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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2009 C50

As far as I can tell, my oil consumption during my regular riding and commuting (roughly 32miles round trip), some of which is on the interstate (around 55mph) but mostly on local roads, and all my other "normal" riding is about what I expect...not much at all.

However, on long highway trips where I spend extended times riding at 70+ mpg, I go through oil a lot faster....about a quart in about 600 miles...about the longest riding days I regularly, and willingly, put in.

I change the oil and filter regularly and the bike runs like a charm. No visible smoke, no gas or water in the oil, no leaks on the ground, and nothing else that would raise an eyebrow or otherwise cause suspicion.

There are around 48K miles on the bike, with another oil change due on the next non-rainy day. For the record, I've been using Mobil 1 15W-50, though I'll be using Castrol 20W-50 motorcycle oil on this next change since I got a good deal on it at the local auto store.

Honestly, if it's normal useage under those harsher conditions, then fine.
If it's not likely to get worse, well, also fine. A few quarts of oil during a very long, fast, ride is a lot cheaper than an engine rebuild.

So, what do yinz think?
 

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I hate to tell you, but your motor is on its way out. It is not going to get better, even with the heavier oil (which is exactly what I did). Your oil consumption is about what mine was just before the front cylinder let go and was puking oil out the exhaust. Do a compression check to confirm - but you're likely going to be borderline or below service limit of 152psi.

If you do consider the rebuild, pistons, cylinder heads, rings, wrist pins, crank journals, timing chains, chain guides, tensioners gaskets and machine work added up to more than $1500 in 2012. There is no point in re-ringing the engine if you don't refresh the bottom end as well. Restoring factory compression on a worn engine caused more than a few former members their motors trying to go the cheap route. By the time you add in labor costs, you're going to be 1.5 times what it would cost to just replace the bike.
 
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or you can consider adding a low mileage larger engine mc to your stable and use that for hiway riding and use the c50 for local cruising and errand hopping since it doesn't burn oil under normal riding conditions. Not to say at some point you'll still need to make a decision on an engine overhaul but you could still get some serious miles before that decision needs to be made if you avoid stressing the engine riding at a higher rpm. Just my opinion and probably full of holes but sounds like the present mc still has some life left if ridden at a reasonable speed. FW iw, I too had a similar reair on my 04 Volusia when it had 57k, no burning of oil, but compression issues and the repair ran around $1200 back in 08/09...bike was good to me, never had any issues and felt I owed it the repair rather than toss it...did the repair and at 87k similar issues came again and with all the other things that would need to be replaced just from normal wear & tear, I made the decision to sadly put it to rest ad moved onto a c90. Miss that mc,,,was good to me and from all the negative talk about these engines not lasting beyond 30k, guess I got lucky. Good luck in what you decide to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. It's appreciated. :cool:

At his point, as my long distance riding season is winding down for the year (I only have one relatively short trip, PA to Western Virginia to ride the Back of the Dragon) on the possible list, I'll likely just keep the bike for my daily riding over the winter and keep my eyes open for a replacement next year. I'm not that interested in putting much money into what may be a short term fix when I could be putting it aside for another bike instead.

That's the only plan I've come up with for now. :sneaky:

Even though even new C50's (although I prefer to buy used from a dealer) are pretty easy on the wallet, comparatively speaking, given what I've been reading of C50's developing problems after 40K+ miles, I'll give them a pass...Or...
Is my situation an outlier? Have they improved in this respect since 2009?

My previous bike, a 600cc Honda Shadow VLX, had 71,500 miles on it when I sold it with zero signs of engine trouble nor having had to make any mechanical repairs, and it toured a lot further and a lot harder than my C50, which didn't get nearly as much touring use because I bought it not long before the big stoopid Covid shutdown.

Too bad, I've come to really like this bike.
 

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The VL800 has always been hit or miss in terms of quality. It doesn't matter what year you choose, as the engine has fundamentally remained unchanged since 2001. It is not uncommon for them to begin using oil in the mid 20k miles range and then engines start failing between 30k and 50k miles. Very very few get above 75k without major mechanical intervention and 100k is pretty much a unicorn. One or two have made it over the years, but they are the exception.

If you like the size and weight of the C50, then I suggest you look at the Kawasaki Vulcan 900. Same weight, more power, better suspension and a functional rear brake. With a Barron's underdrive pulley, it is a comfortable freeway performer. I loved mine for the 3 years I owned it after my engine problems with the C50.
 

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Well this post is a little disheartening since my 2008 has started doing the exact same thing and it only has 12k miles on it :confused: i just bought it back in June and I had some pretty awesome plans for it over the winter too... guess I'll save my pennies and upgrade instead..
 

