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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had to lay my bike down at an intersection this afternoon: 1981 Honda GL1100. I cracked the cylinder head cover and lost all the oil. On the bright side, I am fine. In my experience, carborated bikes shut off pretty quickly when they tip over but I actually don't know how quickly it lost oil. I believe slowely, and the first thing I did was pull the keys out of the ignition. There was a lot going on, but I am pretty sure the engine was off by then and the oil puddle was still relatively small.
So what should my approach to this be and what should I look for when I take off the cover?
I assume there is possibly some metal pieces in the case that I will need to clean out very well. What type of cleaner should I use in there? Then would a visual inspection be enough to determine what I'm dealing with? After cleaning it can I replace the cover, fill it with oil, and see if it runs?
Here it is. It's not a huge gash so I am pretty sure the oil leaked out slowly well after the engine was off. I am optimistic that the engine wasn't running without oil.
277973
 

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First, let me say that I am not a professional motorcycle mechanic…If it were mine, I’d replace the cover fill it with oil and start it up. Check for any weird bangs or clunks, check for good oil pressure, leaks, etc…After a brief test period, change the oil and filter again…Maybe cut the filter apart and check for large chunks if you can. If the engine is truly trashed, you’ll know pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First, let me say that I am not a professional motorcycle mechanic…If it were mine, I’d replace the cover fill it with oil and start it up. Check for any weird bangs or clunks, check for good oil pressure, leaks, etc…After a brief test period, change the oil and filter again…Maybe cut the filter apart and check for large chunks if you can. If the engine is truly trashed, you’ll know pretty quickly.
That's what I would love to do here. I figure $30 for the cover and I'll know pretty quick if there is major damage. I just don't want cause major damage by doing that. If it runs, then I guess I'll be replacing the forks too...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So if I want to clean that area out, what can I spray in there? Degreaser? Brake cleaner?
 

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Since you shut off the bike right away, I doubt that you have any engine damage from oil starvation.

I would not spray any brake cleaner or anything like that on the top of the valves or anything. If you get that stuff down in the crankcase you probably will have engine damage later on. I would simply remove the cover and use a small brush to remove any small pieces of metal that you find, which will probably be very few. If there are any, they probably stayed in the cover anyway.If you feel the need to rinse the head top surface with something, I would just use a light oil like 10 Wt. motor oil. I would avoid using solvents unless you plan to tear the motor down, and there is probably no reason to do that.
 
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You may also want to order the cover bolts. The front top one looks like it took the brunt of the damage. It may be bent.
Hopefully you can find the cover. Gasket and bolts are still available as an OEM part.
 

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From the looks of the damage as said above I would replace the cover and if you are worried about any debris I would just take a quart of oil, any oil, and let it run down the head and then run a rag over the lower edge that should flush any contaminants and not hurt anything.
 
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Glad to hear you came through okay. Good luck on the replacement parts and keep us informed on how it goes.
 
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Hey Byte - The modern lubricants used in vehicles now-a-days are loaded with all kinds of protective oil film ingredients. I agree with everyone that it is very unlikely that you did any damage to your engine. Also, prior to the oil filter element, the GW oil pump has a fine screen mesh on it's pick-up which provides excellent protection from potential metal particle contaminants.

While hunting down a replacement valve cover, I'd add to my shopping list a pair of factory crash bars to prevent any future damage to your GW engine. There are lots of inexpensive parts for the 4 cylinder GW's found in a motorcycle wrecking yard. The installation of everything will be much simpler if you include all the mounting bolts, hardware and brackets while gathering up the needed parts.

Ride Safe - Michael
 

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1996 Honda GoldWing Interstate, Candy Spectra Red, and of course, with drive shaft.
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I'd be surprised that you lost ALL the oil. Sure, while the engine was running you were expelling the oil in the head, but there was more in the pan, and in the end you may have lost only half, if that, of the total. I'd bet there's still a measurable amount of oil in the pan, it just may not be enough to show up on the stick.

