Vanishing Oil [Archive] - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums

Vanishing Oil

08-04-2011, 03:31 PM
My 99 Drifter has 26k miles. Recently Iíve notice it running hotter than usual. I have also been putting in about a quart of oil every 2 weeks which is the real reason the bike has been running hot.

The bike runs great. Nothing to indicate engine problems. No backfire, Spark plugs look fine. No exhaust smoke or fumes and no sign of a leak either on the floor or anywhere on the frame. Checked the radiator overflow and it looks perfect, full and no sign of oil in the mix.

I did notice that when I run my finger around the plug area of the pan I find a small amount of oil. While I tightened my drain plug I didnt notice a gasket when I did my last oil change. Shouldnt there be a gasket?

My thought is it might be a ring problem. Would a compression test confirm this? Any other suggestions?

08-04-2011, 05:01 PM
You might be burning the oil but at a low rate. 1 quart every 2 weeks seems like a lot to me, and yes, there should be a gasket/copper washer around the drain plug. Do a compression check, and then a leak down test to see the condition of the engine.

08-04-2011, 05:16 PM
I assume this is a new to you bike. Some engines inherently use more oil between changes. Two weeks is not a good measure, need mileage. The drain as noted should have a crush washer (look in the drain pan after oil change), but a qt every two weeks should be noticeable on the ground or out the exhaust. As for the heat, flush/clean the cooling system and add water wetter. After 11 years there will be some scale in the radiator. Don't know where you are but it's been a hot summer so you can expect higher than normal engine temps. As long as the temp gauge/idiot light doesn't come on it's not a problem. A compression test will give an indication of engine health, but if blowby is severe enough the oil should be dripping from the crankcase vent too.

08-04-2011, 06:00 PM
I have always been a Harley guy so the Drifter is a new toy. I'm picking up a drain plug gasket tonight. I need to buy a compression tester this weekend. What is a leak test?

Given the amount of oil I am going through you would think that the cause would be easier to find. I put paper under my bike each night just to see if anything drips...NOTHING.

08-04-2011, 06:12 PM
A leak test is where a cylinder is pressurized with air and then see how fast it looses the pressure. It can show valve or ring problems. A leaking valve will Hiss on either the exhaust or intake side of the engine.

08-04-2011, 07:56 PM
If there's a leak the leakdown test will find it. I frequently recommend a leakdown test, I don't waste time with a compression test, but if you don't have an air compressor you're almost SOL. A 20gal air tank filled at the local gas station will usually do a couple of cylinders; I've used them on big blocks at the drag strip and you can do 8-cylinders unless a piston has a hole.

08-04-2011, 08:09 PM
Oil can vanish only so many ways:
Burns off, usually fouling the plugs and is visable.
Leaks, sometimes if a gasket fails, and if the bike is water cooled, the coolant/oil will try to swap places.
Out the breather, indicating crankcase pressure problems.

11-06-2011, 02:27 PM
Might be too late for this thread, 04 1500 Nomad uses about 6 oz. every 1000 mi. There is no indication of leak, burn, blowby or anything. Sometimes it is even more. I came home from a local 4-day ride, 850 mi., added 5 oz. Over the next two weeks, about 200 miles of day-rides, then had to add 12 oz to bring it up to just below the full line. It runs great, but the oil just disappears. It may have something to do with the oil being shared by the engine, primary and clutch, too, not sure.