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It'll happen quick, drape a clean rag over the plug holes. You may even want to mark the rag as to which plug hole it covers. Hit the start button, then go search for the rags, they will fly quite a distance! Look for coolant marks when found.
That is a great idea. I can tell you how not to do it also. I suspected a particular cylinder on a V8 and thought that it might be good to have a little light on the plug hole when cranked over. Well, there was lots of water in the cylinder that came flying out. Broke the light bulb and shocked the pi$$ out of me and blew water on my face. Made the guys laugh. That is not the right way! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
so i had the chance to do the rag test after letting her sit a couple days. I pulled out the spark plugs and they seemed healthy, they were just moderately covered in gas. then i did the rag test and NOTHING! just air came out. I put the plugs back in and i started her up. just a bit of smoke/steam came out again. I took her out for a long ride, and I intentionally did a lot of stop and go riding to make her angry and overheat. She decided to stay mellow and calm and the heat gauge only ever went about half way at the worst. I came back home and parked her and just a tad bit more smoke/ steam came out again and that was it. I then checked the coolant overflow tank and it was still good. all went pretty smooth. I don't know what to say....maybe she was just throwing a temporary fit? anyhow, I will keep my eye on her for any other suspicious activity. I also will try to do the leakdown test!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
That's wishful thinkin', me thinks.

How's the coolant level in the radiator? (not the overflow bottle)
yeah i feel the same way unfortunately. I didnt get a chance to check the rad since it was sundown and didnt wanna start wrenching then, but i shall tomorrow. when I open the cap tomorrow, should i instantly see coolant? maybe i should drain it all out to check if its mixed with oil?
 

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If the rubber hose between the cap and the overflow bottle has a crack in it, the radiator will overflow when it gets hot, but suck air back instead of antifreeze when it cools down.

Had that happen to a 1994 ST1100 that I bought, the guy said 'it seems to overheat".

Replaced that hose with a new one, and all was well.
Make sure the outlet at the radiator cap neck is open, and not plugged with debris.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
If the rubber hose between the cap and the overflow bottle has a crack in it, the radiator will overflow when it gets hot, but suck air back instead of antifreeze when it cools down.

Had that happen to a 1994 ST1100 that I bought, the guy said 'it seems to overheat".

Replaced that hose with a new one, and all was well.
Make sure the outlet at the radiator cap neck is open, and not plugged with debris.
hey all! i think I have confirmation now! i went outside to check on her to find a tiny puddle of coolant DIRECTLY under the head. Maybe the rubber hose between the cap and overflow tank has a crack and it dripped from there, but that seems unlikely since i have been having smoke/steam come out my exhaust. would this be considered confirmation? I will check my rad cap and hose anyway for more info, but i have the feeling this is conclusive. Now, if it IS indeed my head, the great news is that i have done this repair before already so it wont be my first rodeo. That being said I have a few questions for y'all. 1) would any of those liquid gasket sealer products be useful in the meantime until the new mother gasket comes in the mail? 2) when i start doing repairs, should I keep posting in this forum, or in the one i made for my last head repair? 3) If it is my head that is blow, why did this happen? is there any other possible reason besides improper installation?
 

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If you have water coming out from between the block and head that is head gasket confirmation and no sealer etc. will help. Just park it and fix it. If you did not use OEM gaskets that might be the reason for premature failure. That is assuming the head and block are flat. Also torque the heads with a known good torque wrench to the proper torque and toorque in order. Make sure the block and head are clean and dry when you put the head on. No sealers or silicone etc.
One other cause of head gasket failures is getting hot for any reason. A small leak that is not repaired and coolant gets low slowly until one day it overheats and blows the head gaskets. Always keep and eye on the bikes life blood. That is all fluids. Don't trust the reservoir height. Check both the res and the radiator. If the res hose has an air leak the res can be full and the radiator empty. When bikes get this old they need extra TLC to survive.
 

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Something I would add to Redwing's list is to smear a light layer of moly paste to the head bolt threads and under the head bolt flanges.
 
