Engine power loss, aluminum flecks, 300v = jello....HALP


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Hi guys,

So, background:

2015 rc390, new to me at 12k kms (Canadian) last winter.

Then proceeded to build it into a race/track bike with the following:
- PCV (chad map)
- akra flash
- shift kit
- custom exhaust
- all the other usual stuff not relevant for this discussion (see pic)

Last weekend I had it out for its inaugural run on the track, a 3 day weekend of testing and tuning.

Few key notes:
- Running 15w50 Motul 300v (for those who don't know, 300v is green)
- Distilled water with MoCool (red), no overflow

After two days and a low-side I and the RC dodged unscathed (thanks T-rex and Tyga sliders), I had a serious engine problem on day 3. I was coming out of a hairpin and on the throttle when I had a massive power loss and a low oil pressure light. I immediately hit the kill switch and rolled off track. Back in the paddock I checked the oil and I was severely low and the first runnings looked like the picture below. So I packed the bike up and went home to investigate more.

When back to the garage I drained the oil more to see if anymore flecks would come out and much more did, all largely of the same size in the initial runnings in the picture. Then I thought maybe I somehow screwed up my detent arm install and something was rubbing on the case causing all the aluminum shavings, which all seem to be the same-ish size. Opening the right engine cover, I found all the "oil". The 300v had turned to jello and was stuck in the bottom end.

As a sidenote, I did a compression test, before remembering there was an auto-decomp on these bikes.

Plan on doing a leakdown test tomorrow. Oil...is now jello

Any ideas??

- Angus


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Do you know if there was ever an oil additive in the motor? If not, the only other thing I can think of is a very small crack in the head that would allow coolant to seep into the motor or crank case. Not a full blown head gasket as you would be looking for foamy/milkshake oil. If the previous owner used regular antifreeze, this could be a symptom. There's some crazy chemical reaction between heat, antifreeze and oil that causes it to solidify. I've never seen it myself, but I've heard about something like this before.

This would be a very small leak, nothing crazy. That's all I can think of.


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So I spoke with Motul's Lead Lube Tech in San Jose, sent him pictures and his mind was blown. In 14 years on the job and an amateur motorcycle racer he was shocked that the 300V had done that. I got a sample in the mail to him that is now destined for France at Motul's headquarters for testing. (obviously I have a claim filed with them pending the results of the testing)

As for the RC update:

Passed leakdown test perfectly. Flushed the shitty 300V out several times, replaced with some Liqui-Moly and the bike seemed to run fine in the garage and a quick scoot around the block felt fine.

Fast forward to the next day. Track day prior to the beginning of Round 1, I was all setup, passed tech for the weekend and had the bike started on the stand. Geared up and then blipped the throttle before setting off for first practice session, but something didn't sound right. I got off the bike and rev'd the RC up then listening beside the engine there was a 'tinging' specifically as the revs dropped back to idle. Rev'd again, same result, only a high pitched 'ting' as the revs dropped.

Another racer is a KTM mech and I managed to borrow his ear. We tried covering the rear brake (for load) to try narrow down if it was spark knock, with no conclusion (ie, it didn't ting under 'loaded' acceleration) . He suggested it could be the beginning of rod knock thanks to the jello-fied 300V oil's work on the bearing.

With that guess I decided to pack up and miss the weekend instead of covering the track and ruining other people's weekend.

Any one have any thoughts on this scenario? Videos of their RC with rod knock or spark knock?

Basically I'm reluctant to run on the track with a grenade, while also waiting to see if Motul is going to foot the bill, so I'm in a shitty shitty holding pattern.


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The jello is one problem ...and hopefully Motul can analyze it and come up with an answer...but the other problem is the aluminum flakes...I wouldn't run the bike until I found what THAT was coming from.


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Yeah I guess I should have clarified, I'm only waiting on Motul for $$.

As for the engine itself, you're right. All of it is concerning. For what its worth, I've had the cams out since and both engine case covers off. No shiny aluminum anywhere visible by the eye with a mirror.

Hell, I even pulled my clutch assembly back to the case to see if I had screwed up my clutch reassembly after installing my Factory Pro detent arm and nothing there either.

Where it passed the leakdown with flying colors, I assume the rings are fine and valves seating.

A rod knock would wear the cylinder wall I suppose though.


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In my experience..aluminum shavings is usually something rubbing. Bearings usually have copper/steel shavings. Keep looking!


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My 2 cents, the shavings are most likely from the cams bearing surface on the head, that would be the first place to lose oil and would deposit the shavings on the right side of the engine. I would replace / inspect / upgrade the water pump seal regardless. I have no experience with Motul, but was just talking about using it in a friends bike, not sure about that now...
Is the "ting" sound at once per revolution of the crankshaft speed or is it at cam shaft speed?

Dewey the Duc

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I have friends who have run some highly strung kawi race engines with 300v and slippers. They observed, to a lesser degree, the jello you have found. Our hypothesis is that these ester based oils can polymerize under the right conditions. Our follow up hypothesis was that the localized high temperature from the slipper was causing this polymerization. We saw something like bathtub rings on the inside of the cases—not nearly as much as you observed. After switching to a different oil the problem disappeared.

I think the failure is fairly simple, the engine was starved of oil. Though the root cause is less clear.

Were you seeing very high temps?


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I've been fervently advocating that the 300V just doesn't do justice in most cases, per my conviction and exposition. The oil jello is not only a phenomena, but the ester based cracker just vanishes to thin air leaving no trace and very hard to know unless one constantly keeps an eye on the oil window/dipstick. Don't do this and you're in deep sheete. This isn't a sight to reckon, especially the goop that's substrated, it would eventually clog up the delicate oil galleys, and by the time this has happened the oil ring and expander would have enough goop stuck with it for life impacting performance negatively. I'd strongly recommend you get your piston rings replaced. Would love to know what the Motul guys had to say, and I reckon, they'd refer to use Motorex.. lol