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CreepyJack13
09-13-2009, 3:01 PM
I'm having an intermittent problem with oil smoke exhaust. Happens after I've been cruising at low RPM at intermediate speed (i.e., 40 MPH in 4th gear at about 2200 RPM for a few miles). When I come to a stop, I see and smell oil smoke in my exhaust.

No funny noises, bike's acting like it always does, and oil consumption appears to be at a minimum. This doesn't happen at all after riding on freeways or highways at 50+-75+ MPH/2500-3500 RPM.

1991 FXR, S&S Super E, current engine oil is 50wt. (It's been hot.)

As always, any help, theories, or opinions are appreciated.

Revelator
09-13-2009, 11:29 PM
If it is doing it on both cylinders...... I would guess that you have an issue with the
Carb. Have you tried turning the accelerator pump acrew inward to lean it out a little?
that may help. Maybe check the float as well. How does it run when the oily smoke is
showing up, Is it loading up or getting congested?

CreepyJack13
09-14-2009, 5:03 AM
Thanks for the reply!!

Nope, not acting funny at all. When the weather was super hot a week or so ago, the carb would "sneeze" when I would give it gas VERY occasionally (like once a day, but not always) when I would give it a rev in neutral or with the clutch lever pulled. Other than that, it runs tits. I'll try turning in the accelerator pump a little.

Also, it's hard to tell whether or not it's coming from both cylinders because as far as I know, it's only just started, and most of my riding has been at night the past few days. Plus, the front and rear exhaust pipe ends are sort of inline with each other, so when I look down at them from riding position at idle (like at a light) and rev, I can only REALLY see the rear exhaust exiting the pipe, and the smoke appears in my headlight and in the beams of any other headlights behind me.

Toecutter
09-14-2009, 6:46 AM
Have you ruled out any leaks? I had a leak at the crossover between the rocker boxes on my shovel and it would work its way down and drip right on the exhaust and make smoke.

CreepyJack13
09-14-2009, 5:08 PM
Toecutter, I think this may be the ONLY Harley in Culver City that simply does not leak. (Right hand to God and all that.) The smoke is definitely coming from the exhaust.

mplsdave
09-15-2009, 11:52 AM
pretty much the same oil exhaust thing is happen with my ironhead. ill let you know what i find out. keep me posted.

CreepyJack13
09-15-2009, 9:20 PM
Still got a little smoke, so I'll try dialing the accelerator pump in a little more.

mplsdave, what are your symptoms?

mplsdave
09-15-2009, 9:54 PM
i got a couch in second, and blowing oily exhaust when accelerating but im only getting oil fromthe exhaust once its hot, wont even do it when its warm, just hot. as stated in other threads a have a few oil leaks too that im sure dont help me out at all.

CreepyJack13
09-15-2009, 9:56 PM
Gotcha. Valve seals or guides?

mplsdave
09-15-2009, 10:13 PM
just had my heads gone through, by a guy that is supposed to be really good. im going to adjust the pushrods again tomorrow or maybe thursday if i dont have time tomorrow.

CreepyJack13
09-15-2009, 10:16 PM
Hell, I'd give him a call. May have just forgotten something...

CreepyJack13
09-16-2009, 7:34 PM
I went ahead and re-tuned my carburetor. I'll take my bike for a ride in a bit and see if it helped.

CreepyJack13
09-16-2009, 11:50 PM
Still have the smoke, except that I'm pretty sure that it isn't oil, so I guess that's good. It smokes a little less, and I can certainly feel that the accelerator pump has a smaller squirt now, which is kind of a drag. Rolls on super smooth after I re-tuned it, though...

So, do S&S Super Es just sort of load up? Is that the deal? As I said earlier, it's not running funny at all, but I swear that this smoke thing just started the other day, after I got up to 2200 miles on since I bought it.

BullDog
09-17-2009, 6:04 PM
I think maybe the Super E does tend to load up. After I shift up, if I roll into the throttle real easy it'll cut then pick back up and accelerate on out smooth as a baby's ass. It's irritating as hell.

CreepyJack13
09-17-2009, 7:18 PM
That's weird. Internal carb leak somewhere?

