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A 1981 GL1100 with 35K miles. Never had any problems, never overheated. Would not crank over; checked starter and battery and all OK. Pulled all plugs and a small amount of water came out of one cylinder when cranking. I assume either (1) leaking head gasket, or (2), cracked head, or (3) cracked block. Hoping it is #1 (head gasket). No water vapor from exhaust and surge tank is full. After putting plugs back in machine started as usual and runs fine. After sitting for 12 hours, same problem. Solution?? Planning to pull valve cover and check head bolt torque but have no expectation this will solve anything. Changing head gasket looks like a job that might be beyond my capabilities. Has anyone ever tried some of the snake oil treatment like SteelSeal? They want $50 for a bottle but say it will not plug up the radiation. Barrs has a product for $10 or so but I understand there is a risk of plugging the radiation. Anybody ever used any of these products? Any success with them??? Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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I don't recommend the sealer.. this engine (and radiator) has many small passages that can become plugged.. and actually changing a head gasket on a 1100 is not a difficult jpb.. just time consuming with the cleanup.. There is lots of help here.. lots of reference material.. and ask 24/7.. someone is usually awake somewhere in the world..
 

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Hope in a can is all that stuff is good for. I think most stop leak additives are comprised of silicates which is exactly what you don't want to add to a GL.

Just pull the head and qualify what needs to be done. There ain't no free lunch and be grateful that it can be done sitting on a stool with everything exposed to easy reach.
 

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tcarr.1 wrote:
Changing head gasket looks like a job that might be beyond my capabilities.
I doubt that.

With the technical knowledge you've already shown - doing the head gasket will be easy-peasy lemon-squeezy for you!!!

Not kidding at all.

There's lots of support here for you as well as reference material should you have any questions.
 

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Which side? 1/3? 2/4??
 

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Sandiegobras asked "which side". Left side, forward, which I THINK is cylinder #2. Why, does it make a difference which cylinder has the problem? And by the way, my "technical knowledge" is from reading the Haynes Owners Workshop Manual, although I do have a nice shop and a full assortment of tools and being retired, lots of spare time to get into trouble dismanteling things. Reaqssembly has always been a problem with me, however.......
 

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tcarr.1 wrote:
Sandiegobras asked "which side". Left side, forward, which I THINK is cylinder #2. Why, does it make a difference which cylinder has the problem? And by the way, my "technical knowledge" is from reading the Haynes Owners Workshop Manual, although I do have a nice shop and a full assortment of tools and being retired, lots of spare time to get into trouble dismanteling things. Reaqssembly has always been a problem with me, however.......

Reason I asked is.... left side (2/4) is extremely easyif you are not doing the timing belts (which actually you should consider) You don't need to move the radiator forward (or remove) which is a PIA.

The left front timing cover can be removed without moving the radiator. (The right can't in most cases.) Then the belt can be loosened (can't be removed because it is captured at the crank), the carbs raised (but not removed) and the head is just a few blots away from being off..

If doing timing belts, you will have to move the radiator (or remove it) to get to the right side.. and might as well do both head gaskets at that point..

If you'd like more detailed instructions, I could post or PM.. Theonly point I'd emphasis at this timeis to have the engine atthe T1 timingmark before you begin..
.. and only OEM head gasket..
 

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Another twist in this situation: I screwed up my courage and laid out my tools, etc, and tried to psych myself up to start the head gasket project. Out of curiosity, I gave the bike one more chance to scab over and cure itself; hit the started and it fired right off! Obviously, no water had collected in the cylinder over the past 18 hours. How can this be? Earlier in the week it would refuse to start after setting for 2 or 3 hours, and removing the plug and cranking the engine blew small quantities of water out. Now, dry as a bone. Did it actually scab over and heal itself???? How can you have an intermittent leak in a head gasket? Possible, I suppose, but I am not knowledgeable enough about infernal combustion engines to hazard a guess. You guys know what you are talking about, so give me some advice. Tear the engine down anyway?
 

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I'm not sure about motorcycles, but I do know that with cars a head gasket can seem to heal itself as the water in the coolant evaporates, and the remaining gunk plugs the leak. This is rare, but it does happen.

I must add that when it does happen, it is NEVER permanent. It will just resurface soon. I looked into it, and the head gaskets and teardown required are not a big job. Especially with you being retired, you can work until you get aggravated or tired, and just call it quits and come back the next day. I wish I had such an advantage. :clapper:


Trevor
 

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I doubt that it "healed" itself... it will only get worse.. in the mean time, collect your parts and read your manual..

Keep an eye on it.. and keep in mind that hydrolock is hard on the hard parts too.. can bend rods, stretch bolts, etc...

and personally, I wouldn't trust Clymer, Haynes,etc... too many errors.. use the factory manual, particularly for '83 which has a few differences from the earlier years (although head gasket change is the same)
 
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