PHANTOM OIL DRIP


Information and questions on GL1200 Goldwings (1984-1987)
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harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:23 am



The other day I started my '84 GL1200 and let it warm up a bit as I prepared myself with gear for riding.
I mounted the bike... put my right foot on the peg... and proceeded to put on my riding gloves when I noticed the slight distinctive smell of burning oil and then spotted whiffs of white smoke rising up around my right knee. I looked further down and spotted the origin of the white whiffs of smoke emanating from the vicinity of the header pipe nearest the toe of my right boot. However, the odor and smoke quickly dissipated and I thought possibly a drop or two of oil dripped off the oil dip stick onto a header pipe when I checked the oil just a few minutes earlier. With this little incident explained away to my satisfaction, I clicked the bike into first gear and rode away with no similar incidents for the rest of the afternoon. However, when I pulled into the driveway a few hours later and stopped the bike the odor and whiffs of smoke had returned but the engine was too hot to investigate more closely as to the origin of the burning oil.

Next morning when the bike was cold I went out to investigate further and I noticed on the tip of the header pipe bolt that would be nearest my right toe was a single drop of oil and I noticed that the entire bolt and nut was wet with oil. This bolt and nut is located directly above the header pipes. With a mirror and shop light I inspected the surrounding area and I could not for the life of me see
where this oil was coming from. All of the other exhaust pipe header bolts are dry as a bone.
On the end of the exhaust pipe is a flange with holes the the cylinder head bolts fit through and then the exhaust pipe and gasket is fastened with a nut. I can see a small gap between the flange and the bottom surface of the head and I can also see a portion of the bolt within the gap between the flange and the head. The portion of the bolt that is between this small gap also appears to be wet with oil and top side of the flange in this space is covered with dirty oil as well.
The bike only has 55,000 miles on it and it does not seem to be leaking or using any oil. I did however pour a little Marvels Mystery Oil in on top of each cylinder during the bike restoration period but I would think any residual oil would have burned off by now. I was careful to vacuum the majority of the Marvels our of each cylinder before start up.
Is it possible that the exhaust gasket is bad on that pipe? I would hope it's only exhaust gasses going out that pipe and not oil. My oil level does not seem to drop any.
The nearby valve cover gasket does not seem to be leaking at all.
So I'm at a loss as to where this oil is coming from.

Has anyone out there experienced a similar situation?

Thanks again for your help!

Harkgold :)



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virgilmobile
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Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby virgilmobile » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 am

I'd have to look,but isn't there a cam cover right there too?it may seep a little oil.Wipe everything above the bolt and drive it then look again.

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:02 pm

virgilmobile wrote:I'd have to look,but isn't there a cam cover right there too?it may seep a little oil.Wipe everything above the bolt and drive it then look again.


Ok Virgilmobile,

Today I took your advice and using a mirror, rags and a degreaser I thoroughly cleaned all of the surfaces under and around the area where I am smelling and seeing that single drop of oil hanging from the bottom of the muffler bolt nearest my right boot toe. I discovered while doing this that there was little if any residual oil or grease anywhere and I was basically cleaning off residual dirt from those hidden areas that do not get cleaned often. I did such a thorough job of cleaning that the side of the engine and the under side of the cylinder head were spotless.

I then fired up the bike and took it for a steady one hour ride and when I pulled into the driveway I was ready with my mirror, flashlight, glasses, and stool.
Again, when I pulled in the driveway and stopped the bike there was that faint smell of burning oil and just an ever so slight whisp of white smoke rising up over my knee and from the area ahead of the brake pedal.

