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  1. #1
    Active Member teninospyder's Avatar
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    Default Oil level check results confusing to me

    OK, I'm just relaying info from my own personal experience here, so please accept it as that. However I do have a question or 2. First off, this is a 2014 RTL with 1330 engine.
    Last Saturday I had the dealer do an oil change including the HMC Oil Filter. I do not know exactly how much oil he refilled with, however I have no issues related to that service or Spyder performance since.

    After reading a few latest posts here about checking the oil level in the 1330, yesterday I decided to follow the BRP procedure and see what I had.
    After taking a 15 mile ride (run to post office, avg 50 MPH) with outside temp around 67, I parked at home and left it running while I "unloaded myself" of jacket, helmet, billfold, etc.". As I was walking back to the Spyder I heard the fans running and they cut out just as I got there. All is well for an oil check (it's 1:30PM PST). I shut her down, lifted the seat, removed the dipstick, wiped it off, reinserted all the way, and removed to check oil level. I did this a number of times, and each time the oil level was at the very top of the "max" ball end of the plastic portion of the dipstick. No oil showed at all on the wire portion of the dipstick.
    From this I "expect" I am good to go on oil level.

    I have always been curious about the comments about oil drainback, and checking within 2 minutes, and dipsticks showing low after sitting for a while, so I decided to do a check on mine. This is where I am confused about what I should see and did see.

    I rechecked the oil level every few hours or so (including after waking up this AM around 6), following good practice of wiping off dipstick, reinstall, make sure I was reading correctly, etc., and in every check - including this AM - the level on the stick has not changed, even though obviously the engine and oil temp has changed
    Maybe I've been misreading the posts about this, but I expected to see it lower based on the sump draining and oil reservoir discussions

    Can someone please help me understand what I obviously don't ?

    Appreciate it

    Consider this request closed.
    Last edited by teninospyder; 04-05-2019 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Can't get answer to question.
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  2. #2
    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    It is possible, as you have discovered, to get an accurate oil level reading without following the prescribed steps. However, it is also very possible to get inaccurate readings if the correct process is not observed.

    So, the bottom line is. The only way to be SURE you get an accurate oil level reading is to follow the prescribed method. To do otherwise is to risk (but not guarantee) an inaccurate reading.
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  3. #3
    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    Based on your statement that you do not know how much oil the technician used during the oil and HCM filter change and where you say the oil level is on the dipstick I suspect the technician overfilled the engine. Why do I suspect this? Because at the 28K service on my '14TR-S the exact same thing happened. I did the same thing you did when I got home from the dealership; checked the oil level and it completely covered the Max ball on the dip stick. Later that evening I went out to my garage for something unrelated to the bike and found a spot of oil under the bike. Upon examination I found the technician had not removed the belly pan under the HCM filter and had made a mess of the job. When I checked the dipstick the oil level was still at the top of the Max ball and it had been a good number of hours since my original check. The following morning I took the bike for a decent length ride to fully warm up the engine and then sucked out enough oil to lower the dipstick level to midway between the Min and Max bulbs. How do I further confirm my suspicions? The last time I change my oil and engine oil filter 4,200 miles ago I used 5.0 qt of oil as recommended. Two days ago after a day long ride I did a routine oil level check and the level was midway between the Max and Min bulbs. Yesterday I rode another 50 or so miles and the bike has since sat for about 18 hours. On reading your post I went out and checked the level on a stone cold engine and it just covered the Min bulb on the dipstick. Some amount of oil, I don't know in oz just how much, had drained back into the engine as compared to the day-long post ride check.

    If you read the oil maintenance instructions in the '14 operator's guide you will notice the slick BRP editors were so careful they used the wrong picture of the 2014 dipstick and the instructions say to fill the oil level to near the top of the Min-Max range. Newer operator's guides day do not add oil if the dipstick level is between the Min and Max bulbs. When I next change my HCM filter in about 5K miles I'm going to use 5.2 qt as called for in an engine oil quantity change that was published in mid-2015 and has carried forward to subsequent op guides.
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    Quote Originally Posted by teninospyder View Post
    From this I "expect" I am good to go on oil level.
    You should have stopped right there.

    I've been a bit curious about that too......but decided I have better things to do and worry about.

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    My thought and experience is that it all depends on how long the Spyder sits for. I have noticed not much difference when checking the oil cold, to a huge difference and not much oil even reading on the dipstick! I notice it seems to have a lot to do with the amount of time my Spyder sits (2012 RS-S).

