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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Monday afternoon I rode my 2001 Vstar 650 to Phoenix (about 180 miles). I'd developed a slow leak in my back tire (6psi in 24 hours), so Tuesday morning I stopped in at a dealer (Ridenow). They said it was going to be just over $100 for a new tube and labor. After waiting in their lounge, the customer rep came to tell me there was very little oil in the bike, and showed me a picture on his phone of the sight glass - sure enough, there was only a little bit at the bottom. It would be another $55 for an oil change with filter.

My initial thought was that was impossible, as I had changed the oil about 2 weeks ago, and had last checked the level about Friday. There is no sign of leakage, nor any indication of it burning oil. The only thing I could think of was it fell on its right side last week with the engine running. It was down about 30 seconds. No oil spilled, and no running issues afterwards. The rep thought that was unlikely to be a factor. I'm sure he figured I had run it several hundred miles without checking the level. Anyway, $166 and three hours later, I went on my way.

Tuesday night I was at a rider skills class on cornering. 2-1/2 hours of hard accelerating, braking and turning. Towards the end of the class I found it impossible to get into neutral with the engine idling. Otherwise the bike performed fine.

This morning (Wednesday) I rode the 180 miles back home. The bike ran well, but the issue of getting into neutral continued; it's as if the adjustment is off, so not fully disengaging. I tried adjusting the cable, but it still is difficult to get into neutral, and I have to let the clutch lever out further.

So, two questions?
1. Where did the oil go? The natural expected answer is I didn't fill or check it properly. I'm satisfied that's not the case. The dealership is reputable so far as I know, so I don't think they were ripping me off.

2. Is the clutch issue from running it with low oil, or overly aggressive accelerating?

There is no indication of it slipping any.

Advice please.
 

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The clutch problem can be caused by an abused clutch if the plates are sticking and not releasing. Low oil, old oil, and too low viscosity count as abuse. If minor it may just go away. If you lost any oil from laying it down most likely you would have a wet air filter (if stock) as the breather is the easiest escape route. You should have known a long time ago if it went out the exhaust. Either way it shouldn't have been as much as indicated.
 

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Questions and comments:

How many miles are on the bike?
When you changed the oil, how much oil did you put in the bike?
What weight oil did you put in the bike?
Did you change the filter also?
Is there any oily stuff coming out of the exhaust?
Is the bike smoking when running?
Did you put any oil additives in the oil?
Are you using motorcycle rated oil?
Is there any sign of oil on the underside of the frame or engine?
Since the class, is the oil level still OK?

Low oil level can be caused by burning or blowing out, leakage, insufficient filling, improper positioning of the bike for observing the sight glass or not warming the engine before checking.

If the bike was actually low on oil it could affect the clutch since it is oil bathed.

If the clutch is in good condition, aggressive acceleration should not affect it. Dumping the clutch for wheelies or jackrabbit starts can cause some slippage. Improper adjustment of the clutch or using the friction zone aggressively can overheat the clutch, especially if the oil is low.

Please give us more info.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Sparkin & Commonground for your observations. I have ridden it about 4 miles around town this afternoon, and it is going into neutral easier. That seems to fit with Sparkin's comment.

On Commonground's questions. There is no sign of any oil leaks, nor any burning oil in the exhaust. The rep at Ridenow commented that it was not burning oil when they started it.

I used motorcycle grade oil as specified in the manual, and did not add any oil additives. I changed the oil, not the filter (as per the manual). I changed the filter at the previous oil change. I had the bike propped level, and filled it to the full mark on the sight glass. After running it a few minutes, I topped it off. The manual says it takes 2.6 liters without a filter change. That is about what I used.

I did check the oil in the morning after the class. I didn't have a way to prop it, but think I had it pretty close to level. The oil looked clean, and was at the top of the sight glass.

The bike has 20,400 miles on it. To my knowledge, the clutch is original.

I never do wheelies, nor rabbit starts - at 56, it holds no appeal to me.

I was a little concerned I might be broken down on the side of the road this morning, but seem to have dodged the bullet.
 

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I hope you waved as you went through Tucson....
 

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Good answers, looks like you're doing everything right. I can't wrap my head around the loss of oil though. I would ride it some more and see how the clutch and shifting goes. If you still have problems it could be the clutch or the shifting mechanism. I would also check to make sure that there is not play in shift linkage.

Here is a good video that explains the sequential shifting:


Augie
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mick, I did more than wave - I stopped, got off the bike, and looked all around. I didn't see you! Of course, I was looking around while pumping gas at Circle-K on Ajo Way. I guess you weren't there.
 
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