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Oil Light Stays On


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Okay, "Houston, we have a problem."

The scooter is a 2004 V11 Sport Naked with about 2650 miles on the clock.  I haven't changed the oil or done any other work recently.  There have been a few instances in the past where after a short two to three mile run and stopping for a time, the oil light would not go off upon restart.  I would let the engine run for ten seconds or so, then shut it down, wait a bit and then restart, at which point the light would go off.  Today, however, the light refused to turn off upon restart.  I ran the bike a few blocks at low speed (maybe a mistake), no bueno, light stayed on.  I noted that while the cylinder heads, valve covers and engine case were warm, the oil cooler was dead cold, not typical.  So I called AAA and got a tow home.

First check at home for oil level indicated sufficient oil volume.  Then a search here resulted in suggestions for either an oil pressure swith or a valve cover removal followed by a start to check for oil pressure (squirting oil).  Having had the trauma of replacing a leaking valve cover gasket (much time and effort to scrape off the sticky remains of the old gasket without scratching the aluminum), I think I'd prefer the pressure switch check.  So my dummy question is, where exactly is the pressure switch?  A quick visual check indicated it's not a snake as it didn't bite me.

If oil squirts, then I understand the replacement of the pressure switch is the answer (recommended source?).  If no squirt, then time to drop the pan an check for a loose filter and metal shavings (please, no!).

Thanks in advance for this info and any other helpful advice!  :)

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The oil pressure switch lives on the front left of the block adjacent to the fitting that the two hoses that go to the heads comes off. The switch is a proprietary part the important thing is that it have the correct thread which from memory is a 12 x 1.5 mm, anyway, it's a coarse thread.

If replacing the switch doesn't fix the problem then the chances are the filter has come loose. Drop the sump and have a look. If you don't have the correct cap wrench and try to tighten the filter 'By Hand' through the manhole it won't be tight enough and will come loose.

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Take off the valve cover, it's easier than the sensor IMO.  But pull either one.  If the oil ain't spraying out, it's oil pressure, otherwise it's the sensor.  Check for a loose or leaking filter gasket.  If it's not the oil filter, it's very likely the oil pump.

Whatever you do, don't run the engine until you know. 

 

With so few miles I'd bet on the filter vs pump or sender.   BTDT for filter and pump.

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1 hour ago, Nihontochicken said:

Okay, "Houston, we have a problem."

The scooter is a 2004 V11 Sport Naked with about 2650 miles on the clock.  I haven't changed the oil or done any other work recently.  There have been a few instances in the past where after a short two to three mile run and stopping for a time, the oil light would not go off upon restart.  I would let the engine run for ten seconds or so, then shut it down, wait a bit and then restart, at which point the light would go off.  Today, however, the light refused to turn off upon restart.  I ran the bike a few blocks at low speed (maybe a mistake), no bueno, light stayed on.  I noted that while the cylinder heads, valve covers and engine case were warm, the oil cooler was dead cold, not typical.  So I called AAA and got a tow home.

First check at home for oil level indicated sufficient oil volume.  Then a search here resulted in suggestions for either an oil pressure swith or a valve cover removal followed by a start to check for oil pressure (squirting oil).  Having had the trauma of replacing a leaking valve cover gasket (much time and effort to scrape off the sticky remains of the old gasket without scratching the aluminum), I think I'd prefer the pressure switch check.  So my dummy question is, where exactly is the pressure switch?  A quick visual check indicated it's not a snake as it didn't bite me.

If oil squirts, then I understand the replacement of the pressure switch is the answer (recommended source?).  If no squirt, then time to drop the pan an check for a loose filter and metal shavings (please, no!).

Thanks in advance for this info and any other helpful advice!  :)

Pete and Lowrider have of course made good suggestions but we are talking about oil pressure here and about the only thing that really causes this that's a possible disaster is the filter coming loose OR 2 gaskets fitted to the filter. Seeing it's a long running issue I'd drop the oil and open the access hole and remove the filter and check if it's got 2 gaskets fitted. Even if it's loose when you check it still remove it as it's likely it's loose because of a double gasket scenario. Once you have eliminated the worrying aspect then just change out the switch which in all honesty is the most likely culprit.

BTW the oil cooler is thermostatically controlled so if you were on a short ride in cold weather it could still possibly be coolish because the thermostat hasn't allowed full oil flow.

Ciao

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Phil, you're much smarter than me.  I'd still pull a cover first and make sure that there was oil pressure or not.  And since I've had a weak oil pump, that's not out of the question.  1) pull a cover and if you have pressure it's the sender,  if no pressure,  2) drop the pan and if that's OK, 3) pump.