Even if you did, engines can run for a bit without continued lubrication without damage. As others have suggested, fix the distressed parts, change the oil, and start it. If you've done any damage you'll likely get the telltale cloud of blue smoke.
 

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I'd be surprised that you lost ALL the oil. Sure, while the engine was running you were expelling the oil in the head, but there was more in the pan, and in the end you may have lost only half, if that, of the total. I'd bet there's still a measurable amount of oil in the pan, it just may not be enough to show up on the stick.

Even if you did, engines can run for a bit without continued lubrication without damage. As others have suggested, fix the distressed parts, change the oil, and start it. If you've done any damage you'll likely get the telltale cloud of blue smoke.
Tell tale cloud of blue smoke?? That is pretty much normal for a Wing, lol
I agree, I'm sure his engine is fine, replace the broken pieces, and buy engine guards. Lets all hope ALL he has, is a QUIET cloud of blue smoke when she fires up!
 

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It's too bad your bike didn't have crash bars installed. They would have taken the brunt of the slide not the valve cover. I don't know if you ran the bike after the fall but if you did there may be a few small pieces the worked their way down into the crankcase. When you remove the cover try to extract all the fragments you can find and reassemble the cover's hole. Since it's aluminum it isn't as brittle as steel. You may find all the pieces. I agree with the other members in getting new cover bolts, gaskets and flushing the oil. Happy to hear you didn't suffer the same damage the bike did. Looking at the photo it doesn't look as if there was much internal damage. Good Luck.
 

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1996 Honda GoldWing Interstate, Candy Spectra Red, and of course, with drive shaft.
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Tell tale cloud of blue smoke?? That is pretty much normal for a Wing, lol
I agree, I'm sure his engine is fine, replace the broken pieces, and buy engine guards. Lets all hope ALL he has, is a QUIET cloud of blue smoke when she fires up!
Yeah, my GL1500 does that from time to time, but I wouldn't say it's frequent, probably more due to where the engine stops when last shut down...if there's a valve open, I can see where there will be a little infiltration of oil.
 

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Replace or patch the cover and install with new gasket. Put oil in to proper level and start the bike. You may want to do or have done a compression check. I doubt you lost all the oil because a bunch is laying in the pan. And it seems you shut it down pretty quickly.
 

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IT sounds and looks very minor and the engine holds 1 full gallon of oil and it has a engine angle bank sensor ,,i think to shut off the engine just for things like this so i believe you are fine just look under the cover for particles every thing under there is sealed around the valves so it takes a much heaver amount of damage than what i see to do any harm so replace the damaged parts and be safe ..
 

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Hey Byte - The modern lubricants used in vehicles now-a-days are loaded with all kinds of protective oil film ingredients. I agree with everyone that it is very unlikely that you did any damage to your engine. Also, prior to the oil filter element, the GW oil pump has a fine screen mesh on it's pick-up which provides excellent protection from potential metal particle contaminants.

While hunting down a replacement valve cover, I'd add to my shopping list a pair of factory crash bars to prevent any future damage to your GW engine. There are lots of inexpensive parts for the 4 cylinder GW's found in a motorcycle wrecking yard. The installation of everything will be much simpler if you include all the mounting bolts, hardware and brackets while gathering up the needed parts.

Ride Safe - Michael
e agree.am older now have dropped rhem slid them and bumped them..love my bars save me money and hold my out boards and add on lights..tole ya...i'm old..lol skull
 

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That's what I would love to do here. I figure $30 for the cover and I'll know pretty quick if there is major damage. I just don't want cause major damage by doing that. If it runs, then I guess I'll be replacing the forks too...
pull the sover,suck out of rhe immedeate area w/a shop vac and crevis tool if you spray rinse clean w/ wd do so w/srction so ro float out not in.
 

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There is not to many places for any thing to hide ,,,spray it out lightly with brake cleaner and the soak it all with wd40 immediately afterwards and it should be ok ..
I have rebuilt a few of those heads ...
 
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