Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount


Information and questions on GL1000 Goldwings (1975-1979)
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Winger1957
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Motorcycle: 1978 GL1000

Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »



Hi guys. I own and maintain a 1978 GL1000. I bought it in pieces in October 2020 and spent the winter rebuilding most of it. I learned more about motorcycles that winter then in the preceding 63 years of my life. Great, great experience.

By February I had the bike running superbly and I wore out my new Shinkos (front tread separated - be careful). Put on more new Shinkos and then I noticed coolant dripping under the left header mount. Opened my radiator and there is obviously oil flowing through the water pump, and I suppose there is water in the oil, too, although the oil does look clean in the sight glass. No muddy water color.

I'm thinking head gaskets. Have let her sit for all summer because in South Texas, its just too damned hot to ride during the summer.

Before I order Randakks head-gasket kit, I thought I would solicit opinions from you other mechanics. Other than the leak at the left header mount and the frothy oily water in the radiator, she runs great. I took the battery out and have it in my bedroom on a charger.


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biguns
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by biguns »

well your probably right to suspect the head gasket but there is also the water pump that has orings that separate the coolant from the oil but between those orings is a hole that is there to let fluid drip out if they fail, I have seen those holes clog up. you could pressurize the radiator and see if it leaks down, pretty sure track auto or other auto parts stores will loan you one, also there is the vapor fluid test that tells if there is combustion in the coolant, either or both would be a definitive assessment, But if your definetely dripping from the head they will need changed.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

OK, that's a pretty interesting comment. I'll look into the water pump o-rings first. The leak of coolant is pretty small, and only puddles up after I park it from a long ride. So there seems to be a pressure-related flow to it, because when the engine sits cold, no leaks.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

OK, its cooled off enough in South TX for me to do some wrenching. No electricity in the storage bldg so no fan. I stored it on a motorcycle jack so the tires were off the ground and the bike was always level. I pulled the valve cover off the left side and re-torqued the head bolts. Five of the six cracked nicely when I loosened them. The sixth, top/center, did not crack but just kind of surrendered to the wrench. I'll re-torque the right side tomorrow am. Then I cranked it (buy ethanol-free gas) up and let it run til warm. Steam, baby. both pipes. Lots of it. Some dripping from both exhausts at the header tube joint. Also some dripping from more or less the geographic bottom/center of the engine. After warm up, no dripping anywhere so I'm thinking it had nearly four months of sitting with some seepage somewhere. Both pipes (no crossover pipe) steaming and also dripping from the same point (header junction) seem odd. Not likely that both head gaskets failed together. Something else is dribbling coolant into the combustion chamber, I'm guessing. Well, maybe not the combustion chamber because both exhausts are isolated from one another, but both produced copious amounts of steam until it warmed to operating temp, then no steam.

I want to go riding in the morning, but will try to wait for input from you guys before I ride. It's risky, but its also been nearly four months and this behavior has existed for over 10,000 miles, though not with the accumulation of steam like she produced today. Looked like a Russian artillery battery, there was so much steam :)
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biguns
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by biguns »

After a bike warms up you wont see allot unless it is blown out terribly, you can hold a tissue up near the tailpipe and see if it gets damp but it sure sounds like you have 2 head gaskets, with the cracking them loose your into it now anyways.
Get a couple of Honda or Vesrah head gaskets, I think someone mentioned another brand that had marks but cant remember.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

Quick post for future GL1K owners - i next cranked my GL yesterday morning and it steamed some coolant from both pipes but only for about five minutes. I primarily wanted to see if the steam would be in the clouds-from-heaven category again. So the leak, wherever it is, is small. tiny. Looking into my bag of chemical solutions, I pulled out a very small new bottle of "K-Seal Pour and Go", 8 OZ.

I turned off the engine, poured in FOUR ounces (motorcycle, small engine) into the radiator. Metallic-looking particles in it. Then topped off the radiator with correct anti-freeze. Cranked the engine and let it circulate until engine reached operating temp, while I cleaned up the workspace, donned helmet, gloves and shades. Then I went on a very, very nice ride out about 60 miles through the country and sixty miles back. At max apogee, I stopped to smoke a good cigar and look for leaks. No leaks. Perfect. Drove back and parked. Put stuff away. Checked for leaks. No leaks, but the radiator overflow bottle was pushing some fluid out from the overflow drain hose, as expected because I did fill that radiator up earlier.

So for now, I can say that the K-Seal Pour and Go worked perfectly and darn near instantly with zero performance defects on that ride yesterday. I will update this today after letting it sit for 24 hours. I will crank it and look for steam, and check the overflow bottle contents.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

180 miles yesterday, avg 60 mph, high of 70 mph. Zero visible emissions, oil and coolant good and maintaining proper levels. Ambient temp about 75 degrees. Temp gauge indicated precisely on the lower limit of normal operating range.
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by WingAdmin »

It will be interesting to see how the bike performs in very hot weather - those "coolant leak fix in a bottle" kind of products tend to clog up radiators, reducing the cooling capacity of the bike.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

Hey bud, I watch your vids on youtube. Yesterday I thought of you when I was cruising to a stop in some dense traffic, and I was conscious of my braking process and how I placed my feet relative to the momentum of my GL. It's not easy wrangling the brake levers on my bike. The brakes work ok, but they lack the precision I like. My mountain bike has awesome, super precise braking. But that's another topic. I am watching my temp. I had to idle in direct sunlight in traffic yesterday and the ambient at that time was 92 degrees. Temp needle never wavered from the bottom of the operating range. The only time I have ever seen that needle move up towards the center of the range is when I ride about 80 mph for 10-20 miles on a hot day.

