Metal Shavings In The Motorcycle Oil!!!

I changed my oil and found what looked like giant pieces of glitter. The TBR7 motorcycle is a Chinese Dual-sport motorcycle, much like the Hawk 250, and I have concluded that some metal in the bike’s oil is normal, but not today.

The tiny, occasional metal flecks in the oil that would sparkle when they catch light are typical, but today these metal shavings look like big gray/shiny goldfish food flakes. I have a severe problem, something is wrong with my TBR7, and the metal shavings in the oil are harmful.

Why Are There Large Metal Shavings In My Oil??!!??

Motorcycle Metal Shavings Large and Magnetic in my oil.
Magnet Pulled Metal Shavings Out Of TBR7’s Drained Oil.

What Would Cause Metal Shavings In The Oil?

A few weeks back, I noticed my clutch was grabbing, and shifting was becoming more challenging. I say “more a challenge” since if you are a Hawk 250 or TBR7 owner, you know there are tricks to shift and get used to ‘weirdness’ in the motorcycle’s moving steps.

For example, I couldn’t shift my TBR7 into neutral from 1st gear; I had to shift from 2nd. Still easier to shift into neural from 2nd than 1st, but more manageable now that I have over 3,000 thousand kilometers on the TBR7.

I was having shifting problems, and the clutch was feeling ‘grabby.’ Also, I noticed a few more specs of glitter in the oil in the last oil change. There was a single event I believe all three of these problems line up with: I overheated the TBR7’s engine.

Overheated The Motorcycle Engine… Again.

Overheating warning, could cause metal shavings in motorcycle oil.
Overheated Engine Oil Again?

Yes, I was driving in the city and had a couple of red lights one after another, on a scorching day with no wind. I thought each time the light turned red, it would only have me stopped for a short time, and when it turned green, the other lights would stay green. Soon I realized I was overheating.

First time I overheated post: Overheated Motorcycle Engine Problem(s).

I had the typical signs of the motorcycle overheating: loss of power, difficulty shifting, and that hot metal smell. The smell you get when the water in a pot boils off, and it’s still on the stove. I knew I was overheating, and I tried to ignore it, hoping the light would turn green soon enough.

Well, the lights didn’t change, and my patience wore out. I did what I could do to cool down the motorcycle engine; I turned off the motorcycle. Now turning off the motorcycle stops the source of heat; However, being air-cooled, the heat is still moving through the metal, waiting for a flow of air over the fins to cool off the engine.

Well, it didn’t happen. I spread my legs, tilted/angled the bike into what I thought was a breeze. I even tried hanging in the shadow of a truck while waiting at a red light to give the motorcycle some shade.   Should have known about Air-Cooled Engine Overheating Symptoms?

I did stop and go traffic for a while, and it seemed like we didn’t drive far enough to dispense with the new heat I was adding once the light turned green, and we rode for a block or two. The motorcycle was suffering. I managed to pull over and just sit there for a while and let the engine cool off. It was a long time: no breeze and a hot day.

I managed to get home and thought the heat was rough on the bike, so I reward it with a new oil change. Buying Shell’s Rotella T6 by the gallon made it easy to do more frequent oil changes. Nothing was noticed in the oil at that time.

The next time I rode, I had clutch and shifting issues. I just did what any other TBR7 and Hawk 250 riders do, just go with the flow and find how the bike likes to be shifted and use that. I rode the bike for quite a while, but shifting seemed to get worse. Then the following oil change.

“Aren’t metal shavings in the oil pan normal?” is what I thought, but I realized I was kidding myself. The metal shavings were large. Worse yet, they were attracted to a magnet.  What Does Metal Shavings In Motorcycle Oil Look Like? – FAQ

What were these metal shavings doing in my dirt bike!!! I could only figure with the shifting problems; this had something to do with the clutch. I had to order a clutch tool and a new set of clutch pads and pressure plates. But that would wait since I had a more pressing issue with the number of metal shavings I found.

How To Flush Metal Shavings From Motorcycle Oil.

Oil was utterly drained. The oil screen was cleaned off (sprayed the inside/out with wd40, help loosen the metal shavings off the screen). I wiped down the screen housing, spring, and cap.  

FYI: Does The TaoTao TBR7 Have An Oil Filter?

I figured the first thing I wanted to do was start flushing the shavings out. I refilled the sump, had the bike in neutral, guess this would keep the clutch plates from slipping, and started the TBR7. I ran the engine for only a few minutes and again drained the oil.  

Found more metal shavings, but this time not a much as it initially did. The engine only ran a couple of minutes this time but felt it was productive. I left the drain open and let the bike sit. Very sad day for the TBR7, but just going to let all the oil drain out, hopefully pulling out more metal shavings. Also, having a drained engine will help with a future clutch replacement.

The Game Plan: Open The Engine, and Replace The Clutch.

A little secret. I’ve never changed a clutch: motorcycle or even a car. I understand how it works, but never actually ever did a clutch replacement. The nice thing obvious about a motorcycle clutch replacement is access to the clutch.  

Once I have the engine case open, I can hopefully find the source of the metal shavings in my oil. This way, I can evaluate the damage and start pricing more parts for my motorcycle engine repair.

Now opening the engine casing allows me to clean it out and check the motorcycle clutch. However, one thing that I can do to confirm the engine is in good condition, I want to do a compression test.

Time To Order Clutch Replacement Parts And A Clutch Tool.

I used Amazon, I ordered the clutch tool adapter to help with the clutch removal, but I ran into my typical overthinking problems. I found clutch pads and plates, but I also found a complete clutch assembly(springs and basket) being sold as a kit. After some thinking, not having to undo those clutch springs and having a drop-in fix for the clutch sounded too good to pass. But again, overthinking, I also ordered clutch pads for future clutch issues.

A motorcycle clutch is a ‘wearable’ item, and a clutch replacement is a typical maintenance item, I read. So having extra clutch pads stored in my garage with help with impulsive maintenance I want to do in the future.

Stay tuned, and I will post when I actually do the clutch replacement. Hoping magnetic metal shavings is only from the clutch, not the rest of the engine. Crossing fingers…


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TBR7 Upgrades


Updates:
* I did change the clutch on my TBR7 here is the post: My TBR7 Clutch Replacement (Hawk 250)
* I experimented with a magnet on my drain spot: Are Motorcycle Magnetic Oil Drain Plugs Worth It?

Learning From Me: Here Is What I Did To Flush My Motorcycle Engine Oil.

I make mistakes, so you don’t have to.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.

Eleanor Roosevelt

The first step in life is not to ask yourself, How To Flush Metal Shavings From A Motorcycle Engine? But think about preventing the accumulation of metal shavings in your motorcycle engine.

I believe I failed with controlling the over-heating problem, and with the amount of clutch material I found in the oil with the metal shavings, I suspect I know why.  

However, we can discuss that later, but I’m sure you know the problem. Hint: possible clutch adjustment.

I had to do an engine clean-up that consumed oil and, more importantly, my time. I am blessed that TaoTao kept the oil strainer in easy access to allow me to clean it out with each flush easily. However, I did consume a bit of oil doing the engine flushing. Glad I buy good oil that is reasonably priced: What TBR7 Oil Type Do I Need?

Well, I cover the steps I took to flush the metal shavings from the motorcycle engine and how I went inside the TBR7’s engine to catch the remaining metal shavings here:   

The best practice is to prevent events that could release metal shavings into your oil and engine. Good luck. Learn from my mistakes and my solutions.

More information about how I tried to fix my latest motorcycle mess up: How To Flush Metal Shavings From A Motorcycle Engine?

Thanks everyone for your support!


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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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