Suzuki Savage Head Leak Fix - Motorcycle Forum
Motorcycle Forum

Go Back   Motorcycle Forum > Motorcycle Repair, Building, and Restoration > Motorcycle Repair

Motorcycle Repair Having trouble fixing your motorcycle? Just lay it out for our shadetree mechanics.



Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-20-2012, 05:40 PM   #1
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default Suzuki Savage Head Leak Fix

Now that Old Faithful ('68 CB350) is back on the road, it is time to turn my attention to my '86 Suzuki Savage (LS650, now known as the S-40), also known as the "Virgin Whore" and more lately, "Old Smokey."

These Savages have a bad habit of leaking oil from the cam case. Apparently no one told the Suzuki assemblers to use sealant when they installed one particular plug and that is whence the problem stems. Here's a picture of Old Smokey's cylinder with the head cover removed. I was able to do this without removing the engine, but my manual says that is not always the case. After removing the bolts, it took a kind of tilting and twisting motion forward and to the right, while cussing and holding my tongue just so, while saying three Hail Marys to pull mine away and out of the frame. You can see in the pictures some of the oil-staining along the edge of the top fin.



Here is the motor from the other side. The troublesome leaking plug is circled.



The plug is there because directly below the hole it fills is one of the cylinder bolt heads. To torque this thing a socket has to go through the hole, then it gets plugged before they install the head cover. The problem with this one leaking in particular is that it drips directly onto the header, creating a nice smoke screen when you stop. Often the leak looks much worse than it is and causes all sorts of panic among riders thinking the head or worse is leaking. The hole is so well hidden, and when you ride the oil tends to blow all over the cylinders and back, usually more so on the left side, as the oil obeys gravity and finds its way to that side when the bike is on its stand.

Here's the location of the plug with the bolt head below it from the outside. There, back in that cavern next to the pipe.



You must be careful keeping track of all the bolts. They are all different and must go back whence they came. (Note: I am not putting on the head cover, so four bolts are not needed for my install, but if you are reinstalling the covers on yours, a couple of the bolts go in from the bottom of the cover, so don't forget them or you will be grumbling and disassembling the head cover again to do it right!) I learned a neat trick from a forum dedicated exclusively to the Savage. Print out the microfiche cover diagram at approximately full size and tape it to a box. Poke holes where the bolts go with a screwdriver, then stick the bolts in their place as you remove them. Some of the bolts require special gaskets, that are a kinda metal/rubber composition. Of course, mine had none. Luckily the local dealer had them in stock.



Now, whoever had installed this before on my bike was, well, probably riding the short bus. If you look carefully at the bolts in the picture above you might notice that two are missing (other than those trim cover bolts) that go just inside the valve covers. I guess the previous mechanic didn't think they were necessary. I went out to my local Suzuki dealer today and have those two bolts on their way. I guess the same yahoo didn't have the proper rubber teardrop-shaped gasket either or was to cheap to buy one. He filled the area with silicone instead. New proper gasket is on the way, too. Here's the silicone "gasket" I pulled out.



Also, the head cover was installed with what looks like household silicone caulk, which oozed out everywhere. Here's some of the stringy mess I scrubbed off the area.



I took the cover and stuck it in some diesel for cleaning. Here is the top side.



And here is the bottom. Circled is the area where the teardrop-shaped gasket goes.



I'll report back when I start the reassembly.

Cheers,

Mike, greasy once more
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote

Advertisement [Remove Advertisement]
Old 01-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #2
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Sorry, too late to edit, but where I said: "Note: I am not putting on the head cover,..." I should have said: "Note: I am not putting on the head cover trim..."

L25 are the two bolts I have ordered that are missing on my bike. L65, C20, S30, and C25 are the bolts that hold the trim on that I am not installing.

Also, make sure you do not remove S30. It stays on the head cover.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2012, 07:16 PM   #3
chefonahonda
Lead, follow or get out of the way. Life Is Good!
 
chefonahonda's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Posts: 792
chefonahonda is on a distinguished road
Default

Way to go and good luck on all that. Had to get new tires today, rear was almost bare and getting slippery in the curves.
chefonahonda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2012, 08:22 PM   #4
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chefonahonda View Post
Way to go and good luck on all that. Had to get new tires today, rear was almost bare and getting slippery in the curves.
That's on my list, too, before the ride to Maggie Valley. I should be able to get by with just a new front this time. The CB required a new battery today, so the tire is the only thing left before the road.

Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

I was all set to reassemble the Virgin Whore yesterday. First I cleaned up all the mating surfaces.

Here I am cleaning and flattening the head cover on a piece of wet and dry 400 grit on a granite slab (a sink cutout I got free from a countertop place; very useful for this work and sharpening my woodworking tools—ever hear of "scary sharp"?). This did a good job of removing any remnants of the old silicone and smoothed the surface. I tied up the rocker arms so they would not get ground down as I pushed this back and forth over the paper.



Next I cleaned the mating surfaces on the motor and installed a new plug with high temp red silicone.



So, I get ready to put the cover on. First I stick the new bolts that were missing into their palces on the cardboard so as not to loose track of what one is which one and which one is where, then put the special washers (rubber in the middle of the steel washer) on their respective bolts. Wait a minute, au contraire mon fraire! Suzuki shorted me two washers. Aggghhh. This always happens...and now Tuesday is the soonest I can get them, if they still have them in stock. I also had forgotten that one bolt came out with a nut for a spacer (yeah, I know, what were they thinkin'?), so obviously that was the wrong bolt. I can't cut it shorter as it is shouldered. I will also have to order the correct one for that spot (L65).

Man, I hate this hurry up and wait syndrome I have with working on old bikes.

