White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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NickLHG
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate
1999 Honda Rebel CMX250C

White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »



Hey there brand new to the motorcycle world I managed to pick up an 82 gl1100i with 38k miles.
Lack of experience in motorcycles and cars I hopped on it and didn’t pay attention every couple hundred miles to the fluids and so on. I want to say I was running on minimal amounts of coolant - not sure if there was a leak somewhere but I’ve spoken with my father and he said it could be the head gasket. the previous owner did tell me I should change my valve seals because when it’s on the kickstand for extended periods and you start it afterwards black smoke comes out of the exhaust.

I’ve checked my oil to see if it’s milky (mixed with water) and I honestly couldn’t quite tell.. unless I drain a little bit of it to check.
Is there anything else that could be causing this issue? I don’t want to put new coolant in only to have to drain it and waste my money.
Thanks much!

Tried to post a video and it wouldn’t let me so I took a screenshot of the video just to show the smoke. Hope that it works
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WingAdmin
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by WingAdmin »

Does it go away once the engine has warmed up?
t2oldbikes
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by t2oldbikes »

The first thing I would recommend to you is to get in the habit of turning the fuel petcock to the off position about a quarter or half mile from home. It does some good.
If you haven't done it already change the oil and filter. If the bike has been neglected this will help to get the bad things gone. It's cheap. Ride it after the change and see if smoking goes away shortly or if it is gone instantly. Don't leave the choke on too long.
My experience with white smoke has been gasoline in the oil or raw gas settling in the exhaust. Moisture from condensation also burns white. Do the simple things first. Change it and ride it for about 20 miles afterward.
Top that coolant off! If you plan to change it quickly water is okay while you test it out. Make sure any anti-freeze you use is of the non-silica type. Do the simple before the complex.
NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

WingAdmin wrote: Sun Sep 29, 2019 5:50 pm Does it go away once the engine has warmed up?
No it does not, it remained even after a 4 mile ride.
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

t2oldbikes wrote: Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:21 pm The first thing I would recommend to you is to get in the habit of turning the fuel petcock to the off position about a quarter or half mile from home. It does some good.
If you haven't done it already change the oil and filter. If the bike has been neglected this will help to get the bad things gone. It's cheap. Ride it after the change and see if smoking goes away shortly or if it is gone instantly. Don't leave the choke on too long.
My experience with white smoke has been gasoline in the oil or raw gas settling in the exhaust. Moisture from condensation also burns white. Do the simple things first. Change it and ride it for about 20 miles afterward.
Top that coolant off! If you plan to change it quickly water is okay while you test it out. Make sure any anti-freeze you use is of the non-silica type. Do the simple before the complex.
I’ll give that a go then. My worry was if it was a leak then I’d change the oil and have to change it again, along with the coolant.
Since I drained all the coolant out recently can I ride 20 miles on water only? I only plan to run Honda coolant in mine for safety.
And by don’t keep my choke on too long what do you mean? I thought when you choked a goldwing you pulled out the choke and pushed it in. Am I incorrect?
The white smoke started when I was on cruising around my area for 30 miles, about 4 miles from home I noticed it smoke and thought it disappeared as I picked up to 55. Only to realize that it just appeared as if it was gone because how fast I was going.
Oil change and full coolant change then a 10 mile ride okay? I canceled my insurance due to being close to the end of riding season and lack of use of the wing. Thank you!
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by WingAdmin »

I would run water only for testing and maintenance. I wouldn't ride around normally with just water instead of coolant - for two reasons.

First, coolant has a much higher boiling point than water. it is much easier to overheat an engine on just water than on coolant. Coolant is more effective at carrying away heat.

Second, coolant has lots of anti-corrosion properties built into it. Water, on the other hand, encourages corrosion.

Here's a picture of a water pump. On the left, a water pump that was run in water. On the right, what it's supposed to look like.



NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

WingAdmin wrote: Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:10 am I would run water only for testing and maintenance. I wouldn't ride around normally with just water instead of coolant - for two reasons.

First, coolant has a much higher boiling point than water. it is much easier to overheat an engine on just water than on coolant. Coolant is more effective at carrying away heat.

Second, coolant has lots of anti-corrosion properties built into it. Water, on the other hand, encourages corrosion.