  6. #6
    Active Member teninospyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayBros View Post
    Based on your statement that you do not know how much oil the technician used during the oil and HCM filter change and where you say the oil level is on the dipstick I suspect the technician overfilled the engine. Why do I suspect this? Because at the 28K service on my '14TR-S the exact same thing happened. I did the same thing you did when I got home from the dealership; checked the oil level and it completely covered the Max ball on the dip stick. Later that evening I went out to my garage for something unrelated to the bike and found a spot of oil under the bike. Upon examination I found the technician had not removed the belly pan under the HCM filter and had made a mess of the job. When I checked the dipstick the oil level was still at the top of the Max ball and it had been a good number of hours since my original check. The following morning I took the bike for a decent length ride to fully warm up the engine and then sucked out enough oil to lower the dipstick level to midway between the Min and Max bulbs. How do I further confirm my suspicions? The last time I change my oil and engine oil filter 4,200 miles ago I used 5.0 qt of oil as recommended. Two days ago after a day long ride I did a routine oil level check and the level was midway between the Max and Min bulbs. Yesterday I rode another 50 or so miles and the bike has since sat for about 18 hours. On reading your post I went out and checked the level on a stone cold engine and it just covered the Min bulb on the dipstick. Some amount of oil, I don't know in oz just how much, had drained back into the engine as compared to the day-long post ride check.

    If you read the oil maintenance instructions in the '14 operator's guide you will notice the slick BRP editors were so careful they used the wrong picture of the 2014 dipstick and the instructions say to fill the oil level to near the top of the Min-Max range. Newer operator's guides day do not add oil if the dipstick level is between the Min and Max bulbs. When I next change my HCM filter in about 5K miles I'm going to use 5.2 qt as called for in an engine oil quantity change that was published in mid-2015 and has carried forward to subsequent op guides.

    Jaybros, thanks for your inputs here, but I think my question relates more to "Why" I never see any indication of a lower oil level regardless of how long it sits. I don't see any oil on the "wire" portion of the dipstick when I take it out. If it is overfilled wouldn't there initially be oil on it too?
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    Oil measurement on the Dipstick for the 1330 engine is not very likely to change from use ….. For some reason the 1330 must be so well made / designed …. it doesn't BURN / USE much if any OIL ….. I can't remember anyone saying this engine is using Oil between normal oil changes ….. jmho ... Mike

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    Active Member teninospyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLUEKNIGHT911 View Post
    Oil measurement on the Dipstick for the 1330 engine is not very likely to change from use ….. For some reason the 1330 must be so well made / designed …. it doesn't BURN / USE much if any OIL ….. I can't remember anyone saying this engine is using Oil between normal oil changes ….. jmho ... Mike
    Thanks for the input Mike. I'm thinking maybe I'm not asking the right question or I misunderstand a lot of the prior discussions on this topic. The BRP procedure (do the check within 2 minutes, as an example) led me to think that when you shut off the engine, the oil in the main tank and where the dipstick is, was flowing down into another location, to be pumped back up into the main tank again when you start the engine - and you needed to check within 2 minutes or a lot of the oil would have flowed out of the main tank and wouldn't be in the area of the dipstick for a good measurement. I've tried finding any description and sketches of how the system works component wise, but haven't succeeded. If my assumption is true, it explained for me why the oil level would be lower on the dipstick in the morning, and come up after an engine running warmup and system pumping per BRP procedure. My measurements cold engine or hot are virtually the same. I can check it after a run, after a cold night, and in the morning it's the same. If the oil does in fact flow out of the main tank and out of the dipstick area after shutdown, I'm not seeing it. You have always been good at explaining things to me so Please help me understand what I am missing ?
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  9. #9
    Very Active Member BLUEKNIGHT911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teninospyder View Post
    Thanks for the input Mike. I'm thinking maybe I'm not asking the right question or I misunderstand a lot of the prior discussions on this topic. The BRP procedure (do the check within 2 minutes, as an example) led me to think that when you shut off the engine, the oil in the main tank and where the dipstick is, was flowing down into another location, to be pumped back up into the main tank again when you start the engine - and you needed to check within 2 minutes or a lot of the oil would have flowed out of the main tank and wouldn't be in the area of the dipstick for a good measurement. I've tried finding any description and sketches of how the system works component wise, but haven't succeeded. If my assumption is true, it explained for me why the oil level would be lower on the dipstick in the morning, and come up after an engine running warmup and system pumping per BRP procedure. My measurements cold engine or hot are virtually the same. I can check it after a run, after a cold night, and in the morning it's the same. If the oil does in fact flow out of the main tank and out of the dipstick area after shutdown, I'm not seeing it. You have always been good at explaining things to me so Please help me understand what I am missing ?
    I follow the oil check procedure as stated in the manual for the 1330 engine ………………. What I do different is … I check it AFTER a long or short ride …..when it's guaranteed to be at correct OPERATING temp ….. I'm not going to waste 15 min. waiting for it to get warm while burning FUEL ………… When I start my RT - I already know the oil level is correct because I checked after my last ride ……This is how & why I do it this way Mike

