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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Suzuki Service Bulletin - Oil Level - Warning Long - updated with link

Updated with link to file at bottom of this post

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As some of you may recall, my work has been with the Suzuki Cavalcade for the last decade. Because of that work, I developed a relationship with Suzuki America. More specifically, with a very high up person in the service division. We speak by phone several times a year and trade e-mails often. We have become good friends even though we have never met face to face.

After getting my 9 and knowing that it had been plagued by the oil spewing issue, I read many posts here about how some were dealing with it. I reviewed the service manual concerning how the oil supply system worked to see why there was an issue in the first place. After that review, it becomes pretty clear why there is an issue. And, the issue has been a problem for dealerships also, not just for owners that do their own service.

I'm going to ramble a little here but there might be some that will get some value out of it. For some it will just be rambling.

The 9 uses what Suzuki refers to as a semi-dry sump oiling system. For those of you that don't know what a dry-sump system is it's pretty much what it sounds like. The sump (what normally is the oil pan) is kept dry (for the most part anyway) and the oil is held somewhere else and usually pumped by an external oil pump. This has been used for years in race cars to limit the amount of windage for the crankshaft. Windage is where the crank has to cut through the oil that is flying around in the crankcase. That costs horsepower so the idea is that the oil is held outside the oil pan and the pump pulls what oil lands in the pan to keep it somewhat dry. This reduces windage and makes HP.

In the 9, there are 2 oils pans. One is under the crank and that's the dry pan. The other is under the transmission and is the wet pan. The oil pump not only draws oil from the wet pan to distribute in the engine, it also scavenges oil out of the dry pan to keep most of the oil out of there to reduce windage. The twin cam Harley uses something similar.

The problem comes when the oil levels in the 2 pans doesn't stabilize and, even though you check the oil in the wet pan with the dipstick, there can still be some oil in the dry pan if the pump has not completely evacuated it. Once you get out on the road and the pump is keeping the dry pan dryer, the oil level in the wet pan goes up and you get the spew. Part of this is due to a somewhat poorly designed crankcase vent. If Suzuki had vented the crankcase out of the valve cover, this probably would never be an issue. However, because the vent is on the top of the crankcase, it causes the issue.

Now for the meat of why I'm writing this.

My Suzuki contact was kind enough to e-mail me a PDF file of the Service Bulletin that was issued to dealers about oil level. While I don't have permission to share the entire file, I can share the addendum to the text in the service manual that deals with checking the oil level.

The bulletin reads:

"• Start up the engine and allow it to run about 15
minutes at idling speed. Be sure to keep the engine
speed at idling.

(the new part starts here)

• Keep the motorcycle upright and run the engine at
idling speed for 30 seconds.

• After the above, keep the motorcycle in the side-stand
position (with the side-stand applied) and run the
engine at idling speed for 10 seconds.

• Turn off the engine and wait about three minutes.

• Keep the motorcycle upright, then check the oil level
with the oil filler cap (2). (Do not screw the oil filler
cap.) If the oil level is out of the range, adjust the oil
level at the middle point between "B" and "A".

! CAUTION
The lubrication system of this engine is semi-
Dry Sump lubrication type with which the
engine oil level is hard to be stable.
As long as the engine oil level between "A"
and "B" on the engine oil level gauge, do not replenish engine"

This may or may not be new information here. I have not personally tried it since my 9 is on the lift for service and therefore I cannot put it on the sidestand at the moment. I can say that it took 4.3 quarts to fill it when I changed the oil. And, that's probably too much and I may have to adjust the level down.

Anyway, sorry for the long post and I hope that I haven't rehashed something that's already been hashed to death.

Tracy

--------------------------------------------------------

Update

For those of you that want to print out the Suzuki recommendation, I have posted the last page of
the service bulletin as a PDF file which echos what is stated above. http://www.billydump.com/cav/m109_oil_level.pdf
 
G

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As some of you may recall, my work has been with the Suzuki Cavalcade for the last decade. Because of that work, I developed a relationship with Suzuki America. More specifically, with a very high up person in the service division. We speak by phone several times a year and trade e-mails often. We have become good friends even though we have never met face to face.

After getting my 9 and knowing that it had been plagued by the oil spewing issue, I read many posts here about how some were dealing with it. I reviewed the service manual concerning how the oil supply system worked to see why there was an issue in the first place. After that review, it becomes pretty clear why there is an issue. And, the issue has been a problem for dealerships also, not just for owners that do their own service.

I'm going to ramble a little here but there might be some that will get some value out of it. For some it will just be rambling.

