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Discussion Starter #1
Or at the very least cost me some big bux in repair bills :(

Here’s the scenario: I’ve had the bike for slightly over a year, it’s a 99 LT and currently has 53K, it had around 38K when I got it Nov of 06. I've had the oil changed out several times but nothing else done cep tires.

Last weekend I had some friends over to do a major tune up on it including a valve adjustment. The guy that helped me has done this 4 times prior (using the Gunsmoke method) and each time there were no problems with his machine or the others he has worked on. I got all the new parts, including oil pan gasket, filters, etc. I did the work while he guided me. I've owned airhead for years (since 76) and done work on them without a hitch so i know how to use turque wrenches, proper sequence for torquing head bolts and such but this is my first modern bike. Everything went well and we wound up swapping out 9 buckets that were too tight. Some we simply swapped around and 6 were replaced with new units. In three we had to go with slightly over on the lose side due to the .05 size limits on the bucket sizes. We got it all back together, torquing everything to spec and started her up and ran her for about 15-20 seconds and everything seemed fine. After they left I put the remaining tupperwear back on the next morning and on new years day I decided to go for a ride. On leaving out I noticed it smoking but since it had been on the side stand over night I wasn’t worried. About a ¼ mile down the road it was still smoking and when I stopped at a light a few blocks later I noticed a lot of smoke coming form the front of the engine and could smell hot oil. I quickly headed back home and when I parked her in the garage I noticed a puddle of oil form under the front of the engine. Damn Damn Damn!!!

After much cussing and being just generally bummed I started looking around and I discovered I had failed to replace the screw in the timing cover we had removed to hold the tensioner while removing and replacing the cam shafts! the oil on the back of the front fender confirmed that's where the oil was coming from so I replaced the screw and checked the oil level. I topped it off, which took around 2 thirds of a quart bringing the oil level in the sight glass to around half way between the bottom of the red circle and the center dot. Note that this was with the bike on the side stand. When I started her up the smoking stopped, even with revving it to around 3K a number of times.

Then last night I was cleaning up the oil around the bottom of the engine then I started her up again, and within 30 seconds it started smoking again plus spitting what seems to be rather a lot of water with flecks of black onto the garage floor and after a minute or so oil smoke started coming off the front of the engine again and I noticed more drops of oil on the floor which had not happened the day before. :confused: Even after running it for a good few minutes it still continued to smoke, rather a lot it seemed, and it just seemed to get worse.

So:
1: why would it have not smoked the day before and then started smoking out the tailpipe again lat night as well as drip more oil? It does seem logical, if its smoking because something went wrong with the work, it should be consistent. :confused: :confused:
and
2: do I risk the 30 mile ride to the dealer or have it transported there and have them tear it down? Which means I wind up paying the majority of the $1200 for a full service plus whatever other damage was done by my bone-headed desire to save myself the cost of having them do it in the first place.

And I still can’t figure out this oil level check business. When I looked last night I couldn’t see any oil in the sight glass, yet after running it last night I then checked the glass after about 5 minutes and the oil was back up to 1 / 3?????
Note all this was on the side stand because I still can’t get the damn pig up on the center stand by myself.

In thinking back I realize I made another possibly fatal mistake because we were running late and the guy helping me needed to leave so we didn’t recheck the clearances.

Needless to say I’m pretty bummed and worried that I’ve toasted it and I still got 6K left on the loan. :(

Anybody what to buy a toasted pig?

RM
 

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Get someone to help you put it on the center stand and check the oil level. If you are filling it to center of glass on the side stand you are overfilling it. The higher the level of oil and the combination of setting on the side stand will make one smoke for some time. Also the smoke from the front of the engine could be oil on hot engine or headers. Hope this is all that is wrong.

Mickey
 

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I am not by any stretch qualified to guess what is wrong but I can say I am very sorry that what ever happened happened. I am also a little nervous because I just decided to start doing some of my own service, to try and save some money:(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
CARNEYM said:
Get someone to help you put it on the center stand and check the oil level. If you are filling it to center of glass on the side stand you are overfilling it. The higher the level of oil and the combination of setting on the side stand will make one smoke for some time. Also the smoke from the front of the engine could be oil on hot engine or headers. Hope this is all that is wrong.

