Engine Oil - Don't Like What I'm Seeing

Discussion in 'Bonneville' started by Seedman, Nov 4, 2023.

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  1. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Hello all,

    Purchased a brand new 2022 T100 last October. Had 600 mile break in service done in December of last year which of course included an oil change. Since then have not put a lot of miles on the bike. Odometer currently at 1,750 miles, so 1,150 miles and 11 months since first oil change.

    Checked oil level today and saw this:

    20231104_141017.jpg

    I checked the engine oil often enough over the past 11 months. My recollection was that it may have looked a bit dirty, but nothing like this. Taking it to dealership next week. I have some idea of what it could be, but throwing this out there for discussion.

    Any input appreciated.

    Seedman
     
  2. littleade

    littleade The only sane one here
    Subscriber

    Mar 17, 2015
    214
    1,000
    Worcestershire
    Condensation due to doing short journeys/starting the bike up for short periods repeatedly without riding it? What's in the cooling system expansion tank and on the inside of the oil filler cap?
     
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  3. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    littleade,

    Thanks for replying. Inside of oil filler cap just has some oil on it. Cooling system expansion tank is right between MIN and MAX. Can't tell the coolant color since the tank is an almost opaque white. To be honest, I don't know what the correct color would be anyway.

    Have not ever started the bike up without riding it. Don't think my journeys have been too short. 26 miles may have been the shortest with others averaging say 40-50 miles. I know 1,150 miles is not much in 11 months. I hate to admit that it does sit more than I ride it. The bike has always been garage kept since I owned it, never sat outside even one night.

    Seedman
     
  4. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    2,870
    800
    Yorkshire
    That looks like oil emulsified by water contamination from either a head gasket problem or, as littleade has suggested, internal engine condensation due to short runs with the engine not reaching full operating temperature for long enough to evaporate the water off. If it was the head gasket I'd expect other signs of oil/coolant contamination.
    Try a longish motorway run of 50+ miles and see if the oil colour improves.
    I remember taking my first 4 stroke bike, a Z1300, back to the dealer for the first service back in 1982 and mentioning that the oil looked very similar with some traces of white foaming on the sight window and the mechanic said it was a result of too many short journeys and a "good 100m blast" would sort it out!:joy:
     
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  5. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Pegscraper,

    Thanks for your input also!

    My last ride this past Monday was 47 miles. I broke that up about halfway for 20 minutes.

    I would really hate for it to be a head gasket problem. It is still under warranty but still would really suck. This is my first Triumph.

    Cheers!

    Seedman
     
  6. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    As some added info....

    As stated earlier, I always keep the bike in my garage. The garage is unheated and over the past several weeks we have gone through some temperature swings. Low 40's (F) to upper 60's each day at least for the last week.
     
  7. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

    Jun 12, 2020
    2,870
    800
    Yorkshire
    I've had condensation forming on unheated garaged bikes before but never on the inside of the engine. The volume of air in the crankcases it relatively small, the water vapour produced by combustion is huge.
     
  8. andypandy

    andypandy Crème de la Crème

    Jan 10, 2016
    4,083
    1,000
    Shaw
    It doesn't look good but if the bike is running ok i'd be inclined to run it over to the dealers if it's not too far away. Otherwise I would do an oil and filter change. That way you'll see what the oil is really like.
     
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  9. TRIPLE X

    TRIPLE X Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2021
    197
    93
    Downham Market, Norfolk
    I agree. An oil change would not go amiss.
     
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  10. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Thanks for replying andypandy and TRIPLE X...

    The bike does seem to be running fine, don't notice anything out of the ordinary. Taking it do the dealer tomorrow, 30 mile drive. Will see what they say. I will ask if they can analyze the oil to determine whether it's condensation or coolant....or something else.

    Keeping my fingers crossed (except when riding!) and will post more once I know more.

    Thanks to all!

    Seedman
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. littleade

    littleade The only sane one here
    Subscriber

    Mar 17, 2015
    214
    1,000
    Worcestershire
    Looks like the mystery continues, I was thinking more about if there was oil contamination inside the expansion tank, rather than the colour. I think it's unlikely to be due to temperature changes as we had a spell here last year where the outside temperature went from below zero to in the teens and my bike (a BMW) is in an unheated garage too. When I opened the doors to get the car out the warm(er) air entered the garage and almost immediately started to condense on the cold bike to the point that within a short time it was dripping wet but the oil never ended up like yours. It's worth going to the dealers, if they find nothing wrong get them to document it so you have a record of this happening within the warranty period in case you have problems on the future. Good luck, let us know how you get on
     
  12. Traveler

    Traveler Well-Known Member

    Jun 21, 2023
    119
    93
    Helena, Alabama
    Have you checked the coolant level?
     
  13. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Hello Traveler,

    Yes, and the level is right between the MIN and MAX lines.
     
  14. RickM46

    RickM46 Active Member

    Oct 12, 2023
    40
    28
    US
    Bought my T120 a few weeks ago new from a Triumph dealer in Battle Creek, Mich; only got about 80 miles on it. Been cold here; not done much riding; only short runs around the neighborhood.

    My oil in the sight glass looks similar to yours; I know what water contaminated oil looks like having owned a boat whose V8 engine got rain flooded due to a cover mishap; oil in the crankcase looked like chocolate milk.

    Stuck my finger into the oil fill hole on the T120 to see what I came up with - got decent looking oil.

    Keep us up on your findings.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Hello!

    Dropped bike off at dealer today for service appointment tomorrow. When I showed the service advisor the picture of the oil in the sight glass (in original post), he immediately said condensation. I told him I don't turn the engine on for short periods of time and that all of my rides are at least a few hours (though broken up with breaks). He said if the bike is sitting a lot (which I admit it has), it can build up condensation in the crankcase. That's what he says.

    Anyway, the mechanic will look at it tomorrow and is being made aware of my concerns of possible coolant contamination. We'll see how that goes.

    More to follow......

    and thanks to all for your input, much appreciated!
     
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  16. Seedman

    Seedman Member

    Oct 30, 2022
    20
    8
    Maryland USA
    Picked up bike at dealer. Oil / filter change completed. Dealership is reputable. Has been in business in the local area since 1938.

    Mechanic's notes concerning oil condition:

    Mechanic's notes.jpg

    So there we go! I will be keeping an eye on it. Just seems strange since I don't operate the engine for short time intervals. They told me yesterday it can occur from sitting.

    Previous bike was 2018 BMW F800GT. I also didn't put a a lot of miles on that bike. Oil always looked good ON DIPSTICK, no sight glass. This is the first bike I have ever had that has a sight glass. Maybe that has something to do with it?

    Previous bike to that was a 2016 BMW F700GS. Now that bike I did put a lot of miles on (14K in 3 years) and prior to that a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750. Put 8,000 on that in two years.

    Need to ride the Bonneville more! Had some things going on preventing me from riding as much. Part of that was my brother moving away who I rode with a lot.

    Again thanks to all! Any more input certainly appreciated.

    Seedman
     
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  17. Scoot65

    Scoot65 Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    220
    93
    DURHAM
    Thanks for posting an update..... good to know!
     
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