water used as coolant and subsequent leak into cylinder heads

Discussion in 'Mechanics Garage' started by Skipper, Aug 14, 2021.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    I recently purchased a 1986 VFR 750 "barn find" that had last been registed 11 years ago. The engine was seized and there was water - not coolant in two upper cylinders, and when I drained the oil water preceeded any flow of oil from the sump. The oil was seperate from the water and there was no sign of coolant in the radiator or associated plumbing.

    On stripping the engine down there is no rust damage anywhere but in the two cylinders so the engine will require re-boring and a new set of pistons. All oil passages had clean (not water contaminated) but could have done with an oil change. The machine has done what I would assess to be a genuine 28,000kms and is worth saving, there being no appreciable wear anywhere, and appart from the cylinders and coolant pump rust, is in very good condition.
    My question is - where did the water find it's way into the engine as to my thinking, it had been used in place of coolant? It had not been run since the leak occured and would appear to have been a slow leak while in storage. The coolant pipes are contaminated with "sludge" and the pump impellor is almost completely rusted away. Head gaskets do not appear to have been breached appart from one very minor intusion in one cylinder which I even wonder if it acctually leaked? The late owner is"apparently" as mystified as I am about the whole thing?

    Clearly I would like to save this old girl but must first be certain the problem will not re-occure so need to find the cause of the original failure and address it. Any fool who uses water in place of coolant wants shooting but that is story for another day. Suggestions of where to start looking would be appreciated - I am thinking to pressure test the cylinder heads to ensure there are no corrosion holes inside the port areas but appart from that I am lost for ideas?
     
  2. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,013
    Likes Received:
    468
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Map
    may not be worth saving.............

    re-boring requires a complete stripdown and a specialist workshop, and new pistons/rings may not be available. the rusted impellor is a very bad sign of widespred internal damage. unless the bike was left out in monsoons the water would most likely be from a bad headgasket.

    suspect the bike has alot more kms than indicated and will have future problems even if you can get it running.

    i hope i'm all wrong and that you'll have a nice runner eventually.
     
  3. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    Hi Squirrelman, thanks for the response but I think we are approaching this issue from different perspectives:
    The engine is allready stripped down for examination purposes and is in good condition so worthy of rescue
    I am not afraid to spend some money to restore an older bike - I am a member of the Vitage Japanese Motorcycle Club
    As for new Piston kits, quick scan shows ample supply sources, even here in Australia
    These "older" machines are not worth much today in some peoples eyes but I find them beautiful and very collectable
    I will take the crankcase to an engine reconditioner for a qualified opinion and pricing prior to a re-bore
    No doubt they will have some opinion as to how the leak occured - I had just wondered if others had experienced these happenings?
     
  4. TOE CUTTER

    TOE CUTTER Mullet Man

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,696
    Likes Received:
    71
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Map
    I think Squirrel was coming from a stand point he did not explain well. We here in the U.S. have not been able to get parts to rebuild gen 2 engines for decades. I gave up on my last rebuild over twenty years ago because of rod bearings that were unavailable despite years of searching as well as other parts that were not to be found. The boring of the gen 2 may be a little different now but back in the day it was very expensive as it required quite a bit of machine work to the upper case due to the interference of the webbing below the bores. He and I both have a fondness and respect for the older bikes but some repairs have been beyond our abilities for nothing more than simple parts are not obtainable. For us at least.
     
    Skipper likes this.
  5. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    Appreciate and understand what you are saying
    Clearly a visit to a respectable Engine reconditioner will provide the answers - it may still be an expensive exersize today :)
    My brother - who lives across the ditch in NZ would be capable of the process in his reconditioning shop but the tyrany of distance precludes that option
    So - time will tell if she lives to go again or is sold off as a parts bike to some fellow traveller (I hope not!)
     
  6. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2017
    Messages:
    955
    Likes Received:
    274
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Western Lower Peninsula, Michigan
    Map
    One possibility could be that a previous owner used it as a track bike where standard coolant was not allowed, then neglected to change it back.
     
  7. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    5,756
    Likes Received:
    726
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Desert Southwest
    Map
    Or you spend metric fucktons of money. It all comes down to how bad you really want it to run. DAMHIK.
     
  8. Simon Edwards

    Simon Edwards New Member

    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2021
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Map
    That tells us what was found in the cylinders, but was there actual coolant - even separated gunk/crystals and water that used to be coolant - anywhere else in the cooling system?

    Was it stored intact, with the tank in place?

    Did it have an air filter in place? If so what state was it in?

    Does it have the second foam air filter found on the Gen3? If so was that still inact?

    I'm trying to figure out how to get water in those two cylinders, and not the other two without knowing if the water was the intended coolant or came from an outside source.

    Effectively I am wondering if the water jacket was porous in that bank. Or did it try to ingest a hose-full of water or a huge puddle and then seize because of the lack of compressability of water?

    The latter would give you the water in the oil and the cylinders that you found, without much emulsion due to the sudden stop. It would then trickle down past the rings as they cooled unless some carbon gunk or bits of mashed air filter blocked the flow down past the rings. Which would then give you what you found.

    Oh! Is there any evidence of creamy water/oil mix emulsion in the radiator or any of the oilways? If not it has come into the sump after the engine was last running, or at the very point that it stopped running.
     
