All four spark plugs covered with oil... - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 05:09 AM Thread Starter
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All four spark plugs covered with oil...

Hello everyone this is my first post on this forum and the vulcan 750 is my first bike so please excuse me if I'm slow to understand.... But anyway I got my hands on this bike a couple weeks ago and I've been working on it ever since to get it running because it was sitting for about 20 years and I've got it to start finally but it'll only stay running for a few minutes til it just dies and also noticed that oil will drip out of the right exhaust pipe and I have no idea as to why that would be... With count less hours trying to figure out why it won't start back up after turning it over I decided to pull the spark plugs and saw that each spark plug tip looked like they've been dipped in oil! So I figured that had to be one of the reasons why it wouldn't start back up! So if someone could please help me figure this thing out I would greatly appreciate it.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 08:24 AM
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Not an expert by any means, but a couple of thoughts occur to me.

Some times when a conscientious owner is placing their beloved motorcycle into storage for an extended period of time, they'll pull the spark plugs and put "fogging oil" in the cylinders to keep the cylinders from rusting and also keep the rings from sticking to the pistons so that they function properly. You may be seeing an overabundant application of this fogging oil escaping through the exhaust system?

The more likely cause of the symptoms you're describing is that the bike has sat for 20 some years, and the rings *aren't* doing their job, which results in crankcase oil getting into the combustion chamber where it fouls the plugs and escapes through the exhaust. Sitting for a long time is hard on things. I've got an old tractor that my grandpa bought new in the 40s. He passed away years ago, and my dad got the old tractor. It was old and small even when I was a kid. Dad used it for a few years, then it sat in the corner of the shed for 25(?) years. I finally inherited it a few years ago, and it ran but had excessive blue smoke. I used it that way around my small property for a couple years then a couple years back I needed some decorative stone for a landscaping project. I didn't have a car that would pull my landscape trailer the 10 miles into town for that rock, so decided to use the old tractor on some hilly back roads. Well, that old tractor has a really fast road gear--fast enough that it was working really hard pulling a loaded trailer. I had to shift down a gear at times to make the hills. Anyway, after that the engine doesn't smoke near as bad as it did. I figure working the tractor must have freed up the rings.

I would guess that getting this to run properly may require a tear-down and manually freeing up the rings or possibly replacing them. I don't have that kind of experience, so I'm only guessing. You may have some luck with putting some diesel or Marvel Mystery Oil (this is an actual product, if you're not familiar) down the plug holes to free up the rings. Again, this is beyond my experience so maybe somebody else will have better advice.

You've got quite an ambitious task if you're going to be bringing an engine that has sat for 20 years back into service. Aside from the oil you're seeing, you should be checking the air filters. Very likely they've disintegrated and may be getting sucked into the carbs. The carbs need cleaning also, no doubt. . . . Here's a post where I describe the process for cleaning the idle circuit. You'll need to pay particular attention to the idle circuit, but the rest of the carbs will need attention as well. Check the diaphragms for holes as bike may run but not make power if they are compromised.

Coolant will need to be drained and flushed, and new coolant added. . . . Brakes also, will need flushing. There will likely be hoses that need replacement. Be aware that all these bits and pieces add up--this will be a labor of love if you're successful. It might make more sense to find another bike that runs better especially if you're just learning to ride. This bike will not be as safe as a bike that runs right, and you'll need it to work as well as possible to learn easily. Speaking as a forum member, I enjoy giving advice and there are lots of other members that are very knowledgeable and helpful. Just be aware that this will cost you in terms of time and money, and may well be very frustrating. Not sure how much of this stuff you've done before, so don't mean to tell you stuff you already know. . . . Good luck with whatever you decide.

GDI
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Last edited by GDI; 08-05-2018 at 08:26 AM. Reason: fixed word choice
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 03:04 PM
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Probably won't be the solution, but if this old gas in the tank? If so, dump that **** and put fresh in. Throw some seafoam in the tank and maybe spray some carb cleaner or the like in the air pods when trying to start it. If you can get it going again let it run for a bit and see if that helps clean up the plugs and ****. And not to imply that you're stupid or anything, but are you positive it is oil coming out of the exhaust and not gas? If it is gas, you might have a stuck float in the carb or maybe the bike is running really rich on that cylinder.

