Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley – October 15, 2021

Partzilla Live Q&A with John Talley returns for another edition, with John answering your motorcycle and ATV repair questions Friday afternoons live.

Engine oil related questions came up a few times during this week’s edition. Check out some excerpts from Partzilla’s latest live Q&A session below, and tune into our YouTube and Facebook channels every Friday at 3pm Eastern for the next edition. 

Partzilla Live Q&A John Talley 10-15-21

Partzilla Live Q&A Highlights – Engine Oil Questions and Answers

I’ve got a 2006 Honda CRF450 and the engine has two oil caps. Do I have to do both sides for the oil change? 

John Talley: The reason there are two oil caps is because there are two oil cavities on the CRF. Basically you’ve got what I call the engine side, and that one’s going to have an associated oil filter with it, and that’s mainly concerning your crankshaft area. And then on the back side that’s what they call the transmission side. Now, you can use the same oil but there are two different places that you fill it and also two separate places that you drain it. And there are also two separate ways you check the level. On the shifter side of the engine, you’re going to have an oil window, but on the kickstarter side, you’re going to find an oil check bolt. … Now, you can use the same oil in both the engine side and the transmission side, provided you run just a regular type oil. A regular GN4 oil will do the trick. You can run synthetic up in the front part of the engine but you would still need to run the conventional in the back. … 

My 2001 Honda 400 EX is burning oil like crazy. I put a full quart in and it burned through it in 4 hours. Is it the piston rings? 

John Talley: More than likely. There are basically two places you can lose oil or burn it. On any engine, it’s either blowing past the rings or it’s going through the valve seals. I’d be curious to know how much blow-by is actually happening. When it’s running, if you pull the oil check dipstick or oil fill cap, is it just blasting through there like 20-30 psi? But chances are your oil rings are shot and you’re going to need to do a top end on it. The good part is that engine is really easy to work on. That was one of the first rebuilds we did for the Partzilla YouTube channel.

What's your opinion of those see-through oil covers for the Yamaha YFZ450? 

John Talley: They’re cool-looking if you want to watch your oil slosh around, but it’s kind of gimmicky, isn’t it? Unless you’re looking for your oil to get dirty and then that’s going to tell you when to change it. It’s something different. Just make sure you get a decent one, because the oil is the lifeblood of your engine. And if it’s a cheaply made side cover, and it’s going to be plastic, chances are it’s going to be easy to crack and make you lose your oil really quick without even realizing it.  

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See all of Partzilla’s Live Q&A sessions here.  


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