Plugs looking oily


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
Post Reply
bofler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:09 pm
Location: Fort Scott, KS
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I

Plugs looking oily

Post by bofler »



So, bought an '83 Interstate a few days ago. Bike seemed to be running well and have been riding it some without obvious problems (though the engine does seem to get hotter on the right side and there is some puffs of smoke on startup that reduce as the engine warms up). Regretting not pulling the plugs for a check before buying the bike, but finally did that today and discovered that all of them are pretty equally wet (with #4 being more extreme and with some oil outside in the plug hole). Guessing that I have an issue with valve guides/seals or piston rings. But would it make sense that all the piston rings and/or valve guides/seals would be equally faulty? Any other thoughts on my frustrating situation? Next steps? Some photos are attached for your viewing pleasure. First 2 photos are from #4 and the other 2 photos are representative of what it looks like on the rest of the cylinders.










User avatar
grand rouge
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:04 am
Location: Lincoln / Sacramento CA
Motorcycle: 1985 GL 1200L...... and an owned since new 83 Suzuki GS 1100E

Re: Plugs looking oily

Post by grand rouge »

Greetings from Sacramento CA. Re your GL1200I:

Might be seal or ring related...….but...more information required.

How many miles on your machine?
Any long term storage in its past?
Engine oil level: Not overfilled? Fresh oil of proper viscosity and rating?
Smoking on start up.. Is bike on center stand between rides?
Depending on riding /storage history, rings can be sticking in piston grooves.
How many miles have you ridden your GL?
Are spark plugs correct heat range /spec....NGK or ND?
Plug readings can change based on carburetor circuit for example: most low speed / small throttle opening, engine running still on pilots....so plug chops at differing RPM / throttle openings can give info re jetting.

Most Air Conditioning or radiator shops..others too...will have an infra red 'heat gun' or two...if you don't have one.....easy to check temperatures all over your engine etc. Point laser and pull the trigger.

Disclosure: Bought new and maintained my first GL 1000...1979. Still in family 255,000 miles or so...engine never opened up. Timing belts changed a few times:-) regular oil and filter / other fluids too changed out. No oil burning, no temp issues. Will smoke sometimes left side if parked on side stand. Clears in half a minute.
Second wing...1980 GL1100I..purchased new. Still in family. 128,000 miles. no issues.
My latest is 85 LTD. Purchased new by a family member. Now has 85,000 miles. Still a baby. No issues...ever.

My point is......durable engines. If you are confident that.... say...timing belts are good.....perhaps most critical
maintenance item....oil level etc aok and fuel fresh....maybe treat with something like Berrymans Total Fuel System Treatment..... an "Italian Tune Up" might be in order here.....run through the gears to or near red line (as many as safe / legal etc..... You know what we are talking about.....
bofler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:09 pm
Location: Fort Scott, KS
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I

Re: Plugs looking oily

Post by bofler »

Greetings from Kansas! Thanks for the reply!

My knowledge about the machine:

55k miles (original speedo broke and was swapped, so have to trust him on that).

Apparently the PO had the bike for 2 or 3 years and did a fair amount of riding, though he said he didn't ride it as much during the last year.

Oil level is filled to a tiny bit below the top line on the window. I've put in fresh oil and using Rotella 15w-40, as recommended by many. Fuel is fresh.

Center stand between rides, yes.

I've done a ride of about 100 miles without a problem. Then just a few short rides around town, also without problem. Rear tire needs to be changed, so bike has been resting for the last several days while I've been arranging a new tire and taking the opportunity to do some maintenance (e.g. checking the spark plugs).

Spark plugs are correct NGK type, but just checked the gap and they are all too wide. Top end of the gap spec is .035". Plugs on 2 and 4 are at .036" and 1 and 3 were even larger, about .038". As I noted before, the right side (1 and 3) gets noticeably hotter than the left, so guess this is related.

I drained the coolant and oil after buying the bike and seeing the smoke, checking for some fluid mix. But oil seemed to be ok, albeit well used, and the coolant didn't look contaminated. Smoke also doesn't smell sweet (smells more oily).

Have bought new timing belts, but haven't installed them yet. Not sure how the timing belts could cause the plugs to get oily though.

All evidence points to at least some valve seal problems. But not ruling out something more serious, like head gasket or cracked block (though I would expect other symptoms than what I've seen). At this point, even though the bike is running ok, don't want to risk riding it and making any problems worse. Would love their to be an easy fix, such as dumping in some kind of treatment liquid, but I'm hoping a little bit more investigation and research will shed some light on this mess.
User avatar
grand rouge
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:04 am
Location: Lincoln / Sacramento CA
Motorcycle: 1985 GL 1200L...... and an owned since new 83 Suzuki GS 1100E

Re: Plugs looking oily

Post by grand rouge »

Low mileage on your Wing. I mentioned timing belts only because if original or unknown....a broken one destroys some valves instantly.

Saw a good you tube video replacing valve stem seals on an 1100 without removing heads....just in case. I used a similar method to change out seals on a Suzuki GS 1100. Easy.

As a matter of interest, when I purchased my GL 1200 LTD in January 2016, it had been sitting for about 6 months.....in garage, dry Sacramento area.....brother in law, owner, had suffered a stroke....so....was not able to ride. Anyway.....bike ran quite well.....any engine issues were related to fuel....old. After a couple of tanks of fresh fuel and the Berrymans I referred to earlier......absolutely runs perfectly, nickel on its edge smooth at idle. Any traces of smoking...nothing. I too use Rotella 15 /40.

Cracks in heads, cylinders..rare. A compression test. A cylinder leak down test. A cooling system pressure test. They might tell you something and hopefully eliminate any crack or gasket 'worries.'

best regards,

Dallas
bofler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:09 pm
Location: Fort Scott, KS
Motorcycle: 1983 GL1100I

Re: Plugs looking oily

Post by bofler »

Hopefully the problem isn't major. Upon buying the bike the PO assured me that the bike was in top condition and it wouldn't need anything. Blah! Tires, plugs, timing belts, oil, coolant, air filter, fuel filter...and the list keeps growing. Probably gonna be opening the valve covers soon and going down that rabbit hole...


Post Reply