Wanting Pointers on Oil Leak! - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-03-2016, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wanting Pointers on Oil Leak!

I just purchased a 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 from a dealer for an amazing price. I took it home and noticed that it actually had an oil leak - now I know why I got it for $800. This is my first bike ever, so I am really disappointed as the dealership said that everything was perfect. I have absolutely no mechanical experience, but I have been doing nothing but researching what could be wrong the last few days (this forum has been especially helpful). However, I never found a leak quite like the one I have.

I have attached a few pictures to help you guys understand. I'm sorry if I don't use the correct terms too, I'm trying! haha. On my left crankshaft where the oil reservoir is (reference "Motorcycle1" picture), I have this ring of black apoxy all the way around the part (pointed to with a red arrow in picture "Motorcycle2"). This apoxy, from what I understand, was put there by the manufacturer - not by a previous owner. My leak though is on the bottom of this oil reservoir at - from what I can tell - two bolts near the drain bolt (circled in the "Motorcycle3" picture). There was a yellow/white type of silicone on top of this black apoxy, but it didn't really seem bonded to the area, so I just pulled it all off. I'm assuming that a previous owner knew about this leak and just tried to seal it up with the silicone. It obviously didn't work!

Anyways, it only leaks when the motorcycle is running. It does not leak when it is cold. When it is running oil will drip from one of the two bolts at about 1 drip per 5 seconds (about 70mL an hour). I've rode it for about 30 miles total so far, and it seems to run perfectly fine. I've done an oil change and it does have the correct amount of oil in it (I had a more experienced friend help me). My question is, what do you guys think is wrong? I'm wondering if my gasket is bad, or possible the O-rings on the bolts (are there O-rings)? I would like to get the leak to stop but don't want to take out the engine to replace the gasket / o-rings, so I'm probably going to try to put that really nice JB weld all along this seam, right over the black apoxy. What do you guys think? I wanted to try this first, and then maybe get into more technical things!

Sorry for the wall of text, I just wanted to make things as clear as possible!
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 01:09 AM
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First off, the more information the better, so no worries on the wall of text.

Second, oh man, that is NOT a 'from the manufacturer' gasket, not that it changes your problem any. Be aware that it's always possible that the oil leak is higher up and is just dripping off of the lowest point it finds, but that 'gasket' does looks like it could be failing at either bolt.

Fixing an oil leak without completely replacing the gasket is a difficult if not impossible job. You need to get the area surrounding the leak 100% clean of oil so that your patch will bond. Since you're trying to seal a rubbery gasket material, that's going to be hard to do. Use a degreaser and clean like crazy. I've never attempted this myself, so I can't recommend any products, but I would guess that patching with a gasket material/RTV would work better than JB Weld in this scenario since it would deal with expansion/contraction/vibration between the metal parts.

Worst case scenario, catch the drips and keep the oil topped up.

Hopefully others will weigh in too.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response!! I'll be sure to de-grease the heck out of it and use the RTV stuff instead of the JB weld. Great idea! Hopefully this works *fingers crossed* If not, do you think that it is possible to undo the bolts on the crankcase and replace all the black epoxy to form a new gasket without taking out the whole engine and everything? I don't think I'll be able to take the crankcase/oil reservoir all the way out, but could it be possible to replace the gasket if I got it removed about an inch ya think (maybe undoing the bolts a bit will give me some wiggle-room)?

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 09:53 AM
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Seem obvious to me that one of the previous owners replaced the stator and just did a crappy job of sealing the thing up. You better hope that's not really "epoxy" because if it is, it's going to be a pain to clean off.

You'll need to remove the cover, clean both sides really well, (without scratching the mating surfaces. Install a new gasket using a sealant (RTV is fine)

Not sure you can do this without at least tilting the engine in the frame.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 11:56 AM
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- Degrease well
- Wipe down
- find leak before it blows back or drips down. Look at the highest and most forward point it begins.
- Get gasket maker material (square piece of material) from auto store and cut your own, stay away from sealants.
- There are several kinds in a "kit' they sell, the black or blue is your best bet in the kit. Just squares of material in a package.


