almost no oil in engine!


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figdog
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almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:23 am



The good: I am going to circumnavigate the world on a gl1100

The decision: To bring my old '83 to tip top shape, or buy a gl1500

The bad: I decide to renovate my old gl1100. As I drain the coolant and the oil to remove the engine to put in new stator, clutch, etc ... I notice that very very very little oil came out! We are talking like less than a quart. The red oil light DOES work, but it never came on. The day before I rode it or so, it flickered as I came to a hard stop ... whenever I see this happen I usually add oil.

My question: How bad is this? What kind of damage could have resulted? What tests can I run to determine the condition of the engine? Is a compression test good enough? If the compression test comes back fine, is that enough to have faith in the bike and go? I don't want the bike to randomly die in the middle east!



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virgilmobile
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby virgilmobile » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:02 am

The oil pickup screen is very low in the engine,so low even a quart of oil would still be circulated in the system with no damage.
The flickering light was all the spare oil forced to the front of the engine leaving none at the pickup screen.
A engine will consume a small ammount of oil but usually is a very small ammount in the oil change period.
The larger question is "Where did the other oil dissapear to.???"
Is it burning that much oil between the 3000 mile oil change??
Did it leak out..???
Did you miss a few oil changes.??? like several of them.

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thrasherg
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby thrasherg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:21 am

If the oil light hadn't come on then all the pressure fed bearings should probably be good, there is a risk things might have got hotter than intended due to a lack of oil to dissipate some of the heat from the engine, but the chances of having done some real harm is small (this engine is water cooled and doesn't depend only on the oil to dissipate heat). The issue is for all the bearings and gears that are lubricated by dipping into the oil (They would not have got as much lubrication as Honda intended(due to the low oil level). The main concern for me would be the gearbox.. I would be listening out for any strange noises and maybe more awkward gear changes, but hopefully you got lucky.

As stated I would be concerned why your engine is using so much oil? A leak would be obvious so I assume you are burning it, so you probably need new oil rings and maybe even a rebore? How many miles has your engine done? If you are going to go a long distance, circumnavigating the world, sounds quite long!! :D I would be looking to getting that engine in to tip-top condition, so I would be dropping the heads, checking the bores and rings for wear, checking the valves and valve guides for wear (Replacing the valve stem seals) and changing the timing belts/chains & waterpump.

Gary

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:23 am

No missed oil changes ... but between changes I would always drain less than I put in.

Took it to Wing Nutz in Fairfield CA to have it evaluated for readiness for the journey, and we noticed that oil was leaking at valve gaskets and other places .... I just can't imagine that it would have leaked that much.

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:27 am

@ Gary ... I was planning on doing all that you mentioned ... However, checking rings and bores involves splitting the case right? was hoping to not have to do that ...

There is a bit of a rattle sometimes when I shift into low gear, or when its in neutral ... but if it's in neutral if I wiggle the shifter a bit the rattle goes away. Other than some valve tappet clacking, the engine sounds fine ... especially at speed. Would you recommend taking the engine to a honda mechanic and having them split the case to really look into it? I could pull the engine myself and remove heads and rear cover etc to save on his labor.

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thrasherg
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby thrasherg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:46 am

figdog wrote:@ Gary ... I was planning on doing all that you mentioned ... However, checking rings and bores involves splitting the case right? was hoping to not have to do that ...

There is a bit of a rattle sometimes when I shift into low gear, or when its in neutral ... but if it's in neutral if I wiggle the shifter a bit the rattle goes away. Other than some valve tappet clacking, the engine sounds fine ... especially at speed. Would you recommend taking the engine to a honda mechanic and having them split the case to really look into it? I could pull the engine myself and remove heads and rear cover etc to save on his labor.


Figdog,

I am sure this is not the answer you want to hear, but I would perform a compression check with and without oil in the bores to see if a rebore is required!!
In your case I would strongly recommend NOT taking the bike to a Honda dealer, do the work yourself.. If you are going to go around the world, you will need to be very familiar with your bike, so you can fix/bodge any issues that occur (usually at the side of the road). There is no better way to get to know your bike than doing all the work yourself..

Yes if you have to split the crankcases, then it is an engine out job, but again you will get a tremendous amount of knowledge from doing this, and I am sure it will come in useful somewhere around the world!!

As stated I would look at running a compression test to see if the rings are worn, and I would have the heads of, no matter what, to check the valve seats, guides and seals..

Gary

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eklimek
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby eklimek » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:54 am

Was the decision made to use the older low tech bike?

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:01 pm

Thanks for the reply Gary ...

I am pretty familiar with the bike ... I've pulled the engine before ... in fact this engine was one I installed a few years ago. I was planning on pulling the engine to make it easier to do the work I knew I NEEDED to do ... the only thing I was going to leave to a Honda dealership was the splitting of the case and the inspection of bores, crankshaft, etc. I figure that this is so critical its better to have a pro do it. I understand your point on knowing the bike in and out ... I have a spare dead engine that I am tearing down just to learn about the gl1100 ... however I also figure that if I run into anything THAT major on the trip where I have to split the case, I won't be able to do that kind of work on the side of the road.