Mickey
thats why I was only filling it to 1/3 up from the bottom of the circle or about half way between the lower edge and the little dot, figured that would take it to the right level when on the center stand. the other thing is that id did NOT smoke the first time right after topping it off and last night, when I had not added any addtional oil. It just seems inconsistant, if something went back together wrong (like a misplaced shim making one valve too tight) it should smoke every time, shouldn't it?? and what's with the water coming out the exshaust?? I know there should be a little, at least at first, condensation in pipes when cold, but constantly?? We did drain and refill the radiator with fresh 50/50 mixture and other non-motor related work as well, but that shouldn't make the bike smoke.

My airhead is so much simpler!

RM
 

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Trying to say yourself some bucks with this bike is not a bad thing. I have a quick question though, when you put the valve cover and valve cover gasket back on, there are several places on the block that need to have a dab of gasket seal added. Were those pointed out before you put the gasket and cover back on?
 

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The bike will always spit black crud out of the tail pipe till it warms up, it's just condensation mixed with carbon, that's why it looks like oil. I bet the other smoking is the residual oil burning off.

Without actually looking at the bike, I think you may be ok. You did you some sort of gasket seal on the spots indicated for the valve cover gasket? Especially at the junctures on the front? One final word, if you forgot to torque the recessed bolt of the valve cover (a few of us have) you'll continue to to lose oil.



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Sounds like you need to pull the tupperware on that side and look around.

You may have a leak at the valve cover gasket.

I know when I leave mine setting for a long time, It takes quite a while for it to stop smoking.

Blowing a little water and a little soot is pretty normal for these bikes.

I don't believe you've screwed up too bad. I'll bet you just got oil all over the engine.

If it's running at all then you did the valve check right.

Have faith. Get her cleaned up and take her for a ride. I'll bet shell be fine.

Good Luck

John
 

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You did say that you knew the proper sequence for torquing head bolts. Did you by chance re-torque the head bolts. If so you could have cracked a head gasket. I think the results would be smoke and water in the tailpipe.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
gglove said:
I am not by any stretch qualified to guess what is wrong but I can say I am very sorry that what ever happened happened. I am also a little nervous because I just decided to start doing some of my own service, to try and save some money:(
I hear ya, but don't let it put you off from trying, just take your time and don't let yourself get rushed, like i did.things got delayed putting it back together cause it took so long to get the new buckets due to traffic coming back from the shop. As a result, I failed to double check the clearances after the cams went back on, something I ALWAYS have done when working on my airheads. Rotate the engine thru a full 360 and recheck, very very basic step that I blew!

RM
 

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Discussion Starter #10
CARNEYM said:
You did say that you knew the proper sequence for torquing head bolts. Did you by chance re-torque the head bolts. If so you could have cracked a head gasket. I think the results would be smoke and water in the tailpipe.
nope we only did the cap nuts, I can say this with confidence cause we only used one size socket and only worked on the camshaft nuts, the reference to the head bolts was only that I know head/camshaft/cover bolts need to be done in a criss-cross pattern. The guy helping me is a mechanic by trade and knows his stuff. That was way I was willing to try this as I knew he is very competent.

RM
 

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My money is on a "missed sealant" at crucial cover spots.. Your bike is "okay"....

However, you will need to pull tupperware and the valve cover again....

As for the "water" coming out of the exhaust.. that is normal. However, if it is GREEN then it is "coolant"...and that would be expen$ive.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Steve_R said:
Trying to say yourself some bucks with this bike is not a bad thing. I have a quick question though, when you put the valve cover and valve cover gasket back on, there are several places on the block that need to have a dab of gasket seal added. Were those pointed out before you put the gasket and cover back on?
yes, in the half-moons on the front, we put a dab of sealant in the center. We also removed any old sealant from the head and cover.

RM
 

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Discussion Starter #13
cfell said:
My money is on a "missed sealant" at crucial cover spots.. Your bike is "okay"....

However, you will need to pull tupperware and the valve cover again....

As for the "water" coming out of the exhaust.. that is normal. However, if it is GREEN then it is "coolant"...and that would be expen$ive.
nope not green, clear with flecks of black. Not oil, I checked them out very closely by catching some on white paper and it was solid particles suspended in water.

I'm am going to remove the tupperwere on left side lower and wipe down the engine carefully and get a new washer and screw since the one that was there was a torx where as the rest are hex head. Unfortunately I don't have service records from PO and have noted he did a lot of addtional work on it. Lots of extra wiring for signals and Ipod type stuff and tupperwere screws are kind of a mixed bag some are even hex heads, go figure.