  10. #10
    Very Active Member Lew L's Avatar
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    Same here---- It only takes a few monents at the end of a ryde to check the oil level. I also use a spray detailer to get the bug guts off the front of the and out of my teeth

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    The 2018 1330 in the RTL has a dry sump oil system. When you are checking the oil, you are checking it in a tank, not the crank case. so, maybe as time goes by the oil is draining slightly back into the crankcase giving the appearance of losing oil level.
    Upon restarting the engine and allowing the oil to recirculate fills up the reservoir again.
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  12. #12
    SpyderLovers Ambassador Little Blue's Avatar
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    Default Oil Level

    Your question about the oil level on your Spyder is a good one. I had never checked my oil the way you had done. So just as you stated, I did the same thing. The oil level on my Spyder was about the same for every check.

    Why was it about the same? I really don't have the answer. The manual is the way I go. .....

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    The 1330 Ace engine has a dry sump type oiling system. This means it has an oil tank to hold the oil. The oil goes into the engine providing lubrication and cooling. In the lower part of the engine there are scavenger pumps which pump the oil which has gone through the engine lubricating and picking up heat, back into the oil tank for the next round.This lubricating system is the same as Harley engines. The engine needs to be run before checking the oil so that all the oil from the sump is pumped back into the oil tank.

    On a new, tight engine the engine might be able to sit there for half a day and the oil would not drain back into the sump with out the engine running. Older engines can be looser and even oil pump wear could let a certain amount drain back into the sump. This is called 'sumping'. It does not do any further damage, but it could fool you on the amount of oil you have in the system. That is why you check it right after it has been running. All the oil in the sump has been pumped back into the tank so the level reads as it should. Having a sump full of oil and then adding more oil to bring the level up will result in too much oil in the system. It could blow out the dipstick, breathers, fill cap, or any place it can get out when the engine is started .

  14. #14
    Very Active Member CopperSpyder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwolf View Post
    The 1330 Ace engine has a dry sump type oiling system. This means it has an oil tank to hold the oil. The oil goes into the engine providing lubrication and cooling. In the lower part of the engine there are scavenger pumps which pump the oil which has gone through the engine lubricating and picking up heat, back into the oil tank for the next round.This lubricating system is the same as Harley engines. The engine needs to be run before checking the oil so that all the oil from the sump is pumped back into the oil tank.

    On a new, tight engine the engine might be able to sit there for half a day and the oil would not drain back into the sump with out the engine running. Older engines can be looser and even oil pump wear could let a certain amount drain back into the sump. This is called 'sumping'. It does not do any further damage, but it could fool you on the amount of oil you have in the system. That is why you check it right after it has been running. All the oil in the sump has been pumped back into the tank so the level reads as it should. Having a sump full of oil and then adding more oil to bring the level up will result in too much oil in the system. It could blow out the dipstick, breathers, fill cap, or any place it can get out when the engine is started .

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    This is typical BRP Rubbish design, probably designed by the janitor in his lunch break.
    If an engine requires X amount of oil in the sump, tank or wherever its fed from, then with a correctly designed dipstick length it will measure the level when the engine is cold as with most normal vehicles, if you have enough oil when the engine is hot, cold, warm or othewise, then you have enough oil, the temperature of the engine can't make it any more or less. You're more inclined to check your oil before you start than have a compicated hit and miss procedure. If you can measure X amount of oil on the dipstick when cold then when you start the engine I'm sure the oil knows where to go to keep the engine lubricated.
    So why not put the level marks on the dipstick for a cold unstarted engine and let us all have some peace. I'm surprised no one has made a calculation or modified dipstick. MAYBE THATS MY NEXT PROJECT
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    Quote Originally Posted by agedbikeman View Post
    This is typical BRP Rubbish design, probably designed by the janitor in his lunch break.
    If an engine requires X amount of oil in the sump, tank or wherever its fed from, then with a correctly designed dipstick length it will measure the level when the engine is cold as with most normal vehicles, if you have enough oil when the engine is hot, cold, warm or othewise, then you have enough oil, the temperature of the engine can't make it any more or less. You're more inclined to check your oil before you start than have a compicated hit and miss procedure. If you can measure X amount of oil on the dipstick when cold then when you start the engine I'm sure the oil knows where to go to keep the engine lubricated.
    So why not put the level marks on the dipstick for a cold unstarted engine and let us all have some peace. I'm surprised no one has made a calculation or modified dipstick. MAYBE THATS MY NEXT PROJECT
    Good luck on your dipstick design. Keep us updated on your progress.