I understand how to do a compression check with oil in the bores, how do you do one with no oil? Do you hand crank the crankshaft with the engine out?

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:04 pm

@ eklimek

Decided to use Gl1100 because I like that bike. Test Rode a gl1500 and was a bit bulky. Also buying a newer bike would put a bigger dent in the checkbook and I need to have as much cash in the bank as possible for a trip of this magnitude

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eklimek
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby eklimek » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:14 pm

I understand familiarity leads to confidence. Simple is more reliable. I have two model T's, they are the post apocalypse ideal vehicle.

The 1100 is still bulky and complicated by water cooling, more mechanisms to fail, and spare part sourcing issues.

It raises a strikingly good topic, "What motorcycle would you take on a global adventure?"

Has to be common
Mass produced
Non electronic
Gas or diesel

The goldwing is a great long distance pavement eater. How much of the trip is off pavement? 9,000 miles across Siberia. And the fuel tank is tiny on the Goldwing.

It seems sponsorship might be a good start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_lo ... cle_riders

457,000 miles on a GL1100 1985-1995

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thrasherg
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby thrasherg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:25 pm

figdog wrote:Thanks for the reply Gary ...

I am pretty familiar with the bike ... I've pulled the engine before ... in fact this engine was one I installed a few years ago. I was planning on pulling the engine to make it easier to do the work I knew I NEEDED to do ... the only thing I was going to leave to a Honda dealership was the splitting of the case and the inspection of bores, crankshaft, etc. I figure that this is so critical its better to have a pro do it. I understand your point on knowing the bike in and out ... I have a spare dead engine that I am tearing down just to learn about the gl1100 ... however I also figure that if I run into anything THAT major on the trip where I have to split the case, I won't be able to do that kind of work on the side of the road.

I understand how to do a compression check with oil in the bores, how do you do one with no oil? Do you hand crank the crankshaft with the engine out?



Hi Figdog,

Given your answer, I change my position!! It seems you already know the engine, so I would run the compression test (Wet & dry) and if the bores do need doing, I would let your Honda dealer do that work (assuming you trust them and can afford the work). I was assuming you had never had the engine out before and you learn a lot when you take one out (Where all the other parts are and what has to come off to get access to different parts of the engine, etc..) If the rings are worn and need to be replaced, have them check the plain main bearings (They will probably split the big ends to change the rings, so they can make sure the main bearings are not worn..) at the same time). I wasn't thinking you would split the crankcases at the side of the road, it was more that if your fuel pump or something else quit, you would know where it was located and how to reach it!! If you have never removed the engine, there will be a lot of parts that you won't know where they are located on the bike!! :oops:

Let us know about the compression test, but unfortunately it will not tell you about the status of the oil rings, just the compression rings.. I would be wanting to know where the oil is going before I drive across large empty spaces on the other side of the world!!

Gary

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thrasherg
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby thrasherg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:35 pm

FigDog,

I was just looking at another post on an 82 GL1100 and wingadmin, mentioned that they have a primary chain inside the engine, if your engine has a primary chain, these usually suffer badly from low oil levels (Again the chain is supposed to sit in the engine oil, but low oil levels means that it can often run drier than intended and cause excessive wear). Just something else to consider, I suspect that it's probably a split crankcase job to access the chain and check it for wear, but do not know as I have an 1800 not a 1100. Hopefully someone on hear can let us know.. Sorry to add more doom & gloom..

Gary

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Not going across Siberia ... heading south through middle east (may fly the bike across scary zones ) and continuing through India and Southeast Asia

figdog
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby figdog » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:00 pm

@Gary ...

I'm assuming that by the compression rings you mean the piston rings ... but what are the oil rings? Are they the bearings between the connecting rods and the crankshaft?

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eklimek
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby eklimek » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:20 pm

I met an Aussie in my youth who bought his BMW in the fatherland and drove it home. Given India as a target one might even repatriat an Enfield.

Bon voyage. You will keep us posted?

Curious how many tires you go through. I have little doubt you will make it.

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thrasherg
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Re: almost no oil in engine!

Postby thrasherg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:58 pm

figdog wrote:@Gary ...

I'm assuming that by the compression rings you mean the piston rings ... but what are the oil rings? Are they the bearings between the connecting rods and the crankshaft?


Each piston has 3 rings, 2 compression rings and a third Oil scraper ring. The first 2 rings are there to create an airtight seal inside the bore and are called compression rings, the third ring (Oil scraper) is meant to scrape excessive oil of the bores as the piston travels downwards and prevent smoking and excessive oil consumption. If the oil scraper rings wear, then your engine starts to burn oil.. A compression test, confirms the first 2 rings are doing their job, but there is no real way to check the oil scraper rings (Other than removing them from the piston, putting them in your bores and measuring the ring end gaps..

There are no rings between the connecting rods and crankshaft, but there are plain bearings between the connecting rods and the crankshaft, they are called the big end bearings and are what I was suggesting you get checked if you have to replace the piston rings (Along with the main bearings (also plain bearings))..

Hope I haven't confused you.

Gary




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