GL1100 head gasket replacement


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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goldwingingit
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:46 pm
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Motorcycle: 1981 Honda GL1100 Interstate

GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:16 pm



Hey everyone,

The saga with my GL1100 continues! I'm in the process of restoring this '81 GL1100i into a naked and rideable Wing.

I was (somehow) able to ride it from my apartment to my new house, about a 2 mile ride. Well, it was a hell of a harrowing ride: The front brakes started fading, and eventually it started shifting really hard. When I got to my gate, which is on a hill, it wouldn't shift into gear. I had to use my hands to force it to change gears, and it eventually changed but it wasn't happy about it.

The bike was still smoking a hell of a lot when I parked it, same as before. So, this is what I've diagnosed:

1. The front brakes have to be bled again. The master cylinder is almost empty.
2. It has a head gasket leak. I knew that before in the garage because it was creating a lot of white, sweet smoke.
3. I thought coolant had started to mix with the oil, which thinned out the oil and caused it to be difficult to shift gears.

So, in preparation for the head gasket replacement tomorrow I thought I'd drain the oil. But, the oil smells like gas! Preliminary searches suggest it is a stuck float bowl, but I'm not sure how this could be the case.

So, two questions:

1. How can the carbs cause gas to get in the oil? Doesn't the bike have a fuel pump? And the floats are non-adjustable, how could they get stuck?
2. I ordered the Athena head gasket kit from Amazon, but it has no instructions at all. I've never done this kind of job before, so I'm not sure what gets replaced and what doesn't. I found a guide on this forum, which is a helpful start but English must be a second language for the poster because some things aren't entirely clear. If I could just get a list of what actually get's replaced, I'll feel much more confident starting this job!

Any suggestions or words of caution before I start would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone!



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DenverWinger
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by DenverWinger » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:11 am

If your oil is that rich in fuel it probably is not caused by the carburetors.

The fuel pump is attached to the rear of the right cylinder head, it looks like some old-style automotive fuel pumps, and can have a similar failure: Pinhole in the diaphragm can leak fuel into the "non-fuel" side of the pump, leaking past the actuator on the camshaft eccentric, into the valve covers along the cam and thusly into the oil sump. Your shifting problem may have been oil thinned out by fuel.

Parts list for a head gasket replacement are (each side):
a) Head Gasket
b) You don't need to remove the fitting from the head that the coolant tubes go into, but you will probably need o-rings for coolant tubes. Take a coolant tube with you to local ACE Hardware store, they don't have the exact metric replacement, but if you dig in the drawers and test-fit you will find o-rings that are "close enough" and work just fine! :)
c) Two little o-rings that fit on the oil orifice sandwiched between the block and the head (might be able to get away with the old ones, use judgement). Never tried, but ACE might fit them.
d) Maybe two o-rings that fit between the carburetor intake tubes and the heads. Use Judgement, I've had carbs off my 1100 several times, never had to replace those o-rings.
e) Tube of Honda MOLY 77 Paste (for greasing up head bolts)

That's about it for parts, unless you break something else unexpected (stubborn clamp or bolt somewhere). And of course, oil, filter, antifreeze... etc... that kind of stuff while you have it apart.

You've never said If the engine sounded like it was firing on all four cylinders or not. You don't have to remove the carburetor rack from the bike to change the head gaskets, you can simply bungy-cord the entire carburetor rack to the frame lifting it off the engine. But if you have the heads off the engine, it is not that much more work to disconnect throttle and choke cables and pull the carburetor rack out. That gives you a chance to do some basic cleaning that is short of an overhaul, but still couldn't hurt.

Remove the carb bowls off one by one so you don't mix up the parts, careful removal of the bowls will usually preserve the o-ring type bowl gaskets in serviceable condition. Clean the bowls out, carefully remove floats and needle valves, and then spray carb cleaner thru any hole/orifice accessible. It doesn't hurt to reset float levels while the bowl is off, but assuming the levels were set correct to begin with, careful removal and replacement of the floats will not disturb the original setting. You could even remove the top caps from the carb and check/clean the slider. Then go on to the next carb....

This is NOT a carb rebuild, just a simple cleaning of some of the passages. but it couldn't hurt.....
They say 98% of all Hardleys ever made are still on the road..... The other 2% made it home. :lol:
(I stole this from somebody on another GW site...) :roll:

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RBGERSON
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by RBGERSON » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:44 am

If you have gas in your oil it is most likely a carb problem..Gas will leak past the the carbs and into the oil pan..if floats set wrong, float needle bad, o ring between carb and plenum bad, or if plenum gasket bad..all can be the source of the leak. If you always turn the petcock to off when not riding it will stop the problem assuming your petcock doesn't leak. Also if your gas tank is not over half full gas won't leak on its' own.. it's a gravity/siphon thing when the tank is full.

