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Thread: RT pumping white smoke on startup

  1. #1
    beemerFROG derost's Avatar
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    RT pumping white smoke on startup

    Jumped on the bike this morning and a puff of white came out on start up... went away as it was running... until I hit the throttle again, and a lot more white smoke. CRAP!

    - Let it cool down and let the oil settle and the oil in the glass has dropped from just over the mid mark (1600mi since oil change in March) to just under a quarter of the glass.
    - Pulled the plugs and they are both black
    - FYI in March the valves were done

    I have a buddy coming over to help with a compression test and a air leak down test. Any thoughts? My first thought is piston ring, but then again I know very little about engines...

    As much as this sucks, being there is a rally this weekend... at least it didn't happen on the road!!
    -Ride Safe & Avoid Anyone On The Phone-
    **2000 R1100RT (Bullfrog), 1976 R90/6 (Tadpole)**
    beemerFROG a.k.a. Douglas E. Rost
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    RT pumping white smoke on startup

    Are you sure it wasn't only condensation i.e. "steam"? If it burns oil the smoke will be blueish, and it will get worse as the engine heats up and the oil gets hotter. If it was only condensation, it will disappear once the engine and the muffler warms up. As for the oil level dropping, if the oil didn't get to operating temperature it will take a very long time to get back to the sump.
    Andre
    .....teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.....
    Psalm 90:12

  3. #3
    beemerFROG derost's Avatar
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    Andres,
    I don't feel it is steam because the "smoke" lingered in the garage, plus had a smell to it. Maybe my color is off, I will run it again and try to get a better grasp of the smoke color.

    My buddy is coming over in an hour or so to check compression. I will update things then... fingers crossed.
    -Ride Safe & Avoid Anyone On The Phone-
    **2000 R1100RT (Bullfrog), 1976 R90/6 (Tadpole)**
    beemerFROG a.k.a. Douglas E. Rost
    MotoFrog.net -- Black Frog Marketing

  4. #4
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    I am not an expert on Oilhead engines, but my guess would be valve guide seals. Oil leaks into the cylinders and accumulates there when the bike sits. It burns off during start-up.

  5. #5
    beemerFROG derost's Avatar
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    Mike, what would be the best way to diagnose if that is the problem?
    -Ride Safe & Avoid Anyone On The Phone-
    **2000 R1100RT (Bullfrog), 1976 R90/6 (Tadpole)**
    beemerFROG a.k.a. Douglas E. Rost
    MotoFrog.net -- Black Frog Marketing

  6. #6
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by derost View Post
    Mike, what would be the best way to diagnose if that is the problem?
    Process of elimination. Do a compression and leak down test. If those check out then, imho, its either valve guides or seals.

  7. #7
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Have you pulled your airbox drain plug lately? If not, put it on the side stand and do so with a cup underneath, just in case you get a bunch of oil coming out.

    Have you checked your air cleaner to make sure it hasn't become excessively restricted?

    How long ago was the last time you had the bike out? Did it exhibit any of this then? Was there anything notable about your last ride? (Any changes in how the bike ran, Running the RPM higher or lower than normal, longer or shorter than your normal ride, parked differently at the end of the ride, etc.)

  8. #8
    Rally Rat
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    Before you do anything. Was the bike parked on the side stand after long hard run?

    Smoke white or blue?

    Boxers can have oil seep into the cylinder if left on the side stand and conditions are right.

    My airhead did it a lot.

    Take the bike out and ride it around till the smoke stops. Then ride it some more.

    Park on the center stand and ride it again tomorrow. Repeat....

    Drain the air box like said above. Don't worry too much unless its a continuous problem.

    Out of habit I lean my bike to the right after shutting it off for a few seconds to let the oil run out of the left cylinder.

    Give it a shot and let us know.

    David

  9. #9
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DROOT153718 View Post
    Before you do anything. Was the bike parked on the side stand after long hard run?

    Smoke white or blue?

    Boxers can have oil seep into the cylinder if left on the side stand and conditions are right.

    My airhead did it a lot.

    Take the bike out and ride it around till the smoke stops. Then ride it some more.

    Park on the center stand and ride it again tomorrow. Repeat....

