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Old 06-23-2013, 05:35 AM   #1
billyroy
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Default shovelhead transmission leak test

I have a ratchet top 4 speed trans that I got with a non running bike that I know nothing about. So I took the top off and everything looks good. On the kicker side the cover looks like it has a new gasket so I figure I will try the test where you attach a drill to the end of the mainshaft and put car trans fluid in it and run it. I did that and ran it through the gears and everything seems good no leaks.
How long should you run this to decide if you have no leaks and is this test really that good when you have no load on the trans like when in actual operation?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

Never heard of that test. Fill it to the top of the end cover, and sit on a level bench. Let it sit overnight, if it leaks, you have a leak. If it don't leak, you don't have a leak. Now, install it, and run it a while, and it may, or may not leak. Seals on the sprocket shaft are known for leaking, and the only other places is the drain, kicker cover gasket, top shift housing gasket, sprocket shaft, countershaft and the bottom mounting bolts. Also the clutch rod seal, in the end of the mainshaft, but even when they leak, it is only a drop every now and then.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

It will leak. Be patient.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

I saw the test on you tube and I also noticed fab kevin makes a special nut to go on the end of your mainshaft that is for that procedure. I made one myself cuz i'm a machinist. Just curious how dependable the test is. Seems a little iffy to me.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

An unknown tranny would (In my hands) be getting a tear down and inspected for ware and replacement of any parts that showed high ware...
The area that does see the most work is fourth gear...that entails the case race (77 and back), bearings, the gear itself (Being the inner race for the bearings to ride on) and the bushing in the gear. Also that area of the mainshaft that the fourth gear bushing ride on could show alot of ware.

New seals and gaskets are not very much $$$.
The four-speed tranys are super easy to work on...
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Old 06-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

I'm with Jesse on this mater. I never under stood why guys won't do it right the first time. Tear that fuckin thing down. You can't tell if it's good or not just by taking the shift top off and looking inside. It makes me sick to see guys worry about their lace paint from HOK and skip over the trans and lower end ofthe engine like this. Jesse and I aren't always in agreement but I think this time we are in the same corner of the circle.
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Old 06-23-2013, 02:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

Circle's have those....???....
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

thanks for the posts, I guess when you have the trans out, you might as well check it all correctly. still wondering though if the test where you spin the tranny with a drill and car trans fluid is even worth doing or not in any circumstance.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

Not really, if you don't know how to put it back together without it leaking, you should have someone who does put it together for you
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

Maybe the test is for shifting.....I do it by hand. Maybe it is for leaking, I do it by sight. Maybe it is for people who have not a lot to keep them busy, I am not one of these people. If it is covered in grime, it has run, leaked and been repaired at least several times. If it leaves a puddle over night, it has a leak. All are easily diagnoised by site and appearance. Kind of like the old indian weatherman said about his weather rock....rock dry, no rain, rock cold, winter, rock hot, summer, rock wet, rain. Just change the rock word, into 4 speed rock crusher. No, there is no app for that.........
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:43 AM   #11
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

$5.00 on it leaking
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

I'm not sure about your leak test. Tranny fluid (insert joke here) will swell your seals. An old mechanic's trick to stop leaks temporarily was to add a little to whatever system was leaking and it does work for awhile. It's a lot easier to tear down the trans on the bench than yank it back out out the bike to work on it. Murphy's law will prevail and it will only start leaking just before a big ride or when you got a date with that hot chick you've been after for months. The Horse did an excellent series of tech articles on the 4 speed recently. If you can tear down your engine, you can definitely rebuild your trans in a day.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:42 PM   #13
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

Coming soon from a Tech guy near you, I have to tear down my 4-spd this weekend. I will be taking pictures, and building a new tranny in a Cal products case. I am predicting when I rip this thing apart I will be able to show you first hand why not to put a tranny in your bike without tearing it down first...The douche bag I bought it from "I had it professionally rebuilt a month ago" it looked clean, didn't notice the hairline crack plugged with jb weld from the inside...20 miles later...oil all over the place...I've ran the tranny for about a year like that. plugging it with gumbo every other month as I collected the parts to do the job right. I had the kicker cover off 3 months ago to change out the chepo fail china kicker gears. found a half roller, and a lot of bronze sludge in the bottom of the cover..chinese throwout bearing was missing a bunch of balls...don't know where they went? DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: shovelhead transmission leak test

thanks for all the input, jeff a i'll be watching for your rebuild.
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