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2 hours ago, LowRyter said:

Phil, you're much smarter than me.  I'd still pull a cover first and make sure that there was oil pressure or not.  And since I've had a weak oil pump, that's not out of the question.  1) pull a cover and of not pressure,  2) drop the pan and if that's OK, 3) pump.

My advice is based on eliminating the known troublemaker before operating the engine any further since its had some running with the light on and has history. Yes I remember your oil pressure issue Lowrider, painful from memory.

Ciao

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I agree with checking the filter first, which is a known problem. Any more starts could be with un-lubricated surfaces. IMO - not worth starting again with a rocker-cover removed. In fact, you should not have to remove the rocker covers at all to solve this problem.

I have an oil pressure gauge if you want to borrow it. To use it, you have to remove the sensor, then screw the gauge's hose into the block. 

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You've got all the "gen" from minds better than mine.

I'd drop the pan and check the filter and gaskets as suggested then put a gauge on it that @Scud has kindly offered a loan of. One of the reasons I love Guzzi ownership, I can't think of more generous crowd willing to help strangers out with insight or special tools etc: etc:

When checking the pressure after the pan's been re-enstated, I'd remove the plugs (to reduce bearing load and help it spin faster) and pull the injection relay to stop the fuel pump and the coils being energised. Turn it over on the starter, in several 4 or 5 second bursts. It'll take a 10-15 seconds or so for the supply to prime then you should see the pressure shoot up on the gauge to somewhere between 50-60psi.

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The easiest test , remove the oil pressure switch . Start the engine and oil should spray out & I mean spray out . If it doesn't , remove the oil filter and look for a damaged or too many oil filter o-rings . Look up into the cavity to be sure no o-rings are up in the housing . 

Let us know what you have found .

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There is no profit in any shortcut. You can verify the issue to 99% with your eyes and fingers. 

Check the filter. If you change it, fill it before installation. See that the regulator is in place. 
Pull the spark plugs and pressure switch, roll the motor to prove oil flow. You'll know very quickly. I'd have a new switch in hand and just replace it anyway while I'm there. 
I did note that as I replaced my own switch a hundred miles ago, that my original had a round post and the replacement had a spade, so I had to fix a new terminal to the sensor wire. 

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Here's my 6 cents;

In your narrative, you report the issue was initially intermittent. The light would not always go off after a restart. The work around was to shut down, and restart after a cool down.

The analysis would be the pressure switch is the culprit.

If the oil flow path was the root cause, it would not have been intermittent. A failure of the oil pump, or a short path circulation created by a non sealing component would have been permanent once established. I may be wrong, but it reads this way.

A malfunctioning pressure switch could fail the way you described.

 

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Thank you all for your responses.  Yesterday I removed the left valve cover and both spark plugs and hit the starter twice for about 8 seconds both times.  No oil flow was observed in the left head.  Per Mr. Roper's description, I believe the oil pressure gauge is the spark plug looking device at the top left side of the engine block.  Would it be worthwhile to repeat the start test with this part removed?  Assuming no, or if yes but with the same no flow result, then I guess the next move is to drop the pan, check the oil filter, and look for metal flake damage indication. I don't think I have anything that will remove the pan oil filter circular cover plate, so what is the best way to remove the majority of the oil before cracking the pan so as not to slop oil all over the floor?  TIA as usual!

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Simply drain the oil through the lowest point on the back of the sump as if you were changing the oil. Lay down a sheet of cardboard for the few drips that remain.

To remove the filter access plate, you can fashion a tool using one of your 27 mm axle nuts.

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Yeah as docc said, you'd normally use the drain plug anyway before trying to remove that cover. If you just removed the filter cover with the sump full of oil unless you had a big catch can underneath it'd get very very messy................no don't ask me how I know.

Just my opinion but I wouldn't try to undo that plate anyway, perhaps under normal servicing yes, but you need to drop the sump and check the gaskets anyway.

If that access plate is like the ones on the HiCams and Sportis be careful, it's on a pretty fine thread and it's stupidly easy to damage it. Not so much when removing but when putting it back onto the sump.

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You have no oil pressure.  The next step is to check the filter, whether it came loose or the gasket is defective.  Yes, drain the oil first.  You might be able to determine whether the filter is the problem through the manhole cover but you'll have full access by dropping the pan.  You might replace with Bosch 3330 and 20-50 motorcycle oil. 

I can't remember if the Bosch filter will fit through the cover.

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