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Front end oil/fluid leak?


SWB

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Have seen an intermittent oil leak near the front end of my bike, twice in the past 1000 miles or so. Both times, I noticed it from the oil burning off the front pipe header. The first time, I noticed an almost gel like substance on the timing cover, just a splotch about the size of a half dollar, and nothing else. My first thought was "oh no..the new/rebuilt Works shock I installed 3K miles ago is going to need additional work.", but decided to let it go and see if the leak progressed. The second time, there was quite a bit more fluid that was darker, more like motor oil. There is no apparent sweating around the front shock or forks seals that I can see, so the only fluids left for consideration are the front oil cooler line, and of course, brake fluid. I was so concerned a front oil cooler line failure might dump oil on my tires, I stopped riding it two weeks ago until I can tear the bike down.

 

I was hoping for the first 6K mile period without repairs in the 13K miles I've owned the bike, and am only 3K miles into that to the next service. I was hoping I wouldn't have to tear off the plastics again until then, but here we go again ...

 

I'm thinking I need to pull the plastics and fuel tank (an all too familiar procedure) to get a good view of the problem. If I can't see the leak from there, I think I'm going to have to pull the front fairing cone to find the oil cooler and track down the leak from there. Whatever the cause, it's not a continuous leak.

 

Anyway, any suggestions on diagnosis, or previous experience would be appreciated. I noticed the other "Oilhead" member posts concerning fork fork seals, but everything looks clean and dry up there.

 

Thanks,

 

Scott

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Check the front brake hose that goes from the right caliper up to the ABS unit. Right where it flexes when the suspension compresses, it often cracks and leaks. The first time mine started out very small, and grew to be a front brake failure within a few days. At fist I didn't notice the lever being just a little soft. I have replaced that front brake line twice in 140K. Second time I went to stainless.

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I assume you mean 'alternator belt cover' when you say 'timing cover'. Where on the cover is the oil? Bottom, top, in the middle? At the bottom edge could mean a seal failure behind the alternator belt cover. At the top it could be fork oil (but you said everything is dry there), oil line leak (very rare), or brake fluid from a pinhole leak in the brake line. It could also be pigeon poop thrown up from the front wheel.

What color is the substance?

Inquiring minds need mo info.

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I assume you mean 'alternator belt cover' when you say 'timing cover'. Where on the cover is the oil? Bottom, top, in the middle? At the bottom edge could mean a seal failure behind the alternator belt cover. At the top it could be fork oil (but you said everything is dry there), oil line leak (very rare), or brake fluid from a pinhole leak in the brake line. It could also be pigeon poop thrown up from the front wheel.

What color is the substance?

Inquiring minds need mo info.

 

I'll post a picture this weekend. The oil was dripped top to bottom, mostly across the middle. As I said, the second time around, it looked like oil, i.e. pretty dark.

 

I know it's pretty hard for anyone to offer a constructive comment based on the info I provided, but sometimes general background experience with problems (leaks) in that area informs judgment prior to working on the bike. (I'm a very-prepared mechanic, to help make up for all my flaws in judgment.) :;

 

Again, I'll get pix and post them.

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If you can get to them easily (it's easy on an RS), check the hose clamps at the oil cooler. I run the RS at relatively high RPM's when "sporting", and run it to the rev limiter sometimes. I noticed kind of what you have described. Sure enough, the drippage/splottage could be traced to trickling down the cooler hose and eventually onto the belt cover. Loosen the clamp, rotate it a bit (to position it for easy tightening), then re-tighten.

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