Oil on my spark plugs! - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Oil on my spark plugs!

So I'm riding down the road around 60mph when I experience some loss of power, I pull to the side of the road and notice there is a small flame coming from the front right spark plug hole accompanied by a little smoke (not fumes) coming from the exhaust. I pull out the spark plugs and they all have some oil on them. I've talked to two mechanics about this and received very different responses:

#1: Isn't too big of a problem, just need to do a leak down test and go from there, probably just need to replace a gasket on the spark plug-wells.

#2: This is a catastrophic issue that would require an engine rebuild "you should just walk away"

On one hand if it costs me less then $1000 to fix I'd probably pay it, but I'd hate to take it to a shop, pay them hundreds of dollars just for them to tell me its not worth fixing. I could really use some advise on this one guys, thanks
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 03:34 PM
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a little clarification needed: Oil on the outside of the plugs or on the electrodes?

outside of the plug, mechanic number 1 is probably right.

on the inside (electrodes), more investigation is needed

2005 VN750

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately the oil is on the electrodes, no oil on the outside..

What kind of investigation can be done? I really like this bike and don't want to just give up

Last edited by freeman08; 05-22-2018 at 05:21 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 08:47 PM
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The fire in the plug hole must be an oil leak. A bad o-ring on the well should leak from the weep hole. However, on the right side, the deep well is in the rear. If there's oil at all four plug holes, you can't pull a plug without getting oil on the electrodes. So maybe valve cover gaskets?

Oil on all four plugs is unusual unless the rings have finally just given up and lost tension, or the oil rings stuck from sitting in storage. I wouldn't expect to see both pistons broken at the same time. Stuck oil rings could be a possibility, more so with storage and dirty cylinders (carbon).

I would start with a compression test, at the shallow spark plug holes. Dry out the holes and see how soon the plugs oil up again, while watching for oil leaks around the valve covers.

Any chance the oil is actually coolant? Has it been using coolant?

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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You hit the nail on the head with the storage part! A brief history of the bike: I bought the bike from a guy who said he was the second owner, it is a 1992 Vulcan 750 with (according to the guy I bought it from) only 4,000 original miles. I thought this seemed really low but it is possible this bike had been sitting in some guys garage for 20 years, so that might explain some of these issues.


As for how soon the plugs oiled up, I had changed them maybe 20 miles previously before experiencing this issue. I was planning on posting a picture of the plugs but can't figure out how to do that? Not sure if it's coolant but it definitely looks like oil to me. Another thing to mention is that I changed the oil at the same time (20 miles ago) and now the oil looks almost black!?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:10 PM
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Ok, if it's running reasonably well, the compression must be ok.

For stuck oil rings, I'd recommend filling the cyls. with Marvel Mystery Oil, or a mix of trans fluid and kerosene/diesel. Let it soak a day or so. Crank with plugs out to empty the cyls of the soak oil. Then add the right amount of Seafoam to the gas and the oil, and ride a couple hundred miles or two tanks, add seafoam to the second tank.

Oil getting dirty quick may be an indication of how much carbon build up is in the engine.

Run 87 octane, not premium.

Change oil after this.

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__________________________________________________ ____________
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I'm out of town for the week but will definitely try this as soon as I can. Thanks so much for the advise, it's much appreciated! I'll definitely let you know how it turns out!

Thanks again!
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