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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just changed the oil on the 1200 I'm reviving, and when I started the engine to heat it up before draining the oil there was heavy, grey smoke from somewhere down on the left front side of the engine. The smoke came almost instantly when I cranked the engine, so I suspect the starter is full of carbon powder from the brushes. But before I disassemble and clean it (the starter spins the engine easily so it appears to be fine) - are there any other known sources for smoke in this area of the bike? It was hard to see exactly where the smoke came from.
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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Gray/blue smoke is usually oil. The shift shaft seal has probably failed and left a good supply for the exhaust headers to burn off. Should be very easy to see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no oil leak. Besides, the smoke came almost instantly when I hit the starter button, long before the headers got warm.
 

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1985 GL1200 A
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I'd check if your front left exhaust pipe (as you sit on the bike) is loose or has a failed compression ring gasket. It's normal if you park on the side stand for some smoke on the left side on startup and if it can get out right there, it would be immediate, just as you describe.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tip, I will check the header. The bike is parked on the center stand though. But I can hear a leak somewhere in the left header, so this could very well be the problem.
 

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I think you were right to start with. Dirty starter, bad connections inside, high heat from resistance. Dirty starters can smoke a lot. Mine is due for a cleaning and new brushes. Betcha

Scott
 

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I too vote for checking the shift shaft seal............on my 1500 it takes mere seconds to start sending great reams of grey smoke out the left side.

Easy repair, cheap part............

T.
 

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I too vote for checking the shift shaft seal...
Oh sh!t if I'd known this was election I'd have brought my voters card.:ROFL:
But yes I agree with burning oil on the header pipes.
 

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I'm an eye witness to the smoke from the starter and have narrowed it down on my bike. It's not a lot of smoke, just very concentrated and it has that "electric" smell.;)

Scott
 

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An oil leak (smoke) would be very unusual on a GL1200 motor (block made in Japan) wouldn't it?...if it turned over fine, probs not starter?..any new paint (or other product) on your "revived" bike not heat resistant? ...did it do it before you did work on it? ...and would smoke come from the exhaust if it was a ring issue and not the engine itself?,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It did come from the exhaust. I found a hole in the left header, and this is where the smoke came from. I think the starter is OK.

So what's the common cause for oil in the combustion chamber on a GL1200? Valve stem seals or piston rings? The bike is always parked on the center stand.
 

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Hi joska, as I understand it, on a 1200 (or maybe all horizontally opposed bike engines?) if you stop and immediately park on the sidestand, this will "trap" oil and at next fire will cause this very issue. If I am correct, and have done this, the trick is to keep the bike upright for a short while (10-20 secs?) before getting off and putting on the centrestand.(this allows oil to drain back down to...well,.. wherever it should drain back down to!)..
There will be a knowledgeable rider to reply soon with more "tekkie" details I am sure, but at this point, I would say it is a normal GL1200....please correct me if I am wrong.

Cheers,
Peter.
 

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Still, bet your starter smokes a bit!!! :raspberry:

Scott
 

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1987 GL1200 Interstate
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Groutby.
All GL12 motors after '84 were built in Ohio.

Joska.
Oil level too high can cause oil in the combustion chamber. You say you just changed the oil...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It also smoked when I started it up to warm up the engine prior to the oil change. The oil-level is fine according to the dip-stick.
 

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Just keep checking the oil. If it's a valve seal, no big emergency unless you can't keep plugs in it or the oil consumption is intolerable.

Scott
 

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I'm going to try some VersaChem Exhaust & Crack Sealer on my sons CB750C. It has some very small holes developing. If it works I'll patch up a few of my own. It'd be nice if we could go to the discount muffler shop and get new exhausts for cheap.

Scott
 

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For there to be smoke there has to be heat. Only time I've ever seen smoke from a starter was when it was burning up from high resistance. There would be a strong smell of electrical wires burning. A 1200 is an old bike. Even if you do keep it on the centerstand, the cylinders are horizontal, and some oil can get into the combustion chamber. Over several decades, most likely both the rings, cylinder walls, and valve guide seals are worn. A hole in the exhaust would only cause grey smoke around the hole on startup if there were oil in the combustion chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
There's no doubt aboil the oil in the combustion chamber. Also, the smoke disappears quickly so I'm not really worried about this - yet. I think the problem is that the bike had been left in a garage for five years without any use before I bought it. The valve stem seals has probably dried out and been slightly damaged when the previous owner started it after it's five year long hiatus.

I will not worry about this problem for now, but monitor oil consumption and smoke when I've started using the bike.
 

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Groutby.
All GL12 motors after '84 were built in Ohio.

Joska.
Oil level too high can cause oil in the combustion chamber. You say you just changed the oil...

Mine is a 1985 and has been chromed up with accessories. However, I remember seeing stamped on the engine "Made in Japan". Motor and drive train anyway. Bike was supposed to have been assembled in Ohio.
 
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