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 »



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

Post by Aussie81Interstate »

sorry cannot see any images
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by Aussie81Interstate »

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

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by DenverWinger »

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

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by badandy »

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

Post by eightangrybears »

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

Post by unkle buckie »

i appreciate this is a bit of a long shot, but did you ever manage to resolve the issue of the drip from the s.e. corner of your clutch cover? the reason i ask is that the same thing is currently happening with my '79 gl1000... replacing the gasket is a bloody awful job if you don't have the space or a bike lift (and even if you did.) i've spent the guts of this weekend underneath, weaving limbs through the framework to get at the 8 bolts, and i took my sweet time, letting it sit overnight before adding new oil and firing her up. once that engine idled and warmed, the demon drip from the same place where yours leaked from, and now with the engine cooled its persisting.
i had finger-tip smeared the surface of the casing lightly with Permatex copper, and then with the gasket roughly hooked on those two extruding bolts, did the same on the rear face of gasket, so to watch it drip still is disappointing to say the least.
the end of your thread suggests a trial of applying silicone to that corner with the oil drained and cover loosened, and i wondered if that had worked for you as i too am not on a budget that allows for removal and machining...
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears »

Long story short…no. I never resolved the issue. It annoyed the hell out of me. I drained the bike for days at a time to make sure there wasn’t a drip of oil in it before I added new oil. And I tried replacing it with the exact same amount of oil that came out of it. But no matter what I did, it would leak. Not a lot, but some.

My ultimate thoughts are this: there’s some flaw in the casting that’s letting oil seep through somewhere OOOOORRRRRRR it’s overfilled. The amount that was leaking out was coming from some hidden overflow somewhere.

I’m leaning towards the latter and I’ll tell you why. I never ended up starting it up or getting past that point. I had everything ready to go but life got in the way and I put a hold on the project. The gas tank never even got gas after I replaced it and refinished the interior. I had rigged up a bottle with a shut off valve to do the rest fires. But again, life got in the way and it’s been sitting for a couple years now. And NOT in a puddle of oil. It eventually stopped dripping. And there’s still oil in the sight glass so it must have stopped leaking or overflowing or whatever.

But I know your pain. I spent a week under my bike in a tiny little space in a basement without much room to move around. What helped was attaching a hoist to the ceiling and lifting the butt up in the air. It all would have been super easy if I had gotten it taken care of BEFORE I installed the refurbished gas tank though. That would’ve kept me from crawling around in a mini oil slick with a flashlight in my mouth. PS. I didn’t mention, but I have a paralyzed left arm which made everything even more annoying.

So good luck. My advice is crap, I know that. Hopefully you figure it out and you can pass your knowledge back to me. I keep meaning to dig my big baby out from under all her covers…
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by unkle buckie »

exactly. i've reached that horrible moment where i've realized that after 8 summers this might be it. for a flaw in the casting...
HOWEVER i can't give up on it just yet. hours of lying on my back picking off old broken gasket with my thumbnail revived my zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance whatever it was that gelled once upon a time, and that felt good. to be simply working monotonously on an old motorcycle that had allegedly managed to steal your heart.
so the plan is, drain it. the bike was started once, it'll go back in. tilt the bike as you've suggested, as also did a bloke from a "butchered classics" forum. allow for time to pass with issues unresolved... loosen off all the nuts/bolts. loosen a little more at the corner where the drip appears to instigate, enough to flash a light in there to check on the gasket alignment/condition. apply permatex of some description (i believe theres basically an 'oil proof' variety available.) finger tighten and back off on all 8, then allow to sit overnight and retighten on the opposites in stages. refill. allow more time to sit. grab the key and go for it...

i'll be in touch
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by Rambozo »

I learned this trick from a fellow automotive tech, and it has come in handy more than once.
Depending on the drip rate you might want to drain the oil or angle the bike so the oil doesn't pool in that spot.
Clean the area with break cleaner and a wire brush making sure it is spotless and blow it dry. Using the tube spouts from spray cleaners, spray the area with high heat clear coat. If the engine is warm it will dry pretty quick, otherwise a heat gun can help. You will be surprised how well this works. At first I figured this to be just a quick fix. But I did this on a cracked transmission case over 10 years ago and it's still bone dry.
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears »

It sounds like a solid plan, but that’s exactly what my last go of it was. I think I let my gasket treatment cure for like 5 days, everything was super clean, super oil free, super dry. I tightened it ever so evenly, I didn’t overtorque anything or screw anything too tight. I figured if you take all the variables out of the equation, there would be only one answer: fixed.

