This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:34 pm



Was bringing my antifreeze level up to the top line in the reserve tank, and noticed a 1/4 " of oil floating on the antifreeze. I'm no mechanic, but I naturally assumed this is not a good sign as I have never seen oil in antifreeze before.

So anybody out there with more knowledge that I, I would appreciate your input should you have an idea of what's going on here. FYI I changed the antifreeze about 6,000 miles ago, and there was no oil present at that time. My bike has 107,000 miles and I sure would like to get another 100,000 on her. Help!

Dennis
Lincoln, CA



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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby tricky » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:38 pm

Head gaskets likely..

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:47 pm

Is there water mixed with the oil?
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:38 pm

Hi Paul. Bye the way, I came out of Battle Creek, MI going on 10yrs. ago. Only thing the family misses is the thunder storms. Figure.

How could there be water mixed in with the oil, since there is no water in the engine?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:43 pm

tricky wrote:Head gaskets likely..
Hi Tricky. Thanks for the email. However, what makes you think this could be the problem. Are you an experienced mechanic, or have you dealt with this same problem on your bike in the past, and found that to be the cause?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:44 pm

Just trying to narrow down the problem. Depending on whether there's oil in the radiator, water in the oil, or both. It could be a head gasket as mentioned before, or the seals going bad in the water pump.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:51 pm

seabee_ wrote:Just trying to narrow down the problem. Depending on whether there's oil in the radiator, water in the oil, or both. It could be a head gasket as mentioned before, or the seals going bad in the water pump.
Yes, there is oil in the radiator as the the oil is floating on top of the antifreeze in the reserve tank which is the highest point of the coolant system. You have offered another source of the oil contamination, that being to water pump. It will be interesting to see if others are thinking along the same line as you. Thanks for the inmput.

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:33 pm

Have you removed the radiator cap to see if you have oil in the radiator?
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:04 pm

seabee_ wrote:Have you removed the radiator cap to see if you have oil in the radiator?

No, I haven't. But the antifreeze in the reserve tank flows out of the radiator so of course the oil floating on top of the reserve tank came out of the radiator rising to the highest level in the coolant system since the oil must be lighter than the antifreeze. Where are you going with this thought?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:19 am

I'm mostly curious to see if you have oil mixed with the coolant in the radiator and to see if the coolant level is full in the radiator. Have you noticed a sweet smell or white smoke coming from the exhaust? Also, pull your plugs and note the color and condition of all four. Light tan color is normal, black is running rich, white and clean looking is an indicator of blown head gasket due to coolant leaking into the combustion chamber.

Also, if you notice the radiator is low on coolant then that also indicates losing coolant at the head gasket. Sometimes, the overflow tank may be full but the radiator could be low and you won't know until you pop the cap.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:30 pm

I'm back Paul. Based on your last comments, I checked the radiator and find it full. Little oil there as well. Checked all plugs and they are looking normal. Haven't noticed any white exhaust. So does that pretty much rule out blown head gaskets? Which would lead one to conclude the culprit of oil contamination is the water pump? Or could it be something else too?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:35 pm

Not 100%, but I'm thinking it's not the head gasket. I'm leaning towards the water pump or seals. You are going to have to change the coolant anyway, so I would check the water pump out. I'm going to dig thru the books and see what I come up with.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:41 pm

Paul I appreciate your time and input, it's people like you that make this forum so wonderful.

You surmise water pump or seals. You mentioned this early on and I understood you to mean the seals in the water pump, if the water pump in fact has seals. ( I know nothing) But your statement here makes it sound like two different possibilities. Enlighten me further, please.

I will ck. out the water pump, but what I'm I looking for?

FYI I have a Clymer repair manual. It has saved me thousands.

Out of curiosity, what books will you be digging thr. to get answers? And are you a mechanic by trade?

Thanks Paul.

Happy 4th.

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby Possum51 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:55 pm

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but with over 30 years as both a automotive and motorcycle tech, the only time oil gets into your antifreeze is if either you have a blown head gasket or depending on the design of the engine there is a cylinder that is cracked into a internal water jacket (passage way). I personally have never seen a waterpump mounted so that it is exposed to any internal oil.
Rick.....

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:29 pm

I mentioned the water pump due to no loss of coolant. Also because I have seen where oil has mixed to the coolant due to a bad impeller, bearing or shaft. Once the pump and gaskets were replaced coolant and oil did not mix again. With head gaskets, there is a loss of coolant, white smoke and/or sweet smell thru the exhaust. Apparently there are none of these symptom. I was suggesting to check the pump. I would also check for any bubbles in the radiator after reaching operating temp. You can also do a compression test, but I have found that it doesn't always tell you if the head gasket is bad. The only sure fire way to know if it is a bad head gasket is to yank the heads to do a visual, which means all new gaskets for the top end of the motor as well as the cooling system and timing covers. I figure best to check the simple cheaper things first, then go from there.
I do believe the goldwing has a design that allows the possibility of oil/water contact, even if remote.
I would believe pressure is greater in oil than water so I would suspect water pump to oil pump seal before head gaskets because it was stated that no water is mixed in the oil.
Last edited by seabee_ on Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:40 pm