The 9 uses what Suzuki refers to as a semi-dry sump oiling system. For those of you that don't know what a dry-sump system is it's pretty much what it sounds like. The sump (what normally is the oil pan) is kept dry (for the most part anyway) and the oil is held somewhere else and usually pumped by an external oil pump. This has been used for years in race cars to limit the amount of windage for the crankshaft. Windage is where the crank has to cut through the oil that is flying around in the crankcase. That costs horsepower so the idea is that the oil is held outside the oil pan and the pump pulls what oil lands in the pan to keep it somewhat dry. This reduces windage and makes HP.

In the 9, there are 2 oils pans. One is under the crank and that's the dry pan. The other is under the transmission and is the wet pan. The oil pump not only draws oil from the wet pan to distribute in the engine, it also scavenges oil out of the dry pan to keep most of the oil out of there to reduce windage. The twin cam Harley uses something similar.

The problem comes when the oil levels in the 2 pans doesn't stabilize and, even though you check the oil in the wet pan with the dipstick, there can still be some oil in the dry pan if the pump has not completely evacuated it. Once you get out on the road and the pump is keeping the dry pan dryer, the oil level in the wet pan goes up and you get the spew. Part of this is due to a somewhat poorly designed crankcase vent. If Suzuki had vented the crankcase out of the valve cover, this probably would never be an issue. However, because the vent is on the top of the crankcase, it causes the issue.

Now for the meat of why I'm writing this.

My Suzuki contact was kind enough to e-mail me a PDF file of the Service Bulletin that was issued to dealers about oil level. While I don't have permission to share the entire file, I can share the addendum to the text in the service manual that deals with checking the oil level.

The bulletin reads:

"• Start up the engine and allow it to run about 15
minutes at idling speed. Be sure to keep the engine
speed at idling.

(the new part starts here)

• Keep the motorcycle upright and run the engine at
idling speed for 30 seconds.

• After the above, keep the motorcycle in the side-stand
position (with the side-stand applied) and run the
engine at idling speed for 10 seconds.

• Turn off the engine and wait about three minutes.

• Keep the motorcycle upright, then check the oil level
with the oil filler cap (2). (Do not screw the oil filler
cap.) If the oil level is out of the range, adjust the oil
level at the middle point between "B" and "A".

! CAUTION
The lubrication system of this engine is semi-
Dry Sump lubrication type with which the
engine oil level is hard to be stable.
As long as the engine oil level between "A"
and "B" on the engine oil level gauge, do not replenish engine"

This may or may not be new information here. I have not personally tried it since my 9 is on the lift for service and therefore I cannot put it on the sidestand at the moment. I can say that it took 4.3 quarts to fill it when I changed the oil. And, that's probably too much and I may have to adjust the level down.

Anyway, sorry for the long post and I hope that I haven't rehashed something that's already been hashed to death.

Tracy
Killer info. Thanks for writing. Clears up a lot for me at least! :bigthumbsup:
 

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That is quite a ritual to check the oil, I'm gonna have to print that out and post it in my garage....Thanks for the info
 

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Thanks for posting this, clears up a lot of questions
 

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Thanks for the info, I rely on this site a lot for service info and DIY mods.

Thanks again
BDK
 

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Info defiantly appreciated, It is an engineering fubar in my book. I have never seen a machine that is such a pain to check oil level. :doorag:
Try changing the oil on the Yamaha Warrior 1700. Way harder, and a bit more of a pain to refill.
 

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Excellent info, it explains very well why the oil levels can change so drastically too.

That extra 10 seconds and 30 seconds in there doesn't sound like enough time to make that much difference, but I'll give it a shot.

The next time you talk to your friend, ask him about the cold check method a lot of use. Maybe he can explain why that works. The cold check is simply removing the dip stick and checking it after the bike has set over night. You have to do it before the bike is stood upright or started, and you don't clean and reinsert it, just remove and check it. I've compared it to the hot check the manual describes several times and it has always matched it.
 

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Two questions:

We still run the bike for 15 minutes at idle before doing the additional steps?

And, when you turn the bike off and let it cool for 3 minutes, is this on the sidestand or upright?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Two questions:

We still run the bike for 15 minutes at idle before doing the additional steps?

And, when you turn the bike off and let it cool for 3 minutes, is this on the sidestand or upright?
Here it is again. I think it's pretty clear bit I added some notes in ().