But alas, the perfect pour eluded me and as I said, the project was shelved. But I brought this bike back from the dead twice and I’ll never give up on her. I’ve painstakingly gold leafed the tank panels with wings twice too and this time it came out amazing. She deserves a good shine up, and to let her sing proudly again.

Maybe one day soon…

I do truly hope it works for you though because I know exactly what a PITA it was to go through
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by unkle buckie »

i gotta give this high temp clear coat a crack! call me a sucker for snake oil or whatever, but where's the harm in trying... good omens include receiving a swift reply from a post 5 years old, (thank you eightangrybears) then possibly a solution from another forum reader, Rambozo no less!

in the meanwhile i'm draining the oil and attempting a little rejigging on the hardware holding the cover in place
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by unkle buckie »

AND... I bought the high temp clear coat from Lordco along with brake cleaner and was just about to do the deed when i thought, 'what the hell...'
i got the BLACK permatex (oil resistant allegedly) and with my fingertip, smeared along the casing join, then started her up and let her idle. then i repeated the process. 3 days later theres still no drip on the paper towel i'd strategically placed at the foot of the main stand. working on the principle that i have to try at some point i reinstalled the rear wheel, connected up the clutch cable at the lever, took a half day off work and took her out for a spin...
i've been out to the oversized doll's house where i park the beast TWICE since, (4 hours of nail biting) and that paper towel remains dry. not to say this is a permanent fix, and not to suggest that anyone else should take this as a standard remedy, but thus far, thus good, so for $12cdn...
Incidently, i followed the Randakks article re the correct retightening order for rear wheel installation, but only up to a point. it suggests that everything which once held the wheel in place be loosened, not removed - axle, shocks, rear brake pivot pin, swingarm to drive, the 3 bolts around the hub etc BUT how are you supposed to tighten the axle nut if the shocks are connected? use a shock compressor - which presumably i'm not the only one not to have access to... (pardon the grammar.)

valuable lessons learnt: should i need to replace the replacement gasket, i'm taking the exhaust off too. removing the clutch cable at the lever is adequate. black permatex. latex gloves. patience, buckets of it. and thanks for your replies. its good to know you're not the only one sometimes...
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears »

I like your process and the way you made it your own. These bikes seem to require a bit or artistry as well as experience/know-how sometimes. And containing the leak is the important part. How you got there is all part of the bond you build with the beast.

Mine’s named “Christine” after the Stephen King story/movie and a Pontiac “Fury” is the perfect fit in my mind for how Christine gets me wound up sometimes.

You don’t get any of this true bonding between man and machine (or woman…not trying to be sexist here) with a Kawasaki Ninja.

I hope it all works out for you. This reigniting of the conversation has inspired me to get off my butt with Christine and wake up my neighborhood. I may never be able to physically ride again but it would be nice to annoy my next door neighbor with her throaty exhaust…maybe I’ll post my findings on here when I get around to it
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by Rambozo »

That would be a Plymouth Fury.
Plymouth, Pontiac, whatever they are both gone now :(
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by eightangrybears »

DAMMIT! And I’m usually such a stickler for details. Let’s chop it up to it being late and it was hot today and blah blah blah….you got me. I was so wrapped up in thinking about how the bike has made me so furious from time to time. On the same note, I love her forever and always…I’m a bit of a masochist though. Haha
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by unkle buckie »

and just as the dopamine was kicking in, Saturday afternoon... Sluggish ride, lots of chugging, spluttering, getting off and adjusting the idle, and that vision of walking away from a recently arsoned old motorcycle.
a little better Sunday afternoon. similar start to the ride; poor start-up, smoking pipes, spluttering, but eventually it kind of sorted itself out, but the blackness still got the better of me.
Today i start her up. chugging, sluggish throttle response, smoking pipes... I turn off the fuel petcock and it begins to even out and correct itself. crisp, throaty exhaust note. it wants to get up and go and now so do i !! turn the fuel back on and the curve goes downhill rapidly. chugs, splutters, smoke, smell of gas...
I've never worked with carbs before, other than balancing them on a 4 gauge gizmo, and i honestly have no desire to pull the carb bank and 'have a go' so i'm secretly hoping against hope it could be something to do with the fuel petcock...
if not, i'll have to enlist ($$$) the help of a grown up
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by DenverWinger »

That really sounds like something as simple as correct adjustment of the carburetor floats or the needle valves need cleaned.

