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Just got a bike, a restored 82 aspencade. My first one and am very excited, but I think my head gaskets are blown. Lots of smoke out the tail and bubbles in the reservoir. My only hesitation is that the smoke is coming out both pipes equally. What are the odds of blowing both gaskets?
 

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Welcome to the forum cobaandr

Sure sounds the way it happens. How many miles on the bike? (Profile has a spot for that)
The mufflers have a crossover tube that connect them together near the swingarm, that is why smoke/steam is coming out both pipes.
 

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The bike has about seventy thousand. It sat for three or four years before I got it. Sounds like I get to get to work. I am not too worried about the job but have only worked on cars, any advice or things to look for would be greatly appreciated.
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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Welcome to the forum.

Don't get ahead of yourself. It wouldn't surprise anyone for a GL to blow a headgasket, but do a leakdown test to make sure, and find out which side it is.

Ask the PO if they replaced the gaskets, and if they did, what kind of gaskets they used. Anything but OEM is just wasting yourtime and money.
 

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If you don't have the repair manual for it, that is #1.
Not a real hard job. There are lots of posts on doing the head gaskets. Do a forum search and read up on it. There is an oil oriface in the head to watch for and not loose.
 

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Lots of how's with pic and step by step here and ON NGW site
 

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Thanks for all the help and tips, the forum is awesome a great resource. Head gasket is in the mail should be here next week. Meantime I will keep doing my homework, I will let you know how it goes.
 

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I hope you ordered all the gaskets and orings associated with the headgasket. There used to be a set you could order but Honda mysteriously discontinued the sets.
 

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First run a compression check on it before you go to pulling it apart...Low compression,possible blown head gasket, weak on all cylinders,,that can be a major problem..
 

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While your at it, and since you'll be removing the radiator and timing belts and such go ahead and take the waterpump housing off and check the pump for any side to side play (even a little) to see if pump is bad because I had replaced head gaskets and found out only after the fact I also had a bad waterpump causing me to remove radiator again.
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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cobaandr wrote:
Thanks for all the help and tips, the forum is awesome a great resource. Head gasket is in the mail should be here next week. Meantime I will keep doing my homework, I will let you know how it goes.

I'm sorry, did I miss something? What steps did you take to determine it was the head gasket?

Who did you order the gaskets from?
 

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OK, I had a hard time finding a compression gauge that would fit the smaller spark plug size. Hard to find stuff where I live. I am getting around 90 pounds on all four cylinders. Way too low, not good. What should be my next step. With the plugs out coolant would spit out the holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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I got the gasket through a honda dealer near where I live. I probably overpaid but wanted to make sure I am getting the right thing. I might have jumped the gun ordering the part but I could not see anything that would not require me to pull the heads. What else could it be but a head gasket or something cracked, head or block?
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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An even 90 pounds across the board sounds more like testing a good motorwith thethrottle closed, or a defective gauge, than a reason to condemn an engine. Compression tests don't really tell you much.

If you are getting coolant into a cylinder, then of course you have a problem. Take the head off and start cleaning.

Which cylinder/side is leaking?
 

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I tested the compression with the motor just turning, not running at all. For a while it was not starting, I think there was too much coolant in the cylinders to get a good spark? Got it running, feels like there is tons of power, hard to tell with nothing to reference to but it is pretty quick. It is leaking on both sides which has me stumped.
 

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Leaking what on both sides? The important thing about the compression test is to check the difference between the cylinders. The gauge should show the same on all cylinders with around a 5psi difference. As already mentioned by Dennis if you crank the engine with the throttle closed the reading will be low. It's rare to find a 'Wing with poor compression so I don't think that's a problem with yours.

When you say smoke from the pipes what color is it? Coolant steam will be white, oil burning blue and overly rich mixture can emit black. Look at the business ends of your spark plugs if you see one or more with an unusually clean look, like it's been steam cleaned it probably has. Since the exhaust pipes are interconnected there could be a bad gasket on only one side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
White smoke out the tail and coolant coming out of the cylinders with the plugs out on both sides. It does not seem likely that both head gaskets would go bad. With good compression I don't know what else it could be.
 

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I cranked mine up Tuesday and am convinced that I have a head gasket problem on both sides. Of course the white cloud is apparent, but sometimes it hadn't even been visible upon cranking. However, the plugs look like I just stuck them in, one of the first signs. Also the distinct smell of expensive, Honda 2 antifreeze was in the air. I'm really disappointed in the price for a couple of head gaskets plus all of the others in between. I guess price gouging is a sign of the times though. I am going to buy the OEM's for the head gaskets but as for the rest, I may research a good alternative.
 

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If the conditions exist so that one head gasket is leaking, the other gasket has likely been exposed to the same conditions. What makes it so hard to believe that both might have failed? I would advise you to replace both even if one was leaking.

It's not very often you see both leak as 'gushers', but often when one is the obvious culprit, you can see evidence the other side has been 'sipping' too. On a bike that's been around nearly 30 years, I'd say replace all the rubber you can. I prefer the OEM stuff, even if it is more expensive.
 

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be sure to use good gaskets, dont ask me how i know
 
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