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Oil leak from top of engine

Engine, Fuel and Exhaust

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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:36 AM     #1
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Oil leak from top of engine

I had a very mild close encounter with a cage that cut me up end ended with the bike laying on its right side. the only visible damages are a few scratches on the mufflers heat shields and rear indicator.
I have since noticed a small oil patch under the bike. At first, I thought that it came from having had the bike on its side or from the oil tank drain hose or the transmission drain plug that might have been damaged as the result of bottoming on a speed bump.
On closer inspection, however, I found that the oil was collecting behind the rear cylinder and that the leak originated in the area marked by the arrow on the picture. The leak is small, the oil is clean and the bike feels and performs as usual.
The bike is a 2007 Sporty with 7000 odd miles on it and is not ridden unreasonably hard.
Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
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Oil leak from top of engine-oil_leakw.jpg  
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 09:04 AM     #2
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Looks like a rocker box cover gasket leaking. If you have a warranty, it should be covered. If not it's not a difficult fix to replace the gasket. Sporties seem to be prone to leaking there.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 09:15 AM     #3
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Sorry to hear about your run-in with a cage. Trust you have recovered from the ordeal.

From the photo you included in your post, the arrow is pointing to the upper back of the valve cover on the rear cylinder. If this is accurate, and the oil is in fact leaking from the cover itself rather than where the cover mates to the head, then I would suspect that you have a hairline crack in the cover itself. I think those covers are aluminium, and given a sharp rap, could have created such a crack.

I suggest you remove the valve cover and clean it very well with a solvent like mineral spirits (not gasoline!) or paint thinner. Inspect the cover on the outside and inside at the point where you think the leak is. If you can see a crack, then replace the cover. If you can NOT see anything, take it to a machine shop and ask them to magna-flux the area in question. The crack may be heat sensitive and not be visible until the metal gets hot. But the machine shop should be able to see it with the dye and black light. Obviously, if they find a crack, replace the cover (new vc gaskets of course!)

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Last edited by TQuentin1; Dec 3rd, 2008 at 11:14 PM. Reason: got my glasses fixed!! Rear cylinder, not front - Thanx Fisher!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 11:04 PM     #4
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

That's the rear cylinder.They never seem to stop leaking.If it's under warranty have the dealer do it for you.If not like Glider said it's not too hard.(edit) but not too hard.Getting the rocker cover out of there is a tight fit and it will only come out one way.



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Last edited by glider; Dec 8th, 2008 at 08:55 PM.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 11:16 PM     #5
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Absolutely!! Thanx, Fisher.

TQ
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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 09:22 PM     #6
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Thanks to all for for the advice.
I have a nasty feeling that typically the guarantee has expired a few weeks ago. I will however call my dealer tomorrow to check it up.

I have made further examination and the oil is definitely seeping from between the rocker cover and the inner cover but I'll bear your comments TQ.

Strangely enough, I'm actually looking forward to doing some work on my bike; it must be due to all that good advice on this forum.
I will also take the opportunity to adjust the clutch thanks to Glider's tips.

What's the tool you mention, Hobbit, I couldn't quite suss it from the pic?
I have a fairly comprehensive set of tools (I tend to use any excuse of a job to get some more) but they are mostly metric at the moment, the last time I used imperial sockets was to take out the engine out of a MK2 Jag way back.

I will keep you posted.
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Old Dec 4th, 2008, 09:56 PM     #7
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

you can get that tool from your local matco dealer if you want i could get you a price very good tool to have if you do any work on your bike. with that tool i have never had to remove the gas tank to replace rocker gskts. let me know about the tool
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Old Dec 5th, 2008, 07:58 AM     #8
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

With the fuel injected Sportsters it's far easier to remove the gas tank before the rockers.The plastic wiring harness cover is a royal (edit) and eats up space needed to get the rocker box out.You need to cut a couple wire ties and push the plastic out of the way to easily remove the rocker box.The four screws are easy to remove with the tool posted above.




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Old Dec 5th, 2008, 01:57 PM     #9
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Quote: Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
Romain take it the dealer for warranty unless you have one of these

its going to be a pain to get the rockers covers off
Quote: Originally Posted by patrickcarr View Post
you can get that tool from your local matco dealer if you want i could get you a price very good tool to have if you do any work on your bike. with that tool i have never had to remove the gas tank to replace rocker gskts. let me know about the tool

Got a part number, description , and approxiamte price on that tool? I have leaky rocker boxes on my '02 RK (FLHR) and am considering tackling the leak myself.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 5th, 2008, 02:31 PM     #10
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Re: Oil leak from top of engine

Quote: Originally Posted by Technologist View Post
Got a part number, description , and approxiamte price on that tool? I have leaky rocker boxes on my '02 RK (FLHR) and am considering tackling the leak myself.

Thanks!
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