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Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:50 am
by lindasninja
I have a possibly silly question but cannot figure it out so need some help! i have a 2012 Kawasaki ninja 250R, is the carbureted model, I have had it since new, don’t ride it hard, but maybe quite badly to start with, and I just need to know how long it should take for my oil to go black in color?
It only seems to only stay clean only for about 1,500 kilometers, before its black again, as it is a brand new engine, now has 4,500 kilometers, it seems to be somewhat less clean running than I would expect it to be before the oil is this color?

My husband also rides, and he thinks its normal, but he is no mechanic, and returning after many years, originally spent most of his youth on one wheel. He doesn’t ride my bike either or I’d know the reason my oil is black already!
So I have no idea if this is normal or not?

I am using Belray EXP synthetic ester blend 10W-40, this is not a full synthetic oil and was purchased at a stealership. Just need to know if it’s normal or is there something wrong, and will have to have it checked out!
Thanks in advance as I am new to bikes and could use the advice!

Re: Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:18 pm
by Trox
Im no mechanic and still pretty new to bikes but I would say it's normal, if your still concerned change the oil and filter, then in another 1500km (when it discolours again going off what you have said) you'll be due for the 6000km service

Re: Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:58 pm
by lindasninja
Thanks, as I was wondering only because oil was murky, not black when it went for first service at 1000ks, but came back overfilled by at least 230ml, and a dripping air filter. At that first service I was barely able to ride, a total learner and, keeping it level enough to check the oil was a little hard. So assumed the dealers would do it right, and I could see it did have oil! (Use a brick under the stand now!)

By 150 maybe 200ks after service and the bike was running hot, which made me finally figure the overfill, no warning lights, just the fan coming on more often than normal, and the oil was black, so I stiffened the extra out!

Hubby’s advice was “it’s a motorbike it’s meant to have black oil” but wasn’t it black before the first change, so I did another change myself a bit later, oil cover was cracked, as way over tightened! Yes, the same service people everyone says to avoid, but I was verry new to bikes!

It seems to run alright, but I do know so little, have pull a spark plug, and according to the charts is fine. Apparently will show up if oils got to the top of the engine? And figured real question was if its black is it normal!

So thanks heaps for your help, fell bit better knowing I'm being paranoid, apart from the Kawasaki’s being a magnificent bike. They are also apparently bomb proof, luckily!! xx

Re: Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:02 pm
by Gosling1
here is a tip - it looks black when you empty the sump into a tray.

But - when the oil has cooled a bit - just dip the end of 1 finger into the oil. Then have a look at the colour of the oil when you hold your finger up to a light - wether its a garage light or the sun, doesn't matter.

Even with 4-6k on the oil - you should be able to still see the colour of your skin / fingerprint through the oil film. Its an old test but still a goody.

If the oil is so black that you can't see your skin colour - then it is way overdue for a change....


Re: Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:00 pm
by BrettZZR
I don't know what type of crank venting the 250 has but the only thing you can do is make sure the crank vent system is clear - no blockages. This system purges the crankcase of blow-by gasses, which contain small particles of carbon ( = black). Some of these get caught by the oil. If the crank isn't venting properly, or the vent system sucks, more gets caught by the oil ( = more blacker sooner). The particles are so tiny they pass right through the filter and through the engine and back again ( = no harm done). The oil needs replacement when the lubrication properties are no longer up to spec. The fact that it is black is a side issue, although it is true that the longer it's in there, the blacker it is.

Oil has long-chain polymers the get broken down. Bikes (and old-school Minis) have the same oil in the gearbox and engine, and it is the shearing action in the gears that do this. This means that bikes will always have a shorter oil-change interval.


Re: Oil color question, could use some recommendations?

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:28 am
by lindasninja
Thanks for all the info, I could however use just a little more info, on where to look, for the “crank vent system” assume it’s off the engine itself, or air box? Have looked through the repair manual and are stumped sorry, something like, left side, right side top bottom, or other name, will help a huge amount! I’m usually Ok when I know where to look, just never pulled apart any bikes yet, except for the oil filter, but am willing to try, just not sure where or what!

And I can see my skin through the oil, from the second change, thank god, will test the current oil in the bike in the daylight! They suck to siphon oil out of, but the old ‘trigger squirty bottle’ trick works fantastic after using an old printer ink 10 ml syringe and plastic tube first time! And it was 230ml over! Sorry if i have just made people go OMG she knows nothing! But want do want to lern! xxx