Sounds like your should rebuild your carbs. One of the above is probably happen..you can figure out which if you bench test the carbs like int he pic ..you can see the leak(s)..


As to head gaskets..fairly easy job..BUT..if you have a leak from the head gaskets it could just be a bad gasket OR!!! your head is warped causing a bad seal..be sure to make sure it's not warped if it is you can have it machined if the warp isn't too bad or find a replacement head. There are several how to's with pictures on various forums on how to do a head gasket install. Besides checking for a flat head surface the other biggest mistakes/problems are not removing the small screw at the bottom center of the head, losing the oil orifice/ very small o ring there, not tightening the head bolts in the right order and torque and not tightening after a 100 miles or so of riding.
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB

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Mr moe
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by Mr moe » Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:17 pm

Honda service manual is a must. For these jobs.
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goldwingingit
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:49 pm

Thank you for your responses. When I asked about parts I was specifically referring to where all the gaskets go, should have made that clearer. I think I have that figured out though now that I've dived into it.

As for the gas leak into the oil, haha, one person says it's not the carbs, the other person says it's probably the carbs :shock:

I've decided to solve the coolant leak first. As long as the exhaust isn't making crazy amounts of white smoke, I can go forward and figure out where the fuel leak is coming from.

So for the gasket replacement, I have the Honda factory service manual and I've been referencing that against this guide:

viewtopic.php?t=14868

I'm really enjoying all the conflicting information, it's great! :?

I was able to get the cylinder head out on the right hand side, but I have to buy a valve spring compressor. I tried the DIY route but it's not working. No worries, I'm happier using the proper tools.

BUT, now I'm trying to remove the gasket properly. People say that the surface needs to be "surgically clean" before putting on the gasket, but then they also warn of not scratching the surface. I wanted to use a gasket remover, but the guy at NAPA said he had never heard of it, and they didn't have any at O''reilly's either. Go figure, huh? I just got brake cleaner as a last resort.

Here is a photo of where I am, and I have stopped to ask questions here. I don't want to just guess and mess this up:





I'm trying to remove the gasket with a razor blade scraper, but I have stopped because it looks like it can damage the surface. You can see a nick in the photo. I also don't how to get the metal super shiny. At the top part of the cylinder head in the photo, I removed all traces of the gasket and the surface there is really smooth. I've tried to scrub it lightly with scotch brite and water, and scotch brite and brake cleaner. I don't want to use steel wool because I know that will scratch it up What can I do to get it ''surgically clean'' without damaging the surface? I don't think it's possible!!

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Hoosier Jack
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate

Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by Hoosier Jack » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:01 am

Rbgershon's advise is spot on about the heads being flat. It was a bit expensive but I took mine to a machine shop and they milled the heads flat. About $80. Great piece of mind since I read several posts about the heads still leaking after new ones were installed just due to warped, or un-flat heads. Do a leak test on your valves to be sure they are seated and don't leak.

That bolt on the bottom of the head is hidden and has caused many a cussing fit when the bottom of the head cracked. That small oil nipple at the top of the head needs to be cleaned out and don't forget it when you re-install the head. Wish I could tell you which way it goes in but I forget. I've cleaned the heads with a Scotch Brite pad and strong-like-bull arms. And patience.

Unless they have been changed recently, go ahead and replace the timing belts since things are all apart. Inspect the water pump to see if it still the one with the brown fan. It's going to fail at some point since it is older than dirt. Inspect the weep hole at the same time. ( I love spending someone else's money).

Here is your service manual http://goldwingdocs.com/HelmManual.asp?SKU=GL1183

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jeffcosmo
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1983 GL1100 Aspencade
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by jeffcosmo » Wed Nov 22, 2017 2:03 pm

I did a right side head gasket on in a parking lot in Beaver Dam WI. because that's where the bike broke down. Tools to clean gasket surface were gasket scraper and utility knife blade.
This was thousands of miles ago, and the bike is still running great.
Sure, surgically clean is obviously better, surfacing the heads probably overkill, what I am offering is peace of mind if you don't quite achieve those lofty ideals. The engine will be fine if you're at least conscientious.

Cosmo

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Johnyy Smoke
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by Johnyy Smoke » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:46 pm

Pick up a $5.00 mirror at a garage sale. Use a spray tacky glue and glue a piece of 100 grit sandpaper to the mirror. Place head on mirror and sand back and forth and circular, using light pressure. Mirrors are VERY flat, surprising results can be achieved by such a simple process. Regards, Johnny

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goldwingingit
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Motorcycle: 1981 Honda GL1100 Interstate

Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:19 pm

That's a great tip Johnny, thanks, I'll get a mirror tonight online.