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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by One1 View Post
- Degrease well
- Wipe down
- find leak before it blows back or drips down. Look at the highest and most forward point it begins.
- Get gasket maker material (square piece of material) from auto store and cut your own, stay away from sealants.
- There are several kinds in a "kit' they sell, the black or blue is your best bet in the kit. Just squares of material in a package.
Just to be clear, cutting a gasket out of a sheet means separating the engine (or whatever) pieces, cleaning out all of the old gasket before making a new piece to seal the whole seam.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch everyone. Glad to know you guys agree and think it is also the gasket. I'm going to try some external fixes (just throwing on some more RTV on the outside) to get me through this riding season. If it doesn't work I'll just keep an eye on the oil. This coming winter I'll probably try to take out the engine to replace this gasket! I don't know how comfortable I feel at cutting my own out - I'm pretty bad at that kinda stuff. haha. If you guys have any other methods of getting to this gasket without having to dissemble everything, I'm open ears! Knifemaster suggested tilting the engine in the frame. How would one go about that? Thanks again guys! You are all amazing!

Zoom nyoom!
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 08:33 PM
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I have a slow leak on the left side as well. mine appears to be the shift shaft seal, which I havent changed yet. just too busy/broke to get 'er done

also, mine coats the entire left side with a film of oil over time. doesnt even really leave a drip anywhere

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 10:01 PM
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Deleted...double post.

and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
Vulcan 2000
New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
4507 miles

Last edited by Knifemaker; 09-05-2016 at 09:22 AM.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcyone View Post
I just purchased a 1995 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 from a dealer for an amazing price. I took it home and noticed that it actually had an oil leak - now I know why I got it for $800. This is my first bike ever, so I am really disappointed as the dealership said that everything was perfect. I have absolutely no mechanical experience, but I have been doing nothing but researching what could be wrong the last few days (this forum has been especially helpful). However, I never found a leak quite like the one I have.

I have attached a few pictures to help you guys understand. I'm sorry if I don't use the correct terms too, I'm trying! haha. On my left crankshaft where the oil reservoir is (reference "Motorcycle1" picture), I have this ring of black apoxy all the way around the part (pointed to with a red arrow in picture "Motorcycle2"). This apoxy, from what I understand, was put there by the manufacturer - not by a previous owner. My leak though is on the bottom of this oil reservoir at - from what I can tell - two bolts near the drain bolt (circled in the "Motorcycle3" picture). There was a yellow/white type of silicone on top of this black apoxy, but it didn't really seem bonded to the area, so I just pulled it all off. I'm assuming that a previous owner knew about this leak and just tried to seal it up with the silicone. It obviously didn't work!

Anyways, it only leaks when the motorcycle is running. It does not leak when it is cold. When it is running oil will drip from one of the two bolts at about 1 drip per 5 seconds (about 70mL an hour). I've rode it for about 30 miles total so far, and it seems to run perfectly fine. I've done an oil change and it does have the correct amount of oil in it (I had a more experienced friend help me). My question is, what do you guys think is wrong? I'm wondering if my gasket is bad, or possible the O-rings on the bolts (are there O-rings)? I would like to get the leak to stop but don't want to take out the engine to replace the gasket / o-rings, so I'm probably going to try to put that really nice JB weld all along this seam, right over the black apoxy. What do you guys think? I wanted to try this first, and then maybe get into more technical things!

Sorry for the wall of text, I just wanted to make things as clear as possible!
Was there a warranty on the bike when you bought it or was it "as is"? You mentioned that the dealer said the bike was perfect and it sure isn't for obvious reasons. Sloppy epoxy on the outside where it should not be is something any dealer should recognize as a potential problem. I would discuss the situation with the dealer before attempting anything unless it was a true "as is" deal and then you bought it with the problem and you get to cover the cost of repairing it. If you are actually stuck with the repair than a few words with the sales person that used the word "perfect" would be in order just for self satisfaction. This is something that can be corrected with limited mechanical experience and if that friend that checked the oil level is available you should have no problem at all. I like the part where you state it only leaks when the motor is running. So as long as you never ride it, it is still perfect. No leaks and silent as can be. What more can you ask for? lol Set aside a weekend after watching some of the videos here on the subject and go for it. It will not take the entire weekend and should be completed in one day or less. Go for it. You also learned a new word here today......."stealership" as we refer to those wonderful people that sell bikes and service them with big smiles. I had one try to charge me $250.00 to replace a blown fuse and never tried to find the cause of the electrical short after having the bike for a week and a half. We had a discussion and I ended up with two super discounted tires mounted and installed plus another $200.00 worth of discounts on some parts I needed and installed myself. Talking can pay off if done correctly. Good luck.

and always remember, "Ride until you rot!"
**Really not sure if the Big "C" is back right now
but having to face the fact that this is a lifetime routine
going forward. Five operations done and it still continues.

Tom
Vulcan 2000
New ride: 2009 Victory Vision Arlen Ness Signature Series
4507 miles
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