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#844528 03/29/21 9:59 pm
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Hello Forum

I took my '69 Thunderbolt out for a long ride this weekend. I hooked up with some AMCA members for a ride. Went with a 79 Guzzi, a 61 Panhead, a Knucklehead rat bike, and an awesome CBX. I rode about 120 Miles on Fri. Stayed with my son, Rode probably 100-120 miles on the ride, and another 120 Sunday to get home. Say 360 total miles.

I left the house with a full tank of oil. Toward the end of the ride I checked and oil was at the L mark. Hmmm. I bought a gallon, added a couple quarts, and strapped the rest to the bike. Upon returning Sunday checked and it was back on the L mark. So I lost about a gallon of oil. Where did it go?

I looked up a thread from Jan '14

Regarding the breather: On the second attempt at joining the cases the camshaft was in a bind. The third attempt I was careful to line up the cam and the breather disk and made sure the cam rotated freely. Still.

I don't think it is burning it. That much oil through the engine would be billowing clouds of smoke. And there are none. Plugs look pretty good, a bit sooty but it runs rich at idle. Exhaust tips are sooty but not greasy.

When I park there are no puddles, a drip or two, that's it. One would think it would be dripping everywhere, but it 's not.

Today I pulled the primary cover and there is definitely oil in the primary, but not much. So there is a crank oil seal issue there, at least.
I drained the sump. This is all the oil from both primary and sump.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

I don't know if this picture will show it, but there is evidence of oil on the right side muffler. Left much cleaner, but not spotless, there are a few streaks on the top.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The only thing I have found so far, was the bolt that secures the oil return manifold to the case was a bit loose. I found that Sunday morning and tightened it. And still lost two quarts on the 120 mile ride home.

Where does a gallon of oil go, without leaving much trace?

Somewhere between running, and running well, I suppose.

I finally got around to better background than my junky garage. Here are a few pics.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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“I left the house with a full tank of oil. Toward the end of the ride I checked and oil was at the L mark. Hmmm. I bought a gallon, added a couple quarts, and strapped the rest to the bike.”

So when the oil is at the L mark, you can still get another 4 pints in the tank?
Does that bring the level to H?

I wonder if you may be over-filling the tank?

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"So when the oil is at the L mark, you can still get another 4 pints in the tank?
Does that bring the level to H?"

Yes, about two quarts from L to the 4 mark, perhaps a bit over. 5 indicates H.

I know to check when returning rather than cold. I suspect it wet sumps a bit when left alone for a couple weeks or so.

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you can drip lots of oil
without thinking it ever amounts to much .,
not saying its a case drippedge here .
but
my Fuzzy Math says
1 drop of oil evey 28 ft
adds up to a quart in about 100 miles .

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Quinten, I was curious as to how you came to the drop every 28ft, so I went through the fuzzy maths.
A quart in 100 miles equates to 1135ml/100 X 5280ft
=2.1 X 10E-3 ml/ft

So in 28ft, 28 X 2.1 X 10E-3 = 5.88 X 10E-2 ml

I've done this in Imperial gallons, so dividing by 1.201 to get to US gallons presumably used here:

28ft loses 5.88/1.201 X 10E-2 =0.0525 ml

That's about a twentieth of a ml. Is that what you estimated as "a drop" in the first place?

Whatever, 4 pints seems a lot to lose in that distance.

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Every oil leak I've ever had on an old Brit (and there have been a lot of them) have ALWAYS left a stream of oil somewhere on the bike.

When you're going down the road at 50 + MPH, oil doesn't just "drip down" off the engine or oil tank or out of the crank breather and disappear onto the road. The wind and slipstream is going to make it coat the whole arse-end of your bike.

Two quarts of oil in 120 miles is (to use a highly technical term, derived from Whitworth/Lucas units) a sh!tpotful of oil. Anytime I've lost even half of that, the rear half of the bike, the tire, the rear wheel, etc, is streaming oil like a B-17 radial engine with five MG-151 20mm shells through it on a mission over Europe.

Typically, if the engine is overfilled (and you look like you're aware of that issue and prevented it), the excess oil will come out of the breather behind the drive sprocket, and it goes everywhere. If it were coming out of the oil manifold, your rear tire would be soaked in it, you wouldn't even be able to keep it on the road.

I don't know the answer, but it's way beyond my rather extensive BSA oil-leaking experience ....

Lannis


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the "drip" volume was just pulled off the google , very fuzzy
18927.1 liquid drops per quart ... the liquid wasn't specified ...
so I did drops per inch ... or rather one quart of drops in 100 miles
this could very well be the wrong approach
because the velocity of the dripper was not taken into account
so done differently ,
60 miles an hour is 88 feet per second .
at one drop per second @ 60mph traveled distance
would be about 315 miles to drip 18927 drops .
( this is 3 times over my original estimate ).

I doubt that all the missing oil here is down to leaks ..
i wasnt trying to make that case .
as lannis said , leaks leave evidence .

