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Thread: Fuel in engine oil '03 Xb9r

  1. #1
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    Fuel in engine oil '03 Xb9r

    Bike- '03 xb9r
    Miles- 13k
    No mods

    My bike started off the season on point, and then performance started declining a couple of weeks ago.The idle has been a little wonky since I got it. It cycles between 950k and 1100k in a cyclical pattern. I heard a rattle in the primary, inspected, and found a lovely chocolate milk shake. I am assuming this is due to being forced to keep it outside during a couple nights of heavy rain. I drained it, thoroughly cleaned the primary, ect. and all good there.

    I took it out for a test run, and it was still running sluggish and the exhaust sounded like it was choking on itself, valve train noise was louder than normal, and it was occasionally backfiring (predominantly when downshifting/engine breaking) so I pulled over to check the oil. It was so thin that it didn't cling to the dip stick at all and it smelled strongly of fuel. Picked up some oil, filter, and went home to change it. In the oil was this mucus like slime. Something one might cough up while suffering from a foul case of bronchitis. I'm the third owner, and it sat for 4 years before I bought it in April. I had a full fluid change done at a shop when I bought it and they reported sludge in the oil reservoir and flushed it twice. Perhaps they didn't get it all? Would sitting in a garage cause slime in the oil? I flushed it 2x more (once with sea foam) and ran a wire brush around the swing arm to get the boogers out.

    As for the gasoline in the oil... I'm thinking that the fuel thinned out the oil which caused the louder top end noise. Isn't 13k miles too soon for valve/pushrod/rocker problems? Is the fuel in the oil a sign of running rich? I've got a buelltooth in the mail to take a look at the map and reset the TPS. I will be replacing the spark plugs as well. I believe this will be the first time that's been done.

    I wanted to reach out to see if it sounds like I'm on the right track or missing something. What should I look for in EcmSpy apart from AFV and the TPS? I did the "flashing CEL" quickie diagnostic and did not throw any codes, it only verified that the ECM is working. This is my first Buell and I f'n love it. Want to get it back on track as soon as I can before our two weeks of summer is over
    Also- will I damage the engine riding rich?
    Last edited by Pandemic; 05-30-2019 at 05:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Anything that thins out the engine oil, can't be good, I wouldn't ride it until fixed. You can reset the TPS, and check the AFV to start with. As side note, did you check your battery voltage and clean all grounds ?

    I'm sure the more knowledgeable will shine in soon.

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    I did not check my battery, and I've certainly been lurking in these forums threads long enough to know better! Yikes. Quick question- how would insufficient voltage and poorly maintained grounds cause what I got happening? Not questioning the gospel by any means.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    You got some separate issues and it's hard to say how serious they are:

    Sludge in the oil? Sitting outside shouldn't do that. It's a motorcycle, and since they are meant to be ridden outside, they are designed to be water resistant. It's not like the head gasket blew and coolant got in there LOL.
    Sitting for long periods can get enough condensation to look a little milky and people do like to freak out about that tiny little bit... Hard to say if the milky sludge was a minor problem that someone over-reacted to, and a few oil flushes will solve? It would take a LOT of water to make that a big problem.

    Check your breathers? Theres one at the base of the pistons on top of the case, make sure the hose and fitting are good there. It would still take a LOT of water...

    Fuel in the oil is a completely separate issue. The rookie move is to run the bike every couple weeks during winter and never ride it or really get it warm. If you start it, RIDE it for at least 20 miles. Everytime.
    Running it constantly cold and not letting it warm up can get enough gas in the crankcase to make the oil smell like gas because it never has a chance to warm up and boil it out.
    Getting enough gas in the oil that its thinned out is a much larger issue, I can only think of leaking injectors, but you would know that because it would run like it has leaking injectors (like cr@p).

    You should invest in a few gallons of oil at least to get this figured out. Wish I was more help man

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    Cheers. I was really hoping someone would say "it's a quick tps reset". It runs worse than cr@p. It runs like cold dog cr@p on the kitchen floor.
    Injectors it is. Any testing you'd recommend (compression, intake leak, fuel pressure) before I dig into the throttle body? Would the injectors explain the backfiring and total lack of power (especially in first gear)? This will be my first leaking injector experience
    Last edited by Pandemic; 05-31-2019 at 04:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lunaticfringe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandemic View Post
    Cheers. I was really hoping someone would say "it's a quick tps reset". It runs worse than cr@p. It runs like cold dog cr@p on the kitchen floor.
    Injectors it is. Any testing you'd recommend (compression, intake leak, fuel pressure) before I dig into the throttle body? Would the injectors explain the backfiring and total lack of power (especially in first gear)? This will be my first leaking injector experience
    your XB9 is coming up on 17 years old. i'm beating the same old drum here over and over.....but:

    excessive after-fire out the exhaust
    back-firing up thru the TB
    raw fuel being pumped into the shrink-wrapped crankcase cavity then into the oiling system
    excessive cold start time with repeated stalling
    repeatedly fouled spark plugs
    lazy throttle response including diminished roll-on performance
    no-start condition from lack of fuel delivery
    ALL signs of a fuel pump causing problems. i'll tell you right up front that the OEM 2003 pumps left a bit to be desired in both componentry and design....a 1-year-only design thank God...so be prepared to rebuild or replace.

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    what year should I look for in a replacement pump? And, why wouldn't the faulty pump or leaking injectors throw a code?

    Lunatic-
    Both the drum and you have my gratitude, for the record
    Last edited by Pandemic; 05-31-2019 at 05:33 PM.

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    will the fuel pump issue show up on ecmspy or will I need to pull it and do a visual inspection to confirm that it's the culprit? My buelltooth (how 'bout that branding...) is in the mail.

    What am I risking riding it in the current condition?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Post #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooter View Post
    ...leaking injectors...
    The front and rear injectors are different, make sure to mark them when you take them out for testing.
    Last edited by Cooter; 05-31-2019 at 08:07 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandemic View Post
    What am I risking riding it in the current condition?
    Do not ride the bike. If what you are saying is accurate, the gas in the oil will not allow the oil to lubricate, or build enough pressure. Bad times happen quickly like that

    The only way to test the fuel pump/ fuel regulator is tee into the system and check pressure with a gauge. There are adaptors you can buy, or remove and tap a 1/8"FPT into the aluminum fuel block to add a shraeder valve and test that way.

    If you are unsure of your mechanical ability, I would suggest finding a decent V-twin shop for a problem like this. I wouldn't worry too much about being Buell specific, these engines and ancillary items are similar enough to the H-D Sportster a good mechanic shouldn't have an issue. The trick is finding a good one


    Last edited by Cooter; 05-31-2019 at 08:10 PM.

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