    Drain the air box like said above. Don't worry too much unless its a continuous problem.

    Out of habit I lean my bike to the right after shutting it off for a few seconds to let the oil run out of the left cylinder.

    Give it a shot and let us know.

    David
    +1
    Mine (oilhead) will have a smokey start every so often if parked on the side stand.
    Common with boxer engines as as the engine cools it draws a bit of oil into the left cylinder depending where the piston stops.
    Usually does it when I am parked beside a bunch of Harleys on the ferry.........
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    It's all about the details.

  10. #10
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    white smoke on startup is a classic symptom of a blown/leaking head gasket, or a warped head, allowing engine coolant to get into the combustion chamber.
    except Oilheads don't have engine coolant other than oil, and oil smoke is blue:ish.
    I would either worry excessively about this problem, or not one iota. I'm strongly leaning towards no iotas.

    you said it had "a smell"
    want to go the one step further and tell us what it smelled like? if roses, then your flower bed has migrated, and needs roto-tilling. if oil, then some oil is leaking past the rings once you put it on the sidestand, and that is what is burning off.
    I bought my bike used, but very low miles. It now has 96,000 miles on it. it sometimes smokes at startup. I don't think the rings have ever fully seated, as she continues to consume oil to this day. I just ride it, and add as necessary. maybe a pint or so gets added between her 6K oil changes- less if touring, more if lots of short commuter miles.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  11. #11
    beemerFROG derost's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the input.
    We did a compression test, all was fine.
    Did an air leak down, all was fine.
    Valves, fine.
    Frustrated, we took it off the lift and took it for a run with my buddy riding behind me... no smoke!
    I then had it on the center stand all night, and when I went to start it this morning... you guessed it, smoke.
    I took a video of it (sorry, it's with my phone)
    -Ride Safe & Avoid Anyone On The Phone-
    **2000 R1100RT (Bullfrog), 1976 R90/6 (Tadpole)**
    beemerFROG a.k.a. Douglas E. Rost
    MotoFrog.net -- Black Frog Marketing

  12. #12
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Did you pull the drain plug on the air box? That is how mine would sometimes act when I wasn't checking the oil right and was running with too much oil. The engine was fixing my mistake by pumping the excess into the air box.

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    Quote Originally Posted by derost View Post
    Thanks for all of the input.
    Valves, fine.
    How did you check valve guides?

    They are still my guess. But I wouldn't know how to check these, other than eliminating all other problems

  14. #14
    beemerFROG derost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    How did you check valve guides?

    They are still my guess. But I wouldn't know how to check these, other than eliminating all other problems
    Sorry, I meant we checked the valve gap while in there. If it is a valve that is leaking... I don't know how to check that.

    I did check the airbox, and maybe a few drops came out. If I had just done an oil change I can understand if there was too much in there, but I did my change 1600 miles ago (March). I think at this point just to rule that out, I will get the bike fully warmed up and do another oil change, but without the filter change.
    -Ride Safe & Avoid Anyone On The Phone-
    **2000 R1100RT (Bullfrog), 1976 R90/6 (Tadpole)**
    beemerFROG a.k.a. Douglas E. Rost
    MotoFrog.net -- Black Frog Marketing

  15. #15
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    RT pumping white smoke on startup

    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    How did you check valve guides?

    They are still my guess. But I wouldn't know how to check these, other than eliminating all other problems

    Just pull the heads, remove the valves, mic the stems and pin the guides - ok - not so easy



    I wouldn't change the oil just to make sure there isn't too much. Pulling the drain and not getting more that a drip or two indicates that oil level probably isn't your issue. It also tends to rule out excessive blow by causing oil carry over through the breather or a clogged air filter doing the same.

    Doing the side stand dance to carefully verify oil level and checking the air filter would still be on my list because they are easy, but I'm doubtful that the answer is there. After that, pulling the throttle bodies would probably be my next step. I'd probably pull them before starting the bike to look for oil on the intake valves or coming through the throttle bodies. If you don't see anything, I'd shut the bike down and pull the throttle bodies off during a smoky startup and look again. If you still don't see anything, I'd pull the exhaust and look for burnt oil on a valve.
    Last edited by rxcrider; 05-15-2013 at 03:52 PM.

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