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Honda TechHonda Tech Forum - For Questions specific and of interest to Honda riders only. Questions comparing which bike is best etc go in the "Which Bike" forum.
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Here's what I've got going on. Have an XRL and my engine completed seized..top and bottom end. I was running it @ 65-70 mph for 3 hrs. or so and it locked up.
Had the engine rebuilt and I've put 1100 miles on it so far (only had 2900 when it seized!!). Changed the oil at 500 miles (took 3 quarts) and it's taken an add'l 3 quarts to keep it full.
Not a single drip of oil is leaking from the bike. It's not smoking, have no oil in my airbox. I'm stumped. The mechanics that rebuilt it have no answers and I took it to a 2nd Honda shop for another opinion. No clue there either. My US-Tierra trip are on shaky ground right now...
What's normal oil consumption for the XRL? Any suggestions why the bike is using so much?
Mine has 17,000 miles on it and hasn't ever burnt a noticable amount of oil.
3 quarts is a lot of oil for this bike. What were you basing your 'full' measurement on? Cold engine or warm engine? If I'm not mistaken, oil should always be read when the engine's warm. So, put in the 2 quarts the manufacturer says it needs, then warm the bike up a little and check it again.
If you overfill it, you'll build up tremendous pressure in the crankcase, and blow a seal, most likely the countershaft seal on this bike, I think. If you have been running three quarts, I'm surprised you haven't noticed a blown seal somewhere, and I think that's what you need to investigate at this point. I can't think of where else that oil coudl be going - typically it would go into the air boot. BUT, maybe it's there but you just don't notice it, since it'll get sucked in. Have you wiped it with a clean towel or something to be sure?
Has anyone ridden behind you to see if the bike's burning oil after it gets hot?
I've been checking in 2 ways for comparisons sake. The manual says warm oil level for an accurate read. Both in the morning completely cold, and then after it's idled for about 5 minutes.
I rode it about 350 interstate miles yeterday and the hot oil level remained fairly constant.
I think what I need to do now is run it until it gets hot, not just 5 minutes of idling and see if the oil is expanding that much.
I pulled the plug yesterday and it was clean. I have been followed and no smoke...
The airbox is clean. There is a tiny amount of oil that's splattered on the filter but nothing substantial.
My ignorance but if a seal has blown, would I see oil leaking or how would I know?
Do you ride your bike for a few minutes before checking the oil or just let it idle?
I'm hoping that I'm being extremely paranoid about the bike and that after riding it for a bit today the oil level comes back up. If not I'll need to take it back to the shop that did the rebuild to have them take a look at it.
oil checking is a bitch. I never check in the first 10 miles cos 5/10/15 mins idling/use is unreliable. to make things harder still, the oil pump sometimes stops in such a position as to allow oil to run back down into the sump (you can hear it gurgling in th tank!) so, I check at the end of a long run rather than at the start of one and I check the level 3 times. if I'm doing 500 miles a day, I check daily!
mine pumps oil up to the CLEAN side of the air-filter and then draws it through the carb. it very rarely smokes, but the filter and gauze have engine oil on them.
When I rebuilt the engine to fit the kick-start, I found no other problems in the engine, but I did re-fit the oil-air separator between the gearbox breather and airbox in the hope it would improve things: it didn't!
best of luck
So I decided I'd try to make it out to Colorado to meet up w/ my riding buddy and had to turn back. The bike used up 1 quart of oil in a 550 mile stretch. Same amount upon return. 2 quarts used on an 1100 mile trip!?
Please tell me this isn't right... Running the bike fully loaded (myself and luggage approx. 300-350 lbs) at 65-70 MPH on the interstate.
Still no leaks and no visible signs of smoke. Plug looks clean. New engine now has 2800 miles on it so it should be broken in sufficiently.
Taking it to the shop tomorrow. Any other suggestions? Thanks for the help thus far.
Rich, I find the same thing w/ my oil level. Idle level doesn't seem right but after being run for a bit it comes up.
I checked my oil levels this morning and it was horribly low...I changed my oil only 1000 kms ago and have just got back from doing a fully loaded trip of two days at 500kms a day, so it appears I may have the same problem... I dont have much mechanical knowledge at all but I have an XR 600R too and the engine breather hose on that bike sits high up next to the airbox but not in the airbox like the XRL, surely when the bike is reving fairly highly and constantly like at cruising speeds the airbox is sucking in a fair bit of air and maybe creating a bit of a vacumn and therefore dragging any oil through the breather and into the airbox, hey guys this is just my unmechanical mind working and could be a load of bullshit but let me know what you think and if you think its worth moving the breather hose to outside the airbox like the XR600R, I cant think what else would cause that much oil to be lost except rings and my bike has only done 2800kms total.
Justin please let me know if you come up with anything..