  9. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    In order of the questions asked:
    1/ Yes, when I purchased the bike it was mechanically intact
    2/The original Gen 2 air filter was secured in position and no sign that water had ever been in that area
    3/ No foam filter present
    4/ I don't believe it was from an external source, there was no coolant left in the radiator or header tank
    5/ It is my intension tomorrow to make a blanking plate and pressure test the cylinder heads
    If it was somehow fed water through the carbs I would expect it to hydraulic the cylinder heads - of which there is no signs to my untrained eye and the head bolts were still torqued down, taking the same breaker bar pressure to "crack, then undoing as expected
    Otherwise your theory is as close to the mark as anything I can think of (water was in the two right side cylinders only)
    6/ Rad was clean and dry however the pump and some of the pipework had scale and sludge contamination that was still damp /wet so like you I concluded the "event" happend post parking of the machine and the late owner was not aware

    Other than the rusted out impellor on the pump and the water in the right side cylinders, the engine seems in imaculate condition and well worth saving. I am even pondering purchasing a single standard liner, if possible and sending it over to my brother to fit, there being nobody local who seems interested in the task - still pondering that, time is not too important under the circumstances
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  10. Simon Edwards

    Simon Edwards New Member

    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2021
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Map
    I hadn't realised it was two in different banks. I thought it was two at the rear, the two that are highest in a bike on its center stand.

    The lack of sludge and immaculate engine mechanicals seem to indicate damage after laying up.

    So, with thoughts about two different banks, but on the same side of the bike...

    Where was it stored? What sort of climate in that area?

    If it was in Darwin worring about frost damage would be daft, but limited access condensation would be appropriate. Similarly for much of Western Australia and anywhere else with lots of moist air and swings in temperatures between seasons.

    My sister lives near Brisbane, and you get a lot of water there from time to time. With a lot of coastal moisture a lot of the time. Was it stored locally? With very high humidity a small vent would draw in damp air on a warm day that would later leave as slightly drier air plus condensation on a cooler night as everyting shrinks. Its only a tiny amount at a time, but it has had a decade to repeat the process.

    If you are wondering what I am on about, have you ever seen pictures of a double glazing panel gradually filling with water over years. They don't have to be directly exposed to rain to do that. They just need a pinhole in the seal somewhere up near the top.

    I would have to look at the firing sequence to work it out, but could these two cylinders have had open valves and the other two cylinders been sealed? The above-the-seat areas of the valves and stems may be discoloured by moisture if they were exposed and yield a clue - or four. Since it was just "air" it would pass straight through the filter, just very slowly.

    You could possibly have lost the actual "coolant" to a perished hose or pump seal. I had two pinholes on my '95's lowest hoses last year and yours are a decade older.

    Having said all that, if you shipped it from somewhere that gets cold in winter, and had water for a coolant. Then you could be looking for cracks pretty much anywhere that still had water in there when it froze.
     
  11. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    A lot of reasoned questions and I can answer some:
    The bike has been in South Brisbane area for the last 20 years and was registered and presumably riden up until rego expired in 2009. I never saw it in a shed when I went to purchase it but it was arranged in front of the shed so assumed it had been brought out for me to take away. It has no centre stand and the right side cyliners would have been on the high side "if" it was stored on the side stand. Being in a rural area they do get light frosts occasionly in the winter so that is one possibility - and a pressure test of the heads today will show if the heads are damaged - I will post findings!
     
    PetePower likes this.
  12. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    Up[date:
    Sorry about the void in communication, things just go a bit hectic around home - too many things happening at once unfortunately
    Well, I went back and had a discussion with the original owner about the whys and werefores as to that hapened historically
    Simon's sugestion about weather caused me to ask if he got frosts out where he lives - Yes and can have multiple frosts in a row
    So why did you use water for coolant? "I was only using a bit to top it up when needed" - Yeh right, bloody straight water ran out the sump when I drained it
    Had it been overheating back when you were riding it? "Sometimes" What does that even mean, it may have had a leaking head gsket way back then?

    So, I decided to do a presure test on the cylinder heads - 20psi, but I only had a piece of 8mm marine grade alloy plate and an old car inner tube for a gasket
    As soon as I applied a few psi it would "burp" air around the edge into the bucket of water I imursed the set up in - so a fail
    Remembered I do have a piece of 19mm steel plate and had contemplated using it but.....
    Went for a club ride on the weekend and while away my son found yet another VFR750, this time an '89 model and promptly bought it for me
    So, I picked it up today(it doesn't run but does crank over and am told faulty fuel pump (maybe?)
    It seems a quicker fix (the '69 needs one, possibly two new sleeves and my existing pistons will do another round -they cleaned up beautifully)
    So tomorrow I start a strip down and clean up so I can see just whay I have bought this time - "Oh the joy of mucking about with bikes"
    (Appologies to Kenneth Grahame and Toad)
     
  13. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

    Country:
    United States
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,013
    Likes Received:
    468
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Map
    could be possibly an overheating incident caused blown headgaskets and warped heads.
     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper New Member

    Country:
    Australia
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2021
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    Map
    Thank you Squirrilman for your thoughts - yes indeed you could be right and as I am steaming along with bike number 2 for now, I shall put your comments on "things to check" if and when I get back to the earlier model. At this stage and having done some research on the '89 build it has so many additional features I am just hoping it turns out to be a runner. These bones are old and I don't move as fast as some but in the next couple of days I hope to test if she will run or not. I have the fuel pump from the first bike and a lot of enthusiasm so thats half the battle but the old girl has been sadly neglected and I am feeling my way slowly - no point in charging in, creating damage and additional work. As was the case with bike 1, bike 2 was also last registered way back in 2009.
    In any event, I will make the best one into a ridable machine and that's another classic saved from destruction :)
     
Related Topics

Share This Page