2009 R1200RT oil top-up

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2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by ChrisB on Fri May 19, 2017 11:17 pm

Hi all,
New to the forum, and new to the community with my first BMW, a 2009 R1200RT with 22K, had only a couple weeks now.

I don't want to get into the whole site glass reading debate, as sifting through a large number of posts regarding the "proper" procedure to check, but I guess I'm paranoid being my first BMW. At most times, level is just barely above the MIN after waiting 5-10 minutes after long ride, sometime about 1/3 full, and sometimes don't see any at all. On the side stand, just a tiny but above the center dot.
Tonight I got the symbol on the display, then it disappeared, OIL with checkmark, but the came back again.
I am assuming it's just so close to the "correct" level, the warning comes on, then off, then on, etc....

So, oil was changed at Atlantic Motoplex last April at 20K, Advantec 15W-50, wondering what I can use locally here in Dartmouth area to top-up a bit and monitor the level for another week or two.
Also, I'm not comfortable at this point doing a complete oil change myself, again, any options locally or is it best to top-up with something make plans to head up to Dieppe ?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks !
Chris B.





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Re: 2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by BeemerD on Sun May 21, 2017 7:42 pm

Hi, I used shell Rotella T6 oil it is synthetic and meets the requirements for your bike. it is a 5w40 (which is the recommended oil for my 1200GS Adventure) You can get it at Cdn tire.
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Re: 2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by ChrisB on Sun May 21, 2017 9:11 pm

Thanks for the reply BeemerD.
I've been doing much reading on line, and saw quite a few references to the Rotella T6.
I headed off to Cdn Tire today, but they didn't have any T6, saw some T4, and also not 15W50 as my R1200RT has in it now.
I opted for the Mobile 1, 15W50, as I've seen that mentioned a number of times as well.

I've read many posts suggesting only certain oils, and just as many suggesting most any oil will do....
Since I'm simply topping-up, possibly 1/4 or 1/2 liter at most, I'm hoping this should do no harm.
I will pay close attention to the oil level after each ride over the next week or two to see if I'm burning any for some reason.

On a related note, since it's only been 2,500 kms since the 20K service, but 12 months now, perhaps I should do the annual service shortly anyway, giving me a fresh oil change.

Thanks again for your reply,
Chris B.

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Re: 2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by Alan Coles on Tue May 23, 2017 5:45 pm

Hi Chris, welcome to the Forum and the community.

Here are a few links that you may not have found yet:

Weekly Meets during the Riding Season

BMWONS Membership Form (New & Renewal)

Club Rides - typically Saturday or Sunday from Bedford Common Tim Hortons

Safe Riding Etiquette - Group Riding

Jim Von Baden - vg tech DVDs and articles

Here's Jim's way of checking his Hexhead oil level:

Jim Von Baden wrote:The most accepted way of checking oil is to get the motor hot, like a 20 minute ride hot, then leave the bike on the sidestand for at least 10 minutes, then put it on the center stand.   This is to allow the oil to drain down from the oil cooler into the sump. However, sometimes it does not, as you saw, and you get a false low reading. This results in overfilling the bike with oil risking an overpressure and leaks, or blowing oil through the engine vent into the air box.

Jim Von Baden wrote:My method, tested by me many times, is to ride the bike until hot, park on the sidestand, and look at the oil after 5 minutes. If the site glass is full, I ride. If it is showing any air at all, I add 8 oz. Even the most oil thirsty bike wont use more than 8oz between gas stops, which is where I typically check my oil.  This method ensures that the bike is never more than 8oz short on oil. Since the bike hold 4 quarts, 8oz is insignificant. I have checked my oil this way for over 50K miles each, on an oil thirsty R1200GS and R1200ST, and at every oil drain I have never been more than 8oz short, typically only 3-4, and that can be explained by oil not draining out of the motor and oil cooler. I have also used this method on an R1100RS and R1100GS for about 30K miles.  So there you have it, the JVB method of checking oil.

Chris Harris - BMW Service Work - YouTube  Channel

Watching Chris' videos will give you some good instruction on some of the procedures for normal maintenance work and more involved work on older BMWs. Most of it will apply to newer bikes as well, but not all.


Regarding your oil, you mentioned
ChrisB wrote:... I am assuming it's just so close to the "correct" level, the warning comes on, then off, then on, etc....
That is actually telling you that it is right at the bare minimum. There will be no warning given nor needed when it is at the correct level. Those sensors are very sensitive (perhaps too much so) and will go back and forth a lot when it is close to the lowest level acceptable. Also, the "lowest level acceptable" should not be considered the level at which it is still okay to operate the bike on a regular basis, but rather, the lowest level that it is okay to ride the bike to the nearest opportunity to top-up the oil.

If you need some 15w50 just drop me a PM as I have several litres if you need it (I'm in Bedford). You can use any top-tier motorcycle oil (preferably 15w50 but others will do in a pinch for top-up). By top-tier I'm referring to BMW oil, Amsoil, Mobil, Shell, Spectro, etc. Because your 2009 R1200RT has a dry-clutch you can also use automotive oil as you don't have to be concerned about a wet-clutch (again, top-tier oils are best).

If you'd like, you can wait until the end of this riding season to do your oil change. Always best to have fresh oil in the bike during winter storage than old. Also, makes for one less thing to do when you start riding in the spring. ;-)

As far as learning to do the regular maintenance on your bike there are several members with bikes similar to yours would can give you pointers.

Hope to see you this Thursday evening if you can make it. If you'd like me to bring a litre more of 15w50, just let me know.
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Re: 2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by ChrisB on Tue May 23, 2017 8:28 pm

Thanks Alan, lots of good info there for me to look through.
Also appreciate the offer to spare some of your oil for me, I think I'm good for now, but again, certainly appreciate the offer !

I did pick up a liter of Mobile 1, 15W50 over the weekend, and added about 8 oz before I took off for a ride yesterday.
Engine cold, at least I could see some oil there while on the center stand, but not too much for fear of overfilling it.
No oil warning during a 2 hour ride, and when I arrived home, side stand for 6 or 7 minutes, then center stand, another 5 minutes and was right at the center of the site glass.
I added another 4 oz and that brought it up to about 3/4 of the site glass, (dropped down to the center of the site glass then next day when cold....).

So I'm sure I'm out of "danger", and now I can monitor the oil using the same method consistently, and should be able to tell if burning any over the next little while.

Thanks again, and I'll see if I can get out to the Chicken Burger for a shake !!
Chris B.

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Re: 2009 R1200RT oil top-up

Post by Alan Coles on Tue May 23, 2017 9:41 pm

Sounds good Chris. You should be fine for consumption unless there is an issue with the bike.
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