I’m still trying to figure out why my 81 is billowing out white smoke on the left side (remember it sat for 7 years then my son got it to run took it for a ride and it overheated the bike due to a leaky radiator hose) so I rebuilt the carbs. Runs really nice, haven’t touched anything as far as adjusting the carbs yet. So this what I did this morning.
1.Filled the radiator to the top and left the cap off, started it up and as it warmed up a big bubble would come up about every 10 seconds or so. After it warmed up the bubbles would increase as I gave it more throttle.
2. Tapped on each carb with a plastic mallet lightly to maybe dislodge a stuck float needle.
3. Whiteish smoke/maybe steam coming from the #2 #4 left side exhaust. Smelled more like antifreeze than gas, it didn’t have a very strong smell either way. I shut it off for a few minutes started it back up and the white Smoke was really pouring out of the left pipe.
4. Removed all 4 plugs #4 was the only one that was wet all the rest were dry. Cranked it over with the plugs out whiteish smoke pumped out of #2 and #4.
5. Did a hot compression test petcock closed, throttle wide open, plugs out.
I would have suspected #2 and #4 to be low but not the case!!
Photo of my oil and antifreeze that I put in fresh when I started with this bike few weeks back.
oil is watery antifreeze is a little thick.
the bike idles and runs so good I if it is a carburetor issue would it run so nice and smooth?
The antifreeze looks dirty. I would not go so far as to say it has oil in it. However, if the system was not flushed before putting in new antifreeze, you can get a mixture of the dirty and new especially since the bike sat for 7 years antifreeze can get dirty sitting in a radiator that long stagnant.
As far as the plugs, if they are getting dirty/wet, you have to determine what they are wet with (oil, gas or antifreeze). If the head gasket is blown, there is high likelihood that the plugs on that side would be steam cleaned. If it is oil, it could also be a blown head gasket. If it is only one plug and smell anything like gas, it is still a carb leak.
I do not want to assume anything, but need clarification. Your compression readings indicate the left side (2&4) are nice and tight and the right side (1&3) are lower, but not too bad for a bike sitting 7 years. I want to be sure we are on the same page; left side (2&4) is left as you sit on the bike right? (Not left looking at the engine from the front tire looking back?) I only ask because it has happened before that folks understood left and right looking at the engine.
Either way, does the white smoke show up as soon as you start the bike or only after the engine is fully warmed up? FYI, antifreeze burning off out the pipe still smells like antifreeze. Gas creating a white cloud is not always easy to tell, but, with #4 being wet, I am still leaning towards the #4 carb is pouring gas into the engine. I have had this happen before!
Just trying to rule out everything before you pull the heads.
Yes left side #2 and #4 as you are sitting on the bike. #4 plug steam cleaned but wet. Steam comes out right away but gets worse as the bike warms up. I flushed and put in new anti freeze when I get the bike. Steam definitely smells sweet and like antifreeze. Steady bubbles out of the radiator, increase when you rev the throttle.
It does sound like the left side head gasket is blown. Might be time to pull the head. FYI, when you pull the head, other than the obvious head bolts, there is a 10 MM bolt under the head between the exhaust. Be sure to pull this bolt before the head is pulled or you will crack the casting.
Pulled the heads off the bike and head gaskets appear to be the problem. As you can see in the attached photos portions of the gaskets are missing. Waiting on parts now. I’ll post again when it’s back together, thanks again for everyone’s help.
Agreed! Don't forget to check the flatness of the heads before putting back on. I know someone who takes a smooth surface (like glass or marble) and lays a sheet of 600 grit sand paper on it, tapes the sheet down and slid the head across gently. Then, lift and check to see it all surfaces were touching the paper by looking at the cross hatch pattern created by the sand paper.
Update on my 81 gl1100. Installed the new head gaskets and got it all back together. Finished a few items this morning. Fired right up and warmed up and is running really nice, no steam from the exhaust or coolant dripping from the pipes. I already did the carbs now on to the idle drop and carb sync. I want to thank everyone that chimed in helping me rebuild the cards and the new head gaskets. Things are going good. I attached a video of the 81 running today.