Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...


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eightangrybears
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Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sat Oct 07, 2017 2:02 pm



I noticed an oil leak from the clutch cover (the thin plate with 2 bolts) and found out that's usually the gasket that the clutch arm goes through. I heard you can get it out without removing the clutch cover but I was unsuccessful and removed the cover (the one with 8 bolts). I bought a new gasket for it, did everything I needed to do to reassemble including installing the new gasket and did so...unsuccessfully...twice. The first time, I managed to not notice that the clutch arm that sits on the bolt has a rectangular opening so it sits perfectly on the operating arm. I had to take it all off to gently knock it onto the arm before I reassembled again. This time, I fixed the leak with the original gasket but now it was leaking from the clutch cover (8 bolts). I took it apart again and noticed that the paper thin gasket I had purchased was pretty weak and was torn up already. So I decided to make my own out of 1/32" fel-pro oil/gas gasket material. It came out pretty good but when I installed it and buttoned everything back up and filled it with oil, it too leaked. Specifically from the lowermost stud (of the two) on the southeast corner of the clutch cover if you're looking at it towards the front of the bike.

So I took it apart again and did my best to clean and prep the surfaces for another gasket thinking there might be tiny bumps causing the gasket to leave a little gap there. Made another gasket, installed it, buttoned it up, filled it with oil and STILL it leaks. From the exact same spot. I tried this twice. So, I got some gasket sealer to put on the gasket to plug any potential leaking areas, made a new gasket, put the sealer on it, installed it, buttoned it all up and let it sit for a couple days. The sealer mentioned nothing about how much time was needed but I thought some dry time couldn't hurt. I filled it with oil again today and the exact same thing happened again. A very slow, but steady leak from the bottom stud connection. The one that holds the overflow tube clip thing.

My last option without getting any other advice is to use Permatex Ultra Black on the cover, be EXTREMELY careful when sliding it into position and hope that a liquid gasket does a better job than these paper and rubber/fiber ones are doing but I am sort of at a loss here. I am wondering if maybe overtorquing the bolts could be part of the issue here. I can't get my torque wrench on any of the 8 bolts due to the location and tightness of space but I maybe went over the recommended torque, which I think was between 80 and 120 in-lbs (or 7 to 10 ft-lbs). Maybe overtorquing is doing something like creating gaps in certain areas, maybe causing the gasket to pinch or bunch. Maybe my home made gaskets (which came out beautifully and seemed to line up perfectly) are just not cutting it. The Ultra Black is specifically for oil so I am thinking if I can manage to do it right and cleanly, this may be the way to go. My worries are that there might be overflow on the inside that might drip onto the clutch plates or that if I torque it wrong again, there might be issues with clearances or the clutch lever operation (I know you can adjust the tightness with a flat head screw driver and the nut).

I am also wondering if this is because this stud location is immersed in oil on the inside and that some oil is getting past the gasket because the nut isn't pressing hard enough due to the overflow tube clip. But that's on every bike and I haven't seen it mentioned as being a problem anywhere. My thought was to just replace the clip with a washer and hope that it helped seal any areas around the stud to keep oil from leaking out there. But then I think, that can't be the problem. I am no expert though so what do I know?

I just want to get this done though. I have disassembled and reassembled the entire thing like 7 times now, cut a number of different gaskets, and have destroyed my neck, back and arms trying to do this whole thing lying on the ground since I have no lift. I am really hoping someone on here has some great advice that they would love to impart upon me because if I do the liquid gasket and it doesn't work, I may just lose it. Haha. I will say having done this so many times, I do feel like an expert in at least changing the clutch cover and installing the clutch cable, even if it ends up with a slow oil leak every time (frowny face).

Thanks for any advice in advance!

Here's some pics - first is a couple of my homemade gaskets. The one on the right was my first attempt and was a little rough. By the 5th one, it looked like a factory produced it with a laser cutter:




The next pic is my very well used bolt diagram. The problem spot is the one on the bottom right that says stud and shows the pic of the clip:





The last pic is of the open clutch area with looking almost straight up from ground level. The stud that is almost dead centered in the picture is my problem area. As you can see, the surface is pretty clean and free of old gasket material (not the grime and old paint under the case, though...I do hope to clean that up once all the malarkey is over. I do have issues with the bottom surface being a little oily from oil inside the clutch dribbling out when the case is open, but I have been vigilant about cleaning all the oil off just before I install the new gasket and the cover:





Last edited by eightangrybears on Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

Aussie81Interstate
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:38 pm

sorry cannot see any images

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:16 pm

Aussie81Interstate wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:38 pm
sorry cannot see any images
Sorry about that. It worked at first. Didn't realize photobucket had gotten so greedy. Should work fine now though...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

Aussie81Interstate
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 2:34 am
Location: Penrith Australia
Motorcycle: 2001 GL1500F6C Valkyrie
1982 CX500 Turbo (restoration project)
1981 GL1100 Interstate (sold)
1988 GL1500 (sold)

Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:02 pm

I can still see gasket residue on the studs either side of the bottom one - so you still need to clean that area - plus the actual clutch cover may need some work to make sure it is flat..