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I dunno...
If you're trying to keep pace with the left lane, you're pushing these bikes beyond their intended purpose. 55-60 seems to be their happy place, 65-70 they're right about at the top end of usable, beyond that (70-85 keeping up with that left lane for instance) there ain't much gear left and you're really pushing the engine, even with the c90/DJ drive upgrade.

Really if you can't be happy riding at around 65-70 absolute max, you are definitely going to be happier on a different bike.

However, on long highway trips where I spend extended times riding at 70+ mpg, I go through oil a lot faster

*see above
Take a good look at your air filter/snorkel/breather. way back in the day I'd find a coating of oil throughout after haulin @$$ for tanks at a time.
 

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Sure, there will be some blow by which will accumulate in the air box, but not a quart's worth every 600 miles. The oil is making it past the wiper rings and being burned on every ignition cycle. The harder you push a worn engine, the worse the oil consumption will be and there's nothing you can do once it starts. Mine popped doing a leisurely 55mph on PA51 outside of Darlington. We were going up the hill towards Chippewa any my buddy told me I looked like 007 climbing the slope with a smoke screen coming out the back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I dunno...
If you're trying to keep pace with the left lane, you're pushing these bikes beyond their intended purpose. 55-60 seems to be their happy place, 65-70 they're right about at the top end of usable, beyond that (70-85 keeping up with that left lane for instance) there ain't much gear left and you're really pushing the engine, even with the c90/DJ drive upgrade.

Really if you can't be happy riding at around 65-70 absolute max, you are definitely going to be happier on a different bike.

However, on long highway trips where I spend extended times riding at 70+ mpg, I go through oil a lot faster

*see above
Take a good look at your air filter/snorkel/breather. way back in the day I'd find a coating of oil throughout after haulin @$$ for tanks at a time.
While I appreciate your response, you made a lot of unwarranted and erroneous assumptions.

I'm not trying to keep pace with the left lane, I never said I can't be happy riding at around 65-70, and I don't regard my riding speeds as anything near "haulin @ss."
I'm probably as moderate and mellow a rider as you're ever going to come across. Even out West where there are long stretches of highway at 80mph, I tend to stay around 70mph plus maybe a bit more just to keep from becoming a rolling roadblock. Anyway, I only ride that route once once a year, not all year 'round.
And incidentally, the filter etc., shows no signs of any problems. As I mentioned in my post, there are no outward signs of burning oil except for the consumption.

One can't be blamed for thinking an 800cc bike couldn't handle the interstates when my previous 600cc bike had no problems. Heck, I used to do multi-state tours one a 150cc scooter with no engine problems...And I was always maxxed out on that machine. The C50T, the same bike I ride with the exception of studded saddlebags, is supposed to be a touring bike. Maybe if I added some studs to my saddlebags, it would handle the trips better? ;)

No, I'm going with Skrapiron and DCinCT on this one. Hit or miss engines.

I'm also going to follow the advice of taking it to a shop and getting a good look-ever by a mechanic. Although the teenage boy in me drools a bit at the prospect of getting a new bike, the more (or less :rolleyes:) mature senior citizen side of me tells me that if I really like the bike, and I do, thenmaybe it's worth finding out for sure whats up and, even up to replacing the engine, dealing with it.

I'll have a better idea of my options when I get to explore them a bit. At this time of year, there's no hurry.
 

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finding a good mechanic may be like hitting the lottery these days but they are out there,,,I do remember as my 04 started to get into the higher miles area, around 50k give or take i did start to burn oil,,,not alot, but did find myself more aware of monitoring the oil level...I have always made a practice of changing my oil every 2-2.5 miles and while many have said that was overkill, considering I did it myself and the low cost, fresh oil going thru the engine could only help vs hinder. Like yourself I have found the Castrol GTX oil has served all 3 of my mc's fine be it the 10/40 0r 20/50's. Good luck on what you learn when you do get an opinion from hopefully a good mechanic.
 

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While I appreciate your response, you made a lot of unwarranted and erroneous assumptions.


As far as I can tell, my oil consumption during my regular riding and commuting (roughly 32miles round trip), some of which is on the interstate (around 55mph) but mostly on local roads, and all my other "normal" riding is about what I expect...not much at all.

I wrongly assumed not doing lots of highway miles at high speed, and not consuming excessive oil?


However, on long highway trips where I spend extended times riding at 70+ mpg, I go through oil a lot faster....about a quart in about 600 miles...about the longest riding days I regularly, and willingly, put in.

Even out West where there are long stretches of highway at 80mph, I tend to stay around 70mph plus maybe a bit more just to keep from becoming a rolling roadblock


Left lane around here Is 70 and up, right lane is pretty much always on the lower side of 60-70, largely due to semis and long grades.

