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Dear Jon,

I've got about 25 hours on a 2001 TXT321. I've changed the Gearbox oil every other ride (so about six changes) using a 5-30 motor oil. When I change the oil, the magnet is pretty clean, but the oil looks like the 'milky way' and there are many bright metallic 'flakes' at the bottom of the pan. Is this normal? the bike bike shifts well.



A certain amount of light metallic particles is somewhat normal (especially during the break-in period). This is usually from the clutch area or, if steel-based, normal gear wear from break-in. They are probably aluminum (non-metallic) and don't attach to the magnet on the drainplug. I just changed the oil on my 96' 370 this week and noticed the same "metallic paint" tint to the oil (but no "flakes") and mine has a lot of miles of use without any problems whatsoever. I'm a little concerned by your discription, however, so just to be sure, take the oil you drained out, or the next time you change the oil, drain it into a glass container (one that holds about 800cc's) for your dealer to look at. I'd have to actually see the oil to make a diagnosis but your dealer can tell you if there is anything to worry about. 25 hours isn't much time and my guess is it's just break-in material, but it wouldn't hurt to be sure. If there is any problem, it's probably located in the clutch area. It may be covered by your warranty and your dealer can advise you. I'd glad you are observant. You can tell a lot about what is happening inside the engine by "reading" the oil. When I was racing Top Fueler dragsters, we had a special tool for cutting off the oil filter covers to see what the filter material was trapping and it told me a lot, often avoiding expensive (and dangerous) engine failures.


Professional tuner and 'Trials Competition' writer Jon Stoodley has very kindly stepped up to the plate to answer your questions. If you're having problems, or need some advice just send an email to Jon. If it's something that could be useful to others, we'll post it on the site.
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