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    Very Active Member PMK's Avatar
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    For whatever reason, the engineers and tech guys took a very simple task and complicated it. The engine is a dry sump design. If heading out, fire the motor, run it for a minute or two and tnen check the oil. Close enough is fine, it is not as if the crankshaft is dipping into the oil or the gearbox is at risk.

    The heat expansion amount is insignificant at best.

    Years ago, and we never truly got a good explanation from BRP, there was mention of dipsticks not being the proper length or changed during a production run or whatever. Saying that, rather than tell us the dipstick dimension, they can out with a long version of checking oil level AND rather than add a prescribed oil amount at oil changes, they want you to underfill, then do the entire get it hot and add oil task.

    FWIW, every oil change except once I si ply add the book prescribed amount of oil and it checks fine hot or cold.

    The one time, concerned I should do as they say, it was a pain and ultimately ended up slightly overfull.

    Pretty certain the oil level guy and the guy that designed the clock enjoy lunchtime together...

  18. #18
    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agedbikeman View Post
    This is typical BRP Rubbish design, probably designed by the janitor in his lunch break.
    If an engine requires X amount of oil in the sump, tank or wherever its fed from, then with a correctly designed dipstick length it will measure the level when the engine is cold as with most normal vehicles, if you have enough oil when the engine is hot, cold, warm or othewise, then you have enough oil, the temperature of the engine can't make it any more or less. You're more inclined to check your oil before you start than have a compicated hit and miss procedure. If you can measure X amount of oil on the dipstick when cold then when you start the engine I'm sure the oil knows where to go to keep the engine lubricated.
    So why not put the level marks on the dipstick for a cold unstarted engine and let us all have some peace. I'm surprised no one has made a calculation or modified dipstick. MAYBE THATS MY NEXT PROJECT
    Actually, a dry sump oil system is an excellent and very desirable design. It affords a number of advantages. Nothing 'rubbish' about it. However, with improved engineering, sometimes an appropriate change in actions by the user is required.

    I am afraid that your 'Cold' mark dipstick project is doomed to fail. To set a 'Cold' oil level mark you will have to know exactly how much oil has drained from the oil reservoir back into the crank case. Since this is a function of time and oil viscosity (which affects the drain rate), it will vary every time. The real take-a-way here is that SOME oil will drain from the reservoir back into the crank case, lowering the oil level in the reservoir (where the dip stick resides). Filling to the 'Full' mark in this situation will create a system over-fill condition. Which we all know is not a good thing.

    When you start the engine, the oil system begins to return the extra oil in the crank case back to the reservoir. It does this until the system is returned to its balance point. It is at this point that the oil level can be accurately assessed with the reservoir dip stick. I do not know what the time frame is for this balance to be achieved, but it probably does not take very long. The important thing here is not so much operating temperature, as some have mentioned, but giving the system a chance to accomplish this task before an accurate oil level reading can be taken.

    It takes a bit of time for the oil to leak back into the crankcase after shut-down. So there is no need to be quick about taking a measurment.

    Most, including me, simply check the oil level at the end of a ride or during a fuel stop along the way. As long as you don't see a puddle of oil under the machine when you want to ride again, you are good to go. Then simply repeat this cycle and live happily ever after. Doing it this way completely avoids the 'Cold' oil level issue altogether.
    Last edited by BajaRon; 06-08-2019 at 07:52 AM.
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    To add a few things to what BajaRon said..........there is a great number of reasons why a dry sump oiling system has advantages over a wet sump system. It is not a design flaw and any dry sump system you find will have approximately the same method of checking the oil. A dry sump system is ideal for motorcycles, since it allows for a small, shallow crankcase and reduces the bulk of the engine. It also allows the engine to sit lower in the frame, keeping the center of gravity down. The additional oil in the dry sump system is stored in a separate tank. This allows for any amount of oil to be used in the engine simply by varying the size of the remote tank. The oil in a dry sump system also carries some of the heat away from the crankcase where it can dissipate around the oil tank or the lines leading to and from it. It also allows for the optional oil cooler in the lines. The oil tank can be located any place on the vehicle. It does not need to be part of the lower crankcase.