BullDog
09-17-2009, 7:35 PM
Could be. I'm hoping maybe it's just the idle-mix is too rich? Slightly? I'll get into it this weekend after I tear off my non-functioning turn signals.

CreepyJack13
09-17-2009, 7:56 PM
Check this out:

http://www.bikernet.com/SandS/PageViewer.asp?PageID=1198

BullDog
09-17-2009, 9:07 PM
Thanks dude. That's some pretty good info.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 1:11 AM
No problem at all...

So, I had a friend follow me tonight, and he said that I was for sure certain blowing smoke, though it wasn't too bad. I'm thinking that in a couple of weeks, I'll pull the rocker covers off and check out the seals. Worst case scenario is that I'll pull the heads and have a valve job done on them. No biggie.

dirtyd
09-18-2009, 10:14 AM
an easy way to check whats going on in that motor, is a leak down check. But here is my two cents. If you are gonna take the heads off to be re done or have the valve guides re done. Then you might as well do the rings too. the oil must be coming from one of the two places. oil blow by on the cylinders, or leaking from the valve guides. I suggest if its one or the other then just do the top end you will save $$ and ass pain in the long run.The leakdown test would definatly let you know where the oil blowby is coming from. One thing I havent seen covered yet was your plugs. Have you pulled them and looked to see if one or both are oil soaked. Also have you fouled any. one other thing oil level and breather, I dont know what year your motor is but is it a case breather or head breather, that may have some input. good luck man.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 12:45 PM
Thanks, dirtyd. Motor is a '91. I'll pull the plugs in a couple of minutes and check them out, but I haven't fouled any at all as far as I know. The last time I checked them was about a month ago, and they were clean.

It's definitely consuming some oil, but not enough to make me super worried about it.

Still starts, runs and rides perfectly, just a little smoky at stoplights.

Funny you should mention rings. A friend was just over to discuss his chop, and what still needs to be done to it, and so we got to bullshitting, and he said the same exact thing. I can't say that I disagree. I'll have to find my leakdown tester and check stuff out.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 3:01 PM
Rear plug is definitely oil fouled, but not severely; it's not wet. Front plug is totally clean. This makes sense because I see smoke only from the rear pipe.

Oh, and it looks like the engine is a case breather.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 4:00 PM
According to the manual, I should be able to get the heads and cylinders off the engine without having to remove the engine from the frame. God, I hope that's true...

TheDemon
09-18-2009, 5:48 PM
You should have no problem removing the heads from the engine in the frame, just pull the tank off to make things easier. When I read the first couple of posts I figured you were probably just running a little rich (which is always better than running lean anyway), but it appears you have ruled that out? Does your bike have a lot of top end noise, like rocker noise? Because the rocker arm bushings will start to wear out and if it goes on long enough can mushroom your valves and make a little oil sneak by. Maybe just valve seals though. Let us know how it goes!

dirtyd
09-18-2009, 5:55 PM
yeah creepy, I feel your pain bro. Ive got a 73 shovel thats puffin from the front cylinder. It runs great and is snappy as all hell but,,,, puffin none the less. Ive got dual plugged heads and thanks to that dyna ignition its trying to burn most the oil. It is a losing battle though. I figure what the hell. Ill ride it for the rest of the summer, And on to the AHC throwdown at the end of oct. then its back to the dirty hole and the top end is coming off. Its due, way due. Im positive that top end in the frame is doable on that bike of yours. good luck man.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 6:07 PM
You should have no problem removing the heads from the engine in the frame, just pull the tank off to make things easier. When I read the first couple of posts I figured you were probably just running a little rich (which is always better than running lean anyway), but it appears you have ruled that out? Does your bike have a lot of top end noise, like rocker noise? Because the rocker arm bushings will start to wear out and if it goes on long enough can mushroom your valves and make a little oil sneak by. Maybe just valve seals though. Let us know how it goes!

Thanks, TheDemon. I was hoping that it was a little rich, too, but I just don't have that kind of LUCK.

