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Thread: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

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    Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Greetings,

    I'm in panic mode right now. I completed a valve check (swapped two exhaust shims) and now I am having a major oil leak out of the left side somewhere behind the valve cover. I assumed it was the valve cover so I removed and replaced the gasket and tried my best to carefully seat the new gasket but the leak remained on my second run.

    Both times the engine ran fine. I've done valve checks and shim adjusts for 30 years now and always check/double-check after putting the cam covers back in place.

    This isn't just an oil seep. Between both runs I figure I gave lost 1/4 quart of oil so it's blowing out of somewhere.

    The oil looks fine in the sight glass. The plugs are clean. There was no smoke coming from the exhaust. I pulled the tank and got into the airbox, no issue there. I'm going to pull the airbox to see what might be going on below.

    The one thing I am panicking about it the plug wires. I am always careful about getting the order but since the plug wires are now off, I've no idea if I had the wiring wrong. The engine ran fine so I can't see how plug wiring might be involved.

    Edit: I just realized the plugs are on the same coil so it wouldn't matter if they were swapped.

    Looking for some guidance from the forum on what I need to look at below the airbox. Thanks.
    Last edited by STPaulK; 08-12-2017 at 04:09 PM.

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    Be Thou My Vision dduelin's Avatar
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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Hard to think you pinched it twice but the usual suspect is trapping the rubber heat mat under the inside rear corner of the valve cover.

    If the bike runs good the plug wires are fine.

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Quote Originally Posted by dduelin View Post
    Hard to think you pinched it twice but the usual suspect is trapping the rubber heat mat under the inside rear corner of the valve cover.

    If the bike runs good the plug wires are fine.
    I Just wana Ride man, I just wana Ride!

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    If it didn't leak before you touched something and it did afterward, you get three guesses where it is and the first two don't count.

    It is really, really easy to get the heat mat pinched in the gasket. What I usually do to avoid that is slip a piece of thin cardboard between the mat and the cylinder head before installing the cover. The cover will nudge the cardboard and the mat along with it. Once the cover is installed, I pull out the cardboard and the mat flops anywhere but inside the valve cover.

    Also make sure you torque the valve cover bolts down in the right order.

    --Mark
    Wizzzzzzzzzzzz What's a Blrfl? ... Shameless plugs: STWiki

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Email sent with white courtesy phone number attached....call me.
    Igofar

    Like Mark pointed out, using cardboard is a good way to protect the mat from getting pinched.
    Another way is to simply remove the two bolts that hold the coils on and move them out of the way, this gives you a straight drop down on the cylinder head, and you can see all the way around it to verify nothing is pinched.
    If your seeing oil run down the side of the engine, look and see if it is coming out of the drain holes directly beneath the exhaust pipe, and above the knock sensor switch. If this is the case, you have pinched the circular rubber gasket that goes around the spark plug well, and oil is leaking into the well (spark plug) and exiting out the hole.
    As far as the bolts go, did you replace the oil seals with new ones when you checked your valves? You cannot (should not) try and re-use them, as they have very small ridges on them that help seal, and once used, they crush flat.
    Make sure you DON'T over torque the bolts, I have seen several of these bolts bent from over tightening them.
    Call me if you need any further help.
    Igofar
    Last edited by Igofar; 08-12-2017 at 06:37 PM.

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    OK, I've calmed down a bit. I agree that is can really only be that pesky valve cover gasket / pinched mat. I am amazed over the amount of oil that leeches out and that alarmed me the most. I have had these valve covers off 5 times before with no issue but I guess there is always a time to be snake bit.

    Thank you for your suggestion to use tagboard protector/guide Mark. I will fab one for my next attempt.

    A few questions:

    - I left the airbox in place once I realized that swapped plug wires are not a consequence. However I don't want to install the fuel tank yet either (at least until I make another attempt at the valve cover.) I assume there will be no problem running the engine without the upper fuel tank. I will reinstall the airbox cover first with the sensor.

    - I did lightly "glue" the new gasket in place with Honda HT Bond but this doesn't seem like an appropriate application. Honda appears to use some sort of adhesive from the factory (instead of a gasket sealer goop.) Does anyone know what this adhesive is?

    Plans this week (I am still a working stiff and Sunday is my ride day) is to sanity check my valve adjustment/cam cover installation. I don't suspect there is any issue by why not. Then I will make a third attempt at the valve cover.

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Quote Originally Posted by STPaulK View Post
    Does anyone know what this adhesive is?
    Don't know what Honda used, but a good choice is Permatex Ultra Blue silicone gasket maker. Removes easily, when needed, and holds the gasket well in place during assembly.

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    Because I usually am . . . . STumped's Avatar
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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Quote Originally Posted by dduelin View Post
    Hard to think you pinched it twice but the usual suspect is trapping the rubber heat mat under the inside rear corner of the valve cover.
    +2

    Yeah, I've boogered it up before and almost dropped the bike at a stoplight because my foot slipped on all the fresh oil spilling out...! I have been VERY careful ever since!
    --Dave


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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Question for those unfortunates.......

    Is it always the left side? It seems harder to seat the cover on that side IMO.

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    Re: Panic Time - Where is the oil coming from??

    Quote Originally Posted by Igofar View Post
    Email sent with white courtesy phone number attached....call me.
    Igofar

    Like Mark pointed out, using cardboard is a good way to protect the mat from getting pinched.
    Another way is to simply remove the two bolts that hold the coils on and move them out of the way, this gives you a straight drop down on the cylinder head, and you can see all the way around it to verify nothing is pinched.
    If your seeing oil run down the side of the engine, look and see if it is coming out of the drain holes directly beneath the exhaust pipe, and above the knock sensor switch. If this is the case, you have pinched the circular rubber gasket that goes around the spark plug well, and oil is leaking into the well (spark plug) and exiting out the hole.
    As far as the bolts go, did you replace the oil seals with new ones when you checked your valves? You cannot (should not) try and re-use them, as they have very small ridges on them that help seal, and once used, they crush flat.
    Make sure you DON'T over torque the bolts, I have seen several of these bolts bent from over tightening them.
    Call me if you need any further help.
    Igofar
    Thanks for the tips. Yes, I did replace the cover bolt washers and yes, I am using a torque wrench that is set to the prescribed 10 nm torque.

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