There's plenty of info here about doing these activities. One other thing to check, often overlooked, is whether or not the carb floats actually float. Sometimes they sink instead of float. Carburetor "sinks" aren't of much use....
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING...almost...

Post by unkle buckie »

fao denverwinger
got to be honest mate, even watching the videos puts the fear in me. like i mentioned, i've never worked on carbs, never even removed them - which in itself strikes me as quite an achievement.
i'll have to bite the bullet and $$$ a grown up. on top of buying the kit of course...
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Re: Clutch cover leaking (78 GL1000)....tried EVERYTHING....almost...NOW READ THIS

Post by Earl43P »

Getting back on the original subject....the leaking cover "bolt".

Way back when, my GL1500 Interstate took a hit to the water pump and transmission cover (bought it that way CHEAP and fixed it up).
I replaced the water pump, its bolts (bent) and the transmission cover but the water pump bottom mount bolt leaked oil - much like your clutch cover.

ASS-UMING that the PO had also attempted to fix these leaks (the trans cover was glopped over with epoxy, covering a hole) I looked hard at all of the old WP bolts and the threaded holes.
Chasing the holes with a thread chase tap proved that the leaking bolt hole was open to the oil cavity at its deepest part, coincidentally at the bottom of the threads. (Chasing the threads increased the oil leak with no bolt installed so I drained the oil)

Inspecting the old BENT bolt that was in that location showed that its SHANK (not the threaded section) was completely covered in a non-curing sealer. Quite gooey.
Supposed to be there? No clue.
Was the hole in the bottom of the bore into the oil cavity stock or was a too-long bolt installed punching through that thin part of the bore bottom? No clue.

What I CAN tell you is that I used https://permatex.com/products/gasketing ... nt-1-5-oz/ to completely cover the SHANK of that new bolt along with a precision GLOB underneath the entire HEAD of that bolt. I let that non-hardening sealant skin over before installing that bolt and some sealant splooged out when the bolt was fully tightened. I did not start the bike for a few weeks while I worked on other issues, headlamps inop, new brake pads, new tires, speedo gear and cable replacement, etc.
It no longer seeped/leaked oil when I refilled the oil AND it NEVER leaked again in the 56,000 miles that I put on that bike. /shrugs/

For the stuck float - try a heavy dose of Berryman B12 (look for it near the SeaFoam products). When I say a heavy dose, you cannot use too much. I've used a full can in a quarter tank many times, many bikes - you can smell it in the exhaust, but the bike runs fine on that dosage. If a couple good doses of that doesn't work, you'll need to mechanically repair the float/needle seal. I'd also suggest draining out the bowls of the carbs capturing that residue in a rag. If there is a lot of junk, the float seal may be too clogged for the solvent to clear up.

Lastly, if your float is stuck open you risk hydro-locking that cylinder. Pull all 4 spark plugs, open the petcock for a while then crank it over in a safe area (not in your garage). Whichever hole the gas sprays out of is carb with the stuck float. DRAIN THAT bowl and consider pushing B12 back into that drain tube and let it work on the seal (Add a longer tube so you can elevate the B12 supplying the bowl). No need to drain it out after cranking all the gas out of the cylinder for the next restart (put the plugs back in). B12 ignites just fine and the gas will dilute it while you ride, IF you can ride it. Good luck.

It's really not that hard to pull the carb rack, flip it over and work on the floats/seat. It might need a float pivot pedestal repaired, worst case scenario.


When all else fails, RTFM!

21 KTM390A “Hootenanny”
99 Valkyrie Interstate, “Favorite”
82 GL1100 Sold 3/17 (miss that ticket getter)
93 GL1500I Sold 3/20 (Meh, but put 56k miles on it)
04 ST1300 Sold 4/22 (Fast, fun, never “loved” it)
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