Here's a picture of a water pump. On the left, a water pump that was run in water. On the right, what it's supposed to look like.

rPQj0.jpg
Oh wow that’s crazy! Well then I’ll be sure to redo my fluids completely then better safe than sorry.
So if the white smoke continues after changing fluids and taking a ride then what else could the problem be? And how exactly does one figure this out? I have the shop service manual for 80-82 goldwings. Picked it up for 30.00 on eBay.
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by Rambozo »

There are plenty of ways to check for blown head gaskets while you are servicing it. But unless you have a background of working on engines, I doubt you have the tools. One easy way is to install a pressure gauge on the coolant system, then pressurize each cylinder, and look for an increase in coolant pressure. This test can be done with the coolant drained or full. There are also fluid testers that look for combustion products in the coolant.
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by WingAdmin »

Pull the spark plugs out. If one (or more) of them looks bright and shiny (think steam cleaned) then you know you've found the culprit.
NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

WingAdmin wrote: Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:04 pm Pull the spark plugs out. If one (or more) of them looks bright and shiny (think steam cleaned) then you know you've found the culprit.
So how exactly does that cause steam coming out of the exhaust?
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by DenverWinger »

Leaky head gasket allowing a little coolant to get into the cylinders, during combustion this is turned to steam and goes out the exhaust along with the combustion gasses. Cleans the sparkplugs quite nicely.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
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NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

Damn! That’s awesome. How’d you learn all of this? Years of owning motorcycles? And wanting to learn about it of course.
NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

WingAdmin wrote: Mon Sep 30, 2019 9:04 pm Pull the spark plugs out. If one (or more) of them looks bright and shiny (think steam cleaned) then you know you've found the culprit.
I had the time today to pull out a spark plug and check it out. They don’t seem to be steam cleaned but instead when I pulled it out water gushed from the opening and ended up leaking from the bottom.
I currently only have water in the radiator as I was testing some stuff. Where does that lead me? A broken head gasket correct?
And is there a procedure I can follow from the site you can link? My father used to work on 78 and 79 wings when he was my age and happens to have most of the tools required to work on motorcycles.
Thank you
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by Rambozo »

Well that makes it pretty obvious. Next step is to pull the head. Inspect for blown head gasket and or cracked head.
thotiana
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by thotiana »

One time I had white smoke coming out of my bike because it had too much oil. I didn't know what I was doing and I had drained the oil from where the oil filter was, replaced the filter and put in what was supposed to be the full amount. To compound this I had very little faith in the tiny oil level window as I could never see what the hell was going on. I think that tiny window is a terrible design that didn't consider aging... Anyway its important to take the time get whatevery cleaning stuff or solvent you have lying around and clean that little window so you can tell the oil level. I put a shop towel over the top of a flathead screw driver to do it. Also it needs to be on the centerstand to check the level. Something I do to make it easier to put it on the centerstand is roll the front wheel up onto a curb or a few pieces of wood then pull it up onto the stand
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

Ordered a head gasket quite a while ago and the order got lost. Within 3-4 days I’ll finally get it.. way too late in the year.
For those of you that read this - I was curious if it’s worth keeping an 82 goldwing. I don’t have much experience working on motorcycles but my biggest worry is not being able to find parts for my wing.
Is it possible to keep my wing running for 100k miles (38k down). It seems most mechanics won’t touch motorcycles older than 20 years old. What do you guys think?
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by AZgl1800 »

depends on what you want.

all of the parts are available with due diligence.

I use www.SearchTempest.com to find thing fast.

this is using only the term 'gl1100' and it brings up 100s of links.

https://www.searchtempest.com/search?se ... or+sale%22
Last edited by AZgl1800 on Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by Rambozo »

As long as you are willing to do the work yourself. Some parts can be tough to find since you are coming up on 40 years old. However, most of the wear items are around still. It also depends on what you are looking for out of the bike. As a daily driver I would probably pass, but for a weekend warrior I'm sure you can rack up a lot more miles.
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by AZgl1800 »

oops, I plugged in 1200 on that last post,

here is the gl1100

https://www.searchtempest.com/search?se ... or+sale%22
~John

'02 GL1800
2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc
NickLHG
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by NickLHG »

Mainly wanting to maintain the motorcycle and keep it running smoothly. I’d like to ride it to work (1:30 round trip) every week once or twice. Then weekends here and there. Probably get about 300-500 miles a week.
What parts are hard to come by?
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Re: White smoke from exhaust - head gaskets?

Post by Rambozo »

NickLHG wrote: Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:56 pm What parts are hard to come by?
Pistons, bearings, master cylinders, calipers, radiator, etc.

Used parts will still be around for years to come.


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