near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy


Information and questions on GL1100 Goldwings (1980-1983)
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kotkinjs1
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near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »



Ok, so if you've seen my previous posts till now I thought I figured out that my rough running right side exhaust was most likely a factor of it being a solo carb setup done by the PO. Turns out it's a PICT28 so apparently that's a little small for a GL1100 anyway. It runs "ok" but obviously nowhere near optimal. On a cold start it needed about 30-45 seconds of throttle before I could let off and it would idle okay without stalling out. That seems to be a symptom of the auto choke coming off too early. The right side cylinders (I think #1 but could be both?) would take a good 10-15 seconds to come to life after the left and start running smoothly when started. Also possibly a symptom of the single carb setup. Once warmed up though it ran ok though, if not slightly rough/choppier/less synchronous than the left. No smoke once warmed up.

Then I ran another compression test this morning because I forgot to hold the throttle open when I did it yesterday. Got higher readings and surprisingly the 2nd highest was #1 which I thought was my problem cylinder. Those readings were cylinder #1: 169 psi, 2: 155, 3: 170, and 4: 160. Not to shabby and still nothing screaming PROBLEM, right? The left side plugs seemed a bit sooty and the #1 plug seemed a bit wet and shiny black. Then hooked everything back up and started it up again and this is where things got wonky.

Started it up, still kinda warm so came up right away. After a few minutes of idling and revving, white smoke started pouring out of the right side exhaust when I'd rev and then let off the throttle and it would return to idle. This lasted for a while: throttle, heavy smoke, back to idle it would mostly go away. This got less and less until the smoke 'mostly' disappeared. Then took it around the block a few times. The engine temp needle was higher than I've ever seen it go before....all the way up at almost the top end of the normal range (thick white bar). When I got back in the garage the little puffs of smoke out the right had returned. Nothing heavy like before but definitely there.

So, I thought I had it figured out then wham one step forward, two steps back it feels like. So with the compression being ok and the not consistent heavy white smoke I can still rule out a head gasket? The heavy white smoke only appeared after I laid on the throttle after I ran a compression test and hooked everything back up. The heavy whiter smoke definitely disappeared but there is still some puffs. They're new plugs but I still don't have the new wires to install to the coils. Coils, outwardly, look ok. No cracks, bulges, etc. Compression seems good. The coolant in the reservoir (a modified side reservoir) is still near the top below the vent tube. When I looked last night when I had the false tank off I couldn't see coolant in the rad neck though. I might add some more there?

So below are videos, in order:

#1: Rough, cold starting,
[YouTube]

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#2 then running but not yet warmed up, (no smoke)
[YouTube]

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#3 then warmed up and running 'smoother,' (no smoke)
[YouTube]

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[/YouTube]

#4 right after compression test (heavy smoke, hard to keep started)
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#5 and 6 running with smoke, especially after some throttle,
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#7 heavy smoke mostly disappeared, just regular white puffing now
[YouTube]

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#8 while running pulled #1 then #3 plugs to see what changes - nothing drastic sounding
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#9 after a few minutes passing the smoke is mostly gone
[YouTube]

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#10 after coming back from around the block a few times - a little smoke is back and temp is higher than normal but running smoothly.
[YouTube]

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I don't know where to start troubleshooting this again. Advice please! I don't have much hair left to pull out! The smoke seems to be related to the higher engine revving with the throttle. Is a gasket starting to go bad? And all of a sudden coupled with the smoke the temp is idling higher than it was. :?: :|


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MikeB
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by MikeB »

You seem to have a lot of white smoke and no blue or black smoke. Isn't white smoke indicative of coolant leaking into a cylinder? Are you using coolant or water or something else in the coolant system? What does the white smoke smell like?

I think it is possible for a head gasket to be leaking between a water jacket port and a cylinder and still have a good compression test.
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kotkinjs1
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »

[YouTube]

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[/YouTube]

And a couple hours later now back to running 'kinda' normal or at least back to like it was before. I don't get it. Temporary smoking like that? I only had the plugs out for a compression test.

MikeB- I just used a regular 50/50 mix from the store (no silicates). I don't think it really had any overpowering sweet smell but I've never experienced a coolant leak before.
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by Rambozo »

One check you might want to do is to test the coolant for combustion products. You can get a test strip or colored test fluid. If that fails, at a minimum the heads have to come off. Typically the plugs will look super clean if you have coolant getting in there. Coolant leaks can come and go as the engine heats and cools, especially with cracks.
I would never expect a homebrew single carb setup to run perfect. But it should be good enough for what it's for. Get the main and idle mixtures right and that's about all you can do without a lot of tweaking and testing.
kotkinjs1
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »

Rambozo wrote: Thu Aug 19, 2021 4:31 pm Typically the plugs will look super clean if you have coolant getting in there.
This is what my plugs looked like when I had them out for the combustion test....
Left side were kinda sooty, #3 was kind of greyish, and #1 was wet/oily burnt looking. They were new plugs since last week....




kotkinjs1
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »

I read that if youve got oil sitting as a top layer in your coolant reservoir it's a head gasket leak. Is that correct? I dipped a clean q-tip into mine and pulled this out. It was fresh coolant a few weeks ago.....




Last edited by kotkinjs1 on Fri Aug 20, 2021 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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DenverWinger
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by DenverWinger »

My guess is #1 cyl is leaking compression into water jacket. And/or coolant into the cylinder. #1 didn't do much with sparkplug wire pulled, but I could hear difference on #3.