I'm not getting a whole lot of top end noise, but just enough to make me a little concerned. Everyone that I've asked about it says that it's normal, and that I'm just paranoid. (I admit that I am a bit paranoid. So what?)

I'll definitely have a look at the rocker bushings when it all comes apart, but I'd think that it has too few miles on it for them to be that worn. (Under 20,000.)

If I can get my camera fixed before I start, I'll probably do a "photo essay" on the top end rebuild.

I should have probably mentioned that I've been riding the shit out of this thing since I bought it. I HAVE NOT taken it easy on this bike by any means.

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 6:14 PM
yeah creepy, I feel your pain bro. Ive got a 73 shovel thats puffin from the front cylinder. It runs great and is snappy as all hell but,,,, puffin none the less. Ive got dual plugged heads and thanks to that dyna ignition its trying to burn most the oil. It is a losing battle though. I figure what the hell. Ill ride it for the rest of the summer, And on to the AHC throwdown at the end of oct. then its back to the dirty hole and the top end is coming off. Its due, way due. Im positive that top end in the frame is doable on that bike of yours. good luck man.

Yeah man, that's just it: it smokes a bit, but runs frickin' tits, which is another reason that I think it's a seal or a guide. Either way, a friend of mine has offered up his services as an automotive machinist to help out. He also owns a bore scope, so in the next week or so I'll borrow it and have a look at the pistons. According to the manual, if the pistons are completely covered with carbon build up then the problem is a seal or a guide. If it's only covered in the center, then it's gotta be the rings. Either way, those heads are coming off.

At least this time around, I have a lot of engine building experience (all V8s and I6s), and so am not afraid to tear into this engine. My first bike ('84 Softail) had ALL KINDS of problems that I was unable to handle because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, nor did I have the space to work in, the tools to do it with, or good friends with similar experience.

Good luck with yours too, homie!!

Revelator
09-18-2009, 7:16 PM
I think if it was a bad oil ring, you would be burning (losing) quite a bit of oil.
last summer I went through 3 quartz of Oil just on the return trip alone from smoke out w.
tore it down & the front oil ring was toast.
ended up doing a complete top end overhaul, valve guides were fine, But I changed out the seals.
made mistake of using those shitty s&s base gaskets, & they
lierally blew apart & leaked like a sive.
had to pull motor back out & change out the shitty S&S base Gaskets & slapped in the rightous
James metallic base gaskets that are 1million percent better than the
ultra shitty S&S base gaskets. so bottom line here is do not
use shitty S&S base gaskets because they are SHIT!

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 7:20 PM
LOL!!! Yeah, I've heard nothing but good things about James Gaskets, so those are what I'll be using throughout the engine. Thanks for the tip!!

CreepyJack13
09-18-2009, 7:21 PM
Oh, and I agree about the oil ring. I have lost some, but I just changed my oil over Labor Day weekend, and haven't lost much at all in the time since. I ride every day. Except today.

CreepyJack13
09-19-2009, 4:13 PM
OK, as I stated earlier, the manual says that if the piston is covered with a uniform coating of carbon, that means that there's a cylinder head malfunction (valve guide or seal or crack or...). If it's only in the center of the piston, and the outside diameter is relatively clean, then it's an oil ring.

I borrowed my friend's bore scope today,and just had a look at the rear cylinder. It doesn't look bad in there at all, but there is a bit of build up in the center of the piston, but not on the outside diameter. I'm guessing it's a ring after all.

Since it all has to come apart anyway, I'll swap in a new oil ring (or pistons and rings, and hone the cylinders), and I'll have the heads checked out.

More to come as it happens...

dirtyd
09-21-2009, 7:26 AM
creepy, ya might as well have the heads done too while you got it apart. If ya want some kick ass heas work look up branch O' keif awsome work. shit It would suck to get yer hammer back together and a year down the road start to have head trouble. and tear it all open again. Im about ready to get into mine here in about another month, Im thinkin itll last that long i'll just carry an extra set of plugs with me incase it goes poopsie on my ass

CreepyJack13
09-21-2009, 6:27 PM
That's the plan, dirty. Valves, guides, seals, pistons, and rings. I'll have a look when I get it all apart, but rumor has it that Carl Morrow had his hands in this very engine a while back.