I didn't want to pour a magic solution into it, but tracing the leak was too weird. Plus I have very little workspace in the storage building where I currently have my GL and a lot of other things, so I looked at my options on the shelf and the product I used worked within a couple of minutes. In fact, using that stuff per the directions had pressure sufficient to produce overflow through my bottle drain hose on cool-down for the first time ever. Bear in mind that this is a rescue-bike. She had lots of problems everywhere but now it is a joy to ride.
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by WingAdmin »

Winger1957 wrote: Thu Sep 08, 2022 1:51 pm Hey bud, I watch your vids on youtube. Yesterday I thought of you when I was cruising to a stop in some dense traffic, and I was conscious of my braking process and how I placed my feet relative to the momentum of my GL. It's not easy wrangling the brake levers on my bike. The brakes work ok, but they lack the precision I like. My mountain bike has awesome, super precise braking. But that's another topic. I am watching my temp. I had to idle in direct sunlight in traffic yesterday and the ambient at that time was 92 degrees. Temp needle never wavered from the bottom of the operating range. The only time I have ever seen that needle move up towards the center of the range is when I ride about 80 mph for 10-20 miles on a hot day.
If you haven't already, I would replace your brake lines with stainless steel braided lines. It was the single best upgrade I made to my GL1100, and turned its vague, spongy brakes into powerful, razor-sharp brakes.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

I have a Galfer braided hose on the front. Yes, much better than the old rubber.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

Another 200 miles of 60/70 mph on back-country 2-lanes with lots of high and steep hills. 87 degrees in the shade. Engine still running like a champ. Zero fluid leaks or cross contamination. Engine cranks immediately for the first time ever. And dear brothers, GL1000's still pull conversations out of strangers better than anything I have ever seen. I wish I had a new one with the original exhaust. I bought one when I was 19, in 1976. 32,000 miles on the clock. Bought it and just got addicted to that engine hum. I can still hear it in my mind. Silk and unstoppable. Tranny still went "THUNK" back then, though.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

WingAdmin wrote: Thu Sep 08, 2022 2:36 pm
Winger1957 wrote: Thu Sep 08, 2022 1:51 pm Hey bud, I watch your vids on youtube. Yesterday I thought of you when I was cruising to a stop in some dense traffic, and I was conscious of my braking process and how I placed my feet relative to the momentum of my GL. It's not easy wrangling the brake levers on my bike. The brakes work ok, but they lack the precision I like. My mountain bike has awesome, super precise braking. But that's another topic. I am watching my temp. I had to idle in direct sunlight in traffic yesterday and the ambient at that time was 92 degrees. Temp needle never wavered from the bottom of the operating range. The only time I have ever seen that needle move up towards the center of the range is when I ride about 80 mph for 10-20 miles on a hot day.
If you haven't already, I would replace your brake lines with stainless steel braided lines. It was the single best upgrade I made to my GL1100, and turned its vague, spongy brakes into powerful, razor-sharp brakes.
WingAdmin, I have a question you might want to offer an opinion on. Months ago I switched to Mobile T1 Racing Synthetic oil for my 1978 GL and my engine loved the stuff. Rev'd faster, ran faster, pulled harder with quicker movement under throttle input. No leaks other than the one I just treated with K-Seal in the coolant. Minor, for sure. But my primary drive chain bugs me. I don't like the noise. Not bad, but present at idle. So I'm thinking that if I go back to Rotella T4 and add some "motor honey", I might get some damping of the primary drive chain and maybe silence that chain noise on idle. What do you think? I know that I will lose the benefits of the T-1, but Rotella is a good oil and if I can get the engine to idle more quietly, I think its worth it. I can't bust the cases and invest more time and money other than maintaining what I have now.
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Rambozo »

First make sure your carb sync is perfect with something like a carbstik. That motor is known to have chain slap noises if the power pulses are not even. Search here for plenty of examples where that took care of it.
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by WingAdmin »

Yup. Primary chain noise is not due to oil damping, but normally caused by resonance caused by imperfect power pulse levels caused by imperfect carburetor sync. At idle/low RPM/high torque especially, the primary chain is very sensitive to carb sync.
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Winger1957
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Re: Oil In Radiator / Coolant Dripping Near Left Header Mount

Post by Winger1957 »

OK, cool. I do have the sync gauges and will give that another look. Best I remember when I last sync'd, #3 had a problem with pulling vacuum. Weak. And i think I replaced all the plenum seals after that. But that will be a good project to invest time into. Would this sync issue also contribute to the occasional low-speed backfiring in the carbs? I can feel it, a slight impulse, in the frame and handgrips at very low speed, usually when the engine is not warmed up to operating temp.


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