Mechanical troubleshooting request

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suicideshovel65
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Location: Tokyo

Mechanical troubleshooting request

#1

Post by suicideshovel65 » Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:44 am

I hope you will all bear with me on these beginner requests!
Checking out my bike as it was when it arrived, there seemed to be quite a bit of oil that has leaked from the pan covers over what looks like years of use.
The pan covers appear to have snapped off bolts and bolts of varying types holding them on. Aged gasket goop oozes from the sides, and the fins on the head are discoloured.
Riding it for the first couple of times, plus the short highway run yesterday shows some fresh oil leaks from the pan covers, and more worryingly, some oil leaking from the front sparkplug hole.
I might be being paranoid, but there also seems to be a slight knocking sound/feeling from the front head (or front end of the bike) when accelerating / decelerating (nb steering head has fresh bearings). Somewhat similar to the knocking / vibrations experienced when the timing is fully advanced and you attempt to accelerate from low speed in a high gear.
The state of the heads seems to indicate that they probably deserve a rebuild for holding together all these years anyway, but I would like to know if anyone can tell me what the usual cause for the oil leak from the sparkplug might be, and whether the leaks from the pan covers shouldbe of great concern?
Thanks in advance,

S.



Cotten
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#2

Post by Cotten » Mon Oct 20, 2003 12:34 pm

S!
It is not uncommon for a machine that has set idle for a while to fill its motorcases with sumped oil. When started, it can push this oil up past the rings and even out the exhaust pipe if there much wear.
The easiest solution is to ride the machine often.

DuoDave
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#3

Post by DuoDave » Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:36 pm

Whether or not the oil leaks from your pan covers are a problem depends on how bad they are and how fussy you are about the appearance of your bike. Me, I hate oil leaks (so why did I buy a panhead?). They are all fixable though. H-D used an obsolete thread form for the pan cover bolts, tapped direct in to the alloy heads. They strip very easily if excesive force is used. There isn't enough meat in this area to tap out oversize. If you are going to work on your heads anyway, it is worthwhile to get a helicoil set and re thread all the cover bolt holes. Use thick gaskets and new bolts and just nip up the cover bolts. The oil leak from the plug hole could be oil tracking up around a steel insert, or maybe just a faulty sealing washer. Tried a different plug? The knocking sound could be anything from a loose head steady to worn big ends. Try the stethescope trick to see if you can pin it down.

suicideshovel65
Posts: 105
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#4

Post by suicideshovel65 » Mon Oct 20, 2003 6:20 pm

Hi all,

I believe I've cleared the bike of a fair bit of sumped oil - there are pools of it soaked into the parking area of my apartment area (sorry neighbours), and on the floor of my local bike shop...not to mention trails between both. Also a whole transmission's worth of oil there as well!
I guess the main message here is not to panic unless the leaks are chronic, but I'll try to get a round to sorting the heads some time soon. Bought a helicoil kit already in preparation for that aspect.

Thanks for the replies,

S.

49oldschool
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#5

Post by 49oldschool » Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:21 pm

Hey ss65, thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I had the same problem with oil leaking from the pans myself, along with the previously mentioned heli-coil fix for the threads in the head, I was told to use the thicker D-rings inslead of the cheaper thin ones and it worked like a charm.

Good Luck....................49 old school

dereborn
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#6

Post by dereborn » Mon Oct 20, 2003 9:55 pm

It took me 2 years to realise that if i put more oil than just enough in the gearbox, she'd spit it out again! Main shaft seal seems almost impossible.... Guess it's part of the charm with our ol' ladies, to get to know their every single personality!

DuoDave
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#7

Post by DuoDave » Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:15 pm

You've got that right, Dereborn. With only one summer of riding the Pan behind me, I am only just starting on the learning curve. I found the same with my gearbox. I just can't see how the mainshaft is supposed to seal. I guess H-D realised that, as they later fitted an oil seal. On my police model oil tank, if I fill above the refill mark on the dipstick the oil goes straight out the breather. It is not just H-Ds though. My Norton Commando oil tank behaves in exactly the same way. The Japanese might tell you this is bad engineering, but we know it's "character"!

dereborn
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#8

Post by dereborn » Wed Oct 22, 2003 4:20 pm

Is that the reason why the stick is marked "refill" and "danger"!? As long as "danger" is avoided , I guess everything's ok!

junker
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#9

Post by junker » Thu Oct 23, 2003 1:24 am

you might want to check out the oil pump ball spring.if it is weak or has been sitting for a while it may not be seating thight when you shut the engine off.and filling the motor with oil.it will find a way out.

53rigidrider
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#10

Post by 53rigidrider » Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:42 am

My first thought about the excessive pan leaks was the same as others have mentioned. I haven't caught what kind of Pan you got, and if it has a newer (S&S) oil pump on it. Sometimes the higher volume of oil from a newer pump doesn't drain off as quickly unless the drain passages were oversized too. On the sparkplug leak, if it isn't the plug washer, check for a hairline crack. ( I hope that's not it)
Just my 2 cents worth.

suicideshovel65
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#11

Post by suicideshovel65 » Fri Oct 24, 2003 2:18 am

Will check everything listed here - I have a feeling that it is the plug itself as when I removed it to take a look-see, it wasn't as tight as it should be.
I don't know whether the shop didn't tighten it, or whether it loosened through vibration (I've never seen that happen before), but I was surprised to see oil actually in the combustion chamber to that extent.
BTW I'm on a '49 pan in a '58 duo frame. Has the original oil pump.

Cheers!

S.

57stroker
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#12

Post by 57stroker » Fri Oct 24, 2003 4:10 am

When I got my heads, they had stripped, broken and mixed sizes of bolts in the valve covers. It seems that if I remember correctly, the tap size for the heli-coil is pretty big. On a couple of my valve cover holes (the corners I think) there just wasn't enough room. I made all mine 1/4 - 20. (1/4" is still smaller than the heli-coil tap.) This isn't a real good solution, because then you need to drill the valve covers and the D-rings. (Chrome D-rings are a real pain to drill thru.) If I had it to do over, I would drill and tap the bad holes in the heads 1/4 - 20 and make aluminum threaded plugs. Then, red locktite those in and drill and tap them back to the original size. The original odd-ball sized tap is still available if you look around for it. Good Luck!

Cotten
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Re: Mechanical troubleshooting request

#13

Post by Cotten » Fri Oct 24, 2003 2:02 pm

There is no need to go to oversized screws. In fact, the more fastener stress, the more you distort things.
Face it, pan covers leak because they aren't flat!
(Try inking up the flanges and then scuffing them on a sheet of emery....you will be disappointed at how wavy gravy even brand new ones are.)
Grind the flanges flat on a large disc sander, use a good sealer, and you won't even need a reinforcing ring ('49s didn't come with any!).

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