I'm not master mechanic, just my 2 cents
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 10:41 PM
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+1

KJ has a good point. If the gas is original, changing that out and getting new sparkplugs (or possibly cleaning and replacing the old ones) should be your first step.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys! I actually figured it might be bad rings leading to some oil collecting on the spark plugs, and I know its not fogging oil because they're new spark plugs that i installed. Ill try adding marvel mystery oil down the spark plug holes and seeing what that will do. I guess I should say what I've done to the bike so far, so I've replaced the fuel lines, replaced the petcock, put in new air filters because like GDI said they were disintegrated, sprayed down the carbs with carb cleaner, also drained all the old oil out and added new oil and replaced the oil filter, and lastley cleaned out the tank because the inside was pretty rusted so I cleaned all the rust out and added clean 89 octane fuel... but I haven't flushed the coolant, I just added new coolant and I haven't really made any big attempts at cleaning the carburetors except just spraying them down with carb cleaner. I know fixing this bike wont be easy to fix but its a challenge in willing to take! (of course if its worth it) and plus I got the bike for free from a neighbor who just needed to get rid of it because he was moving and didn't have any space for it at his new place, so I've only put in about $250 so far trying to fix it, but I have also thought of just putting the money I'm spending on this bike on a different bike that at least works haha.

To answer kryptonianjorel's question, Yes im pretty sure its oil and not fuel... it feels like oil, but it could be a mixture of the two I guess.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 01:58 AM
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Thanks for the overview. So, fresh gas, oil, and plugs. Well, ready for an adventure? Sounds like you might need to do some heavy engine work and replace all of the old seals.

Don't give up on this bike. Its a great ride and there are so many resources here to help you get it running, and keep it running for a long time.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 08:50 AM
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If the bike sat for a long time, there's a chance it may be the oil rings are stuck with carbon buildup. Marvel Mystery Oil as mentioned can free up the rings, but will need some soak time and maybe reapplication if the soak time is long.

Other oils can loosen the carbon, some will make a mixture of trans fluid and brake fluid, or maybe use kerosene, diesel fuel, and I suppose Seafoam may even do the job quicker.

Just be aware that most of what you put in for a soak, will end up in the oil.

If it runs, additional run time after a soak can help loosen the oil rings further. Seafoam in the oil and gas would be a plus during the first tank full or so.

Higher octane gas can create more carbon buildup in this engine, over time.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 11:15 AM
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PB Blaster/Seafoam DeepCreep/Marvel Mystery Oil/ATF in the cylinders for a while to try and unstick the rings. See if it helps, but don't forget to change the oil soon after. Shell Rotella is cheap and good oil, typically $13/gal at Walmart. Makes for a much less painful oil change if you're gonna be dumping it a bit to get contaminants out of the engine. Probably no need to change the filter until you've got it running good.

Have you been able to get it running long enough to get the engine nice and hot?

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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I'll try adding marvel mystery oil or seafoam into the cylinders. Any idea on how much I should add to each cylinder? And after I add it and let it soak in how do I remove it from the cylinders afterwards? (sorry if it's a dumb question) wow I had no idea adding higher octane fuel will lead to more carbon build up, I'll start using 87 in that case!

I have been able to get it running til it warms up. I've been able to do it a couple times before, but now if I crank it long enough it'll start but immediately bog down and shut off and it sounds pretty rough, like the rear cylinder will fire off a couple times and front cylinder struggles to fire off.... At least that's what it sounds like.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 02:50 PM
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Whatever you put in the cylinders will leak down into the crankcase and make a bit of a mess of your oil. Not a bad idea to crank it over with the sparkplugs removed a few times before attempting to start it just to make sure you don't hydrolock the engine. Then you'll need to change the oil before you run it for too long, but I wouldn't do it right away unless it fixes the issue, since you'll likely have to do this a couple of times if it really is stuck rings. Pour a good bit in there, enough to cover the pistons. Maybe 2-4 oz in each jug?

The fix might be running it a bit to get some pressure on the rings. Rev it up a bit if you can without bogging then close the throttle to get the engine to produce some vacuum, just idling along the rings won't be under much load and won't be coaxed out. Like the example above of the guy running his tractor hard, piston rings need to be worked out a bit if they're gonna free up. Again, all of this is assuming your rings are the issue, which seems very likely, but is not a guarantee.

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