Also, thanks for the peace of mind, Cosmo, much appreciated and gave me the confidence to get stuck into cleaning it.

What I've been doing is cleaning is with the scraper and 1000, 12000, and 1500 grit sand paper and carb cleaner. It takes a long time, but what else can ya do? :D 100 seems way too rough! I've just been sanding it by hand, but I think I'll finish it with the mirror to be sure.

As for the fuel in the oil, I think it might have something to do with the carburetors. Someone asked if all four cylinders were firing. I'm not sure what that is supposed to sound like, but I noticed when I rode it over that the first and second cylinders, the ones in the front got ice on them and changed color. It was really cold the morning I rode it out. I thought they may have gotten ice on them because the fairing was off, but in hind sight that doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure why those cylinders aren't firing. It could be that they are getting too much gas given the current problem. So, I'll pull the carbs and bench test them. Not sure how to bench test them but I can look that up online.

Soon this baby is gonna be ready, and that will be a sweet day :D

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goldwingingit
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:52 pm

I replaced both gaskets, looked like the problem one was on the left side.

I also fixed the leaking gas into the oil, it was the float needle seat, wasn't sealing properly so got some new washers to seal it.

Carbs are great now, but it is burning coolant way worse than before. I'm not sure where I went wrong, I was so careful with prepping the surface.

The gasket kit that I ordered came with a whole lot of orings that I never used. I don't know where they are supposed to go. I think I might just ride it down to the local mechanic.

Feels bad man, I tried my best on this!

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thrasherg
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by thrasherg » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:20 pm

As no one seems to have given you much advise about the gas in the oil, let me try to explain. The chances are very high that it is your carbs, if they start to leak, fuel will flow through the carb into the float bowl, up the main jet and then start to run down the inlet tract to the inlet valves, when most bikes are parked they are usually on their side stand so the left hand cylinders are lower than the right hand side and it’s usually the left side that leaks. As fuel has run down the inlet tract, it gets to the inlet valves. If the valves are closed it will sit there, but usually with a few miles on an engine the valves do not seal completely (or if the engine stopped with the inlet valves open) fuel will pass the valves and get into the cylinder. Piston rings are good at stopping a fuel air mixture getting past when they have to seal for one tenth of a second, the time for the crankshaft to make one full revolution, but if air or fuel are left in the cylinder for a long time (more than an hour) it will easily run around the rings and then get into the sump. As bikes are usually parked overnight, a lot of fuel can follow this route from the carbs to the oil sump completely ruining your engine oil. The fuel pump,can also fail allowing fuel to get into the sump, but it is far more common for it to come from the carbs into the inlet manifold, then into the cylinder and then leak past the piston rings into the sump. I would suspect this is your problem. There is nothing you can really do about the fuel getting past the inlet valves and piston rings, so it is much better to focus on the carbs and get the correct float height and make sure they don’t leak. As also stated, turning the fuel tap off when you park up is also a good practice and will help reduce this issue. I hope that helps.

Gary

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goldwingingit
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:14 am

Hi Gary, thanks for your reply. The gas in the oil was coming from the carbs, but I have since fixed it. The problem was with the float needle seats in carbs 1 and 3. I tested them with a mighty vac and they weren't sealing, so I replaced the washers and they seal now. So the carbs are good and no more fuel is leaking.

But after the gasket replacement the left cylinder is leaking coolant like a sieve. It's coming out in small droplets! I replaced the right side too and that's fine, so I'm not sure what mistake I made on the other side. I actually thought I did the left side better, but obviously not!

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RBGERSON
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by RBGERSON » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:32 am

Have YOU RE TORQUED the heads after 100 miles or so?? If not try that.
HAD LOTS OF GOLDWING 75-83
NOW INTO 1500'S..RIDING A 1998 SE

FAIR WINDS,
RB

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jeffcosmo
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by jeffcosmo » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:22 pm

Head gaskets that are leaking will not seal again.
I seem to recall that you can put those in wrong side round, perhaps that was done. The difference, if I recall correctly, was the coolant passage.

Cosmo

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goldwingingit
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Re: GL1100 head gasket replacement

Post by goldwingingit » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:04 pm

Lol, I haven't been able to even do one mile on it because of the leak, let alone 100. But I torqued it slowly and in the correct pattern.

So the head gaskets can't be reused? Well, reckon I might just sell this one for parts, I'm not gonna put another $100 into it on the chance that it might work. I know the gasket went on the right way, I've seen how it's easy to get it confused so I double checked that.



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