Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 12:53 pm Thread Starter
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Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

I'm looking for some immediate good advise for my situation. I rode the bike a couple of days ago during temps in the low 30's after it had sat for nearly a month. This morning I wanted to take her out for another jaunt and I noticed that my poor girl was sick and dripping oil from the area of the center stand plate. She's always left on the center stand in the garage.

I didn't remove any plastic, but I was able to look under her carriage and I see that the oil appears to be coming from just behind the oil pan and it looks wet all the way up along the right side of the housing where the transmission attaches to the engine. There were oil drops hanging from both of the forward bolts that hold the protection plate onto the oil pan and the top of the protection plate was wet with oil as well.

My dilemma: I need to travel in a few days and I felt it was best to drain the oil from the engine as it seems that this was the main source of the garage floor contaminant. Is it okay to let the engine/bike sit for a little more than a month with very little lubricant inside? I don't have time to attack the cause of the issue right now.
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Chad Albrecht
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post #2 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 1:58 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Afraid so Chad, The oil blows by the Oring and into the clutch housing. I would not worry about the internal engine. You have some work to do when you return.

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post #3 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 4:35 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Won't hurt a thing to drain the oil. There is a huge set of threads on I-BMW.com on how to fix this. I have the special tools needed ready to lend, you pay the postage each way. In the tools is a new Viton Oring for your use no charge. The dealer will be glad to do this for about $1500. But the price goes up, your in there and will need to think about changing out all your transmission seals too. And any other wear parts. Between Clymer and the ibmw threads you can do it yourself but it is a big job. 20 hrs if you move along, 30 if your like me and look at everything....intake orings, throttle body seals, crankcase vent line, throttle cables. The bike really has to come apart to do this job. You will end up putting in new clutch friction disk as this is a lot of oil. You also need to check your clutch drive plate and driven plate. If any slipping has been going on they probably are warped. So you see this can really add up. But once that Viton oring is in there your set for life. Most everyone changes the rear main seal too, but this is seldom the leak.

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post #4 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 5:31 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Letting it set without oil is no problem, but I recommend disconnecting the battery first. An ounce of prevention...............
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post #5 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 7:23 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey View Post
Letting it set without oil is no problem, but I recommend disconnecting the battery first. An ounce of prevention...............
Thanks for the confirmations. That's what I needed to know. And Dean, I expect that my battery will be dead upon my return. Only a miracle would make it last for more than 3 weeks without any outsider activity.

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post #6 of 17 Old Dec 29th, 2014, 11:25 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by cealbrecht View Post
Thanks for the confirmations. That's what I needed to know. And Dean, I expect that my battery will be dead upon my return. Only a miracle would make it last for more than 3 weeks without any outsider activity.
It will be low but if you disconnect it not as bad as if you left it hooked up to the bike. When you get back a good smart charger should be on your list. It helps get that last bit of charge into the battery in many situations. I use one if I can't go for a multi hour ride every few days. This is a good one. Takes way too long to detail how a smart charger makes a huge difference but it does.
http://www.amazon.com/OptiMate-DUAL-...attery+charger

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post #7 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:09 am
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

I'm not convinced that your engine oil leak is coming from the rear main seal. Or from within the clutch housing.
I would be sure, before unshipping the gearbox.

Have you drilled a weep hole at the bottom of the clutch housing?
If not, I would do that first & see what (if anything) comes out.

Your photo shows oil between the housing & the rear crank case, I believe that area is cast (not a split line).
Leak could be from on top of the engine. (Cracked crank case breather, for instance).

Rand & Susan Hawksworth
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Last edited by rhawk; Dec 30th, 2014 at 11:10 am. Reason: Edit
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post #8 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:18 am
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

I don't think that you should drain the engine oil until you are ready to replace it.
If you do, it won't hurt it... But I strongly suggest that you put a tag on your ignition key that says "engine oil drained! Do not start!"

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post #9 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:22 am
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Chad, I am not going to be much help about fixing your bike but I can tell you about mine.
I got the pretty oil leak also, dripping out and running down the center stand. Makes a mess when you go for a ride. And it started three or four years ago. I do not have the ability to DIY on something like this so I keep ridding her. I know that the clutch will someday go but if I had the bike stripped down to fix a little seal, I would probably want to look around at all the other parts and wonder if it's time. The clutch is one of the items I would "want" to replace, even if it's still working.

I park my bike on the centerstand on a piece of old carpet to keep the garage floor clean.
When I change the oil, I drain out 3+ quarts and add around four. I have never had a low oil light come on.

I am NOT telling you to keep ridding her and everything will be OK. I am just saying that "I" am going to keep ridding until my clutch goes and then worry about it. Other then a mess on the lower back of the bike, I am not causing any more damage.

"BONES" <///><
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post #10 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:26 am
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Draining engine oil is not needed. It does not leak (more) when bike is standing idle. Of course the oil in the clutch housing seeks its way out but no more will be entered there (and the oil possibly in clutch housing won't come out when draining the engine) when bike is standing still. Most likely the leak is not the main seal but the O-ring.

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post #11 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 4:19 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Thanks everyone. I will update the thread again this spring when I have some time to invest in troubleshooting. She's never dropped any oil before, so this a new one for me. It's definitely oil and it wasn't a little spot, but more like a small puddle.

Thanks again for the advise and offer of tooling, etc. I love this forum.

Wish me luck and keep Tickets in your prayers....

Have a safe and happy New Year.

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post #12 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 4:47 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Chad,
One question before you go....
Do you have the weep hole in the clutch housing?
Just a curiosity.

Rand & Susan Hawksworth
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post #13 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 5:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhawk View Post
Chad,
One question before you go....
Do you have the weep hole in the clutch housing?
Just a curiosity.
No. I may be wishing that I did.....

We will see.

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post #14 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 5:50 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Start there.
Good luck to you Buddy.

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post #15 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 7:38 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

I sent Chad this link:
GregRS's journey into seal territory - I-BMW.com
This is for any other readers out there facing the same problem. The oil generally shows up as a stain on the right side of the bike at the engine/transmission/adapter piece junction.
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post #16 of 17 Old Dec 30th, 2014, 8:59 pm
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Even though the transmission to intermediate case joint is not sealed it will hold at least a pint of oil! I found this out when I pulled the transmission on CWO's bike a few weeks ago. I did not think it would hold that much, and was not expecting to see oil pour out.

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post #17 of 17 Old May 6th, 2015, 10:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Oil leak - I think it's the rear main seal

Just an update: I think my leak was coming from the timing chain cover in the front. I tightened all the screws on the cover and just about everything else that could leak. Then I added some engine sealant goop from Wal-mart. After riding around for a while, I noticed the puddles getting smaller and smaller. They have now stopped and there still seems to be adequate oil remaining in the engine. I'm coming due for another oil change soon, and I think I will go another round with the engine sealant for my own sanity. I'll let you know if she starts marking her territory again.

I want to thank everyone for the advice and especially for the kind offer of specialized tooling. Thank you, thank you.
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