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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This could be really bad, or no big deal. Friday night I was getting the Kawi ready to take on a long ride Saturday. When I changed the oil a couple of weeks ago, I thought I noticed contamination in the used oil, but I wasn't sure because the pan I drain into often has bits of oil-dry and crap like that in it. So, I cleaned the pan carefully and drained the oil. I ran my magnet tool around in the oil, but nothing came out. Then as I was finishing pouring the oil back into the crankcase, I noticed tiny particles in the bottom of the pan. Some looked metallic, some looked organic. I decided to take the Harley instead, but figured I'd ask the mechanic at Boca Cycle about it before I left Saturday.

The mechanic has a great reputation, and he said it was nothing unusual; don't worry about it. He also said I might want to get a magnetic drain plug if it really bothered me. So, I decided to ride the Kawi after all.

Since I'm not used to seeing contamination like that, here are my questions to our MO Panel of Experts:

1. Do you see particulate contamination in your engine oil when you drain it? Would you be alarmed if you did?

2. Do you think it's normal or typical for a high-milage engine like this I-4 to generate contamination like that? The bike is an 86, but the engine is from a 98.

3. Shouldn't that brand new oil filter I put in there be trapping this stuff anyway? There's a kit to change the cartridge filter to a spin on, think that would be a good idea?

4. The bike runs great. I rode over 400 miles Saturday, and it just hummed along. It's a little noisier that I'm used to in the top end, but then again, it's been 20 years since I had a Japanese I-4, maybe the valve noise is typical. If there is something wrong, I guess I could make it worse by riding it. Then again, I really don't know how much money I want to put into this bike. I could easily double or triple my investment in it if I started taking the engine apart.

What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you start to see flakes for bronze looking material, I'd worry a bit. Probably a rod bearing grinding itself to bit. Other than that, I wouldn't worry about the usual sediment in there. Just ride it till it blows up!
That's probably good advice. And if it does blow up, I'll see about parting it out on Ebay!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What? Metal in the oil on a wet sump four stroke? Doesn't sound good to me.

Remember, those tiny particles of metal have circulated aound in the motor, BEFORE being caught by the filter, hence the metal in the crankcase drippings.

The cheapest soultion, would be to go to the local hardware store, and buy a "for sale" sign for around a dollar.
I've been considering the "sell it before it blows up option." Then I waffle and think that since the bike is almost perfect in every way aside from this issue, maybe it would be worth a rebuild. I do enjoy riding it, and with a rebuild I guess I'd know what I had versus buying another used bike.

Heavy sedation and earplugs prior to riding...yeah, that's the plan!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Being it's a Kawasaki in-line four, it'll most likely run forever, even with sand/metal shavings/dippity-doo/hamsters/etc. in the oil.

But the question is, for how long? When I think of all those bearings, shafts, gears, chains, spin darts whirring around in there, with metal shavings sidging and dripping, like the Austrian self-sharpening razor, I get kind of woozy.
Well, that's kind of my quandry. If this stuff (and it's not a LOT of stuff, maybe 10-12 little nits) is shredding the engine, then tearing into it now may save on the rebuild cost. Hell, I could start searching Ebay etc. for an engine, and rebuild that one on the side. Hey, I know: follow SmokeU around and steal his Concours when he's been drinking heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It's a kawi and it's running fine.. i say leave it alone until the previous statement is no longer true.. when it eventually DOES have a problem i believe it will tell you ALL about it..

that said.. if it does spit the engine sooner than expected you can just part it out on ebay, take the money from that and buy another used kawi.. it's not like you'd be down without a bike..
Yep! The 30 year old HD runs just fine, thank you very much!
 
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