BTW, I agree with the above post advising you to use a multigrade fully synthetic oil with a winter viscosity of 60 if you're planning on riding in hot temperatures and/or constant high revs.

So where's your next adventure taking you?
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Old 14 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyRider View Post
Thanks a lot beforehand, Jen, I really appreciate the effort. Take your time to scan the pages, no need to rush, as I'm currently travelling (in San Francisco, CA for the moment). I look forward to reading your TBM article on your TAT trip when I get back to Thailand in a few weeks.

BTW, I agree with the above post advising you to use a multigrade fully synthetic oil with a winter viscosity of 60 if you're planning on riding in hot temperatures and/or constant high revs.

So where's your next adventure taking you?
No problem I'll get on it - just need to get hold of another copy of the final installment, mine disintegrated on my travels recently...

Thanks for the advice on the oil, I'll give that a go - although its hardly warm back home in the UK at the moment... typical British summer again!

I've been out and about round western Europe and Morocco these past couple of months, and am heading back to the US in September - keep an eye on TBM, the TAT (amongst many others) is just one of my plans for the near future...

xxx
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Old 16 Aug 2008
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Thanks, Jen, I'll look forward to reading your story soon. Cutting my trip short and escaping the typically cold, windy and foggy summer weather in SFO, I'm heading back to Thailand on Tuesday. However, there's a good chance that I'll have to go to Denver in the middle of September. Although it will be a work-related trip again, I would like to get my XRR over there for some high-altitude trail riding in the Colorado Rockies after business is conducted. Do you have any idea/experience if the weather in the second half of September would be conducive for riding the high passes in the Rockies?
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Old 16 Aug 2008
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Do you have any idea/experience if the weather in the second half of September would be conducive for riding the high passes in the Rockies?
I've not been to Colorado myself yet, but if it is similar to Utah and the Sierra Nevada's altitude wise, then I would say any time up until the end of October would be fine weather wise. I crossed through Yosemite at the end of October and the weather was glorious, but coming back a week later towards Lake Tahoe (around 10,000ft again) it was getting bloody chilly, although no real snow yet...

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