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Discussion Starter #1
After being a bit lazy with checking the oil level on my Bobber, I was alarmed to see the level right at the bottom of the sight glass.


After topping it up and running the engine I saw that instead of a clear golden colour, the oil was a murky brown. What is this indicative of? Is the engine doomed?
 

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Did you check it with the bike at operating temp (i.e checking the oil level 5 mins after turning off the engine)?
When was your last service?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I checked it at operating temperature.


My last service was about two years ago. I know I should have had it serviced yearly, but I've only done about 4000 miles since the last one and being a miser, skipped it.


I have booked it in for a service next week however.
 

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4k miles is plenty of time to get carbon particulate buildup, oxidation etc. and change the colour.
I wouldn't worry provided you are using a good synthetic oil or even semi-synthetic you'll be fine. If you are getting it changed anyway you have no need to worry. You could always suck out a small sample and send it off for analysis, but in all honesty that colour change at that mileage is not unexpected.
 

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I and most if not all manufacturers call for annual oil changes regardless of mileage. Moisture and some engine byproduct/gas blow by contaminate the oil and can lead to engine damage as small as it may be! My motorcycles and sports car get only limited mileage annually, but I change at riding/driving season end to remove those contaminations before winter storage and the oils are always still fairly clear and golden as when installed. If you ride all year round, you won’t have the storage time, so you won’t have contaminants sitting idle in the engine, but I’d still go with annual service. IMHO
 

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Exactly what the others stated.
Oil should be changed yearly regardless of use.
My guess is that its nothing new oil and a service won´t fix.
 

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I don’t think it’s that. I’ve seen coolant contaminated oil and it’s a more “milky” colour.
Pretty unlikely unless your thermostat wasn't working. My old oil in frame 650 Triumph would get oil like that through condensation buildup, but on a modern water cooled bike with a properly functioning thermostat its shouldn't happen. For what its worth BMW specify 2 year oil changes with up to 18k miles and VW on long life service is the same. What do they know eh? 4k miles with a good synthetic oil is nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Pretty unlikely unless your thermostat wasn't working. My old oil in frame 650 Triumph would get oil like that through condensation buildup, but on a modern water cooled bike with a properly functioning thermostat its shouldn't happen. For what its worth BMW specify 2 year oil changes with up to 18k miles and VW on long life service is the same. What do they know eh? 4k miles with a good synthetic oil is nothing.
Cheers mate. I'm a bit of a panic merchant sometimes!
 

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Consider it a courtesy head smack from the God of Routine Maintenance. Learn your lesson; the next one might be less subtle.

-GPz/Gary

PS: Is it true that folks from Scotland are ..."thrifty"? LOL.
 

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I would not worry about it. These machines are over engineered and can take quite a bit of abuse. I’m in the habit of checking all lights, oil level and a general inspection of the bike before each ride. I check tire pressure once a week or if I haven’t ridden for a while. I also warm it up before I take her out. I learned this from my dad and I have found problems that were easily corrected prior to setting out.
 
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