One can't be blamed for thinking an 800cc bike couldn't handle the interstates when my previous 600cc bike had no problems.


Some manufacturers have invested in making smooth, modern and more powerful engines for their bikes......

Then there's Suzuki, the 805 is an old under-powered drivetrain, that has actually gotten LESS powerful over the years originally making around 60hp @ 7000r/pm, now producing in the most optimistic numbers around 53 @ 6000. and that's before they were putting the same old motor into heavier and heavier[originally in lighter bikes like the Gl800 (443# wet) then on to '01-'04 VL800 (567# wet), '05 C50 (567# wet), '10 C50 (610# wet), '15 C50 (611# wet), '20 on C50 (611#) ( -T 643# wet) ] bikes all while looking for ways to make it cheaper and producing the same HP/[email protected] r/pm numbers. It has received little to no improvement from the pre-vol days...and even then it would seem most of their efforts were cosmetic....a matter of "it works well enough, why throw money at making it perform better" I guess.
They are what they are, a bike built to look and sound a specific way at a very tight price target...cheap

Skrapiron
#15 · Jun 25, 2015

At 65mph, the C50 is turning ~ 4100 rpm in 5th gear with the stock gearing.
At 65mph, the C50 is turning ~ 3650 rpm in 5th gear with the C90 drive.

It is enough to tell a difference in the way the engine sounds and feels, but it is still buzzy and feels like it needs another gear.

The C50 will top out somewhere between 90 and 95 mph (actual). The speedo is a bit optimistic and will tell you you're doing the ton, when you're really almost 10mph slower...

It is a fine mid sized cruiser, but it is not quick nor is it intended for long stretches at interstate speeds (70mph and above)

Ah yes, the "tourer" designation, add a backrest, windshield and saddlebags to the same bike, raise the price and call it a tourer...Vespa makes a 150cc tourer....I imagine most folks ain't remotely interested in doing 600 mile days on the interstate with one.

Looking at a 2015 Yamaha 650 V-star it's about 50# lighter than the first gen Vols
The 650 in OEM stock forum will only go 103mph.

1st gear ratio is 2.714 and rev limiter is 7200rpm,s== that is 37 mph
2nd gear ratio is 1.9===53mph
3rd gear ratio is 1.458===69mph
4th gear ratio is 1.166===86mph
5th gear ratio is .966 and at 7200rpm that is 103mph


OK - here's the math, using a standard 170-80-15 rear tire:

Riding easy, shifting so the engine drops to 2500 rpm with each gear change:

. . . . . . Speed (mph)
Gear. . C50 drive. . C90 drive

1st. . . 0 - 19. . . 0 - 22
2nd . . 19 - 26 . . 22 - 30
3rd . . 26 - 31 . . 30 - 36
4th . . 31 - 38 . . 36 - 44
5th . . 38 - 91 . . 44 - 105

Riding hard, winding the engine to 6000 rpm in each gear:

. . . . . . Speed (mph)
Gear. . C50 drive. . C90 drive

1st. . . 0 - 30. . . 0 - 35
2nd . . 30 - 46 . . 35 - 53
3rd . . 46 - 61 . . 53 - 70
4th . . 61 - 74 . . 70 - 86
5th . . 74 - 91 . . 86 - 105

this took to long to finish....what was my point again?.... anywho...they seem to be about on par...though I'd wager the Yamaha is smoother....I dunno.

Just saying hopefully it's just normal oil usage for your engine... some barely use any, some are fine until you make them work a bit hard.
 

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some good points...and after reading about riding in higher rpms back when I was riding my 04 vol, Smooth riding the Pridmore way I started riding in that style and found the mc for me responded more to my liking...still prefer riding in that style with my c90.

Btw...have the book sitting on a shelf collecting dust in the garage if anyone thinks they may be interested in a good read...send me a pm with your name and address and I'll be more than happy to send it to you.
 

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I guess I got a lucky one, '17 c50t, stock setup, 79.5k miles, basically ride 60+ everywhere I go, many long highway rides (daytona, houston, ozarks, smokies, DC) @ 70+, and average a half a quart every 1000 +/- miles, and (knock on wood) no major mechanical issues so far. now mind you I do keep it serviced, either by me or the shop so it's stays pretty tight to specs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just changed the oil, filter, and gear oil today. 20W50 Dino.

I've always kept up a good maintenance schedule and I'm hoping to drag as many miles out of her as I can.
The longer she lasts, the happier I am and, at least, the more time I have to keep an eye out and save up for a new or used cruiser that I will get along with.

Hopefully the oil usage stabilizes, but I'm taking the info I'm getting here on the site seriously.
 
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