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Just bought a 2001 Very clean KLR with 4200 miles. Usually I would stay away from something that old and that low mileage because all the rubber would've dry rotted and all the seals and gaskets would need replacing but it was a really good deal.

The previous owner had just had it serviced and when I went to looked at the oil in the sightglass it looked brand-new, i.e. Gold and clearish. I purchased it, trailered it home and after after ridinging about 16 miles I looked at it again and it look like melted chocolate. Not frothy like a milkshake but definitely not what used motor oil would look like. It was light brown instead of dark.

I'm wondering if the rings are bad and I'm getting gas mixing in. After letting it sit overnight it does not appear to have delegated any.

The bike runs great, starts right up, no smoking, etc. any ideas?

Pic doesn't do it justice but I figured I would try. I am an experienced DIY car mechanic but am new to motorcycle maintenance. Is motorcycle oil just a different color? If I saw this in one of my cars I would be alarmed.
 

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cjk911,
If you had an oil window on the sump of an automotive engine you would probably say the same thing.
Most likely you are just noticing aeration of the oil from running.

Remove the filler cap and rub you finger on the clutch basket, look at it, wipe finger on a clean white rag, Kleenex, toilet tissue.
Now go wipe some oil off of your automobile dip stick, nearly same-same, I'd guess.

With the engine turned off overnight, one can usually remove the oil filter cap above the oil window with-out making a mess.
Because the oil filter usually drains mostly back overnight. This will allow you a better look.

I will suggest from afar, normal. Ride on! And Welcome to the forum.

And many new members wish they knew how to post a pic on post #1!
 

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Well first off I don't agree with the premis that a low mileage bike necessarily has issues with seals and gaskets; IMO that's all largely urban myth. I purchased a 2000 KLR last year with 577 miles on it. The battery was dead and the original tires were dry rotted. I went through everything else but after a full service the bike has been flawless for a year now. I could bore you with other, more extreme, examples from my collector car hobby, but suffice to say, condition is all I look at and the primary factors affecting condition are mileage and storage condition.

As far as your oil goes; it could be several things.

- 1) an oil change never gets ALL the oil out and depending if the bike was fully warmed up there could have been condensation present.

- 2) obviously it could be more serious like a water pump seal, leaking carb float/petcock failure, gasket failure etc.

- Check the crankcase and make sure it isn't overfull and/or smelling of fuel. Check the coolant for oil contamination and if all good I would fully warm the bike up and go for a decent ride (assuming you can do that where you are!) and check, it may be left over condensation and will burn off normally. May take an extra oil change or two to flush it all out.

2 cents,

Dave
 

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....and this time, Paul treed me instead of the other way around. I tend to think he's right (as usual) and it doesn't look bad in the pic. The difference in the appearance of the oil is probably because the oil you saw initially was clean because the engine hadn't been run.....once it was it picked up old oil/residue, etc.

still wouldn't hurt to check the crankcase levels and coolant; always a good idea anyhow.


Dave
 

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Dave,
I know how coolant could get into the engine oil. (I don't think either of us even remotely think that is currently at issue.)

But could you explain how oil might get into the coolant?
I can't understand How that could possibly happen?


I guess I have seen and Cleaned coolant reservoirs on ATV's which were Filled with engine oil or 2 cycle oil. ;)
 

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Dave,
I know how coolant could get into the engine oil. (I don't think either of us even remotely think that is currently at issue.)

But could you explain how oil might get into the coolant?
I can't understand How that could possibly happen?


I guess I have seen and Cleaned coolant reservoirs on ATV's which were Filled with engine oil or 2 cycle oil. ;)
I've only personally seen it on automotive engines (usually head gasket or cracked head) but there was this thread: http://klr650.net/forums/showthread.php?t=127527

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Pdwestman I did read the 1st time owners thread but I didn't see anything about oil color.
So far the fluids have all been good with no noticeable change so I figured it wasn't a head gasket or cracked block.
Good to heAr that even an old KLR will hold up. I have had awful luck with buying old cars that say for a long time, of course they have a lot more rubber and seals to go bad.

Thanks all for the reply. I will pull the oil filter cover tomorrow and check it. I do plan on a ride Thursday.
 

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Be gentle on the oil filter cover bolts, just snug!
I personally always write mileage, date and flavor of oil used on the steel end cap of the oil filters. I wish everybody did!
 

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Black Sharpie pens work best. The other colours may wash off but the black will stay.
jj
 

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Yes Dave, I've been marking oil filters forever. Electric Engraver gets used on Black oil filters.

I also use the Black Sharpie on the frame spine to record compression, Tappet clearances, shim sizes, date.

