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I feel like this is a dumb question but it'll ask it anyways. Can you do it on the center stand? If not, when the bike is stood up and while looking at the sight glass, are you looking for the oil to be half up, full or 1/3s? I feel like I'm putting way too much oil in since it's leaking out while on the kickstand but not when it's on the center stand.
 

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You should measure the oil level in the same position in which you're driving your bicycle. So the bike should not be standing on the center stand and it should be perpendicular to the ground. The level should be between 'low' and 'top' mark, and you should also note that the oil level will rise when the oil gets warm. So the oil level should actually be checked a few minutes after the motorcycle has been driven.
 

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You can check it on the C-stand if you elevate the front wheel with a chunk of wood or something so both tires are the same distance off a level floor. I've read ZX-11's should be filled to the top of the sight glass to preclude oil starvation at the pickup under hard acceleration.
 

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As hammer said, raise the front wheel so it's even with the back. Fill it to the top of the sight window.

Don't forget that there are 2 drain plugs... If you only do the main plug you'll still have a quart of old oil left in the motor.
 

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You can check it on the C-stand if you elevate the front wheel with a chunk of wood or something so both tires are the same distance off a level floor.
You should measure the oil level in the same position in which you're driving your bicycle. So the bike should not be standing on the center stand and it should be perpendicular to the ground.
I don't have a manual to my bike. But according to my friend his manual (for the 1999) says that the engine oil should be checked with the bike on the c-stand when the engine is warm and you should let it idle for a minute before you turn it off. Then you should wait 10 minutes before you check it. It doesn't say anything of elevating the bike in anyway or having it on the ground or in a riding level.
 

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If your friend says his manual says that, it's probably true, but he should join up here and maybe post a screen shot or at least quote the page of the manual to verify what he's told you. His advice is a bit suspect since none of the other owners, many of which should have manuals, have quoted it as saying that. Anyone?
 

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If your friend says his manual says that, it's probably true, but he should join up here and maybe post a screen shot or at least quote the page of the manual to verify what he's told you. His advice is a bit suspect since none of the other owners, many of which should have manuals, have quoted it as saying that. Anyone?
He lives nearby so I can take a look at it myself and take a snap with my phone later. But I've heard so many different ways that's supposed to be correct that I don't know what to believe anymore. So I emailed kawasaki and hopefully they can tell us the correct procedure.
 

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Says "perpendicular to the ground" but nothing about on the centerstand or on the wheels. Also says nothing about starting and idling before checking, except after changing to fill the filter.

So the first part is vague and the second doesn't apply to routine level checks only fill check after a change. Either you friend is confused or he didn't have the same page in his manual as you posted.

Not to split hairs, but so many times guys post things they heard from a "friend" or "their mechanic" that turns out to be either total BS or at best muddies the waters.
 

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I feel like this is a dumb question but it'll ask it anyways. Can you do it on the center stand? If not, when the bike is stood up and while looking at the sight glass, are you looking for the oil to be half up, full or 1/3s? I feel like I'm putting way too much oil in since it's leaking out while on the kickstand but not when it's on the center stand.
Your leak is likely the shift shaft seal and is not directly related to oil level, although ovefilling can cause oil to be pumped out of areas where it might not normally leak. This will occur while the engine is running, but not when it isn't.
 

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Says "perpendicular to the ground" but nothing about on the centerstand or on the wheels. Also says nothing about starting and idling before checking, except after changing to fill the filter.
That was what was said in the zx11 service manual.

I've visited my friend today and had a look both at the owner manual and at the Haynes manual. According to the Haynes manual it should be checked with the bike on the c-stand:


But the owner manual says that it should be checked with the bike held level, which I presume means on the ground:


So according to both Kawasakis owner manual and service manual it should be checked with the bike standing on the ground or at least perpendicular to the ground. So checking it while standing on the c-stand will be misleading and probably indicate a lower oil level compared to it standing on the ground.
 

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On the C-stand, the rear wheel is elevated and the front is on the floor. The reading will be different from checking when the weight of the bike is on both wheels. Try it both ways and you will see a difference. I believe both wheels on the floor or both wheels equally elevated is the correct reading. It doesn't go against what the (stupid) manual says, it's how you interpret. Checking oil level with the bike on it's wheels takes two people. On some machines, a centerstand is either an option or not even possible. You will likely find the same instructions in all those machines' manuals for checking oil level. Therefore the centerstand either doesn't come into play or must be compensated for (block under the front wheel) if used.

Some of the Japanese-to-English translations in Kawasaki Factory shop manuals are not only misleading, some are downright laughable. Every time I find one in my ZX-14 manual, I highlight it in yellow for future entertainment.

I believe the Haynes manual is also misleading and what they are actually saying is to run the engine with the bike on the centerstand to fill the oil filter. It's never a good idea to let the engine idle while leaned on a sidestand.
 

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I played around with oldskool Suzuki's for ages and recently bought my zx, which is my first Kawasaki . On the Suzuki you always checked the oil level with the bike standing on the ground, and it was fairly easy to do it yourself. I do manage to check it myself on the zx as well. But it is a bit tricky.

A good way around this is to ask a friend to help out the first time. Stop the engine and leave it for ten minutes, then check to see that it is in level with the upper line. Put the bike on to the c-stand and check the level again. Now you know where it should be when its standing on the c-stand and you can check it yourself the next time.
 

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Another funny thing about the manual that carried on for several years, is that there are 2 drain plugs/bolts + a filter bolt.

In the page 6-6 above, it clearly says plug(s) -plural, but highlights a single (A) for the bolt/plug location.

There are 2 - make sure you drain both.
 
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Another funny thing about the manual that carried on for several years, is that there are 2 drain plugs/bolts + a filter bolt.

In the page 6-6 above, it clearly says plug(s) -plural, but highlights a single (A) for the bolt/plug location.

There are 2 - make sure you drain both.
I'm gonna change oil and filter this weekend and I just heard about this. I also read that that the oil drained from the foremost bolt should be checked carefully for flakes to make sure there's nothing wrong with the third rod bearing. If anyone have a picture that shows the location of this second bolt it would be highly appreciated.
 

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I played around with oldskool Suzuki's for ages and recently bought my zx, which is my first Kawasaki . On the Suzuki you always checked the oil level with the bike standing on the ground, and it was fairly easy to do it yourself. I do manage to check it myself on the zx as well. But it is a bit tricky.

A good way around this is to ask a friend to help out the first time. Stop the engine and leave it for ten minutes, then check to see that it is in level with the upper line. Put the bike on to the c-stand and check the level again. Now you know where it should be when its standing on the c-stand and you can check it yourself the next time.
That's what I did. Now when the level is about 2/3rds while on C Stand I know its good to go
 
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