I have an 2004 BMW R1200GS that's about to roll over on 120,000 kilometers – hey, I like to ride. I do all the scheduled maintenance by the book, and change the oil sooner than the BMW says to most of the time. The bike isn't really doing anything wrong at the moment aside from feeling a bid tired.
Some of the guys I ride with have been talking about oil analysis. Nobody has actually had it's oil analyzed, so what sort of data should I expect from a good lab? Could this sort of thing tip me off to internal trouble before something breaks? I've been trying to decide between rebuilding the engine and buying a new bike, but I can live without either one for awhile if the Bavarian innards are in good enough shape....
A engine oil analysis is like having blood drawn at the doctor's office. The results can tell you a lot about what's going on inside the engine. Can it help you head trouble off at the pass or sleep a little easier at night?
In a routine oil analysis report, they measure the presence of 24 different metals in the oil using a process called Inductively Coupled Plasma Emission Spectrography, ICP for short. The ICP process vaporizes your oil sample with a plasma torch, breaking it down into elemental atomic components, and which tell people who understand such things exactly what's dissolved in your oil and what problems you could expect.