RM
 

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I got the same thing as you after doing the buckets. Spitting black and clear liquid with smoke and an oil drip.
But that was over 4k ago and the bike runs better than before the job. I know I didnt have the leak before, but the rest I probebly had and didn't take much notice of.
I would put money on you being OK.
 

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I agree with John, I don't think you did anything to hurt it but you are going to have to take the tupperware off again.

To get it on the centerstand by yourself back it up onto a piece of 3/4" plywood or a piece of 1x4, put in neutral and it should just snap right up onto centerstand.

Once you get the plastic off you can see where you are leaking, but if you blew 2/3's of a quart of oil out you probably have oil all over the engine.
The reason it didn't smoke after you cleaned it up the first time was it took awhile for the oil to drip back down from the engine and anywhere else it might have been, so now it smokes again.

BTW according to the manual 1/2 way in the sightglass on the sidestand corresponds to MAX. on the centerstand.

Hope everything works out but I think you are OK!!
 

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There are two more spots than just the half moons on the front of the engine. If you look closely, you will see two small metal to metal meet points just above and below the half moons on the front of the engine. You have to put sealant there also. I think that's where the water pump meets the engine block, but it might be something else.

OBTW, I've got to work in the DC area this weekend. And will definitely be free after about 12:30 on Saturday and possibly Sunday afternoon. Would you like to get together? I can show you the trick for getting this baby up on the centerstand. PM me with your numbers.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Steve_R said:
There are two more spots than just the half moons on the front of the engine. If you look closely, you will see two small metal to metal meet points just above and below the half moons on the front of the engine. You have to put sealant there also. I think that's where the water pump meets the engine block, but it might be something else.

OBTW, I've got to work in the DC area this weekend. And will definitely be free after about 12:30 on Saturday and possibly Sunday afternoon. Would you like to get together? I can show you the trick for getting this baby up on the centerstand. PM me with your numbers.
thanks for the offer. I'm taking it down to the local dealer after I clean it up again this evening and check or replace the cap screw so maybe I should just go ahead and replace the cover gasket, or depending on what the leak, if any is just ride it down and let them replace it? I have to take it down anyway since replacing the water temp sensor on the pump did not solve my problem with the temp gage. It pegs on full high as soon as I trun the key though the bike did not over heat the last ride before the work and I did around 200 miles that day, nor does the idiot light come on when I rode it but does light before starting and the fans are working. They may be able to fix the temp gage while I wait if they have the part in stock, if not I'll have to leave it so may not have it home this weekend.

RM
 

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Discussion Starter #18
patroa1 said:
I agree with John, I don't think you did anything to hurt it but you are going to have to take the tupperware off again.

To get it on the centerstand by yourself back it up onto a piece of 3/4" plywood or a piece of 1x4, put in neutral and it should just snap right up onto centerstand.

Once you get the plastic off you can see where you are leaking, but if you blew 2/3's of a quart of oil out you probably have oil all over the engine.
The reason it didn't smoke after you cleaned it up the first time was it took awhile for the oil to drip back down from the engine and anywhere else it might have been, so now it smokes again.

BTW according to the manual 1/2 way in the sightglass on the sidestand corresponds to MAX. on the centerstand.

Hope everything works out but I think you are OK!!
So then I should be OK since it is one third up. I still don't get why it doesn't show when cold but does after running it and letting it sit. (without adding anything) I understand about it going down while running since its pumping oil to the engine components, but it just seems that whether its overnight or five minutes after running after it should be the same. I know the manual says you have to first run the engine up to temp THEN check I just can't get a handle on the idea it goes down over time after running doesn't make any sense to me.

Coming from a 78 airhead to an LT, even after a year has been a real challenge! Even though I have finally started to get comforable with the weight of the beast at slow speeds and making smooth stops without panicking that its going to fall over in those last dozen feet, the last few days had me wondering if selling it and getting something lighter might be best. Esp since I don't do LD rides mostly just 300 or so miles in any given day or ride cause I like to stop often and take in the senary and shot photo's.

I do love the ride and having all the nice little features, but the size and cost issues, guess I'm still up in the air(head)! :)

Thanks for all the responses, quess I'll clean her us as best I can and have the shop check her out while they handle the temp gage issue.

RM
 

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I understand. What dealer and what time are you taking it? Maybe I can give you the ride home if you need to leave the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Steve_R said:
I understand. What dealer and what time are you taking it? Maybe I can give you the ride home if you need to leave the bike.
thanks! sent you a PM with phone and info.

RM
 
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