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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Short version: My oil level is constantly too high even after draining some oil out, waiting overnight to recheck, etc. When I opened the oil filler plug, I can smell fuel. What am I dealing with?


Long version: I have a '09 ZX6R that I purchased in November with 4,696 mi. The first thing I did was change the oil & filter as per the service manual. A few months ago, I noticed the oil level was too high so I drained some oil out. Just this month, I suspected the same thing - that the oil level was once again too high. Since I needed to take my bike in for a general service and new tires anyway, I had them take a look at it and they leveled it once again. I checked the level before I left the service department and it was good. This morning, I noticed that the level was high once again. I opened the oil filler plug and smell fuel. Feeling very disheartened right now as I had a similar problem with my last bike which ended up turning into a complete disaster. What could cause this?
 

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On an FI bike, the choices are limited....if you can smell fuel in the oil, there's only one way for it to get there.

You probably have a bad injector. This may be serious, depending on how long it has been going on. The extra fuel could wash the oil film off of the cylinder wall and allow excessive wear between the rings and the cylinder.

I would expect the bike to be running poorly, and further I would expect your MPG to be lower than what I am experiencing on my '09 (right at 40 MPG)
 

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Short answer is you've got extra fuel not being burned.

Long answer is where and why. Could be a bad injector, could be running ridiculously rich, could have one cylinder not firing, could be a lot of things.

How's it run?
 

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Before you freak out:

Most likely that you are not checking the oil level properly (fingers crossed!). You start the bike and run it for a few minutes, shut it off, wait five minutes and check oil level while the bike is vertical and level. NOT THE NEXT DAY! Or even hours later...

I have a '12 Zx6r and if I let the bike sit overnight the oil level is always too high. However, if I start it and do the above, it is perfect.

I've never bothered to smell the oil fill, so for all I know it's supposed to smell like fuel somewhat...

If your oil level is still too high after you do the above, then I will go along with the fuel in the oil scenario...
 

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I just went out to the garage; my bike hasn't been started in a week; oil window completely full/no level visible.

I then started it up and let it run a couple of minutes, turned it off and waited five minutes. Oil level is perfect.

I used to be alarmed at this, but as far as I can tell it is just the nature of the beast.

Here's hoping the OP doesn't really have an issue!

I used to have an Aprilia RS250 two-stroke that would get fuel in the oil and it was a complete mystery to me until I figured it out:

This bike had a fluid catch bottle. The catch bottle caught oil overflow from the crankcase as well as a gas tank vent line. Well, when the bike was trailered with a full tank of gas the fuel would run to the catch bottle, and backup through the oil overflow line in the same catch bottle, contaminating the crankcase with raw fuel. It was quite a mystery for awhile....
 

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*Warning - Not an expert mechanic*

As mentioned above, it's likely to be an issue with an injector. In an unusual case, it could be an issue with piston rings or cylinder liners , but this would likely be balanced out by crankcase pressure.

Whether this is a cause for major concern is down to several factors:

1. Both oil and fuel are petroleum products. A very slight scent of petroleum is entirely normal. Learning the differences in smell/feel of the different fluids (yeah, I'm weird) is a very useful skill.
2. How much variation are we discussing? Some people want to scream at a 50ml change and some don't care if it's a pint.
3. Are you getting in a potential flap because of the sight glass/oil gallery or because you're applying careful scrutiny?
4. Fuel in your oil would also often lead to oil being burnt in the cylinders. Are you seeing dark smoke from your exhaust too?

Experience will give you the time-tested 'butt dyno' superpower that can give you indications of whether this is a cause for panic stations, or just something with which you're not familiar. If it passed a 'general service' with a competent and reasonably-thorough mechanic, chances are that this is something on which you should keep a weather eye rather than fear like Donald Trump does a tax audit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow I wasn't expecting such an overwhelming response!
@RJ2112 @capitalcrew @Scorpi0
The bike runs great as far as I could tell and the service center thought so too. As for fuel consumption, I would say I'm getting around 36-38 mpg (with an aftermarket exhaust). Would you consider this poor?
@Duc995
I'm going to recheck the level tomorrow using that method however, I could definitely smell fuel in the oil. How much I don't know. That issue with your Aprilia sounds similar to a hydrolock scenario on my last bike...
@Twistee
From what I could tell it reeks of fuel - in other words it smells nothing like I oil I put in there! I couldn't really tell you how much the level actually changed until I recheck using the methods suggested by @Duc995 since I've been checking the level after the bike has been sitting overnight. The bike's not burning oil as far as I could tell, no black smoke but I will also keep an eye on that.


I'm going to run the bike tomorrow, recheck the oil and post an update... I'm praying its nothing serious *fingers crossed*
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So I rechecked the oil level according to the service manual and @Duc995 's method - looks good! I still smell fuel when I open the filler hole but not as bad... my first thoughts were that I had burned the fuel during idling prior to checking the level but I dunno.. that would be quite a stretch. Anyway I decided to just enjoy the nice weather and go for a ride while I kept an eye on things - no black smoke and runs smooth at all rpm's. So I guess this concludes my dilemma for now. Will report if anything unusual happens..

Thanks for all the help!! @RJ2112 @capitalcrew @Scorpi0 @Duc995 @Twistee
 
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