Blown head gasket or just my paranoia


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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Tavi
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Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:56 pm



Hello from Denmark,
As it says in the title I might need to change the head gaskets but I don't want to start this job untill I do have more opinions about it.
except the bubbles you can see in the below youtube vide there are no other symptoms. I did check the plugs and they have a normal colour (maybe a bit on the lean side)
I does not smoke, just the ususal 30-40 seconds after a cold start and even then the smoke smell is not sweet it is more oily (a bit stingy) maybe also beacuse I do put atf on each full tank.
it does not overheat.
The thermostat was changed last year just before the long trip and the water pump (OEM) was changed 1 week ago.

on the other side this summer I had a 3500 miles trip and once I parked home I found out that the rad overflow container was empty and inside I could feel something like a thin laier of old oil or grease on the inside walls.

So waht do you think head gasket or not to head gasket :-)





Regrads
Tavi



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WingAdmin
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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:16 pm

An empty reservoir can have a couple different causes. One is a leak in the reservoir nipple or hose from the radiator neck to the reservoir:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=23453&p=130147#p130147

The other is a head gasket. Being that you already identified an oily residue in the reservoir, and you clearly have air bubbles in the coolant, I'm going to lean toward the head gasket. You don't have a clear suspect cylinder (i.e. with a steam-cleaned spark plug) so the next thing to do is to do a cylinder leak-down test. Failing that, hook up an air hose to the spark plug hole of each plug in turn, and see if you can inject air into the coolant (i.e. see bubbles in the radiator neck). You shouldn't see any, but if you inject air into a cylinder and the coolant then overflows and/or you see bubbles come up, then you've found the cylinder with the blown gasket.

Tavi
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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:28 pm

Hi WingAdmin, thank you for advice, most probably I will tackle both heads as the winter came in Scandinavia too :-)
I don't know how much the leak down test will show because while the engine is could there are no bubbles.
I presume the head gasket failed on a small spot which is affecting only when the engine is warm. Also the oil did look good no mayonnaise detected.

Do you have any adv to share once I will have the heads off (I mean what I should clean/replace there) and which after-market gasket kit to use.
I did make a search around but I could't find OEM gaskets anymore.

2nd I really want to thank you for the ,,how to'' article on the water pump replacement, been very straight forward and helpful.

rgds
Tavi

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby RBGERSON » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:27 am

If no steam cleaned plugs and no water in the oil..seems like the leak is other than head gasket...look at the top of the engine any residue there if so = leak in crossover tubes? radiator cap, overflow tubes. I check very carefully before pulling the heads.
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:20 pm

RB,
He does have oil residue in coolant resivore.
I would recommend new valve seals while your in there.
Bikebandit.com has the "Athena" top end gasket set for Goldwings, has what you need plus valve seals.
I used it, 9000 miles and no problems. Regards, Johnny

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:34 pm

Thanks a lot for adv, I'll start to look around for parts.
I did check around some feedbacks on gasket kits and it looks like Athena and Vesrah are the most recomended ones.
I'll see what I can find more convenient as I'm on the other side of the lake where the GW parts are bit scarce :-)
I will change the seals without doubts, by the way I've seen on fleabay some valve seals made of viton (the price was affordable) are they any better than the normal ones?
Also if I will remove the vales shall I clean them or shall I buy new ones, I've seen some made by Vesrah.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:18 am

The valve seals are included in the Athena kit.
If the seals you seen on e-bay are sold by Saber cycle, forget them - all they sell is junk.
I would think your valves are fine, make sure they are not bent.
If your compression is fine-so are the valves.
There is a oil restrictor tube that fits on the top of the heads, make sure you carefully replace both 0-rings on this tube, or you will be tearing it apart again.
This site should be of some help: http://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7683
Let us know how it goes. Regards, Johnny

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:54 am

Oh dear - I hate to say even the words, but now that you mention you are only seeing bubbles when it's hot, something else you need to check for is a cracked block. If you have a crack in the block that is allowing pressurized gases to escape from the cylinder into the water jacket when it gets hot and opens up, you will see bubbles like you describe.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:54 pm

Thanks all of you for adv. I will get a pressure gauge soon and I will check the compression to see exactly where the problem comes from.
WingAdmin, I hope you're wrong (in fact I'm praying that you're wrong....) :?
Is there any other symptom which describe a crack in the block?