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Rings or guides. have someone follow you, accelerate hard in 3rd then shut the throttle. If its guides then a puff of smoke will be seen when the throttle is closed. The leaky manifold wont have helped, that would give the streaks on the RHS silencer. Check the manifold is true and flat next opportunity, a half inch flat 2nd cut file drawn across the brass will show high spots.
Most likely its exhaust guides, if the carb has been set up over rich it may have washed the bores to accelerate ring wear.


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It's likely you have the wrong dipstick for your oil tank, there are 3 in total different types and each one showing different levels, one for the B25/B44 models and a different one for A65/A50. The 3rd type was a compromise and included markings to suit both bikes.

Its likely you have the wrong type and are over filling the tank, it'll be fine whilst your pottering about but anything spirited and you will start to find the level drop to the L mark.... Wierdly it never seems to drop any lower.... but that could be I topped it up again before it had chance to.

Least this was my experience...


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Thank you for thoughts.

I wiped it down a bit yesterday. The underside was wet. Swingarm, and the frame had oil on them, but just a film. The rear rim had a film, but oil is not getting on the tire in enough quantity to effect traction, I couldn't really find any evidence of oil on rubber. The undersides of the exhaust were coated.

Clearly, Ol is leaking out of the engine. The impression I get is that the loss is happening at speed, and turbulence or whatever is whipping it out and away. Otherwise it would be dripping at idle or while setting.

Regarding wet sumping: Overnight, this much oil slipped past the pump.
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

1. I'm going to inspect the oil return manifold and make sure all is well there. It bugs me the bolt was loose, note to add a dab of blue on assembly.

2. Then I'm going to power wash the underside. Take it for rides and pay more attention to where it's leaking from.

But,,,, Ol, no that's not miss-spelt. Here in Oklahoma and Texas, what most folks call oil, is properly pronounced ol.

Anyway Ol is also entering the primary. Ol is goin' %#&[email protected] everywhere, but leaving no puddles.

3. I fiddled with the primary crank oil seal quite a bit as I assembled the cases three times to get it right. It's likely I damaged the seal on installation. OR I have case pressure issues. Either way I need to order a crank ol seal, or two.

While I'm looking for leaks and waiting on parts, what do I do with the primary?

Do I disassemble the clutch basket to clean the plates, flush out the 40 weight, and reassemble with ATF? Or just put it back together, put fresh ol in tank and a bit in the primary? Can I get away with limited riding to troubleshooting and attend Fandango.

Texas, Fandango is coming up April 9th, I'm planning to put it in the show, and hopefully participate on rides Sunday.

What damage am I doing to the clutch by running 40 Wt Ol.?
Should I plan on replacing clutch plates?

Finally, assuming I go that far, I'm thinking seriously about accessing the final drive sprocket and replace with a larger one. It's pretty damn buzzy at sustained 65 MPH.

First I gotta figure out where all that ol's goin'. St. Greta please forgive my ecological sins.

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Allan

It hadn't occurred to me to question the accuracy of the measuring device.

This is the dipstick from '69 Thunderbolt Oil Tank that I have.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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Hi Tracey,

I apologise as my post may have been a little misleading, or at least not accurate for an A65... after reading the attached service sheet, you must not use the upper mark on the unit singles.

DipStick Markings.jpg (69.17 KB, 171 downloads)

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Originally Posted by Tracey Spear
I don't think it is burning it. That much oil through the engine would be billowing clouds of smoke. And there are none. Plugs look pretty good, a bit sooty but it runs rich at idle. Exhaust tips are sooty but not greasy.

Where does a gallon of oil go, without leaving much trace?
I recently got a badly neglected Trident survivor fence queen and did enough repair to make it a useable bike (no top end work). It runs really well and is satisfying to ride. But, it is an absolute OIL HOG.. It gulps down a quart every 130 miles or so. It has the typical leaks from the rocker boxes but it doesn't leave a slick when parked, even for a month or two.

After 1200 miles or so (9 or 10 quarts of oil), I checked the plugs expecting to find lots of crusty black buildup but no, they were light brown and relatively clean. The exhausts are a sooty black.

Fellow riders on modern bikes have mentioned (complained about) burning oil fumes. On British bike rides, I have made a point of asking others to watch for smoke. Nobody reported anything abnormal.

So, I suppose your bike could be burning the oil, mine sure seems to be. I will probably just ride it that way for the time being.