Black Sharpie will mostly survive gas, oil, brake clean but erases almost instantly, completely with carb cleaner.
 
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I write the mileage at last oil change and the temp of the coolant test on the frame in sharpie but never thought of marking the filter.

Cheers,
Dave
 

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..................
The previous owner had just had it serviced and when I went to looked at the oil in the sightglass it looked brand-new, i.e. Gold and clearish. I purchased it, trailered it home and after after ridinging about 16 miles I looked at it again and it look like melted chocolate. Not frothy like a milkshake but definitely not what used motor oil would look like. It was light brown instead of dark....................
I am wondering if the oil may have looked like it had some very tiny bubbles in it giving it a bit of a grayish tint. I see this the first few times I look at the sight glass after an oil change. The first time it caused me some alarm, but after a few rides all the tiny little bubbles went away.

My theory with nothing to base it on is that the new oil has fresh additives and the additives are reacting with the contaminants left by the old oil. I have noticed that the golden honey color of the oil does seem to darken much quicker than the oil in my truck.

By the way I assume you know that motorcycles with a wet clutch should use oil that does not say "Energy Saving" on the label. Or one that does say JASO MA that is Japanese Automobile Standards Association type MA. Otherwise the clutch may slip with the super slick oil.

On the topic of oil, everyone has an opinion. Mine is that it should be clean and somewhat slippery. Many riders use including myself Shell Rotella t6 15w40 or Mobil 1.

Mr. Westfield and Pelliter can make more educated suggestions.
 

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"By the way I assume you know that motorcycles with a wet clutch should use oil that does not say "Energy Saving" on the label. Or one that does say JASO MA that is Japanese Automobile Standards Association type MA. Otherwise the clutch may slip with the super slick oil."

I've found nothing in any Kawasaki literature cautioning against "Energy Saving" or "Friction Modifiers" in KLR650 motor oil. Instead, API service codes and ambient temperature-keyed viscosities are specified.

Anecdotally, some accounts may surface of clutch slipping/damage as a result of "super-slick" oils; however, I'm skeptical claims of the vulnerability of the robust KLR650 to such lubricants.

Mobil 1 is laced with zinc compounds, themselves "friction modifiers."

Then again, perhaps energy saving/friction modifying petroleum (even those bearing approved API service codes and of appropriate viscosity) remain toxic and destructive to all wet-clutch motorcycles, without fair warning from Kawasaki.

Yet, I haven't found the universal, "Thou shalt not" commandment, universal and from a reputable source.

Most comments are couched like this:

https://motorist.org/articles/Engine-Oil-Basics

Still, remember what happened to King Arthur's knights in, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," when they disregarded warning about the ferocity and danger of a harmless-appearing bunny rabbit! :)
 

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....................
I've found nothing in any Kawasaki literature cautioning against "Energy Saving" or "Friction Modifiers" in KLR650 motor oil. Instead, API service codes and ambient temperature-keyed viscosities are specified.................... :)
My Owners Manual on page 160 in addition to API service codes and viscosities calls for a JASO MA rating.

I am leery about taking everything on the internet as solid reliable information, but this is all I have to work with right now. JASO Oil Specifications - oilspecifications.org

Quote from the above link indicating it is non-friction modified:
JASO MA
Japanese standard for special oil which can be used in 4-stroke motorcycle engine with one oil system for engine, gearbox and wet clutch system. Fluid is non-friction modified.

I would not hesitate to add non JASO oil while on the road with nothing else available. As they say "Any old oil is better than no oil".
 

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My Owners Manual on page 160 in addition to API service codes and viscosities calls for a JASO MA rating.
My 2007 Owner's Manual, p. 65, says (regarding, "Recommended Engine Oil"):

API SE, SF, or SG
API SH, SJ, or SL with JASO MA

The use of the word, "or," in the approved list did not indicate mandating JASO MA for API Service Codes to me; except perhaps in the case of SL.

The use of the serial (Oxford) commas in the lists appear to separate grammatically API Service Codes SE, SF, SG, SH, and SJ from the JASO MA designation to me; YMMV!

Does this mean, we've been LIVING IN SIN, all these YEARS? :)

What's the exact language of the latter-day Owner's Manual regarding, "Recommended Engine Oil?" The maintenance standards indeed may have been revised since the 2007 model year; the valve clearance inspection intervals certainly changed! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks to everyone who responded. I pulled the oil filter and checked the oil. It seems normal to me now. Maybe I'm just not used to that sight glass.
As an aside I rode 150 miles yesterday and no smoking or hesitation. Guess I'm just paranoid.
 
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