With the engine still running, I put the bike on its center stand, put on my glasses, sat down on my stool and with mirror and flashlight in hand began to inspect the area from where the white whisps were originating. Again..... I found only one thing......... On the bottom tip of the exhaust pipe mounting bolt that would be closest to my right toe I found one single drip of oil hanging in limbo, sizzling, and letting off the faint white whisps of burning oil. With my mirror and flashlight I carefully inspected all nooks, crannies, and surfaces and gaskets around this bolt. I found none of the cam seals, cylinder head gaskets, or valve cover gaskets to be leaking at all. All of those areas were dry as a bone. The only damp oil visible was on the exposed surface of that one single solitary bolt and nut connecting the exhaust pipe to the cylinder head. No other oil was visible anywhere else. With my mirror I can see all surfaces that approach and connect to that bolt and there was no oil on any surfaces above and leading to the bolt and nut in question.These surfaces were just as clean and dry as they were when I cleaned these areas earlier in the day.

I guess I'm at the point where I'm just going to chalk this up as one of those mechanical mysteries and just live with it. Since it is not smoking excessively and I'm not seeing a visible drop in the engine oil level because of it, I'm going to say the heck with it and forget it.

I guess maybe I'm too much of a perfectionist or (excessively anal) when it comes to my Goldwing.

I apologize for dragging you through my insanity.

Harkgold :oops:


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virgilmobile
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84 GL 1200 I

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby virgilmobile » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:10 pm

I'm at a loss here.
I wonder the exhaust stud hole actually extends into the block and the oil is weeping past the threads do you?
I can't think of any point of exit for oil to that stud unless the head is cracked at the threads.
Maybe in the down time you could drop the header for a closer inspection around the stud.
Ride first and live with it,just keep a eye on it for worsening.
Keep us up to date

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:48 pm

virgilmobile wrote:I'm at a loss here.
I wonder the exhaust stud hole actually extends into the block and the oil is weeping past the threads do you?
I can't think of any point of exit for oil to that stud unless the head is cracked at the threads.
Maybe in the down time you could [b]drop the header[/b] for a closer inspection around the stud.
Ride first and live with it,just keep a eye on it for worsening.
Keep us up to date


Thanks Virgilmobile for your thoughts.

I kind of wondered that myself, but then wondered how that could happen.
When you suggest to drop the header, do you mean in the event it gets worse to just disconnect the exhaust pipes on that side of the engine and take a closer look for a crack right next to the threaded stud?

Could it be possible that when they drilled that hole that it went clear through into the head? And is that stud threaded on both ends and screwed into the head or is it just staked in place?


Also, Virgilmobile, in extreme cases what kind of symptoms would I look for other than dripping oil?

Thanks again!

Harkgold

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virgilmobile
Posts: 7660
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
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Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby virgilmobile » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:23 am

Yea,if it gets much worse,take off the 4 nuts and drop the exhaust pipes for a look.
Personally,I'd be running it till the season ends and then fix it.
I can't make assumptions about how the hole was drilled but I don't remember that they extended into the oil cavity anywhere.
This is what makes me suspect a crack next to the stud.
Assuming worse case,it would probably need to be replacing the head anyways.
Looking at it is too satisfy your need to know.Fixing a cracked head could be done but it may be cost wise just to replace it.

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:21 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Yea,if it gets much worse,take off the 4 nuts and drop the exhaust pipes for a look.
Personally,I'd be running it till the season ends and then fix it.
I can't make assumptions about how the hole was drilled but I don't remember that they extended into the oil cavity anywhere.
This is what makes me suspect a crack next to the stud.
Assuming worse case,it would probably need to be replacing the head anyways.
Looking at it is too satisfy your need to know.Fixing a cracked head could be done but it may be cost wise just to replace it.


Yes, I plan to finish out the season with it as is since it is so tiny an issue right now. It will give me something to do this winter.
Thanks again for your help Virgilmobile!
Harkgold :D

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:22 pm

virgilmobile wrote:Yea,if it gets much worse,take off the 4 nuts and drop the exhaust pipes for a look.
Personally,I'd be running it till the season ends and then fix it.
I can't make assumptions about how the hole was drilled but I don't remember that they extended into the oil cavity anywhere.
This is what makes me suspect a crack next to the stud.
Assuming worse case,it would probably need to be replacing the head anyways.
Looking at it is too satisfy your need to know.Fixing a cracked head could be done but it may be cost wise just to replace it.


