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Old 25 Aug 2018
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New DR650 with Oil in Air Box and around plugs


I'm on a trip from San Diego to Alaska on my new 2018 DR. I ran it through the 1k break in period prior to leaving and had it serviced. I'm 2500 miles into the trip (Fort Nelson,B.C) and am seeing oil in my air box nipple as well as a slight weep from both spark plugs. I pulled the plugs and they don't look fouled. I drained the air box but a small amount of oil returned. The bike starts and runs well. Any ideas as to what is happening? I don't want to run into bigger issues as I get more remote and I don't want to ruin a new DR.

I run the stock 15/42 and 525 chain. I've been at highway speeds most of the trip.

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Old 25 Aug 2018
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I don't think you have much to worry about.

Oil in the drain nipple on the airbox. Probably one of 2 sources:

1. over oiled airfilter. Open the airbox, clean out the bottom, check the filter.

2. Overfilled crankcase at oil change could be blowing oil through the breather hose into the airbox.

Check oil carefully, using this method:
From cold motor in the morning, start bike and run for 3-5 minutes. Shut off motor, let the oil drain down for 3 minutes (time this, it makes a difference). Kneel on the right side of the bike, with the bike on the sidestand on level ground, pull on the handlebar end until the bike is balanced on it wheels and read the level in the sightglass. If overfull, find some kind of gadget (turkey baster, plastic syringe, siphon hose, etc.) to suck out some of the oil; or loosen the drain plug and let a little bit flow past the threads.

Oil on sparkplugs ? hmm, hard to see how you'd get anything there except for the upper headgasket weep that is common on these bikes. Won't hurt a thing, except your motor looks a little dirty. The fix is to pull that upper section and smear some sealer on it. I wouldn't do anything to mine.

You won't damage your bike on your ride. DRs are very tough little bikes.
I'm betting the shop overfilled your oil.

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Old 26 Aug 2018
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Thanks Shu! I appreciate the quick reply! I checked oil per your instructions this morning and it was at just about half way between the tick marks on the window. So I assume that's looking ok?

I'm gonna have to pull the tank at my next stop to see if it is the cover that's weeping into the plugs. My initial concern was that I ran the bike to hard (+80mph) thru the Utah and Montana highways. Do you know if going up to 16 tooth CS relieves the issue? Or is oil in that area of the bike just expected on the DR?

Thanks again for the advice. It really helps while out on the road!
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Old 26 Aug 2018
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Halfway between the marks for the oil level is perfect. Keep an eye on it if you continue very high speeds (75-80mph) all day long. You may use a little oil under those conditions.

The DR650 can easily run 75 mph all day long. (This would be slightly more than 80 indicated on the stock speedometer, as it reads about 10% higher than actual.) With the stock 15T sprocket your rpms at that speed in top gear would be somewhere between 5,000 and 5300. This is spinning the motor but red line on the DR is about 7200 so it is well within its capabilities.

In my opinion, though people have used a 16T sprocket in front, the bike often does not have the power to pull 5th gear as it is. In the mountains I often have to run in 4th gear to pull the hills. The 16T would make 5th pretty unusable under many conditions: headwinds, uphill grades. I actually prefer the 14T on mine under all conditions except interstate droning, where the 15T does fine.

I have put more than 110,000 miles on 2 DR650s and I assure I have ridden many days and weeks in the same way you are describing with no apparent ill effects (to the bike, that is. You are certainly punishing yourself since the bike has little to no windprotection and can feel pretty light- like a bicycle at 80 mph? If it were me I'd slow down to 70 indicated and go almost as far but a lot more relaxed.)

Wandering around in Mexico a couple of years ago...

At this point, I would suggest just mopping out the airbox and soldiering on with no worries.

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Old 28 Aug 2018
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Thanks Shu,

I've been in the mountains the past few days and keeping the speed down has not been an issue. Airbox seems to have leveled off and is not accumulating any more oil. I'm just gonna keep moving at this pace and enjoy the ride! Also, I see your point about the lack of power for a 16T. Will be keeping it as is.

Thanks again!
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