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Old 08-18-2013, 02:23 PM   #1
Cycletech OP
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Eek 950A with a blown headgasket? Update: Used engine going in

So before I get into this any further, I need some sage advice. A few months ago during an 800 mile day my 05 950 started blowing coolant. I didn't realize it at first, only when I got stuck trying to make my way around Atlanta and the temp started climbing did I know something was up.

I nursed it through that trip keeping the revs down and adding coolant each morning; made it back to RVA without any other issues.

So... I was really hoping a radiator cap is all she needed.. new cap and the same problem; blows coolant from the overflow, into the bottle, then all over my leg. Nursed it through another (shorter) trip, but now she's coming apart for repair.

I'm assuming I have a weak head gasket, but I won't know for sure until I pull it apart. So before I pull the heads - Any words of wisdom? If the heads come off new rings and valves will go back in. Does Kibblewhite make valves and guides for the 950?

TIA


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Old 08-18-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
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Start simple and cheap. Put a new radiator cap on it. If that doesn't work, go from there.

I had an oil leak on the inner clutch cover that caused water to pump into the oil. It was a minor thing, but I ended up doing the top end to find it. New head gaskets require a resurfacing of the heads to do it properly. It can be done without replacing rings if you are careful and leave the piston heads in the cylinders. Some mechanics just pull the cylinders off of the pistons, and then you need new rings. Replace chains, chain guides, and tensioners while you are in there. Some of your plastic chain guides will be worn.
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Old 08-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #3
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Orangecicle, why would you think that new head gaskets REQUIRE resurfacing of the heads, and why would you think that removing the piston/rings from the cylinders then REQUIREs ring replacement?

As for the OP's question, a compression and/or leakdown test will tell you if you have a blown head gasket, but I'd be sure the water pump seals have not let go, and that the cooling system's integrity has not been compromised first. A leak will allow the system to depressurize, not to mention things like a bubble forming in the rear head due to low levels. Due to the design of the engine, if the coolant level drops low enough, an air pocket is formed in the rear head, which when it gets hot enough, expands and pushes fluid out of the radiator.

Run the bike for a few minutes then pull the outer clutch cover. Got milkshake? Rebuild the water pump. Also, check the oil filter. Wavy pleats could mean water contamination in the oil.
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Old 08-18-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motomedic View Post
Orangecicle, why would you think that new head gaskets REQUIRE resurfacing of the heads,
First, I said, "New head gaskets require a resurfacing of the heads to do it properly." I stand behind that. If you remove the heads, you will have indentations in the aluminum where the old head gaskets cut into the aluminum. The right thing to do is to just "lightly" resurface those heads. It can be done in any motorcycle shop. Just a light resurfacing to get rid of that indentation is appropriate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Motomedic View Post
and why would you think that removing the piston/rings from the cylinders then REQUIREs ring replacement?
I didn't say that. I said, "Some mechanics just pull the cylinders off of the pistons, and then you need new rings." I stand behind that as well. If you leave the pistons in the cylinders, you can get by without changing the rings. You pull the cylinders (leaving the pistons) and then remove the allen bolts holding the head on. From there, you can change head gaskets without changing rings. If you pull the cylinders off of the pistons by yanking the cylinders off of the pistons (a common mistake), then you need new rings. The bottom edge of the cylinders are sharp and can damage the rings. This I know because I had to buy new rings after a mechanic pulled my cylinders off the wrong way:

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Old 08-18-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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Guys, explain to me how the water pump can over-pressurize the cooling system and blow coolant out the overflow. The bike isn't overheating, just blowing coolant. Mileage is just under 45,000.

What about a Super Duke engine? Drop in and go with some jetting tweaks?
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Old 08-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #6
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I am trying to resist the urge to say "Right, change the motor out or pull the heads off before you check the WP". WP rebuilds are a well known maintenance item--and 45k miles would be a near record without a pump rebuild. Are you sure the bike is not overheating? You said bike was overheating on your 800 mile ride day. Checked for signs of water in the oil?
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangecicle View Post
New head gaskets require a resurfacing of the heads to do it properly. It can be done without replacing rings if you are careful and leave the piston heads in the cylinders. Some mechanics just pull the cylinders off of the pistons, and then you need new rings.
New rings are only needed if the old ones are worn; you can check ring gap for that. That said, if you have high mileage, it's usually a good idea to replace them because they can lose their tension after (quite) a while. The heads/jugs don't need to be resurfaced unless something is warped or has some fairly severe surface damage to it. I think people have a little bit of a misconception when it comes to how delicate a head gasket is, and how perfect everything actually needs to be, this coming from experience as being a mechanic.
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:17 PM   #8
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How many miles on the bike? I also would look for cooling system problems. You tried the cap. I also find that the symptoms of a leaking water pump (much more common than head gasket failure) are best detected by removing the clutch cover. I'd bet a beer or 2 that the WP is the problem....
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:01 PM   #9
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Two solutions: I can send you one, when you're done send it back. Or, Tractor Supply sells a Chinese socket, 1 13/16 IIRC that fits like a 13mm-1/2" :)
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:12 PM   #10
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If that is a 990 FI motor out of a Duke and you are putting it in a 950 then yes the Timing wheel HAS to be changed.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #11
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Motomedic, Thanks for the offer. The biggest thing i have is 1 1/2. Sears has it, I'll go by and grab it.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:17 PM   #12
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Brents, thanks for the info.
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Old 08-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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Old lump out, new lump should be here soon.

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