Do a leakdown test, need to find TDC on compression stroke on a cylinder, then put some good air pressure (50 PSI is enough) into the sparkplug hole. Watch uncapped radiator neck to see if coolant level rises. It shouldn't move. If coolant level rises or you see bubbles in the radiator neck you have a leaky head gasket.

I made a leakdown tester by smashing the porcelain guts out of an old sparkplug, welding 6" of small pipe to the empty sparkplug metal shell, and then an air hose fitting to the other end of the pipe.


Test all four cylinders, if the Left side is OK but right side not, I'd change only the failed side. Replace only with OEM gasket (spendy). No need to change both if only one side is leaking.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

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kotkinjs1
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »

DenverWinger wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 12:48 am My guess is #1 cyl is leaking compression into water jacket. And/or coolant into the cylinder. #1 didn't do much with sparkplug wire pulled, but I could hear difference on #3.

Do a leakdown test, need to find TDC on compression stroke on a cylinder, then put some good air pressure (50 PSI is enough) into the sparkplug hole. Watch uncapped radiator neck to see if coolant level rises. It shouldn't move. If coolant level rises or you see bubbles in the radiator neck you have a leaky head gasket.

I made a leakdown tester by smashing the porcelain guts out of an old sparkplug, welding 6" of small pipe to the empty sparkplug metal shell, and then an air hose fitting to the other end of the pipe.
Leakdown Tester.JPG

Test all four cylinders, if the Left side is OK but right side not, I'd change only the failed side. Replace only with OEM gasket (spendy). No need to change both if only one side is leaking.
Thanks! That's all awesome advice. So with the intermittent but growing smoke issue, the oil in the coolant, and what I'll try and verify tomorrow with a combustion leak test (got to go get a kit from Harbor Freight), would you be 80% certain it's a head gasket without doing the leak test? I don't have any of those tools/gauges/air compressor and don't know how to weld. I'm kind of mentally getting myself psyched up to do a head gasket change and I'm comfortable with doing it if I'm 80% sure it's in fact that as the cause of these issues. I got this bike partially to learn how to do my own wrenching anyway so a head gasket job will be a good lesson. ;) If it's not the main cause, I'd have still learned something and at least will help narrow it down to the next troubleshooting level. lol

I guess I'm still a little confused though - a failed gasket will get oil (combustion gasses) in the coolant or coolant in the oil (steam cleaning the spark plug)? Or both? Or is that the same thing? The #1 plug wasn't exactly steam shined.
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by MattMcCoy »

It looks like you have a coolant leak on 1. I would do a leak-down test.
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by DenverWinger »

Failed head gasket gets coolant in the cylinders steam cleaning the sparkplug, and combustion gasses into the radiator. Impossible to say for certain the gasket is leaking into the coolant without the pressure test.

Oil gets into the coolant thru the water pump, but if it's just a tiny bit of oil floating on the coolant I wouldn't worry about that.

Worthwhile to invest in tools, you can get a small air compressor from HF or a used one from a Pawn Shop. To make a leakdown tester, just get the parts, a sparkplug, piece of pipe, and an air hose fitting. You cat take the parts to a welding shop or a muffler shop, they'll weld them together for you for small $.
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
♫ Take one down, Patch it around, ♪
♫ 127 Little Bugs in the Code. ♫ ♪ :shock:

~Mark
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by WingAdmin »

If you do the leakdown test and you start seeing air bubbles in the coolant (remove the radiator cap to watch and see), that's a dead giveaway that you've blown through a head gasket on the cylinder currently being tested.
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Chewy
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by Chewy »

check the oil in your engine. if it is milky or frothy looking, you have a blown head gasket. the good news is, if it is a blown gasket, it is not that difficult to replace. make sure to take the head to a machine shop and have them check the head for cracks and such. whatever you do, please do not use an additive such as liquid glass. it will clog the radiator preventing good flow, and will prevent any future cooling issues from being fixed properly. i replaced the head gasket on my 80 model, and i had never worked on a bike before. at the time, it was showing all the same symptoms as yours is. coincidentally, mine was the right side as well.

based on what happened with my 80, im %100 sure you have a failed head gasket.
kotkinjs1
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by kotkinjs1 »

So did a combustion gas test from the rad neck .... within a few seconds of pumping, nice and yellow. Looks like someone peed in the test kit lol. So, definitely a blown head gasket? Do I even need to run a leak down test?

Strange thing is it doesn't smoke out of the exhaust at all anymore. :?: :?:


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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by Chewy »

unfortunately you do indeed have a failed head gasket. when mine failed 2 years ago, it didnt smoke at all from the exhaust. it was pushing exhaust gas into the radiator. 2 bad you live that far from me, id help you with swapping it. one of the things i will tell you to be careful about, aside from making sure the timing is right and to spin it by hand several times before starting it, is to be careful with the 10mm bolt at the bottom of the cylinder head when putting it on. iirc, it calls for 10ft lbs of torque, but most torque wrenches arent that reliable when the spec is that low. i put mine in at the same tightness as i did the sparkplugs , and havent had a problem with it in 2 years of riding. that particular bolt has nothing to do with holding in compression. it is the bolt that puts pressure on the the seal at the bottom so it does not leak oil. good luck on the bike.

message me and i will give you my number. you can call me if you have any questions.
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Chewy
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Re: near my wits end at troubleshooting this - Video heavy

Post by Chewy »

viewforum.php?f=11

this is a very good article to follow. it is the on i followed when i did the head gasket on mine.

IF you are only replacing the failed gasket, you do not need to take the carbs all of the way off, just remove the down tubes associated with the side you are working on.


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