Hi Possum 51. Appreciate you informing me of your expertise. Should that be the case, what is the fix, a different block?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:53 pm

[quote="seabee_"]I mentioned the water pump due to no loss of coolant. Also because I have seen where oil has mixed to the coolant due to a bad impeller, bearing or shaft. Once the pump and gaskets were replaced coolant and oil did not mix again. With head gaskets, there is a loss of coolant, white smoke and/or sweet smell thru the exhaust. Apparently there are none of these symptom. I was suggesting to check the pump. I would also check for any bubbles in the radiator after reaching operating temp. You can also do a compression test, but I have found that it doesn't always tell you if the head gasket is bad. The only sure fire way to know if it is a bad head gasket is to yank the heads to do a visual, which means all new gaskets for the top end of the motor as well as the cooling system and timing covers. I figure best to check the simple cheaper things first, then go from there.

So Paul, does the entire water pump have to be changed out or can just the shaft, bearings and seal be replaced to your knowledge?

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:06 pm

It's a non-serviceable unit. You would have to get a new one. Not sure what they cost lately.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby Possum51 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:45 pm

drtimm@att.net wrote:Hi Possum 51. Appreciate you informing me of your expertise. Should that be the case, what is the fix, a different block?

I agree with Seabee, there are test to run and check that may show a different problem that can be the cause. If it does turn out to be a head gasket, those can be replaced. What I said before about a internal engine (block) crack is very rare but it does happen. Like Seabee says check the easier cheaper items 1st to narrow it down. I personally haven't ran across a waterpump that is lubercated by engine oil except on heavy equipment ( most waterpumps have sealed lifetime lubed bearings), as I am new to goldwings myself I am still learning the ins and outs of goldwings. Thats why I joined this forum, to learn more about goldwings.
Rick.....

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby Possum51 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:36 pm

after reviewing the steps to replace a waterpump on the GL1100 & GL1200 I now see what Seabee was talking about and I stand corrected. I understand now how the seals on the waterpump could allow the oil/water to mix. Like I said thats why I joined this site, to learn more about goldwings.
Rick.....

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:12 pm

That's what I love about this site. You can learn things, share knowledge and experience with others, and enjoy the comradere(sp?). Even I learn something new every now and then.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:50 pm

It's highly unlikely it's the water pump. The water pump has two sets of two seals - internal and external. The first set seals off the inside and outside of the water pump from oil (green). The other set seals it off from coolant (light blue). In between those sets of seals is a drain (yellow) and a corresponding weep hole in the outer case (red):

Leaking Water Pump
Leaking Water Pump


The internal seals are denoted by the coolant seal (3) and the oil seal, sealed both by the collar B (5) and the external drive oil seal (not shown in diagram, mounted on engine block). The external O-ring seals are shown as coolant (pink) and oil (blue).

If one of the internal or external oil seals fails, the oil or coolant (as the case may be) will flow as shown by the light blue or green lines, through the drain and out the weep hole. This will be readily apparent:

Image

The idea is to prevent cross-contamination between the oil system and the coolant system.

Some owners have had the water pump be the cause of contamination (usually coolant in the oil, which turns the oil a chocolate brown color) when well-meaning people see "coolant leaking out a hole on the bottom of the engine" and "fix" it by a) screwing a wood screw into the weep hole, b) sealing the hole with epoxy or c) shoving toothpicks into the hole (all have been reported here on this site).

As long as the weep hole is not plugged, there should be no way for coolant/oil contamination to occur from the water pump - unless the seals are REALLY compromised due to failed bearings - and if that were the case, you'd hear an awful racket coming from the water pump.

I have to say, in my experience, when you see oil floating in your coolant, it is (as already mentioned) virtually always either a head gasket failure, or cracked water jacket (both can be caused by engine overheating). Because you aren't seeing "steam cleaning" of your plugs, which would normally be a good indication of a head gasket failure...well, here's hoping I'm wrong.

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby drtimm@att.net » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:09 pm

Possum51 wrote:after reviewing the steps to replace a waterpump on the GL1100 & GL1200 I now see what Seabee was talking about and I stand corrected. I understand now how the seals on the waterpump could allow the oil/water to mix. Like I said thats why I joined this site, to learn more about goldwings.
Dennis, Wow, it takes a real man to admit he was wrong and with and opened mind consider another viewpoint. Good for you, and all who shall learn from this experience.

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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby seabee_ » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:49 pm

Got busy with the midnight shift but wanted to post again. I would think that if the large o-rings went bad then the oil would have the opportunity to mix in the coolant. Correct me if I'm wrong? But it would be worth a look since you need to drain the coolant anyway.
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Re: This cannot be good. Oil in the antifreez reserve tank

Postby Possum51 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:27 pm

seabee_ wrote:Got busy with the midnight shift but wanted to post again. I would think that if the large o-rings went bad then the oil would have the opportunity to mix in the coolant. Correct me if I'm wrong? But it would be worth a look since you need to drain the coolant anyway.

I think you are correct Seabee, it appears that way to me, but wingadmin says its designed not to do that. I have not ran across that problem myself (knock on wood).


Rick.....


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