Jump to content

Help finding oil leak


Recommended Posts

Rode my '99 (50k miles on it) home from work on Monday and discovered it was dripping oil on the garage floor immediately. Left a puddle maybe 1/4-quart size on the floor overnight!

 

I pulled the fairings and gas tank off last night knowing that the rear valve cover gasket has been slightly weeping for a while now, but that didn't look like the cause. Probably long overdue for a valve adjustment anyway so I plan on pulling it all apart. 

 

When I got the fairings off I discovered that something had been *spraying* oil somewhere below the front head exhaust outlets. The lower coolant hose was wet, the insides of the lower fairings were wet, and the starter is soaked. It's wet enough that my only worry is if I just start cleaning it off I won't be able to see where the leak is coming from, but I also can't pinpoint anything now. The front valve cover gasket is still fairly clean and most of the oil was below the head, so I don't think it's the valve cover. 

 

Any ideas, and has anybody seen a leak like this? I'll keep pulling it apart to see what I find. Also looks like my coolant bottle has overflowed or leaked before. 😢

 

Thanks in advance for any help!

 

vfr-oil-leak - 1.jpeg

vfr-oil-leak - 2.jpeg

vfr-oil-leak - 3.jpeg

vfr-oil-leak - 4.jpeg

vfr-oil-leak - 5.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Have a good look at the oil filter. There may be a chance that the oil filter is not tight enough OR the latest filter has been accidentally fitted with a double seal!

The previous filter when removed can leave its seal stuck to the filter boss, fitting a new oil filter without seeing this will mean a double seal which can eventually fail leaving oil everywhere. 

Also check both oil cooler lines and seals.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Use some baby powder to sprinkle on it . It will show where the leak is quickly as it sticks to the oil spot . Maybe clean it off first and run for a few minutes . Easy to clean off after . 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

My experience with double gaskets on the filter was on 1st start as soon as pressure built oil was spraying everywhere.  It wasn't the slightest bit subtle - but that was just mine, you never know.    Regardless, if it were mine I would first get it on the c-stand and be sure you have adequate oil in the sump.    Then, wearing some safety glasses or better yet a face shield, start it up and observe what's going on.  With that much oil about it should make itself readily apparent.  If you can't find anything, then you might clean it - maybe pressure wash, then run it some more and using either paper towel or kleenex run it over suspect surfaces such as the oil lines and see if oil shows up on the towel.  If you have a slight leak that has added up over time that may not be visually apparent that should get it.

 

Also, have a look at your cam cover gasket bolts - IIRC the torque on those is 9 ft-lbs. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Filter seems likely. Clean everything and run it again. Safety wire a hose clamp on there once you tighten it properly and run it. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

To trouble shoot an oil leak start by tracing the wet trail back to
its the highest point to determine the origin... if the origin is mid
cylinder then investigate a possible blow head gasket... take a
compression test to verify the effective cylinder...
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Looking at your pictures the oil starts higher than the filter & lower than the head the last pic shows the hard oil cooler line covered in oil, so thats my prime suspect. 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've also given an engine a real good bath / de-grease and let it air dry.  Then give it a bunch of good "poofs" of baby powder.  You'll see where the powder gets moist first. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

If it is the hard oil li es I did a thread a few years back about how to replace with armour hose. Good luck 👍

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update - I had some time to keep working on the bike today. Started and ran it for a bit, didn’t see oil coming out of anything. Then I spent a while degreasing the whole lower front of the engine and washed it off. Got it reasonably clean, then started the bike back up and let it come up to about 220 degrees to dry. Guess what, no visible leak! 

 

So I’m stumped at what was leaking enough to puddle on the floor when I can’t see any oil on the front of the engine now. The oil cooler lines look good, no rust or significant corrosion, but were slightly weepy where the hard line meets the flex fitting on the right side of the block. The oil filter looked pretty dry all around its seal, so I think that’s safe too.

 

Now, I just bought this bike back from the guy I sold it to a couple of years ago. The oil level is currently a bit above the “full” mark — there’s not an overflow mechanism, is there? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

How hard did you run it?  If it's a small crack in the cooler line, may need more pressure than idle to come out.  I do agree with Mohawk, that sure looks like the most likely culprit.  Also looks like your right side cooler line is new-ish, and the left one is older?  But the oil spray is right side, so...

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Other question is, is this the first time you saw oil puddling and took the fairings off since getting the bike back?  Sort of a chance that cooler line was replaced and the bike was left mucky for sale, hence no further leaks.  But I'd ask...the two lines sure look different to me, so something was done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

The crank sensor rubber gasket leaks on all 800's I've seen up close. Its on the top of the right side engine cover at the base of the V with a cable coming out. If your oil level is to high it will leak. But this usually only causes damp oil stain along top of gasket line then down right front of the crankcases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer
13 hours ago, Mohawk said:

The crank sensor rubber gasket leaks on all 800's I've seen up close. Its on the top of the right side engine cover at the base of the V with a cable coming out. If your oil level is to high it will leak. But this usually only causes damp oil stain along top of gasket line then down right front of the crankcases.

Good point Mohawk. A close look at photo 2 shows the oil level sight glass, its well overfilled and this is after the  discovery of the leak. Seems like a very overfilled oil scenario.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Grum said:

Good point Mohawk. A close look at photo 2 shows the oil level sight glass, its well overfilled and this is after the  discovery of the leak. Seems like a very overfilled oil scenario.

Definitely was overfilled. I'll drain and refill and go from there. It was damp around that sensor for sure. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

Can also siphon a little out the filler if that is easier. It has been for me when I've bought bikes that the previous owner overfilled. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer
  • Member Contributer

That is more complicted than mine. I just ordered a set of 20ml and 60ml of these. I've been using the 60ml ones for years. They last a LOT longer if you wash them with dishsoap after each use to degrease them and preserve the rubber. I've used ~4 over 20+ years. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Measuring-Measurement-Scientific-Applicator/dp/B083K9CTDJ/ref=sr_1_18?crid=3VZFC651IQDT0&keywords=35%2Bml%2Bsyringe&qid=1647816658&sprefix=35%2Bml%2Bsyringe%2Caps%2C87&sr=8-18&th=1

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bmart said:

That is more complicted than mine. I just ordered a set of 20ml and 60ml of these. I've been using the 60ml ones for years. They last a LOT longer if you wash them with dishsoap after each use to degrease them and preserve the rubber. I've used ~4 over 20+ years. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Plastic-Measuring-Measurement-Scientific-Applicator/dp/B083K9CTDJ/ref=sr_1_18?crid=3VZFC651IQDT0&keywords=35%2Bml%2Bsyringe&qid=1647816658&sprefix=35%2Bml%2Bsyringe%2Caps%2C87&sr=8-18&th=1

 

Brilliant. I didn't think of that, but I've got a pack of syringes in my garage already that'll work just fine! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer
9 hours ago, bmart said:

Can also siphon a little out the filler if that is easier. It has been for me when I've bought bikes that the previous owner overfilled. 

+1 bmart.

 

I am lucky to have an independent shop that I can walk home from. The mechanic is a former long time Honda dealer tech. But...he is getting closer to retirement, and last May I had a "leak" on the RC-51 which I could not diagnose, a week after returning from the shop. Got a siphon out, and this is what it took to get the oil level down to the top marker on the glass eye:

 

IMG_6232.thumb.JPG.c95efbd666d318f68466089697df8f3e.JPG

 

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member Contributer

I have a spreadsheet of specs for all of the vehicles. In the oil section I note the position of the bike when checking, such as cold-sidestand, warm-center stand, and warm-hold bike upright. It matters a lot. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.