Your gasket cutting is pretty good

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:08 pm

Aussie81Interstate wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:02 pm
I can still see gasket residue on the studs either side of the bottom one - so you still need to clean that area - plus the actual clutch cover may need some work to make sure it is flat..
I saw someone put some markings on the cover and then put the cover on a piece of glass with high grit sand paper on it and turned it a bunch until the cover was smooth and the markings were gone. I tried that strategy and it seemed to work ok. And by that I mean there doesn't seem to be any areas that are not in contact with the glass or light coming through from the bottom when I removed the sand paper.

I think I took that picture of the clutch opening before I spent another hour or so cleaning it off with a scraper and some acetone. Still seems like the 1/32" gasket should have been able to make up for any slight imperfections, especially with the sealant I put on the gasket. But again, I may have slightly over-tightened the bolts/nuts and caused some issues that way.

I spoke to a friend tonight who recommended Permatex Ultra Grey instead of Ultra Black. After reading about the differences, it does seem to be the better option in theory. And since the gasket is liquid, if it is applied right and the cover is installed smoothly without any hiccups, it should make up for any gaps or scrapes. But I am going to go over the face of both sides very thoroughly again to make sure there's absolutely nothing left on the case or the cover before I do the gasket. And probably practice putting the cover on without touching anything a few times (like playing Operation).

Does this seem like the right way to go about it?
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:10 pm

Aussie81Interstate wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:02 pm
IYour gasket cutting is pretty good
You should see some of the later ones I did. These first ones came out ok. After I got the hang for it, the last few I made were pretty darn good if I say so myself...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

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DenverWinger
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by DenverWinger » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:57 pm

Maybe take the cover to a machine shop to be sure the mating surface is totally flat? Sounds like you've done everything right, shouldn't have to fight a gasket so much.....
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:

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:18 am

DenverWinger wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:57 pm
Maybe take the cover to a machine shop to be sure the mating surface is totally flat? Sounds like you've done everything right, shouldn't have to fight a gasket so much.....
Should the mating surface being super flat even be that important if I use the liquid gasket? You only tighten until the gasket starts seeping out so there is no touching of the two surfaces most likely. I would understand if there was a serious wobble in the cover and you could pass a penny though it but the way I did it, you couldn't even get a strand of hair under the edge. If money were no option, I would definitely get it machined perfectly. But since the budget is already stretched super thin, I am hoping to avoid a potentially expensive machining (do they ever just charge $10-$20 for anything? Seems like 5 min of advice usually costs me $40 when I go to local machine shops...).

Just trying to be a bit budget conscious...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:20 am

DenverWinger wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:57 pm
Sounds like you've done everything right, shouldn't have to fight a gasket so much.....
And you're right...it definitely shouldn't be this hard. It's crazy. This is not the first gasket I have replaced. I have even split cases and rebuilt the entire motor of a Triumph that was stuck in a puddle for 2 years and there was no leakage. This one stupid threaded bolt is going to be the death of me...
1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

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badandy
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by badandy » Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:52 am

Is the oil weeping or substantial dripping? Did you check for any hairline cracks where the problem bolt is?

I had a Honda V65 Magna with a leaky side cover and sure enough after going through what you did found a hairline crack at one of the bolt holes. It wasn't on the gasket surface, but just near it. When the cover was off you couldn't see it. I thought it was a casting mark. It only opened up when the bolts were tight. Go figure!

Try coating the inside of the cover in the problem area with a thin film silicone sealant. Sounds like you can remove/replace the thing in record time now!

eightangrybears
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:40 am

badandy wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:52 am
Is the oil weeping or substantial dripping? Did you check for any hairline cracks where the problem bolt is?
It is not substantial. First drop comes maybe 20 min after filling with oil and then steadily after that. I would say one drop every 10-15 min. But it's enough to not want it to occur!
badandy wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:52 am
Try coating the inside of the cover in the problem area with a thin film silicone sealant.
Thats a good idea. I will need some sort of very thin, bent putty knife to do so but it is worth a shot. I have tried to get as good a look as possible but it's a very tight area so it's tough to see. Doesn't seem to be any damage to the cover, so if there was any crack, it would be on the engine case in that area of the bolt. Fingers crossed that's not the case!
badandy wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 6:52 am
Sounds like you can remove/replace the thing in record time now!
I do have it down to a science now. I can probably remove the clutch cable and the cover in about 5 min and button it all back up in about 10. If need be, I could change the clutch cable in full in probably 20 minutes...that definitely doesn't mean I WANT to though. Haha...


1978 GL1000K2 - "Christine" - working on version 3.0 currently

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