How To Flush Metal Shavings From A Motorcycle Engine?

Now, after my incident with finding metal shavings in my TBR7‘s motor oil, I was focused on first getting rid of the metal shavings and then finding the source. Why were there metal shavings in my dirt bike’s oil?

So the first thing that came to mind was how to flush metal savings from a motorcycle engine, and I came up with a simple solution, followed by a more complicated answer.

This might not be the right way to flush and clean the engine of metal shavings, but it worked for me. I just wanted to get rid of the metal shavings in the engine oil.

Previous Post: Metal Shavings In The Motorcycle Oil!!!

Attack The Metal Shavings Head on; Time To Flush!!!

After I found the metal shavings, I realized the reason I saw them was by doing an oil change. More importantly, how I was doing the oil change.

I change the oil in my TaoTao TBR7 by draining through the oil strainer housing. 

The TBR7’s oil strainer is located on the left side of the motorcycle, which is the same side the motorcycle leans when on the kickstand. I do oil changes while the bike is on the kickstand.

By doing oil changes this way and pre-warming up the engine, the oil flows rapidly, flushing out oil contaminants quickly. This oil flushing is why I first saw the metal shavings in the oil; the oil did a great job carrying them from the motorcycle engine.

Also, I clean the oil strainer every time I do an oil change by draining from the oil strainer side. In this step, I hoped to extend the life of my TBR7, but again it helped me identify I had larger metal shavings in my engine.

The oil strainer did a great job; it caught the larger metal particles and prevented them from circulating in the oil system and further wearing out the motorcycle engine. Good job, TBR7!

Change The Oil Flushes The Engine, Flush, And Flush Again.

I went with not reinventing the wheel but reproducing what I saw. I completed the oil change, reran the bike, and did an oil change once again. Again, the warm oil did a great job flushing out the fine metal particles.

Motorcycle Metal Shavings Large Magnetic
Picking up metal shavings from drained motorcycle oil.

The oil strainer didn’t have much of any new metal shavings with the repeat oil change, and I figure the oil strainer did their job catching those larger metal shavings the first time they circulated the oil system.

Flushing Engine Of Metal Shavings Wasn’t Expensive.

The nice thing about the TBR7, it has a screen that acts as an oil strainer, like an oil filter but with larger holes. This oil strainer can be cleaned by me and reinserted, which means no additional cost to doing these engine flushes. 

If you have an oil filter on your motorcycle, this might be an additional cost to flushing the engine with each oil change. I read that some people do oil changes till they flush all the metal shavings out and then, in the end, change the oil filter. This process sounds like it would work, but I cannot try it.

The only cost was the oil, and I bought oil by the gallon. The TaoTao TBR7 isn’t known for high-quality metals, so I buy good oil in large containers. Buy good oil, and do regular oil changes was recommended to me, and in this case, this advice might have saved my TBR7 from a rebuild.

Magnetic Drain Plugs Are Your Friend!

The TBR7 has a magnetic drain plug, but I have experimented with using more powerful magnets to help collect finer metal particles in the oil strainer housing. The magnets work if you have a magnet catch, like on your drain plug, be sure to clean it with each oil change.  

Previous Post: Are Motorcycle Magnetic Oil Drain Plugs Worth It?

Magnets will pick metal shavings from engine oil as they flow past, as long as the metal shavings are magnetic.

Every metal shaving caught by the magnet is a metal shaving not flowing through the oil, damaging your motorcycle engine. After a couple of oil changes, I flushed almost all the metal shavings out.

The oil appeared less and less sparkly, and the particles didn’t collect on the magnet I swished around in the oil. Yes, I used a magnet to check the condition of the drained oil, and it was good to see how clean it came up.

Not So Easy Way To Remove Metal Shavings.

I used the metal shavings incident, the overheating event, and how the clutch felt different, all as reasons to do my first clutch replacement on my TBR7 motorcycle.

While I had the engine open, I used a magnetic pick-up tool. With this tool, I fished it around the corners and low flow areas of the engine to help remove additional metal shavings. It worked.  

Every metal shaving I cleaned doff the magnet resisted my engine flushing procedures.

Magnetic pick-up tool with metal shavings on it.
Magnet picked up metal shavings from internal engine crevices.

Why Did I Still Have Metal Shavings In The Engine?

This question ran through my mind. After all the oil changes and flushing out as much of the metal shavings, I found a lot of metal shavings in the engine casing with my magnet. These shavings were found in the corners of the engine spaces. These are probably low flow areas that didn’t move around the particles, just doing stationary warm-ups and drains.

They might have moved more with actually riding the motorcycle. So in the future, if I run across more metal shavings in my motorcycle, I will do short rides for the oil warm-up procedure to slosh around the oil and free up more shavings.

Engine Flushing Conclusion

The oil changes worked. Warming up the oil and draining it from a low point in the engine helped flush out these metal shavings.  

The oil carried away fine metal shavings, and my oil strainer collected the large ones to allow for manual cleaning.

Opening up the engine was extra work and could have been avoided, but I justified it by replacing the motorcycle clutch.

Again, I plan on continuing to do frequent oil changes and find the source of these metal shavings. 

Addition Engine Flush Idea:

All in hindsight, of course.

Can You Use An Engine Flush In A Motorcycle?

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this first. I have used engine flushes in the past on my cars.

The engine flushes I used thinned out the oil and helped remove carbon build-up. I recall adding it to my car crankcase, running the engine for a few minutes, and then doing an oil drain step. 

The oil shot out of the drain hole on my car ran like water, and I couldn’t believe how black it was. I was concerned I had cleaned the engine too much, and it was a high mileage engine. But it worked. The engine flush, a commercial product, really helped flush out contaminants from the engine.

If I run into metal shavings again in the motorcycle engine, I might start with a commercial engine flush product.

If you find metal shavings in your motorcycle engine, focus on both cleaning your engine and finding the source of those metal shavings. You might be chasing your tail with engine flushes if your engine continues to disintegrate before your eyes.

Good luck, and feel free to leave a comment if you have a motorcycle engine flushing story.

Thank you!

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TBR7 Upgrades

Picture of me, as a New Motorcyclist.
Just Me…Newly Licensed.

Hi I’m Tom, A New Motorcycle Rider and Blog Author.

I am a new rider(Pa Learners Permit at the end of 2020, and I received a Pa Motorcycle License in 2021 after passing a Motorcycle Safety Course).

I bought my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7, at the beginning of 2021 and have been doing upgrades on that motorcycle since.

I added to my motorcycle collection by buying a Boom Vader Gen 2 in 2022, and that Grom-Clone motorcycle has been upgraded by me as well.

I continue to ride my Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle as well as my TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport bike.

Read more on my About Me page.

Fun Fact: I’ve only been on one group ride.

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