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Discussion Starter #1
I was almost home after my ride today and my oil light came on. I just did a change (with filter) about 2 weeks and 500 miles ago. I immediately stopped and took out my trusty extendable mirror and checked the level. It was good. Started her back up and after about 10 seconds the light came on. So I rode the final half mile home and parked it. I took it pretty easy, but RPM had no effect.

I came inside and asked google what it could be. Of course it brought me here to an older thread where I learned that sometimes the oil can foam and fool the sensor. Ok, sounded reasonable after a 100 mile ride. So I let it sit for a couple of hours. Went back out to the garage and did a temperature check - pipes were cool; engine was just slightly warm. Did another oil check and it's at the top of the glass. It was just over halfway between the marks after I changed the oil and every day since, which is weird but maybe the bike wasn't perfectly level. Anyway, fired it up and after about 10 seconds, the light came on again. Did I not let it sit long enough for the foam (if that was the problem) to settle or could something else be causing this?
 

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Take this very loosely :)
I have only known oil to foam up when it is overfilled, and something like the crankshaft keeps dipping into it, turning it up.
Most of my knowledge about this more comes from dealing with my nissan juke cvt oil though. Learned really quick when the dealership overfilled it by 2qts.
 

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I googled and found this:

The light does indicate level only. It has no connection to oil pressure. Some earlier models had a sensor with a small opening in it. This caused false signals. A common fix is to remove the sensor and drill the hole out to a larger size or to replace it with one from an '04 or later model which already has the larger opening. Even then you will get the occasional false light.

I checked part number for my 2001 1100 and could not find it. It would only come up with 2004. I think your bike might have an older sensor and with time the hole has closed up with just normal oil sludge. If it was mine and the oil was full with no new noises coming from engine I would drive it until I had chance to pull sensor and inspect. Good luck and please post fix.
 

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Think I had read one issue on the 1100 was that an air bubble (foamed oil) would get on the hole for the sensor and block the senor read. Much like Les was saying. A work around was to fill the oil 1/3 to just under 1/2 way up the sight glass. Think it equals out to .2 qts less than the book calls for. Get adequate amount of oil, but not so much as to induce foaming. I had noticed, mostly on cooler mornings, that my oil light would blip on for about 30 sec to minute...however it would do it at about the same distance from the house each time and would go out if I wiggled the bike a little or tapped the brakes while coming up to the stoplight. Oil was fresh, no noises, and level was in a good range, so one of those known oddities I have come to expect.
This is one my 02 1100 by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I went out and took out the oil filter to make sure it was in correctly and the o rings were all where they should be. All was good. Since it had time for the oil to settle well I rechecked it several times, making sure I was level, and found it to be near the top of the marks. I drained a little out so it's right at the halfway mark, or slightly over half. Again, the light came on after about 10 seconds of running. It doesn't flicker or go out if I rev it up which leads me to believe it is the sensor. Since the oil level is good, no abnormal noises, and the filter is relatively new I'm going to run it tomorrow on the group ride and check the sensor once the weekend is over.

One more dumb question. I moved recently and my manual is somewhere in the mountain of boxes in my basement. Can you guys point me in the general direction of said sensor?
 

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It's on bottom of engine. Has thin metal cover on it. Picture of sensor and cover.



Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That does help. I figured it was under there somewhere. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Went out to fire up the bike for today's ride, dreading riding it with the red light glaring at me. But it didn't come on, not once in today's 100 plus miles. I knew VStars were dependable but I had no idea they were self repairing! lol

Seriously though, it looks like it was the oil foaming and fooling the sensor and I wasn't giving it enough time to come out of it last night. Thanks again for all the assistance and I'm crossing my fingers that I don't get the evil red eye from my bike again!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe the sensor is on its way out, I dunno. I've only had it since Nov 16 and have about 10,000 miles on it. It's only a level sensor and the oil level is good. If it happens again, I'll replace the sensor. Until then, I'll just keep a closer eye on the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update on this. I went for a good cruise today, mostly secondary roads (50 - 60mph) but ran about 40 miles on the highway at 75 - 80. I stopped for fuel after the highway portion and a few minutes later the ugly red light came on again. I'd put on exactly 200 miles when I fueled. I checked the oil - all good and since I was still 40 miles from home, I did my best to ignore it and continued on. I looked down at 28.9 miles on the trip meter and it was off. Never came on again. Not sure what's going on but I'm thinking I'm going to see about getting a new updated sensor. I know it's not low on oil, but I want my idiot lights working correctly.
 

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pull your speedo and take the lamp out.

a faulty oil level sensor is worse than no sensor at all, because after the 3rd false warning you will ignore it forever.

very few motorcycles have oil level or oil pressure sensors. Its dam near impossible for a simple gear/gear oil pump to fail, so as long as you check your oil level frequently, you should never loose oil pressure.
 
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