    In a wet sump system, like most cars with 7 or more quarts right in the oil pan of the engine, the G forces of cornering, acceleration, and braking will move the oil to one side or the other of the oil pan. This sloshing around of oil can cover / uncover the crankshaft, since it runs in the same space as the oil storage. It also adds to the foaming effect and could uncover the oil pump resulting in cavitation and oil starvation. The crankshaft running in the oil stored in the pan of a wet sump system cuts the engine horsepower.

    Simply checking the oil when you park the bike or get gas is all that is needed. No reason to redesign a perfectly good system. The dry sump system has many advantages on small engines. The number of minutes after you shut the engine off it not that critical just as long as it is within a reasonable time. I think probably they put a certain number in the books to keep 50 people a day from calling and asking how long to wait.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agedbikeman View Post
    This is typical BRP Rubbish design, probably designed by the janitor in his lunch break.
    While I am not a big fan of a lot of things that BRP has done with the Spyder, THIS is not one of them.

    It is obvious that you don't understand what a "dry sump" engine design IS.
    Maybe you should look it up.

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    Like Ron and others have said the newer designs require us to learn new ways to check oil. I am impressed with the efficiency of Rotax engines and I have seen a variety of oil levels when I tried to check the engine without being fully warmed up and guess that the pumps lobes position sometimes stop in a closed position, sometimes open a crack (or due to wear tolerances) allowing drainback and that can change results.

    I did just change oil and filter again at 49,600 miles with the required 5 quarts measured added, and after a long ride it checked with the level just under the M in MAX---just where I like it.

    Thats all I got - and I have learned to change to this predictable procedure...
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    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwolf View Post
    To add a few things to what BajaRon said..........there is a great number of reasons why a dry sump oiling system has advantages over a wet sump system. It is not a design flaw and any dry sump system you find will have approximately the same method of checking the oil. A dry sump system is ideal for motorcycles, since it allows for a small, shallow crankcase and reduces the bulk of the engine. It also allows the engine to sit lower in the frame, keeping the center of gravity down. The additional oil in the dry sump system is stored in a separate tank. This allows for any amount of oil to be used in the engine simply by varying the size of the remote tank. The oil in a dry sump system also carries some of the heat away from the crankcase where it can dissipate around the oil tank or the lines leading to and from it. It also allows for the optional oil cooler in the lines. The oil tank can be located any place on the vehicle. It does not need to be part of the lower crankcase.

    In a wet sump system, like most cars with 7 or more quarts right in the oil pan of the engine, the G forces of cornering, acceleration, and braking will move the oil to one side or the other of the oil pan. This sloshing around of oil can cover / uncover the crankshaft, since it runs in the same space as the oil storage. It also adds to the foaming effect and could uncover the oil pump resulting in cavitation and oil starvation. The crankshaft running in the oil stored in the pan of a wet sump system cuts the engine horsepower.

    Simply checking the oil when you park the bike or get gas is all that is needed. No reason to redesign a perfectly good system. The dry sump system has many advantages on small engines. The number of minutes after you shut the engine off it not that critical just as long as it is within a reasonable time. I think probably they put a certain number in the books to keep 50 people a day from calling and asking how long to wait.


    Exactly right!

    Dry sump is just a better way to do things. Frankly, BRP would be foolish to use any other system. Like going from 2 wheels to 3. Going from wet sump to dry sump takes some getting used to, requiring some changes by the user. But it's all good in the end!

    Wet sump is fine for cars/trucks, etc. It's a simpler, less expensive system. The engine in these vehicles can sit as low as needed and still have plenty of room for a deep, conventional oil pan. But even a few inches of motor height makes a world of difference in a motorcycle or similar application.
    Only SLOW people have to leave on time...





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    1936 Harley Davidson Knucklehead Engine, first Harley engine ever to use the dry sump, recirculating oil system. Dry sump systems are certainly not some new idea or recent design.



    https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...y-sump-engines

    Just one example of the benefits of dry sump. It is not a dry, boring topic.

    https://rehermorrison.com/tech-talk-...ps-dave-lives/

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    SpyderLovers Sponsor BajaRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwolf View Post
    1936 Harley Davidson Knucklehead Engine, first Harley engine ever to use the dry sump, recirculating oil system. Dry sump systems are certainly not some new idea or recent design.



    https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...y-sump-engines

    Just one example of the benefits of dry sump. It is not a dry, boring topic.

    https://rehermorrison.com/tech-talk-...ps-dave-lives/
    Still, the dry sump oil system is new to some people.... But you're right. Dry sump technology has been around for a long time.
    Last edited by BajaRon; 06-08-2019 at 12:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BajaRon View Post
    Still, the dry sump oil system is new to some people.... But you're right. Dry sump technology has been around for a long time.
    Aircraft radial engines are dry sump and likely predate the Harley by a decade or two..

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