• Start up the engine and allow it to run about 15
minutes at idling speed. Be sure to keep the engine
speed at idling. (this is on the sidestand)

(the new part starts here)

• Keep the motorcycle upright and run the engine at
idling speed for 30 seconds.

• After the above, keep the motorcycle in the side-stand
position (with the side-stand applied) and run the
engine at idling speed for 10 seconds.

• Turn off the engine and wait about three minutes. (on the sidestand)


Tracy
 

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Here it is again. I think it's pretty clear bit I added some notes in ().

• Start up the engine and allow it to run about 15
minutes at idling speed. Be sure to keep the engine
speed at idling. (this is on the sidestand)

(the new part starts here)

• Keep the motorcycle upright and run the engine at
idling speed for 30 seconds.

• After the above, keep the motorcycle in the side-stand
position (with the side-stand applied) and run the
engine at idling speed for 10 seconds.

• Turn off the engine and wait about three minutes. (on the sidestand)


Tracy
Tracy, I'm not sure that's what they intended. If you leave it on the sidestand for the 3 minutes it's going to show over full every time.

I think the 3 minutes should be part of the last check procedure:
• Keep the motorcycle upright, (for 3 minutes) then check the oil level
with the oil filler cap (2). (Do not screw the oil filler
cap.) If the oil level is out of the range, adjust the oil
level at the middle point between "B" and "A".

I added the 3 minutes to it. It might not hurt to ask the tech which way is correct. It could be to leave it on the side stand for 3 minutes then set it upright to check it, which would be a change from the original spec.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Maybe, but it doesn't state that.

Tracy, I'm not sure that's what they intended. If you leave it on the sidestand for the 3 minutes it's going to show over full every time.

I think the 3 minutes should be part of the last check procedure:
• Keep the motorcycle upright, (for 3 minutes) then check the oil level
with the oil filler cap (2). (Do not screw the oil filler
cap.) If the oil level is out of the range, adjust the oil
level at the middle point between "B" and "A".

I added the 3 minutes to it. It might not hurt to ask the tech which way is correct. It could be to leave it on the side stand for 3 minutes then set it upright to check it, which would be a change from the original spec.
Well, the bulletin does not say that you keep the bike upright for the 3 minutes of wait. It says only that the bike be upright when you check the level. It says to run it on the sidestand for 10 seconds and then turn it off and let it sit. I believe if they wanted you to hold it upright then it would have stated it that way.

Frankly, I cannot imagine that they want you to hold the bike upright for 3 minutes while it does it's drainback.

Tracy
 

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I would have to agree with Zoom on this one. That is why I asked if they had updated the 3 minutes on the sidestand or to keep it upright like its always been. If you leave it on the sidestand then put the bike upright it will show way full because it is all draining toward the dipstick/ sidestand side. For 3 years I have always left the bike upright for the 3 minutes of drain back. I usually just have my motorcycle jack under the bike to steady the bike so I do not have to hold it. Thanks for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Used the procedure

I would have to agree with Zoom on this one. That is why I asked if they had updated the 3 minutes on the sidestand or to keep it upright like its always been. If you leave it on the sidestand then put the bike upright it will show way full because it is all draining toward the dipstick/ sidestand side. For 3 years I have always left the bike upright for the 3 minutes of drain back. I usually just have my motorcycle jack under the bike to steady the bike so I do not have to hold it. Thanks for the info.
I used the oil level procedure tonight. I have had the bike on the lift since I did the oil change so I hadn't had chance to actually follow it until tonight.

When I changed the oil I put in about 4.3 quarts to get it register correct. I did not run it for the full 15 minutes and I did not run it on the sidestand. It was upright the whole time.

Tonight I warmed it up good and did the 10 seconds on the sidestand, let it sit on the sidestand for at least 3 minutes and it checked way overfull.

Pulled out some and did it again, 30 seconds upright, 10 seconds on the sidestand, 3 minutes draindown on the sidestand. Still overfull.

Ended up pulling out 26 ounces (.8 quarts) to get to register a little over halfway on the level range. That puts it at 3.5 quarts for the oil change. The book says it takes 3.8 quarts with a filter change. That's close enough for me since the original amount was approximate since I was using up some already used out of containers.

BTW, I let it sit upright for the draindown and also on the sidestand and that did not appear to matter at all (I didn't think it would). Your mileage may vary.

Tracy
 

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who ever designed this sump needs a good flogging!:cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus::cus:

So when did this new info come to light?

and why wasnt everyone sent something about it if it is so important?

or is this in the newer models cause they have relised what a fukced up proceducer the oil is to check?

mind you the newer version isnt much better.
 
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