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oil pressure drops to zero after 75 or 80 miles.

ok guys, I need your expertise.

I just got my bike out after sitting for 2 years. I pulled the carbs and rebuilt them, completely. I installed new spark plugs, new battery, new air filter, new oil filter and new oil. 10W 40 (4 cycle motorcycle oil), set the valve clearances, set the timing, and vacuum synched the 4 carbs to within a 1/2 inch of each other.

The bike ran pretty sweet. Oil pressure was between 50 and 65 lbs. (I have a pressure gauge and a light.) I went 40 miles down to a girlfriends place. I waited over night and drove home. I got 3 blocks from home and the oil light came on. I looked at the gauge and it read zero... revving it up and the needle sat there dead.

I changed the oil and filter again. There was tiny metalic sparkle on the oil filter. less than a teaspoon worth. So with brand new oil and a new oil filter, again I started it. It was back to normal.

I took it for another run... I went again 30 miles with no problem. The next morning I went 20 miles with no problem.... parked it for 3 hours. ... then drove the bike the last 10 miles to home. and again I got 8 blocks from home, and the oil pressure light came on and I was at zero pressure.

So twice after approximately 70 to 80 miles... the oil pressure drops to zero.

Right now its parked until I can diagnose this problem and fix it.

I've never heard of an oil pump being intermittant. It's either working or not working so this has me stumped. Anybody ever heard of this type of thing before? All insight is appreciated. I love my baby and I would hate to have to part it out but if the repair is too expensive, I'll have to. Its got 266,000 miles and I am the third owner.



G. Ray Glenn Sr.
GWRRA #276679
1980 GL1100 Interstate
266,000 + miles
Seattle Wa.
 

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Gregarious Greeter
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Oil sending unit? Worth a check.
 

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might check the oil pickup screen. JB
 

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The Irish Crew
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Have you got the oil gauge and oem oil light running off the same point? If so it might just be a faulty gauge or switch. If they are picking up from different points then you have a genuine pressure problem.
 

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Yeah, I'd check the screen first thing too. Especially with that many miles on it. If you see metallic particles when draining, I bet the screen holds some goodies for you.

I've checked mine at least...... Well, never.
 

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UPDATE ....

It took a few days before I could tear into it due to weather and other real life considerations. [I don't have a garage and I can only work in my parking lot.]

So I figured to do another complete oil change with the pickup screen investigation.

I checked my Clymer book & I found out that I was missing a step. [Clymer Honda GL1000 & 1100 Fours pg 25 step 10] After draining the oil and removing the filter... (before you add new oil or filter.) you are also supposed to pull the pickup screen for cleaning.

Which is what the wonderful gurus here recommended. Thanks guys and gals.

This job on my 1980 GL1100 Interstate is a lot harder than they describe. It also entails removing the whole exhaust system, removing the engine crash bars, the drivers floorboards and the fairings front skirting. Making the whole oil change about 6 hours of work for a handicapped person like me. There are 4 bolts on the pickup screen cover plate. 3 bolts are easy to get to with a socket and ratchet but one is hidden behind the engine mount. The one bolt of course is very difficult to get to. I also had to buy a special wrench for it... I used a 6 sided 8MM brake wrench to break the frozen bolt free and then an open wrench to get it loose. I actually used the bolt as a screw jack to flex the frame away from the engine as I was loosening it. Then I used a 24 inch crow bar to flex the frame away from the engine to finally get it out. When I pulled the screen out, it was NOT clogged but when I shoved my finger into the crankcase and used my finger as a squeegee I scooped out a lot of crud that was being picked up by the pickup screen. About 4 tablespoons of tiny metalic particles. So the warmer the oil and the longer the engine ran the more crud was being picked up and the more the pickup screen was being clogged until it would reach a point where the screen was fully blocked and I had zero oil pressure.

I wouldn't do this job every time, but every two years or so might be wise to head off any potential problems. The problem now is that I have no idea when the pickup screen was last cleaned. I've had the bike 8 yrs and I know that I never cleaned it. So this might have been the first time its ever been pulled and cleaned.

I have to go for a test ride now.... but the initial start and check seemed to be pretty normal. So I'll report back in a few days if I have any further problems.

Thanks folks for pointing me in the right direction.

So if you see a 300 lbs, 52 yr old kid,
with a big grin on his face,
go by on a black and red GW at over 60 mph ....
it's me>
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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UPDATE TO THE UPDATE

AKA DEATH OF A GOLDWING

Ok so I took it out for a few errands.... gas, bank, car wash to get all my grimey fingerprints off of it. and then I thought I would grab a bite to eat and stopped at McDonalds. When I came out and tried to start the bike, it wouldn’t start and when I got off the bike this is what I saw ....

a cracked alternator cover, with a hole big enough to stick my hand into.

I'm not sure but I think starter chain kickback may have caused that. I tried to post a picture but it wont let me paste one into this reply.

So I need to figure out if this is fixable or do I part out the rest of the bike and start over with a new used bike.

Any advice or help is appreciated... thanks folks.

that 300 lbs kid aint smilin anymore. :(
 

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Not to be funny, but I guess you found where the metal filings were coming from. Something's been loose inside the motor and it finally went south...

3 options really. Buy another beater bike cheap with low miles and a decent running motor and swap out all the parts from your bike over to the new bike.

Or buy a good used motor and put it in your bike.

Or rebuild your motor. The other 2 options are much easier for most people.

I understand some states record frame and engine serial number, so be careful when swapping motors.
 
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