Side note/question: Anyone ever had any problems with "Biker's Choice" oil? That's the only thing I changed right before this smoking issue started. I happened to be in an indie shop, and I grabbed a few quarts of this oil. I put it in, and noticed right away that it seemed a bit thinner than the usual Harley 50w.

Anyway, for shits and giggles I Googled smoky exhaust harley evo or something similar, and came across a post from an engine builder on another site. Seems he built several engines, used Biker's Choice as a break in lube, and then sent the engines to their respective customers. A short time later, all the engines came back with various problems, the one common problem was that they were all suffering from oily exhaust. The date on the post was early August '09, so it was just a couple of weeks before I started experiencing this myself. Just thought it was interesting...

dirtyd
09-25-2009, 8:31 AM
indeed.... interesting indeed.

CreepyJack13
09-25-2009, 1:54 PM
I changed my oil and filter on Wednesday afternoon, and rode that night. It was still smoking. I rode it again last night after we got back from Knott's Scary Farm, and while I did notice some smoke, it wasn't nearly as much. I'll keep an eye on it.

TheDemon
09-25-2009, 3:22 PM
Thanks, TheDemon. I was hoping that it was a little rich, too, but I just don't have that kind of LUCK.

I'm not getting a whole lot of top end noise, but just enough to make me a little concerned. Everyone that I've asked about it says that it's normal, and that I'm just paranoid. (I admit that I am a bit paranoid. So what?)

I'll definitely have a look at the rocker bushings when it all comes apart, but I'd think that it has too few miles on it for them to be that worn. (Under 20,000.)

If I can get my camera fixed before I start, I'll probably do a "photo essay" on the top end rebuild.

I should have probably mentioned that I've been riding the shit out of this thing since I bought it. I HAVE NOT taken it easy on this bike by any means.


Yea I haven't been taking it easy on my bike either and it has just over 21,000 on the odo. I'm starting to hear louder top end noise : / So I may be replacing those bushings pretty soon myself. I think the last 3k miles with my 1250 kit and 1200R heads has put a bit more strain on the stock rockers than I thought lol.

CreepyJack13
09-25-2009, 3:53 PM
Yea I haven't been taking it easy on my bike either and it has just over 21,000 on the odo. I'm starting to hear louder top end noise : / So I may be replacing those bushings pretty soon myself. I think the last 3k miles with my 1250 kit and 1200R heads has put a bit more strain on the stock rockers than I thought lol.

Dude!! It's too easy NOT to take it easy!!! When I hit the rare bit of smooth roadway, I'll look at my speedo and it's telling me that I'm doing 85. Unbelievable.

Going for a ride tonight, so I'll report back on the oil situation tomorrow. I guess.

Revelator
09-26-2009, 12:30 AM
bikers choice huh?
Probably chineese (fish) oil.

CreepyJack13
09-26-2009, 11:13 AM
bikers choice huh?
Probably chineese (fish) oil.

Wouldn't surprise me.

So it's smoking a bit less now it seems. I'm glad that I didn't jump into pulling the top end just yet. More riding and I'll know for sure.

TheDemon
09-26-2009, 11:23 AM
Have you ever run Amsoil? I've got their 20w50 in my scooter and it defintely runs smoother/cooler than before with the syn3 bs from harley. You can become a dealer with them for $20 a year and get the oil for 8.25 a quart where as most places sell it for $12.

Glad to hear your bike isn't smoking as much anymore!

CreepyJack13
09-26-2009, 11:44 AM
Have you ever run Amsoil? I've got their 20w50 in my scooter and it defintely runs smoother/cooler than before with the syn3 bs from harley. You can become a dealer with them for $20 a year and get the oil for 8.25 a quart where as most places sell it for $12.

Glad to hear your bike isn't smoking as much anymore!

I have never run Amsoil, but I'll definitely look into it.

I rode up to Northridge yesterday (about 20-30 miles) in Friday rush hour traffic, and then we rode hard for most of the night, and still it was smoking just a little bit. I expect that after the next oil change, it'll smoke even less.