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Boiled my motor oil

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  • Boiled my motor oil

    On the trip over to Barber's Vintage Days this past Saturday I was shocked to see the traffic backed up almost the entire distance of the entry road to the park. The temperature was reasonably mild but the sun was bearing down pretty good as we got in line for the slow crawl inside. I noticed a few riders ahead had begun walking their bikes in, but I thought that was a little extreme at this point. I knew that the idling and slow movement would really heat up the oil in the old oil head but didn't see an alternative other than skipping the event. A friend was riding with me on an Ultra-Classic which in the Motor Company's wisdom had a feature that killed the ignition to the rear cylinder when the temperatures get too high. My thinking is that the slight gas and air stream that is pumped through the cylinder without being burned keeps the rings and cylinder walls from becoming one.

    Soon his bike began the obvious one cylinder misfire and I knew that my engine temperature was rising also. I thought about removing one of my bike's spark plug wires in a red-neck attempt at Harley Davidson engineering to lower the temperature in my bike, but decided against it. My fear was that if I pulled the right side wire, the bike would veer into the on coming traffic and if I pulled the left it would jump into the ditch.

    After almost an hour of idling and very slow movement in short distances we made it to the entrance gate and into the park. I was thankful that once inside we were able to get up a little speed and get some airflow to the oil coolers in my gas tank and to the cylinders before I shut it down. Thankfully it appears that no damage was done although my previously golden brown dinosaur remnants are now burned black and is a little bit low in the bubble necessitating an early change.

    Jeff Sparks

  • #2
    Jeff, this has always been a concern of mine in similar situations...and we all know sitting and idling for an extended period of time is not a good thing for the Beemers or any air cooled engine for that matter. I know of several cases where this very circumstance has caused catastrophic failures...glad to know yours survived it!
    Current Bikes
    '16 BMW R1200GSA "Buck"
    '18 BMW G310GS "Tiny"


    [I]BMWMOAL / BMWMOA / AMA / Dixie Dual Sport / IBA/ BMW Riders of Chattanooga

    I may not be here for a long time...but I am here for a good time!


    • #3
      Made a trip over to the local BMW dealership for the $19.95 oil filter and crush washer special and took a peek at the newest version of my bike in the showroom. The overhead cam model R1200R has its oil cooler mounded low and centered in front of motor, where the front down tubes would be on a conventional framed bike. It appears to possibly be more area for cooling than the two small radiators on my bike but to me it seems like the flow through it would not be as good. The front is open but the area behind appears to be blocked quite a bit by the motor. The forks and front fender appear to be designed to direct the air toward the cooler.
      The coolers being mounded on the gas tank as they are on the 1150 series make servicing the fuel filter, battery or ABS on bikes so equipped a real hassle but they do really flow a good amount of air. On mild days I have placed my hands down there (one at the time) and felt a nice warm stream of air blowing through. Looking at the R bikes (naked ones) you can see the movement of the location of the oil coolers over the years. The first that I can think of were mounted on each side of the front arms that attach to the front shock. Later they moved to small fairings attached to the gas tank and I believe with the first R1200R just before the DOHC they moved it in front of the motor, although they kept the styling flares in the gas tank.
      Well we all know that the Water Head is on the horizon and will solve all our cooling woes.
      Jeff Sparks