I am as mechanically numb as it gets but I have been noticing the same problems. I am in Central America and had an oil change in Belize City. I've since ridden, fully loaded, through Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The bike is now desperatley low on oil. I am smoking acording to my freind that has been following me from time to time and now I'm worried about my seals. I can not see any leakage anywhere and I am now confused.
I will change the oil again and then ride to the capital where I am planning to have it looked at by the Honda dealer there. If I find anything out about this I will let you know.
Whoah! If the bike is 'desperately low on oil' - DO NOT ride it! You should be able to find motor oil pretty easily. If you're losing oil as you ride, keep topping it off when you refill your tank. Otherwise, the engine will destroy itself, and you'll notice that it just continues to use more and more oil. My gues is that if you're at a place where you can use email, you can find spare bottles of oil to carry.
MJC - don't bother relocating your oil breather hose. It's designed to work perfectly well the way it is, so moving will not fix anything, though it may relieve some symptoms.
Don't panic, I'm going to drain it and refill before I go anywhere! I have got hold of some 40 weight Penzoil and a mechanical mind to help me. I will then only be doing a couple of hundred miles before I get to the Honda dealer. I will take your advice and travel with oil to top up with on refuling. I should be fine. I will let you know how I get on. Thanks for the help.
whew, when I read that, for some reason the wording made it sound like you were riding while low on oil. You never know, I've seen crazier things happen.
Cheers, and good luck.
PS - what are you using for air filter and air filter oil? I hear a lot of people complaining about burning oil on these bikes, but most of the guys I know who've had them never burnt any noticable amount of oil. I'm starting to wonder if people are perhaps not putting air filters on correctly, or not oiling them properly.
as far as I know the air filter is fine. I had it sorted out Belize about 800 miles ago but I was not there when it was done. The problem existed before and after that so I'll make sure I'm there next time.
Thanks again for the help.
In Puerto Vallarta right now. I think I figured out the issue but there is no real solution. Took it to my local Honda dealer that did the rebuild on my bike and they were stumped too. Finally called the Honda tech line for me and Honda´s offical response is: The XRL, being a dry sump uses oil in 3 ways. To cool, to lubricate and to clean the engine. Part of the cooling property of the bike is to ´evaporate´ oil fromt he crank into the airbox??? Wasn´t too happy with the answer but what can I do...
So what I did was went to a larger front sprocket. If you cruise at 60mph you´ll still see oil consumption but it isn´t too bad. I use about 1 quart every 2000-3000 miles, mixed hwy and off road riding.
Hope this helps. I´m posting another topic about chain life so if anyone has some input/suggestions, please help me out. Heading to Oaxaca in the next few days and S. to Panama in the next few months.
I relocated my breather to just under the tank then down to join the airbox overflow hose, which has a one way valve on it, not ideal but the bikes oil consumption has decreased quite a bit, my XR600R breather hose which has a similar engine doesnt even go into the airbox and when i checked out a dommie engine, the same, its breather is attached to the dirty side of the airbox, hence where i got my idea, a little concerned about what was said about cooling but my bike seems to be running great...... any thoughts sugestions
I know this is an old topic but I thought I would add a point for those people who may be experiencing similar problems or are buying a new bike.
I have heard of, and experienced similar problems in the past and have managed to trace the problem back to the initial run in period.
It had been proven that running in your bike properly when it is new is a hugely important part of determining the engine life. Obviously you take it easy and follow the guidelines given by the manufacturer increasing the revs and use of hard/soft acceleration over a fixed mileage period etc.
HOWEVER, what you dont do is use really high quality synthetic oils (or possibly semi synthetic oils) during run in periods. Part of the run in process is your engine parts mating to each other perfectly to form tight seals and nicely mating surfaces. This applpies to the bore and piston rings more obviously than most engine locations after running in.
When you first get a bike the bore of the cylinder is lightly cut into a criss cross pattern so that the bore will wear in the rings to fit it perfectly (to prevent burning of oil!). After xxxx miles the bore will wear to a perfect glaze and whatever shape your piston rings are at this point they will remain so for the rest of the engine life unless changed. If the piston rings were being lubricated so well by the top spec oil you were using to run the bike in that they didnt wear at all then you will get a bike that will always burn/use oil.
The only fix is to get your pot off the bike and glaze bust (hone) it, fit new rings and run in again.
Althouth this solution is generally only applicable if you have a smoking engine I have experienced a very lightly (barely noticable) smoking engine which used a LOT of oil and was fixed by this solution.
Hope this helps those running in and those with problems and avoids people wanting the 'best' for their bike to early in life and creating problems for themselves (like I did!!!!)
There is also a school of thought that suggests a `by the book` running in can add to the glazing of bores and incorrect seating of rings. I can not remember the website but the general idea is that in the first few hours of operation once fully warmed up the the engine should be really made to work, not over revving and not trying to accelerate from low speeds in high gears. The aim is to get in 3rd or 4th and get the speed up without getting too close to the redline. Top gear could be used but would probably put people over the speed limit.
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