Valve Cover Damage


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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Elmobile
Posts: 228
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:35 pm
Location: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada
Motorcycle: 1990 GL1500SE

Valve Cover Damage

Post by Elmobile »



A few weeks ago my 1990 SE started to develop an oil leak on the right side. Actually very small, just a few drops on my boot but could not see any change on the oil level... After a WTF moment, it seems to come from either the rear cover or some of the bolt keeping the head cover in place.
I got a set of seal for this side just in case but replace only the rear cover seal at first: No change!
I then replace the 2 rear bottom seals on the bolts. The rear one was slightly bent :shock: but I reused it at the same location: No change!
I then took the upper rear bolt which was nice and straight, and exchanged it with the bottom rear to make sure the seal was pushed flat: No change!

That is when I noticed a small depression in the cover which actually turned out to be a small crack! Never leaked before but I have started to put more mileage on the bike and there it is. Looks like it came from the foot pegs which used to be there when I first got the bike. I had removed them right away because they can rotate if you drop the bike and puncture the head cover..!!!

I have managed to do a temporary "repair"... see attached picture and no laughing PLEASE :lol: Like they say in the word of ADV don't leave without a roll of duck tape. Not sure how long it will last but it prove the point that is where the oil is coming from...

Duck tape at its best!
Duck tape at its best!

Long story short, has anyone been able to repair this kind of damage or should I be looking at replacing the cover. It has been added to my winter list.
Sorry for the long text, but would appreciate any comments.



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XJSRider
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by XJSRider »

Do you have a friend with a tig welder? I mean if you are considering replacing it anyway...

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DenverWinger
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by DenverWinger »

I bet a blob of JB Weld on the inside of the cover would do the trick....
♫ 99 Little Bugs in the Code, ♪
♪ 99 Bugs in the Code. ♫ :(
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Charlie1Horse
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1992 GL1500I Interstate

Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by Charlie1Horse »

I had a set of aluminum cobra valve covers on a Mustang many years ago and one side would get wet with oil all the time so, I pulled it off and, holding it up to the sun, I could see a very tiny pin hole in the cover. So I cleaned it really well and wiped it out with alcohol. Then I took a dab of clear silicone on my finger tip and pressed it through the hole until I could see it coming through to the outside. Clear silicone didn't show up on the colored outside of the cover. I let it sit for a few hours and reinstalled it. Never had any more trouble. Try it, it works.
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Elmobile
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by Elmobile »

I like that Charlie,
I am not sure that you would see any light through in my case but I will check it out when I have the cover out. Silicone would not any damage inside if it was to break free. JB Weld being a hard material once it set, would worry me.
Thanks for the advice.

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WingAdmin
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by WingAdmin »

Elmobile wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:44 am
I like that Charlie,
I am not sure that you would see any light through in my case but I will check it out when I have the cover out. Silicone would not any damage inside if it was to break free. JB Weld being a hard material once it set, would worry me.
Thanks for the advice.
Silicone CAN do serious damage if it breaks free, which is why overzealous use of RTV in sealing gaskets (where the RTV squeezes into the interior of the engine, then breaks free) is a problem. The silicone can migrate through into oil galleys and plug them, causing oil starvation of smooth bearings, and when that happens, it's game over for the engine.

Aluminum is not plastic like steel - it doesn't bend, it cracks. So if you've got a crack already, it's not something that's going to take kindly to further vibration. If it was mine, I'd be pulling it and taking it to a local welder to have a TIG bead laid along the inside (make sure there is clearance!) to seal and reinforce the area.

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Elmobile
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by Elmobile »

Thanks for the comments. I had second thought about the silicone for that reason. There is nothing for the silicone to get into anyway.
There is an older gentleman not far from my place who has been welding all his life. He has already repaired some crank case so I'll go to him when I get the cover out. As I said before it is on my winter list...
Amazingly enough the "duck" tape is doing the job! Got over 600 kms since I put it on and it seems to be holding just fine. :D

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MikeB
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by MikeB »

Aluminum that has been in an oil bath all it's life may be hard to weld. Aluminum is porous and oil will be next to impossible to remove completely. The oil will boil and pop when heat is applied and make it tough to do any welding on it. Talk to your welder friend and see what he has to say. But I have a feeling that gold old JB Weld on the inside of the valve cover would be the easiest fix.
MikeB
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CrystalPistol
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by CrystalPistol »