Oh well…c'est la vie…it's always something…

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Oops, meant to add this photo. You can see the new bolts in L25 positions, just inside the tappet covers. Am missing special washers under S30 (this one is still on the cover; I will have to remove it and put on the new washer) and L70. L55, not L65 (I am not using L65 because it holds on the trim covers, which I am not installing), is actually the bolt with the nut under it, you can kinda see the nut added under the bolt head.

__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by LWRider; 01-30-2012 at 08:01 PM..
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Final installment in this little excercize. Here is the cover all sealed and back on the motor.



No leaks or drips.....from the cam case. Of course, the motor is still leaking like crazy all over the cylinder--but no cam case or plug leak. Gonna take more futzing to completely stop the oil. That will have to come later and will require the motor coming out. I'll post that when I get around to doing it, but for now I will ride and clean up the mess from time to time.

The thing with these old bikes is the work is never done. As the motto of the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic ride goes: "Wrench, Ride, Repeat."

Hope this small description helps someone else with that durn dripping plug, anyway.

Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
winterwalker
Motorcyclist

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
winterwalker is on a distinguished road
Default

Howdy Mike - thank you for posting this description! My 2000 Savage is suffering from the same leak and having this as a guide is going to be a huge help in resolving the issue.

Based on your post timeline, it looks like you worked on the issue over a few weeks (probably due to waiting on parts from Suzuki), but I'm curious about how long this took you excluding "wait time". I've done some work on cars before, but not bikes - is this something that could be done in an afternoon or am I going to need a full day or weekend?

Thank you!
winterwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 01:36 PM   #9
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

An afternoon should suffice to get this done if you have all the needed parts on hand. I have heard that on some of the bikes, (don't know which years), you can't get the head cover off while the motor is in the bike, so that would make a huge difference in required time (not that the motor would be all that difficult to remove). In my case, I was able to wriggle mine off with the engine in place.

Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 02:21 PM   #10
winterwalker
Motorcyclist

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
winterwalker is on a distinguished road
Default

Thanks for the reply Mike! I've read the same about being unable to remove the head cover on some bikes. I'll be doing a bit more research to determine whether or not I'll have to pull the entire engine. About how much clearance did you have between the head cover and the frame?

Thanks again!

Best,

Dave
winterwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2012, 03:28 PM   #11
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Not much. I had to twist and turn and maneuver it out by wiggling it just right. I suspect most of the fails on removing them with engine mounted were just people who gave up wrangling it. "...tilting and twisting motion forward and to the right...." It is worth giving it a shot at least before pulling the motor. If it won't come you can always reattach it lightly and pull the motor.

Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 12:42 PM   #12
slumlord
Rough Writer
 
slumlord's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,991
slumlord will become famous soon enough
Default

So let's get a look at that CB350 since it is done!
__________________
Pull off the Band-Aid. Eat our peas. Just do it.
slumlord is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2012, 02:56 PM   #13
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by slumlord View Post
So let's get a look at that CB350 since it is done!
Here she is in her prime:



Here is the most recent picture of the CB350 all together. Taken in Denton, NC, where I discovered a frame crack.



Which resulted in a full restoration when I got home. Here she is now:



Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 01:05 AM   #14
winterwalker
Motorcyclist

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
winterwalker is on a distinguished road
Default

Howdy Mike,

I'm curious to know where you found that cam cover diagram which you used to hold the bolts after removal. I have the Savage owner's manual and a Clymer manual and it doesn't seem to be in either. If you could share the source I'd be grateful!

Also - this is a slightly different topic and I don't want to derail this thread so a short validation answer is all I'm really looking for - I've noticed some tapping/knocking from the left side of the engine that's pretty consistent, in-time with engine speed, and loud enough to be noticeable. The bike runs fine despite the noise, so I haven't been that concerned about it. Is that the typical sound for a Savage, or possibly something that needs to be checked out?

Thank you!

Best,

Dave
winterwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 09:15 AM   #15
winterwalker
Motorcyclist

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
winterwalker is on a distinguished road
Default

Oops! I've made a liar out of myself - just found the cylinder head cover diagram in my Clymer! Not identical, but very similar.
winterwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 09:20 AM   #16
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

IIRC I got that image from the susukisavage forum. You can right click the image above and save the image to yourcomputer, then resize as you'd like and print out.

Not sure about the noice. I never had any knocking, but if your valves are not adjusted properly youcouldbe hearing clacking from them. Worth checking. Theyare pretty easy to adjust.

Cheers,

Mike, sitting ston'es throw from the Bule Ridge a tthe moment
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2012, 10:32 AM   #17
winterwalker
Motorcyclist

Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 8
winterwalker is on a distinguished road
Default

Thank you Mike!
I'll look into a valve adjustment - shouldn't be too difficult.

I'm jealous! Great day to be in/near the mountains!

Best,

Dave
winterwalker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 09:27 AM   #18
thabrock
Newbie

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Tulsa
Posts: 3
thabrock is on a distinguished road
Default reply

any update on the oil leak project??
thabrock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2012, 10:00 AM   #19
LWRider
Challenged Mechanic
 
LWRider's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Lake Wales, FL
Posts: 2,593
LWRider is on a distinguished road
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thabrock View Post
any update on the oil leak project??
I completed it and the process can be seen on my blog. Never had a leak after from the plug. Still had weeping from the head/cylinder seam. It was not bad, just kept the cylinder wall wet a bit, and I sold it before I did any work on that which would mean pulling the head at least.

Since this post I acquired a 2011 Triumph Bonneville T100. The Savage had to go, so I sold it to a local rider, a woman who was short and wanted a smaller bike that would fit her. I always found the Savage, as much fun as it was, to be too small for my frame ergonomically.

Cheers,

Mike
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
LWRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.