Virgilmobile,
A friend suggested the following as another possible cause for my oil drip.
He said......"if the oil is coming from around an exhaust bolt he could only think of one cause. On each cylinder head there is an oil transfer tube between the head and the block and it has an o-ring seal on it. Pulling the heads is the only way to replace the o-ring. I hope this is not your problem, to repair it you will have to pull the heads and replace both sides, if you only replace one side it puts pressure on the weak UN-replaced side and it will start to leak".
Harkgold

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virgilmobile
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83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:27 am

The oil control orifice and O rings set at the top of the cylinder head.It does have full oil pressure on it and a bad O ring could cause oil to leak out of the head gasket.
It appears from all the prints I can find,the stud hole does not enter the oil cavity.
The only thing I can see from the drawings is that the stud is directly under the main head bolt.
Now this is a stretch here but lets see...If the O ring was bad,and it leaked oil into the head gasket,and the oil traveled from the top center of the head down to the read lower head bolt cavity,and the header stud were bored into the head bolt cavity,and the oil then makes it past the threads....then OK

That's a awful lot of ands
Take a look at the service manual on the head,you'll get a better idea of whats where on the head.There really isn't any place the oil can get out.
Now is it possible the lower oil return cavity,the one with the little bolt in the bottom,is leaking and as you drive,it blows the drop of oil on the exhaust bolt.??

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:55 pm

virgilmobile wrote:The oil control orifice and O rings set at the top of the cylinder head.It does have full oil pressure on it and a bad O ring could cause oil to leak out of the head gasket.
It appears from all the prints I can find,the stud hole does not enter the oil cavity.
The only thing I can see from the drawings is that the stud is directly under the main head bolt.
Now this is a stretch here but lets see...If the O ring was bad,and it leaked oil into the head gasket,and the oil traveled from the top center of the head down to the read lower head bolt cavity,and the header stud were bored into the head bolt cavity,and the oil then makes it past the threads....then OK

That's a awful lot of ands
Take a look at the service manual on the head,you'll get a better idea of whats where on the head.There really isn't any place the oil can get out.
Now is it possible the lower oil return cavity,the one with the little bolt in the bottom,is leaking and as you drive,it blows the drop of oil on the exhaust bolt.??



Your'e right Virgilmobile! That sounds like a lot of If's.......
Thanks for the explanation.
Do you know if those exhaust pipe bolts are threaded into the cylinder head, or are they just staked in place?
Harkgold

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virgilmobile
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:39 pm
Location: Denham Springs,La.
Motorcycle: 1988 GL1500 I
Previously owned
78 GL1000
81 GL1100
82 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 I
83 GL1100 standard
84 GL 1200 I

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby virgilmobile » Sun Jul 29, 2012 4:27 pm

There threaded in.
Usually seized in there too.I've only had one come out in all my bikes,that's why I suggested looking at the bottom 6mm head bolt.
See if it's tight...Careful now,it's easy to strip the threads there too.

harkgold
Posts: 147
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Motorcycle: 1984 GL1200 Interstate

Re: PHANTOM OIL DRIP

Postby harkgold » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:43 pm

virgilmobile wrote:There threaded in.
Usually seized in there too.I've only had one come out in all my bikes,that's why I suggested looking at the bottom 6mm head bolt.
See if it's tight...Careful now,it's easy to strip the threads there too.


A friend suggested that if they are threaded........ take it out.......clean up the bolt and hole and slap a little J-B Weld on the bolt and screw it back in and let it set overnight. Figuring that the J-B Weld will just seal up any cracks and possibly stop the leak. Provided I can get it out.
Just a thought!
Harkgold




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