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Some thoughts on your oil consumption/leakage issues:-
- check the oil manifold has the right 'O' rings fitted, I believe some members recommend 'X' rings in this area for a better seal, I don't know the dimensions but hopefully someone will chime in.
- the overnight oil drain volume doesn't look too bad but if you're finding its ending up in the primary try parking it on the center stand rater than side stand. This will delay any drainage into the primary for a few days.
- If the clutch isn't slipping then its probably fine with the straight 40 oil you are using. Check the API grade on the can, anything lower than API SG is probably OK.
- Seems to be anyone's guess where all the oil is going. If its leaking externally an old but messy trick is to clean the engine and underside and then coat the engine with talc, hopefully any leaks will become more apparent after a couple of miles.
- if its not leaking externally then its got to be rings or guides, maybe you could try straight 50 or even 60 for a short while and see if this helps.
- check the oil pump return, it could be that the the pump is worn and not scavenging enough oil from the sump or the return pipe is somehow blocked. Is there an oil filter fitted?


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Well, comparing the picture of the dipstick from my bike to the service sheet, it appears I have a short dipstick.

Wife's been accusing me of that for years.

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Fit a bigger tank, job done!


My one used a fair bit of oil (about a pint every 500 miles or so.
It didn't smoke but was burning it i knew. The pistons were badly
corroded around the top ring grooves when i rebuilt it but i thought
i'd get away with a set of rings. (it had sat for years)
It did around 15k miles like that and i was given a set of pistons so
i put them in and it's not used any oil since.
When you get crankcase compression it will puff it out of the breather
as well as burn it, it adds up especially if ridden hard.

Last edited by NickL; 03/31/21 1:26 am.
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Hello Forum

I am happy to report that I may have found one of the sources of my external ol leakage. Upon removing the ol return manifold I found the return passage that feeds the head and tank missing an O ring. That and the loose manifold bolt I discovered could account for a lot of the loss.

I did not fit the manifold to the case prior to mounting the engine in the frame. I had one hellofa time puzzling that thing in there. It is likely that by the time I did, that O ring had gone missing and I overlooked it.

I should be able to take it out tomorrow to check for obvious leaks. It will be a while before I attempt another spirited ride. I plan on taking it to The Texas Fandango in April 9-11. Since AMCA events were mostly cancelled last year, the club has ask everyone to get them out of hiding and put their bike in the show. They want the biggest collection of antique motorcycles in Texas. There are rides scheduled for Sunday. It would be fun to participate.

I've never been to such an event, or shown a bike, even though I didn't build it for show, it will be fun to see how it does. I recon a fair amount of cleaning and polishing are in order.

That still doesn't address the ol in the primary. Sigh... one problem at a time...

Thanks Y'all

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Sorry if I have missed something in a previous post, but are you sure the oil in the primary is engine oil and not just oil for the primary chain?


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71’ A65 823 Thunderbolt (undergoing restoration)
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Yes sir, I put ATF in the primary on assembly. Most definitely 40wt in there now.

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Well forum, the saga continues...

I took it out today for, what someone above referred to as, a spirited ride. I rode about 50 miles.
The good news is it appears the oil manifold is no longer leaking.
The bad news is the left side of the bike was coated in ol, I lost about a pint, perhaps more.
Upon return I found oil seeping from the inner timing cover here:
Am I correct to assume this means the timing oil seal is to blame?
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Here:
Not much to be done with these until I can jack up the engine.
Save that for winter....
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

And spewing all over the place from here:
Any tips on renewing the cap gasket?
[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

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I can’t make out what we’re looking at in the first pic.
A larger pic from the same perspective would make it clear.
If its leaking out of the timing side, why is it coating the left side of the bike?

If its spewing from the oil filler cap, I’d suggest there’s too much oil in the tank to start with. Possibly the oil tank breather to atmosphere is blocked as well.

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That doesn't look like an official/original bung in that oil gallery.
They were normally a hex head plug arrangement that sat flush.
I would think someone has wound a cut down allen bolt in there.
You'll need to jack the motor up to get at it.

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The oil on the LHS is probably coming from the breather , the exit for this is via the camshaft timing disc then out through a hole above the gearbox sprocket . This is often a sign of excess crankcase compression caused by worn, broken or badly seated piston rings.


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I apologize forum, I've led you all astray. Major typo. It was the Right side, Timing side of the motorcycle that was coated in oil. There was very little on the Left side, Drive side.

The hole is the bottom of the timing inner case.

Yes, will have to jack up engine to address the plugs. But hope to wait till riding season is over. Why are they even there? They are not accessible?

As for overfilling, As mentioned above discussing the dipstick, 5H is high mark for A65. I confess I did not have a suitable measuring container, I intended to measure out 5 pints then compare to dipstick. I opted to fill to just under 5H with fresh ol on the center stand. I just wanted to take it out to check for leaks after addressing the oil manifold. I recon need to confirm whether the dipstick is accurate.

Upon return from spirited ride I could clearly tell oil seeped from around the tank cap, down the outside of the tank an onto the exhaust or dribbled down the feed line, and then wind blown all over creation. The Right rear foot peg was clearly sprayed.

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The plugs are there as that's how they drilled the galleries.
The one at the front is the main pressure gallery and will pi$$
oil out if it isn't sealed properly and you will loose the main
oil pressure line. Do the job now, just my 2c.

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