MikeB wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:02 pm
Aluminum that has been in an oil bath all it's life may be hard to weld. Aluminum is porous and oil will be next to impossible to remove completely. The oil will boil and pop when heat is applied and make it tough to do any welding on it. Talk to your welder friend and see what he has to say. But I have a feeling that gold old JB Weld on the inside of the valve cover would be the easiest fix.
I used original J B Weld on a section of aluminum housing on the AC compressor of a '92 Thunderbird where the two lines attach, a supporting part for O-rings was broken out somehow? I cleaned it spotless with 2+2 Gum Cutter (NAPA) …. made a thin wall with shim stock to prevent J B Weld adhearing to the O-ring in use, install lines, mix JBW, smear on, let it cure overnight, then put a vacuum on and it held so I recharged it. Sold the car 10-11 years later in 2020, still cold AC.
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Duke8
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Re: Head Cover Damage

Post by Duke8 »

I had a small crescent-shaped puncture on the bottom of my valve cover from the highway footpeg bracket swiveling around and contacting the valve cover after a medium speed low-side flop. I considered using JB Weld until a mechanic buddy told me to do it right and take it to a machine shop to get welded up. The puncture was filled on both sides and ground smooth and feathered to the surrounding material. If you didn't know it was there you'd never notice it. Cost me $40, and I don't have to worry about ever needing to re-address this fix.

Solo So Long
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Re: Valve Cover Damage

Post by Solo So Long »

The nice thing about cracks is that they tend to be jagged.

Pull the head cover. Set it in CLOTH in a metal tray, inside up. Clean the inner surface with solvent -- dish soap, for instance. Rinse. Repeat. A couple of times.

Shoot brake cleaner INTO the crack. Let dry. Repeat.

Once you have this as clean as you're doing to get it wipe dry inside and outside. Let it air dry overnight. Remember, there's not a lot of airflow through the crack, so you need to give it time to dry completely.

Roughen an area about 1/2" (in metric, that would still be about 1/2") all the way around the crack.

Now either have it welded, put back into service,

OR

use JB Weld, making sure to shove as much as possible into the crack, and about 1/4" all the way around (DO NOT go outside of your roughened area). Let dry a couple of days before reinstalling.

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Charlie1Horse
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Re: Valve Cover Damage

Post by Charlie1Horse »

Silicone CAN do serious damage if it breaks free, which is why overzealous use of RTV in sealing gaskets (where the RTV squeezes into the interior of the engine, then breaks free) is a problem. The silicone can migrate through into oil galleys and plug them, causing oil starvation of smooth bearings, and when that happens, it's game over for the engine.
Yes, that's why you only need a tiny bit of the silicone, work it completely through to the other side and then wipe all of the remaining silicone off of both sides so all that remains is actually inside the hole. There is none left to come loose and go anywhere.

But, then you could do like I did on my 92 Interstate and go on ebay and find a set of covers from a late model SE with the gold inlays for about $50.00. They really look nice.
Russell

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offcenter
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Re: Valve Cover Damage

Post by offcenter »

Waaay back when I was a kid, my brother crashed his Kawasaki 350, two stroke and the shift lever punched a hole in the left crankcase cover.
We fished out the pieces, cleaned them off real good, and epoxied them back in with PC-7 epoxy which is similar to JBweld. He rode that bike for another two years, then sold it to a friend who rode it another couple of years before selling again. That epoxy patch was still in place when we lost track of the bike.
Remember, that was a two stroke which always has pressure in the crankcase.
And it wasn't just a crack. We had to fish the broken pieces out and use them to patch the hole.
That epoxy is amazing.
George in Jersey.
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wezx
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Re: Valve Cover Damage

Post by wezx »

Had a puncture from highway peg bolt a couple years ago. JB Welded it and still running fine...no leaks.

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Elmobile
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Re: Valve Cover Damage

Post by Elmobile »

In my case there is just a crack in the cover. No where for anything to get into and bond to.
I ended up putting a piece of aluminum tape to replace the duct tape... It is holding very well.
I should be able to finish the riding season like that and it is on my winter list.

I will have it welded.

Cheers.



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