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:09 pm

Tavi wrote:Thanks all of you for adv. I will get a pressure gauge soon and I will check the compression to see exactly where the problem comes from.
WingAdmin, I hope you're wrong (in fact I'm praying that you're wrong....) :?
Is there any other symptom which describe a crack in the block?


They pretty much mimic those of a blown head gasket. You can use a borescope/fluoroscope to see cracks, but that's some pretty specialized equipment (usually used for aircraft engines). If you identify a leakdown problem on a cylinder, and when you take the head off the gasket looks fine, it's time to start examining that cylinder wall closely for cracks.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby littlebeaver » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:40 pm

It's kinda painful to read this post,, I hope it all works out for you and it's just a gasket or something simple, the bike sounds good at idle, sounds like it wants to go for a ride.......You guys are scary but honest, please let us know what you find out in a updated post..... :shock:

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:40 pm

Never thought of a cracked block, wouldn't there be noticeable coolant in the oil if that was the case?
Or could it be a cracked head?
But I suppose it would depend on the location of the possible crack.
I don't know how the prices are "over there" - but a decent used motor isn't as much as one would think. Of course the head would be cheaper.
I guess it depends on how much you wanna fool with it. Regards, Johnny

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby HawkeyeGL1200 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:23 pm

I can't speak for a Honda "flat four" specifically, but it isn't out of the question for an internal combustion engine to pressurize the cooling system without having internal leakage (of coolant into the crankcase). I've seen it in automotive applications and I don't see how a motorcycle engine would be excluded from this happening as well. There can be several causes, including a failed head gasket, in my experience.

In this case, I would hope for the owner's sake that it is a failing gasket, as some other possibilities can make you insane trying to figure them out. Let us hope that removal of the head(s) will be self evident in what is wrong and that our friend can get back to riding sooner than later, with as little expense as is possible.
I am wrong as often as I am right concerning what is wrong with someone else' motorcycle without having seen the machine in person. Guessing with limited information, as to the source of the trouble, is sketchy at best.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:32 am

Finally the compression tester has arrived and I was able to measure it. I did follow Randakk's instructions
The results are pretty good, 165 PSI each of them (+/- 1 PSI).
this result being given I think I will leave the head job for another time, most probably I will change the valve seals only this winter.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:18 am

Did you perform the leak down test? Regards, Johnny

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Tue Dec 02, 2014 6:37 am

Hi Johnny, nope, unfortunately I do not have a compressor but judging by the compression test values I presume the heads are ok.
The results on each cylinder are too even to be a faulty head...I think.
I want to change the valve steam seals dough because it is a bit foggy on start up.
By the way, not to open a new topic, may someone, please describe the simplest way of changing them (something like ,,valve seals for dummies'' :-)
I did search over the Internet but couldn't find anything clear.
Regards
Tavi

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:20 am

That would not fix original problem.
You can replace valve seals without removing heads, by snaking a rope into cylinder and hand turning engine until valve compresses, allowing you to change seal. Lots of info on this site how to do it. Regards, Johnny

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:01 am

I'm planning to go for the rope solution. One thing I don't get dough, should I remove the belts or it can be done with them in place and the engine to be turned form the stator bolt?

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Johnyy Smoke » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:15 pm

Yep, leave on belts, and turn engine by bolt.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby bobbybiscuit » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:14 pm

Here is some information for you regarding head gaskets on GL1100. Excellent web site and although they dont sell head gaskets they do sell other quality items that have been tried and tested.

http://www.randakksblog.com/gl1000-gl11 ... t-details/

The part numbers for the head gaskets are the same for the 1100 and 1200

http://www.cmsnl.com/gl1200l-gold-wing- ... H4pLDGsWSo

The advice is not to use after market gaskets but genuine parts. Article also covers stem seals.

Hope it is of assistance.

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Re: Blown head gasket or just my paranoia

Postby Tavi » Tue Dec 02, 2014 4:40 pm

Hi Bobbybiscuit,
thank you for the links. I know Randakk as I did use his products on the carbs overhaul.
For the moment I decided not to change the head gaskets, not this winter at least, I'll give it one more summer to see how it's acting.
I decided dough to replace the valve seals and now I'm combing the internet for information.
Regards
Tavi




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