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September 11th, 2004, 05:54 PM   #1
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Engine Oil Level

We were riding in Moab, Utah last week. The terrain requires alot of clutch work (slipping/feathering) to negotiate the rocks/ boulders. My clutch always seems to get very hot , very quickly, then it starts squealing. So when it started sqealing, I decided to try adding 4 ounces extra oil in the engine. The clutch noises immediately stopped. Yesterday, I was changing the oil, and I decided to try 1.250 liters instead of the usual 1 liter. After a hard 30 mile ride in the rocks in 110 F heat, the engine seemed to not be getting as hot as usual, and clutch didn't make any noises. So I was wondering if anyone else had experimented with their oil level, or does everyone just follow the manual on these things?

The reason that I got this idea was because my son's KTM 85sx requires more oil in the transmission than the manual specifies. In fact, at KTMtalk, it is common knowledge that the manuals have errors regarding oil levels. The 85sx manual specifies 300cc oil transmission oil, but the clutch overheats and squeals (like my bike). Even most of the KTM dealers know the 85sx requires 500cc of oil to prevent premature clutch failure. So, I was wondering, if KTM can make that type of error, cannot Husaberg also make the same mistake. Didn't one overzealous engineer cause the first prototype bike to grenade (in front of the investors none the less) after he removed an excessive amount of material from the stator. How minute of a performance gain was achieved by that endeaver. Oil drag certainly has the potential to be a larger drain of h.p. Maybe some engineer specified too small amount of oil in an attempt to reduce oil drag in the engine, at the price of a shortened engine life. Could this be the cause of the unexplained main bearing failures?

I plan on increasing the oil level to 1.4 liters at the next oil change. I want to continue riding with 1.25 to see if I can find any performance disadvantage vs using 1 liter. So far, by today's ride performance, I would have to honestly say the engine ran better today than last weekend. I expected no performance difference, so I doubt that I would have imagined the difference that I felt. The clutch definitely was smoother and more consistant today, and best of all, it was silent all day.

Any thoughts or opinions on this?
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September 11th, 2004, 06:33 PM   #2
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Hi Splat,

For sustained high rpm operation we use a minimum of 1.250 liters of oil. Early on it was discovered that prolonged high rpm operation could pull the sump nearly dry consequently inducing premature wear and possibly failure (eh hmm, short geared Super Motard).

Regarding clutch operation I have no comment as in our case the clutch sees little if any abuse.

Hope this helps.
Dale
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September 11th, 2004, 06:37 PM   #3
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If it works for you DO IT !!

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September 11th, 2004, 06:41 PM   #4
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What about the main bearings? Are they lubricated by the oil pump, or are they dependent on oil splash as in automotive style engines? Or do they rely on a combination of both; pump pressure and splash lubrication?

Wouldn't that be a shame if the poor dependablity reputation was due to something as simple as too low an oil level?
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September 11th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #5
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Main bearing oil is supplied by splash though is indeed dependant upon pressurized oil as said oil is delivered via the big end spray orifice. Most often it is the rod big end bearing that will fail as a result of sustained over rev and / or shy oil volume.
Dale
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September 11th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #6
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Dale,
what is the maximum amount of oil with which you have experimented, and found to be satisfactory?
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September 11th, 2004, 06:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Splat
Dale,
what is the maximum amount of oil with which you have experimented, and found to be satisfactory.
Depending upon application I have used as much as 1.5 liters.
Such volume requires one to relocate the crankcase breather and / or use a catch bottle lest it gets quite messy.
Dale
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September 11th, 2004, 06:58 PM   #8
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When using 1.5L of oil, did you measure a significant increase in engine oil drag; as in a reduction of power output?

Or did you feel the increased amount of splash was a good indication that the optimal level had been exceeded?
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September 11th, 2004, 07:09 PM   #9
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Reagrding Husaberg:
I have yet to record a power output difference based on oil volume alone.

My objective regarding oil type and volume has been to insure reliability under the most extreme conditions.

Since the crankshaft cavity is considered dry and the transmission is dependent upon splash lubrication it is of my opinion that within reason more oil is better. It just gets messy is all if the required precautions are not attended.

Oil spray control is the primary reason for the OEM one Liter volume recommendation.

Dale
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September 11th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #10
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Dale,
Thank you for taking the time to share this information. You confirmed what I was suspecting. It is a shame that there is a very good possibility that most of the unexplained engine failures were in fact caused by the factory recommending too little oil in the engine.

I find it amazing that KTM recommends too little oil in the transmission of the 85SX. How could they not have experienced the same clutch failures in their testing as the purchasers experienced within an hour of practice? Do they really believe that the buyers would be content with a one hour life span of any component? I can understand a factory racer running that small amount of oil in a single race. But doesn't the factory understand that the amateurs don't have the resources to perform a complete teardown and overhaul every week?
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