'81 GL1100I with white smoke


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dgould
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'81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby dgould » Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:59 pm



Hello all,

I have a 1981 GL1100I that has started blowing white smoke. I didn't notice anything until after putting a used OEM exhaust with new gaskets on it and after running a Seafoam treatment in the oil to fix a sticky sprague clutch. That was when I noticed light white smoke on startup and thicker smoke while running at higher rpm's. I know that this is usually an indication of a blown head gasket. My question is how would I diagnose it as a blown head gasket, and know for sure it isn't something burning off in the "new" exhaust? I'm hesitant to run it if the head gasket is blown, but also don't want to do the head gaskets if it is just junk burning off in the pipes. Hopefully I'm not asking a repetitive question!

Thanks in advance for the help! I've gotten loads of information that has helped me get my wing into shape; this website (and its members) are the best!



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WingAdmin
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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:17 pm

dgould wrote:Hello all,

I have a 1981 GL1100I that has started blowing white smoke. I didn't notice anything until after putting a used OEM exhaust with new gaskets on it and after running a Seafoam treatment in the oil to fix a sticky sprague clutch. That was when I noticed light white smoke on startup and thicker smoke while running at higher rpm's. I know that this is usually an indication of a blown head gasket. My question is how would I diagnose it as a blown head gasket, and know for sure it isn't something burning off in the "new" exhaust? I'm hesitant to run it if the head gasket is blown, but also don't want to do the head gaskets if it is just junk burning off in the pipes. Hopefully I'm not asking a repetitive question!

Thanks in advance for the help! I've gotten loads of information that has helped me get my wing into shape; this website (and its members) are the best!


Pull the spark plugs. If one of them is shiny "steam cleaned" looking, then you have found a blown head gasket.

You can also try smelling the smoke - if it's sweet smelling, that's usually coolant, indicating a head gasket issue.

Are you losing oil or coolant?

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dgould
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Location: Twin Falls, ID
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby dgould » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:27 pm

Thanks WingAdmin!

It doesn't look like I'm losing oil or coolant, but I haven't run it for more than maybe 15 minutes. I took it out today and was going to go on some backroads to hit a little higher speed and see if it subsided, but the smoke got pretty heavy and I didn't want to destroy the engine. The exhaust doesn't smell like burning oil, but I couldn't tell you if it is "sweet" smelling. I was pretty disgruntled at it and was having a hard time not being angry.

Should I go take it for a longer ride and see what that does? Is there a certain mileage I should stick to before it does damage? I did pull the spark plugs and didn't notice a difference, but I will do it again tomorrow.

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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby WINGER3 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:57 pm

I would go along with WingAdmin that it is most likely coolent, white smoke is normaly water vapor. You can put your hand right over the end of the exhaust that is blowing white smoke and usally it will have water vapor on it if the head gasket is leaking. Good luck. :mrgreen:
DON'T DESTROY IT-RESTORE IT

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WINGER3
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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby WINGER3 » Thu May 01, 2014 12:09 am

WINGER3 wrote:I would go along with WingAdmin that it is most likely coolent, white smoke is normaly water vapor. You can put your hand right over the end of the exhaust that is blowing white smoke and usally it will have water vapor on it if the head gasket is leaking. Good luck. :mrgreen:


I should have included that you need to get the exhaust up to normal temp's befor you test it with your hand,as in very cold and high humidity in the mornings you will get light white smoke, that is just moisture burning off as the exhaust heats up, once its up to temp. there should not be any more white smoke. Don't touch the end of the pipe as you could get burned. :mrgreen:
DON'T DESTROY IT-RESTORE IT

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dgould
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Location: Twin Falls, ID
Motorcycle: 1981 GL1100 Interstate

Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby dgould » Thu May 01, 2014 3:16 pm

WingAdmin, just checked the spark plugs and they all looked fine, no steam cleaned sort of look.

Winger3, getting ready to go take it out and get it warmed up to operating temp and see what it looks like. Hopefully it will all be good just be junk burning off in the exhaust. Another thought that occurred to me late last night- would the "new" exhaust be smoking white if the previous bike it was on had a blown head gasket and had pushed coolant into the pipes? There was no liquid in when I put them on but I was thinking more of a dried residue.

Will update when I get back this afternoon. Thanks again for all of the help!

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dgould
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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby dgould » Sat May 03, 2014 4:51 pm

I think I solved the mystery!

Took it out for a ride for about 10 minutes and it started smoking like crazy. I pulled over in a parking lot and was checking to see if it had any water vapor in the exhaust and a guy that had been following me stopped and mentioned the oil level was too high. I just smiled and nodded and wrote him off because I had checked the oil level 10 times and I just knew that wasn't it. Put my hand on the exhaust tips and didn't get any of the water vapor. Got home and checked the oil level just for kicks and it was overfilled! :oops: I had been looking at a line that was road grime and not the oil level. I dropped some oil and fired her up, and behold! No Smoke!!! I guess I'm not as proficient at mechanics as I thought :D

I would like to say that I had my neighbors and wife look at the smoke and it was very white, but I'm certain it was the oil burning off. I'm wondering if it was white (or not blue) because it was recently changed. That's the only thing I can come up with. Thank you for all the help WingAdmin and Winger3!

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WINGER3
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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby WINGER3 » Sat May 03, 2014 5:44 pm

The oil level glass on the 1100 is a bear to check, the little wipper blade just dosn't work very good and has a tendincy to leak around the O ring. Normaly white smoke is water, blue smoke is oil and black smoke is gas, but not always easy to tell white from light blue of some of the oil today. Glade that you got the problem solved, enjoy the ride. :mrgreen:
DON'T DESTROY IT-RESTORE IT

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1fastgl1100
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Re: '81 GL1100I with white smoke

Postby 1fastgl1100 » Sun May 04, 2014 6:28 am

I found that too much seafoam will also cause white smoke and make you think you have a blown head gasket.




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