Changing oil that has sat for two years; to run it first or not?Subscribe to this blog RSS Feed
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    1 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    I am reviving a street bike that I have not run for two years.

    I properly "winterized" it by changing the oil before putting it away and by turning it over every couple of months without firing it up so that I don't get a stuck ring.

    Typically, I will warm up an engine before changing the oil, but in this case I'm wondering what the collective suggestion is as to whether or not I should just dump what is in there now, cold, and then replace oil and filter.

    Thoughts?
    2 of 13
    Yermo
    last month
    The concern is accumulated moisture.

    If you want to be fanatical, you could drain the oil cold. Fill it. Run it to heat it up and then drain it again. Replace the oil filter and fill with the oil you'll run.

    If it were my bike, I wouldn't worry about it. I'd just warm it up and change the oil and filter and be done with it.

    I would definitely do the oil change though. 
    3 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    Yeah, I think it is a bit unnecessary (and a waste of money) to change it twice.

    I was thinking it might be just as good to drain it cold, fill it up with fresh and go.  The thought being that any moisture/contaminants that have accumulated in the oil won't get circulated and that only a very small amount of that "old" oil would remain after refilling it.

    Although, it probably doesn't matter one way or another, frankly.

    But thanks for the input :) 
    4 of 13
    Yermo
    last month
    There have to be some tech articles out there somewhere that's evaluated this in some depth. I honestly don't know which is better in this scenario. I could come up with arguments on both sides. 

    I suspect it's all probably over optimization. Either way is probably fine. 
    5 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    Quick search revealed this: https://mandjsunshine.com/mj-sunshine-news/starting-car-sitting-years/ 

    Looks like changing fluids first is the way to go.  I was also planning on changing the coolant too so I'm going to do those two things first before I fire it up.

    Since there is likely little or no oil in the heads I'll also disconnect the ignition so that I crank it a few times with the fuel off to get some oil circulating throughout the motor before actually running it.
    6 of 13
    Yermo
    last month
    Good find. Thanks for the link.
    7 of 13
    Robermcm
    last month
    reading the link makes me think the order of important pre-start tasks is
    - gas AND oil, 
    - belts, if really old, (esp timing belts not on any bike I’ve known)
    - radiator flush

    brake, clutch, etc if you’re going to move it far. 

    If it was only sitting two years, I’d be most concerned about removing the gas and wondering if any was left in the carbs. And getting some lube up in the bushings and bearings before it was running too long. Maybe A hot summer day or heat up the engine with an external source before cranking it up so the oil is at least warm?
    8 of 13
    Yermo
    last month
    Robermcm, huh, that's a good point. I had not considered warming it up externally. Maybe turning the heat up in the garage and leaving it overnight might suffice so it's not autumn cold. 
    9 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    Robermcmwhen I put it away I drained the carbs and turned off the petcock.  Also, I replaced the fuel in the tank every 6 months to try to prevent any moisture settling to the bottom of the tank and rusting it so that shouldn't be a concern.  I'll dump what is in the tank now and put in fresh fuel before I fire it up.

    Interesting idea about warming it up externally.

    The plan is to also lube all the cables and flush the brake fluid too.
    10 of 13
    Robermcm
    last month
    you’re more disciplined at bike storage than me, for sure! Good job. 

    I think the ‘warm it up first’ thought came from hearing many times that the worst wear on an engine is in the first 10 seconds, before the oil reaches the places it does its work. And cold oil takes longer to get there than warm oil. 2 years allows a lot more of the residual oil in the bearings and journals to return to the bottom of the engine. No film is left to hold the fort until reinforcements arrive. 

    But, then again, if you only do this once, I doubt it will hurt much no matter what your approach. Unless it doesn’t start and you crank it and crank it. I had a high school buddy who rebuilt his Honda CB 450 top end. New cams, even. He didn’t use assembly lube and put the cam chain one link off from correct. He cranked it and cranked it, trying to get it started. By the time he disassembled it again to see what was wrong, he’d scored the cam surfaces! Ouch. 

    Good luck and enjoy. 
    11 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    RobermcmThanks for the props!  I actually learned my lesson the hard way.  I let a bike sit for a couple of years and didn't replace the fuel and ended up having the tank rust through in a spot.  It was a PITA to fix and since then it's just easier to swap the fuel on a regular basis if it's going to sit for a while.

    I thought the same thing about all of the residual oil draining into the pan and figured I'd disconnect the ignition and then crank the starter for a few seconds to get oil into the heads and moving around before actually running it.

    But, as we've discussed . . . this is probably a bit over optimized to begin with
    12 of 13
    Ian
    last month
    So Ryan, what bike is this?
    13 of 13
    ryan647
    last month
    Ian wrote:
    So Ryan, what bike is this?

    Hi Ian!  This is my VFR.
    I decided that I wanted to get back to street riding so getting it back in shape for some riding.

    Luckily it was in pretty good shape when I put it away so I just need to do some basic refresh maintenance on it.
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