Ran with gas in the oil, how much damage did I do?

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by C. J. Clegg, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. C. J. Clegg

    C. J. Clegg Guest

    I have a 1995 Suzuki Savage 650, single cylinder. It has a 3-position
    fuel switch: ON (which automatically becomes OFF when the engine is shut
    off), PRI ("Prime", which bypasses the automatic OFF), and REServe.

    I had it parked in the garage all winter with the switch in what I thought
    was the ON (/OFF) position but it turns out it was in the PRI position...
    that's what I get for trusting memory and not getting down there an
    actually LOOKing, or RTFM'ing... :-(

    As a result there was a LOT of gasoline in the oil by the time I got it
    out of storage.

    I checked the oil level and then took it out for a short ride (three or
    four miles) to warm it up. It really wasn't running all that well... ran
    OK while moving but wouldn't idle without shutting itself off. I then dug
    out the manual (imagine that!) and discovered my error. Drained the oil
    and sure enough, there was lots and lots of gas in with the oil, probably
    more gas than oil, and the crankcase was seriously overfull.

    I filled it with clean oil and removed the filter, and put the filter
    cover plate and gasket back on (it's a filter cartridge that goes behind
    a plate) so I could run it a bit with clean oil and without a filter and
    without it leaking. Then I ran it for a mile or so and it seemed to idle
    much better, actually runs now just as well as it always has. Couldn't
    hear anything that sounded like rods knocking or lifters clicking, not
    that I'd necessarily hear it over the normal noise of the bike.

    My wife has gone to get another filter and I plan to run it for a couple
    more miles and then drain the oil again and replace the filter cartridge.

    My question is, how much damage am I likely to have done by running it
    with all that gas in the oil?

    Is there anything else I should do to mitigate any damage that may have
    been done, and prevent any further damage, other than draining the oil
    again and replacing the filter cartridge?

    For example, should I run it for a short distance (10 or 50 or 100 or 500
    miles) and then change the oil again?

    Any problem with running it with no filter cartridge for 50 or 100 miles
    and then draining the oil again and replacing the filter? I am assuming
    that oil will just fill the filter compartment and run through the engine
    without restriction, actually with less than normal restriction since
    there is no filter.

    Any kind of additive I can put in the oil for the next 50/100 miles to
    help mitigate any damage? (I vaguely recall back in the 1960's when I was
    pumping gas for a living, the gas station mechanic told me that cleaning
    engine parts in gasoline causes oil not to stick to them anymore, reducing
    the lubrication capabilities of the oil.)

    I'll hold off on doing anything further until I hear from you guys ...
    C. J. Clegg, Jun 25, 2007
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  2. Erk :-(
    Wise move.
    You *might* accelerate the overall wear on the engine by thinning the
    lube, but it's the sort of thing that won't show for ages and ages,
    and as you only ran it for a short distance and not flat out, you
    probably haven't harmed it.

    Nope. You've done the right thing already.
    Don't do this. Really.
    No. Snake oil, all of it. You've done the right thing already, and you
    should be fine.
    chateau.murray, Jun 25, 2007
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  3. C. J. Clegg

    C. J. Clegg Guest

    Thanks to all for your help... changed oil again, installed oil filter,
    removed air cleaner per Albrecht's suggestion (no gas or oil in the air
    cleaner compartment but the filter element is a bit dirty so I'll replace
    it), ran it around the block a few times, guess everything is OK and I
    dodged the bullet yet again. :)
    C. J. Clegg, Jun 25, 2007
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