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Discussion Starter #33
Good thing we don't get that way.
:ROFL:

Something I would add to Redwing's list is to smear a light layer of moly paste to the head bolt threads and under the head bolt flanges.
I did this on the last repair, I just fear I failed to torque them accordingly because i was scared of snapping the bolt head off and would have been REALLY bad!! this time around I will torque them a bit more, I just hope I don't snap the bolts :frown2:
 

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I did this on the last repair, I just fear I failed to torque them accordingly because i was scared of snapping the bolt head off and would have been REALLY bad!! this time around I will torque them a bit more, I just hope I don't snap the bolts :frown2:
Do you have a quality torque wrench and a manual?
.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
i have a manual and a cheap torque wrench. I will get a quality one soon. I wonder if i should do the other head as well, as i probably failed to torque them right too. i know not to fix what isnt broken but o would hate to do this a third time a month after I finish this repair... i think this one through
 

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Change 'em both. I can't think of a root cause (bad parts, low coolant, inaccurate tools, missed procedures, etc) that would affect only one side.
 

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Jumping into this post late I would like to give some very good advice. Not knowing if it is a 1100,1200,1500,1800 you are talking about I'm thinking they all had aluminum heads. Aluminum heads are very prone to warping especially after overheating. I have seen it time and time again over the years guy's wrenching on their own bikes throwing a set of gaskets on a engine only to have the same problem when finished. My policy in my shop is any engine striped down for any reason will have the parts sent out to the machine shop for resurfacing before it gets put back together. From the sounds of it you have had this head overheat more than once. Not good! I don't care whose gaskets you use, whose torque wrench you use, if that head is warped it will not seat properly. It's your call but if it was me doing the job I would send the head out for resurfacing before assembly. Good luck.
 

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After reading both of your threads I suggest to you that if you won't follow the advjce given here you need to take your bike to a qualified mechanic. You made the decision to not properly torque the bolts....well duh! One of the most important parts of the repair and elect not to do it. Stop assuming and do the repair correctly. By the book or you will be on your third rodeo. That said... Good luck to you for the bikes sake.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Jumping into this post late I would like to give some very good advice. Not knowing if it is a 1100,1200,1500,1800 you are talking about I'm thinking they all had aluminum heads. Aluminum heads are very prone to warping especially after overheating. I have seen it time and time again over the years guy's wrenching on their own bikes throwing a set of gaskets on a engine only to have the same problem when finished. My policy in my shop is any engine striped down for any reason will have the parts sent out to the machine shop for resurfacing before it gets put back together. From the sounds of it you have had this head overheat more than once. Not good! I don't care whose gaskets you use, whose torque wrench you use, if that head is warped it will not seat properly. It's your call but if it was me doing the job I would send the head out for resurfacing before assembly. Good luck.
I made sure they were resurfaced right last time, i took my time and put the ruler against it at all angles to make sure no sunlight was visible etc. perhaps i missed something, but I will take it to the shop if i can afford it.

After reading both of your threads I suggest to you that if you won't follow the advjce given here you need to take your bike to a qualified mechanic. You made the decision to not properly torque the bolts....well duh! One of the most important parts of the repair and elect not to do it. Stop assuming and do the repair correctly. By the book or you will be on your third rodeo. That said... Good luck to you for the bikes sake.
dingdong, I did not intentionally torque the heads wrong, i just suspect it as a possibility as the wrench I was using was not of the best quality looking back. unfortunately there are no mechanics in my area willing to even tough my bike as it is
considered "vintage". The only shop that would consider my bike just had their antique bike man quit, so now i'm all on my own. even if he still worked there, there is absolutely no way I can afford taking it to a mechanic, which is why i'm doing this all on my own in the first place. That being said, even if i fail time after time, i will get back up and keep trying well into my 6th or 7th rodeo if i need to. I will learn and I will conquer.
 

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I made sure they were resurfaced right last time, i took my time and put the ruler against it at all angles to make sure no sunlight was visible etc. perhaps i missed something, but I will take it to the shop if i can afford it.



dingdong, I did not intentionally torque the heads wrong, i just suspect it as a possibility as the wrench I was using was not of the best quality looking back. unfortunately there are no mechanics in my area willing to even tough my bike as it is
considered "vintage". The only shop that would consider my bike just had their antique bike man quit, so now i'm all on my own. even if he still worked there, there is absolutely no way I can afford taking it to a mechanic, which is why i'm doing this all on my own in the first place. That being said, even if i fail time after time, i will get back up and keep trying well into my 6th or 7th rodeo if i need to. I will learn and I will conquer.
That's why everyone is here so you can lean on them. We all learn together that way. :)
 
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